The comments from University of Oklahoma President David Boren last week voicing his desire for Big 12 expansion has kicked up some dust on conference realignment speculation. National media people such as Andy Staples from Sports Illustrated and Jake Trotter from ESPN have started weighing in on at least the possibility of the Big 12 expanding (even if there is a wide range in opinions about how likely that will be in the near future). The Twitter universe continues to be a source of rumors of all types (and for those of you that follow the NBA closely like I do, this is the most rumor-filled week of the year on Twitter with free agency starting), including the following:

Yeesh. A Paul Finebaum Tweet that quotes Colin Cowherd*. All we need to do is add in the HOT TAKES of Stephen A. Smith and (IMHO, the absolute worst) Skip Bayless and we would have an ESPN shock jock grand slam.

(* What’s interesting is that if you’ve ever heard Cowherd in interviews outside of his own show, he actually comes across as a measured and analytical guy with a ton of business savvy. I didn’t even feel he was out of line in his awkward interview with Jim Harbaugh yesterday that received a lot of attention. Cohwerd reminds me of a sports version of Howard Stern in a way, where I never really enjoyed Stern’s show but it was clear that he was a media business genius. Of course, that makes Cowherd’s liberal use of HOT TAKES on his show that much more disappointing. Finebaum, Smith and Bayless are just plain terrible and don’t know any better.)

It’s all interesting speculation to get people to call in on radio shows, but there’s not much substance. Even if we were to buy that Oklahoma were to go to the SEC, how do we rectify the clash of interests between the Pac-12 Network and the ESPN-owned Longhorn Network if Texas were to go to the Pac-12? I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Texas will never get a better offer than the Pac-16 deal from 2010 that would have brought Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State along with them. That would have given them a power base in a superconference with a division largely made up of their historical rivals. Now, Texas A&M has gone its separate way to the SEC and the Texas TV deal with ESPN complicates any potential move. Honestly, it’s hard to see Texas ever agreeing to be an equal member of any conference. Sure, the Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12 all want Texas (just as the Big Ten wants Notre Dame), but it’s with the caveat of the Longhorns being an equal member. Outside of the Big 12, the only other viable power conference option would be for Texas to go independent in football and then join the ACC for other sports in the same manner as Notre Dame. This allows Texas to receive the special treatment it desires/needs if it ever wants to leave the Big 12.

That being said, one of the things that I was very wrong about in 2010 was thinking that Texas wanted to get away from the Big 12 members that weren’t bringing in much revenue and that they could make so much more in the Big Ten (or Pac-12 or SEC) by aligning themselves with much stronger brands and markets. Instead, Texas has proven that it wants other schools like Texas Tech and Baylor to be dependent upon them. Notre Dame wants everyone to get off of their lawn as an independent, whereas Texas wants a huge estate with lots of worker bees from Lubbock and Waco. Controlling a conference (even if it’s weak) has shown to be more of an end game for Texas than merely being a member of a strong conference.

With that backdrop of the Texas desire for control, here is a sampling of direct Big 12 expansion Tweets from Dave Sittler over the past few days that conference realignment observers should be much more aware of, as he is known to have very close connections with David Boren and administrators throughout the Big 12:

Putting aside the Big 12’s obvious delusions of grandeur of reverse raiding the Big Ten for Nebraska or adding Notre Dame and/or Florida State, this actually appears to be some legitimate information from someone with contacts with people that control the situation. Follow Sittler’s Twitter timeline for some further comments. Bottom line: Houston has seriously vaulted itself into Big 12 expansion talks. Now, this makes little sense for the Big 12 when looking at the typical goals of power conference realignment, such as expanding into new TV markets and recruiting territories. However, we would be remiss to forget that Texas politics (whether we’re talking about the state itself or the university) effectively control the Big 12 (as Sittler alluded to in his Tweets). The Big 12 was initially formed with heavy demands from then-Texas Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock and other Texas politicians in order to get Texas Tech and Baylor to tag along with UT and Texas A&M. It’s a bit of surprise to see such relatively strong statements about Houston’s Big 12 candidacy here, but not completely shocking when looking at the political history of the conference. Back in the midst of conference realignment mania in 2010, I recall then-UT President Bill Powers stating that it was a goal for Houston to become a “Tier 1” university, so there was an acknowledgment even back then of some broader goals to elevate the stature of that school.

This is just my personal reading between the lines, but it’s noteworthy to me that these quotes and sources are coming out of Oklahoma. There isn’t any obvious reason why Oklahoma itself would be pushing Houston specifically over the likes of BYU or Memphis (note that it seems that Cincinnati is still a frontrunner for a Big 12 spot) – it’s hard for me to fathom that the Sooners have a strong feeling either way outside of who can make them the most money. As a result, these aren’t quotes that seem to be pushing a specific school’s agenda, but rather a reflection of what the Big 12 overall is thinking… or more specifically, what Texas is thinking (as the Longhorns do have a very specific interest one way or another about Houston). This is critical because if Texas wants (or outside forces like politicians force them to choose) Houston, then that’s going to be a game-changer for Big 12 expansion candidacies. If a spot is effectively reserved for Houston by the powers that be, then that is going to be disheartening for schools like BYU, Memphis and Tulane. Cincinnati seems to be in good shape with the right combination of a solid athletic program in an advantageous location as a bridge between West Virginia and the rest of the Big 12.

It goes to show you that whatever might seem logical in conference realignment can get changed up by outside forces (such as politicians in the form of a Bob Bullock-type) or personal connections (see how the athletic directors at TCU and Louisville won over their counterparts in the Big 12 and ACC, respectively, while BYU’s personnel seemed to have turned off the Big 12). Who knows when or where Big 12 expansion will happen, but it’s fair to at least move Houston onto the short list of candidates (as opposed to being a complete long-shot) based on these Tweets. These comments carry a lot more weight than what Finebaum and Cowherd are throwing out there. At the same time, if both Texas and Oklahoma want the Big 12 to expand, then expansion will likely happen sooner rather than later.

Have a great Fourth of July!

(Image from Pinterest)

Advertisements
Comments
  1. greg says:

    Hawkeyes #1.

    Frank, you’re posting quickly after a long layoff. 🙂

    Like

  2. Sean says:

    Not sure why Houston is such a surprise….that’s an A&M stronghold. You know Texas would LOVE to ice out A&M and turn the state into Big 12 territory, which turns the Aggies into real outliers. It’s part of the reason why I think Houston & SMU ultimately make the most sense: http://stholeary.blogspot.com/2014/11/should-big-12-add-houston-and-smu.html

    You get a Texas division and a North division w/ OU, OSU & Kansas State….set yourself up for a huge title game in JerryWorld every year, guaranteed to have a “home” team from Texas. That’s where the $$$ for the Big 12 is: coming up with a title game that Jerry Jones will pay $5 million to host and Fox/ESPN/someone will pay $30 million to air every year.

    TV markets are completely irrelevant to the Big 12. They have Texas & Oklahoma.

    Like

    • vp19 says:

      Southern Methodist is superfluous, since Texas Christian is the Big 12’s “franchise” in the Metroplex.

      Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      TV markets are completely irrelevant to the Big 12. They have Texas & Oklahoma.

      TV markets are always relevant.

      Like

    • FrankTheAg says:

      None of that “ices” out A&M. It would be maybe the best thing that could happen to differentiate A&M even more. Sort of a minors vs. majors comparison. I very much hope the happens.

      Like

    • bearcat4 says:

      You sir sound like your Commish Bowlsby. A famous American once said “….take down that wall”. B12 has a wall in front of it that they inadverteintly built. B12 must start their own network or parish. It is not a good idea to have more than one team in a single state. Going to 14 teams and picking Ohio(Cincinnati), Florida(CFU or USF),Tennessee(Memphis), Colorado(CSU) would quadruple the B12 footprint. B12 already has to many schools from Texas.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        bearcat4,

        “B12 has a wall in front of it that they inadverteintly built. B12 must start their own network or parish.”

        I think perish is much too strong. They’re still making tens of millions per school each year without a B12N. UT is making about $40M per year as is, so they’re pretty happy. OU is getting much less for Tier 3, so they’re complaining for now. If the B12 makes the CFP next year, watch the talk of expansion magically die down for a while.

        “It is not a good idea to have more than one team in a single state.”

        That really depends on the schools, the state and the conference. It’s a bad idea for a P5 conference (with a conference network) that is looking to expand. But no P5 conference is kicking out duplicates, and there are multiple examples where having both schools is helpful. Bigger states (TX, FL, CA) can support multiple major schools in one conference easily, for example. And some states have two powerful major programs that split the fan base and may require both to get the conference network everywhere locally.

        Having IA and ISU is bad. Having FSU and Miami is just fine.

        The B10 having multiple schools in OH doesn’t make sense. The MAC having multiple OH schools does make sense.

        “Going to 14 teams and picking Ohio(Cincinnati), Florida(CFU or USF),Tennessee(Memphis), Colorado(CSU) would quadruple the B12 footprint. B12 already has to many schools from Texas.”

        That might be true for the broadcast footprint (I doubt it, but it might be), but it is definitely not true for a conference network. Adding UC wouldn’t get the B12N on in all of OH at a footprint rate. Likewise, neither UCF nor USF (nor both combined, probably) get the B12N on in all of FL at the footprint rate. CSU and Memphis have the same issue.

        Now, does adding UH do much for the B12? No, not really. They’ll get a few more fans in Houston I suppose. It keeps travel short and gives teams more games in TX to help with recruiting.

        Like

    • Steven says:

      You are completely right. As both a UH student and having familiarized myself with Houston and the surrounding areas….this is in essence aggieland. Everyone dreams of going to Texas A&M. Some people are almost suicidal when they don’t get in and they dont have any back up plans. What better way to stir things up then to bring a hometown team into the mix that plays competitive football against well known football programs around the state (don’t underestimate Houston’s pride when it comes to bragging rights) even Aggies will lift up a Cougar paw when it comes to watching a team play against the in-state rivals that their alma mater no longer gets to play in its new conference. Coach Herman himself has said, we are keeping our Houston players home. A move to the BIG 12 will keep our recruits home. Our Chancellor and our Athletic Director have all spoken of their efforts to move us on to bigger and better things. I am sure all administrators do this at every school but if you look into our history, when our chancellor says she is going to accomplish something, she does. I truly count on this all happening.

      Like

  3. I wonder if you’re right about “…the Big 10, SEC, and Pac-12 all want Texas…”. Certainly the Pac-12 does, I think the BIG does, but if Texas told the SEC they wanted in and were willing to be an equal partner, would the SEC for sure take them?

    First, you have the “state rivals” bloc of Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia, and A&M that purportedly will block any in-state teams from gaining SEC membership. Second, a Texas + friend addition would likely result in Alabama and Auburn moving to the East, which seems like something LSU and the Mississippi schools wouldn’t like and would vote against.

    So, would the SEC definitely take Texas?

    Like

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      Christian – LSU would vote for it, if it meant doing away with permanent OOD rivals. Moving Bama and Auburn to the East satisfies all the whiners, except for Ole Miss/Vandy. It also rekindles the Florida/Auburn rivalry.

      I’ve never really bought into the state veto argument. In the 70s and 80s, Florida sponsored FSU’s annual application SEC membership. Also, my understanding is that A&M wants to play Texas.

      LSU had no rivalry with Auburn until the SEC broke into divisions. LSU and Bama have played annually since the 60s. As a fan, I’m giving up two drivable road trips (Aub & Bama) for flights (Texas & Oklahoma!) but that’s OK. Relations with Bama continue to be too hot-tempered for my tastes, and I might skip the Bama game for the first time in 12 years because of it.

      Like

      • Interesting take, Alan, thanks for that. I’m not so sure A&M fans would want Texas in the SEC, as being the lone Texas team in the SEC has been a huge recruiting advantage for them. My observation from trolling TexAgs and talking to my A&M friends/co-workers is that Aggies are about evenly divided on ever playing Texas again.

        I would love to see the Horns in the SEC, with OU, KU, or Tech as the 16th team, or in the B1G West with OU or KU, but I believe the Big 12 will live on forever.

        Like

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          Christian – I agree that the B-12 lasts as long as UTx/OK! say it lasts. Now, if OK! pulls an Arkansas and cuts their own deal, all bets are off.

          Like

      • bearcat4 says:

        Re realignment, nobody is sure about anything until it happens, but if B12 breaks up, I’m betting Oklahoma won’t be anywhere that Texas is.

        Like

  4. Stuart says:

    Cowherd’s Harbaugh interview had the entire SF Bay Area media laughing at him for not doing his homework. Matt Barrows wrote a “Harbaugh Owners Manuel” that went over how to interview him. Obviously Cowherd didn’t read it.

    Harbaugh is like Bellichick, if you ask him an open ended question or hypothetical he’ll just stare at you or ask you what you mean. If you ask him a question he can give a one word answer to, like yes or no, or I agree or I disagree, that is all you are going to get. If nothing else ask him what Judge Judy would say about something — that is the only hypothetical he’ll answer. Harbaugh is about doing, and about process, which means you have to ask him very specific questions about that. Ask him about philosophy and his answer would be “how many tackles does he get in a game?” You have to know that.

    I wonder if Colin will do his homework or be an idiot and stay baffled.

    Like

    • Nick in South Bend says:

      It’s telling that, by Cowherd’s own admission, this is the most downloaded thing he has ever done. I like the Herd, but his show is less organized and less about sports every time I tune in.

      Like

  5. Nick in South Bend says:

    The longer this goes, the closer Texas gets to recreating the old SWC.

    Like

  6. loki_the_bubba says:

    If Houston goes to the B12SWC2.0, does it make sense for the AAC to backfill with Rice? Southern Miss? Any other viable candidates for them? Would that even be a step up for Rice anymore?

    As usual, the real question America wants answered is, how would this affect the Owls?

    Like

    • @loki_the_bubba – Your Rice Owls would almost certainly end up in the AAC in that situation. Heck, you could argue that the AAC ought to just add them even with Houston in the league with its academic stature. I don’t know if it would be as much of a step up as much as it would be Rice leaving the new C-USA for what it used to have in the old C-USA.

      Like

      • Stuart says:

        If Rice ever decided to get serious about Athletics they could become another Stanford. Massive endowment, money out their ears. And like Stanford they could probably endow athletic scholarships, making them competitive with anyone. Its just they cant decide if the should be Chicago or Northwestern, Being a mid-low tier FBS makes no sense.

        Like

        • loki_the_bubba says:

          Rice has awakened from a fifty year athletic slumber. The basketball arena was rebuilt nicely and we brought in a great coach. The baseball facilities are second to none outside the SEC. The north end zone of Rice Stadium is undergoing a massive two year build for a football complex. And the athletic department is finally fundraising to endow all the athletic scholarship. Hiring a young AD from the Stanford staff has really created some motion in a stagnant department.

          Now the question of the day is, is it too late?

          Like

        • I think in terms of being any kind of major athletic presence, Rice’s ship probably sailed a long time ago. Right now they’re basically 1/3 the size of Duke, Northwestern and Stanford (and about 1/2 Notre Dame or Vandy), and that’s a LOT of ground to make up in terms of student body size compared to the bigger private academic names (excluding grad students makes it closer to 1/2 across the board, which helps the numbers but not by THAT much).

          Endowment tells a somewhat similar story. Per wiki, Stanford is $21b, NW just under $10b, ND $8.0b, Duke $7.0b, Rice $5.5b (they’re about Vandy’s $4.1b though). As an interesting point of comparison, USC’s 2014 endowment is now (very slightly) higher than Rice’s.

          I’d agree that if Rice made a major effort, they might be able to push in the same direction as the “academics + athletics” privates, but that’s so much ground to make up, in a system where they are NOT plugged into a major athletic conference and the benefits that accrue from that kind of association.

          Like

          • vp19 says:

            Currently Rice is more along the lines of Wake Forest than the other schools mentioned.

            Like

          • Stuart says:

            I live near Stanford, and they were in this malaise in the 1980s and early 1990s, then they made a decision to compete at the highest level. It took about 10 years but now they are a now a perennial power in many sports. If Rice made the same decision by 2025 they could be near the same level. But the question is has the administration decided to repeat what Northwestern and Stanford did to become truly power schools. Think what Dr. Kustra could do at Rice.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Football would be tough to improve much with their size and academic standards. They have about 6,000 total students and 3,500 undergrads.

            Now Notre Dame is a power with 10,000 total students, but they have subway alumni. Only the military academies (who all have more undergrads), Tulsa and Wake Forest have fewer students than Rice in FBS.

            Like

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        Frank, I note that you have not voted for Rice as your favorite CUSA team. Just an oversight on your part certainly…

        http://csnbbs.com/thread-741518.html

        Like

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      loki – I called Tulane to lobby on your behalf.

      Like

  7. Arkstfan says:

    Rare is the realignment move that goes as planned. From the SEC’s first attempt to get TAMU and Florida State, to Pac-12 mega expansion with Texas to the Big 10 southern strategy it goes awry more often than not.

    The question I have is how much more can the Big XII lose before being feudal lord is no longer entertaining for the Longhorns.

    Like

  8. vp19 says:

    Makes sense considering that A&M and LSU are among the dominant schools in the Houston market (along with UT). Adding UH could do for the Big 12 in Houston what TCU has done for it in the Metroplex — and if Cincinnati is part of the 11/12 tandem, the Big 12 placates West Virginia and others fearful about the conference’s long-term future.

    The next question is, if this mandates divisional plan for football and the current title game requirements are maintained, who goes where? Assuming the five Texas schools are in one division, who’s its sixth member? I’m guessing Oklahoma, so that UT and OU could not have a title game rematch. That would make the North members Cincinnati, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Okie State and West Virginia.

    Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      The next question is, if this mandates divisional plan for football and the current title game requirements are maintained, who goes where?

      The current proposal is to totally de-regulate the conference championship game, and most media outlets have predicted it’ll pass. That will eliminate the necessity to have divisions. This is crucial for the Big 12, because almost any divisional split sucks. I mean…..

      That would make the North members Cincinnati, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Okie State and West Virginia.

      That is really horrible. It does achieve your goal of preserving the annual Red River Rivalry game without devaluing it. But it does so at the expense of creating two ridiculously unbalanced divisions. That was a problem in the original Big 12, and this is a lot worse.

      Like

  9. Mack says:

    Houston is the candidate of the day. Why expand at all so far in advance of the GoR expiration? This chatter is more advance notice that promotion is possible so if you are Houston, CFU, Cincinnati, Memphis, etc. it is time to invest in your program so that you are the most attractive one available 10 years from now.

    I agree that TX, TT, OK, OKSt, +1 (KS?) to the P16 was probably the best offer Texas will ever get; however, at the time A&M made it clear it had no interest in the P16 so that was never happening. If the P16 had occurred, A&M would have still landed in the SEC, probably with Mizzou.

    Like

    • Brian says:

      Mack,

      “Houston is the candidate of the day.”

      It may be a case of flavor of the month or it could be a real priority.

      “Why expand at all so far in advance of the GoR expiration? This chatter is more advance notice that promotion is possible so if you are Houston, CFU, Cincinnati, Memphis, etc. it is time to invest in your program so that you are the most attractive one available 10 years from now.”

      The GoR expires 6/30/2025. A school could afford leaving 1-2 years early potentially. That means agreeing to leave up to 1-2 years before that. So that would be agreeing to leave in 2021, which is only 6 years away. It could happen even early if a school thought the conference would negotiate a decent deal not to have a lame duck member. That means the B12 should shore things up before then, which means inviting new members in just a few years at the latest.

      Besides, some believe that expansion to 12 could lead to new negotiations with the networks, at least over getting a CCG paid for rather than lumped in.

      Like

    • vp19 says:

      IIRC, the initial Pac-16 plan in 2010 was adding Colorado, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Okie State. When that went by the boards, Scott settled for 12 with the CU and Utah.

      Like

    • Kyle says:

      Cincy is reopening a renovated Nippert, 90 Million, Stadium this year. Then next season 80 Million to renovate 5/3rd Arena. Sheakley Athletics Center, practice facility was opened a few years back.

      Like

  10. Logan says:

    With disagreement in the Big XII on whether to expand or not, and no obvious candidates staring them in the face, I wonder if Houston is part of a compromise. Texas gets to chose number 11, the others get to choose the 12th, and then everyone is happy & willing to go along with expansion. Although, northern schools like Iowa St and K-State may like Houston, as it gives them more exposure for recruiting in Texas, whereas expansion from somewhere outside Texas only dilutes it.

    Like

    • BruceMcF says:

      Yes, how to allocate the Texas trips is a challenge with 12, either with divisions or with a rotating conference schedule with fixed rivalries. You could even have a Texas, TTech, OK, OkSU, KS, KSU division and a WVU, UC, ISU, Baylor, TCU, Houston division, and an eight game conference schedule … everyone in the East gets two Texas trips a year (their alternate year cross division Texas trip in the year they host two Texas division rivals), the other four in the West gets either Texas or Oklahoma at home every year.

      Like

  11. Nick in South Bend says:

    The remaining Big 8 (other than Oklahoma) schools in the Big 12 must really feel that the merger with Texas way back when to form the Big 12 must have been a deal with the devil. They are on the verge of no longer even being the majority in the successor to their own conference.

    Has that ever happened before? Where the founders of a conference are overtaken by those they bring in? It gives some cannon fodder to those who claim that the Longhorns are a cancer to any conference they join.

    Like

    • Eric says:

      With newbies outnumbering longer term members, the WAC comes to mind. Not sure it quite got there, but the more established programs met to form the Mountain West to start over.

      I know I’m in the minority, but I don’t see Texas as the bad guy here at all.

      1. Everyone was looking at a possible Big 12 exit last round. Texas was looking, Oklahoma was looking, Nebraska, was looking, etc. Those all fed on each other to make the conference unstable. The only school with a real choice to leave who stayed though was Texas. That decision to stay there saved schools like Kansas State and Iowa State plus newbie TCU from being left out. Was there selfish reasons to go? Sure, but there were selfish reasons everyone else left too. At least the Big 12 survived as a major conference because of their decision.

      2. This whole notion of all TV revenue being shared across tiers and equally as very new in most conferences. The PAC-10 was far less equal than the Big 12 until very recently. The SEC had all schools keep 3rd tier rights till 2 years ago. The Big 12 now shares all 1st and 2nd tier rights equally (something Texas probably could have stopped given the situation at the time) and only 3rd tier remain with the schools. The Longhorn Network is what Texas does with their’s while others sell to Fox Sports Network or something along those lines.

      All in all, I think Texas gets blamed because they are easy visible whipping boy and I’m not even a Texas fan.

      Like

      • Eric says:

        One further point, I think the idea of equal revenue sharing being superior to some kind of mixed system is wrong. I’m not saying it’s a bad set-up, but it’s also not inherently superior in either (both have advantages and disadvantages). Giving more money to schools with more television spots encourages investment into programs. Meanwhile, allowing schools who generate more to keep more let’s conference hold schools they might otherwise lose. Boise State is only back in the Mountain West for this reason. Meanwhile, the PAC-16 could have been reality and have shot right to the level of the Big Ten and SEC if only Scott had let schools keep third tier rights rather than insisting on the conference taking them to set-up the PAC-12 Networks.

        Like

        • Eric says:

          Note: Last post was more broad rather than directed at any particular response.

          Like

        • Part of the reason that equal sharing works for the B1G and SEC is that they’ve got a bunch of high to very high value programs. Ohio State isn’t carrying water for Purdue and Northwestern and Minnesota and whoever all by themselves; they have Michigan, Penn State and Nebraska also bringing a lot of value to the table. Ditto in the SEC, where Bama, Auburn, Florida, LSU, Georgia, Tennessee etc are all really valuable programs.

          In the Big 12 Texas and Oklahoma are both really valuable programs, and there’s a huge gap between those two and the rest. That gap is what makes the Big 12 unstable; regardless of how they split revenue, someone (or, if the SEC/B1G widen the gap much more, everyone) is going to be unhappy with the money splits.

          Like

      • Nick in South Bend says:

        I have no problem with unequal revenue models, and I do not think TX is the bad guy all the time. At least no more so than any other football king would be. I was simply saying that the perception of TX as a conference killer is enhanced by these goings on, fair or not.

        Also, for the record, I have no sympathy for the ISU’s and KSU’s of the world (ditto for Purdue etc if they were in the same boat). Once a state has one representative in the mix, there is no real reason to have a second if they cannot pay their own way.

        Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      Has that ever happened before? Where the founders of a conference are overtaken by those they bring in?

      Among the mid-majors, it has happened a lot. If you think of the American as the successor to the football half of the Big East, then it has only one remaining founder member: UConn. Likewise the Sun Belt (South Alabama) and Conference USA (Southern Miss.).

      But they’ve got nothing on the Southern Conference, which has been around since 1921, but has zero of its founders remaining.

      It gives some cannon fodder to those who claim that the Longhorns are a cancer to any conference they join.

      Texas has been in just one conference that folded: the Southwest Conference. One cannot draw many inferences from a sample size of one. Plenty of teams have been in a conference that folded.

      Like

      • vp19 says:

        Isn’t Virginia Military, among the Southern Conference’s founding members, returning after several years in the Big South?

        Like

        • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

          vp19 – not quite.

          From the SoCon website.

          “Membership History
          On Feb. 25, 1921, representatives from 14 of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s (SIAA) 30 members met at Atlanta’s Piedmont Hotel to establish the Southern Intercollegiate Conference. On hand at the inaugural meeting were officials from Alabama, Alabama Polytechnic Institute (Auburn), Clemson, Georgia, Georgia School of Technology (Georgia Tech), Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi A&M (Mississippi State), North Carolina, North Carolina State, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech) and Washington & Lee.

          Dr. S.V. Sanford of Georgia was chosen as acting chairman and N.W. Dougherty of Tennessee was named secretary. The decision to form a new athletic conference was motivated by the desire to have a workable number of conference games for each league member. With 30 schools in the SIAA by the early 1920s, it was impossible to play every school at least once during the regular season and many schools went several years between playing some conference members. In addition, in 1920, the SIAA voted down proposed rules that an athlete must be in a college a year before playing on its teams and refused to abolish a rule permitting athletes to play summer baseball for money.

          Play began in the fall of 1921, and a year later, six more schools joined the fledgling league, including Tulane (which had attended the inaugural meeting but had elected not to join), Florida, Louisiana (LSU), Mississippi, South Carolina and Vanderbilt. VMI joined in 1925 and Duke was added in 1929.

          By the 1930s, membership in the Southern Conference had reached 23 schools. C.P. “Sally” Miles of Virginia Tech, president of the Southern Conference, called the annual league meeting to order on Dec. 9, 1932, at the Farragut Hotel in Knoxville, Tenn. Georgia’s Dr. Sanford announced that 13 institutions west and south of the Appalachian Mountains were reorganizing as the Southeastern Conference. Members of the new league included Alabama, Alabama Polytechnic Institute, Florida, Georgia, Georgia School of Technology, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Mississippi A&M, University of the South, Tennessee, Tulane and Vanderbilt.

          According to the minutes of the meeting, Dr. Sanford stated that the division was made along geographical lines. Florida’s Dr. J.J. Tigert, acting as spokesman for the withdrawing group, regretted the move but believed it was necessary as the Southern Conference had grown too large. The resignations were accepted and the withdrawing schools formed the new league, which began play in 1933.

          The Southern Conference continued with membership of 10 institutions, including Clemson, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina, Virginia, VMI, Virginia Tech and Washington & Lee.

          The second major shift occurred some 20 years later. By 1952, the Southern Conference included 17 colleges and universities. Another split occurred when seven schools – Clemson, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina and Wake Forest – departed to form the Atlantic Coast Conference, which began play in 1953. The revamped Southern Conference included members The Citadel, Davidson, Furman, George Washington, Richmond, VMI, Virginia Tech, Washington & Lee, West Virginia and William & Mary.

          A third major shift occurred in 2012-13, when five members announced their departures and three schools were added. College of Charleston announced its decision to leave for the Colonial Athletic Association following the 2012-13 season, while Appalachian State (Sun Belt), Davidson (Atlantic 10), Elon (Colonial) and Georgia Southern (Sun Belt) announced they would depart following the 2013-14 campaign. At the Southern Conference’s 2013 spring meetings in Hilton Head Island, S.C., the league officially extended invitations to former members East Tennessee State and VMI, as well as Mercer, to join the league for the 2014-15 academic year.

          Today, the league continues to thrive with a membership that includes 10 institutions and a footprint that spans six states: Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Current league members are The Citadel, ETSU, Furman, Mercer, UNCG, Samford, Chattanooga, VMI, Western Carolina and Wofford.”

          VMI has rightfully returned to the SoCon to serve as The Citadel’s football punching bag.

          Like

      • bullet says:

        TCU hasn’t been in a conference that hasn’t folded or completely changed other than its current one. TIAA, SWC, WAC16, CUSA, MWC, BE. Killer Frogs.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Geaux Tigers!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Duffman says:

    What are we really seeing if we subtract national media getting hits in the dead month?

    #1 OU wants 12 to expand
    #2 OU wants to say 12 so they can say they tried before leaving
    #3 OU wants to make donors happy by getting an extra home game or two with 12
    #4 OU wants FOX to pony up so the gap between SSTV and LHN shrinks greatly

    #3 makes the most sense as getting to 12 means the Big 12 gets back a CCG and that adds a million or so per school. Once you have a CCG you look like the other P5’s at the end of the season and maybe that gets you a little more love with the playoff committee.All this is week and good, but what I really thinks it gets Oklahoma is 1 or 2 more home games and at least 1 of them being one donors will be happy with. Hard to sell upgrades when the home schedule is not opening checkbooks

    #4 seems like the twisting the arm method. If the LHN is netting Texas 11 million [15 million – 4 million to IMG] and SSTV is netting half of that then it is a blow to the bigger brand and the bottom line at the same time. Boren could just be stirring the pot to get a bump up on the Tier III to maybe 9 million to 11 million net so they are more equal to their primary rival.

    #1 and #2 seem less on point as getting back to 12 with lesser schools [Big 12 missed on Pittsburgh and Louisville] just means the conference becomes more like the AAC than the ACC and the GoR would cement this for at least another decade. The other issue is leaving with Oklahoma State has already been rejected by the PAC and SEC when attempted without Texas. What has changed since to think the B1G, PAC, or SEC would suddenly accept Oklahoma State now?

    Like

  14. hammersfc says:

    I wouldn’t necessarily discount Cowherd or Finebaum’s thoughts on the matter. I doubt they have insight into the inner workings of the Big 12 or anything like that, no, but they tend to be good observers. Assuming the Big 12 does expand with another TX school in Houston and a school like Cincinnati with a weak media footprint then would it really be surprising if the league folds anyway at the end of their Grant of Rights? OU going to the SEC one day is as plausible as any scenario.

    One comment on Finebaum though, he is by no means an idiot. He built a radio network including carriage on XM by turning his show into the broadcast version of a online fan forum. He has a strong journalism background and was doing quite well for himself before ESPN came calling. He’s one of the few personalities on ESPN who could leave ESPN and still have a fine career. Most of them depend on ESPN’s exposure to have a voice, Finebaum has had one albeit mostly regionally for a long time. His show is very different compared to the typical, cookie cutter sports talk show. He’s very savvy, savvy enough to understand what sort of content brings fans back day after day. People don’t like him most of the time because he doesn’t want you to like him. He’s a semi-brilliant entertainer.

    Like

  15. Eric says:

    Few random thoughts:

    1. I think internal Texas politics is being over-played here a little. UT has one vote and Baylor and TCU are private schools. Maybe putting Houston as an expansion candidate puts pressure on the Texas schools to vote yes, when they’d otherwise vote no, but I don’t think the reverse is true and Texas politics is pushing the Big 12 toward expansion (if anything, I get the impression the Texas schools are the happiest with the current 10 team structure).

    2. I dismissed Houston right off the bat, but on second thought, I guess there is some logic to them. If you accept that the Big 12 doesn’t want to become anymore far reaching geographically than it is now, then BYU is out along with any teams further west. That also takes out Conn and UCF/USF in the east. That leaves few real choices. If it comes down to Houston or Memphis, then I guess there really logic in Houston. It’s a bigger city, it keeps Texas exposure tight everywhere, and geographically it’s better for most schools.

    3. I think the 10 team model will actually end up working very nicely if you get the CCG rules changed next year. You could have full round robin and a conference championship game between the two best. It’s different than the rest of the conferences, but even if the game seems a little unnecessary, it still feels like a lot better set-up than each team playing different teams from the other division.

    4. The notion that the Big 12 is anymore stable with 12 I think is misplaced by some in the media. Being at 12 isn’t going to stop anyone from jumping ship who would currently leave and it might well cause issues with set-up. If 12 brings more money it might help, but I think that’s questionable over the long term given the average value of most the possible additions is at best around the current Big 12 average and probably below that.

    Like

    • bullet says:

      I think there are really only 5 candidates:
      BYU
      Houston
      Tulane
      Memphis
      Cincinnati

      Noone ever talks about UConn. They are really just too far to the east and too much of a newbie to FBS.

      UCF and USF create another island. More importantly, they are #4 and #5 in Florida behind 3 kings. Florida is dominated by the SEC and ACC. Having 1 or 2 schools new to college football in the I-4 corridor won’t change that. I don’t think the Big 12 wants to be 3rd fiddle. And no one is going to change their recruiting by those schools being added. Iowa St. and WVU already get some players out of Florida. The rest will continue to focus mainly on Texas.

      Boise is #2 to BYU in the west and the Big 12 isn’t going to add 2 western teams. They may not even add 1.

      So that narrows your options considerably.

      Like

      • bullet says:

        Personally, assuming no P5 teams fall in their lap, I don’t see how it gets done without BYU being one of the two. Their financial and athletic strength would rank in the top half of the P5. Anyone else would be near the bottom. So perceptually, if not in reality, anyone else weakens the conference. You shouldn’t do that with two schools (unless you have a Nebraska first-and even then its a risk).

        Like

      • bullet says:

        I did see an interesting comment on a BYU board. Someone claimed their spouse worked in the athletic department there and the general assumption was that they were going soon to the Pac.
        Made up post-possibly but probably not. Delusional AD-probably. But maybe there is substance to it. If so, that could be one of the reasons BYU isn’t mentioned (in addition to them ticking off the Big 12 last time). The Pac may have first dibs. College presidents do talk to each other.

        Like

        • ccrider55 says:

          When el Diablo is making snow angels.

          BYU in in the Pac after Liberty is in the B1G.

          Like

          • bullet says:

            That’s the general consensus. But that was kind of the thinking before TCU ended up in the Big 12.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            It doesn’t matter to the Pac or B1G who the B12 is willing to admit. Liberty ain’t getting a B1G invite, and BYU ain’t getting in the PAC.

            Like

          • TCU to the Big 12 happened because the league was in a desperate situation and really needed more bodies. I don’t see the Pac-12 being in a desperate situation in the near future, especially one which gets solved just by adding more bodies.

            Like

  16. Brian says:

    Frank,

    I wonder if the LHN is quite as large an obstacle as we keep thinking.

    1. The P12N hasn’t been as profitable as they hoped so far, plus the P12N has regional networks. How tough would it be to convert the LHN into the regional P12N for TX? Would ESPN be willing to make a deal to get out of the LHN contract?

    2. If the B10 or SEC expand further, especially with a major brand like UT, I’m not sure a single channel for the whole conference is sufficient. They might well copy the P12N model and add regional networks (already have overflow BTN channels in football season, just make them 24/7). I’m pretty sure the SEC could sustain regional channels, and the B10 probably could too. Allowing UT to have one certainly shouldn’t be an insurmountable issue.

    3. The ACCN still doesn’t really exist. They shouldn’t object to the LHN, especially if UT is only a partial member like ND.

    Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      Just to pile on what Brian has said, any contract can be torn up at any time if both parties find it beneficial to do so.

      Like

      • Arkstfan says:

        Would ESPN agree to continue the stream of payments to Texas in exchange for rebranding the network to Pac-12 Texas, getting other Texas school content and an equity stake in the overall P12N.

        I’m giggling as I write that. ESPN would have a hoedown to celebrate that victory.

        Like

    • ccrider55 says:

      If there had been a P16 there would have been a shared Texas channel. That wasn’t the problem. UT wanted their own, UT branded, controlled, and paid (unshared). It’s who owns it that is the issue (ESPN). If they think it’s in their interest to keep the B12 alive it will remain, and the LHN contract gives ESPN strong say in where UT could potentially go.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        ccrider55,

        “If there had been a P16 there would have been a shared Texas channel. That wasn’t the problem. UT wanted their own, UT branded, controlled, and paid (unshared).”

        But things are different for both sides now. The LHN and P12Ns are now real and both sides have data about viewership, revenue and costs. That could change negotiations is my point.

        “It’s who owns it that is the issue (ESPN). If they think it’s in their interest to keep the B12 alive it will remain, and the LHN contract gives ESPN strong say in where UT could potentially go.”

        The contract gives them no such thing directly. UT is free to move around. The contract merely says the LHN has the same rights no matter what conference UT is in, so UT can’t join another conference as a way to break the deal.

        Like

        • ccrider55 says:

          It gives them first negotiation and first right of refusal and a 48 hour window to match offers for the B12 conference held rights. I believe that essentially removes any tier 1 value to any suitor, in addition to retaining the tier3 LHN rights. I said espn has a strong say – it doesn’t need to be direct to be effective. Am I reading it wrong?

          Like

          • Brian says:

            ccrider55,

            “It gives them first negotiation and first right of refusal and a 48 hour window to match offers for the B12 conference held rights. I believe that essentially removes any tier 1 value to any suitor, in addition to retaining the tier3 LHN rights. I said espn has a strong say – it doesn’t need to be direct to be effective. Am I reading it wrong?”

            ESPN has those negotiation rights if UT goes independent or joins another conference and has more games available suddenly (1st shot at the newly available games, right to match anyone else’s offer, etc). If UT joined the B10 or P12, the Tier 1 contracts in those leagues still have priority over the LHN according to the deal.

            So if you’re asking if the LHN would suddenly get first dibs on UT/MI, etc every other year, the answer is no as far as I can tell.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Thanks. I think I mentally cross wired the GOR into this agreement. The agreement does preclude a Texas channel of a p16n, or a regional BTN. Non starters for both of those conferences.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            ccrider55,

            “The agreement does preclude a Texas channel of a p16n, or a regional BTN. Non starters for both of those conferences.”

            Those would have to be the result of negotiations between all parties, yes. It’s not permanently barred, it just can’t be forced unilaterally.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Which means ESPN is at the table. B1G and Pac aren’t looking to admit Bristol into membership. They’ll wait the contract out.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            ccrider55,

            “Which means ESPN is at the table. B1G and Pac aren’t looking to admit Bristol into membership. They’ll wait the contract out.”

            They have no say in membership. It would be after accepting UT (or after deciding they’d accept UT if the LHN can be settled acceptably). ESPN couldn’t stop UT from going somewhere, they just could insist on keeping the LHN as is. A conference could wait that out if need be. More likely, ESPN would negotiate some compromise that works for everyone, especially if the LHN has been a financial disappoint to them so far.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            “ESPN couldn’t stop UT from going somewhere, they just could insist on keeping the LHN as is. ”

            So the one place they could go is the B12, and maybe the ACC. The others would require their T3 for their respective conference networks.

            ESPN would be at the table for any pre LHN expiration, so they would have an influence as to destination by what sort of deals they’d be able to extract from potential “bidding” conferences. All this assumes ESPN and UT are not happy and the LHN isn’t serving the purpose it was intended to, just not at as high a level some hoped/anticipated.

            Like

          • Arkstfan says:

            I view it differently. If ESPN can leverage LHN into an equity stake of BTN or P12N that is far more appealing than ACC where ESPN has 100% or SEC where they nearly have that.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            ccrider55,

            “So the one place they could go is the B12, and maybe the ACC. The others would require their T3 for their respective conference networks.”

            Maybe, maybe not.

            The P12 might be willing to make a compromise to get UT on board. You’ve seen Wilner’s projections for how t5he P12 will lag the B10 and SEC in money. Adding UT is the last major move they can make for a while (in 50 years, maybe they expand into Asia).

            The B10 might compromise, too. Maybe they’d just wait out the LHN until 2035. Maybe they’d work with ESPN to require bundling of the BTN (at the reduced price) with LHN in TX in exchange for something. Everything else is negotiable if you want something badly enough.

            “ESPN would be at the table for any pre LHN expiration, so they would have an influence as to destination by what sort of deals they’d be able to extract from potential “bidding” conferences.”

            Indirect influence, yes.

            “All this assumes ESPN and UT are not happy and the LHN isn’t serving the purpose it was intended to, just not at as high a level some hoped/anticipated.”

            That’s one possible assumption. A separate one is that everyone is willing to negotiate. Either or both would have to be true for something to happen first. If the B12 collapsed because others left, that might change things (would ESPN try to force UT to stay if OU and KU left?).

            Like

    • bullet says:

      With 16 they have excess inventory. That is somewhat of a barrier to the 4×16 model.
      They already have excess inventory some weeks. I doubt the games on the overflow channels get much viewership.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        bullet,

        “With 16 they have excess inventory. That is somewhat of a barrier to the 4×16 model.
        They already have excess inventory some weeks. I doubt the games on the overflow channels get much viewership.”

        They get solid regional viewership (depending on the game, obviously) and from displaced alumni in the footprint.

        http://btn.com/2014/11/25/btn-has-highest-viewership-ever-studio-crew-coming-to-madison/

        Like

        • bullet says:

          I don’t see how that link has anything to do with overflow channels.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            It does only tangentially. The BTN main channel shows different games in different places with the overflow channels getting the other games. The BTN ratings are for a mishmash of games in the footprint and those in the article were the best numbers ever. I linked them to give you a baseline to compare to mentally.

            All of the BTNs aren’t metered channels, so no ratings numbers are available. But you can find plenty of fans online that discuss watching their game of choice on the overflow channels, which is why I said the numbers are solid regionally.

            Like

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        With 16 they have excess inventory.

        Nowadays, there is no such thing as excess inventory, since practically every FBS football game is televised on some channel. If you can make that inventory more valuable, it’s a win. That is why almost no one thinks expansion is done.

        Like

        • bullet says:

          How do you make it more valuable when you have already filled up your main channel? The SECN and BTN don’t get more (other than advertising) for how much they put on those overflow channels.

          Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            The SECN and BTN don’t get more (other than advertising) for how much they put on those overflow channels.

            Advertising doesn’t count?

            Like

          • Brian says:

            bullet,

            “How do you make it more valuable when you have already filled up your main channel? The SECN and BTN don’t get more (other than advertising) for how much they put on those overflow channels.”

            Add a second channel. ESPN has done it multiple times. You don’t think an SECN2 or BTN2 could make a little money, especially if the second channel was more regional?

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Advertising on an overflow has got to be a minimal rates.

            As for an SECN2, I doubt you could get much for it. It wouldn’t have sufficient content unless you get a lot bigger, like 24.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            They already have lots of live events they have to stream or show edited replays later. Besides, SEC fans would watch anything football related. Replay old games. Show Bear Bryant running a practice.

            I agree the channel would be much cheaper than the main one, but it still adds up.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            SEC fans would pay to watch their team do push-ups.

            Like

      • Kevin says:

        It will be less of a problem after 2017 with their new cable deal as they will likely split with ESPN and Fox which opens up more slots. I think the overflow issue will be minimal going forward.

        Like

  17. bullet says:

    An interesting take:

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/eye-on-college-football/25230380/tweetbag-lets-talk-big-12-expansion

    “There’s a simple truth about the Big 12, and it’s that Texas and Oklahoma are the conference’s building blocks, regardless of how their football teams performed in 2014. The last round of realignment in the Big 12 was spurred by Texas, and now expansion could be brought on by Oklahoma. At the end of the day, if the Big 12 wants to continue existing, it needs to keep Texas and Oklahoma happy. If one of them bolts things will fall apart quickly.

    So, because of that, I guess I do think the Big 12 is going to expand, though probably not within the next couple of years. I just don’t think there’s a major rush to get it done, and the conference would be better off surveying the landscape for a bit.”

    So if you take Boren at his word, that he really wants to expand and isn’t saying this for other reasons, then maybe the Big 12 will expand to keep OU happy. Of course, this assumes that is what Boren really wants and that Boren stays around long enough (he’s 74) to see it through.

    Like

    • Arkstfan says:

      Not sure why anyone would think the Big XII would be acting in a hurry. I was told late 2013 that Big XII solicited data from Cincinnati, UCF, USF, Memphis, Tulane, Houston, Rice and BYU.

      Additionally the schools submit financial data to the NCAA and I know conferences have access to the reports because I’ve seen them.

      Like

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        Not sure why anyone would think the Big XII would be acting in a hurry.

        I would be stunned if they did. Bowlsby made it crystal clear. The Big XII’s TV contract money would expand proportionately, but bowl, playoff, and NCAA tournament money would not automatically go up. They could add a conference championship game with 12 members, but if CCG de-regulation proposal passes, as it is expected to do, they can add that anyway, without needing two more members.

        Expansion is therefore a money-loser. I can’t imagine a good reason to jump into it right away, unless there’s an obvious “can’t miss, now-or-never” candidate. That’s clearly not the case. None of the likely expansion targets has any realistic shot at another P5 invite. The Big XII can study this for a year, or two, or three, or more, and they’ll still be there.

        As I gather, not even David Boren is saying that the Big XII needs to be in any rush to expand, only that he feels that 12 is the right long-term number. It’s still not clear where he gets that idea from. The ACC and Big XII both had 12 before the last round of re-alignment, and that didn’t stand in the way of them getting poached. There is no magic in 12, unless it’s the right 12.

        Like

        • bullet says:

          Everyone kept saying Texas was against expansion ever since the 12 became 10, but Deloss Dodds said he was in favor of expansion, with the “right two.” Of course, for him the “right two” probably included at least one of Notre Dame or Florida St.

          Like

        • Brian says:

          Arkstfan said:
          Not sure why anyone would think the Big XII would be acting in a hurry.

          Because as fans we want it to happen right this instant.

          Marc Shepherd,

          “I would be stunned if they did. Bowlsby made it crystal clear. The Big XII’s TV contract money would expand proportionately, but bowl, playoff, and NCAA tournament money would not automatically go up. They could add a conference championship game with 12 members, but if CCG de-regulation proposal passes, as it is expected to do, they can add that anyway, without needing two more members.

          Expansion is therefore a money-loser. I can’t imagine a good reason to jump into it right away, unless there’s an obvious “can’t miss, now-or-never” candidate. That’s clearly not the case. None of the likely expansion targets has any realistic shot at another P5 invite. The Big XII can study this for a year, or two, or three, or more, and they’ll still be there.”

          In general, I agree. However, some people have hinted that they might get to renegotiate the TV deal if they expand to 12 and add a CCG. If they only add the CCG, many/most believe it will be grandfathered in under the old deal (they didn’t lose any money when they dropped the game) and not earn them an extra penny. We know adding 2 will get them at least a pro rata increase. The question is if it opens a window for just a “look in” or if they could get a serious bump somehow. I’m not inclined to believe they could get any extra, especially with the available choices, but my opinion isn’t relevant.

          The other potential issue is the CFP. If being at 10 hurts the B12 in terms of respect from the committee, even if they add the CCG, then they may feel pressure to expand. There isn’t a ton of money involved (being in the P5 and in the Sugar Bowl are much more valuable), but the prestige is important.

          “As I gather, not even David Boren is saying that the Big XII needs to be in any rush to expand, only that he feels that 12 is the right long-term number. It’s still not clear where he gets that idea from. The ACC and Big XII both had 12 before the last round of re-alignment, and that didn’t stand in the way of them getting poached. There is no magic in 12, unless it’s the right 12.”

          I agree he doesn’t sound rushed. I think 12 is his number because that would match the next smallest P5 conference. He remembers the Big 8 being smaller than everyone else. It was OK until TV grew more and more powerful and the lack of markets and teams started to hurt. The ACC went to 9, the B10 to 11 and the SEC to 12. Next thing you know, the SWC is dead and the B12 is formed. Then the ACC went to 12. In the last round, 3 went to 14 while the P10 went to 12. Meanwhile, the B12 shrank to 10. I think he sees the writing on the walls potentially and wants to get closer in size to the other conferences to maintain equal power. If all the others get to 14 or even 16, will they start to demand 1.5 votes to each 1 vote for the B12 in P5 matters? Will they demand a different money split from the CFP?

          Like

          • bullet says:

            I don’t know if this pro-rata increase requires a ccg or not. But you are wrong about the “grandfather” bit. The Big 12 contract was negotiated with 10 teams. There was 1 season where the old, much smaller contract was not reduced (because it was way below market at that time-ESPN couldn’t have legally justified it).

            Like

          • Brian says:

            I’m just repeating what others are saying, not claiming it as fact. That’s why I said:

            If they only add the CCG, many/most believe it will be grandfathered in under the old deal (they didn’t lose any money when they dropped the game) and not earn them an extra penny.

            Those people may be wrong, but that’s what I’m seeing written in many places.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            They’re 100% wrong. Its amazing how many sportswriters write incorrect things, especially, but not exclusively, about the Big 12. They cover sports, not finance, and it usually shows.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            bullet,

            You are probably right. They have memory problems and blur the old deal that stayed the same after dropping to 10 with the new one.

            I suppose it’s possible they have inside info about the new deal that makes them correct, but I doubt it.

            Anyway, that’s why I was particular about my word choice when I wrote that (“many/most believe”) as opposed to being more active voiced about it.

            Open questions for anyone:

            Do you think the current B12 could get $25M for a CCG? Would expanding to 12 change the value much if at all?

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            “Do you think the current B12 could get $25M for a CCG? Would expanding to 12 change the value much if at all?”

            Did anyone believe the B12 would basically be held harmless when losing four significant pieces and replacing with two leaders, and not having a CCG? If the financial motive is to hold the conference together and even more than the suggested 25m was required, it will happen.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Leaders=lessers

            Like

          • bullet says:

            The Big 10 got $24 million 4 years ago. The Big 12 could probably get around $25 million today. I don’t think expansion would change the value significantly if they could do one with 10 teams.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            @cc
            The Big 12 was making about $7 million a year under the old deal. When the composition of the conference changed, ESPN could adjust it to market. But at that time the market was way more than $7 million. So it wasn’t “held harmless.” It simply reflected the changes in the market.

            And reality is that Missouri and Colorado were a drag on the conference financially. CBS has made it clear they don’t like televising Missouri because they get among the weakest ratings in the SEC (along with South Carolina-probably Vandy but they are rarely in a position to get on CBS). There was an analysis mentioned when CU and Nebraska left that they represented 7% of the conference value. I’m guessing Nebraska was almost all of that.

            When you compare apples to apples, the Big 12 is still close to the Big 10 in TV ratings and ahead of the ACC and Pac 12. None of the 4 are dramatically apart. That’s why their Tier I & II TV contracts are not dramatically different in value.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Bullet:

            But in the middle of a contract they were allowed to renegotiate. And got paid for the nonexistent CCG. I’m not against it having happened as it saved the B12 (or it’s shaddow), but be assured it was done as a cost saving measure.

            Had the P16 in ’10 happened bringing about super conferences in general, the payments we’re talking about happening for the B1G would probably already have been surpassed. The avg. yearly payment for the P12 of 300M was estimated to have likely been 500M for P16 five years ago. The payments to all the schools would have already been higher than what is currently being hoped for. And ESPN et al would still have made an obscene profit. Divide and conquer, or in this case keep divided, has always been a sound stratagem. It’s cheaper to keep 5 conferences members in the same price range than to negotiate with the same schools in groups of 4. That has worked so far. BTN and P12N have the potential to disrupt that. SECN, although ESPN owned, shows the price they’re willing to pay to avoid competition even for T3 inventory.

            And please, spare me the “they were a drag talk”. CU wasn’t a drag in the 90’s. Was UT then? MU, while not my flavor, was a part of the history of B8. UNL? aTm? Please. TCU got left behind before, but now they are preferred? And nothing says Midwest/southwest like…WVU?

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            groups of 4 = 4 groups

            Edit function….

            Like

          • bullet says:

            TV doesn’t pay for people who watched you 5 years ago or who might watch you in 10 years. Its very much a here and now. At the time of contract renewal, CU was a drag. Colorado is not a big market for college sports.

            Again, ESPN could have renegotiated, but they couldn’t justify paying less. You can only reduce if they have less than fair market value. They were making a mint off college sports at that time.
            They weren’t “paying” for a non-existent game. They were paying less than fair market value for what they still had.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Non-kings quickly disappear from people’s minds and their TV ratings drop. There are 12-16 schools that can fall off the map and still generate ratings. Notre Dame had a 20 year dry spell. How long has Washington’s been? About 5 years? Who talks about Washington?

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            “TV doesn’t pay for people who watched you 5 years ago or who might watch you in 10 years. Its very much a here and now…”

            Yes, they absolutely do. That’s the nature of 10 year, 12,year, or longer contracts.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            If the Big 10 signed its contract today, ESPN wouldn’t pay for what the Big 10 projects Rutgers might do 10 years from now. You would get paid for what they have actually demonstrated, both good and bad. TV shows don’t get renewed based on ratings from 5 years ago. If the ratings go in the tank, the show goes away. Ad rates are based on actual ratings, not projected. You would see a lot better AAC contract if you based things on “potential.” The MWC gets bonuses based on appearances, not guarantees, because they can’t guarantee their teams will be good enough.

            The P5 probably gets those 10-15 year contracts because they have a base history. The networks know the ups and downs.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            I disagree. First, conference sports rights aren’t yearly (or seasonal) renewables. Second, they absolutely will be hedging on the possibility of what Rutgers might do, but far more on what their mere existence in the B1G does for the conference as a whole. If the B12 contract was up this year would you expect it to be dramatically reduced because Baylor and TCU have been the big achievers recently (Forgetting for the moment it’s in the media interest to keep as many conferences afloat reducing the aggregate bargaining power of fewer/larger)? No. They bid on past performance, current reality, and future projections.

            Was it required that the contract be revisited in ’10? You say they could, but why do you think they did?

            Like

          • bullet says:

            I think all the conspiracy talk about networks saving or driving things is vastly overstated.

            Not sure what you are asking about the Big 12, but the Fox and ESPN contracts were for 5 years and were expiring. Fox signed their extension 2 years early. That helped avoid bidding it out.

            Like

  18. bullet says:

    So why might OU want Houston?
    1 They could help anchor a conference network if one was launched without Texas.
    2 They could provide more athletic exposure in Houston. While Texas is still doing fine recruiting, OU has been getting beaten not just by UT and A&M, but also some by Baylor and TCU.
    3 They could provide more student exposure in Houston (see B1G with RU and MD). A lot of Texas students who can’t get into Texas or Texas A&M are looking out of state. I hear a lot more from Houston people looking at SEC schools than looking at OU.
    4 On a sinister note, it could undermine Baylor and TCU.
    5 They really want 12 and they want someone who has succeeded at the top level without playing on blue turf.

    Like

  19. Carl says:

    Luck > Emmert

    Like

  20. Larry says:

    Should have been Houston instead of TCU in the first place. Give me a big public school in a big market over a small, flavor of the month, private school. It was bad enough the conference was already stuck with Baylor.

    I’d still bolt if I were the non-Texas schools. The conference doesn’t seem to have their best interest in mind. Seems like the State of Texas wants to use the Big 12 to subsidize as many of their universities as possible.

    Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      I’d still bolt if I were the non-Texas schools.

      “Bolt” to where?

      The conference doesn’t seem to have their best interest in mind.

      The conference has four Texas schools out of ten. They can do nothing unless at least some of the non-Texas schools agree.

      Like

    • Brian says:

      Larry,

      “Should have been Houston instead of TCU in the first place. Give me a big public school in a big market over a small, flavor of the month, private school. It was bad enough the conference was already stuck with Baylor.”

      Flavor of the month? TCU had the #6 W% in the nation in the 10 seasons before they were invited. They were top 25 in W% over the 20 years prior to being invited (ahead of WV, UH was #91). They had been in a major conference before, just like UH. They were in a major market in TX, just like UH. Unlike UH, there wasn’t a major school in the market TCU was in.

      All else being remotely similar, I’d agree that the large public school is the way to go. But it would’ve been branded as a very weak attempt to replicate TAMU, especially as bad as UH had been the past 20 years.

      “I’d still bolt if I were the non-Texas schools.”

      To where? All of the schools that were officially invited elsewhere did leave. OU and KU are the only schools with a chance to get invited elsewhere without UT.

      “The conference doesn’t seem to have their best interest in mind. Seems like the State of Texas wants to use the Big 12 to subsidize as many of their universities as possible.”

      Recruiting in TX is vital to most of those schools. If they don’t want to add TX schools, the non-TX schools can block it easily. They have 6 of the 10 votes.

      Like

    • “I’d still bolt if I were the non-Texas schools.” As dysfunctional and unstable as the league is, it’s still way better than the AAC or Mountain West, which are the two leagues who’d actually be interested in most of the current Big 12 membership.

      Like

  21. Craig Z says:

    Go Bucks.

    Like

  22. Chris says:

    It’s absolutely astonishing that you could write an entire post on B12 expansion and not even mention UCF. Memphis? Tulane? You have got to be kidding me.

    Like

    • Chris says:

      ACC will soon be announcing their TV network and just like that the Big12 will be trailing the pack. B12 needs to wake the hell up and expand east in to Ohio and FL or die.

      http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/outkick-the-coverage/the-big-12-should-go-to-14-teams-070115

      Like

      • Brian says:

        Chris,

        “ACC will soon be announcing their TV network”

        Will they? And how much will it make for them since ESPN already owns all of their rights?

        “and just like that the Big12 will be trailing the pack.”

        The B12 has a decent lead over the ACC right now, and that’s not counting the Tier 3 money the individual B12 schools already get. I’m not convinced the ACC passes most of the B12 members for money.

        “B12 needs to wake the hell up and expand east in to Ohio and FL or die.”

        That is a risk.

        http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/outkick-the-coverage/the-big-12-should-go-to-14-teams-070115

        I take issue with some of Travis’ analysis.

        1. CCG value.

        Going from 10 to 12 dilutes the pool of money by 83%, but the TV money won’t get diluted and that’s roughly 50% of the total. (100% + 83%)/2 = 91%, but let’s round down to 90% to be conservative (that’s 40% of money not diluted, 60% diluted by expansion). How much is 10% of the latest B12 payout (the lost money from expanding)? Roughly $2.6M per school. So the CCG would have to pull in $26M just to keep the original 10 from losing. Now the CFP will be worth more, so there will be more lost value to cover. A CCG won’t replace all of it (if it makes them anything at all), but it could replace much of it. And that assumes the new guys get equal pay from day 1.

        2. A B12N has to happen for expansion.

        It would make more financial sense, sure, but other pressures could drive expansion. Remember, the other schools also have separate Tier 3 deals so they’re all making more than the B12 payout. A B12N may be a pay cut for OU and KU. Would the other 7 force the deal (or wait until after expansion and then force it)?

        3. A B12N has to include UT.

        It would certainly help, but 11 schools including 3 in TX could form a network. I don’t know if it would make enough to be worth it to the schools or not.

        4. Going to 14.

        His basic argument makes sense, but I take issue with some of his assumptions. He claims UC will get the B12N in all of Ohio, Memphis in all of TN and UCF/USF in all of FL. I doubt all of those. I think they’d only get footprint rates for sure in Cincinnati, maybe in Dayton, Memphis, Tampa and Orlando. That’s still a lot of people, but not nearly what he claimed. To get fuller coverage, the rates would have to drop significantly.

        If they go to 14, I’d take both FL schools, UC and BYU and leave Memphis out.

        Like

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          If they go to 14, I’d take both FL schools, UC and BYU and leave Memphis out.

          I am not getting the love for Memphis in some of the Big XII expansion lists. The Tigers have no history of sustained success in football — and football drives most of the media payout. They did win an AAC co-championship last season, their first in football since 1971. But it was only their second season with double-digit wins since the 1930s. There is no evidence they can keep it up, and if they don’t, where exactly is the audience for Memphis football?

          Cincinnati seems superior to Memphis in just about every way. Ohio is a more populous state than Tennessee and produces more football recruits than Tennessee. Cincinnati is in a larger media market than Memphis, has more students than Memphis, and is closer to WV than Memphis. Cincinnati has a lot more recent success in football than Memphis. The only thing Memphis has in its favor is a larger stadium, though I wonder how often they fill that stadium.

          Overall, I can’t see Memphis as a serious possibility, unless last-year’s resurgence in football is permanent, and that’s awfully speculative.

          Like

          • Arkstfan says:

            I’ve got general contempt for our neighbors in Memphis and their TV market that supposedly ends a few miles from our stadium but:

            Memphis is a significant market with some large corporate players.

            They’ve got a decent geographical fit.

            If B12 starts a network they can plausibly demand in-state rates in parts of Arkansas and Mississippi.

            They are near a recruiting hot bed.

            They up the B12 in hoops and have a large hoops fan base.

            They draw fair support in football when they suck which is most of the time and much better when they are good.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Marc Shepherd,

            “I am not getting the love for Memphis in some of the Big XII expansion lists. … But it was only their second season with double-digit wins since the 1930s. There is no evidence they can keep it up, and if they don’t, where exactly is the audience for Memphis football?”

            The idea is based on:
            1. Memphis metro area = 1.3M people, TN = 6.55M
            2. Memphis opens another recruiting hotbed for them
            3. Memphis provides a bridge between TX and OH/WV
            4. Memphis is a decent hoops brand
            5. Memphis gets the B12N in all of TN (I doubt this)

            I don’t really buy it either.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            1989 Louisville=Cincinnati=Memphis
            1999 Cincinnati=Memphis

            Cincinnati really still doesn’t have a sustained history of football success. Memphis is not in a pro sports town (even if they do have the NBA-but they certainly don’t have Reds and Bengals).

            Cincinnati really has pretty weak fan support, typical for a mostly commuter school in a pro sports market.

            From 2003-2005 when Memphis had a brief period of football success and Cincinnati was doing well enough to get invited to the Big East, Memphis averaged 39,945 a game. Cincinnati averaged 21,880. Cincinnati didn’t sell out their 35k stadium the year they went undefeated.

            Memphis is 391 miles from Knoxville. Cincinnati is 106 miles from Columbus. Memphis could become the program with the most support in West Tennessee (a state almost like 3 different states). Cincinnati could become the program with the most support in the Ohio part of the Cincinnati metro area, not of a whole section of a state.

            Memphis can become a Louisville. Cincinnati cannot. They are higher than Memphis now, but have a lot lower ceiling.

            If I had to add schools, my rank order would be:
            1. BYU-easily first
            2. Memphis (assuming they agreed to upgrade the football stadium or build an on-campus one)
            3. Tulane (if you are going to add a school with anemic fan support in a pro sports market, why not get an adjacent great recruiting ground in a great city with a great academic school)
            4. Houston-they’ve proven they can succeed at the top level
            5. Cincinnati

            Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            Memphis can become a Louisville. Cincinnati cannot. They are higher than Memphis now, but have a lot lower ceiling.

            Even assuming that’s true (I am dubious), don’t you make them prove it first? If the Big XII adds Memphis speculatively, and they never become competitive in football, then the league is just stuck with another Kansas (without the academics).

            Like

          • Arkstfan says:

            This goes to the core of why I am skeptical of Big XII expansion.

            Only two schools have been able to join the “club”.

            There simply is no one with a TCU or Utah resume other than BYU and their accolades are more remote and not as dominant.

            No one other than BYU or ECU draws fans like a P5.

            We are down to talking geography and hoops.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            I agree. I don’t think the Big 12 should expand at this time. But if they have to, I would go with someone who has proven IF they succeed that the fans will follow instead of one who has proven when they succeed the fans still don’t care.

            Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            Only two schools have been able to join the “club”.

            There simply is no one with a TCU or Utah resume other than BYU and their accolades are more remote and not as dominant.

            On top of that, the circumstances were different. The eight-team Big XII (after four departures) had to expand. Standing still, even for a short while, wasn’t an option. In that situation, they did what they had to, and took the best two teams available.

            The Pac-12’s addition of Utah needs to be judged, not in isolation, but in concert with Colorado, an undoubtedly solid long-term addition. There’s no way they were going to turn down a state flagship AAU school; but that required a 12th member, for which Utah was by far the best option.

            This is a very different situation from the Big XII today, which is facing no immediate existential threat that compels expansion, and for which there are no obvious “can’t miss, now-or-never” candidates.

            Like

      • metatron says:

        Die? From what, a cold? They’re still going to have schools playing sports.

        The schools that could (or wanted to) leave the Big XII have already done so.

        Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      Frank has written multiple posts on Big XII expansion, and has mentioned all of those schools. Each post does not necessarily re-hash everything said before.

      Like

  23. Brian says:

    This isn’t really news, but I just heard a Bowlsby interview. He said 1/3 of the schools want to expand, a few are dead set on 10 and several could be convinced either way. He went on to say that Boren can be very convincing.

    FWIW.

    Does the B12 require 7 votes to expand or more? It sounds like a vote would be about 5/5 right now.

    Like

  24. Brian says:

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/eye-on-college-football/25232443/report-baylor-cal-game-in-australia-no-longer-in-the-works

    The Baylor/Cal game in Australia is no longer in the works. Baylor says that if it isn’t in Australia, the game won’t happen at all.

    Well, I’m sure Northwestern State, SMU and Rice will be equally exciting.

    Like

  25. Brian says:

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/eye-on-college-football/25232280/kirby-smart-alabama-defense-did-not-respect-cardale-jones

    Some rare honest comments from a CFB coach. AL DC Kirby Smart says his players didn’t respect Cardale Jones so they weren’t prepared for the Sugar Bowl.

    Smart told The Fan that when he performed “exit interviews” with three departing Tide defenders this offseason, all three (Landon Collins, Jarrick Williams and Nick Perry) said they felt the Alabama defense wasn’t fully prepared for the Buckeyes — and specifically for the threat of Cardale Jones.

    “All three of them said they did not respect the quarteback, and our job as the coaches was to make them respect the quarterback,” Smart said, per a Sporting News transcription. “Well, they heard from the media, they heard from ESPN, they heard from everybody that [Jones] was a third-string quarterback. How can a third-string quarterback beat Alabama?

    “We didn’t promote him enough and they didn’t value his talents enough.”

    It’s not a shock that college kids might overlook a 3rd string QB. On the other hand, he won the CCG 59-0 while going 12 of 17 for 257 yards and 3 TDs and 0 INTs. I know AL doesn’t respect WI and the B10, but his arm talent was pretty obvious in that game.

    Pre-CCG: 10 of 17 for 118 yds and 2 TDs with 0 INTs (all WI had to work with)
    CCG: 12 of 17 for 257 yds and 3 TDs with 0 INTs

    Pre-Bowl: 22 of 34 (64.7%) for 375 yds (17.0 ypc, 11.0 ypa) and 5 TDs with 0 INTs (what AL knew)

    Smart added that while Tide coaches knew Jones was a capable passer, “we had not seen him run the ball,” and didn’t fully appreciate Jones’ ability as a Tebowesque power runner.

    Pre-CCG: 26 rushes for 206 yds (7.9 ypc) – he averaged over 8 ypc in all games but 1 (6.7 vs IL)
    CCG: 8 rushes for 9 yards (1.1 ypc) – too busy throwing bombs to run

    Pre-Bowl: 34 rushes for 215 yds (6.3 ypc)

    AL only gave up 43 yards on 17 attempts (2.5 ypc), so it’s not like he killed them with his feet. There were just some timely runs.

    Then there was this:

    Another revealing tidbit from Smart: after Buckeyes offensive coordinator Tom Herman left to become Houston’s coach, Nick Saban brought him to Tuscaloosa to help explain how his offense had racked up 537 yards in the win.

    “‘You spent four weeks getting ready for us. What’s our tendencies? What do we do wrong? What do you think?’,” Smart said he and Saban asked Herman. “And he was honest with us, he just told us what he thought. It was very valuable for us.”

    It’s all too late for the Tide to salvage what could have been a fourth national crown in six years, but if Herman’s advice allows Saban and Smart to take a real step forward in defending the spread attacks that have hurt the Tide so badly in recent years — not just Ohio State’s, but Auburn’s and Texas A&M’s as well — there might be a slim silver lining in that defeat after all.

    It’s interesting that coaches help each other out this way. Presumably he didn’t give up any secrets, but why tell Saban what OSU had noticed from scouting AL? OSU might face them again in the postseason very soon. I’m not sure how happy TAMU or Auburn are about it, either.

    Like

    • BruceMcF says:

      OSU may well face them in the post-season very soon … which is a plausible reason why it was after Herman left OSU rather than before.

      After all, for a coach at Houston, having Nick Saban owe you a favor cannot be a bad thing.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        BruceMcF,

        “OSU may well face them in the post-season very soon … which is a plausible reason why it was after Herman left OSU rather than before.”

        Well, presumably he wouldn’t do that while still employed by OSU. That would be a good way to get run out of the profession.

        “After all, for a coach at Houston, having Nick Saban owe you a favor cannot be a bad thing.”

        I don’t think they look at it like owing favors so much as expected collegiality. They share knowledge over the summer quite frequently, too. But usually it’s general knowledge (here’s how to run an up tempo offense, here’s how we use press man so effectively, etc). I’d view OSU’s scouting of AL as akin to work product and thus not something to be shared except maybe in broad strokes. It’s not like AL is incapable of self-scouting and capable coaches should note the same things. But OSU’s scouting should be based on OSU’s mindset, strengths and weaknesses so telling Saban what they saw gives away a lot of OSU’s thinking. Of course, the game tape probably gives away most of it, too, and we don’t know what exactly he told them. It just struck me as a little odd.

        Like

        • BruceMcF says:

          Brian, you started out at “I don’t think they look at it like owing favors so much as expected collegiality. They share knowledge over the summer quite frequently, too.” … and end up at “But OSU’s scouting should be based on OSU’s mindset, strengths and weaknesses so telling Saban what they saw gives away a lot of OSU’s thinking.”

          … which seems like it goes beyond expected collegiality into being particularly nice. And I do not find it particularly surprising if a coach at Houston acts particularly nice during a visit to Tuscaloosa.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            BruceMcF,

            “… which seems like it goes beyond expected collegiality into being particularly nice.”

            Exactly. Sharing basic ideas is expected. Sharing details particular to your employer is another, IMO. And the article doesn’t say which he did. If all he told them were things AL could see if they went back and looked at film of themselves, I have no issue with that. It’s sharing proprietary info from OSU that would upset me.

            “And I do not find it particularly surprising if a coach at Houston acts particularly nice during a visit to Tuscaloosa.”

            I do.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            It also doesn’t say if they paid him.

            Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            It also doesn’t say if they paid him.

            I doubt it. There’s probably a rule somewhere about accepting a check from one school while employed by another. It sounds like a case of colleagues sharing information, in a situation where they’re not (or no longer) in direct competition with one another.

            I have no idea whether Herman gave away Ohio State’s store, or simply pointed out what they observed in film, which was (in theory) there for anyone to see.

            Like

  26. Brian says:

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/college/2015/07/03/college-athletes-video-game-settlement-payout-ncaa/29663857/

    If the judge accepts the settlement documents, the video game lawsuits are settled. The most any player will receive is less than $2500 from the NCAA and less than $4300 from EA Sports. That would be a player who had his name, image and likeness used in the games for 5 years.

    Meanwhile, the lawyers will get about $22M ($19M in fees, $3M in expenses).

    Like

    • Duffman says:

      Meanwhile, the lawyers will get about $22M ($19M in fees, $3M in expenses).

      So if the total was about 60 million, the lawyers got about 1/3. If they really cared about the students, and were a bit less greedy, they could have capped their expenses and fees at 5 or 10 million and given the rest back to the kids so their checks were bigger.

      22 million / 500 per hour = 44,000 hours

      Inflated billing is killing some and making a killing for others

      Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      Meanwhile, the lawyers will get about $22M ($19M in fees, $3M in expenses).

      Not that I am defending it, but this is typical of class-action lawsuits: the lawyers get far more than any given plaintiff.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        I know it is, but it’s also a good reminder that the lawyers driving these suits are full of crap when they claim they’re doing this for the good of the student-athletes.

        Like

  27. Brian says:

    http://www.elevenwarriors.com/college-football/2015/07/55371/a-look-at-2014-stadium-ejections-arrests-and-incidents-from-big-ten-football-programs

    A look at fan ejections and arrests for all B10 schools last season. MSU was the king of arrests while WI was king of the ejection (total and per capita for both). On average, the rates for each were about 1 per 10,000 in attendance across the conference.

    Like

  28. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Here’s a list of ACC neutral site games scheduled for the next four years.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/acc/post/_/id/83012/fsu-keeps-with-growing-trend-in-college-football-neutral-site-games

    I already knew about most of these, but a few new cities are getting in the mix like Indy & DC area.

    How about the 2015 BC-ND game at Fenway?

    Like

    • bullet says:

      The neutral site games have created some nice matchups, but I like home and home better. These decrease the possibility of home and home matchups like this.

      Like

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        bullet – I like home and homes better too. I’m really looking forward to the nome and home my Tigers have scheduled withy your Longhorns. However, the neutral site games serve a purpose in getting teams together that othwerwise wouldn’t agree to a home and home.

        Like

  29. GreatLakeState says:

    Your average Sooner football fan (or ESPN ‘blogger) can’t understand where academics might fit into to Conference association, but this guy hits the nail on the head. I believe this is exactly what Oklahoma is aiming for. https://www.getmoresports.com/oklahomas-big-ten-agenda/

    Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      A bit awkwardly written, and clearly a fanboy perspective. However, I think in broad strokes he is probably right about Boren’s objectives. Whether Boren will be able to achieve those goals is another story, since it takes two to tango.

      But the writer is, as Frank would say, thinking like a university president.

      Like

  30. bullet says:

    Chip throws out a new take. I’ve thought this direction made more sense than 16-20 team conferences.

    http://www.scout.com/college/texas/story/1561434-the-next-big-move-in-realignment

    Schools jumping from one Power Five conference to another almost seem cliche compared to what is likely to be the next big move in realignment.

    Unless Oklahoma president David Boren was giving us some kind of warning – saying the Big 12 needs to be 12 – before grabbing Oklahoma State and making a mad dash to the SEC, let’s talk about what is likely to be the next big move in realignment:

    The Power Five conferences – all 65 teams (if you include Notre Dame) – collectively bargaining one TV contract, instead of each negotiating a TV deal, sometime in the next 10 years.

    After discussions with several people connected to P5 schools, this scenario could become more plausible as we get closer to 2024.

    That’s when the major TV contracts in the SEC and Pac-12 expire, and it’s a year before the TV deals of the Big 12, Notre Dame and the College Football Playoff expire. And three years before the ACC’s TV deal with ESPN expires.

    Only the Big Ten, which has TV rights through 2016-17 that are about to be renegotiated, is on a vastly different timeline. But the Big Ten would be wise to include a “look-in window” giving the league an “out” option around 2024.

    ******

    Chip goes on to discuss a possible 6X11 format.

    Like

    • Mike says:

      Other tidbits:

      My sources connected to the Big 12, SEC and Pac-12 say there aren’t any flags going up that would signal Boren is ready to make a mad dash to the SEC with an invitation extended back in 2011.

      and

      The word from industry executives is the Pac-12’s third-tier television deal is not performing well. Sources indicate the payout is roughly $1 million per school.
      If Texas ended up in the Pac-12, LHN would have to be morphed into one of the Pac-12’s regional networks (shared with one other school). How would ESPN view that? How would anyone view it? Right now, LHN is in more households nationally than the Pac-12 Network.

      Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      The Power Five conferences – all 65 teams (if you include Notre Dame) – collectively bargaining one TV contract, instead of each negotiating a TV deal, sometime in the next 10 years.

      He doesn’t really make a compelling case that the 65 power schools, negotiating together, would make more than the current system does.

      One of his big assumptions is that the schools would agree to a 16-team playoff. But they don’t need a single regular-season TV deal to do that. They agreed to a 4-team playoff without such a drastic shift. It could expand to 8, 16, or any other number, if that’s what the powers think is best.

      The Big Ten and SEC already have the best pay-outs. Why should they yoke themselves to the lower-paying ACC and Big XII?

      Like

      • It’s extremely obvious that 65 schools negotiating together would make more than a few groups of 10-14 such schools. This fact is why we have antitrust laws. The antitrust laws are why such a negotiating group wouldn’t be allowed to come together barring an extreme set of structural changes to college football (and even then it might be considered pretty iffy).

        Like

        • BruceMcF says:

          A single negotiator might make more on average than the aggregate of the P5 on average, but what they have to offer is more than the average of EACH of the P5 separately, and that seems unlikely.

          Like

    • Arkstfan says:

      Wishful thinking in Austin is my take.

      Why Chip is wrong.
      1. We plowed this ground before and some leagues figured out the CFA wasn’t a great deal.
      2. Conference networks have not just revenue value but competitive branding value.
      3. Good luck convincing each league that the synergy produces greater revenue than they could get on their own.
      4. Why would they assume antitrust risk by doing this. The P5 being on all four OTA major networks and the three big ESPN and FS1 today is a product of competition. Jointly negotiated it becomes a cartel blocking significant access to the eight most important outlets. If you divest of some outlets to address that it means your members lose some significant national exposures.

      Like

      • bullet says:

        1. Its amazing how often previous ideas come back. For example, the schools at the first meeting of the SWC were Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Baylor, Texas A&M and Arkansas (look anything like what happened 80 years later). Also, it would exclude about 20 schools and include the Pac and B1G. Its the same idea as expansion of conferences except on a bigger scale. Pac 12’s Scott has been preaching consolidation to increase negotiating power.
        2. They would each have their conference network. And a variation of this could keep the conference networks separate. But the whole idea is to brand college football, not a conference.
        3. Yes, that would be particularly tough with the Big 10 and SEC. But then the BTN and SECN were the same thing on a smaller scale. They figured they could make more pooling.
        4. I don’t see any anti-trust issues from the networks. Do they sue the NFL and MLB for anti-trust? Now there could be some small risk from the G5. And if they own it, they can distribute it as they like. ABC/ESPN has all of the ACC. ABC/ESPN has Tier I & II of B1G and Fox has a share of the BTN. CBS has Tier I of the SEC and ABC/ESPN the rest. Fox and ABC/ESPN share Tier I & II for the Pac 12 and Big 12. Pac 12 owns their network. Big 12 lets the schools keep Tier III. They could sell different packages or spread things out like the NFL does.

        This sounds like Pac 12 commissioner Scott, not Big 12 thinking.

        Like

        • Arkstfan says:

          If P5 negotiated jointly AND ended up on the same networks as now : ABC NBC CBS FOX ESPN ESPN2 ESPNU FS1 they would jointly be on every sports network in 75 million or more homes. Remember NFL and AFL had to leave a major network vacant to get the merger approved.

          Today G5 can’t argue antitrust because the 5 compete for slots. Jointly taking the same footprint on windows would wake DOJ up in a hurry.

          Like

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          Do they sue the NFL and MLB for anti-trust?

          MLB won a Supreme Court case decades ago, in which the Justices ruled that baseball was exempt from anti-trust because it was a game, not a business. Just about everyone agrees that was misguided, but the Court doesn’t over-rule it, because it’s an interpretation of statute, and as the thinking goes, Congress could change it at any time by re-writing the law. Numerous cases have already found that college sports do not have an anti-trust exemption. Yes, it’s inconsistent, but only Congress can change it.

          This sounds like Pac 12 commissioner Scott, not Big 12 thinking.

          He’s got a relatively weak TV deal, so this is not surprising. Wake me up when the Big Ten and SEC are interested.

          Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            “This sounds like Pac 12 commissioner Scott, not Big 12 thinking.

            He’s got a relatively weak TV deal, so this is not surprising. Wake me up when the Big Ten and SEC are interested.”

            A: If you mean strength through consolidation I don’t see what a (shockingly large at the time) PAC 12 deal long after he began espousing the strategy has to do with it.
            B: because bullet attributes a longhorn wonk’s nutty idea, or it’s reasoning, to Scott does not mean it is.
            C: the more Chip rails at Scott (this is twice in a couple months) the more I wonder if the ’10 proposal is floating in some form in the background.

            Like

          • unproductive says:

            Actually, the case involved the Federal League, and was decided almost a century ago in 1922. In 1972, when Curt Flood sued about the reserve clause, the Supreme Court reaffirmed its antitrust exemption for major league baseball, citing Congress’ inaction since the 1922 decision. Congress later passed legislation in 1998, that withdrew baseball’s antitrust exemption with respect to labor issues (including the reserve clause), but specifically indicating that the statute should not be construed as withdrawing the exemption for any other purpose. So until Congress acts further (or the Supreme Court decides to throw out 100 years of precedence), major league baseball still retains most of its antitrust exemption. The Supreme Court has refused to extended its 1922 decision to other professional sports (including professional football).
            Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

            Like

        • Arkstfan says:

          MLB has an antitrust exemption created by the courts. It has been chopped away at and not extended to any other league.

          USFL alleged that NFL had precluded any competition by contracting with ABC CBS and NBC. Jury agreed that violated antitrust. They awarded a dollar and subsequent interviews revealed they couldn’t agree on an amount and believed if they have a dollar the judge would step in.

          USFL appealed the damages while NFL appealed the finding. Both lost so we have precedent that a sports group signing up with every major TV outlet violates antitrust law. All you need is a jury willing to add a lot of zeroes to that $1.

          Like

    • greg says:

      Odds that Chip’s predictions come true:

      P5 negotiating as one: 3%
      SEC/B12 merger: 0.000000%
      Six 11-team “divisions”: 0.000000%

      Like

    • Brian says:

      bullet,

      “Chip throws out a new take. I’ve thought this direction made more sense than 16-20 team conferences.”

      The Power Five conferences – all 65 teams (if you include Notre Dame) – collectively bargaining one TV contract, instead of each negotiating a TV deal, sometime in the next 10 years.

      After discussions with several people connected to P5 schools, this scenario could become more plausible as we get closer to 2024.

      That’s when the major TV contracts in the SEC and Pac-12 expire, and it’s a year before the TV deals of the Big 12, Notre Dame and the College Football Playoff expire. And three years before the ACC’s TV deal with ESPN expires.

      Only the Big Ten, which has TV rights through 2016-17 that are about to be renegotiated, is on a vastly different timeline. But the Big Ten would be wise to include a “look-in window” giving the league an “out” option around 2024.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/College_Football_Association

      Except the schools tried this before and it didn’t work (the CFA). Why should the B10 and SEC give up money to boost the other 3 P5 conferences? Both leagues should be way ahead of the rest financially by 2024 unless something major changes. Besides, they’d need to deal with 4 networks and the rules for allotting time slots could be tough. It’s much simpler for each conference to strike the deals that best meet their needs and objectives.

      Brown points out several other obvious issues. He says the money would trump all.

      Math:
      Rough 2024 guesses based on the current deals:
      28 schools making $45M per year
      37 schools making $30-35M per year

      That $10-15M difference is mostly TV money. That means the TV deal would have to be worth $370M+ per year just to catch the bottom 3 up.

      That’s with the deals being roughly $1.5B, or a roughly 25% increase just from bargaining as a group. That’s possible, but where’s the upside for the B10 and SEC? They don’t want to give up their financial lead and not even gain more money.

      I think this line of thinking leads to further expansion rather than a new CFA, aiming for 20-24 schools per conference (basically 2 conference under 1 name). I don’t think either will happen because I don’t think the money can grow enough to assuage the egos and get them to sacrifice that much control.

      *****

      “Chip goes on to discuss a possible 6X11 format.”

      1. There’s no good reason to do that, he just likes the symmetry of equally sized divisions.

      2. His divisions stink.
      a. The P12 loses UA and ASU but gains BYU. It makes some geographical sense, but the AZ schools have been in the P12 for almost 40 years.

      b. The SWC reforms, but with UH, Rice and SMU replaced by NE, OU and OkSU, and adds the AZ schools. Funny how his choices benefit UT so much.

      c. The old B10 plus ISU gets put in the West. Strange how the B10 gets gutted by losing 2 kings (NE, PSU) plus their eastern connection and adds a second IA school.

      d. The SEC West (minus AR and TAMU) gets MO, KU, KSU, TN, SC and Clemson. This is an odd and illogical group.

      e. The ACC keeps all their VA, NC, GA and FL schools and adds UGA and UF. Meanwhile, the SC schools are playing in KS and MO.

      f. The last division is the northeast (UMD and up, PA and east) schools plus ND. Why does ND get put in an eastern league if geography was the point of this?

      Brown also advocates for a 16 team playoff (with the season dropping to 11 games). Two teams from each division plus 4 wildcards (2 from the West, 2 from the East). I see zero reason to force an equal East/West split, though. You could have 3 conferences each with 2 divisions and all 3 get 1 wildcard spot with the best remaining team being #16.

      Sticking to his silly 6 x 11 scheme and adding BYU:

      West:
      1. P12 – CO
      2. B8 + BYU + TCU + TT

      Central:
      1. B10 – NE – PSU – RU – UMD + ND
      2. UT, TAMU, Baylor, AR, LSU, MS, MsSU, Vandy, TN, AL, Auburn

      East:
      1. BC, SU, RU, PSU, Pitt, WV, UMD, UVA, VT, UK, UL
      2. UNC, Duke, NCSU, WF, SC, Clemson, GT, UGA, UF, FSU, Miami

      Obviously that’s my B10 bias showing in part, but it’s also pretty clean geographically. The problem, of course, is that any such arbitrary groupings split up old rivalries. I had to carve up the SEC to make the groups of 11.

      More natural:
      1. P12 – CO + BYU = 12
      2. Original B12 + TCU = 13
      3. SEC – MO – TAMU + UL = 13
      4. B10 – NE – RU – UMD + Pitt + ND = 13
      5. ACC – UL – Pitt + RU + UMD = 14

      Stop at 8 teams in the CFP = 5 champs + 3 wildcards (16 = 3 each + 1 wildcard)

      If there was no history in CFB (so no rivalries):
      1. P12 + BYU = 13
      2. Original B12 – CO – ISU + TCU + AR + LSU = 13
      3. Original B10 + ISU + ND = 12
      4. SECish = MS, MsSU, AL, AU, Vandy, TN, UK, UL, UGA, GT, UF, FSU, Miami = 13
      5. ACCish = BC, RU, SU, PSU, Pitt, WV, UMD, UVA, VT, UNC, Duke, NCSU, WF, SC, Clemson = 14

      Stop at 8 teams in the CFP = 5 champs + 3 wildcards (16 = 3 each + 1 wildcard)

      Like

  31. GreatLakeState says:

    Texas and Oklahoma to the B1G, and since you can’t possibly have three B1G schools in one tiny state, Purdue agrees to drop sports (but maintains their now colossal cut) allowing ND to be 16. The world explode and only Frank the Tank survives to sweep up the dollar bills. It is written.

    Like

    • bob sykes says:

      I’m a Purdue alum. Please sacrifice Indiana (but not their cheer leaders).

      Like

      • GreatLakeState says:

        All in good fun. Nobody’s going anywhere. They just happen to be down right now, so they get the proverbial axe. Thanks for not getting as irritated as I would have.

        Like

    • anthony london says:

      I’m a Purdue alum too… Purdue getting dropped is cold-blooded man…. LOL!!!!

      Like

      • GreatLakeState says:

        I didn’t expect my residual feelings of betrayal to be so strong. I think I’ll go pour myself a Boilermaker.

        Like

    • BoilerTx says:

      I’m a Boiler alum as well. After the past few years, I could probably be talked into going Div III.

      Like

  32. wscsuperfan says:

    Baghdad Chip never once mentions the possibility of OU (and a partner) leaving for the Big Ten. He talks all about them possibly joining the SEC or Pac-12, but not the B1G, which I think might be the most realistic option of all for the Sooners.

    Like

    • vp19 says:

      Boren and OU would have an awful lot of difficulty persuading the Big Ten presidents as long as it’s not an AAU member. Having Imhofe on Capitol Hill doesn’t help matters, either.

      Like

  33. wscsuperfan says:

    The flaw I see in Chip’s premise is, why would the SEC and B1G want to give up the monetary (and thus competitive) advantage they have over the other leagues and basically put another 40 some schools on equal ground with them?

    Like

    • bullet says:

      The idea is everyone makes more money. And they would still have a monetary advantage. Most of their $ come from tickets sales and donations.

      Like

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        The idea is everyone makes more money.

        Neither Chip nor you has explained why everyone would make more money. It’s like perpetual motion: a sci-fi fantasy without any science behind it.

        Like

        • The critical question is why the Big Ten and SEC specifically would make more money in a CFA 2.0 structure. I can see the argument for the Pac-12, Big 12 and ACC making more, but that seems to be because the Big Ten and SEC would be subsidizing the others. I don’t see why the Big Ten and SEC would agree to that when the other revenue-generating items (i.e. an expanded playoff) can still be achieved in the current structure.

          Like

          • Arkstfan says:

            The theory I suppose is by placing the rights in one pot the bidding becomes more fierce.

            But seriously if you are Iowa what is the utility of $5 million more in rights fees if that $5 million means Iowa State now has identical TV revenue and access?

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Yes, the idea is that you effectively create a monopoly on the top level of college football. Negotiating collectively means a greater share of the profits go to the colleges instead of ESPN.
            It also balances the risk of down years, much like health insurance with bigger groups costs less because of lower variability. So the networks have a better chance of getting a good ratings game under their contract in the prime times. They are selecting from 65 teams instead of just 14 for that time slot.

            Its really the same idea as pooling for a conference TV contract instead of each school doing its own or pooling for a conference network, just on a larger scale.

            Like

          • @bullet – Once again, that sounds like an argument for the weaker leagues of the power group. It might make sense for the Big 12, ACC and Pac-12, but not the two that matter. The SEC and Big Ten have had very little variability in TV ratings and revenue even in down years. Their downside risk is mitigated with their own equal sharing amongst themselves within the conference. I know that you’ve tried to argue that the Big Ten is closer to the Big 12, ACC and Pac-12 in viewership, but that absolutely hasn’t been true with historical Nielsen data. The SEC and Big Ten are very clearly #1 and #2 in TV ratings, revenue, bowl tie-ins and every other off-the-field metric across the board for many years. They also have very little fat in the form of weaker schools in duplicative markets – We can quibble over the value of Mississippi State and Purdue, but that is nothing compared to the Big 12’s little brothers in several states or schools like Wake Forest and Washington State. I just don’t see any incentive for the SEC and Big Ten under this format.

            Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            Yes, the idea is that you effectively create a monopoly on the top level of college football. Negotiating collectively means a greater share of the profits go to the colleges instead of ESPN.

            That was precisely the theory that the Supreme Court struck down in NCAA v. Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma. There was no ESPN at the time, but otherwise it was the same idea: that the schools were (supposedly) better off together than separate.

            The trouble is, with 65 schools, all it takes is one or two who say, “Hey, wait a sec. I think I can make more on my own.” With a cohort that large, it’s sure to happen.

            The CFA was a later attempt at pooling rights among a large group of schools, and it fell apart for similar reasons. Since the Supreme Court had already declared the earlier arrangement illegal, it didn’t require a lawsuit this time. The discontented schools just left of their own accord.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            No, the Supreme Court case was about the NCAA forcing the schools to do a joint contract with the NCAA controlling the revenue and determining who got on the air. This would be a voluntary association. Yes, it would be like the CFA which ended up splitting up after Notre Dame decided they could do a better deal on their own. But there was nothing illegal about it, anymore than the Big 10 working together is illegal.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            @Frank
            The SEC and Big 10 are and have been #1 and 2. But in the past 3-4 years, the gap in ratings between the SEC and the Big 10 has been huge. The gap between the Big 10 and the rest has been fairly small. #5 is a lot closer to #2 than #2 is to #1.

            The theory is that working together makes more for everyone. I found it hard to believe that an SEC conference network would make more for Florida than selling it separately, but obviously it does. So again, the idea is that everyone gets a raise, not just a redistribution of existing $.

            Whether it would be enough of a bump to get everyone raises is, of course, the billion $ question. But that’s the theory.

            Its worked for the bowls. The conferences have worked together and wrenched some of the $ the bowls were getting. The Big 10 and Pac 12 eventually joined the bowl alliance even though they held out at first. And now they’ve got 6 bowls in the pool.

            Like

          • @bullet – In the 2013 season (which is the last available year that Nielsen broke out overall conference viewership numbers), it broke down as follows with average viewership per tier 1 game (can’t link it since it’s a PDF):

            (1) SEC – 9 million
            (2) Big Ten – 7 million
            (3) ACC – 5.3 million
            (4) Big 12 – 4.2 million
            (5) Notre Dame – 4 million
            (6) Pac-12 – 3.9 million

            As you can see, it’s a clear SEC #1 and Big Ten #2, which is consistent with every year that we have this type of data. It’s not very close at all. The one difference for 2013 is that the ACC pulled out farther ahead of the Big 12 and Pac-12 compared to previous seasons (likely based on the resurgence of Florida State that season).

            The SEC and Big Ten also had the leverage to get more direct postseason money via their Orange Bowl deal (on top of the Sugar and Rose Bowls, respectively), so it’s not equal with the other power leagues. They are *both* (not just the SEC) substantially farther ahead than what you’re giving them credit for. That doesn’t mean that they can have their complete way with respect to conference realignment, but they’re very much a clear and unambiguous step above the other 3 power conferences in off-the-field metrics overall.

            Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            No, the Supreme Court case was about the NCAA forcing the schools to do a joint contract with the NCAA controlling the revenue and determining who got on the air. This would be a voluntary association.

            The NCAA also claimed to be voluntary. They still claim that.

            The identical reasoning would still prevail. As long as there is one school or league that thinks it can do better on its own — as there surely will be, and always has been — the whole enterprise collapses.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            @Frank
            Those averages are just that, averages. For the Big 12 it includes basically everything but one game per team. For the Big 10, it excludes the lowest rated half of their games which are on BTN. So its comparing roughly the top 9 games per team from the Big 12 to the top 6 per team from the Big 10. Those bottom 3 games get very light viewership, significantly dragging down the average.

            You also have the Fox issue for the Pac 12 and Big 12. Fox and FS1 get lower ratings on sports than ABC and ESPN. Fox ratings tend to be comparable to ESPN and FS1 to ESPN2. FS2 is barely measurable.

            A ShaggyBevo poster who works in media did an analysis of ratings trying to equalize the number of games and the SEC pulled further ahead (remember the SECN is new) while the other 4 got closer together. Big 10 still, of course, second, just not so far ahead of the other 3.

            Like

          • Arkstfan says:

            Ratings are only 25% or so of the equation.

            Roughly 75% of ESPN revenue is carriage fees. What mix provides the best ratio of dedicated viewers who will change providers if they are denied their content.

            Until games became regularly televised in high rotation Nebraska had a radio affiliate in Liitle Rock because a group of Huskers fans chipped in and bought the air time. That’s people who will change TV providers if denied BTN.

            The fundamental problem the not SEC and not B1G conferences face is whether they have critical mass in populous areas to force a provider to cave. Direct stared down LHN until it became part of the ESPN renegotiation. Direct has stared down P12.

            It doesn’t really matter if B1G viewership is similar to ACC B12 P12 the known fact is enough looked to switch providers or threatened to or did switch to force BTN on the providers lineup. P12 hasn’t done it and the star of B12 couldn’t do it either.

            B1G is more valuable than the others until it is proven they have fan bases that not only watch but will switch if they cannot watch.

            Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            Those averages are just that, averages. For the Big 12 it includes basically everything but one game per team.

            Frank quoted Tier 1 averages. The Big 12 doesn’t get all of its games (excepting one per team) on Tier 1.

            You also have the Fox issue for the Pac 12 and Big 12. Fox and FS1 get lower ratings on sports than ABC and ESPN. Fox ratings tend to be comparable to ESPN and FS1 to ESPN2. FS2 is barely measurable.

            The Pac-12 is constrained by geography: it has a lot of teams no one cares about nationally, playing games at times that most sports fans outside the Pacific time zone don’t want to watch. No conceivable TV deal is going to change that basic fact. The Big Ten and the SEC don’t want to inherit the problem of marketing Washington State football.

            The Big 12 has too many clunkers in its inventory. They’ve got West Virginia, with a home market smaller than any Big Ten state. They’ve got not one, but two schools in the state of Kansas, with less population than any Big Ten state except Nebraska. They’ve got the distant second-best school in Iowa, a state with less population than any Big Ten state except Nebraska. They’ve got two schools in Oklahoma, a state with less population than any Big Ten state except Iowa or Nebraska.

            A ShaggyBevo poster who works in media did an analysis of ratings trying to equalize the number of games and the SEC pulled further ahead (remember the SECN is new) while the other 4 got closer together. Big 10 still, of course, second, just not so far ahead of the other 3.

            Let’s suppose that’s true. It still doesn’t explain how the SEC, the Big Ten, and Notre Dame, get farther ahead by taking on the Big 12 and the Pac 12’s problems.

            Like

          • greg says:

            Another data source on 2013 tv ratings:
            http://www.goodbullhunting.com/2013/12/17/5216550/college-football-tv-ratings-2013-regular-season-final-sec

            Conference/Viewers/Rated games per team
            SEC 3.8M 10
            B10 2.9M 6.83
            ACC 2.0M 6.3
            P12 1.8M 6.33
            B12 1.6M 9.2

            Even though B12 has more rated games than the middle 3, it takes a lot of finagling to make B12 numbers competitive with B10.

            * Games per team may be off since I can’t keep track when conferences expand

            Like

          • bullet says:

            @arkstfan
            Conference networks are a different issue. SEC and B1G have a distinct advantage there-as long as the current model holds. They have population the Big 12 lacks and intensity the coastal conferences lack.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            @greg
            That’s a ridiculously bad analysis for a lot of reasons.

            But even taking those numbers, its simple math to see how much difference the number of games makes:
            If you average 1.6 million for 9 games with the bottom 3 drawing .3 million each, that bumps your average from 1.6 million to 2.25 million.
            Similarly if you average 3.8 million for 9 games with the bottom 3 drawing .4 million each, that bumps your average up to 5.5 million.

            Like

          • greg says:

            “That’s a ridiculously bad analysis for a lot of reasons.”

            It is raw data, not analysis.

            I understand that a number of terribly rated games can have a large impact on average. But those terribly rated games happened and they matter. You can’t just hand-wave them away and pretend that they don’t exist. ESPN and Fox aren’t going to pretend they don’t exist during the next negotiation.

            Like

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            bullet – here’s the ratings for every single game (excluding conference TV networks) for the 2014 season.

            http://www.sportsmediawatch.com/college-football-tv-ratings/

            Using your argument that the B-12 is penalized for having more games on ratable channels, I only averaged B-12 ratings on FOX, ABC, ABC (split-telecasts) and ESPN, and here’s what I found:

            FOX average rating for eight B-12 games is 1.275
            ESPN (8): 1.525
            ABC (7) [split telecast – usually with a B1G game]: 2.63
            ABC (4) [exclusive]: 2.9

            The B-12’s average rating for its biggest 3 TV partners is 1.94
            Taking FOX out of the equation, its 2.22

            Like

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Here’s a nice graphic that compares conference TV ratings for the 2014 season.

            http://texags.com/s/15550/infographic-2014-college-football-tv-ratings

            Like

          • bullet says:

            @greg
            You still aren’t understanding the math.

            Using rounded numbers, let’s say you have a 2.9 on 6 games. You have 3 games that aren’t rated because they are on an unmeasured network, but are .3s.
            That lowers that 2.9 average to 2.03.

            Someone else has a 1.6 on 9 games. The difference is 2.03 to 1.6, not 2.9 to 1.6.
            Another one had 3.8 on 9 games. Your comparison to them is 2.03 to 3.8, not 2.9 to 3.8.

            Or alternatively, that 1.6 is 2.25 over 6 games compared to 2.9.

            Like

          • greg says:

            “You still aren’t understanding the math.”

            LOL.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            With your LOL, I see the concept is either beyond your ability to comprehend or you’re just too big a Big 10 homer to admit it.

            For the rest of you, its the same point. The SEC is way out in front. The Big 10 is second, but closer to the other 3 than to the SEC.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            A bit harsh, and a bit homerish in its own right too, don’t ya think?

            “You have 3 games that aren’t rated because they are on an unmeasured network, but are .3s.”

            How did you assign a rating to unmeasured network games? If Ohio St/Michigan was on BTN would it be a .3? USC/Oregon on P12N? RRR on LHN?

            Like

          • Kevin says:

            In many cases the network itself dictates the ratings to some extent. Broadcast networks are going to generate better ratings. The other factors is the rankings of the teams. High ranked teams will create more casual fan interest. I would expect ratings for Ohio State games this year to be extremely high. The B1G had very few highly ranked teams during the years you’re examining ratings.

            Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            The SEC is way out in front. The Big 10 is second, but closer to the other 3 than to the SEC.

            Irrelevent, even if true.

            It’s agreed by all that the SEC is in front. Why would they squander their lead, to do a joint TV deal that yokes them to less-valuable inventory?

            It’s agreed by all that the Big Ten is in second; the only dispute is the margin of their lead over the other three. Why would they volunteer to give that up?

            Like

          • BruceMcF says:

            ““You have 3 games that aren’t rated because they are on an unmeasured network, but are .3s.”

            How did you assign a rating to unmeasured network games? If Ohio St/Michigan was on BTN would it be a .3? USC/Oregon on P12N? RRR on LHN?”

            That’s not what the comment is saying. The comment is explaining what the average would look like if 3 games on unrated channels have an ACTUAL share of 0.3 and you were able to rate that.

            Its open to speculation what their average will be. If it is any higher than the games on the rated channels in the same week, somebody picked the wrong games to broadcast on the rated channels, but how much lower than the rated games is something that, by definition, we won’t know.

            A more useful comparison might be the top five games per week of each conference, though it would still be biased a bit by the reach of the channels that the different games were placed on.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            BruceMcF:

            I didn’t see the IF they would have been a .3 on a measured broadcast.

            “If it is any higher than the games on the rated channels in the same week, somebody picked the wrong games to broadcast on the rated channels…”

            This is true, and does happen on occasion. Plus, iirc the p12n setup gives them a number of priority picks during the season so they could easily have a “better” game than one of the broadcast partners occasionally, by design.

            Bottom line is: mission accomplished Chip. We’re no longer discussing the merits and ramifications of potential additions to the B12. That is the only likely move/precursor in P5 for at least half a decade and it’s replaced by fantasy contract talk, and crayon drawing on a map to provide divisions for a single 66 member power conference.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Gentlemen, why bother to argue about the ratings when there is a much simpler metric? How much are the networks and bowls willing to pay per school? That’ll tell you exactly what the networks and bowls thought about each conference’s value at the time they signed their deal.

            http://blogs.mercurynews.com/collegesports/2015/06/01/pac-12-conference-revenue-comparisons-with-the-sec-big-12-and-big-ten-projections-only/#more-39987

            Which brings us to the projected comps for FY15 distributions:

            SEC: $31.2 million per school
            Big Ten: $30.9 million
            Big 12: $25.6 million per school (critical point: does not include revenue from Tier 3 media deals)
            Pac-12: $25.1 million per school

            Again, I’d emphasize that my numbers are projections and that the league could have revenue from sources not accounted for above – or it could have more revenue from any one particular source named above (i.e., Pac12Nets) are more lucrative than expected.

            But even if my totals are off by $1 or $2 million per school, the conference will substantially lag the SEC and Big Ten and trail the top teams in the Big 12, as well. (Texas’ total income is approx $40 million with the Longhorn Network, and Oklahoma is over $30 million with its Tier 3 income.)

            Who’s leading the money? B10 and SEC*
            Who’s predicted to have a huge lead in the near future? B10 and SEC*
            Who’s in the next tier? B12* and P12
            Who trails? ACC

            * The B12 schools vary widely based on their individual tier 3 deals. Some are up with the B10 and SEC, others closer to the P12. Fewer B12 schools will keep up with the B10 and SEC in a couple years (B10 gets new Tier 1 deal, SECN gets cranked up), though.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            The other factor to remember is that the B10 is coming out of a historically bad period of football and still has two of it’s best brands vastly underperforming with another not doing well either. B10 ratings will improve considerably if/when NE, MI and PSU are back to being top 10 – top 25 teams annually. Even this year the conference got very little talk after OSU and MSU lost early. The blowout CCG didn’t help matters.

            After a strong bowl season and a national title for OSU, though, the B10 should get a lot more hype from ESPN/ABC. That sets the tone for better ratings all season long, especially with Harbaugh at MI. Similarly, the SEC is coming off of a historically great period in football so their ratings are sky high. If the SEC comes back to the pack a little bit on the field, their TV ratings will also dip some.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            @Brian
            That’s certainly a strong possibility. But the Big 10’s decline has been going on long enough there’s reason to believe its not just a typical up and down.

            And even with a recovery, it isn’t likely to have a big impact with contract negotiations about to start in the next year.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            I ran across this TV ratings analysis by a KSU economics professor that I had forgotten about. Unlike the aggie analysis, this guy points out the shortfalls in his assumptions and how that biases the numbers:

            http://thesportseconomist.com/2015/02/09/analyzing-2014-college-football-television-ratings/

            Avg Ratings according to rated Data Avg TV Ratings “adjusted”
            1.SEC = 4.52 M 1. SEC = 2.58 M
            2.B10 =2.69 M 2. B10 = 1.62 M
            3.ACC = 2.64 M 3. B12 = 1.57 M
            4.P12 = 2.23 M 4. ACC = 1.41 M
            5.B12 = 2.01 M 5. P12 = 1.34 M

            In order to attempt to correct for this bias, I assumed that there were no viewers for games that were not rated telecasts and then recalculated the average rating per team. I realize that this is an imperfect method but for the most part (with notable exceptions such as the Texas A&M vs. South Carolina game on the SEC Network) the games that do not warrant a broadcast on an established network will draw a small enough viewing audience that assuming a value of zero for these games will only bias these numbers slightly. I would encourage suggestions as to other ways to correct for this bias, but I did not want to start guessing television audiences for these non-televised games. I do feel that the teams that are most adversely affected by this correction are SEC and Big Ten teams as the SEC and Big Ten Networks are probably drawing the most viewers for games where ratings are not available.

            The TexAgs data suggests the following average ratings (I believe I have replicated this correctly).
            1.SEC = 4.52 Mil 2. B10 =2.69 Mil, 3. ACC=2.64 Mil, 4. P 12 = 2.23 Mil, 5. B12 = 2.01 Mil

            The adjusted data suggests the following ratings:

            1. SEC = 2.58 Mil, 2. B10 = 1.62 Mil, 3. B12 = 1.57 Mil, 4. ACC = 1.41 Mil, 5. P12 = 1.34 Mil

            Finally in the original data there are twelve SEC teams in the Top 25, seven Big Ten teams, three Pac 12 teams, two ACC teams, and one independent team. In the adjusted ratings there are ten SEC teams, five Big Ten teams, five Big 12 teams, three Pac 12 teams, one ACC team and one independent. This data will have a slight “pro Big 12 bias” as over seventy eight percent of Big 12 games were rated while other conferences are between fifty three and sixty percent rated games. To reference the examples I pointed out above in these adjusted ratings Oklahoma finished 15th in average TV rating (up from 26th) while Florida finished 22nd (down from 7th).

            Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            …the Big 10’s decline has been going on long enough there’s reason to believe its not just a typical up and down.

            Actually, there IS a reason to believe it’s atypical. The B1G has four kings, three of which are down. Historically, kings (in any league) tend to revert to form. Perhaps one or two of the B1G kings has lost that status for good, and we just don’t realize it yet. But the odds are pretty low that the B1G will be a one-king league permanently.

            And even with a recovery, it isn’t likely to have a big impact with contract negotiations about to start in the next year.

            Actually, it’s fairly likely that the TV networks will make the same assumption that I am making: that Michigan, Penn State, and Nebraska, probably won’t all remain persistently below their historical norms. The apparel deal that Michigan just signed with Nike is an indication of that. Third parties still value the Michigan brand, almost as if the last seven years never happened. King status is hard to gain, and having gained it, hard to lose.

            Every story I’ve read, suggests that most analysts think the next Big Ten media deal is going to blow every other league (except the SEC) out of the water. That remains to be seen, of course, but if you’d staked your career on betting against Jim Delany, right now you’d be broke.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            bullet,

            I’ve read that before.

            “In order to attempt to correct for this bias, I assumed that there were no viewers for games that were not rated telecasts and then recalculated the average rating per team. I realize that this is an imperfect method but for the most part (with notable exceptions such as the Texas A&M vs. South Carolina game on the SEC Network) the games that do not warrant a broadcast on an established network will draw a small enough viewing audience that assuming a value of zero for these games will only bias these numbers slightly. I would encourage suggestions as to other ways to correct for this bias, but I did not want to start guessing television audiences for these non-televised games. I do feel that the teams that are most adversely affected by this correction are SEC and Big Ten teams as the SEC and Big Ten Networks are probably drawing the most viewers for games where ratings are not available.”

            Well, according to that story I linked recently, we have some idea what the BTN does in terms of ratings.

            http://btn.com/2014/11/25/btn-has-highest-viewership-ever-studio-crew-coming-to-madison/

            On Saturday, BTN had the highest viewership in our history. The noon ET games, with Indiana at Ohio State in a closer-than-expected contest, and Rutgers at Michigan State, averaged a 3.0 HH rating in the network’s 12 metered markets.

            That’s the best BTN has ever done, so a typical BTN game is probably closer to a 1.0 rating or lower. What the professor should’ve done was show the impact of a range of assumptions for the ratings of BTN (and SECN) games – 0.0, 0.5, 1.0. That would tell us how sensitive the analysis is to that variable which he admits is a problem.

            Since the other data is in terms of # of viewers, the conversion seems to be that 0.6 rating = 1.0M viewers nationally. The B10 footprint is about 25% of the nation, so try 0, 0.2M and 0.4M viewers to keep round numbers.

            “The TexAgs data suggests the following average ratings (I believe I have replicated this correctly).
            1.SEC = 4.52 Mil 2. B10 =2.69 Mil, 3. ACC=2.64 Mil, 4. P 12 = 2.23 Mil, 5. B12 = 2.01 Mil

            The adjusted data suggests the following ratings:

            1. SEC = 2.58 Mil, 2. B10 = 1.62 Mil, 3. B12 = 1.57 Mil, 4. ACC = 1.41 Mil, 5. P12 = 1.34 Mil”

            That’s with 0 viewers.

            “This data will have a slight “pro Big 12 bias” as over seventy eight percent of Big 12 games were rated while other conferences are between fifty three and sixty percent rated games.”

            Backing out the percentage of games rated from the original and his adjusted data, I applied those numbers for each conference for the three viewership levels.

            For 0/0.2M/0.4M:
            ACC – 1.41M / 1.50M / 1.60M
            B10 – 1.62M / 1.70M / 1.78M
            B12 – 1.57M / 1.61M / 1.66M
            P12 – 1.34M / 1.42M / 1.50M
            SEC – 2.58M / 2.67M / 2.75M

            It’s not a huge factor, and the relative order doesn’t change. Some of the conference might be more like 0 – 0.2M while others are 0.4+, though.

            If the point is that you feel there are 3 tiers (1 = SEC, 2 = B10 > B12, 3 = ACC > P12) and/or that the B10 is closer to the B12 than the SEC, I don’t disagree. However, using the number of viewers as a metric of value assumes that all viewers are equally valuable and we know that isn’t true. That’s why I look at the value of TV deals to see where the actual value lies. TV pays significantly more for the B10 than the B12 (considering the ages of the deals), presumably for ratings/demographic reasons.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            True, not all viewers have the same value, but I don’t see why there would be significant difference between the value of college football viewers for different conferences. You’re still dependent primarily on the casual viewer and T-shirt fan, not the alums.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            In addition to ESPN’s declining subscriptions, I wonder if saturation will start to be an issue. I don’t watch that much college basketball during the season anymore, partly because games are always on. It is no longer “must see” TV. There’s another big game tomorrow night.

            Everybody is on now almost all the time. Does that hurt viewership on the typical games that don’t involve 2 top 10 teams?

            Like

          • Arkstfan says:

            The issue for college hoops is that if #2 loses to an unranked team we are asking if they fall all the way to a four seed.

            In college football we are asking if they are out of the playoff or even a top bowl.

            Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            In addition to ESPN’s declining subscriptions, I wonder if saturation will start to be an issue.

            Could be, but if so, I have to think the SEC would be affected too. What I’m not seeing is the trend that would make the Big Ten the #3 league; or that would imperil their position to the extent that they’d find it advantageous to ally with weaker parties than themselves.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            bullet,

            “True, not all viewers have the same value, but I don’t see why there would be significant difference between the value of college football viewers for different conferences. You’re still dependent primarily on the casual viewer and T-shirt fan, not the alums.”

            Median income levels vary significantly across the country. Wealthier fans are worth more to advertisers most likely. Cities tend to be the center of high income regions, and the B10 footprint has a lot of major markets.

            The median age also varies and works favorably for the B10. Advertisers want the younger people.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            But is there any difference in the demographics of a typical college football viewer?

            Like

          • bullet says:

            And if there is, the SEC states are younger. The Midwestern states were not quite as old as I thought, but still older on average-ranking from oldest to youngest:
            5 Pennsylvania
            5 **Florida
            13 Iowa
            15 New Jersey
            16 Wisconsin
            16 Ohio
            19 **Kentucky
            19 ** Missouri
            22 ** Tennessee
            22 ** Alabama
            26 ** South Carolina
            28 Maryland
            29 Minnesota
            29 Michigan
            29 ** Arkansas
            35 Nebraska
            39 Indiana
            40 Illinois
            41 ** Louisiana
            43 ** Mississippi
            48 ** Georgia
            50 ** Texas

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Big 12 and Pac 12 are pretty young:
            22 Oregon
            33 Washington
            44 Colorado
            46 California
            47 Arizona
            51 Utah

            3 West Virginia
            13 Iowa
            32 Oklahoma
            34 Kansas
            50 Texas

            ACC has
            5 Florida
            5 Pennsylvania
            11 Massachusetts
            19 New York
            19 Kentucky
            26 South Carolina
            26 Virginia
            35 North Carolina
            48 Georgia

            Like

          • Brian says:

            bullet,

            “But is there any difference in the demographics of a typical college football viewer?”

            I don’t know, but it is one possible explanation for why the TV deals don’t track strictly by the number of viewers. Something has to make the B10 viewers more valuable per capita than B12 viewers or SEC viewers, or the networks are just really bad at business.

            Like

          • greg says:

            States ranked by per capita income

            1 Maryland
            3 New Jersey
            9 Minnesota
            16 New York
            18 Illinois
            21 Wisconsin
            22 Nebraska
            23 Pennsylvania
            24 Iowa
            25 Texas
            26 Kansas
            31 Indiana
            33 Georgia
            34 Michigan
            35 Ohio
            36 Missouri
            37 Florida
            41 Oklahoma
            42 South Carolina
            44 Louisiana
            45 Tennessee
            46 Alabama
            47 Kentucky
            48 Arkansas
            49 West Virginia
            50 Mississippi

            Like

          • @greg – That’s a good point. The Big Ten states and markets aren’t just large – they’re also wealthy compared to their Southern and Southwestern counterparts. Other sports with high viewership on paper but have more downscale demographics such as NASCAR and UFC (which also have viewerships that skew Southern) don’t get the ad rates that, say, PGA golf (which has lower overall viewership but much more of an upscale demo) receives.

            Taking it a step further, the Big Ten schools are more highly rated academically as a whole, which in turn means that there are more higher income alums from those schools. The SEC may have the advantage in more T-shirt fans in their respective home states that may or may not have gone to college, but the Big Ten alumni base that make up the core viewership is wealthier.

            Similarly, look at the bowl tie-ins, where the SEC and Big Ten have long dominated the higher paying bowl deals. The SEC is #1 there, but they also have the advantage of all of their bowls being directly in their region, so they can get a large number of ticket buyers within relatively short driving distance. The Big Ten, on the other hand, still gets all of those high paying bowls despite them being spread out literally coast-to-coast. Those bowls depend on Big Ten alums for the more expensive trips to fly in, stay in hotels and eat at restaurants for longer stays (as opposed to driving in for shorter stays). The ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12 don’t get similar bowl deals despite all having many more bowls directly within their respective footprints.

            Of course, the Big Ten still has a lot of T-shirt fans on top of their alums, so it’s easy to explain why their TV and bowl deals would be larger than the other power conferences. The Pac-12’s large TV deals are probably much more instructive with them outpacing the Big 12 and ACC despite clearly lower overall viewership. The Pac-12 has very similar demographics compared to the Big Ten (wealthier large markets and alums), so they get a premium for each of their viewers compared to the Big 12 and ACC. A TV viewer in NYC, Chicago, LA, DC or San Francisco is simply more valuable than one in even the highest growth Sun Belt towns like Atlanta, Dallas or Houston (much less a place like Birmingham). However, the Pac-12 doesn’t have the same number of T-shirt fans on top of those alums like the Big Ten, so they don’t reach the same overall TV deal heights. The ACC is in a similar spot with higher income alums, but a lower level of T-shirt fans. The SEC gets credit for its extremely large base of T-shirt fans, but they can’t completely maximize that base since they aren’t as upscale as college football fans in other regions (similar to Southern-centric NASCAR). The Big 12 really doesn’t have either a great T-shirt fan base or higher income alumni base overall, albeit it has arguably the single best individual school that combines those two attributes (Texas). The Big Ten seems to have the optimal mix (from a TV network perspective) of wealthy markets and alums combined with a large number of T-shirt fans, which could go a long way in explaining why the conference continues to receive the best TV deals.

            Like

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        The Pac-12, Big XII, and ACC, all have structural issues that aren’t going away. The Pac-12 has too many teams that lack national appeal, and they play too many games at times that most Eastern and Central time zone sports fans don’t want to watch. The Big XII is burdened with too many small-market teams and not enough inventory. The ACC has great markets, but doesn’t have enough teams with a deep football tradition.

        If I’m in the Big Ten or SEC, why do I want to take on those problems?

        Like

    • Nick in South Bend says:

      The answer is, no the would not want to give that up. The utility value of more money is negated if everyone is getting the same amount more. It’s absurd to think that the “haves” want more “have nots” tagging along with them then they must for competitive/historical/political necessity.

      This is no different than the ridiculous “why don’t all conferences dissolve and go by strict geography.”

      Like

    • bob sykes says:

      This only puts it in the public domain. If the decision stands up under appeal, anyone can make and sell Redskins paraphernalia with paying a fee.

      Like

  34. bullet says:

    http://www.wsj.com/article_email/espn-tightens-its-belt-as-pressure-on-it-mounts-1436485852-IMyQjAxMTA1MjEzMDkxMjAwWj

    Sports-TV powerhouse ESPN, a profit machine that has long towered over the media landscape, is showing signs of stress as the pay-TV industry goes through an unprecedented period of upheaval.

    A decline in subscribers as customers trim their cable bills, coupled with rising content costs and increased competition, has ESPN in belt-tightening mode, people familiar with the situation say.

    The company, majority owned by Walt Disney Co., has lost 3.2 million subscribers in a little over a year, according to Nielsen data, as people have “cut the cord” by dropping their cable-TV subscriptions or downgraded to cheaper, slimmed-down TV packages devoid of expensive sports channels like ESPN.
    ….
    The stakes are high for Disney. ESPN will contribute roughly 25% of the company’s operating profit this year, according to Nomura Securities. ESPN’s fortunes are being closely watched in the media world as cord-cutting picks up and consumers gravitate to streaming services.

    Sports has long been viewed as the glue holding the pay-TV bundle together, providing leverage for media giants like Disney to distribute wider groups of channels and secure higher fees from pay-TV operators.

    Since July 2011, ESPN’s reach into American homes has dropped 7.2%, from more than 100 million households—roughly the size of the total U.S. pay-TV market—to 92.9 million households, according to Nielsen data.
    ….
    If ESPN offers its channel as a direct-to-consumer streaming service, some pay-TV operators have the contractual right to boot ESPN out of their most widely-sold channel packages and sell it a la carte, according to people familiar with the matter.

    ESPN would have to charge about $30 a month per customer in an over-the-top offering to make the same money using that model, analysts say. But those distributors would have the right to undercut ESPN in their retail pricing, the people said.

    Like

    • Stuart says:

      I think EPSN cutbacks are an important sign. I agree with Dennis Dodd, this may put the lid back on any expansion talk of the Big XII. I think there is actually too much inventory, which lowers the value of college football for advertising, and this is getting worse as viewers bail on cable. Its the same problem as Hockey, where expansion simply waters down an already weak product. Now the Big XII contract runs through 2024 football season (and 2025 Basketball). I think the escalators to increase payouts wont happen the contract will stay flat for the duration. Instead I see this as the contract Fox and EPSN walk away from when it expires. Its their least productive major college product – the new Big East football.

      IMO you will have only four power conferences come 2025. I think this will push Texas and Oklahoma to leave, probably taking one or two lucky dogs with them somewhere. But this will make the networks a bit happier, reducing the power group to under 60. Though frankly they’d rather it be under 50. Anyway, I think musical chairs will start for real around 2020 when the Big XII’s contract is in the final few years.

      Like

      • BruceMcF says:

        Texas and Oklahoma is one path where I can see Oklahoma getting into the Big Ten without any great worries about academic snobbery … Texas is a big enough and shiny enough bauble to distract the academic snobs who would otherwise be giving the Presidents grief over Oklahoma. “OK, so its Oklahoma … but do you want Texas in the CIC, or don’t you?”

        Like

        • ccrider55 says:

          Problem. Little brothers. And there is a conference willing to accept the four. At least there was in ’10.

          I doubt OU would be accepted anyway. The Snobbery runs deep enough to vote a conference member out of the AAU.

          Like

          • vp19 says:

            ESPN’s financial woes may play into the Pac’s hands a decade from now, reviving the Pac-16 talk with Texas, TT, OU and Okie State..

            Like

          • Arkstfan says:

            I would be thrilled to have financial “woes” similar to ESPN.

            The network is still extremely profitable, it is still cash laden. They ROI is down some because they have more competition for content and like the industry in general is losing a bit of their audience.

            Like

          • BruceMcF says:

            OTOH, the Snobbery was not deep enough to prevent letting the Big Ten know that they had to hurry up if they wanted to sneak Nebraska in before it was more widely known that its AAU status was going to go away.

            I’m not downplaying the depth of academic snobbery in the Big Ten … not just in TSUN and Wisconsin, but also in schools that would be nervous about their own status and view it as being raised by the company they keep … I’m just saying there’s a quite substantial difference between a Kansas type member of the AAU and a Texas type member.

            Whether or not there will be a conference willing to accept four in the mid 20s, and equally well whether Texas wants to go to that conference, is an open question in all this, and not one that anybody would be able to reliably predict a decade in advance. But academic reputations have enough inertia that we can be reasonably confident that in the mid 20s, Texas will still be a bright, shiny bauble for the academic snobs.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            BruceMcF:

            “OTOH, the Snobbery was not deep enough to prevent letting the Big Ten know that they had to hurry up if they wanted to sneak Nebraska in before it was more widely known that its AAU status was going to go away.”

            The risk to their AAU status was well already known to the only ones that mattered. The hurry up was UNL was facing a deadline for long term commitment to the B12 (media discussions, GOR, etc).

            “…but also in schools that would be nervous about their own status and view it as being raised by the company they keep …”

            And OU helps this?

            “But academic reputations have enough inertia that we can be reasonably confident that in the mid 20s, Texas will still be a bright, shiny bauble for the academic snobs.”

            Same holds for the perception of OU.

            All I’m saying is there aren’t the circumstances yet present that would require the abandonment of little brothers and the B1G lowering standards at the same time. Heck, first the B12 would need to be actually terminal. But Rasputin like, it exists today.

            Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            I would be thrilled to have financial “woes” similar to ESPN.

            The network is still extremely profitable, it is still cash laden. They ROI is down some because they have more competition for content and like the industry in general is losing a bit of their audience.

            True, they aren’t exactly hurting. But all of their long-term deals are predicated on assumptions about the size of the audience. For the first time in ESPN’s history, that audience has started to shrink. With cord-cutting options becoming more prevalent, it is fairly likely that this trend will continue—how far is the question.

            If you’re ESPN, you certainly have to be worried. History is replete with examples of large, market-dominating companies, who assumed their franchise was unassailable, and didn’t react to the threat until it was too late.

            Like

          • BruceMcF says:

            ““…but also in schools that would be nervous about their own status and view it as being raised by the company they keep …”

            And OU helps this?”

            Texas helps it more than OU hurts it. Which is why OU and Kansas to the Big Ten seems a bit more dubious.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Special treatment beginning with conditional admission? No. Schools are admitted strictly on their own merit. The PAC, with their 2×2 setup and geography, could more reasonably consider partner/package deals as informative when considering possibilities. Not so with the B1G.

            Besides, OU isn’t who UT will face pressure to protect (OU doesn’t need protection, but they have someone else to protect). UT has their Tech brother…admit Tech and UT is probably in.

            Like

          • BruceMcF says:

            “Special treatment beginning with conditional admission? No. Schools are admitted strictly on their own merit.”

            OU’s merits would be why the academic politicians that run the Big Ten would present it as a package deal. They’d do it for the commercial benefit, but they have to package it up in an academic rationale to avoid a stink, and the academic rationale is that Texas plus OU is better than missing out on Texas.

            But Texas and TTech? Aint no lipstick you can put on that deal and make it seem pretty.

            Like

      • vp19 says:

        IMO you will have only four power conferences come 2025. I think this will push Texas and Oklahoma to leave, probably taking one or two lucky dogs with them somewhere. But this will make the networks a bit happier, reducing the power group to under 60. Though frankly they’d rather it be under 50. Anyway, I think musical chairs will start for real around 2020 when the Big XII’s contract is in the final few years.

        It’s going to be extremely difficult to kick any P5 members out, especially the state schools. This isn’t like the Big 8/SWC marriage, where three private schools plus UH (which had only been in the league for two decades) were kicked to the curb; state and federal politics would make it so. If the Texas/TT/OU/Okie State to the Pac comes to pass, expect Iowa State, Kansas, KSU and WVU to find refuge somewhere, probably the ACC. TCU and Baylor? Dunno.

        Like

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        I think there is actually too much inventory, which lowers the value of college football for advertising, and this is getting worse as viewers bail on cable. . . . Now the Big XII contract runs through 2024 football season (and 2025 Basketball). I think the escalators to increase payouts wont happen the contract will stay flat for the duration. Instead I see this as the contract Fox and EPSN walk away from when it expires. Its their least productive major college product – the new Big East football.

        As I understand it, the escalators are built into the existing contract. If the Big XII expands, ESPN has to pay for the new inventory, like it or not. But of course, the Big XII has to take the long view. All bets are off when the deal comes up for renewal. That’s why the Big XII needs to be very cautious about taking on a weak 11th or 12th school, on top of the already weak inventory they already have.

        But I don’t take quite as gloomy a view as the post above. There is still plenty of value in the Big XII. Even the old Big East never got kicked to the curb. What killed the Big East was that its most valuable properties were gobbled up by the more lucrative conferences. The question that remains unanswered, is whether Texas is willing to give up its sweetheart deal, and go into a conference where it’s an equal, rather than top dog. The Big XII will exist as long as UT wants it to exist.

        Like

      • Brian says:

        Stuart,

        The difference from hockey is that we’re talking about realignment, not true expansion. All the schools already exist, it’s just which conference they’re in. You could compare bumping up G5 schools to expansion perhaps, but not something like OU leaving the B12.

        Like

        • Stuart says:

          Brian,

          I am saying the demand is less than the supply. There are more power schools than the finances will support going forward from the media standpoint. Also there is a beginning of a decline in available talent for Football (Pop Warner numbers falling rapidly), which means the fewer college programs will be able support high quality product. The solution is fewer power schools to achieve the same balance.

          Texas and OU will find power conference homes, and probably KU as well. The rest I think are unlikely. That puts power down to 58 schools in 4 conferences, still too many, but it improves the situation in respect to over saturation.

          As for state’s like Oklahoma and Iowa and Kansas being able to foist their 2nd schools into power conferences by political will (not you, other posters), well consider Utah State, Colorado State, Cincinnati (Ohio!), Connecticut, UMass, the entire SUNY system.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            Stuart,

            “I am saying the demand is less than the supply.”

            You’re saying it with zero evidence. TV keeps paying to show more games, be it on existing channels or new ones.

            “There are more power schools than the finances will support going forward from the media standpoint.”

            Based on what? TV deals haven’t even started to plateau for P5 conferences, let alone decrease.

            “Also there is a beginning of a decline in available talent for Football (Pop Warner numbers falling rapidly), which means the fewer college programs will be able support high quality product.”

            And HS player number are up to over 1,100,000 HS players so there will be plenty of supply for a long time to come. A lot of this comes down to the demographics. The last peak of over 1.1M HS players happened when the baby boomers came through. Now the age 12-17 population is about what it was then and so are the number of HS players.

            Besides, many rural areas don’t have official Pop Warner so they wouldn’t be included in your stats. I’m guessing PW lost out on some suburban kids who weren’t likely to play CFB anyway.

            “The solution is fewer power schools to achieve the same balance.”

            Solution implies a problem that isn’t evident here.

            “Texas and OU will find power conference homes, and probably KU as well. The rest I think are unlikely.”

            TT and OkSU had willing homes if they rode big brothers’ coattails before, so they could potentially do that again. Besides, the rest of the B12 plus the best of the AAC might form a P5 conference.

            “As for state’s like Oklahoma and Iowa and Kansas being able to foist their 2nd schools into power conferences by political will (not you, other posters), well consider Utah State, Colorado State, Cincinnati (Ohio!), Connecticut, UMass, the entire SUNY system.”

            Buffalo, UMass, USU and CSU have never been major schools, UC and UConn only briefly sniffed that status (if you consider their BE play as major). UConn, UMass and Buffalo only recently moved up to I-A. Besides, state officials have a hard time tying the fate of a state school to a local private school. SU has no reason to help Buffalo nor does BC need to help UMass.

            ISU, OkSU, KSU and TT are all long time members of power conferences with big brothers that are more desirable. It’s much easier for states to intercede in these cases. IA forced UI and ISU to play in football again after a long hiatus. TX politicians stuck their noses into the B12 formation to get Baylor in. It’s possible politicians in IA, KS, OK and TX would intervene to help these schools. They don’t have to do so, but they might. Their best plan may be to force everyone to stay in the B12 since they can kill almost any other deal by forcing big brother to take little brother along.

            But if the B12 starts to crumble, will the politicians really be willing to KU to protect KSU? I don’t know. I don’t think even they know.

            Like

  35. bullet says:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/ncfnation/post/_/id/111515/otl-over-two-thirds-of-criminally-accused-fsu-athletes-dont-face-prosecution

    I guess Cook (their leading rusher last year) and Johnson (freshman QB) felt like someone needed to live up to Jameis Winston’s standards. The freshman got kicked off the team for one punch in the face after being tapped in the shoulder with a fist (after he elbowed her and grabbed her arm). Cook merely got suspended after hitting a woman multiple times when she (according to her story) refused to give her number. Of course, Johnson is on video.

    If Fisher was coach at Texas, I would want him fired (in fairness, I think Texas recruited Cook). His excuses for Winston were embarrassing. The criminal conduct happens everywhere, but FSU is out of hand.

    Like

    • ccrider55 says:

      Agreed. It happens everywhere. It’s how the school and program respond that’s instructive. I don’t think (or, I would hope) UT would not allow FSU in the B12 currently, even if they applied and gave assurances of future changes. Show me the results of changes, not predictions.

      Like

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        Due to the Grant of Rights in the ACC, FSU couldn’t plausibly move until the mid-2020s. By then, there’ll be plenty of time to assess whether the Seminoles have their act together.

        But anyhow, would FSU would accept a Big XII invite today, even if it were offered? It is not so clear that the Big XII is a better option than staying put.

        Like

  36. Kyle Peter says:

    I wonder if this is someone laying the groundwork to come to the B1G (or another conference) and say, (like Nebraska did)…if you want us it has to be now?

    If I were in Oklahoma’s position that might be a route I’d take. IMO nothing via expansion looks enticing, so why not see if you can force/trick/convince one of the top conference’s to make a decision now (now being an adjustable time frame) or risk/fear losing a shot at that University for the long haul. I’d expect no major program that makes a move would consider (baring drastic events) moving to a different conference again anytime in the next 50 years (or more).

    IF Oklahoma was on the cusp of consideration for the B1G (and appeared they might be able to achieve AAU status) would the B1G be willing to take a long term view of accepting them now vs losing any shot at them ever?

    Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      I wonder if this is someone laying the groundwork to come to the B1G (or another conference) and say, (like Nebraska did)…if you want us it has to be now?

      If I were in Oklahoma’s position that might be a route I’d take. IMO nothing via expansion looks enticing, so why not see if you can force/trick/convince one of the top conference’s to make a decision now (now being an adjustable time frame) or risk/fear losing a shot at that University for the long haul.

      That can only work if the urgency is believable. Unless your definition of “now” is awfully flexible (as in years), there simply isn’t a credible argument that an immediate move is at all necessary. If Boren is laying the groundwork for a move to the B1G, he must be playing a very long game.

      IF Oklahoma was on the cusp of consideration for the B1G (and appeared they might be able to achieve AAU status) would the B1G be willing to take a long term view of accepting them now vs losing any shot at them ever?

      A few years ago, someone posted a list of the schools closest to AAU admission, given the AAU’s known and presumed criteria. I can’t find it right now, but as I recall, Oklahoma was not especially close. And remember, its competitors are trying to get better, too. Oklahoma isn’t a bad school, but it would be wrong to assume they’re on the cusp of joining the AAU.

      I do think Oklahoma would be compelling for the B1G, depending on who is the 16th school, but I have no idea whether the presidents would see it that way. I certainly could envision a scenario in the next decade where the Big XII is on the verge of collapse, and Oklahoma needs to choose between the B1G, Pac-12, and SEC. That would be the sort of now-or-never scenario that you referred to.

      Like

      • Eric says:

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but back when we were looking at schools for #12, I think the consensus was that Nebraska and Oklahoma were very similar academically, but Nebraska (then) had had the added advantage of AAU status. Since Nebraska lost it, Oklahoma might be a ways from climbing that high themselves.

        Like

  37. bullet says:

    Article on Mike Slive as he hands over reigns:

    http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/13226695/sec-media-days-kick-mike-slive-impact-league-sport-felt-forever

    Interesting long article. One small snippet I found amusing:

    “Slive insists he was more of an advocate for SEC schools and didn’t interfere in the NCAA process, although former Georgia president Michael Adams said Slive’s relationship with David Price, the former NCAA vice president for enforcement services, was always a plus.

    “I think Mike helped two or three of the schools that were the worst offenders, and I’m not going to name them, but you know who they are,” Adams said. “He was a pretty effective plea-bargainer in a couple of cases and endeared himself to two or three presidents. He was a good lawyer and thought like an NCAA investigator, and the fact that he went back with Price a long time was very helpful.””

    Like

    • Arkstfan says:

      I don’t think we are looking at a “bubble” those tend to form when speculation drives prices up artificially and prices collapse. If there is a bubble rather than a conference receiving $25 million per team when the contract expires the price drops dramatically and they may receive $20 million or $10 million.

      I believe this is an unlikely result as long as college athletics retains popularity.

      How that content gets to the consumer and how the consumer pays may change but without fundamental change in consumer demand the schools are unlikely to experience a significant revenue decline.

      As I suggested a year or so ago on the realignment board I think ESPN has peeked around the corner and has some guesses about how things change and has locked in long-term deals as insurance, not from rising rights fees but rather to insure they have content when the distribution market disrupts.

      We have three models that are emerging beyond traditional satellite/cable carriage fee.
      1. Internet service provider carriage fee. This is the ESPN3 model. You get a basic tier of content included in your internet bill. You get some MAC, Sun Belt and some FCS, along with odds and ends like indoor football and minor sports across the P5 leagues.
      2. Traditional cable bundling via Internet. Pay a fee you get a set of channels Dish/Sling is here, Apple reportedly headed here, Comcast etc going there. It is old fashioned cable/satellite without the large infrastructure cost that is now shifted to the internet bill.
      3. Standalone with a fee. It actually started on cable with HBO etc and the various sports out-of-market packages. Then it came via Internet with Netflix, MLB, NHL, NBA, MLS, right now NFL is the small player here.

      ESPN is in position for all three emerging models. They pioneered the ESPN3 model, they are in the Internet bundles and they do the old fashioned PPV and now with LHN and SECN are positioned to be able to sell pieces of their content via direct delivery.

      Consider the reports that LSU baseball averaged around 6000 viewers on ESPN3.

      How many people would pay a small $120 a year for all or nearly all SEC content? One million subscribers would produce $1.2 billion in revenue, send $300 million to the SEC and you have $900 million to pay overhead produce a profit.

      With the rise of connected devices and boxes ESPN has incredible potential to move from bundling big blocks of diverse content to smaller niche bundles and make even more. Granny may not watch ESPN @ $6 a month but if you love ACC hoops you will pay the $120 or $150 a year and ESPN is going to resell some of what they paid for to broadcast networks and Internet bundlers.

      Now worth noting. If you subscribe to NHL Game Center you recently received a class action settlement and can now subscribe to only one team (still subject to local blackout). The Blackhawks fan in Arkansas can now subscribe to all games not on NBC or NBCSN or other national during playoffs.

      Like

      • BruceMcF says:

        “How that content gets to the consumer and how the consumer pays may change but without fundamental change in consumer demand the schools are unlikely to experience a significant revenue decline.”

        That’s rather up in the air … different models for monetizing that consumer demand will be give conferences more or less leverage in negotiating for their share of that consumer demand.

        It is a bit of a misnomer to call it a bubble, since broadcasters are not coming into the market and paying for rights based on the expectation (often unrealistic) of reselling it again later for a capital gain, so the kind of 60%-90% drops that you can see when an asset bubble bursts seems less likely … but it would still not be at all surprising if conference’s share of their athletic’s media value were to drop by a substantial amount when the smoke has settled.

        Like

  38. Brian says:

    http://awfulannouncing.com/2015/big-ten-set-to-begin-media-rights-talks-in-the-upcoming-season.html

    A quick look at the B10’s TV options.

    Conference commissioner Jim Delany says he expects to have media talks begin either in the fall or the winter depending on which party wants to get started.

    He goes on to give the arguments each network will make to get B10 games (ESPN, CBS, FOX, NBC).

    Related to that, FS1 and NBCSN have equaled ESPN2 as sports networks. The three tradeoff being #2 in the ratings for the week.

    http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/whos-the-2-cable-sports-network-fox-sports-1-or-nbcsn.html

    Back in 2014, ESPN2 was ahead of both of them.

    Spring 2014 numbers:
    ESPN Total Day Average: 762,214
    ESPN2 Total Day Average: 244,929
    NBCSN Total Day Average: 210,357
    FS1 Total Day Average: 116,143

    Like

  39. Marc Shepherd says:

    Michigan has released the terms of its licensing deal with Nike (announced last week): $169 million for the years 2016–2027. The deal easily eclipses what was previously the largest licensing deal in college sports, Notre Dame’s 10-year, $90 million compact with Under Armour.

    Insiders on Michigan-centric websites are reporting that Michigan actually turned down larger offers from Adidas and Under Armour. Fans and Michigan’s athletes (both current ones and recruits) were unhappy with Adidas, the current provider, and expressed a strong preference for Nike.

    The previous deal with Adidas included an escalator clause, which required that if they ever offered another school more than they were paying Michigan, the Michigan deal had to go up too. There’s no indication that Nike offered terms like that. At some point before 2027, the Michigan deal will probably get lapped.

    It sure makes you wonder what Michigan could’ve gotten if they hadn’t been so bad on the football field for most of the last 7 years.

    Like

  40. bullet says:

    Interesting article on DFW recruiting. Doesn’t rank the recruits, but looks at who has been getting the recruits over the last 3 years:

    http://highschoolsportsblog.dallasnews.com/2015/07/45-days-away-which-colleges-recruit-d-fw-the-best.html/

    #1 was TCU with 28 over the 3 years.

    By conference:
    Big 12 118 (79 Texas schools)
    SEC 41 (20 Texas school)
    Big 10 29
    Pac 12 24
    MWC 19
    AAC 16 (13 Texas schools)
    CUSA 13 (11 Texas schools
    Ind 7
    Sun Belt 4
    ACC 4
    Other 1

    Top non-Texas schools in #:
    11-Oklahoma St.
    10-Oklahoma
    7-Kansas, Arizona St.
    6-KSU, LSU, Iowa
    5-Northwestern, Purdue, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Boise, San Diego St.
    4-Notre Dame

    Interesting that the Big 10 picked up more players than the SEC excluding Texas A&M. So did the Pac 12. B1G, SEC and Pac all had 9 different schools picking up players, but most of the SEC schools only had 1. 8 of the 9 from the Big 10 picked up 2 or more.

    Like

  41. Brian says:

    Apparently Iowa doesn’t think they can win, graduate players and “do it right.” They sent a survey to season ticket holders asking them how much they values each of those things and how they prioritized them.

    Shouldn’t the answers be that all are of the highest value and all equally high priority? What is UI going to do with the results, anyway? Start cutting corners or lower admission standards? Quit trying to win?

    Like

  42. loki_the_bubba says:

    CUSA commissioner stepping down to become executive director of the College Football Playoff Foundation.

    http://www.dnj.com/story/sports/college/2015/07/16/usa-commissioner-banowsky-stepping/30247163/

    Like

  43. Brian says:

    http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/college-sports/columnists/chuck-carlton/20150715-carlton-sources-say-texas-president-told-ad-steve-patterson-to-change-personal-style.ece

    UT’s president has told the AD he needs to change his personal approach. He comes off as impersonal or even arrogant, supposedly.

    Like

  44. Brian says:

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/jon-solomon/25242159/repeat-alabama-must-buck-remarkable-history-to-win-sec-in-2015

    It’s been 16 years since the SEC had a repeat champion (TN in 1997-8). Can AL end that streak?

    Like

  45. Brian says:

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/bigten/2015/07/16/ohio-state-quarterbacks-braxton-miller-cardale-jones-jt-barrett/30246155/

    A “scientific” approach to deciding the starting QB for OSU. Prediction Machine simulated OSU’s season 50,000 times with each of the 3 as the QB.

    The results:
    Regardless of which quarterback starts, the Buckeyes win more than 11 games on average. Ohio State finishes with the best record in the Big Ten and the FBS in each simulation. Ohio State is the preseason No. 1 in the Prediction Machine Power Rankings whether Miller, Barrett or Jones is the first team quarterback.

    By the numbers, if we had to make Urban Meyer’s decision for him, Barrett would be the starter. Ohio State is a more efficient offensively, both passing and rushing the ball, with Barrett under center.

    But like last season, it may not matter who starts for Ohio State at quarterback.

    Note: The passing and rushing projections below are team totals.

    Braxton Miller | 3097.4 passing yards, 33.3 passing TDs | 3,413.0 rushing yards, 32.5 rushing TDs, 11.2-0.8 record

    J.T. Barrett | 3,374.1 passing yards, 35.6 passing TDs, 3,480.7 rushing yards, 34.7 rushing TDs, 11.5-0.5 record

    Cardale Jones | 3,289.3 passing yards, 34.1 passing TDs, 3,371.2 rushing yards, 33.3 rushing TDs, 11.4-0.6 record

    Total results for each:
    Miller – 6510.4 yds, 65.8 TDs, 11.2-0.8
    Barrett – 6854.8 yds, 70.3 TDs, 11.5-0.5
    Jones – 6660.5 yds, 67.4 TDs, 11.4-0.6

    That’s remarkably consistent between the 3 and a very balanced offense no matter what. And their simulations don’t allow for moving Miller to HB or slot WR I don’t think. Still, the clear pick is Barrett from their numbers.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/travis-haney/insider/post?id=4414

    Coincidentally, the rumors coming out today are that it’s Barrett’s job to lose right now.

    Like

    • bullet says:

      I thought they were almost certain to drop football when the Rubber Bowl reached the end of its life. I was surprised they came up with the money for a stadium.

      Like

    • urbanleftbehind says:

      If they leave the MAC, do they go MVC-F or Colonial? If that is the case, where does basketball go – they lie at the far edge of the MVC-B footprint but would give them an Ohio market. The Horizon may not want them seeing they already have Wright and Youngstown. Longshot for the A-10, but if a certain former Akron resident could be roped into some fundraising and donating…

      Like

      • BruceMcF says:

        They wouldn’t save much money at all dropping down … with FCS scholarships to balance for Title IX, they could probably drop softball, but because the MAC has lower travel costs than any FCS alternative they have, the travel cost savings on the early season southern trips for softball could well get eaten up by the higher travel costs for all of their other sports. Plus they miss out on the CFP money and the uptick in the MAC broadcast money in another couple of years.

        Like

    • Brian says:

      He’s just mad about budget cuts. The faculty always think schools spend too much on athletics and the president usually points out the marketing value. Besides, Akron just spent a bunch of money on a stadium.

      Like

    • bob sykes says:

      I taught several Akron grads. It’s a diploma mill and should be shut down. Football is likely the only thing they do reasonably well.

      Like

  46. Brian says:

    http://www.vividseats.com/blog/ticket-prices-for-college-football-2015

    Which games have the most expensive tickets right now? This article lists the top 25.

    #1. Texas @ ND – $800 median ticket price
    #2. USC @ ND – $520

    http://espn.go.com/blog/bigten/post/_/id/120844/big-ten-flexes-muscle-on-secondary-ticket-market

    Among the top 25 games, the Big Ten has a stake in seven, including four matchups between league teams. The SEC has 12 games and seven in conference play. It’s two and one for the Big 12; four games but no league play for the ACC; two and zero for the Pac-12.

    For the Big Ten, Michigan State-Ohio State ranks eighth overall at $325; Penn State-Ohio State is 10th at $312; Michigan-Utah is 12th at $310; Ohio State-Virginia Tech is 13th at $305; Ohio State-Michigan is 16th at $292; Alabama-Wisconsin is 17th at $278; and Michigan State-Michigan is 20th at $247.

    Interesting that Oregon’s Sept. 12 visit to Michigan State, arguably the most anticipated nonconference game nationally in 2015, was not listed. The Spartans, despite two straight top-five finishes and playoff aspirations this season, don’t create the same buzz for tickets as the sport’s traditional powers.

    This list, in fact, primarily serves for the Big Ten to reinforce Ohio State’s impact on the league’s revived image. The Buckeyes made it four times, trailing only Notre Dame’s six games and Alabama with eight appearances among the top 25.

    Like

  47. ccrider55 says:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/ducks/index.ssf/2015/07/new_ncaa_rule_allows_medical_o.html

    Goes beyond what the PAC had instituted for this year.
    “The NCAA rule passed Thursday goes beyond that by allowing the spotter direct communication with not only medical staff but game officials, as well, and the ability to stop the game.”

    Like

  48. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    LSU Athletic Department gives $10 million to LSU academics.

    http://theadvocate.com/news/12962485-123/lsu-athletics-to-transfer-10

    Like

  49. Brian says:

    http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/13288322/big-12-commissioner-bob-bowlsby-holds-firm-expansion-conference-title-game

    Bowlsby says the majority of B12 schools don’t want to expand, at least for now.

    “It is my understanding at the present time that the majority of our presidents and chancellors believe 10 is the right number for us,” Bowlsby said. “There are those that believe we should get larger, and they feel strongly about it. There are those who believe we should stay at 10, and they feel strongly about it. And there are probably four or five in the middle who are persuadable one way or the other. And I think that’s exactly where we’re at.”

    Bowlsby said decisions on expansion are entirely up to the league’s presidents. He was asked about Oklahoma’s David Boren declaring in June that the Big 12 is “psychologically disadvantaged” in the new playoff system without 12 teams.

    “I don’t believe we are at a disadvantage relative to the playoff,” Bowlsby said. “I don’t think one year makes a trend. We were very close to having two teams in last year. You really don’t have to have much of an imagination to see how that might’ve worked out.”

    “If we go another year and get left out and it appears to be systemic, we need to be mindful of it,” he said. “And that’s why we’ve gone about the process of trying to get the postseason rules deregulated. We think that gives us a full array of options.

    “One year doesn’t make a trend. I don’t believe we’re disadvantaged at this point. But that doesn’t mean a disadvantage couldn’t develop or couldn’t be shown to exist. I think it’s the majority of our CEOs right now that believe likewise.”

    Like

    • bullet says:

      His no expansion rhetoric has gotten softer.

      He says a ccg would net $20-$30 million. The implication is that is on top of the pro-rata increase for adding 11 and 12. If they don’t approve a ccg for 10 teams, then that means adding teams increases per school revenues.

      If Boren really meant what he said instead of saying it for some other purpose (and from Bowlsby’s changing comments, Boren probably did mean what he said), then I think it means the Big 12 expands sooner rather than later. But they probably wait to see what happens with the Big 10 contract negotiations.

      Like

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        If they don’t approve a ccg for 10 teams, then that means adding teams increases per school revenues.

        But he has also said that he strongly believes CCG de-regulation will pass. All the media reporting has suggested the same. If so, that argument goes by the wayside.

        Indeed, one of the many reasons why I believe CCG de-regulation will pass, is that everyone knows a “no” vote is tantamount to telling the Big XII that they must expand. And expansion is potentially de-stablilizing, since any conference switch usually causes other dominoes to fall.

        Like

        • ccrider55 says:

          “Indeed, one of the many reasons why I believe CCG de-regulation will pass, is that everyone knows a “no” vote is tantamount to telling the Big XII that they must expand.”

          No, it would be telling them in order to get the 13th game for a ccg exemption they need to do what everyone else did. It doesn’t require them to do anything. This is why I think there is a reasonable possibility of the ccg rules being altered (in a way that supports and benefits current qualifiers). I’m not sure the B1G, PAC, and SEC benefit from allowing the B12 what was previously denied them. And assuming there thoughts about future possible conference affiliation changes, what benefit in strengthening the B12? (Devil’s advocate)

          Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            “Indeed, one of the many reasons why I believe CCG de-regulation will pass, is that everyone knows a “no” vote is tantamount to telling the Big XII that they must expand.”

            No, it would be telling them in order to get the 13th game for a ccg exemption they need to do what everyone else did. It doesn’t require them to do anything.

            That’s sheer sophistry, and I think you know it. If the Big XII is disadvantaged by not having a CCG — as they certainly were last year, and could be again — and the only way to cure the disadvantage is by expanding, then a “no” vote has precisely the meaning I have ascribed to it.

            This assumes that university presidents are capable of linking syllogisms of more than one step, which I believe they are intelligent enough to do. I do realize that the Big XII could accept a permanent disadvantage voluntarily, but it is not reasonable to expect anyone to do this.

            I’m not sure the B1G, PAC, and SEC benefit from allowing the B12 what was previously denied them.

            I don’t think CCG de-regulation one of the topics on which the P5 is autonomous. This means that all 10 football-playing conferences would have a say. Whatever the remaining P5 may think, the other conferences definitely don’t want the Big XII to expand, because it would create instability that the overwhelming majority of their member schools would rather avoid.

            Beyond that, I have not heard a peep of objection out of any other conference — and both Bowlsby and Swofford say they’ve heard none. Now, you could imagine a scenario where the B1G, PAC, and SEC have a secret plan to torpedo the idea at the last minute, and they’ve been so well disciplined that not a word of it has leaked. But is that the way the NCAA regulatory process usually works? Not in my recollection.

            Like

          • Mark Ferguson says:

            I think there is a real misunderstanding of how the leagues work together. They are very competitive but they are not junkyard dogs growling over their bones and eyeing the bones of others (well they are sometimes) but they tend to be pretty cooperative on most things.

            First cause and effect is being mixed up.

            SEC, ACC, Big 10, Pac-12, and once upon a time Big XII went to 12 (or larger) to improve the enterprise. If title games were suddenly eliminated and conferences could cancel their additions as part of the deal, none are giving up the schools they added even if they can’t have their title game. You buy a hot fudge sundae for the ice cream and fudge sauce not the cherry and whipped cream which is what the title game is for them.

            If the leagues wanted to play hardball for some reason what is the point of forcing Big XII choose expansion or title game? The Big XII having a title game is a positive for the enterprise. It should make Big XII more stable, puts them on a level playing field, and more importantly just as TCU would have made the playoff had that beaten Baylor in regular season, a rematch in a title game might have knocked TCU out. The outcomes are likely a wash and it further reduces the number of meaningful games on the first Saturday of December, that’s good for all.

            As to the idea that well all the other leagues had to expand to 12 to have a title game why shouldn’t Big XII be held to that standard. Let’s not forget the history. Big XII DID expand to 12. The Pac-12 took one of their 12, the Big 10 took one of their 12, the SEC took two of their 12, and Big XII only found two replacements agreeable to the membership. It’s like being in a private club that requires a key to enter and the other members swiped your key and now say you can’t be in the club.

            Big XII will get it passed without any drama.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Bowlsby and Swofford say they think it will pass. That’s not really coming out of anywhere else, just optimism from the sponsors.

            If it was that certain, it would have already passed. They are taking their time.

            Allowing 10 team conferences to do it flies in the face of its original purpose and is a bad signal for a sport already accused of professionalizing. As cc says, other conferences have been told no, that they couldn’t do it. It only directly benefits the Big 12 and Sun Belt. The AAC is the only one that could be indirectly benefitted and some of their schools could benefit if it fails.

            Now eliminating the divisional requirement could benefit anyone. But I don’t see anyone considering that except the ACC.

            Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            Bowlsby and Swofford say they think it will pass. That’s not really coming out of anywhere else, just optimism from the sponsors.

            They say they’ve spoken to the other leagues, and no one objects. As I said upthread, you’d have to think that the other three power leagues are putting on an act, pretending they’re okay with it while secretly objecting, so that they can pull out the rug at the end. Anything’s possible, but that’s not how it normally works.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Marc Shepherd,

            “That’s sheer sophistry, and I think you know it.”

            No, it isn’t sophistry. The B12 has a perfectly viable path to the CFP without a CCG. If OSU had won a close, ugly game, Baylor would’ve been #4 last year. If FSU and OSU had lost, Baylor and TCU would’ve been in.

            “If the Big XII is disadvantaged by not having a CCG … and the only way to cure the disadvantage is by expanding”

            That’s a big if. It might have hurt them last year, but having one can also hurt you (see all the upsets in the B12 CCGs over the years). Playing terrible OOC schedules hurt them as much or more than not having a CCG.

            “as they certainly were last year, and could be again”

            It’s not certain at all. If Baylor beats TCU by 3 again, do they jump over OSU for #4? OSU was already ahead of them and would have that crushing shutout of WI still.

            “then a “no” vote has precisely the meaning I have ascribed to it.”

            Only if the disadvantage is so large as to seem insurmountable by other reasonable means (tougher OOC schedules, for example).

            “I do realize that the Big XII could accept a permanent disadvantage voluntarily, but it is not reasonable to expect anyone to do this.”

            We do it all the time. Going to 9 conference games is a voluntary disadvantage. Dropping I-AA games is a voluntary disadvantage. Never playing a semifinal game in your region of the country is a voluntary disadvantage. Giving ND special privileges is a voluntary disadvantage.

            The question is how large is the disadvantage. The honest answer is nobody knows. Some years it may be huge while in other years it may be a net positive.

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Nobody objects doesn’t mean they will vote yes.

            Bowlsby says 4 or 5 are persuadable on expansion. That doesn’t mean they will vote yes.

            Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            Nobody objects doesn’t mean they will vote yes.

            Generally, if there are enough “no” votes to derail a piece legislation, at least some of the “no’s” will publicly voice their objection well in advance. That is how the legislative process normally works. People don’t all keep their votes a secret until the very end. That’s just not what people normally do. So I think the complete lack of any known objections makes it fairly unlikely that objections exist in any significant numbers.

            Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            “I do realize that the Big XII could accept a permanent disadvantage voluntarily, but it is not reasonable to expect anyone to do this.”

            We do it all the time. Going to 9 conference games is a voluntary disadvantage. Dropping I-AA games is a voluntary disadvantage.

            The leagues who’ve made those decisions think it’s to their advantage, because the playoff Committee will value strength of schedule. They could be proven right or wrong, but that’s the idea.

            They also think they’ll make more money—the ultimate aim of almost all scheduling decisions in the revenue sports—by putting on games that more fans want to attend and/or watch.

            Never playing a semifinal game in your region of the country is a voluntary disadvantage.

            The semi-finals are simply the major bowl games, which are being played where they were always played. The Big Ten accepted that disadvantage long ago.

            Giving ND special privileges is a voluntary disadvantage.

            I don’t think ND has any special privilege to get into the playoff. In fact, ND has the same disadvantage of Baylor and TCU last year, the inability to play a 13th game. The Irish are the one and only party in college football that has voluntarily accepted a competitive and financial disadvantage, because independence is like a religion to them. And of course, the Irish would be welcomed into the ACC with open arms, any day they decide they want access to that 13th game.

            ND does have special privileges to get into the non-playoff bowls — but those bowls are just exhibition games, and have the same purposes as every other non-playoff bowl: to make money and play for pride. The Irish earned their privileges the only way that matters: by being highly marketable.

            The question is how large is the disadvantage. The honest answer is nobody knows. Some years it may be huge while in other years it may be a net positive.

            I totally agree with this. Right now, people are just guessing what they need to do, to give themselves the best chance to make the playoff. In 10 years, we could realize that the Big Ten screwed the pooch by taking FCS teams off their schedules. But that’s how sports works: there is always a chance that your strategy will backfire.

            The point is that the other leagues have an extra lever to pull (the choice to hold a CCG) that the Big XII is denied. What the Big XII wants is the ability to make the same strategic decisions that every other league does, without being forced into an expansion they would otherwise not make. (I doubt they would be agitating for this, if they knew for sure they were going to expand anyway. In fact, they would’ve expanded already.)

            Before there was a playoff, the only competitive point of the CCG was to decide which meaningless exhibition game your champion would attend. Once you turn those exhibitions into games that actually count for something (other than revenue and pride), it changes the rules considerably.

            I am not saying that the Big XII will be competitively better off with a CCG. Just like everyone else, I have no idea either way. But IF it ultimately turns out that they are at a disadvantage, they should have a way to remedy that disadvantage the same way everyone else does, without being forced into an undesired expansion.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            “The point is that the other leagues have an extra lever to pull (the choice to hold a CCG) that the Big XII is denied.”

            The point is that the other leagues have an extra lever to pull (the choice to hold a CCG) that the Big XII use to qualify for and held, no longer qualifies for and doesn’t want to, but wants to hold a 13th game ccg anyway (unlike the other conferences).

            There, fixed that for you

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Marc Shepherd,

            We do it all the time. Going to 9 conference games is a voluntary disadvantage. Dropping I-AA games is a voluntary disadvantage.

            “The leagues who’ve made those decisions think it’s to their advantage, because the playoff Committee will value strength of schedule. They could be proven right or wrong, but that’s the idea.”

            Not true, for 9 games at least. The P12 did it to sell tickets. The B10 is doing it to play each other more often. Both know the extra losses hurt them in the rankings.

            “They also think they’ll make more money …”

            Just like the B12 does by staying at 10 schools.

            “The semi-finals are simply the major bowl games, which are being played where they were always played. The Big Ten accepted that disadvantage long ago.”

            Which supports my point even more.

            “I don’t think ND has any special privilege to get into the playoff.”

            They have a special payment clause, a special deal to make a NY6 bowl, and the same voting rights as the individual conferences. No other independent has any of that.

            “The point is that the other leagues have an extra lever to pull (the choice to hold a CCG) that the Big XII is denied.”

            No, the point is that the other conferences made the choice to expand to a size that gave them that extra lever and the B12 chose not to.

            “What the Big XII wants is the ability to make the same strategic decisions that every other league does, without being forced into an expansion they would otherwise not make.”

            And the SEC really wanted to go to 14? They wouldn’t have preferred to stop at 13? The B10 really wanted to get to 12 rather than 11 just for the sake of it?

            “But IF it ultimately turns out that they are at a disadvantage, they should have a way to remedy that disadvantage the same way everyone else does,”

            They already have that option – expansion. Everyone else had to make that choice.

            Like

          • Eric says:

            I’m still very much in the camp of thinking expanding is disadvantage vs. an advantage.

            1. The CCG rule change is likely to pass. It’s not for certain, but no one has publicly gone against it and I don’t think it would have made it this far without a high likelihood of passing. For the sake of stopping another round of realignment, I think most everyone will vote for it.

            2. I still actually disagree not having a CCG is a disadvantage. It ended up being one last year (maybe; although if Baylor had played Kansas State in CCG based on divisions or something, it probably wouldn’t have made a difference), but that’s going to vary year to year. That said, they want one so point #1 is the bigger key.

            3. Let’s assume they get a CCG exemption. What does adding Cincinnati and BYU or whomever do? It’s not going to stop the conference from being raided if other approach. It’s highly doubtful that either will result in a bump in per team payouts in the next round f talks. It’s also likely to bring up very messy divisional discussions and the last time the Big 12 went to divisions that was a source of instability (Nebraska felt left out and their interest ignored).

            Like

          • bullet says:

            Gee said in an interview, he didn’t like the idea of a ccg with 10.

            Like

          • m (Ag) says:

            “Going to 9 conference games is a voluntary disadvantage.”

            I don’t know that that’s true. The committee was looking strongly at the your record vs. Top 25 teams. There’s a bit of circular logic there (as there always is in rankings), but playing more games vs. top 25 teams can help you. The key is to show more of your conference belongs in the top 25.

            The Big 12 would have been just fine if they won a few noteworthy non-conference games; it’s possible just one noteworthy win would have been enough. They played close to several good teams (FSU, Auburn, UCLA, Alabama), but didn’t come up with a win. If I remember correctly, the biggest wins were Tennessee, Minnesota, Iowa, Maryland; I believe only Minnesota from that group spent any time in the top 25. This non-conference performance made it hard to place many teams from the Big 12 in the top 25, which is what hurt TCU & Baylor.

            When we talk about schedule strength for an elite team (one worthy of inclusion in the top 4), going to a 9th conference game doesn’t mean much if that 9th game is against a team in the 30-40 range.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            m (Ag),

            “I don’t know that that’s true. The committee was looking strongly at the your record vs. Top 25 teams. There’s a bit of circular logic there (as there always is in rankings), but playing more games vs. top 25 teams can help you. The key is to show more of your conference belongs in the top 25.”

            But it makes you more likely to lose a game as a typical conference opponent is harder to beat than a typical OOC opponent. Losses still hurt you in the CFP system. More importantly, you are guaranteeing more losses for your conference and will have fewer bowl eligible teams due to that 9th game.

            “The Big 12 would have been just fine if they won a few noteworthy non-conference games;”

            Or if TCU didn’t blow their lead against Baylor. Or if OSU or FSU (or even AL or OR) lost their CCG.

            “When we talk about schedule strength for an elite team (one worthy of inclusion in the top 4), going to a 9th conference game doesn’t mean much if that 9th game is against a team in the 30-40 range.”

            It doesn’t help the resume much, but it’s a higher risk of losing.

            Like

    • BruceMcF says:

      His definition of a majority seems a little dodgy … “some” want to expand, so if, say, OkU, KS State and WVU want to expand, “four or five” that are on the fence would leave a “majority” of two to three that prefer things they way they are.

      Like

  50. Brian says:

    http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/13289611/cut-back-money-games-vs-power-5-conference-schools

    Karl Benson wants SB teams to play fewer P5 teams and more G5 teams OOC.

    More games with “peer conferences” would improve the chances of a Sun Belt team going unbeaten and getting a bid to one of six New Year’s Day bowl games, the commissioner said at the conference’s media day Monday.

    “As nice as it is and as great as it is to win a game against one of the Big 5 — I don’t want to minimize that — but right now, in the system that we have, competition with our peer conferences is so important,” Benson said. “Those are the games that we really need to focus on.”

    This season, the combined schedules of the Sun Belt’s 11 teams include 35 nonconference games against the other nine FBS leagues. Of those, 19 are against Power 5 teams in the ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12. The other 16 are against teams from Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the American Athletic Conference and the Mountain West Conference.

    “The Sun Belt’s goal is to be the best conference of our four peer conferences,” Benson said.

    “We have teams that have scheduled strategically,” Benson said. “If the stars are aligned, they could be a 12-0 team.”

    Under the current bowl process, the highest-rated champion of the five non-power conferences gets a bid to one of the major bowls on Jan. 1.

    “It’s not a matter of if — it’s when a Sun Belt team becomes that highest-rated champion and plays in one of those New Year’s Day games,” Benson said.

    Ragin’ Cajuns coach Mark Hudspeth said revenues from consistently strong home crowds and four consecutive New Orleans Bowl victories have given Louisiana-Lafayette more financial flexibility to schedule fewer big paydays at Power 5 stadiums.

    “You’ve got to have a win over a Power 5 team and also play very well the rest of your schedule to make it to a Jan. 1 bowl. But I don’t think you necessarily have to play three of them,” Hudspeth said. “We’re always going to play one, at least, just because we want to play good people. We want to play on big stages, and it’s great exposure.”

    Idaho coach Paul Petrino will take his team to USC and Auburn this season. Petrino agreed with Benson’s scheduling philosophy in principle but added that it won’t be so easy for some member schools to trim back on Power 5 paydays.

    “You want to play those leagues that are the five that we’re in so you can beat them … and then your league ends up higher than their league,” Petrino said. “But I think realistically a lot the teams at our level need at least one of those money games. They pay the bills.”

    Like

    • Arkstfan says:

      AState will play one for cash for the foreseeable future but a second if it is home and home (Mizzou, Miami, Iowa State)

      Like

  51. Carl says:

    “You generally don’t hire an attorney to blow your brains out” — Judge Pellegrini re: Penn State, Freeh, and attorney-client privilege, September 2014.

    Penn State quickly settled the other lawsuit in which the plaintiff was granted access to the Freeh docs. I don’t imagine that strategy will work in this case …

    Penn State, Freeh law firm must turn over documents after privilege appeal fails in Paterno lawsuit
    http://www.centredaily.com/2015/07/20/4842830_penn-state-freeh-law-firm-must.html

    Like

  52. Brian says:

    http://www.jconline.com/story/mike-carmin/2015/07/16/btn-profits-increase-big-ten-revenue/30226149/

    The B10’s 2014-5 payout info is coming out. Purdue got over $32M when $30.1M was the predicted number. I believe MI reported $34.7M as their projection for next year.

    As part of the more than $32 million Purdue received from the Big Ten during the 2014-15 fiscal year, $1 million was generated from BTN profit shares, according to a document obtained by the Journal and Courier through a records request.

    The Big Ten Network, which the league owns along with Fox, began showing a profit in 2011-12. However, those shares were initially held back by the conference to help with the transition of Maryland and Rutgers.

    Big Ten deputy commissioner and treasure Brad Traviolia said this is the first year the conference distributed BTN profit shares to schools. Traviolia, though, declined to say which schools received them and how much was distributed.

    The conference’s five-year budget plan, obtained in 2014, showed the league projected to distribute $11 million – $1 million each to 11 schools – in BTN profit shares beginning in 2014-15. The profit shares are subject to approval by the Big Ten’s Chancellors and Presidents.

    Like

    • ccrider55 says:

      So…P12N distributing 1M/school in year two is a flop? Or is this apples and oranges.

      Like

      • Nostradamus says:

        Probably a combination of both. It isn’t apples to oranges at all as each Big Ten school was getting about $6.5 million from the start as the rights-fee component. But the fact that the start up costs had been covered, and profits were exceed the rights fees by 2011 shows how important distribution is.

        Like

      • Brian says:

        ccrider55,

        “So…P12N distributing 1M/school in year two is a flop? Or is this apples and oranges.”

        Apples and oranges. That is just the profit sharing from owning 49% of the BTN. The rights fee was also paid out by BTN ($7-8M per school). But once the BTN earns a certain amount above costs, the B10 is entitles to a 49% share of it and just now the conference has decided to pay that out rather than keep it to cover other expenses.

        Like

  53. Brian says:

    http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/13290727/gary-pinkel-missouri-tigers-force-independents-join-conferences

    Gary Pinkel thinks all independents should be forced to join a conference, and that all conferences should play a CCG.

    “I think all independents should join a conference, as a general rule,” Pinkel told ESPN.com. “I didn’t say Notre Dame in particular — everybody. You don’t have independents in the NFL. Leagues are leagues. I just think it’s difficult to assess a team that’s not in a league. It’s nothing against Notre Dame, it’s just my opinion.”

    Pinkel added to ESPN’s Brett McMurphy that Notre Dame should be given “a year to join a conference.”

    “You have some people that don’t play championship games because now they only have 10 teams,” he said. “I get that, but if down the road, you really want to do it right, I think, everybody’s in a league and everybody plays in a championship game, ideally.”

    If that happened now, ND would have to join the ACC as a full #15. If they want to try pods or keep divisions, the ACC would then need #16. UConn seems like the obvious choice for them. On the other hand, if CCGs get deregulated maybe the ACC prefers to stay at 15 and lock some rivals and rotate the rest.

    I’d be tempted to drop divisions if I were them and lock 3-4 games per school.

    What about BYU? Would the B12 take them or force them into the MWC?

    Does Army make the AAC or do they join the MAC?

    Like

    • ccrider55 says:

      NCAA FB isn’t the NFL. A point lost on most talking heads, fan boys, and apparently even some D1 coaches.

      Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      Gary Pinkel thinks all independents should be forced to join a conference, and that all conferences should play a CCG.

      I have seen no evidence that the actual decision-makers have any intention of trying to force ND into a conference. Anyhow, ND is playing nine P5 opponents this year, giving them a schedule of comparable difficulty to most P5 teams that are in a conference. They don’t play in a CCG, but neither does the Big XII. Much like Baylor and TCU last year, I suspect ND would need to go undefeated against their schedule to be assured of a playoff spot.

      What about BYU? Would the B12 take them or force them into the MWC?

      The Big XII would probably have the same concerns with BYU that they do now, which means the Cougars could be out of luck. I do think Mormon Senators and Congressmen could raise a ruckus if the rules were changed to BYU’s disadvantage, which is one of the reasons why Pinkel’s proposal won’t happen.

      Does Army make the AAC or do they join the MAC?

      Army’s chances of making the playoff are so remote, regardless of what they do, that I doubt they would feel like they need to jump into a conference.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        Marc Shepherd,

        “I have seen no evidence that the actual decision-makers have any intention of trying to force ND into a conference.”

        Me neither, bu that’s what Pinkel said. I just reported the news and then played with the hypothetical.

        “The Big XII would probably have the same concerns with BYU that they do now, which means the Cougars could be out of luck. I do think Mormon Senators and Congressmen could raise a ruckus if the rules were changed to BYU’s disadvantage, which is one of the reasons why Pinkel’s proposal won’t happen.”

        But if the rule did come, would the B12 grab BYU as the best choice available or pass on them forever? That’s the question.

        “Army’s chances of making the playoff are so remote, regardless of what they do, that I doubt they would feel like they need to jump into a conference.”

        Again, this was if they had to join one. Does their national draw get them the AAC, or do they join the MAC?

        Like

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          But if the rule did come, would the B12 grab BYU as the best choice available or pass on them forever? That’s the question.

          There is no “forever” among the mid-majors. Any Gang-of-Five school would accept a P5 offer in a heartbeat. None of those conferences has a grant of rights, or other handcuffs that make it almost impossible to leave. BYU also has no other P5 league that would realistically offer it a home. That means BYU will always be there for the Big XII, whenever they decide they are ready to move.

          Again, this was if they had to join one. Does their national draw get them the AAC, or do they join the MAC?

          Oh yeah, I think the AAC would love to have Army football. Despite Army’s putrid record on the field, their games have more of a national audience than most AAC teams.

          By the way, despite what Pinkel says to the contrary, his argument is really just an anti-Notre Dame rant. Trust me, he is not worried about Army making the playoff. What gets his goat is a season like 2012, when the Irish reached the #1 ranking despite six wins by nine points or less, coming mostly against unranked opponents (Purdue, BYU, Pitt, USC), only to see them exposed once they faced Alabama in the NCG.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            I was thinking forever as in if they expand to 12 without BYU, there’s no way they add them later (the B12 isn’t going to 14, at least not with BYU and someone). Also, if BYU has to join a conference there’s always the slight chance the P12 adds them just to deprive the B12 of that option. Of the available options, does the B12 really think there are 2 that are better than BYU right now?

            And I don’t care why Pinkel said it. His intent was irrelevant to my comment. I just followed his statement to its full conclusion. ND is easy (ACC or nothing). BYU and Army at least can be discussed.

            Like

  54. wscsuperfan says:

    A bit basketball-centric, but this blog post (in the SB Nation network) suggests that the Big Ten expand to 18 by adding Georgia Tech, Kansas, North Carolina, and Virginia

    http://www.btpowerhouse.com/2015/7/21/8911733/big-ten-expansion-would-be-beneficial-down-the-road

    Liked by 1 person

    • Brian says:

      That is SBN’s B10 Basketball blog so the hoops focus is to be expected.

      Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      Despite the post’s “basketball-centricity,” it is one of the rare speculative expansion posts that is not utterly ridiculous. A lot of dominoes have to drop for that quartet to be a realistic possibility (and the writer acknowledges this), but you could imagine it happening.

      Like

  55. cutter says:

    Will FOX Steal Big 10 From ESPN?

    http://lostlettermen.com/will-fox-steal-big-10-from-espn/

    Will FOX steal the Big 10 From ESPN?

    That’s the billions-dollar question in the college sports industry right now, as ESPN president John Skipper and 21st Century Fox founder Rupert Murdoch go head-to-head in a battle that could change the college sports media landscape forever.

    Since launching FOX Sports 1 two summers ago, FOX has been waiting for its chance to put a huge monkey wrench in ESPN’s world dominance of sports. This is that chance.

    The Big 10’s 10-year, $1 billion contract with ESPN and six-year, $72 million deal with CBS for select basketball games and six-year, $145 million pact for the Big 10 Championship Game all expire after the 2016-17 season and a new, gargantuan deal will be struck within the next 12 months.

    The only two legitimate TV players for the conference’s Tier 1 football rights (best games) are Disney (ABC/ESPN) and FOX, as CBS already has the Tier 1 rights to the SEC and NBC is content airing Notre Dame home games.

    The only thing we know for certain is that the Big 10 is about to get paid.

    I honestly don’t even know where to begin pegging the Big 10’s new Tier 1 deal, other than to say it will be way, way more than the $100 million per year it is getting now.

    [Note: The Big 10’s Tier 2 rights are not up for negotiation, as it has a 25-year, $2.8 billion deal with the Big Ten Network, 51% of which is owned by FOX. It also has a ]

    You can bet that shrewd Big 10 commissioner Jim Delany is going to want a deal that leaves the old one in the dust, as sports programming rights have skyrocketed in recent years because Americans seem to have an insatiable appetite for sports and advertisers have placed a huge emphasis on sports broadcasts since it’s one of the few things people don’t watch on TiVo or on demand anymore.

    It only furthers Delany’s position of strength that the Big 10 is undergoing a renaissance.

    The conference lays claim to the reigning national champion in football (Ohio State), has another college football heavyweight in Michigan State, is the talk of the offseason with Jim Harbaugh’s return to Michigan and also boasts traditional powers in Wisconsin, Nebraska and Penn State. Oh, and the conference just put not one, but two basketball programs in the 2015 Final Four.

    Normally, you would assume that ESPN would just spend whatever it took to keep the Big 10 in the fold to remain the “Home of College Football.”

    But it’s not that simple.

    All the TV rights that Disney has stockpiled over the years — most notably “Monday Night Football” ($15.2 billion contact) the NBA ($24 billion, split with Turner starting after the 2016-17 season) and the College Football Playoff ($7.3 billion) — starts to add up, even at ESPN.

    And the new trend of Americans cutting the cord to cable is starting to be felt in Bristol, as The Worldwide Leader is tightening its purse strings after losing approximately three million subscribers in just over a year.

    ESPN has made several recent cost-cutting moves, such as letting on-air talent like Bill Simmons and Colin Cowherd walk away from the network when the price tag for retaining them got too high (Keith Olbermann’s departure was about more than money).

    So just how far over market value will The Worldwide Leader be willing to spend if re-upping with the Big 10 requires silly money?

    On the one hand, ESPN doesn’t want to spend beyond its means with subscription revenue falling. On the other, how much more dispensable would ESPN become to sports fans in general and college football fans specifically if it didn’t have the Tier 1 ones to the two most powerful conferences in football, the Big Ten and the SEC?

    If the Big 10 went to FOX, the only Power 5 conference that ESPN would have exclusive rights to — on top of splitting the Tier 1 rights to the Big 12 and Pac-12 and Tier 2 rights for the SEC — would be the ACC. A “Saturday Night Football” showdown at Duke’s Wallace Wade Stadium doesn’t scream “must-watch TV.”

    And in FOX, Delany has the perfect bargaining chip to drive the Big 10’s next TV rights deal through the roof.

    That’s because FOX is desperate for a seismic shift in the sports media landscape after the first two years of FOX Sports 1 has failed to threaten ESPN as it was intended to do.

    This is no more apparent than FOX’s college sports coverage.

    FOX’s college football pregame show’s attempt to dethrone “College GameDay” has been an unmitigated disaster, Erin Andrews’ splashy hire did nothing to boost ratings before she was reassigned to the NFL and the viewership for “Saturday Night Football” and ESPN games continues to dwarf FOX.

    FOX has faced the same problem with its rights to Big East basketball, as the lowest-rated regular season Big 10 basketball game on ESPN last season still beat the highest-rated Big East basketball game on FOX.

    But Big 10 football is a different animal than Big East basketball, as it has a much bigger and loyal following. It’s also something even casual sports fans would go out of their way to find on the TV dial.

    Of course, you can expect Delany to use FOX Sports 1’s poor ratings to drive up the price tag even further on ESPN’s challenger as a premium for taking a chance on the fledgling network.

    The Big 10 could also split its Tier 1 rights between ESPN and FOX like the Big 12 and Pac-12 but I’m guessing FOX would much prefer to go all-in on the conference, as the Big 12 and Pac-12 rights have only made FOX a place you flip to for a particular game before you go back to ESPN.

    Having the exclusive rights to the Big 10’s Tier 1 rights, the Big 10 Championship Game and all other Big 10 games via the Big Ten Network would be the company’s biggest move in sports since it upended NFL broadcasting by snagging the rights to the NFC from CBS in 1993.

    If FOX were able to land the Big 10’s Tier 1 rights, it would surpass ESPN with the best total rights package in college football.

    That is a Doomsday Scenario for The Worldwide Leader’s college football coverage, and one you can bet that Rupert Murdoch is salivating over. The 84-year-old media modul has made a legendary career of taking huge business risks and throwing ungodly amounts of money at them, proving time and again that power matters to him even more than profits.

    And after his recent $80 billion bid for 21st Century FOX to take over Time Warner failed, this would be a nice consolation prize to the media mogul.

    The question now is, just how important is FOX Sports 1’s success no matter the cost to Murdoch and his son, James (the company’s new incoming CEO)?

    If the answer is “very,” ESPN’s in big, big trouble.

    Like

    • bullet says:

      How many games does BTN get? Someone on here probably remembers or remembers a link.
      40? 45? 50?

      Like

      • ccrider55 says:

        For what it’s worth, from wiki:
        “Big Ten Network holds national broadcast rights to all of the conference’s home football games and televises approximately 35-40 football games each season. Each team is guaranteed to appear a minimum of two times annually on the network, one of which must be a conference game.”

        Like

      • Brian says:

        http://btn.com/2015/04/13/btn-announces-2015-primetime-football-schedule/

        In all, BTN will televise at least 40 football games this fall.

        Also, there’s this:
        http://www.bigten.org/multimedia/big10-television.html

        ABC/ESPN
        In June of 2006, the Big Ten signed a new 10-year national rights contract with ABC/ESPN. … The new agreement, which began during the 2007-08 season, includes up to 41 televised Big Ten football games – up to 17 on ABC and up to 25 on ESPN or ESPN2.

        Big Ten Network
        In June of 2006, the Big Ten announced the creation of the Big Ten Network …

        The programming on the Big Ten Network and alternative-network controlled platforms will include, but is not limited to:
        More than 35 football games each season

        http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/columnists/ct-sherman-media-big-ten-spt-0312-20150311-column.html

        The situation, though, is a bit different in football, according to Tom Lemming, who has a football recruiting show on CBS Sports Network. The Big Ten had only five football games on ESPN in 2014; the other conference games were on ABC and BTN.

        The question, of course, is how the new inventory from expansion is split. 11 teams generated 44 conference games and 22-33 OOC games. 14 teams generate 56 B10 games plus 28-42 OOC games. That growth from 66-77 up to 84-98, or roughly 20 more games.

        BTN says they’ll have at least 40. The ABC family gets up to 41 before.

        http://espn.go.com/college-football/conferences/schedule/_/id/5/year/2014/big-ten-conference

        Here’s last year’s breakdown through the regular season:
        BTN – 40
        ABC/ESPN family – 59 (see breakdown below)

        ABC – 20
        ESPN2 – 17
        ESPNU – 11
        ESPN – 6
        ESPNEWS – 5

        That’s 99 games. Some of those were controlled by other conferences, too.

        So, it looks like BTN takes about 40 and ESPN gets the rest.

        Like

    • Brian says:

      The article had a couple of nice links, too.

      1. You can’t out-ESPN ESPN

      https://the-cauldron.com/why-nbc-cbs-fox-s-sports-networks-have-all-failed-miserably-you-can-t-out-espn-espn-c19c7e537bbf

      It talks about why the other sports networks have failed to match ESPN and how they could do better.

      2. Passion for CFB Remains Strong

      http://www.footballfoundation.org/tabid/567/Article/55324/2014-Report-Passion-for-College-Football-Remains-Strong.aspx

      Gives all sorts of data about games and ratings for various networks.

      Overall, ESPN, ABC, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, ESPN3, ESPN Classic, SEC Network and Longhorn Network covered 453 exclusive regular-season Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) games involving teams from all 10 conferences, plus independents Notre Dame, BYU, Navy and Army. Combined with an extensive schedule of Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) contests, ESPN platforms carried 494 regular-season Division I football games in 2014.

      · ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPNEWS combined to televise 272 FBS contests, reaching more than 185,687,000 viewers. The 272 telecasts averaged 1,767,000 viewers.

      · There were 221 teams from every FBS and FCS conference playing on an ESPN platform in 2014.

      Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      My guess is, the Big Ten doesn’t actually want to be 100% on Fox. Of course, it has a priority to get paid, but it also wants exposure on platforms like ESPN’s College Gameday, which dwarfs anything that Fox has to offer.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        I think the question is whether the B10 seeks a prime time package from a network or combo of networks to guarantee a Saturday night game on a major network every week (like CBS for the SEC, but at night).

        Unless there is a huge money difference, dropping ESPN entirely makes no sense. I could see FOX getting the prime time package over ABC, potentially,

        Like

  56. Steve Hillyer says:

    The Big 12 was a great conference until several of them started acting like 14 year old girls pining for the handsome quarterback (my apologies to 14 year old girls), now it’s a dump and other than BYU there are no worthy candidates for expansion. My ultimatr wish will be for KU to get out of there, somehow some way.

    Like

  57. Brian says:

    http://www.si.com/college-football/2015/07/23/braxton-miller-ohio-state-move-wide-receiver

    Braxton Miller is moving to H-back and/or slot receiver for this season. He’ll also return punts. He’ll work a little at QB to be the 3rd stringer, most likely.

    The idea of switching to wide receiver first came to Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller in April, when he discussed it with strength coach Mickey Marotti. In May, he brought up the possibility to coach Urban Meyer and the two began watching film of star wide receivers together. Later that month, Miller began sneaking on the practice field at night to catch balls from quarterback J.T. Barrett. Miller kept the potential switch from quarterback to receiver secret, a fallback plan in case he couldn’t return fully healthy to playing quarterback after two shoulder surgeries, the latter which caused him to miss all of last season.

    Miller’s fallback plan has become a reality, as he told SI.com on Thursday night that he plans to start the 2015 season playing H-Back—a hybrid receiver position—for the Buckeyes. Miller hasn’t completely closed the door on playing quarterback, as he estimates that he’ll spend 80% of the time during training camp at receiver and 20% with the quarterbacks. But Miller said with more than two months until he’ll be completely healthy at quarterback, he’s approaching this season as primarily a wide receiver.

    “For the most part, it’s going to be H-Back and punt return,” Miller said in a phone interview on Thursday night. “It’s a long process to get back totally to throwing and throwing every day. This is the smarter thing for right now, God blessed me with a lot of talent and different opportunities. I’m going to have fun with that and still score a lot of touchdowns and help the team out and be dominant at that.”

    The move has sent a surge of adrenaline through the Ohio State staff, as the Buckeyes are giddy at the possibility of Miller doing more than just catch conventional passes. From H-Back, he can also take pitches, shovel passes, catch bubble screens and even throw the ball on trick plays. While there’s been an adjustment period for Miller, there’s little concern overall about his ability to change over. Miller knows the receiver plays cold from his time as a quarterback and he’s shown a natural ability to catch the ball and also return punts.

    I think this is great both for him and for the team. His NFL future isn’t at QB, and this allows the other 2 QBs to get more reps. I think Barrett wins his job back, at least to start the year, with Jones getting some time in most games.

    Like

  58. urbanleftbehind says:

    Although he more likely ends up South, I wonder if Gary Andersen has a Beavers jersey ready.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaaf-dr-saturday/report–four-star-rb-jordan-stevenson-denied-admission-by-wisconsin-171948631.html

    Like

  59. Brian says:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/big12/post/_/id/101317/big-12-coaches-say-another-playoff-snub-could-bring-back-conference-championship-game

    2 tidbits from B12 coaches:

    1. If the B12 misses the CFP again this year, they expect to add a CCG for 2016 (with or without expansion). I wonder if that holds true if they have no viable CFP team (everyone is 10-2 or worse)?

    2. The B12 schedule could hurt them in the CFP race this year. Of their preseason top 4 teams, only Baylor has a game on CCG weekend (vs UT). TCU, OU and OkSU all end the week before that.

    Like

    • Brian says:

      http://espn.go.com/blog/big12/post/_/id/101280/can-a-one-loss-big-12-team-secure-a-playoff-berth

      Another factor for the B12: they don’t have a lot of impressive OOC wins lately.

      They are 9-13 in bowls the past 3 years and 10-14 against P5 teams (plus ND and BYU) in the regular season. Those wins are IA twice, UMD twice, MN, Miami, UVA, MS, MS St and ND. There are losses to BYU twice, ND, IA, Duke, FSU, AZ, UCLA, AR, Auburn, MS, LSU, TN and AL.

      Like

      • Mack says:

        Poor conference-wide OOC results will not matter if one team runs the table. A 12-0 B12 champion will make the playoff just like FSU and ND did despite widespread doubts about how good they were. At 11-1 the B12 has a good probability of being sidelined like last year.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          Correct, it matters as a tiebreaker. And with 9 conference games, they are more likely to lose 1 than the 8-game conferences. On the other hand, they are less likely to lose OOC based on having only 3 games and most of those being easy.

          And obviously this is generalizing about the B12, as some teams (UT and OU, especially) tend to schedule a good OOC game every year.

          Like

    • Brian says:

      http://espn.go.com/blog/big12/post/_/id/101241/poll-big-12-players-want-to-see-expansion

      B12 players want expansion, but they don’t agree on which schools to add.

      This week, as is our annual tradition, the Big 12 blog team polled more than 20 players who attended Big 12 media days. Their stance on expansion was nearly unanimous: 88 percent said they’re in favor of expanding the league beyond 10 teams in the future.

      Reaching a consensus on who needs to join the league, however, was as difficult for the players as it seems to be for their administrators. When players were asked to name at least one school they’d welcome to the Big 12, a total of 11 schools were mentioned and only four were suggested by more than one player: BYU, Houston and former members Texas A&M and Nebraska.

      Name at least one school you would add to the Big 12.

      Texas A&M: 22 percent
      BYU: 17 percent
      Houston: 11 percent
      Nebraska: 11 percent

      Also receiving votes: Arkansas, Boise State, Missouri, Oregon, Texas State, UCF, USC

      Given that TAMU and NE are not viable options, that makes BYU and UH their top choices.

      Like

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        You have to wonder if Big XII players actually understand the economics of expansion, given that their top choice is so profoundly unlikely.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          Honestly, I don’t even wonder. I assume over 90% of people interested in CFB don’t understand (or do, but don’t consider it when talking about expansion) the economics of expansion based on the comments I see and hear.

          Like

  60. wscsuperfan says:

    Sun Belt Conference is looking at possibly adding Coastal Carolina and Eastern Kentucky from the FCS ranks in order to setup divisions and have a championship game.

    http://www.fbschedules.com/2015/07/sun-belt-considering-adding-eastern-kentucky-coastal-carolina/

    Like

  61. Brian says:

    http://www.si.com/college-football/2015/07/20/fox-sports-charles-davis-joel-klatt-nfl-college-football

    With Donovan McNabb’s troubles, Charles Davis is getting bumped from CFB to the NFL by FOX. Joel Klatt will become the lead CFB analyst and be partnered with Gus Johnson. Matt Leinart will replace Klatt in the studio.

    As I recall, Klatt has done a good job in the studio shows. Davis is a very good analyst and hopefully Klatt will be as well. Working with Johnson must be tough, trying to counterbalance his over-the-top style (which I personally can’t stand).

    Like

  62. Brian says:

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/jon-solomon/25249355/alabamas-cost-of-attendance-stipend-will-rank-among-highest-in-nation

    Something’s a little fishy in AL.

    As it turns out, Alabama’s cost of attendance stipends will rank among the leaders nationally at $5,386 for out-of-state players and $4,172 for in-state players, according to information the university provided to CBSSports.com.

    This represents a 34-percent increase in Alabama’s cost of attendance figure for out-of-state students from two years ago and a 14-percent increase for in-state students. In its 2013-14 NCAA financial report, Alabama listed the gap between its average scholarship and the full cost of attendance at $4,018 for out-of-state students and $3,664 for in-state students. Alabama did not provide its 2014-15 figures.

    … Alabama’s out-of-state stipend figure for 2015-16 ranks third among SEC schools based on a CBSSports.com survey; the only SEC schools with higher figures are Tennessee ($5,666) and Auburn ($5,586).

    It’s amazing how school got 34% more expensive for FCOA in just 2 years.

    Like

  63. Brian says:

    http://espn.go.com/espn/story/_/id/13314040/colin-cowherd-no-longer-espn-air-comments-dominican-republic-players

    Another great day for CFB fans. Colin Cowherd is done at ESPN. He was running out his contract anyway, but yet another stupid thing he said got him fired.

    Like

    • urbanleftbehind says:

      That guy always seemed like a spawn of Joe Buck and Rick Bayless.

      Like

    • bob sykes says:

      What is odd about this is that Cowherd is every bit as much race-obsessed as the New York Times. He is forever ranting about baseball’s old white guy problem and how it is dying because it isn’t majority black on the field and in the stands. Did he by accident reveal his true thoughts?

      Like

      • Brian says:

        http://awfulannouncing.com/2015/espns-early-dismissal-colin-cowherd-easy-ingenious-way.html

        ESPN has always tolerated Cowherd’s idiocy until now. One theory is that ESPN fired him early (he was supposed to leave for Fox after 1 more week at ESPN) to brand him as a racist right before he was supposed to start at Fox. Fox has major deals with MLB, too.

        Putting these first two pieces together, it’s easy to see why ESPN finally decided to do something about Colin Cowherd. He’s not their problem anymore, he’s Fox’s problem.

        The timing couldn’t be more convenient and opportunistic for ESPN. They get to take the high road publicly and wag their finger at Colin Cowherd and trumpet their commitments to diversity and tolerance and respect for all people and so on and so forth. But they also get to stamp a big scarlet letter on their biggest rival’s biggest talent acquisition.

        Just a few days ago, Cowherd was opining about his wonderful relationship with ESPN management that allowed him to talk about his goodbye on the air, (an opportunity never afforded to Bill Simmons, by the way). Now ESPN has effectively fired him a week before he quit.

        Like

  64. Brian says:

    I think there’s an interesting intersection of several recent stories that merits some thought or discussion. We have ESPN cutting costs, perhaps capping future rights fees from them. We have people discussing whether sports rights fees are a bubble and using ESPN as an example. We have cord cutting and the potential change in the TV model toward a la carte making the conference network plan seem less certain. On top of that, there is the future of conference expansion and CFP expansion.

    John Swofford said a couple of relevant things during ACC media week.

    1. In a pure football sense, he would support expanding to 8 teams.

    http://collegefootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/07/20/accs-john-swofford-on-board-with-college-football-playoff-expansion/

    “In a perfect world, if you only want to talk about football, and only about a playoff, yeah, eight would probably be better,” Swofford said Monday.

    2. However, academic reasons held it to 4 and he thinks that will continue.

    http://www.heraldsun.com/breakingnews/x761892513/ACC-commissioner-Swofford-8-teams-ideal-for-playoff

    Swofford said educational concerns limited the initial rollout of the system to four teams.

    “I do think it has a great deal of potential,” he said. “The question is asked a lot, ‘Why not eight?’ or ‘Will it become eight in a few years?’ I can tell you why not eight, right now: The presidents made the decision as to how far we can go with the playoff, and the bookends are exams in December, and the presidents don’t want football to become a two semester sport. Those concerns are education-based. So I think they’re appropriate.”

    http://www.newsobserver.com/sports/college/acc/unc/article27969094.html

    “I’m thrilled that we are at four, and where we are, I think that’s where we will be through the duration of this (TV) contract,” he said. “I think it’s where we should be because it fits the parameters that the presidents had given us in terms of a playoff.”

    ESPN has an agreement to broadcast the playoff through the 2025 season. That’s the earliest Swofford sees the playoff expanding though “in a perfect world,” he said, the playoff include eight teams.

    “But right now – that’s not in the cards right now,” Swofford said. “No, you would have to look at playing fewer games before then to do away with conference championship games or play 11 regular-season games instead of 12, something of that nature. It’s probably doable. You’d have to adjust a lot of television contracts and maybe down the road, maybe that’s something that this evolves into.”

    I think he hit some key points, there. Expansion to 8 would require a substantial restructuring of the season, and that’s a big hurdle to overcome. Dropping a game means fewer home games to fund the AD and support the local community, let alone fewer chances to watch your team. Most of the increase in CFP money by going to 8 teams would have to go to making up for that lost game, I think. Once you’ve repaid 128 or so schools for what they lost, is there enough money left to justify the upheaval? You could drop CCGs as only a few make money, but the SEC and B10 would complain about that. More importantly, all the TV contracts would have to be adjusted.

    3. Switching topics, he also discussed conference expansion and the ACCN.

    Swofford spoke on a variety of topics in his half hour speech to the Sports Club. He expects the major college conferences to remain stable for a while after a “tumultuous decade” that saw many teams switch conferences, including his own league’s addition of four teams in the last three years.

    “For the next 12 to 15 years, I don’t think you’ll see movement in the Power Five conferences,” Swofford said. “Unless someone grows and adds a team not currently in the Power Five, but I don’t think you’ll see any teams moving within it.”

    Swofford also said that the ACC has been “quietly aggressive” in working toward an ACC television channel, similar to the SEC’s venture with ESPN that debuted this year.

    Basically, he thinks both the B12 and ACC will survive the end of their GORs intact. And how long has the ACC been quietly aggressive about the ACCN?

    http://collegefootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/07/20/still-no-timetable-for-an-acc-network/

    A few years ago I traveled down to North Carolina for the ACC Football Kickoff. One of the questions hurled at ACC commissioner John Swofford at the time was when the ACC might launch its own conference-branded sports network, similar to the Big Ten Network. Swofford strayed away from putting any firm timetable out there. That was in 2011.

    They’ve been talking about it for quite a while. The rumors are 2017 as the earliest potential launch date now.

    And here’s a piece explaining how broadcast networks can get back into the sports business instead of losing out to ESPN.

    http://awfulannouncing.com/2015/how-broadcast-tv-networks-could-reclaim-sports.html

    … According to SNL Kagan, broadcast networks are projected to earn $6.3 billion in retransmission fees in 2015, and that number could be as high as $9.8 billion by 2020. CBS, in particular, has publicly stated its intent to collect $2 billion in retransmission revenue by 2020.

    Keep in mind this is for TV channels that are available over the public airwaves for free. SNL Kagan projects that these channels could earn an average fee of $1.53/month per subscriber from cable — still a long way from ESPN’s current subscriber fee of $6.61/month, but if ESPN’s customer base continues eroding, broadcast networks just might be able to chip away at ESPN’s huge sports rights catalog.

    Basically, the broadcast networks get paid for every cable subscriber, too. As cable companies push cord-cutters to keep a bundle of internet and only local channels (cheaper than internet alone) rather than drop TV entirely, the broadcasters are getting paid pretty well. If their numbers keep rising while ESPN’s keep dropping, that could make for a big change in the market.

    Like

    • Mark Ferguson says:

      I could see ESPN supporting an 11 game season but may not like the earlier ending.

      The U.S. Open deal blocks football from ESPN2 the weekend before the finals. That is creating a tight schedule to meet all their contract obligations. That’s why Mizzou at AState got shoved to ESPN3.

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

      Like

      • ccrider55 says:

        “I could see ESPN supporting an 11 game season but may not like the earlier ending.”

        They’d need to support it to the tune of reimbursing at least the value of the lost gate, concessions, lost reg season broadcast revenue, etc. for every team in D1. We aren’t shortening the season for everyone just to add four qtr finals. It’s way more expensive than it looks.

        Like

    • ccrider55 says:

      Brian:

      “We have cord cutting and the potential change in the TV model toward a la carte making the conference network plan seem less certain.”

      Not sure I follow. Are you suggesting we are bound for total a la carte? If not, conference networks should be just fine as long as they have the live inventory to broadcast. We already have a form of a la carte employed by the broadcasters with the in or out of footprint designation.

      If you are referencing the corporate owned but conference specific channels I could see them being more threatened, or at least value diminished in ESPN/Disney’s eyes. Sometimes a corporate partner needs larger cash returns while schools may derive less direct, but no less valuable to them, non monetary benefit. BYUtv is free, and it serves it’s owner perfectly well. It’s a matter of what the goal of a conference network is. Actual conference ownership allows for flexibility/options that corporate doesn’t value. As long as you retain the rights to valuable live product, you’ll be alright.

      Like

      • Mark Ferguson says:

        I think ala carte may become more common but bundles will remain because consumers would rather have a diverse package. Who sells it to them may change but they will be around.

        Sent from my iPhone

        >

        Like

      • Brian says:

        ccrider55,

        “Not sure I follow. Are you suggesting we are bound for total a la carte?”

        Most likely not, but we already see some a la carte options (HBO, for example) and a move to smaller bundles (Sling TV, etc). Any movement in that direction impacts the bottom line for conference networks.

        “If not, conference networks should be just fine as long as they have the live inventory to broadcast. We already have a form of a la carte employed by the broadcasters with the in or out of footprint designation.”

        As soon as people can get away with not paying for these channels, they will.

        Like

        • ccrider55 says:

          “As soon as people can get away with not paying for these channels, they will.”

          As soon as I can get an all inclusive sports bundle with a small number of locals, PBS, and the major broadcast channels, I will. And I’ll pay for it. I might even consider a (what passes as) news channel bundle, just for the entertainment value.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            I think you’d acknowledge that there are far more people willing to drop all sports networks than want all the sports networks. So how much would you be willing to pay for that sports bundle? Wasn’t there speculation that just ESPN might cost $30 per month if bundling ends? How many people would pay $30-50/month for a sports bundle?

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            I’m paying 150+ a month (including internet) now for the ability to watch basically what I described, but lacking some of the sports channels that requires near (or over) 200$ and include a bunch more channels I’ll never watch.

            Like

          • Mark Ferguson says:

            I could nearly cord cut. Most games I want are on ESPN3 of the four this year that aren’t I will be at two so going to a bar/restaurant is viable.

            I subscribe to league owned packages for baseball, soccer and hockey.

            Cutting means I give up the Memphis Grizzlies but keep Sporting KC, the Cubs and Nashville Predators.

            But most people in Little Rock cut and they lose most of the Razorbacks schedule and the Cardinals or the lesser number lose the Rangers

            Sent from my iPhone

            >

            Like

          • Brian says:

            My price was only for the sports bundle. No local stations, no news, no popular cable networks.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            And my current 150+ would more than cover the 30-50 you asked if people would pay for the sports package, leaving plenty for the basic local, etc package.

            Like

    • Redwood86 says:

      The networks are going to price themselves out of their customer base. At some point, the math will lead most non-sports fan customers to get an HD antenna and TIVO, and drop cable/satellite.

      Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      The presidents made the decision as to how far we can go with the playoff, and the bookends are exams in December, and the presidents don’t want football to become a two semester sport. Those concerns are education-based. So I think they’re appropriate.

      I don’t doubt that these were the presidents’ constraints. But bear in mind, until quite recently, many of those same presidents were dead set against any sort of playoff whatsoever. So you have to ask which of those objections is really fundamental. College basketball is a two-semester sport already — and the reality is that football players are working at their sport year-around, even though the games are largely confined to one semester.

      Whether ESPN (or some other entity) would pay enough money is a different question. I agree with Brian that they need a few years of ratings, and especially in the years that the semi-finals aren’t on NYD, to see how that works out before they talk about adding even more.

      Like

      • Mark Ferguson says:

        ESPN want more than one data point on what NYE playoff games are worth before going any longer.

        The conferences will (should) want more data points on CFP selection. If the field moves to eight a championship game may be a bad thing if you see it makes you less likely to place two teams.

        In a cord cut environment a larger event becomes more compelling to extract subscriptions.

        Like

      • Brian says:

        Marc Shepherd,

        “I don’t doubt that these were the presidents’ constraints. But bear in mind, until quite recently, many of those same presidents were dead set against any sort of playoff whatsoever. So you have to ask which of those objections is really fundamental.”

        I’m pretty sure they consider both important. They won’t mess with exams, especially as they keep getting sued for putting the athlete part ahead of the student part. I know other divisions play throughout December, but they don’t have the same legal concerns. So with mid-December verboten, that leaves playing quarterfinals on CCG weekend or around Christmas if they won’t push back the end of the season.

        As for going deeper into January, I think they have 2 main concerns. Missed classes for players and students is one concern. Another is fighting the NFL for attention. The NFL is already talking about starting to play a playoff game at the exact same time as the NCG (they want to add 2 teams and that means 2 more TV slots, so they say they’ll play that Monday night). Every week after that the media will be so focused on the NFL that CFB will shrink from view. Does anyone with power want to do that to the NCG?

        “College basketball is a two-semester sport already — and the reality is that football players are working at their sport year-around, even though the games are largely confined to one semester.”

        Lifting doesn’t force them to miss classes. And presidents look at the grades for hoops players and definitely don’t want that to spread further.

        Like

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          As for going deeper into January, I think they have 2 main concerns. Missed classes for players and students is one concern. Another is fighting the NFL for attention.

          The latter concern is really just a proxy for money: would they get paid enough? But that’s not a principled concern; it’s more of a pragmatic one. If enough money is there, they will probably figure out a way to accept it. If the money is not there, then it clearly won’t happen.

          Missed classes, on the other hand, are a principled concern. And yet, the length of the season has increased repeatedly over the last half-century, a fact which seems to suggest that if the money is right, the problem of scheduling around classes can be overcome.

          IF the money is there for an eight-team playoff, then I think the most likely format is the one FTT has often suggested. The traditional bowls become the quarter-finals. The semi-finals get played when the NCG is now played; and the final is on the off-weekend between the NFL conference finals and the Super Bowl. This format retains the significance traditional major bowls, allows CCGs to continue to be played (for those conferences that want them), and preserves the regular season.

          Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            If we wind up with four autonomous power conferences ccgs become de facto qtr finals.

            I know. Not happening. Can’t lose the possibility of a Cinderella story from a GO5(6) conference.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Marc Shepherd,

            “The latter concern is really just a proxy for money:”

            No, it really isn’t. It’s about the free marketing the postseason brings them. They lose that if everyone is talking about and watching the NFL instead.

            “But that’s not a principled concern; it’s more of a pragmatic one.”

            So? Does that make it stop being a reason?

            “If enough money is there, they will probably figure out a way to accept it. If the money is not there, then it clearly won’t happen.”

            If enough money is there, they’d declare the players pro athletes and give them honorary PhDs. Almost anybody will do almost anything if enough money is there.

            “And yet, the length of the season has increased repeatedly over the last half-century,”

            Which has very little impact on missing classes. Some of the games are before school even starts. Most games are at home and almost all games are on Saturdays. Few, if any, students travel to the road games, too. Of the road games, most conference games don’t require leaving before Friday. It’s not the long trip that postseason games often require.

            “IF the money is there for an eight-team playoff, then I think the most likely format is the one FTT has often suggested. … This format retains the significance traditional major bowls, allows CCGs to continue to be played (for those conferences that want them), and preserves the regular season.”

            It does not retain the significance of the traditional major bowls, it demotes them even further.

            Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            “The latter concern is really just a proxy for money:”

            No, it really isn’t. It’s about the free marketing the postseason brings them. They lose that if everyone is talking about and watching the NFL instead.

            But it’s ultimately about money, isn’t it? If “everyone is talking about and watching the NFL instead,” then people don’t watch CFB playoffs, and they aren’t worth as much.

            “But that’s not a principled concern; it’s more of a pragmatic one.”

            So? Does that make it stop being a reason?

            Principles are what you don’t give up (or don’t easily give up), merely because someone is offering you buckets of money. Pragmatic concerns give way far more easily, as long a someone offers a practical solution.

            ?“If enough money is there, they will probably figure out a way to accept it. If the money is not there, then it clearly won’t happen.”

            If enough money is there, they’d declare the players pro athletes and give them honorary PhDs. Almost anybody will do almost anything if enough money is there.

            The idea that the student–athletes are amateurs is a fundamental principle, and hence, not easily given up. But accepting more money to broadcast a growing slate of games, is routine. It has happened repeatedly, and will again.

            “And yet, the length of the season has increased repeatedly over the last half-century,”

            Which has very little impact on missing classes.

            Big Ten teams routinely played nine-game regular seasons through the mid-1960s, and only the champ went to a bowl game. Now they all play 12 games, two play a CCG, most go to a bowl game, and the top two in the country play a national championship game on top of that. You can’t seriously believe that, taken together, those changes have very little impact—even if each change, in itself, was a modest increase from what had gone on immediately before.

            “IF the money is there for an eight-team playoff, then I think the most likely format is the one FTT has often suggested. … This format retains the significance traditional major bowls, allows CCGs to continue to be played (for those conferences that want them), and preserves the regular season.”

            It does not retain the significance of the traditional major bowls, it demotes them even further.

            I am not aware of any factual basis for that. Of course, one is free not to like it, and I’m aware you don’t. But it is equally valid to point out that a game that qualifies you for the next round of the tournament is more relevant than an exhibition that ends your season regardless of the outcome.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Marc Shepherd,

            “But it’s ultimately about money, isn’t it?”

            To repeat: No, it really isn’t. They want the public awareness and media coverage. Think ND choosing to stick with NBC and independence rather than join the B10 for more money. If you offered them tens to hundreds of millions a year, they’d probably have said OK. But that’s ridiculous money, just like buying enough media coverage to trump the NFL playoffs.

            “Principles are what you don’t give up (or don’t easily give up), merely because someone is offering you buckets of money.”

            Bull. Plenty of people sell out their principles fairly cheaply. Some people hold them more tightly. There’s no reason to assume the presidents are all in the latter group.

            “Pragmatic concerns give way far more easily, as long a someone offers a practical solution.”

            That assumes that finding a pragmatic solution is easier than throwing money at the problem.

            “Big Ten teams routinely played nine-game regular seasons through the mid-1960s, and only the champ went to a bowl game. Now they all play 12 games, two play a CCG, most go to a bowl game, and the top two in the country play a national championship game on top of that.”

            1. The B10 is just 1 conference. Half the schools were playing at least 10 games during the 50s.
            2. Only the B10 had that 1 bowl team restriction. There are many more non-B10 presidents than B10 presidents.
            3. One of the big changes was playing games earlier. In 1955, OSU’s first game was on 9/24. Now they start 3-4 weeks earlier. But OSU was on quarters back then, so that’s when school started. Playing games when school isn’t in session doesn’t cause players to miss games (OSU only started semesters a few years ago).

            “You can’t seriously believe that, taken together, those changes have very little impact—even if each change, in itself, was a modest increase from what had gone on immediately before.”

            On missing classes? Sure I can. Coaches work to craft schedules for players conducive to the team’s schedule. Players get priority in scheduling to get class sections at the time they need them. Many classes don’t meet on Fridays, which is the only day potentially impacted by an extra regular season game. That’s incredibly different from missing a week to go to a postseason game.

            It does not retain the significance of the traditional major bowls, it demotes them even further.

            “I am not aware of any factual basis for that.”

            And the factual basis for your counter claim that it “retains the significance traditional major bowls” is what, exactly?

            “But it is equally valid to point out that a game that qualifies you for the next round of the tournament is more relevant than an exhibition that ends your season regardless of the outcome.”

            That’s a valid opinion but it is in no way, shape or form a fact. Relevance is in the eye of the beholder. Besides, this is a comparison of 4 versus 8, which means the games move from semifinals to quarterfinals. Since when are quarters as significant as semis?

            Like

          • There are very few arguments against playoff expansion that irk me more than the “Football would become a two-semester sport!” argument. It’s such a blatantly hypocritical argument from university presidents and conference commissioners that have been openly hunting for more athletic revenue via TV contracts, conference realignment and luxury suites. Yet, having a grand total of 2 teams play a week to 10 days later than when the current national championship game is played is where they suddenly draw the line in the sand?! Really?!

            I give a lot more credence to economic arguments that they fear an expanded playoff would reduce the TV and ticket sale values of the regular season or further negatively impact the bowl system. Granted, I personally don’t agree with those arguments and can find several fairly simple systems that avoid those issues, but at least those are honest positions related to what the university presidents and conference commissioners care about. In contrast, the reporters covering college football shouldn’t let people like Swofford and Delany get away with sounding like they care about academics simply because they are against 2 teams playing an additional 7 to 10 days later than the current system (as if that would suddenly upend the academic/athletic balance of college football). It’s a nonsensical hypocritical platitude.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Frank the Tank,

            “There are very few arguments against playoff expansion that irk me more than the “Football would become a two-semester sport!” argument. It’s such a blatantly hypocritical argument from university presidents and conference commissioners that have been openly hunting for more athletic revenue via TV contracts, conference realignment and luxury suites. Yet, having a grand total of 2 teams play a week to 10 days later than when the current national championship game is played is where they suddenly draw the line in the sand?! Really?!”

            To be fair, the conference commissioners are merely repeating what they’ve been told by their presidents. I don’t think they all necessarily feel strongly about it but their bosses do. As for being hypocritical, it’s irrelevant. All that matters is that they do consider it important, not that it’s an illogical stance.

            “In contrast, the reporters covering college football shouldn’t let people like Swofford and Delany get away with sounding like they care about academics simply because they are against 2 teams playing an additional 7 to 10 days later than the current system (as if that would suddenly upend the academic/athletic balance of college football).”

            Delany favors freshmen ineligibility. You don’t think he honestly cares about academics?

            Like

  65. Brian says:

    I was thinking about the playoff today and if/when it will expand to 8 or more teams.

    1. I know many fans are clamoring for it, but I think ESPN is waiting to see the ratings over several years (especially with the Thursday NYE semifinal games this year instead of Saturday 1/2).

    2014 was almost a perfect storm for ESPN:
    a. The intrigue of the first playoff
    b. 4 huge brands (AL, OSU, FSU, Nike)
    c. Controversy for the seeds, especially the last spot
    d. 1/1 semifinals
    e. 1st semifinal in the Rose Bowl with a P12 team, Winston vs Mariota, controversy with Winston
    f. 2nd semifinal in the Sugar with an SEC team, not just B10 vs SEC but OSU vs AL

    That’s almost perfect from ESPN’s point of view. The only slight improvements I can think of:
    a. USC instead of OR for a slightly bigger brand and the LA market
    b. ND instead of FSU for a bigger brand and the major eastern markets
    c. Rose = OSU vs USC, Sugar = AL vs ND -> OSU over ND for the title
    d. Close games in all of them (OR blew out FSU)

    Let’s see what happens with NYE semifinals on a weekday. How do the ratings compare with smaller brands in the games? What if 2 teams from 1 conference make it?

    2. If ESPN is cutting expenses, and they are about to bid for B10 rights, how much more do they want to spend on the CFP? Quarterfinals have to be less valuable to them than semifinals. Will they get 20M viewers each? 15M? How much more would ESPN have to pay? They pay roughly $470M per year now. Would it be another $100M? Another $200M?

    NCG – 34.5M viewers

    Sugar – 28.3M
    Rose – 28.2M

    1/1 NY6 bowl – 9.1M
    12/31 NY6 bowls – 5.0M, 7.4M, 8.9M
    Other 1/1 bowls – 6.1M, 6.4M
    Other bowls – 1.1M – 6.8M (only 4 over 5M)

    SEC CCG – 12.8M
    ACC CCG – 10.2M
    B10 CCG – 6.1M (blowout and same time as ACC CCG)
    P12 CCG – 6.0M
    Baylor/KSU – 2.2M (same time as ACC and B10 CCGs)

    It could be a tough decision for ESPN financially.

    3. Would this impact the regular season? Conferences don’t want to give up any of their current money. If both teams in a CCG are likely to make the playoff, how much does that hurt a CCG? Is that reflected in future TV deals? What about the regular season? Could it suffer as well?

    Like

    • Mark Ferguson says:

      Remember nothing is likely to happen with the CFP format prior to the 2020 season. Leagues all have bowl deals through 2019. Taking four high value teams out of the pool impacts the high payout bowls who get less attractive replacements and low tier bowls who lose the 6-6 SEC and may end up with a 6-6 Sun Belt or MAC.

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

      Like

    • Ross says:

      Maybe the winner of the CCG is guaranteed a spot in an 8-team playoff? That leaves three at-large bids, so the regular season doesn’t lose too much value. People would want to tune in to see who secures that automatic spot, and the possibility of bid-stealers (like in NCAA basketball) could further boost CCG viewership.

      Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      Remember nothing is likely to happen with the CFP format prior to the 2020 season.

      This is true, but the discussion of whether to retain or alter the current format is likely to be going on in back rooms a long time before it actually becomes public. I certainly do think that they will want several years of experience with the four-team playoff format before they begin to consider whether it is the best one.

      Like

    • wscsuperfan says:

      Interesting scenario

      Like

    • Brian says:

      Mike,

      Some tidbits from that article:

      Big Ten football fans, see if the following slate of conference games would interest you:

      Oklahoma vs. Wisconsin; Nebraska vs. Texas A&M; Iowa vs. Iowa State; Minnesota vs. Kansas

      Those wouldn’t be my 5 ideal choices. It’s hard for me to believe OU would have preferred the B10 to the P16 with UT. Taking ISU would be a complete waste for the B10. It would be pure charity to preserve some rivalries. TAMU would be a poor cultural fit because they are so southern. KU brings hoops, but I don’t know if the B10 needs another football dead weight.

      If I had to pick 5, and UT was off the board, I might take TAMU, OU, NE and KU but I’d have to pick MO over ISU. If I didn’t have to worry about the money, ISU, KU, MO and NE would be the ones I’d take. Then grab UMD to provide PSU an eastern partner.

      West = TAMU, OU, NE, WI, IA, KU, MO, NW
      East = OSU, MI, PSU, MSU, PU, IN, UMD, IL

      Unfortunately, it’s not happening. But there was a time when grouping those eight schools into one division of a 16-team Big Ten was discussed at high administrative levels by members of both leagues.

      Five summers ago, Texas rattled the Big 12 to its core by threatening to bolt to what then was the Pac-10, with five other league members trailing along.

      Some Big 12 schools involved wanted no part of such a move or the travel associated with it and began exploring other options. I first heard of this at the time and again two years ago, but it wasn’t until last week’s Big 12 media days that I found a second source with direct knowledge to confirm it.

      Was this a concrete proposal for realignment? No.

      But it was much, much more than cocktail-napkin speculation.

      A Big 12 athletic director, who spoke to The World-Herald on condition of anonymity, said he contacted Big Ten athletic directors and presidents with whom he was familiar in June 2010.

      The topic: Was the Big Ten, which had 11 members at the time, interested in adding five Big 12 schools?

      The feedback from Big Ten school officials was positive, both sources said. The sticking point was devising a revenue-sharing plan to satisfy all. It would have taken at least three to four years for that many incoming schools to hit the financial payoffs sought for moving.

      Revenue sharing seems pretty easy. You have to think the networks would have given the B10 a pro rata increase for those 5 (NE, OU and TAMU would pay for the others). Pay the B12 schools more than they made in the B12 but less than the B10 schools to cover BTN buy-in, but realize the BTN would add much of TX (if not all) to the footprint so it should easily pay the bills.

      Several veteran Big 12 media members said their money is on the league not lasting another decade.

      If insiders don’t see the B12 surviving the end of the GoR, that’s not a good sign for them. With TAMU and MO gone and the LHN perhaps not as profitable as hoped, how would the B12 splinter? That’s the multi-million dollar question.

      Like

      • ccrider55 says:

        “…and the LHN perhaps not as profitable as hoped…”

        Not as profitable? Isn’t it losing tens of millions/year from ESPN/Disney’s point of view? Hate to point to Clay Travis but the numbers in the article, if accurate, seem concerning.
        http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/outkick-the-coverage/the-longhorn-network-is-all-hat-no-cattle-051115

        Like

        • Brian says:

          I have no idea of what ESPN expected or what they are actually making. Maybe they expected to lose a lot but considered it worth it to keep the B12 together.

          From the article:
          So as we near the four-year anniversary of the network’s launch, it’s worth asking: How’s the Longhorn Network doing?

          The answer depends on who you ask.

          According to SNL Kagan, the Longhorn Network now has 6.5 million in-state subscribers paying an average rate of .29 a month. Based on SNL’s numbers, that means in 2015 the Longhorn Network will bring in $22.6 million in revenue from those 6.5 million subscribers in Texas. ESPN doesn’t comment on particular revenue numbers for channels, but ESPN says the LHN actually has 20 million subscribers. That’s a big difference in subscriber numbers, but when you parse the difference between those subscriber numbers, the revenue isn’t much different. That’s because, according to SNL Kagan, all of the national subscribers outside the state of Texas — that’s roughly 13.5 million subscribers — are paying $0.02 a month, or $0.24 a year, for the Longhorn Network. Those 13.5 million subscribers would add just $3.2 million more a year in revenue, meaning after four years the Longhorn Network is still just doing $25.8 million a year in revenue. (Putting that number in a sports TV context, the Longhorn Network is on pace to do less revenue in 20 years than Mayweather-Pacquiao did in one night of pay-per-view boxing.)

          Given that ESPN has guaranteed Texas in the neighborhood of $15 million a year and the costs to launch and run the network were substantial, this also means ESPN has lost money every year the Longhorn Network has existed. Those losses likely run into the tens of millions of dollars so far. And while the Longhorns were guaranteed a payment that averages $15 million a year and ESPN isn’t bouncing checks, the rumored millions of additional dollars that could materialize from a successful network are not ever going to arrive.

          If it brings in $25M per year and pays UT $15M, it’s going to be profitable at some point if it isn’t already. How high could the startup and operating costs be?

          Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            13-18M yearly operating expenses (various estimates)) inn addition to the 15M avg rights fee need to be accounted for. UT doesn’t care, but Disney does.

            Like

          • phil says:

            I don’t see how ESPN can afford to lose the B1G. If things end up going to a smaller bundle or a la carte world, ESPN will be challenged to make the revenue they need in non-football months. They certainly can’t afford to have a lot of fans in the populous northeast, mid-atlantic and upper midwest regions feeling like they can live without ESPN during football season.

            So, how does ESPN afford to pay more for B1G college football in a time they are belt-tightening?? Orchestrating the destruction of the B12, to both save the LHN money and stop paying the 4-5 current B12 teams that would be left out $10 million each would be a good start.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Does Disney care? Wasn’t the theory that they save money overall by keeping the B12 alive at the cost of paying UT for the LHN?

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Brian:

            I agree ESPN may have thought that – sold that to Disney. Great idea as long as the future stays as predicted, but did anyone think in half a decade ESPN would lose 3M subs in one year? and I agree that the LHN/B12 split costs less than what a super conference would have commanded. Questions are these. Could they have made even more profit than what they make while subsidizing the super conference deterrent? Did they truly plan to lose 10s of M per year,. Or did they believe they could approach break even and pay for ($300M) startup costs? How much did they bank on televising HS to drive in state rates?

            Bottom line is a single school participating in a conference T1 media deal simple is way short of inventory to have a viable/desirable 24 hour sports channel.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            ccrider55,

            “I agree ESPN may have thought that – sold that to Disney. Great idea as long as the future stays as predicted, but did anyone think in half a decade ESPN would lose 3M subs in one year?”

            It’s doubtful, but they must have some people in charge of planning for the worst.

            “Could they have made even more profit than what they make while subsidizing the super conference deterrent? Did they truly plan to lose 10s of M per year,. Or did they believe they could approach break even and pay for ($300M) startup costs? How much did they bank on televising HS to drive in state rates?”

            We’ll never know those answers unless an ESPN executive leaks it later on.

            “Bottom line is a single school participating in a conference T1 media deal simple is way short of inventory to have a viable/desirable 24 hour sports channel.”

            Probably so. I think a few schools could get away with it. It all depends on the monthly price.

            Like

          • Let’s not put the nail in the coffin of ESPN yet. Cutting back because they’re only gushing out Scrooge McDuck vault profits instead of a Grand Canyon vault of profits is still in a much better position than all of their other competitors (such as Fox and Comcast). Remember that ESPN alone is worth as much as the rest of Disney COMBINED. ESPN’s monthly revenue is the equivalent of churning out an Avengers, Star Wars or Frozen movie every single month. It would take a lot of lost subscribers before that financial advantage is eradicated, and even then, ESPN is still one of the best positioned properties to go a la carte because of the depth and breadth of their sports rights holdings.

            One thing to note is that sports fans will not be saving money in an a la carte world. I saw someone mention that they’d essentially like the sports package with little else, but that belies the fact that the sports package is what costs the most by far. The people watching the 200 non-sports channels are the ones subsidizing the sports viewers as opposed to the other way around, so we (the sports fans) will be paying much more for the same or fewer channels.

            Like

          • Mark Ferguson says:

            Tech writers give us Apple is doomed stories now sports writers give us ESPN is doomed.

            ESPN ROI is down, that was inevitable more competition for the rights and leagues are dabbling with direct delivery. Failing to boost fees meant losing rights to competitors or gaining competition from rights holders.

            Cord cutting is gaining a little momentum internet delivery is gaining a great deal of momentum. Writers pretend ESPN is getting caught with their drawers down when you can easily find that ESPN saw this coming years ago. Three years ago The Verge wrote about it and so did Bloomberg. Five years ago Adweek was discussing it. Seven years ago the NY Times. They are not being caught off guard.

            ESPN has lost 3 million paying customers and while I am sure ESPN would like to keep their money the customers lost most likely aren’t regular consumers of ESPN content. If they were they probably wouldn’t cord cut.

            The fact is ESPN is GAINING leverage. With cable and satellite losing customers what happens to that trend if ESPN offers a stand alone subscription product? Sports is the only reason I don’t cut because my wife can get her HBO fix without satellite.

            Right now is good time to hint at that in order to soften the ground for more increases. A 7% increase pays ESPN as much at 90 million as when they were at 97 million.

            > > >

            Like

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Frank – It’s also important to note that those cord cutters are not just getting rid of ESPN, but also the Fox regionals, FS1, NBCSN and CBSSN.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Frank:

            I wasn’t suggesting ESPN was toast, only that they may be constrained to an extent regarding speculative spending (LHN).

            I admit I do watch a number of other channels (they’re in the package). I actually hope bundling survives, but actually represents a value rather than feeling extorted. Multiple smaller bundles might make obvious the value/savings in a bigger bundle, rather than just hearing how much it saves.

            I’m no expert but I believe you under estimate the cost of most new programming, considering how many flop. And those that don’t…Leonard, Penny, and Sheldon make 1M each for each half hour episode, for the next three years. Other actors, production costs, personnel, writers, in Hollywood at inflated prices.

            Sports isn’t the only place a premium is paid. But it basically is, as you know, nearly the only thing that demands and delivers on a schedule live viewing.

            Like

      • vp19 says:

        This supposedly was discussed in June 2010,, at a time when all heck was breaking loose regarding realignment. What’s weird for me is that Iowa State is included, but not Missouri — and IIRC, this was before Mizzou was publicly linked to the SEC. Perhaps Big Ten officials didn’t want Missouri under any circumstances (was this about the time the governor made some disparaging remarks about Okie State and Texas Tech?). And having Oklahoma in the mix, even though it wasn’t AAU then and won’t be anytime in the near future? Not sure what to make of that, especially given how important that is to Big Ten presidents.

        Like

      • vp19 says:

        how would the B12 splinter? That’s the multi-million dollar question.

        A difficult decision. Assuming all 10 members have to remain in the P5 (now P4) for political purposes, especially the public institutions, I could see this:

        Pac adds Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Okie State. (It finally happens, as Scott gets his dream 16. And for those complaining about OkSU and TT academically, WSU, OrSU and ASU hardly are Berkeley or Ann Arbor.)

        Big Ten adds Iowa State and Kansas. Both AAU (or by then, recent AAU a la Nebraska, and while the B1G may not be keen on inviting ISU, it’s the best fit of those left once the Texas and Oklahoma schools head west.

        SEC adds Kansas State and West Virginia. This assumes A&M nixes Baylor or TCU, and the SEC would prefer two public institutions. This leaves…

        ACC adds Baylor and Texas Christian. Both jibe with the public-private mix that is the ACC and give it a foothold in Texas.

        Admittedly, this wouldn’t make everyone happy, but it’s the most expedient solution if no one can be kicked out of the P5/4.

        Like

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          Assuming all 10 members have to remain in the P5 (now P4) for political purposes, especially the public institutions, I could see this. . . .

          I think you’ve misinterpreted how the politics works. Kansas politicians might be able to prevent KU from splitting from its in-state sister school, unless they are assured that KSU will have a good home.

          What Kansas politicians cannot do is force the SEC to take Kansas State and West Virginia, unless that was something the SEC already wanted to do anyway (which they don’t). The political influence of Kansas politicans ends at the state border.

          The last time the Pac-16 looked like it was gonna happen, the remaining schools were frantically lining up their options in the Big East (what is now the AAC). That’s the scenario you need to be looking at.

          The Big Ten isn’t going to come to Iowa State’s rescue, just because Iowa politicians want to retain two P5 schools. There isn’t a central political authority that forces the remaining three P5 leagues to gobble up the unwanted crumbs of the Big XII, after the Pac takes the best teams. Those teams not offered by the Pac would need to fend for themselves.

          My guess is that if the Pac added the four schools you named, the remaining six would try to survive as a league retaining the Big XII name, and they’d aggressively offer invitations to the best half-dozen Gang of Five teams — some combo of BYU, Houston, Cincinnati, USF, UCF, UConn, Memphis, Boise State, and Tulane.

          Even denuded of UT, TT, OK, and OSU, the Big XII is still a more valuable name than that of any mid-major league, so it makes sense that it would survive in some form. I suspect that league would retain power status for at least a litte while, much as the Big East was considered a “BCS league” long after it had lost most of its competitive stature. This would, of course, be open to reconsideration as various contracts come close to expiration.

          Like

          • vp19 says:

            It’s a lot easier to kick Temple out of a power conference (even a peripheral one such as the Big East in the early 2000s) than it is to do likewise to Iowa State or Kansas State. Both bring more to the table in attendance, athletic tradition, etc

            Like

          • Mark Ferguson says:

            Temple not being an equity member and needing a majority to vote to remain is much different from a 3/4ths vote to expel

            >

            Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            It’s a lot easier to kick Temple out of a power conference (even a peripheral one such as the Big East in the early 2000s) than it is to do likewise to Iowa State or Kansas State. Both bring more to the table in attendance, athletic tradition, etc

            But what the upper end of the Big XII cannot do, is force the remaining leagues to accept the dregs that they do not otherwise want. Politics might prevent the Big XII from breaking apart. Politics can’t make the dominoes fall the way that particular state politicians might want them to.

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Marc Shepherd,

            “I think you’ve misinterpreted how the politics works. Kansas politicians might be able to prevent KU from splitting from its in-state sister school, unless they are assured that KSU will have a good home.

            What Kansas politicians cannot do is force the SEC to take Kansas State and West Virginia, unless that was something the SEC already wanted to do anyway (which they don’t). The political influence of Kansas politicans ends at the state border.”

            Agreed.

            “My guess is that if the Pac added the four schools you named, the remaining six would try to survive as a league retaining the Big XII name, and they’d aggressively offer invitations to the best half-dozen Gang of Five teams — some combo of BYU, Houston, Cincinnati, USF, UCF, UConn, Memphis, Boise State, and Tulane.”

            Old – ISU, KSU, Baylor, TCU, WV (I think KU might find a home elsewhere)
            New:
            BYU, Boise – best football available
            UH, SMU – keep the TX market as much as possible
            UCF, USF – add FL
            UC – good partner for WV
            Last 2 – CSU and AF?, Tulsa and LT/Memphis?, other?

            Note that the league now consists of regional pairs which helps some sports.

            “I suspect that league would retain power status for at least a litte while, much as the Big East was considered a “BCS league” long after it had lost most of its competitive stature. This would, of course, be open to reconsideration as various contracts come close to expiration.”

            It may be grandfathered in until the end of the first 12-year CFP deal. It won’t last after that. If they have a look in clause after 6 years, that might be it for them.

            Like

      • m (Ag) says:

        I’m not sure the schools listed were the ones they were talking about. While A&M would have considered this if the Longhorns were involved, I don’t see any way they would have gone as the lone Southern outpost. I’m sure Mizzou would have been involved, as well.

        At the time, I suggested this B10 lineup on this website:

        Nebraska
        Colorado
        Texas
        A&M

        OSU
        Michigan
        MSU
        PSU

        Illinois
        Northwestern
        Purdue
        Indiana

        Wisconsin
        Minnesota
        Iowa
        Missouri

        With the Texas pod always in a separate division from the OSU pod.

        You could switch out Oklahoma or Kansas for Colorado if they were set on the Pac 10. One of those (or maybe Iowa State) could have swapped in for A&M, as well.

        As long as OU wasn’t involved, it would have been all AAU schools (at the time). It would have added most of the Big 12 market & fanbase while taking less than 1/2 the schools.

        I don’t see how the Big 10 would have found an acceptable 5 without the Longhorns, though.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          m (Ag),

          “I’m not sure the schools listed were the ones they were talking about.”

          That’s what he is claiming, though.

          “While A&M would have considered this if the Longhorns were involved, I don’t see any way they would have gone as the lone Southern outpost.”

          Would they have considered it with OU instead of UT? I agree TAMU would be too isolated without another southern power.

          “I’m sure Mizzou would have been involved, as well.”

          You’d think so.

          “At the time, I suggested this B10 lineup on this website:

          Nebraska
          Colorado
          Texas
          A&M

          OSU
          Michigan
          MSU
          PSU

          Illinois
          Northwestern
          Purdue
          Indiana

          Wisconsin
          Minnesota
          Iowa
          Missouri

          With the Texas pod always in a separate division from the OSU pod.

          You could switch out Oklahoma or Kansas for Colorado if they were set on the Pac 10. One of those (or maybe Iowa State) could have swapped in for A&M, as well.

          As long as OU wasn’t involved, it would have been all AAU schools (at the time). It would have added most of the Big 12 market & fanbase while taking less than 1/2 the schools.”

          I think the B10 could’ve tolerated OU if they got UT and TAMU as well to cushion the academic blow. CO had been leaning towards the P10 for years, so there’s no way they head east. And the whole preimse was that UT headed elsewhere.

          “I don’t see how the Big 10 would have found an acceptable 5 without the Longhorns, though.”

          It seems hard. But TAMU would bring TX, especially if OU also came. KU and MO are doable, and NE makes 5.

          I’d do straight divisions, but here are workable pods (lock IN/PU when they aren’t together)
          S – TAMU, OU, NE, MO, KU
          W – WI, IA, MN
          N – NW, IL, PU
          E – OSU, MI, PSU, MSU, IN

          Play the CCG in St. Louis.

          Like

        • M (Ag) says:

          “Would [A&M] have considered it with OU instead of UT?”

          Unless the SEC told A&M they couldn’t join (which obviously didn’t happen), I don’t think so. Oklahoma isn’t a historic rival of A&M; they didn’t play much before the formation of the Big 12.

          Even if the SEC said no, I’m not sure that the Pac 16 wouldn’t have been a better deal for A&M than this particular Big 10 expansion.

          I guess this story is one of two things:

          1) Some people (in the Big 10 or the Big 12) saw the Longhorns tempted by the Pac 10 offer of bringing a lot of familiar schools with it, and wanted to make a counter-offer. If so, it would be something like what was mentioned above.

          or:

          2) Some schools in the Big 12 were throwing out different ideas to try and get the Big Ten’s attention. They were aware of A&M’s unhappiness with the whole process that lead to the Pac 16 proposal (the Longhorns & Pac 10 negotiated it all without letting A&M know it was happening), and included them in their proposal. A&M was probably listening to any suitors at this point, but I doubt they’d instigate (or go through with) this particular scenario.

          Like

          • Brian says:

            M (Ag),

            “Unless the SEC told A&M they couldn’t join (which obviously didn’t happen), I don’t think so. Oklahoma isn’t a historic rival of A&M; they didn’t play much before the formation of the Big 12.”

            That’s what I thought. I didn’t know if OU would be enough of a “southern” connection to interest fans or not. I know they were Big 8 while you were SWC, but they aren’t too far away from you.

            “Even if the SEC said no, I’m not sure that the Pac 16 wouldn’t have been a better deal for A&M than this particular Big 10 expansion.”

            Interesting. I never thought of TAMU as a good fit in the B10 due to cultural differences. I’d think the lesser travel would help, though. Also better timezones. And a lot more money. But I can certainly see the appeal of having more familiar faces around.

            Like

      • Mike says:

        Those wouldn’t be my 5 ideal choices.

        I agree. Quite possible the author’s source is from ISU. ISU might have floated the proposal to save themselves.

        Revenue sharing seems pretty easy.

        That didn’t make sense to me either.

        Like

    • Brian says:

      http://fansided.com/2015/07/27/oklahoma-kansas-tried-to-join-big-10/

      This article takes it a step further by pondering the future based on that article.

      If the Big 10 were interested in adding a 15th and 16th team, maybe they’d reach out to Oklahoma and Kansas once again. The article from Omaha.com suggests that the Big 12 clock is ticking and the Big 10 has done its homework on Oklahoma and Kansas.

      That would leave Texas all by their lonesome in a considerably weak conference, which they could choose to stay in. They could also choose to operate as an independent or join a major conference, possibly the Pac-12 given the rumors over the years.

      In an ideal world Texas would join the SEC, perhaps bringing TCU along with them, and the college football world would get back their Texas-Texas A&M rivalry. Who knows how the Aggies would feel about the Longhorns joining the conference and ruining their SEC party.

      Texas and Oklahoma splitting up likely wouldn’t jeopardize their rivalry game in Dallas at the Cotton Bowl and Texas State Fairgrounds. Remember, Oklahoma and Texas were in different before 1996 and still played annually.

      So assume the B10 started to talk seriously about adding OU and KU (it’s not likely, but it’s possible). Once UT heard about it, what would they do?

      a. Try to go along, perhaps replacing KU since no other TX school in the B12 would be welcome.
      b. Head for the P12 with TT.
      c. Head for the SEC without TT and hope to bring OU along (or KU).
      d. Try for a ND-like deal with the ACC.
      e. Go fully independent.
      f. Stay in the B12 and add BYU and someone else as replacements.
      g. Try for a ND-like deal with the new B12.
      h. Other.

      I have a hard time believing the B10 wouldn’t talk to UT first before adding OU and KU. Full independence seems too tough nowadays, and UT faces large amounts of travel for their non-revenue teams in any conference but the B12. I think they’d choose option g and leave their non-revenue sports in the B12 remnant and be technically independent in football but play 4-6 games against B12 teams each year. If they couldn’t get option g, then they might stay in the B12 as long as it maintains its P5 status. If the B12 drops to G6 status, then UT has to move on.

      Anyway, my point is that I think his scenario of OU and KU to the B10 with UT to the SEC is highly unlikely.

      Like

  66. Psuhockey says:

    Did ESPN sign up Texas to save the Big 12 or to have some say into what conference Texas ends up in eventually? I don’t believe at the time they signed up Texas that ESPN had the PAC locked up long term. So a move to the PAC or Big Ten could of potential kept UT athletics out of ESPN’s hands completely if either of those conferences didn’t re up with ESPN. Maybe I have the timing wrong, but to lose out on the 1st or 2nd most profitable brand in college athletics would of hurt ESPN so it would be worth it to have some say in that colleges future,

    Like

  67. Brian says:

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/eye-on-college-football/25251615/dabo-swinney-thinks-notre-dame-should-join-a-conference-or-play-13-games-

    Dabo Swinney joined Gary Pinkel in saying ND should have to join a conference. However, he gave them an out by saying it’d be OK if they stayed independent as long as they played 13 games.

    Like

    • ccrider55 says:

      How do they get a 13th game? A ND exception to the 12 game rule?

      Like

      • Brian says:

        He didn’t specify. They could play at HI every year. The easiest solution would be B12 champ vs ND every year on CCG weekend. It would require an exemption, but it would get the B12 much of the CCG money they’d like without having a rematch.

        Like

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          The easiest solution would be B12 champ vs ND every year on CCG weekend.

          The trouble is, what do you do in years when ND has a lousy team, and you’ve already scheduled the game?

          Like

          • Brian says:

            Beat the crap out of ND. It’s still a 13th game, and the B12 champ will have already played the second best B12 team so they essentially already played their CCG.

            Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            Right, but no one’s going to give ND a 13th game, where there’s no obligation that they earn it.

            Even under the controversial BCS rules, where ND had qualification criteria that applied to no other school, they still had to earn it.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            If you’re going to advocate for an unregulated ccg for the B12 I’m not sure you can object to ND getting a 13th also.

            Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            If you’re going to advocate for an unregulated ccg for the B12 I’m not sure you can object to ND getting a 13th also.

            The purpose of a CCG is to determine the championship of the conference. My feeling is that once you permit CCGs to exist, there is not a strong argument for micro-managing the rules for which two teams get to play for it. Those rules therefore should therefore be left to each conference’s discretion. I have not heard a reason I find persuasive, for any other way of doing it.

            I recognize that others, in the past, have found the current rule compelling, and some (including you) may still do so. Personally, I do not, for a variety of reasons I have stated in the past, and I won’t bore you with repeating them.

            But my preferred rule is constrained to the purpose of identifying the champion of a conference. The game must therefore have a plausible connection to that purpose, which means the two selected teams must be IN the conference. A random 13th game between the conference champ already selected, and a perennial favorite (ND) regardless of record, is not a CCG. It’s a bowl game.

            (Bowl games at least require both participants to be bowl-eligible. This proposal, as I gather, is giving ND a 13th game even if they go 0-12. That goes well beyond any extra privileges that the Irish have ever had. To say it has nothing to do with determining the Big XII champion is beyond obvious.)

            Clearly, there are competitive pros and cons to the different ways of determining a champion. Last year, the Big XII could have used the extra game. TCU’s only loss was by 3 points at Baylor. Given the traditional wisdom that home field is worth about three points, it means that the two teams were basically even. The regular season had failed to identify, with any reasonable confidence, which of the two was better. A re-match on a neutral field would’ve settled that with greater confidence, and hence, the game would’ve had a competitive purpose, whether or not you think it’s a good idea.

            That’s a whole lot different than just giving Notre Dame a 13th game that they don’t have to earn.

            Like

          • ccrider55 says:

            Oh, I agree for the most part. But I recall a recent problem with 3 teams tied for one spot in the then ccg. We didn’t allow an extra game to break ties in division, and one game wouldn’t resolve the 3 way problem. The 13 game regs are to give better assurance that the best team in a conference too large for full (or nearly full) will at least have to face the top rep of the other half, instead of (illustrative) an 8-0 claiming the title while possibly missing three better teams who each put a loss on each other, through luck of scheduling. Again, it isn’t a ccg rule. It is a rule to allow large conferences a method for improving the competitive fairness that simple scheduling in large conferences can prove difficult/impossible to achieve.
            Now we’re talking about a competitive advantage (ND) in not playing a 13th, while bemoaning the disadvantage in not being able to play the 13th (B12)? And in neither case does it have any bearing on not being able to play enough in conference games to arrive at a legitimate champion – the entire reason for the 13th game for a ccg exception.

            Like

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            Oh, I agree for the most part. But I recall a recent problem with 3 teams tied for one spot in the then ccg. We didn’t allow an extra game to break ties in division, and one game wouldn’t resolve the 3 way problem.

            That’s true: you can’t keep adding games. At some point, the music stops, and you have to break ties, possibly in an arbitrary way. The only thing we disagree about, is that I am willing to completely de-regulate how the conference champ is chosen, with the proviso that they get only one extra game in which to do so.

            I believe 2008 is the year you’re thinking of. Three Big XII South teams finished with identical 7-1 league records. All three had 1-1 records vs. the other two. Oklahoma won the division by virtue of the highest BCS ranking. In the CCG, they faced Missouri, with a 5-3 league record, winning 62-21.

            Personally, I would’ve preferred a re-match between two of the three tied South teams, rather than giving Oklahoma an easy game against a mediocre Missouri squad, which won the North in a year there were no great North teams (unfortunately a common problem in the years the Big XII had divisions).

            Granted my preferred system would still have left one of the 7-1 teams out in the cold, but that’s still better (in my view) than leaving two of them in the cold.

            Like

    • Commander says:

      Sure, give them 13 games. Then they can schedule 6 ACC schools and be that much closer to the 8 needed to just BE IN the ACC…

      Like

    • Brian says:

      http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/13332862/coaches-believe-notre-dame-fighting-irish-other-independents-all-conferences

      More coaches jumped on board.

      A growing number of coaches believe that all independents, especially Notre Dame, should be in a conference.

      “I don’t think any program should be treated differently,” Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said Tuesday. “Notre Dame is a great school, but we all need to be in the same boat [having to play a conference championship game] as far as the playoff.”

      ACC coaches Beamer, Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, Pittsburgh’s Pat Narduzzi and NC State’s Dave Doeren all told ESPN that Notre Dame should be in a conference or have to play 13 games per season. They believe all of the Power 5 conferences and teams should have to play a league title game so the College Football Playoff selection committee can judge them equally.

      Like

      • ccrider55 says:

        “They believe all of the Power 5 conferences and teams should have to play a league title game so the College Football Playoff selection committee can judge them equally.”

        Because everything else involved in the national collegiate football season is equal from teams, to conferences, to number of conference games, to quality of OOC etc…..(sarcasm)

        Seems like semi controversial, guaranteed to grab attention, no chance in hell of happening, opinions. Is it just avoiding spotlight on other subjects? Or a organized effort to drum up support for deregulating CCG’s from a different (competitive) angle than the conspiracy theorist in me thought Boren’s statement was (realignment chaos threat if B12 couldn’t have one at ten members)?

        Like

        • Brian says:

          I think that coaches in general really would prefer to see every school playing the same basic schedule in all aspects (# and difficulty of OOC games, # of conference games, total # of games for CFP contenders).

          It’ll never happen, and I think they know that, but they aren’t wrong to want it.

          Like

  68. Brian says:

    http://espn.go.com/boston/story/_/id/13326675/boston-us-candidate-host-2024-olympics-usoc-severs-ties

    Well, it looks like it’ll be a very long time before the US hosts the Olympics again. Boston just bailed on their attempt to be a US host for 2024. Now the USOC only has a few weeks to convince another city (most likely LA because they have some facilities already) to step up and bid.

    This article looks at it from the big picture:

    http://espn.go.com/olympics/story/_/id/13326106/what-does-death-boston-bid-say-americans-view-hosting-olympics

    I hope US voters are smart enough to never agree to host the Olympics again. It’s incredibly expensive for the host, you end up with useless facilities, and the rich get richer off of it (like FIFA and the World Cup).

    Like

    • @Brian – The IOC and FIFA are despicable entities. They have shown that they are simply looking for the most insanely expensive proposals backed by their cronies. Any place with all of the existing facilities already in place (such as the US if it hosted another World Cup) need not apply for being too cost effective. Instead, these organizations reward entities literally using slave labor to build completely inefficient facilities in places like Qatar and Russia.

      Putting that personal rant aside, the 1984 Summer Olympics in LA were actually one of the few (only?) modern games that have been profitable. I could see LA being profitable (or at least somewhat fiscally responsible) again because it does have virtually all of the facilities that they would need already in place. That might be the only US city that could pull it off without racking up debt that can’t be paid off for multiple generations. Note that Montreal didn’t pay off its debt for the 1976 Olympics until 2006 (30 years later). Once again, though, history says that the IOC and FIFA don’t want ready-made locales like LA. They’d rather have a bunch of brand new build open-air stadiums in the desert that will only be used for two weeks.

      Like

  69. Eric says:

    Frank,

    Realistically, do you think there is any way out of the grant of rights prior to them coming at least close to expiring? My impression has been that they were set up to prevent anyone else from leaving and the risks would be too great for a conference to invite a new member without dealing with that issue first. Does that seem right?

    Eric

    Like

    • Brian says:

      Eric,

      There’s always a way out of a contract. The question is how much it would cost. I’ve heard varying views from lawyers about how much a conference could reasonably get.

      I am not a lawyer, but this is my understanding:

      The new conference should be able to show road games from that team because they can do that now, and the network could give the conference a bump based on that so the school could get paid something (4-5 road games versus the normal 6-8 home games). For B12 schools, non-revenue sports and some hoops games would also be available for a conference network (except for home football games, if the LHN can show it so can the BTN or SECN).

      The sticking point is the home games, especially the new conference games. The lawyers would fight about whether the old conference has the right to show those since the other school assigned rights for their road conference games to their conference. If the same network has both conferences they might not care, but ESPN doesn’t want to lose road games B10 with OSU or MI to Fox or CBS, for example.

      What seems likely to me is that the old conference wouldn’t pay the school anything and the new conference would get to show the home games except any against the old conference. The school would likely be held responsible for any drop in per school payouts from the TV deal for the remaining members for the life of the GoR (damages caused by breaking the deal). Likewise, if it caused any drop in CFP money. The school would have to pay a hefty penalty for early exit, too.

      More importantly, there would be millions in lawyer’s fees on both sides that the school would likely have to cover. A trial would be risky for both sides, so they’d likely settle like UMD and the ACC did.

      I’d guess it wouldn’t be all that much worse than UMD’s deal unless there were significant damages to pay (maybe $50M+ instead of $30ish).

      Like

      • Eric says:

        I’m not a lawyer, but to me it just seems they have intentionally made it near impossible to leave.

        1. A grant of rights is in a lot of ways the opposite of an exit penalty. With the exit penalty, the school leaves and the conference fights back for money. In the case of the grant of rights, the conference owns all TV rights (outside of 3rd tier in the Big 12) and the only way for a school to get them back mid-contract is for the conference to willingly give them back.

        2. I think even the most valuable schools are pretty much worthless without the home rights. The new conference would only get a couple road games a year and those come at the expense of other match-ups you would have had instead (for example, while you might get to broadcast Oklahoma at Northwestern, you cannot broadcast Illinois at Oklahoma and the latter game comes at the expense of a different game that would have been scheduled).

        3. The networks are pointed to a lot as to how to get around these, but a) they aren’t going to want to be paying for the same content twice and that’s pretty much what they’d have to do for this to even have a prayer of working (they have to keep the same money going to a Big 12 without the big players while paying extra to the raiding conference) and b) there is decent evidence the networks actually prefer smaller conferences rather than concentrating the power. When the Big 12 was at risk of breaking up, ESPN/FOX agreed to keep payout the same for 10 teams without being required to and then ESPN signed a deal with Texas for the Longhorn Network worth a ton. That to me suggests they’d rather have 5 power conferences than 4.

        4. Keeping the big programs is a matter of survival for the Big 12. I’m not sure there is any price they would sign off on which let the big programs leave right now and that sign off is key.

        Like

        • Brian says:

          Eric,

          “I’m not a lawyer, but to me it just seems they have intentionally made it near impossible to leave.”

          Any lawyer will tell you there is no such thing as an unbreakable contract.

          “1. A grant of rights is in a lot of ways the opposite of an exit penalty. With the exit penalty, the school leaves and the conference fights back for money. In the case of the grant of rights, the conference owns all TV rights (outside of 3rd tier in the Big 12) and the only way for a school to get them back mid-contract is for the conference to willingly give them back.”

          They only the right to home games of conference members. So the 4-5 road conference games in the new conference would be no different than road OOC games, legally. The fight is over their home games. And while a GoR gives thew conference the right to them, I believe most of the deals also say that rights revert to the school if the games aren’t going to be televised according to the conference TV deal (thinking especially about the B12 here since they have no B12N). So does the old conference waste a TV slot on a former member playing another non-member or cede the rights for money? Don’t you think ISU would be upset about not being televised so the Rice at UT can be shown in a B12 TV slot instead? There are a limited number of televised games for the members to use.

          “2. I think even the most valuable schools are pretty much worthless without the home rights. The new conference would only get a couple road games a year and those come at the expense of other match-ups you would have had instead (for example, while you might get to broadcast Oklahoma at Northwestern, you cannot broadcast Illinois at Oklahoma and the latter game comes at the expense of a different game that would have been scheduled).”

          Example: OU joins the B10

          Give OU 5 B10 road games against decent brands and broadcast those. That’s about as many games as most teams get on major channels anyway. The B12 would have the chance to televise 3 OOC games and 4 B10 games (do they really want to use up their slots showcasing a former member playing in a new conference?).

          “3. The networks are pointed to a lot as to how to get around these, but a) they aren’t going to want to be paying for the same content twice and that’s pretty much what they’d have to do for this to even have a prayer of working (they have to keep the same money going to a Big 12 without the big players while paying extra to the raiding conference)”

          They don’t need to pay twice. They can keep the old conference at the same amount per school and shift that money over to the new conference instead. If the old conference adds another school, then the network has gained inventory to choose from. They might only pay the new conference a partial sum, though. That’s the price of moving.

          “and b) there is decent evidence the networks actually prefer smaller conferences rather than concentrating the power. When the Big 12 was at risk of breaking up, ESPN/FOX agreed to keep payout the same for 10 teams without being required to and then ESPN signed a deal with Texas for the Longhorn Network worth a ton. That to me suggests they’d rather have 5 power conferences than 4.”

          They also want to make money and beat their competition.

          “4. Keeping the big programs is a matter of survival for the Big 12. I’m not sure there is any price they would sign off on which let the big programs leave right now and that sign off is key.”

          I’m not sure they’d have a choice. They can’t force a school to remain a member I don’t think. A judge would force them to let the school leave. Then it would come down to a “reasonable” settlement for damages and breach of contract.

          Like

          • Eric says:

            My point about paying twice is basically this: The reason the Big 12 has the average per school payout it does is mostly due to a few big names. If you eliminate Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, the average value of the rest of the conference probably drops by more than half. At the same time, a raiding conference is unlikely to accept a per school drop in revenue for more than a year or two. So to keep both conferences whole, if you are talking about the Big 12 giving up their rights to the home games, the networks (both ESPN and Fox) will now have to be paying the Big 12 exactly like they were with those school in it even though it’s no longer close to worth it (much bigger deal than last time).

            Like

          • Brian says:

            Eric,

            “My point about paying twice is basically this: The reason the Big 12 has the average per school payout it does is mostly due to a few big names. If you eliminate Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, the average value of the rest of the conference probably drops by more than half. At the same time, a raiding conference is unlikely to accept a per school drop in revenue for more than a year or two. So to keep both conferences whole, if you are talking about the Big 12 giving up their rights to the home games, the networks (both ESPN and Fox) will now have to be paying the Big 12 exactly like they were with those school in it even though it’s no longer close to worth it (much bigger deal than last time).”

            I was being generic about who leaves. If a king leaves, they might well owe damages because their conference share doesn’t cover their worth. But it depends how old the TV deal among other things. Does the network risk upsetting the remaining members by claiming they have lower value? Has the contract aged to the point it is undervalued? Do ratings not drop as much as expected when a team leaves? The B12 didn’t lose value when NE and CO left. It didn’t lose money when TAMU and MO left, either.

            The new conference may not get a full pro rata bump, but then it’d be up to them how to deal with that. Do you pay the newbie a partial cut? Does everyone sacrifice a little in the short term to make sure the newbie gets paid a decent amount with the knowledge that they’ll get paid back later?

            If we’re talking B12, I think UT is the only school that might really hurt. The others are in smaller states (often in pairs) or are smaller brands. If the networks decide the value has dropped too much, they can settle or fight a court battle for damages. I’m not saying it would be free for a school like UT, but on the other hand UT would bring a ton of value to their new conference and some of that money would be used to cover the damages to the B12. For example, UT would bring $78M per year in BTN fees by joining the B10 (ignoring the LHN for now). That would help cover a lot of damages to the networks/B12.

            Like

    • Mark says:

      If the money is the same, there are no damages and no one will sue successfully. That is how you leave a conference with a GOR – you need Fox and ESPN to continue to pay the conference you leave the same money.

      So, Texas and Oklahoma leave the Big 12 for another conference. If Fox and ESPN agree to pay the Big 12 the same cash as before, then there aren’t any damages, and the Big 12 just invites 2 replacements. Since Fox and ESPN broadcast the other conference, they can trade teams out of the Big 12 in this way.

      No court is going to force the University of Texas to remain in the Big 12 against their will, the court will only award money. If the money is the same, there are no damages. Baylor might not like it, but such is life. Texas is not a slave required to participate in the Big 12 and money is how we solve contract issues in the US.

      Like

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        So, Texas and Oklahoma leave the Big 12 for another conference. If Fox and ESPN agree to pay the Big 12 the same cash as before, then there aren’t any damages, and the Big 12 just invites 2 replacements.

        This assumes there are replacements worth what Texas and Oklahoma are worth, Who do you think those replacements would be?

        Texas is not a slave required to participate in the Big 12 and money is how we solve contract issues in the US.

        That is absolutely true, but sometimes the money damages are so onerous that you’re better off performing according to the original contract. This is probably one of those cases.

        Texas wasn’t duped into signing the grant of rights. They knew exactly what they were getting into. It was designed to be so expensive to get out of, that no one would leave during the term of the contract. So far, that is exactly how it has worked.

        Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      Realistically, do you think there is any way out of the grant of rights prior to them coming at least close to expiring?

      It depends on your definition of “realistic.” I do not think there is any realistic chance of a P5 school switching leagues until the GORs are within 2–3 years of expiring. The costs would be too high, and both parties (the school and the acquiring conference) would have to face lengthy litigation before it is sorted out.

      My impression has been that they were set up to prevent anyone else from leaving and the risks would be too great for a conference to invite a new member without dealing with that issue first.

      To paraphrase Frank, the worst kind of contract to try to break, is the kind that has never been litigated before, because neither side can really be sure of the outcome. This is exactly the situation here, since no school has attempted to leave a conference while a GOR was in place.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        I agree. People don’t like to take huge financial risks like this. It’s hard to imagine a reason pressing enough that a school would risk leaving more than 2-3 years before a GoR expires.

        Like

  70. Stuart says:

    These comments by Boren, the tweets by Sittler and now the rumor that five schools approached the B1G in 2010 all serve a common theme. Oklahoma is letting other P5 conferences know they are more than receptive to any offers that would come their way.

    They have laid out via the 2010, where its easy to dismiss A&M as having gone to the SEC, Nebraska already in the B1G and Iowa State a duplicate since the B1G already has Iowa. What us left are Oklahoma and Kansas without their little brothers at “State.” OU is saying they are not attached, and BTW KU can come too if you want.

    My hunch is Boren and the OU legal team have looked at the situation and determined that the risk is extremely low if they jump that GOR damages will actually happen. And even with KU the odds are still likely that the TV contracts would not be renegotiated downward.

    In this context Boren’s comments about getting the expansion committee fired up and looking at schools – this time throwing out Houston as a name – can be seen as making sure a reasonable back fill candidate is in place should OU bolt, allowing the Big 12 to not face a renegotiated TV contract with ESPN or Fox, and thus no media damages would be awarded.

    Texas is actually more handcuffed, and would be even more so if Oklahoma, with or without Kansas, left to join another conference. Texas leaving would certainly trigger a lowered Big 12 payment, and the GOR would be in play. Ironically only Texas may be affected by GOR. The first school, or even two schools not named Texas which move can probably get away with it. But it gets riskier the more that leave. IMO OU and KU both leaving means the rest are stuck until sometime in the next decade when the GOR agreement is much closer to expiration.

    OU’s timing for this series of messages is almost certainly the B1G negotiation for a new TV contract to replace the one which expires after the 2016-17 season. OU would like to be in on that and wants to B1G and the media companies to be thinking about the value of a package with OU. They see it as the best chance to exit they will get for maybe a decade.

    This tells me the Big XII is doomed as a P5 conference, but like the Big East in 2004, its still the better part of a decade until the end. That happens when Texas leaves

    Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      In this context Boren’s comments about getting the expansion committee fired up and looking at schools – this time throwing out Houston as a name – can be seen as making sure a reasonable back fill candidate is in place should OU bolt, allowing the Big 12 to not face a renegotiated TV contract with ESPN or Fox, and thus no media damages would be awarded.

      It’s ludicrous to suggest that the media would view Houston as a “reasonable backfill” for Oklahoma. The Big XII is a two-king league. There is no believable scenario where the Big XII loses either of those two, and is not damaged.

      In fact, you have recognized this yourself, with the statement that: “the Big XII is doomed as a P5 conference.” Any move that accelerates that outcome — such as the departure of one of its top two teams — would clearly trigger damages. How could it not?

      Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      I should’ve added if Oklahoma leaves the Big XII, it is practically certain to include a partner. The B1G is not going to take Oklahoma by itself.

      So you’re now in a position of claiming that the Big XII is not damaged if it loses both Oklahoma and Kansas. If you’re their lawyer, good luck winning that argument.

      Like

      • Stuart says:

        On a long term stature and status, yes Oklahoma leaving damages the Big 12 and there is no comparable replacement. But courts don’t judge that, the want to see specific $ amount damages. So …

        What I am saying there is an extremely high chance that Oklahoma alone leaving would not trigger a downward renegotiated media contract for the Big 12. So there would be no media damages in dollar terms for the court to award through GOR.

        Would Kansas leaving with them trigger a renegotiation? Dunno, probably not. But the more schools that leave the greater the risk it triggers media damages and bring GOR into play.

        What the B1G does is another story altogether. It’s OU throwing out the KU partner option. But the B1G could look elsewhere for a 16th or even wait. The B1G thinks in decades, and in terms of long term demographics. Taking Oklahoma and not adding a 16th right away opens up many possibilities down the road, including potentially the biggest prize of all Texas.

        I don’t think the B1G is in an expansion mood at the moment. But you can’t blame Boren for trying to pique their interest.

        Like

    • Ross says:

      OU may be making these overtures to the Big Ten (I am still unsure if that is the case, myself), but would the Big Ten be receptive to them coming? Would the Big Ten also want KU?

      I think the combo is solid, but the Big Ten seems to have turned its attention East. I am not sure they would opt for two low-population states that aren’t really growing, and KU’s football brand is terrible.

      Like

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        As in any other conference, the Big Ten’s major decisions are in the hands of a diverse set of university presidents, who don’t always think alike.

        E. Gordon Gee, the ex-OSU president, said the Big Ten was considering “a couple of Midwest universities.” That was after they’d already taken Nebraska, Maryland, and Rutgers. It’s hard to imagine who those couple of universities could have been, if you omit both Oklahoma and Kansas.

        We don’t know how serious that was, or how many of the presidents would’ve been open to the idea, but I’d take it as confirmation that the Big Ten had at least looked into a Western expansion, and could still be doing so.

        One of the advantages of having Gee in the Big Ten, is that he was willing to speak his mind. That willingness was ultimately his undoing, but for a window into the league’s thinking, Gee was the gift that kept on giving.

        I think the combo is solid, but the Big Ten seems to have turned its attention East. I am not sure they would opt for two low-population states that aren’t really growing, and KU’s football brand is terrible.

        Oklahoma is a national brand that attracts TV viewers beyond its state borders. Whether the power of KU’s basketball brand is enough to offset their terrible football, is a question I can’t answer.

        Like

        • From a pure athletic standpoint, adding OU and KU is basically as good as the Big Ten (or Pac-12 or SEC) can get outside of a Texas/Notre Dame combo, especially if we assume that ACC schools aren’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future. KU is one of the few schools (along with Duke, UNC, Kentucky, Indiana and UCLA) where the basketball brand is so overwhelming that it compensates for poor football. Note that prior to the formation of the LHN, the school that made the most third tier TV rights revenue in the Big 12 was KU. The fact that OU and KU have smaller markets on paper is mitigated by their strong national brand names. As I’ve said elsewhere, this type of addition can turn the Big Ten Network into a legit national property where the markets don’t matter going forward (which may be more important than ever if the cable industry starts turning toward an a la carte model).

          The one question about Oklahoma to the Big Ten is academics. That’s it (albeit that can be a make-or-break issue for the Big Ten). Otherwise, Oklahoma makes complete sense athletically, financially and geographically for the Big Ten.

          Like

    • M (Ag) says:

      “OU’s timing for this series of messages is almost certainly the B1G negotiation for a new TV contract…”

      After these messages came out, I scanned some Oklahoma fan-sites, looking at what they were writing. There is another reason why they may be coming out now: Oklahoma has apparently fallen short of recent fund-raising goals for athletics projects. The fans are unhappy with the regular schedule of home games* and are making their feelings known with their checkbooks.

      * Remember, the Longhorn game is always in Dallas; most of the teams fans cared about that visited Norman have left for other conferences.

      Like

  71. GreatLakeState says:

    http://newsok.com/why-nebraska-never-will-leave-the-big-ten/article/5436874
    Boren knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s very academically minded and isn’t about to retire without insuring Oklahoma academic ascension. Oklahoma to the B1G will happen sooner rather than later. I would also add the PAC as a possibility, but only again it reconsiders the foursome of TX/TT/OU/OSU.

    Like

    • Brian says:

      That’s a great article. For those who didn’t read it, it contains a letter from a NE alumnus who is now a professor at another B10 school. I highly suggest you take the time to read it.

      Excerpts from his letter:

      “My sense is that the vast majority of Nebraska fans are pleased with the move, but are not ecstatic. I believe most would love to return to the Big Eight, where we played 10 scrimmages and then faced Oklahoma for the conference championship, but those days are long gone and never to return.

      “We very much do like the Big Ten Network, and the collegiality and stability of the Big Ten is an enormous improvement (although my alma mater is not blameless on these issues regarding the Big 12). If you asked the fans to vote whether to return to the Big 12 or stay in the Big Ten, my sense is that an overwhelming majority would support the Big Ten, and the Big 12 fraction will dwindle yearly.

      “Let us recall Nebraska’s situation in November 2009. I have a high regard for my alma mater and am grateful for the education I received, but by any objective standard the future was bleak. While the state was not severely affected by the Great Recession, the demographic projections were of a slow, steady decline with respect to the rest of the nation. The university was one of the earliest members of the AAU (the prestigious American Association of Universities), but this status was in grave danger, as the university had been warned earlier in the decade that they faced expulsion unless radical improvements were made (this situation could have been largely remedied if they had slightly revised their administrative structure to allow the medical school research to be attached to the Lincoln campus, but to my astonishment they refused to do so!). … I envisioned only a greatly diminished future for all aspects of the university.

      “When the Big Ten announced their plan for expansion, several people suggested that Nebraska was a strong candidate. I have to admit that the first time I heard this proposal I burst out laughing; … I cannot recall how many meetings that I attended at my institution where the questions ‘Where do we rank in this area in the CIC? How can we improve?’ arose; there was intense pressure to improve academic standing, and the results were evident in the most recent National Research Council Rankings of Graduate Programs (this is what the Big Ten presidents value, not the US News et al rankings).

      “I recall the near-universal surprise in November 2012 when Maryland and Rutgers were asked to join, but if one thought as a college president and not as a fan in the street, the moves were quite straightforward. One item that has not received much attention on the sports pages is that Johns Hopkins, which is another truly elite university, has just placed all of their Division I sports in the Big Ten; I would not be surprised if they joined the CIC in the near future.

      “I can still remember the moment (6:46 a.m. on 9 June 2010) when I heard the announcement that Nebraska was going to be invited to the Big Ten; I nearly leapt up in bewildered joy! If this was true it was the greatest event in the history of the university since its founding. I felt that I was experiencing an ending to a Victorian novel: the grim, forbidding fate inevitably closing in was suddenly replaced by an improbable twist leading to glorious future! Nebraska was now, by association, in the academic environment of Chicago, Wisconsin, Northwestern, et al. There is a saying in real estate that the best investment is to own the least expensive house in the most expensive neighborhood, and this is essentially where Nebraska finds itself.

      “Last year while flying into Lincoln, I was sitting next to a UNL Engineering faculty member, and he remarked that the pressure to improve performance had considerably increased since joining the Big Ten. I doubt Nebraska will ever rise to the level of a Michigan (unless Warren Buffet leaves UNL a couple of billion dollars), but the university’s long term survival as a top tier institution is assured.

      “I do believe that even if the Big 12 had been relatively stable and there had been no difference in the finances Nebraska still would still have seriously considered an opportunity to join the Big Ten if the option was available.

      From the rest of the article:
      I can’t disagree with much of anything the professor wrote. Academic standing does a play huge role in most conference realignment. I know that when OU and OSU were considering jumping to the Pac-12, the academic side of OU (and I assume OSU) was thrilled at the prospect of joining a conference that included the likes of Stanford and Cal-Berkeley.

      I do think that the professor is understating Nebraskans’ affection for the old days. I don’t have anything but anecdotal evidence for that, but that ember is kept alive more by the Nebraska than the old Big 12 side. …

      So I think the hunger for the old days is more than just the passion of a small minority. I also think the academic standing for NU in the Big Ten is something the university leadership never can walk away from.

      Like

  72. GreatLakeState says:

    Wow. That comment of mine was a mess: ‘but only if it reconsiders the foursome of TX/TT/OU/OSU’. With the future of cable looking dicier by the day, brands are more important than ever for drawing (streaming) subscribers. I don’t think there is any way the B1G turns down Oklahoma, which is making academic strides.

    Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      I think you’re absolutely right about what Boren wants. I am not as sure about what the Big Ten wants. They are likely to be patient. As Jim Delany once said, “I’m the guy who stood pat at 11 teams for 21 years.”

      The Big Ten does have a big media rights deal coming up, but re-alignment is a 50-year decision; basically, a permanent decision. Unless you are positive you’ve got the right two schools, it’s much better to do the deal with the schools you have, and be sure the contract has a look-in if the conference composition changes.

      Personally, I think Oklahoma is a no-brainer for the Big Ten, but I don’t know if the league agrees, and I am definitely not sure about Kansas (a small market with almost no football value). And bear in mind, there is definitely a point beyond which a conference cannot grow any further; so each expansion, in a sense, forecloses some other expansion you might want to do later.

      In other words, there is an argument for waiting to see what happens to the ACC. Will Swofford successfully launch a conference network? If not, the ACC’s apparent stability could evaporate rather quickly, and maybe the Big Ten would be looking East again.

      Like

      • ccrider55 says:

        This.
        OU and KU, even if acceptable, remove the future possibility of enlarging the eastern inroads that was (presumably) the initial intent. Taking a (now or never) B8/12 King was made possible by having sat on eleven so long. It didn’t preclude/alter continuing the intended path in a significant way…unless it displaced a spot that would have been required to land UVA, UNC, and the also required by those two (X?).

        Like

        • Brian says:

          On the other hand, one could argue that OU provides access to Texas. There’s no better state for demographics or viewers.

          Say you have OU and KU in hand as options, how sure of adding UVA and UNC (or of never expanding again) do you need to be?

          Like

  73. Brian says:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/pac12/post/_/id/88823/mike-leach-advocates-for-64-team-playoff

    Mike Leach wants to expand the CFP field – to 64!

    “I don’t know why you don’t have 64 teams,” he said. “… The notion of pinpointing and selecting four perfectly, well that’s not going to happen. That can’t happen effectively.”

    In a playoff-specific interview with Leach on Wednesday, he said the sport should cut the regular season to 10 games and have the playoff start with a home-and-home series in the first round. His idea is that the existing bowls would cover the other games, and the champion would play 16 games.

    “It’s remarkably easy,” he said. “If you’ve got 64, there wouldn’t be a lot of debate. … It would be indisputable that it was settled on the field and somebody that wins playoff games accordingly deserves to be champion and there’s no debate. It would be great fun to watch — just like it is at all the other levels.”

    Can we all agree that would devalue the regular season?

    Like

  74. Brian says:

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/eye-on-college-football/25249371/lookin-at-you-tcu-did-bowls-raise-expectations-too-high-for-these-teams

    Big bowl wins lead to over-rating the next year in the preseason.

    Here’s the potential catch: Even if that surprisingly emphatic bowl win is a big part of why the sky-high expectations for TCU make sense, it doesn’t mean the Frogs are any more likely to live up to those expectations. In fact, the evidence of the past several seasons is that expectations created by those kinds of surprisingly emphatic bowl wins are far less likely to be met, especially among Power Five programs like TCU.

    How much less likely? Let’s define a “surprisingly emphatic” victory as one in which (a) either an underdog won by 14 points or covered the spread by 21, or (b) a favorite of a field goal or less covered the spread by 21.

    Over the past five seasons, seven teams have claimed a bowl win matching those criteria and gone on to be ranked in the following season’s AP preseason top 25; those teams have gone 0-for-7 in matching or exceeding that preseason ranking in the final AP poll.

    Furthermore, after Oklahoma’s swan dive from its preseason No. 4 ranking in 2014, four of those seven teams weren’t ranked at all at season’s end.

    All told, over the past five seasons, 11 Power Five teams plus Notre Dame have posted bowl victories that meet the above criteria^. Of the 10 with available preseason win totals posted for the following season~, seven went under their total with one push and just two hitting their over. To boot, neither of the teams without a total — 2011 Illinois and 2011 Washington — managed to meet expectations the following seasons, either.

    (The list of recent Group of Five teams to win such bowl games does have some notable flops among its entries — most notably 2013 Ohio or 2011 Miami (Ohio) — but boasts a lower rate of disappointments than its Power Five equivalents.

    So based on the 2014 bowl season, which teams might be overhyped coming into 2015? There’s fvie [sic] Power Five candidates — and maybe a prominent sixth, depending on how you define the College Football Playoff Championship game.

    1. Utah: The Utes were a mere three-point favorites over Colorado State in the Las Vegas Bowl, but blew the Rams away 45-10.

    2. Virginia Tech: Frank Beamer’s team rebounded from its late-season embarrassment against Wake Forest to thump Cincinnati 33-17 as two-point underdogs in the Military Bowl.

    3. TCU: The Horned Frogs were only favored by a field goal against Ole Miss before running the Rebels clean out of the Georgia Dome.

    4. Georgia Tech: The ACC runners-up were 5.5-point Orange Bowl underdogs to Mississippi State before comfortably handling the Bulldogs 49-34.

    5. Clemson: Hard to imagine, but Oklahoma was a six-point favorite over the Tigers before the Sooners’ 40-6 humiliation in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

    And then there’s Ohio State. For the purposes of this post, was the Buckeyes’ College Football Playoff semifinal against Alabama its bowl game, or was it the championship game victory over Oregon? If it’s the latter, Ohio State would qualify by these criteria as well: it was (in case you’d forgotten) a 5.5-point underdog to the Ducks before cruising to a 42-20 win.

    Two Group of Five bowl winners are on this list as well: Air Force dropped Western Michigan 38-24 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl despite entering as a 2.5-point underdog, and Rice pummeled Fresno State 30-6 in the Hawaii Bowl, a game labeled a pick ’em in Vegas.

    Like

  75. Brian says:

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/eye-on-college-football/25253426/could-dan-mullens-extra-year-of-eligibility-idea-work-for-college-football

    Dan Mullen thinks asking players to get a 2.3 GPA in high school is too much. If they don’t make it, they have to take an academic redshirt year. He thinks that’s bad for the players and worse for those who do make a 2.3 because they may be forced to play rather than redshirt.

    His proposal is to give those with a 2.3 or better a fifth year of eligibility so not getting redshirted that first year isn’t a punishment.

    I have a crazy idea – how about recruiting players that don’t struggle to get a C average in high school?

    Like

  76. Brian says:

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/eye-on-college-football/25253517/what-league-plays-highest-percentage-of-power-5-nonconference-games

    A breakdown of schedules by conference:

    OOC games against P5 (incl. ND):
    ACC – 21
    B1G – 17
    SEC – 11
    P12 – 10
    B12 – 8

    By % of games:
    ACC* – 21/56 = 37.5%
    Big Ten – 17/56 = 30.4%
    ACC** – 15/50 = 30.0%
    Pac-12 – 10/37 = 27.0%
    Big 12 – 8/30 = 26.7%
    SEC – 11/56 = 19.6%

    * – includes ND games as OOC
    ** – ND games counted as ACC games

    Total P5 games per school:
    B12, P12 – 9.8
    ACC – 9.5
    B1G – 9.2
    SEC – 8.8

    On the other hand, I-AA games per conference:
    ACC** – 16/50 = 32.0%
    ACC* – 16/56 = 28.6%
    Big 12 – 8/30 = 26.7%
    SEC – 13/56 = 23.2%
    Pac-12 – 8/37 = 21.6%
    Big Ten – 7/56 = 12.5%

    Difference between P5 games and I-AA games as a percentage:
    Big Ten – 10/56 = 17.9%
    ACC* – 5/56 = 8.9%
    Pac-12 – 2/37 = 5.4%
    Big 12 – 0/30 = 0%
    ACC** – -1/50 = -2.0%
    SEC – -2/56 = -3.6%

    Overall, you have to give the P12 credit for playing the toughest schedules. The B10 gets credit for the toughest OOC schedules conceptually. Once the ninth B10 game gets added next year, the B10 may well move up into the top slot. How you view the ACC’s OOC schedule largely depends on your view of the ND games. If you treat them as ACC games, then the ACC is pretty weak OOC. If you include the ND games, the ACC does fairly well. The B12 deserves credit for their round robin and having tied for the most P5 games, but the large number of I-AA games counts against them. The SEC is reliant on SEC games for their SOS.

    None of this considers the actual teams involved, of course. Playing PU is easier than playing Boise but PU counts as P5 and Boise as G5. Also, travel and time zone issues aren’t considered.

    Like

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      I do think that the ACC’s ND games are properly considered non-conference games.

      Like

      • Brian says:

        I think so too, but I broke them out because they aren’t freely scheduled games for the ACC teams like other OOC games are. I think that distinction can be relevant when considering the intent behind a schedule.

        Like