Frank the Tank’s Big East Expansion FAQ

Posted: November 4, 2010 in Big East, Big Ten, College Basketball, College Football, DePaul Blue Demons, Sports
Tags: , ,

With the Big East announcing that it’s looking to add two football programs, a lot of the same  questions about what the conference should do have been continuously coming up, so let’s address them here:

1. Why don’t the Big East football schools grow some cajones and split from those bloodsucking Catholic schools already?! – As with most decisions of consequence in life, it’s all much easier said than done.  First of all, the gospel that “football money rules all” that has been advanced over the past few years is not quite correct.  Most people blindly follow the Underpants Gnomes Plan for college sports:

Phase 1: Expand for football
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: Profit

However, football in and of itself really isn’t what drives money in college sports.  Otherwise, the 14-school MAC would be the richest league anywhere and the 12-team Conference USA would be looking to poach the Big East as opposed to the other way around.  Quantity does not equal quality, and what TV networks pay for is quality.  Instead, it’s the marquee football schools (i.e. Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Florida, Alabama, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Miami, USC, etc.) that disproportionately drive revenue and adding anything less than one of those schools is speculative and by no means any guarantee that ESPN or another TV network will pay a single cent more.  (Stewart Mandel’s 2007 grouping of the BCS schools into four different tiers is still a pretty good assessment of how where various programs stand in the long-term.)  It’s even unclear that the expanded Pac-10 will really gain much (if any) revenue with Colorado and Utah and that’s with the revenue pop of the creation of a new conference championship game.

Without any marquee schools involved, we can’t apply the same standards for expansion for the Big Ten or SEC to the Big East.  The Big East receives around $33 million per year from ESPN, with about $20 million allocated for basketball ($1.25 million per basketball member) and $13 million for football ($1.625 million per football member).  As you can see, basketball is on the same tier financially to the Big East as football.  Plenty of people have criticized this fact, but it’s a classic “it is what it is” situation.  Without a Notre Dame or Penn State-type addition, the Big East can’t reasonably expect to add any school that adds enough to the football revenue side that would make it worth it for the league to split.

The Big East football members make $2.875 million in TV revenue each annually (including both football and basketball).  That means a 10-team all-sports league would need to have a total TV contract of $28.75 million compared to the current $33 million contract which includes a whole host of large basketball markets just to break even.  Of course, the Big East schools aren’t going to go through the hassle and inevitable lawsuits to split in order to simply break even.  The only good reason for a split would be to see a big-time increase in revenue to make it worth it.  So, in order to make $5 million per school (which would still be the lowest out of all of the BCS conferences by a substantial amount), a 10-school split league would need a $50 million annual TV contract ($17 million more than the current 16-school contract) while a 12-school league would need a $60 million contract ($27 million more than the current deal).  Even if we assume that a split league would somehow lose absolutely no value on the basketball side (and that’s a very generous assumption) and the current 8 Big East football members alone can start at the $33 million level that’s being paid out to the entire 16-team conference, 2 additional schools would need to add about $8.5 million each to the Big East TV contract while 4 additional schools would need to bring $6.75 million each.

Is it reasonable to assume that individual schools will be able to bring to the Big East revenue increases that are close the entire TV contracts for the conferences that they would be leaving such as the Mountain West or C-USA?  (The MWC makes $12 million in TV money per year for all sports and the C-USA deal with CBS College Sports is between $7 to 8 million annually.)  Absolutely not, which is what the Big East’s university presidents understand and why they are adamant about not splitting.

This doesn’t even get into what would happen to the Big East’s accumulated NCAA Tournament credits over the past five years, which represent a significant amount of money equal to about five years of BCS bowl payments.  The football schools would risk giving all of that up to the Catholic schools in a split situation (since the football schools would be exiting the conference from a legal perspective) and, at the very least, there would be massive lawsuits involved.  The Big East football members aren’t stupid enough to get within the vicinity of that type of potential trouble and financial loss unless it’s adding a certain Catholic school from South Bend (which won’t happen).

2.  Didn’t you go to DePaul for law school, which makes you a hack homer and completely biased in supporting a program that can’t play basketball worth crap or justify its existence in the Big East? Yes, I went to DePaul for law school, but my emotional sports investment is with my undergrad alma mater of Illinois and the Big Ten.  Also, I completely understand DePaul sucks royally hard in basketball right now.  Oh man, do they suck.  My eyes are burning.  Personally, I don’t really care whether the Big East splits or not – my only long-term preference for DePaul (and what the school’s administration cares about) would be staying with the Catholic schools that it considers to be its institutional peers in some form or fashion.  (I’m sure the alums of the old-line Big East schools such as St. John’s and Georgetown would feel very differently about that – they are definitely invested completely in the hybrid.)

That being said, the value of DePaul and all of the other Catholic schools in the Big East is as a collective as opposed to the individual schools.  The Catholic members are what allow the Big East to go into any negotiation and state that it’s the conference that covers the New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington and Providence/Boston markets.  Believe me when I say that this fact is pumped up on slide #1 on any Big East PowerPoint presentation and that the relative peanuts that the conference is receiving from ESPN today would be even less without that market argument.  The Big East can’t point to massive fan bases or schools like the Big Ten or SEC (and likely will never have any), so the competitive advantage that it has to sell is its presence in nearly all of the largest markets in the Eastern half of the United States.  Otherwise, the differentiators between the Big East and C-USA or the Mountain West (much less the other BCS conferences) from a TV perspective are virtually nil.  The Big East is still more valuable with the Catholic schools than without them for that reason.

3.  Doesn’t the Big East need to protect itself from getting pillaged by the Big Ten and ACC? The bad news in Providence is that every Big East member would jump to the Big Ten or ACC immediately no matter what the Big East decides to do – no expansion decision or financial scheme would ever change that.  The good news is that the Big Ten and ACC aren’t interested in any Big East schools.  So, for the foreseeable future, the answer to the question is an emphatic NO.  Similar to the analysis of the financial prospects (or lack thereof) in a Big East split situation in the answer to question #1 above, the financial incentives simply aren’t there for either the Big Ten or ACC to expand beyond 12 barring Notre Dame or Texas being added.  In the Big Ten’s case, each additional school needs to bring in $22 million just to break even in today’s world without Nebraska or a Big Ten title game – that number is probably going to push toward the $30 million over the next year or two in the 12-team league.  Once again, the entire 16-school Big East contract is worth $33 million.  While the Big Ten Network is lucrative, it can’t perform David Copperfield magic tricks – 2 or 4 Big East schools aren’t suddenly going to be worth $30 million each to the Big Ten when a 16-school league is valued at $33 million total.  Similar math applies to the ACC situation, albeit with lower figures in the $15 million per school range.  ESPN isn’t going to add $30 million to its new ACC contract so that the league can expand with 2 Big East members (or a $60 million increase with 4 additional members) when it currently can get all 16 Big East members for $33 million.  None of it adds up.  Therefore, the Big East should be expanding to better itself as opposed to some type of defensive measure against other conferences.

4.  Can’t the Big East make up the revenue gap with other BCS conferences by creating its own TV network?  Well, a lot of people seem to apply the Underpants Gnomes Plan to the notion of a Big East network, too.  Just because a conference (a) starts a network and (b) has teams in certain markets doesn’t automatically mean that such conference network is going to magically get the basic carriage at a high subscriber rate that’s required to make it financially viable.  Case in point is the mtn (which is the Mountain West’s network that’s owned by CBS College Sports), which hasn’t been able to get basic carriage in its two largest markets of Dallas-Fort Worth and San Diego.  So, if TCU wasn’t enough to get the mtn onto basic carriage in DFW, it’s not going to suddenly get a Big East network on in the same market when the Big East has no substantial alumni or fan presence in that area otherwise.  The Minnesota Twins also started a network that ended up folding, and that’s actually a team that legitimately “delivers” its home market.  Even the Texas Longhorns network isn’t really going to be the financial boon that many were predicting and there’s no single school in the country that’s better positioned to start one up.

Without leverage, you don’t get basic carriage, and without basic carriage, you’re better off just signing a comprehensive deal with ESPN.  That leverage doesn’t come in a linear fashion, either – it’s faulty reasoning to say, “The Big East is 50% less popular than the Big Ten in its home area, so the Big East network can just charge 50% less than the Big Ten Network.”  Instead, there’s a tipping point where there’s a critical mass of fans in a market that care about the network so much that they will actually leave (not just threaten) their current cable provider for another one that carries the network.  At that point, the current cable provider is better off paying up $.70 per month (or whatever the subscriber rate is) to that network than losing more money in cancelled $80 monthly cable bills.  The Big Ten and the New York Yankees had that leverage and even they had to endure fights with cable providers for a year or more in order to get basic carriage.

That leads to another issue specifically related to the Big East – in order for its conference network to work out in any form, it needs to get basic carriage in the New York City market.  Remember that this was a market where Cablevision argued that the freaking Yankees were “niche programming” and there’s already three extremely high-priced regional sports networks (YES, SNY and MSG) to compete with.  Frankly, if any combination of Rutgers, Syracuse and/or UCONN was enough to get a cable network basic carriage in NYC, then such combination would’ve been invited to the Big Ten months ago.  The problem is that the NYC market is fool’s gold for conferences because the sheer size of it and the way that college sports fans are so dispersed among all of the conferences there means that no single conference could ever get the critical mass required to make a network work in that area.

This issue applies to pretty much all of the large markets that the Big East is located in (Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington).  The conference has a presence in each of them where they provide value for the purposes of an ESPN national TV contract or signing up the syndicated Big East package with an RSN, but none of them provide the critical mass of fans that would meet the threshold of getting a Big East network basic carriage.  Heck, the only Big East markets that I could see as “guaranteed” to get basic carriage are Louisville, Hartford and the state of West Virginia.  Pittsburgh and Central New York probably could be added to that list, but everywhere else would be speculative.  The Big East has the high population numbers on paper, but not enough fan intensity within that population base to justify creating a TV network.

5.  Couldn’t Big East consultant/savior Paul Tagliabue figure out how to create a Big East network?  Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue?  The guy that took the single most valuable sports property in America and created a network that initially couldn’t get carriage anywhere other than DirecTV, where the NFL has Godfather powers due to Sunday Ticket access?  The guy that created a network that couldn’t reach a deal with Comcast until he left the commissioner’s office and Roger Goodell took over?  The guy that created a network that still doesn’t have deals with Time Warner, Cablevision or Mediacom seven years after it went on the air?  You want that guy giving you advice on starting up a cable network?  Seriously?!

I remember traveling to London for work a couple of years ago and found that the BBC carries the NFL Network Thursday Night package live.  Think about that for a second:  people living in the United Kingdom literally have more access to NFL Network games than people in the United States.  That’s Paul Tagliabue’s cable network legacy.

6.  Why can’t the Big East get Penn State or Notre Dame? C.R.E.A.M.  The Big East will get farther trying to ask USC and Florida to join.

7.  Why can’t the Big East get Boston College or Maryland? C.R.E.A.M.  Note that other than the schools that moved up from C-USA to the Big East, there was no single greater financial beneficiary from the 2003 conference realignment than Boston College.  The people that matter at BC are very happy with the ACC.

8.  Why can’t the Big East go after the almost-leftovers of the Big 12 such as Missouri and Kansas? First, as I’ve written over the past few months, the Big 12 will be stable as long as Texas wants the league to stay alive, and pretty much everything points to that being the Texas long-term position for a multitude of reasons (TV network, political heat, etc.).  As a result, no one should be shortsighted in thinking that the Big 12 is going to collapse at any point soon.

Second, C.R.E.A.M.  Texas might be a mean pimp a la Wayne Brady, but they’ll pay out juuuuuuust enough money to keep its employees from drifting off and getting legitimate jobs.  It’s not as if though the Big 12 has really had completely poor payouts.  I don’t buy Dan Beebe’s projections of $452 gazillion per year per school that will all be funded by his multi-level marketing “business”, but even if the Big 12 can simply keep its current payout levels, that will still provide between $6 to 7 million annually for each member.  Those numbers far surpass what the Big East can ever hope to provide.  As noted earlier, revenue is driven by the marquee football schools and the Big 12 has two of them in Texas and Oklahoma.  Regardless of whether UT, OU and Texas A&M have guaranteed $20 million annual payouts, it’s going to be extremely tough for any of the Big 12 schools to leave for a league whose best football anchor is arguably West Virginia.

9. Won’t the Mountain West become an AQ conference in a few years? – My educated guess is no based on the losses of Utah and BYU.  Even with the addition of Boise State next season, the issue with the Mountain West and the BCS evaluation criteria will always be with the depth (the performance of the schools from top to bottom) as opposed to the top 2 or 3 schools.  Regardless, why would TCU take the risk of that not happening in a few years when it could get into a BCS conference right away?  The answer is that they wouldn’t – TCU and any other non-AQ team would jump at any BCS invite.

10.  Why the heck would TCU or anyone else agree to a football-only Big East invite? – The crappiest house in Beverly Hills is worth more than the nicest house in South Central LA, and the crappiest spot in an AQ conference is worth more than the nicest spot in a non-AQ conference.  It’s a hell of a lot more difficult to find a spot in a BCS football league than a home for basketball and other non-revenue sports.  TCU is at its absolute peak in terms of marketability and attractiveness and the leadership there likely knows that it needs to strike it while it’s hot.  Any other non-AQ school that might receive a football-only invite from the Big East would be wise to do the same because future opportunities aren’t guaranteed.

At the same time, TCU or any other non-AQ school HAS to run the table in order to have shot a BCS bowl bid, and even that’s not necessarily a guarantee if there are multiple undefeated non-AQ teams.  Going undefeated every single season is simply unrealistic for even the very elite football programs.  In contrast, there’s a fairly good chance that this year’s Big East champ will have 3 losses (or even more).  Being in an AQ conference means that a school has some margin for error during the course of the season, which doesn’t exist in the non-AQ world.

11.  Won’t TCU try for a Big 12 invite instead? It takes two to tango: TCU can try for a Big 12 invite all it wants but the Horned Frogs will be rejected every time.  I’ve said this many times before and I’ll say it again: the single biggest issue with the Big 12 financially is that it lacks viable markets outside of the state of Texas.  Putting aside the fact that neither Texas nor Texas A&M want anything to do whatsoever with TCU (which is definitely the case), TCU is simply in the same place with respect to the Big 12 as Iowa State and Pitt are with the Big Ten – overlapping markets will kill any chance of an invite.  As long as UT and A&M are in the Big 12, TCU will NEVER receive a Big 12 invite.  Big East schools don’t have to worry about TCU bolting down the road.

12.  What do you think will happen even though you have the gambling skills of Charles Barkley on a bender? I believe that the Big East will do the right thing and invite TCU as a football-only member, with TCU sending its non-football sports to the Missouri Valley Conference.  (Note that under NCAA rules, a school cannot play its non-football sports in a league that sponsors football when its football team plays in another league.  Notre Dame is compliant because its football team is independent.  Thus, the WAC, C-USA or staying in the MWC for non-football sports aren’t options for TCU.  The Missouri Valley Football Conference exists at the FCS level, yet it’s administratively a separate league from the MVC despite having common members and sharing the same branding and headquarters.  Not to open up another can of worms, but that MVC/MVFC setup might work for separating the leadership of the Big East football and non-football leagues in the future while still keeping the same name and branding.)  Meanwhile, Villanova will accept its outstanding invitation to move up from the FCS level since I just can’t see how anyone can turn down a BCS invite with the way college sports is heading.  It’s not what I believe is the right thing to do for the Big East (as I personally believe that adding Villanova would be a mistake), but the tea leaves seem to indicate that this is the most likely outcome.

13.  How confident are you that the Big East will actually expand? The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette summed up the Big East expansion situation very nicely yesterday:

The logistics of this expansion will be tricky because its basketball league has 16 members.

That means to add two football programs, the conference either must go to 18 teams (or 17 if Villanova is one of the two football teams added) — which nobody seems to want– or eliminate one or two basketball members. That does not seem to be desirable, either.

A third, but likely unrealistic, option would add two football-only members.

Let me get this straight: nobody wants 18 schools, nobody wants 17 schools, eliminating basketball members is undesirable and adding football-only members is unrealistic.  Well, that inspires a lot of confidence, doesn’t it?

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

(Image from Webshots)

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Comments
  1. jcfreder says:

    adding

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  2. greg says:

    Hawkeyes are gonna be the first 2-loss team in the BCS this year. Big East will be the first 3-loss team.

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    • greg says:

      Must remember to check the “subscribe” box this time.

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    • JohnDenver says:

      Illinois was like 7-5 when it went to the Rose Bowl (not really, but it definitely had more than two losses). LSU won the BCS with 2 losses also.

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      • greg says:

        Yeah, my post was poorly worded. I have to find a “first” way to say things about the Hawks. Illini were 9-3, I think in 2007. Iowa was 10-2 when they went to the Orange Bowl last year. Plenty of 2+ loss teams have made it in the past.

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      • Michael in Indy says:

        Missouri got screwed twice that year. OU, VT, USC, OSU, LSU, WVU, and Hawaii got into BCS bowls automatically. The remaining three at-large bids were chosen by the Rose, Sugar, and Orange. No one can fault the Sugar for taking a 10-2 Georgia team that was on a tear that year. But the Rose chose a 9-3 Illinois team that Mizzou beat, then the Orange took 11-1 Kansas, who Mizzou also beat.

        I still can’t figure out why, in ’04, the Rose Bowl turned down a 10-1 Cal team in favor of a Texas team with the same record, but in ’07, took a 9-3 Illinois over an 11-2 Missouri that beat them.

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        • Richard says:

          Both teams that were taken would bring more (or the same number of, in the case of Cal vs. Texas) fans & eyeballs than both teams passed over, respectively.

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        • @Michael in Indy – Well, I’m not sure of the circumstances in 2004, but the Rose Bowl typically will always prefer a Big Ten or Pac-10 team over other conferences. Also, when you look at the BCS top 14 from 2007, the Rose Bowl’s choices ahead of #13 Illinois that were at-large candidates without auto-bids were #6 Missouri, #8 Kansas and #11 Arizona State. The Sugar Bowl had first dibs on #5 Georgia. The Rose Bowl certainly wasn’t going to have an all Pac-10 matchup, so Arizona State was out. Considering how well Illinois travels along with the Chicago TV market, it was almost a certainty that if the Rose Bowl didn’t take the Illini and instead took a Big 12 team, then Illinois would’ve ended up in the Orange Bowl anyway over poor traveling and smaller market Arizona State. Only one of either Mizzou or Kansas could take a Big 12 bid, so it was really the Orange Bowl’s choice of Kansas that truly screwed Mizzou – Illinois was going to go BCS bowling one way or another that year.

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          • Michael in Indy says:

            Yeah I know. The Rose Bowl did what was right for the Rose Bowl by taking Illinois, but I’ll complain nonetheless. Nothing personal against the Illini. 🙂

            Maybe I’m just bitter because my favorite conference (ACC) can’t get its dang act together and, for once, get two teams in BCS bowls and actually win them.

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    • cfn_ms says:

      There have been some 3 loss teams in the past: Illinois in 2007, Pitt in 2004, and probably more that I’ve just forgotten.

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    • StvInIL says:

      But they will lose in Evanston. So maybe they will have to try to be the first 3 loss team.

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    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      LSU was a 3 loss SEC and Sugar Bowl Champion back in 2001, destroying Frank’s Illini in the process. Sorry Frank.

      LSU was a 2 loss SEC and BCS National Champion in 2007, cruising to victory over the Buckeyes in the BCS NCG.

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  3. HerbieHusker says:

    ADD

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  4. Jake says:

    MVC for non-football sports? Shoot me now. But what if something were to … “happen” to, say, Providence? Then the Big East could add another school for all sports, yes?

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    • Richard says:

      Is the Valley really worse than the MWC for non-football sports (considering that it will be a MWC without BYU or Utah)?

      Oh, and considering that the current BE president is from Providence, the last BE president was from Providence, and the guy who started the BE is from Providence, Seton Hall is a much more likely candidate to “disappear”.

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  5. Adam says:

    Just a couple of notes.

    1. We’re in a moratorium on new conferences being formed. “For a four-year period beginning August 9, 2007, . . . no new single-sport or multisport conference shall be elected to Division I conference membership.” NCAA Manual § 3.1.1.

    2. I am scouring the manual, and I can’t seem to find the rule that says a school has to be “all-in” on the football issue (i.e., can’t belong to 2 different FBS leagues, one for Football and one for everything else).

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    • Michael in Indy says:

      Temple belongs to the MAC for football and to the A-10 for everything else. Being a football-only member is within the rules since the A-10 doesn’t offer FBS football. On a similar note, Villanova is a member of the CAA for FCS football and the Big East for everything else because the Big East doesn’t offer FCS football.

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      • Adam says:

        Right, but that’s not the question that interests me. I’m interested in whether TCU could join the Big East for football only, and then some other FBS league for other sports (e.g., stay in the MWC). Or, do they have to find some non-FBS league, like the MVC?

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        • Michael in Indy says:

          Even if there isn’t an NCAA rule that prohibits TCU from being in one FBS league for football, and another for everything else, it’s a moot point.

          I think the MWC would assume they’d be better off without TCU if football’s not in the mix. BYU couldn’t stay in the MWC since it went independent, and BYU at least has a good basketball team. TCU can’t even offer that.

          I doubt C-USA would offer TCU non-football membership, either. TCU basketball doesn’t increase the size of the pie enough to split revenues to an extra school. The WAC and Sun Belt might feel differently, though.

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      • Adam says:

        To use your example, sure, we know that if Temple Basketball plays in the A-10, and the A-10 is only an FCS league, then Temple, with their FBS football, can be a football-only member of an FBS league. But could Temple Basketball bail on the A-10 and join the Big East, while leaving football in the MAC? The assertion is that they cannot, I am just not finding the on-point rule.

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    • M says:

      2-I’ve heard about (and propagated) the rumors about about that rule, but I haven’t seen any hard proof of it either. To me, it makes sense for conferences to enact that rule, but it would be nice to have hard evidence.

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      • Adam says:

        I don’t really have any specific reason to think you’re wrong, as it seems like a very sensible rule, but I just couldn’t find it in the (voluminous) manual.

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  6. Michael in Indy says:

    @Greg: How about, “The Hawkeyes are tied for FIRST PLACE in the Big Ten?”

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    • greg says:

      @Michael in Indy who can drive to Bloomington to watch a Hoosier beatdown on Saturday:

      I used “first in the loss column” earlier this week, so I didn’t want to repeat myself so quickly. 🙂

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      • Michael in Indy says:

        Ha! Fine by me if Iowa can pull it off to see IU get crushed! I think IU is an absolutely gorgeous campus, and Bloomington is just an awesome college town (spent two wedding anniversaries there), but I am no Hoosier fan… since moving to Indiana from the Carolinas (raised in South, college in North), my adopted Big Ten team has been the [lowly] Purdue Boilermakers.

        The Hawkeyes have come a long way since the game I saw at Ross-Ade in ’07 (31-6 Purdue).

        Have fun at the game, man!

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        • greg says:

          Unfortunately, I won’t be able to go to the Iowa-IU game. Iowa will win, but it may not be pretty. I’m ready for a little let down and a 24-10 win.

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  7. protohamster says:

    TCU will most probably be the 9th school to join the Big East in football, the real intrigue lies in who will be the 10th invite? From what I have read Villanova is nowhere near ready to make a jump to FBS level football.

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    • Michael in Indy says:

      Let me just say, as an Appalachian State alum, I’d feel kind of disgusted if Villanova gets to waltz straight into the Big East for football. Sure, it’s a good program at the FCS level. Sure it’s an existing member of the Big East for everything else. Blah blah blah. That school couldn’t get 10,000 people to go to their national semifinal game last year, when the won the FCS national title.

      Meanwhile, App State draws about 28,000 people per game (excluding Thanksgiving weekend playoff games, which aren’t covered by season tickets). That’s more than the average MAC, Sun Belt, WAC, or C-USA game, and 5,000 short of the MWC average, which is skewed because of departing members BYU and Utah. Of course, those fans have come to the game despite the most appealing home game being Georgia Southern. ASU has also invested heavily in football ($32 million stadium complex w/ luxury boxes, new locker rooms, etc., opened last year) and has won 3 national titles to Nova’s 1.

      Just sucks knowing how little Villanova cares about football yet gets to go into the Big East. Oh well… any redneck will tell ya, “Laff ain’t furr.” 😉

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  8. M says:

    As far as the Underpants Gnome metaphor goes, the Big East is Tweek.

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    • Jake says:

      And the MWC is Kenny – getting squished like a bug. Stupid Pac-10.

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      • StvInIL says:

        Maybe it’s time that some football conferences become the MAC. An uninspiring image but still yet viable and happy to be so. They also cross lances with some of the big boys. When you divide up the big pie into slivers instead of slices it becomes a problem. The Mac’s not fighting anyone for their slice.

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        • Adam says:

          I agree. I am very pro-MAC. About the only thing I would change is that I would swap Miami (OH) and Toledo in the divisional alignment (and, if they keep Temple and a 13-team alignment, I’d slide Bowling Green into the West Division for football only and make the West the 7-team group).

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  9. Doug says:

    Jake.. If any original BE school gets booted it won’t Providence, it would be Seton Hall. The league is unhappy with their commitment to sports other than men’s BBall.

    Depaul is the most at risk new member. BTW Depaul and Setaon Hall currently have have not provided the Big East’s any accumulated NCAA Tournament credits.

    But I think niether will get the boot.

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  10. Ron says:

    Viewing this from a Texas perspective, it does make sense that Fort Worth based TCU would jump at the chance to join the Big East as a football-only member. Since the breakup of the Southwest Conference, TCU has shown a remarkable determination to do whatever is necessary to build its football program. That includes membership in three different successive conferences (WAC, Conf. USA and currently MWC).

    Having said that, the Big 12 might look at TCU as a potential member in the future if (say) Texas A&M were to ultimately bolt to the SEC or Missouri finally get into the Big Ten. Am not convinced Texas is going to want to blow up the Big 12 just for the loss of one or two schools. If the Dallas Cowboys continue to go into a down phase (especially with the exorbitant ticket prices they are charging in their new stadium) and TCU rolls up three or four consecutive Big East titles, the loyalties of the Dallas/Fort Worth market could be tilted significantly. As Jerry Jones slides into old age, we’re seeing behavior that points to the Cowboy’s owner being much more interested in immediate profits and ego gratification than in winning football games or cultivating fan support.

    If we had looked at TCU football ten or fifteen years ago, their growth to where they are is just amazing. They’ve still got a long way to go, but it is really not that far-fetched they could ultimately join the Big 12 should things break right.

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    • Bullet says:

      Mandel sure is tough on AZ and UNC-peasants? Hard to argue with the rest.

      Point #3 They really are at risk with 8 teams. If you lose 2 from 10 you are ok. If you lost 2 from 8 you are in trouble. So having a critical mass is important to safeguard yourself from defections. It may not stop defections, but helps you recover. It allows you time to strengthen new schools (i.e. Villanova, potentially Memphis) instead of having them step right in (as WAC is doing with UTSA and TX St.).

      Point #12 What I’m seeing from the Villanova people, and it makes sense, is that they won’t lose any more money in FBS so they might as well make the jump. I don’t think it made sense for the BE to invite them, but it doesn’t make sense for Villanova to say no and continue to lose $4-$5 million a year on football. So I think Villanova is #9. Whether BE can reach agreement on #10 and the terms is very much up in the air. I wouldn’t take either side in a bet.

      Like

    • footballnut says:

      Great post Frank, but the BE would not announce expansion unless they 1) thought it economically feasible and 2)they know who they want. They wouldn’t do anything without paying some consultant a ton of money to validate their desires. So, in spite of your very valid reasons questioning “what the heck’s going on out there”, perhaps they know something we don’t. Remember the Big 10 thingy? How many people out there chose Nebraska right off the bat? Less than 10% I bet.

      TCU. I don’t know the Texas region at all, but from the outside, seems like TCU is the Lone Ranger in the Lone Star State. As long as Texa$ is in the Big 12, TCU will not…neither will Houston or Rice. I think bad blood still boils from the demolition of the old SWC. Dunno…

      Anyhoo, TCU would make sense, but geopraphically ridiculous. I vote for East Carolina and UCF from conference USA. Both bring in differnet markets and have sold programs. Not top ten, but decent enough. TCU should stay where they are.

      Like

      • Bullet says:

        On the Big 10-was the B10 thinking Nebraska? No, it all happened very quickly. College Presidents are like CEOs. They tend to be impulsive. So I’m not so sure its all buttoned down at this point.

        Re: Big 12/TCU. I don’t think there is any bad blood on the B12 side (maybe a little toward SMU). Its just $. TT and Baylor added $0 to the conference TV contract except for the chance for a CCG (In 1994 they asked the TV execs what the $ for a Big 8 +2 was, then what a B8 +4 was-answer was exactly the same). And TT & Baylor brought more to the table than the other 4.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Actually, politics. Texas and TAMU would have been happy to join up with the Big8 all by themselves, but politicos in Austin tied TTech and Baylor to the top 2.

          Like

      • ezdozen says:

        As a Big East guy, let me say this. Think like a Big East commissioner’s office… not like a competent conference’s commissioner’s office.

        Like

  11. Mike says:

    Nebraska vs Kansas is fourth PPV for a Nebraska game this year. Nebraska profit is 250-500K.

    http://m.huskerextra.com/mobile/article_ff0492b0-2df5-5141-b6db-50d7ae583da1.html

    Like

  12. Looks like the Big East likes Villanova plus TCU or UCF, while not being high on either ECU or Memphis.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/college/football/big_east_football_expanding_to_vQl1jfX6qpBoI2UPtiV7KN

    Like

    • Jake says:

      UCF is not alone in wanting an all-sports invite to the Big East.

      Like

    • Michael in Indy says:

      The Big East would probably have more viewers to gain in North Carolina by taking ECU than it would gain in Texas by taking TCU. This is because ECU, basically, is a bigger deal in NC than TCU is in Texas.

      Based on that logic alone, the Big East should take ECU. And heck, ECU fits better into BE territory, right?

      Using that same logic, the Big Ten would have taken Missouri over Nebraska if that was all that mattered. The BT would have far more viewers to gain within Missouri markets than it will within Nebraska markets.

      Of course, the Big Ten was smart enough to look at the bigger picture. Nationwide, Nebraska would bring more new Big Ten viewers than Missouri. TCU may be unloved locally, but that school resonates with viewers nationwide. Given the chance to get on reasonably accessible television, TCU gets good ratings. ECU couldn’t do that. They’re out of luck. The BE will go after TCU. It’s a no-brainer.

      I don’t see any way ECU can work itself up to a point where it will get into any major conference. Boise State’s the same way; the Big 12 would take BYU, Memphis, Louisville, Houston, even TCU ahead of them because of distance and academics. Boise has proven it’s possible to be a major program without being in a major conference. That’s where ECU ought to be spending its energy.

      Like

  13. Bullet says:

    Point #1
    Is basketball brands or markets? If it is brands, UL, UC, SU, UConn and Villanova are pretty serious brands. Georgetown is the only brand you lose (Marquette would be a “Baron”). And more success can strengthen your existing brands. #13 doesn’t get too much TV time. There is absolutely no question the BE 16 get more NCAA bids if they are two separate conferences. NCAA resists inviting #9 teams. If its markets, DC is the significant loss. Mostly, the BE has overlap now. How much pentration does the BE have in Chicago? If they do have a significant amount, ND could be invited and would likely stay. IMO that $20 million increases (in total-not to each half) if it is two separate conferences with different TV time slots.

    Teams have every right to split. They can split w/o necessarily having any significant legal issues.

    There hasn’t been any official public disclosure, but it has been commonly accepted that in 2003 there was an agreement that if the league split, teams could take their NCAA credits. The 5 schools were planning on splitting, but surprised everyone by deciding to stay at the last moment and create the BE 16 monstrosity. The belief was that they agreed to stay with a provision they could split after a given period of time and take their credits with them.

    I think the reason they haven’t split is conservatism and the desire of SU, Pitt and UConn to stay with their long-time rivals. Every indication is that the 5 newer members would be glad to leave. I have seen speculation that adding Villanova is a prelude to a split. I doubt those BE fb schools think that far ahead, but it would significantly strengthen them on the bb side.

    Like

    • Richard says:

      Again, it’s not so much what is lost, but rather that the football schools just wouldn’t gain that much from a split. A couple extra hundred thousand dollars a year just isn’t worth the recriminations and bad blood with old conference mates (especially since any gain for several years would likely be eaten up by legal fees).

      Like

  14. […] to be rational. The money of the Big East just doesn’t match-up (read this Frank the Tank piece to get an idea. Also note what he has to say about a Big East TV channel. Even if you don’t […]

    Like

  15. […] Frank the Tank’s Big East Expansion FAQ FRANK THE TANK’S SLANT Very good take on how the Big East looking to expand won’t really do much for them, and how the […]

    Like

  16. M says:

    There’s a bit of contradiction in your arguments:

    1-DePaul is worth having because they allow the presentation to say “We have a school in Chicago”, even though they may not deliver much.

    2-TCU is in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. While DFW is not as large as Chicago, it is still in the top 10 in the country and is much larger than Providence or “South Orange, New Jersey”, whatever that is.

    3-A constant in your posts has been “Brands sell, not markets”. Why is Big East basketball an exception?

    In short, why are DePaul’s (or Providence’s or Seton Hall’s) non-football sports in Chicago financially worth more than TCU’s non-football sports in DFW?

    I understand and accept the cultural/logistical reasons for keeping those schools in the conference, but I highly doubt the television contract would be different if TCU were substituted for one of them.

    Like

    • GCS says:

      You’re losing track of who is trying to sell what where. All of them are poor options for trying to sell a completely separate cable network, but are useful in getting a better deal with ESPN or getting a regional sports network to broadcast games.

      Like

    • StvInIL says:

      M, I can tell you that back in the late 70s through the 80’s maybe early 90’s DePaul Basket ball was a really big deal. They are perfectly well situated to be so in Chicago. They just have not been able to do it on the court. I personally think if they could get both the right coach and a string of really good basketball players not overly anxious to jump to the NBA they can easily be that big deal again.
      Another thing. Northwestern delivers a darn good product in it football team considering its obstacles. But they really don’t fill their stadium game in game out. In terms of a basketball version of Northwestern they would fill their venue easily and over a period of success might look to the united center to give those who have been unable to acquire tickets an opportunity. My opinion, but Frank, tell me what you think on this.

      Like

  17. MIRuss says:

    Frank,

    As always, great summary. I think I said something earlier that the BEast probably couldn’t expand (somewhere) of that they would be reduced to nothing if they lost any team which is what made the Rutgers or Pitt to the Big 10 a non-starter. Add to that the issue that you can’t just “dump” a basketball only school and it’s a quagmire.

    But, while I don’t think there are too many schools that would look at a “football” only invite, you stated in #10 above: Football AQ status is better than anything else TCU has going for it right now. Which makes the final summary somewhat questionable. They will simply have to figure out a way to manage a 17 team schedule in Basketball. I think the Gnome Underpants Theory will work and it will increase revenue, but TCU will want into the Big East basketball contract, also.

    Like

  18. GopherKev says:

    add

    Like

  19. Some comments from Big East commissioner John Marinato:

    http://ncaafootball.fanhouse.com/2010/11/04/john-marinatto-big-east-commissioner-discusses-expansion/

    Pretty standard stock answers.

    Like

  20. Bullet says:

    Sparky talked about trading Tony Perez, my favorite player, from the Reds after the 76 season. They had a higher %, much younger, gold glove caliber 1st baseman in Dan Driesen. He said it was his mistake. Being there all those years and he didn’t understand Tony was the glue that held it all together. With Johnny Bench, Pete Rose and Joe Morgan, there were a few egos on the team. Ken Griffey Sr. was a lifetime .300 hitter and was hardly noticed. George Foster won an MVP as the only player to hit 50 homers between Willie Mays and the steroid era. The Big Red Machine didn’t win another pennant after Tony was traded. And as mentioned in the article, it takes some skill to get those egos to work together as he did with the Reds and Riley did with the Lakers.

    Like

  21. Todd says:

    There is no way I am the only person who had to look up C.R.E.A.M.

    Like

  22. StvInIL says:

    Question? What is it about TCU that the Big East does not like? I always thought they would be a decent option for them. But there rarely get a mention from those close to the BE or on the East coast.

    Like

    • StvInIL says:

      Sorry, I typed TCU, I meant ECU

      Like

      • Richard says:

        1. No major market.

        2. Football team isn’t one of the top teams like TCU is now.

        3. NC is a saturated college football market with 4 BCS-conference teams (Texas, with nearly 3 times the population, Florida, with double the population, and California, with 4 times the population, have only 4 BCS-conference teams as well; Georgia, with the same population as NC, has 2).

        Like

      • Michael in Indy says:

        @Richard:

        I don’t think it’s really the market. ECU is really the third-most popular college team in North Carolina; Wake and Duke neither draw fans nor get on television very often.

        IF, for whatever reason, ECU got invited to the Big East, they’d get good ratings in nearby markets. Granted, Raleigh/Durham, Charlotte, Greensboro/Winston-Salem, Asheville, etc., are not huge markets, but they add up to a lot. ECU could get very good ratings in all of them, plus the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.

        Unfortunately for ECU, the Big East needs a boost in average ratings for the whole country. ECU can’t offer that.

        Although it carries a surprisingly small amount of its local market, TCU can offer the Big East better overall ratings because it’s a program that means something to college football fans everywhere. Better ratings nationally will result in a better TV contract.

        Like

        • cfn_ms says:

          Could ECU give a Big East network carriage in NC? Given that the state already has UNC (relevant in football and basketball), NC ST (more football than basketball), Duke and Wake (both basically basketball)? I really doubt it.

          I’m sure that highlight type games involving ECU (CCG, games against whoever is leading the Big East) would get decent viewership, but I doubt they’d get good viewership for ECU-Syracuse, ECU-USF, etc.

          And since they’re pretty clearly not one of the couple elite non-AQ programs, either in terms of current status (Boise, TCU, Houston to lesser extent) or history (BYU, TCU), there’s really not much that would make them a compelling candidate. If the BE felt they really needed 12, and they couldn’t figure out a good 12th, then maybe it could happen, but IMO that’s the only realistic ECU to Big East scenario.

          Like

          • Michael in Indy says:

            ECU could help the Big East get on ABC in NC. I don’t think they could command enough to get a BE channel on basic cable, though, except in Raleigh and maybe the tiny Greenville, NC TV market.

            Then again, I have my doubts whether TCU could get the BE on basic cable in Dallas/Fort Worth, either.

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            The Mountain West Network isn’t on basic cable in DFW.

            Like

          • cfn_ms says:

            @ bullet: that’s correct. What TCU has to offer is program history, current status, and access to Texas (not really for TV, which they wouldn’t get, but for recruiting, a shot at getting tie-ins to one or two of the very nice bowl games in Texas, etc.). They’re also in the DFW area, and if they could long-term get a game or two in Jerry World, that would help a lot as well. If the BE took two Texas programs (TCU and one of Houston/UTEP/SMU/Rice etc.), that might further leverage some of the advantages that TCU could offer.

            @ Michael: I don’t really see what ECU has to offer; not one of the most prestigious non-AQ’s, they’re in a non-huge market that’s already pretty saturated with bigger names, NC isn’t a recruiting goldmine, etc. ECU could help get the BE on ABC in NC for highlight games, but even there it’s questionable.

            Would, say, WV-ECU supplant Iowa-Michigan (much less a really big Big Ten game)? Texas-Missouri (much less Red River)?

            Maybe… but I’m a skeptic. And I doubt the market would really care about the non-highlight games. ECU’s only shot at getting an invite is to:

            1) Get a LOT better at football (and by that I mean become the premier non-AQ program, or at least top 2-3)

            2) Hope that Notre Dame moves to a league for football (whether it’s the BE or elsewhere), and that the BE needs to fill in the last spot to hit 12 and a CCG. As long as ND is still out there as a possibility, I don’t think the BE will move to 12 teams and head off the chance of bringing them into the fold.

            Much like Utah in the Pac-12, there was pretty much no way the league was going to say “yeah, we REALLY want you guys”, b/c they brought down the league avg in most categories (program history, market size, recruiting area, etc.). But the Pac-12 DID want to reach 12 teams and do a CCG, and Utah was the best option available to get there (and while they brought down the avg in some ways, they could leverage recent football success and the fact that they didn’t HUGELY bring down the average). That’s the sort of scenario ECU would need to get a BE shot.

            Like

  23. curious2 says:

    Re: Big East TV contract (Frank)

    Not an expert, but your argument re Big East TV contract is 6 years old, at a time when the Big East seemed on life support, losing mighty Miami and VT, and in jeopardy of losing it’s BCS status.

    At that time the conference consisted of 4 teams new to BCS play, Louisville, Cinn, USF, Uconn, with long time punching bag RU as team 5.

    Since then through 2009, the Big East has been surprisingly competitive, within the top 5-17 teams each year, though this year is a major step back. Perhaps that is where TCU comes into play.

    Interesting regional rivalries have developed among SU, RU, UConn and UL, Cinn and Pitt and WVU in addition to conference wide competition.

    During these years, the Big East BB reputation has gone up as well.

    So with new entities potentially bidding for TV rights, perhaps the Big East is not eternally doomed to a TV contract so dramatically behind the other BCS conferences.

    It may also be the conference expansion is motivated by adding an additional conference game or 2 for easier scheduling.

    If the Big 10 is indeed finished with its expansion, the Big East is likely to benefit greatly by stability leading up to their next contract.

    Like

    • Richard says:

      Even if they double their TV revenues, they’d still pull in less than any other BCS conference.

      Like

    • @curious2 – That’s possible, but Big East coverage has also been getting progressively worse for football on ESPN. The Big East used to get regular Thursday night games, but now they’re being increasingly pushed to lower-rated Wednesdays or Fridays instead. Saturday games that used to be on ABC or ESPN/ESPN2 are getting pushed down to ESPNU/ESPN Regional or online-only ESPN3.com. Now, the Big East could attempt to go to Fox Sports Net or Versus, but let the Pac-10 and Big 12 fans speak about their experiences with those outlets. If there’s a revenue increase for the Big East, it would be more likely to come from the basketball side than the football side. There will likely be an inflationary bump in the TV contract, but not anything that would vault the Big East anywhere close to the other BCS conferences.

      Like

  24. curious2 says:

    Re: UCF as added team 9-10?

    UCF would seem to offer a lot of advantages:

    1) Very large state school in talent rich area with distinct large geographical market, Orlando, complementing USF, in it’s own distinct, talent rich market of Tampa.

    The combination of USF and UCF adds interest regionally as well as increases competition on a conference wide level.

    2) Interesting road trip for fans.

    3) Adds potential of creating another Big East bowl in Florida.

    4) An additional positive from a recruiting perspective for Big East teams.

    5) Adds geographical balance to the Big East with 2 teams in Florida, 3 in northeast NY metro region, with Pitt and WVU serving as bridge to Cinn and UL.

    6) Seems like a nice payback to the ACC.

    Like

  25. 84Lion says:

    All I want to know is why that Horned Frog mascot is holding a Big Boy doll and rubbing his stomach. Some inside joke or message there?

    Like

  26. Bullet says:

    Maybe its all just a plot by the BCS to distract TCU so they lose to Utah and Alabama gets into the championship game over unbeaten Utah when they beat defenseless #1 Auburn 70-35 in the Iron Bowl.

    Like

  27. M says:

    Some hard numbers on how much money comes from the NCAA tourney:

    http://www.projo.com/news/content/NCAA_COLLEGES_MONEY_03-15-10_28HNTUS_v33.3c1cb8a.html

    Basically, every game played (bids+wins) is worth $1.3 million.

    Like

    • Bullet says:

      The amount per school by conference per this article:
      ACC $1.52 million
      P10 $1.47
      BE $1.44
      B12 $1.43
      B10 $1.39
      SEC $1.26
      CUSA $0.70
      A10 $0.46
      MWC $0.44

      Like

      • Bullet says:

        If you look at “brands” in basketball, the BE drawfs everyone else with 6. P10 has UCLA and maybe AZ, B12 Kansas (OU and UT are close but not quite), SEC UK and maybe FL, CUSA Memphis, A10 noone quite there, MWC noone quite there, ACC Duke and UNC, B10 IU and maybe MSU and UM. BE UL, UC, Georgetown, Villanova, SU, UConn (Marquette & Pitt are close, DePaul and St. John’s used to be close). Yet they are 3rd in bb revenue/school, just barely ahead of B12 and B10. I read a lot about how BE16 has been a success in basketball, but these #s don’t show it based on how much historical success the BE16 schools previously had.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          I think college basketball is a more regional animal (probably because any title-contender makes it in the postseason anyway so you don’t have any must-see regular season games with national title implications), so I wouldn’t expect it to be driven so much by brands as by conference interest. That’s how the ACC could get Raycom to pay $50M to sublicense just a portion of the ACC basketball slate while the BE could only get ESPN to pay a fraction of that amount for all its basketball games. To put it another way, people in NC care more about Maryland-GTech than people in NYC care about Louisville-Cincy.

          Or maybe your tiering of basketball brands is off. I can certainly see Maryland being a better brand than Cincy, for instance.

          Like

        • M says:

          I’ve wondered if a Mandel-like delineation is possible or sensible for basketball schools.

          I am only a casual basketball fan, so I only feel comfortable picking the top level (“Kings”):
          Indiana
          Kentucky
          UNC
          Duke
          Kansas
          UCLA

          This list is less than half the size of the same list for football, which might say something about the nature of the sport (or it might say something about my awareness).

          Like

          • duffman says:

            M,

            I would tier it down to 4 elite programs, and some other potential teams.

            UK
            IU
            UNC
            KU

            probably in that order, I am still not sold on UCLA and Duke as they are one coach wonders. UCLA sans Wooden, and Duke sans coach K is no big deal (in the pre coach K days, it was UNC and NC State for basketball). I would say that IU and UK have the most rabid fanbases (seeing the dean dome with many empty seats was not a good thing) and KU and UNC travel very well.

            In terms of long term history I might put UL and the cuse ahead of UCLA and Duke, just for the fanbases (plus UL has had success with multiple coaches). I think MSU is on the short list and a team like oSu might be as well based on long term history. Arkansas has a history of good teams and coaches as well. like football I like to see teams have multiple good coaches, and put less weight on teams who have primary success with only one coach.

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            @duffman
            Its a point about 1 coach, but 1 coach can put a school on the map. Especially when they coach forever: Rupp and Paterno and Bowden, for example. Wooden, Coach K and Calhoun IMO are those type of coaches. UCLA has 6 post Wooden final 4s, more than all but a handful of schools. Duke and UConn have just been very good for a long period of time.

            Like

          • @Bullet – I’d agree with that. I also think Duke is at a different level than anyone (despite the school largely finding success only under Coach K). They are to this generation’s college sports fans what Notre Dame football was to previous generations as the school that pretty much every single person in America has an immediate viscereal reaction to (whether positive or negative). As high-profile as even UNC or Kentucky might be, there’s something about Duke that really gets to people in a unique way – they’re the closest thing that college sports has to the Yankees. It takes special circumstances to create that much universal hatred (and oh man, do I hate them).

            Like

          • Brian says:

            I don’t know where everyone gets the idea that Duke is a one coach wonder. They’ve been good since the 1940’s. They made 4 final fours before Coach K, including 3 in 4 seasons. No school becomes the fourth winningest team ever with just 30 years of success. (UCLA is 8th, IU 11th)

            Like

        • Richard says:

          OK, here’s a rough guide to basketball brands:

          http://money.cnn.com/2010/03/18/news/companies/basketball_profits/index.htm

          It’s not too accurate because schools can shift their revenue attribution around (to “basketball” or “general athletic”), but it can do.

          Ranking by revenue, there are 13 schools with >$14M in revenue:
          BE (Louisville, Syracuse), ACC (UNC), Pac12 (Arizona), BigTen (OSU, MSU, IU, Wisconsin, Illinois), Big12 (Kansas, Texas), SEC (Kentucky, Arkansas).

          Even thou you don’t usually think of it as a basketball conference, the BigTen has the programs that bring in the most money with 5.

          Breakdown of the top 25:
          BigTen: 6
          ACC: 5
          BE: 5
          SEC: 4
          Big12: 3
          Pac12: 2

          Like

          • jcfreder says:

            I think its very difficult to identify true “brands” for basketball. Other than Duke-UNC, are their any basketball rivalries that clearly move the needle in TV ratings nationally? It would be interesting to see ESPN’s ratings for Big Monday, Super Tuesday, etc to see how each conference’s games compare.

            As far as the local revenue goes, I think the Big Ten has been the attendance leader for basketball for quite some time. At Wisconsin, for instance, demand is so great you have to donate $500 to the school just to be able to buy a non-student season ticket.

            Like

          • @Richard – Well, that actually confirms my thought regarding OSU, MSU, IU, Wisconsin and Illinois. Every single one of them sells out their large arenas nightly.

            I’ve always thought that the fan bases for Big Ten basketball have been severely underrated. Big Ten fans aren’t like SEC fans that largely to go into hibernation after football season outside of Kentucky and maybe Arkansas (or if a particular school is hot for a few seasons, like Florida’s run this past decade and Tennessee recently). The Big Ten has led the nation in average basketball attendance every season for the past 3 decades, so even the football schools (except for maybe Penn State and newbie Nebraska) have legimitately large basketball fan bases on top of them.

            Like

          • @Richard – Here’s a Forbes ranking of college basketball program values that takes into account more than just profit – it looks at attendance, market, arena deals, fan base size, etc.

            http://www.forbes.com/2010/03/16/most-valuable-college-basketball-teams-business-sports-college-basketball_slide.html

            So you don’t have to click through every slide, here are the rankings:

            1. UNC – $29 million
            2. Kentucky – $26.2 million
            3. Louisville – $26 million
            4. Kansas – $24 million
            5. Illinois – $20.8 million
            6. Indiana – $20.5 million
            7. Ohio State – $18.3 million
            8. Syracuse – $17 million
            9. UCLA – $16.8 million
            10. Arizona – $16.6 million
            11. Duke – $16.4 million
            12. Wisconsin – $16.3 million
            13. Maryland – $15.5 million
            14. Arkansas – $14.6 million
            15. Xavier – $14.4 million
            16. Tennessee – $14.1 million
            17. Minnesota – $13.5 million
            18. Pitt – $13.2 million
            19. Michigan State – $13 million
            20. UNLV – $12.9 million

            I think that Duke is underrated in these types of figures compared to its power because of its small arena. In reality, Duke basketball is to this generation what Notre Dame football was to previous generations: the college program that every single person in the country either loves or hates with nothing in between.

            The conference breakdown of the top 20:
            Big Ten – 6
            ACC – 3
            Big East – 3
            SEC – 3
            Pac-12 – 2
            Big 12 – 1
            MWC – 1
            Atlantic 10 – 1

            It’s indicative of the depth of Big Ten basketball – the very top schools might not be as flashy as UNC, Duke or Kansas, but there’s strength top-to-bottom.

            Like

          • greg says:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Ten_Conference

            The Big Ten has participated in basketball since 1904, and has led the nation in attendance every season since 1978.

            Like

        • @Bullet – I think you’re being very generous with the Big East basketball brands. I think that Syracuse, UConn and Louisville are legitimately up there. I’d put Indiana, Michigan State, Illinois, Wisconsin and Ohio State (and maybe even Purdue and Michigan) all ahead of Villanova and Georgetown when you’re looking at long-term basketball revenue and fan base support. I like Cincinnati well enough, but they shouldn’t even be in this discussion.

          Like

          • Bullet says:

            In fan base the Enormous State Universities like Illinois, Wisconsin and Texas have big fan support, but that doesn’t mean its national. Cincinnati is clearly #6 of those BE schools I mentioned, but prior to joining the BE was a regular in the top 10-15. And they are tied for 10th in most final 4 appearances. If you look at national attention, Wisconsin and Illinois aren’t anywhere near Georgetown and Villanova and certainly not Duke, but those 3 are way behind in attendance.

            Of course its possible people who started following college basketball after the 80s when the BE was dominant have a different perception than I would.

            Another measure of basketball tiers courtesy of Wikipedia-Trips to final 4:
            18-UNC, UCLA
            15-Duke
            13-UK, KU
            10-Ohio St.
            8-IU, MSU, Louisville
            6-Ark.,Cincy,UM, Ok. St.
            5-Georgetown,Houston, IL
            4-AZ,FL,Kansas St.,LSU, OU,
            Syracuse,UNLV,Utah,Villanova

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            I certainly agree B10 basketball is deep. Like the P10 in football, anyone can rise in a particular year.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Cincy & Villanova aren’t national brands. You’d have a hard time arguing that Georgetown is a national brand, either. This was the point brought up by someone else (and me) before: You just don’t have many “national brands” in college bball. No rivalry really gets national attention besides Duke-UNC (maybe Cincy-Xavier when they’re both good). Few people pay attention to any regular season game; maybe a top-ranked Big6 against another top ranked team, but that’s about it.

            Like

          • jcfreder says:

            Let’s get real. Cincinnati was an exceptional program in the 60s. At present, it gets zero national attention. It’s only in a top-major basketball conference because it has a football team and the BE was somewhat desperate to keep things together.

            I agree that (unlike Cincy) GTown and Villanova are preceived as more glamorous basketball brands than schools like Wisconsin and Illinois in some sense (hey — they have won titles within the last 30 years), but that isn’t carrying over into attendance or other revenue. The B10 basketball fanbase is quite underrated, perhaps because there hasn’t been quite enough major success in the tourney recently, and what success they have has has been diffused among many teams (something like 8 out of the 11 have been to a final four in the last 30 years)

            Like

        • Gopher86 says:

          The Big East has a lot of great teams, but it has zero ‘Big 6’ basketball schools: UCLA, Indiana, UNC, Duke, Kentucky and Kansas (with Indiana starting to fall off pretty hard). The schools you listed are largely regional in their fanbases, but you’d be hard pressed to find many folks unfamiliar with the history of the Big 6.

          Like

          • MAC Country says:

            I’d add UConn in that and make it the Big 7.

            Like

          • MAC Country says:

            I’m a Villanove grad and that is very difficult for me to say about the dreaded UConn. I think they have passed Indiana in national brand recognition. Anyone under the age of 35 would not think of IU as a national power. But they would UConn.

            Like

          • mushroomgod says:

            MAC, with all due respect…….nonsense.

            Like

          • Michael in Indy says:

            Actually, I think MAC Country is right about UConn having surpassed IU. I’m 28, and UConn has been one of the best basketball programs in the nation for as far back as I can remember watching basketball.

            I don’t think under 35 are unaware of IU’s history and prominence, nor would most people say they’re a “has-been” or “irrelevant.” Having said that, IU hasn’t been able to win a lot of new casual fans outside the state of Indiana for the past 20 years or so. UConn’s been able to do just that.

            Speaking of “Big 6” basketball programs, in terms who drives TV ratings, NOT championships, Michigan State has long been the most nationally relevant program in the Big Ten. (This coming from a guy who grew up in South Carolina and lived in Indiana for only 4 years.)

            Like

          • Gopher86 says:

            I’d say that MSU is probably next in line. They only need a Final 4 or two to join the club. UConn would need another national title. Syracuse is up there, as well.

            The advantage MSU has, is that it had greatness before their current coach arrived. Syracuse and UConn doesn’t have as much tradition outside of the Boeheim and Calhoun eras.

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            Timely article in USA Today talking about Indiana with a brief mention of college bb “royalty,” saying IU was there with UK, KU, UCLA and UNC before Duke won 4 titles and Michigan St. became a final 4 regular. Hadn’t realized how badly IU got hurt by Sampson-2 returning players, both walk-ons.

            http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/mensbasketball/big10/2010-11-08-indiana-mens-basketball-crean-recruit_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip

            Like

  28. David Brown says:

    It does not make much sense for TCU and the Big East (BE), to marry up. The way I see it is, because of the travel and competition issues, TCU would be much better off remaining in the Mountain West Conference (MWC), particularly with Boise, Fresno & Nevada coming on board. The key to everything is the Automatic Major Bowl bid. If the MWC gets it instead of the BE, they are staying put, if not all bets are off. If they stay, and the Big East loses their bid, watch the Big 10 either grab Pitt, to force Notre Dame in the Conference (That will be easier if they keep losing to teams like Navy, Tulsa, UConn etc, because their will be less interest from perspective recruits, not to mention lower TV ratings), or perhaps even bringing aboard Texas with A&M or Oklahoma (If their academic ratings go up).

    Like

    • m (Ag) says:

      1) TCU will have better travel in the Big East than the MWC

      2) It’s doubtful the Big East would lose its automatic bid

      3) It’s doubtful the MWC gets an automatic bid

      4) Maybe Notre Dame will change its mind and join the Big 10, but I don’t think Pitt will change their minds.

      Like

    • Richard says:

      1. The BE isn’t losing their BCS bid.
      2. The MWC very likely won’t get a BCS bid even if TCU stays.
      3. The BE losing or keeping their autobid has no effect on whether the BigTen raids the BE or not.

      Like

    • cfn_ms says:

      Between the loss of Utah, the loss of BYU, and Houston basically saying “thanks but no thanks”, there’s virtually zero shot of MWC getting an AQ. The BEST case for that league is that things settle down and they become the premier non-AQ league and get a de facto AQ by getting a BCS bid something like 75% – 85% of the time.

      The worst case is that there’s a massive shake-up in CFB and every single one of those schools gets left out of whatever’s coming (I still think a mass exodus of the top 40-80 schools is likely w/in the next decade). TCU is MUCH better of joining the “haves” and pretty much heading off the possibility of getting left behind (it’s always possible the BE breaks up… but the Big Ten doesn’t seem to want to expand further, the SEC seems to have zero interest in expansion unless they’re forced to, and the ACC isn’t going to be driving the expansion bus – and if the BE stays together, the odds of them getting collectively shafted are VERY low I think, especially if they improve their membership)

      Like

  29. David Brown says:

    I happen to live in NY, so I can tell you that Big East Football and even hoops just does not cut it as far as popularity is concerned (St Johns and Rutgers even fall below the Islanders, Devils & Nets). That is EXACTLY why Missouri East (Also known as Rutgers), was not taken by the Big 10. Pitt is very aware of that fact, as is TCU, and most importantly, so is the BCS, which is why the BE is likely losing their automatic bid.
    There is a reason why the Big 10 is the best run Conference in America. Which is the sharing of resources (Academically and athletically), and outstanding leadership (ANY University not named Notre Dame, would be honored to join. And that includes the Pitt Panthers, who not only have been surpassed by Penn State (In everything but men’s hoops), but the Steelers, Penguins, and gulp! The Pirates in local fan interest).

    Like

    • m (Ag) says:

      Sure, Pitt would love to go to the Big 10. But why would the Big 10 want Pitt?

      And the Big 10 is successful less because they share all revenue and more because they have schools with national reputations and large fanbases. The Sunbelt can share all of its revenue and it won’t become a national player.

      Like

      • jj says:

        I can’t speak for other conferences, but the B10 schools and fanbases are generally pretty tight. Maybe it’s just a midwestern thing, but the academic ties are really tight. It seems to me that the B10 top does a good job of trying to help schools rather than threaten them in tough situations as well. We’re pretty lucky at the end of the day.

        Like

        • @jj – I think both the Big Ten and SEC have very tight conference bonds – the rivalries are heated, but everyone respects each other. (Most of the time, anyway. As the Illini head into Ann Arbor on Saturday, MUCK FICHIGAN.) After that, I’d put the ACC and Pac-10 on the next tier, while Big East and Big 12 fans seem to have perfected the art of bashing how their leagues are run.

          Like

        • Richard says:

          History together seems to have something to do with it. Looking at Frank’s list, I can’t help but notice that “tightness” seems to correlate pretty well with how long each league has been around. (BigTen & SEC formed before WWII, the ACC and Pac-whatever formed in the ’50’s, and the Big12 and the BE football league formed in the ’90’s).

          Like

        • PSUGuy says:

          I don’t think it has much to do with the length of time playing, but more with what those schools are and what they try and do.

          Larger schools focusing on strong academics (especially in the practical sciences), graduate level research, and having a diverse (and large) number of sports to compete in.

          Its kinda like my group of friends…we may fight tooth and nail on the golf course, but once we’re off it we are playing wingman at the bars, helping build the shed, and in general just helping each other with life.

          IMO, I don’t care how long some of these teams have been together, if one suddenly dropped all graduate research, greatly lowered undergraduate admissions, and in general stopped being like the rest of the Big Ten, I have to believe there’d be some discontent.

          Like

          • PSUGuy says:

            And if you think about it…

            SEC tends to value football above all others.

            ACC tends to value academics and bball (thus why some schools left the SEC for it).

            Pac is heavily influenced by academics and football.

            IMO, common goals make common bonds.

            Like

          • @PSUGuy – I totally agree. Institutionally, the SEC, ACC, Pac-10 and Big Ten schools have a lot of common bonds. The Big East, on the other hand, has 4 factions: (1) old-line Northeastern football members, (2) newer members that came from C-USA, (3) non-football Catholic schools and (4) Notre Dame, all of whom have drastically different interests and preferences. Texas is an island unto itself within the Big 12, while OU and A&M are close behind.

            Like

          • The SEC and Big Ten also have the advantages of not having a single state completely dominate the rest in terms of voting power, TV markets, population and recruiting. We’ve all talked at great length about the Texas-centricity of the Big 12, but the Pac-10 is similarly dominated by California and the ACC voting power is centered in North Carolina. In contrast, even though Florida has the largest population base in the SEC, the rest of the SEC states produce such a disproportionately large number of quality football recruits compared to their population sizes that the Gators’ geographic advantage is muted and they’re the only rep from their home state for voting purposes. In the Big Ten, the population is pretty evenly-distributed across the footprint and its largest population center (Illlinois) isn’t home to one of the marquee football schools. So, that has always prevented Michigan and Ohio State running roughshod over all of the other Big Ten members in the way that the Texas schools can exercise power over the rest of the Big 12 or the California schools in the Pac-10.

            Like

          • jj says:

            and the folks at OSU couldn’t figure out how to do it anyway! (jK)

            Like

          • Playoffs Now says:

            In contrast, even though Florida has the largest population base in the SEC, the rest of the SEC states produce such a disproportionately large number of quality football recruits compared to their population sizes that the Gators’ geographic advantage is muted and they’re the only rep from their home state for voting purposes.

            Well that, and the fact that most of the other SEC schools have just as big an under the table payroll.

            Just ask Scam Newton’s dad.

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            @Frank re: SEC
            30 years ago there wasn’t much difference between the SEC states. GA and FL have grown disproportionately. So the talent and population in Florida is a new factor. They had 60-70 years together where noone had significant advantages which enhances the camaraderie. And I don’t know that respect is quite the right word for how the SEC views each other. It may be a little of the old Confederate camaraderie where the South was looked down upon by northerners. They’re distant cousins but the don’t particularly like each other. They just unite when someone outside takes on one of them.

            Like

        • Bullet says:

          The Big East is the most disparate group among the major conferences. Its one of the most disparate, period. Commuter schools, state flagships, big private or Catholic schools, tiny Catholic schools, northeast, midwest, south. Most conferences have schools with similar missions. Sometimes the exceptions prove the rule. Vandy is in the SEC because of history. Georgia Tech, Tulane and Suwanee all left the SEC.

          Like

          • StvInIL says:

            Bullet, what you said about the Big East is to me is the most compelling reason for a reorganization.
            In particular football verses non football schools. But as our discussions have taught us, they are economically trapped by the basketball revue and the assets of the share geography/viewership. It’s a wonder this works at all. Some say politics make good bedfellows. I would add so does desperation.

            Like

    • PensfaninLAexile says:

      The Pirates have not passed anyone in local fan interest. That includes Duquesne.

      Like

  30. David Brown says:

    The very reason why Texas can run roughshod over the rest of the Big 12, is the other schools act as enablers, and let them, with one notable exception……… Nebraska. Look at how many times the Huskers lost 11-1 Votes on important issues (Such as moving the Conference HQ to Dallas & moving the Championship Game to Texas). Nebraska is not yet in the Big 10, and they are already getting better treatment and more respect then they received in the Big XII. There is only one other example I can think of where any school stood up to Bevo the BULLy. That was A&M saying NO to the PAC. The funny thing about that is in the end, it will benefit Texas & Oklahoma (As well as A&M). The way it will benefit those schools will be, if Texas can control its ego, and would trade power for $$$$$$, and is willing to head to the Big 10 with either A&M or Oklahoma, and the other heading to the SEC (If A&M would go to the Big 10, it would work out perfectly, because Texas Tech could join OU in the SEC, which should satisfy the politicians in Austin). From a UT perspective, they will be much better off knowing that ALL of their games will be on TV, with NATIONAL Coverage (Unlike say the “Longhorn Network” which will NOT get carried in large areas of the Country (Except perhaps on a pay-per-view basis like FOUR Nebraska games this season)). Not to mention more research $$$$$$$$$$$, and getting rid of certain albatross schools from their schedule who they have no rivalry with (See Kansas, Iowa St, Kansas St, Missouri, and Baylor).

    Like

    • gregenstein says:

      I don’t think the SEC is interested in any Texas schools other than UT and A&M. Doesn’t seem like a realistic scenario. The Big 10 isn’t interested in Oklahoma either (academically anyway).

      Like

      • David Brown says:

        If you know anything about the SEC you know that the conference has two long-term goals: 1: Returning Alabama and Auburn to the SEC East. 2: Expanding into the recruiting ground of Texas. Obviously, it would be better for the SEC to go through College Station (A&M), then Lubbock (Tech). But if Oklahoma is added, then like with Arkansas the short-term pain, is worth the long-term gain. In a perfect world, Oklahoma gets its academics up to a point where they can join UT, and of course, Nebraska, in the Big 10, while A&M goes SEC (Perhaps with Ok State?). Under that scenario, both the Big 10 & SEC win.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Improving an academic brand is probably even harder (and takes longer) than changing an athletic brand. In short, I don’t see OU being close to even UNL’s caliber in the next 50 years.

          Like

          • Tyler says:

            I know people rag on using USNWR rankings as a shorthand.

            That said, I’m going to use them as a shorthand anyway and say that UNL is 104 and OU is 111, so it’s not as if they’re worlds apart according to some folks.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Not terribly close in research, though, which is what the BigTen values (back in the day, when tOSU had open admissions, it’s USN ranking must have been horrible, yet it always has been up there in research).

            Like

        • Bamatab says:

          David, I know a little about the SEC. And your first assertion that one of the long term goals of the SEC is to return Bama and auburn to the SEC east is not accurate. Some old hands in the auburn camp might want to get back to the SEC east, but bama (and the rest of the SEC) could really care less.

          But, your second assertion is somewhat accurate. If expansion happens, we would like to get into the Texas market. But Texas Tech would not be part of the equation. aTm would be the (and probably only)target. The SEC would probably love to get UT, but I don’t see them wanting to come. But aTm on the other hand would. Plus they already have ready made rivalries with Arky and LSU. TT is just too far west and wouldn’t be considered unless UT changed their minds and said TT had to come with them. Plus, I think it is a pretty obvious fact that aTm wants to come to the SEC if/when the Big 12-lite breaks up.

          Like

    • Michael in Indy says:

      “The very reason why Texas can run roughshod over the rest of the Big 12, is the other schools act as enablers, and let them, with one notable exception……… Nebraska. Look at how many times the Huskers lost 11-1 Votes on important issues (Such as moving the Conference HQ to Dallas & moving the Championship Game to Texas).”

      @David Brown: I couldn’t agree more.

      All along, I’ve thought of the Big 12 to be 8 schools with one common alliance (the old Big Eight schools), joined in an awkward union with 4 schools with separate, but common, interests. In essence, it was just “the Big Eight plus 4 SWC members.”

      Describing it that way wouldn’t give a real picture of the league at all. It leaves the impression that the new Big 12 is still “6 of the old Big Eight schools plus 4 of the old SWC schools,” as thought the Big Eight schools still outnumber SWC schools. In reality, OU and OSU act much more like they were from the SWC, not the Big Eight. With Colorado and Nebraska gone, Big Eight interests are decidedly outnumbered.

      Like

      • Bullet says:

        On most important issues (i.e. money), noone was more united than UNL and UT. UNL got hung up on symbolic issues, as well as the partial qualifiers. They’re still hung up on that even though the NCAA made that point moot by effectively eliminating them from eligibility.

        And maybe they were hung up on 1 other issue:
        1-9. That was their record vs. UT in the Big 12. Only Kansas among the Big12 North schools will have a worse record against UT during Nebraska’s tenure in the Big 12.

        Like

  31. gregenstein says:

    I wouldn’t mind seeing the Big East expand. Why are the major players only Villanova, TCU, and UCF? I’m mostly curious why Boise State wouldn’t be considered. I know they plan to join the MWC, but as previously mentioned, that conference has no exit fees.

    I guess I’m really asking why not go after Boise (and TCU) as football only? First person that says “too much travel” gets kicked in pills.

    Like

    • Richard says:

      At some point, distance does become a factor. I mean, I’m sure the BE would gladly take USC despite the distance, but Boise doesn’t has any advantages compared to TCU, and it’s sole advantage of current football success vis-a-vis UCF is outweighted by it’s disadvantages. What are those disadvantages (besides distance)?
      1. Not in a recruiting hotbed (as both TCU & UCF are).
      2. Not in an area populated by alums of other BE schools (as UCF is).
      3. Not in a big (or even mid-sized) market or population-rich state in general (as both TCU & UCF are)
      4. Student body is less than half the size of UCF’s student body.
      5. Athletic budget is significantly smaller than TCU’s.

      As for Villanova, well, they’re in the discussion because of political reasons.

      Like

  32. footballnut says:

    I went to school in B10 country and now live in B12 country. I like the B12 a lot. It’s a very young conference going through growing (and shrinking) pains. I think they will come out a tighter group through all of this. Rivalries take time. B10 and SEC have had a hundred years to develop those. But the B12 schools are beginning to develop them.

    My gut feeling is that the Old Big 8 schools don’t get any respect from the more powerful old SWC schools, which was Nebraska’s beef and basis for leaving.

    The B12 is leaner now and I think that will force the schools to get along better if they want to survive. It’s hard for the old B8 schools to forget 100 years of existance together (Mo Vally, Big 6, then Big 8) and accept a subordinate role to Texas. I think Texas has its own struggles too, being married politically to Texas Tech.

    In a way, the new B12 is actually the new SWC reincarnated now that Colorado and Nebraska are gone and Texas is once again the center of the football universe in an expanded SWC format. MO has very close ties to both Illinois and Texas. The school gets a lot of out of state students form both states. Heck, half of MO’s football team is from Texas.

    TCU has never been a player in B12 concerns and never will be. They need to look west, not east, though. Could BEast raid ACC for two schools? I dunno. Things haven’t worked out well for teh ACC since they went through their realignment. Just a thought.

    But which two schools?

    Like

    • Richard says:

      1. No.
      2. Things have worked out so badly for the ACC that they more than doubled their TV revenues with their new TV deal and and take in several times the TV money that the BE takes in. Heck, now Raycom is paying more just to syndicate a portion of the ACC basketball slate (not including Duke-UNC) than ESPN is paying the BE for all of it’s basketball AND football games.

      Like

  33. Robert says:

    Chip Brown reporting ESPN has agreed to pay Texas $12 million a year for the Longhorn Network beginning in 2011. Formal announcement will come after the Texas BOR meets to approve the deal. If true, holy cow. That’s a game-changer.

    http://texas.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1148672

    Like

    • @Robert – Wow! That’s absolutely nuts that ESPN would bid 6 times more than Fox. If this ends up being true, then it’s mea culpa time for me – this would turn out to be an incredible move for Texas.

      Like

      • Robert says:

        Frank, if this is true, I think the real question is, could this be the beginning of a shift away from conference networks? I mean if Texas is going to make an extra $12 million a year, do you think USC or Florida or Ohio State aren’t going to want to try to do the same?

        Like

        • Richard says:

          OSU is too tied in to the BigTen (not just athletically, but academically as well), plus the other BigTen schools contribute enough that starting its own network likely wouldn’t be lucrative enough (for one, they have an ownership stake in the BTN, not a fixed contract, so BTN profit could grow every year going forward; for another, Ohio has less than half the population of Texas, so they wouldn’t be able to get nearly as much for an independent network).

          Florida could start its own network under its current TV deal already, though again, they probably wouldn’t be able to get as much as Texas.

          The interesting case is USC. If the Pac12 network fails to meet projections, how likely is it that some years down the road, USC (which has already murmured about independence) would want control over secondary/tertiary rights so they can start their own network as well or else go independent.

          We should keep in mind, though, that Texas is the school best suited for this type of deal; no other school would be able to get as much money as Texas if they started their own networks.

          Like

        • m (Ag) says:

          Ohio State can’t because the Big 10 has all those rights.

          USC could have done it 2 weeks ago, but just voted to give all those rights to the Pac 12.

          Florida might.

          Like

          • Richard says:

            However, I presume USC can negotiate with the Pac12 to get those rights back if the conference TV revenues are unsatisfactory (or go independent).

            Like

      • Bullet says:

        I’ll believe it when I see it.

        Maybe its a 50 year deal without inflation escalators.

        Like

    • m (Ag) says:

      Well, we’ll see if this gets A&M moving.

      It should be noted that he misrepresents SEC money in that article. He says UT stands to make $32 million by adding UT’s Big 12 money + its Longhorn network money, then states the SEC makes $17 million a school. He doesn’t mention that each school makes several million a year more in local sales.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        On its own network, you mean, or to the SEC?

        Like

        • m (Ag) says:

          Each school sells rights to games no on the ESPN or CBS contracts to local cable networks. They also keep the right to at least 1 home game a year to put on pay per view. I know Alan from Baton Rouge has posted specifics on previous entries.

          Texas would still be the most profitable school with this deal, but I believe some SEC schools make over $25 million when local tv revenues are included.

          Like

          • m (Ag) says:

            ‘Sells rights to games no on the ESPN or CBS contracts’

            should be

            “sells rights to games not on the ESPN or CBS contracts”

            Like

          • jcfreder says:

            Kudos to Texas if the numbers are true. But why would ESPN pay so much for it? Its not because of the actual game programming, right (I thought Texas was only going to be able to put at most 1 FB game a year on there.)

            Second, why would this stablize the B12? If anything, wouldn’t this give Texas incentive to go indy, put all of its games on the network, and get $50M a year from ESPN? Or is this not about game programming at all?

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            Alan posted that the majority of SEC schools make 5-10 million on their tertiary rights.

            What’s difficult is comparing. UGA made $12 million last year on tertiary rights including licensing. And the internet is making it more difficult to compare. Pac 12 threw internet into their joint pool. Noone else has done that yet.

            Like

    • greg says:

      Wow. We’ll see just how accurate Chip’s numbers are.

      If this story is true, the B12 is on much more solid ground now. Texas ain’t going anywhere.

      Like

      • cfn_ms says:

        If those numbers are right, then Texas is getting $12M for basically no major programming. How much could they sell their important programming for? This could easily lead them to decide to bail.

        Like

      • tt says:

        sure Texas isn’t going anywhere, but how long does A&M hold in its jealousy watching Texas get richer and richer?

        Like

      • m (Ag) says:

        UT definitely sees how independence could be profitable if these numbers are true. If UT leaves, the whole conference looks around.

        But presuming UT stays:

        -A&M could leave, but it would likely reduce the next TV contract by about what A&M is “guaranteed” to receive ($20 million), so it wouldn’t hurt financially for the next 5 or so years. With only 8 conference games, it would make scheduling easier for every school but UT, who would likely continue playing A&M annually anyway. However, in the long run it could lead to a loss of prestige for conference, especially if A&M adds more casual fans in Texas (it already has a large devoted fanbase).

        -OU could move, but it would be difficult to leave behind both OSU and UT. Perhaps they’d have talks with UT to go independent together.

        -unless Missouri is desired by the SEC as A&M’s companion, no other school would find their way to a conference better than the Big East, so they’ll stay.

        I think UT and OU stay for political & financial reasons. The 7 minor schools stay. I don’t know what A&M would do. I’d like them to leave, but the guarantees mean they wouldn’t get a big jump in revenues by moving.

        Like

    • cfn_ms says:

      This, IF it turns out to be true, is a huge game-changer in a boatload of ways:

      1) It destabilizes the hell out of the Pac-12. If USC and UCLA think they can get something like an extra $10M or so per year compared to what the Pac-12 gives them… it would be VERY tempting to either force a rewrite of the revenue-sharing agreement or seriously consider independence (note: $10M is a wild guess, and could be low-balling it since they’d then be able to market ALL their football and basketball games rather than just the handful Texas will likely get)

      2) Every single low-revenue AQ program outside the SEC and Big Ten (those two brands are worth a LOT, and screwing w/ them is probably unwise) is in a vulnerable position. The current Big 12 “bargain” seems to be that Texas tells the little guys “yeah, you can stick around in my league, but we’re going to get ALL the money we generate from it”. Something tells me that sort of negotiation could happen in other leagues as well.

      3) We could really be heading towards super-conferences and a movement towards power being concentrated in a MUCH smaller group of programs than I’d have expected. Honestly, you could have as few as 48 “haves” going forward: Big Ten and SEC grab four each, and then there’d be 16 more in a Western-ish league. The number of meaningful programs missing from such an arrangement could be zero, depending on who goes where.

      Like

      • Robert says:

        I agree on USC and UCLA. In fact, it wouldn’t be shocking if the Big 12 became a safe haven for big-name schools like this who can get a lot of money through their own TV deals.

        And while I don’t think it will every happen, if Notre Dame decides to join a conference at some point, the Big 12 all of the sudden seems a lot more attractive now.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Why? You don’t think ND can’t force the same type of deal on the BE (or even the ACC) if they wanted to?

          Like

          • Robert says:

            I was primarily talking about ND joining the Big 12 as opposed to the Big 10.

            But, if you’re talking strictly money, Notre Dame can make a lot more selling their local rights and taking what they can from the Big 12 contract than selling their local rights and taking their portion of the Big East contract.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Well, their portion of the BE contract will be significantly more than anyone else’s portion. However, ND’s conundrum is that they are not Texas. The local cable channel model really benefits a school like Texas (big local fanbase with very good national appeal) more than ND (no real local fanbase with great national appeal). ND would have trouble starting their own TV network, for instance.

            Like

      • Richard says:

        ???? If USC gets to market all of their football & basketball games, it’d be worth more than $10, considering that they can reasonably expect $10-$15M just from staying within the Pac10 TV framework.

        There aren’t that many brands in conferences outside the BigTen or SEC who can can swing a deal anywhere close to what Texas got. For instance, I don’t expect OU to get nearly the same amount of money. FSU & Miami are big football brands in the ACC, but they get a lot from the tobacco road bball schools; I don’t see them jeopardizing their relationship with the ACC. That leaves USC. I seriously can’t think of another school that can even attempt to pull off what Texas has.

        Like

        • cfn_ms says:

          Like I was saying, something like $10M on top of what they’d get in the Pac-12… and that was a wild guess, and could VERY well be low.

          The real point is, if it’s even just $10M more… that’s VERY tempting (especially for UCLA given state budget issues I’d think). If leaving would be worth more like $20M plus on top of what they’d get from the Pac-12 deal… that’s pretty much a no-brainer I think.

          Like

          • Richard says:

            Why would $10M be very low? Again, given Texas’s population base and local fervor for all things Longhorn, what Texas can get probably represents the very high end of that type of local cable deal. Selling the same product that Texas did, I doubt USC sees the same type of money.

            UCLA is even farther away. UCLA is more like TAMU, and you don’t see the Aggies trying to start their own network.

            Like

          • cfn_ms says:

            Except that UCLA / USC could sell ALL content and not just the same leftovers as Texas is basically selling here. It’s obvious they’re leaving some money on the table by doing equal revenue-sharing… but if Texas’s leftovers are worth $12M, then ALL of Texas’s TV rights is probably worth close to $50M, and I’d think that each of UCLA / USC would then be worth somewhere around $30M – $40M, and they’d likely only get ~ $20M from the Pac-12 contract.

            Those #’s are off the top of my head, but intuitively they seem in the ballpark of right.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Well, if USC sells all their content, then they wouldn’t be getting anything from the Pac12.

            Also, while all of Texas’s TV rights may be worth $50M, as an independent, you’d only have half of the most valuable rights (the home football games), so Texas wouldn’t be able to get the full value of their TV rights unless they’re in a conference (or unless their TV partner dicttates to them who to play and can capture the value of the away games), so the conference members gets ome value anyway.

            Finally, stop conflating USC & UCLA. I don’t see you saying TAMU can get the same money Texas got.

            Like

          • cfn_ms says:

            My point was that USC would more seriously consider independence if by selling all their content they could get $10M+ on top of whatever they’d end up with under the Pac-12 umbrella. Obviously they couldn’t sell all their content and still get Pac-12 cash on top of that.

            When I ballparked $50M, I was adjusting for the fact that they’d still have to give away their rights for their road games. The presumption is that A&M every other year, Oklahoma every other year, Tech every other year, and 1/2 of a bunch of elite home and homes (and they just did a 2:1 w/ BYU I think, so that’s 2/3 of that deal)… PLUS their home basketball rights, PLUS their home rights for all other sports, would be ballpark of $50M.

            TAMU can’t get the same $$$ as Texas b/c they’re not equals or close. UCLA and USC are much closer to being equals; in a lot of ways it’s whichever of the two that’s doing better gets more fans and attention, but in the long run I’m pretty sure the #’s are fairly comparable. I’d think USC would have an edge… but I’m skeptical that it’s more than ~$5M / year long-term, especially once you factor in basketball.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            I just don’t see that $50 figure as an independent. That would put the full value of Texas at $100M. As the Big12 currently gets full value of primary rights, and Texas gets half the value of their non-football sports and full value of their non sports programming (like coaches shows), if Texas was worth $100, say $15M are due to tertiary rights (that would value away non-football tertiary at $3M), primary rights to all of Texas would be worth $85M, or almost all the value of the Big12’s primay contract. That seems unrealistic. At most, Texas’s primary rights are worth $40M.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            To look at it another way, Michigan, OSU, and PSU wouldn’t be worth much less than Texas, but even 80% of Texas’s worth would put them at $80M each, which can’t be, because the Big10 (counting the ABC and BTN contracts, which capture almost all the value of those schools + 8 more right now) is worth $200M.

            Like

      • cutter says:

        ABC/ESPN seems to be on a spending spree. The network paid more than expected for the television rights to ACC football/basketball last summer. They even put together a contract with Brigham Young for some of its football games when it went independent. Now you add in this possible $12M per year deal with Texas for the Longhorn Sports Network.

        The Big Ten is currently renegotiating its contract with ABC/ESPN with the inclusion of Nebraska and has put up the rights to the conference championship game to bid. Given what’s recently happened regarding these recent deals, it looks like the timing of the expansion to twelve teams was extremely fortunate (or perhaps well planned).

        The current ABC/ESPN contract was $1B for ten years with an escalator clause (average of $100M per year). The first payment to the conference was $83M in 2006 with increasing annual payments through the life of the deal.

        I have written on this blog in the past that I thought the annual conference distributions starting in FY 2012 could be in the $27M to $28M range after the ABC/ESPN negotiations completed and the championship game rights were bid (this assume the new ABC/ESPN deal would pay around $12M per year). But if ABC/ESPN is willing to pay $12M for annual rights to the Longhorn Sports Network, what will they pay the Big Ten?

        Realistically, the individual programs within the Big Ten could be looking at also getting at or a bit over $30M in FY 2012 (ends 30 June 2012). Obviously, we’ll have to wait a bit to see how the numbers shake out, but it could end up being much more lucrative then I originally projected.

        It will also be interesting to see how the Big XII and the Pac 12 television rights value ends up to be next year and who gets those rights. If ABC/ESPN are looking at strengthening their market share within college sports even more, then a lot of money is going to be paid out to a lot of schools.

        I also have to wonder how all this is going down in South Bend. NBC’s current contract runs through 2015 and pays up to $15M per year for the home and neutral site games. ND might be making roughly the same in “conference distributions” (television revenue, net bowl revenues, NCAA basketball tournament payments) as the members of the Big Ten right now, but I don’t think that’s going to be true much longer.

        Like

  34. Playoffs Now says:

    Seems like ESPN might be able to send a message to the P12: Start a network and sign a deal with Fox, and we can always wave big dough to try and cherry pick away the CA schools. CA and AZ schools in one division with TX and OK schools in the other of a new league of semi-independents might not be so far-fetched an option now. Let the northern leftovers form their own conference with all those fair sharing concepts.

    Like

  35. David Brown says:

    There is little doubt that this ends any opportunity for the Big 10 to add Texas. What happens now is the financial spread between UT and the rest of the College Football teams not named Penn St, Ohio St, Michigan, USC, Florida & Notre Dame is about the same as the Yankees and Oakland A’s. I wonder how Oklahoma & Texas A&M will like being on the level or Oklahoma State or Texas Tech? Guess what you are there. Everyone else in the “Big XII”? You will be LUCKY to be Kansas.. Excel in hoops, suck in football.

    Like

    • cutter says:

      I don’t know how the ABC/ESPN negotiations with the Big Ten are going to end up, but all the B10 programs in terms of television revenue and conference distributions are going to be way up there. Maybe not quite up to Texas, but certainly in a very strong #2 position.

      The only difference would be conference spectator admissions between the schools and perhaps some other revenue sources (PSLs, donations).

      Like

    • RedDenver says:

      That’s what I’m wondering as well. How long will the have-nots in the Texas 10 continue to fall behind? I don’t think the Texas 10 lasts much longer. Either UT goes indy or the rest of the conference rebels. It would be REALLY interesting to see what would happen if the other teams tried to pass a measure requiring all media rights go to the conference. Nebraska was against the equal sharing and their vote is gone now.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        What are their options if Texas tells them to shove off on their little rebellion? Join the Big East?

        Like

        • Redhawk says:

          I actually think the rest kick out UT.

          there is a point where UT has to realize that they have to play another to team to actually have a “game” which they can sell. If UT gets this much money…what does say Iowa St get?

          Which is their only path to independence by the way. If UT can’t get Indy through the legislature.

          Like

          • Richard says:

            I don’t think Texas has to worry about finding teams to play it. That doesn’t mean Texas thinks independence is optimal, but the small guys in the Big12 don’t really have much leverage, and they’re just not going to cut off their nose (Texas) to spite their face (money).

            Like

      • cfn_ms says:

        Two possibilities if they tried that:

        1) The measure would fail

        2) Texas would leave

        Like

        • Redhawk says:

          Texas can’t leave…cause of legislation.

          But why keep Texas if the other teams don’t get paid to play them? If ESPN is only paying for UT games as it appears to be, why shouldn’t the others get paid too (from say Fox)

          Like

          • Robert says:

            Redhawk, you’re confused. ESPN isn’t just paying for UT football games. ESPN is paying to show maybe one football game a year, a few basketball games and primarily Olympic sports and other minor programming on a Longhorn Network that is completely independent from ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, etc…

            Almost every Big 12 football game, including Texas’, will still be shown on whoever the highest bidder is for the Big 12 contracts when they’re renegotiated. Right now, the Big 12 games are shown on ABC/ESPN and Fox Sports. If the status quo remains, that’s where they’ll continue to be shown. The Texas will rarely show any Texas football games.

            Like

          • Robert says:

            Sorry, that last sentence should read “The Texas Network will rarely show any Texas football games.”

            Like

          • cfn_ms says:

            Sure Texas can leave. At worst they’d be required to make arrangments so that the rest of the B12 south was “taken care of”, whatever that meant (probably long-term home and home deals w/ each one I’d guess; could be something else, could be Texas starts a new league of the six B12 south teams and tells everyone else to buzz off). No one in the Texas legislature is going to protect the remaining North schools.

            Moreover, there’s a very real chance that Texas doesn’t even have to do that much. They’ve shown a real reluctance to press hard on the issue, b/c they don’t really want to get in the fight, but if there was a really big incentive, or if it became clear that the rest of the league was screwing them, I think they’d have a real shot of winning the political fight (especially if they rallied allies among some of the other schools by making scheduling concessions and the like)

            Like

  36. footballnut says:

    Um, ND is no longer football relavent. Have 5 more crappy years under Kelly, and NBC will look to dump ’em. They’ll be begging to join a conference and the B12 will be very attractive with their school TV policies. Enter BYU and you have a Big 12 with a very WIDE footprint with those two fanbases.

    Like

    • Redhawk says:

      and they called me nuts when I wrote that the Big 12 would add those 2 teams and be a Loose Confederation of Independents.

      Like

    • jcfreder says:

      @footballnut — Either ND football on TV is worth a lot or its not. If it is, they stay on NBC and are fine. If it isn’t, going to the B12 isn’t making them more money than joining the B10 or ACC, AND they have to play a bunch of games against teams way more undesirable from a domer standpoint.

      The one caviat is if you can scale up the money based on teh number of games on the network. If Texas can get $12M for its one or two games a year, perhaps Notre Dame could get $50M for its home slate on a Fighting Irish Network.

      What I’m unclear on is the carriage of these school networks. Is ESPN going to try and get the Longhorn Network on the sports tier around the country? Or is the $12M just for cable carriage in the state of Texas?

      Like

      • Richard says:

        ND isn’t Texas. Texas has strong local appeal and good national appeal. ND hs great national appeal but no real local base. The cable network model really favors a school like Texas more than ND.

        Like

  37. cutter says:

    If Notre Dame joins the Big XII (along with BYU), then that means their confernce footprint includes the following states–Indiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Utah, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri. The major cities in that region would be Dallas, Houston, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Salt Lake City.

    If Notre Dame joins the Big Ten (16), then ND would be part of a conference that includes the major population centers in the northeast and the midwest which would dwarf the Big XII’s geographic footprint.

    The Big XII may have uneven revenue sharing, but my guess is that a 16-team Big 10 with Notre Dame as one of the schools would be much more lucrative for the Irish.

    Like

  38. frug says:

    Even the Texas Longhorns network isn’t really going to be the financial boon…
    Actually, Texas just annnounced announced ESPN will be paying $12 million a year for the rights to the Longhorns Network. (Though obviously you couldn’t know that when this posted, but you may want to update.)

    Like

    • Redhawk says:

      that’s what they are discussing. 1) Orangebloods is NOT UT. They are blog. They announced the info came from “sources”

      That’s not an official announcement.

      Like

      • frug says:

        Yeah, I should have said “it’s being reported” though as much as I hate to admit it (and I really do) they usually have pretty good sources on this stuff. Either way, it looks like Texas will be making quite a bit more than $3 million a year from the Longhorns Network.

        Like

  39. Redhawk says:

    If the $12 million figure is right, there are several questions I have:

    1) Why not just go indy? UT would make as much as a whole conference all to themselves for the rest of their football games. UT is big..but really as much as a whole conference?
    2)Why is ESPN competing against itself? It was ESPN that promised all the money to save the Big 12 this summer. Why are they now promising all that money for UT to NOT put their games on the Big 12 ABC/ESPN deal?

    $12 mill doesn’t add up

    Like

    • schwarm says:

      Maybe there were more promises made than we know about.

      Like

    • Robert says:

      ESPN isn’t competing against itself. The Texas network won’t carry the vast majority of UT football games (or basketball games for that matter). There may be one football game and a handful of basketball games that aren’t picked up by the Big 12 Conference TV partners (which would be ABC/ESPN and Fox Sports right now).

      My guess is ESPN is basically paying to keep Texas happy, thus the Big 12 together and the status quo.

      Like

      • StvInIL says:

        Thats what i thought. Sounds like ESPN had a wad of money burning a hole in its pocket. I mean Texas is a marquee name and all but smart businessmen dont over pay for something, even something good when they dont have to. Frankly, i dont get it. It seemd like Texas had itself by the short hairs. now a $12Mildo offer?

        Like

        • Redhawk says:

          I disagree. I don’t think these numbers are right at all. Why would KU play UT…so UT can get all that money?

          Why would ESPN pay that much to UT which would piss off the other schools, and make the competitive advantage, even more lopsided with the others in the conference?

          why would ESPN make a conference more unstable to pay Texas?

          Like

          • Richard says:

            Well, if KU plays Texas, Texas will get all that money, and KU will get some money. If KU doesn’t play Texas, Texas will still get all that money, and KU will get little/no money. It’s not KU that has the leverage here.

            Like

          • Redhawk says:

            @Richard. Yes they do…Texas gets ZERO if they have no game. They need others to play them.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Uh, no. In what universe can Texas not find opponents? Are you saying that if KU and the rest of the Big12 refuses to play them, Wyoming will also join in the boycott?

            Like

          • Redhawk says:

            @Richard. Yes that’s what I’m saying…sort of.

            UT would get teams to play them but it will be hard and the teams not as sexy. Will any one care when the big games are BYU, Hawaii, and Notre Dame, and a lot of small directional schools?

            Going Indy isn’t easy. Just look at BYU begging the WAC schools to play them. Once a team gets to Oct and Nov, other teams are in conference play, and are booked.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            I think people would care just as much as Texas vs. ISU, KSU, or Baylor.

            Again, I don’t think Texas going independent makes sense for them, but they would hurt a lot less if they went independent than the Big12 without them.

            Like

    • frug says:

      I actually asked myself a similar question. The fact is Fox was offering $2 million and the school was seeking $3 million which means ESPN is, supposedly, going to be paying 600% more than what their competitor was offering and 400% more than what UT thinks it product is worth. Because of this I normally would have dismissed the $12 million figure out of hand, but the fact this is coming on the heals of the Big East announcement suggests to me that the Big East front office may have heard whispers of this deal and felt they needed to try and get out ahead of it since, if true, this deal could completely change the economics of college football and send other conferences/schools scrambling to keep up.
      As for not going independent, my guess is that institutional pride keeps them from letting their non-football sports go slumming with some midmajor.

      Like

      • Redhawk says:

        Was ESPN’s promise this summer to the Big 12 based on UT in it and playing? cause if these number are right, then it was only slightly more than what UT would get on their own. Or…in other words, the other schools didn’t count with any value what so ever.

        Is 12 games of Texas really worth 99 other football games (including OU, A&M, and Missouri) from the rest of the conference to ESPN?

        Which can’t be true. Even if Iowa St vs Missouri isn’t sexy but it’s still programming. And football programming is valuable.

        I mean using this thinking, UT vs K-State is valuable, and Missouri vs Oklahoma is worth zero

        Like

        • greg says:

          @RedHawk

          The ESPN B12 promise was some number such as $120M a year, so I don’t see how you are saying that this UT deal is anywhere near that number.

          Also, they don’t get 12 Texas games out of this. They get one.

          Like

          • Redhawk says:

            I’m taking the 12 million for one or 2 games, and multiplying that for a full 12 game season. and you get almost the same money as whole conferences get.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Redhawk:
            You’re putting the value of the other stuff included in tertiary rights (all the non-football sports, coaches’s shows, various sports shows) at zero, which they pretty obviously aren’t.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Also, not all programming is worth money, otherwise the MAC and Sun Belt would be getting decent money for their weekday games.

            Like

          • Redhawk says:

            Richard: I realize not all programing is equal. But I have a hard time understanding how UT alone is worth the same as the rest of the Big 12 is. if the 12 million number is right.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Redhawk:

            Again, the value of the Longhorn network doesn’t boil down to only one football game.

            Like

        • frug says:

          I’m sort of confused by what you’re arguing. Might point was that ESPN is, supposedly, about to spend way more than what they probably needed to (or at least what others felt they needed to). I made the point about the Big East announcement because I feel it’s plausible to believe that there is some connection in the timing of these events. I never implied that a non-Texas game has no value.

          Like

      • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

        Isn’t a factor in ESPN’s deal the 10 year length? Correct me if I’m wrong, but ESPN could be betting that 12 million dollars in today’s sports economy (a great deal for Texas) will be a steal in 2015-2020? Isn’t that the risk/reward from ESPN’s standpoint with the long-term deal?

        Whereas, FOX’s offer might have been a shorter stint.

        Like

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      Redhawk, I would think a couple of reasons drive Texas not going independent.

      First, for football, being part of a conference provides a clear path to the BCS and a championship game in years in which Texas can defeat Baylor and Iowa State. There’s no guarantee Texas, a school which would be abandoning the conference system, would receive the same sort of guaranteed BCS access Notre Dame, a traditional independent, receives.

      Second, I’d have to think that independence for Texas would have to be total independence. I’m not sure there’d be a WCC-style landing spot for all of the other sports.

      Like

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        Hop – if this $12 million per year ESPN deal is accurate, I don’t see any reason for UTx to go indy? Maybe I’m missing something, but from my perspective, it looks like the Longhorns are getting the best of both worlds.

        If UTx did decide to go indy, I’m sure the Southland Conference would provide a soft landing for the other sports. Think of the rivalries like Stephen F. Austin University v. the University of Texas at Austin. All those great bus trips to Lake Charles, LA, Beaumont, TX and Conway, AR.

        http://www.southland.org/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=18400&KEY=&ATCLID=945979

        BTW, the Southland would be the best fit for TCU if it goes for a football-only Big Least membership. UTx and TCU could renew their rivalries in the SLC.

        Like

      • m (Ag) says:

        “Second, I’d have to think that independence for Texas would have to be total independence. I’m not sure there’d be a WCC-style landing spot for all of the other sports.”

        It’d be interesting if UT and TCU decided to work together to become independent in non-football sports right now.

        TCU could probably get the Big East to promise 4 home + 4 away games every year in basketball in exchange for joining the conference at as a football only member.

        Then, TCU and UT could approach the Pac 12 ADs with a proposal. The Pac 12 schools would schedule 6 home + 6 away basketball games vs. UT every year and 8 home + 4 away games vs. TCU every year. They would make a similar commitment for other sports.

        That would mean 6 Pac 12 schools would have 2 non-conference home games against the schools; 4 schools would have a 2 game non-conference road trip to the state of Texas; 2 schools would travel to Austin and host TCU. If they host 2 games one year they would take a road trip the next year.

        For the Pac 12 schools, they would get a recruiting boost, some desirable home matchups, and an increased value of their TV package (including some increased demand for the new Pac 12 network in the state of Texas). They don’t care as much about TCU, but they’re getting a favorable home/away setup and a second game is easier once they’ve already traveled to Texas. The Pac 12 schools would probably also require UT to schedule 3 football games a year against Pac 12 schools (1 NW school, 1 California school, 1 from the other 4).

        TCU and UT would get some desirable home games of their own, including essential dates late in the year. UT would also be able to schedule some traditional matchups late in the schedule against Texas schools.

        Like

    • Bullet says:

      All of Beebe’s discussion indicated that Fox and a couple of other networks were looking to get serious about college fb. ESPN may indeed be trying to lock up content long term. And they aren’t bidding against themselves. This is the piece that isn’t on the primary or secondary carriers. It will be interesting to see what the P10 gets this spring.

      Like

      • Redhawk says:

        ESPN is bidding against themselves. If their package for the Big 12 included UT, they now have a vested interest to hold UT games out of the selection process on free TV to put them on Longhorn Network….thus making the first package less valuable…cause it doesn’t have UT in it (as much)

        Like

        • Bullet says:

          There isn’t an incentive to hold games out. They sell advertising. They want an attractive game on the broadest distribution they can get. Putting it on the Longhorn Network narrows your distribution.

          Like

    • @Redhawk – In response to your questions:

      1. I’ve talked about this a lot, but there is a whole host of reasons that UT wouldn’t go independent. Politically, it’s a completely untenable position – Texas Tech and Baylor openly need to be tethered to Texas and A&M likely has to be, as well (even if it doesn’t really like it). Financially, there wouldn’t really be that much upside considering that their basically getting $12 million for 2nd or 3rd tier sports games, plus another $20 million (maybe) on top of that from the Big 12. Competitively, Texas isn’t a private single-sport focused school that can just throw all of its non-football teams under a bus – Texas makes real money in basketball and baseball, commits enough money to women’s sports that it has a separate women’s AD, and supports a multitude of world-class programs in sports like track. All in all, anything less than a Big 12-level overall sports conference wouldn’t be acceptable.

      2. ESPN’s real competition is any type of sports network that it doesn’t control as opposed to whether games are on ABC or ESPN. It has effectively given up the entire Midwest and portions of the East Coast to Fox for college sports with the Big Ten Network. In order to prevent another conference network in the South, it massively overpaid both the SEC and ACC. Now, it’s ensuring that a competitor doesn’t end up establishing a beachead in the state of Texas with its most popular college team. In that sense, it may very well be worth it long-term for ESPN to pay $12 million per year simply to keep Fox or another cable competitor out of such a huge and fast growing market.

      Like

      • Redhawk says:

        1) Texas Indy: Yes I understand they have reasons that keep them from doing so. BUT if they could get paid the same as a WHOLE conference does, that would pay off enough to get votes
        2) But didn’t ESPN promise the Big 12 money this summer to keep it together? Didn’t the majority of the value of the Big 12 hang on UT and UT games in that package?

        so Why pay UT to NOT be in that package too? And who does UT think they will be playing? Other Big 12 teams? If the answer is yes, then if I were a Big 12 team I’d want that money or at least a part of it in the pot too.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          1. The Longhorn Network is for tertiary rights to games, most of which wouldn’t have been broadcast under the primary conference deal anyway.
          2. Texas isn’t worth the whole conference (though it is worth a lot).
          3. You may want whatever, but in negotiations, what matters is what your next best option is. What are the Big12 schools’ next best options if Texas says “no” to sharing?

          Like

          • Redhawk says:

            1) really is UT tertiary rights worth 12 million? Is there that kind of demand to see Women’s water polo?

            2) that’s the part I don’t get. If UT’s extra trash stuff is worth $12 million than how much is the rest of UT’s sports worth? Lets Assume the $12 if for one football game and some trash sports. If they play 12 games and have the same extra 2ndary sports too worth $12 million x 12 games equals $144 million where the entire league was offered $120 mil WITH UT!!

            3) if the unequal sharing is SO uneven it starts to kill my school and it’s chances then yeah.

            Would the Big 12 with a KSU, KU, ISU, MU, OU, OSU, Baylor, Tech, A&M, TCU, Houston, BYU have value to a TV Network?

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Well, “trash” is worth a lot if it’s from the right schools. You can argue that most of what’s on the BTN is “trash” (you pretty much never see more than one conference football game from OSU, Michigan, or PSU on the BTN) yet the BTN will get its members as much money as its primary football rights holder ESPN.

            Like

          • m (Ag) says:

            “Would the Big 12 with a KSU, KU, ISU, MU, OU, OSU, Baylor, Tech, A&M, TCU, Houston, BYU have value to a TV Network?”

            I’m pretty sure that A&M leaves right after UT does.

            Like

          • StvInIL says:

            Richard, “Well, “trash” is worth a lot if it’s from the right schools. You can argue that most of what’s on the BTN is “trash” (you pretty much never see more than one conference football game from OSU, Michigan, or PSU.”

            Well call it what you will. I would call it money, because there is interest in it. The whole conference e does not live in those 3 states. The millions of people in the other states like seeing their teams as well. With the big Ten network as opposed to the long Horn, there is inherently more value because there is more product and more interest over all. Football, basketball, Hockey and now some original programming of conference wide interest. I can’t see how you can compare one schools network to that.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            True, though the Big3 (PSU, OSU, Michigan) probably contribute as much value to the BTN as the other 7 schools per capita (greater brands but less programming vs. lesser brands but more programming), or about $9M each right now (though that looks like it will grow), which is close to Texas’s $12M.

            Like

    • @Redhawk – Also something to consider: ESPN Regional does control the syndicated Big 12 basketball package. Instead of selling the applicable Longhorns games for a relatively nominal fee to third party TV stations in the state of Texas, it could theoretically send those games over to the new Longhorn Network. The football content may be lacking, but there could be a much larger base of men’s basketball games available than originally anticipated.

      Like

      • Redhawk says:

        BUT…the syndicated Big 12 package, is shared by the Big 12 teams, granted not equally. This package as I understand it would take OU vs UT women’s basketball game and put it on the UT network and pay UT, but not OU or the rest of the Big 12 their share, even the unequal part.

        Like

        • @Redhawk – Nothing would actually change in that syndicated package other than who ESPN Regional ultimately sells it to in the state of Texas. ESPN Regional would still pay the entire Big 12 conference for the rights to that OU vs. UT basketball game. Then, ESPN Regional takes that game and sells it to third party TV stations in the state of Oklahoma. In the Texas market, though, ESPN Regional would just sell that game to the Longhorn Network as opposed to local TV stations. There really isn’t any substantive change to the syndication deal at a conference level just because the OU-UT game ends up on the Longhorn Network within Texas instead of a patchwork of over-the-air stations.

          Like

  40. David Brown says:

    The reality of the matter is this. One of two things has to happen. 1: ESPN is taking the Big XII Package away from Fox (And paying crazy numbers like they did for the ACC). 2: Texas is going Independent. If you look at the UT NON-Conference Schedule it is not exactly Florida playing Miami & FSU: 2011: (Rice, BYU & at UCLA), 2012: (Wyoming, New Mexico & at Ole Miss), 2013: (New Mexico St, at BYU & Ole Miss). Later on in the decade they play Notre Dame and have home and home with USC . But when you take those games and add them to the Iowa St, Kansas St, Kansas, Missouri & Baylor Conference games, it is not a great TV schedule, so is it worth it for ESPN? IF UT goes independent (Keeping traditional rivals Oklahome, A&M and Tech on the schedule), and adds two quality teams, it may be worth it.

    Like

    • Richard says:

      OK, folks, you got to keep in mind that there are other sports besides football. Parking the non-football sports somewhere else or trying to schedule as a pure independent might not be worth the hassle, since independence may not actually net more dollars (remember that as an independent, you can only sell your home games, so you give up about half the worth of your brand; in a conference, you may have to share the value of your brand with others, but the conference captures the whole worth). That’s why I don’t think tertiary rights going for $12M means the independence would net $50. Remember that the BTN has little more than tertiary rights, and yet will bring the BigTen schools as much money as the ESPN contract for the premium matchups.

      Like

      • David Brown says:

        There is no doubt that there are other sports besides football or basketball (For example: The UT baseball program). But unless you have very wealthy alumni (Oregon’s basketball program, Oklahoma State’s football, and Penn State’s hockey program come to mind), or have an elite football and (or) basketball program, you are behind the eight ball when it comes to your competition. Look at Indiana. They essentially moved a CONFERENCE Home Game against Penn State to Maryland, because they could not put fannies in the seats in Bloomington. Look at Minnesota, they will have to leave a successful hockey conference to join a Big 10 Hockey Conference because the Big 10 Network, Penn State, Michigan, Ohio St, Wisconsin & Michigan St. will likely demand it. Since they are so pathetic in football, and have freeloaded off those schools for Big 10 Network football $$$$$$$$$, they will have to comply with that request. Essentially Indiana & Minnesota are on the level of Kansas & Baylor, having to take marching orders from Penn St, Ohio St, and Michigan like Kansas & Baylor do from Texas.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Eh. OSU and Michigan also take marching orders from the rest of the BigTen. For instance, I very much doubt those 2 wanted to be in different divisions, yet they are. All for one and one for all, etc.

          Also, no one forced Indiana to sell their home game; they just found it profitable to do so.

          Like

          • jj says:

            Oh. I think they wanted to split. It gives them a chance to play twice. The b10 could easily have put ne and psu In one division. They wanted this. These are not altruistic moves.

            Like

          • jj says:

            Remember years ago when they were 1 and 2? The day after, everyone in Ann arbor was all like “oh man, let’s play again!”. I doubt they felt the same in Columbus. But I think the concept carries on. These 2 just cannot tolerate not being the center of attention and want to maximize it at all times. They drive me nuts! Lol!

            Like

          • David Brown says:

            Here are some interesting numbers of athletic budgets: 1: Texas $120,288,370. 2: Ohio State $117,953,712. 4: Michigan $99,027,105. 5: Wisconsin $93,452,334. 6: Penn State $91,570,233. 15: Iowa: $77,738,746. 16: Michigan St $77,738,746. 20: Nebraska $75,492,884.
            newsburglar.com/2009/…/college-athletic-department-budget/ – Cached – Similar
            NOWHERE do you find Indiana on this list. The reason is simple: You are not getting 100,000 people for a game in Bloomington like you do in Ann Arbor or State College. Despite the divisional break ups, I guarantee you Michigan, Ohio St & Penn St are not taking marching orders from IU. Guess what? It will only get worse: With the new Basketball arena and the football stadium expansion, Nebraska will be joining OSU, UM & PSU as the new “Big Four” in the Big 10. IU? They are essentially on the level of Iowa St.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Er, no. The 15th most powerful athletics department in the country in terms of revenue generation (bigger than OU, USC, and Nebraska; just behind ND and Georgia) is not on the same level as ISU (which has a smaller athletics department than Washington St., Baylor, WFU, and Northwestern), unless you’re arguing that OU is on the same level as ISU.

            Like

          • jj says:

            The beauty of the big ten is that football does not rule the roost. No way um, OSU and particularly psu are ordering anybody around. Period.

            Like

    • StvInIL says:

      maybe as ESPN is so invested in the SEC, they try to influence them over to that conference?

      Like

  41. greg says:

    Everyone needs to slow down on the Texas news. We have no idea if $12M is accurate. We also don’t have any idea what actual rights are part of the deal. Like the B12 future contract promise, some of the comparisons are difficult since each contract includes differing levels of rights.

    Does this deal include basically all their non-B12 owned rights? As we’ve discussed previously on this blog, Florida makes $10M a year on their rights. Iowa makes $5M. OSU makes some big number. Even if $12M is true, it may not be such a big deal as it appears on the surface.

    I agree with the others who point out that the Olympic sports is a huge reason to stay in the B12. Texas gets to have their cake and eat it too. They want to have a world class sports program, so its not like they are going to throw their Olympic sports into the Southland.

    Like

    • Bullet says:

      Texas has a minimalist philosophy. They don’t have a lot of sports, but they want to be nationally competitive in all of them. They’ve won national titles in all but a couple of their women’s sports and over half of their men’s sports. And baseball, women’s bb and women’s volleyball all generate revenue, not just fb and bb. And there are all the issues mentioned by StvinIL about ND and the problems with independence. IMO its a big negative to winning consistently.

      Like

  42. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    The Big XII-2 gives Beebe a 3 year extension.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/news/story?id=5767979

    Like

  43. Richard says:

    I don’ get all the tizzy. As someone else pointed out, various SEC and BigTen schools get $5-10M for selling tertiary rights (and as the BTN gets most of those in the BigTen, those rights include even less content).

    Here’s an article on OSU’s media rights deal:
    http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/stories/2009/03/30/daily4.html

    As the article noted, IMG is already paying Texas a handsome amount for media rights; question is, how much of that does the Longhorn Network cannibalize?

    Like

  44. Bullet says:

    Villanova’s official position is that they will make a decision in the spring. I’ve read a lot indicating it was December, but this is a letter from the President. Saw a comment on a Villanova board it is 50/50 chance.
    http://www.thenovablog.com/2010/11/5/1796554/dear-villanova-alumni-i-wanted-to-update-you-on-some-recent

    Like

  45. frug says:

    Not directly germane to the Texas situation (not at all to the Big East) but still worth mentioning is that ESPN/ABC is already paying the Big XII an extra $20 million to stay together ($20 million is what they could have held back from the league for the loss of CU and NU).

    Like

    • kmp says:

      What you’re saying is germane to the Texas situation. It’s all a part of a big-picture strategy by ESPN that some other posts have hit upon.

      ESPN has a thriving business and wants to do whatever it can to keep the current market conditions in place to make sure its business continues to thrive and competitors have trouble eating away at its dominance.

      Look at the deals ESPN has made or promised to make. It landed the BCS games, struck very rich new deals with the SEC and ACC, promised the Big 12 enough money that it stayed together. And now the deal with UT. It’s all part of a strategy to control the golden goose that is college athletics and keep the current situation in place as long as possible.

      Like

    • schwarm says:

      20 million to the conference, and apparently another 12 million to the school that held most of the cards with regard to going west and setting up a super conference with a Fox network. If you only have to pay off one school to get what you want, it doesn’t look like a bad deal for ESPN.

      Going to be interesting to see how the revenue distribution looks for the Big 12-2, probably redefining the word unequal.

      Like

      • Redhawk says:

        see this is where I think the problem is. Will the other schools want to eventually be the Baltimore Orioles to UT’s Yankees?

        I’m saying hell no. I’d rather OU go to the Pac 12 or kick out UT and get an new TV contract in a new conference/reformed Big 12. If there is THIS much money on the table, I want OU to get paid too. And I’m sure alumns of other schools are thinking the same thing.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          If you get your wish, OU and TAMU may get the money (maybe KU), but not the lightweights in the Big12. The money is only on the table because ESPN is willing to overpay to keep its choice properties from defecting to Fox. If they defect, it’s not going to fight too hard to keep the lower-value brands in the Big12.

          If you want to see what the Big12 would look like after Texas, OU, and TAMU go away (and don’t kid yourself, if Texas leaves, OU will follow and TAMU will join the SEC), just look at the awesome TV deals the BE struck after they lost Miami & VTech (despite still being a top basketball conference).

          Like

          • schwarm says:

            I think the other Big 12-2 schools will get something for their remaining TV rights, obviously something less then $12 million per year. Presumably OU and aTm will get $5-10 million each, maybe KU and KSU together get a decent amount, and Missou several million. So the total compensation in the Big 12-2 will be a spectrum with UT at the top at apparently about $32 million, and the bottom members at maybe $12-$15 million, enough to keep them from looking around. Note that in the current uneven revenue sharing, the bottom school makes about 2/3 the top school; in the future its probably going to be less than 1/2 the top school, although everyone will make more.

            Like

  46. Redhawk says:

    Ok…here’s what I don’t get or understand about the $12 million dollar number:

    The Big 12 currently pays it’s members from it’s TV contracts about $12 million per year or less on average. It’s unequal as we all know. OU and UT makes about $14 million down to about 9 or 8 million for Iowa State and Baylor.

    Using round numbers that’s $12 million on average x 12 current teams or $144 million dollars.

    The Big 12-2 was promised a pay raise with the new contract. a promise that would pay the big 3 about $20 million dollars. A number many scoffed at. Said was unrealistic and way off and would never happen.

    Now, this is for first pick of football games. And men’s basketball, and women’s volleyball, etc. The best games of all the sports and for the entire league. That’s OU, Missouri, Kansas, AND Texas. That’s a lot of games!

    so how is the left over Texas games worth $12 million dollars all by themselves?

    Is the value of the Big 12 TV contracts that under valued? Or is there that much of a demand for UT water polo games on TV?

    Is Baylor or Kansas softball games worth practically nothing, but UT softball worth real money? Would UT softball get so many TV viewers that it’s worth so much money it helps drives a separate contract of $12 million dollars?

    A contract that is worth the same as all of UT’s first run football, and basketball and baseball games that are picked up already under the Big 12 contracts?

    Like

    • Robert says:

      Well, I’m guessing all the Texas fans in the state of Texas wouldn’t mind watching UT baseball, softball, women’s basketball, etc… fairly regularly. That’s primarily what’s going to be on this network. So it has value for ESPN in the fact that cable carriers in Texas will probably pay a fairly nice chunk of change for the channel.

      But more than that, this is just another shot by ESPN across Fox’s bow (and any other major network player like CBS, Comcast, etc.). Now Fox Sports doesn’t get the Texas channel like many expected would happen, leaving Fox without yet another valuable property.

      It’s also a fairly cheap way for ESPN to keep Texas happy and the Big 12 together so those schools aren’t tempted again to go to the Pac 12 or Big 10 or wherever — all places ESPN could lose out on future contracts.

      Really, when you think about it, ESPN is paying $120 million over 10 years to basically try to keep the current college football status quo. That’s really not that large of an investment in the grand scheme of things.

      Like

      • Redhawk says:

        If $12 million is true and UT is going to be making $32 million dollars ($20 promised plus this extra $12 million) and the rest of the league including my alma matre OU is only going to be making $20 million per yer or less, there is going to be problems.

        A million here or there isn’t that big of a deal. Twice as much as what is currently being paid out now…is.

        Like

        • Nostradamus says:

          What is Oklahoma or anyone else in the Big XII-II going to do for that matter though? Only two schools OU, and Texas A&M had legitimate offers from other BCS conferences. Neither chose to exercise them.

          Like

          • Redhawk says:

            Options are limited, but staying in the same conference where ONE team is making $24 million a year, and the rest are making $12 (using current numbers) won’t work either.

            Like

        • m (Ag) says:

          I’m sure OU is getting some money from their local games. If there are any games on pay per view, that is extra money. If there any games that are sold to a local station, that is extra money.

          Didn’t we hear that OU was investigating starting its own network?

          Like

          • Redhawk says:

            OU I know has looked at a network with OSU and the OKC Thunder.

            Also OU and the Big 12 has researched their own network minus Texas. (KU may or may not be a part of that)

            Like

      • Redhawk says:

        still that doesn’t add up to me though. All the UT fans in the nation don’t make tertiary sports, worth $12 million dollars or the equivalent of what all their football games plus all their first choices of basketball, etc games are worth now.

        Like

        • Robert says:

          Redhawk, $12 million a year is chump change for ESPN. The network is paying out hundreds of millions of dollars a year for conference network packages. And that’s just in college football. When you add up everything else ESPN pays for between NBA, MLB, NFL, etc.., you’re talking a budget of billions and billions of dollars. An extra $12 million a year means nothing to them.

          If that’s all they have to pay to keep Texas, which appears to be the realignment lynchpin, happy and thus maintain the status quo in college football, it’s a no-brainer investment for them.

          Like

          • Redhawk says:

            Then why this summer was the $20 million dollars promised each to OU, UT and A&M so ungodly impossible to be real just this summer. Now we are talking $32 million for UT alone! ($20 million promised and the additional $12 million)?

            This wouldn’t make the status quo more solid..it makes it more open.

            Right now OU and A&M and KU have to be thinking..F’ if UT is worth $32 million we are worth more than our promised $20 or $15 million. Let’s get in a bidding war too!

            That’s why I don’t think the $12 million is a correct number

            Like

          • Richard says:

            While you might not wish it, OU needs to follow Texas (or at least the administrators in your school think so). It may hurt your pride, but I presume OU’s administrators aren’t stupid, and are doing what they think is best for OU.

            BTW, Texas’s athletic revenues are about $120M; OU’s athletic revenues are about $77M. SEC schools evidently can sell their tertiary rights for $5-10M, so I expect OU to be able to (and actually are doing) the same. Look at it from that perspective, and it really isn’t a big enough deal to split the Big12 over. Think like an administrator, not a fan.

            Like

        • m (Ag) says:

          Part of the value is in the demand for a whole new station.

          Right now, a UT fan in Texas needs ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports SW, and maybe ESPNU. Now there will be a lot of demand to add Longhorn Sports network added to all the cable stations around Texas. That’s why these games are more valuable on a whole new network than they would be if they were just added to the standard ABC/ESPN contract.

          Like

          • Redhawk says:

            that makes some sense. However, they will still need most of those as those will still have higher pecking order to put on UT games. this is just for ALL THE REST (if I’m understanding it correctly)

            Like

          • m (Ag) says:

            Yeah, the Longhorn network couldn’t charge nearly as much as those other networks, but the revenue would be going to UT and ESPN.

            Revenue from Fox Sports SW pays for the Big 12 contract, but also for the Rangers, Astros, local NBA teams, Dallas’ NHL team, etc.

            The Longhorn Network would make a lot less, but UT wouldn’t have to share it with many other entities.

            Like

    • dchorn says:

      yes, you have answered your own question….

      Also considering, that UT as a property owns:

      1. UT Baseballl

      2. The Texas Relays- the largest track mmet except for the Penn Relays- includes high school athletes and pros preparing for Europe and the Olympics- roughly about 40k paid attendance- could be big for ESPNU in Olympic year..

      3. UT’s swim meet- one of the nation’s biggest

      4. Traditionally powerful volleyball and softball with large local demand when the games are meaningful…

      Besides- you just tripled the school’s athletic budget…You can only invest so much into 85 student athletes…Most of its minor programs are self sustaining with individual fan bases of their own…Imagine if it starts a soccer program or lacrosse….A fanbase that large with a large enough athletic portfolio can provide acres of programming for ESPNU, to compliment SEC programming….With the exception of football coaches shows and game replays- which can be ditributed to outside resources within Texas- live programming is paramount for success of ESPNU…

      Like

      • Redhawk says:

        here’s why all this doesn’t equal $12 million dollars: what sport did UT just lose a first round Big 12 Tourny game in?

        No one cares about those sports…not even UT fans. There is no way they are worth $12 million?

        Answer: Women’s soccer, UT lost to OU.

        Like

        • Michael in Indy says:

          ESPN isn’t paying UT for the right to broadcast women’s soccer or even junk UT football games like UT vs. Stephen F. Austin or whoever…

          ESPN is paying UT $12 million because it keeps UT from becoming unhappy with the Big 12 (a league which allows UT to control its local media rights). If UT is happy with the Big 12, it won’t leave for another conference and create a domino effect resulting in megaconferences, which would cost ESPN far, far more than $12 million.

          Basically, ESPN is paying UT not to screw up the rest of its college sports investments, not for UT’s non-revenue sports.

          It’s the same principle for why the cable networks pay huge amounts of cash to the BTN. Comcast & others were willing to pay for a network with largely unappealing, non-revenue sports networking in lieu of losing thousands and thousands of subscribers.

          Like

          • Michael in Indy says:

            Provided that my logic about ESPN’s reasons for paying so much to UT are correct, it would kind of make me wonder if A&M is going to turn around and try to get the same thing from ESPN, because A&M could still have an invitation from the SEC in its back pocket.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Are you sure about that? The SEC is happy with the status quo, so I don’t see there being a standing invite to TAMU unless Texas moves.

            Like

        • @Redhawk – Here’s the key point: the question isn’t “How are all of these crappy UT sports worth $12 million?”

          Instead, the proper question is “How is the Longhorn Network as a whole worth $12 million to ESPN?”

          Well, for the cost of only $12 million per year, ESPN just completely killed the chance of (1) a college sports network featuring the most popular school in a massive rapidly growing state being owned by a competitor AND, more importantly, (2) a Big 12 network EVER being formed.

          Point #1 is very nice. Consider that Fox Sports Southwest is going to pony up $80 million per year for the rights to Texas Rangers games and it has nothing to do with the fact that they won the AL pennant this year. Instead, it was completely about preventing the Rangers from forming its own competing sports network. Note that $80 million is an absolutely insane amount of money – the Rangers (who are basically the MLB equivalent of Illinois for college football – located in a large market and will get a lot of support when they’re playing well, but not a national marquee name) are going to be making TV money on the same order as the Yankees and Red Sox going forward. Looking at that number a month ago when that deal was signed, it looked like Fox Sports Southwest was smoking some wacky peyote for paying that much. However, the Astros and Rockets just announced last week that they were leaving their own Fox Sports Southwest deals in order to form a new network with Comcast. If Fox Sports Southwest hadn’t retained the Rangers, the entire network could’ve completely dissolved (similar to how Fox Sports Chicago vanished after the Cubs, White Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks all simultaneously left to form Comcast SportsNet Chicago). After what the Astros and Rockets did, paying $80 million per year to the Rangers suddenly looked like a good move. There’s a ton of cable money that could be made in Texas and, unlike the NYC area, it isn’t oversaturated yet with multiple regional sports network. ESPN didn’t want to see Fox or some other cable provider take that market.

          Point #2, though, is the big one. ESPN has been throwing money out like crazy in order to prevent other conference networks from popping up. The network is paying hundreds of millions of dollars to the SEC and ACC in clearly loss-leading contracts specifically so those two conferences wouldn’t start their own networks. In order to prevent a Big 12 network, though, it’s only going to cost ESPN $12 million per year to Texas. That is an EXTREMELY cheap price to kill off the prospects of a conference network that has a host of great brand names (Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas basketball).

          So, as I think about this more and more, this was a very smart aggressive yet defensive measure by ESPN.

          Like

          • frug says:

            I think the point is that ESPN could have achieved all these things for far less than $12 million a year and that’s not even counting all the repercussions this will have when it comes time to renegotiate the networks deal with the Big 10. The fact is if Texas is going to be getting $32 million the Big 10 teams are going to expect at $29+.

            Like

          • zeek says:

            It’s pretty much what Frank is saying.

            The content is only worth around $2-3M per year based on what Fox is bidding and what Texas is asking, but ESPN is willing to vastly overpay just to keep Texas and the Big 12 stable and with no conference network on the scale of the Big Ten Network.

            Like

          • StvInIL says:

            Or more magnanimously pay an adequate amount to the conference and make all the boys happy insuring their existence and contentment. Sure $12Mildo to only Texas locks in the star of the league but it seems that it will increas the animus for not only the have nots but the OK, TA&M. They may need to make2 similar deals in the long run which will cost more than just paying the league.

            Like

          • Redhawk says:

            StvInIL has it right. This doesn’t make the Big 12 more stable it makes it less. Do you think OU and Texas A&M are going to provide programing and money to UT while being their Baltimore Orioles?

            As an OU Alumn I can say that isn’t going to happen. OU will want to get paid too, and will fully expect to. A&M the same way. Kansas actually raises the most money in the conference from Alumns so guess they will want to be paid too. Missouri thinks they are a Big 10 level school, and are in many ways….I don’t think they will take a back seat either.

            So if UT is going to get $12 million for just their “extra” How much could the Big 12 get for OU vs Missouri football or Kansas vs Kansas State Basketball?

            I’d say they could get more than the $12 million they are currently getting for first pick sports.

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            Interesting about Fox Sports SW.

            Network was originally two separate ones, Dallas and Houston. At first in Houston, there was really nothing worthwhile on it but the Rockets (Hannah Storm got her TV start doing the halftime show). Losing the Astros and Rockets hurts it, but you are right, w/o the Rangers it would die.

            Like

    • Bullet says:

      I think even some of us UT fans on the board were questioning how much it would be worth.

      Assuming these $s are right, I’m thinking ESPN has a number of networks and is going to use them for regional coverage. ESPN classic may become The Longhorn Network in Texas, the Oklahoma network in Oklahoma, etc., much like FoxSports has had all its regional networks. It may sell them as a group. Maximizing viewership by thinking local. Maybe from Midnight to 6am it is ESPN Classic in every location. There are a lot of variations.

      If you read the Minnesota/UT cancellation discussion, replay rights were a factor. Maybe part of the value is replaying the on-air games later in the week.

      Like

  47. David Brown says:

    No one, and I mean no one cares about women’s sports (Except in Storrs Conn, & Knoxville, Tenn). There is no economic value in Women’s Softball, Track & Field, Swimming, or Gymnastics, it is meerly about satisfying Title IX demands.
    Right now, if I am at OU, Ok St, & A&M, I am looking at some kind of an exit strategy… SEC perhaps? Because these schools are on the verge of not only becoming the Baltimore Orioles to the Yankees, but even worse, will be approaching Iowa State in terms of National importance, which would mean that not only UT, but their ex mates in Lincoln, Nebraska, will be laughing at them on their way to the bank.

    Like

    • StvInIL says:

      “Right now, if I am at OU, Ok St, & A&M, I am looking at some kind of an exit strategy… SEC perhaps? Because these schools are on the verge of not only becoming the Baltimore Orioles to the Yankees”

      Hell yes! Why the heck not? The rich are getting richer and they are not. They are also getting bich slaped by these deals

      Like

      • StvInIL says:

        I mean, if I’m Kansas would not the Big east work for me? maybe not as prestegious football wise but it has basketball royalty and they can win the Big East Football conference. I can’t say that in the big 12.

        Like

        • Redhawk says:

          works easier to just kick out UT and add BYU, Houston and TCU. I’d assume that league would be worth what the ACC is worth. May not be $20 mill each like the Big 10 gets but if UT women’s softball is worth $12 million, I’d assume OU and Missouri Football is worth $15 million

          Like

          • Playoffs Now says:

            Relax dude, take a deep breath, and think. OU is about to sign a similar deal that will pay close to what TX is getting. You’ll be making as much or more as you would in the SEC, and more than you would have in a P16. TX will make $32 mil per year, OU likely somewhere between $26-30 per year. What’s to complain about?

            Like

          • Redhawk says:

            @playoffsnow

            Where do you get that? when the $20 million per team deal was offered this summer to save the Big 12, everyone went No WAY! it won’t happen, that’s too much money!

            So I have a hard time now believing the rest of the big 12 including OU will now get paid more than the Big 10 gets.

            Like

          • Playoffs Now says:

            When NE ran away and the hands shaken on the new deal, OU and aTm were promised the same amount that TX was. TX was cool with that. Lots of rumors now that OU is going to get a similar deal to TX’s, but not quite as much $. Remember that OU has been looking at starting its own network for a long time now, too. No doubt with encouragement and insight from Dodds. There’s a reason that OU barely gave the SEC the time of day back in June.

            One thought is that ESiPN (TexAgs came up with that, gives me a chuckle) will simply convert ESPN Classic or ESPNU to the TX channel in Texas markets. If so, then very simple for them to do the same in Okie markets (though I would think OU would want some provision to get it into the DFW and Houston systems.)

            TX is getting $20+12, OU will get $20+X. Based strictly on population X=$2, but there are intagibles that will push that number up. Rumors are that it is close to what TX is getting. ‘Close’ to me has to be at least $6, probably more.

            Like

          • Playoffs Now says:

            Again, my guess is any OU812TV wouldn’t be limited to just OK, but also DFW (1.5 times larger population) and perhaps Houston (similar.) So instead of OU812TV reaching just 4 million, we’re talking 10-16+ mil. Of course far less market penetration outside of OK’s 4 mil, but still a substantial niche.

            Like

      • @StvInIL – You know how women can smell desperation on a guy at a bar, which makes him completely unattractive to them even though he’s probably not bad on paper? That’s basically how the Big Ten and SEC see every school in the Big 12 (other than Texas) and Big East right now. As I like to say, it takes two to tango. Schools can approach the Big Ten and SEC all they want, but until there’s an overwhelming financial incentive for them to expand, they’re not buying anything new.

        Like

        • frug says:

          Technically A&M has a standing offer to join the SEC whenever it wants to and if A&M did join the SEC they would probably also have to take on Oklahoma to balance the divisions. Of course if A&M were to try and take up the SEC’s offer it will be interesting to see how “open” it really is.

          Like

          • Redhawk says:

            OU would have a hard time not taking OSU. The SEC seems reluctant to expand, with no hard guarantee from CBS or ESPN to pay for the extra mouths.

            Kick out UT, and add BYU, TCU and Houston. Bam stable new confernce, open up the bidding to the networks going crazy enough to give UT $12 million for UT Women’s sports. And find out if Iowa St football is as valuable to TV as UT’s women’s softball

            Like

          • Playoffs Now says:

            Technically A&M has a standing offer to join the SEC whenever it wants

            That would be the case if I were the SEC commish, but I have doubts that this rumored offer is actually still there.

            Like

          • @frug – The SEC offer was still more based upon preventing the Pac-16 from ever happening as opposed to the conference actually wanting to expand. Now, the SEC sees some value in A&M, but more as a CYA measure in the event that Texas goes to a superconference as opposed to affirmatively aiming to get bigger. I’m also extremely skeptical that Texas politicians are going to let A&M walk away alone to put the existence of the entire Big 12 (with Texas Tech and Baylor) at risk again. The forces that want/demand that UT and A&M stay together came out with avengeance when it looked like that they could go their separate ways this past year. Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott has gone on the record saying that the Pac-16 breakdown had nothing to do with the Longhorn Network and everything to do with Texas politics. As a result, Texas A&M can never be in full control of where it can go – there’s going to be heavy influence from outside forces that will always demand that they keep the status quo.

            As for OU, they’re even more politically tethered to Oklahoma State than the Texas/A&M/Texas Tech triangle. T. Boone Pickens can (and will) buy off the entire Oklahoma legislature to ensure that OSU stays with OU forever. So, the SEC (or anyone else) can’t get OU without OSU. And the SEC isn’t ever going to be taking OSU.

            Like

          • frug says:

            I was just speaking hypothetically (that’s why I said technically) noting that there was at least some possibility. And I do understand Oklahoma politics pretty well (I was born and mostly raised in Tulsa, both my parents went to Oklahoma State and I go back at least once a year) but I think it could be harder than you think for T. Boone to buy off everyone. Oklahoma has a more powerful governor than Texas does meaning that a handful of state legislators (or even a large group) would not be enough to tether OSU to OU the way Tech is to UT. Now I doubt the two would be split but it could happen.

            Like

          • frug says:

            On the other hand, I just remembered that Brad Henry is term limited and the governor elect is a Cowboy alum so she might do T. Boone’s work for him.

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            @frank OU/OSU

            Don’t remember which, but either the President or AD of OU came out and said they were tethered to OSU.

            Like

        • Playoffs Now says:

          OU isn’t the least bit desperate, they sit on the right side of the throne and will profit handsomely. Plus win more conferences titles than they could anywhere else without taking a 50%+ pay cut.

          BTW, maybe its time to junk the ‘conventional wisdom’ that in the upcoming negotiations the B12-2 won’t get the money Beebe claimed. Or how ‘fragile’ the B12-2 is. Even if aTm bolts for the SEC, BYU can be easily plugged in.

          BTW, who would partner with aTm to the SEC? WV, MO, TTech? I doubt they’d go past 14, it probably wouldn’t prompt the B10+2 to exand, The P12 won’t, ND will still stay indy, and the BEast probably won’t go past 10 or 12 in fb. So 10 in the B12-10 is feasible and TX would probably stay put. Good dough, local travel, easier path to the BCS and they can get away with it.

          And no way does TX go indy, they’re is little advantage to the situation they’ve set up. As long as OU stays in conference that’s probably enough for the other critical pieces to stay in place.

          Like

          • Playoffs Now says:

            they’re = there

            Like

          • Redhawk says:

            OU won’t allow UT to bury them and the rest of the league.

            $32 million per year, vs $15-20 million won’t be very competitive for long.

            The Big 12 and OU will either force a more equal distribution of UT’s money if they can’t get the same money either on their own or collectively.

            Then UT can either share, or if that TV is worth the same playing Sunbelt teams.

            Like

          • @Redhawk – I just don’t see OU doing that – the school’s AD came out and stated in the summer that they’re going wherever Texas goes, which must have made Sooner fans cringe yet it was the truth. As Playoffs Now said, there’s likely a nice deal on the horizon for OU, as well, so that school will be taken care of and is probably more aligned with Texas on financial issues than anyone else. The rest of the Big 12 actually agreed to guarantee UT, OU and A&M at least $20 million in conference revenue per year, so how can they then turn around and force equal distribution of revenue for TV rights that UT owns today? UT isn’t taking games away from the conference package with the Longhorn Network – they’re just maximizing the revenue of the TV rights that they already control. They happen to be able to maximize that revenue better than anyone else due to a combination of home market size, huge fan base and quality sports programs across-the-board, but them’s the breaks.

            Like

          • @Playoffs Now – OK, it’s fair to say that OU isn’t desperate and we can probably say that A&M isn’t completely desperate, either. It’s more of my reaction to frequent suggestions that “School X should talk to the Big Ten because the Big East is going to implode” or “School Y needs to hook up with the SEC since Texas is controlling everything”. All the sweet nothings in the world won’t get schools anywhere with those conferences right now.

            I agree with you (and have been arguing for awhile) that the Big 12 is now way more stable than people believe because of a multitude of reasons (Texas and Oklahoma politics, UT seriously wanting to keep the conference together for its own financial interests, Big 12 North schools don’t really have anywhere else to go, etc.) and Texas isn’t out to become independent. That being said, I’ll believe the new TV money for the Big 12 when I see it after losing a national brand name (Nebraska), its largest market outside of the state of Texas (Colorado delivering the Denver market) and dropping the championship game. The ACC got a great pay increase, but it at least was offering the same sized league. The Big 12 schools won’t be hurting for money, but I don’t see how all of them are going to suddenly get Big Ten money when they lost a lot of value.

            Like

          • Playoffs Now says:

            The assumption (not saying I buy it) is that ESPN is overpaying TX $12 mil to keep the super conferences from forming. OK, so presumably that means keeping TX in the B12-2. The B12-2 is far more likely to fall apart if the promised money doesn’t come through in the next contract. Thus why would ESPN ‘overpay’ TX if they planned on lowballing the B12-2 contract and risk blowing up their grand scheme?

            And if TX really wants to keep the B12-2 (as all indication so far suggest) rather than walk over to the P16 with their new channel (still a possibility) then I would think that they would have wanted assurances from ESPN that the promised number is the floor for the upcoming B12-2 negotiations. Gaining an extra couple of million per year just to see the conference blow up, with all the extra travel costs, inconvenience, and reduced odds of BCS appearances would appear to be a foolish gamble.

            Though perhaps ESPN was simply looking to delay, rather than prevent a P16. But so far this has all played out mostly along Occam’s Razor and what TX has said its intentions were.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Frank makes a good point. While OU fans like RedHawk may dislike Texas taking in more money than the rest of the Big12 and call for completely equal TV revenue distribution as a knee jerk reaction, the hard reality is that OU would actually take in less money under completely equal TV revenue distribution since not only would Texas have to share it’s revenue with KU, KSU, ISU, MU, and Baylor, but OU would have to share it’s extra revenue with alphabet soup to its north as well.

            Like

          • Redhawk says:

            If we are talking $3 million as first was stated by Dodds, I don’t think there is an issue. A million here or there isn’t a deal breaker.

            $12 million is. It’s about competitive advantage. $12 million for the Extra programing is more than the Big 12 schools are getting now for their first run pick of the litter sports!

            That kind of disparity is a game changer. It just is. There is no “tough you have to take it and like it”

            OU isn’t going to be an also-ran. They just won’t be. $32 million to Texas and $20 million to OU and A&M and $15 to Mizzou and Kansas, makes OU and the rest of the Conference automatic, 2nd tier also-rans to Texas.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            OK, again, if OU is as popular as the mid-to-top tier SEC schools, OU will also get $5-10M for their tertiary rights. Also, did you check to see what total athletic revenues are for the 2 schools?

            http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/sports_college/2009/07/how-much-revenue-did-your-favorite-fbs-school-take-in-in-200708-this-chart-will-tell-you.html

            In ’07-08, Texas brought in $120M & OU brought in $77M. A few extra million won’t make a difference.

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            And SEC has some tough decisions to make if it goes to 14 related to divisions. I think they understand that and don’t want to deal with that. AL/TN and AU/GA are two of the premier and oldest rivalries in the conference. LSU and FL like their rivalry. If they add 1 team east and one west, they don’t get to play the teams in the other division much if they keep 1 every year rival from the other division. Do they go to 9 games-not likely? Do they drop AL/TN and AU/GA-very unlikely? Do they go to a 6-1-1 where FL (big recruiting ground) plays the schools in the west twice in 12 years? Do they move AU and/or AL east and would that make the east too tough?

            The Pac 12 may have limited options to get to 14 or 16, but the SEC only has options that give them problems if they go to 14 or 16.

            If superconfernces happen, I think USF is actually in a good position, contrary to popular opinion. The ACC, if it loses FSU to the SEC, or the SEC, if it doesn’t get FSU or Miami, is going to want to have a 2nd FL school so that teams can play in FL for recruiting reasons.

            Like

          • m (Ag) says:

            If they SEC adds 2 to the West, I think they slide Vandy to the West and send the Alabama schools East. This is why A&M/OU was the easy offer last time.

            If they add 1 to the West and 1 to the East, I think there’s a chance they end all permanent rivalries except Alabama/TN and Auburn/Georgia. Alabama and Auburn wouldn’t get into Florida very often but they’d keep their premier rivalries.

            They might use another option if A&M and Florida State join. Though it’s not geographically accurate, they could put FSU, A&M, and Vandy in the West. Then they’d have the only 2 permanent rivalries as Florida/FSU and Tennessee/Vanderbilt. Each division would have a Florida and Tennessee school in their division, so the fact that you saw the other school from the state less often wouldn’t be as big a deal.

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            SEC east under that scenario:
            AL
            FL
            TN
            AU
            UGA
            UK
            SC

            That division is simply too strong and would probably be bad for everyone. It solves the rivalry issues, but creates some other lasting issues. The SEC schools (with a few exceptions) have never looked for the toughest schedule possible. I think they want wins and this makes it too difficult to get. That’s one of the reasons they aren’t enthusiastic about expansion, but are being reaactive.

            Like

          • @Bullet – Yeah, that’s brutal. Plus, I think putting Alabama and Florida into separate divisions (even though they really aren’t primary rivals) is as important for the SEC as splitting Michigan and Ohio State turned into for the Big Ten – every school wants to play at least one of those teams annually as those are the conference’s historical headliners.

            Like

          • @Bullet – I also think you make a good point that the SEC is being “reactive” here. The best scenario for the SEC is to preserve the status quo – the only other conference that is a financial peer to them right now is the Big Ten and that will continue to be the case without any further movement. So, they’ll take a school like A&M as a defensive measure in the event that Texas decides to head to the Pac-10/12/16 in the future (which looks extremely unlikely with the new Longhorn Network), but the last thing that the SEC wants to do is to pro-actively break up the Big 12 and let other conferences get stronger on a relative basis.

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            @Richard
            OU actually led the Big 12 is distributions last year. Texas was 2nd.

            Like

          • AggieFrank says:

            I think you guys are wrong about the SEC being reactive. The SEC wants into the Texas market. They’d obviously love to have Texas but Texas is not interested.

            Their next best option is an OU/A&M combination joining the league and expanding to 14. I understand this is on the table with active discussions underway. Should this happen it would be a huge coup for the SEC adding OU as the name school/traditional power and A&M as the #2 school in Texas. This option gives OU/A&M a lot of negotiating power with Texas. They can threaten to take their ball and go home if Texas doesn’t play nice.

            Like

          • zeek says:

            Except that OU has stated repeatedly that it intends to stay with Texas. There’s no indication that the Texas-OU linkage is in doubt.

            A&M seems to be happy staying in the Big 12 with Texas/OU due to the fact that it would be easier for them to be competitive as opposed to joining the SEC, where that might just help SEC schools target their targeted recruits, etc.

            At this point the Big 12 is stable because Texas and A&M seem to be content with the situation, as long as A&M gets its $20M in the new TV contract. We’ll see whether that part of the deal ends up happening within the next year. Hard to see A&M making a move if that comes to pass…

            Like

          • @zeek – I just don’t see OU leaving Oklahoma State, either. Maybe OU could do it if it absolutely stuck to its guns (just like UT could theoretically ditch all of the other Texas schools if it really really really wanted to), but it would have to balance that against how much of a political s**tstorm it’s willing to endure at home. In practicality, OU can’t go without OSU politically, OU doesn’t want to go without UT athletically, and UT/A&M/Texas Tech for all intents and purposes are bound together. This is why the Pac-16 seemed so appealing – all of the major foreseeable political issues were taken care of. The Pac-10, though, was surprised by how much leaving Baylor out caused issues with the Texas legislature, and then when it looked like the SEC was willing to take on A&M in order to either kill the Pac-16 or at least not concede all of Texas to that conference, everything unraveled. If the Pac-16 proposal didn’t work when everyone except Baylor was taken care of, then I can’t see how any proposal that suggests any of the bigger schools ditching their “little brothers” behind could possibly pass political muster.

            Like

          • AggieFrank says:

            I promise you A&M is far from content with the B12-2.

            Like

          • duffman says:

            AggieFrank,

            maybe the fanbase does not feel that way, but the power in the administration seems to. Look at the history:

            a) UT and TAMU join what would become the SEC. UT gets beat early on and drops out. TAMU has early success, and stays for 8 more years.

            b) during this time UT beats TAMU in a very lopsided win – loss ratio (I did an extensive post on the history of TAMU and other teams who seem to have a lower success than their resources and ability would indicate).

            c) TAMU still decides to drop out of the future SEC (where they would have been a charter member) and do as UT wishes only to become a second wheel in the SWC after a year or two of being in a smaller all texas conference.

            d) TAMU has the option to join the SEC when they go to 12 in the 90’s. TAMU declines the invitation, and goes with UT to the Big 12 when the SWC collapses.

            e) TAMU has the option in june to joint the SEC for a third time in their history, and yet they decline once again.

            I am an outsider, but it looks like TAMU will follow UT into eternity as their history has show this time and time again.

            Like

          • Playoffs Now says:

            AggieFrank says:
            November 10, 2010 at 9:38 am

            I promise you A&M is far from content with the B12-2.

            aTm was, is, and always will have Jan Brady Syndrome.

            Though far more with their fans than the admins who actually have to balance budgets and pay the bills.

            Like

          • Playoffs Now says:

            and UT/A&M/Texas Tech for all intents and purposes are bound together.

            I don’t think they’re tied as tightly as conventional wisdom says. Timing is everything. The Texas gov election is now over and the legislative sessions will end June 1st, not to reconvene until Jan 2013. The gov can call special sessions, but is an Ag and won’t if the aTm admins are convinced their destiny is elsewhere (not to mention how ridiculous it would be to spend $ calling a SS for fb realignment.) Realignment that finds a suitable place for enough influential Texas schools can happen.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Then you’d have to explain why TAMU stayed with the rest of the Big12-2 pack when they had the chance to join the SEC this summer. If it’s because of money, I just can’t see a scenario where Beebe doesn’t get TAMU its $20M.

            Like

          • zeek says:

            Yeah Frank, I had forgotten about OSU for a moment there.

            At this point, I don’t see the SEC as an option for OU, since it wants to stay with Texas and it probably doesn’t want to deal with the political mess of leaving OSU. Until there’s a solution to those two issues, (the Pac-16 with Texas/Texas Tech/OU/OSU is the only viable solution), then it won’t happen with the SEC, since Texas doesn’t want to go there.

            Like

          • jj says:

            To me, there are 2 clear factions in the B12 and ATM is on the outside. TX/Baylor/TT/OSU/OU is one faction and the 4 dwarves (sorry, I just like the term)are the other. The problem, per usual, is cash. That likely jams ATM with the former faction for the forseeable future. I wonder if ATM, rather than eying the SEC, could be better served teaming up with the dwarves, TCU, BYU, Boise and the Beast. Big picture thinking I guess. The money is not there now, obviously, but it might have a brighter future in a league like that.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Work with me here. Under what scenarios would it actually be better for TAMU to align with the dwarves?

            Like

          • Playoffs Now says:

            Then you’d have to explain why TAMU stayed with the rest of the Big12-2 pack when they had the chance to join the SEC this summer.

            Perhaps because that was before the recent Texas gov election and upcoming “Once every two years” legislative session. Now Gov Perry doesn’t have to worry about nonsense such as fb realignment becoming a political stinkbomb that could hamper reelection. Get past May and it won’t screw up a tough and busy legislative session. If aTm and/or TX have any plans to shake things up, I’m sure it has been suggested that they lay low until at least June.

            Like

    • Playoffs Now says:

      1-9.

      Like

    • Richard says:

      I want to point out that that actually isn’t true. Granted, there are few women’s sports that are money makers anywhere, but Utah gymnastics average 14K per meet, which is more than most men’s basketball games (and which is why the 2012 Pac-12 gymnastics championship will take place in Utah).

      Like

  48. Gobux says:

    Can the Big Ten Network by TV rights of pro sports teams, such as Columbus Blue Jackets or Cleveland Cavaliers, like Fox Sports Southwest did from the Rangers?

    Or would this be frowned upon by the NCAA or politicians?

    Like

    • StvInIL says:

      don’t know, but I would think it would be frowned upon. This would be where the collegiate comingles with the professional.

      Like

    • ohio1317 says:

      The Big Ten Network is technically an independent company owned partly by the Big Ten schools (51%) and partly by Fox (49%). I couldn’t imagine the NCAA would have any say or care much what it puts on. That said, the Big Ten itself probably doesn’t want to reduce their own exposure much.

      Like

  49. PensfaninLAexile says:

    Every time I read about the BEast and its travails I get this image of Barbero in some veterinary hospital hooked up to a ventilator and a feeding tube. The BEast doesn’t need expansion — it needs a bullet.

    Like

  50. Playoffs Now says:

    Ugh. Belcher coughs it up!

    Like

  51. StvInIL4NW says:

    Lord have mecy, The best defense in the BT just lost 67 – 65. Illini, you can’t stand prosperity.

    Like

  52. Hank says:

    for record book fans, the 67-65 score in the Michigan Illinois game was the most in Big Ten history. The previous high was when Michigan beat Michigan Agricultural College (Cro Magnon Sparty) 119-0 in 1902.

    Like

    • jj says:

      That never happened.

      Like

      • Hank says:

        Yes it did.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1902_Michigan_Wolverines_football_team

        Michigan played a mid-week game against Michigan Agricultural College (now known as Michigan State University) on Wednesday, October 8, 1902, four days after the win against Case. Michigan attained its highest point total of the year, defeating the Aggies by a score of 119-0. The Wolverines scored 71 points in the first half of 20 minutes and 48 in the second half of 18 minutes.[12] The Michigan Alumnus called it “the greatest fusillade of touchdowns ever known to the football world,” excluding Michigan’s 128-0 win over Buffalo in 1901.[13] Michigan was held on downs only once in the game, and the Aggies made only three first downs.[12] Right halfback Albert Herrnstein ran back a kickoff the length of the field and scored seven touchdowns in the game. Willie Heston and Everett Sweeley did not play in the game, and the Detroit Free Press noted: “The opinion is quite general that if Heston and Sweeley had been in the game the Buffalo record would have been beaten, but, as it was, Michigan was simply fagged out running down the field for touchdowns.”[12]

        The game was played in two halves of 20 minutes and 18 minutes. Demonstrating the understatement of the “Point-a-Minute” name given to the team, the Wolverines scored 119 points in 38 minutes of play, an average of 3.1 points per minute. After the game, The Newark Advocate wrote:

        “Michigan has undoubtedly the fastest scoring team in the world, and the Ann Arbor boys play Yosts’ ‘hurry up’ formations like clock work. It requires a fast team to take the ball, line up and score 119 points, even if they have no opponents in two 20 minute halves.”

        Like

      • jj says:

        Fielding Yost wrote that book.

        Like

  53. Jake says:

    Go Frogs!

    Like

    • @Jake – Congrats on an INCREDIBLE beatdown. If there’s any justice in this world, TCU will be #2 in the BCS rankings tomorrow. At the very least, I think the pollsters will finally put the Frogs above Boise State.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        I think they should be #1. The problem is, while anything can happen in the SEC, I don’t see Oregon losing again (and a 1-loss SEC team may still get in).

        Still, I’d like to see TCU vs. Boise III: This time for the national championship.

        Like

      • Bullet says:

        IMO Oregon, TCU and Boise are way ahead of anyone else in the country and its hard to separate them. Some sportscaster made the argument that Auburn “obviously” deserved to be #1 or #2 because of their schedule. Makes you wonder if any of these talking heads actually looks at the schedules.
        Auburn’s defense can’t seem to stop anyone (except La-Mo):
        Arkansas St. 52-26
        at MSU 17-14
        Clemson 27-24 OT
        S. Carolina 35-27
        La-Monroe 52-3
        @UK 37-34
        LSU 24-17
        Ark 65-43
        @MS 51-31
        Chattanooga 62-24

        10-0 is tough to do, but other than that it is not impressive. 3 road games, 3 pts over MSU, 3 over UK and 20 over MS. LSU is more of the same. I don’t think either of those stays on the field with the top 3.

        Like

        • Bullet says:

          If UGA brings its A game, Auburn may lose by 3 TDs next week. (Now if its their B game, the scoreboard may shortcircuit).

          Like

        • Bullet says:

          Coaches poll:
          Oregon wins by 37 on the road-loses 1 point
          Auburn wins by 38 at home over FCS school-gains 5 points
          Boise wins by 35 at home over team just outside top 25-loses 31 points
          TCU wins by 40 on the road over #5 gains 48 points, apparently almost all from Boise, Alabama and OU.

          While none of this is surprising, does it make any sense to anyone?

          Like

          • m (Ag) says:

            Well, if you really want to know.

            The schedule strength for Boise and TCU took yet another hit yesterday:

            -Oregon State lost to UCLA
            -Oklahoma State beat Baylor just as easily as TCU did
            -Virginia Tech struggled to beat Georgia Tech. Not embarrassing, but not great.

            On the other hand, Air Force handled Army easily enough.

            The 5 teams in the SEC West that aren’t Ole Miss continue to have their schedule strength look good. Those 5 teams only have 1 loss when not playing each other (Alabama @ South Carolina):

            -Texas A&M beat Oklahoma
            -Penn State beat Northwestern
            -North Carolina beat Florida State
            -Clemson beat NC State
            -Duke beat Virginia (OK, not terribly impressive, but worth mentioning because it’s Duke!)

            LSU solidified itself as the firm #2 team in that grouping, with Auburn on top of them.

            (Note, its worth mentioning that MSU contributed none of those non-conference foes. There best opponent was UH.)

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            The SEC West’s results would be more impressive if they had played anyone other than each other and the SEC East, which is WAY down this year. Most of their OOC opponents are terrible.
            Alabama-San Jose, Duke and Penn St.-1 solid unranked team (and Georgia St. 1st year playing fb is on the schedule next week)
            Auburn-Ark. St., LaMo, Chattanooga, Clemson-1 solid unranked team
            MSU-Memphis, Alcorn St., UAB, Houston-1 solid unranked team
            Ole Miss-Jacksonville St, Tulane, Fresno St., LaLa-1 solid unranked team & 1 FCS team they lost to
            LSU-UNC, WVU, McNeese, LaMo-2 solid unranked teams
            Ark-TN Tech, LaMO, A&M, UTEP to come-1 solid improving team ranked for the 1st time this week.

            24 ooc games-1 ranked team, 5 others who will probably make bowls, 18 terrible teams.

            So while Baylor and Oregon St. lost, most of the opponents the SEC West played lost also. Its a double standard. OU was widely expected to pass Boise and TCU if Alabama and Auburn faltered. Their 3 point win vs. Air Force and TCU’s 31 point win was not a factor. Their 7 point win over Utah St. wasn’t a factor. There’s a reason Alabama’s computer ranking was in the mid-teens prior to yesterdays loss. And its not because they played an incredibly tough schedule.

            Like

          • Playoffs Now says:

            Amen to Bullet’s comment on the SEC’s free pass.

            If TCU and Boise go undefeated, it would be an inexcusable travesty for NE or the fraud that is LSU to jump them in the BCS, no matter what happens from here on out.

            Meanwhile, another Sunday, another player carted off with at least temporary paralysis after another cheap shot to the head. The NFL can’t talk all they want about getting tough on this nonsense, but nothing will change until heavy suspensions get handed. The only effective and fair solution is to suspend the instigating player on head injuries) until the injured player returns. If that’s the season, so be it.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            I don’t think that would do it. They need better helmets.

            Like

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            playoffs now – you may think LSU is a fraud, but there are no great teams this year. Of the 15 historically great teams, LSU is ranked higher than any of them at this point.

            #5 LSU
            #8 Nebraska
            #9 Ohio State
            #12 Alabama
            #16 Oklahoma
            #22 Florida
            Not Ranked: Notre Dame, Michigan, Penn State, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, Florida State, Miami, and USC. I’m sure all these teams would love to be committing the same “fraud” same as LSU.

            Like

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Bullet – what’s the difference the SEC’s OOC schedule and the Big Ten’s?

            Here’s the OOC schedule for the BCS-ranked Big Ten teams:

            Michigan State – Western Michigan, Florida Atlantic, Notre Dame, and Northern Colorado. (MAC, Sunbelt, a losing I-A team, and a I-AA team)

            Wisconsin – UNLV, San Jose, Arizona State, and Austin Peay (2 horrible non-AQ teams, a losing I-A team, and a I-AA team).

            Ohio State – Marshall, Miami (FL), Ohio, and Eastern Michigan (2 MACs, a CUSA, and a decent I-A but currently unranked team).

            Iowa – Eastern Illinois, Iowa State, #18 Arizona, and Ball State (I-AA, MAC, a decent but unranked I-A team, and a ranked team.

            16 OOC games. One ranked team, two unranked AQ teams with winning records, 8 non-AQ teams, and 3 I-AA teams.

            I’m not trying to pickle a fight on a Big Ten-centric board, but I fail to see the difference between SEC West OOC schedules and the top 4 Big Ten OOC schedules. The SEC West’s OOC schedules don’t look much different from most other teams from AQ conferences: one AQ team, 2 non-AQ teams, and one I-AA team.

            Also, it should be noted that there are currently 7 SEC teams ranked in the BCS, in a “down” SEC year.

            Like

          • Bamatab says:

            Alan,

            Just wanted to say good game. I can’t believe I’m saying this but Miles out coached Saban and you guys had the better team.

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            @ Alan
            My point here is, “What’s the big difference between SEC West and Boise/TCU schedule?” It is tougher, but this year there’s not so much difference.

            Unfortunately, everyone seems to be trying to mimic the SEC schedule (i.e. LSU has the toughest of the pack). B10, B12 and especially BE (who probably has the weakest) have softened their schedules. Maybe TV and networks will end that trend. Certainly been a lot of good future games announced this fall.

            Maybe fan disinterest can make a difference. UGA played Idaho St. this week for $525,000 (ISU 1-9 w/ a win over Western Montana). Most lethargic UGA crowd I’ve ever seen. sellout, but 10-15k empty seats at the start, people giving away tickets, 30k empty seats at halftime (41-0, chilly 50 degrees), 45k empty end of 3rd, probably only 20k left midway through 4th and most of those were gone before the end. My spouse wanted to stay and hear the band play their 3-4 songs after the game. They played just for us since we were the only ones left! (not exactly-there were probably 100-200 people still in the stands listening). By comparison, there were more people in the stands at the end of that route 66 Texas vs. UCLA in 97(UCLA 66-3) when it was 90+ degrees. UGA has great fans, but they just weren’t interested. That’s bad marketing by UGA.

            Like

          • @Bullet – I think your last point is why the trend seems to heading toward 9-game conference schedules. The price of those guarantee games has risen so much that it’s starting to not make financial sense anymore, especially when those games are typically the least attractive from a ticket selling perspective. They’re basically the college equivalent of preseason NFL football games that franchises force their season ticket holders to buy (and coincidentally, the NFL is looking to replace 2 of those preseason games with more valuable regular season games partially because ticket holders are starting to REALLY complain about shelling out top dollar for games that they don’t want to see).

            Of course, the question is whether an extra conference game will end up replacing one of those guarantee games or a tougher home-and-home series with a BCS opponent. The Pac-10 members typically have fairly tough OOC schedules despite the 9-game conference schedule, but part of that is based on the fact that those schools generally can’t afford as many guarantee games as the Big Ten and SEC schools (so that have to schedule home-and-home series a whole lot more).

            Like

          • Richard says:

            True; Pac10 stadiums aren’t as large and their fans are more fickle. I would expect the ACC to adopt a 9-game schedule before the BigTen does, and the SEC (which played all of 6 conference games a season not so long ago) to be the last to do so if ever.

            Like

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Richard – The SEC went to a 7 game schedule in 1988. The SEC went to a 8 game schedule when the SEC expended in 1992.

            But don’t think it was all cupcakes all the time when the SEC played a 6 or 7 game conference schedule. LSU routinely played Texas A&M, Notre Dame, Florida State, Miami (FL), Big Ten and Pac 10 teams to go along with an annual helping of Rice and Tulane.

            I started at LSU in 1984. The OOC schedule that year consisted of Arizona, USC, Notre Dame, as well as Wichita State and Tulane.

            1985 – North Carolina and Notre Dame, as well as Colorado State, East Carolina, and Tulane.

            1986 – Texas A&M, North Carolina, and Notre Dame, to go with Miami (OH) and Tulane.

            1987 – Ohio St. and Texas A&M, along with Rice, Tulane, and CSU-Fullerton.

            1988 (the first year of the 7 game SEC schedule) – Ohio State, Miami (FL), Texas A&M, and Tulane.

            1989 – Florida State, Texas A&M, Ohio, and Tulane.

            1990 – Florida State, Texas A&M, Ohio, and Tulane.

            1991 – Florida State, Texas A&M, Tulane and Arkansas. State.

            Like

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Bamatab – that’s very gracious. Thanks. It was a great game and its very difficult to repeat. Bama’s been on a heckuva run the last few years and Julio Jones was outstanding. Going 10-2 with a target on your back ain’t bad. Now geaux BEAT AUBURN and ROLL TIDE! (I never thought I’d ever write or say that.)

            Yesterday, I was looking at the series record between LSU and Bama, and since The Bear’s last year, 1982, LSU and Bama are 14-14-1.

            I’m hoping now that Miles has defeated Saban with no Saban-recruited players on the LSU team, we can now just get back LSU v. Bama, rather than Miles v. Saban.

            Regarding Miles, and I say this as a Miles supporter, he is goofy, inarticulate, unconventional, frustrating, and fearless – all at once. They don’t call him Lesticles for nothing. He is also a genuinely good guy. He loves his players, the players love him and love playing for him.

            With the lack of quality QB play LSU has experienced since the 2007 BCS championship game, I really think he should receive much more credit for not imploding like some other traditional powers that shall remain nameless, out of respect for Hopkins Horn.

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            Stumbled across this site with quite a database of historical schedules:

            http://www.jhowell.net/cf/scores/byname.htm

            @Alan
            What you say is true for LSU and Alabama (Penn St., ND), but not so for the rest. I scanned the site above for the 80s. Ole Miss played Memphis etc. except for a series with Arkansas. Auburn loaded up on I-aa schools except for the Bo Jackson era (82-84) when they did load up on powers (ND, Miami, FSU, UT-2, UNL). TN has traditionally played a tougher schedule than much of the SEC (perhaps because they recruit more nationally) and had some decent games, but not many. FL and UGA didn’t exactly load up with powers. UGA did play Clemson regularly, but that went away with the 8 game schedule in 92.

            Like

    • Jake says:

      Wow, my two-word comment started quite a discussion. Thanks for all the compliments about my Frogs. That was indeed an epic beatdown in SLC. In addition to being a huge win, it also solidified Andy Dalton’s already impressive legacy. Years from now, that game is how I’ll remember the career of TCU’s all-time wins and passing leader. I’m really looking forward to the last home game in Amon G. Carter Stadium “as we know it” on Saturday (implosion’s set for Dec. 5), and I’m seriously considering making the road trip to Albuquerque.

      Early in the season I hypothesized about TCU passing an undefeated Boise in the polls. I can only imagine how their fans are feeling right now – I’d be out of my mind if the Frogs had the season they’re having and were looking at the very real possibility of going to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (Kraft fight hunger – Kraft SMASH!!).

      I don’t see Boise passing us unless we lose. We were ahead of them in the BCS standings even before we passed them in the human polls, and those aren’t likely to reverse themselves. I don’t see Auburn going undefeated, so the real question is whether a 1-loss SEC team gets the nod. That’s less likely than it was a week ago, thanks to the recent happenings in Death Valley. It’s nice to know that if we win out, our worst-case scenario is the Rose Bowl. I could live with that.

      Also, Frank – the latest bowl projections I’ve seen put Illinois in the Dallas Football Classic; would you come down to DFW if that happened? I’m thinking about going, if only because I’ve never been to the Cotton Bowl despite living in the area for over 20 years.

      Oh, and I’m convinced that going to the Big East for all sports is a slam dunk for TCU, but these rumors about a football-only invite … not so compelling.

      Like

  54. jj says:

    No crap dude. Holy shnikes! TCU is number 1 in my book.

    Frank – what happened today? Zooker should have pulled up the big boy pants and gone for 2 in the first OT. Agree? Michigan’s just too explosive on offense. Oh well. I still think they’ll finish strong.

    Greg – I will see that drop in my nightmares. For the love of god and all things holy, beat OSU.

    Also, LSU. Nice one.

    This is a crazy season.

    Like

    • @jj – I’m still catatonic several hours after the game ended. It would’ve been tough for Zook to go for 2 in the first OT – he was probably thinking that the Illinois defense would have a better chance of making a stop with Denard Robinson out than the Michigan defense ever stopping Illinois from scoring (and on paper, that would’ve been the correct thinking). Who knew that Tate Forcier could shake off the rust that quickly? Other than the fumble the first time Forcier touched the ball, the Michigan offense pretty much didn’t skip a beat.

      Like

      • MIRuss says:

        Frank,

        Never, EVER, doubt the power of the Forci(er)! I thought Illinois would win that game walking away and took Illinios and the points…It’s so nice when my team wins and my bet covers!

        The Illini have an easy road from here forward (sort of) so they should be bowling – Maybe Texas?

        Like

    • frug says:

      Actually I Zook’s biggest mistake was trying the long field that missed instead of going for it on 4-1 during regulation (and I tactically I think going for it would have been the right call even if the field goal had been good).

      Like

  55. Richard says:

    Crazy day for the Big12.

    Like

  56. David Brown says:

    TCU may very well be the best team in the country, and received a major break with Alabama losing to LSU, and Oklahoma to Texas A&M, but as everyone knows the BCS does not want the Horned Frogs in the Championship Game. For them to make it, they must win out and the following need to occur. Auburn and LSU must BOTH lose (Prediction a 1 loss Tiger team will play for the National Championship over an undefeated TCU), or Oregon lose. I can’t see some of the other contenders such as Boise St, Ok St, Nebraska or Ohio St jumping TCU (Although if I was a TCU Supporter,I certainly am rooting hard for Nevada to knock of Boise St).

    Like

    • Vincent says:

      1. I would hope TCU can reach the BCS title game.

      2. If I’m TCU, I tell the Big East, invite us as a full member or not at all. Playing for a national title would provide such leverage.

      3. If the BCS had any cojones, it would tell the Big East football schools to break away and form your own league or lose your automatic bid. That might be the only way the BCS could regain my respect.

      Like

    • frug says:

      Actually TCU or BSU could sneak in even if LSU wins out. Auburn clinches the SEC East with a victory against Georgia or Alabama. If Auburn splits those games then loses the SEC championship they would be at two loses eliminating them from NC discussions. However, LSU would also be eliminated from consideration because it is extremely unlikely that voters would let a non-conference champion (especially one that did not even win their division within their conference) play for the national title (see Georgia circa 2007). Still not likely, but conceivable.

      Like

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        frug – its happened before. The 2001 Nebraska team didn’t win the Big XII North but played in the BCS NCG. Miami did stomp a mud-hole in them in that game though, but they did make it.

        Here’s how LSU makes it to and wins an unprecedented 3rd BCS NC, this time without winning the SEC Championship. Two of these 3 scenarios need to happen.

        1) Oregon loses to either at Cal or against Oregon State (unlikely but possible).

        2) Auburn loses to either Georgia or Alabama, and then loses the SEC Championship Game (if Cam Newton either is declared ineligible or gets hurt, this could happen).

        3) TCU loses to San Diego State next weekend (not impossible, but unlikely).

        I think LSU jumps an undefeated Boise State at this point. LSU is only .0492 behind Boise at this point and LSU still plays a decent Ole Miss team and #15 Arkansas. Boise still has games against #21 Nevada and a good Fresno St.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Actually, they just need 2 of these 3 if LSU actually jumps Boise (and that would come down to the voters; I think there would be a strong bias amongst the voters against giving LSU a shot at the title if they don’t win their conference).

          In your scenario, LSU would play Boise for the title. Personally, I think 3) is extremely unlikely, unlikely but possible seems right for 1), and we might not even need Cam Newton hurt for Auburn to lose 2 games (they barely beat a mediocre Clemson team in OT at home and beat mediocre Kentucky and Miss St. by only 3 each).

          Like

        • Richard says:

          BTW, I actually would love to see an LSU vs. BSU national title game. Would we see a trick play every 5 minutes?

          Like

        • Bullet says:

          I think its unlikely LSU jumps Boise or TCU w/o one of them losing. Even winning the SEC, S. Carolina and Florida aren’t going to impress the voters enough and Boise isn’t going to slip in the computers with Fresno and Nevada-they’re already behind LSU. I think a lot of voters don’t want Boise or TCU in the championship game, but a number would have to change their votes to get LSU by.

          I do think there’s a decent chance a 1 loss team gets in. Only TCU among the 4 unbeatens has an easy path ahead and SDSU (playing at Ft. Worth this weekend) is decent and facing TCU after an emotional game for TCU.

          Like

        • frug says:

          Nebraska made it to the championship game under the old BCS formula that didn’t include the human polls. Now that humans make up 2/3 of the rankings I can’t see a non-champ making the game.

          Like

        • Bullet says:

          At one point they established a rule that if the polls agreed on #1 and #2, the computers were irrelevant. They have dropped that. I have a feeling they figured out the computers generally favor the AQ teams (at least with the margin of victory not allowed-Auburn #1 in Sagarin BCS rating(Sagarin has 2 separate rating systems-1 specially to take out margin of victory for BCS), #11 in Sagarin’s better rating-“predictor”, LSU 6 vs. 17, Boise #10 in Sagarin BCS, #4 in Sagarin “predictor” rating).

          Like

  57. Richard says:

    You know what’s crazy? I’d been reading Hawaii messageboards to see when the Warriors would declare independence, and it seems that most Hawaii fans actually want to stay in the depleted WAC. The reasons they give is that
    1. They would dominate the WAC.
    2. Fear of not finding anyone to play home-and-homes against (even though they have had no trouble, it seems, and both BYU and USC would like to play Hawaii yearly going forward).

    It boggles my mind. I mean, I get that if they go independent, they’ll have trouble finding games in Oct/Nov (particularly home games, since mainland teams don’t like to fly out to the islands in the middle of conference play). Still, it would seem that they could schedule BYU, Army, & Navy every year and ND a lot of years as well because flying to Hawaii means an extra game.

    So they could still have their 4 games at the start of the season and 1 game in December. Games againt Army, Navy, & BYU in Oct/Nov (can visit Army & Navy the same year so you can hit both East Coast places in 1 road trip. Another weeklong eastern road trip through the SEC & BigTen to knock off 2 guaranteed games. An FCS team. That’s 11 games. They’d just need to find 2 more games in Oct/Nov. Maybe 1 trip out to the islands for a school during Thanksgiving week, and for the other one, they’d just need to find a western team who can fit them in to their schedule once conference play starts. I can’t imagine that’d be so difficult to pull off. They’d only have 6 home games in a 13 game schedule (as opposed to the 7/8 they’d traditionally enjoyed), but also would be paid for 2 guaranteed games a year.

    Like

    • @Richard – I think Hawaii football would be fine as an independent in a vacuum, but that might be the one school that has to think a whole lot more about its non-football sports than anyone on the mainland. We were talking earlier about how TCU would have limited options to park its non-football sports if it took a football-only BE invite, but think of Hawaii. Are the small WCC schools (except for BYU), which is the closest conference geographically, going to be willing to incur the massive travel costs of sending all of their sports to Hawaii? Hawaii is just an extremely tough sell for any conference as a complete budget breaker, especially when they aren’t even bringing football along. That means Hawaii has to be very careful about burning bridges with the WAC as the alternative options for the Warriors aren’t very plentiful.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        Well, from what I could glean on those message boards, the Big West (which would be quite convenient for travel, or as convenient as anything can be for Hawaii, since all the schools in that conference are reasonably close to LAX and SFO) actually would like the non-football Hawaii sports (presumably with a travel subsidy to cover flights in to the islands). Hawaii women’s volleyball is a powerhouse and actually a (small) revenue generator. So long as the Big West schools don’t suffer any extra costs, they would like Hawaii to join them for the non-football sports. Plus, for Hawaii, flying its teams in to LAX & SFO much be cheaper than flying them in to tiny airports all through the mountain west and Texas.

        The only rational issue I can think up, then, must be whether Hawaii thinks it can get a big enough boost in TV/bowl money as an independent to at least break even after paying the Big West travel subsidies. Are they afraid of the risk of the cost of air travel skyrocketing?

        Still, that’s not the issue that’s giving Hawaii fans pause. A lot of them actually seem happier being the only decent football team with any name recognition in a depleted WAC rather than face the fear of the unknown as an independent (“we might not find enough opponents!” “our program might disappear!”)

        Like

    • frug says:

      …USC would like to play Hawaii yearly going forward

      Not sure about that. Remember now that the PAC 10/12 is adding a championship game that USC is going to assume it will compete for every year they are looking at a 13 game pre-bowl schedule. Adding a 14th game would really hurt their chances of making the BCS championship. True it would give them a shot at becoming the first 15 win team since Penn went 15-0 back in 1896 but I’m not sure it’s worth it.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        True. They would only want to visit Hawaii when they’re on probation, so I should amend that to “they would like to play Hawaii roughly half the time going forward”.

        Like

      • Gobux says:

        Was JoePa coaching that team?lol

        Like

      • Richard says:

        BTW, BYU was close, going 14-1 in 1996 (back when an 11 game schedule was the norm!)

        I believe that’s still the only team in the modern era that’s played 15 college football games in a year (in case you’re wondering, they played in the Pigskin Classic, @Hawaii, the WAC championship game, and the Cotton Bowl).

        Like

  58. greg says:

    JoePa wins #400 with 35 unanswered, Iowa wins by the skin of their teeth at Indiana, Michigan beats Illinois in 3OT in the highest scoring game in Big Ten history, Bama loses at least partially due to trickeration at LSU, Oklahoma goes on the road and gets beat, Baylor goes on the road and gets beat, Missouri goes on the road and gets beat, Cam Newton comes back with 5 TD, TCU blasts Utah to solidify BCS ranking, Oregon struggles and scores “only” scores 53, BSU rips it up, Nebraska survives a fake 2-pointer in overtime.

    Just another college football saturday.

    Like

  59. Richard says:

    Anyone want to see OSU vs. MSU in the Rose Bowl?

    Could happen. Oregon & one of the non-AQ teams goes to the national title game (probably requires several more upsets in the SEC). Stanford gets upset (@Cal will be tough, as well as Oregon St.). Wisconsin probably would need to be upset as well (by Northwestern; heh).

    Like

    • zeek says:

      Big winners of the week other than TCU would probably be Big Ten teams. Losses by Oklahoma and Missouri pretty much guarantees two BCS bids for the Big Ten with Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan State, and possibly Iowa in the hunt. The rest of the Big Ten teams namely Illinois and Northwestern will avoid the Pizza Bowl for sure due to that outcome probably.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        Very likely. The only fly in the ointment is if both Oregon & Stanford both win out while the other school in the title game is non-AQ (and both TCU & Boise finish unbeaten). Then the Rose Bowl may feel compelled to take Stanford as the Pac10 rep while there would be pressure to take the other unbeaten non-AQ team, leaving one slot for both the SEC and Big Ten.

        Other than that scenario, I can’t see any of the remaining one-loss BigTen teams losing out to Stanford for a BCS spot. Of course, it wouldn’t help if a bunch of the top BigTen teams got upset.

        Like

        • jcfreder says:

          BCS rules say the Rose Bowl HAS to take the non-AQ the first time they are available (if it loses a team to the championship game). My reading of the rule is that if things stand the way they are, TCU would automatically go to the Rose Bowl.

          Like

          • @jcfreder – That’s the rule, EXCEPT if that non-AQ team ends up in the championship game itself. So, if the championship game is Oregon vs. TCU or Boise State, then the Rose Bowl is free to to take another Pac-10 replacement.

            Like

  60. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Here are the new BSC rankings by conference:

    SEC (7) – #2 Auburn, #5 LSU, #12 Alabama, #15 Arkansas, #19 Mississippi State, #22 Florida, and #23 South Carolina.

    Big XII (6) – #8 Nebraska, #10 Oklahoma State, #16 Oklahoma, #17 Missouri, #24 Kansas State, and #25 Texas A&M.

    Big Ten (4) – #7 Wisconsin, #9 Ohio State, #11 Michigan State, and #13 Iowa.

    Pac 10 (3) – #1 Oregon, #6 Stanford, and #18 Arizona.

    MWC (2) – #3 TCU and #14 Utah.

    WAC (2) – #4 Boise State and #21 Nevada.

    Looking ahead to week #11, there are only 3 games between ranked teams.

    #12 Alabama v. #19 Mississippi State
    #17 Missouri v. #24 Kansas State
    #22 Florida v. #23 South Carolina

    The top 3 get challenges, but they should still win.

    #1 Oregon at Cal (5-4)
    #2 Auburn v. Georgia (5-5)
    #3TCU v. San Diego St. (7-2)

    ESPN’s College Gameday will be in Columbus, Ohio for the #9 Ohio State game with unranked Penn State (6-3).

    Other BCS ranked teams on upset watch include:

    #13 Iowa at Northwestern (6-3)
    #18 Arizona v. USC (6-3)
    #20 VA Tech at North Carolina (6-3)
    #21 Nevada at Fresno State (6-2)
    #25 Texas A&M at Baylor (7-3)

    Like

  61. jj says:

    This is a big gripe of mine. I dropped Red Wings season tickets in part because of this.

    I think the B10 needs 2 rules if it stays at 8 games. (1) no I-AA teams, period ; and (2) 2 of your non-conference games must be a BCS team, ND, Navy, BYU or any non-aq team that finished in the top 25 when you scheduled the game.

    Like

    • gregenstein says:

      jj,

      I’m with you in banning the I-AA games. The B10 isn’t the only one that does it, but I know as a PSU fan I don’t make my Saturday plans around the game when they play Coastal Carolina or Youngstown State. I might catch a few minutes, or I might not. Frank said it best as it being like a preseason game for the NFL. I never watch NFL preseason games.

      Like

      • @gregenstein – I love the NFL, but I HATE the preseason games. For whatever reason, I enjoy spring training baseball a lot (maybe it’s the time of year when we’re finally thawing out in Chicago) and it gets me in the mood for the regular season, but the NFL preseason just makes me angry that I still have to wait another month for real football and they’re passing it off as something that we’re supposed to be interested in.

        Like

        • jj says:

          popping the dough for these things that you literally cannot give away is not a good thing. I think, when I had Wings ones, there were 4 or 5 pre-season games! Does the NBA do this?

          Like

          • @jj – Yup – the NBA requires its season ticket holders to buy the preseason games, too. Even for college basketball, the “exhibition games” against Division II schools are usually included in the season ticket package at full price.

            Like

        • StvInIL says:

          I would never pay good money for a preseason game, but I appreciate them for what they are. An opportunity for some fringe players to make some plays and make a team. Not everyone playing on an NFL roster was taken in the first 3 rounds. And not all of them are worthy of being taken so high. The preseason is where heart meats talent and the hopes of the lower drafted players become reality. This is why I prefer to keep it.

          Like

        • MIRuss says:

          Which is why if were going to continue this silly act of having 4 pre-season games if the league moves to 18 games, the pre-season should count for something!

          Breaking ties for homefield in the play-offs, for example. It kills me that the NFL even has pre-season. They should just let the season start and by week 4, you’re cutting your roster to 54. It might actually make things a little more interesting…

          Like

  62. Phil says:

    Frank-

    I want to get back to your original post, about the Big East future.

    -I believe the basketball credits were locked up for a 5 year period after the last reorg, which ended in summer 2010.
    -Many people feel the best move for the football teams in a split would be to invite Gtown and ND along for the non-football sports
    -So, you are left with a 10 team FB conference (Nova and TCU) and 12 teams for the other sports

    Is it crazy to think that this conference could make more money than the current Big East? Keep in mind that ESPN doubling their $$$ would still mean they are paying each team 1/3 of what they pay each ACC team. I don’t think the idea of such an increase is outlandish when you consider that ESPN’s strategy seems to be overpaying to lock up all possible content.

    Like

    • @Phil – Is it crazy? Not necessarily, but it’s not just whether ESPN is going to provide a pay increase in a vacuum, which may happen regardless of whether there’s a split. The question is how much more is ESPN going to pay to each school in a split league versus a hybrid in this NEXT contract? If the schools are essentially going to get the same amount in a hybrid or it’s only a difference of a few hundred thousand dollars, then that’s just not worth it when you’re talking about the acrimony and inevitable litigation. It’s a whole lot of work and negativity for not much upside. If it means doubling or tripling your revenue, then the option of splitting is much more compelling. The skepticism is rooted in that a 10-team football conference is going to look the same whether it’s in a split league or a hybrid, so the BE schools aren’t getting a “bonus” in that particular sport just because they’ve split. You have to look purely at the basketball side as to whether a proposed 10 or 12-team basketball league is worth substantially more per member than a 16-team league, and judging by how small the spread is for basketball TV rights between conferences, my educated guess is that it really isn’t a substantial enough difference.

      Looking at how many BE football games have been ending up ESPN3.com or Wednesday and Friday nights lately, it’s clear to me that ESPN values BE basketball a whole lot more than BE football. TCU might change that a bit, but none of the other usual suspects like UCF, ECU or Temple would alter that equation at all. So, how much is the BE going to mess with the basketball side under the current circumstances? Also, it’s not as if though schools stay down forever. When the Big East expanded in 2003, DePaul and Providence looked like they were going to be the cream of the crop of the Catholics while Georgetown and Villanova were absolutely horrible. St. John’s and DePaul, in particular, are located in the 2 most important basketball recruiting areas in the country (NYC and Chicago) – Syracuse and UConn might have a lot of NYC fans, but that does not equal being IN New York City (and especially in Madison Square Garden). As I’ve stated before, the Big East’s main differentiator is its presence in so many large markets as a whole. If you take that differentiator away, I don’t think you’re going to find ESPN quite as hospitable as a lot of BE fans hope. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if ESPN is basically telling the BE *exactly* what the network wants in terms of markets (and certainly an army of independent consultants that know how ESPN think have been hired by the BE).

      Like

      • Phil says:

        How many people (I believe even on this board) thought the ACC was going to see their TV revenues go DOWN instead of the increase they got from ESPN? ESPN does not want another network to become a player in college sports and is overpaying to keep that from happening. Overpaying the Big East (now or after a split) is chicken feed compared to what they are paying everyone else.
        As far as Wed and Fri night games go, everybody from the big conferences used to laugh at the Big East for being on Thursday nights, until they realized the great exposure of having the stage to yourself, now many of them have elbowed their way in to those games.
        ESPN3 actually shows that the Big East has some value to ESPN. It is the Big East that has been used as fodder for trying to increase cable pickup for their ancillary networks like ESPNU and ESPN3. No other BCS conference would stand for so many of their games being relegated to ESPN3-only coverage, and none of the non-BCS conferences have the markets or demand to make that worthwhile (for example, a Rutgers game was on ESPN3-only while at the same time the Idaho-Western Michigan was on ESPN3 and on TV through ESPN Gameplan). The same thing used to happen with ESPNU when it was not on a lot of cable lineups.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          With regards to football TV revenue, though, dropping a few BE basketball schools wouldn’t make a whit of difference (other than making it easier to expand in football), since football revenue is shared amongst BE football schools only. So if a 10/12 BE would make more money from football, so would a 10/16, and the football revenue would be split exactly the same way amongst the football schools, so what’s the point of going through the hassle and acrimony of breaking up the BE?

          Like

        • @Phil – Personally, I always thought that the ACC was in line for a good increase from ESPN and have been consistent in stating that the ACC is WAY stronger than the public seems to give it credit for (especially when so many try to argue that the ACC is going to get raided by the Big Ten and SEC). While it’s a fairly wide-reaching league geographically, the ACC schools have similar approaches to balancing academics and athletics with equal revenue sharing and a strong leader in the commissioner’s office. I’ve stated before that the ACC has done a fantastic job of not leaving a single dollar on the table.

          For the Big East, I believe that the league is due for an increase, but as I noted previously, you have to separate what is an increase due to “inflation” versus whether that increase can really be attributed to a larger football league. My contention is that a larger football league outside of adding TCU doesn’t really add that much value to the Big East TV contract for football and the per school gain that the football schools would gain on the basketball contract by splitting off would be negligible to the point that it’s not worth it for the league to deal with the litigation and heartache associated with the split. I believe that the Big East schools have come to the same conclusion, which is why you continuously see news reports that a split or even dropping a weak member or two is not being considered – it’s a lot of pain with not much gain.

          Like

  63. duffman says:

    back from the road

    I figured PU would go down, but the IU boys did not get blown out by Iowa. Football in the state of Indiana (sans ND) is just destined to break ones heart. At least basketball is about to start!

    alan,

    I was on the tiger bandwagon early, I still think they can slip into a NC game.

    bama,

    yes it was a second loss, but the tide put up a good game, as early on I said les has the luck factor on his side, so maybe they are the team of destiny.

    frank,

    so close dagnabit! while michigan has been on my nephew’s radar for college (an why I have not been around for a bit, as we have been on the road looking at schools) I was thinking Illinois was going to get the win!

    to the frog fans,

    while I have not been on the Boise State for a MNC game, I am thinking TCU could be possible. still many good teams out there, and I am one for schedule strength. I still think the Big 10 and SEC have poundings every week, but I will give TCU some props. The system is wrong when the good teams can not get home and homes to give a better idea of how they play. When I was doing the research Pitt impressed me at their historic schedule strength over their long and storied history. It would be nice to see TCU do something similar.

    to the PSU fans,

    JoPa!! woo hoo!! a man who stands alone!! when you look up the word consistent in the dictionary that man’s picture should be there!

    to the Big Red faithful,

    You guys were my pick preseason to win the Big 12, lets get the huskers to the finish line (ISU! are you guys trying to get my heart to give out?) and a new beginning in the Big 10! welcome to your new home.

    to everyone,

    if there is karma, then Auburn will roll to a perfect season and a win in the MNC game to ease the pain of the year USC got the game and the tigers got shut out. However, the football gods are fickle, and it aint over till its over.

    In closing I picked Blame to win, but was not happy to see the filly go down in her last race. If you watched it (live if you were in Louisville) you may have seen one of the saddest races in equine history. She had the colts beat but her jockey waited too long to make his move. If she ran a match race with Blame, I have a feeling that 90+ % of the time she wins.

    Like

  64. loki_the_bubba says:

    TCU throwing water on the football-only idea. Might be just posturing, but I hope they stick to their guns.

    TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte said Sunday he has little interest in placing his football program in one conference and the school’s other varsity sports in another.

    “We’re an athletic department,” he said in a telephone interview with Sporting News. “Whatever endeavor we do, you’re united as one. That’s who we are. That’s how we always compete. We compete as one unit.”

    http://www.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/feed/2010-11/big-east-expansion/story/tcu-ad-university-will-not-move-individual-programs

    Like

    • Richard says:

      Hmm, maybe the BigEast will split after all.

      Will Georgetown football be elevated up?
      Would the football schools rather stay with the BE bball schools or will having a 9-game conference schedule win out?

      Like

      • Richard says:

        Oh maybe not:
        http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/blog/_/name/katz_andy/id/5764195

        “According to a source, the Big East membership hasn’t discussed a split of the football/basketball schools into two conferences. Of course, there are a number of issues with that split — ownership of the conference funds, who owns the name of the league and a contract with MSG — that would need to be worked out before anything of that magnitude could occur.”

        Splitting up wouldn’t be easy. Looks like the BE can (barely) digest TCU as an all-sports member, but want Villanova to upgrade for the simple reason that it wouldn’t want an 18-team basketball league.

        Of course, it could kick out Seton Hall, though I don’t know if adding UCF or Houston would be worth such a drastic measure.

        Like

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      In addition, TCU baseball would dominate the Big East even more than TCU football.

      Like

  65. M says:

    Any Big East rulebook wonks: do the basketball schools have to approve a football-only invite? I don’t really see why they would, but that seems to be the assumption by everyone.

    Like

    • @M – I’m going to write about this in my next post about Big East expansion because it really needs to be highlighted as an example of why this conference is messed up. Here’s the exact wording from the Big East Policy Manual:

      “On Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) matters, the Conference’s position will be determined by a vote of the eight BIG EAST institutions that are members of The BIG EAST Football Conference and Notre Dame (nine total votes).”

      http://www.bigeast.org/portals/5/fls/19400/pdfs/Policy_Manual/section10.pdf

      That’s not a misprint – Notre Dame gets to vote in a football conference that it’s not even a part of.

      Like

      • M says:

        That actually doesn’t seem that out of line. That section is on how the Big East votes as a conference in FBS matters, so (if I read it correctly) if there were to be an NCAA vote on something like scholarship limits in FBS, ND would have input into how the Big East would vote, which seems reasonable enough.

        That document seems more concerned with the Big East/NCAA relationship than internal Big East issues. I don’t read it as saying either way whether the basketball schools (or just ND) have to approve a new football-only member.

        Like

      • Vincent says:

        There, yet another reason to despise the Big East — the stupid “all caps” it uses, not only in press releases, but conference by-laws.

        Good to see Texas Christian standing its ground on all-or-nothing-at-all. And, as stated earlier, I wish the BCS would order its Big East members to break away or else lose its automatic bid. I sense other BCS schools are tired of the likes of Seton Hall and Providence tagging along for the ride — especially if things ever get to the point where the BCS (or I-A) conferences decided to split from the NCAA and form their own association.

        Like

      • Josh says:

        So let me get this straight. If they wanted to add schools as Football-only members, all they would need would be the vote of the eight FBS schools and Notre Dame. But if they wanted to add a full member, they would need the votes of all 16 schools. Is that correct?

        This could be a real problem, as it doesn’t sound like TCU is interested in Football only membership. UCF sounds pretty cool to the idea too. The Big East might end up with Villanova and Navy.

        I think TCU has a lot more leverage in this situation than some people think. The way things are going, the TCU/BSU game every year in the Mountain West would be for a de facto automatic BCS bid. Going to the Big East doesn’t make much sense for TCU unless they can get in on the basketball money as well.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Well, yes, for now, so long as TCU can go unbeaten every season, they’re in the BCS. The luxury of being in a BCS conference is that you can get in to the BCS even with 1, 2, 3, or 4 losses. Pitt lost to Utah earlier this year, but while even an 8-4 Pitt would be going to a BCS bowl, an 11-1 Utah gets an invite to the Maaco Bowl instead.

          Like

  66. Mike says:

    Tom Shatel on the Longhorn Network.

    Quoting Chip Brown:
    >>
    “It aligns ESPN with Texas for the future, so that if there’s massive upheaval again in 2016 when the Big 12 TV contracts are set to expire and Texas does something like go independent, ESPN would be there. … Basically, ESPN wanted to make sure it could protect one of its top TV inventories.’’

    <<

    http://omaha.com/article/20101108/SPORTS/711089847#shatel-espn-gives-ut-nice-insurance-policy

    Like

    • Mike says:

      This Longhorn Network business underscores the reason Nebraska left. It has nothing to do with all the 11-1 votes, Texas arrogance, or the losses to UT. The financial landscape changed away from Nebraska’s strengths and it was only a matter of time before it fell behind the other big money schools. People (especially Nebraska fans) don’t realize that the Big Ten just saved Nebraska football.

      Like

      • schwarm says:

        The financial landscape of the Big XII, that is. Seems like it will have the most unequal revenue distribution of the major conferences, and UNL was not in the best position to get a big share. And I do think there were some other significant factors: conference academic reputation and national television exposure come to mind. The stars aligned on this one.

        Like

    • Bullet says:

      Great quote:
      “So how did Texas beat Nebraska? Just another Texas conspiracy to drive Nebraskans mad.”

      Actually it really drives us Longhorn fans mad. If someone told me UT would be 4-5 at this point I would think it unlikely but not impossible. But tell me 1 of those 4 was in Lincoln and I would say you are crazy.

      Like

      • ChicagoRed says:

        Mike,
        so true–Nebraska found the perfect marriage being in a media-challenged market (although they have a VG national market) by joining a media-rich conference with equal media revenue sharing.
        On the other hand, Texas’ importance in CF because of their TV market is way out of proportion to their success on the field–which I’m not minimizing, they’ve done very, very well under Mack Brown but not any better than the other recent top programs.

        Bullet,
        NU has found every possible way to lose to Texas. Some teams just have a knack for beating another team consistently no matter what the matchup.

        For some reason, we never could channel our inner K-State. I believe the Wildcats are 6-5 against Texas now? Go figure. Makes CF way for interesting than the Pros.

        Like

        • Bullet says:

          True about KSU. KSU is 5-2 vs. Texas during the Big 12 years. The other Big 8 schools excluding OU have 7 wins vs. Texas and only 5 of those in the regular season (UNL and CU once each in CCGs). And 3 of those 5 were in 1 year, 1997 when UT didn’t play KSU. So excluding 1997, in 48 regular season games vs. 6 of the Big 8, Texas is 46-2. Same time frame, 2-5 vs. KSU.

          Like

        • jj says:

          the lions have not beaten green bay in wisconsin in just about 20 years.

          Like

          • Bullet says:

            But have the Lions won any road games in the last 20 years?

            I read somewhere people thought they were cursed when they traded QB Bobby Layne in the 50s.

            Like

    • @Mike – I’m starting to see some indications that the Texas/ESPN deal would also include radio and marketing rights. If that were to be the case, then the deal would be a lot less revolutionary. Ohio State is getting an average $11 million per year from IMG for its radio/marketing rights, which is on top of its Big Ten conference revenue:

      http://espn.go.com/blog/bigten/post/_/id/1867/ohio-state-signs-record-media-rights-deal

      So, we’ll need to see the details of what’s actually included in the ESPN deal to put it into proper context.

      Like

      • greg says:

        @FTT

        Ha! I warned last week that people were flying off the handle and that we’d have to see exactly what the contract covered before judging if it was a “deal changer”. The Texas deal may just end up being similar to the rights deals signed by other major powers.

        Like

      • Mike says:

        I looked around to find out when the current IMG contract for Texas was up, but couldn’t find it.

        Like

    • 84Lion says:

      Let’s not forget either that Nebraska will benefit tremendously from the academic side of the Big Ten; as I tell my Husker wife, the Big Ten ain’t the Ivy League but from the state university standpoint is as close as you’re gonna get. The increase in research money for Nebraska will make the sports money look like peanuts.
      The Big Ten’s last two moves, inviting Penn State and Nebraska, have been absolutely brilliant.

      Like

      • Mike says:

        That’s why the decision was such a no-brainer for Nebraska. To paraphrase Chancellor Pearlman, “You mean you will mitigate most of our athletic financial risks, improve our academics, and give us more research dollars? Where do I sign?”

        Like

    • Bamatab says:

      Seems to me that Chip’s statement implies that ESPN may be hedging their bets that UT will go independent in the future. Now no one would know for sure if they will go independent, not even UT themselves since it is a little while away. But I’m sure ESPN has a pretty good feeling one way or the other. This statement might make me nervous if I was KSU or ISU or one of those schools. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it.

      Like

      • Playoffs Now says:

        TX isn’t going indy, unless perhaps for a year or two while negotiating if the B12-2 collapsed. Unless the SEC took OU, OK St, aTm, and TTech, there are enough local schools for TX to bring their own quad to a P16. OU, OK St, and aTm go SEC? TX brings TTech, Baylor, and one of TCU/SMU/UH/or even Rice. While I used to think it could happen, I no longer believe the SEC could succeed in blackmailing TX into joining by grabbing aTm and OU. Indy won’t happen long term because TX doesn’t want its other sports in a 2nd tier conference, even if it doesn’t matter as much outside of fb. Besides a P16, they’d have a decent shot at anchoring a Texas quad (or more) in a BEast or leftovers realignment.

        Like

  67. ChicagoRed says:

    With two whole threads devoted to Big East expansion, I find it pretty funny that unranked Pitt seems to be the favorite to play in the Fiesta Bowl. Has an unranked team ever done that?

    Besides the controversy about shafting the western schools, seems like the BCS should revisit their conference AQ setup with the BE and ACC, not that it’ll happen.

    Like

    • Michael in Indy says:

      Even thought the ACC has underperformed a lot in the last several years, sometimes more than the BE, it’s still a much safer league in terms of keeping the automatic BCS bid. The ACC has three marquee programs: Miami, Florida State, and Virginia Tech. They’ll typically draw big-time ratings when they’re doing well. The biggest names in the BE, which I’d say are WVU, Pitt, and Syracuse, are more on par with the ACC’s second-tier teams (2nd-tier in terms of brands, not performance): GT, Clemson, UNC, BC, NCSU.

      Like

  68. duffman says:

    On the Big East

    For the sake of the argument lets say we have 3 tiers of D1 football.

    Tier 1 = Big 10, SEC, Pac 12 (I think the Pac 10 going to 12 will elevate the old Pac 10 with added CCG, and colorado and utah were not terrible adds.

    Tier 2 = the Longhorn Conference (losing UNL and CU dropped them to 2nd class status), ACC, and Big East

    Tier 3 = MWC, CUSA, MAC, Sun Belt, WAC

    Now we can pretty much agree that the top tier is not in near future fear of dropping out of the top tier. We can also agree that the conferences in the bottom tier are destined to stay there for the near future. Based on many previous discussions on here football is the driver on the revenue bus, and all other sports are just along for the ride. The only 2 conferences in the whole group that have a shot to move up or down are the Big East and the Mountain West. The Big East is at the bottom of tier 2 and the Mountain West is at the top of the tier 3.

    With all this in mind I am hard pressed to bash the Big East. They have taken a basketball conference and added football to remain competitive. It should be considered that they did not have the long history that the top tier schools have in football to protect their turf. While I may not agree with all they do, I am willing to cut them some slack based on the fact that they truly are between a rock and a hard place. Having to compete with major pro teams in the east coast corridor and a lack of football history can not have been an easy task.

    In short, no matter what happens, the Big East is trying to tread water to keep it from slipping to the third tier. Sometimes as a Big 10 view, we forget that we are in a unique position in both academics and athletics and maybe loose sight of what it would be like if we were not in such a sweet spot.

    some other thoughts..

    I like the Mandel link, but it deals with individual schools and not conferences as a whole. He lists 13 “kings” when I would argue that only 10 are true kings. I will also agree that on the field UK is a peasant, they are still sitting at #22 in attendance (better than several of the “kings”) so they may play like peasants, but sell tickets like barons.

    frank,

    what does C.R.E.A.M. stand for, I read the post twice, and could not find the original term?

    on your point of TCU in the Longhorn Conference, I have a feeling TCU would dodge that land mine based on the folks in austin wanting to be the top dog (er steer) for eternity, and would not let anybody in that could usurp their position. If that conference expands back to 12, it would have to be with teams that like being feeling like a battered wife.

    On ND and the Big East, what would a major conference do to land ND, so can you really blame the Big East allowing them in just to keep a top 10 brand out of another conference’s hands?

    Big 10 = tOSU, UM, PSU, UNL = all strong and not moving
    SEC = BAMA + 1 = all strong and not moving
    tLC = UT, OK = strong, and can move at their convenience
    Pac12 = USC
    BE = ND (as an independent) which keeps them from slipping further

    Like

    • @duffman – C.R.E.A.M. is a Wu-Tang Clan song/phrase:

      Cash Rules Everything Around Me
      C.R.E.A.M.
      Get the money
      Dollar, dollar bill y’all

      Like

    • Gopher86 says:

      I’d put the Big 12-2 ahead of the Pac-12, and the MWC ahead of the ACC and Big East in terms of product. In terms of stability, you certainly have it correct.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        In terms of stability/brand/revenue, I’d put the ACC right behind the BigTen & SEC (remember that basketball matters, even if not as much as football). Maybe on the same tier as the Pac12. The Longhorn Conference is behind, then a fairly big drop to the BE, followed by the MWC, followed by the MWC. The MAC, WAC, and Sun Belt are about the same now.

        Like

        • Gopher86 says:

          It’ll be interesting to see what the BCS Evolution numbers are at the end of the season: http://www.bcsevolution.com/2010/10/21/1764950/mid-season-college-football-conference-rankings

          I still think people overexagerate how much Big 12 football is going to fall off the table. It was an exceptional conference even when Nebraska was down in the Callahan years, and Colorado certainly wasn’t bringing anything to the table. In terms of basketball, it got rid of its two worst teams. I’d venture to say it will be a better league than the Big East or ACC, top to bottom.

          Like

          • duffman says:

            gopher,

            my comment was mainly aimed at the loss of the CCG. In essence the former Big 12 has dropped at seasons end, while the Big 10 and Pac 12 should have an end of season boost with the addition of a CCG. The conferences have flipped their end of season media spotlight. Having that CCG helped bump SEC and Big 12 teams at the end of the season.

            Do I think suddenly that UT or OU will fall off the football map? no. I do think the loss of UNL and CU will be more of a problem for the rest of the former Big 12 members left without good media coverage. If the Big 12 lost PSU, or the SEC lost LSU, it would have a negative effect on the media demand for the remaining teams.

            In short, UT and OU will do fine in a 10 team conference. The question is will the other 8 teams fare so well. As we have discussed on here before, perception can become reality. Sure TAMU or KSU may have good teams, but will they get the same media coverage outside their primary market the same way UT and OU do? This is where the most damage will be done to the conference when CU and UNL leave. it can never help to have shrinking media footprints. The Big 10 added the state of Nebraska, and The Pac 12 got Colorado. That is 2 less states with former Big 12 viewer interest.

            I am a basketball guy, but KU will be the poster child of a great basketball team without a supporting football team. Realignment came and went, and KU did not find a new home in the Big 10, SEC, or Pac 12. I find that to be a most telling point to be learned from all that happened in june. KU and UCLA in the same conference offered a great solution, yet the Pac 10 took CU and Utah instead based on football, not basketball.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            KU was also saddled by KSU, however. Without KSU, the Pac10 may have given KU a more serious look.

            Like

          • Gopher86 says:

            KU also had the disadvantage of not being in the ‘Texas club’. The Pac 10 wanted KU, but took on OSU because UT wanted OU, which wanted OSU. Pickens was quoted as saying ‘It cost us, but we got in’.

            Like

    • StvInIL says:

      Duffman, I am inclined to agree with you on the BE even though it IS vulnerable. But these positive considerations are heavily towards its past. Its future has questions. If this season is a token of that future, then perception will dominate more than actual accomplishments of the past. Expansion for them is a swing vote in the right direction.

      Like

  69. M says:

    Some choice quotes from a Fanhouse article:
    http://ncaafootball.fanhouse.com/2010/11/09/mcmurphys-law-tcu-big-east-perfect-for-long-distance-relation/

    “You can have 50 teams in basketball (in the conference),” a Big East source told FanHouse in the summer. “It doesn’t matter. That’s why they have the NCAA tournament.”

    In April, Marinatto told FanHouse the Big East’s 16-team basketball league could handle anywhere from one to four new members, if needed.

    “When we reconstituted (in 2005), we had the foresight to provide a provision in our constitution to allow for (expansion),” Marinatto told FanHouse in May. “So if that school (or schools) became available we would do it tomorrow. It would take five minutes.”

    It sure sounds like TCU is available for an all-sports invite…

    Like

  70. jj says:

    Anyone got any thoughts on Cam N? I’m pretty sick of this type of crap. I know “student athlete” is largely a scam, but there has to be some room here for standards. Pay to play and academic cheating are, in my view, pretty big deals. Auburn’s and his statements sure seem to indicate that there is fire here. The SEC sure doesn’t need this. I’m starting to hope Bama takes them down and TCU gets the move to #2.

    Like

    • @jj – All I know is that if Texas wants to afford Cam Newton, it’s going to need to start 2 TV networks.

      Like

    • StvInIL says:

      Cam seems like a nice young man, but he and the SEC have a shady side that are a match.
      Florida and Mississippi State are both telling all. I think I have seen this before in the SEC. it seems there is a point where there is no honor among thieves. Or more accurately routine recruiting violators.

      Like

    • Bullet says:

      I’m surprised at the fervor of some people defending him (who aren’t Auburn grads) on the recruiting issue. Its not so much him as Auburn. If it was Penn St., I would be a lot more skeptical. With Auburn, who is the all time leader in major violations, it seems more likely something is there.

      I am curious if disclosing the cheating issues violates the law. Clearly if it were grades that would violate the law. I’m more inclined to give him the benefit of a doubt on this, especially since its behind him at FL.

      Like

    • Bullet says:

      Given the resources the major programs devote to tutoring these days, any athlete cheating (not saying Cam did) is just being lazy.

      Like

    • PSUGuy says:

      IMO, I think the trail will start, and end, with where the money came for his father’s church to be brought up to standards.

      If there were size-able “cash donations” to the church around the time of Newton choosing schools, or forbid real idiocy in a straight out check or money transfer, I have to believe that’d be pretty easy to trace back.

      Like

  71. Jake says:

    Frank – I like your latest Blog Poll ballot. Way to be one of the 27 bloggers who put the Frogs in the top 2. Also, congrats on the “Mr. Numb Existence” award.

    @jj – I, too, hope to see Auburn fall. Although perhaps with a bit more enthusiasm than you.

    Anyway, I’m more hopeful now of an all-sports invite from the Big East. It’s not ideal, but it’s the best we can hope for right now. Give it five-ten years and we’ll move on again, furthering our quest to become the hermit crab of college football.

    Like

    • Richard says:

      I’m not sure where else TCU would want to go, short of some conference/conferences being elevated to BCS status or a whole new BCS conference springing in to existence. In any case, for a small private school in a large metropolitan area (which usually isn’t where the most fervent college football fans reside), joining the BE is probably the best long-term outcome for TCU.

      Think of it this way: you could be Boise.

      PS I’m still pulling for a TCU-Boise title game.

      Like

      • Jake says:

        @Richard – for now, the Big East is the best we can do, but it’ll be a long time before any TCU fan considers it a permanent home. We’ll have to change the facts on the ground if we want to trade up from there, but if we keep winning, and perhaps UT goes into a prolonged slump, maybe we can pick up some market share and make ourselves a better candidate. We’ll likely be posting our third home sell-out of the season this Saturday, which is as many as we had in all the seasons since the stadium was expanded in 1956, so we’ve got that going for us.

        And as fun as the TCU-Boise rubber match would be, my hope (suddenly a longshot) is to face an undefeated Auburn for the title. If we win it, I don’t want to hear any excuses, and beating an SEC champ with a previously unblemished record (and an unsuspended Cam Newton) would accomplish that. If the hammer comes down on the Tigers this season, or they drop a game, give me an undefeated Oregon instead.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Speaking as an alum of another purple-shaded (relatively) small private school located in a major metropolitan area, I’d put the odds of that at um, zero. If my purple-colored private school can’t outdraw my state’s orange-shaded Big State School in my metropolitan area, even though my state’s orange-shaded Big State School is much more mediocre than your state’s orange-shaded Big State School, well, I don’t see much hope for your purple-shaded private school.

          In college football, I can think of only 3 private schools have been able to overcome their privateness to garner a large non-alum following: USC, Miami, and Syracuse. All 3 are bigger, with USC & Syracuse being much bigger, and all 3 have helpful characteristics about their state. In the case of Syracuse, there is no Big State U, so Syracuse essentially functions as one for NY state, controlling central NY state with a strong reach in to NYC. In the case of Miami, Big State U I & II are both far, far away. Miami is almost it’s own city-state. In the case of USC, SoCal is so huge it is essentially it’s own state, so Cal isn’t perceived to be Big State U down there. Plus, USC is almost as big as UCLA and for most of it’s history had more lax academic standards than the UC schools, so it could hope to gain as much or more popular support than UCLA if it won (which it did, often). It also had the advantage of being good in football before UCLA even had a football team. In fact, in all 3 states, there either was no Big State U, or Big State U wasn’t very good in football early on, allowing the smaller private school to garner fans.

          I also think that their names help; a non-alum who lives in Miami, SoCal, or Central NY can identify with the U, USC, or Syracuse, since the school represents their region/city in their name. I honestly think that if TCU had been named FWDU or even Fort Worth U, they’d have more popular support now.

          Like

          • Jake says:

            No, I agree that we face challenges, but that doesn’t mean we give up. Germans, Pearl Harbor, etc. The administration is committed to excellence in athletics like never before, and winning can change a lot of things. I’m not saying we’ll overtake UT in popularity, but if we lay claim to a good chunk of the Texas market, other conferences may get interested. 12 years ago TCU wouldn’t have been a “slam-dunk” for the Big East, and yet here we are. Give it a decade or so and we’ll see.

            And as for the name, “Texas” and “Christian” are pretty sizable demographics down here.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            “North Texas U” would have been better as well.

            In any case, I’d be careful extrapolating from the past. Reversion to the mean seems more likely.

            As I pointed out, only 3 private schools had been able to overcome their “privateness”, and 2 of the 3 are much bigger, Miami & Syracuse can own their market completely because they’re far away from Big State U (or it doesn’t play in FBS, in NY), and USC was able to claim the Big State U mantle (like ‘Cuse) because it had lax academic standards, is almost as big as UCLA, and was good before UCLA even started playing football.

            Oh, I guess I didn’t address ND & BYU, but they’re special cases. I don’t think the Disciples of Christ have the numbers that the Catholics and Mormons do.

            If Memphis was any good, they could go down the path Miami did in the ’80’s, but they haven’t ever sustained excellence.

            Like

          • Jake says:

            And become another “directional U”? No thanks. Anyway, that name’s taken, and UNT hasn’t exactly won the hearts and minds of locals. Even it’s alums don’t really care. I’m still amazed they managed to fund their new stadium. TCU is certainly an improvement over our original name – AddRan Male & Female College didn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Plus, TCU is fun to chant.

            And no, the Disciples aren’t a big help to us. They aren’t even a factor, really – we just host their divinity school.

            As far as “reversion to the mean,” you could say that about any school. If you want a model that we’re trying to follow, I guess you could say we’re trying to be the Duke of college football. Boston College is another one – similar size (undergraduate-wise, anyway), located in a large, pro-sports crazy metropolis, and yet they carve out a niche for themselves and parlay that into an ACC invite. Granted, other events helped them out there, but it’s at least something to look at. And isn’t Memphis public?

            So, the point is, no one (at TCU or around the country) really considers the Big East to be a permanent arrangement. If we get in, we’ll compete, be a good member, use the increased bowl and TV revenues to strengthen our athletic programs, and keep our eyes open for other opportunities. What else are we supposed to do?

            Like

          • Richard says:

            “And isn’t Memphis public?”

            Er, yeah. Nevermind what I said about Memphis.

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            Miami’s support is very fair weather. They were seriously considering dropping fb in the early 80s. They drew about 28k average a few year’s back when they went 5-6.

            The only way TCU would be more popular would be if Texas grad Tom Landry had never coached the Cowboys.

            Like

          • M says:

            Attendance numbers don’t really back up your statements:

            http://web1.ncaa.org/mfb/2010/Internet/attendance/FBS_CAPACITY.pdf

            Syracuse is getting just over 39k per game, which puts them squarely between Baylor and Boston College, a few thousand/game behind TCU. Miami gets about 56k per game, which puts them solidly in fourth among private schools, behind superpowers like North Carolina and West Virginia.

            The only private schools to have wide support are ND, BYU, and USC (as LA’s de facto professional team in more ways than one).

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            And if Miami is gets 56k this year, this will be the 1st time they are over 50k since 2004.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            M:

            We really should compare the attendance of these schools at peak vs. peak and bottom vs. bottom. For any private school not named ND or BYU, having an annual average attendance above (the NCAA average of) 45K would be considered good. Few private schools consistently exceed even that number. Even USC, back before the Carroll dynasty, some 10 or so years ago, didn’t draw much above 50K (if even that) unless they were playing ND or UCLA.

            Like

          • Playoffs Now says:

            In the case of USC, SoCal is so huge it is essentially it’s own state, so Cal isn’t perceived to be Big State U down there. Plus, USC is almost as big as UCLA and for most of it’s history had more lax academic standards than the UC schools, so it could hope to gain as much or more popular support than UCLA if it won (which it did, often). It also had the advantage of being good in football before UCLA even had a football team. In fact, in all 3 states, there either was no Big State U, or Big State U wasn’t very good in football early on, allowing the smaller private school to garner fans.

            Plus the fact that USC is just so damn cool. Excellent branding with the awesome Trojan band helmets, great fight song, nearly unique colors, tons of tradition, and wisely taking advantage of its location. Set apart in just one word:

            Tusk

            Like

          • @Playoffs Now – That’s a great Fleetwood Mac song, but having watched USC in person twice, the school’s band will play the Trojan March EVERY… SINGLE… DOWN – and they do this at EVERY… SINGLE… GAME – including (and especially) away games. It’s absolutely maddening. One of these days, I’ll hear that song one too many times and then snap like Jack Nicholson in The Shining (or Homer Simpson in The Shinning).

            Like

          • Playoffs Now says:

            BTW, check out how hot Stevie Nicks used to be. And she twirled!

            Disagree on TCU’s name being a disadvantage, since they established themselves as a national name brand fb program back in the 30’s.

            Like

          • Bullet says:

            ND is consistently around 81k-their capacity. From 1996-2009 BYU has varied from 58k to 65k and averaged 62k. USC has averaged 73k, but they have varied from 57k to 91k.

            Miami is at 48k average with a low of 28k and a high of 69k, but mostly in the 40s.

            SU is at 41 average (33-48), BC 40 average (34-44), Vandy 35 (28-40), Baylor 33 (28-37), NW 32 (24-42), TCU 30 (24-38) to round out the top 10 privates.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Frank,

            That’s better than the first bars of the “National Emblem” that IU’s Marching Hundred plays after every first down.

            No wonder IU can’t ever get enough good football players to field a good team. If I had to listen to that march every time my team made a first down, I wouldn’t play football there either.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Sorry, it’s not the first few bars, and I actually like the “National Emblem” now that I’ve heard the whole thing on YouTube; IU just managed to pick the most annoying few bars in the whole march to blast ad nauseum.

            Like

          • BuckeyeBeau says:

            Add Okalahoma to the most annoying marching bands ever (along with So.Cal and IU)… i can barely watch OU on tv; they play their fight song after every single play; doesn’t matter what happened, fight song … 30 yard gain for OU — fight song; OU fumbles — fight song; other team gets 30 yard gain — fight song. it’s like the band isn’t even paying attention to the game…. grrrr…

            Like

          • BuckeyeBeau says:

            sorry, can’t spell; Oklahoma

            Like

          • Jake says:

            @BuckeyeBeau – you think OU is bad? Be thankful you’ve never been subjected to the SMU band. Their fight song is “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain.”

            Like

    • @Jake – Wow – I’ve never even been close to the “Mr. Numb Existence” award before and my top 10 is quite different than overall BlogPoll top 10. There must be a whole lot of disagreement out there right now. Part of it might be that I’ve been ranking TCU higher than Boise State for many weeks now, but this is the first week where people have started doing that en masse.

      Like

  72. Mike says:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/news/story?id=5789078&campaign=rss&source=ESPNHeadlines

    >>
    Denver University, Texas-San Antonio and Texas State will join the WAC in 2012-13 to offset the departures of Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada to the Mountain West, multiple sources told ESPN.com.
    <<

    This doesn't inspire me at all.

    Like

    • Richard says:

      I’m still waiting for Hawaii to announce that they’re departing. Maybe they want to keep good relations with the WAC (some schools which they’d want to schedule in the future) by waiting for Montana to be ready to join?

      Like

      • Jeff says:

        I live in Honolulu, and I can tell you that it’s been looking for a while like UH will at least move everything except football to the Big West. The local paper even said a couple of weeks ago that recruits were being told that. The Big West really is a no-brainer for UH, since all of the schools are in Calif., all but one are large public schools, and most care a lot more about sports like baseball and volleyball (both of which are very important to UH) than the WAC schools do. And apparently the Big West wants UH.

        The big decision is whether to stay in the WAC for football only, or to take football independent. As a transplant, I badly want independence, because I have no interest in watching games against UTSA, Idaho, etc., but would enjoy playing a schedule of mostly BCS schools. To me, the choice is really between playing in the majors and in the minors.

        Having said that, I’ve talked to people who have the same attitude as Richard mentioned in his posts above: they just want to win games, and don’t care too much if the teams they’re beating are irrelevant. What I think people are missing is that recruiting almost certainly will fall off if UH stays in the WAC and improve if they become independent.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Hey Jeff,

          Since you’re out there, could you explain how people out there think? I did seem to encounter a certain amount of fuzzy-headedness on those boards when it comes to the WAC vs. independence issue. For example, I’ve read Hawaii fans talk about the WAC raiding other conferences or how a wait-and-see attitude would improve Hawaii’s position (I don’t see how either are possible). Is it because people there have a deep emotional attachment to the WAC (even though none of the schools in the WAC Hawaii joined are actually in that conference, or have been for some time)?

          Like

          • Jeff says:

            I don’t think there’s a deep emotional attachment to the WAC, but loyalty is certainly very important in Hawaii, so that is probably part of it. But I’ve also seen similar sentiments from people around the country, particularly Big East people who are convinced that they can bring in Notre Dame or raid the ACC.

            I think the bigger issue is that people are skeptical that UH can survive longterm as an independent. A lot of people remember things being tough before they joined the WAC in 1979(?), and they’re not confident that they can get enough opponents or make enough money outside of a conference to make it worth it.

            Of course, the people we’re talking about are not necessarily any of the people who are making the decisions. I’m sure the UH administration is studying this stuff pretty closely, and if they think they can make it financially, they’ll probably go.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Was it tough? Hawaii was playing 9 home games a year back in the ’70’s as an independent. OK, maybe they wouldn’t get that number of home games now, but if there’s a home for the other sports, I can’t see how Hawaii football would have trouble getting at least 6 home games every year (and as an independent, they’re free to play a lot more storied programs, albeit mostly on the road).

            Like

          • Jeff says:

            I agree. And 6 home games a year potentially means 6 games that are on ESPN by default, since they have no competition for the late-late Sat. night time slot.

            Like

          • Richard says:

            Yep, and mostly 7-8 most years.

            I’ve even put together a hypothetical schedule for Hawaii:

            Say, worst case, teams don’t want to fly to Hawaii in the middle of conference play. So in the first 4 weeks, they’ll have home-and-away against Pac12/Big10(/Big12?) teams (who won’t schedule after conference play starts) as well as 2 home games against teams in conferences that are willing to play OOC after conference play starts (MWC/CUSA/WAC). They’ll also play BYU, Army, Navy, & ND every year. Now that they can’t play Stanford at the end of the year, ND could like to end the season at Hawaii in odd-numbered years. Army & Navy would fly in to the islands for rivalry week and Thanksgiving week in even-numbered years. Championship week at home against a team from a conference without a championship (WAC/MWC/BE). Home game against a FCS school in the middle of the season. That’s 10 games (7 at home). The middle of the season would be filled out with 3 away games that comprise the “away” part of the home-away series they have with the WAC/MWC/CUSA/BE teams.

            The only drawback is that the home games would be bunched together at the beginning and end (when BYU is played away, 3 home games would be in September, 3 home games would be in the final 3 weeks of the season, and the big stretch of Oct/early Nov would feature only a home game vs. a FCS team).

            Like

          • Jeff says:

            The local paper has an article up today that WAC expansion “has not changed the University of Hawaii’s plans to consider other possibilities.”

            Notable that there’s no quote from the AD confirming UH’s commitment to the WAC. Instead, he says: “We need to look at where the WAC is, where it is going and what the long-term plan is and (then) we’ll look at all of our options.”

            Like

    • Jake says:

      Sunbelt West it is. At least Louisiana Tech will be happy to have some shorter trips.

      Like

    • Bullet says:

      What choice did they have? They invited everyone who would come, except Seattle-and that may still happen.

      The only alternative would have been if they could have convinced the Sun Belt a merger was beneficial.

      Like

      • Jake says:

        @Bullet – I thought Seattle was looking at the WCC for the time being? Jumping straight from DII to DI-FBS is quite a leap. Do they even have a football team?

        I’m surprised Montana didn’t take the offer, but maybe not as much after considering that epic letter their president wrote. Still funny that UNT isn’t interested.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          I believe Seattle would be a non-football member like Denver.

          Like

        • Bullet says:

          Richard is correct. Seattle would be a non-fb member. WCC hasn’t invited them. Montana hasn’t said no. They have a new president who just started. Apparently these articles say Seattle will probably be invited if Montana says no. So they’re waiting on Montana.

          I wonder what Hawaii feels about all these eastern teams being invited.

          Like

    • @Mike – Yeah, that’s pretty “meh”. What will be interesting is that even if TCU leaves for the Big East and the MWC will likely be weaker on an absolute basis, that conference will probably still widen the gap between it and the rest of the non-AQ conferences (since the WAC was really the only challenger on that front).

      On the other hand, the WAC just got a hockey and skiing power in Denver.

      Interesting fact: Denver is #8 among all schools for total NCAA titles across all sports (28), which is ahead of every single other Big Ten school except for Michigan (31) and Penn State (28). In fact, the only other conferences that have members ahead of them are the Pac-10 (USC, UCLA, Stanford), Big 12 (Oklahoma State) and SEC (Arkansas). Of course, every single one of Denver’s titles is in either hockey (7) or skiing (21).

      Like

      • Brian says:

        To be fair, NCAA titles across “all sports” don’t include football national championships (or many other sports championships that aren’t NCAA sanctioned). That would change the list significantly. For example, Ohio State has 61 team national championships, but only 22 count here. Even adding just football would make it 29.

        Like

        • Bullet says:

          One significant group not included is AIAW championships. NCAA didn’t start women’s championships in many sports until relatively recently. AIAW and NCAA women’s basketball ran separately for a few years in the 80s. Texas was one of the last powers in AIAW and got repeatedly discriminated against (bad pairings & seeds) for many years once they joined NCAA.

          Like

      • Brian says:

        I just found this on the NCAA website. The top team NCAA championship winners currently:

        1. UCLA 106
        2. Stanford 99
        3. Southern California 91
        4. Oklahoma St 49
        5. Arkansas 43
        6. LSU 42
        7. Texas 40
        8. Penn St 38
        9. North Carolina 36
        10. Michigan 33
        11. California 28
        Denver 28
        13. Yale 27
        14. Georgia 26
        Wisconsin 26

        Top totals of individual titles:
        1. Stanford 432
        2. Southern California 358
        3. Texas 306
        4. Michigan 287
        5. UCLA 261
        6. Ohio St. 227
        7. Florida 215
        8. California 182
        9. LSU 173
        10. Oklahoma St. 163
        11. Georgia 158
        12. Illinois 143
        Auburn 142
        14. Arizona 141
        15. Tennessee 138

        It’s pretty clear why the Pac-10 calls itself the conference of champions. It’s also clear that a handful of regional sports really inflate their totals.

        http://web1.ncaa.org/web_files/stats/champs_records_book/summaries/combined.pdf

        Like

  73. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Frank – are you just counting men’s sports in your calculations? My Tigers have 46 national titles (42 NCAAs), 20 in men’s sports and 26 women’s titles.

    http://www.secdigitalnetwork.com/SECSPORTS/THESEC/SECNationalChampions.aspx

    Like

  74. StvInIL says:

    Alan, here in Evanston that would make you a spoiled man. Congratulations. Thats impresive.

    Like

  75. Bullet says:

    http://www.statesman.com/sports/longhorns/ut-to-put-powers-in-charge-of-finding-1038502.html

    Still not a lot of info, but hints that it is a pretty broad agreement on the Longhorn Network as Frank commented. Note that IMG IS involved.

    Like

  76. Guido says:

    I really think TCU to the Big East would be a really shortsighted move that would look terrible down the road for the conference. TCU is hot right this minute, mostly because of the coach they have. They are such a geographical outlier that it would be problematic for the Big East down the road if Patterson were to leave and TCU were to become mediocre, or worse.

    Like

    • Richard says:

      They’re putting the money in to football and other sports.

      Look at this list of athletics departments by revenue (in ’07-’08):
      http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/sports_college/2009/07/how-much-revenue-did-your-favorite-fbs-school-take-in-in-200708-this-chart-will-tell-you.html

      TCU generated the most revenue of any non-AQ school. In fact, by revenue, they’re more like an AQ school, and that is without the benefit of a BCS-conference-level TV payout. Compared to current BE football members, they’re solidly middle of the pack (after UConn, WVU, Louisville, Rutgers, and Syracuse, but ahead of Pitt(!), USF, & Cincy). In short, they should be better able to hang on to Patterson than Cincy was able to hang on to its coaches, and in any case, they should still be able to recruit even if he leaves because they have the ability to pump money in to facilities and recruiting.

      Like

    • zeek says:

      But TCU will always have the potential of being the 4th or 5th option in Texas just as USF has the potential of being the 4th option in Florida.

      That potential is based on the fact that those states produce such a surplus of talented recruits that they’ll be able to compete as long as they have a coaching staff that can bring in those recruits.

      Compare that to Boise State, which is much more dependent on good coaching being able to bring the recruits up there…; it’s much harder for a school in a location far from good recruiting zones to amp back up after a falloff unless they’re a national brand like Nebraska.

      TCU is the best possible choice right now for the Big East, there’s no one that they can get to join who offers them a bigger bang for the buck both from a long term potential perspective and from the current situation.

      Like

      • Gopher86 says:

        Depending on the area of Texas, TCU can nab recruits from Tech and Baylor. I’d put them solidly in fourth behind UT, aTm and Tech (due to Tuberville’s recent recruiting). OU usually gets what it wants if it is in North Texas, as well.

        Boise may recruit out of state, but they have a distinct advantage over the California schools: low academic standards. A dumb as rocks four star from California probably isn’t getting into USC, UCLA, Stanford or Cal Berkley.

        Like

        • Richard says:

          Stanford certainly has standards, but the academic standards for athletes at the UC schools and USC aren’t nearly what they are for regular students (and the admission standards for even regular students at USC weren’t exactly demanding a generation ago). Jason Kidd had to retake the SAT, what, 4-5 times before he finally met the NCAA’s minimum standard so he could attend Cal? No, there’s no inherent advantage that Boise has over most of it’s Pac12 competition.

          As for TCU, I’d say they can be 4th (behind Texas, OU, & TAMU) in Texas recruiting if they continue their winning ways, and especially if they join a BCS conference. If they join the BE and annually challenge for national titles while TAMU becomes even worse, they may even be able to be 3rd in the pecking order.

          Like

        • Josh says:

          Like Richard says, academic standards for athletes at USC, UCLA and Cal aren’t exactly tough. Stanford may pass on some marginal students, but even they have much relaxed academic standards for athletes.

          But BSU really isn’t getting players that the Big Pac-10 schools want. Has a 4 star recruit ever chosen Boise State? What BSU has been doing is snapping up pretty much any player they want in California that the Big Four California schools (and add Oregon to that as well) don’t recruit. Some of their success is a testament to BSU coaching and some of it is a sign that California HS football is really good and really deep. Kids that previously would have gone to Fresno State, Nevada and even Washington State, Arizona State or Colorado are now choosing Boise State, and that’s turning them into a power. Boise doesn’t recruit a lot of big names, but the guys they do target they almost always get these days.

          Like

    • Jake says:

      If Patterson were leaving, he would have done so already. He’s certainly had opportunities. But I think our program is well past one coach at this point. Considering the recruiting grounds, the new facilities, and the commitment from the department, TCU won’t have any problem finding quality applicants when that job opens up in the (hopefully distant) future.

      The only way I really see Patterson leaving is if, a few years from now, after accomplishing everything he can at TCU, he decides he’d like to coach one of the military academies. He was an assistant at Navy, and he’s always going on about his admiration for those institutions.

      And as far as our revenues go, the new stadium we’re building is already paid for with private donations. No bonds, no loans, just cash. Not many schools can pull that off, particularly in this economy.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        The best quality candidate would likely be an assistant. Just ask Boise and Utah.

        As for Patterson departing, yes, he’s gotten interest, but has he ever gotten interest from a school the caliber of Alabama, or even TAMU? Urban Meyer may not have left Utah for a job at one of the Arizona schools, but he did leave for Florida.

        Like

        • Jake says:

          Hard to say, exactly. They try to keep that stuff hushed up unless they actually make the hire. He supposedly interviewed at Tennessee (both times). Auburn after Tuberville was ousted as well. Minnesota keeps after him, but I don’t think he listened much. And there have been rumors about K-State (again, both times), which is only interesting because it’s his alma mater. There have been others, but I try to ignore the rumors, and there’s an entire forum dedicated to GP rumors over on the message boards at killerfrogs.com if you’re interested.

          Promoting from within is certainly a good way to go, what with all the continuity you get with the move – that’s how Patterson got the job in the first place. But I’m not sure about the current assistants. Dick Bumpas (the DC, and I only mention his name because it is, in fact, Dick Bumpas) is a bit older and doesn’t seem much interested in head coaching. The dual-OCs are less experienced and neither seems quite ready for the big job. But no worries; GP’s not likely to go anywhere anytime soon.

          Like

    • Richard says:

      Hawaii can now hold the WAC for ransom. They get to be the Texas of the WAC (of course, I’m not sure what good that would do them). Even if they get 50% of the revenue that the WAC generates, I’m not sure that’d be better than going independent.

      Like

  77. Bullet says:

    A bit of a surprise. Reading what the AD said previously, I thought they were almost certain to go. Montana could have been solid like a Wyoming, but they weren’t likely to be a Boise at FBS. Decision was foreshadowed a little by the Big Sky expansion mentioned in the article. Big Sky commissioner made the comment that if FCS was ever not to work, they wanted to position themselves as the 1st conference to move up.

    WAC is a little bit of a risk. Clearly worth it for UTSA and Texas St. who wanted to move up and have some geographically reasonable alternatives if it fails. Denver might have eventually gotten kicked out of Sun Belt and travel had to be awful for them, but they might be homeless if WAC folds. Still probably worth the risk for them. Maybe Montana is waiting for the MWC. But they’ve got a better geographic setup and apparently didn’t want to be with a lot of big commuter schools like SJSU, UTSA and Texas St. Big Sky has commuter schools, but mostly smaller ones.

    Like

    • jj says:

      I actually had the opportunity to talk with the chief counsel for a large D2 school and asked him about this. Our discussion reinforces montana’s call. It is a huge investment and you need to think hard about being really good at the lower level or getting destroyed all the time after leaving a bunch of history behind.

      Like

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        Makes one wonder even more what Villanova’s decision will be. They seem even more unlikely as a D1A success than Montana.

        Like

        • zeek says:

          Any decision maker at Villanova has to be looking at Temple as the ultimate cautionary tale. We’ll see whether they think they can overcome those shortcomings…

          Like

        • Richard says:

          They’d get BE football TV & bowl money. That might not be much, but it’s more than the (nonexistant) WAC TV & bowl money Montana would have gotten. They’d also get a boost in attendance from other BE fans who live in Philly. They’re also in the heart of the BE, so their travel would be less than it would have been for Montana.

          Most importantly, they’d have more upside than Montana if they made the leap. It’s doubtful that any champion of the new WAC has a shot at a BCS bid, while the BE champ is guaranteed a spot.

          Like

    • R says:

      First, thankyou to any veterans on this blog for your service to our country. You make this all possible.

      I, too, am a little surprised by Montana. Beyond the three stated reasons for staying in the Big Sky, perhaps a relatively large unstated, in order not to cut any future bridges, is that the WAC of 2012 on, isn’t that much of a step up. If Hawaii, which should become the dominant program in football, were to leave, the WAC will be very UNinteresting.

      Like

  78. […] all of the large markets and television contract advantages that come with it.  (Note that in my Big East Expansion FAQ post, I neglected to include the Big East basketball contract with CBS in the conference TV revenue […]

    Like

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