The Big Ten Expansion Index: A Different Shade of Orange

The Big Ten has sent college conferences across America into a tizzy with its announcement that it will examine the possibility of expanding. Of course, the announcement was really a non-announcement – the conference has always looked at expansion issues every few years. However, this feels a little bit different this time around where it feels as if though the conference is finally starting to think about options outside of the Irish-born elephant located in the middle of the conference footprint in South Bend that always seems so stubborn (or what they would call “independent”).

A few years ago, I wrote that if the Big Ten ever wanted to expand with a school other than Notre Dame, then it ought to invite Syracuse for a variety of reasons. A lot of the same analysis still applies today, although I wanted to do a comprehensive review of the various candidates using a 100-point index (as I’ll expand upon in a moment). The conclusion is that the best available Big Ten candidate certainly wears orange, but it’s not who most of the general public is discussing (even though it makes incredible sense considering that a new school has to have a massive impact in order to make it worth it for the conference, which is the nation’s oldest and wealthiest, to split the pot 12 ways instead of 11). We’ll get to that in a bit.


There are two overarching rules to examining potential Big Ten expansion candidates:

RULE #1: Think like a university president and NOT like a sports fan.

RULE #2: 11 + 1 = 13

The first rule is something that over 90% of the pundits (whether it’s in the “traditional” media or on blogs and message boards) violate with impunity on this subject. A massive number of sports fans see Team A vs. Team B as being a good matchup in this particular season and think that the Big Ten ought to expand solely based on that reasoning yet not even bother to address any academic requirements. Others put a high value on strict geography without even thinking about financial matters such as whether a school will add any new TV markets. Contrary to an Internet-fueled urban legend, there isn’t any rule that says that all Big Ten states much touch each other. Even if such rule existed, finding the right school completely trumps any geographic issues for a conference that looks at itself as an exclusive club. I’m going to hammer on this geography issue A LOT because too many sports fans are hung up on this when the university presidents really don’t care about it as much as being aligned with peer institutions for BOTH academics and athletics wherever they might be located.

As for the second rule, that isn’t just fuzzy math for a conference with 11 members that still calls itself the Big Ten. The reason why the Big Ten has stood at 11 members for so long is that Penn State, which has been an unqualified success in bringing an enormous amount of resources to the conference, is now the baseline standard for any type of expansion candidate. That is, a new school must bring financial, academic and fan base value to the conference that is way above and beyond what an average school would bring to the table. The Big Ten DOESN’T need 11 + 1 = 12, where all that does is add another mouth to feed without materially changing the fortunes of the current conference members. At the same time, the Big Ten absolutely positively will not even consider 11 + 1 = 11.5, where the revenue split per school would actually go down by adding a 12th member. Instead, a viable expansion candidate has to show that by becoming the 12th school in the conference that it would be the equivalent of bringing value that is above and beyond simply adding a conference championship game – essentially, the Big Ten needs 1 marquee school that is worth 2 average schools. Hence, the proper math for the Big Ten is 11 + 1 = 13.

(Note that the excellent Big Ten lawyer blog The Rivalry, Esq. borrowed a modified version of the 11 + 1 = 13 concept in its own analysis of Big Ten expansion candidates and gave a shout out my way in the process.)

So, when some columnist, blogger or message board poster starts talking about Big Ten expansion, remember those two overarching rules at a bare minimum when considering whether the writer has a financially and academically astute brain built for running conferences or a sports stereotype “What have you done for me lately?” brain. Only the former type of brain has any type of credibility.


As I alluded to earlier, I’ve built a 100-point Big Ten Expansion Index that evaluates the viability of each particular school’s Big Ten candidacy. There are 6 categories (Academics, TV Brand Value, Football Brand Value, Basketball Brand Value, Historic Rivalries/Cultural Fit, and Mutual Interest) that receive different weights depending upon how important they are in the decision-making process. If a school were to receive a perfect score in each category, then it would have 100 points. Here are detailed explanations of the categories and how they are weighted:

Academics (25 points) – This is a zero-sum category: either a school meets the academic requirements and receives the full 25 points or it doesn’t. Casual sports fans tend to ignore this component since they just see conferences for how they perform on the field or hardwood. However, academics are heavily weighted in this analysis because membership in the Big Ten also means membership in the Committee for Institutional Cooperation (CIC). That’s not a small consideration as the Big Ten universities plus former conference member University of Chicago share research and resources among each other for academic purposes. Therefore, any expansion candidate needs to fit in with academic discussions among U of C and Northwestern faculty just as much as they need to bring prowess to the football field against Ohio State and Michigan. Membership in the American Association of Universities is preferred but not required if a school is in the upper echelon of the U.S. News & World Report rankings. Tier 3 schools, however, are going to be eliminated right off the bat no matter how much they might bring to the athletic side of the equation.

TV Value (25 points) – An expansion candidate needs to either bring new major TV markets to the conference or be such a massive national name that it would overshadow a small market. Outside of the obvious school in South Bend, any school that overlaps a market that the Big Ten already has today without bringing new markets on top of that will receive 0 points – the most important point that people need to understand is that being within the current Big Ten footprint is a massive negative to the conference. Too many sports fans mistakenly think the opposite way, where they think that because School X is in the same state as Ohio State or School Y used to have a long rivalry with fellow in-state school Penn State means that they are good fits for the conference, when in reality those types of schools bring little or no value to the Big Ten because they don’t add any more TV households to the table. I’ll repeat the mantra here: think like a university president instead of a sports fan.

Another important consideration here is that the Big Ten’s future media revenues are going to be heavily dependent on the performance of the Big Ten Network. As with any basic cable channel, whether it’s ESPN or the Food Network, the Big Ten Network’s revenues and profitability are largely based upon getting into as many basic cable households as possible – pure and simple. The TV ratings for a particular school in a market don’t mean as much as whether such school has enough leverage and drawing power in a region or market to get the Big Ten Network onto basic cable there. What this means is that there’s going to be a heavy premium (if not outright requirement) that a new school delivers the largest number of cable TV households possible on top of what the Big Ten has now. On the flip side, if a school doesn’t add any new Big Ten Network subscribers, then that school is a non-starter.

Football Brand Value (30 points) – This is the most heavily weighted category as a reflection of the reality of the college sports landscape. The revenue generated from football is so massive in comparison to the other sports (including basketball) that no expansion is likely to happen in the Big Ten unless the new school is a bona fide gridiron power. It’s why the ACC was willing to water down its basketball conference with football schools like Miami and Virginia Tech a few years ago and the root of the massive unilateral pushback from the major conferences about any type of NCAA Tournament-esque college football playoff proposal – there’s so much money involved with football that there’s no rational economic reason for the BCS conferences to share it.

It must be emphasized that Football Brand Value puts much more weight on the long-term history and financial underpinnings of a program over short-term or recent success. Thus, Team A that has sold out 80,000-seat or even 100,000-seat stadiums for decades whether it wins or loses is much more valuable than Team B that only sells out a 40,000-seat stadium when it’s in the national championship race, even if Team A has had a mediocre seasons recently and Team B happens to rank in the top 3 of the BCS rankings this year. The “What have you done for me lately?” attitude of most sports fans doesn’t apply here. Instead, the proper question is the opposite: Even if the target school goes 0-12 in a season, will it still attract TV viewers and attendance? In other words, the true value of a football program is really measured by how much attention it still receives when it’s down as opposed to how much attention it gets when it’s up. The Big Ten will only consider programs that have large and real hardcore fan bases that will stick them in good times and bad as opposed to programs that have bandwagon fans that will bolt when there’s a 7-5 season.

Basketball Brand Value (10 points) – Personally, there’s nothing that would make me more delirious as a sports fan than Illinois winning the national championship in basketball. However, when it comes to conference expansion discussions, basketball simply won’t be much of a consideration, which is why the Football Brand Value category is weighted three times as much as the Basketball Brand Value category. A common argument that you’ll see on blogs and message boards is that “Team A won’t leave Conference X because Team A is a basketball school and Conference X is so much better in basketball than the Big Ten.” Once again, this is a sports fan view as opposed to a university president view. As I alluded to before, the financial value of football outweighs basketball interests by such a massive margin that every single all-sports athletic director in America will take a bad football program in a top drawing football conference over a championship caliber basketball program in the best basketball conference without hesitation.

That being said, if all things are relatively equal in the other categories, then basketball considerations could be the tipping point. In that event, this index assigns 10 points to a school that would be a legitimate marquee basketball program in the Big Ten, 5 points to a middle-to-upper middle class basketball school that isn’t quite a top program but would at least provide some depth and 0 points to a school that doesn’t bring anything to the basketball side of the equation whatsoever. There might also be a specific case where the conventional financial argument between football and basketball could be turned on its head (which will be addressed in examining how Big Ten Network distribution could work with a certain school located in Upstate New York).

Historic Rivalries/Cultural Fit (5) – This is more of a “smell test” category. Does a school have existing or historic rivalries with any Big Ten schools? Is the atmosphere balancing academics and athletics at the expansion target in line with the rest of the conference? When the average sports fan looks at the conference alignment, does it seem to make sense? 5 points are given to a perfect fit across the board, 3 points are given to a good fit in some respects but maybe less so in others, while 0 points are given to anyone that simply would stick out like a complete sore thumb (with much more emphasis on the character of the school as opposed to geography).

Mutual Interest (5) – The basic question is the likelihood of whether an expansion candidate would actually accept an invitation from the Big Ten. This is relevant because Notre Dame publicly declined an official Big Ten invitation in the late-1990s, which was a drawn-out process and left a lot of sour feelings among the conference members. As a result, the conference has no desire to invite anyone unless that school has confirmed with its university president and board of trustees that it will say “Yes” without a public debate or discussion. 5 points are given to a school whose university president will be on the next plane to O’Hare and start popping champagne the moment that the Big Ten extends an offer, 3 points to a school that will give an invitation heavy consideration but could go either way and 1 point to a school that will hear the Big Ten out yet will almost certainly reject any offer.


The candidates are listed in reverse order from least desirable to most desirable. For the purposes of this evaluation, I’m assuming that the only viable expansion candidates are currently independent or members of the Big East and Big 12. For various reasons, the Big East and Big 12 have the most unstable conference situations where a move to an extremely stable Big Ten would be attractive on paper, while there is little reason for any school to leave the SEC, ACC or Pac-10 at this time (meaning suggestions that I’ve seen elsewhere that the Big Ten should add the likes of Maryland, Vanderbilt and/or Kentucky aren’t going to be examined here). I’ve placed the candidates into tiers of Pretenders, Contenders and The Only Real Choices.

A. Pretenders

Academics: 0
TV Value: 0
Football Brand Value: 10
Basketball Brand Value: 5
Historic Rivalries/Cultural Fit: 0

Mutual Interest: 5
Total: 20
: This is the ultimate example of the short-sighted sports fan “What have you done for me lately?” choice based upon this particular year’s results as opposed to thinking like a university president. Cincinnati is in the third tier of the U.S. News rankings, doesn’t add any new Big Ten Network subscribers since Ohio State already has the city of Cincinnati covered for the conference (and then some) and it would be an urban commuter school in a conference that is largely composed of large flagship universities where nearly all of the students live on campus. For those that think that the Football Brand Value is too low at 10, remember that the criteria is a long history of football success as opposed to recent gains. At the end of the day, Cincinnati couldn’t sellout 40,000 seats until it was in the national championship race (which indicates a high level of bandwagon fandom), its coach couldn’t take the Notre Dame job fast enough despite being the #3 team in the country, and the school doesn’t even have a football practice facility. In contrast, Ohio State has practice facilities that put almost every NFL team to shame. Here’s my personal litmus test for expansion discussions: anyone that mentions Cincinnati as a viable Big Ten candidate loses all credibility whatsoever with me on the issue.

Academics: 0
TV Value: 10
Football Brand Value: 15
Basketball Brand Value: 10
Historic Rivalries/Cultural Fit: 0
Mutual Interest: 5

Total: 40
Overview: Similar to Cincinnati, Louisville is a tier 3 school, which eliminates them off-the-bat. Elite basketball program and excellent fan base overall (even with the football team being in the doldrums lately), yet there rightfully isn’t much buzz about Louisville as a candidate.

Academics: 25
TV Value: 0
Football Brand Value: 10
Basketball Brand Value: 0
Historic Rivalries/Cultural Fit: 3
Mutual Interest: 5

Total: 43
Overview: The only expansion name that gets thrown out by the pundits more idiotically than Cincinnati might very well be Iowa State. I’m not exactly sure why the Big Ten would want to take one of the least valuable schools in the BCS that is located in a small state which is already covered by the conference with a much more popular flagship. If it wasn’t for Iowa State having a halfway-decent engineering school, it would be the worst possible Big Ten expansion candidate out there. Yet, Iowa State’s name gets tossed around merely because it’s within the Big Ten footprint, which I’ve already explained is actually a massive negative mark as it doesn’t open up any new markets. Therefore, I’ll amend my original litmus test for expansion discussions: anyone that mentions Cincinnati or Iowa State as a viable Big Ten candidate loses all credibility whatsoever with me on the issue.

Academics: 0
TV Value: 10
Football Brand Value: 25
Basketball Brand Value: 5
Historic Rivalries/Cultural Fit: 3
Mutual Interest: 5

Total: 43
Overview: On the field, West Virginia is a solid school across-the-board: excellent football program with a great traveling fan base, an upper tier basketball program and a dormant rivalry with Penn State. However, the off-the-field considerations will kill any talk about the Mountaineers – it’s a third tier school academically and the school brings very few new TV households.

B. Contenders

Academics: 25
TV Value: 0
Football Brand Value: 20
Basketball Brand Value: 10
Historic Rivalries/Cultural Fit: 3
Mutual Interest: 5

Total: 63
Overview: Pitt is mentioned by a lot of pundits as a top candidate for Big Ten expansion or maybe even the very best candidate outside of Notre Dame. Certainly, there is a lot to base this upon: excellent academic research reputation, long history in football, elite basketball program, a great-but-dormant rivalry with Penn State and there’s no doubt that Pitt would accept a Big Ten offer. However, WAY WAY WAY too many people have completely forgotten about the obvious problem with Pitt: just like Iowa State and Cincinnati, Pitt wouldn’t add a single new Big Ten Network subscriber. Penn State already delivers the Pittsburgh market and much more (Philadelphia and the rest of Pennsylvania), so Pitt’s TV value to the Big Ten is zero. It’s unfortunate that Pitt couldn’t trade locations with Rutgers – if that were the case, then Pitt would be an excellent candidate. Alas, the one thing that Pitt can’t change is its location, which means that it won’t ever receive an invite from the Big Ten.

Academics: 25
TV Value: 15
Football Brand Value: 15
Basketball Brand Value: 0
Historic Rivalries/Cultural Fit: 3
Mutual Interest: 5

Total: 63
Overview: Another popular name that’s being discussed in the general public and it’s almost solely based on the location of Rutgers in the New York DMA. The problem is that it’s highly debatable as to whether Rutgers has the leverage to get the Big Ten Network onto basic cable in the New York City area overall or even in just New Jersey. In fact, a lot of neutral observers would say that the Big Ten already has the most popular school in that market in the form of Penn State, so adding Rutgers wouldn’t even do much on that front. Therefore, the market of Rutgers is fantastic on paper, but its ability to deliver that market is questionable at best, which results in it only having a TV Value of 15. Without guaranteeing the NYC market, Rutgers isn’t really very attractive.

Academics: 25
TV Value: 15
Football Brand Value: 15
Basketball Brand Value: 5
Historic Rivalries/Cultural Fit: 3
Mutual Interest: 3

Total: 66
Overview: As an Illinois fan, it would be fun to see the Braggin’ Rights games for both football and basketball be taken in-house. However, as someone that always wants the best for the Big Ten overall, Mizzou is more of a “meh” move. There’s some decent value on all of the fronts in terms of academics, TV markets (the portion of the St. Louis market that the Illini don’t deliver and Kansas City), football, basketball and cultural fit, so it’s not as if though there’s anything particularly bad about the school. Yet, nothing screams out that adding Mizzou is a spectacular game changing move by the Big Ten, either. As I stated earlier, Penn State is the standard for Big Ten expansion, and on that front, no one can reasonably put Missouri anywhere near that level. If the Big Ten just wants to expand just for the sake of expanding, then Missouri is a decent choice, but I don’t think that’s the Big Ten’s modus operandi. Therefore, I think that the heavy talk about Missouri going to the Big Ten is mostly coming from the Mizzou side as opposed to the Big Ten side. (Please see this interview with the Missouri athletic director, who seemed to be saying, “Please invite us to the Big Ten!” in the most diplomatic way possible.) Plus, as I’ll get to later, it’s possible that all of the Big 12 schools are up for grabs, in which case there truly is a non-Notre Dame game changer available.

Academics: 25
TV Value: 15
Football Brand Value: 30
Basketball Brand Value: 0
Historic Rivalries/Cultural Fit: 3
Mutual Interest: 3

Total: 76
: I’m giving Nebraska the benefit of the doubt on the academics front here – its undergraduate admissions standards are significantly below anyone else in the Big Ten, but it’s an AAU member with solid graduate programs. Still, Nebraska brings maximum points in the most important category of Football Brand Value. Hypothetically, is Average Joe Sports Fan in Anytown, USA going to be that interested in watching Missouri vs. Ohio State/Michigan/Penn State or Rutgers vs. Ohio State/Michigan/Penn State? Probably not. However, Nebraska vs. Ohio State/Michigan/Penn State will get marked on the calendar by ABC for national distribution immediately an draw massive ratings year-in and year-out. Nebraska’s issue, though, is that while its national reputation is great for traditional TV contracts with ABC/ESPN, its tiny home state doesn’t help much with the Big Ten Network since the school probably won’t spur many cable providers outside of its home markets to add the channel. As a pure football move, Nebraska would be a fantastic addition, but I think the TV market issue is significant enough to keep the Cornhuskers from receiving an invite.

Academics: 25
TV Value: 20
Football Brand Value: 20
Basketball Brand Value: 10
Historic Rivalries/Cultural Fit: 3
Mutual Interest: 5
Total: 83
: As I noted earlier, Syracuse was my favorite Big Ten expansion candidate outside of Notre Dame for a long time. The analysis from my original post still largely stands. If the goal of the Big Ten is to gain entry into the New York market and effectively dominate the East Coast in the same way that it dominates the Midwest, then I believe Syracuse is a much smarter addition than Rutgers. While Syracuse football probably doesn’t have the leverage to get the Big Ten Network into New York DMA households just as Rutgers, the difference-maker here could be Syracuse basketball. New York is a terrible college football town, but it’s a pretty good college basketball city, and on that front, Syracuse is at or near the top in that market. So, NYC residents may not care to get the Big Ten Network for a handful of Rutgers or Syracuse football games per year, but they may very well have enough interest in 10-15 Syracuse basketball games per year to launch the BTN into basic cable distribution there. In essence, the “football means everything in college sports” mantra could be turned on its head here with respect to New York where basketball is the driving revenue factor. I’m not saying that this logic will hold in practicality, yet at least it seems more likely to me than the thought of either football programs at Rutgers and Syracuse really having an impact for the Big Ten in the NYC market.

C. The Only Real Choices

Academics: 25
TV Value: 25
Football Brand Value: 30
Basketball Brand Value: 5
Historic Rivalries/Cultural Fit: 5
Mutual Interest: 1

Total: 91
: It’s pretty simple as of today – if Notre Dame wants to join the Big Ten, then it’s in. The national fan base of its football program is unparalleled and, frankly, it would propel the conference into East Coast markets such as New York better than pretty much any school that’s actually located on the East Coast.

Of course, it’s easy to see what’s in it for the Big Ten. However, the issue has always been about what’s in it for Notre Dame. While I personally believe that Notre Dame will continue with its current stance in favor of independence, the college sports financial landscape has drastically changed since the Fighting Irish rejected a Big Ten invite in the late-1990s. What the average sports fan doesn’t realize is that Notre Dame’s NBC contract, which is what the uninformed pundits point to as the major reason why the Irish wouldn’t join the conference, pales in comparison to what every single Big Ten and SEC school makes from their respective conference TV contracts. Notre Dame reportedly makes around $9 million per year from NBC, which was a level that made it the top TV revenue school back in 1999. In contrast, ESPN’s Outside the Lines reported last week that the Big Ten is currently making $242 million per year in TV revenue which is split equally among the 11 schools, meaning that everyone from Michigan to Northwestern is taking in $22 million per year. Think about that for a second: the vaunted Notre Dame was the #1 TV revenue maker in the entire country up until just a few years ago, yet it’s now only #3 in its own home state behind Purdue and Indiana (and less than half as much of each, at that).

How did this happen? It’s the fact that the TV landscape has tipped completely in favor of cable over the past decade. Cable channels have a dual revenue stream, where they make a certain amount of money for each subscriber it has every month plus advertising on top of that. In contrast, over-the-air networks can only rely on advertising. For instance, about $3 of your monthly cable bill goes to ESPN whether or not you watch it. ESPN is in over 100 million households, which means that it’s making $300 million per month and $3.6 billion per year in subscriber fee revenue… and that’s before the network sells a single ad… and that’s not counting its revenue from ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU and ESPN Classic. As a result, ESPN is the single most profitable entity in the entire Disney empire, which is why the network can afford to pay much more for high profile sports events such as Monday Night Football (note that ESPN is paying almost twice as much for MNF as NBC is for a better flex option slate of Sunday Night Football) and the BCS bowls than the traditional TV networks. When Comcast bought NBC Universal last month, the main prize was the stable of profitable cable channels such as CNBC, MSNBC and Bravo. In contrast, NBC itself is bleeding over several hundred million dollars per year in losses and is the main reason why General Electric wanted to sell the entertainment unit in the first place.

While the Big Ten has ensured that its top tier games continue to be shown on ABC for football and CBS for basketball, it has taken advantage of the sports landscape by securing massive cable revenue for its second tier games on ESPN and its own Big Ten Network. The SEC has done the same via its own wide-ranging media rights deal with ESPN. Notre Dame’s issue is that it’s almost impossible for it to take advantage of these financial changes by being outside of a conference unless it moves all or most of its games to cable (i.e. Versus, which is now a sister company to NBC in the new Comcast conglomerate), which defeats the main advantage of having an independent TV contract in the first place (nationwide over-the-air NBC coverage whether you have cable or just rabbit ears). As a result, independence has turned from Notre Dame’s greatest financial asset into possibly its greatest long-term financial liability.

Therefore, the “Notre Dame makes way too much money as an independent with the NBC contract to ever join a conference” argument is simply not true anymore. For the first time in a century, it may very well be in the rational economic interest of Notre Dame to join the Big Ten. The academics and faculty in South Bend already strongly supported a move to the Big Ten in the 1990s because of the CIC research opportunities and now the financial people might be on board. Of course, this type of logic doesn’t necessarily apply to Notre Dame alums (no offense intended for the Irish fan readers of this blog – I sincerely mean it in a positive way that describes the special passion that alums have for the school) – it’s “independence or die” for them. As I’ve thought about this issue more, this longstanding mentality might actually be as much of a roadblock for the Big Ten as it is for Notre Dame. On one side of the ledger, you have school that has spent most of its history protecting itself and profiting from independence. On the other side, you have the nation’s oldest collegiate conference where most of its members have dealt with each other for over 100 years, share everything equally and have a legitimate “all for one and one for all” mentality. Ohio State truly understands that what’s best for the Big Ten overall is best for Ohio State individually. Could Notre Dame ever adopt that type of worldview? It might be impossible, which could lead to a lot of heartburn down the road.

As a result, it would behoove the Big Ten to look toward another powerhouse university where there appears to be much more mutual interest than the pundits are generally acknowledging. This is a school that the Big Ten could add as a 12th member and unequivocally never think about Notre Dame again…

Academics: 25
TV Value: 25
Football Brand Value: 30
Basketball Brand Value: 10
Historic Rivalries/Cultural Fit: 3
Mutual Interest: 3
Total: 96
: You’re not seeing a misprint – the University of Texas-Austin is the single best possible addition for the Big Ten and the Longhorns are a whole lot more open to it than what the public seems to realize. The average sports fan that has been raised to view college conferences in a regional geographic context probably believes the notion of Texas going to the Big Ten is weird, crazy, upsetting and will never happen. However, as I stated under the Notre Dame overview, the college sports landscape has completely changed from a decade ago where national TV contracts and cable channel distribution now rule the day.

Putting aside any geographic concerns for the moment, Texas is a perfect fit in almost every possible way from the Big Ten’s perspective. The academics are top notch where Texas is one of the nation’s top 15 public universities in the latest U.S. News rankings and its graduate programs are right alongside Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin as among the elite for public flagships. The football program in Austin was just ranked as the most valuable in all of college football by Forbes magazine (#2 is… Notre Dame) and, unlike Nebraska, the Texas basketball program is playing at an elite level, as well. As I’m writing this blog post, both the Texas football and basketball teams are ranked #2 in the country. At the non-revenue sport level, Texas would completely put Big Ten baseball back on the map. Finally, the value of the Big Ten’s traditional TV deals and Big Ten Network revenue would skyrocket with the addition of the #5 (Dallas-Fort Worth) and #10 (Houston) TV markets in the nation plus the entire state of Texas (the country’s 2nd most populous after California). While it’s questionable whether Syracuse or Rutgers could really break the Big Ten into the New York area, there’s absolutely no doubt that Texas would deliver the Big Ten Network to every single cable household in the Lone Star State. The market impact is incredible – the Big Ten, which already has the largest population base of any conference, would further increase such base by over 1/3 with Texas to over 90 million people. When you start thinking about Texas as a possible Big Ten candidate, the thought of inviting Missouri, Syracuse or Rutgers feels like a inconsequential move.

It’s clear why the Big Ten would want Texas. So, why on Earth would Texas want to join the Big Ten? Well, the financial implications are massive. As I stated earlier, the Big Ten receives $242 million per year in TV revenue to split evenly among its 11 members, which comes out to $22 million per year for every single school. In contrast, the Big 12 receives $78 million per year in TV revenue that is split unevenly among its 12 members based on national TV appearances. That comes out to $6.5 million per year for the average Big 12 school. Even Texas, which is a beneficiary of the Big 12’s unequal revenue distribution model since it receives a large number of TV appearances, received only about $12 million in TV revenue last season according the interview with Missouri’s AD that I linked to earlier. In other words, every single Big Ten school makes $10 million per year more than Texas does on TV revenue whether such school is on ABC 12 times or the Big Ten Network 12 times. Remember that the $10 million difference is more than what Notre Dame receives from its vaunted NBC contract. If Texas were to simply bring enough to the Big Ten to maintain the status quo of per school revenue, that would be an 83% jump in TV revenue for the Longhorns immediately off the bat. Considering that the addition of Lone Star households to the Big Ten Network’s distribution would yield an even greater increase in revenue, Texas would easily see in excess of a two-fold increase and maybe even close to a three-fold increase in TV revenue whether it wins or loses.

The average sports fan will look at those numbers and retort, “It’s not all about the money. It’s about rivalries and the passion.” That’s a fair enough point. However, consider that Texas has only been in the Big 12 for 15 years, compared to the original Big 8 members like Nebraska and Oklahoma that have been together for nearly a century. Texas cares about playing Oklahoma (which was a non-conference rivalry for decades up until the formation of the Big 12 in 1994) and Texas A&M. After those two schools, the general consensus among Texas fans is that they could care less about Texas Tech, Baylor and virtually everyone from the Big 12 North (who are all old Big 8 members). Similar to how most of the schools in the East (particularly Big East schools) consider Penn State to be a rival yet the Nittany Lions don’t reciprocate that feeling, all of the Southwestern schools think of Texas as their main rival while the Longhorns simply don’t care about them. Also note that outside of the states of Texas and Colorado, the Big 12 is a decidedly Midwestern conference, only those Midwestern states pale in population size compared to the Big Ten’s Midwestern base. What this means is that the Texas ties to the Big 12 are fairly loose and not ironclad at all in terms of history while the geographic factor really isn’t that important considering how many Big 12 schools are in the Midwest. If Texas maintains its rivalries with Oklahoma and Texas A&M in the non-conference schedule, the Longhorns keep their two most important regional rivalries alive while opening themselves up to the entire nation during the conference schedule.

Speaking in terms that the average sports fan in Texas ought to understand, think of the Dallas Cowboys. When the NFL realigned its divisions in the 1990s, it strongly considered moving the Cowboys to the NFC West. It made geographic sense and, at the time, the Cowboys were in the middle of its run of great games against the San Francisco 49ers, so there was some emotional juice that could’ve been taken to a higher level with those teams in the same division. However, Jerry Jones completely insisted that the Cowboys stay in the geographically-challenged NFC East. Why? Because the Cowboys wouldn’t be able to continue being “America’s Team” by playing teams in the South and West Coast. In order to obtain a national fan base, you need to play in the major markets in the East. If Texas were to move to the Big Ten, it would break out from being a school with a strong regional fan base into one that could be the equivalent of the NFL Cowboys with a national fan base by playing in a disproportionate share of the largest markets in the country located East of the Mississippi River.

Academics are also an extremely important selling point for Texas. The issue with the academic standards in the Big 12 is that there are no academic standards in the Big 12. Texas is the highest ranked Big 12 school in the U.S. News rankings tied at #47 (the Big Ten schools ahead or tied are #12 Northwestern, #27 Michigan, #39 Illinois, #39 Wisconsin and #47 Penn State) while every single other school in the Big 12 except for #61 Texas A&M is ranked lower than every other Big Ten school (the lowest ranked are Indiana, Michigan State and Iowa tied at #71). No one else in the Big 12 comes even close to the academic research abilities of Texas. The potential entry of Texas into the Big Ten would include membership in the CIC, which opens up a whole new level of academic research opportunities for the school that simply doesn’t exist in the Big 12. The first general rule that I mentioned about discussing Big Ten expansion was that people need to think like a university president as opposed to a sports fan. If moving to another conference would (1) make more money for the athletic department AND (2) improve the academic standing of the university, you’ve made quite a powerful argument to the Texas university president.

Finally, there’s a CYA aspect to all of this for Texas. Please take a look at this discussion about expansion options on Barking Carnival, which is my favorite Texas blog. I was shocked to find very few “BIG TEN FOOTBALL SUX”-type comments and instead saw a whole lot of consternation about the long-term viability of the Big 12 overall. Here’s something that I didn’t think about before: if Missouri were to hypothetically leave the Big 12 for the Big Ten, then the Big 12 could end up imploding (i.e. Colorado would bolt for the Pac-10) or at least be severely weakened. The reason is the subpar Big 12 TV contract that I mentioned earlier. St. Louis and Kansas City are decent markets and Missouri is a decent state for a conference like the Big Ten, but none of them have much of an impact when the conference already has Chicago, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and the entire states of Ohio and Michigan. In contrast, St. Louis and Kansas City are respectively the 4th and 5th largest markets for the Big 12 (and more importantly, respectively the 2nd and 3rd largest markets outside of Texas) and Missouri is by far the largest state in the conference other than Texas. Therefore, the loss of Missouri would cause the currently bad Big 12 TV contract to get even worse since no possible replacement school from, say, the Mountain West (i.e. BYU, Utah, etc.) would come close to replacing those markets and households. In turn, all of the Big 12 schools might be sent scrambling for new homes. While that might be a doomsday scenario, Mizzou leaving for the Big Ten would severely damage the Big 12 at the very least.

So, if all of the Big 12 schools could be theoretically up for grabs, why the heck would the Big Ten go after a minnow (Missouri) when it could get a whale (Texas) instead? Why the heck would the Big Ten take Missouri or even Nebraska and let Texas possibly walk off to the much less financially powerful Pac-10? Why the heck would Texas just let a middle tier school like Missouri leaving for another conference put its future in limbo? Simply put, if a decent-but-not-great school like Missouri leaving could have that much of a potential impact on the Big 12, then that’s clearly evidence that the conference is unstable and maybe a powerhouse school like Texas will understand that it needs to start evaluating more stable options (if it hasn’t already). This presents a monster opportunity for the Big Ten to swoop in and solidify its place as the nation’s most powerful sports conference.

Sports-wise, the Big Ten has a reputation of being staid and conservative. In terms of overall conference management, however, the Big Ten is quite forward looking and thinks outside of the box. It’s easy to say that the Big Ten Network is an obvious cash cow for the conference as of today, but at the time of its formation, it was a massive risk considering that it could’ve easily taken a massive traditional rights deal from ESPN in the same manner as the SEC without the pain of a year of fighting for basic cable distribution in the Midwest and Pennsylvania. It now looks like the Big Ten is going to benefit from that risk. Similarly, I’m convinced that the Big Ten isn’t going to make a “meh” move simply to get to the 12 teams needed to stage a football conference championship game. The new school has to be strong enough where if Notre Dame all of the sudden decides that it wants to join a conference in 10 or 20 years, the Big Ten can comfortably say “No” and not have buyer’s remorse about the 12th member that it added. I don’t think that Missouri, Syracuse or Rutgers would come close to meeting that standard, but Texas hits the mark and even more. Therefore, there’s one task for the Big Ten over the next year or so:

Hook ’em.

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

UPDATE #1 (1/4/2010) – Tons of great feedback on this post, so I’ve addressed some additional issues in Big Ten Expansion Index Follow-Up #1: Superconferences, Conference TV Revenue and More Reasons Why Texas to the Big Ten Makes Sense.

UPDATE #2 (1/8/2010) – Confirmation that the Big Ten “contiguous state” rule is a myth, responses to blogs and message boards from across the country and, most importantly, the views of Texas fans in Big Ten Expansion Follow-Up #2: Nationwide and Longhorns Fan Responses on Texas to the Big Ten.

UPDATE #3 (1/20/2010) – More on the financial gap between the Big Ten and Big 12, how Notre Dame almost joined the Big Ten and thoughts on the East Coast schools and fallout in other conferences in Big Ten Expansion Follow-Up #3.

UPDATE #4 (2/1/2010) – Why the “Pitt Joining the Big Ten” Rumors are False.

UPDATE #5 (2/11/2010) – Newspaper reporting that the Big Ten has entered into preliminary discussions with the University of Texas.

UPDATE #6 (2/17/2010) – Template for Shooting Down Every Argument Against Texas Going to the Big Ten

UPDATE #7 (2/21/2010) – Explaining why the “initial list” of 15 Big Ten candidates is an examination of who would join WITH Texas and/or Notre Dame (NOT instead of them).

UPDATE #8 (3/2/2010) – What’s the purpose of the Big Ten leaking a study of Notre Dame, Missouri, Rutgers, Syracuse and Pitt?

UPDATE #9 (3/6/2010) – How Rutgers could work in the Big Ten (as long as another national marquee name also comes along)

UPDATE #10 (3/9/2010) – Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick leaves an opening for the Irish to join a conference.

UPDATE #11 (3/19/2010) – Rumors that the Big Ten is looking to add Boston College, Notre Dame and Rutgers.

UPDATE #12 (3/24/2010) – How the Pac-10 could affect Big Ten expansion.

UPDATE #13 (3/29/2010) – Notre Dame’s AD runs his trap again.

UPDATE #14 (4/6/2010) – Big Ten considering a 16-school conference.

UPDATE #15 (4/12/2010) – How a multi-phase expansion could be a good idea for the Big Ten.

UPDATE #16 (4/19/2010) – The value of expansion candidates to the Big Ten Network.

UPDATE #17 (4/25/2010) – Getting krunk on expansion news (or lack thereof).

UPDATE #18 (5/2/2010) – Rumors about a 5-team expansion with Nebraska, Missouri, Pitt, Rutgers and Syracuse.


307 thoughts on “The Big Ten Expansion Index: A Different Shade of Orange

  1. Sully

    The Comcast deal certainly adds a level of complexity to the concept, as does potential government involvement in the BCS (IF the government forces your hand into joining a conference you don’t have as much leverage as to how and where you enter). That said, Notre Dame will never see another penny from me if they join the Big Ten. There is not a single school with a religious affiliation, and the one which was founded with one decided it was more financially sound to be secular. Would the CIC forgo research which runs counter to Catholic teaching? If I’m not mistaken they are working on embryonic stem cell research. The Catholic identity of Notre Dame does not allow it to have a “all for one and one for all” mentality when the issues go counter to Catholic teaching.

    Long time no post. Hope the twins had a good Christmas.


    1. I think that most Notre Dame alums would feel the same way as you. It will be interesting to see what the administration does at this point. At this point, I still don’t think Notre Dame would join the Big Ten even though it’s arguably in its financial best interests to do so as of today. So, that’s why I believe the Big Ten is looking at Texas – as an institution, it’s effectively a perfect fit with the rest of the conference.

      The twins are doing very well and they had a great first visit from Santa! I hope your little one is doing well, too!


    2. sully, ND lost it’s religious soul when they cowtowed to Barack Obama and his baby killing Dem buddies!!! Don’t try for that holier than thou attitude….I went to a school that has more Catholic students than ND…..OHIO STATE!!! PS I AM NOT A ND HATER….I’M CATHOLIC MYSELF AND ROOT FOR ND EXCEPT WHEN WE’RE BUSY KICKING THEIR BUTTS ACROSS A FOOTBALL FIELD!


  2. mike runk

    there is more to the Big Ten that what you listed. The people of each state are major factors in the schools that represent them. Texas is a sleeze bag state. It is responsible for all the problems in this country. Most the major scandals that have weakened this country, from Enron to the Bush mafia and Karl Rove, have come from there. It is a state with lots of obese people who are careless about their health. The populace are religious fanatics. Indeed, just because Austin pays outragious salaries to get bright faculty to live there, that does not mean that TexASS has intelligent people. Here is a state with more than 30 million people and yet there are only two good universities, no quality museums, and no top tier symphonies. The place is a sesspool. You are wrong.


    1. Rick Perry

      mike runk is an ignorant, biased and uninformed fool.

      “Texas is a sleaze bag state. It is responsible for all the problems in this country. ”

      Now, THAT is the statement of somebody who doesn’t have any IQ points.

      Why, of course, Texas is responsible for all the problems of the entire universe. Of course.

      Instead of runk mistaking his wholly misguided political opinions for truth, he should just go get a job in the Hussein administration. Now THERE is a group of unbelievably unqualified and inept buffoons who have clearly solved all of the universe’s problems . . .


    2. Jim Walters


      Texas wouldn’t be interested in joining with a bunch of inferior schools in the Big 10.

      And they certainly wouldn’t be interested in joining with fans as idiotic and delusional as you.



      Hey Mike Runk. Have you ever traveled below the Mason Dixon Line???? Take your pajamas off, get off your computer and out of your basement, and take a visit to Texas sometime. I have to go to the Dallas/Fort Worth area a lot. Being from Western New York, I can tell you that their economy, business environment, and employment opportunities make ours look absolutely pathetic. Western New York looks like a Ghost Town compared to the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

      While our corupt politicians up here tax, regulate, and litigate all the businesses out of states like New York where I live, those same businesses move to business friendly states like Texas.

      As far as the Arts go, the University of North Texas in Denton has one of the best, if not THE best Jazz program in the World. North Texas’s Opera program is one of the best in the Country. Their Music facilities make top Northeastern Music Schools like Yale, Boston University, Temple, Maryland, Curtis, and others look like slums.

      Austin itself may be arguably the most popular music town in the Country, rivaling Nashville. Have you ever heard of Austin City Limits on PBS????????

      In short, all your arguements against Texas joining sound like they’re comming from some Northeast elitist snob that lives in a world of sterotypes. The same elitist snobs that got us in this economic disaster up here to begin with. People from Texas point to people like cluless, sheltered Mike Runk, smile all the way to the bank, and say “Thank You for your Business.”


    4. Boomhower555

      Trying to lump all of Texans into one group as you describe makes about as much sense as labeling every Muslim a terrorist. I’ll ask my NASA astrophysicist neighbor or my MD Anderson cancer research doctor friend to check out your post. And Karl Rove is not a Texan.

      You, sir, are an idiot, and have obviously never made it down to Texas. You should check out Austin this time of year, I guarantee it’s a lot better than wherever the hell you are.

      Great analysis, the only thing about Texas going anywhere is that they are going to have a hard time shaking off little brother Atm.

      Hook ’em.


      1. fatboy

        All I know ’bout Texas I found wrote on a mensroom stall in an Austin BBQ joint (countyline, I think): here I sit, my thighs a flexin’, givin’ birth to another Texan. Hope that helps y’all’s discussion.


    5. Cesspool, have you seen Detroit? i have been to the rust belt and much rather like the cosmo cities of Dallas/Ft Worth and Austin. Obese folks, have you seen the women in Texas? I think Texas would be a good fit for the Big 10 for these reasons: 1) Texas over the last decade has added more folks than any other state, while the rust belt continues to lose people in droves: add texas because the midwest is in definite decline 2) Academics at UT are a priority at UT and is currently the only real Research school in the B12 so a fit is good with both 3) We make less money than Northwestern TV wise and we have a state of 28 million people are you kidding me?


    6. mike,ever heard of spell check? Your diatribe does not address the issues involved…you ,sir, are a hater! I attended two OSU/Texas football games and the Texas fans and coach were a “class act”. I would love Texas in the Big Ten,they bring a lot to the table.Stop being a redneck and think like a business man. If the Big Ten is to stay “BIG”, it needs to compete with the SEC! Texas would add a huge boost to the Conference,it would be unprecedented and news-making in the extreme! No other conference would have the same broad scope and by familiarity, the northern members could access the vast recruiting base that exists in populous Texas. The Big Ten would have its entre into a fast growing state that bleeds football like Ohio and Pennsylvania…


    7. osu tonyrone

      Man you really do not represent the Big Ten. It is obvious you know about the University of Texas as an academic instution. Academically and on the playing field Texas would continue to add to the big ten prestige of quality top notch education and continue to bring in another big name to the conference on the football field or basketball court.
      Next time you make a comment on how you feel about U of T as an academic instuition please do the research first.
      Also the environment of Texas especially Austin is electric and the most liberal city in the southwest.
      Texas and the big ten could benefit of having each other, and at first i was worried about rivalries but I am sure if they have the big ten west and big ten East that U of T can find rivalry alignment with u of illinois who is on the same academic plain as them which I could see over the years could really bring out passion on the sports field since i already know for a fact that academically u of i and u of t competes against each other for the best academic prospects which would eventually spill on to the sports teams.
      Illini football is way down and can benefit from them while the both schools basketball teams could become instant rivals.
      After further review I can see this happening


  3. Madison Hawk

    Good analysis. I agree that Texas is at the top of the list and that the Big Ten will almost certainly have at least informal discussions with Texas about being a 12th member.

    I’d throw another scenario in there as well. I found it interesting that Teddy Greenstein (who is as well connected with the Big Ten office as anyone outside the Big Ten Network) recently reported that the Big Ten may consider expanding to 14 or 16 teams. I interpret that statement as targeting Texas. I do not believe Texas would come by itself: too far geographically and (more importantly) too much negative reaction from the Texas state politicians for effectively blowing up the Big 12. However, if Texas and Texas A&M both came (Texas A&M would score very well sans the marginal TV additions), Texas would have political cover. Further the additions of Texas and Texas A&M may be enough for Notre Dame to finally make the jump also as the Big Ten then surely be known as more than a regional Midwest conference.

    The additions of Texas, Texas A&M and Notre Dame to the Big Ten would cause an earthquake in the college landscape.


    1. You’re right that football is a matter of the highest political importance in the state of Texas and you’d see politicians there try to wedge Texas A&M into any UT move. Still, I’m very hardpressed to see how the Big Ten would expand beyond 12 schools. There’s a point of diminishing returns once you get past the 12 schools that you need to stage a conference championship game. At the same time, the Big Ten really isn’t a “big tent” conference – to the contrary, it probably carries itself as a more exclusive club than any of the other BCS conferences. So, I think the focus will be on one member. The 14-team conference scenario is interesting to banter about and I could see the Big Ten doing solely in order to lure Notre Dame, but I think that you’ll see the conference pass on expansion completely before it chooses to expand with more than one new member.


    2. Texas A&M will have to go with Texas wherever the Longhorns end up. The politicians in Austin will freeze UT’s endowment dollars if they leave without the aggies.

      Frank, I understand your argument about diminishing returns. However, what if Texas and Texas A&M joined the Big Ten, and then the conference added Syracuse to even the league out. Syracuse would bring in the NY market (at least for basketball purposes), and the Texas schools would lock down the Texas markets: Dallas (5), Houston (10), San Antonio (37), Austin (48), Waco (89), El Paso (98), Tyler (109), Corpus Christi (129), Amarillo (131), Beaumont (141), Lubbock (143), Wichita Falls (149), Odessa (155), Abilene (165), Laredo (188) & San Angelo (198).

      I realize a lot of these markets aren’t very large. However, that pretty much covers the entire state of Texas (all 90 million plus).


  4. You make a good argument for Texas as 11 + 1 = 13; I’ll give you a scenario where 11+ 3 = 15. I agree with you that Syracuse or Rutgers by itself can’t deliver the New York market by itself to the Big Ten )and its cable network). However, together they could get it done. What about a 14th member? How about…Maryland? It has the Tier I academics, a normally competent football program (save for this past season), a powerhouse basketball program (both men’s and women’s), and it has more impact in the affluent (and growing) Washington TV market (and Baltimore, too) than SU or Rutgers have in NYC. With Syracuse, Rutgers, Maryland and Penn State, the Big Ten would have a full-fledged footprint along the eastern seaboard, doing (on a far more substantial scale) what the ACC had intended when it wanted to have Syracuse and Boston College join. Maryland would certainly be interested in Big Ten membership, seeing the academic and athletic benefits it’s given Penn State.


    1. I like Maryland, but the ACC doesn’t have the inherent instability of the Big 12 or Big East that makes any of their schools viable targets. Of course, if the Big Ten were to go after an ACC school in theory, I’d apply the same logic as I did to the Big 12 – why go after Maryland (the equivalent of Mizzou) if you could go after a school like Miami (the equivalent of Texas) instead? As I noted under Madison Hawk’s comment, I doubt that anything more than 12 schools would be attractive to the Big Ten (or any other BCS conference, for that matter). Once you get to the point where you can stage a conference championship game, each additional school needs to be even more valuable than the last one for it to pay off. That being said, I think that going toward the East Coast is a better move if the Big Ten doesn’t end up going to the Texas route (which is why Syracuse is the highest school in my rankings after Texas and Notre Dame).


      1. SDB10

        Frank, Mizzou & Nebraska should not get 25 for academics due to the high freshman acceptance rates, low research expenditures, low enrollees, etc. No way do they compare to ND, Texas, Rutgers, Maryland, Vandy. Speaking of Maryland, you ought to update the rankings again including Maryland, Vandy and others now seemingly in the “southern” area referred to by Delaney to include the many schools Delaney referred to as candidates.


  5. ohio1317

    Very good analysis. The only factor not yet mentioned that might be a factor is travel expenses. It’s one thing to fly the football teams up north several times a year. It’s another to do the same multiple times for all the smaller sports. While I know travel is far from free right now, I have to imagine that the extra distance would add to costs. Whether it does so on a scale that’s significant enough is the question.


    1. I’d love to see if people can provide specific details as to the scope of travel costs if at all possible. For what it’s worth, my understanding is that the increased revenue for Boston College being the ACC as opposed to the Big East has more than made up for the increased travel costs. The hypothetical situation of the Big Ten going to Texas would yield even greater revenue. Miami basically has to get onto a plane to travel for every opponent even in the ACC, so it would be interesting to see what their travel costs are like.


      1. random

        One factor on the travel costs that I rarely see discussed is the necessity, or lack thereof, for travel in the non-revenue sports. Conference affiliations are wonderful, but there is really no reason to play a full round robin in the non-revenue sports.

        I’ll use Ohio State as an example since they’re closest to home. Within a 2:30 drive, covering the whole state and then some, OSU has access to the following D1 schools:

        Wright State
        Bowling Green
        Cleveland State
        Youngstown State
        Marshall (WV)

        There is no reason that conferences should not be playing the majority of their games in places that are a bus ride away in the “lesser” sports (and no offense intended). If the big conferences want to keep up their rivalries, they could still have big round robin tournaments a couple weekends out of their seasons.

        Smaller, regional conferences for the non-revenue sports needs to be used by most schools.


      2. Hawkeye374

        Just looking at conference maps, I realized that there is one school that is dealing with this type of travel costs… has anyone ever noticed that the nearest school to South Florida in the Big East is Louisville (which sits over 700 miles away…)? It would be interesting to see how they’ve dealt with travel costs.


        1. SDB10

          Typical B10 school has about 650 non-revenue student-athletes to transport to events. Half the D1 schools are making it work with $40M budgets or less and the only real reference I see about increased travel is on a NCAA report about the increased travel expenses. I go to Anchorage & see MSU & other teams flying there to play UAA hockey & they are making it work. BC makes it work in the ACC so I think transportation costs are not as big a factor as the average Joe thinks, but still a factor even as Delaney commented on “geographical connectivity”.


  6. I feel pretty strongly that you are undervaluing Missouri.

    I wanted to say before that while I disagree with you about a couple of things, I think you have done a GREAT job getting things out there is a comprehensive fashion. Many have done similar comparisons without giving it nearly as much thought. Kudos.

    Obviously I am biased, given the Web site that I have constructed and my affiliations (Mizzou undergrad / Iowa Law). I encourage you to visit it and see what specific ways I mean. I’ll add a few just for argument’s sake.

    First, You put Missouri’s football tradition at 15, Nebraska at 30, Syracuse at 20. Huh?

    The Big Ten has to look forward, not backward. The NCAA has changed dramatically. Syracuse is a bottom-dweller in the Big East in football. They have terrible facilities and only get half the fan support (33,000 to 64,000) at games compared with Mizzou. Syracuse adds no football credibility to the conference, despite Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Marvin Harrison, and Donovan McNabb. Nebraska slowly fell off after the 85 scholarship limit was put in place and is having trouble recruiting now that Mizzou is pretty good. The legendary Tom Osborne used to say that Missouri was a sleeping giant given our status as the state’s only Div 1-a program, large population, and tradition of great high school football. Some of Nebraska’s best players (Grant Wistrom, Mike Rucker) were guys who probably would have gone to Mizzou had we not been terrible during their times. Mizzou has beaten Nebraska 4 of 7 times. We have much better recruiting classes and have averaged similar television ratings. Your claims about television ratings are not backed up by recent fact. I think Missouri should get a little more love for basketball brand. We’ve been labeled the “best team to not make a final four for years.” I really think CMA is on the right track.

    Missouri football goes way back. We competed with Michigan/Ohio State/Notre Dame/Penn State/Alabama back in 60s-70s (the good ol days when you didn’t schedule Furman, lol). Mizzou had Dan Devine as a coach before Notre Dame and almost won a National Title in the 60’s.

    I’ll concede Texas/Notre Dame as better choices for your criteria, but neither school could join the Big Ten, for some very serious political reasons.

    I’ve got a lot of content on the blog, that may even help your analysis on other schools as well. But like I said, kudos for the thought you put into this. I am getting tired to reading the same rote and unsupported arguments.


    1. Thanks for sending a link to your blog. From an Illinois alum’s perspective, Missouri would be great in the sense that we’d finally have a mutual rivalry for both basketball and football.

      (Sidebar about Illinois rivals: No one can really hate Northwestern that much, Indiana is strictly basketball-only and our obsession with Michigan is completely ignored by people in Ann Arbor. I went to law school with a lot of people that went to Michigan for undergrad and they pretty much were all shocked as to how much Illinois fans pointed to the Wolverines as their top rival. In fact, a lot of them said that they actually cheered for Illinois in a lot of instances, which made me hate those people even more, but I digress.)

      Your arguments about the various point values that I’ve assigned are fair, although the overall analysis probably wouldn’t change. It makes intuitive sense that Missouri, Nebraska and Syracuse are essentially the next three schools that would be considered after Notre Dame and Texas and there are various arguments for all of them. Mizzou’s advantage is that it’s solid across the board school – good academics, good football, good basketball and good TV markets. I think that what will be the main thing for the Big Ten to get over is that it isn’t really a marquee name in anything (and that’s not meant to be a knock – I could say the same about my Illini), while Nebraska has that historical football name and Syracuse has the hypothetical lure of making the conference become the dominant name on the East Coast (with a Syracuse/Penn State pairing) as well as the Midwest (even if it might ultimately be fool’s gold for the conference).

      It will be interested to see how it will play out. In the meantime, I’ll continue to frequent your blog since you make some very good arguments.


    2. SDB10

      Mizzou makes sense from an athletic & BTN standpoint & is a noteworthy academic institution. Unfortunately there are public ivies & near ivies like Pitt, Rutgers, UVA, UMD, Tx, even ND as your competition. The Presidents look at this differently than we fans do, they want academic branding, more research.


  7. LonghornLawyer

    As a native Texan and alumnus of The University of Texas, I instinctively feel the need to dispute Mike Runk’s allegations point-by-point, but I’m sure nobody here is interested. So I’ll refrain from pointing out
    * That Texas’ population is not above 30M (it’s a mere 24,326,974 according to the latest Census projection),

    * That it has more than two good universities (Rice would probably characterize itself as far better than “good”),

    * That it has a multitude of quality museums (e.g., the Dallas Museum of Art, the Kimball Art Museum, the Nasher Sculpture Garden, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Blanton Museum of Art, and three presidential libraries),

    * That there are top-tier symphonies in Dallas and Houston, or

    * That the word “cesspool” is spelled with a “c” and not an “s.”

    I’ll simply leave that to the next Texan to come along with less self-control.

    To the point of the post, I agree with all of Frank’s points. I do, however, think he understates the importance of the Oklahoma and A&M rivalries. Oklahoma can be continued as a non-conference game, just as it was played for the first 85 years of its existence. Conceivably, A&M can be played the same way. Each presents its different concerns, and both are serious.

    The Oklahoma game in Dallas is an absolute cash cow for the Texas athletic department. The game is played in the Cotton Bowl, which holds 92,000 (i.e., about 10,000 less than Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium). Texas and Oklahoma are each alotted half the seats, with the stadium split along the 50-yard line.

    About half of Texas’ season ticket holders therefore do not get tickets to the Oklahoma game. That creates upward pressure for season ticket holders to donate to the Longhorn Foundation (i.e., the fundraising arm of the athletic department). Because tickets to the OU game are distributed on the basis of the year’s contribution to the Longhorn Foundation, season ticket holders have an incentive to donate more and more each year to the Foundation to ensure they get tickets.

    As Frank points out, Texas only gets about $12M from its television contract. Yet despite that, it earns more from football than any other program. That’s entirely because of donations to the LHF, and the athletic department is going to be loathe to do anything that upsets that. And that makes keeping the OU game intact an absolute necessity.

    With their game against BYU at JerryWorld this year, OU sent a shot across Texas’ bow indicating that it can always get a game in Dallas (and have the revenue and recruiting benefits that come with that) regardless of whether Texas is involved. I suspect Texas heard the message loud and clear.

    The problem with A&M is different. Leaving aside the politics of the issue–and with the Lt. Governor being an A&M grad, it’s impossible to leave politics aside–Texas’ nightmare scenario is having A&M join the SEC. It is no coincidence that during the ten years out of its history when A&M was good at football (primarily due to SMU-level cheating), Texas was terrible. There are only so many top-tier recruits in Texas, and there are just not enough to feed Texas, Oklahoma, and A&M. Somebody’s got to get left out. If A&M were to join the SEC, it would give A&M a real recruiting advantage that it doesn’t presently have. Worse, it would open the Texas recruiting pool to teams like LSU and Alabama and reopen it to Arkansas.

    Texas requires Aggie weakness to prosper. A strong A&M in the SEC is a recipe for Longhorn mediocrity. And that wouldn’t benefit either Texas or the Big 10.

    That doesn’t necessarily mean that A&M has to come with. But it does mean that we need to find A&M a good home outside the SEC (Pac-10, perhaps?) and secure a very long-term deal with them for non-conference games before we can jump the Big 12 ship.


    1. Thank you so much for the excellent Texas alum perspective. I know that Texas state politics are likely going to play heavily into any decision. With that in mind, Texas going to the Big Ten alone would damage the Big 12 at a high level, but that conference would still likely survive with Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Nebraska. It actually still keeps the Texas market with A&M still there, so in a bastardized way of thinking, the Big 12 keeps more market penetration by losing Texas as opposed to Mizzou and then could actually expand it by adding, for argument’s sake, BYU. (Obviously, this is a bit of a false argument since the value of Texas nationally far surpasses the value of Mizzou or any Mountain West replacement.)

      If BOTH Texas and Texas A&M leave the Big 12, though, then that conference is almost definitely crushed. In turn, that completely damages Texas Tech and Baylor. While Baylor might’ve been just Ann Richard’s personal welfare project back in the 1990s, I would imagine that Texas Tech has a bit of sway in the state’s political landscape. So, would one of either Texas or Texas A&M leaving the Big 12 be palatable politically (even if it’s not necessarily popular), but both of them leaving be a non-starter?


      1. LonghornLawyer

        Frank, as to the politics of taking Texas and A&M, I just don’t know.

        Contrary to popular belief, it wasn’t Ann Richards who got Baylor into the Big 12. Under our constitution, the office of Governor is a very weak institution. Ann could’ve pitched a fit, but it really wouldn’t have done much good.

        The real power lies with the Lt. Governor, who as president of the Senate controls the upper chamber by setting the calendar and controlling committee assignments. The position is doubly important because the Lt. Governor charis the Budget Board, and therefore controls the budgeting process.

        In the 1990’s, that position was held by Bob Bullock, who was a graduate of Texas Tech University and Baylor School of Law. Bullock made clear to Texas and A&M that if Tech and Baylor weren’t invited to the dance, the legislature would slash their appropriations.

        Of course, Bullock is gone now. The current Lt. Governor is an Aggie, and the speaker of the house went to Vanderbilt (and whose sporting interests, to my knowledge, are limited to horse racing). The impediments to ditching Tech and Baylor are therefore reduced.

        That’s doubly true because the Legislature has greatly reduced appropriations to both Texas and A&M over the last 20 years. Texas and A&M both draw on the Permanent University Fund, which comes primarily from oil royalties on state land in the Permian Basin. The Legislature has used this as an excuse to reduce the universities’ appropriations on the theory that they can sustain themselves. The result is that whereas the threat of cutting off Texas’ and A&M’s legislative appropriations was a real threat in 1994, now it’s not nearly so serious.

        Bottom line–we could ditch Baylor and Tech if we so chose.

        Ditching A&M is much more delicate. As I said above, would couldn’t leave them afloat like we did with SMU, TCU, Houston, and Rice. At the same time, we wouldn’t want them to join the SEC. And the fact is that I think a Big 12 without Texas would be so weakened that an SEC invitation to A&M would be forthcoming, and would probably be very attractive to A&M.

        And that’s something we just can’t have.


    2. Ag Eng

      LonghornLawyer…how soon we forget that ut was cited for TWICE as many vilolations than A&M in the 80’s.
      Only 10 years of good football, seriously?
      We’re a top 20 program for wins….we’ve had our share.


    3. Nostrodamus

      I bequeath my name to you LonghornLawyer – you predicted the impact of A&Ms move to the SEC way before anyone else knew what it would or could be…even the Aggies!


      1. FrankTheAg

        Wrong…the Aggies knew and played their hand masterfully. Funny rereading this thread and the hilarious commentary from “the tank” about ditching A&M. Such ignorance coupled with arrogance is rarely found.


  8. mike runk

    the problem with Missouri is academics. It is a second to third tier university. Its graduate programs are poorly ranked, with the exception of journalism. There is no way that Missouri is in the same league as Syracuse in academics and the Big Ten cares about this. Also, New York is one of the greatest states in the country, and Missouri is, well Missouri is Missouri. The only person who ever payed attention to Missouri was Mark Twain, and he did not flatter. It is bad enough that the undergrad programs at Indiana, Purdue, Michigan State, Minnesota and Iowa are second tier, the last thing the Big Ten needs is a third tier school.


    1. Greg

      Every Big Ten school is “Tier 1” according to the latest U.S. News rankings. It is true that Missouri would be the lowest ranked school in the Big Ten, but they are also still Tier 1. Based on you comments, I assume you are a UMich supporter.

      As a resident of Western New York, I will say that the Big Ten definitely has the football market here. From what I can tell, though, the casual sports fan does not watch College Football regularly. The NFL and NHL (gasp) are much more popular. I’m not convinced that the addition of Syracuse would bring a ton of extra viewers into the Big Ten.


      1. I have to agree with you about the lack of pull Syracuse might have. People see that “NY” after the city’s name and assume it would draw from the entire state. Not so. The down state population (lower Hudson Valley) is much more interested in the pro game out of NYC and northern NJ than it is in college play. (That’s the problem Rutgers has. Not only does it compete with NYC but Philly, too.) And those north of Albany along I-87 are more attuned to the Patriots.


    2. Kyle MIzz

      Mike Runk is an idoit. Check your facts mizzou is not third tier. It’s tier 1 and the bid 12 has three schools in the third tier; kansas state, oklahoma state and texas tech. Mizzou wants to be better and if it joined the big ten 10 it’s possible. Good tradition in sports. Mizzou started the homecoming tradition, it’s football program has progressed in the past few years, the basketball team is competitive most years and getting more consistent at competing with the great teams, the softball went the the college world series last year, women’s soccer team is always ranked and competitive, so is the wrestling team, and mizzou became the first school in big 12 history in the 2008-2009 athletic schedule to have their football, basketball, and baseball teams compete in the big 12 conference championship games. Also mizzou is a member of the AAU and so are all the big 10 schools. Also most people in the st. louis area don’t care for the illini so, you’d get alot more possible viewers in the stl if you had mizzou. Don’t underestimite the tigers!


  9. Chris

    Frank, you are so completely full of shit. The Little Eleven as some sort of elite academic conference? You cannot be serious. The Little Eleven is many things, NONE of them elite in the academic sense. Why can’t you simply enjoy your faded glory as a once-was great football conference?


    1. DTD

      You’re an idiot. Outside of the Ivy League it is the premiere academic conference in the country. The fact that you do not know this only leads me to assume that you are a graduate of a Tier 3 school in the south like Mississippi State.


    2. SDB10

      Chris what do you base your belief the B10 as being non-academic and what is your expertise in this area of academia evaluation? Could you provide an example of a more elite conference other than the Ivy league? Google “Public Ivy” & compare your great football conference names to the B10 names in there as a start.


  10. ZT

    You say to add 3 schools, each one would have to be more appealing than the next. So by judging your scenarios, what about an addition of Maryland/Syracuse, Miami, and Texas?


    1. It’s still very hard to see the Big Ten or any other BCS conference going to more than 12 schools, although your hypothetical is one instance where there would be a financial argument with the combo of the East Coast, Texas and Florida markets. Miami as a 12th member alone is intriguing (although the thought of them switching conferences again makes my head explode) and in many ways, the Florida market is a more natural extension for the Big Ten if it’s going to “jump” states with so many Midwestern transplants and alums living there. I’ll be expanding upon this in a follow-up post along with some thoughts on 14-team superconferences in general (i.e. why they are really tough to see working) and a few other schools that ought to be considered (i.e. Kansas).


  11. My dad is from Texas, and although he went to school in Illinois, most of the people on his side of the family either went to UT or to UNC Chapel Hill (part of his family is from the Carolinas). As such, I’ve had to contend with rabid ‘Horns fans all my life. Make no mistake, UT alums/fans rival Notre Dame alums/fans in arrogance and obnoxiousness. Never did a family function go by (Christmas dinner, Weddings, etc.) without a group picture of everyone on that side of the family — except for yours truly — giving the “hookem Horns” hand signal. As the lone non-Texas fan in the family, I’ve always been viewed with a level of suspicion and unease.

    I’m not a Texas fan and I never will be. What’s more, I’ve spent a lot of time in Austin, and I think Austin is overrated.

    But insofar as Big Ten expansion is concerned, it’s always been clear to me that adding UT should be the primary focus of any expansion effort. Forget Notre Dame. Forget what Joe Paterno wants. Texas is the only school that that would add:

    1.) a top-tier, perennial BCS Championship contending football program;

    2.) an increasingly top-tier, perennial top 25/NCAA Tournament basketball program;

    3.) a top-flight public university/research school that’s perennially ranked in US News & World Review’s top 50 list (for whatever that’s worth);

    4.) entry into two of the nation’s ten largest television markets (the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex and Houston).

    Texas’ addition would make the Big Ten into a football super conference AND a basketball super conference. It would give the Big Ten football credibility on par with the SEC, and basketball credibility on par with the ACC and the Big East. Furthermore, none of the other schools in question (outside of Notre Dame or Syracuse) would provide the B10 with the boost that entry to the Houston, Dallas and San Antonio/Austin media markets would.

    The addition of Texas would be such a coup for the Big Ten that the conference should do whatever it can to make the deal happen, even if it means adding Texas A&M so that UT can keep the UT-A&M rivalry intact (in that case, Notre Dame or Syracuse should be pursued to fill out a 14 member conference).


  12. TH

    Hmmm… add Texas, A&M and Notre Dame?

    Big Ten West:
    Texas A&M

    Big Ten East:
    Notre Dame
    Ohio State
    Penn State
    Michigan State

    Holy shit.


    1. Mike

      Texas to the Big 10? The author obviously doesn’t live in the Lone Star State. It will NEVER happen. I know 100 Texans personally who would take up arms before they let their beloved Longhorns share a conference with a Big 10 team. Cultural fit? Yea, right.


  13. Moore Ahn

    You make some good points. But you have messaged a lot of data in Syracuse’s favor. 20 out of 30 football points? That’s highly generous. Since 1964, Syracuse has averaged about 36K per home game. They were unable to attract 34K to a game against #5 Cincinnati (they were 3-4 with a loss in OT against Minnesota in the opener) despite free student tickets and $10 upper deck pricing. — Analysis: Syracuse football team deserves more than thin crowd and boos. Syracuse football attendance peaked under McPherson and continued until McNabb left. Since then, Syracuse gets 35K into a 50K stadium, which is exactly the type of program you specified you didn’t want in the Football Brand Value section.


  14. WPA

    Syracuse is not a research powerhouse, the football history will stay in the past (covered by the horrible Dome) and, even in combination with Rutgers, doesn’t move the needle much on the pro-sports dominated NYC TV market. And how does that school get 5 mutual interest points when the basketball coach has said no way.
    Texas would be nice, but why should they move when they own the Big 12 lock stock and commissioner?
    Notre Dame is a fine undergraduate school, but has no research imprint to add to the CIC. I’d challege the assignment of 25 academic points, but would allow that if ND said yes, it’s a marriage.
    Nebraska has a brand, but intensity of interest among a devoted fan base does not necessarily overcome the lack of additional eyeballs in the base market.


  15. Stego Saur

    If I see one more MBA-type analysis of who should be asked to join the Big Ten, I will hurl. I have yet to see a even handed approach to this topic. People go on for pages about the subject but their own prejudices and just plain false information manage to skew things. Lets just leave the decisions to the Big Ten officials who will decide if they want to expand. All of the candidate schools (or their fans) always overestimate their allure to the Big Ten.


  16. TLH

    I’d like to hear your analysis on Maryland, Boston College, and Kansas if you get a chance. I’ve long thought that Maryland is their best target assuming Texas proves out of reach. While the ACC is not inherently unstable, the Big 10 with its academic consortium and significant money has to intrigue the ACC schools if nothing else.


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  18. nick l

    Very intelligent people here good opinions and thoughts. The thought that Texas could join the big ten amazes me. If Texas does so the big 12 along with the big east are second class power confrences in my opinion. Cincinnati losing big to Florida proves to me that it doesn’t have any teams that can be a threat for the title which a power confrence should have one to two every year.

    In a perfect world well mine at least here’s what would happen
    Texas and a&m both join
    As much as I would like Nebraska to join the big ten I want Missouri to join more.
    Syracuse, they have had some games with Iowa recently a couple have been good and as qb Iowa fan I enjoy that.

    I also like the think like a president not a fan perspective first article I read like that


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  20. RPMadMSU

    As a employee of one a Big Ten Member School who works with a lot of other Universities, I’ve been trying to get these “rules” across to sports fans re: Big Ten Expansion for a long time. (Except you forget that there already are 12 schools in the Big Ten (CIC) academically. He also forgets to mention the weight of AAU (Association of American Universities) membership to the argument. Though I think I give more to “mutual interest” then I would to Football.

    As you accurately state The real reason the B10 is looking to expand goes beyond the field of play. As the economies of the mid-west fail, so do sources of research funding in the major large universities that make up the Big Ten (CIC). Whether it be from business ventures (Ford/GM used to GIVE tons to both Michigan school engineering programs) or from the State themselves, these revenue streams are dryer then they have been. What the B10 needs is to diversify their research funding sources into new markets. Athletic expansion into new markets is icing on the cake as the B10’s TV appeal overall remains high/stable despite their national reputation (Big Ten Network actually made quite a bit of money for the conference last Q).

    I agree Texas is a great fit, but I don’t see them leaving, not with the sweet unequal slanted toward Texas revenue sharing deal they have with the Big 12.

    Notre Dame loses points because they not only turned down Big Ten Membership last time, but AAU membership as well. They may be ok sharing research with their neighbors (they were good with joining the CIC), but not with the Harvard’s and Stanford’s of the world.

    Both these schools probably score low in the “mutual interest” area.

    (As you have) You can totally “x” out Cincy and Louisville as they aren’t AAU members, and aren’t even close to being eligible. Anyone who brings up these two as potential B10 members should automatically be dismissed.

    Because of this I think Syracuse is the front runner. I know they are tied to the Big East (which is a new conference compared to the old guard…32 years since their formation), but face it, Big East Football has been dead since the ACC raided them, and Syracuse would probably do well in the B10. It expands their own research appeal west, and diversifies the Big Ten’s into NY/New England where most of their student base comes from.

    However, if the B10 really wants to make a splash both academically and athletically they had 3 schools and become the first 14(15) school super conference. Add Pitt/Syracuse and Rutgers and pretty much destroying the Big East for Football; and leaving the other conferences scrambling to reach 14 schools to keep up. (One could probably substitute Rutgers for ND in the B10 as reducing the Big East down to even 6 teams destroys it as a Football conference and could force ND into joining as they no longer have the old Big East to fall back on if the BCS continues to increase the benefits to the power conferences.) This is not out of the realm of possibility, from what I’ve heard.


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  22. Down in the land of Longhorns Inc self-interest is all.

    So the question to ask is the reverse of JFK’s to our nation: “Ask not what the Longhorns can do for the Big Ten, but what the Big Ten can do for the Longhorns.” You will immediately cross Texas off the list.

    The main benefit would be academic standing. If the Big Ten has the same faculty exchange fellowships the Big Twelve has, most departments at UT would be very eager to join the Big Ten. My department (Classics) would be ecstatic to have exchanges with U Michigan, U Wisconsin, Ohio State, Illinois Champaign Urbana, Penn State, in fact almost every Big Ten school.

    But following the anti-JFK criterion, there is a ghost of a chance in the Texas midsummer heat, since it would interrupt big revenue streams to football coming from television revenues and from traditional rivalries. In the Big XII, Oklahoma, A&M, Nebraska and Texas form a bloc that keeps the other schools from voting to share the wealth of television revenues more evenly.

    Television revenues (last year $113.5 million in Big XII) are a big source of contention. The Big XII splits this in half and divides that half equally, but the other half is divided among the teams that appear most. So right now UT, OU, Nebraska and Texas A&M get lion’s shares and that creates a real problem of haves vs. have-nots. But the only way of revising this is
    to get 9 of the 12 schools to vote to do so, so the big 4 are not going to do it.

    And you have to remember that decisions like this are not presidential decisions in Texas, but Board of Regents decisions. And the board and the wealthy business people who are on it and influence it just LOVE big-time sports. hence $300 million spent since 1998 just upgrading a stadium into a pleasure palace of skyboxes, club seats, Godzillatron and so on. Plus no restraints at all on coach’s salary.

    Travel expense would increase enormously, too. So unless the cost analysis of stadium sizes offsets those, it will not happen.

    Also there is the bully-chicken factor. Do you think UT wants to face the likes of Penn State and OSU and Wisconsin and Michigan State every year, when they ran chicken against Hawaii a few years back? And to do so in the cold? (We had to build an air-conditioned bubble at great expense just to save the poor players from the heat. And we bus them something like less than a half mile from the stadium to the practice facilities. Incredible.)

    In the Big XII only OU really has the resources and the drawing power in recruiting to be competitive, so Mack Brown’s record at conference championships (two since 1997 and two his whole career) is not good. And he almost managed through clock management blundering in the Big XII championship game to lose this year, too. (Question: Do you think the extra second would have been found if Nebraska had done the same thing?) It’s what we at UT might call our favored bully status. 13-0 with only two games all year against teams that finished anywhere (and they were low) in the BCS Top 25. In the ten most non-competitive games this year our margin of victory was 34 points. And Brown, to his credit, does not run up scores.

    So UT in Big Ten will never happen.

    Tom Palaima, UT faculty member and UT rep on the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics



    1. Professor Palaima,

      I really appreciate your insight since you certainly have access to a lot more direct information on this matter than any of us out here in the virtual world would. What I’m wondering is whether the Big 12’s TV distribution formula that’s stacked in the favor of Texas really doesn’t matter in this case since even if Texas is able to receive the maximum amount possible under that formula, it would still be significantly less than anyone in the Big Ten whether they win or lose. As I pointed out in my follow-up post, Miami had a similar situation where it had the lion’s share of the TV revenue and power in the unequal revenue distribution model of the Big East (which looked almost exactly like the Big 12 model of today), yet it eventually valued having the long-term financial stability of the equal revenue distribution model in the ACC. A key difference is that Miami actually knew that it was going to give up short-term revenue boosts by being in the Big East (since it was in the midst of its national championship runs at that time), but Texas would make more TV money in the Big Ten regardless of how favorable the Big 12’s rules are toward the school.

      I’ve seen from LonghornLawyer’s comment above how demand for tickets to the OU game in Dallas drives donations to the Longhorn Foundation, yet it appears at the conference level that Texas would really make more revenue in the Big Ten in almost every scenario. The traditional ABC/ESPN TV money is better, there’s a conference cable TV network that directly makes more revenue for all of the schools for every single cable subscriber that’s added (which would be massive if the state of Texas is included), the stadiums are larger and the bowl tie-ins are stronger. So, at least from how I see it, the Big Ten provides both higher athletic revenue AND improved academic benefits to Texas, which means BOTH the hard-core sports supporters and the academics that might think there’s too much emphasis on sports would win in that scenario. Am I missing something else here regarding revenue?

      I know that travel costs would certainly increase, so I’d like to see if you have any insight as to whether that’s consequential compared to the amount of potential increased revenue that Texas would receive in the Big Ten.

      It’s very interesting that you noted that the Board of Regents makes the ultimate decisions at Texas as opposed to the university president, so I’d be curious to see your expanded views on how that works. Is it really the Board of Regents that drive policy at the university where the president is merely a figure-head, or is it the other way around (as it is in a lot of other places where the board of trustees has ultimate authority on paper yet merely rubber stamps the university president’s decisions in practicality)?

      Also, my understanding is that Texas approached the Pac-10 and Big Ten when the SWC imploded in the 1990s and it was only after those conferences rejected the school that Texas went along with Texas A&M to merge with the original Big 8 schools (with Texas Tech and Baylor forced into the conference by Texas state politicians). Has the mentality of the Board of Regents changed since that time and if Texas was really willing to go to the Big Ten (or Pac-10, for that matter) when the conference revenue disparity wasn’t anywhere near what it is today, why wouldn’t the school be at least willing to entertain the idea of moving now?

      Once again, thanks for your post and I’d love to see if you can provide some more feedback.


      1. FranktheTank,

        I know better. Never say never. And yet I did.

        You have interesting perspectives.

        Small points first. Re travel costs. Two ways that works. Time and money.

        When I queried in our faculty council as to why UT with its big revenues fields only 20 teams while Ohio state fields 36 (we support anywhere from 490-510 athletes; Ohio State ca. 670), there was some mumbling from the athletics reps that the costs of travel for minor sports, given the geographical spread of competing teams, were prohibitive.

        Re TV revenues, the Miami parallel is interesting and WPA’s number-crunching seems to prove that UT could come out better in the Big Ten.

        WPA is right on target about Texas liking control. We are isolated academically, culturally and politically, and the powers that be like it. For the 23 years I have been here our presidents have spoken of us as a premiere institutions and that we WILL be the number one public university in the US. Well 22 years ago we were ranked 23rd nationally (USNWR standard rankings). this year we are 47th. And we are 15th and edging down among public institutions because of under-funding. But the rhetoric is swallowed by one and all. Why? Because it can be. We certainly are the best public institution in the 750+ miles between us and Campaign-Urbana and Berekeley-UCLA and North Carolina. So why not pretend?

        The same goes on with athletic performance. I gave the stats. Brown was one clock tick or a five-foot drift left on a field goal against Nebraska in the Big XII title game from screwing up yet another stacked-deck hand, yet he all of a sudden is a genius for his string of nine-win seasons run up against patsies.

        It behooves the AD and all power people concerned to engaged in reverse-Socratic thought. They would rather seem than be.

        The BOR appoints two reps directly to UT Austin’s men’s athletics council. Does that for no other school in the system. And the sky boxes are now the gender-equitable country-club locker rooms where business, political and reinforcing social ties are made. One UT president said flatly in camera that if he were to do anything to hinder athletics, he would be gone. And also that the amount of enerfy and time needed to change things in e=ven minor ways was not worth it.

        Since the early 90’s we havegone from a president who was uncomfortable with athletics (Berdahl, gone to Berkeley), to a president who came to terms with athletics (Faulkner), to a president who is a big sports fan and loves athletics (Powers) and a provost also (Leslie). So there is no chance of any push back locally.

        But let’s say the dollars really are alluring enough, what would stand in the way?

        1. The risk would really be too great that Texas, playing a more serious schedule and at least 4-5 games in really cold weather, would not win as much. How many $$$ would it take to risk that?

        2. Some way would have to be found to keep the OU rivalry alive up in Dallas. That is such a major social event that it scuttled a proposal in the faculty council to introduce a fall break. The argument went, students (and sports-minded faculty and administrators) already head to Dallas for the OU game every fall, so this would be giving students too much time off!!!! There might be some grousing about abandoning the traditional rivalry with Texas A&M, too.

        Thanks again for your keen insights.

        Tom Palaima


      2. CTBucki

        Admittedly, I’m late joining this particular discussion, but I’m curious about something that you, Frank, seem to be looking for as well.

        When discussing travel costs for Texas, is travel to Big Ten markets really so much more expensive than to other Big XII members? The mileage is longer, sure, but it’s not as significant as I first thought. Consider the following distances from Austin:
        KSU: 676 miles
        KU: 679 miles
        CU: 921 miles
        NU: 788 miles

        Heck, the distance from Austin just to the state’s border directly north is already nearly the distance Ohio State has to travel to Happy Valley. Add 200 miles to 50, and it’s a lot; add it to 1000 and it makes less of an impact. Plus (this is conjecture since I’m too lazy to look), I have to imagine that most Big Ten schools are much closer to a major airport than their Big XII counterparts. Might chartered or commercial flights to these airports actually be easier, and therefore cheaper or a wash?

        Great post, Frank. You’ve given me hope that we’re not destined for a merely ho-hum expansion effort!


      3. duffman


        it is not a straight miles thing.. take a look at airline hubs if it helps.. once you get to multiple transfers.. it becomes costly and more of a logistical nightmare..

        if i live near IU, and i decide last min.. i can go see them play PU.. i can get in the car and drive (airline travel is removed from the equation). you may have more room for the major sports with big budgets.. but when you start trying to travel with the minor ones.. and no other team is close.. would the “average” fan follow the team in person if EVERY team they played required a day of air travel & hotel costs.. would the accounting dept. for texas not see this as well.


    2. WPA

      Thanks for the inside insights.
      I think the athletic money is better in the Big 10 (about $20mm-$22mm) per school than even Texas gets out of the imbalanced B12 revenue sharing plan ($14mm)
      Say an extra million is taken up by the additional travel, that’s still a $5mm or so jump in revenue by jumping to the B10.
      However, Texas likes control. Michigan/Ohio State like control. Texas can control the B12. It would not be able to do so in the B10.
      By the way, the B10 faculty members I know rave about the CIC sharing of resources and benchmarking against the other member institutions. Having the U of Chicago in the CIC mix is a major plus.
      Here’s a sidenote: Bryce Jordan was president of Penn State when it joined the B10. He was an interim president at UT years ago. I think he lives in Austin now.


    3. duffman

      mr. palaima,

      wonderful post and observations..

      spend a few years of my youth in arkansas and having many texas friends from those days.. i agree with your sports/board controls the academics/president in austin (i love visiting there BTW). i have a strong feeling based on your comments that things have not changed from the 60’s and 70’s when it comes to two things in texas..

      a) they control their universe, and like it that way

      b) football is big

      if i am incorrect, please advise


  23. duane


    A very good and inciteful analysis. As a Texas alum I agree that it would be a good match for both sides.

    One thought though is that the PAC10 is also interested in getting to 12 teams and may not stand by to take seconds after the Big Ten makes a move. If the PAC10 gets wind that the Big Ten is interested in Texas I wonder if they might also extend Texas an invite along with Colorado. If so, given the choice between the two I think there might be more of an inclination within the Texas administration to go with the PAC10.

    I think the PAC10 has always had an interest in Texas (and Colorado) going back to the SWC breakup when we came close to going that way until political pressure took over. If they see the Big Ten make a move with Texas they may not sit back and let an attractive addition for them get taken without a fight. For that matter, Texas might approach the PAC10 to gauge their interest before accepting the Big Ten offer.

    Though the Big Ten would be a very good arrangement and perhaps a bit more financially beneficial than the PAC10 I think there’s more of a feeling of cultural similarity to the PAC10 and that would still be much better situation than the Big12.

    I guess the bottom line from my perspective is that I think you may be right about Texas being a Big Ten target, however, they may be in a battle with the PAC10.


  24. coolhorn

    I’m a long time UT fan who lives in the Austin area, and I can confirm that UT has some interest in the Big 10, and definitely has interest in leaving the Big XII.

    The Big XII has had the feel of a “shotgun wedding” since its’ inception over a decade ago. It was the best option out there for what was left of the old SWC when that conference passed away. The old Big 8 badly needed the Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio/Austin tv markets to remain relevant, while UT especially needed the higher profile the Big XII offered to regain its’ national image. The Big XII and UT were good for each other, for a while. However, the resentment directed toward the University of Texas by the rest of the Big XII has never sat well with the Athletic Department at Belmont Hall. The mood of the UT fanbase, and UT athletic officials (allegedly) is increasingly to put the Big XII in our rearview mirror and move to a conference that much more fits our academics and athletics.

    There are two conferences that meet UT’s needs, the Big 10 and the PAC 10. The Horns all but had their tickets punched to join the PAC 10 back when the Big XII was coming into being. A&M was similarly headed to the SEC. The state’s Lt. Governor twisted some arms and both UT and A&M ultimately agreed to joining the Big XII. UT, however, has never felt that the Big XII is a good fit, or the ultimate answer.

    If the Big 10 is serious about pursuing UT, then the time for back channel talks is here. PAC 10 officials certainly know that the future’s not bright for the Big XII, and that adding UT and Colorado would get them to the prerequisite twelve teams for a conference championship game.

    I think the Big 10 might find suitable interest on the part of Deloss Dodds and staff to make a move, and if it’s handled properly, and with subtlety, such a move might be more feasible than it seems on the surface.

    As a Longhorn fan, I’d love to see how all of this plays out over the next year or two. Count me in as one who would NOT mourn us leaving the Big XII behind, and sooner, rather than later.


  25. JimK

    Hey FTT,

    How about some analysis on other eastern teams (UVA, VaTEch, Maryland) as potentials … also I like you analysis … but it makes the assumption that the B11 will only take one team …. from my analysis, I’m not sure 1 team can deliver the incremental value necessary for the University Presidents … imagine if you will adding 3 (Texas, Nebraska, Mizzou) or 5 teams (chose 5 from among Texas, Nebraska, Mizzou, Oklahoma, Ok ST,. UVA, VaTech, Maryland) ….

    What are your thought on that ?



  26. DSJ

    This may be the best blog on Big Ten expansion that I have ever seen.

    Bravo on a fine job, even if you do overestimate the value of Syracuse football. LOL


  27. Matt

    There is no way you’re getting Texas. BIG 10 schools aren’t the only schools with traditions. Texas is not going to abandon its in-state rivalries to play in a conference half way across the country. Not a chance.

    Also, why would Texas take on the added travel expenses?

    You can dream but this isn’t very realistic. Sorry.


  28. Texas cannot be in a conference without Texas A&M. Neither the governor nor the legislature will allow it. It’s a great dream but the travel costs are also enormous, more so for Texas than anyone else.

    I know it would be great for Big 10 schools to have exposure in Texas, an enormous recruiting pool for football and basketball, but it won’t happen.


  29. Don

    That anybody would spend more than 10 seconds conjuring up reasons why the University of Texas will seriously consider abandoning its historic regional rivalries to join a conference a thousand miles away to play teams it has absolutely no relationship with is a testament to the ability of human beings to utterly delude themselves with visions of the fantastic. This does not mean that the Big 12 is truly viable in its current form, but that’s light years away from thinking that UT will move to the Big Ten.


  30. Brice

    Frank, I’m curious why you think that a 14-team league isn’t a good idea, especially if it meant getting Texas. As others have posted, it doesn’t seem possible to leave the political aspect out of the discussion, which means that UT and A&M will likely have be in the same conference. If bringing in A&M was the cost for getting Texas, it seems like it would be worth it. College football may not be a zero-sum game when it comes to conference membership, but there is something to be said for strengthening yourself before others (i.e. PAC-10 or SEC) take the option away from you. The ACC vs. Big East raid may not be a perfect comparison since the Big 10 isn’t currently at risk of losing any members, but losing the opportunity to add good candidates could be a bad in the long run.

    And if both of the big Texas schools are coming, why not Oklahoma as well? Granted, they’re not AAU members, but that’s something that could potentially be overcome. Either Syracuse or Missouri may well be a better 14th member from a TV market perspective, but a combination of the two Texas schools and one of those three schools seems better to me than adding a single non-Texas, non-ND school (and I agree with those who say that Notre Dame just isn’t an option), or even than standing pat at 11 schools. Just curious if you think there are other reasons that a 14-team league won’t happen.


  31. JT

    why not BC? they bring in the boston media market. their academics are superb. they are perenially competitive in football. they have an outstanding basketball program. stadium would have to be increased from 45,000 but that’s a decent place to start. they are a private institution but so is northwestern.


    1. duane

      I don’t think it’s realistic to assume that BC would actually bring the Boston market. Boston is a huge pro sports town. College sports isn’t even an afterthought.


  32. Cleveland_west_side

    Wow! A lot of interesting stuff on here, after reading everything I guess the end-all-be-all factor will be money, including sharing research data.
    I’ve heard the Texas slant before but really didn’t take it seriously, I was kinda leaning towards Nebraska a personal choice but if the B10 could get Texas? WOW!


  33. Pingback: Possible Big Ten Expansion—From Every Possible Angle «

  34. Pingback: Big Ten blogger: 10 million good reasons why Texas makes sense for expansion |

  35. Tom

    Notre Dame isn’t willing to lose money to go into the Big 10, and Texas is a non-starter, seeing as they would have absolutely no rival to face within the conference, not to mention the fact that no Big 10 school is going to want to see their travel costs skyrocket through biennial trips to Austin.

    It will be Pittsburgh, or it will be Missouri. Pittsburgh adds academic excellence and a regional rival with Penn State (in which people forget Pitt/Penn State used to be a November clash of titans more often than not). Missouri not only has academic excellence and regional rivals (the Mizzou/Illinois game in St. Louis could sell out forever, ditto a Mizzou/Iowa matchup) but they open up recruiting doors into the heartland they don’t often get to anymore. None of the other ones make any sense, on competitive, academic and financial levels.

    Notre Dame, with its exclusive, expensive TV contract and reluctance to be a participant in any conference, is just a non-starter. Texas isn’t much better, seeing as how they’re just too remote from the other 11 schools, relatively speaking; the hard economic times are going to prevent schools in the near-term for potential expansion from spending the cash needed to shape a Longhorn square peg into an upper-Midwest round hole. If the Big 12 was a shotgun wedding, the Big 10 would be nothing more than a Vegas quickie wedding, one all parties will regret for years to come: marry in haste, repent at leisure.


    1. Husker Tom

      You are absolutely right. It’ll be either Mizzou or Pitt.
      Most Husker fans I’ve spoken with actually hope Missouri makes the jump. Will it hurt the Big XII? NO. TCU or Houston would replace them, and Okie St. will likely be bumped to the north division.
      Texas isn’t going, pure and simple.



    Short on time but want to make a quick point. I will try to revisit this in more detail at a later date.

    1. Great analysis!

    2. Longhorn Lawyer brings up some very valid obstacles in this merger. Also, I can attest that he’s a very informed UT alum.

    3. Tom “the quirky professor” is what “Keeps Austin Weird”. Most from here (Austin, TX) adapt by ignoring this group. He’s in the minority but speaks like the majority, if you get my point. They NEVER shut up despite how faint the argument.


    The Big 10 Network is not a deciding factor for U Texas for one reason: Texas intends to start “The Longhorn Network” within the next couple of years. The Big 12 could have been the first TV Network. Texas Board of Regents rejected the CBS deal that would have started the Big 12 Network. This led to Big 12 Commission Kevin Weiberg jumping ship to assist in the fruitation of the Big 10 Network.

    This is why Mizzou is bitter and may consider a merger with the Big 10. I can understand both arguments (Texas and Mizzou).

    Texas would still entertain any offer from the Big 10 for academic reasons. They would more than likely consider the Pac 10 if an offer was on the table. But one major hiccup that could hurt the Big 10 is none other than the Big 10 Network itself. The foundation for the The Longhorn Network have been in the works for half a decade.

    In fact, the way the administration is acting lately, I’m starting to wonder if Texas mmight do what I thought they would never do: Go Independent within the next decade. Otherwise, I really don’t know how you start your own network when the trend is conference networks(?)


    1. We Are Texas – thank you for this additional insight. It would be great to get more information on the Longhorn Network to the extent that you have access to it. I was aware that it has been in the works for quite awhile. To follow up WPA’s question, exactly what rights would the Longhorn Network have to various live Texas games? The Big Ten, for instance, controls the TV rights for all conference sporting events (note that there isn’t a Big Ten hockey conference, so the individual schools that play that sport control their TV rights there). Is this not true for the Big 12? Texas is obviously a very big baseball school, so I could see that as a sport that would be leveraged for the Longhorn Network if the rights to those games aren’t controlled by the Big 12, yet is that enough if there isn’t a critical mass of inventory of live football and basketball games? I know that the channel could fill time with promotional vehicles such as coaches’ shows along with pre and postgame coverage of football and basketball games, but as someone that watched the Big Ten Network take quite a bit of time to get off the ground within a region that does care a lot about college sports, the live and exclusive coverage of the main sporting events is definitely necessary to bring in top dollar from the cable providers.

      I’ve seen the independent option talked about for Texas, as well. Texas is certainly one of the few schools that could pull that off if it chose to do so as a pure football move. The main issue there is that a school like Notre Dame still has the benefit of having basketball and non-revenue sports in the Big East, which is a legit basketball power conference. Is there really any other BCS conference that would allow Texas in as a non-football member in order to sustain its very successful basketball and baseball programs?

      Anyway, thanks again for the comment and I’d love to see more of your thoughts.


  37. WPA

    We are Texas:
    I heard talk of a Longhorn Network, but how does such a network fill the programming time. Football games are obligated to other networks through broadcasting and cable right granted through the conference membership. Same thing holds for most of the basketball games. I just don’t understand how one school can fill a 24/7/365 programming schedule. What am I missing? Thanks.


  38. Kris N

    Mike Runk is wrong. There are 24M people in Texas and there are more than two good schools. I won’t go into the defense that every school has quality programs, yada, yada, yada. But, you forgot about one of the top school in the nation, Rice. So, you’re argument is off in that regard.

    And as far as having no culture (i.e. no museums or symphonies), Fort Worth has one of the top collection of museums in the country. The Kimball, The Amon Carter, The Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art, their brand new Science & History Museum, The Natonal Cowgirl Museum, not to mention many outstanding art galleries. Fort Worth is also home to one of the top five zoos in America. And, the Dallas Symphony is very well known and very well respected, as is Houston’s. Dallas/For Worth is home to the Winspear Opera House (brand new and world class), The Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, The Eismann Center, and many other great theaters and theater companies. D/FW is often considered the third best market for film in the country with studios in the Dallas suburb of Las Colinas and lots of independent film in Austin. Just look at some of the alumni from Texas’ film program. Robert Rodriguez, Wes Anderson, Richard Linklater, Mike Judge, Luke Wilson, F. Murray Abraham, Farrah Fawcett, Peri Gilpin, Marcia Gay Harden, Tommy Tune, Eli Wallach, Renee Zellweger, etc.

    The rest of your argument was hasty generalizations, finger pointing, and name calling. All the while filled with misspellings and grammar errors.

    As a graduate of Texas and the holder of a master’s degree from UNT, I can say unequivocally that you have never been to Texas. Austin is gorgeous, and very progressive. D/FW is a major metropolitan center. San Antonion is a beautiful city, and even Houston at least serves a purpose. It houses the industry that makes sure you have gas to put in your car. It’s an incredibly diverse state with a rich culture.

    So, you’re an idiot. Normally I would refrain from name calling, but you are. Try to talk about how uncultured/stupid/conservative/etc. Texas is, and really only end ups sounding worse than the false image you paint of a people you obviously have no real experiences with.

    Oh, and one more thing. Karl Rove is not from Texas. He happened to work for a President who really was barely from Texas himself.


  39. SL Xpress

    This is one of the most well reasoned missives on the subject I’ve seen. I’ve been bashing my head against the wall for years regarding Big Televen expansion. Now I can just link your blog entry and be done with it.

    I’m a long time Texas fan who would personally love for Texas to join the Big Televen in the way you’ve outlined. As has been mentioned, there are obstacles in the way, which you’re not considering — even if the Big Televen presidents would break out of the box enough to make the invitation in the first place, which I’m not convinced of.

    The first thing are the political ramifications, which no one has their head around completely. It’s different this go around. Breaking up the SWC was mission impossible. It required:

    1) the NCAA member schools to win a lawsuit, allowing them to negotiate their own television deals, which eventually evolved into conferences negotiating for their members.

    The SWC was left with a bad product to sell versus every major conference.

    2) Arkansas had to leave. Frankly, they’re bound by golden handcuffs at this point. From every perspective other than financially, they’d be better off in the Big 12, but they’d take over a $10 million per year hit to do so, and that’s not going to happen.

    In any case, once they left it made the SWC an all Texas school conference.

    3) From the time conferences negotiated their own contracts (late 80s? sometime around then) to when the Big 12 was formed, the SWC was at its height of irrelevancy, only exacerbated by the Razorbacks’ departure. Texas was in the throes of a 14 year level of uncompetitiveness in football which was historically unprecedented, and no one else had the juice to pick up the slack.

    Even then, getting the political wherewithal to allow the breakup of the conference was tough sledding, and required a great deal of arm twisting, the major part being allowing Texas Tech and Baylor to come along, too.

    The next round won’t be nearly as severe, because there’s not the connection with the Big 12 for instate legislators that there was with the SWC. The SWC had a huge component of the state of Texas as its identity. The Big 12, not so much.

    That’s not to say it won’t be a struggle. I, too, believe that Texas will try to force upon a new conference additional members, whether it’s only A&M, or a combination of A&M and a couple of the most important Big 12 schools (and I’m not considering Tech or Baylor here).

    For that reason I see the Pac 10 as possibly a more likely destination, simply because they’re going to be more desperate to make a game changing move than the Big Televen, who are already in an amazing position as far as athletics are concerned (the local economies are another story, but adding Texas to the Big Televen isn’t going to change the long term economies of the rust belt).

    I’ll also say that based on some personal conversations, the current long time AD at Texas has some emotional ties to the Big 12, since he feels a significant level of responsibility for its formation, and he has personal ties to the midwest (he’s a former graduate of Kansas State, as well as their track coach before entering the administration side of things). While I don’t think any of that will be enough to nix the deal, he’s at the end of his career, being in his 70s. At best he’d push to accept an invitation to the Big Televen. At worst, he’d try to push the eventual decision on to someone else — namely his successor, the school president, or other prominent decision makers, either on the Board of Regents or a group of powerful boosters outside of that.

    One thing I do want to object to, is the above characterization of the game with OU in Dallas as a “cash cow.”

    While for me personally, the OU game represents everything that is important to me as a college football fan, and specifically, as a college football fan of Texas, I am fighting a battle with prominent boosters among my social circle regarding continuing the series.

    Currently Texas makes $2.5 million per game in Dallas. They’re making $8 million per game for every home game. Therefore, they’re leaving $3 million on the table every two years, by playing in Dallas instead of Austin. Also, for the wealthiest boosters spending outrageous amounts for the rights to their suites, and other premium seating, they’d prefer to see OU in Austin, in seats they’ve already paid for, than in Dallas, in its antiquated seating, which has none of the luxurious trappings of the stadium in Austin.

    It drives me crazy, but I’m fearful that the OU game being held in Dallas may one day go the way of the dodo bird, regardless of conference affiliation, because of short sighted selfish alums who value their own comfort and a maximization of dollars they’re going to spend regardless, over tradition, a unique, irreplaceable setting, and one of the best game environments in all of college football.

    In any case, I don’t think this is going to happen, but well reasoned blogs like this one will help, even if it’s only marginal. I know many of the most prominent people I talk to feel like Texas needs a better long term landing spot than the Big 12. The SEC will never be an option, which leaves only the Big Televen or the Pac 10. Personally, I’d way prefer the Big Televen for a variety of reasons. I just think the Pac 10 is going to be more amenable to making a big splash with multiple new members than the Big Televen will, because their TV deal is miserable, as well as their economy, whereas for the Big Televen, it’s only their economy that’s disastrous.


    1. LonghornLawyer

      I think you and I have discussed this point elsewhere, but for the benefit of our Big 10 friends just coming across this, I think it’s worth rehashing because I think you’re just wrong on your calculus of the value of the OU game.

      The Longhorn Foundation allocates season tickets based on a modified first-in formula. To personalize the formula, when I graduated in 1997, I joined the LHF and got season tickets on the 25-yard line. My donation at the time was about $400. As long as I donate that $400 every year, I’m guaranteed those seats.

      Tickets to the OU game are allocated differently–by a straight “how much money did you give us this year” formula. I believe the cut-off this year was $1,000 or so. And that would only get you upper deck corner endzone seats. This provides a huge incentive to donate more and more each year. As a result of the OU game (and to a lesser extent bowl games, which are allocated the same way), my donation has crept up to $2,500 or so.

      In other words, without the OU game, I’d be donating $400 each year just to keep my 25-yard line seats. With the OU game, I donate more and more each year.

      Of course, I’m not Red Mcombs or Tom Hicks, and as the recent [url=]WSJ article[/url] talks about, those guys are going to have an inordinate amount of power with respect to any such decision on this topic. I’m far from convinced, however, that the calculus is as uncomplicated as you make it seem.


  40. SL Xpress

    Something else I should have added, and this is of extreme importance.

    There is no athletic department in the country that values additional revenue more than the University of Texas. I won’t go into a diatribe regarding the commercialization of college sports, or how Texas has led the way — or even benefitted from it.

    What I will say is that the athletic department has no greater measure for success than bringing in more revenue in the next year than it did in the past one. That dynamic was set up almost 30 years ago, and it’s firmly entrenched at this point. Joining the Big Televen conference for that reason alone is going to get serious consideration. And with the Big Ten Network, member schools of the Big Televen are in a better position to see their revenue grow than any other conference, including the SEC.

    Right now Texas has the largest athletic budget in the country, but people in the athletic department are not happy, because they see the amounts that schools in the SEC and Big Televen are getting, and even with the unequal television revenue for the Big 12, Texas feels like they’re leaving a huge amount of money on the table with the current television contracts. There are severe questions that the Big 12 population base can ever do anything but limit what Texas could earn compared to other options outside the conference.

    I seriously doubt there’s another option that would earn more money than Big Televen membership (maybe the SEC, but as stated, that will never ever be an option under consideration). It’s impossible to overexaggerate the importance of that to the UT athletic department.


  41. Buckeye DJ

    Yeah I would love to see Texas in the Big 10. I remember when PSU came into the Big 10 and how that first domino to fall lead to FSU and Miami and a major revision of the college football landscape. I can only imagine what would happen if the Longhorns did the same!

    But here is one thing that nobody has mentioned (I didn’t read all the comments). Lets say you are the head coach at Texas playing the Big 10. Thats’ pretty tough week in and week out. But then to keep tradition alive, two of your non-conference games are against Oklahoma and A&M. That is ONE TOUGH SCHEDULE EVERY YEAR!! I sure as heck wouldn’t want to play it!

    I saw some site saying that the Big 10 should take Oklahoma, Texas, & Nebraska. But them in the Western Division of the Big 10. Now that will turn on some TV sets around the country.

    And one more thing. I know that the TV money is there now. But can you see a day coming where you only pay for the cable channels you want to watch? I sure can. Why should I pay money to watch CSPAN or Nick at Nite? Why should granny have to pay to watch ESPN? Why should I have to pay to ESPN when its not basketball or football season. I shouldn’t. And when that day comes, I will be cutting most of the channels off of my TV. I don’t need 150 channels of crap. . . I only need the dozen or so I want to watch. And most people would do the same.

    When that day happens, watch the money from the Big 10 network drop like a ROCK! If I remember correctly the Big 10 Network gets a $1.10 per subscriber each month? Thats a big chunk of change.


  42. mark

    Agree with about everything you wrote especially the importance of academics in the decision.

    You might want to check your facts – the oldest college athletic conference is not the Big Ten – that honor belongs to the MIAA.


    1. Project220

      The Big Ten Conference is the United States’ oldest Division I college athletic conference, established in 1896. Before it was called the Big Ten it was called..
      #1 Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives
      #2 Big Nine
      #3 Western Conference
      #4 Big Ten


  43. I’m a Horns fan who just found this excellent analysis. I have been convinced for two or three years now that Texas will be Big 10-bound (if ND continues to spurn the Big 10, of course) in the next round of conference realignment for the very same reasons articulated above. (See my lengthy comment on the subject, linked to above as my “website”.)

    I could write about this all night, but I have a national championship game tomorrow to continue to fret about . . .


  44. JM

    Sorry – but this is silly analysis.

    Yes – if you throw out geography as a consideration (which is idiotic) Texas could go anywhere. So why go to the Big 10?

    Why not the SEC? It is clearly the strongest athletic conference. The SEC schools are also a heckuva lot closer. You could actually drive to Alabama, Arkansas, and maybe a few other schools. They talk like Texans which a Midwestern yahoo probably discounts, but UT wouldn’t.

    Why not the ACC? It is clearly the strongest conference in terms of academics. Texas would be a good fit athletically. Even with ACC football at a low point, top to bottom the ACC is a stronger athletic conference than the Big 10. I know that Big 10 diehards would argue that point; however, its true. Some of the ACC schools talk like Texans too (Clemson, UNC, VA Tech).

    Even in football Texas, which is the linchpin of your analysis whether you recognize it or not, Texas joining the Big 10 is not a great fit. It’s not going to stop playing Oklahoma or Texas A&M. So UT would have to play a full Big 10 schedule and OK and A&M every year. Joining the Big 10 leaves no flexibility.

    What about baseball? The Big 10 stinks in baseball. The ACC, SEC and Texas dominate college baseball. There are a hundred things like that that you are failing to take into account.

    The fact of the matter is that it would be dumber than hell for Texas be reactive and simply say yes to reaffiliation based on an invitation, if for example the Big 10 comes knocking. And they’re not dumb.

    If Texas does something, they will almost certainly be proactive. Because no matter what may happen in terms of conference, Texas will be one the “haves”.

    The final thing is that more revenue is not even the biggest consideration — increased cash flow (add’l revenue less add’l expense) is. And I seriously doubt that Texas is going to be better off financially by joining the Big 10 – even based on your #s. B/c their athletic department expenses are going skyrocket – as others have pointed out.

    Silly silly silly narcissistic Big 10 fans.


    1. Husker Tom

      You’re making sense.
      I’d like to add one more thing: why would Texas join the nation’s only all cold weather conference? How would that affect recruiting?
      If Texas were to leave, the Big XII would bring in either TCU or Houston to replace them.


      1. Tiger-Den

        Excellent points. No offense but outside of the Midwest the Big Ten (11) is seen as a second rate conference of faded glory behind the big boys in football, basketball & baseball. There is a reason the populations in the power conference states are growing and those in the Big 10 (11) are falling.

        By the way the ACC is a better academic conference than the Big Ten (11).


  45. PSU Chris

    Is there anyone else out there who thinks that the “Expansion Announcement” by the Big 10 is nothing more than a lot of bluster in an effort to send a message to the folks in South Bend that it’s “now or never?”

    Frank makes a lot of good points about the Irish’s TV deal actually being less than what any member of the B10 rakes in. However, he doesn’t mention the comment from ND’s athletic director (immediately after the B10 announcement) that they wouldn’t be interested because they would be forced to give up many of their rivalries such as USC. And I think that is a very valid point.

    Bottom line is that I just don’t see the B10 conference adding a Pitt, Mizzou, Texas or anyone else OTHER than the Irish.

    Seems to me like it’s a stare down competition and if ND doesn’t blink, I just don’t see the B10 adding anyone else.


  46. Larry

    As a big 10 alum with two brothers who live in Texas and a good friend that went to UT, I can assure you the cultural fit between Texas and the Big 10 is 0, or less than 0 if that is possible.

    Also, while I think Texas and the Big 10 would love to combine TV footprints, the geographical differences make it a non-starter. Think about Texas travel costs for non revenue sports. Think about the added travel burden on the student athletes. Think about Texas playing regularly in the snow. Texas would not want to do these things.

    Finally, UT controlled the SWC. UT controls the Big 12. The more egalitarian sensibilities of the Big 10 would be anathema to every fiber of their institutional being.


  47. Husker Tom

    This televen expansion subject has been bantied about in Husker nation for awhile, and the consensus is that Nebraska would be a good fit. While there is a small population here, the Huskers enjoy a huge national TV following. Personally, I hope it doesn’t happen.
    Missouri boosters have already come out against moving to the Big Ten11, but they won’t be making the final decision.
    If Mizzou leaves, and/or Texas, its believed they would be replaced by TCU or Houston. If Colorado takes the invite from the Pac 10 in the coming 18 months, they might be replaced by Air Force(?)


  48. Buzzard Lips

    One point not brought up is the THREAT that expansion poses. If the BigTeleven were to THREATEN to take Mizzou, TEXAS would be FORCED to act. Mizzou’s tv market share is the only thing keeping this conference’s tv deals relevant – outside of the Texas market. If tv money becomes too hard to pass up, Texas will be gone eventually anyway, but the THREAT of taking Mizzou might push TEXAS into the BigTeleven quicker than anything posted here.

    IMO, the expansion teams should be Mizzou, AnM and Texas. That sows up the midwest and the Texas Markets. It destroys the Big12 … which promptly turns into a second tier conference.

    Looking at the PAC10… Colorado, Texas and Anm would meet their needs for expansion, but the money just isn’t there right now. A non-starter from Texas’ perpective.

    PS… TCU and Houston aren’t going to replace Texas in any conference. Every living TCU alum couldn’t fill Texas’ DKR Stadium let alone their own…. and Houston is a commuter school and always will be.


  49. Roach

    As a Texas alum nothing would make me happier than joining the Big 10. It has something for everyone – athletics, academics, a great reputation, TV contracts. Talk about a win win.

    A minor point of qualification Frank you mentioned that UT was rejected by the Big 10/Pac 10 before they joined the Big 12. That is not my recollection. UT was forced by the Texas politicians to keep Tech and Baylor with them in a conference. Obviously the Big 10 and Pac 10 have no need for those schools. I don’t think UT was rejected out of hand, just the deal required by Ann Richards was not appetizing.

    I believe politics will doom this move too. I think Texas will be hard pressed to move without ATM politically (they probably won’t be required to keep Tech and Baylor though). If that is the case, the Big 10 would need Notre Dame (or an equal value school if there is one) to move to the Big 10 to make 14 teams.

    I’m sure the Big 10 also remembers what happened when the WAC expanded to 16 teams–the original founding members of the WAC lost the political power to control their scheduling and the new members of the league were going to break up the Wyoming, CSU, Air Force, BYU, Utah, rivalries. This doomed the conference and the old WAC members broke away and started the MWC.

    Adding Texas or any one school is much different than adding a block of schools especially a Texas/Texas ATM combo which would certainly form a voting block. It seems that adding a block of schools would be much less desirable than adding one from a Big 10 perspective. Texas/ATM is a watered down version of Texas not because ATM is bad in any of your criteria, but because Texas by itself already gives the Big 10 most of what Texas/ATM would add.

    Professor Palaima notes, with obvious bitterness, that UT would never consider membership in the Big 10 due to big fish little pond concerns. But the advantages are so obvious for both parties I don’t think he is correct. 22 million plus (we can assume UT would make more not less in the big 10 regardless of equal revenue distribution, and travel costs) is a big draw in an era of ever tighter state budgets.

    UT’s athletic department brings in tons of cash already–theoretically UT’s athletic department gave the academic department 6 million dollars last year. So even though Coach Brown makes more in a year that Professor Palaima may make in a lifetime, Coach Brown’s department is not only self supporting its revenue generating. I doubt highly that the classics department can say the same. (I know, I know you’re improving the intellectual quality of life).

    When I attended UT (the end of the SWC, early 90’s) the football program was seriously stagnant. As a result the school was barely on the national radar. The success of the athletics department enhances the name recognition of the University–essentially free marketing. It was not uncommon for people to confuse Texas with Texas ATM when I first graduated. That is not my experience anymore. Not to mention the numerous studies that indicate donations to the university increase with the success of the athletic department.

    The concern of athletes traveling too much is absolutely a Red Hearing. If concern for athletes welfare was a consideration, they probably should/would be paid. It may be used as an excuse, but it won’t matter to the decision makers.

    The travel of the alumni on the other hand may matter a great deal.

    Unlike most of the SEC members UT does fancy itself as an academic institution. So there would be zero chance of joining the SEC–ZERO. We basically had to bludgeon the rest of the Big 12 to accept minor qualification standards for athletes before we joined that conference. The SEC doesn’t really need us like the Big 8 did so they will not be willing to improve there standards or their integrity if it might cause them to lose an athlete or two.

    The PAC-10 is another matter entirely.


    1. Thanks for the insightful comments. What I’ve been thinking about more lately is that the political compromise, if there needs to be one, is that Texas heads to the Big Ten and then Texas A&M goes to the Pac-10 (along with Colorado) as Longhorn Lawyer suggested earlier in the comments. That would seem to serve everyone’s needs: both Texas and Texas A&M end up in stable conferences for the long-term, while the Big Ten and Pac-10 expand with attractive schools and avoid the WAC-type situation of having too many members.

      I know that some other commenters suggested that A&M was rejected by the Pac-10 supposedly on the basis of academics, which seems like a poor excuse since half of that conference has lower rankings and much less research funding than A&M) – it’s probably more likely that A&M is a pretty conservative school politically for being such a major public university and that probably didn’t sit well with Berkeley and Stanford.

      Incidentally, the fact that the Pac-10 needs a unanimous vote for expansion kills any thought of BYU heading to that conference, which is a suggestion that I see even more often “Iowa State to the Big Ten” – there’s no way that the people in Berkeley would allow any type of association with the Church of Latter-Day Saints. A&M might’ve been looked at in a similar manner by the Pac-10 back in the 1990s, but it might be more palatable to that conference as of today that has few other viable options to expand outside of the major schools in Texas and Colorado.

      So, that’s the domino effect that could play out. After that, the remaining members of the Big 12 would pick up 3 MWC or WAC schools, with BYU and Utah being the strongest candidates. TCU would provide no value to the Big 12 as long as either Texas or A&M remain in that conference, but they might receive more consideration if both the Longhorns and Aggies leave in order to shore up the Lone Star State again. Boise State is an interesting quandry – they essentially have Nebraska’s market with great recent history but not anywhere near the historical brand name. Anyway, I could play with these hypotheticals forever.


      1. Richard

        I heard that Stanford blocked UT’s bid to join the Big10 when the SWC broke up (which frankly doesn’t make a lot of sense to me). The only way it makes sens is if Stanford felt UT-TAMU were a pachage deal, and they were unwilling to admit TAMU.

        Anyway, if UT-TAMU join the Big 10, I see the Pac10 taking Colorado & Utah, but stopping at 12, because without their own cable network, going beyond 12 makes little sense (plus there wouldn’t really be any major acceptable candidates left west of the Mississippi besides maybe Nebraska & Missouri).

        Then the Big12 may just stay as the Big8/9 instead of taking more members from the MWC (BYU would be the only one left who’s desirable, anyway), because if you don’t have a big enough TV footprint, the other strategy to maximize revenue as a BCS conference is the Big East strategy of staying as small as possible to maximize the percentage of the BCS & (small) TV revenue pie or each member.


    2. Richard

      The Big 10 won’t have to worry about a WAC-style breakup because it already has 11 old-line schools that would vote as a bloc, so adding 3 more won’t give the new schools enough power to upset the apple cart (compare with the old WAC, which had 8 schools and added another 8, so the new schools were a big, powerful bloc).


  50. Pat

    This is all very interesting, but I have one question. Does the Longhorn Band have what it takes to stand up in the best marching band conference in the country? Can they hold their own against such powerhouses as the Michigan Marching Band or TBDBITL? I know the Penn State Blue Band stood its own when it joined, but can Texas? And before anyone asks, yes I am aware that marching bands are totally irrelevant in these considerations.


    1. Robin

      I just had to laugh reading that. When I think UT Marching Band I think “silly cowboy hats.”

      As a former member of the Minnesota Marching Band (the Pride of Minnesota), I certainly don’t think that Texas would have a problem being on the same level as the rest of the bands (with the exception of Iowa, which is definitely the worst in the Big Ten.)

      We already have unique bands in the Big Ten. Look at Wisconsin (the only one with that marching style.) Ohio State (as far as I know) is the only true all brass.

      Side note—the assistant director for 3 of my four years was formerly at Texas.


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    1. gobucks1226

      Really liked your articles and follow-up articles. Very interesting to think about. However, one team you did not mention as a possibility for expansion that may cover all of the bases would be Boston College. What are your thoughts about them?


  52. FH

    This is non-sense. You might want to take in account population shifts and demographics when you do an analysis like this. If you did that US map color in through the Sun Belt and SE coast. From a Texas point of view, if are intersted in any type of expansion, you want to give yourself exposure to the fastest growing markets are, and, consequently, where the most people are going to be, and, consequently, where most eyes are going to be watching, where increased demand for your product will be etc…..the natural fit for Longhorns is the SEC and then add in NC and SC.

    You missed the most important issue !!!!


    1. I’ve seen this point elsewhere but I disagree – the most important issues are academics and money. The SEC provides the latter, but doesn’t provide the former. In contrast, the Big Ten provides both. While the Southern markets are growing, the most TV households of any BCS conference are still within the Big Ten footprint. On the academic front, there’s simply no comparison.


      1. FH

        When you are considering expansion you have to be forward looking. Any Economist, Financial Analyst, MBA, CFA would tell you that it doesn’t matter where the most TV households are NOW, what matters is where the most TV households will be in the future. Remember, you have think in a similar fashion that any CEO would when he is giving consideration to expanding his enterprise. This makes sense for the Big Ten. Of course the Big 10 prefers this alignment as the populations of the midwest and northern states decline. The Big 10 needs access to a bigger market. You need to look at it from the Texas angle.


      2. FH

        More money is a function of future increased demand. If you are talking about INCREASING revenues, then they have to be correlated with growing markets. You’re analysis is static, not dynamic.


    2. That’s fair enough. I’m well aware of the fact that the growth area of the US is in the Sun Belt. However, that still doesn’t mean that you ignore markets like Chicago and Philadelphia in the Big Ten footprint (or any other major but slower growing market like New York or Boston).

      What I think that we can agree on is that even if we grant that the current Big Ten footprint will have slow population growth, Texas is still going to be better off than being in a conference where you have states like Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma that are losing population that they can’t afford to lose at all (where at least Michigan and Ohio still have a ton more people overall to start out with even if they have negative population growth over time).

      As a result, my overall aim is to show that Texas is at least willing to listen to the Big Ten (or any other conference like the Pac-10 or SEC, for that matter) and isn’t wedded to the Big 12 in the manner that the general public seems to believe. So, if Texas considers itself a free agent, then the Big Ten needs to exhaust every possibility with that school before it starts considering schools like Syracuse and Missouri.


  53. LongHorned Frog

    To Frank the Tank: Thank you for an excellent analysis. I think Texas would be a great fit in the Big 10, and it probably means taking A&M as well, which means 14 teams. I doubt Notre Dame would accept an invitation, so I guess Syracuse would be the next most logical choice.

    To Professor Palaima: If you are capable of setting aside you obvious anti-athletics bias, can you shed any light on how would the faculty at IT would feel about joining the CIC, which would be an added benefit of joining the Big 10? In my opinion, that consideration alone compels the administration to not only consider the big 10, but to pursue it.

    I realize that the classics department does not get much in the way of federal research dollars, but I think your peers in the engineering and science departments would welcome the enhancements that CIC membership would bring. The increased research dollars would dwarf the increased sports TV package. I think inclusion in the CIC and the increase in research funding would boost Texas more than just a few notches in the national rankings.

    One final thought from reading your separate entry (with the Oregon prof) about how financial resources are committed to athletics that could go to academics. I do not have any statistics to back this up (but I am sure President Powers does), but I would wager that donations to the academic side of the university increase when the athletic teams do well, especially football. In one of his books, (I think it was Life Its Ownself), Dan Jenkins wrote something to the effect that more libraries have been built by football boosters than all of the fans of Beowulf put together.

    Professor, I call you out for your anti-athletics bias for not setting the record straight that the UT athletics department is not only fully self-sufficient, it contributes millions of dollars to the academic side of the university (north of $5M). But I suspect you were behind (if not leading the charge) the faculty senate resolution criticizing the raise Mack Brown received, which is paid for entirely outside of UT system resources.


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  56. Poonknost

    Frank, while this was an extremely well thought out and well written analysis of the Big 10’s expansion prospects, I’m really surprised that you opted for Texas here. For all the reasons already expressed, that’s a non-starter.
    The school you should have analyzed more closely, and one that would arguably be the best fit is UConn. It’s the #1 Public University in New England. It brings New England to the Big Ten Network. It has a Championship swagger in both Men’s and Women’s Basketball (especially important in a Title 9 world).
    It has the best Football facilities in the nation (Burton and Shenkman ), and an expandable 40,000 seat stadium that is waiting for the right time to do it.
    The football program is not at the same stature as some of your others, but that’s only a matter of time.
    Finally, I have heard there are already some discussions taking place. How did you miss it?


  57. Mike D.

    A New Yorker and Rutgers alumni and I agree with your assessment of my alma mater. But don’t oversell Syracuse basketball’s popularity in the New York market. The truth of the matter, despite their struggles, it’s St. John’s that’s considered New York City’s first team in college basketball; then Seton Hall; then everyone else. Syracuse is further from NYC than Boston or Philly, and don’t get covered all that much on local TV. Basically, the New York sportswriters are waiting for St. Johns to get good again, then they’ll start paying attention. And college basketball starts and ends with the Big East here, and the non-football Catholic schools (Georgetown, Villanova) are major players. Take Cuse out of the Big East, and they’re an out-of-town team. G’town arguably has more fans here than Cuse does. And for what it’s worth, when it looked like SU was ready to go to the ACC, Boeheim made a public statement throwing cold water on the whole notion.

    As for my alma mater, only the alumni follow Rutgers basketball, and not even since the football team started winning. (When I was in school there in the early ’90s, basketball was king.) New York is not a college football market. We just don’t care that much.


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  59. thomas

    Sir. You have spent a lot of time on this and I have concluded that you are in deed an idiot. Keep dreaming. You have obviously thought about this for so long that you actually believe it.

    Texas will never go to the big 10 ever. period.


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  61. The people who run UT are highly intelligent!!! When these folks study the pros and cons they will readily see why UT should join the big ten.As they say-money talks and BS walks.Hundreds of millions can be gained for UT just by saying yes.BIG CHANGES ARE COMING SOON IN CONFERENCE ALIGNMENT IT IS INEVITABLE.Dont let the drunken Irish take your place in Americas first super conference. Hookem Horns!!!!!


  62. Xenon

    I think there is another element at play in this as well, but I’m not sure exactly how it will play out …

    As you said, the BigTen will not like math that says 11+ 1 = 11.5. The will not go for a plan that results in less revenue per team. BUT, I think that is exactly what the BCS together is facing after the next re-evaluation period with the Mountain West. I think that most people think that adding the MWC to the BCS will be an example of 6 + 1 = 6.5 math for the BCS as a whole. And I doubt that is any more acceptable to the BCS than 11.5 is to the BigTen.

    So what is the best way to make sure that the MWC doesn’t get into the BCS, but also not get into trouble with congress or the courts or even public opinion …. Simply Decapitate the MWC. You hear it all the time right now … “:the Top 3 in the MWC are BCS worthy, but the rest of the league is not”. So, the math is pretty easy … you have three teams that need to put into the BCS somewhere to shut up the critics and the senators from Texas and Utah, and you have three slots that need to be filled (one in the BigTen, two in the PAC10). BUT, it doesn’t make any sense to put any one of the MWC top 3 into the BigTen, but they do make sense in the PAC10 and BigXII.

    So, if the BigTen takes a BigXII team (any BigXII team will do really for this analysis), then the BigXII takes one of the MWC and the PAC10 takes two. And there are lots of combinations that work ….
    -Missouri to BigTen, Utah and Colorado to PAC10, BYU and TCU to BigXII
    -Nebraska to BigTen, TCU and Texas Tech to PAC10, Utah and BYU to BigXII
    -Missouri to BigTen, BYU and Utah to PAC10, TCU to BigXII
    etc etc etc

    While that might not be the best teams for the BigTen IN A VACUUM, I think decapitating the MWC and making sure that the BCS money is not divided by 7 teams is worth it to the BigTen.

    ALSO, there is a secondary effect here as well. IF the Big Ten and PAC10 go to 12 teams, the BCS can change the rules for admission to “Have 12 teams, and a Championship game, and have at least x number of teams in the top 25”. The Big East could never expand and meet those requirements, neither could the MWC/WAC or CUSA. So then all of sudden, the BCS math becomes 6 – 1 = 5, and everyone get a LARGER share of the BCS pie. Also, with only 5 BCS conferences, they could probably relax the “no more than 2 teams per conference” rule and get more At-Large teams into the BCS for more money.


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  64. osufanintoledoohio

    Frank put a lot of thought and effort into this — more than any sportswriter would ever do — but the final analysis is a parallel universe. Texas and Notre Dame are never going to join the Big Ten. Case closed. No way. Never. Cincinnati, Pitt and Mizzou would have better chances to play with the Big Ten boys and girls.


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  66. Pingback: Rumors that PITT will join the Big Ten on Feb. 4th, Pittsburgh athletes reportedly notified - Page 3

  67. Pingback: Between Mizzou and Pitt, who would you prefer for a 12th member?

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  69. Brian

    You are onto something about the Big 12 implosion, but the Big XI will take three, not just Texas:

    Big Ten East
    Michigan State

    Big Ten West


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  73. I dont think you can completely negate geographic location as a factor, and also the fact of existing rivalries.

    While you want to think location doesn’t matter, it doesnt change the fact that conferences are indeed grouped by geographic location as part of the puzzle.

    Boston College is not in the SEC. Texas is not going to the Big Ten.

    Not to mention do you really think Texas wants to lose the rivalries that they have in the Big 12? The Red River Shootout? They can schedule them out of conference sure, but it’s not the same.


    1. Joe Bratton

      You must be young. Until the mid nineties the Red River Shootout WAS an OOC game. Texas was in the Southwest Conference and Oklahoma in what was then the Big 8.


  74. Shawn

    Great work here. I would like to see your scores on these schools:

    Boston College
    (Bad fit for ACC, brings Boston tvs, academics)
    (Getting better in football, northeast tvs)
    (AAU member, Denver market, bad big 12 TV package)
    (Pac 10 hates its TV deal, AAU members, new markets)
    (Tired of being SEC stepchild, Nashville, big academics)
    Miami (FL)
    (Would bolt ACC again, brings Fl TVs recruits, better academics than people think)

    I mean if you are willing to bring Texas in, you should talk about these schools.

    Think about this, what if the big ten brought in USC, Texas & Miami? Immediate HUGE TV contract, big ten adds three massive markets, and a national presence?

    New Big 14 West:

    New Big 14 East:
    Penn State
    Ohio State
    Michigan State


  75. BobL

    Cincinnati gets zero academic points and Nebraska and Missouri get 25? Wow. From a research standpoint, it’s a no contest. Cincinnati is a top 20 public research university – Nebraska and Missouri aren’t even top 50 I’m betting.

    As far as rivalries go, the geographic fit would be stellar. Cincinnati is within a few hours of Ohio State, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue and Northwestern.

    I would also argue that UC’s basketball history is equal if not better than most listed here.

    And finally, as far as Cincinnati’s practice facilities go…they are currently being built.


  76. chan

    Texas? What a pipe dream. Big 10 football has been a joke lately, and look at the basketball situation. There is no comparison to the true power conferences. The Big 10 will see 3, maybe 4 teams hit the NCAA field this year. Fantastic. The Mountain West are expected to see 3 teams make the field. Texas to the Big 10? What a joke. Creighton and Northern Iowa are your more realistic options – at least for the sake of creating equal competition on the athletic field.


  77. Tom Smith

    Sorry, Chan, but you are not being realistic. Texas WILL give Big 10 serious consideration, but may not join in the end. Emotions can run high, but there are many rational arguments that support Texas is a realistic target.


  78. Herk

    If you think Congress is sniffing around the front yard of the BCS now….should Texas get an invite to join the BigTen, they’d be kicking the door in to stop it.

    Mizzu and Pitt are really the ONLY legit options…(Rutgers a notch below)…and while they don’t bring the cache’ a Texas or ND would bring in football pedigree, they bring Tier 1 academics and AAU credintials, along with solid athletic programs. The football programs in particular are on the cusp of being consistant Top 25 teams, and an association with an elite conference like the BigTen could put them over the edge.

    *With regards to that last comment and Mizzu…let’s face it, the B12 South is elite, but the North not so much.

    If Mizz ended up being the lucky invitee, I could foresee the conference master plan including an eventual expansion to 14 teams, with both Nebraska and Notre Dame rounding out the conference when they are finally ready.

    The divisions would breakdown as follows…

    Penn State
    Ohio State
    Michigan State
    Notre Dame



  79. Reader Weldon Copeland sent over this poll from the Texas Rivals site asking what Texas fans want to see happen in the conference realignment. While this obviously isn’t scientific, this is just more evidence that Texas fans are very much open to leaving the Big XII and a plurality would choose the Big Ten in that instance:

    POLL: Conference Realignment: What would you like to see Texas do? Reply

    Conference Realignment: What would you like to see Texas do? (Assume the non-conference games would be whatever you would want them to be if we left the Big-12.)
    Results (total votes = 260):

    Stay in the Big-12. 77 / 29.62%

    Leave the Big-12; go to the Big 10. 99 / 38.08%

    Leave the Big-12; go to the Pac 10. 51 / 19.62%

    Leave the Big-12; go somewhere else. 33 / 12.69%



  80. BobL

    Texas would be a plum take, but it isn’t a geographic fit, plus it’s too good for the Big Ten. Why would they give up three in-state rivalries and the in-conference matchup with Oklahoma?

    Getting back to the criticisms of Cincinnati, the more I think about it, the sillier and less credible the authors analysis is.

    Cincinnati isn’t a state flagship school. Neither are Northwestern, Purdue, and Michigan State. Actually, half the candidates on Frank’s list are not state flagship schools.

    Cincinnati is a commuter school? No, it’s not. It’s no more of a commuter school than the state’s other urban school, Ohio State. The majority of UC’s students live on or around campus, and it has been that way for years.

    Cincinnati couldn’t sell out it’s stadium until recently. This is completely a nonissue. With the close proximity to so many other Big Ten schools and the heightened interest of being in the Big Ten, UC’s attendance would be competetive with other Big Ten schools. As a side note, I was at the Illinois game this year at UC (a sell out and a Cincinnati), that was sparsely populated by Illini travelers. I suspect apathy is mostly an Illinois thing.

    Also keep in mind that unlike Iowa and Minnesota, Cincinnati is a hotbed for high school football. Ohio State can’t take everyone in Ohio, and UC is already out-recruiting Indiana and Purdue in the state of Indiana – and just beat Illinois this past season.

    And getting back to academics, UC’s acceptance rate and entrance scores are literally only a few years behind where Ohio State’s recently were, and next year’s class will continue the upward trend. They aren’t that much different than Indiana’s.


    1. Joe

      Northwestern isn’t a “flagship” state school, no, it’s only one of the top 12 or so universities in the nation.

      UC, I can tell you, will not even be brought up in casual conversation at Big Ten headquarters.


    2. Vdub

      Spartan alum here – MSU not a flagship school? It might be overshadowed by Michigan, but it has plenty of academic value to add and an alumni base that could crush most schools ten times over. The football games are highly attended, the fans travel well, and all this even during the WORST football years of the past two decades. For chrissakes, they packed Spartan Stadium during the John L. Smith years. See if UC would do that… Pat Forde even put the Spartans in his notional college football playoff of forty teams just because of that fact. But I digress. I don’t see the stars aligning and the Big Ten getting either Notre Dame or Texas and therefore I don’t see them expanding. On another note, Duffman have you been to Nebraska December? The reason I ask is because it’s colder than Michigan. I don’t know how or why, but it was one of the coldest places I’ve been to during January.


  81. Scott

    The biggest problem I see with Texas joining the Big10 is that the Texas State Legislature might not let them go.

    Don’t forget how hard it was to break up the old Southwestern Conference. Each university in Texas has it’s own alums in government that treat their alma mater like a beloved special interest group. It wasn’t until a deal could be struck to put the smaller Texas schools (Rice, TCU, SMU) in Conference USA that the bigger schools (Texas, A&M, Tech) were allowed to bolt for the Big12.

    If the smaller programs of SMU, Rice and TCU were able to hold Texas, A&M, Tx Tech and Baylor hostage, what do you think A&M, Tech and Baylor would be able to do to Texas?

    I’d love to see it happen, but I fear all the things that make UT so valuable are the same things that would make her rivals/colleagues fight tooth and nail to prevent her leaving.


    1. BobL

      You must also consider the time and travel expense for all those nonrevenue sports. This isn’t just about football and basketball. Shipping the track team to Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Minnesota is a bit different that taking a hike up to Norman.

      Back to football, why would a warm weather team put itself in what is exclusively a cold weather conference?

      I’m dating a former UT cheerleader and Austin native. Took her snow tubing last weekend and watched her freeze her ass off. It was only 28 degrees. She still can’t figure out that more than a windbreaker is required on 30 degree days. Funny.

      And I’m curious…do Texans really have an affinity for the State of Pennsylvania? Or Minnesota? Or Michigan? Seriously?


      1. Richard

        They have an affinity for money. To answer your question, why did 4 warm-weather former SWC teams merge with a cold-weather conference like the Big 8 (yes, OK is just a little colder than Texas, but it gets decidedly chilly in late fall farther north on the Great Plains.


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  83. BobL

    There’s no question that not all the Big 12 teams are warm weather, so imagine all your away games in cold weather climate and not one of them within driving distance.

    This simply makes no sense to me, especially when one considers the full array of nonrevenue sports that must travel. If you think Iowa State is a long haul, try State College. I mean Penn State doesn’t even belong in the Big 10~


    1. Richard

      Somehow, USF manages.

      I’m also a little leery of travel costs arguments when much poorer universities like LaTech and TCU actually want to be in conferences where all their conference foes are in completely different time zones from them rather than conferences where they’d have many geographically close conference opponents.


      1. BobL

        USF doesn’t have any other BSC options. Don’t compare the likes of USF to Texas. Please. Someone else here mentioned Louisiana Tech. C’mon.


  84. Jake

    I’m not sure if this has already been discussed, but as far the argument about Texas being too far away from the Big Ten for the fans to travel, I don’t really see it as a problem. There are already a ton of Big Ten alums living in Texas who I’m sure would be delighted to have the chance to see their teams play. Likewise for UT alums in the Midwest. And if someone in Michigan (for example) is upset that Texas is such a long trip for a road game … well, you already have 7 or so home games plus a bunch of road games within a day’s drive, so don’t expect any sympathy. I don’t really see visiting fan travel as a serious consideration in all of this.


  85. M

    You’ve convinced Adam Rittenberg. Now it seems certain to happen.

    In all seriousness, I find it amazing the impact that this blog has had on the expansion discussion. Before it, Texas was hardly mentioned and if it was the idea was shouted down reflexively. Now it is commonly brought and supported, often with links to this post. If Texas does join, you should at least get an invitation to the ceremony.


    1. Thanks for the kind words! The aim of the Big Ten Expansion Index was really to educate people on the factors that the Big Ten was going to look at for each of the candidates and correcting a lot of misinformation that’s out there (i.e. the “contiguous state rule” myth, how Notre Dame’s NBC contract isn’t as lucrative as people believe compared to the Big Ten’s deals, etc.) as opposed to pushing Texas itself, which is hopefully why my conclusion of Texas as the #1 choice has actually gotten some credibility. I personally would love to see Texas in the Big Ten, but I’ve taken pains to point out what’s in it for Texas (as opposed to just saying “It would be sweet to play them every year!”) along with trying to address the common concerns lik travel costs.

      For those that haven’t seen this yet, Adam Rittenberg, who writes the Big Ten Blog on, put up this video blog post today talking about how Texas should be considered to be a viable Big Ten expansion candidate:

      He had been a very big Missouri supporter up until this point. I have to thank Adam for linking to this blog post last week:

      Tim Griffin, who writes the Big 12 Blog for, actually had a direct response to this blog post:

      Griffin points out some of the obstacles that we’ve discussed here and in the follow-up posts.

      The overarching point is that there isn’t an incentive for the Big Ten to think small here at all with a conservative geographically-based extension to go up to 12 schools. The conference has the TV deals and academic consortium to draw legitimate interest from a whole slew of schools, so I hope the main takeaway is that the Big Ten doesn’t have to only look at schools like Missouri or Rutgers just because of geography.


  86. Hey Frank, since geography doesn’t matter in your world, then why aren’t you expounding on the virtues of adding USC, Stanford and Cal? They fit the BigTen criteria for membership even better than Tejas.


    1. Richard

      My thinking is that there would be 2 obstacles that make adding any Pac10 school unrealistic:

      1. Time zone issues: I doubt either the Big 10 or the West Coast schools would be enamored with games starting at 9AM on the West Coast or games starting at 10/11PM in Big10 country. Texas, on the other hand, share the same time zone as half the Big10 already and is only an hour different from the rest of the conference.

      2. The Pac10 is a more cohesive unit with a much longer history than the Big12. Most members of the Pac10 (and all the desirable schools) can not recall or imagine life away from the Pac10 (UT, on the other hand, was in a different conference less than a full generation ago). I lived in the Bay Area earlier in my life, and (despite the massive influx of Midwesterners to Silicon Valley; thank our quality state school engineering departments), it’s really it’s own self-contained world. The friends of my California born & bred friends were 80-90% Californian, and they typically knew more people from Asia than from time zones west of the Pacific. This is mostly because of geography–between Pac-10 country and any other major metropolitan area, you have to cross literally states-worth of desert and mountains.

      The ACC schools like Maryland, Virginia, Duke, and UNC are more likely, though the ACC is the rare conference where basketball brings in more money than football, so other than maybe Maryland, those schools may not be willing to move unless they do so en masse. Another consideration is that no ACC school brings as many subscribers to the BTN as Texas.


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  91. Sean

    Your “facts” comparing Notre Dame revenue to Northwestern revenue is way off. Northwestern receives $22 million for ALL its TV revenue. The $9 million from NBC is just football home games. You have to add in ND’s cut from all their away games on television (at least a few hundred thousand per appearance) and its cut from the Big East’s basketball contract.

    Not to mention that when ND signs a football sponsor, let’s say Adidas, they get a lot more than most schools get because they’re going to be able to hit a nationwide audience.

    Notre Dame still makes too much to join the Big Ten. For example…think about Notre Dame merchandise…they sell so much because they’re on NBC/ABC/CBS/ESPN every week, guaranteed. ND fans threw a fit in 2006 when a game against Air Force ended up on CBS College Sports. They would NEVER want a football game on the Big Ten Network. Ever.

    I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, but that’s Notre Dame’s position. They also like playing across the country…they couldn’t play USC, Stanford, Pitt, Navy every year on top of a Big Ten schedule without their other marquee games vs. teams like Oklahoma and such on occassion.


    1. Richard

      1. ND gets no TV revenue from its away games.
      2. The Big East Basketball TV revenue is (relatively) chump change. Maybe $1-2M per school.
      3. ND would get just as much from their sponsorship/merchandising if they joined a conference. I don’t know of any conference where the schools share their revenue from merchandising.

      In short, the point still stands. Nortwestern gets more TV money right now than ND. By a lot.


  92. Robert

    Great analysis and enjoyed reading. Unfortunately, the move is not entirely up to UT, as the Texas legislature would have to o.k. the move, and I just don’t see all of the Aggies, and to a lesser extent Bears and Red Raiders, in the legislature allowing this to happen.


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  94. I don’t understand some of the complaints regarding the distance Texas would have to travel for away games if it joined the Big 10. The ACC stretches from Miami to Boston. The PAC-10 stretches from Tucson to Seattle. If Texas joined the PAC-10, they would have to travel to Seattle occasionally. The cost differential of travel for several games a year is pocket change compared to the difference in TV revenue for Texas. Travel distance as an excuse not to join the Big 10, or PAC-10, for that matter, is a non-starter.


    1. BobL

      Boston College is the only true outlier in the ACC. (Please don’t argue that Miami is).

      The rest – VA, VA Tech, Duke, NC, NC State, Wake, Clemson, and FL State are all regionally coherent. Most are actually quite close to each other.

      Texas is geographically coherent with NONE of the Big Ten and that is not an insignificant issue.


  95. Boilers + 11

    I agree with all the statements, but here is a dream scenario from a Boilermaker alum. First off, the Big 10 has always been about academics, with a focus on research. So, here are a few schools that have not been mentioned, but create some buzz. However, the question is not if the B10 likes the school, but if the school likes them.

    1) Vanderbilt- Great academic history, would be the southern Northwestern, with occasional football success but mainly academics. Great location to Indiana / Ohio State. B10 would get the Nashville market. However, may not create the buzz needed for the Big 10 to recruit them, and the issue with Tennessee rivalry would need to be addressed.

    2) Kentucky- I know this may not be a logical choice because of the academic issue, but otherwise it makes sense due to regional affiliation. This may be a long stretch, but would tie in the Louisville, Cincinnati and Lexington markets.

    3) Texas, Texas A&M and Missouri. All of these teams join with 2 east coast teams to form a super 16 conference. This could be a national conference, with enormous potential for revenue. Also, there would be several rivalrys that could create a 4 team football tourney that would essentially guarantee a national championship spot. Imagine a Texas-Ohio State rematch, along with Missouri-Illinois in state. This is a long shot as it requires 5 teams, but would be great to imagine the possibiliites.


  96. AustiniteAbroad

    Can you imagine all the empty seats allocated to away fans? How about the lack of support at away games? The unhappy fans who can’t attend the road games. Texas would enjoy a huge home advantage, and have to learn to play without much fan support on the road. (Granted, Texas fans do tend to travel well, but imagine the typical conference basketball season.)

    You mention academics. What about time spent on away trips? Long air travel for Joe Pa and others?

    Does Texas need to develop an ice hockey team? Do we need wrestling?

    How are the Aggies going to like this? Remember that our current Governor “Hair” is an Aggie.


    1. Richard

      I’ll address the last 2:

      1. Most Big Ten teams don’t have ice hockey teams right now. In fact, there’s isn’t a Big10 hockey conference.

      2. This goes for other sports as well. No all Big10 schools have a baseball team, so I doubt Texas wold be forced to start a wrestling team.


    2. Jake

      I’ll take the first two, then.

      There are more than enough OSU, Michigan, PSU, etc. alums already in Texas who would love to have the opportunity to see their respective alma matres play every other year. They can fill the paltry allotments left for visitors – no need for fans to travel all the way from the Midwest.

      An extra hour on an airplane isn’t going to kill anyone’s GPA. You can get some good studying in on those home-bound flights.

      And I’m not making any bets at this point, but JoePa probably won’t be coaching by the time this all transpires. I certainly wouldn’t make any long-term decisions based on his personal comfort.


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  98. Ryan-k

    This report is garbage. Many of the schools credentials are way overrated. I hate the BIG 10 and their cocky attitudes that they think they can go out and get whoever they want. It makes me smile when all these School are rejecting the invitation to join. Except for Missouri, who is BEGGING to get in. Texas will NOT leave the Big 12. It will not make any sense for them. They have been walking right throught the Big 12 the past decade plus, and they have to many rivalries. As for Mizzou, you guys can have them and thier trash school.


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  100. 4 MNC in a row

    I’ve been imprisoned in Texas for quite some time now, and I would have to agree with Mr. Runk. Texas is a sleazebag state up to its neck in corrupt, uncultured, and severely mal-educated dipshits. The only thing the state has going for it is its higher degree of welath relative to its piss poor, inbred, toothless neighboring states – you know, the Arkansas’s, Lousiana’s, and the Oklahoma’s of the world (a fact which ought to be no big deal for a truly classy populous, considering the states, but nevertheless, this state is extraordinarily proud of it. It sure as hell can never seem to refrain from spouting about whenever the opportunity presents itself.). And concerning that wealth itself, if one is aware of how most of the people in the state actually garnered that wealth – imagine Eron-esque stuff here – then even that one source state pride ends up being unjustified and unfounded. “Neiman Marcus Trailer Trash” is how I like to refer to this state’s populous and, trust me, this is as apt and as true blue, honest of a decription of the general Texas population, both high and low, as you are going to get out of a four letter phrase.

    To give you indication of just how trashy these so called bible thumping Texans really are, just go and visit its two largest cities. Both Big D and Houston probably have the biggest, the most luxuriest, and the highest per capita of strip clubs in the nation, if not the fucking world. Ever wonder how these Texans can cope so well without much complaint in a state with little scenic beauty, no beautiful national parks, limited areas for outdoor recreational activities, and four months out of the year where you can barely step outside due to the 100 or above levels of heat in the summer? That would be cause at least half of Texans or above (probably the higher), from what I have witnessed, are high off their ass on some kind of dope all the time. It can be the illegal type or the legal prescription type (does it really make a difference), but anyone who lives in this state who is honest knows how bad the dope problem is in this state. Few states in the nation probably have the level of dope problem the state of Texas has. Hell, this state has so much dope on its hands that it is supposedly reputed to distribute its excess dope to the rest of the nation. I rest my case. Oh, and this is probably a prime example of one of methods of how this state got to be wealthier than its toothless neighboring states.

    And I for one agree with you, PSU Chris, that all this talk is not much more than bluster to encourage the recalcitrant, 13th Century thinking, Catholic Notre Dame fans to get on board with the move to the Big Ten. Now I don’t know any big wigs, I am utterly uninformed, and I don’t really give a shit much about this issue, but I’d have to say that the leaked Texas to the B10 rumour is just a smokescreen to serve as a preliminary for other more desired moves. Texas has always wanted to go the Pac10 – it sees itself as more Cali nuevo-progressive, as Cali sleek and full of sunshine than as rustbelt old, wrinkled, and stodgey, shivering in the cold with frostbitten toes.

    Travel costs and extra expenses don’t mean jack. No matter what the accounting may state, you can bet that these athletic programs are raking in the dough (after all they don’t really have to pay their players. And spare me the accounting figures (I’ll say B.S. to them all day long), given this fact, how the hell could they not be raking in the dough?). If the Pac10 did not exist, then, yes, UT would go to the B10, but collegiate sports are still a regional sport, maybe less so than years past but still regional I’d say. With Notre Dame in that region and as a better fit, there is no need for a Texas to go to the Big10.

    If UT did go the Big10, then it would concentrate too much power and wealth in the B10, at the expense of other legitimate conferences, such as the Pac10 and this would in the large picture end up diminishing the potential overall revenue for the whole college football in general.

    If you don’t think there are people who are viewing conference realignments from a national perspective, rather than merely from the interests of their own particular conferences, then think again – they are the ones who are probably going to ulitmately decide who goes where and when. UT going to the Pac10 would balance out the college football landscape more evenly than if UT joined the B10 and would probably increased the overall profitability for all of college football in general. With UT and A&M, the Pac10 could do everything the B10 has done with its revenue stream and it would do so with leaving an entire region, the West Coast, outside looking in, in limbo essentially, in the upcoming era of the super conferences. Without UT, who could the Pac10 take to legitimately enlarge its conference? There simply is no one else there. The B10 always has Notre Dame and that is just a matter of time.


  101. FightnTXAggie02

    Hey LonghornLawyer !!

    You got the TX Governor and Lt. Governor names and were they went to colleges wrong. It is Governor Rick Perry who went to Texas A&M and not the Lt. Governor Dewhurst. Dewhurst went the the University of Arizona in Tucson and played college basketball there.

    But yes whatever happens, if Texas A&M is not included in the deal then the TX legislative will force the issue and deal.

    But I can assure you TX A&M and TX will go to the Big Ten as part of the overall deal…even if the TX Alumni does not think so. Life is all about politics and money my friends. Politics always has to be included as part of the overall equation.

    A little inside scope for you – The Board of Regents for Texas and Texas A&M are all good friends with each other. In addition, most of them are friends with the TX Governor and Lt. Governor as well as the certain folks in the legislative…As big as TX is, its a “small town” setting when it comes to state politics. So the deal will go down with the both schools being included.


  102. Texas and TAMU to the Pac10 makes the most sense, not just academically and geographically ..(majority of schools are in southern climate).. but it takes them to 12 schools (ie championship game), while adding a major media market (all of Texas) without having to settle for mid-level markets like Utah or Colorado.

    Big10 should add Mizzu and be done with it…mainly for the market value (StL/KC) and expanded tv footprint. Plus, it leaves the BE intact for now. If ND can ever overcome it’s ego and wants to join, then the Big10 can consider moving up to 14 teams by inviting Pitt or Rutgers or someone else to round it out.

    Meanwhile, the Big12 should basically brace itself for a major overhaul or more likely disbandment.

    OU and OSU may opt to push for SEC admittance…taking the SEC to 14 teams, while giving those two schools a way to compensate for losing Texas recruiting ground.

    The remaining members of the old Big12 would then be left to scramble.

    Nebby may want to go independent or join the MWC along with Colorado and TT …the MWC would then be at 12 schools and given AQ status.

    KU, KSU, ISU and Baylor should join CUSA …where they pretty much belong anyway from a competitive standpoint, both in fball and bball.

    CUSA is probably going to need replacement schools once they lose 2-4 members to the BE (most likely UCF, Memphis, Marshall and ECU) who will poach them in order to expand and keep up with the other BCS conferences.

    So here’s how it would shake out by 2015…

    Michigan State
    Ohio State
    Penn State

    Arizona State
    Oregon State
    Texas A&M
    Washington State

    Air Force
    Colorado State
    New Mexico
    San Diego State
    Texas Tech

    *MWC may want to consider a trade with the WAC: New Mexico and ‘CASH’ for Boise State.

    Mississippi State
    Oklahoma State
    South Carolina

    East Carolina
    West Virginia

    Iowa State
    Kansas State
    So. Miss

    ACC, WAC, MAC and SunBelt


  103. Erik

    Frank, thanks for the great work. How would USC, UCLA, Cal and Stanford score in your model? With the Pac-10 looking to expand, the best they can hope to achieve would be adding Salt Lake City and Denver. Thinking like a school president, the best option for those four teams might be to bolt to the Big Ten. I’ll only discuss football, since the academics are an obvious fit. The Cali schools get better recruiting access to the entire Midwest and Texas (assuming UT is team 12) and they restrict access to the Oregons and Zonas. The Big Ten adds California as a TV market, which should more than make up for the reasons you discuss in not expanding past 12 teams. They’re travel will increase, but they already fly a lot in conference, so it’s not like they’re not used to it. Would the presidents of these schools make this move if offered?


  104. Notre Dame has insulted the Big Ten twice, they will never get a third opportunity.Does anyone really believe that Cal,ucla,or Stanford will all vote to admit Texas AND AM??? These are three of the most liberal Left wing universities in the US.Just a step behind those 3 are Oregon and Ore. state.The big 12 has been waiting to die since the day it was formed.To most people the word Utah evokes another word—Mormon.Therefore,the Pac 10 will court and admit Col. and Neb. THE Big Ten will court and admit Texas,AM, and Mizzou.This will occur very soon because the music which accompanys this game of musical chairs has already begun to play.HOOKEM HORNS!!


  105. All I can say is WOW.

    The amount of responses on this blog is pretty impressive & your argument Frank I have to say is the most in depth analysis I have seen anywhere. I have seen a few other blogs start to go in that direction but they usually end up being just glorified bar talk with someone who has data analysis as a hobby.

    After hearing this “rumor” I very quickly dismissed the idea as just foolish, (of UT joining the B10.) Even after reading on blog suggesting that UT, Miami & Va Tech were better choices to join the B10 I was still thinking that these people are out of their minds.

    After reading this blog, I must say that ALL of the pieces are in place to demonstrate that UT & the B10 would be a very good academic & athlete fit. It wouldn’t feel right to me, (hell I am still not used to Penn State being in the B10) but I could actually see how this could happen, (and how it could be prevented).

    Texas is by far the best choice. However, do I think it will happen? Nope. Why? No reason other then just my gut but I think with all the data you present in mind, UT has to be giving everything serious consideration.

    The argument ND fans about traditional rivals doesn’t hold up.

    1) When PSU joined they lost quite a few traditional eastern rivals, (Pitt, Maryland, Syracuse, West Virginia) BUT since the college season has expanded to 12 games in the regular season, there are still 4 open dates to schedule OOC opponents. ND could still have USC, Stanford, Navy & Pitt on the schedule if they so wanted.

    2)With talk of the B10 adding a bye week & maybe starting their season one week later so as to play later in to November, the ND could potentially have 6 different weeks to choose from to schedule whatever OOC Opponent they wanted.

    But by now there is enough animosity between the B10 & ND that it might take another generation to come along before that discussion is ever broached again.

    Another factor to look @ athletically is the if you examine the Director’s Cup ( as indicator of athletic prowess.

    Stanford has won it every year since it’s inception, (which was in 1993) & the P10 schools have been one of the most competitive conferences in the country year in & year out across the boards, if not the BEST. Any school joining the P10 will have to look that factor I believe as well.

    And academically I know that of course Stanford & Cal rank very high in a lot of categories. I have read reports where other programs in Arizona & Washington are highly regarded too.

    I have to actually give you some kudos with the Cowboys & the Eastern Conference analogy. Growing up in NY & PA in the 60s & 70s, (& hating the cowboys!)I noticed from a young age that the Cowboys were geographically OUT OF PLACE in that conference, (despite the excellent rivalries.) But NOW after all these years I understand how they became America’s Team. JJ was smart, economically, to keep them there.

    I have to give the B10 for their cohunes. I see an inspiration coming from PSU AD Tim Curley in his off the wall hire of Iowa State’s wrestling legend Cael Sanderson. I never saw that coming but I am glad he did. I think that maybe some people from the B10 saw that & said, “ok why not just name the biggest fish & go for it?” (For those of you who don’t know btw, the B10 is the premier college wrestling conference. The B12 only has 5 schools with program.)

    It will be interesting to see what will become of these overtures & gestures. Will it start a secret bidding war giving one team a bigger piece of the pie in order to get them to stay? Or will it just create more animosity within that conference? Or will this become a greater case of the haves & the have-nots widening the distance between them?

    It will be weird watching Texas playing Ohio State or Penn State 4 years from now in the Indianapolis dome in December for the B10 championship! Even weirder if Texas gets a women’s ice hockey team or Ann Arbor hosts a rodeo event!


  106. 4 MNC in a row

    Steve, if everyone on the West Coast was a dumb as you, then the whole state might as well fall off into the ocean, right now and it would be good riddance. What, do Cal, Ucla, and Stanford not like money? Are they too West Coast uppity to be above loving the color of green?

    A Texas/Cal conference is a dream matchup waiting to happen. It could revive some of that raw passion for football the faggedity ass fans on the West Coast seem to be a little lacking in as of late. Cali and Texas already hate each other as it is, almost as a matter of birth right. They are two largest states and consider themselves as iconic, cultural rivals from the start and that’s even before any of them have witnessed their beloved football team getting their asses kicked by a group of out of staters who think that they are better than they are. It’s a matchup made in heaven, Bud. The two largest states with the two largest cultural divides, the California sophicated, silicon sissies vs. the Texas neantherthal, backward nincompoops. Imagine how much of a frenzy the faggots in San Fran will be in when they see the buzzed cut (looking alot like over-socialized skinheads), homo-phobic Ags come and beat the shit out of one of their teams? A Texas and a Cali link in football is a goldmine waiting to happen, Buddy. And don’t sit there and tell me the faggedity ass people from Stanford are too refined to be above getting their hands a little dirty to dig up some huge chunks of gold.

    Change takes time and some groups of people and institutions need to publicly protest and resist a little in order to protect their public rep and to appear a little less hypocritical than they really happen to be. It takes time to change the amateur collegiate game into an undeniable semi-pro league (one which still ain’t gonna pay its players though) run by academic institutions, without the noise from the protesters of this change becoming so loud as to be an annoyance to the ones who plan on raking in the dough from this inevitable evolution of their business model. Alot of guardians of our moral fiber type of people may need to protect their sense of integrity and publicly resist in order to make themselves feel better and slow change will give those types ample opportunity to get their moral fiber off of their chest. And Stanford maybe one of these types, but, rest assured, at the end of the day, even the Stanford types will come around and become converts. Believe it or not, even Stanford will come to like the color of money, or be forced to like it as they will probably love to remind everyone. Nevertheless, all this is gonna happen with their approval and under their watch.

    Texas to the B10 will never happen if only because the damn cheerleaders up there in the B10 are just too damn ugly. Don’t think for a minute that the higher ups at the University and the big time donors don’t love to oggle (and probably other things I’ll intentionally fail to mention) at the opposing team’s assests parading around the sidelines with their poms poms. If you are playing a B10 team you might as well go and oggle at the school mascot’s ass. It might even be preferable – easier on the eyes. B10 cheerleaders, on the whole, generally don’t even look like the type of girls who bother to shave their armpits on a regular basis. Maybe they use that extra fur as additional insulation from the cold during the winter? Who the fuck knows? Who the fuck cares?

    I repeat, Texas will never go to a conference full of ugly, “I’m a math major” looking cheerleaders? It just ain’t gonna happen. Don’t care how much money you throw as Texas’s face. Unlike the sophisticated queers at Stanford, UT has no problem whatsoever admitting that it knows and loves the color of green as much as the next guy, but, take it from one stuck in this state, I personally know that it values the color of pink even more, much much more.


    1. Brian

      4 MNC, I find it funny that you start off your post by calling someone dumb, yet your argument for why Texas won’t join the Big 10 is probably the worst I have every seen. Ugly cheerleaders, really??? I can only hope your trying to make a joke.


  107. Wes

    As a Texas fan, I can say that I would have no problems with moving to the Big 10. We could still play Oklahoma and A&M every year, and now have Ohio St., Michigan, and Penn St. every other year(in some sort of alternating fashion) too. The only thing that I wouldnt like about it is recruiting. Not ony would the new schedual take away 3 or 4 games that would have preiously been in the state of Texas, but the inclusion of the Big 10 Network in addition to the conference home games that bring Ohio St., Penn St., and Michigan into the State of Texas every singel year could effect Texas’ in state recruiting dominance. But that could very well not happen, or even increase Texas’ national name. So I really can’t see any problems with a move, and would even welcome the new-and-improved Big 10.


  108. 4 MNC in a row

    Butt ugly ass cheerleaders may not be much of an argument, but that does not mean it ain’t true. Is it not true that the B10 is rife, as if it is infested with some virulent, incurable plague, with butt ugly cheerleaders? I’d say that anyone with eyes and some degree of decency can agree that this is so. And if this is true, then what horny ass old guy with an insatiable lust for young, nubile teenie boopers, who is in his right mind, would want to go and forever join a conference full of butt ass ugly cheerleaders? I don’t know of many, actually none at all. They are a bit desperate after all, given that those old farts only have a few more years left to live and molest young, hot women decades younger than themselves.

    And who exactly do you think are the people who are going to determine where UT will move to, if at all? Do you think any of them are women? Nope. They are all male, Bud, and they are all old and smelly and you can bet that they are all horny as a porcupine with goosebumps, especially when in the proximity of young, nubile teenie boopers prancing around and spreading their legs open while scantily clad (I have unfortunately been lucky enough to have met enough of those types to know).

    Is that a good enough argument for you now? And if it isn’t, who the hell really cares. It’s the goddamn truth, notwithstanding what its merits as an argument may happen to be. Who gives a shit about merits of arguments when hot, available pussy is around? Supposing you have any balls at all, then you should be getting the drift of my point. Remember “Basic Instincts”, Bud? Your logic maybe right and all on the up and up, but who the fuck cares? No male in his right mind, and especially no desperate, horny ass, old geezer, will be paying any attention your airtight arguments when there is a hot, young chick around busy spreading her legs apart in front of them.

    If you now do not get the argument, then I may indeed be a joke (I don’t give a shit, so what), but then you are admitting that you are missing a set of balls – this I would care about, though.


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  110. Tom Smith

    IMO Texas, Tex A&M, and ND, are the ideal additions for a new 14 school Big Ten. As an alternative, Maryland may be the best catch on the East coast as they seem to fit the criteria better than the other Eastern schools.
    Wouldn’t ND jump if Texas and A&M joined?
    Frank, or Longhorn Lawyer, what are the odds of this set up becoming a reality???


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  112. grantlandR

    Great analysis, Frank.

    Using Penn State as the standard, I was wondering what score would you assign them?

    How would getting Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas rank on your scale? They have both the history and the rivalry that is found throughout the Big Ten. They are a natural geographical fit with connections to the Big Ten. They are good academic schools (which would undoubtedly improve with membership in the Committee for Institutional Cooperation). Missouri and Kansas would bring St Louis and Kansas City; and Nebraska brings its national reputation in football, while Kansas brings its national reputation in basketball. Also, they have historic ties to Washington University of St Louis – maybe those ties are strong enough to invite Washington University into the Committee for Institutional Cooperation (like the University of Chicago), thus enhancing the Big Ten’s academic reputation. (By the way, Washington University and the University of Chicago compete in the same athletic conference.)

    I think this would be great for the Big Ten. And now, if super-conferences are the future for FCS schools, the Big Ten is in even better position to add Texas, and perhaps even Texas A&M. Both Texas teams would be closer to the western Big Ten teams than they are now, and they will have more historical connections with Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri already in the Big Ten.


    1. Penn State would effectively be ranked the exact same way as Notre Dame: a massive addition at all levels except the basketball program is suspect. It absolutely drives me insane when I see some old-line Big Ten fans suggest that the conference move back down to 10 schools and kick out Penn State. Seriously – has there been a better expansion choice by any conference over the past few decades than the Big Ten adding Penn State? It has effectively prevented the Big East from getting a true foothold on the East Coast (and as a result, you’ll see just as many Big Ten games in NYC as any other conference) while providing a population base that made the Big Ten Network possible. With Penn State in the fold, the Big Ten is virtually guaranteed to get 2 BCS bowl bids every year under the current system. That’s really why the Big Ten has had such a hard time finding a 12th member – it’s tough for the conference to settle for anyone that won’t bring as much as Penn State did to the table.

      There are pluses and minuses for Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas. You’re correct that Missouri has the better market, Nebraska is a huge football name and Kansas is in the basketball elite. However, I think that the Big Ten only considers inviting those teams AFTER Texas has committed as opposed to before. From everything that I’ve seen, the only real potential shackle for Texas is Texas A&M because of political reasons. Everyone else is filler (and the Red River Rivalry would go on as a non-conference game just as it did for many decades before the 1990s).


  113. I have and will continue to be an avid fan of Penn State University for many years. I beleve in education as the # 1
    issue for any and all University’s .Penn State as you know is # 1 in my opinion as the result of Coach Joe Paterno.I question many of the other University if education even applies.Now on the stand point of adding to the big “Ten” I thing that we should look at geographics.because of the cost of traveling. Can you imagine what it cost to send a team, the Band, Cheerleaders and the Fans to Texas, rather than a school in the North Eastern part of the Country.I thing every conferance in the country should consider this issue. My preferance to add to the Big Ten is:

    Pitt- Rutgers- Syrcause, West Va,

    Robert I. Forbes


  114. Herk

    Re Point #4 on Update #6…

    I’m an Iowa fan…and a HUGE BigTen fan…and I can tell you right now we (the collective) would much rather have Mizzu, or even Nebraska, join the conference over Texas.

    Texas can suck it and go independent for all we care. They don’t deserve the honor of joining an elite conference like the BigTen. All they’ve done is bad-mouth us and our members for years. Yeah, yeah, this could be our chance to get even. Well…NO…they don’t deserve the honor of getting it handed to them on a weekly basis by REAL football teams who show up each and every week, unlike the current Weak12.



  115. Rich B

    I think this assessment overall is sound and presented perfectly, though I do believe you have undervalued West Virginia a bit in your weighting of scores. While WVU may not add much to the Big Ten coffers in terms of TV dollars, they would more than offset that with the added cold hard cash earned in the form of nickels thrown at Ohio State or Michigan players when the teams take the field.

    In all seriousness, as a fan of my local Big Ten sports team and/or college, the best case scenario is for the Big Ten to not have its hand forced in bringing along Texas’s retarded little brother by the Texas state legislature, and instead go for the TV market coup of grabbing all three of Texas, Missouri, and Syracuse in a bid for a 14-team conference. Since adding Florida or one of the LA schools is unlikely, this is the best case scenario for locking up half of the US population for the BTN, advancing all of the missions of the CIC to the nth degree, while also fielding a deeply competitive league in every major sport.


  116. Tom Smith

    I’m not concerned about Texas not being in the list of 15 to be evaluated for the Big Ten. We already know what and how much they bring to the table.
    Frank, I’m curious. Who do you believe is on list of 15, and which schools are at the top of that list in your opinion?


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  118. Jhawk4Ever

    There is a lot of interesting conjecture and opinion here. In spite of the supposed additional TV revenue I don’t see that there is much of a benefit for Texas to move to the Big 10. And there are a number of negatives. I am not going to list all of them as most have already been discussed ad nauseum. One negative I have not seen mentioned is the effect a move to the Big 10 would have on recruitment. UT recruits heavily from (surprise) Texas. I doubt recruits and their parents would be terribly about travel Wisconsin in November. And I cannot not see how UT moving to the Big 10 could not throw cold water on booster excitement (and money). The Big 10 just doesn’t mean much in Texas.

    While I recognize football is king in Texas (and the Big 10), there is one other major revenue sport. The Big 10 can’t hold a candle to the Big 12 as a basketball conference. Being a Jayhawk I just have to mention that.

    Reading between the lines, this is what I see. The Big 10 is recognizing that is a waning conference and is casting about for a big name to give it a boost in prestige and money. There maybe a little more money in the Big 10 right now but I doubt it will be that way in 10 years. As goes the rust belt so go the schools of the Big 10.

    Finally, let me back all that I have said with this. ESPN is reporting that the UT athletic director has said in an interview that there has been no discussions with the Big 10 about UT moving and there is no interest on the part of Texas in moving to the Big 10.


    1. Richard

      1. Right now, Texas plays 1-2 conference games north of Oklahoma (2 outside Texas). If they move to the Big10, they would play 4 (or 3-4 if TAMU comes along) outside Texas. Would a recruit allow 2 extra games a year outside Texas affect where he wants to be for the next 2 years.
      How well did Texas recruit in the waning days of the SWC (when all conferecne games were in Texas) compared to Oklahoma (only a handful of games in Texas) or Nebraska (almost no games within driving distance of Texas) back then?

      2. Reputation doesn’t matter as much as how many people watch you when it comes to revenue sports, and I see no sign that less people watch Big10 basketball than Big12 basketball. In any case, basketball is relatively chump change (for many reasons) compared to football.

      3. Demographic changes take a loooooooong time to play out. Please note that the rust belt started declining way back in the ’70’s. Unless the Pac10 and Big12 merge, the Big10 will still be the most populous area with the most alums, most money, etc., etc. for the next 2 decades, at least.


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  123. duffman

    dear frank the tank,

    as a former UC student i must point out a flaw in your thinking….

    if you attended UC you would know it is two schools in one (probably based on its conversion from a private to public university in the 70’s).

    a) They have one of the top ten university library’s in the country
    b) their engineering college ranks with such lightweights as CalTech, MIT, Purdue, GA Tech, etc..
    c) their DAA (design, art, and architecture) is top in the country
    d) their CCM (college conservatory of music) is in there with such little know schools as some place called julliard
    e) their med and law schools are well known..
    f) as one of the only co op schools in the country, their student body is A list for Fortune 500 recruiters
    g) with the GE engine factory, P&G, Kroger, and other major corporate partners calling cincy/northern KY home.. it would not be hard to see a big jump in funding if they made the jump to the big 10
    h) as one of the larger TV markets in the country.. and strong national TV advertisers (again think P&G).. would appeal to the media folks
    i) in football branding = you may be overstating its value (ie if you are tOSU do you want TEXAS or CINCY on your schedule every year)
    j) in basketball you would get 2 pieces of the “dandy diamond” – UK with 7 NCAA titles, IU with 5 NCAA titles, UL with 2 NCAA titles, and UC with 2 NCAA titles.. if this is not clear think of the SEC picking up Arkansas, NOW the SEC can claim the Arkansas NCAA title as one of their own
    k) as a big city.. UC offers easy transit via their airport in northern KY
    l) over time you could have a long term interstate rivalry develop (see michigan vs michigan state, bama vs auburn, usc vs ucla, etc)
    m) it fits within the big 10’s current geographic footprint
    n) distance – while your texas argument for distance not mattering.. i would disagree (see current big east – with UofL and UC) – as a fan that actually attends games.. my bias is to support teams i can drive to see, ie 3 – 9 hours drive time from my home. i am willing to bet my bottom dollar that a majority of fans feel the same
    o) your ND is probably correct as they are the best fit, however to compare them to texas in a border less world is moot.. ND is not based on place but faith.. ie.. their fan base is large because it is fed by catholics.. not just folks in the area.. or that attended the school (if they were they would not possess the the viewers they do). if i can not make this clearer (as i have spent some time in texas, and alot of it in the south). the majority of the big 10 are not southern baptists, but the majority of the folks that support texas are….

    all this said.. cincy is probably the best fit behind ND as you have valued their academics too low as well as many other important factors, but it will not happen as tOSU will be unwilling to share the wealth of the state of OHIO (why give up a monopoly) .. too many people outside the UC world see what we called Ucollege and not the whole picture. if it helps.. think of Ucollge as UC’s state college component.. and the rest of UC as a Vandy, Stanford, Northwestern, etc type private university..

    in closing i would ask if you have attended/visited ANY of the institutions you rated or just went with vauge and general stereotypes?


    1. Stew

      HAHA. As someone that has engineering degrees from GT and Texas, no you’re engineering college does not rank with us. On any level. Show me one list and I’ll shut up. I stopped reading your post after that because, well, that statement is so wrong I have no faith that anything else you say is true. One list, show me one.


      1. duffman

        what year did you graduate UT and GA TECH??

        i will agree 100% that GT is top flight, but when i was in school UT was not it.. the top were MIT, Cal Tech, Ga Tech, UC, and Purdue.. and of those 5 only UC and Ga Tech did co op which made getting a job after graduation much easier


        1. Texas is definitely a top engineering school as well as Texas A&M. Of course, you don’t mention either Illinois or Michigan, both of which would be considered to be the best engineering schools in the Big Ten (with Purdue right behind them in general, with a few specialities where they might be ahead). As an overall graduate research institution (which is what the Big Ten really cares about unless you have super high undergrad rankings like Notre Dame), Cincinnati has the pluses that you mentioned but it’s not an AAU member while being in the 3rd tier in the US News rankings.

          Regardless, the Big Ten already has the state of Ohio blanketed with the Big Ten Network. That’s the #1 revenue issue for the conference. This means that being within the conference footprint is actually a massive liability as opposed to an advantage – creating new in-state rivalries doesn’t matter in a world where the Big Ten is trying to expand the map. There are only 2 schools within the current conference footprint that the Big Ten might even think of adding: Notre Dame and Pitt. ND is an obvious no-brainer, while Pitt is highly unlikely (which is unfair because it has great overall academics, athletic programs and tradition, yet it’s a victim of Penn State already delivering its state for the Big Ten Network). If Pitt is unlikely for the Big Ten, then Cincinnati doesn’t have a chance from an objective perspective. It’s nothing personal – it’s just business.


      2. Stew

        GT in 01 and UT in 05. And when I was at GT the faculty mentioned the Cincy co-op program as having a lot of students, but come on, it’s just simply not a good engineering school (not Big 10 good at least). And I don’t know what years you were in school, maybe it was before Texas was a state, but UT is pretty much top 10 in every field of engineering and CS. I mean, is Cincy even a top 75 engineering school?


      3. duffman


        i am alot older.. in the late 70’s UC had a top flight school (some say because of the massive GE engine plant down the road – and the need for top flight engineers). i realize from your post this was probably before you were born.. i know when i was there for aerospace back then, neil armstrong was teaching, and you had to have a 3.9 to transfer in.. if they have fallen that far then it is sad indeed..

        the transition from a private university to a state school has not been kind. My uncle went to MIT, and alot of friends went to GA Tech, and several cousins are Purdue grads.. so maybe there is bias to ga tech, mit, and purdue.. back then purdue was mechs, and ga tech was more cs/eng.. but UC was aerospace. things change.. UC went from around 10,000 as a private college to 45,000 state school around the time i was there so it looks like it was not a good move for them….

        course if you had told me back then IU had a good business school there would have been alot of laughs. we used to road trip to IU, tOSU, and some of the other big 10 schools. things change, IU has a great business school now and i am willing to be good money tOSU is not the party school it once was (many friends and parents friends are tOSU grads).

        did you stay in Austin.. nice town

        as a Texas grad do you agree with frank the tanks slant that Texas should join the Big 10?? or do you think as i do, that Texas would give up more than they would gain leaving the big 12??


      4. Stew


        Thanks for the informative response, I forgot that UC had been private and I can only imagine that that transition would be difficult. On a side note, ever since I’ve been at GT, we’ve threatened to the state that we’ll go private. I think it’s a horrible idea.

        You bring up a very interesting point about the rise of IU and tOSU academically. I have high confidence that it’s a direct result of their membership in the Big Ten. How do you improve your academics? You buy better researchers, end of story. Being in the Big Ten increases exposure, which increases applications, and at state schools if demand exceeds supply, you build more dorms, let in more kids, and make more money. Another examples would be The U (Miami). UM has been rocketing up academic rankings, and I don’t think it’s possible that it’s purely a coincidence that this began while they were winning 5 national titles (and playing in what, 2 more) over a 17 year span.

        Austin is best, sad I had to leave (for Urbana of all places). Texas to the Big Ten has been a dream of mine since 2003 when I realized that the Big 12 is garbage. If you told me that if UT went to the Big Ten that every current member of the Big 12 would never place us again, in any sport, I’d be dancing in the street. Just like Austin is out of place in Texas, UT is out of place in the Big 12. I think Texas has nothing to lose by going to the Big Ten. No part of UT being what it is is a result of the Big 12 or having regional rivals in sports. Texas should be honored to be offered by the Big Ten, and should jump at it.


      5. Richard

        OSU use to be open admissions. Even when I was in college (mid-90’s) OSU undergrad wasn’t all that. Now they have something like an 30% admissions rate (back when I was applying to college, only the Ivies or equivalents would have admissions rates that low). In general, it’s not great to be a public school that’s not a flagship, because if the legislature has to choose who to allocate money to, they’ll always choose the flagship. Any idea why Cincy (and Pitt) turned public?

        As for Texas, I guess it took a while for the effect of the oil money to kick in. Now they have a strong engineering school, on par with Michigan & Purdue, and just behind Illinois, Cal, GTech, and all the traditionally strong privates (Stanford, MIT, CalTech, CMU).


      6. duffman


        i can not speak for tOSU.. but i have an insight on IU’s rapid rise.. as some in their think tank were close to me.. IU got better not because of the Big 10, but the partying got out of hand by the early 80’s (including an incident where a young woman went out a window and booze/drugs were involved). the folks at the top cracked down and their academics went up (they still suck in football after all these years) but they party a WHOLE lot less

        texas has oil money, and tech money.. having dell get his start there did not hurt. surprises me about Michigan having such a good program.. In the 70’s is was Purdue.. and only Purdue.. i honestly don’t remember any of my peers wanting to go to Michigan for engineering. When i was in school (yeah i know in the age of dinosaurs) Miami (OH) was THE business school in KY,IN,OH,MI area..

        If I had chosen business back then .. that is where i would have wound up (ironic as i ended my college career in finance – where many engineers with people skills wind up). back then Miami had a REALLY strong greek system, and alot of old midwest money.

        if what you say is true about austin (and i have enjoyed every visit there) then wouldn’t the SEC be a better fit for Texas. I was serious about the southern baptists.. and the SEC is full of them.. plus SBC (now AT&T) was headquartered in San Antonio and would have a better footprint in the south (especially in light of the bellsouth merger). in the end who are we kidding.. the big companies dictate alot in the modern sports world..


      7. duffman


        i wish i knew why they (UC) went public.. especially after what you said about flagship schools.. maybe they thought they would get the $$, but tOSU did not want the competition, and squeezed the state, after UC had already made the jump.. interesting historical point to ponder..

        i know back when i was at UC it was 2 schools.. Ucollege accepted you if you were in state and had a pulse.. but the individual colleges (like ENG, DAA, and CCM) were highly competitive.. and sometimes it is bad long term for the school and state when the flagship just wants to spend money on buildings (ie not faculty salaries and academic scholarships). at times it really does make you wonder if too many universities have adopted the “make money for me and some big donors” model.


  124. duffman

    ps.. you keep talking of the state coverage for tOSU.. i might remind you of some differing opinions..

    a) the triangle (Lexington, UK + Louisville, UL + Cincinnati, UC & XU).. odd as it sounds a majority of folks in Louisville and Cincinnati actually follow UK – The biggest attendance for a college game this year was the UK vs Miami (OH) in Paul Brown [home of the Bengals for the home gamers]. Probably a quarter to a third of Cincinnati’s 2 MILLION PLUS population live in the three counties that are northern kentucky. and a portion of Louisville’s population are in southern Indiana. This means alot of fans UC should pick up by jumping to the Big 10. and i am willing to bet, Paul Brown would be happy to pick up a UC/Big 10 tennant instead of the one game deal they have with UK.

    b) future vs present.. as the rust belt ages you are seeing more folks relocating south of the mason dixon line. cincy i believe still has a bigger MSA than columbus, and project in 10 – 20 years that cleveland will have net loss, not net gain in population over time.. as cincy would be a southernmost place (next stop UK, and i seriously doubt they would EVER leave the SEC) in that footprint, again cincy would make sense. places like Michigan & Michigan State will diminish over time if the auto industry continues to move south and overseas (again, industry wants an educated workforce nearby). 100 years ago Cleveland was the place to be, and just maybe it was because it headquartered a company that eventually moved out of state (Standard Oil – daddy of Exxon, Mobil, and a host of the other oil giants when they were broken up). people may joke at Louisville, but they are gaining corporate headquarters, not losing them.

    c) the rise of the south.. the big 10 and the pac 10 are the conferences of your parents. the big 12 and the SEC are the conferences of your children. we are in transition, and alot of folks are in denial. for the texas crowd to consider a jump to the big 10 is wishful thinking on the big 10’s fanbase.. seriously!! what would texas gain they do not have already, or can not get!!

    d) the east coast and the midwest are two totally different cultures. my big sis is a Chicago girl (they even used her brownstone in movies). she lived in Cincy before going to Chicago for the past several decades. I love to visit Chicago as they are midwestern in values (i could see living there) but east coast is not the same.. aside from visiting family up there or attending sporting events.. i much prefer the south/midwest as the cultures really are different. You keep using Penn State as the example for big 10 expansion.. but if I were Penn State, what did I get out of the deal?? they still treat them as the red headed stepchild behind tOSU and Michigan.

    e) If i am anybody besides tOSU and Michigan/Penn State.. and we are adding schools for athletic ability i think i would want teams i have a better chance of putting a W up over a L. If i am IU or Purdue, with Cincy in the mix I will put more butts in my seats for 2 reasons.. they are only a few hours away so they will travel better & we have a better shot at a win than tOSU or Michigan..

    f) you keep pointing out UC’s football facilities.. but you forget they have excellent facilities if they sub out Paul Brown.. built in 2004 and seating around 65/66 K.. i still say you can not discount them


    1. Michael

      I’ll give it to you that Cincinnati is drastically overlooked because it’s sandwiched between two massive fanbases–Ohio State and Kentucky–and it has to deal with other sports options in the Bengals and the Reds.

      But the SEC, Big Ten, or ACC would have noticed long ago if it was such a can’t-miss university.

      Look, the Big Ten is looking for a cooked-to-perfection filet mignon at the finest restaurant in Chicago. Nobody’s saying UC or UL is spam or ground beef whipped up over a campfire. They’re more like a sirloin–even a Ruth’s Chris sirloin–but they’re still not the kind of steak most people get only once or twice a decade.

      Analogies aside, Cincinnati & Louisville need the Big Ten more than the Big Ten needs them. While the Midwest is in a decided struggle during this ongoing Rust Belt era, there are no indications whatsoever that the Big Ten schools are in any kind of decline.


      1. duffman


        if they do not add ND who becomes 12? i can not buy texas.. and long term it is gonna be somebody who can fit. think long term and tell me who you would put your money on in the following situation..

        when i was a kid and spent alot of time in FL the gators were it across the state. then schnellenberger came along and put miami on the map. this was followed by the rise of FSU. here i am 30 years later and the gators are it for florida football. knowing all this how would you rank the state 20 years from now??

        mine would look like this….

        #1 Florida
        #2 USF
        #3 Miami
        #4 FSU

        point being is that if i asked you 10 – 20 years ago about USF you would have laughed and called me crazy. if you asked now i would just be out there.. down the road it might not look so crazy.. things change.. the point being not that USF is actually on the sports radar, the bigger issue is how fast they did it compared to the history of their in state brethren.. my personal meter is based on the simple fact.. are you adding corporate headquarters, or are you losing them. when i drive through northern kentucky and see the expansion on the other side as it creeps up on dayton.. as an outsider it just looks like michigan and northern ohio are dying and southern ohio is prospering.

        i agree that short term Cincy and Louisville (i would put cincy well above louisville.. double the population and more vibrant culture) look like the ones in need.. but long term (especially if the auto industry leaves michigan/northern ohio) i think it is a good hedge. how much of those auto jobs and dollars translated to the success of the big 10 in the last 100 years?

        i think some in the SEC have trouble crossing the Ohio Ocean (and yes i have heard folks actually say that in the south). and the ACC may not be to far removed in their thinking (for the history buffs, or really old farts – the current SEC and ACC were all one in the old Southern conference).

        i agree, looking at today you blow it off.. but who was USF 10 years ago?? and just think of old winston churchill when he said “world war II was won on the playing fields of eaton”


      2. Michael

        You make a valid point about USF. Florida State’s story isn’t far off. This was a women’s college exclusively until 1948. It did have some successful years for a while in the 60’s, but then they bottomed out with a winless and one-win season. People talked about dropping football. Then Bobby Bowden came in and the rest is history…

        I think that the combination of the rise of football with a huge influx of population in the state contributed to FSU’s rising stature. Another helpful component is that FSU and Florida are legally Florida’s flagship universities, and they’re permitted to charge significantly higher tuition than USF, UCF, FIU, etc.

        I have no idea who will be tops in Florida 20 years from now. I hope it’s Florida State, but it’s pure speculation at this point.

        But it’s also speculation that over the next 20 years, Cincinnati will become either a national power in football (consistently) or that it will gain recognition as one of the nation’s strongest research universities (i.e., Big Ten material).

        Going back to FSU, I know that they sought SEC membership from the early 50’s until the early 90’s but were told “No” every time. It’s understandable. FSU wasn’t at the academic or athletic level of any of those programs. But by the early 90’s, FSU was a national powerhouse in athletics, and academically it was on par not only with the SEC but also the ACC. Fortunately for FSU, its location essentially allowed them to choose between the ACC and the SEC. The SEC, by the way, had taken Arkansas as #11, and for #12, they first sought A&M and didn’t get them, sought FSU, and finally they sought USC. I guess Miami’s Thug U rep cost them a chance to be in the SEC, but they eventually got into the ACC, which is a better regional fit. As to why FSU went with the ACC, it depends on who you ask, but here’s how I understand it:

        FSU had been rejected for 40 years by the SEC. Meanwhile, FSU had developed traditions of its own as an independent. Joining the SEC would have made them the young, cocky kid whose ideas could overruled by the old guard of Tennessee, Alabama, Florida. FSU didn’t want to be anyone’s junior. With the ACC, Florida State had a conference who voted to expand for Florida State, and for no one else. The ACC offered them an association with a superior conference academically. Some say FSU was scared of joining the SEC, but I think joining the ACC was one of the university’s smartest moves ever.

        Anyway, my point is that it took FSU years and years to get to the point where its coveted conference wanted them. FSU couldn’t have expected to be invited until its academic and athletic reputations crossed a threshold. Cincinnati (and Loisville and USF) , IMO, are still about where FSU was in the early 80’s. It’s hard to know whether they’ll become ACC/SEC/Big Ten-ready ten years down the road.


      3. duffman


        thanks for the history on FSU, i always wondered why they were not an SEC school instead of USC.. i always thought if bobby had an extra loss or two he would not have a shot at the NC. so he had stopped it… your explanation still leaves me puzzled by Penn State.. they had more to lose than gain by joining the Big 10. higher travel costs. midwest vs eastern mindset. being the jr. partner when you had already paid your dues. etc..

        i always understood the arkansas jump as they were the only non texas team in the old SWC, and they already had a natural rivalry.. if IU jumped to the SEC or UK jumped to the Big 10 there would be a built in rivalry already established in football and basketball – not to say either would exit their respective conference, just to illustrate. as arkansas already had a natural rivalry with lsu in football and uk in basketball, the jump to the SEC made sense.

        usc/clemson and fsu/uf are natural rivals.. so it would have made sense to join the corresponding conference (say usc to the ACC and fsu to the SEC). i agree, about the uncertainty of UC as a football power, but like UK in the SEC – they do have proven long term success in basketball, and did not feel frank the tank was giving fair credit in this area. back when ND was good in basketball, they had the BIG 4 (UK, IU, UL, ND). great series of games in the early season – but then ND slipped, and they dropped it.. with UC in Big 10 something like the big 4 could come back with UC taking the place of ND.


        interesting, if applied to tOSU and UC.. as back when UC was really good academically, tOSU would have competition from UC as a state school. so let them move from private to public school, but insure they could never join the big 10 and challenge them for the monopoly of ohio..

        same situation with UF and FSU.. florida (already in the big conference, has no benefit in seeing the up and comer become an equal or superior). years ago it took an act of the state legislature to force UK and UL to play each other. rupp had refused to play any school in kentucky, as it would not help recruiting so he did not. the one maxim that i did like about rupp (and shared by pat summitt) was that he believed to be the best you had to play the best, so he did not have the “cupcakes” on his schedule. the closest UK got to that thinking was tubby smith.. he always had a brutal pre conference schedule.. pitino.. the softest.. (pitino took kansas out of the pre conference schedule along with unc after some bad beats).

        does anybody know why ga tech left the SEC in the first place?? sewanee, ga tech, and tulane were in the original SEC.. ga tech and tulane both dropped in the 60’s .. does anybody know why? in light that both had no conference affiliation till over a decade later when the metro was formed (yeah i am old, but not old enough to remember why?)

        can anybody explain who is the biggest conference by revenue?? the SEC would indicate they are (new multi billion dollar deal with ESPN – and the only conference with exclusive deals with all 3 major networks) and the big 10 says they are.. are they splitting hairs.. is there a site where you can see the revenue streams side by side??


        1. duffman – Please check out my follow-up posts. They provide a lot of the information about the TV revenue for all of the conferences. The Big Ten is #1 and SEC is #2, with everyone else on a much lower tier.


          1. duffman


            thanks for the heads up to your other posts.. it looks like the Big 10 and SEC are close in revenue.. all others not so much.. please answer the following.. if texas jumps.. and it was JUST business, why not jump to the SEC west.. move an SEC west team to the SEC east.. and move USC to the ACC.. if 12 is a magic number (and according to all your posts.. i can see why). the best 12 would be texas, in the SEC!!

            aside from the financial giant created.. texas has a long history with tennessee and kentucky (many of their native sons fought and died for texas independence). they have shared culture and religious backgrounds (southern baptists). they get to reunite with arkansas as the old SWC. current migration trends from the north to the south means they would be in a conference with growing markets. if texas had considered the pac 10 and big 10, the SEC climate should be most in line with their own.. (no games in the cold markets of the pac 10 or big 12). alot of powerful texans maintain part or full time residence in kentucky (major equine base for the horse loving texans, not replicated anywhere in the big 10 or pac 10). secondary sports are more aligned with the SEC (baseball and women’s basketball).

            unless you can show me why, if texas jumped.. the SEC looks like the best place to land.. what do you think here? can you compare Texas in the SEC west vs Big 10 north? i do get the 11+1 = 13 argument here, it just seems that the SEC has the best markets from a pure financial outlook. The Big 10 draws financially from the big 2/3 (tOSU,Penn State, and Michigan) while the SEC can draw from UF/UGA/UT+1 from the east AND BAMA/LSU/Texas+1 from the west.. 8 annual BIG revenue schools vs 3 in the big 10.. plus look at the matchups annually in the west alone TEXAS vs LSU , TEXAS vs BAMA , TEXAS vs AUBURN.. how could Texas get such marquee games in a newly formed Big 10 north.. TEXAS vs northwestern, TEXAS vs minnesota, TEXAS vs Illinois just does not have the same marquee appeal. The more i think about it the better fit seems to be the SEC.

            sell me back on the Big 10!


          2. duffman


            texas in the SEC west not the SEC east..

            i have watched big 8, swc, big12, sec, and big ten most of my life (sorry do not watch much pac 10, big east, or acc – not snobbery, just never lived much of my life on either one of the coasts) and even the cellar dwellers of the sec are better to watch than the bottom half of most conferences. name me ANY other conference top to bottom that is more competitive than the SEC seriously!!

            again read my post.. from a $$ point, and marquee match up (week after week) texas in the SEC west would be $$$$. PAC 10, top one or two teams (then drops off)…. Big 10, top two or three (then it drops off). we are talkin what if?? it assumes….

            a) the big 12 breaks up (which i would not like to see as i grew up watching texas, ark, ok, and neb).

            b) which conference (in a post big 12) would offer the most marquee (see $$$$) matchups.

            i have read several texas boards, and they are none to happy to travel to the cold confines of the big 10 and be the isolated team. one site compared a move to big 10 or pac 10.. and the fans seemed hands down to favor the pac 10. some unprompted picked the SEC, even tho it was not one of the choices.

            in the SEC west you are looking at at least half a dozen marquee games – and a population that is growing not shrinking – in an environment of pleasant weather (yeah USC and UCLA are warm, but can you say that for the northern members of the pac 10…. plus you would have TEXAS vs UK in mbb, TEXAS vs UT in wbb, and ALL the baseball match ups would be totally cool. travel costs for all the lesser sports would be much cheaper to the SEC vs Pac 10 or Big 10.

            and yeah i can play your game too.. TEXAS vs IU or TEXAS vs Wash St .. woo hoo, sign me up!! yeah right.. put down the crack pipe you are smokin.


          3. Richard

            UT sees the SEC as a cesspool and has no desire to be affiliated with such fine institutions as Miss St., Ole Miss, and SC. Speaking of SC, there’s no way they leave the SEC for the ACC; the money’s just too good.


          4. duffman


            i was approaching the argument of frank the tank about the money!!

            the dollars of texas in the SEC west seems like the biggest $$$$

            if you were Jerry Jones with your new Palace, looking to fill dates when the cowboys are not there.. SEC looks like the place that offers the the most tasty morsels..

            5 of the top 10 college football venues are in… the SEC!!.. yeah and before you get all weepy about jo pa and the world of happy valley (and i am a jo pa fan – i swear he looks like my grandfather – seriously!) read the following post….


            in the SEC folks live, eat, and breathe football..

            and yeah, ole miss my be the bottom end of the west.. but have you EVER been to the grove to tailgate?? show me that experience in the Big 10 or Pac 10.

            BCS National Champions since 1998….

            SEC .. five different teams, 6 NC…. 6-0 in NC games
            Big 12 .. two different teams, 2 NC…. 2-5 in NC games
            Pac 10 .. one team, 1 NC…. 1-1 in NC games
            Big 10 .. one team, 0 NC…. 1-2 in NC games
            ACC .. one team, 1 NC …. 2-4 in NC games (current)
            Big East .. one team, 1 NC 0-0 in NC games (current)

            the last two reflect current conference, not conference when won..

            come on people, the national championship in the last DECADE is the SEC and the Big 12.. winners mean $$$$ and viewers!! and i feel ANY school at or near the top has NCAA troubles.. less the big 10 forget michigan right not, and IU in basketball (and i like watching the wolverines in football, and the hoosiers in basketball – i grew up with bo and bobby).

            if we are in a “show me the money” era as frank the tank implies.. then Texas to the SEC west is the mo money move!!


          5. duffman – I’ve also stated that academics matter on top of money. There are some schools that won’t care about that, but Texas isn’t one of them. Raising their academic profile is extremely important to the university. Besides, the Big Ten Network would garner Texas more money than moving to the SEC anyway (because Big Ten Network fees would rise by adding the state of Texas, while the SEC has fixed long-term contracts with CBS and ESPN).


          6. duffman

            frank the tank,

            i am seeing your perspective.. but the geek in me seeks another level..

            i think you make excellent points, but still appear not to incorporate the whole picture.. as you never answered my question wether you had travelled to the sites you rate i must assume you have not. and i might not lead to the conclusions you have drawn had you had your feet on the ground..

            I will give you kudos for where you have gotten to.. but consider the following..

            as a former UC student (albeit long ago) some things have changed.. and some have not.. it appears as tho their ENG college has gone downhill.. i note..

            a) UC is a research institution
            b) CCM is #6 according to US NEWS and WORLD
            c) DAA (now DAAP) is one of the top INTERNATIONAL programs
            d) CECH is #3 according to US NEWS and WORLD
            e) ENG while not what it once was, invented the co op program, and has been adopted by such institutions as Ga Tech (with respect some of the posting stated that Ga Tech was not part of the accrediting group you mentioned, but i feel we all would agree the Ga Tech is a top institution in academics – in science and technology)
            f) their law school is i believe the 4th oldest in the nation
            g) their Med School is top #50 according to US NEWS & WORLD – and having had family members as patients there, i can offer personal verification of their doctors and staff

            all this said, they are not the academic slouch your rating would imply

            while not as familiar with iowa state, but being fairly familiar with cincinnati and louisville.. in my judgement of your first three are reversed.. iowa state at the bottom (while their academics may be above louisville their demographics and sports are not) then louisville then cincinnati. this may seem odd that i would make a big deal about this, but there is a long term point.. based on your formula….

            a) your allocations may be flawed
            b) your allocations may not reflect your comments
            c) your allocations may not include additional components

            the reason i bring all this up.. it that i believe while you are right on many of your points, you are wrong in the big picture of either Texas or ND joining the BIG 10..

            lets do the math your way..

            25[A] + 25[T] + 30[F] + 10[B] + 5[H+C] + 5[MI] = 100 => top score

            [A] = academics
            if academics is the big deal you make then is 25% an accurate mathematical weighting.. i might argue such a weighting as 33 or 50 is more appropriate if this is the priority implied in the posts i have read.. and while i would not argue the long term pedigree of northwestern or chicago.. i can say firsthand that IU and tOSU are the “johnny come lately” of the Big 10 in academics (i say this as a college youth both IU and tOSU were the party schools of my era – the 1970’s and i had alot of fun at both of them).

            [T] = tv value
            things change, and in the world of big money this should be a BIG component. does 25% cover it.. i just do not know

            [F] = football and [B] = basketball
            again you offer a 3:1 ratio, but do not justify mathematically if this is a valid ratio.. i am not saying you are right or wrong.. i am just saying i can not fully understand how you arrive at this ratio
            in your analysis you favor a 3:1 ratio based on your big 10 background, but yet the Big East/NYC market or ACC is growing basketball, maybe they might view different ratio’s

            [H+C] = historic rival + culture & [MI] = mutual interest

            this is where i feel things are out of whack (granted my opinion) and might be the real reason TEXAS and NOTRE DAME do not join the BIG 10, and yet they account for only 10% of your total equation.. i will elaborate in a continued post..


          7. Here’s my view:

            Academics – I believe in the eyes of the Big Ten, it’s basically a “first cut” criteria. Out of a pool of potential candidates, they are going to evaluted as whether they are academically acceptable or not. That’s why schools get either the full 25 points or 0 points with nothing in between. After that, the academically acceptable candidates move onto the next round where they are evaluated solely on what they can bring in for sports (a mix of revenue and competitiveness). I think that the academic factor is understated by the pure sports fans and overstated by the most academically-minded. Academics matter a whole lot and schools will not be considered by the Big Ten if they aren’t academically acceptable. However, once a school is deemed academically acceptable, then the Big Ten isn’t going to parse candidates on that criteria. For instance, the Big Ten won’t pick Pitt over Rutgers because Pitt has a lot more funding for biomedical research. Both are deemed academically acceptable, so if it comes down to those two candidates in a hypothetical scenario, the Big Ten is going to pick the one that serves its athletic needs the best.

            TV Value – You might be right that this could be worth more, although part of this factor is wrapped up in the football and basketball values, too (as the strength of your athletic programs directly impacts how much TV value you have). The TV value is my judgment of (1) how popular is this school nationally, (2) how popular is this school in its home market and (3) how large is its home market. So, Rutgers has a great home market, but its popularity is fairly low, so that’s why its TV value really isn’t that high considering that it’s in the NYC area. Nebraska is the opposite with a high popularity factor but a small home market. Texas is a perfect combo of being hugely popular while delivering a massive home market.

            Football and Basketball – The 3:1 ratio is really a reflection that in terms of athletic revenue, football trumps everything by a massive margin. There are actually plenty of people that don’t even want to take basketball into account at all, but I do think hoops have some value for the very reason that you stated (where the Big East and ACC areas place a greater value on it). In fact, I pointed out that Syracuse basketball might have a much greater chance of delivering the NYC market than the football programs at Syracuse or Rutgers. Otherwise, expansion is largely an exercise in finding the best football programs, which is why I assigned 30 points in the index.

            The idea is that when you add up T + F + B, you get the overall value of the sports program.

            The historic rival and mutual interest factors are admittedly much more subjective – they’re really 10 points to account for intangibles. For instance, Notre Dame has engrained rivalries with several Big Ten schools, so I thought that type of factor needed to be accounted for somewhere. While schools might ultimately not join because of a lack of a cultural fit, that’s certainly not a reason for the Big Ten to not look at schools like Texas or Notre Dame. I don’t think the index would be credible if I assigned a huge value to cultural fit and Missouri ended up being the “best” school for the Big Ten over Texas or Notre Dame – that’s clearly not the case. The other factors are much more important in terms of ranking the schools in a wish list.


          8. duffman

            maybe a restructure would “gate” the process.. for academics..

            ie [A] = gate #1.. so if gate #1 does not meet cutoff % you null out and discard.. (i suggest some level rather than set 0 or 100, to allow for those that are close.. but not perfect) big 10 and pac 10 might actually be hurting themselves being so stringent..

            ie to pass gate #1 you would need an 80% or 90% to pass on to gate #2 where you reset based on the [tv + sports component]

            for the tv value your “formula” would have to adapt to market conditions.. ie.. basketball plays better in the east (and they have a playoff *smile*) and markets must adjust for competitive markets and consumer taste.. as example.. my comments on UC, and the follow up by other posters.. the cincy MSA is good.. but you have a pro football franchise.. and two college basketball programs.. while tOSU has no competition in columbus from either.. same thing with the east coast.. and in theory (texas) where bigger markets offer pro sports, and non sport alternatives.. in essence you and i are approaching from different angles.. you seek new “established” markets.. i would advocate “growing” them.. i know growing takes longer, but less likely to break off.. as was discussed with florida.. not jumping to another conference.. and why maybe the best “growth” strategy would be for the state of OHIO to “grow” UC instead of diverting all resources to tOSU.. i think UC went public thinking this would happen.. and tOSU withered them on the vine.. think of it as who you date, and who you marry.. the thing with UC is had they been admitted to big 10 20 years ago, by now you might have the UGA / UF rivalry “aka.. the world largest cocktail party”. my point was that UC has the pieces to make the jump that most do not.. if they had gone forward with the big 10 (if you have never seen the GE airplane engine plant up there, or been to wright patt AFB just down the road.. you would realize the gov research grants UC could have garnered for the big 10 as a whole.. add P & G in the mix, and the research they could have developed in partnership with big 10 schools via their “feeder” in their own back yard. 20 years have passed and the big 10 does not have their 12th team.. where the SEC accepted arky and USC.. and they have had the same time to grow stronger!!

            the poster who said that the FSU ACC jump was based on the gators blackballing FSU.. short term it protected the gators.. but had they got FSU and USC gone to the ACC to be with clemson.. long term it would probably enhance the SEC tv contract and limit the ACC tv contract at the same time.. the BIG picture here being that teams can jump conferences, but state schools can not move.. so while texas cold jump to the big 10 now.. they could jump to the pac 10 5 years from now.. but no matter where they jump, they can NEVER physically leave their home state.

            on a side note.. my dad family came from NYC, people outside of the area do not get it.. the cuse and NYC are not the same!! any more than U of chicago and IU.. (not a perfect analogy.. but trying to keep it in the big 10).. look at a map of U of Chicago in relation to IU, then do the same for the cuse and NYC.. it is hard to convey in words, but maybe it clicks..

            where i am really having the problem is you only give 10% to the “intangibles” and yet that is what will cost the big 10 getting ND or Texas..


      4. Richard

        PSU got the academic benefits of joining the Big10, which they coveted. Again, cultural fit just isn’t a big deal to most people.


  125. duffman


    i am old school, but not to old to learn new tricks.. back in the day if you were ENG in the Big 10, you had the Purdue skin on your wall. I am seeing the light on Texas.. makes sense alot of tech got rolling there in the 70’s and 80’s.. i think Dell is still HQ in Austin, as well as the state capitol.. flagship state U and capitol in the same city prolly does not hurt funding.

    I still think southern ohio is ripe to be plucked, especially if UK plays “home” football/basketball. and we still live in a world where big corporate money talks. i am still not sold on MI and northern OH, i got family from toledo all the way to the top of the mitt.. and all those towns look casper the past 5 years.. and they will not come back via the auto business (the plants have gone south or overseas) so for them to be viable long term with the same prosperity they are gonna have to find something new. If i was a Big 10 futurist i would be puttin my money on IU/PU, and points west and south. i think Chicago is the better feeder city.. i always felt this is why the fightin illini have one of the best libraries in the US (and secretly why i root for them to beat Michigan and tOSU in all athletic events).

    in terms of fit and money.. missouri would be the logical spot .. saint louis has good future industry (but pro baseball rules the roost).. my last time there (less than a year ago) and the city looked robust.. i still think if texas jumped.. it would be to the SEC..

    i hear the money theme from you.. but the two things you did not answer.. in the fit equation.. and i will put it out there for your readers..

    a) how far will the average fan travel for a game?? (i am excluding bowl games – just regular season.. ie a regular basis year in and year out)

    b) does home turf matter?? (ie the biggest rivals share common culture / and friction from close proximity).

    i ask this with one of my favorite games in mind – the regular season basketball games in the old hoosier dome between UK & IU – i have been to many final fours, but nothing that came close to these games. IU (big 10) and UK (SEC).. i think it was a great game on several levels.. they both had historical mens basketball programs.. and they both had a majority of their fan base within a few hours of the old RCA Dome.. yet when UK & MSU did the same thing (yeah they set the record at around 80,000 for a regular season basketball game) it has not been repeated.. tom izzo still is a good coach, with a good team.. and so is UK.. i think it was not repeated because it exceed “fan travel” distance to become an annual event..

    i still think the longer distances for the “average” schools in a conference matter.. and i have to agree with one of the posters.. the NYC area market is to used to successful pro franchises to help the big 10 long term


    1. Michael

      There’s no question that Michigan & northern Ohio are struggling. It’s really sad because what happens as a result is that housing values plummet, which reduces the property taxes that fund schools, which usually leads to increased tax rates, which drives more people away (ie, white flight), which leaves even less tax base, which leads to very poorly-funded schools and an inferior education for the children of the urban poor. By no means am I trying to make this political. It’s just that I wish our society in general, not the government, would do a better job of caring for our cities.

      Anyway, I still don’t see Ohio State, Michigan, or Michigan State suffering. Those are institutions that will thrive no mattter what’s happening in Cleveland or Detroit. Their endowments are huge. Their alumni will always give support. Now, some of the other state schools may suffer, but those schools are as rock solid as anything in those two states.


      1. duffman


        your comment on downward spiral is well spoken. i agree 100% about society being responsible (again with the corporate HQ argument.. if they are good citizens). and have devoted my time since retirement to such a cause. we have been out front, but oddly enough.. our government has been the biggest obstacle. while a majority of folks are arguing between dems and reps.. i can tell you firsthand it is a smokescreen so both sides can raid the coffers for projects to enrich their major donors.

        i agree with you today.. but if you have a decade or more.. how quickly that can change.. look at history – commerce and trade flow from place to place.. unless resources remain, there is no reason for a place to thrive.. and most people have no inkling just how great the auto had on the wealth of the US in the past century.. i remember reading somewhere that at one time the auto industry was responsible for 10 or 20 % of all jobs in the US at the time. and alot of these were good paying jobs.. not entry level – minimum wage


    2. Richard

      You’re neglecting the East. Due to internationalization and immigration, NJ/NYC will do just fine. As for St. Louis, I grew up near there, and while Chicago will still do fine as the economic capital of the Midwest, there’s less reason for companies to set up shop in those mid-level cities within driving distance of Chicago


      1. duffman


        not neglecting.. just did not see a cultural fit – midwest and east do not seem to share cultural values.. or natural rivalries

        as i said before.. saint louis looks like it has enough base.. i saw alot of corporate offices / or strong corporate presence.. good signs of future economic viability


  126. duffman

    after reading your texas bolts big 12 collapses post again..

    what about this solution….

    SEC gets Texas, gives USC to ACC (reunites clemson & USC) = 12

    Big 10 gives Penn State back to the east coast in a trade for Nebraska & Oklahoma!! = 12

    Pac 10 gets Utah and BYU = 12

    ACC winds up with 12, Big East winds up with 12, Big 12 reforms with remains of big 12 + best remaining western schools….


    1. duff,

      Since your scenario creates a 13-team ACC, why not just give BC back to the BE (where they belong) and leave Penn State in the BT?

      Then you could just add either Nebby or Mizzu to round out the BT to 12 teams, and at the same time bring the B12 down to a 10-team league, renaming it the SWC. 😀


    2. duffman


      i am old enough to remember the old SWC really well!

      it was all texas schools + ark (and i was living in ark at the time – talk about a state with a chip on their shoulder). back then they were big.. but then SMU got the death penalty and there was a big scandal at one of the other schools.. then everything imploded.. yeah i get the humor.. but it does bring back some bad memories (and should be the touchstone on how fast a conference can go down).


  127. duffman


    i am at the edge of the big 10 network, and folks around me want Fox Sport South to watch UK, and the SEC. People like to watch winners (yeah most people are sheep) and the SEC is winning.. and yeah, i understand the academics but what kind of market share watches harvard vs yale?? the ads are constantly running for the big ten network, but not finding buyers as the shine of my youth is a bit more tarnished. the implosion of IU and UM have not helped a demographic that is moving to warmer climates… fast forward a decade or two.. yeah chicago will still be a dominant population center as they have a more diverse economy.. but if the big 10 goes up academically, but falters in the sports arena (see also ACC.. smart schools – soft historic football markets) you can not tell me with a straight face that the value of the Big 10 network goes up..

    ECON 101 .. people pay to see winners, viewers translate to $$

    yeah harvard / yale owned football in the early years.. but where are they now.. i swear, the more i read the posts (arguments pro vs con.. and some VERY good points have been made) it looks like the Big 10 needs Texas more than Texas needs the big 10..

    what i keep hearing is static.. not dynamic.. do you think that the windfall the SEC has been getting will not improve their academics over time.. how much of the success of the big 10 was sown by the seeds of the economy of the midwest in the last century?? Michigan the state is in trouble, and Michigan’s maize and blue has seen faltering success as well.. tOSU is dominating the Big 10, and Columbus has a vibrant economy.. maybe this is coincidence, and maybe they are related.. but how many yale and harvard grads would believe in the erosion of the success of their teams 100 years ago??

    if it is a combination of economics, demographics, and academics.. then a shrewd long term investor would be buying the ACC and selling short the Big 10 and the Pac 10 as being fully valued and ready to be harvested.. the SEC would be the hedge bet.. just an observation..


    1. Richard

      Agreed that ACC territory will benefit the most from demographic changes (the western part of the SEC? Not so much). However, keep in mind that demographic changes play out over a looooooooong period of time. Favorable demographics haven’t helped the ACC in recent years; in fact, they receive _less_ TV money relative to the big dogs (Big10 & SEC) now than they did a decade ago.

      So long as the Big10 plays its expansion cards right, they’d still have the biggest footprint, biggest alumni base, most viewers, etc. of all the conferences, regardless of whether they expand to Texas or the East Coast/NYC (or Florida).


      1. Richard

        ….for the next few decades, I should add, and it’ll be difficult to predict demographic changes more than 30 years from now (when I believe global waming will be a bigger issue).


      2. Michael

        Frankly I’m rather shocked that the ACC isn’t already benefiting more from those demographics you’re talking about.

        Excluding Boston, just look at the league from north to south. DC is the only city in the northeast corridor that is growing at a fast rate. Tech companies are all over the Maryland & No. Va. suburbs. The area is very affluent. In North Carolina, the population is growing very quickly. Raleigh-Durham, with RTP, has 50,000 good-paying jobs associated with hundreds of companies. Charlotte is still growing in spite of the banks’ troubles. SC is small, but it’s adding more people than most Big Ten states, and although it has a reputation for being poor & rural, the state’s three main population centers are doing very well, considering the recession. We all know about Atlanta and Florida, which are shared with the SEC, but the ACC still has a strong presence.

        You would think the ACC could command a beast of a TV contract with that footprint. We’ll see. More importantly from a fan’s perspective, You’d think the ACC would be able to outrecruit the Big Ten in the talent-heavy Gulf Coast states, considering the league’s favorable proximity, but it’s not happening. ‘Tis maddening.


      3. duffman


        odd as it sounds.. you are still in early adopter for the ACC (think 20 yr generational cycles). the ACC was nothing when i was a kid (first generation), then along comes this start up that only gets the ACC because the big 3 don’t want them (yeah that little start up is ESPN). the guys at the top (in media) are maybe in their 50’s and 60’s and have a lifelong affiliation for what they grew up with (think brent mussberger). at some point they retire, and guys in their 30’s / 40’s move up..

        now think of the ESPN / ACC connection.. these guys have moved up from being the interns and flunkys of the 80’s to that middle point.. i think the ACC folks in front and behind the camera should be making that step up in the next 4 – 8 years.. so it would not surprise me if “overnight” you saw a BIG shift in ACC power and strong ties to their old ACC alma maters..

        could be crazy thinking, but human nature shows a preference / bias for what you know.. i grew up in fla, ark (near OK border), ky, oh, and mi.. guess what.. i follow big 10, old big 8, old swc, and sec. i have no beef with pac 10, acc, big east, etc.. just never followed them as a kid.. so they are outside my comfort zone (ie.. less connected if they succeed or fail).


  128. duffman

    first some observations on academics..

    i see alot of poor mouthing here for the academics of the sec, big 12, and others.. while i might not be the smartest cat out there i can see the difference between open and closed thinking.. in trying to be objective i see winners and losers in EVERY conference.. BOTH in the MIND & BODY. it is human nature to support that which you know, and knock down that which you do not. if my age has taught me anything, it is to be open to all and make decisions by what you observe. it has also taught me that things change (a true constant in the universe).

    while tOSU may dominate athletically, Northwestern may dominate in the labs.. they are both in the same conference, but that does not make them equal in all areas. it humors me that academia demands teamwork and sports does not (not individual teams, but the group as a whole). we all carry prejudice, many hide it by knocking down that which they do not know firsthand. but when i hear the sec or big 12 are the “short bus” conferences and have never been there, i will take it with a grain of salt.. and will maintain skepticism.. (and yes i will admit up front – as i have in previous posts – that i am prejudiced to the big 10, old swc, big 8, and sec as these are the touchstones of my youth.

    and just for the sake of the argument, if one school has a better science department – does that mean they are better than a school with a better arts department? do we value certain intelligence over others? deep down i am a nerd, and i am in touch with it.. even when i had a body suited for sports. i can see and appreciate there are many roads in life.. not just one..

    maybe every conference has a brain (chicago or vandy) and some brawn (tOSU or florida). you can insert your own names.. but i do note some irony in peoples words and actions.. and i would like to thank the poster for the link to the LA times and the article from the 90’s.. after reading it.. i come away with several observations….

    a) none of the conference realignments since the article seem to be based on academics.. yeah i said that, even tho the current debate seems to imply such a value i do not see it.. vandy and northwestern did not jump to the ACC or the ivy league.. so i must conclude that people pay lip service to such a notion, but do not follow through.. if i am wrong here please enlighten me!! seriously…. and yes penn state did join the big 10, but was the academic component 25% as frank the tank suggests??? (and yes it has bugged me for years, that they did not acknowledge this to this day!! if you are such brains.. call yourself the big 11, or The Brainy Athletic Midwest Conference – BAM for short – but make your newest addition feel welcome). this is one place where the big 10 looks like they have a massive ego (foreshadowing for a reason why ND and TEXAS will not join – for the home gamers).

    b) in the article it looked like texas (and her siblings) were headed for the sec (not the PAC 10 or the big 10). in the end, neither texas or ND jumped to either conference, and that was 20 years ago!! (and they did not join the SEC either). i will say this now, that at least one really smart person is a decision maker in the big 12 and the sec. why you ask?? because at least one person in each of those conferences was smart enough to look at the the same situation everybody else did, and not follow suit!! they predicted (as history would suggest correctly) where to steer their conferences, so they would get stronger over time, and not weaker.. and this was 20 years ago!! in the last 10 years two conferences have DOMINATED the NC.

    yes .. the sec and big 12 “short bus” guys.. by action, have outsmarted the pac 10 and big 10 (ie,, they evolved – for better or worse – but they evolved to put themselves in the catbird seat for power negotiation in the future, by putting a product out there that America is buying right now). they saw lemons, they now have lemonade.. and did what it took to get where they are.. texas by dominating a conference.. and the sec by supporting each other (i am always amazed when an sec teams wins it all in sports.. they do not chant for their individual team.. they chant for their conference.. this is just an observation.. as i would love to see IU strong in MBB again.. and see purdue or illinois be 1 or 2 in MFB.. again at least i am declaring the teams i would like to homer for.. and not hiding, by knocking another team in another conference, that i never watch, and know nothing about to say they cheat — or they are stupid — or make excuses..

    these appear to me to be the “smart” way to advance your team / conference..

    next up.. tv, $$, football, and basketball


    1. Richard

      Texas not going to the SEC (as that article writer surmised) actually shows that academics do matter. If academics weren’t a concern, they could have joined the SEC long ago. As for ACC expansion, no other conference cares about it’s academic reputation as much as the Big10. Both the Pac10 and ACC have some great academic institutions, but no other conference besides the Big10 has something like the CIC except the ACC, and they started that only after Miami and Shalala joined their conference (and there’s not nearly as much collaboration there).

      In any case, some things in this world are subjective, but no other conference boasts as consistent top-to-bottom strength in research as the Big10, whether you measure by total research dollars or ARWU rankings ( The bottom schools in the Big10 are far better than the bottom schools of any other conference in research.


      1. duffman


        your argument is moot….

        if your argument holds water, and academics matter and this is the reason they did not join the sec.. then logic would dictate the alternative would be chosen (ie a jump to the pac 10 or big 10) and yet here we are.. 20 years later.. and texas does not belong to either.. you may not realize, but you are setting up the proof for my final piece of the puzzle.. and why texas will not go big 10, no matter how much the big 10 might desire it..

        i have actually been to austin on more than one occasion.. i think there is an intellectual component in the populace there not locked into hard science.. again your comments are further solidifying why you will not see ND or Texas in the Big 10.. in you response you show an inability to see intelligence in anything but the “hard” science end of education, and show NO understanding of the other parts of education.. yes, the big 10 may be good in the technical end of education.. via math and science.. i have heard not one peep on the arts side of the equation, and in my visits there.. in austin.. i see a vibrant arts community.. that i see in other conferences that are NOT the big 10 (again .. foreshadowing.. your key to quality literature).. not sayin this is the only reason, but as an observer that has been there.. i notice it.. and another plank that keeps texas out of the big 10.. and as every good southern man knows.. when you are courtin the belle of the ball it is not always about you..

        hint : you have to get out of your head, and get in theirs


      2. Jake

        Duffman- I’ve been to Austin as well, and I’ve seen the vibrant artistic culture you referred to. I’ve also seen row upon row of high-tech firms stretching as far as the eye can see. I believe the arts are a crucial part of any educational experience, but they don’t command the massive amounts of research funding that the sciences do. UT isn’t going to join the Pac-10 so that Texas hippies and Oregon hippies can collaborate on a massive collage.


      3. duffman


        agreed!! just trying to make the point that alot of big 10 posters seem to think it is JUST going to be tech and sports.. i have a feeling there are going to be some bigger issues! i love the massive collage comment *smile* – wasn’t quite how i envisioned it.. but that is why good blogging lets you see things through other peoples eyes…. expands your world view…

        and going back to my original thoughts of why i feel 90% sure it will not happen with texas and 100% sure it will not happen with ND.. i am looking at frank’s original “formula” and think that bottom 10% of “intangibles” is a much bigger number, AND encompasses things frank and others have not given more weight to.. i see the sports.. and i see the tech.. i just see some other stuff to! and that is where the deal breaks down..


  129. Richard

    Georgia and Florida both bring entire (populous) states. Cincy brings only a metropolitan area. In any case, for TV purposes, I think both the SEC and ACC would like to count Florida & SC as their territory rather than getting an exclusive hold on one at the expense of the other.


    1. duffman

      if florida and florida state were both in the SEC

      population 18 MILLION and ranked #4 behind CA,TX,NY

      and usc and clemson were both in the ACC

      population 4 MILLION and well below florida…. please answer the following question?

      would you want a monopoly of 18 million people or 4 million people??

      does the picture get real clear here?? even the sec folks on the “short bus” can figure this much out.. and i am guessing the folks in the big 12 (ie texas) can too.. if you swap it for any state in the big 10….

      i am not sure where georgia comes in?? georgia is solid SEC and not moving anywhere.. my point about cincy was 20 years ago.. when the sec expanded and the seeds of the big 12 were sown.. if the big 10 had been smart, they would have “sown” seeds for cincy, so that now.. 20 years later, they would be harvesting a natural rival for tOSU, IN, PU, etc that would be paying the dividends now.. and ciny would not be moving because, a state school is tied to the state that gives it life.. and with the natural resources in the cincinnati area (GE, P&G, Ashland Oil, etc.. you have the pipeline for research dollars). they would have a bigger “natural” rival.. organically grown.. and would have been at the “magic” 12 number 20 years ago, with 20 years of a conference champion game like the sec and big 12 have (and profited greatly from i might add)!!

      again, everybody is looking for the quick fix, with the big bang.. nobody wants to think long term.. but that is where the money is.. in strategic long term thinking…


  130. For posterity, here is how I would assemble a grading structure for the LEGIT CANDIDATES for expansion. The grades are ONLY in comparison to current BigTen members… (not nationally)…as I feel the Presidents will base their decision on how any new member stacks up to the “status quo”.

    -40 point Scale
    -academics is separate from research
    -athletics is only for Bball(30%) & Fball (70%)
    -market value = population+media+culture

    Rating Candidates vs BT Members

    academics/undergrad: 7/10
    research/post grad: 5/10
    athletics: 9/10 (8 BB, 10 FB)
    market: 10/10
    /40: 31

    Notre Dame
    academics/undergrad: 8/10
    research/post grad: 1/10
    athletics: 7/10 (5 BB, 8 FB)
    market: 9/10
    /40: 25

    academics/undergrad: 6/10
    research/post grad: 7/10
    athletics: 7/10 (7 BB, 7 FB)
    market: 4/10
    /40: 24

    academics/undergrad: 6/10
    research/post grad: 5/10
    athletics: 6/10 (7 BB, 5 FB)
    market: 6/10
    /40: 23

    academics/undergrad: 4/10
    research/post grad: 3/10
    athletics: 7/10 (7 BB, 6 FB)
    market: 8/10
    /40: 22

    academics/undergrad: 5/10
    research/post grad: 4/10
    athletics: 4/10 (1 BB, 5 FB)
    market: 7/10
    /40: 20

    academics/undergrad: 5/10
    research/post grad: 1/10
    athletics: 5/10 (9 BB, 2 FB)
    market: 7/10
    /40: 19

    academics/undergrad: 4/10
    research/post grad: 3/10
    athletics: 6/10 (1 BB, 8 FB)
    market: 4/10
    /40: 17

    academics/undergrad: 3/10
    research/post grad: 4/10
    athletics: 5/10 (5 BB, 5 FB)
    market: 3/10
    /40: 15

    Iowa State
    academics/undergrad: 4/10
    research/post grad: 3/10
    athletics: 3/10 (4 BB, 3 FB)
    market: 1/10
    /40: 11

    *TAMU is considered only due to the fact they would probably have to come along with Texas.

    #Louisville & West Virginia (cannot be justified on academics/research alone) and Kentucky (happy in SEC) were ommitted.

    ^Maryland, UConn & Boston College were also ommitted as I just don’t feel that they are LEGIT candidates at this time. I could be wrong and am willing to listen to arguments in their favor.


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  135. Joseph

    GREAT article. However i think the author is selling themselves short on Syracuse. why is NYC so important? Those 18 million people may watch Big Ten games more with Syracuse (or rutgers) or not. Does it matter. If not one single person from NYC watches any Big Ten games when syracuse joins thats the same as how many NYC viewers would watch Texas or Mizzou. What he is leaving out is the rest of the entire state of New York. Tho it may not be as populated as NYC, Syracuse IS New York residents team. You have 1 million people that live in Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo EACH!!! Add those 3 million with the country bumpkins, nearby Canadians, and NYC viewer stragglers and that IS a new market.
    Besides NY fans, the entire New England area has two teams basically to chose from Syracuse and BC. I lived in Boston for a while and you’d be surprised how many ‘Cuse fans are from Vermont/New Hampshire. anyways i digress
    A fraction of NYC viewers and New Englanders AND the ENTIRE state of New York is a bigger market than Texas.

    The author is right! Syracuse is the correct choice he just doesn’t hammer it home. By the way. i live in Pittsburgh (Pitt fan) and root openly for Michigan football (too) (You can root for two teams in college football, Pitt & Michigan never play each other!) Just saying that so people don’t think i’m a Syracuse fan/resident/student/ supporter of any kind


  136. STSinNYC

    Very thoughftul analysis by Farnk. Hve not read all the commenst, so this may be duplicative in part. RE the NYC market…have lived here for over 20 years, work in advertising/marketing, familiar with the TV issues (am from Chicago originally). Would say that this is not a market that is Syracuse-oriented, in basketball or otherwise. It’s much more of a Big Ten market than it might seem to an outside observer. many Big Ten alumni here, and not just from Penn State and Michigan. All of the schools have alumni events here.. As to the cable TV question, getting on the basic tier for Cablevision and TWC, the bigger the “story”, the more likely that happens. So an expansion to 14 vs. 12 makes more sense. If the three new teams are ND, Rutgers and a Big 12 team, the BTN leverage would go up considerably. Think it would also go up with Rutgers and two Big 12 teams added. If ND doesn’t come in, I think a “package” of Rutgers, Nebraska and Colorado would work for what the presidents and ADs want. I don’t see Texas leaving the Big 12, the connections with the other major schools in the Southwest will weigh on that. We have family in Texas and I know they would never seea Texas vs. Michigan rivalry the way they see Texas vs. Oklahoma. The Big Ten would need to get major TV value from the DFW and Houston-PA markets for that to work. But it might.


  137. Terry Smith

    Dear Frank the Tank,

    This Pitt fan /alumni found your above article to be very interesting and well-reasoned. Not to quibble, but I happen to think you missed two major scoring factors (one/both both of which, IMHO, will rule out Texas to be sure, perhaps not Notre Dame): state political/ legislature pressure and alumni pressure. All TBD.

    However, I felt I must respond to the following particular point:

    “…Way too many people have completely forgotten about the obvious problem with Pitt: just like Iowa State and Cincinnati, Pitt wouldn’t add a single new Big Ten Network subscriber. Penn State already delivers the Pittsburgh market…”

    With all due respect, I don’t think that is true! Here in Denver Colorado we have the Big Ten Network (BTN) – dunno why – which virtually no one watches. Why not? Because unless you’re an alumni of a B10 school, their programming is constant drivel.

    To wit: right now (for the next hour) the BTN has an infomercial about Northwestern U. To be followed by an hour-long recap of B10 hoops of the 1990s. Talk about must-miss TV, I can barely keep from snoring while typing about it. And this is their typical programming, with an occasional women’s softball/ volleyball game or college ice/ field hockey games mixed in for “excitement.”

    But if Pitt was one of the teams playing the non-revenue sports games — or featured in the infomercial — I might watch. Do you think Longhorns fans will stop what they’re doing to watch a NWern infomercial?? Please. Not unless UTx is one of the teams.

    And if I still lived in PA and if PSU was on (instead of NWern), I still couldn’t be bothered to watch. In short, PSU wouldn’t “deliver” my house.

    And IMHO, this holds true for whatever school they add. Pitt, Texas, Notre Dame or whomever.

    Best regards,
    Terry Smith


    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Terry. The main point is that the Big Ten Network is already being provided in the Pittsburgh market at the maximum basic cable carriage rate ($.70 – over $1.00 per subscriber per month). That’s where the biggest dollars are for any cable channel. So, for the purposes of the Big Ten Network, Pittsburgh is already delivered to the conference in the exact same way that Columbus, Chicago and Indianapolis are. Whether people that are Pitt fans actually watch the BTN isn’t as critical as the fact that the BTN is on basic cable at the max rate in the first place. The fact that it’s in every home in the Pittsburgh area means that they’re paying for it whether they watch it or not. The advertising rates mean a little bit, but (1) it pales in comparison to the subscriber fees and (2) to the extent ad rates matter, advertisers care a lot more about the very largest markets like New York, Chicago and Philadelphia than the Pittsburgh market because they have a larger share of affluent 18-49 year old viewers (which if you know much about the ad industry, are the ONLY people they care about).

      In places like Denver, the BTN is being provided at a much lower rate than within the Big Ten markets (around $.10 per subscriber per month). So, the BTN is fairly cheap for cable providers in those non-Big Ten areas.

      Notre Dame is a special situation where their inclusion might raise the overall in-footprint rates across the board for the BTN. As much as I like and respect Pitt, the Panther sports program isn’t going to have that type of leverage. That’s why new markets are so important to the Big Ten – the biggest single revenue increase for the conference will come from brand new basic cable households for the BTN (NOT a conference championship game). Believe me – I wish that Pitt could trade locations with Rutgers. However, the Big Ten’s new revenue model means that, unless it adds Notre Dame, the conference has to go outside of its current footprint.


  138. Matt Pearce


    As a long-time Pitt fan, I am sure I have some bias, but one point I want to make is this: If you loved Pitt, a lot of times you hated PennState. When Penn State disappeared, obviously the rivalry disappeared, and I assure you that many Pitt fans don’t follow the Big Ten as closely as they did the Pitt/PSU rivalry. It was one of the top 2 or three in the country.

    In summary, I believe there are quite a few people that would have new interest in the Big Ten with a Pitt affilliation. State College is some 100+ miles from Pittsburgh, and with Pittsburgh being one of the top 25 or 30 metro areas in the country (certainly larger than most Big Ten schools), it should be a decent fit for the conference.


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  142. Have you considered: UConn, Kentuky, Kansas, BC or UMass, and maybe Georgetown? Along with Mizz these are the teams I’d like to see added. Kentuky and GT being one or the other.


  143. Tim Sunday


    Love the analysis! But, what if the Big 10 decided it wanted to kill a rival conference? If they followed the rules of AAU membership and geographic contiguity here is what’s possible:

    Big East – the only schools that qualify would be Pitt, Rutgers, and Syracuse. Very damaging to them, but doesn’t add much to the B10.

    Big 12 – Iowa State, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado. Wipes out the B12 North and extends the B10 footprint from Philadelphia to Denver, including the St Louis, Kansas City and Omaha markets. Adds to both football and basketball.

    Oklahoma, Okla St, Texas, and A&M would probably join the SEC to make another superconference, with K-State, Baylor and Tx Tech left for either the MWC (making them BCS eligible with 12 schools) or C-USA.

    ACC – Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, and Georgia Tech. Admittedly, this adds more to B10 basketball than football, but takes the B10 into SEC recruiting territory and adds the Baltimore, DC, Raleigh/Durham, Charlotte, and Atlanta markets.

    This would probably force the remaining ACC to merge with the football Big East into a superconference (the Big Atlantic?), and maybe even Notre Dame. The additions of Syracuse, Pitt, West Virginia, Cincy, Louisville and UConn would offset their losses for basketball.


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  149. God's

    Adding maryland and rutgers should be followed by missouri and kansas. If missouri stays in sec then kansas st. W va..syracuse..louisville..cincinnati..are 4 maybes.


    1. Kingswood

      16 is most likely the final number….hoping for GT and FSU….but I suspect UVA and UNC are the front-runners…although, perhaps 20 is the final number, that way we can take all four plus ND and BC….sweeet


  150. Nostrodamus

    Exactly as I predicted – the Longhorns are on top of the College Football World and there is no need to panic – Powers, Deloss, and Mack will live forever and maintain our domination over Texas, the Big 12, the SEC, and the rest of the country! Bwahahahaha


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  152. Big Ron The Buckeye

    @ FrankTheTank – I was wondering if you could do an updated blog given all of the recent developments. I appreciate your thorough style that offers solid reasoning and insight behind decisions that the average fan may not fully grasp. What I was hoping you could do is a combination of “The Big Ten Expansion Index” and “The Value of Expansion Candidates to the Big Ten Network”, however I wanted to add some of the recently rumored and/or often talked about institutions to the analysis. The institutions that I’d like to see are: Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Mizzou, Louisville, Miami, Florida St, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Duke, North Carolina, NC State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, UConn, Boston College, UMass, and of course Notre Dame. I’m aware that much of your analysis still holds, however much of the analysis focused on Northern schools so there is a derth of relevant information about many of theschools being mentioned in todays rumor mills. I particularly enjoyed those two blogs because they’ve proven almost prophetic with what the B1G has done with adding Nebraska, Maryland, and Rutgers.

    Go Bucks!!!


    1. Big Ron The Buckeye

      Also, as a follow up, I’m interested in seeing how much non-revenue sports add value to he Big Ten Network. For instance how much more valuable is an athletic department that is competitive in numerous sports as opposed to just one major revenue sport. Would this give Virginia a leg up on Virginia Tech even though Tech has a more successful football program, furthermore, would that additional value be enough to warrant adding more than one school per state (North Carolina/Duke, Virginia/Virginia Tech, Florida St/Miami, Pitt, Notre Dame) so even though morfe households aren’t added more eyeballs are added. The reason this seems relevant to me is because the network still needs more and higher quality live content, particularly in the spring. So maybe the depth/quality of the overall success of the athletic department should garner a few point on the index.


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  156. Duffman

    Early on I said Notre Dame would not be in the B1G and Texas was 90% against and here we are basically validating my original thoughts.

    Notre Dame went to a power conference where they would have the most control – The ACC

    Texas went to a power conference where sports matter most – The SEC

    If there was a big winner it was the ACC who went from last to survival as a BIG FOUR while the Big East just had no way to survive. The biggest loser was the Big 12 tho as once division festered it allowed the B1G, PAC, and SEC to pick their bones clean.


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