Best of the Short Life of the Forum

Posted: March 14, 2010 in Big East, Big Ten, Sports

When I was cursing the dehydrated gerbils that run the WordPress commenting platform in an insomnia-induced haze on Friday evening, I thought to myself, “We need a message board! That’s the answer!”  So, I quickly created one and hastily posted it up.  In less than 48 hours, I’ve realized a few things:

(1) Between work, family and writing this blog, it will be impossible for me to monitor a message board on top of all this.  I’m an idiot and didn’t think this through at all.  In case you didn’t know, I have 7 1/2 month old twins at home, which pretty much means my free time is a couple of hours at night at most.  Since I obviously can’t quit my job, never want to truncate my time with my family and love writing this blog, the message board is going to be more of burden at this point.

(2) Part of the nice thing that’s developed over the past couple of months is that each blog post has turned into a free flow discussion on expansion issues, with news articles and viewpoints converging in a centralized place.  After thinking about it over this weekend, a lot of that would be lost be diverting discussions to a separate message board.  As awful as the WordPress commenting issues are at this point, it’s been nice to just go to one website for a discussion and not have redundant discussions going on at multiple sites.  I really want to preserve the flow of discussions here on the blog because, personally, that’s been the most fun part of writing in the first place.

(3) If you like the message board format, there are already more established and robust sites that focus on expansion issues, particularly the BigEast BBS Expansion/Split board (which has a Big East focus but draws people from across the country, including me where I post as Frank the Tank) and the forum at CollegeSportsInfo.com (which reviews expansion issues from a national perspective and where I post as illinibluedemon).  There’s no need for me to establish a new message board regarding conference realignment when all of you would be better served by checking out these 2 other boards which have existed for years with much broader users bases to interact with.  I highly recommend both of these boards.

So, this is a long-winded way of saying that I’ll be closing down the forum later tonight before too many people get invested in it.  It’s an extra step that isn’t necessary with the existence of the blog discussions here and established message boards elsewhere.  I want to thank all of the people that quickly signed up as users.  The threads that have been posted will be archived at the site, so they will still exist to refer back to if you’d like in the future.  So that people don’t think that their effort has been for naught (because there’s already been a lot of great stuff posted), I’d like to post a couple of entries from the forum that are really excellent blogs in and of themselves for your review.

The first is from PSU2433, who has created this 16-team scenario:

FranktheTank: Let me first and foremost thank you for your insightful thoughts and the passion you bring to college football. I share the same passion for college football as you and have been pro-playoff for 10+ years.

After reading all of your blogs, I am leaning towards the Big10 being the first conference to go BIG and form a 16 team super conference. Money is power and right now the Big10 has a whole lot of both. At the end of the day, I think the Big 10 goes for a Grand Slam and invites TEX,TAM,ND,SYR, & RU. I think they start with the Texas Two Step and then proceed to lock up the NorthEast. In order to lock up 5 teams, they have to produce at a minimum, $110 million for the BigEleven to break even. Well, these 5 teams all but lock up the 8mil HHs of Texas and 15mil HHs of NY & NJ for the BTN. I also believe the BTN could command MORE than the $.70-$.80 they are currently getting from Comcast. I think this would push them over the $1.10 range per HH. One could also argue, with the national presense of ND,TEX,PSU,OSU, & UM that this now becomes a National Conference.

So how is scheduling going to work. I am a huge fan of the 4 POD system with 9 conference games. At this point, all the money is in the conference so the more conference games the more money. I am sick of watching OSU-Akron & PSU-Little Sisters of the Poor so I think the conference maximizes the amount of games. Here is how I see it playing out.

East Pod: PSU, RU, SYR, ND
South Pod: TEX, TAM, PUR, IND
West Pod: WIS, IOWA, MINN, NW
North Pod: UM, MSU, OSU, ILL

Each team plays their pod every year. You play one other pod for 2 consecutive years and that pod is on your side of the confernece for the championship game. You also play 2 other teams from another POD for 2 years. This creates a balanced schedule over a 12 year period where you play your POD 12 times (6H/6A) and you play every other team 6 times (3H/3A). The conference alignment would change every 2 years for the conference championship game. It would look like this

Years 1-2
East/West vs. North/South
Years 3-4
East/South vs. North/West
Years5-6
East/North vs. South/West
Years 7-8
East/West vs. North/South
Years 9-10
East/South vs. North/West
Years 11-12
East/North vs South/West

A sample schedule looks like this. I’ll use Penn State as the example.

Year 1: SYR, @ RU, ND, @ WIS, IOWA, @ MINN, NW, OSU, @ MSU
Year 2; @SYR, RU, @ ND, WIS, @ IOWA, MINN, @ NW, @ OSU, MSU
Year 3: SYR, @ RU, ND, @ TEX, TAM, @ IND, PUR, @UM, ILL
Year 4: @SYR, RU, @ ND, TEX, @ TAM, IND, @ PUR, UM, @ILL
Year 5: SYR, @ RU, ND, @ OSU, UM, @ MSU, ILL, @TEX, IND
Year 6: @SYR, RU, @ ND, OSU, @ UM, MSU, @ ILL, TEX, @IND
Year 7: SYR, @ RU, ND, @ WIS, IOWA, @ MINN, NW, @TAM, PUR
Year 8: @SYR, RU, @ ND, WIS, @ IOWA, MINN, @ NW, @ OSU, MSU
year 9: SYR, @ RU, ND, @ TEX, TAM, @ IND, PUR, @WIS, IOWA
Year 10: @SYR, RU, @ ND, TEX, @ TAM, IND, @ PUR, WIS, @IOWA
Year 11: SYR, @ RU, ND, @ OSU, UM, @ MSU, ILL, @MINN, NW
Year 12: @SYR, RU, @ ND, OSU, @ UM, MSU, @ ILL, MINN, @ NW

Conference championship games held from Dallas, Chicago, Indy, Cinncinati, & NYC.

For basketball 18 conference games stay the same, you play your pod home/away (6 games) and everyone else once (12) games. Championship tounrneys in Indy, CHI, NYC, & Houston.

I haven’t run the numbers yet, but I think a conference this size could command $600-$800mil /year with an outside shot of $1bil if the BTN can go national.

I’ve got my sports goggles on here but all 5 fit the academic mold the conference is looking for as well. The weak link is SYR (I’d be open to MD as well) but SYR with RU & ND all but locks up NYC & NJ.

Am I nuts? Hopefully this dream will turn into a reality.

The second is from TheBlanton, who examines how he thinks the dominoes will fall:

1. Big 10 fires the first shot. Inviting Texas and Notre Dame. Big 10 knows that even if they only land one, they will be in position to stage a CCG.

2. Texas, already having a contingency plan in place demands that A&M be included. Notre Dame stalls and goes to committee. Big 10 gives an ultimatum which ND ignores. After 6 months, ND’s spot is offered to A&M. Texas and A&M are brought into the new big 12. Cable rates increase across the board.

3. The Big XII moves quickly. Because there is no love lost between the old Big 8 and the Texas schools, they find UT and A&M easy to replace. Wanting to maintain the Texas market as Big 12 country, the Big 12 offers TCU and Houston. This has already been worked out between Big 12 officials and Texas Legislators in a secret room inside Jerry’s Stadium scoreboard. Now instead of 4 BCS conference schools, Texas has 6. New Big 12 cable channel is formed with revenue sharing. Again cable rates increasre.

4. The Pac 10 tries to lure Colorado and Utah. Utah jumps at the chance but Colorado, sensing new balance in the Big 12, rejects the Pac 10 to stay with its old big 8 cohorts. Pac 10 is left reeling, after some time a vote is brought up on BYU. Stanford and Cal vote no, Pac 10 is stuck at 11 members. In a desperate move, Pac 10 forms a B division, with the promise that if they show growth, they may join the original 10 in a full capacity. San Diego State, Fresno State, Nevada, San Jose St, New Mexico St, BoiseSt, Colorado St, and Utah form the B division. A conference championship game is scheduled between the A and B division. If the B division team wins they are immediately considered for inclusion in the A division by simple majority vote. Cable rates stay surprisingly unchanged.

5. The Big XII, sensing the weakness of the MWC and the WAC, decides to shoot the moon and go to a 16 team conference. Rice, New Mexico, UNLV, and BYU are offered and jump at the chance to join a big time conference. The B12 is immediately split into two new divisions, with Oklahoma and OK st, joining the Big 8 division (former Big 12 North). The 5 Texas schools join the western schools for the Southwest Division.

6. The remaining MWC and WAC merge.

7. The Big 10, not to be outdone decides to go for a 16 team league. The reformed Big 8 gets a much better deal from the newly formed TV station that covers the new Big 8-Southwest Conference, closing them off to Big 10 expansion. Big 10 decides to make a play for the NY market and grab Syracuse and Rutgers from The Big East. One final offer is given to ND, assimilate or die. Pittsburgh is holding a standby ticket. Cable rates increase.

8. ND finally capitulates, joining the Big 10+6. Cable rates increase.

9. The Big East is crumbling. The basketball only schools break off and pick up a few regional catholic universities.

10. Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Conn, and Cincinnati Join The ACC based largely on their basketball revenue. ACC forms it’s own TV Channel. Cable rates increase during basketball season.

11. By this time SEC TV deal is on the horizon. They move to add Louisville and South Florida, and expand their market by adding SMU in Texas and Tulsa in Oklahoma. They form their own Cable channel. Cable rates are so high now that people are forced to work for the cable company full time in order to receive service.

12. Conference USA merges with the Sunbelt Conference.

After everything shakes out there are now 5 super conferences. Big 10+, Big 8-SW, Pac 10+, ACC, and SEC each have 16 teams. The MWAC and Sunbelt USA conference have some undetermined number of inconsequential schools.

The Cotton Bowl is revived as a BCS bowl In JerryWorld, making 5 BCS bowls.

The plus one system is added making the National Championship game during the bye week before the Superbowl, it rotates every year between the BCS sites. The winner is chosen by taking the two highest ranked teams after the bowls.

Every Mega conference is offered 2 BCS Bowl bids. 1 for the CCG winner, and an at large. However, the 2 BCS bids max is removed and any Mega Conference can steal any number of at-large bids as long as the team stealing the bid is ranked higher than the at-large team from the other conference.

In addition, the smaller conferences can steal an at large bid as long as they are ranked higher than the at large and any other 3rd team from a mega -conference.

Conference Alignment:

Big 10+

(West)- Texas, A&M, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana
(East)- Penn St, Ohio St, Michigan, Mich. St, Syracuse, Rutgers, ND, Purdue

Big 8/SW

(8) -Nebraska, Oklahoma, OK St, Kansas, Kansas St, Missouri, Iowa St, Colorado
(SW)- Texas Tech, Baylor, TCU, Rice, Houston, New Mexico, BYU, UNLV

Pac 10+

(A)- Wash, Wash St, Oregon, Oregon St, Cal, Stanford, USC, UCLA, Az, Az st
(B)- Utah, Nevada, Boise St., San Diego St, San Jose St, Fresno St, New Mexico St, Colorado St

ACC

(North) – BC, Pitt, Uconn, W Virginia, Cincy, Maryland, Virginia, VaTech
(South) – Wake, NC, NCst, Duke, Clemson, GeorgiaTech, FSU, Miami

SEC
(east) –
GA , Tenn, Vandy, Kentucky, Louisville, South Carolina, Florida, South Florida
(west) – Auburn, Alabama, Ole Miss, LSU, Miss St, Arkansas, SMU, Tulsa

So there it is. I have now wasted half of my Saturday. Please start picking apart my suggestion, really I was just writing it to get it out of my head and on paper. I think this lasts about 50 years until greater global forces (crumbling economy, fuel shortage, Armageddon) force a need for smaller more compact conferences, probably 8 10 school conferences or 10 8 school conferences…. Discuss amongst yourselves.

I’m still fairly skeptical of 16-school conferences being form in this round of conference realignment.  I think it will be hard enough for the Big Ten university presidents to wrap their minds around a 14-school conference at this point.  Still, there are some extremely interesting scenarios out there and they’re fun to discuss.  So, the forum is dead.  Long live the forum.  Sorry for blue-balling everyone and keep the comments and news articles coming here.  Meanwhile, I’ll be spending my time over the next few days enjoying the NIT.  (Ugh.)  Go Illini!

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Comments
  1. Here’s how I think it’s going to go down.

    June 2010
    PAC 10 announces it will expand to 12. Colorado and Utah.
    Big 12 announces it will replace Colorado with BYU.

    Fall 2010
    The PAC12 and the Big 12 will fail to reach any kind of media “Western Alliance”.

    Feb 2011
    Big 10 announces it will expand to 14. Texas A/M, Texas, and Notre Dame

    April 2011
    Big 12 announces it will replace those two schools with TCU and Houston/UNLV /orTulsa.
    Big East announces it will drop Marquette and DePaul in bball. Add Memphis, East Carolina, Florida International, and Villanova (basketball already) for 12 schools.

    June 2011
    SEC announces it will expand to 14. Oklahoma and OKSt.

    Feb 2012
    Big 12 announces it will expand to 14. Colorado St., San Diego St., and UNLV/Houston/orTulsa.

    BCS is reworked for 2015. First 8 team playoff…December 2015!!! All major conference champions will receive automatic bid. Any non-BCS conference school in the top 4 will receive an automatic bid. The rest of the field of 8 playoff teams (played the Saturday after conference championship games) will be filled by the top BCS poll teams who are NOT conference champions. Final 4 is built into the bowl games (January 1st or 2nd). Championship game is played the Saturday after the NFC/AFC championship games.

    Like

    • Kyle says:

      You had me up until April 2011. The Big East will not rock the boat if they made it through the Big Ten expansion without losing a football member. Villanova is not prepared or interested in moving up to FBS and the rest of those schools will only water down the current level of play.

      IF the SEC ever goes to 14, it will be with Oklahoma and Clemson (Auburn-with-a-lake). Both are cultural fits and preserve their logical and successful Eastern-timezone vs Central-timezone divisions.

      Like

      • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

        I’d be willing to pull back on the Big East expansion. My line of thinking, though, is that they’d need to be building towards the future rather than trying to maintain status quo. Adding teams would also give them some buffer if/when the ACC (or the Big 10 during a second wave of expansion) would come raiding again.

        How about this?
        April 2011
        Big East adds Memphis to replace Notre Dame in bball. Memphis becomes 9th football member of Big East.

        Like

      • ot says:

        If the Big Ten were to take Texas, Texas A&M, and Notre Dame and stop at 14…

        …One suspect that the ACC may have to offer admission to UConn, Syracuse, Rutgers, and Pitt in order be able to obtain a satisfactory ($10 million/year per school) football TV contract (or entice either FOX or Comcast as a partner to launch the “ACC Network”).

        I cannot imagine a scenario in which Rutgers will NOT be poached by either the Big Ten or the ACC. The New Jersey side of the New York City market has way too may cable/satellite TV households for Rutgers to be left untouched.

        Like

    • TheBlanton says:

      It seems to me that knowing that Texas and A&M are leaving the big 12, league officials would proactively try to keep their Texas recruiting base intact. I think TCU and Houston would be pushed as replacements for the two Texas schools.

      I don not think those two schools could bring the same viewership level however so I think the Big 12 looks into expanding in the growing markets of the west. New Mexico and UNLV both deliver top 50 markets without too much pro competition. The Big 12 may decide that going to 14 is necessary to maintain regional visibility.

      At this point the Big 8 can reform the east division (minus Colorado) and the Texas 4 Tech,TCU,Baylor,Houston can be with the Western 3, UNM,UNLV,BYU.

      Returning to the Big 8 schedule would be awfully attractive to Nebraska AND Oklahoma, who both won multiple national championships that way. Enough to keep OU from bailing to the SEC? maybe

      The Texas/Oklahoma game returns to the premiere non-conference game in the country. Keeping it when and where it is will certainly be in any contract Texas signs with the Big 10+. The only change there is that it may move to Jerryworld when the A&M/Arkansas series is ended.

      Like

      • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

        Your idea sparked a key question, THEBLANTON. I know the SEC is locked into its deal with ESPN for another decade or so…but are there any circumstances that would warrant renegotiation? Would the addition of two teams or four teams or whatever allow for things to open up, or not? If the answer to that is NO, then the SEC would NEVEREVERNONEVER expand b/c they’d have to split money up among 2-4 new teams? If there is room to renegotiate, well then, adding profitable programs (like Oklahoma or Clemson or Missouri or ????) might be a smart move.

        Anybody know?

        Like

  2. michaelC says:

    Frank,

    Good call on the message board. Apart from your time and sanity, I think a separate message board does detract greatly from the sense of community (if I may be so bold) evident in the discussion that flows around and through your blog posts. My only complaint is the comment nesting, which makes it hard to identify which comments and sub-discussions I haven’t read.

    As others have already said, your little place on the intertubes is a rare combination of content and substantive discussion. If such a thing is possible, it would be nice to have a place where we could gather various facts (e.g. info about expansion candidates, timelines for TV contract negotiations, TV market sizes, etc.) for reference and to further the collective thought process.

    Like

  3. @michaelC – Thanks for the kind words. I’ve just turned off the comment nesting – once you get past a couple of replies, it appears that the commenting gets very screwy in terms of placement. Hopefully, that will help the issue.

    Like

  4. @michaelC – Also, that’s a great idea about having a permanent reference page. I’ll work on getting one together.

    Like

  5. c says:

    Re: comments nesting

    Just a thought. I found the comments nesting helpful in following related posts.

    Perhaps after a certain number of comments, you could establish a new section Comments: part 2 and so on to restore the nesting since after many comments the “commenting gets very screwy in terms of placement.”

    Also by breaking the comments into “parts” after a certain number were posted, it would be easier to follow cocmpletely new comments unrelated to prior posts.

    Like

    • I’ve tried setting the nested comment threads to go 5 levels deep – that’s about as far as you can go and still have it readable. I think once it goes past 5 levels, comments start getting kicked around (i.e. a reply at the 6th level will get sent to the bottom of the comment thread).

      Breaking it into parts is an option, but the platform here doesn’t allow you to skip pages (i.e. if you’re on part 1, there’s no direct link to part 4 – you have to scroll through everything in between). If you were able to go directly to the last page, I’d turn that function on, but the way that it’s set up makes it hard to get to the most recent comments (and think things flow better when the comments are in chronological order instead of having the new ones first).

      Like

  6. c says:

    Re: Texas intentions

    With respect to the post by the Texas alumni attorney who asserted the U of Texas President unambiguously told him Texas was NOT joining Big 10 and Texas would always want to be linked to Texas Tech as well as Texas A&M: (posted as comment in Frank’s blog re Notre Dame)
    and also posted here:
    http://www.shaggybevo.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=60764&sid=a3b78fc59e3f1eee90309868a79eb44c

    If this is true, and Texas is not an option for Big 10 expansion, then this radically changes the conversation and speculation.

    If anyone has any knowlege or comes across any updated info re Texas intentions, I hope such a post will be highlighted.

    Personally it seems foolish to proceed with an interesting discussion until this key point is clarified.

    Like

    • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

      C, I don’t know if you’ll ever have this “key point” clarified to everyone’s satisfaction. Even if these comments were printed in a newspaper (which they weren’t…just hearsay), one could still argue that this is just the “front” that Texas’ administrators need to present during negotiations. There’s really no need to “tell the truth” to your fan base today. Admin will need to do what’s best for the school in the long run. Texas would have at least 2 years (before they actually join the Big 10, probably longer) to smooth things over with the fan base/alumni who aren’t happy. And it’s already been pointed out that many alumni and fans would LOVE the change.

      I could see their schedule looking something like this for fall 2015 (assuming Texas A/M comes along too)

      9/5 Baylor
      9/12 Sweet Mother Mary School for the Oil Thirsty (FCS school)
      9/19 at Northwestern
      9/26 Illinois
      10/3 at Wisconsin
      10/10 North Texas
      10/17 *Oklahoma (in Dallas)
      10/24 at Purdue
      10/31 Iowa
      11/7 Michigan
      11/14 Bye
      11/21 Minnesota
      11/26 at Texas A/m
      12/5 Big 14 Championship Game

      Like

      • Richard says:

        Probably no bye with an even number of teams and the Big10 may want to go back to no-non-confs after the conference slate starts.

        Like

        • m (Ag) says:

          FWIW, Texas and Texas A&M have often (though not always) had a bye the Saturday immediately before Thanksgiving, since they play on a short week. Since the Big 10 has plenty of traditional rivalry games around that time, they might let them have that bye week.

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        • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

          I hadn’t heard that, Richard. But looking at our next few years, I see that PSU’s OOC games are all front loaded. Personally, I don’t like that. I could see that concession being made for Texas. It’s not that big of a deal…and schools could decide for themselves…take a bye week before the championship game (OSU and Michigan would to keep their tradition alive) or play on that week (as Illinois and Wiscy have become accustomed to doing).

          If Texas wanted a bye the week before, so be it. They’d get 12 days to prepare for A/M game and 9 days for the CCG (supposing they make it…and I’m sure Texas would do a LOT of supposing :))

          Like

      • TheBlanton says:

        9/5 Baylor
        9/12 Sweet Mother Mary School for the Oil Thirsty (FCS school)

        Why would Texas play the same team two times in a row? Seriously though I think that spot would go to Rice University, they have a relatively long standing series going.

        I think Texas Tech probably gets the Bye spot and that game is traded with the @northwestern spot. If they sign a long-term OOC deal (similar to the RRR w/ OU in Dallas) that may help alleviate some of the anxiety from the Texas Politicos about UT & A+M abandoning the big 12.

        Like

        • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

          I don’t think they would establish any other yearly game other than the OU game in Dallas. They have long-standing rivalries (as do Texas A/M) with a few different teams. Baylor and Tech being most notable. I could see them rotating those two schools on and off every three years, not just for the sake of politics, but because they’d want to maintain that “regional feel” for their school. Your fans wouldn’t want to buy season tickets to watch 7 different “Yankee” teams.

          At the same time, they’d still schedule their “home only” games. Maybe Baylor and TTech would be willing to do “home only” matchups with the Longhorns, but most BCSC schools want that 1/1 promise. I was thinking about a real bottom feeder for that game. Someone from D1AA to give their boys some rest.

          One Texas rival per year. (1/1)
          Oklahoma. (Neutral site)
          One Texas bottom feeder. (home only)
          One regional bottom feeder (home only)

          That’s about as challenging as Texas would ever want their schedule to be, judging by past slates.

          Like

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            Since the break-up of the SWC, Texas has done approximately 2-1-1, home-away-off, with Rice. They like to play a game in the Houston area every few years for recruiting and alumni connections. We play at Reliant Stadium instead of Rice, so it feels like a Texas home game anyway.

            Like

  7. Terry (darvon) says:

    C’est la guerre.

    The forum caused me to dig up a lot of facts this weekend. Ain’t gonna be no BCS playoff. Revenue per programming hour is a reasonable way to analyze it, and it isn’t even close to making sense (dollar-wise) to do it.

    I am hopeful that Texas is the one for my dear ol’ B10, but not confident. Pac 10 seems required to pull the trigger first, as they need a new TV contract almost immediately. Big 10 might just wait a while now that they started the snowball rolling.

    The Huge reason for expansion is the football playoff, but I hadn’t even thought that the P10 couldn’t make money off one until I read it here.

    Interesting ideas here, and good discussion. Someday when you are tired of B10 expansion, start a BCS playoff thread. That should get a couple of responses…

    I await your next missive. Try to get some sleep sometime.

    Like

  8. duffman says:

    frank,

    illinois.. no ncaa.. bummin.. tOSU beat tubby pretty good, and the gophers are in.. not sure if i have an answer there, but your scenario did not play out..

    kids come first so your actions are understandable, have enjoyed it all..

    for what it is worth, i am still guessing if BIG expansion comes.. we will see the 16 team format, not the 14

    Like

  9. Richard says:

    Terry:

    I don’t think expansion and playoffs go together. If anything, expansion would be done to increase the value of the regular season games (which the conferences control) while playoffs would dilute the regular season.

    Like

  10. MIRuss says:

    C and Texas Intentions from The Shaggy Bevo:

    Well, while I can see where Powers is coming from, I think he probably said that because people are starting to look at the revenue and cash flow of the Big 10 and bombarding him with questions that are probably along the lines of, “If you don’t join the Big 10, what will you do to get the revenue stream to increase to at least match the Big 10?” I am sure every Conference Commish and university president that isn’t the Big 10 is trying desperately to come up with an answer to that question. Powers is simply stating, “Look, the Big 10 isn’t an equation I want to deal with at this point.” But, regardless of what he thinks now, once all the options are on the table, he may come to recognize the inevitability of where television and collegiate sports in particular, are watched the most: Midwest and East Coast.

    The Pac 10, in my opinion, probably will not agree to any “loose alliance” as is suggested as they would be the ones bringing more households and TV’s to the party. Why would the Pac 10 want to have any alliance with the Big 12? It doesn’t make sense.

    Like

  11. MIRuss says:

    Terry,

    I meant to also respond to you: While the discussion of a playoff in college football is interesting, with conference exapansion, it’s all but a dead issue. It was iteresting 5 years ago, but without anything ANYWHERE formative or even directionally happening, it’s all going to come down to conferences and conference championships deciding who is the “Mythical” National Champion. The last piece of that puzzle will be whether or not the Domer’s join a conference. IF they do, all talk of playoffs is completely wasted time…

    Like

  12. loki_the_bubba says:

    “5. The Big XII, sensing the weakness of the MWC and the WAC, decides to shoot the moon and go to a 16 team conference. Rice, New Mexico, UNLV, and BYU are offered and jump at the chance to join a big time conference.”

    As a Rice alum, I’m still laughing. We will not be invited into any major conference. We’re too small to be of interest to anyone. It’s more likely we drop football than ever get back into a major conference.

    Like

  13. Some ACC links –

    The ACC commissioner claims that expansion past 12 schools isn’t on the radar:

    http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/03/14/388328/no-expansion-the-for-acc.html

    This doesn’t stop one Maryland blogger from speculating about the ACC adding Big East schools that don’t get picked up by the Big Ten:

    http://www.testudotimes.com/2010/3/14/1372232/a-world-without-the-big-east

    Like

    • Adam says:

      I think this is because conferences larger than 12 just don’t make a lot of sense. The logistical hurdles are too high, no matter what the ostensible financial benefits.

      Like

  14. We’ve talked a lot about the merits of expansion candidates, but The Rivalry, Esq. looks at the value of each of the current Big Ten schools. It’s a very interesting read:

    http://www.rivalryesq.com/2010/3/12/1369126/big-ten-prospectus-what-is-your

    Like

    • duffman says:

      frank,

      thanks for the link.. just makes me look at UK even more.. (yes i have given up on UC to the big 10 – it would be a growth project, not a instant hit) – in 2009 UK was #22 in attendance within a hairs breath of Iowa at #21 (which would make them #7 in the big 10). while this may not seem like much, i note the following points..

      a) if they go to 80,000 – they would jump to a tie with wisconsin for #4

      b) if they go to 90,000 – they would own the #4 spot in the big 10

      c) i know you ask why this is a big deal.. well they were in a virtual dead heat with iowa when they barely finished over .500 and iowa was (for most of the season a possible NC candidate, and wound up in the orange bowl – a good bowl indeed)

      d) same thing with michigan state getting the bowl vs texas tech, and to a lesser degree with minnesota vs iowa state, and wisconsin vs miami

      the point being you have an average to crappy football team that would be #4 in attendance in the big 10 – imagine if they actually got good.. and this does not even count one body for their basketball base!! if they were ranked in the big 10 they could easily be #4 in football, and by far #1 in basketball..

      Like

    • greg says:

      Crediting Northwestern with the state of Illinois and Chicago metro area demographics is an inaccurate methodology.

      Like

  15. Michael says:

    I’d just like to make some comments about a few things which we KNOW has happened, rather than what I predict will happen, followed by a few questions whose responses I look forward to reading:

    -The Big Ten has pulled off a brilliant move for its future via the Big Ten network. What a huge risk, but what huge rewards! Just consider, for a moment, that Big Ten country is in a region with a slower population growth rate than every part of the US besides West Virginia, Louisiana, and the Plains states from Kansas north to the Canadian border. The Midwest’s economy, even before the recession, has had quite the low growth rate for several decades, although median income remains higher than most of the Sun Belt states. In other words, the Big Ten’s presence in the populous but slow-growing Midwest should put it at a disadvantage compared with most other regions; but the league’s innovation with the network has instead put the Big Ten in an even more commanding financial position.

    -The ACC remains astonishingly far behind its competitors. Just consider, its footprint has three of the fastest-growing states in the country (FL, GA, & NC), the only fast-growing metropolitan area in the I-95 corridor (Washington), and one of the wealthiest states per capita in the nation (Massachusetts). On top of that, with Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and the Virginia Tidewater area in its footprint, the ACC has recruiting grounds which easily trump at least the Big Ten’s and Big East’s. Why the conference cannot compile more talent-laden, winning teams or achieve better TV deals is beyond me.

    -The Big 12 is in Big Trouble. From the very beginning, it has had a lack of solidarity. The league must come up with solutions for all members to be pleased with the composition of the conference or it will have the fate of the Southwest Conference.

    -Athletic conferences which demand higher standards for members’ academic achievements seem to be less likely to lose members and more likely to attract new ones. Boston College was willing to leave the Big East in part for the association with Duke, Wake, UNC, UVA, etc., whereas the Big East didn’t demand quite the same high standards.

    -The SEC is the exception to that observation. Good football and a southern presence seem to be the only requirements.

    -People are questioning why a school like Illinois can’t be more competitive, given that its huge alumni base and its presence in the fifth-most populated state. I ask this: Why the heck does a school like Florida State or Miami struggle so much? They have a huge surrounding population, AND a recruiting area far deeper than Illinois’, including Ohio as part of Illinois’ recruiting home turf. Why has UCLA had so much trouble? Even with USC, there are still tons of talent available.

    -I understand that expansion is a strong possibility, but why is that fans want it so badly? If a Michigan fan wants UM to play Texas, schedule them. If a Wisconsin fan wants to see the Badgers play the Irish, schedule them. If a Penn State fan wants to play Rutgers, what’s stopping you? Why is there so much concern FROM FANS that the Big Ten needs more revenue? It’s not as though it will make FANS wealthier, and it’s not as though Big Ten schools’ athletic budgets are suffering, relative to other leagues. Does anyone REALLY want a 16-team league where Illinois plays Nebraska, Texas, and A&M every year if that means home games against Ohio State, Michigan, and Purdue start happening only once every six years?

    Like

    • Scott S says:

      Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing my Badgers play Ohio State or Michigan less frequently if it was replaced with the likes of Nebraska, Texas, A&M, Notre Dame, Colorado or Pitt. In fact, I think I’d prerfer to see a schedule with a greater variety of good-quality teams.

      Like

      • Rick says:

        How about if it was Nebraska, Rutgers, Syracuse, or Missouri?

        Like

        • Scott S says:

          To me, Nebraska is a high profile team. So were we to play one or two more high-profile opponents per year (from the group of teams like Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Texas), I’d be okay with that, sure. Rotating between them would be fine, too. How can you complain if this schedule means $30 million in TV money to be used to improve facilities, recruiting and those of other sports.

          Like

      • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

        I’m with you, Scott. I had the chance to see one (and only one due to finances) PSU game this fall. As I looked over the home slate, I had a whopping 8 games (too many home games) to choose from. My first criteria? Which game is most unique?

        So, despite the fact that Syracuse has sucked recently in football, the Orangemen were my top choice for the game. Some teams you MUST have on your schedule every year…but most teams, it’s no big deal to take a few years off from.

        Like

    • Richard says:

      Wow, a lot of points. OK:

      1. The ACC is in a fast-growing area, but their footprint still lags behind the Big10 by a fair amount (and TV networks/cable companies pay you now for the eyeballs you can draw now, not 30 years from now), plus none of their brands in football are top-tier any more. FSU and Miami use to be (and could become again), but right now, they’re second-tier with VTech, as opposed to the Big10 (with 3 top-tier brands in PSU, Michigan, and OSU + 2 second-tier brands in Wisconsin & MSU) and SEC (4 top-tier brands in Flrodia, LSU, Georgia, and ‘Bama + 2 second-tiers in Tennessee & Auburn). ESPN is confirming that by telling the ACC that they’re not going to get Big10/SEC-type money for their football (which the ACC is trying to get).

      2. As for recruiting, unfortunately, they share with the SEC, and the 2 biggest prizes (Florida & Georgia) are solidly SEC territory except for certain spots like S. Florida, the panhandle, and Atlanta. The only states that the ACC has solely for themselves are Virginia & NC, and 6 schools share that region

      3. UCLA is by far the biggest underacheiver in college football. I can understand not being able to beat out USC, but when Oregon, the NoCal schools schools, and earlier, Washington can have far greater success using SoCal players than you can, something’s wrong. As for Miami and FSU, SFlorida is somewhat like it’s own state when it comes to recruiting. It does have a ton of recruits, but in population, it only has as much people as an average Big10 state. FSU did better when it was contending for national titles; if Florida and FSU have the same amount of success, most Florida kids north of the Everglades and outside the Panhandle have more of an affinity for the Gators. Plus, it doesn’t help that the Tide is a power again and the Dawgs have been more consistent under Richt; Tallahassee sits right south of Georgia & Alabama.

      4. As for why Big10 fans are so enthusiastic about expansion, it’s because we want to take over the world (MUAH-HA-HA). No, I think it’s because our region just isn’t a football recruiting hotbed any more, so to stay competitive, we have to stay tops in money and reputation. Maybe Illinois wants to play Michigan every year, but as a Northwestern grad, I’d be OK with anything so long as we play Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois fairly frequently (half the time?) I also know that there’s no way we’ll be able to schedule home-and-aways against Texas, Nebraska, FSU, or Miami (hell, even ND avoids us now, even though we had a rivalry for a long time; I guess 1995 still stings). In any case, conference play is what’s important.

      Like

      • Michael says:

        Great points. In one way of looking at it, though, the ACC’s footprint today is barely smaller than the Big Ten’s.

        FL, GA, SC, NC, VA, MD, and MA have approximately 62.4 million people, according to 2009 Census estimates. PA, OH, MI, IL, WI, MN, and IA have 67.4 million. Within the next ten years, I would imagine the ACC states would add up to more people than the CURRENT Big Ten states.

        There are, of course, big differences between the two leagues that gives the Big Ten opportunities for better TV deals. First, the Big Ten has always been much more of a “football league.” Look no further than stadium sizes. Second, Big Ten schools are much larger. FSU is the ACC’s largest. In the Big Ten, it would rank behind just about everyone but Northwestern. Thus, the alumni support for the Big Ten is far stronger. Fourth, the Big Ten pretty much OWNS every state it’s in. You could make an argument for IA and PA being “shared” with ISU and Pitt, respectively, but in reality PSU and Iowa dominate those states’ college scene. The ACC, by contrast, has to compete with a lot more, whether it’s the SEC in three states, general apathy to college sports in MA, or saturation in NC.

        Still, the ACC has plenty of good markets to work with (Boston, Washington, Charlotte, Raleigh, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Tampa, & Miami), so it seems like the league underachieves in getting good TV contracts as well as on the field. As an ACC fan, that’s frustrating.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          You forgot Indiana.

          You are right about school sizes (wow, I didn’t realize GTech was so small), I think, but to your point of having good markets, I think networks ultimately care more about national ratings than how many markets are delivered, and so brands may matter more.

          Plus, as I’d pointed out before, one benefit to everyone wanting to leave the cold frigid north (as well as having good & big schools) is that we have fans all over the country. We send a ton of alums to the Northeast, old people to Arizona and Florida, and engineers to NorthCal. I don’t think any conference has a fanbase that’s as wide as the Big10’s.

          Like

    • duffman says:

      richard,

      it makes you wonder what would have happened if ga tech (1964) and tulane (1966) had not left the sec in the 60’s. and if the acc had not split as well.. their football deal would be much greater today.. as would their basketball tv deal as at one time uk , duke, and unc were in the same conference.. a reason the sec discontinued their tournament for about 30 years because everybody felt uk was too dominant (think of adding 25 – 75 wins and uk’s dominance in basketball is even more mind boggling).

      point being.. it is a little hard to tell where anybody will be in 25 – 50 years.. i am guessing the revenue ga tech and tulane would get today from the sec is much greater then what they are getting from the acc.

      Like

  16. Michael says:

    Most of us seem to think that the Big Ten will add either three or five teams. It’s very possible the league could add only one.

    I strongly doubt Texas would be willing to join without A&M. If nothing else, UT would like them for a travel partner for many of the non-revenue sports, and so that it’s not the one southern oddity in a league of Midwest school. I’ll rule out Texas as a single-school expansion candidate.

    Pitt and Missouri would add minimal market that the league doesn’t already cover. Nebraska would add more of a national audience, but very few new BTN subscribers. I’ll rule them all out as single-school candidates.

    That leaves Notre Dame, Rutgers, and Syracuse. Any of them would open up larger new markets, with Notre Dame opening up the most because of its strong following throughout the northeast. Then it’s just a matter of deciding whether it’s worth the stress of playing political games with Notre Dame or just going for one of the Big East schools.

    If the expansion is by three schools, then the Big Ten will have quite a different strategy.

    One other thing: if the Big Ten wants to strike Notre Dame where it hurts, it should invite Pitt, Syracuse, and Rutgers. That move would destroy the Big East, further distance BT revenue from ND’s, and thereby leave Notre Dame scrambling to join a new league. Notre Dame’s best option would probably be the ACC, which would be a step DOWN financially from where they stand today.

    Like

    • ot says:

      Big Ten expands to…

      12 schools: Rutgers (sorry ND, Pitt, Syracuse, Mizzou, Nebraska, Colorado, etc.)

      14 schools: Texas, Texas A&M, and either Rutgers or ND

      16 schools: Texas, Texas A&M, Rutgers, ND, USC

      Like

  17. Pat says:

    Comments from former BE Commissioner Mike Tranghese.

    “I don’t think there’s anything the Big East can do to prevent it. Everyone is on pins and needles waiting to see what the Big Ten will do. It’s a pretty dicey time.’

    http://community.post-gazette.com/blogs/bobsmizik/archive/2010/03/15/tranghese-no-answer-to-big-ten-expansion.aspx

    Like

    • Yikes – he was pretty dire. Everyone should take a look at his comments because there aren’t many people that love the Big East more than Tranghese.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        The comments are entertaining. What some of those posters don’t realize is that Tranghese (or maybe it was the BE commish at the time, who Mike worked for) said that not admitting PSU will be the greatest mistake they every made (when 3 of the BE members of the time vetoed adding PSU to the BE).

        I’m also not sure what they wanted the BE to do to keep the ACC from raiding the BE. They weren’t going to take any schools from the ACC, Big10, or SEC; did they think going to 12 with Cincy, Louisville, SFlorida, and Memphis/ECarolina would have kept Miami from jumping?

        Like

        • ot says:

          If the ACC were to “defensively” react (after Rutgers jumps to the Big Ten) by offering 4 “brand name” Big East basketball schools with Division I FBS football programs (i.e. any 4 of UConn, Syracuse, Pitt, West Virginia, Louisville, and Cincinnati), we can agree that the Big East would cease to exist as a football league.

          ==

          The Big East and the Big 12 are both sitting ducks.

          The Big Ten is poised to pick off Rutgers, Texas and Texas A&M; while the ACC is in a position to circle above the Big East like a vulture to carve off the “meat” from the carcass.

          ==

          The Pac-10 would be vulnerable only if the Big 12 wants to take USC as the 16th school (assuming Notre Dame were to capitulate and beg the Big Ten for admission as the 15th school) in order to grab a big chunk of the 5+ million TV households in the Los Angeles TV market (plus another 1 million in the San Diego TV market).

          Replacing USC with Colorado would be a major step down for the Pac-10.

          Like

        • Jake says:

          Yeah, I keep wondering how things would be now if Penn State had joined the BE back in the ’80s. Would they have signed on for BE football? Would a BE with Miami, PSU, VT, etc. have been raided by the ACC, or would it have done the raiding?

          I wonder if the Pac-10 (i.e. Stanford) is having similar regrets about turning down UT back in the ’90s.

          Like

      • ot says:

        Interesting to see Tranghese mention “USC” as a school that could help the Big East even though there is no possible way the Big East can lure USC away from the Pac-10.

        The Big Ten, on the other hand, can offer enough money to entice USC to jump, especially if either Stanford or the northwest schools (Oregon, Oregon State, Washington State) were to block expansion. The likes of USC is NOT going to leave an extra $10 million/year in TV revenue (plus a potential recruiting advantage in basketball vs the Pac-10 schools) on the table.

        Like

    • spartakles78 says:

      can you imagine if the Big Ten expands to 16, and the b-ball tournament is rotated between MSG, Jerry’s World, Conseco & the United Center?

      Like

      • ot says:

        If the Big Ten were to add Texas and Texas A&M to get to 14 or 16 teams (and the Big 12 were blown apart as a result with the likes of Oklahoma jumping to the SEC, for example), one can envision the Big Ten switching its primary bowl tie-in from the Rose Bowl to the Cotton Bowl.

        The Pac-10 and the Rose Bowl are more vulnerable then most would perceive.

        In my opinion, the Pac-10 will be finished as a major college football league if USC were to jump to a 16-team Big Ten.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Um, no, the Big10 won’t send it’s conference champion to the Cotton Bowl instead of the Rose Bowl (it may send #2 to the Cotton Bowl, though). What’s more likely (and it’s highly unlikely) is that, if the 4 Cali Pac10 schools join, the Big10 sends both division winners to the Rose Bowl and the Rose Bowl becomes the defacto Big10 championship game.

          Like

          • ot says:

            By the time the next BCS TV contract starts (in 2015), I would not be surprised to see the Cotton Bowl displace either the Fiesta or the Rose Bowl from the BCS (or its replacement).

            Like

          • Let’s think of the Rose Bowl this way. My mother, an immigrant from Taiwan, has no clue that the NCAA Tournament is going on this week. She didn’t know who played in or even watched the Super Bowl, much less the BCS National Championship Game. There might not be anyone in my life that is more clueless about sports than she is. Yet, my mom still knows that the Rose Bowl is played in Pasadena on New Year’s Day. It’s one of the few sporting events that transcends the world of only sports fans.

            I was lucky enough to go to the Rose Bowl when Illinois was gifted a slot a couple of years ago. Before that, I was a whole-hearted playoff supporter. After that, I understood why the Big Ten and Pac-10 have fought so hard to keep the bowl system in place. Even with that stupid fucking Trojan March song beaten into my head for 4 straight hours, I came away from the experience believing that it’s the most spectacular event in sports. As long as the bowl system is in place, the Big Ten will have its 1st tie-in be the Rose Bowl. No conference would be ever insane enough to give that up willingly.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Same here. She likes the parade. Also has some vague notion that there’s some football game connected with the parade.

            Like

          • Adam says:

            Also, when Rocky Balboa was training in Siberia to end the Cold War, Paulie Pennino (a native of Philadelphia) is frustrated that they won’t get the Rose Bowl Game on TV. (Then again, the fight against Capt. Ivan Drago was scheduled for Christmas Day, so they were likely going to be home by January 1; perhaps Paulie wasn’t that big of a fan.)

            Like

          • Jake says:

            Frank – that’s kind of how I felt after going to the Fiesta Bowl a couple months ago. After years of Mobile Bowls, galleryfurniture.com Bowls and SDCCU Poinsettia Bowls, I wasn’t all that impressed and I was ready for a playoff. But the Fiesta – I get it now. I still believe a playoff is necessary for a true national champion, but I really understand why people want to hold onto the bowl games.

            I was really hoping TCU would get to play in Pasadena this past season (if Suh had just run McCoy around for ONE MORE SECOND! Arrrgghhh!*), because I’d really like to check out that experience sometime. It wouldn’t have been the Rose Bowl Game exactly, but I imagine it would have been pretty sweet.

            *Before anyone tries to tell me that Cincy would have been in the NC game if Texas had lost to Nebraska, go back and check your work. Cincy was already ahead of Texas in the computer polls, so TCU would have benefited more from the loss and most likely remained ahead of Cincy and moved into the #2 spot (most likely because you can never tell exactly what the human voters will do). So, one lousy second from Pasadena.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            You’ll get your chance (likely soon). The first time in the next 4 year cycle that either the Big10 or Pac10 champion is pulled away from the Rose Bowl, the Rose Bowl has to select a non-AQ team if they meet the selection criteria.

            Like

          • Jake says:

            Richard – yeah, I read about that. As much heat as the BCS takes (and I still have my criticisms), it really has improved access to the big bowl games. It’s weird that TCU has a better chance of playing in the Rose Bowl than the Cotton Bowl. If we don’t get into the NC game, the Rose would be a pretty sweet “consolation” prize.

            Actually that reminds me of something I was wondering about. Let’s say that this season, Boise State finishes the year at #2 and goes to the NC game. Then, TCU finishes ranked around #3 or #4. Would TCU get an auto-bid (as outlined in provision 3 of the BCS selection procedure) or would Boise have taken it, leaving TCU to hope for a probable (but not guaranteed) at-large bid? I know there’s only one auto-bid for the non-BCSers, but I’m not sure if a team going to the NC game counts. I emailed Jerry Palm at collegeBCS.com about it, but I don’t think he really understood my question. Anybody know the answer to that one?

            Like

          • ot says:

            There is only one “automatic” BCS bid available to the non-automatic qualifying conferences. That bid is awarded to the team with the highest BCS ranking as long as that ranking is 8 or better, and the team can be selected to play in any of the BCS games including the national championship game.

            The 2nd team from a non-automatic qualifying conference with a ranking of 8 or better has to hope for an at-large BCS bid, even if the first team goes to the national championship game.

            Like

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            Time for a new thought: What may be Texas’ preferred endgame, or how the B12 could end up being the first 14 or 16-school super conference.

            Say come June the P10 prepares to votes on expansion. The reports for an alliance cable system of the P10 and B12 is that it might increase revenues but not a huge jump, too much market dilution with 22 schools. Network contract won’t increase much without significant expansion. Texas says it isn’t interested in the P10 unless they bring 3 other TX schools, plus want the AZ schools in their division, but not USC. Smaller P10 schools shoot down this realignment option and Stanford/Cal kill any consideration of Tech/UHou. Meanwhile adding just BYU and CO plus a conference champ game would provide at least some step up in revenues and TV contracts. BYU is shot down by the Bay Area schools, financially next best Utah is then substituted. But Utah-CO can’t get a unanimous vote because some lesser schools feel the moderate revenue increase isn’t worth the risk/reshuffle hassles and may make it even harder for them to stay competitive. Nebraska + CO is ruled out because the financial gain is even smaller.

            So no P10 expansion, only minor revenue enhancement, USC is furious. Other P10 schools don’t take the Trojans’ insinuated threat to leave seriously, where else is USC going to go? Surely they wouldn’t toss aside all that tradition and be a lone frontier outpost for the B10+?

            So now the B10+ makes its first move. Since no dominoes have fallen yet, they can pursue a slower approach. ND won’t join alone and won’t yet commit to a ND, Rut, and Syr/Pitt/MD add, so the B10+ starts with just Rutgers. Public statements how this is just round one of expansion, and waits to see how the BEast reaction makes ND sweat harder.

            But now Texas and the B12 go on a surprise counter offensive, attempting their own Battle of San Jacinto. Offers go out to ND, with the lure of uneven merit-based revenue sharing, and to USC, the chance for a bigger increase in revenues and more conference flexibility and self-control of their matters. “Even with less total conference revenue, you can make nearly as much money as you would in the B10+, maybe more, but with a greater say in conference matters.”

            SoCal’s roughly 20 million market, and to a lesser extent all of California, would bring much of the P10-B12 combo’s potential cable footprint without so many members to divide it between. (And the numbers would still work well if USC brought two P10 schools with them, or one and BYU.) ND would help the national TV contract, which the B12 can now renegotiate up to 4 years early once they trigger such a clause with the start of their cable system. The other major enticement to ND would be a possible shorter conference schedule of 8 games (maybe even just 7) that allows them to maintain more traditional rivalries and claim a continued degree of independence. Would that be enough to beat out the B10’s offer? I wouldn’t bet on it, but it is possible.

            That could bring stability to the B12, by eliminating the P10 as a viable alternative for disgruntled schools. The B10+ could still raid a couple like MO, NE, or CO, but with USC and Texas (and maybe ND) that would only increase net revenue for the remaining B12 members. 12 or 14 instead of 14 or 16 but with the same number of big revenue generators. The new cable channel would still be an expensive and somewhat risky startup, but there would remain the option of an alliance with the ACC and/or what’s left of the P10- if it pencils out. Can play NBC/Comcast/Versus against a Fox package in the bidding process. However this time it is USC and Texas in control, and more weight for the Central time zone, which is better for Texas than if they joined the B10+ or P10. More top 25 teams solidifies the B12 next to the SEC as the two power conferences. Sorry B10+, but it does give ya’ll a better shot at Rose Bowl wins. Also better balances and sets up the winners of the Rose, Fiesta, Sugar, and Orange as the natural four teams to play for a true championship in the next rounds of a playoff (two on-campus games and then the title game.)

            Possible 14-team divisions with ND:

            USC, TT, Bay, CO, NE, ISU, ND
            TX, aTm, OU, OSU, KU, KSU, MO

            Without ND: substitute BYU for ND

            Or 16-teams with ND and 2 P10 refugees:

            USC, AZ, ASU, CO, NE, TT, ISU, ND
            TX, aTm, Bay, OU, OSU, KU, KSU, MO

            Without ND: Substitute BYU or a third P10 team for TT

            Won’t happen unless the P10 virtually slits their own throats in June. However there are many examples of unrealistic Utopians, unwilling to adapt, making foolish decisions that ultimately fractured empires.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Of course, if USC’s going to jump alone, there’s no reason for them to go to the Big12 rather than the Big10. For that matter, other than getting the satisfaction of lording it over other schools, there’s little appeal for ND to join the Big12 rather than the Big10, either.

            BTW, Nebraska+Colorado is more viable than Utah+Colorado. Nebraska is Utah except with a more rabid fanbase, tradition, national appeal, and the loyalties of 100% of the people in their state (Utah actually plays second fiddle in their state to BYU).

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Plus, this all collapses if the Big10 takes Missouri.

            Like

          • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

            Wow, all we need is John Williams to write the score for that one, playoffnow! So much drama! (just joking)

            First, a question…where does all of this “9 game conference schedule” talk come from in relation to expansion? Is it simply because some of you think five years is too long to go without playing a certain team in your conference? Or is there a real rule out there? If I missed it somewhere, please give me the link to this factoid.

            Second, I thought I was crazy for believing in this “Texas to the Big 10” talk. Some of you are really believing that USC would leave the PAC 10. (Probably the same people who half-joke every winter that you’d rather be stuck in that blizzard b/c ‘California is going to fall into the ocean! Hee haw!’)

            Third, the carrots you are offering to get USC and Notre Dame (the same one that Texas currently enjoys in the Big 12) are why Nebraska and Colorado and Mizzou want OUT of the Big 12. It sounds like your proposal wants to get more money for the Big 16…only to have Texas, USC, and ND eat it all up, while the other peasants remain on their steady diet.

            I’m not an expert on SoCal TV viewership by any means, but I dare say that you could swap USC out and bring Nebraska into this conference, and you’d have the exact same demand for PAC10 football in SoCal as you currently do. I know the population out here is ginormous…but the fanaticism is NOT. I bet the thousands of Nebraska transplants and grads who are BONKERS for Nebraska football would raise more of a stink with their cable companies than the hundreds of thousands of fairweather USC fans would. USC doesn’t dictate SoCal TV demographics. The fans from all the other PAC 10 schools who have migrated to LA and SD are probably 10x more passionate about their schools than the native LA people are.

            Like

          • Jake says:

            atyclb: I think the nine conference game stuff originally came from the complaints of Michigan fans who wanted to see their rivals more often. Michigan apparently tried scheduling Indiana as a non-conf. game, but I guess nothing came of it. Other than that, I think it’s just an attempt to get teams in a 14+ team conference to play each other occasionally. With six divisional games, that would leave you two cross-divisionals, and if one of those is a protected rivalry, you see the remaining teams in the opposite division once every six years (unless you meet in the title game, of course). You go past 14, and you may never see them in the regular season. Nine conference games would alleviate that, but might make it harder to get as many teams into bowl games. The only rule I know of requiring teams to play each other is the usual one regarding divisions and championship games.

            Like

          • ot says:

            The LA market has 5.5 million TV households.

            Assuming that 60% of those TV households have “digital basic” cable TV, DirecTV’s “Choice Xtra”, or DISH Network’s “America’s Top 250”, that’s 3.3 million TV households that the Big Ten Network can capture by admitting USC (as the 16th member).

            3.3 million households x $10/year x 50% (revenue split with FOX Cable) = $16.5 million in subscriber fees going to the Big Ten.

            You need to get the thought that “USC doesn’t draw enough of LA” or “Rutgers doesn’t draw enough of NY” out of your head when you are looking at Big Ten expansion candidates.

            The Big Ten only needs cable and satellite TV systems to be willing to migrate the Big Ten Network from the “Sports” Tier (at $0.10 per month from about 10-15% of total cable/satellite TV subscribers) to the “Digital Basic” Tier (at $0.80 per month from about 70-75% of total cable/satellite TV subscribers) in order for the admission of Rutgers. Texas, or USC to be revenue “accretive”.

            One can argue that Notre Dame or Penn State can draw more TV viewers in New York than Rutgers, but admitting Notre Dame will NOT force cable TV systems in New Jersey (or New York City) to migrate the Big Ten Network from the “sports” tier to the “digital basic” tier, whereas admitting Rutgers will (at least in New Jersey).

            Like

          • Richard says:

            The BTN is already in the standard package for both Dish and DirectTV (not a sports tier). Expansion is really to get on the basic tier of the local cable companies.

            Also, I’m pretty certain cable/satellite penetration is more like 80% these days.

            Like

          • ot says:

            BTN is available in the DirecTV Sports Pack only if the subscriber is outside the footprint.

            DirecTV treats BTN like any other regional sports network.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Actually, it’s on Choice, regardless of where you’re at:
            http://www.directstartv.com/directv_programming/directv_channel_lineup.html

            Also, when I lived in NJ, my apartment got DirectTV, which included the BTN. I’m quite certain that the lordlord didn’t subscribe us to the SportsPack because
            1: it would cost extra money.
            2: I didn’t see any of the (non-NYC) regional Fox sports networks that I would expect to be in a Sportspack.

            So I’m quite certain I got DirectTV Choice in NJ and the BTN was included.

            BTW, do you have DirectTV now in California?

            Like

          • Richard says:

            When I lived in NJ, my lardlord paid for DirectTV for our apartment, and I got the BTN. I’m quite certain that I had Choice because
            1: The Sportspack would cost extra money.
            2: I didn’t see any of the (non-NYC) regional Fox sports channels that I’d expect in a Sportspack.

            So in short, I’m quite certain I had DirectTV Choice in NJ, and I received the BTN.

            Do you currently have DirectTV?

            Like

          • ot says:

            You are correct. BTN has migrated to DirecTV Choice and above for all subscribers.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            In any case, USC to the Big10 would be awesome. Hell, bring UCLA, Cal, Stanford, and Washington along as well.

            West
            Washington
            UCLA
            USC
            Cal
            Stanford

            Midwest
            Minny
            Wisconsin
            Iowa
            Illinois
            Northwestern

            Great Lakes
            Michigan
            MSU
            OSU
            IU
            PU

            East
            PSU
            Rutgers
            Maryland
            Miami
            FSU

            Form the divisions as West+Midwest vs. East+GreatLakes and West+East vs. Midwest+GreatLakes with the division winners meeting in the Rose Bowl.

            Not going to happen, but this would rock.

            Like

          • Michael says:

            The reason the Rose Bowl transcends the world of sports fans is that it’s on the same day every year. Even more so, the fact that it’s on January 1 makes it even easier for non-sports fans to be aware of it. If it was held a varying date, like most other bowls, the Super Bowl, or the World Series, even sports fans wouldn’t remember the date of the game once a few years pass by. If it was not on a holiday, which is the type of day people remember much more easily than most other days of the year, people such as your mom wouldn’t know about it.

            The fact, by itself, that the Rose Bowl transcends sports has less to do with its greatness than the simple pattern of New Year’s Day = Rose Bowl Parade/Game. It’s no different than someone being aware that the Ten Commandments are on every Easter and It’s a Wonderful Life is on every Thanksgiving. Even non-sports fans would also know that there’s football on TV every Thanksgiving, even if they don’t know whether the teams playing are the Dallas Cowboys, the Michigan Wolverines, the Iowa Barnstormers, or the New York Yankees.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Uh, the Rose Bowl was getting better attendence, getting better ratings, and getting broadcast international even when the other major bowls were all on Jan1. Having a fixed date isn’t why the Rose Bowl is the most popular.

            Like

          • 84Lion says:

            Frank, don’t sell that 2007 Illini team short. They beat a #1 Ohio State team on the road. If it hadn’t been for the hiccups against Iowa and Michigan (which weren’t all that great that year), the early season loss to Mizzou (which wound up in the Cotton after all) probably would have been largely forgotten by season end. Gifted the Rose? I’d say they earned it.
            And yes, I hate that Trojan song/chant too. Only one that’s worse is the Florida State war chant.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Actually, I like the FSU war cry (now the Gator Chomp, that’s pretty stupid). Then again, I like the Trojan fight song. BTW, one reason they may play it so often is because their marching band isn’t very talented, so they stick with playing something simple early and often.

            Like

          • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

            They also were a horrendous fourth quarter (by PSU choke artist QB Morelli) away from losing a game that they won. Four unforced turnovers…all of them inside the Illinois 40. I’m just saying…that Illinois team was the worst Big 10 Rose Bowl rep in recent memory (2003 for me).

            Like

          • duffman says:

            frank,

            i understand your mom.. my aunt must be related – teaching her particle physics, hyperbolic geometry, sanskrit, and a host of other things AT ONCE – would be easier to communicate than any sport (except horse racing). you are correct about the rose bowl.. she bugs me about that game.. ONLY because it has the parade (no she does not watch the game, just the parade).. if Macy’s had a bowl game.. my aunt would watch it first…. she actually said the orange bowl had a big parade when she was younger..

            you are correct about the trojan march song.. but you have to add “rocky top” for tennessee, and fsu’s “war chant” thing.. i for one would vote fsu’s the MOST annoying.. but that is just me..

            Like

          • Richard says:

            *sigh* Where do you get all these unrealistic ideas? The Rose Bowl generates more money than any other bowl, is better attended than any other bowl, is watched on TV more than any other bowl (outside the championship game), gets broadcast internationally more than any other bowl, and has never had trouble selling out it’s stadium (bigger than any other bowl’s) whenever it’s had a traditional Pac10 vs. Big10 matchup. Other BCS bowls (that aren’t the BCs championship game) struggle to sell out.

            The Cotton Bowl won’t displace the Rose Bowl as the Big10’s 1st tie-in. Even if the Cotton Bowl becomes a BCS Bowl.

            Like

          • spartakles78 says:

            there is also the best parade in the world which draws millions of eyeballs…

            http://www.tournamentofroses.com/rosebowlgame/gamefaqs.asp

            Like

          • Jake says:

            The Rose may leave the BCS, but it’ll be by choice, not because it was displaced.

            One of the drawbacks to the consolidation of conferences may be a diminishing of some of the big bowls. Without as many conference champions and big independents, there won’t be the same compelling bowl match-ups available. A #2 vs. a #2 just won’t be as big of a draw as a #1 vs. a #1. But the Rose Bowl has nothing to worry about.

            Also, skinny comments are fun. I feel like I’m writing in a newspaper.

            Like

    • Adam says:

      You know, it seems to me that there’s a big chicken-and-egg thing here. If Notre Dame joins the Big Ten, I think everybody agrees that would change the landscape of college athletics least of anything. Conversely, if Notre Dame doesn’t join, then virtually *anything else* that the Big Ten does is arguably the sort of “seismic shift” that Swarbrick said could induce Notre Dame to forsake independence. I say that because even if the Big Ten only adds *one member*, it is likely to be one member that makes the Big Ten’s media rights substantially more attractive (e.g., Rutgers). And, I think a lot of broadcasters are finding that sports broadcasting rights are far from a license to print money, which means that growth in the aggregate amount of dollars available is likely to slow or start to shrink. This means that even if the Big Ten merely *treads water*, there are fewer dollars floating around to support other leagues and/or the sort of independent broadcast arrangement Notre Dame depends on.

      It seems to me that Notre Dame has to join to secure their own financial future, but if they do join, it’s quite possible that little will actually change in the wider world of college sports.

      Like

  18. Pat says:

    SEC Scheduling Issue

    A little off topic but, I read a couple of articles this past weekend about the SEC not finalizing their 2010 football schedule due to a complaint from Alabama. It seems 6 of their SEC opponents managed to schedule a “bye” week prior to their game with Alabama:-) The SEC is reviewing the issue.

    Like

    • Richard says:

      That’s hilarious. That’s also a pitfall when you have an uneven number of members or allow open slots after conference play starts.

      Like

  19. spartakles78 says:

    off-topic, but one of the problems with going to a playoff system as opposed to continuing the bloated bowl schedule is how the money is distributed. While it would/could be similar to the b-ball tourney, there would be lower payouts from host cities without the bowl experience attached. The and-1 model is more likely before any super-conference playoff which lessens the momentum toward building any super conference.

    http://blog.al.com/solomon/2010/03/crimson_tides_43_million_footb.html

    Like

  20. Playoffs Now! says:

    I can see how Texas’ initial negotiating stance might be “We want to bring along aTm, Tech, and UHou.” Besides obviously being much easier politically for UT, it keeps them less isolated, both geographically and in conference votes. More in-state games for fans and recruits. And since the state is strongly committed to getting those two to Tier One, perhaps some thinking along the lines of “Hey, if we are going to subsidize other conference schools, better to subsidize our own and reduce their competition with us for state funds.”

    But of course when the Big Ten Plus One called and UT said “…plus little brother, baby sister, and cousin Oliver, and OBTW, merit-based revenue sharing better fits our philosophy…” the response was “Multiple non-starters.” No surprise, but why not start there when you have a shot at peddling some form of that to the P10? (The P10 is traditionally snobby but they’re also hurting more, don’t have the BTN cushion yet, and a murkier outlook should they attempt one. IOW, the P10 may be more desperate.)

    Especially when Texas would just assume to stay put with some tweaking and your own cable venture, which you’re still evaluating? Tech knows they could likely be frozen out in any conference consolidation. UH otherwise has little chance of BCS status, and is a school with a huge Napoleon Complex (in an odd, Stuart Smalley kind of way.) So both would be willing to go along with substantially uneven (but merit-based) revenue sharing if they get the protection of a permanent home in a BCS conference. Both have proven capable of having good runs now and then. In effect UT isn’t saying add 2+2, they’re saying add 2+.5+.5. That’s one way to increase size without decreasing your current receipts. Thus UT thinks it may ultimately fare better in an merit-revenue conference than in The Big Tent, even if the $’s don’t quite even out.

    So then the P10 and also says no way to a Texas quad. Powers replies, “Cough. ASU, OSU, WSU. Cough.” “But they’re still ahead of both TT and UH.” “The gap is closing, the state is financially committed to fast-tracking Tier One, and unlike ya’ll, we’ve got the growth and money to do it. Did I mention that Texas saw more job growth last year than the other 49 (or 56 for BO) states combined? By the time your new contract starts we’ll have added a million more residents. And a higher percentage of them watch football, we don’t have near the population to viewer dilution that you have on the west coast. Say, how did ya’ll’s conf tourney go? Did you see us set a record for basketball attendance at the Jerry Dome recently? ACC give ya any hints on how you’d increase revenue right now in your existing footprint? Just Utah plus Colorado would reduce your viewer per school average. Though if you added my 4 they’d make a nice 15 and 16. Spin the AZ schools into our division and you can have the old Pac8. Nice symmetry.”

    Ain’t gonna happen in the P10’s unanimous vote system, but that’s where the alliance compromise might work. If the Big Tent robs two or three schools, then a 10-team Big 12 can be the eastern half of a conference-in-name-only, with a conf champ game for a Rose Bowl berth. Fiesta never mattered much to us, anyway. Heck, we’ve seen the Rose Bowl more… That’s the easy way, would be a mess to kick out a school or three to get down to 10. Or just stay the B12, when a school leaves there is a waiting list of replacements in BYU, Utah, Houston, New Mexico, Boise, TCU, Memphis, Louisville, perhaps even Notre Dame. Could the Irish be woo’ed by uneven revenue sharing and fewer conference games (allowing them more scheduling independence?)

    A lot depends on the study results for a shared cable channel startup and/or the other expansion options. Ultimately I’d prefer UT joined The Big Tent. But it is too early to tell, and they can back off demands as this shakes out over the next year. I don’t see the B10+ going past 14 in the first round of expansion. IMHO, UT’s biggest concern with the B10+ is the equal revenue distribution. Not just now, but what it possibly might entail in the future.

    Like

  21. Michael says:

    The more I think about, the more I agree with Frank’s idea that the Big East ought to expand by going after TCU. Really, it’s not that crazy of an idea. As it is, the closest school to USF is, what, Louisville? So from a geography standpoint, why would it matter if TCU was added?

    TCU certainly doesn’t carry Texas, but certainly there are a decent number of Texans who would follow the Big East if a school from Fort Worth were in the league. The Big East, I imagine, would provide more interest in the state than the MWC. Just having a presence in Texas seems like it would worthwhile to the league, and I doubt TCU would turn them down.

    Otherwise, I don’t know if the Big East will be able to get a decent enough TV contract to at least make Rutgers or Syracuse give pause before jumping to the Big Ten, if offered.

    Like

    • ot says:

      Which Division I FBS school in its right mind would want anything to do the Big East when the school knows that 1) the Big Ten can poach Rutgers tomorrow if it wants to, and 2) the ACC may have to poach 4 Big East football schools with brand name basketball programs just to be able to land a new TV contract that will be worth anything?

      TCU is just about the worst choice for a major conference to offer membership. TCU is to the Dallas-Fort Worth market the way “Stanford” is to the San Francisco TV market, but without the big fat endowment, the academic reputation, or the alumni connections.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        True, you’d want SMU for that.

        Like

        • Jake says:

          Yeah, SMU has Craig James. TCU has no answer for that.

          Like

          • Pat says:

            Jake,
            Funny you should mention Craig James. I read an article today in the Sporting News that mentioned his name. The article was about NFL draft prospects and said Toby Gerhart of Stanford could be the first “white” running back to gain 1,000 yards in the NFL since Craig James of New England in 1985. It went on to say that the last star running back who was white was John Cappelletti with the Rams after the won the Heisman in 1973. I try not to get too hung up on race, but, man, that’s a long time since a white guy “pounded the rock”!

            Like

  22. Terry says:

    I think the B10 is going to let the P10 go first.

    I don’t think P10 can get UT to move, so that means P10 has to pick Colorado to get to 12.

    Then B10 can pick off a single UT, maybe.

    I don’t think B10 wants to go to 14. Just one more with a big fat juicy DMA.

    ND would be a poor choice all around. So would any BE team.

    I agree that there won’t be a BCS playoff. But will there be a BCS Madness? That is about a $400M bump, which might merit rocking the boat.

    Like

    • Pat says:

      Big East to Host Conference Championship Game 2011.
      Big East vs Mountain West

      I saw this article back in December and didn’t think much of it. But, with the B10 ready to poach one or more schools from the BE, I’ve been trying to think of a way for the BE to survive as a BCS conference. I would hate to see schools like Pitt and West Virgina relegated to independent or non-BCS status. Well, a fall back plan may already be in place!

      If the BE loses two schools to the B10 they would still have six teams left that could function as one division of a conference, and the Mountain West would be the other division. Both divisions would have “at least” 6 teams as required by the NCAA to have a championship game. Since the ACC announced they are staying at 12 teams, and the SEC is unlikely to expand, the options for the remaining BE teams are limited. Therefore, I think this is a very creative solution for a conference which appears to be in dire straits.

      I’m not sure how Notre Dame would fit into this scenario, assuming they remain independent. I believe they are committed to play 3 BE teams each year. It’s doubtful they would agree to play all 6 BE teams.

      As you probably know, congress is currently investigating the BCS to determine if it’s a monopoly. It involves the MW Conference and Utah’s failure to get a BCS bid in 2008 when they were undefeated. By sharing one BCS bid between the BE and MW, this might get congress to back off because the MW would now be a BCS participant.

      I’m not saying this proposal is elegant or pretty, but it just might work. Anyone else agree?

      http://bleacherreport.com/articles/314164-big-east-to-host-a-conference-championship-game-in-2011

      Like

  23. M says:

    I look forward to the rubber match in the NIT championship.

    Go ‘Cats!

    Like

  24. Terry says:

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/314164-big-east-to-host-a-conference-championship-game-in-2011

    Holy Cow!

    Either the best MW team or the best BE team will get one more loss.

    Fascinating.

    Like

  25. Terry says:

    Oopsie. I thought the above links were announcements.

    They are just speculation.

    Like

    • Mike says:

      Anyone can post on Bleacher Report. Believe articles there like you would comments here.

      Like

      • The comments here are WAY better than most of what you’ll see on Bleacher Report.

        Like

        • Mike says:

          Frank – You are right, the comments here are way better. Most posters have put some thought and research to support their ideas (unlinke Bleacher Report). I just wanted people to know that Bleacher Report isn’t a credible source. I have noticed that in the past couple of weeks media outlets have started reporting on articles posted on BR as if they were from ESPN. I didn’t intend to insult your readership.

          Like

  26. OrderRestored says:

    The idea of a conference spanning the entire continent east to west would take some getting used to, but seeing teams like Pitt and W Virginia become obsolete would be even worse; so I think this idea may have some teeth as a last option for the Big East.

    Like

    • If the Big East loses multiple schools, then I think that the East/West conference becomes a real possibility if it becomes a matter of retaining BCS AQ status. That’s why I wrote that the first school on the BE’s list if it wants to expand or replace a school should be TCU. If there’s an even larger domino effect (say, the Big Ten takes Rutgers and Syracuse while the ACC subsequently takes Pitt and UConn), then schools like West Virginia pretty much are forced to go into an cross-continental conference in order to still be in BCS conferences. If you were to combine whoever is left form the Big East and add in, say, Memphis, TCU, Houston, New Mexico, BYU, Utah and maybe a couple of other fillers like Temple, I think that’s more than good enough to be a BCS conference (whereas they would be weak if they were separate).

      If it’s too daunting to make that into an all-sports conference, just make it a football-only conference. That actually might be a good compromise so that the eastern schools could still keep Big East basketball alive with the Catholic schools and maybe the western schools could create a similar hybrid arrangement with the West Coast Conference. I’d certainly be more than game to see Gonzaga, BYU and New Mexico in the same basketball conference.

      Like

      • Michael says:

        Here’s a scenario: Let’s say the Big Ten grabs Rutgers, Notre Dame, and Nebraska, and that the Pac-10 grabs Colorado and Utah. For whatever reason, Texas decides to stay out of the Pac-10 and Big Ten, opting instead for a reliance on the Longhorn Sports Network and keeping membership with its traditional rivals.

        That would mean the Big 12 is down two teams but still has most of its brand-names & big markts (UT, A&M, OU, KU basketball, & Missouri). Big East Football is down only one team, but that team was in its largest market, and it has also lost the most valuable non-football member imaginable.

        I think most people on this forum would agree that the Big 12 would not invite TCU or Houston under those circumstances because adding a fifth school in Texas would hardly increase TV revenue at all. My bet is that it would get BYU to replace Colorado.

        What, then, does the league do for Nebraska’s replacement? The names I’ve seen tossed around the most are New Mexico, Colorado State, and Air Force. But that’s not really thinking outside the box, is it?

        Why wouldn’t the Big 12 instead go for a Big East school? Seriously, if Penn State could be in the same league as Texas, and Boston College IS in the same league as Florida State, why couldn’t a Big East team be in the Big 12?

        If you agree the Big 12 might go for a Big East school, would it be USF, Louisville, Cincy, Pitt, WVU, Syracuse, or UConn? Keeping in mind that Notre Dame and Rutgers are out of the BE, while the Big 12 has lost Nebraska and Colorado, would any BE school pass on the chance to join the Big 12?

        Is there any chance the Big 12 would choose not to get back to 12 teams, concluding that BYU & Big East teams would not improve the per-school revenue?

        I look forward to anyone’s responses.

        Like

        • Mike says:

          If I were to guess, Louisville. With a Big 12 Championship game the Big 12 is still lagging behind other conferences, so dropping the game hurts more than it helps.

          You could make a crazy case for the Big 16 without BYU(the Big 12 owns the rights to that name) where the Big 12 takes UL, Cinn, Memphis/UConn, Syracuse, WVU and Pitt. Have two Divisions the Soutwest (Big 12 South + KU + KSU) and the Northeast (6 additions + Mizz, Iowa St.)

          Like

          • Mike says:

            I meant to say the Big 12 is lagging behind money wise with the championship game so dopping it would make it worse.

            Like

        • Richard says:

          I’d say they’d take Memphis before Louisville. Maybe Colorado St.

          Like

  27. MIRuss says:

    Frank,

    I laughed out loud when I read your Rose Bowl Tribute Post…I too visited the Rose in ’87 (lost to ASU), ’89 (BEAT USC!), and ’91(Lost)…It is truly a religious exprience for those that worship at the altar of college football and consider fall Saturdays Holy Days of Obligation! (Thanks Bob Ufer)

    However, I agree that there ought to be a LAW that only let’s the Trojan Band play that frickin’ March song once a quarter or MAYBE after a TD….they played the damn thing after EVERY 1st down or every series…I swear they played it once when we scored!

    More on Expansion: There was an interesting thread

    http://www.ndnation.com/boards/showpost.php?b=football;pid=62819;d=all

    at NDNation that had several “scenarios” for a “mythical” conference that $warbuck$ would set up (somehow) and the fans would be happier with that than they would be with the Big 10…I just don’t get it…Seems like they are for a conference(read the thread and you get the sense that they support the idea), just against the Big 10.

    What gives?

    Like

    • Michael says:

      I certainly can understand why Big Ten fans would never want to give the tradition of the Rose Bowl. And from a ticket-selling perspective, Big Ten alumni have such huge numbers that they’re far more likely to sell out the Rose Bowl than almost any team from any other league, not to mention that the Rose Bowl means everything to Big Ten fans.

      Understanding all this, it still makes me gripe. The very tradition of the Rose Bowl is one of the biggest obstacles that keeps playoffs from being a reality. If the Rose Bowl is unwilling to be part of a two-round playoff (1 vs. 4, 2 vs. 3), then playoffs can’t happen. The 2008 season is a perfect example. The Fiesta Bowl could have been #1 Oklahoma (12-1) vs. #4 USC (11-1), the Sugar Bowl could have been #2 Florida (12-1) vs. #3 Texas (11-1). The winners would play in the BCS National Championship game in Miami the next week. Would Utah still have had reason to complain? Absolutely, but they’re the ONLY team that would have had a legitimate complaint. Instead, we had Texas, USC, and Utah all having valid reasons to argue to argue they should have had a shot at the national championship. This situation exists in no small part because of the Big Ten, Pac 10, and Rose Bowl’s unwillingness to be part of an early-round playoff. But, again, with all the money each party gets with the current setup, who can blame them? aaaaaaaaaaargh!

      Like

      • Richard says:

        Expanded playoffs would kill the regular season. A plus-1 is a better idea (and can still work with the Rose Bowl). Especially if the Big10 and Pac10/16/20 expand in to mega conferences, the championship game would likely pit the Rose Bowl winner vs. the winner of some other bowl (SEC champ vs. best-of-the-rest).

        Like

        • Michael says:

          In a way, that’s kind of what my point was. A four-team playoff would NOT kill the regular season. I could give a ton of examples why it wouldn’t, but I’ll keep it down.

          -2009: Five teams finished the regular season undefeated. A sixth, former #1 Florida, was undefeated until the final day of the regular season. That one single loss would have kept them out of a four-team playoff, meaning that the undefeated regular seasons by Alabama, Texas, TCU, and Cincinnati could not have been more valuable. In that way, the regular season was enhanced because with one loss, you’re out of the race, but with no losses, your regular season still matters.

          -2008: Six teams finished the regular season with one loss: Oklahoma, Florida, Texas, USC, Alabama, and Penn State. Two more, Utah and Boise, finished undefeated. Picking just two teams among those eight to get a shot at the national title was just ridiculous. Coming off a loss to UF, Alabama could be ruled out easily. Penn State, with a weaker body of work than most other candidates, would be ruled out next. Boise’s creampuff schedule would still keep them out of the top five, and Utah would probably get the short end of the stick as well.

          -2007: Ohio State, at 11-1, would obviously take one of the four playoff spots. LSU, Georgia, USC, Missouri, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Virginia Tech had two losses each, Kansas had one loss, and Hawaii was undefeated. So that’s nine candidates for three spots. I think you could fairly rule out Kansas for losing its division to fellow candidate Missouri, and Missouri for twice losing to fellow candidate Oklahoma. Next, Virginia Tech would be eliminated for its blowout loss to LSU. Hawaii’s undefeated season against the nation’s weakest schedule would elimintate them. Then Georgia could be eliminated for losing its division thanks to a blowout loss to Tennessee. That leaves LSU, USC, West Virginia, and Oklahoma as four teams looking for three spots. LSU would get in because it was champion of the widely-regarded best conference. WV, USC, and OU could all had legitimate arguments for a shot at the national title. Instead of all three being left out, only one would be left out with a four-team playoff.

          Like

    • The Trojan March is up there in terms of things that are evil next to Osama Bin Laden, people that kill puppies and kittens, and Emperor Palpatine. The first game I ever went to as a student at Illinois happened to be a home game against USC and they brought their band along. USC completely drubbed us and I would’ve kind of accepted it if the band had just played the Trojan March if it was just after TDs or even big plays, but that stupid song was played literally EVERY SINGLE FIRST DOWN. Since then, nails on a chalkboard sound like Mozart by comparison.

      Like

      • Mike says:

        Frank – If the ‘Trojan March’ does that to you don’t ever watch Oklahoma play. ‘Boomer Sooner’ will make your ears bleed.

        Like

  28. MIRuss says:

    Frank,

    I meant to actually link this article into my earlier post. LA times looking at expansion 20 years ago and how some has come true and the rest, as I have stated, takes some time for everyone to digest.

    http://articles.latimes.com/1990-07-08/sports/sp-135_1_athletic-director

    But, make no mistake, the game has changed with the Big 10 Network.

    Like

  29. OrderRestored says:

    I know this is way off topic….but I was talking to some of my friends who live in SEC territory and the question was brought up; what would it take for Arkansas to leave the SEC and rejoin it’s old SWC rivals in the Big 12? My SEC friends talk about Arkansas like the ‘red headed step child’ of the SEC, they say they are the misfit and just don’t belong. In fact they would much rather have Clemson or Georgia Tech than Arkansas…..would/could this ever happen?

    Like

    • Michael says:

      Nobody can predict what the college football landscape will look like in 15-20 years, so sure, it’s possible that things could change enough for Arkansas to leave the SEC willingly for the chance to be in a conference with Texas & Oklahoma schools. But for the next 14 years or so, Arkansas has about 17 million reasons to stay with the SEC.

      Besides, my impression (admittedly as an outsider to the situation) is that Hog fans are quite happy to be in the SEC, anyway. They like the rivalry with LSU. They like playing in a league where passion is so strong that teams who finish .500 or worse in conference play (like Miss St, Ole Miss, Ky, and SC) still manage to have 65,000 fans come to their games. Remember: SEC fans like to brag about their league almost as much as they do for their favorite teams. Arkansas fans, I would imagine, enjoy that, even if they do miss some of the old SWC rivalries.

      Like

    • Michael says:

      OrderRestored,

      I can see where you’re coming from in saying Arkansas is perceived as a “red-headed step-child,” but I think that label may be better placed on South Carolina.

      As a native of the state of SC who neither likes nor dislikes the University of SC, I would argue that the Gamecocks would be perceived as a red-headed step-child no matter what their affiliation was. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “They’re not the ‘real USC,'” or “They’re not the ‘real Carolina.'” I think it’s only a matter of time before the NCAA strips the school of its mascot due to the fact it honors chicken-fighting, which many people find offensive. And of course, as Frank and Illini fans can tell you with Chief Illiniwek, anything the NCAA deems offensive has its days numbered.

      Anyway, SC really seems more like the oddity in the SEC for a number of other reasons. First, it wasn’t the SEC’s first choice when it expanded to 12 teams. Arkansas was voted in first, then the league spent several months courting Texas A&M and Florida State. When those schools chose different options, the SEC considered Miami but settled on South Carolina, mainly because of the U’s reputation for out-of-control behavior.

      Just as importantly, South Carolina hasn’t had the level of success since joining the SEC that Arkansas has had. SC had a 1-10 season followed by an 0-11 season in 1998 and 1999. The Hogs have never struggled THAT much in the SEC. SC also has yet to reach the SEC title game; Arkansas has made it twice. Arkansas also has been within striking distance of the national championship game (in ’98, they were 8-0 before an inexplicable fumble cost them the Tennessee game; the next week, they lost by one). South Carolina has barely even been in the Top 10.

      Like

    • I have a hard time imagining Arkansas wanting to leave the wealth and stability of the SEC for the Big XII, where Texas, Texas A&M, Nebraska, Missouri and Colorado have all been rumored to possibly bolt to different conferences. Plus, it’s not as if though Arkansas is some type of headliner that would benefit from an unequal revenue distribution system. Arkansas is exactly the type of school that benefits the most from an equal revenue distribution system like the SEC or Big Ten – they don’t bring in that large of a market and or have much in terms of national cache. The rivalry aspect of it is a classic emotional response – it’s kind of like the suggestions that Penn State ought to leave the Big Ten for the Big East. I guess you’d have some rekindled games, but it would be financial suicide. The only way Arkansas leaves is if they’re actually kicked out of the SEC (which isn’t going to happen).

      Like

    • duffman says:

      order restored,

      i lived in ark in the days of the old swc, and have friends and family that still live there.. ark WAS the red headed stepchild of the swc, that is why they were the one to jump (they were the FIRST school to leave the old swc). they like the lsu rivalry in football, and both their basketball programs have multiple links to ky (including both head coaches, football as well). plus there is still a good basketball rivalry left over from the pitino/richardson games.

      their racetrack (oaklawn) shares a history going back to the great depression with a racetrack (keeneland) in kentucky. i have not been lately, but they liked the track & field and baseball competition they got in the sec.. with the help of the Wal Mart $$ (HQ in Ark) they are growing to the size and facilities of fellow sec schools..

      michael.. is quite correct, as i have mentioned, it is the only conference where they root for fellow members.. i was on a sec blog (i think it was lsu) a few years ago when someone came on to get votes in a pool against some other sec school.. the follow up post were brutal! several times after bowls games you hear them chanting s – e – c instead of the school name.. they look at themselves sorta like siblings.. you may pick on a younger sibling, but heaven help the “outsider” that tries to do the same thing.. can you imagine a bunch of ucla fans in a fist fight to help rescue a bunch of USC fans.. seriously..

      i think michael is correct that usc might be the oddball of the sec or uk (as a basketball school). i always pondered a ‘swap’ someday between usc and ga tech.. tech dropped out of the sec years ago because they could not compete in football.. over the years ga tech has been able to have a decent program. which is why i have made the comment of an acc/sec merger if the big 10 or pac 10 went to 14 / 16 teams.. which is why i made the point that uk would be the easiest member of the sec for the big 10.. i spoke with an attorney in central ky today and they were much happier with the ‘old” IU/UK rivalry.. than the “new” UL/UK rivalry.

      in conclusion.. i think dynamite is the only thing to split ark, from the sec. i can not say the same for usc. maybe think of an sec/acc merger something like this….

      ark,lsu,bama,auburn,miss, miss st, vandy, tenn
      ga, ga tech, duke, unc, fla, fsu, clemson, usc

      draw a dividing line VA/SC KY/TN MO/AR as a big 10 + big east vs sec + acc – mega conference .. combine the pac 10 + big 12.. with the scraps from the other 3 forming a fourth 16 member conference..

      that would encompass 64 of the highest $$ sports schools.. that would create a 4 team football playoff and a 16 team basketball playoff.. the remaining bowls would be fluff.. and the NIT could create a 128 team basketball tourney for the also rans.. everybody is happy because it rewards regular season games more.. and with the meaningless bowls and the “fluff” NIT.. the media gets more revenue from the modern “everybody gets a ribbon” mentality..

      i keep thinking of base 2 systems.. ie 2,4,8,16,32,64,128 – as it makes bracketing easier.. than say 14.. where 14/2 = 7 vs 16/2 = 8..

      just something to chew on..

      Like

  30. MIRuss says:

    Frank,

    Couldn’t resist expanding my thoughts on what could be a Texas-Notre Dame Centric Conference TEXA-ND 12. While it’s far fetched, if NBC is at the core of reasoning and sees an opportunity for themselves, VS, and some sort of Texas-ND network…Look out. The seismic shift could be bigger than anyone imagined.

    http://michiganmanmmq.blogspot.com/2010/03/conference-expansion-things-that-make.html

    Like

    • Rick says:

      @MIRuss: This is very interesting. I have been trying to understand the whole anti-Big Ten sentiment and arguments lately so I went on ndnation to have a look myself. I came across the same “New Conference” threads as you have linked above. Here is what I’m coming to understand better from reading the comments of Notre Dame faithful:
      1) Extremely, fiercely, devoted to the concept of and strong belief in Independence
      2) Their higher calling for, and standard bearer of, and shining star example of, Elite Academic and Athletic Supremacy
      3) Joining a conference would be supreme compromise, hypocrocy, treason, and anathema to their belief system and in their higher calling cited in #2.
      4) Never, ever will be convinced in any justification for joining a conference like the Big Ten
      5) Especially if it is forced upon them, or if they are backed into a corner with no viable options other than submit and surrender and chase the dollars
      6) They will choose what to do and when to do it, on their terms and to their benefit
      7) The Big Ten represents all that they perceive they fight against and nothing that they believe in
      8) The anathema of joining a conference, however, is justified if a) It’s not the Big Ten b) It is a conference of their design, control, creation, and domination
      9) The bottom line for me is that it is increasingly clear from hearing first hand their arguments that a) They will never compromise and surrender control of their destiny to the mission of an outsider (ie: Big Ten) b) They will choose what that destiny will be whether it is Independent or in a conference c) That destiny will never be the Big Ten if they have their way.

      Now that may not be what the AD and the University Administration believe is in the best interest of Notre Dame and that a future in the Big Ten is the right destiny, but that is what I see, hear, and read from the Notre Dame faithful on this board and others and it is clearly exemplified by ndnation and the referenced in the linked blog above. A big eye opener that I was really not aware of and prepared for.

      Like

      • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

        They’d be surprised at how many PSU fans love PSU because of number 2 as well. JoePa’s “grand experiment” is exactly that. Success with honor. And when you look at PSU’s grad rates and combine them with our historical winning percentage, few schools can compare in the modern era. I’m just saying…if they can take off their green and gold glasses, they might see that they aren’t the only school in the universe with those ideals.

        Like

      • Scott says:

        Rick: I agree with your assessment of the sentiments expressed on that board. However, in my opinion, their sentiments are not grounded in reality.

        For example, lest any Notre Dame fan forget it, Notre Dame is ALREADY a member of a conference–the Big East. So they’ve already compromised their supposed “independence” in every way–except football.

        Note that they joined a league they didn’t create. Nor is a league they control or dominate. Their alumni and fans just don’t seem to have realized it.

        So Notre Dame is, in fact, willing to compromise on independence, and they will compromise on being in a conference, for the sake of convenience, on anything except football. So while they don’t want to join the Big Ten and be “hypocritical”, they’re current stance is ALREADY hypocrisy.

        If they only want to be associated with “elite academic” and “elite athletic” institutions, what are they doing in the Big East? Yes, the Big East has some good schools, but the Big Ten schools are clearly superior to most schools in the Big East, and frankly, the Big Ten is superior to Notre Dame, at least in every academic department I considered when applying.

        For example, we’ve talked about the ARWU rankings. Notre Dame ranks in the range 201-302 in the world–behind every single Big Ten school. In fact, they’re tied with Kansas, Kentucky, Oregon, South Florida, New Mexico and Wayne State. http://www.arwu.org/ARWU2009_3.jsp

        Here’s an interesting ranking of university departments: http://latestuniversityranking.blogspot.com/2008/05/us-university-rankings-2009-by.html The University of Chicago, Michigan, Wisconsin all appear more than a dozen times, (the U of C almost two dozen). But Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio State, Northwestern, Penn State and Iowa all have more than one appearance. The only Big Ten school not to show up in these rankings was Indiana. Notre Dame appears just once, in religion. And even then they rank 12th. The old Gourman reports showed the same thing.

        You can always quibble on rankings. Some rankings give Notre Dame very high ratings, indeed. And I, myself, feel Notre Dame is a good school. But this academics superiority idea is bunk. Where I grew up the only people who felt Notre Dame was a great school were Catholics who sent their kids to Catholic grade schools and high schools.

        Personally, I think this is one reason the domers hate the Big Ten so much and seem much more willing to join another conference.

        Like

        • Michael says:

          Speaking of the Big East, I find it weird how that conference has yet to stake any claim to its markets west of the Appalachian Mountains.

          Let me explain what I mean. You see, I grew up in South Carolina. I think that people in Georgia and Florida would agree that while those states would be more likely called “SEC country” than “ACC country,” the ACC still got a sizable amount of coverage from local media. The ratio of SEC fans to ACC fans was around 4 to 3, not 5 to 1. Clemson, GT, and FSU are far from afterthoughts in their states.

          Now I live in Indianapolis, which could be argued, along with Chicago, as the geographic center of “Big Ten” country. But unlike the situation where ACC & SEC territory overlaps, nobody seems to notice how big of a presence the Big East has here. Within a 2.5 hour drive, I can get to Cincinnati, Louisville, Notre Dame, and DePaul. Throw another 90 minutes on there, and I’m at Marquette.

          It just surprises me how much the Big East has failed to make its presence felt in the Midwest. The league could never expect to attract as many fans in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, or Wisconsin as the Big Ten has, but it should be able draw some level of attention, similar to the way the ACC does in “SEC country.”

          Perhaps the perception that the Big East is invisible is largely what is making it so vulnerable.

          Like

          • duffman says:

            michael,

            you can see my points as i live pretty close to you.. i know people living in southern ohio and northern kentucky who read/subscribe to the CJ over in louisville just for the sports section (for those who do not know, the CJ covers the big 10 via IU, the sec via UK, and the big east via UL) it is sort of the central point from a sports view..

            if you live at the intersection of Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky.. i agree 100% about drive access to sports (especially basketball). throw in Xavier, and you can add the A 10 as well.. I can easily drive to dayton, indy, and st louis for NCAA basketball events. with I 65 and I 75 i have speedy access to detroit/chicago going north and nashville/atlanta going south….

            as stated before as a fan who goes to games in person, and prefers to drive.. i still think distance from a conference “central” point is important to me. i have a feeling it affects other “live” fans as well . i can see driving to st louis at the last min for the NCAA regional there. i can not say the same about driving to jerryworld or the alamodome.

            what about others on this blog.. do you drive or fly to games.. and would distance matter in conference realignment?? if you just watch games on tv, and do not travel often.. please note that in your replies.. thanks

            Like

          • Richard says:

            That’s because all the Big East schools in the Midwest are city schools. Sure, some Milwaukee people care about Marquette, and some Cincinnati people care about the Bearcats, but, other than alumni, why would some guy in Appleton care about an urban Milwaukee school (and why would a guy in Dayton care about an urban Cincy school)? In the states the SEC and ACC share, all schools are state schools.

            Like

      • MIRuss says:

        Rick,

        Yes, you are absolutely right. And that’s a great analysis as to how the Domer’s will more than likely go into the future, kicking and screaming the whole way, even if it has to be by their own hand…But, how, generation after generation, does that stay so much at the forefront of the general Domer fan base? I mean, as a disciple of Bo, I “understood” that sooner or later Michigan would need to adopt the forward pass – You know what I mean?

        You know what’s really strange? I have met some Notre Dame grads and I know them to be semi-intelligent, well rounded people until you bring up the topic of football or any kind of discussion like this. Granted, there are a few that are coming around to this idea and are seeing the benefits. I think the general “mob” mentality takes over, however, when they get with their like minded bretheren….

        Like

        • arby says:

          The other thing I’m reminded of in this conversation is that many Penn State fans had equally strong reservations about the Big 10 two decades ago. There’s still a segment of the fan base that longs for the old eastern rivalry days. However, on whole, most fans now have a clear understanding of the benefits the university has enjoyed, the quality of other schools in the conference and the many similarities the schools actually have. It’s still a little weird to be thinking of Iowa and Wisconsin rivalries, instead of Syracuse, Pitt and WVU, but I think a large majority of older fans are much happier in the Big 10 than they would be in an eastern alliance — especially now in the midst of massive realignment. And I suspect that for the emerging generation of PSU fans, the entire Big 10 relationship will be completely normal. Same for Notre Dame a quarter century from now, if they decide to make the leap.

          Like

        • Adam says:

          It’s sibling rivalry. I am not reading these ND message boards, but it honestly sounds like the same things Michigan and Michigan State say about each other every year. Notre Dame’s proximity to the Big Ten has meant that its base has spent decades building up distinctions between themselves and the Big Ten in their own minds; I’m sure someone with a background in psychology/psychoanalysis could explain why.

          Necessity is the mother of invention, and it’s going to be necessary for Notre Dame to join a league sooner rather than later, so they may well be able to invent reasons to convince the fan base to buy into this.

          Arby makes a point I was going to mention too: it was my understanding some elements in the PSU following were ambivalent about Big Ten membership from the start and remain so to this day, but that by and large the majority of their following have come around on the idea.

          Like

  31. M says:

    While we’re on the “omg the rose bowl is teh best ever” bender, might as well hear it from the Man(del):
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/stewart_mandel/12/30/mandel.mailbag/index.html

    Like

    • spartakles78 says:

      there are a lot of seemingly small things that make bowling enjoyable for many connected to the college; the players get some swag, snowbirds get some sun, but also if its a major bowl then meetings with alumni around the country might produce more when requests are made for athletic endowments and donations. Athletic endowments while they pale in size to academic ones are increasingly more important. (this is an area where ACC schools have done very well). I’m not sure a couple rounds of playoffs will give as good a sales environment as the bowl experiences does. In addition the bowls allow more teams to have that experience where any playoff scenario is limited to a smaller group. Fans may want a definitive champion but college admins may not.

      Like

    • Michael says:

      I don’t understand why bowl games would go out of business simply because a four-team playoff.

      Last year, if there was a 4-team playoff, Ohio State and Iowa still would have missed the cut. Their fans would have known that since the day of their second loss, just as they knew they weren’t making the two-team playoff upon–you guessed it–the day of their second loss. So why in the world would Ohio State fans be less likely to flood the Rose Bowl? Over this past bowl season, they were every bit as out of the national championship race as they would have been with a 4-team playoff. For Iowa fans, whose team was, I believe, ranked #9 entering bowl season, why would they be unwilling to go to the Orange Bowl knowing they won’t win a championship if they were willing to do just that under the current system?

      People say that bowl games would become like the NIT. Well, the thing is, all bowl games are like NIT except the national title game, but that doesn’t diminish interest in the games.

      Like

      • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

        I’m with you, Michael. Even an 8 team playoff wouldn’t kill the bowls, if you ask me. ESPN subsidizes some of the bowls b/c they make money by having them on TV. They are money-makers, bottom line.

        Ticket prices are getting to be outrageous, and that might kill bowls off in this current economy. Or, the economy could rebound and more bowls could be added. Who knows?

        Like

  32. SH says:

    NCAA Tourney time always reminds me why I love college football so much, and why I am against a playoff. And that is the regular season matters.

    Just look at what happened to Purdue. They dropped all the way down to a 4 seed when they were one of the top 5-6 teams for most of the year. Obviously, not having Hummel really hurts them, and they could certainly easily be one and done, which would be used to undoubtedly justify their lower seed. But the NCAA has clearly stated that what you did in the regular season does not matter as much as what we think you will do in the tournament. Maybe its fair, maybe not – but it does cheapen the regular season. Imagine if Colt McCoy had been injured in the Nebraska game. If the voters had concluded or the computers took that injury into account to say that UT was no longer the 2nd best team deserving of shot at the BCS, there would have been justifiable outrage. Obviously, in football losing 1 player out of 22 is less damaging than losing 1 starter out of five, but when that starter was as important as any – a 4-year starting QB.

    Anyway, just makes me appreciate the value of the regular season in college football. Maybe it would be maintained if there was a playoff?

    The NCAA tournament is an awesome sporting event. But just because it works for basketball, it does not mean it would work for college football. I wish more fans would celebrate the differences and recognize the uniqueness of the college football season and the value it has.

    Like

    • Michael says:

      Yeah, I’m really bummed for Purdue. It would have been great to see them be at full strength. I agree, too, that seeding should be based on what the team actually did, not what it might do.

      Like

    • Scott says:

      I know I’m one of just a few, but personally, I couldn’t care less about a national championship. If two or three teams can lay claim to the title at the end of the year, it’s fine by me. More college kids will have something to brag about when they’re my age. It also gives sports radio stations, newspapers, and bloggers to write about and debate.

      Like

  33. Here’s the actual interview with former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese. (Pat had posted a news article quoting it earlier in this comment thread.) I’m not able to play it for some reason, but my understanding is that his tone of voice makes it sound like the conference is on its deathbed:

    http://937thefan.radio.com/2010/03/15/mike-tranghese-former-big-east-commissioner-says-the-future-of-the-big-east-lies-with-the-big-ten/

    Like

  34. greg says:

    Posting to receive emails.

    Like

  35. MikeJR says:

    As a native of the Midwest (Indiana), I have been following the discussions on expansion of the Big Ten, mostly when I should be working on other things. A look at several of the candidates raises some questions in my mind. Some of these questions may have been answered on the myriad of other sites discussing conference expansion, but I thought I would throw these out in hopes that someone could enlighten me with their cogent response, of which there seems to be many on this site.

    Pitt rates high on the list of universities attracting research dollars. Thinking like Frank’s university president, would what they bring to the CIC be enough to overcome the fact their athletic footprint is similar to Penn State’s? Someplace I have read that bringing Pitt into the Big Ten would mean that the Big Ten would now have dominance in PA especially when it comes to recruiting. I believe the comment was in response to a possible Pitt-to-the-ACC scenario.

    Nebraska has been described by Frank as Notre Dame-lite and their football team rates high as to its valuation. They have a large following from a small state. I wonder how this translates into TV viewers and/or cable subscribers.

    It is a question as to how much Syracuse is followed in the New York City television market. One statistic I saw was that the population of upstate New York is 7 million. Would Syracuse be able to “deliver” the upstate New York television market?

    As some have mentioned for Syracuse, the superiority of basketball at Kansas might be enough to overcome mediocrity in football to interest the Big Ten. Like Nebraska football, how does Kansas basketball translate into TV viewers and/or cable subscribers?

    Everything I see in terms of school rankings, research funding, football team valuation, athletic department revenues, seems to indicate that TAMU would be a great candidate for the Big Ten. Why then has Texas A&M been described as more SEC-like and as some folks have indicated they would prefer to go to the SEC? Is it that they could better distinguish/distance themselves from Texas in a different conference?

    Like

    • m (Ag) says:

      While the state of Texas is it’s own culture, you can see it as the intersection of the plains culture from the north, Mexican culture from the South, ‘Western’ culture from the west, and ‘Southern’ culture from the East.

      Partly because of its location in the state and partly because of its traditions (all students were required to be in the Corps of Cadets until the 1960s), Texas A&M has more of a ‘Southern’ feel than the University of Texas.

      I really like the SEC as a football conference, and would really like to see the LSU rivalry renewed. I’d trade the SEC for the Big 12 in no time at all, although some native Texas would not agree with me. However, I’d prefer A&M join the Big 10 because it would make more long term financial sense and because of the academic boost. This is doubly true if Texas joins.

      Like

    • m (Ag) says:

      Just wanted to expand what I said last night.

      I haven’t read anything that indicates the administration has looked into moving to either conference (the SEC or Big 10), though I presume they are researching it. It’s been reported that when Arkansas left for the SEC, A&M tried to follow them into the SEC, but the SEC wanted them to come in with Texas, and Texas wasn’t interested. However, this was 20 years ago.

      A move to the SEC would be easy for the average football fan to adjust to. A&M is a natural geographic and cultural fit. There are historic rivalries with Arkansas and LSU. As one of the universities Bear Bryant coached at, there would be an easy storyline when they play Alabama and Kentucky. The Sugar Bowl is much closer than the Fiesta Bowl, though Atlanta is a long way to go for a conference championship game. Perhaps most importantly, the SEC is seen as equal or better than the Big 12 in football, while the Big 10 isn’t.

      Despite that, I think the Big 10 is a better choice for A&M, offering more money, better academics, and a chance to continue the Texas game in conference. While it won’t be as quick an adjustment as the SEC would be, it wouldn’t take too long for fans to get used to the Big 10. It will be awhile before anyone get excited about mid-level schools like Wisconsin and Iowa on the schedule, but Michigan, OSU, and PSU will definitely get people’s interest right away.

      I know everyone already identifies me as the defender of the ‘pod’ idea. However, as a supporter of a team that will be more geographically distant, getting to see everyone in the conference more frequently would be a more appealing arrangement than 6 or 7 permanent opponents. It would also help feel a part of the whole conference. Otherwise half the teams would be geographically distant and rarely show up on the schedule.

      Like

      • Adam says:

        For what it’s worth, m (Ag), I have no doubt that some kind of pod system is the only workable way to manage a 16-team conference; there’s no need to style yourself a “defender” of pods, as though it’s some kind of out-there idea. However, I conclude from that, that a 16-team conference is a bad idea. If the only manageable way to have a 16-team conference is pods, I do not conclude “well, I guess we need pods then”; I conclude “well, I guess a 16-team conference is a no-go.” Without basic continuity in the league alignment, and a regular group of other teams you have to go “through” to get to the CCG, I predict that most people would not be interested and I *know* I would not.

        Like

  36. Rick says:

    In the recent dialogue concerning Notre Dame and the anti-Big Ten/Independent issue, Academic Progress Rates (APR) and Graduation Success Rate (GSR) has been mentioned in the discussion. Over the last few months I have been doing some research on the BCS TOP 25 teams and their performance in recruiting (2002-2009), in the classroom (APR/GSR), and in the NFL (# of players currently in the NFL and # drafted 2006-2009). I looked at the last 4 years 2006-2009 of the BCS Top 25. I analyzed only the schools who were ranked in the BCS Top 25 year end final poll each year. For discussion here the list below are the schools with an APR of 80% or above only. In the next post will be all the schools sorted by conference. On a side note, The NCAA Publicly recognizes schools in each sport for the APR scores in the top 10% of each Sport. In 2009 they Publicly recognized: Navy, Air Force, Rice, Duke, Stanford, and Rutgers for D1.

    School GSR % APR %tile Win % 06-09 Bowls Top 25 NFL Dr: 06-09
    Stanford 89% 90th 37% 0-1 1 13 7
    Rutgers 81% 90th 69% 4-0 1 20 10
    Notre D 96% 80th 52% 1-1 1 30 15
    NW 92% 80th 54% 0-2 1 12 3
    BC 91% 80th 70% 2-2 3 24 10
    Penn ST 85% 80th 77% 3-1 2 27 19
    Wake F 81% 80th 64% 2-1 1 15 10
    Miami 75% 80th 55% 1-2 1 40 18
    Florida 69% 80th 87% 2-2 4 32 17
    Cal 64% 80th 65% 3-1 1 32 16
    OSU 62% 80th 85% 1-3 4 37 27
    Boise ST 58% 80th 93% 2-2 4 9 7
    Georgia 57% 80th 73% 4-0 2 39 21

    Like

    • Rick says:

      APR/GSR By Conference:

      School Confer. GSR % APR %tile Win % 06-09
      BC ACC 91% 80th 70%
      Wake F ACC 81% 80th 64%
      Miami ACC 75% 80th 55%
      Clemson ACC 67% 70th 62%
      UNC ACC 80% 60th 46%
      VT ACC 71% 40th 76%
      GT ACC 60% 30th 48%
      Virginia ACC 68% 30th 45%
      Okla Big 12 45% 60th 76%
      Missouri Big 12 64% 60th 70%
      Nebras Big 12 72% 60th 63%
      Tex AM Big 12 55% 60th 51%
      Ok. ST Big 12 61% 50th 62%
      Kansas Big 12 58% 50th 62%
      Texas Big 12 49% 40th 85%
      TTech Big 12 69% 40th 71%
      Rutgers Big East 81% 90th 69%
      Uconn Big East 82% 60th 57%
      Cinn Big East 75% 50th 77%
      Pitt Big East 68% 50th 60%
      West VA Big East 61% 40th 77%
      Lville Big East 59% 30th 55%
      So. Fla. Big East 60% 10th 65%
      Ohio St Big Ten 62% 80th 85%
      Penn ST Big Ten 85% 80th 77%
      N’West Big Ten 92% 80th 54%
      Wisc Big Ten 65% 70th 73%
      Iowa Big Ten 74% 60th 63%
      Mich Big Ten 71% 60th 56%
      Mich St. Big Ten 56% 30th 51%
      Illinois Big Ten 69% 30th 39%
      Notre D Indep 96% 80th 52%
      Ball St MAC 64% 50th 51%
      TCU MWC 65% 70th 81%
      Utah MWC 57% 70th 77%
      BYU MWC 61% 50th 83%
      Stanford Pac 10 89% 90th 37%
      Cal Pac 10 64% 80th 65%
      USC Pac 10 58% 70th 82%
      UCLA Pac 10 51% 60th 47%
      ASU Pac 10 58% 50th 52%
      Oregon Pac 10 49% 40th 69%
      Ore. ST Pac 10 57% 30th 68%
      Florida SEC 69% 80th 87%
      Georgia SEC 57% 80th 73%
      LSU SEC 60% 70th 75%
      Alabama SEC 67% 70th 72%
      Auburn SEC 59% 60th 65%
      Tenn SEC 52% 60th 60%
      Ark SEC 52% 20th 60%
      Miss SEC 69% 10th 50%
      Boise ST WAC 58% 80th 93%
      Hawaii WAC 47% 40th 67%

      Like

      • Rick says:

        Columns in this wordpress blog get screwed up when pasting a table. The columns in the two list area from left to right are:
        1) School
        2) Conference
        3) GSR (Graduation Success Rate)
        4) APR %tile (Academic Progress Rate Percentile)
        5) Win % 06-09 (2006-2009 seasons)
        6) Bowls: Bowl record 2006-2009
        7) Top 25: is # of BCS Top 25 finishes 2006-2009
        8) NFL: # of current players in NFL
        9) DR 6-09: # of players drafted 2006-2009

        Like

  37. TheBlanton says:

    Ok, Here’s an idea for a shakeup that may benefit all parties.

    1. Pac 10 settles on Colorado and Utah, after negotiations fall through with because Texas insists on Tech.

    2. Big 12 replaces Colorado with BYU (don’t kid yourself, BYU brings a national FLDS following that is LOADED. FLDS tithing pays for 80% of BYU tuition.)

    3. Big 10 offers Texas and A&M and they accept.

    5. Big 10 offers Notre Dame, Nebraska, Missouri, Pitt, and Rutgers to compete for final spot. No official competition is held however as Notre Dame receives preferential treatment and is accepted into a 14 team Big10+

    5. Big 12 senses the need to add 4 teams to keep up with the big 10. They chose TCU and Houston to maintain the Texas large markets (DFW and Houston).

    6. Big 12 then moves westward in search of large markets to add to the footprint, sewing up Albuquerque and Las Vegas by inviting New Mexico and UNLV.

    7. Big 12 realigns divisions to put OU and Okst in the North, 4 texas and 3 western states in the western division.

    8. Big east moves to increase share in Florida by adding Central Florida.

    Things finally calm down with relatively little damage to any conference (big east loses ND basketball but little else)

    Big 8 is resurrected sans colorado. Oklahoma and Nebraska would LOVE that, they both won mult. NC with that schedule.

    Big 12 expands to markets in Utah, Nevada, and New Mexico, while maintaining stronghold of Texas markets and recruiting. overall balance restored to the Big 12 (for now).

    Big 10 gets dream schools.

    Pac 10 expands to two quality schools that match pac 10 sensibilities and expand footprint.

    Big east loses one school for Basketball, but arguably gains a stronger market share in Fla, while maintaining NYC dominance.

    Everything settles from there, until the next round of television contract talks.

    Like

    • Richard says:

      Adding Colorado is no net gain for the Pac10. Adding Utah is actually a net loss.

      I think for the Pac10, it’s Texas or nothing, even more so than the Big10. Maybe they’ll just take in Colorado and have an 11-team conference. No other expansion scenario makes financial sense.

      Like

    • m (Ag) says:

      If the Pac 10 decides it can make money with Utah, it might happen that way. However, I’m not convinced ND would want to join even after the 2 Texas schools commited.

      Like

  38. Michael says:

    Call me crazy, but I think there are four leagues in the FBS in which members would be willing to leave money on the table if it meant leaving their leagues: the Big Ten, the Pac-10, the SEC, and the ACC.

    No members of those leagues were invited reluctantly. No members are lobbying to join another league. Most members of each league have been in the same conference since the 1920’s; the original ACC members were formerly in the Southern Conference together. Pac-10 members split apart temporarily in 1950’s before coming back together under a new charter.

    I don’t think any members of those leagues take the relationships with their fellow members lightly. Schools like USC or UCLA will be willing to wait for the new Pac-10 commissioner to put together a much more lucrative TV deal than its current, knowing it still won’t be near Big Ten or SEC-levels. It’s kind of like accepting a lesser salary for a certain job because it offers a better quality of life.

    Like

  39. M says:

    I’ve given up on trying to respond to particular threads.

    @ m (ag)- I think a lot of people think that the pod system is a great idea. Even with a 12 school conference, I think it would be better way to maintain overall ties rather than breaking into two mini-conferences.

    @ Richard- Colorado would be a fairly solid addition to the Pac-10, as Denver would be their 5th largest DMA. It’s just larger than Cleveland-Akron-Canton and just smaller than Minneapolis.

    After that their options are much more limited. Personally I think it is reasonably likely that the Pac-10 adds just Colorado; Utah would substantially decrease the average population per school and they are probably the second most popular school in their own state. Financially, BYU would probably be a gain but the “Mormons vs Hippies” rivalry might be a little too real to happen on a football field.

    Also, I do not think that a conference championship game is a substantial lure for the Pac-10. The conference is too spread out to have any sort of a centralize location, leading to a definite risk of having a game more like the ACC than the SEC.

    To any or all of the “USC-to-the-Big-Ten” commentators: This is madness. At least with the Texas or Miami idea, the target was a school that had shown a definite displeasure with its current setup or a willingness to conference hop in the past. I have never heard any administrator/booster/drunken fan even contemplate evaluating a possible consideration of leaving the Pac-10. Furthermore, I do not think that the Big Ten would even consider targeting any Pac-10 school.

    Like

  40. Michael says:

    Mike Tranghese was absolutely right in his nervousness about the Big East’s future. If one team is lost to the Big Ten, the league should follow the same strategy it did in 2003: go for the most “BCS-ready” program, as Frank has called it, available, which at the time was Louisville. These days, the only program like that within one time zone of the Big East is TCU. ECU is decent at football but a joke in b-ball; Memphis is the third- or fourth-best program in C-USA. Meh. Better to have a long-distance girlfriend who’s a ‘9’ (TCU) than a nearby girlfriend who’s a ‘5’ (Memphis, etc.).

    If two teams are lost, let’s just say Rutgers & Pitt, the best option might be Houston, Memphis, UCF, or ECU, but it really doesn’t matter. None are BCS-ready. In all likelihood, they’d be another Temple. I cannot imagine the president at any of the remaining Big East football schools willing to continue in such an unstable conference. I say, at that point, Big East football is done.

    A lot of people think the ACC would snatch up the schools who are “left behind.” As Tier 3 schools, WVU, Louisville, Cincinnati, and USF wouldn’t academically qualify. Syracuse and UConn would be attractive, but if so, why hasn’t the ACC already declared intentions to expand again? Besides, there’s reason to doubt they’d improve the league’s per-school TV revenue.

    Instead, it seems reasonable that these Big East programs would want to join a conference that’s looking for new members. With the Big Ten finished, the ACC & SEC content with the status quo, and the Pac-10 too far to expect such an established league to consider inviting east coast teams, that leaves the Big 12. And there’s a good chance the Big 12, after B10 & P10 expansion, would need a member or two (or three or four), even if it’s for football only. As for the members who aren’t invited into a Big 12 football league, there best shot at keeping their BCS status would be to make an alliance with the Mtn. West, provided that most of its best teams are still around, or to try creating its own football-only conference with the best teams from all other leagues.

    In any case, Big East football is over if the Big Ten takes two teams or more.

    Like

  41. ot says:

    BTN is in DirecTV Choice within the Big Ten footprint only.

    Outside the footprint (i.e. NY, NJ, California, Texas), it is available only in DirecTV Sports Pack.

    Like

    • Richard says:

      They listed it in “choice”:
      http://www.directstartv.com/directv_programming/directv_channel_lineup.html

      Also, when I lived in NJ, I got DirectTV with the BTN. Granted, it was provided by the landlord, but I’m pretty certain he didn’t sign up for the Sports Pack because
      1. it would have cost extra
      2. I didn’t see all the Fox Regional channels that I’d expect in a Sports Pack.

      Like

    • BTN is definitely on DirecTV Choice nationally. At the time the BTN was formed, News Corp. (the owner of Fox, who owns 49% of the BTN) had a controlling interest in DirecTV (which it has since sold). So, it was ensured from the get-go that the BTN would have national carriage on that provider for the long-term. I believe that Dish Network is different, where the BTN is only on its basic package within the Big Ten footprint.

      Like

  42. Justin says:

    Guys,

    I have someone who is on the “inside” and he told me that right now he is Notre Dame, Boston College and Rutgers are going to the Big 10. The ACC has been a poor fit for Boston College, and BC helps assuage ND’s concern that the entire Big 10 consists of large, state universities.

    Why BC? I presume the rationale is that Notre Dame plus the home state schools of Boston (BC) and NY/NJ (Rutgers) may give the Big 10 a puncher’s chance at getting onto basic cable in those markets.

    Another benefit? If you add BC and ND, you could create an excellent Big 10 hockey league that would deliver more content to the network.

    He thinks the Big 10 probably will go to sixteen teams and also add Syracuse — whose basketball presence in NYC further solidifies that market, not to mention it delivers Buffalo and upstate NY — and either Pitt or Uconn.

    Remember if BC bolts, the ACC has an open spot which could be filled with West Virginia, Pitt or Uconn. In fact, Pitt may make more sense in the ACC since they bring a new market, while Uconn and Cuse could deliver NY and Uconn, BC and ND, arguably all of New England.

    Texas to the Big 10 isn’t happening. He thinks the PAC 10 will cut a deal allowing the Horns to keep extra revenue and bring a couple Texas schools with them. The PAC 10 is more likely to accede to Texas’ demands since it needs the Horns to get remotely close to the TV dollars of the Big 10 and SEC.

    Remember that the Big 10 and PAC 10 tend to move in lockstep, so could they be the first two 16 team superconferences?

    Like

    • I never took BC seriously as a Big Ten expansion candidate until this comment here. If BC is the real hook to get ND, then they make sense. In a way, BC is also better positioned to at least deliver the BTN to the Boston area more than any schools could deliver in the NYC area (other than Rutgers maybe pulling in the NJ side). This is very interesting because I was asked about BC separately earlier today on Twitter.

      Like

    • Richard says:

      BC + ND (along with PSU & Rutgers to a much lesser extent) should put the BTN in all the New England states (very Catholic over there).

      Not sure Syracuse is needed at that point, though Syracuse and Pitt as 15 & 16 would make all of the Northeast north of Maryland solidly Big10 territory. NY state has 19.5M, NJ: 8.7M, NE: 14.3M. With 5 new schools, it’s enough new subscribers to pay for themselves (but not by much). I’d still prefer Maryland, FSU, and Miami (along with Rutgers & Syracuse) if we’re going to 16.

      Like

    • Adam says:

      Sigh. I don’t see where BC brings that much value. It was never my sense that the Boston area cared much for college sports, period (even given BC’s successes; you’d think Flutie-to-Phelan would have minted a generation of college football junkies).

      Like

      • Richard says:

        True, there’s that. As it is, they can’t even deliver New England outside Boston to the ACC (the Big10 game is normally shown in the afternoon time slot in NE unless BC is playing).

        The only reason to take BC is to entice ND to join. Well, OK, and you get more hockey programming. Frankly, I’d still try to get FSU & Miami if possible.

        Like

      • @Adam – I agree with you. I think that if the ACC could have a do-over, it probably would’ve taken Syracuse instead. That being said, if the Big Ten taking BC as opposed to Syracuse or Pitt is the difference between getting ND or not, then it makes some sense. I’ve always liked Syracuse as a candidate a lot, but the main objective should be to get one of the marquee names. You might also argue that BC (plus ND and PSU) has a higher chance of persuading the Boston area to add the BTN to basic cable (while the NYC area is a crapshoot with any combo of teams). If the Big Ten can add New Jersey with Rutgers (with any extra homes across the Hudson being a bonus), Massachusetts with BC and get either more homes nationally or higher rates with ND, then that’s a pretty good financial argument (which is the core issue at the end of the day). If the Big Ten doesn’t have a problem with ND academically, then it shouldn’t have any problem with BC (another highly-rated undergrad school without much research capability).

        Like

        • Adam says:

          One thing to consider about your last clause, Frank. It sounds to me like the ND faculty want to change the research character of the school; at least, that’s what I read into the oft-repeated anecdote that the faculty were overwhelmingly in support of joining the Big Ten in 1999 and 2003. Do we have any evidence that BC is angling to try and change that about themselves? It seems sensible to for the rest of the league to carry the water a bit for ND’s relatively undersized research capacity if everybody knows they’re committed to upgrading once they’re “on the inside” and have access to the CIC, but short of very specific information about BC, it seems like a privilege held exclusively by ND.

          Like

          • I’ve always perceived BC as being even more open to improving graduate research programs than ND (if ND is one end of the spectrum and Georgetown is on the other end in terms of Catholic universities on graduate studies, I think BC is in between), but that’s just my very outside view. The ACC does have its own version of the CIC, although it was only formed over the past decade and seems to have a narrower scope. If anyone has more concrete insight on BC’s approach to graduate research, I’d love to see it.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            I wouldn’t put ND on the very end of the spectrum. I’d put schools like Loyola, and even DePaul on one end of the spectrum (of being almost purely interested in teaching as opposed to research). Even Georgetown is more teaching-oriented than ND. Granted that isn’t what their fans think, but if you look at their faculty, they have a ton of faculty from Ivies, Ivy-equivalents, and overseas. If they were purely interested in teaching undergrads and not research, they wouldn’t bother competing in the international marketplace for research talent (who obviously cost more). ND is probably the most research-oriented Catholic university I can think of.

            There’s a big disconnect between the image of ND that their fans hold (abetted by their administration, probably because they think it leads to more/bigger donations) and what ND actually is or wants to be.

            Like

    • Jake says:

      When did the Big Ten and Pac-10 move in lockstep? They’re together when it comes to protecting the Rose Bowl, but what else have they coordinated on? The Big Ten expanded without the Pac-10 doing so and they created a cable channel all on their own. Why would the Big Ten need the Pac-10 to make a move?

      UT might have to bring A&M and Tech along if they’re going to take off without a CU or Mizzou leaving the Big 12 first – they can’t be responsible for potentially breaking up the conference without making sure their in-state counterparts are covered. But if Texas is really looking to change conferences, why wouldn’t the Big Ten be an option? If UT and A&M go to the Pac-10, that could (depending on who the Big Ten adds) make the Pac-10 the largest conference in the country in terms of population base. I don’t think the Big Ten would care much for that.

      As for BC … maybe. I don’t see hockey being a factor, and does ND really care that much about BC? If they do, would it have to be a protected annual rivalry? I don’t know if playing BC on a regular basis would win over the recalcitrant Irish alums.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        The Pac10+Texas would be bigger than the Big10 only if the Big10 doesn’t expand. If the Big10 takes over the whole northeast, they’d still remain the biggest.

        Like

    • Richard says:

      I’d also expect Mizzou/Nebraska to be the 16th (if the Big10 is going this route) instead of Pitt or ‘Cuse because the western schools of the Big10 would want to feel that they benefitted from expansion as well. OK, the non-hockey-playing public western schools, like Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Purdue.

      8-team Big10 hockey league:
      Wisconsin
      Minny
      MSU
      Michigan
      OSU
      ND
      BC
      Syracuse

      Like

      • Adam says:

        Hockey is something I would love to see come out of all this as under the Big Ten umbrella, but Delany has said that the Big Ten won’t start a hockey conference unless “asked” to do so by the hockey community. The leagues are currently “balanced on the head of a pin” (or something like that). The widespread perception is that a Big Ten hockey league would be the death of hockey at places like Bowling Green, Ferris State, and Western Michigan, and there aren’t that many college hockey programs to go around.

        Personally, I think in the long run it’d be good for hockey to have the Big Ten brand name associated with it, but that’s just me.

        Like

        • @Adam – I also would LOVE to see a Big Ten hockey conference. Even though I understand the worries of the smaller schools in the CCHA and WCHA, I think that you’re right that having a Big Ten league for the sport would draw a ton of more national attention (and it needs it because it’s an expensive sport to run). At the same time, there are other Big Ten schools (specifically, Penn State and Illinois) that would likely be spurred to finally construct Division I programs, where I don’t think it’s possible to get them to do so if they have to join the CCHA, WCHA or a different league. It’s such a capital-intensive sport (starting with getting a D-I ready hockey arena in the first place) that it has never made sense for Penn State and Illinois to start programs if they’d only be playing other Big Ten schools sporadically (which are the biggest attendance draws). If you can guarantee those schools that Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan State are coming through every year (and it would be even heightened further if you bring in schools like BC and ND), then hockey can potentially become a true revenue sport where it’s worth it to make the investment. I believe that hockey actually makes money at all of the Big Ten schools that have D-I teams except for Ohio State (and not surprisingly, Ohio State has been pushing a Big Ten hockey league very hard). My understanding is that Minnesota is the biggest internal obstacle to getting a Big Ten hockey conference into place if there ends up being enough schools to form a separate league.

          Like

          • Adam says:

            Frank, re: hockey, this raises an interesting point. I had heard that PSU might launch a team soon; apparently they have a club team which some feel is ready to make the move to varsity/Division I. If Illinois could make the move to add a team as well, that helps in selling Big Ten hockey because you’re actually *increasing* the number of hockey programs. Plus, with Minnesota and Wisconsin leaving the WCHA, and the other Big Ten schools leaving the CCHA, the remaining programs could stay afloat playing each other; Ferris and Miami have been very successful in the CCHA, and you’d still have NDSU from the WCHA, that could form a league (maybe even one that doesn’t have to horse around traveling to Alaska!), and *everybody* comes out ahead.

            And like I say, I think the Big Ten brand name would help a lot. Does anybody know why they don’t use the football overflow channels to show other sports? That’d be important in getting hockey off the ground, and if they actually started using those overflow channels in other seasons, you could cultivate more of a following for sports like Soccer, or Women’s Basketball and Volleyball.

            Like

          • @Adam – Yes, this is exactly what I’ve been thinking re: hockey. Both Penn State and Illinois have long had very good club teams, which is why they’re always been the ones rumored to move up to D-I. The latest rankings have them ranked #2 and #4 in the country:

            http://achahockey.org/news2.php?news_id=243350&league_id=1059

            The issue for both schools is getting a D-I hockey arena into place – that obviously ain’t cheap. That’s why I don’t think either school would move up unless the Big Ten forms a separate league.

            Like

          • Rick says:

            As far as BT expansion candidates go: Rutgers Club Hockey is very competitive, won the NECHL league championship, and came in 16th in the ACHA National Tourney. No big time arena, uses local rink with small seating. Been a club team for over 35 years. Improving.

            Like

          • @Rick – the more, the merrier if Rutgers can move up. Some of the most fun sporting events that I had ever attended at Illinois were the hockey games and that was just a club team. I think there are a lot of schools that can support D-I hockey, but it just take so much money upfront to move it up that you need something like a Big Ten hockey league to make it worthwhile for those club programs that are on the cusp.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Couldn’t basketball arenas be used? Granted, there’re still the costs associated with hosting games.

            Like

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            OK, say this is indeed an “Insider.” ND, Rut, BC would make sense, as would a Syr and Pitt/UConn fill out. However the P10 expanding to a P14 or P16 is shakier given the need for a unanimous vote. I guess we’ll see how bad they really want the money!

            Assuming that Texas is really demanding TTech and aTm come along and that the P10 is finally desperate enough to agree to TT, how would it fill out? Making CO the 14th and stopping there would likely provide the most revenue per school when looking primarily at cable numbers, but P10 inter-conference politics would make it difficult to create two 7-school divisions. A geographically natural north-south split of the Texas trio and the AZ and southern Cal duo’s is likely a non-starter because the Longhorns don’t want such an unbalanced conference with USC on their side, and all the Cal schools will probably insist on playing each other annually. So you need to split off 2 of the 3 duos in AZ, OR, and WA to join the Texas trio. All want to play yearly in their CA recruiting hotbeds, will playing in potential recruit heavy Texas help, and can they be bought off with a higher revenue share? So perhaps going directly to 16 may be a more achievable option. That allows more of a ‘Conference in name only’ type alliance where the old P8 can maintain their academic exclusivity and give them cover for perhaps adding a school or two that would otherwise be a non-starter.

            Building on those assumptions, who would 15 and 16 be? If your just looking primarily at cable numbers, MO and OK are the next two highest population states. The P10 starts with 10 schools and 55 million, 5.5 avg. Adding 3 Texas schools and CO brings 25+5 and a 6.1 avg. Finish with MO+OK adds 6+4 but drops to a 5.9 avg. Other possible states are Utah – 3 million, Kansas – 3, Iowa – 3, Nebraska – 2, and New Mexico – 2. So in one sense going to 16 members might not appear to offer that big a jump in avg revenue (exacerbated for many schools by uneven distribution?)

            But of course that is an oversimplified analysis that doesn’t give an accurate assessment of the cable potential and there are several more factors than just cable. Nebraska’s wide and rabid fan base should more than make up the difference when comparing a state with 2 million people to one with 3 mil. Could it make up the gap with MO’s 6 mil, especially considering NE’s appeal to the national networks? The Texas trio, CO, NE, and MO makes sense on paper, but would the Longhorns insist on bringing OU if they’re going to 16? UT’s reasoning would be similar to why they want to bring aTm: to keep an annual rivalry in conference (more scheduling flexibility) and to keep them out of the SEC and its possible recruiting advantage. Plus OU, which has been squawking about abandoning the Red River Shootout to make it home and home, may threaten same or even to drop the annual game if they are left behind. That game in Dallas is a HUGE fundraiser for UT. Might could be replicated by replacing OU with aTm, but UT would really want to avoid such a mess. And while the state of Texas has the resources to cosign for TT’s likelihood of academic improvement, is OU a bridge too far? (OU is significantly ahead of TT, but otherwise would be at the bottom of the conference academically.)

            I think we can narrow down a P16 expansion to the addition of TX, aTm, and 4 of TT, Utah, CO, NE, MO, KS, and OU. Texas might try to insert UHou or even Baylor, but those probably are early casualties of any serious negotiations. Would Texas push for a fill out quad of TT, OU, CO, and MO? (Could be an entertaining “Screw you” to 2 of the 3 schools (Baylor, NE) who voted Texas way down in the final 2008 BCS poll and helped cost them a slot in the fake nat’l title game.) If the B10+ takes MO (perhaps a foolish move until the P10 actually overcomes its unanimous vote hurdle) would Texas push Kansas or Utah instead of NE out of spite? Probably not Utah, NE’s (sorta) national brand name appeal is going to bring in more money. However including Utah might have some benefit in fighting off national political meddling. As for KS, NE football > KS Bball money wise. And the B10+ might take NE first (unlikely) or even MO+NE (really unlikely.) For academic (or other) reasons, would the P10 insist on CO, NE, KS, and MO, forcing Texas to drop TT’s inclusion? That’s 96 million people divided by 16 schools, 6.0 avg. The max they can get taking two Texas schools and 4 of the 7 other viable candidates is 97 million (MO, CO, OU, and either KS or UT.)

            Format would be a P8 division and a “Central 8” or “Southwest 8” division of the AZ duo and the new schools (with a higher revenue split to the AZ duo as compensation?) Conference headquarters stay in Cal, but conf champ game rotated between DFW, Houston, Phoenix, LA, NorCal, and maybe San Diego and/or San Antonio (Seattle and Denver too cold?) My preference would be for Texas, aTm, OU, CO, NE, and KS to be the expansion teams, however TT might end up keeping KS out.

            But not so fast my friend! There is still the huge, HUGE hurdle of unanimous approval required for P10 expansion. While the “Insider” may have a good read on the B10+’s situation, he’s just speculating on the P10’s. Any expansion out west is far from a foregone conclusion.

            Hence the B10+ would be smart to not go beyond 14 schools this round. They may not be Texas’ first or even second choice scenario, but within a year Texas may be approaching them for membership.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            The easy way to get around the Pac10 unanimous vote is to merge instead of expand. If the Cali schools think a P16 is a better deal, if they leave the Pac10 Conference, everybody else would follow, and (assuming USC and company still want the Northwest teams around, they’d just pick up the 6 teams they want from the Big12 and everybody signs a new charter.

            I think Mizzou makes more sense than Pitt as team 16 for the Big10 if you’re talking about new cable subscribers. The new P16 is unlikely to be able to pull in Oklahoma without OKSt. They might still spring for it, because of Oklahoma’s brand name (plus OKSt. has an OK brand as well), even though they’re both in a low population state.

            So Colorado, OU, OSU, TTech, UT, & TAMU + the Arizona schools in the Mountain division of the Western alliance?

            Like

          • Playoffs Now! says:

            The states of OK and KS are in no position to demand inclusion. If they refuse to let OU and KU join without OK St and KSU, then 4 of CO, NE, MO, Utah, and TT work just as well. Even ISU could be a 16th if need be, they have the academics and would often be a nice schedule breather.

            The more I think about it, I’d just assume OU try and grovel its way into the SEC (they’d consider it, along with perhaps 1 or 3 of FSU, Clemson, Miami, VT, WV, OK St, or even KS, NE, MO, TCU, or UHou. Yes, they have a long-term contract, but intangibles such as staying perceived as the strongest conf and perceiving this to be the final shuffle may prompt action, and it isn’t impossible that the contract could be modified based on significant expansion.) Put me down for a Texas, aTm, CO, NE, KS, MO preference (with Utah and TT as alternates in that order.)

            BTW, if both the P10 and B10+ do go to 16 (perhaps even at 14) I expect that they won’t renew the BCS in its current form. Instead they’ll recommit to the Rose with no nat’l title game opt out, lobbying for the title game to be a post-bowls +1. The thinking being that post-bowls the BCS computers and pollster will usually match the winners of the Rose and Sugar Bowls. With 40-48 of the BCS schools now concentrated in just the P10+, B10+, and SEC, they can outvote the other BCS conferences, comprised of the ACC and one or two ‘leftovers’ conferences. The leftover B12 may retain its AQ status by scarfing up some MWC, WAC, and CUSA teams before the MWC can qualify for BCS inclusion. Whether the BEast could expand to remain in the BCS is in doubt. Unlikely that CUSA or some upgraded version could qualify before the BCS contract runs out.

            For political reasons the Fiesta and Orange would probably be retained and the JerryCotton added, maintaining 10 BCS slots and a theoretical chance for non-BCS schools to get the big payouts. Not sure if the Orange and Fiesta would completely retain their conference tie-ins. It is possible that the Sugar Bowl would be setup as the SEC vs. the highest-ranked team that isn’t the SEC/B16/P16 champ, creating a 4-team playoff. So basically you’d have to win your conference, via its champ game, to make the playoffs. How on earth could that hurt the regular season? Any team in a position to rest its players at the end of the season would have done so anyway without a playoff, because it means they didn’t have to win to make their conf champ game. Though I’m still fine with allowing a wildcard for the 4th spot if they outrank the conf champs of the ACC, Leftover 16, and non-BCS schools.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Or they’d rotate the SEC champ to share the wealth. Unlike the Rose Bowl, the Sugar Bowl only has 1 powerful conference backing it and doesn’t traditionally pull in the money the Rose Bowl does. The SEC may not mind sending its champ to the Orange Bowl some years, either.

            BTW, I think VT makes a lot of sense for the SEC. The problem with FSU and Miami is that Florida stands in the way (they were the main reason FSU isn’t in the SEC yet). They could very well pull in Oklahoma, maybe Mizzou, if the Big10 doesn’t take them. As for a final Eastern school, if FSU/Miami is still blocked by Florida, they may settle on WVA, and Bill Stewart’s dream comes true after all.

            Like

          • Scott says:

            Richard, I think it’s the California schools like Stanford and Cal that would be hesitating to bring in schools with lesser academics. I don’t think they’d be the ones leading the drive to add them.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            USC & UCLA would be leading the charge for more money. They know that the whole Pac10 sucks off the teet of SoCal. If those 2 announce that they’re going to withdraw from the Pac10 to form a new 16 team conference, everybody else would come along.

            Like

          • ot says:

            UCLA is also part of the University of California system. Both Cal and UCLA are academically demanding, research-oriented schools.

            I don’t see either Cal or UCLA moving out of the Pac-10 because I don’t see any major conference wanting to add either one of them when poaching either USC or Stanford would bring the same TV markets and would be more politically expedient (no need to deal with the California State Legislature).

            I believe the only school that another major conference would want to poach from the Pac-10 is USC because of 1) its strong football “brand”, and 2) because the LA TV market has 5.5 million households.

            I don’t see USC moving from the Pac-10 to any other conference except to a Big Ten with at least 16 schools.

            By the time the Big Ten is ready to go from 14 (or 15) to 16 schools, very few schools left would be revenue “accretive” to the Big Ten. USC would be one of those schools.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Uh, the plan is to move away to form a new 16-team “Western Conference” which all the former Pac-10 schools would surely join because there’s no other better alternative. UCLA and Cal aren’t so wedded to the Pac-10 that they’re willing to let USC get away.

            Like

          • m (Ag) says:

            If the California schools decided they weren’t too loyal to the schools in the northwest, they could resign from the Pac 10 and quickly make the following conference:

            West: USC, Cal, UCLA, Stanford, Arizona, ASU
            East: Texas, A&M, TTech, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska

            -It has every important market from the current Big 12 and Pac 10 conferences with the exception of the Northwest (while you’d like a representative from there, you don’t want 4 schools to do it).
            -Only have to divide the revenue 12 ways
            -Politically acceptable for politicians in each state, as no public school gets ‘left out’ of the 6 states involved.
            -Great for tv purposes, as nearly half the schools are in the central time zone (and can have early games), with heavy representation from the Pacific time zone.
            -with the exception of Nebraska and Texas Tech, every away game is a great opportunity for the schools to have fund raisers with local alumni.
            -Only needing to schedule 8 conference games, the California schools could each schedule one home and away non-conference series with a school from the northwest (they won’t turn them down) and still have the same 3 non-conference series they currently have.
            -Would be a conference immediately respected by the national media
            -If for some reason Stanford held out, the 12th school could be a single Northwestern school, BYU, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Utah, or (if everyone else said no) New Mexico. If so, Colorado might be switched into the West division.

            The only real downturn to such a conference is that they would start with no permanent bowl agreements, though they’d start to be added as soon as previous arrangements expired.

            I don’t think the California schools would leave the Pac 10 to make this happen, but I think the Big 12 schools named would all follow them if they made the move.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            They’d have 2 non-NW non-conf games. It’s likely that this conference would take over the Pac10’s old Rose Bowl spot in short order.

            Basically, it all comes down to USC. If USC wants a mega-conference that’s appealing to cable TV to happen, it will happen.

            Like

          • m (Ag) says:

            I’m not sure Texas would push for Oklahoma in a Pac 16. They may have political reasons for Texas Tech, but not OK. If Oklahoma refused to renew their rivalry as a non-conference game, Texas would have no problem getting games scheduled in Dallas. They could have TCU or SMU on their schedule, or they could approach other name programs to play them. Think LSU vs. Texas in Jerryworld wouldn’t produce a lot of money and national publicity for both schools?

            If they go to a Pac 16, I think they try to get the 5 Big 12 memebers we’ve been talking about as Big 10 candidates: Texas, A&M, Colorado, Missouri, and Nebraska. They’re all academically passable, bringing either a large population (Missouri) or a national name (Nebraska). That just leaves 1 school for 16.

            Texas Tech could be admitted with the school declaring it will use some of its new money to continue to improve its academics (along with the new money they’re getting from a state fund). Oklahoma might get in with a similar pronouncement (with the other 15 schools chosen, they wouldn’t have the chance to push OK State in). Utah, New Mexico, or Iowa State might be more acceptable academic choices.

            I know Rice people have said there is no way they get into a BCS conference, but the Texas schools might push them for the 16th spot if Tech is deemed academically unacceptable to the other Pac 10 schools. Rice is elite academically, would give the schools a valuable game for recruiting and alumni in Houston (which would be almost like home games for the Texas schools), and would make the move west more politically popular in the Texas legislature. The rest of the PAC 10 might decide 3 schools from Texas are OK if it gets the the state viewing figures and raises the academic profile of the conference simultaneously.

            Like

          • @Richard – It depends upon whether those basketball arenas have ice-making capability already. My understanding is that Penn State’s arena doesn’t and that the cost of putting in the necessary equipment would cost nearly as much as simply building a brand new dedicated ice arena. I don’t believe that the Assembly Hall in Champaign has ice-making equipment, either.

            Like

          • duffman says:

            with d -1 you have to play within certain “norms”

            i went to a UK vs UL hockey game a few years ago.. and all the games started at midnight (a reason they liked being club as the place was always packed with a pretty loud group). if they had to play at “normal” hours as a D1 school it would have been a quieter group..

            richard,

            depends on what drives your school.. as UL is about to open a new 22,000 seat arena in downtown louisville – early on rick pitino nixed the idea of ice under the basketball floor because he did not like having another sport get attention.. he was not happy at UK when RUPP announced they were retrofitting the floor to allow an AHL hockey team to move to lexington..

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Little wonder that Minnesota would oppose a Big10 hockey league, as currently over half the teams in the WCHA are in Minnesota or an adjoining state.

            Still, even if the Gophers joined the Big10, all the other smaller Minnesota schools will still have each other (and North Dakota) to play against. It may even increase the Gopher fanbase, as Minnesotans outside the Twin Cities could adopt the Gophers as their second team besides their local school.

            Like

        • Playoffs Now! says:

          The widespread perception is that a Big Ten hockey league would be the death of hockey at places like Bowling Green, Ferris State, and Western Michigan, and there aren’t that many college hockey programs to go around.

          Save Ferris!

          Like

    • M says:

      Obviously the “friend of a friend” idea is what led to the Pitt rumors, but the ND/BC/Rutgers is intriguing.

      My two cents:
      First a question. How does a conference go about issuing conditional invites? Like “We invite you, Boston College, but only if ND and Rutgers join as well”? Does this get worked out behind the scenes? I do not remember very well, but I think that the ACC had this issue when it expanded.

      If there is a combination of three that secures the northeast and New York City, this is probably it. I’m not sure if it would, but there are far more informed/intelligent people than I looking at that issue.

      The idea that BC could ramp up research faster than ND is false. Though it is a Jesuit university (like Georgetown and Marquette) so it might be more inclined to increase its research presence, ND has a substantially larger endowment (four times larger). If ND decided to become a research university, it probably could very quickly increase its facilities (and faculty).

      I think I’ve sufficiently demonstrated previously that I have no idea how ND reasons, but if they want to emphasize their exceptionalism, why bring in their twin? If ND joins the conference and does poorly, they can complain about their usual “We’re playing amateurs against pros” angle. If they do more poorly than BC, which seems highly likely considering that BC has had the better football team for the last 10-15 years, what do they say? Furthermore, the move would seem to put ND on an (at least much closer to) equal footing with BC as far as growing the fan base.

      On the other hand, that comparison could work both ways. Instead of having to win a NC to have a successful season, they could simply have to out-perform BC. The addition could also lead to the NY-Boston rivalry having an expression in college sports which can only be a good thing for all involved.

      For us pro-podders, this addition would work very well. The pods:
      Rutgers-PSU
      ND-BC
      Purdue-Indiana
      NU-Illinois
      and two three team pods:
      MSU-UM-OSU
      Iowa-Wisconsin-Minnesota

      To make divisions, just pick one three school pod and two two school pods. The only issue would be that the three school pods would always have to be in separate divisions, but I think that could be worked out. Other than that problem, every school would be in the same division as every other school at least 1 out of 3 years. All worthwhile Big Ten rivalries would happen as an in-division game every year. The only currently every year games that would be lost are Illinois-Indiana (bleh), PSU-MSU (meh), and NU-Purdue (eh). ND’s Purdue, MSU, and Michigan matchups would not be every year. They would play them all slightly more often than every other year (given a 8 game conference schedule). If the Big Ten goes to 9, they would play 2/3 of the years.

      The ACC fallout could go one of two ways. If they go back to 12 by takinh one school from the Big East (probably Syracuse) the Big East picks up some combination of ECU, UCF, or Memphis (or maybe another Catholic basketball school? Are Xavier or Dayton available?). The Big East waddles on, weaker than before but still probably a BCS conference as Rutgers and Syracuse were not exactly the banner carriers.

      The other possibility is that the ACC goes to 14 by taking Pitt and another school (WVU if they can stomach the academics, UConn otherwise). In this scenario, the Big East is dead as a football conference. Every original member that played the sport in 1991 would be gone.

      Like

  43. Terry says:

    Who first? P10?

    Like

  44. OrderRestored says:

    If this Boston College, Rutgers, Notre Dame thing does go through, then I could definitely see the following occurring:

    *as stated above, Rutgers, Notre Dame, and Boston College would be added to the Big Ten

    *the ACC would then add Pitt or WVA to replace Boston College (most likely Pitt although I would love to see the WVA/Va Tech matchups)

    *the Big East would then add Army and Navy to replace Rutgers and Pitt/WVA

    *I think the PAC 10 will try to add Texas and Texas A&M but it will not happen (because of the insistent inclusion of Tech) and I don’t believe the PAC 10 will expand this year (just not enough viable options for Pac 10 expansion) therefore they will go in with the Big 12 to form a new Big 12/Pac 10 cable network

    *Boise St will join the MWC and they will become BCS eligible, the Big East AQ status will be put under scrutiny and revoked.

    I really hate to see the Pitt/WVA rivalry split up, that has been one of the more entertaining rivalries in the past couple years. I just don’t see a scenario where the ACC would accept both.

    Like

  45. Adam says:

    Change is in the air, folks. Michigan is set to play a first-ever night game in Ann Arbor: http://www.freep.com/article/20100318/SPORTS06/100318047/1319/Notre-Dame-is-foe-for-first-night-game-at-Big-House

    Like

  46. Jeff says:

    Frank,

    Love your blog. Here are my thoughts on Big Ten expansion and how it’s going to shake out…

    I believe that the B10 will ultimately expand to 14 schools and begin by inviting Syracuse and Rutgers in order to try and capture the NY/NJ markets. After these 2 schools have accepted, the B10 will release some vague statement about how they are are still “evaluating” who they would like to invite as their 14th member. What this really will be is a message to Notre Dame that says “this is your last chance to join.” ND, seeing the writing on the wall, will decide that it’s in its own best interests to join. This will also give the B10 some cover b/c it will make it look like ND approached the B10 not the other way around.

    While all this is happening, the Big East will begin to break apart. Pitt, West Virginia, UConn, and Louisville will all join the ACC/SEC. I see Pitt, WVU, and UConn joining the ACC for several reasons. All 3 of those schools would fit in geographically as opposed to the SEC, they all have traditional rivals in the ACC, and together with the other ACC schools it would make the ACC by far the best basketball conference. Louisville will join the SEC b/c of its rivalry with Kentucky and it would help raise the basketball profile of that conference. The SEC will probably also grab a school from the ACC, perhaps Clemson or Georgia Tech. The Big East will probably merge with another conference, maybe Conference USA, but will no longer be a power conference.

    After realignment, the B10 will obviously split into 2 division to have a championship game. While many people have suggested some sort of straight geographical split, I don’t see it happening quite that way.

    Division 1 will consist of PSU, ND, Syracuse, Rutgers, Michigan State, Purdue, and Indiana. Division 2 will consist of Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Northwestern, and Minnesota. Each team would play every team in their division and 3 teams from the other division with one of those 3 being used to schedule a traditional rivalry if needed. At first glance you would look at these division splits and say no way that would happen b/c Division 1 is much weaker than Division 2 but allow me to offer the reasons why I think this is how it will happen.

    First, this maintains a majority of the rivalries within the B10. The only rivals that would be split up would be Michigan/Michigan State and Penn State/Ohio State and these could be scheduled in. Second, it puts ND in the same division as all of the schools in or around NYC/NJ. That means that every year ND is playing at or against PSU, Syracuse, and Rutgers. A combination of those 3 school and ND would ensure that The Big Ten Network would be offered on basic cable all along the Northeast thus successfully capturing those markets. Third, the divisional split would be used to entice ND into joining. It would already have 2 of the schools from the B10 (Purdue and Michigan State) that they already play on their schedule (Michigan could also be scheduled in as ND’s rival from the other division). It would also add PSU and Syracuse, 2 schools that ND has a history of playing, and it would also place ND in the easier of the 2 divisions, thus ensuring them an easier road to the B10 Championship game. By having an easier schedule, ND would also still be able to schedule many of the schools they already play, like USC and Boston College, and not have to worry about having to make it through a grueling B10 schedule on top of that. It may seem like I’m alittle too worried about ND (I’m not a ND fan, for the record), but ultimately I feel that getting ND into the conference far outweighs making a few concessions in order to make that happen.

    Well those are my thoughts on expansion, let me know what you think.

    Like

    • Richard says:

      1. There’s no reason for the SEC to take Louisville (“they have a rivalry” isn’t an economically justifiable reason).

      2. Indiana and Purdue won’t like this split (they’ll see OSU and Michigan 2 years out of 6, and ND & PSU won’t make up for those 2).

      3. Michigan can’t be ND’s cross-divisional rival ebcause MSU would have first dibs on Michigan.

      Like

      • duffman says:

        richard,

        i agree.. the sec rival would be uk, and i think the uk fan base is much happier with the long term rivalry with IU. they have more history with IU. UL is “little brother” – and while UL facilities are growing.. IU has more fan backing.

        Like

    • Michael says:

      Jeff,

      You very well might be right on the money regarding the Big Ten’s expansion strategy, but I’ve got to disagree with the notion that the ACC would take West Virginia.

      I’ll grant you that the Big Ten is easily the hands-down, best athletic conference when it comes to major, expensive research, but the ACC is otherwise neck-and-neck with the Big Ten for academic prestige. Florida State is perhaps the weakest link, going by the fact it is the lowest-ranked school in the ACC on the USNWR list. Yet this “weak” link is still a Tier 1 school with three Rhodes scholars and 13 Fulbright award winners since 2006. There’s a good chance it will get an invitation to the AAU in the next 5 years. Then when you look toward the top of the ACC, you’ll find that 8 ACC schools (Duke, UVA, UNC, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, BC, Miami and Maryland) are all in the top 53. It should be easy to see that WVU, a Tier 3 school, would be an outlier that wouldn’t get invited.

      I hope that my saying WVU wouldn’t qualify in the ACC isn’t taken the wrong way–I’m sure there are plenty of professors & students at that school who are smarter than I am, and I’m not saying it’s a bad school. It’s just that I can’t see the current ACC schools just inviting West Virginia simply because WV needs a conference home. As for Pitt, UConn, Syracuse, or Rutgers? Sure, I could see the ACC inviting any of them if the league felt a need to expand.

      Honestly, I think SEC wouldn’t mind taking Louisville and/or West Virginia, but they won’t. Everyone seems to forget that the SEC has contract for the next 15 years with CBS & ESPN. They’d have little reason to break that contract, add two new teams, and then cross their fingers that they’ll get a new contract as good or better, in share per school, than their current one.

      If you ask me, the best hope for Big East schools who are ‘left behind’ from BT expansion is for them to build an alliance with Big 12 schools who are left behind. When that doesn’t work for all remaining schools, the other ones should try for an alliance with the Mountain West rather than water down the remainder of the league with C-USA teams who’d NEVER get invited by any other BCS conference.

      Like

  47. Jeff says:

    Frank,

    Love your blog. Here are my thoughts on Big Ten expansion and how it’s going to shake out…

    I believe that the B10 will ultimately expand to 14 schools and begin by inviting Syracuse and Rutgers in order to try and capture the NY/NJ markets. After these 2 schools have accepted, the B10 will release some vague statement about how they are are still “evaluating” who they would like to invite as their 14th member. What this really will be is a message to Notre Dame that says “this is your last chance to join.” ND, seeing the writing on the wall, will decide that it’s in its own best interests to join. This will also give the B10 some cover b/c it will make it look like ND approached the B10 not the other way around.

    While all this is happening, the Big East will begin to break apart. Pitt, West Virginia, UConn, and Louisville will all join the ACC/SEC. I see Pitt, WVU, and UConn joining the ACC for several reasons. All 3 of those schools would fit in geographically as opposed to the SEC, they all have traditional rivals in the ACC, and together with the other ACC schools it would make the ACC by far the best basketball conference. Louisville will join the SEC b/c of its rivalry with Kentucky and it would help raise the basketball profile of that conference. The SEC will probably also grab a school from the ACC, perhaps Clemson or Georgia Tech. The Big East will probably merge with another conference, maybe Conference USA, but will no longer be a power conference.

    After realignment, the B10 will obviously split into 2 division to have a championship game. While many people have suggested some sort of straight geographical split, I don’t see it happening quite that way.

    Division 1 will consist of PSU, ND, Syracuse, Rutgers, Michigan State, Purdue, and Indiana. Division 2 will consist of Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Northwestern, and Minnesota. Each team would play every team in their division and 3 teams from the other division with one of those 3 being used to schedule a traditional rivalry if needed. At first glance you would look at these division splits and say no way that would happen b/c Division 1 is much weaker than Division 2 but allow me to offer the reasons why I think this is how it will happen.

    First, this maintains a majority of the rivalries within the B10. The only rivals that would be split up would be Michigan/Michigan State and Penn State/Ohio State and these could be scheduled in. Second, it puts ND in the same division as all of the schools in or around NYC/NJ. That means that every year ND is playing at or against PSU, Syracuse, and Rutgers. A combination of those 3 school and ND would ensure that The Big Ten Network would be offered on basic cable all along the Northeast thus successfully capturing those markets. Third, the divisional split would be used to entice ND into joining. It would already have 2 of the schools from the B10 (Purdue and Michigan State) that they already play on their schedule (Michigan could also be scheduled in as ND’s rival from the other division). It would also add PSU and Syracuse, 2 schools that ND has a history of playing, and it would also place ND in the easier of the 2 divisions, thus ensuring them an easier road to the B10 Championship game. By having an easier schedule, ND would also still be able to schedule many of the schools they already play, like USC and Boston College, and not have to worry about having to make it through a grueling B10 schedule on top of that. It may seem like I’m alittle too worried about ND (I’m not a ND fan, for the record), but ultimately I feel that getting ND into the conference far outweighs making a few concessions in order to make that happen.

    Well those are my thoughts on expansion, let me know what you think. Thanks!

    Like

    • duffman says:

      jeff,

      look at stadium size in the sec, then look at louisville.. (keep in mind that the local high schools – Trinity and Saint X – do a better job of filling UofL’s stadium than UofL)

      kentucky rival long term history is IU, not UofL..

      again with many of these post, i think there is much armchair quarterbacking going on.. if you live in an area.. it might give better feedback on your commentary..

      Like

  48. Mike R says:

    Nothing against Boise, TCU or Utah but I do not like the non-AQ requirement for the Rose Bowl in years that the Big 10 or Pac 10 champ is engaged in the NCG. Better for the Rose Bowl, the Big 10 and Pac 10 to lobby for a +1 NCG and preserve the Rose with its tie-ins.

    Like

    • Richard says:

      It’s there because the other BCS bowls forced it on the Rose Bowl. Otherwise, a non-AQ would only end up in another bowl (if neither Big10 or Pac10 champ gets picked for the national title game, the Rose Bowl has it’s traditionalmatchup; if one is picked, the Rose Bowl gets a top choice, and likely won’t choose a non-AQ).

      Like

  49. Mike R says:

    Frank, have you given up on Texas-to-the-Big 10 in the wake of Powers’ chat with an alum? Or do you think it could still happen, given the likelihood that studies will show that participation in the BTN would likely be more lucrative than a proposed Pac 10-Big 12 Network?

    Like

    • Richard says:

      I think the Big10 was focused on the Northeast from the get-go. 42M people in NY+NJ+NE. If adding 4 schools captures that audience (and Mizzou as the 16th brings in another 6M), that makes about as much sense as adding 2 schools to get Texas’s 24M people.

      Like

  50. Mike R says:

    All of the talk of 16-team conferences strikes me as fantastic — in the “fantasy” sense. Thinking like a university president, doesn’t the Big 10’s experience show that the success of expansion is best ensured when it is done slowly, giving it time to settle. For instance, 20 years after the agreement Penn Staters I think feel fully integrated into the Big 10 family. And the rest of the league I think looks on Penn State as a full-fledged big 10 school. But it took a long time. Expanding by 1 would be relatively easy. By 3, much harder, but still thinkable. Five would seem to be a bridge too far for the presidents to accept. Maybe the Big 10 will get to 16 teams. But even though Jim Delany thinks big, he also knows from experience how important it is to knit a school into the fabric of the conference.

    Like

  51. Rick says:

    Off topic a little, I apologize, but I couldn’t help myself. With some talk around here about GSR and APR rates for Schools and Football teams, I just saw some graduation rates (GSR) for the NCAA Basketball Tourney teams. Some of these are disgraceful, check out Maryland (8%). That’s right..8% What in the hell is Gary Williams doing down there? Cal 20%, Washington 29%, Tenn 30%, Kentucky 31%, Baylor 36%, Missouri 36%, Clemson 37%, Georgia Tech 38%, Louisville 38%.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/18/education-secretary-ban-n_n_503788.html

    Like

    • duffman says:

      rick,

      it is a little misleading.. when kids go pro early, it counts against the school.. and will affect basketball more than football. one and done will be the future of college basketball – i can’t think of any one and done football players in college.

      Like

      • Rick says:

        While that is true about kids leaving early they only represent 1 or maybe 2 kids at most per school each year and that is being generous. It might be 2 kids over 4 years from the major programs. The APR tracks the eligibility and retention and that is low for those schools too. Even if Maryland lost a couple of kids early during the 4 year period being measured it might move their GSR up to a whopping 25%. Or Kentucky’s to a healthy 50%. I still don’t think that is acceptable. Kansas= 73%, Syracuse= 55%, OSU= 60%, Duke= 92%, UNC= 75%, PITT= 75%, Kentucky= 31%, Indiana= 57%. So it really isn’t misleading when compared to other big bball programs who deal with the same issue. The bottom line is they are not good at graduating players.

        Like

    • Dcphx says:

      I’ve seen a comment by Gary Williams indicating that the 9% is from 4-8 years ago and they’ve graduated 11 of their last 12 seniors. You know what they say about statistics.

      Like

      • Rick says:

        Oh yeah Gary, please.

        Like

      • Rick says:

        The NCAA just reports the data. The GSR released in 2009 is for the 1999-2002 cohorts. It is a long time lag. But 8%? come on.

        APR (Academic Progress Rate) measures eligibility and retention as student athletes track towards graduation. The latest APR data released in 2009 reported the 2007-2008 academic year. 2 years ago. Maryland ranked in the 20th percentile vs other D1 Basketball programs. 80% of teams keep their athletes eligible, retain them, and track them to graduation better than Maryland. You are what your record says you are.

        Like

  52. mouse says:

    I think the Big Ten is a lot more conservative than we are giving them credit for. The ideal scenario for them would be to put enough pressure on the ACC (or SEC) for them to flinch and grab a Big East school or two. As the Big East starts to collapse, the B10 could then approach ND as an innocent party to help out. With ND, the expansion talk ends and everyone but the left-out Big East schools are happy.

    Like

    • Adam says:

      I think some of us agree that the Big Ten leadership is unlikely to be as aggressive as has been speculated in these comment threads.

      Like

  53. Richard says:

    Another thought:

    If the Big10 takes ND, BC, Syracuse, and Rutgers, they can form a conference for lacrosse as well. ND, Rutgers, Syracuse, PSU, & OSU current field teams (and I know it’s definitely a revenue sport at Syracuse). Playing other Big10 schools, it may become profitable for the other lax-playing schools also.

    Like

  54. […] knows no limitations) had heard these rumors and then commenter Justin noted the same thing in this posting last night.  Now, I’m just an unfrozen caveman lawyer/blogger, so I’m certainly not […]

    Like

  55. Scott says:

    It’s fine musing that stellar academic institutions like Cal, UCLA and Stanford will leave the Pac-10 and in the process, abandon an equally strong academic school in Washington and cast their lot with the likes of Arizona State and Texas Tech, but I think we’re beginning to drift a little to the realm of fantasy. Has anyone heard any Pac-10 school, even USC, indicate anything to suggest they’d consider leaving the Pac-10?

    In fact, you could just as easily argue that Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State might abandon the rest of the Big Ten to create a new conference with Notre Dame, Florida, Texas, Washington and North Carolina. Yes, it might make for a lucrative TV deal, but it’s just not going to happen.

    Like

  56. […] thereafter, the author decided to launch a forum for the site, but shuttered it shortly thereafter, citing as part of the reason why that he liked that “each blog post has turned into a free flow discussion on expansion […]

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