Archive for the ‘Chicago Bears’ Category

It’s been a crazy week in the Frank the Tank household, so I just have time for my BlogPoll Ballot and parlay picks for this post.  Some more in-depth posts about conference realignment, the college football playoff picture and TV contracts are forthcoming.

(1) BlogPoll Ballot

This is the first time in history where an undefeated Notre Dame team is actually underrated.  The Irish resume is deserving of a #2 ranking.

(2) College Football Parlay Picks (odds from Yahoo! and home teams in CAPS)

Illinois (+27.5) over OHIO STATE – As evidenced by last week’s post, I’m waaaaaay down on the state of the Illinois football program, but for whatever reason, the Illini generally outperform expectations whenever they play Ohio State (if only because this matchup typically comes with trap game timing for the Buckeyes).

USC (+8.5) over Oregon – I’m feeling upset #1…

LSU (+8.5) over Alabama – … and upset #2.  Identical lines for two uber-talented home teams in the biggest games of the weekend.  Get ready for that Notre Dame vs. Kansas State national championship game.

(4) NFL Parlay Picks (odds from Yahoo! and home teams in CAPS)

Bears (-3.5) over TITANS – I’m going to chalk up last week’s sub par performance by Smokin’ Jay Cutler and the Bears to a short week coming off of a Monday Night Football appearance.

FALCONS (-3.5) over Cowboys – Atlanta should honestly be getting more love from the oddsmakers here.

Ravens (-3.5) over BROWNS – This Browns team was challenging to be the among the worst Cleveland teams ever (which is saying something) before it pulled out that cringe-inducing victory over San Diego last week.  I think they’ll revert to true form against the Team Formerly Known as the Cleveland Browns.

Enjoy the weekend, stay safe if you’re on the East Coast and, no matter what your political persuasion might be, please vote on Tuesday!

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

 

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You just knew that one of either Tony Romo or Jay Cutler was going to have a sub-zero passer rating game on Monday night, right?  It was preordained with a prime time game featuring the two erratic quarterbacks.  Fortunately for the Bears, Bad Romo showed up that even more gloriously led to a nostalgic appearance by the Neckbeard.  Let’s get onto some other news:

(1) Beastly Big East Expansion – I didn’t get to write about this at all last week, but the Big East reportedly has been looking at BYU and Air Force for its 14th football member (and might even add those 2 plus Army to have a 16-team football league).  If the Big East can pull off that trifecta, that’s effectively the best that the conference could realistically do considering the circumstances.  However, I continue to have doubts about the viability of a BYU candidacy for the Big East because of that school’s very different leadership structure and goals compared to any other FBS school.  Indeed, Brett McMurphy, in his report linked above, said, “BYU was close to joining the Big East last November, until the deal blew up essentially at the last minute when the Cougars refused to relinquish their home television rights.”  That’s such a basic fundamental issue that I find it difficult to believe that it could have possibly only been brought up at the last minute unless a group far above the athletic director’s pay grade (AKA the actual leadership of the LDS Church) purposefully lobbed in a grenade to tank the negotiations.  My understanding from BYU people has always been that TV exposure trumps TV money by a wide margin to LDS leadership, which means that they aren’t going to be persuaded by merely a larger check from a share of Big East TV rights versus the guaranteed widespread exposure that the school receives now in its ESPN contract.  Plus, BYU has effectively stated previously that Comcast’s dealings with the Mountain West were the biggest reason why the school turned independent in the first place, so it will be an extremely tough sell for the Big East to pitch the value of any potential NBC/Comcast deal to the Cougars no matter how much it might pay.  The Big East’s largest selling point to BYU would be that the access to the new 7th top tier bowl discussed here last week may only be open to the champions of the “Gang of Five” conferences (the Big East, Mountain West, Conference USA, Sun Belt and MAC), which means that the school’s ability to make it into the new BCS (or whatever it will be called) system will solely be via a handful of access bowl slots determined by a selection committee.  Essentially, Big East commissioner Mike Aresco has to convince the LDS Church (NOT the BYU athletic department, which seems to be much more open to conference membership) that the exposure gained from having access to this new 7th bowl trumps the week-to-week exposure that the school is receiving from its current TV deals.  I think the chances of BYU joining the Big East are better than they were two weeks ago, but still nowhere near a foregone conclusion.  Hence, the hedging comment in the McMurphy piece that the Big East is “divided over whether to pursue Air Force or BYU.”  It’s very clear that BYU is the superior option, but the Big East needs to make it look like that it chose Air Force (instead of getting rejected by BYU) if it ends up adding the Falcons.  (“You didn’t reject us!  We rejected you!”)

As you can see, I believe that Air Force is a much more realistic addition to the Big East compared to BYU.  Things have changed greatly for Air Force since it rejected the Big East’s overtures 1 year ago, particularly the fact that the Big East decided to raid Air Force’s home of the Mountain West of Boise State and San Diego State.  Navy has also committed to join the Big East for football since that time, so that gives the Air Force a service academy rival to potentially enter the league with.  In contrast, nothing has really changed for BYU other than potentially the bowl situation.  As a result, if I were a betting man, Air Force is going to end up as Big East football school #14.

On another note, Big East Coast Bias points out that the new Atlantic 10 TV contract shows why the Catholic members of the Big East aren’t going to be splitting off to create a CYO basketball league.  In this era of skyrocketing sports rights contracts, the Atlantic 10 is going to be receiving $40 million over the course of 8 years.  That translates into $5 million per year to be split among 14 members, which amounts to an average of a little more than $350,000 per year per school.  This has to be a scary figure for the schools that solely depend upon basketball revenue.  Granted, I believe that a CYO basketball league made up of the current Big East Catholic schools plus a handful of others (e.g. St. Louis University, Xavier, Dayton) would command a better TV contract than what the Atlantic 10 is receiving, but this new deal effectively ensures that those Big East members won’t even take the chance of a split.  As I noted last year, splitting up the Big East would be as misguided as the maligned and eventually overturned decision to split up Netflix and this is more evidence of that being the case.

(2) DePaul Arena Dreaming – Speaking of the Big East and on a more personal note, the notion of DePaul basketball returning to the Chicago city limits is finally gaining steam.  DePaul is looking at either moving home games to the United Center or partnering with the city and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to build a new arena near McCormick Place.  I have been arguing that DePaul basketball ought to move to the United Center at a minimum ever since I started this blog (see this post about DePaul’s very first Big East game, which happened to be against Notre Dame, complete with an outdated reference to the now-defunct Demon Dogs), so it’s been a long time coming.  Personally, I like the McCormick Place proposal even more since the funding appears to be available, Rahm seems to want to get it done (meaning that it’s much more than a pipe dream) and it would be an arena whose primary tenant is DePaul (compared to the United Center, where the order of precedence is (1) Ringling Bros. Circus, (2) Disney on Ice, (3) Bulls, (4) Blackhawks and (5) everything else).  A new CTA Green Line Station at Cermak Road to serve McCormick Place is being built, which means that even though the arena isn’t necessarily close to Lincoln Park, it would be easily accessible by public transportation for students on the North Side and even easier for people based at DePaul’s expanding South Loop campus.  There is also plenty of parking structures already in place for people that want to drive.  It’s not as desirable as having a Lincoln Park location, but considering the practical issues of cost and transportation, this is the most viable option for a DePaul arena within the city limits that we have ever seen.

Also, I can see Rahm’s reasoning for pushing this plan from an urban planning perspective.  As someone that lived in Chinatown for a time (which is one mile directly west of McCormick Place straight down Cermak Road), there’s definitely a major gap in commercial development (or at least conventioneer/tourist-friendly commercial development) in the blocks between the Chinatown Red Line station and the convention center complex.  Considering that McCormick Place is arguably the largest single draw for business visitors to Chicago (who have expense accounts to spend), there is decidedly very little in the way of restaurants and bars in that area.  A new arena can be a catalyst for more development in a spot that definitely needs it along with connecting the McCormick Place area to the more developed Chinatown to the west and the rest of the South Loop that is already gentrified to the north.  Granted, there have been plenty of DePaul arena options that have fallen through over the years, so we’ll proceed with cautious optimism here.

(3) BlogPoll Ballot

My main disagreements with the overall poll is that I believe that LSU, Notre Dame (out of all teams) and Northwestern are underrated, while the winner of the Georgia-South Carolina game this weekend is going to end up overrated.  Also, I will continue to bring the love for Louisiana Tech as long as they keep winning.  That’s a legit BCS buster.

(4) College Football Parlay Picks (odds from Yahoo! and home teams in CAPS)

WISCONSIN (-14) over Illinois – I’m counting down the days to basketball season at this point.  It’s getting ugly for the Illini.

Miami (+14) over Notre Dame (game at Soldier Field in Chicago) – Despite my belief that Notre Dame is actually underrated in the polls at this point, I don’t think that I’ve agreed with a single Vegas line for the Irish all year.  Miami isn’t nearly the pushover that it looked like they could have been after getting waxed by Kansas State.

Georgia (+1) over SOUTH CAROLINA – I think both of these teams are a bit overrated from the glow of the top of the SEC, but I have more faith in Georgia this year.

(5) NFL Parlay Picks (odds from Yahoo! and home teams in CAPS)

RAMS (+2.5) over Cardinals – Arizona is worse than their record and, as I said last week, St. Louis is better than their record.

REDSKINS (+3) over Falcons – I don’t quite know what to make of the Redskins so far this season, but RGIII certainly makes them interesting.

JAGUARS (+5) over Bears – The Bears should be winning this game, but this is the type of matchup that always puts us fans on edge.  We were at least able to count on Bad Romo rearing his head this past Monday night.

(6) Classic Music Video of the Week – “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake

If the Mo Money Mo Problems video was a late-1990s time capsule, then this classic from Whitesnake is everything that a late-1980s trash rock video should feature: lots of hair, lots of guitars, and lots of a pre-husband abuse/Celebrity Rehab Tawny Kitaen.  Of course, this song is also a favorite of my namesake Frank the Tank.

Enjoy the games!

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

To take our minds off of NFL replacement refs (and even as a Bears fan that loathes the Packers with every fiber of my being, I can’t take joy in such an abominable outcome from Monday night’s game), let’s move onto some other news:

(1) Seventh BCS Bowl: Progress for the Little Guys or More Consolidation of Power for the Big Guys? – The powers that be of college football are reportedly going to add a seventh bowl to the top tier of games (widely presumed to consist of the Rose, Cotton, Orange, Sugar, Fiesta and Chick-Fil-A Bowls) that will be a part of the new playoff rotation and host the highest ranked champion of the “non-contract” conferences (the Big East, Conference USA, Mountain West, Sun Belt and MAC). Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com is reporting that industry sources believe that this new seventh bowl will make approximately $20 million per year in TV money. For the sake of comparison, the Rose Bowl will be receiving $80 million per year and the Please Choose a Freaking Site Already So I Can Stop Calling This the Champions Bowl will likely receive the same.

Whether this new seventh bowl is a good deal for what Dodd calls the “Gang of Five” depends upon what starting point you’re comparing it to. This sounds like progress compared to the prospect of simply a merit-based selection process to the “Access Bowls” that will have at-large slots in the new college football postseason (where the Gang of Five could have been frequently completely shut out of any top tier bowl games). However, it’s worse than the current BCS system for that same group since this is effectively consolidating what has been two separate bowl bids (the Big East champ AQ bid and the top 12 non-AQ conference champ auto bid) into one bowl bid. Dodd’s report also suggests that the Gang of Five champ will be locked into this seventh bowl game (hereinafter referred to as the “Gang of Five Bowl”) as opposed to being rotated around among the other Access Bowls, which means that that power conferences can still take up most (if not all) of the slots in those other games. Essentially, the Gang of Five Bowl looks like a mini-Contract Bowl that will need to find another tie-in instead of selecting from the Access Bowl pool, only that it still will be part of the semifinal rotation. (Dodd suggests that a third or fourth place team from a power conference could be interested in that tie-in, while an AP report says that either the Big 12 or Pac-12 could end up sending a team to this game.)

On paper, the Big East ought to be winning this Gang of Five bowl slot in most seasons, but it’s still quite a fall from a money perspective if Dodd’s financial figures are correct. Currently, the Big East is receiving at least $17 million per year for having an AQ bid in today’s BCS system, which is a figure that will almost certainly go down for the conference if the new Gang of Five Bowl is worth $20 million (as that revenue will need to be split up between the Gang of Five conferences and whichever other conference signs a tie-in). However unlikely it might be that Gang of Five school ends up finishing ranked higher than the Big East champ in the future, it’s still not an iron-clad that the Big East has now (or what the other power conferences continue to have). Once again, this scenario is better than the Armageddon situations facing the Big East a week or two ago, but still a downgrade from the current BCS system for them. We could arguably say the same thing about all of the other Gang of Five conferences. Nearly a year ago, when the playoff was still a dream and the talk was merely about “removing AQ status”, I wrote that it was a matter of semantics and the practical effect would be that the Big East and non-AQ conferences were actually going to be the ones being screwed. For the leagues outside of the Big Ten, SEC, Pac-12, Big 12 and ACC, the destruction of the BCS system was a “be careful for what you wish for” event and now everyone sees why.

(2) BlogPoll Ballot

It continues to be ugly for the Big Ten in terms of elite teams. This might be Northwestern’s time to shine with a 1995-esque run to the Rose Bowl.

(3) College Football Parlay Picks (odds from Yahoo! and home teams in CAPS)

WASHINGTON (+6.5) over Stanford – There’s some weird juju going on in Seattle this week. I’ll take the points for the home team in the land of rain and caffeine.

Penn State (PK) over ILLINOIS – I’ve seen many debilitating Illini losses like the one that occurred this past Saturday night against Louisiana Tech over the past 15 years. The most frequent response from the team in that type of situation is to head into a complete tailspin for the rest of the season. Both Ron Turner and Ron Zook could never, ever, ever limit the collateral damage of a bad loss to just a single game, so the deck is stacked against Tim Beckman here. Of course, the postseason ineligibility of Penn State and Ohio State is setting up the Big Ten Leaders Division to have Illinois-Indiana on October 27th become a critical matchup for the conference championship. My apologies in advance to the rest of the college football world.

Ohio State (+3) over MICHIGAN STATE – The Buckeyes are really the only team that could possibly be a factor nationally for the Big Ten at this point… except that they aren’t allowed to win anything. It’s unfortunate for the conference since I believe that Urban Meyer is everything as advertised as a coach.

(4) NFL Parlay Picks (odds from Yahoo! and home teams in CAPS)

Browns (+12.5) over RAVENS – Maybe it’s just me, but this feels like a patented Admiral Ackbar “It’s a trap!!!” game for Baltimore.

RAMS (+3) over Seahawks – Rams are much better competitively than their scores would indicate and, if there’s any justice in the world, there are going to be some karmic repercussions to Seattle here.

Bears (+3) over COWBOYS – I’d feel much better about this game if it was being played at Soldier Field, but it still comes down to a tale of two bad offensive lines and which defense can take the most advantage (and I sincerely believe that the Bears have the edge there).

(5) Classic Music Video of the Week: Mo Money Mo Problems by The Notorious B.I.G. featuring Mase and Puff Daddy

This is one of my favorite songs of any genre of all-time with a video that’s a fantastic time capsule of the late-1990s with its Tiger Woods-Fuzzy Zoeller reference in the intro, shiny jumpsuits and a posthumous appearance by the late Biggie Smalls. Speaking of which, if you ever have a couple of hours to kill on Netflix, you could do worse than checking out Nick Broomfield’s 2002 documentary Biggie and Tupac that sets forth the evidence that former Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight was responsible for the deaths of both Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur. Broomfield essentially looks and sounds like someone that you would expect to see on BBC World News, so it was quite a scene when he challenges Suge face-to-face in a prison courtyard (which was a sequence that the cameraman was apparently too scared to film, so he kept shooting the sky). Hopefully, the Illini won’t play the same type game that they did last week or else I might be flipping this documentary on pretty quickly.

Enjoy all of the games (and may the White Sox hang on for dear life)!

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

Between the Bears and Illini, the respective quarterbacks of my teams have thrown a total of 8 interceptions over the past 6 days.  I’m not in a state of mind to make jokes about this right now, so let’s move on:

(1) Orange Bowl Tie-ins with Big Ten, SEC and Notre Dame – Lost in the shuffle of Wednesday’s massive news of Notre Dame joining the ACC as a partial member was this quote from Jack Swarbrick:

That’s a pretty significant development in the otherwise trickle of substantive news regarding the new postseason system since the powers that be agreed upon a playoff format.  The new ACC/Notre Dame partnership reportedly allows for Notre Dame to take an ACC tie-in for bowls other than the Orange Bowl (provided that Notre Dame is within 1 win of the ACC team that it’s replacing).  The Orange Bowl itself, though, is an ironclad tie-in for the ACC with the opponent now apparently coming from a pool of Notre Dame, the Big Ten and SEC.  Seeing that Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and SEC commissioner Mike Slive are far from shrinking violets, I’d expect them to be negotiating the following parameters:

(a) The Rose, Champions and Orange Bowls will rotate semifinals in a manner where none of them will ever host the semis in the same year. (This is likely more of a demand from ESPN than from the conferences.)

(b) When the Rose Bowl is hosting a semifinal, Big Ten #1* goes to the Orange Bowl.

(c) When the Champions Bowl is hosting a semifinal, SEC #1 goes to the Orange Bowl.

(d) If Notre Dame is ranked higher than Big Ten #1 or SEC #1, as applicable, then the Irish go to Orange Bowl instead, except that Notre Dame may only replace each of the Big Ten and SEC once in a 6-year cycle.

(* This should go without saying, but the #1 pick means the top selection from the conference that isn’t playing in the semifinals.)

The upshot of this would be that ACC #1 will be playing either Big Ten #1, SEC #1 or a highly-ranked Notre Dame team in the Orange Bowl in any given year, which will likely yield a media rights payout for the ACC that will be in line with what the Big Ten and Pac-12 are receiving for the Rose Bowl and the SEC and Big 12 are receiving for the Champions Bowl.  Thus, any chicken little beliefs that the ACC is going to end up playing subpar opponents in the Orange Bowl are going to go by the wayside.  For the other side of the Orange Bowl, in a 6-year cycle, Notre Dame would be capped at 2 appearances while both the Big Ten and SEC are guaranteed 1 invite each under this arrangement.  This would meet Notre Dame’s goal of having a strong relationship with a top bowl while having the flexibility to go to other “Access Bowls”.  In the meantime, the Big Ten and SEC effectively have backup tie-ins for their #1 selections, which means that those conferences are going to be swimming like Scrooge McDuck in a vault full of new postseason money.  If the above scenario occurs, this is looking like a great deal for everyone involved.

(2) BlogPoll Ballot

Nothing too crazy here except that I dropped Nebraska, Arkansas, Wisconsin and Oklahoma State like bad habits.  Last week was pretty ugly for the Big Ten.  The conference is going to need Michigan State to come through against Notre Dame.  Speaking of which…

(3) College Football Parlay Picks (odds from Yahoo! and home teams in CAPS)

MICHIGAN STATE (-6) over Notre Dame – Michigan State along with bowl ineligible Ohio State are probably the only 2 Big Ten teams worthy of cracking the top 10 in the rankings this year based on the early returns.  Weird stuff typically happens in favor of Sparty whenever they play the Irish in a home night game.

MISSOURI (-4) over Arizona State – Arizona State rolled up a lot of points last week, but let’s face it, that was against an Illinois team without a functioning quarterback.

BYU (-3.5) over UTAH – I’m sure Utah is going to be pretty focused for this rivalry game after last week’s debacle, but I don’t think it will be enough.

(4) NFL Parlay Picks (odds from Yahoo! and home teams in CAPS)

PACKERS (-150 total yards) over Bears – GAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!

Raiders (-1) over DOLPHINS – The ’72 Dolphins might have to pop champagne for Miami’s first win this season.

SEAHAWKS (+3) over Cowboys – Coming off of a huge division win, this is exactly the type of game that Tony Romo loses.

Ravens (+1) over EAGLES – I know that you can’t take too much away from the first week of the season (as evidenced by the Bears and Packers), but I have a hard time passing up taking points with Baltimore.

(5) Classic Music Video of the Week: “The Humpty Dance” by Digital Underground

All that I’ll say about this song is that I know these lyrics as well as I know the Pledge of Allegiance:

Enjoy the weekend!

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

Coming into Sunday, I had some bad juju feelings about the Bears-Seahawks game.  I was glad the Bears were playing Seattle as opposed to Philly, but felt dirty that the Packers had to win in order for that to have happened.  Then, Jim Cornelison took the microphone:

At that point, the combo of the crowd exploding and the snow flying removed all my doubt about the Bears and I would’ve bet all of my savings on Julius Peppers performing a Mortal Kombat finishing move on Matt Hasselback by the end of the first half.  (Believe or not, it’s even more of a scene when Cornelison performs at Blackhawks games.  He’s the best there is with the Star-Spangled Banner.)  With the way the Bears were clearly jacked up after that performance, I was hoping that the team would be wise enough to bring Cornelison back for Bears vs. Packers NFC Championship Game.  It’s not hyperbolic to say that this is going to be the single most important sporting event ever to be played in Chicago’s city limits – the Bears and Packers playing for the right to go to the Super Bowl trumps even a Cubs – White Sox World Series.  If there are two things that unite this town, it’s a love of the Bears and a hatred of the Packers.  I want to see the Bears come out on fire after the national anthem even more so next week.

However, a chill went down my spine earlier today.  Fox is televising the game and it is the epitome of a cross-promotional multi-platform leveraging synergisticalifragilisticexpialidocious organization.  In case you’ve avoided the 847,074 promos over the weekend, American Idol has its season premiere this Wednesday with Randy Jackson, J.Lo and the corpse of Steven Tyler.  The latest American Idol winner, Lee DeWyze, happens to be from the Chicago area.  I figured that it was almost too convenient for the Rupert Murdoch Empire.

Sure enough, moments after I had that thought, DeWyze Tweeted that he would performing the national anthem at Soldier Field (although the Bears won’t confirm it officially yet).  DeWyze isn’t terrible (here he is at last year’s NBA Finals), but as an acoustic guitar toting soft-voiced John Mayer knockoff, he’s the antithesis of the booming Cornelison.  I’ve been to midseason Bears-Packers games where both of the teams were medicore and they were still the ugliest and most nasty sniping crowds that I’ve ever seen in person (and remember that I’ve been to over 100 White Sox games, where the crowd has a propensity to attack umpires and coaches).  With the stakes this weekend, let’s just say crowd control might be an issue.  In the words of the late Richard J. Daley, “The policeman isn’t there to create disorder; the policeman is there to preserve disorder.”

I say this on behalf of Bears fans everywhere: we need every edge possible this Sunday because it is either going to be one of the greatest days in Chicago sports history or touch off the most miserable offseason imaginable.  There’s no in between.  Let’s at least guarantee the day starts out right.

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

(Image from Mike Roemer Photo)

Well, maybe the University of Texas won’t be taking over the world after all.  The Sports Business Journal is reporting that ESPN and Fox are essentially in a dead heat in winning the right to partner with Texas on a new Longhorn television network.  Some interesting details gleaned from the article:

  • It doesn’t appear that Texas is attempting to take back more TV rights to football and basketball games from the national Big 12 contracts, which means they are essentially building this network based upon the rights that they have now: typically one football game per season and a handful of non-conference men’s basketball games.  As a result, the network will have a heavy reliance on non-revenue sports, pre/postgame programming and coaches’ shows.
  • Texas actually won’t have any equity stake in the network.  Whoever is the winning bidder will own 100% of the network and then pay a rights fee to Texas that the school expects to be approximately $3 million per year.  This is similar to the deal that the Mountain West has with Comcast for the mtn.  The Big Ten, in contrast, has 51% ownership of the Big Ten Network and pays out twice as much as the Texas estimate to every single one of its schools (approximately $6 million per year per school).

Honestly, it’s a bit underwhelming and definitely not going to have the impact that a lot of people predicted.   If Texas doesn’t try to take more football and men’s basketball games in-house, then the network will really have no impact on the Big 12’s national TV contract position (beyond the impending losses of Nebraska, Colorado and a title game).  The Longhorn network is really just Texas attempting to monetize the TV rights that it already owns as opposed to taking any additional inventory away from the other Big 12 schools.

The fact that Texas won’t have any equity stake in its network is also fairly surprising.  Granted, this virtually eliminates any downside risk for the school, but it also caps the upside where it won’t benefit from rising subscriber fees and advertising revenue in the same manner as the Big Ten Network.  A number of Texas alums have told me that the school had started spending on TV network infrastructure, so I’m puzzled by how there’s no equity involved.

Finally, the revenue figures are not real game changers at all, as it’s nowhere near what the Big Ten Network provides all of its schools in an equal revenue sharing system.  Considering that Fox Sports Net recently agreed to pay the Texas Rangers around $80 million per year (effectively a massive Godfather offer in order to prevent the MLB franchise from starting its own competing network and note that this was signed before the Rangers’ World Series run), I would’ve thought that a Longhorn network would make quite a bit more than $3 million per year, especially when it seemed to be such a point of public consternation for other Big 12 schools.

In fact, if the value of the Longhorn network is really going to be only $3 million per year, then it’s obvious to me that this network had absolutely nothing to do with (1) the near-collapse of the Big 12, (2) the ultimate rejection by Texas of the Pac-16 proposal or (3) Texas refusing to consider to join the equal revenue sharing leagues of the Big Ten and SEC, both of which would’ve paid a heck of a lot more with a lot less heartburn.  As dysfunctional as the Big 12 was and still is, an entire league was not going to break up over a $3 million TV package.  I highly doubt that either Texas or the Pac-10 killed the Pac-16 deal over this amount of money, either.  As I’ve also said many times before, if Texas really wanted to maximize its TV revenues, then it would’ve just joined either the Big Ten or SEC, and the relative low amount of revenue coming from the Longhorn network proves this point.

At the end of the day, the ownership structure of this network and financial figures point to the powers-that-be at Texas simply wanting the Big 12 to live.  Maybe it was fear of the wrath of Texas-state politicians.  Maybe it was the real threat of Texas A&M heading off to the SEC.  (Look at this comment from last December from knowledgeable UT alum reader Longhorn Lawyer and the last 3 paragraphs outlining the school’s position about A&M going to the SEC – it’s fairly instructive, especially considering it was made loooong before the Pac-16 proposal was even dreamed up.)  Maybe the Texas dream really has been being able to control something to the effect of an SWC plus Oklahoma league.  Whatever it is, the relatively low revenue stream for the Longhorn network means that the Texas decision for staying in the Big 12 goes beyond financial issues and that the school’s end goal is definitely not independence.

FRANK THE TANK’S FOOTBALL PARLAY

Work obligations prevented me from getting my BlogPoll ballot in on time this week, so we just have some quick picks today (home teams in CAPS and odds from Bodog via Yahoo!)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

  • Purdue (+17) over ILLINOIS
  • NOTRE DAME (-8.5) over Tulsa
  • Michigan State (+6.5) over IOWA 

Frank the Tank’s College Football Parlay Record
Last Week: 2-1

Illini Games for the Season: 4-2
Overall Season: 9-14-1

NFL FOOTBALL

  • Jaguars (+6) over COWBOYS
  • RAMS (-3) over Panthers
  • Steelers (+1) over SAINTS

Frank the Tank’s NFL Football Parlay Record
Last Week: 2-1

Bears Games for the Season: 3-4
Overall Season: 11-10

Have a great Halloween weekend!

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

(Image from TexasSports.com)

OK, Husker fans.  I’m a believer now, or more to the point, I’m a believer in Taylor Martinez.  Also, I’ve buckled on the Boise State/TCU debate – Boise State may very well be #1 in the BCs rankings released on Sunday night, but the TCU defense is just stifling in a manner in a way that I don’t think Boise State can match.  Out of the non-AQ schools, I think that TCU is the best.

Here are this week’s parlay picks (with home teams in CAPS and odds from Bodog via Yahoo!):

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

  • MICHIGAN STATE (-7) over Illinois – Incredible beatdown by Illinois over Penn State last that I didn’t see coming at all.  I just wish this week’s game was being played in Champaign.  With Michigan State’s defense holding Denard Robinson in check last week and Illinois effectively having a poor man’s version of Michigan’s offense, I don’t think the Illini are coming out of East Lansing with a win.  Fortunately, Illinois is going to have a very favorable schedule for the rest of the season and it would be a legitimate disappointment if we don’t make it to a bowl this season (which I wouldn’t have said a month ago, when I didn’t think we’d even have a chance at bowling).
  • LOUISVILLE (+3) over Cincinnati – Taking the points with the home team.  Nothing more and nothing less.
  • Arkansas (+3.5) over AUBURN – I think that LSU is the real deal out of the SEC, but I still have a lot of reservations about Auburn.  Arkansas has also been underestimated by Vegas for much of the season. 

Frank the Tank’s College Football Parlay Record
Last Week: 1-2

Illini Games for the Season: 2-2
Overall Season: 6-11-1

NFL FOOTBALL

  • Seahawks (+6.5) over BEARS – The Bears shouldn’t be getting anything close to a touchdown spread based on what we’ve seen so far.  This will be a win for the Bears since Seattle is hellabad on the road, but the score will also be close enough that Lovie Smith will continue to be the coaching chopping block in the minds of Chicago sports talk radio callers.
  • VIKINGS (-1.5) over Cowboys – I can’t tell you how much I’m delighted by Brett Favre falling on his 4-inch sword this week.  People that I know that have spent a lot of time around Green Bay have told me plenty of stories of #4’s adulterous womanizing douchebag ways that have been ignored over the past two decades by a media that insists upon pushing the facade of their All-American golden boy.   Good for Deadspin (an outlet I’ll always be grateful to for linking to this blog regularly when fellow Illinois alum Will Leitch was running it) for pushing to the forefront a clear incident of sexual harassment in the workplace that the mainstream media that just wants to pass off as a tabloid takedown of a “hero”.  (OK, so it might be tabloid takedown, but it’s deserved in this instance.)  That being said, I don’t know how the bookmakers continue to give the Cowboys so much credit – that’s a BAAAAAD team.  It also took the league’s best secondary to keep the newly formed Favre-Moss combo in check on Monday night and they still were able to connect for big plays late.  The Cowboys certainly don’t have anything close to the Jets’ secondary and Minnesota is an extremely tough place to play on the road.
  • Raiders (+6.5) over 49ERS – Good thing that Bay Area fans have the Giants in the NLCS to take their minds off of this craptacular metro area football fest.

Frank the Tank’s NFL Football Parlay Record
Last Week: 2-1

Bears Games for the Season: 2-3
Overall Season: 7-8

As always, feel free to use this post as an open thread for the weekend’s games and non-expansion college sports news.  If you want to talk about conference realignment in general, please continue the discussion on yesterday’s Through the Wire post.  Have a great weekend!

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