Big Ten Expansion Index Follow-Up #2 – Nationwide and Longhorns Fan Responses on Texas to the Big Ten

Leading up the National Championship Game (which Texas sadly lost despite about as good of an effort that you could’ve expected from redshirt freshman quarterback Garrett Gilbert having to replace injured starter Colt McCoy in the first quarter), the original Big Ten Expansion Index post and its first follow-up somehow exploded over message boards and blogs over the past few days.  So, I’d like to address a few overarching issues that particular fan bases have brought up and, most importantly, what Texas alums and fans actually think about this (and if those Longhorns supporters are indicative of what that school’s fan base overall believes, then fans of other Big 12 schools are VERY far off on how Texas is approaching this expansion cycle and they better hope their schools are engaging in some CYA of their own).  Obviously, you can only take so much from blogs and message boards since you’ll get a lot of extreme comments, but it’s been fascinating to review the general views and themes that I’ve been seeing from various fan bases.  Once again, I’ll need to put off the additional analysis of other expansion candidates since there’s a whole lot to chew on already.

There’s one issue that I wanted to clear up immediately – a lot of people have questioned my statement that there isn’t any rule that all Big Ten states must be contiguous.  Here is confirmation from an official Big Ten spokesman that there is absolutely no such geographic rule and he also confirms that AAU membership isn’t an outright requirement.  While I believe as a practical matter that the lack of AAU membership is really geared toward allowing an exception for the non-AAU member of Notre Dame (and no one else), I really hope that it gets hammered home that there is no rule whatsoever in the Big Ten charter about geography and conference states having to touch each other.  As I originally stated, that rule is purely an Internet urban legend.  Now that we’ve put that to bed, let’s get to my observations on how the sports message board community is responding to the Big Ten Expansion Index:

1.  Big Ten fans love it – I haven’t come across a single overall fan base that wouldn’t be absolutely ecstatic to see Texas in the conference.  The geographic issues seem to be irrelevant when it comes to a school of the stature of Texas.  In particular, Penn State fans have generally been extremely supportive of the prospect of the move (see Blue White Illustrated, Penn Live and Penn State Hoops as some examples) which was the main fan base that I was interested in feedback from since there has long been the perception that they want an Eastern travel partner like Syracuse or Rutgers.  That perception has turned out the be erroneous – while they might wonder what a school like Missouri would do for them, they are extremely knowledgeable about what Texas would bring to the Big Ten and would be gung-ho about it.  Please also see thoughts from Ohio State (edit: lots of Buckeye fans have jumped on this – here’s another example that includes conversations with Texas alums), Iowa, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Michigan fans.  Simply put, the Big Ten fan bases generally have little concern about where Texas is located.  Of course, there is healthy skepticism as to whether it could ever be pulled off.

2.  Rutgers fans don’t like it and think that I overrated Syracuse – This Rutgers message board was really the one that started the avalanche of visitors.  I started to engage a number of the posters on that board, yet with all of the new comments on my blog post itself coming through, I had to stop the discussion on my end.  The main thrust of the Rutgers supporter argument is that Syracuse doesn’t really deliver the New York City market and even if Rutgers can’t deliver the entire New York DMA, it can at least provide the New Jersey portion, which is valuable in and of itself.  That’s a compelling argument, yet I’m still skeptical that Rutgers can deliver even just New Jersey, much less the entire Tri-State area.  I might be wrong on this and I’m sure this is an issue that the Big Ten will examine closely over the next 12-18 months.  Regardless, I believe my skepticism is valid and it’s why I gave Rutgers a relatively low TV Market Value score despite its great location on paper.  Until there is proof that Rutgers can truly deliver its home market (and not just be located in it), that school is an open question mark.

4.  Missouri fans don’t like it and think that I overrated Nebraska – The general public has long talked about Missouri as one of the front-runners to join the Big Ten, so they certainly didn’t like being ranked below two of their conference-mates, especially Nebraska.  Mizzou fans have a valid point that Nebraska may not meet the academic qualifications, which is something that I acknowledged when I stated in the original post that I was giving the Cornhuskers “the benefit of the doubt” on that front.  I would not be surprised at all if Nebraska got nixed automatically by the Big Ten on academic grounds, yet it’s arguable that the school’s AAU membership will still carry some weight.  The Missouri fans also expressed something in common among Big 12 fans outside of Longhorns fans…

5.  Non-Texas Big 12 fans are convinced that Texas won’t ever want to leave the Big 12 – Please see the message boards from Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado and, of course, Texas A&M virtually all expressing the same strain of thought.  To them, Texas wouldn’t want to (a) go “play in the snow” in Big Ten country, (b) leave their rivals of Texas A&M and Oklahoma, (c) incur massive backlash from the Longhorns fan base and major donors, (d) deal with the political heat in the state of Texas if they were to leave, and, most importantly and by far the biggest reason, (e) ever give up the “control” of the Big 12 that they now have.  As we’ll see from the general feedback from Longhorns fans, only one of the thoughts has really crossed their minds at all on this issue, but we’ll get to that in a moment,

6.  Other fans think that I’ve been ingesting some strong peyote for even suggesting this – Taking a look at boards from LSU, Virginia, the Rivals national college football site and, as we’ll always have to deal with regarding Big Ten expansion, Notre Dame, the thought of Texas going to the Big Ten is so foreign and ridiculous that no financial and academic reasons could rationally support it.  From their perspective, I should’ve just thrown out that the Big Ten should invite USC and Florida, too, with such a low likelihood.  To be fair, the original posters on these threads typically enjoyed my blog post or at least acknowledged that it was an interesting take, where it was then shot down by others like Sonny Corleone at a toll booth.

So, let’s take a look at the people that actually matter in this discussion, which are the Texas alums and fans…

7.  Texas fans are more open to this than I could’ve ever possibly imagined – When I wrote the original Big Ten Expansion Index post, I had a feeling that it would appeal to the financially and academically-minded people that understood the massive differences in revenue between the Big Ten and Big 12, the inherent instability within the Big 12 and the academic benefits of the CIC.  What I didn’t know, however, was how the “average sports fan” at Texas that I referred to so much in that post would take this suggestion.  I could list out all of the financial and academic advantages to Notre Dame fans, yet I was certain they would be steadfast in having an immediate rejection of any thought of joining the Big Ten.  Would Texas fans be the same way?

Well, the feedback that I’ve received from Texas alums and fans has been absolutely astounding, especially when so many have taken the time to review my blog posts when what I would’ve been doing if I was in their position was to look at national championship game stories for days on end.  Please take a look at the following Texas message boards discussing my blog posts at HornsFans and OrangeBloods (subscription required), the comments from my previous two posts, and as these two Barking Carnival posts here and here about the prospect of Texas switching conferences that were written before I had created the Big Ten Expansion Index (so those were organically and separately discussed by Texas fans without my index being a catalyst).  As you’ll see, there was certainly a good number of people opposed to the idea.  There were concerns about the effect on non-revenue sports, particularly baseball, where Texas has a power program.  Some people expressed a preference for going to the Pac-10 or even becoming an independent like Notre Dame.  Recruiting could possibly a factor if there are more road games played outside of Texas.  Finally, there was the important topic about whether it would be politically feasible in the state of Texas for the school to make the move to the Big Ten.

However, the overarching message was very clear to me: Texas fans have virtually no emotional attachment whatsoever to the Big 12 and the alumni are more than willing to seriously listen to the Big Ten.  There was nary a mention about supposed Texas control of the Big 12 nor was there much of a concern of having to play their rivals of Texas A&M and Oklahoma in the non-conference schedule.  Having been through the Southwestern Conference implosion of the 1990s, they are very aware that there are inherent problems in the Big 12, such as the poor TV contract, that will be almost impossible to rectify because of the small TV markets that conference has outside of Texas and they are determined not to be in that situation again.  In fact, it is almost the antithesis of the Notre Dame situation.  Whereas the general public seems to think Notre Dame should join a conference, the Notre Dame alums reflexively reject that notion.  In contrast, the general public appears convinced that Texas would never leave the Big 12, yet a strong contingent of Texas alums have stated upfront that they have no qualms about leaving that conference.

Note that these views didn’t come from a SharePoint-hosted discussion forum from the McCombs MBA program.  These are comments from sports fans on general purpose and widely read Texas Longhorns message boards who you would think would be the very first ones to say, “NFW R WE GONNA LEAVE THE BIG XII CUZ BIG TELEVEN FOOTBALL IS SLOOOW AND SUX AZZ!!!”  So, if fans like these who are more likely to make comments based on emotion are willing to consider moving to the Big Ten, then you cannot discount the accountants in the athletic department that know that they would receive nearly twice the TV money in the worst case scenario, the faculty that would relish access to CIC research funding, and the administrators at the university that need to balance the financial budget and the interests between sports and academics being extremely interested in a conference move, as well.

The intertwined issues of Texas state politics and what happens to Texas A&M were cited as the single greatest obstacles for Texas in joining the Big Ten.  It would be interesting if what Longhorn Lawyer noted in his comment on my initial index post about making sure that “Texas A&M is taken” care of would mean that, perhaps, the Aggies could head over to the Pac-10 along with that conference’s long-time rumored target of Colorado and turn the West Coast league into its own extremely strong 12-school offering.  I’ll have to amend my 99.99999% probability figure that the Big Ten would not go past 12 schools down to about 95% to allow for the possibility that even if the conference’s revenue needs to be split among 14 schools, getting Texas might be so valuable that if it means that the conference also needs to take A&M (which is a pretty valuable school in and of itself), then it’s more than worth it (as Trashtalk Superstar noted in his own comment).  Add on, say, Syracuse to the Big Ten to kick it up to 14 schools and now you’ve added both the states of Texas and New York to the Big Ten footprint and pretty much as close to a national conference as you can get.  I still think that the Big Ten would much prefer simply adding Texas to keep the conference tight-knit at 12 schools (since most of the gains in that 14-team conference could be achieved by adding only Texas only), so that’s really only a very last resort.

Regardless, here are the real takeaways that I want you to have from these discussions are the following:

A.  Remember the Methodology – The way I assigned values to various schools can be endlessly debated, which is more than understandable.  However, the use of the methodology itself is really what I’m aiming for people to internalize.  When you talk about Big Ten expansion, remember to think like a university president and not like a sports fan, 11 + 1 = 13, and put academics, new TV markets and football brand value at the very top of the list in terms of criteria.

B.  Texas is Legitimately Willing to Leave the Big 12 – Maybe the whole Texas to the Big Ten scenario isn’t likely and political obstacles will get in the way.  However, this whole discussion has proven to me that, at the very least, Texas is definitely willing to leave the Big 12 and, as such, would consider a Big Ten invitation extremely seriously.  This means that I’m not setting forth a completely pie-in-the-sky dream scenario for the Big Ten, as a whole lot of people that aren’t associated with Texas have suggested.  Instead, this is a potential move that is certainly a possibility that would radically alter the college sports landscape.  As a result, it behoove the Big Ten to put effectively all of its efforts into luring the people in Austin (meaning both the university officials and, more importantly, the people in the state capitol).  Maybe Texas can take a whole lot more trips to Pasadena in the future.

(Image from USA Today)


85 thoughts on “Big Ten Expansion Index Follow-Up #2 – Nationwide and Longhorns Fan Responses on Texas to the Big Ten

  1. Pingback: The Big Ten Expansion Index: A Different Shade of Orange « FRANK THE TANK’S SLANT

  2. Pingback: The Big Ten and Texas.....(very long) - Page 5

  3. Andy

    If you are going to add Texas AND Texas A&M, why not make the 14th team Oklahoma?

    Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma
    Texas, Texas A&M, Notre Dame
    Texas, Texas A&M, Missouri
    Texas, Texas A&M, Syracuse


    1. M

      Oklahoma is a non-starter; it is not an AAU member or particularly close to becoming one.

      If the plan is Texas, A&M and a third, the order is probably back to the original ranking: ND (not going to happen), Missouri, Nebraska (assuming they are academically qualified), and then Rutgers. I do not understand why Syracuse is in any way considered a better addition than Rutgers.


  4. Frank,

    I’m glad you have softened your position on multiple-team expansion. After reading your first two articles on expansion and persuasive argument on behalf of Texas, it occurred to me the best way to lure them is to invite A&M as well. According to US News & World Report A&M is ranked around #64, which places them higher than half the current configuration of the Big Ten. Their massive research aims, could be a welcome addition to the CIC.

    Assuming ND remains obstinate and wouldn’t want to be included in this super-conference; by adding another university, whether that’s Mizzou (for us Illini) or perhaps Syracuse as you suggested (since it completes the Great Lakes circle) then we can still call the league the Big Ten as we would have footprints in exactly ten states.

    The other assumption you are making is that the roughly 22 million per school is a static number that would watered down by additional schools. I disagree, if we find the optimum schools, then our television revenue (based on increased viewership in larger markets and a bidding war over the rights to our championship game) would actually net each university more.


  5. Richard

    Great series of posts on expansion here. NU grad here. Reading through all this, I think that to get UT, we’ll have to bring in TAMU. The 14th team can be Syracuse, which, even if it gets low penetration in NYC, still brings upstate New York (not a small consideration, as upstate NY is about as populous as Missouri), or maybe Nebraska, if the Big10 can somehow leverage a national brand-name despite a low population base.

    However, I consider greater NYC to be a prize as great or greater than the state of Texas, and wonder if pulling in both ‘Cuse and Rutgers can pull the trick of geting the BTN on all the cable systems in the Tri-State area.

    BTW, while the divisions may be imbalanced if they’re split east-west, I seriously doubt footballing prowess (which goes through cycles anyway) will determine the split as much as travel costs (and if the split is East-West, outside of Texas, most non-football teams can take bus rides to most of their games).


    1. Richard, this is just a gut feeling and I hate to sully up this pretty sound argument with more opinions about what someone will or won’t do, but I think it would be a hard slog to get the cable systems that serve the biggest parts of NY/NJ to carry the BTN.

      Those companies are getting bullied around now and they fight dirty (cable companies are still run by the types of crazy entrepreneurs who started them 40 years ago or so). Delaney was in the first wave of people to take them on after ESPN, and now even the Food Channel is trying to wring more money from them. You should see the full-page ads in the NYT the last few weeks.

      Here’s where the gut comes, though: Having lived in the Philadelphia area and in upstate NY, there is just no audience for college football in those places like there is once you get about 45 miles out of Philly (as far as Pennsylvania goes). Upstate NY is more like the midwestern states, but there just doesn’t seem to be a football culture there. High school football interest is nothing like it is in places like Pennsylvania, NY and Texas.

      I agree that in theory NY/NJ looks like the place to go, I just think that adding Syracuse and Rutgers based on television potential is a huge leap of faith. As great as having those two schools would be for Penn State (especially for basketball, which has no real recruiting base in the northeast because of the ACC/Big East orientation for basketball), if it is 14 teams, Texas, A&M and Missouri would probably seal more TV screens than Texas, Syr and Rutgers.


  6. mhentz

    Just a note to clear up why we Penn State fans are overwhelmingly in support of the move to bring UT into the Big Ten; It’s far more important to us where the 12th school would NOT be located as opposed to where it would be located. As the conference stands, it’s extemely a midwestern oriented conference and Penn State, as a geographic outlier and perhaps somewhat a cultural outlier, has a voice that is seldom heard in the Big Ten offices in Chicago. Adding another midwestern school like Missouri would only augment those problems. From Penn State’s perspective, adding a second eastern school would add another outlier who could possibly add weight to our voice when we complain that the conference should have more of a national outlook rather than a strictly midwestern outlook (e.g., there’s more to the Big Ten than just the Ohio State vs. Michigan rivalry). UT, while definitely not an eastern school, would certainly share Penn State’s concerns being another geographic and (perhaps) cultural outlier and as a decidedly non-midwestern school. Taken together, Penn State’s and Texas’ voices would definitely be paid attention to in Chicago, far more so than the combined voices of a Penn State and…say…a Rutgers or a Syracuse would. Either way, whether it’s UT or Rutgers/Syracuse, it would be a far better outcome for Penn State than would be Missuori or Nebraska or Iowa St.

    Secondly, regarding a 14 team format, I’d much rather it be Rutgers over Syracuse. Even if Rutgers doesn’t bring NYC, by the BTN’s contracts with companies like Comcast and Verizon, it brings all of the state of NJ and that’s nothing to sneeze at. I know plenty of PSU alums in NJ who area completely up in arms that they can’t get the Big Ten Network. On the other hand, I’m not aware of anyone in either New York state or NYC that gives a rat’s ass about the BTN.


  7. Richard

    You know, I’ve thought about it more, and have come up with a list of the feasible top prizes that are worth expanding in to. No SEC or Pac10 member would break away. Miami (as a relatively small private school with many students from the north) would only get you south Florida, not the whole state, so, other than the possible upgrade in recruiting, it’s akin to adding Missouri. FSU (and GTech, to a lesser extent) are big state schools located in populous states, and GTech in particular would be a great fit academically. However, there’s the question of whether either of them would be willing to break away from the ACC as well as just how many BTN subscribers each of them can deliver.

    Still, if the Big10 can get both GTech & FSU to jump (maybe Miami as well to insure getting S Florida), GA & FL combined is a bigger deal than the whole state of Texas.

    One thing to keep in mind is that raiding other conferences is an inherently messy affair which results in much bad blood. The Big East launched lawsuits against the ACC and their former members when the ACC expanded; the WAC refused to play MWC teams in bowl games for many years after the MWC broke away (to the detriment of both conferences), etc. This isn’t an insignificant consideration when the next round of negotiations for what the BCS will look like comes up, as the Big10 may not want 2 conferences pissed off at it and blocking its interests just to spite it.

    This makes me think that the Big10 will concentrate on one of NY/NJ (Big East), Texas (Big12), or FL&GA (ACC).

    NY/NJ is the biggest prize, but also the most uncertain in terms of how much the target schools (Syracuse & Rutgers) can deliver (though, unlike you, I’m confident Rutgers can bring along the whole state of NJ; remember that as their flagship university, they have a ton of alums, as evinced by their traveling support to bowl games, even though all those bowl games have been second-tier so far).

    Texas is the most certain in terms of delivering BTN subscribers, and it would probably be easy to get UT & TAMU to come along, though you’d still have to negotiate Texas politics.

    GA&FL are about as big as NY/NJ, and adding FSU & the U will likely get BTN in all of FL, but it’s a question how much GTech can deliver. A bigger concern is whether those schools would want to leave the ACC.

    Finally, I don’t believe that the Big10 has to add either 1 or 3 members. A 13 member conference is unwieldy, would lead to unbalanced schedules, etc. . . but the same issues exist with a 11 member conference, and the Big10 has shown that it’s not going to add an extra member just to make scheduling easier if it doesn’t make financial sense.

    So what would such a setup look like? Again, I’m betting that the Big10 will decide that geography/maintaining rivalries/travel costs is more important than balancing competitiveness (which changes over time, anyway; when the Big12 was formed, the North teams dominated; now the South teams dominate).

    In any case, the trio of Minnesota/Iowa/Wisconsin won’t be broken up, and MSU-UM-OSU-PSU are all tied together (with a 13 or 14 team conference, permanent inter-divisional rivalry games would mean you’ll only play some teams once every other decade or so.

    So if UT and TAMU are added:


    If ‘Cuse & Rutgers:

    If the ACC teams:

    In a 13-team conference, all teams in the division with 6 teams would play each other and 3 inter-divisional games, but in the 7-team division, 3 teams would play 5&3 and the other 4 would play 6&2.

    If Texas & TAMU are added, I’d expect Texas to play all 3 of PSU-OSU-Mich in one year or none of them.


  8. Tom

    I think the Big Ten has to grab A&M if they want Texas. I just can’t see the Longhorns jumping alone, mainly because they would be completely isolated from the rest of the league. Travel expenses would not factor into it, but being a geographic outlier would. I realize that A&M has sort of fallen off the earth this past decade, but UT-A&M is still a great college football rivalry, and it would at the very least give UT a close league game. Interestingly, it would also allow UT to avoid at least one late season road trip into the cold weather. Plus, if A&M can get things together, UT-A&M becomes one of the league’s best rivalries adding even more interest.

    I suppose you could just leave it at 13, but my preference would be to just go for 14 because the league actually has some enticing options at this point.

    The B10 could say to Notre Dame: “this is your last chance to join the nation’s wealthiest and most visible athletic conference. You will make more money in this league than you have ever dreamed of, and you have a chance to restore your once proud program. Or you can keep sliding off into mediocrity as an independent. This is your last chance.” Honestly, I still think they would pass.

    At that point, the league has a few choices. You could throw in Missouri to give the Texas schools a closer league school, and a team that they have been playing fairly continuously for the last 15 or so years. Obviously, you get the Mizzou-Illinois rivalry, along with the KC and STL markets.

    However, my preference at this point would be to go after Syracuse or Rutgers. I keep going back and forth over what school I would like to have as a potential 12th Big Ten school. Each brings something different to the table. Overall, I think I would rather have Rutgers. Even though Schiano and RU haven’t taken off like I thought they would, I still think they have more potential and a higher ceiling than Syracuse in football. Plus there is no doubt that it would generate some interest in New York City, especially if Rutgers starts putting some good teams together and teams like Texas, Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan (assuming Michigan gets back on top,) come to town. Plus, it would give the league a good excuse to host the Big Ten title game at the new Meadowlands stadium. (As a side note, you could put the new Cowboys Stadium onto the championship site rotation.) Also, having lived in New Jersey, I can’t honestly say that Rutgers is constantly on the mind of sports fans, but I do know that the entire state is sports crazy. Lastly, the league becomes almost like an NFL style conference, with a presence in some of the countries largest media markets, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and all the way down to Texas.

    In terms of conference alignment, this is what I came up with:

    (14th team is Rutgers or Syrause)
    Michigan St.
    Ohio St.
    Penn St.
    Rutgers / Syracuse

    Texas A&M

    (14th team is Missouri)
    Michigan St.
    Ohio St.
    Penn St.

    Texas A&M

    I have heard of splitting up the league without regard for geography, but I don’t think you can do that here. The main concern for Texas would be travel, so I don’t think you can put them in the same division as the schools that are in the eastern time zone. A better bet would be putting them where everyone else is in the central time zone.

    Now, an 8 game conference schedule would be a difficult sell in my opinion. 6 games against your division and 2 against the other would result in a rotation of 2 games every 8 years against every school in the league. At that point the Big Ten ceases to be a conference and becomes more like a confederation. A 9 game conference schedule is a little better, resulting in a rotation of 2 games every 6 years against every school. However, I think the ideal scenario would be a 10 game league schedule. 6 against your division, 1 locked opponent from the opposing division, and then 3 games against the remaining 6 teams from the opposing division. This results in a rotation of 2 games every 4 years against every school. However, to pull this off, I think you have to petition the NCAA to allow a 13th game, enabling you to still play 3 non-conference games. If you leave it at 2, interesting non conference games would go by the way side, (although I’m not sure that they haven’t already.)

    As far as the locked inter-divisional opponent, there are some rivalries here that may warrant protection, most notably Michigan-Minnesota and Ohio State-Illinois, (and Northwestern-Illinois under the Missouri scenario.) However, while historic, these rivalries are one sided, and I think the league would be better off by giving Texas and then A&M the option of who they would want to play every year. My guess is that Texas would want Michigan, Ohio State, or Penn State, and that A&M would want whoever Texas didn’t choose. That way the Texas schools get to play one of the big dogs every single year. Otherwise, a lineup up of primarily those West division schools wouldn’t be too appealing back home in Austin, (although most years Wisconsin and Iowa would be pretty attractive, just not as attractive as having Michigan or Ohio State come to town every other year.)


    1. M

      This setup is pretty much exactly what I would be trying to get if and when they put me in charge of everything. I think it is both feasible and beneficial to all schools involved. The divisions are balanced, with Texas (at least) the equal of OSU and Wisconsin, Iowa and A&M able to balance Michigan and Penn State.

      As far as scheduling, I would go to a 9 game conference schedule. However, I don’t really think that any of the cross divisional rivals are worth preserving. As an NU grad, I know that the NU-Illinois “rivalry” is nonexistent, though I did appreciate that you recognized it is one-sided. Instead I would just have each team play 3 rotating games in the other division, setting it up so that each team is guaranteed to play one of the big three in the east each year.

      The NCAA will almost certainly not extend to a 13 game season any time soon, as they just recently extended to 12 and an even number of games allows the maximum number of bowl eligible teams.


    2. Richard

      A 9-game conference schedule would be better from a competition standpoint than an 8-game schedule, but the problem is that home games are too lucrative for almost all Big10 schools (my alma mater, Northwestern, can not, unfortunately, be counted in that group. Doing a back-of-the-envelope calculation, an extra round of conference games means 1 less home game every 2 years. Average attendance is 70K. Assume average ticket price of $50. You lose up to 7 home games a year by playing an extra round of conference games. 70,000X50X7 = $24.5M. That’s the extra money that an extra round of conference games would have to generate via an improved TV deal or better attendance each year. Even if the amount is 2/3rds of the 24.5M (because conference games get better attendance than games against creampuffs + not every extra con-conf game will be scheduled at home), that’s still a lot of money that you’d have to make up via the TV contract.

      The only way I can see a 9-game schedule making more sense financially is if Oklahoma is the 14th team (I don’t think academics will keep them out if the finances make sense; while lower than any current Big10 school and not in the AAU, Oklahoma’s about the same as Missouri and Nebraska in USN’s rankings at 102; they’re not tier 3 like WVU). Anyway, with Texas and Oklahoma in one division and PSU-OSU-Mich in the other, an extra round of interdivisional games means UT&OU will play PSU-OSU-Mich 3 times a year, bumping up the number of marquee conference games between traditional powers a year to 7 (without OU, you’d have 4-5, which is not much different from the 3 we have now).

      With it’s national TV contract up in 2015, at that point, if both UT & OU are in the fold, and given the Mich-ND rivalry and OSU’s habit of scheduling 1 blockbuster OOC opponent a year, the Big10 could offer whoever buys the TV rights the best college football matchup of the week in over half the weeks of the college football season.


      1. Richard – I agree with you here. I’d personally prefer it as a fan to see a 9-game conference schedule instead of an extra MAC opponent, but Big Ten schools are virtually basing their entire athletic budgets on having at least 7 or 8 home football games per year. (The exception so far has been Illinois, which almost everyone associated with that program acknowledges is a problem now and why the Arch Rivalry game in St. Louis against Missouri is dropping off of the schedule next year. So, the Illini are jumping on the minimum of 7 home games strategy, too.) The current BCS/bowl system also discourages a 9-game conference schedule – look at the Pac-10’s issues with filling all of their bowl slots over the years with that extra conference game. There’s also a practical matter that the biggest prizes for the Big Ten (Texas and Notre Dame) are going to insist upon maintaining as much flexibility as possible in the non-conference schedule so that they can maintain the rivalries that they will never agree to dropping (Texas A&M and Oklahoma for Texas and USC and Navy for Notre Dame).

        All in all, I’m warming up more to thinking that if the Big Ten needs to invite Texas A&M in order to get Texas (which from what I see from Longhorns supporters is really a political requirement as opposed to a UT institutional/emotional requirement), then it’s worth it. Texas A&M is far from a Baylor-type of political welfare shackle – the Aggies have a top 20 football revenue program themselves. If that’s also enough to convince Notre Dame that the Big Ten has a national footprint as opposed to being “Midwestern” (which is pretty much the last rational football argument for the Domers not to join now that the Big Ten can offer more money than the NBC contract), then it’s hard to argue against it at that point.


  9. I don’t see the Longhorns accepting a Big Ten invite if one is coming. They would rather have less money as long as they can push everyone around. Here in Texas, there are college football fans who believe the Horns represent everything that’s wrong with big time athletics. Michigan and Ohio State like to push everyone around in the Big Ten (which is why JoePa wants to add an Eastern school he can beat). Texas in the Big Ten would be like a three-way fatal attraction.


  10. Richard

    Texas tried to get in to both the Pac10 & Big10 before, so that theory doesn’t hold water. The bigger question is whether the Big10 thinks adding all the hangers-on that they’d need to in order to get Texas would be worth it, and just how cooperative Texas politicians would be.


  11. Richard

    Strange, I can hit reply to all replies except to Frank the Tank’s. Anyway, this is a reply to the posting on 1/11:
    At this point, I’m not even sure if I’d want ND as the 14th team (assuming UT & TAMU come on board). As you pointed out before, there would be a lot of institutional resistance within ND to losing their status as an independent, and while OK, ‘Cuse, Rutgers, Miami, or Nebraska are use to being in a conference and would soon buy in to the idea of all-for-one-one-for-all, I foresee ND being more troublesome if they join.

    Another factor (and the reason why ND has publically stated, emphatically, that they will remain independent, even though they know their TV revenues now pale next to what each Big10 member receives) is the strong desire by ND alums to stay independent and the effect joining a conference would have on donations, because joining the Big10 would definitely cause a drop in donations/booster support, at least in the short-term. Right now, ND is taking in about $10M per annum less in TV & BCS money than they would if they joined the Big 10; I imagine that difference would have to rise to $20M per annum for ND to consider it enough to offset the drop in alumni support. That may only take 3-4 years, but the Big10 would want to expand in the next 1-2 years, plus, ND’s rejection back a decade ago has left a bad taste in many people’s mouths (including mine). Further, ND’s brand/influence is fading along with it’s mostly old, white, northern fanbase (I don’t think younger Catholics have as strong an identification with an essentially sectarian brand as their parents and grandparents did). Thus, I’d advocate adding OK or Miami as the 14th team, who also have national brands and bring different strengths. OK would lock up Texas recruiting for the Big10 and make travel for the non-revenue sports cheaper. Miami would bring in south Florida. I’ve given up on NYC (don’t think either Syracuse or Rutgers by themselves would deliver there).


      1. Richard

        Arkansas joined a conference without a Texas team. In this scenario, OK would join the Big10 with UT & TAMU. In any case, I think I’d prefer Miami, Rutgers, or even Missouri now.


  12. MFG

    One thing to consider: BigTen needs to act before the SEC moves forward with plans to expand to 16 teams. In some quarters, SEC has designs on adding UT and Oklahoma to the West and FSU and UMiami to the East. It would lock up the entire state of FLA as a de facto exclusive SEC recruiting territory, while allowing the SEC to move into TX even more than it already is. Of course, the Big12 and ACC would be decimated, as an added bonus.


    1. Richard

      The problem with that thinking is that the SEC just signed a long-ass (15 year) TV contract, which means that expanding at this point would be a big negative for the member institutions (for the next 15 years, the pot of money to share is fixed, so if they add 4 more teams, each SEC school would take in only 3/4th of what they take in now). Plus, I don’t see what the positives of expansion would be for them; they don’t have their own cable channel, so they have no subscriber base to expand. Financially, SEC expansion at this point makes no sense. The main competitor for UT at this point is the PAC10 since they know their current TV deals are shitty and want to negotiate better ones next time around, but the Big10 outguns the Pac10 in virtually all aspects.


  13. M

    Since the academic fit will be determined more on research than undergraduate education, the following rankings might be more relevant than the usual UNWR-

    The Big Ten schools are rated:
    #15 Wisconsin
    #18 Michigan
    #19 Illinois
    #20 Minnesota
    #22 Northwestern
    #32 Penn State
    #41 Ohio State
    #42 Purdue
    #48 Michigan State
    #52 Indiana
    #56-70 Iowa

    The possible expansion candidates are:
    #28 Maryland
    #29 Texas
    #37 Pitt
    #38 Rutgers
    #50 Texas A&M
    #51 Virginia
    #71-90 Nebraska, Cincinnati, Iowa State
    #91-112 Missouri, Notre Dame, Kentucky
    #113-138 Syracuse, Oklahoma, Texas Tech
    #139-152 Louisville, Boston College
    >#152 West Virginia (not listed)

    A couple comments on this list:
    1. Texas would be right in the middle of the Big Ten.
    2. Texas A&M would be on the lower end, but still respectable.
    3. Rutgers or Pitt would also be appropriate.
    4. All other schools under consideration range from the significantly below (Nebraska) to even further below (Missouri) to off-the-charts bad (West Virginia).
    5. Syracuse, your pet school, is on the same level as Texas Tech. Methinks you have been looking at the basketball rankings too much.

    I realize that like any rankings, these rankings are not perfect; however, I would wager that the view of the presidents/chancellors is closer to this list than to the USNWR rankings, which are primarily aimed toward undergraduate education.

    To me, the Texas+Texas A&M+Pitt/Rutgers is looking more and more reasonable. If there were an inclination from ND to join (there isn’t), I believe they could bend the requirements a bit in light of its stellar undergraduate reputation (and that whole football team thingy), but I do not know if any of the other possibilities warrant a similar provision.


  14. Richard

    Miami’s at 56-70 (as is GTech). FSU and UConn are at 71-90.

    First choice is still UT & TAMU, then (barring ND) pulling in either Rutgers or an ACC school (either Miami or Maryland make most sense). We know Rutgers would jump. The financial argument for the ACC schools is obvious, but Maryland has strong ties to the ACC and the other reason why Miami left the Big East (besides stability of cash flow) was that they didn’t want to fly their non-revenue sports teams for every conference game. Still, cash probably wins out in the end, plus Donna Shalala is the former chancellor of Wisconsin (and has raised Miami’s academic profile). Unless there is a clause prohibiting the U from leaving the ACC, we could form a hell of a super conference.

    Imagine PSU, OSU, Mich, and the U playing 6 games against each other a year (+ 2 of the 4 facing UT most years). That’s 8 national profile games of traditional powers facing each other each year.


  15. Frank,

    Quick question on the 14-team idea. The main obstacle seems to be the dividing of football $$$ by 14 teams instead of 12 requiring a massive return in extra $$$. I have two ways that I think it may make sense you haven’t mentioned, that fit in with your framework.

    1.) Some combination of teams (perhaps Syracuse/Rutgers/UConn?) that on their own would be questionable in their ability to capture the NYC metro area, but that together makes the acquisition of that market a good bet.

    2.) Perhaps the conference is taking a cue from the Big East and is looking to expand past 12 teams for non-football sports. Those extra teams would split revenue for basketball but not for football. Again, the conference could make a run at the NYC metro area this way (perhaps Syracuse/St. John’s/Seton Hall?). That would make Syracuse a much better option than if they were to come on their own, and wouldn’t dilute the football revenues further. This would obviously complicate the revenue equation, but it may be workable.


    1. I’ll try addressing the first point in another post. I’ve seen the “penumbra effect” proposition of multiple East Coast schools brought up a couple of times. My gut feeling is that it wouldn’t be worth it – if you’re going to do that, you might go westward instead and bring Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma or Nebraska (or maybe even Notre Dame) in the process (which might be enough to turn the Big Ten Network into a true national network). However, I’d like to explore that further.

      As for the second point, that’s a very interesting theory and I like the outside-of-the-box thinking. That being said, I highly doubt that the Big Ten would use the Big East model of having some non-football members seeing how much acrimony it has caused the BE lately (I’ve seen it firsthand since I went to DePaul for law school and frequent enough Big East blogs and message boards to know that this is a daily topic). Most scenarios coming out of the Big East these days points to that conference splitting up because not all of the schools are on the same page as a result of not all of them playing football – the perception is that the non-football schools are preventing another football member to join. That’s obviously a situation that the Big Ten would want to avoid completely. The argument from a lot of Big East football fans (and I tend to agree) is that most of that conference’s basketball power is with the football schools anyway (Syracuse, UConn, Louisville, West Virginia and Pitt specifically), so you’d be better off with those all-sports schools.

      The other thing is the extremely important academic factor – Georgetown would be the only one of the Big East non-football schools that would qualify on that front. At the end of the day, I think that any Big Ten expansion will require a top tier football program at a minimum (and if basketball isn’t too shabby, that would be nice).


      1. Yeah, I’m not saying that’s something that’ll happen. It just makes more sense to me than the other “14 team” scenarios I’ve seen. If the Big10 isn’t ponying up football money, it could be a way to expand the conference’s geographical and market reach. The major East coast cities not currently covered by the Big10 (Boston, NYC, and D.C.) are going to be hard to penetrate without some basketball on the roster.

        As far as the “two-class” issue that the BE is dealing with, I don’t think it’s as big of a deal when there’s only a couple schools that don’t have football programs. And the NCAA tourney, unlike the BCS championship, is a place where the conference may be able to pick up another at-large bid be expanding further. And if Georgetown is one of the two teams, there won’t be as much resentment from them given their high status in bball and academics.

        How about this scenario: the Big10 offers membership to Syracuse, Georgetown, and Villanova. That hits NYC, DC, and Philly. (Don’t forget Syracuse also will hit the other cities in western NY: Rochester, Buffalo, etc. It’s not a *huge* deal but I’ll bet that helps ‘Cuse compete with Mizzou in terms of markets brought to the conference.) All three schools fit in academically, and the two with no football programs (GTown and ‘Nova) are *outstanding* in that department. Plus, the Big10 would be substantially improved from a basketball standpoint after pilfering 3 very good, tradition-rich basketball programs.


      2. As to the “penumbra effect” it just makes more sense in NYC than out West, *IFF* Texax isn’t joining the party. If they’re not, then I don’t see a combination that brings the major cities in TX all into the equation. And if you’re not doing that, then those midwestern markets don’t add up to NYC. Throw in all the extra media coverage you get from having a strong presence in NY, and i think a penumbra strategy out West without Texas doesn’t make as much sense as the same strategy in and around NYC. Heck, OK and NE combined don’t have as many people as NYC alone. Throw in the other cities in and around the state (which you’d hit with Syracuse, UConn, and Rutgers) and there’s simply no comparison.

        (All of the 14+ strategies have to assume there’s no Texas or ND. If Texas/ND want to join you welcome them with open arms and end your search.)


  16. The other option with the “non-football teams” would be to re-invite Notre Dame and another non-football team. That would reinforce the Big10’s positioning as the default conference for ND to turn to when it realizes it needs to join one for football, as well.


  17. Richard

    I just don’t see the Big10 taking in non-football teams. They share everything. Everyone has the same vote on all issues. Distribution is equal (and a football/basketball split would inherently lead to unequal distribution). In fact, ND’s first choice was to be a member of the Big10 in everything but football, but the Big10 told them it was all or nothing. I can’t see them making an exception for ND and a bunch of other teams now that the Big10 is negotiating from a stronger position.


  18. Greg

    Your theory ignores two CRUCIAL points.
    #1, National championship trumps all. As long as the Big12 has open path to the championship, Texas doesn’t leave. Texas plays a cake schedule and realistically only needs to beat Oklahoma each year to go to the BCS. (as an alum of another Big12 school I’d argue they need more, but realistically they only need to CONSISTENTLY beat OU)

    The second factor in the BCS race (besides the sudden jump in schedule difficulty) is recruiting. Most fans down here stay plugged into recruiting, and game locations are consistently discussed for recruiting impact. Texas would NOT want to give OCU, Michigan & PennState increased recruiting visibility in Texas.

    Bottom line is that if joining Big10 makes it HARDER (especially if significantly so) to be the “big winner”, then Texas will ultimately decline.

    #2, Money. I find this an interesting topic because you consistently note how Texas can make MORE money by joining the Big10 than they make in the Big12, while ignoring that Texas already makes MORE MONEY THAN ANY OTHER PROGRAM! (and yes, that includes THE Ohio State University) Sure, you can use the pro athelete analogy and say EVERYONE can always make more money, but you’re ignoring certain realities:

    to wit:
    -Currently Texas plays a MINIMUM of 4 games “in-state” (Oklahoma(in Dallas), Texas A&M, Texas Tech & Baylor), this doesn’t include any OOC games against the likes of SMU, Rice, North Texas, etc. Any Texas v. Texas game is MONEY for the program regardless of TV situation. (as an example, UT v. TTU went up to something like $100/seat (not including suites), UT stadium seats 100k+, you say Texas can earn $10mil more on TV than they earn in Big12, they earn $10mil just in tickets for ONE GAME (and a game against an opponent that’s not even in the discussion for Big10 move))
    * Side note to the above, the same would be true for making UT v OU a home-&-home (ie. more money to make), but this still has not happened because both teams LIKE this game (recruiting, tradition, TV, etc.)
    -If Texas goes to the NC game (or to a lesser extent, the BCS) they make MUCH more in merchandising. A little discussed fact of football fans (especially Texas fans, IMO) is that they are fickle. Fans LOVE a winner, but there are a LOT of “band wagon” fans. People who will throw money at the big dog, but will run away as fast as they can from a loser. If Texas becomes Michigan (of the moment, ie. not a contender right now) they WILL lose money. Let’s assume for a moment, that the revenue shift would be +$10mil in TV revenue for joining the Big10. If Texas doesn’t hold onto a top spot (ie. they fall to 3rd (or worse) in the Big 10) they WILL lose at LEAST that in alumni support.

    Point being, it’s not a slam dunk that Texas makes more money (overall) in the Big10 than they do now in the Big12. And even if they DO, a BEST CASE scenario still only gives them a 10% revenue increase for a move that will cause a variety of other issues. (10% improvement is nothing to sneeze at, but much different from the 100% increase you’re implying by only looking at TV revenue numbers)


    1. Richard

      That’s a static analysis, however. When the Big10 adds more markets (I think expansion is a foregone conclusion now due to the BTN) and the BTN becomes a more national network, the TV revenue difference will grow, not stay the same (there are advantages to scale, which is why I think adding a Missouri or Rutgers or Miami, but preferably 3 of those types or better, which would be average Big10 schools in terms of TV footprint, would still grow Big10 per school TV revenues). The difference now is $10M, but I expect that to grow (especially since the BTN is still growing in distribution, even in Big10 country).

      I also would think that Texas would be able to sell out all home games every year, regardless of opponent. PSU has had some bad years, and has no natural rivalries with any of the original Big10 schools (and is located in the middle of nowhere), yet 100K+ in attendance, good year or bad. Are you telling me Texas fans are so fair-weather or provincial that UT needs to play another Texas team or contend for the national title to sell out?

      Finally, I don’t doubt that contending for/winning the national title boost’s UT’s coffers a lot, but I don’t know why you’d think joining the Big10 would make it that much tougher for UT. Since I’d expect an East/West split (I’m assuming 14 teams and TAMU coming along + an Eastern team, UT would still play TAMU & Oklahoma (OOC), and exchange games against TTech and Baylor every year for Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Northwestern, and Minnesota. Now granted, that is a tougher group (and the Big10 championship game likely would be tougher than the Big12 one as well), but pollsters aren’t stupid, and would assign points to playing a tougher schedule. If playing a tough schedule kills your national championship chances, then I don’t understand how an SEC could have played for the national championship in each of the last 4 years, much less won it.

      Maybe UT administrators would rather be a big fish in a small pond, though, and are too scared to join the Big10, but that’s not the feeling I get from actually UT students and alums.


      1. Greg

        re: Monies, It’s not a question of whether or not Texas would sell out, it’s how much the tickets cost. If Texas opponents sell for $100/seat, random Big10 opponent might be $60/seat. That’s $4mil difference in one game. (admittedly the prices are just conjecture)

        And yes, Texas DOES need to have a solid team in order to sell out (or excitable opponent):
        1996 (during the Mackovic years, and while I was in college):
        Texas v. Missouri: attendance=70,613
        Texas v. Notre Dame: attendance=83,312

        (I assume Notre Dame was a sell-out, but not sure, stadium was expanded several times between ’98 and ’08)

        I think it’d be a few years of badness before they’d drop attendance again, but if they move into the 8-4, 7-5 region, then Wisconsin, Illinois & Minnesota ain’t gonna sell home seats. At least not for any good prices.

        Re: Competition
        Let’s assume Michigan and OSU go east like you say, making that a championship opponent (maybe on par with Nebraska if they weren’t down right now). So that means UT has to play PennState every season, JUST for the sake of argument (not to slight PSU) let’s say they’re worse (as a program) than OU. Is there any other Big12 South team you’d consider more of a perennial challenge than PSU? If not, and if you KEEP the rivalries, now instead of:
        Texas must beat OU, and survive a “rival” game with A&M to get to BCS and probably championship game.
        Texas must instead beat OU (rivalry), A&M (rivalry), PSU (conference) AND play a probable CONSISTENT threat (whoever is “up” between Michigan and OSU) rather than an on/off team (Nebraska) in the championship. (by which I mean Nebraska can be good, but then take a year to reload, whereas if OSU is reloading, in theory Michigan would be the other team)

        If you remove the rivalry games (A&M and OU) then it’s not significantly worse, but if you leave them then Texas has to survive at LEAST 4 tough games, that’s 1/3rd of the schedule. They also introduce the Big10 schools to Texas High schools and give themselves MORE rivals in recruiting. OSU & Michigan may be nation powers, but they don’t recruit Texas well right now. But that might change if they get that much more exposure. WHY would Texas give them that?

        And just to point out how much the championship matters, the Tennessee Titans get a ridiculous market share in Texas (especially in Austin, pre-empting even the Houston team for NFL TV time), why? Because their quarterback (sometimes) is the guy that led UTexas to the 2005 National Championship. NO OTHER REASON. If you want to ask if UT faithful would give up 10% of their revenue for a championship, I think you’d get at least 90% that’d say “hell yeah”.

        Also, much as I didn’t want to go to “fuzzy” reasons, I gotta agree that you are DRASTICALLY underselling “Texas” pride if you think people in this state would leap at money without considering the region. The only thing that might come CLOSE is how New Yorkers feel about their CITY, and for Texans, that’s pretty much across the whole state.


      2. Richard

        WordPress is screwed up; I can’t reply to your post, but anyway, I see Mich, OSU, and PSU all in the East (along with MSU). They play each other every year now anyway, so it wouldn’t be an added burden, and I see the Big 10 splitting by geography to save on travel costs rather than care whether the divisions are balanced or not (plus, PSU has built up rivalries with OSU and the Michigan schools). As for “Texas pride”, Texas pride didn’t keep the old SWC together (nor did it keep UT and TAMU from trying to jump the SWC to join the Pac10, Big10, and SEC).


    2. Art Vandelay

      Here’s why I disagree with most of what you said:

      1) Joining the Big Ten is only going to increase the “Texas Brand”. It’s going to increase its media exposure in Texas, the Midwest, and all the way to the East Coast. Also, a ton of hype would come into play if they were to do something this drastic and they’d get a ton more publicity, increasing the Texas brand yet. If they are good enough, they’ll make it to the national championship (Ohio State has made it there 3 times).

      2) The idea that Texas would lose recruiting is completely speculative, and arguable at best. Increasing their media exposure in the state of Texas would keep them on top. They might lose some to Ohio State and Michigan, who already recruit pretty well in Texas already (relatively speaking), but I think it would be a trade-off with decreased recruiting for Tech, A&M and Oklahoma due to their diminished Texas media exposure.

      3) Texas makes so much money from athletics because they have a huge, wealthy alumni base that loves athletics, especially football. It doesn’t change the fact that they are still getting a significantly better TV deal.

      4) I have little doubt that Texas is going to do at least as well joining the Big Ten in ticket sales as it did in the Big 12. People will pay top price for a game so long as it’s a good match-up. Example, in 2006 when Michigan went to Ohio State in a #2 vs #1 game, the average ticket was selling for something ridiculous like over $2,000 a piece. Yes, I understand that it was a rivalry game, and a big one at that, but as long as the game is good, people will pay top price in Texas. You don’t think UT-OSU, or UT-PSU, or UT-MICHIGAN is going to generate a ton of buzz and demand to watch these games? Furthermore, Tech is likely on their way down with Leach getting fired, and it all of a sudden looks like a less intriguing game. Are they really going to get more money from a game against Baylor than they would Iowa or Wisconsin? I don’t think so. Especially if the recruiting for the other Texas schools suffers because of limited media exposure, it would mean even less ticket revenue for the Longhorns. Last year, the Longhorns played in the state of Texas for 9 out of 12 games. If the Big Ten does something similar to the Big 12 and has an 8-game conference slate, they can instead play 8 games in the state of Texas every year and keep on both A&M and Oklahoma.

      5)It’s far from definitive that Texas would lose significant alumni support if they start to slip in the Big Ten, and I think it would be foolish for them to not make the move to the Big Ten because they’re a) afraid that they won’t do as well, and b) IF they don’t do as well they MIGHT lose significant alumni support. Alumni support is going to be variable, and is NOT guaranteed money. Joining the Big Ten guarantees more TV money. It may also increase alumni donations for a variety of reasons, it may not add or decrease the alumni donations, you really couldn’t know until/unless it happens. Making guaranteed athletic funds, more media exposure, and increasing their academic prestige/funds seems like a slam dunk for Texas to me.


  19. Doug

    I think the texas argument holds merit in a lot of ways. However, i lived in texas for quite a while and i don’t think Frank understands texas culture and assigns way too little value to this category. Texans hate yankees. They are provincial in identity and see themselves as separate from the rest of the country. Heck, don’t forget they wanted to seceed from the union a while back. No, they like their little universe down there, and on top of that,they see themselves better that everyone else.

    That said, i don’t think the curators from UT would join the Big 10. Texas would gladly dump mizzou and take Arkansas to keep the Big 12 intact if the big 10 went that direction. Jerry Jones, Mr. Cowboy, is an Arkansas grad. He has a lot of say in Texas football on all levels.

    Who should the Big 10 take? If I were commissioner, I would ask Notre Dame one question…”what would it take to do this thing?” which is really the only thing that makes sense.


    1. Richard

      Arkansas will not leave the SEC for the Big12 and take a sizable cut in revenue. Jerry Jones would have to make yearly donations of about $10M to his alma mater for them to even consider jumping. Realistically, if only Mizzou jumps, they get replaced by BYU.

      Also, the Big 10 isn’t desperate to take ND on any terms; that’s why I don’t think ND will happen.


  20. Doug

    I think the Big 12 would change the rules and sweeten the pot for Arkansas if Mizzou left. If the Big 10 takes only one school, and if they need to hit a home run, Rutgers, Pitt, Mizzou, and any others Frank mentioned don’t factor in. Only Notre Dame or Texas does.

    The Big Ten is a pretty arrogant league. For them to beg ND to come in is pretty amazing. I think, in the end, something between the 2 will be worked out.


    1. Richard

      They could try, but the total Big12 TV pot now is $78M. Arkansas currently gets $17M from the SEC. Texas, with their lopsided distribution gets $12M (which is about the max per school under the current formula). Are the rest of the Big12 schools willing to guarantee Arkansas about a quarter or more of the entire pot (and far more than any other school) to pull them over? Plus, if the revenue is the same, there’s little incentive for Arkansas to move; the SEC is a more stable league with a better on-the-field reputation, it’s own exclusive national TV contract, and a much bigger TV viewership base than the Big 12. Why would Arkansas exchange certainty & strength for uncertainty and weakness?

      In any case, I see the Big 10 expanding by 3 schools; the economics of TV make it much more attactive than expanding by only 1, unless the one is UT or ND.


  21. BFF

    An interview with the Illinois AD ( gives the indication that both geographic and academic fit will be paramount, which may diminish the chances of Texas joining. He also added that expansion beyond 12 teams is definitely possible.

    Finally, if you are going to expand to 14 teams, why include Connecticut, instead of Maryland, with Syracuse and Rutgers? Maryland is a superior academic fit to Connecticut and would give the Big Ten the affluent, largely recession-proof Washington and Baltimore markets; with Syracuse, Rutgers and Penn State, Maryland would give the Big Ten the complete New York-to-Washington corridor.


    1. Richard

      Geography is third on the list after value-added and academic fit. Still, it just takes 1 hide-bound Big10 president to veto. Other than Texas, the other closest fits are Maryland, Rutgers, Virginia, and Missouri, but none add nearly as much value. Looks like Miami’s out of the question, which would be too bad.


      1. Richard

        That makes it easier. Now Texas just has to sign on (and the only reason I can think of for them not wanting to is if they believe either going independent (or staying in the Big12) with their own cable network gets them a comparable amount of TV revenue.


    2. The thing about the criteria Guenther listed is that they haven’t changed – they used this exact same criteria for many years and they haven’t found a fit. So, unless they’re going to go through this exercise and determine once again that there aren’t fits, what is the Big Ten most likely going to be flexible on – academics, value-added or geography? If you’ve read my blog posts, you know my opinion on this matter.


  22. Doug

    Yeah, Arkansas will probably stay put. Maybe BYU or Wyoming to fill in the gap if mizzou left? Actually, if the Mizzou left, I think the Big 12 should raid conference USA and add SMU, Houston and Rice to make 14 teams, like the Big 10 will be. Leave TCU and Boise State alone…small stadiums, small schools, not academically compatable with Big 12 schools, (no offense here). SMU and Rice academic powerhouses! Houston really big and long standing rivalries with other Big 12 schools.

    It’ll be fun to see how it all shakes out.

    I agree in that it makes more sense to add 3 teams. So which 3? Go west and get Mizzou, Nebraska and Iowa State/Kansas? Or go east and get Pitt, Rutgers, and Syracuse?

    I think since the Big 10 is a midwestern conference, they should stay in the midwest. Plus, Nebraska was not all that excited about giving up the farm to the Old Soutwestern schools of Texas and OU when the Big 12 was formed.


  23. BFF

    I agree in that it makes more sense to add 3 teams. So which 3? Go west and get Mizzou, Nebraska and Iowa State/Kansas? Or go east and get Pitt, Rutgers, and Syracuse?

    Pitt wouldn’t give the Big Ten a new market. Maryland would give the conference two new markets both of them larger than Pittsburgh.


  24. M

    I like talking in an echo chamber as much as anyone, but I’m wondering what Frank or anyone else has seen in terms of actual news. The only things I’ve seen are the original announcement of expansion consideration, the Missouri AD and governor effectively saying they would join at the first possibility, ND saying no even though they hadn’t been asked, and the Texas AD saying that he did not think anyone in the Big XII would leave. Have there been any other actual announcements?


    1. Not much news and I don’t think you’re going to hear anything concrete for awhile (except for Missouri, who seems to be as close to openly campaigning HARD for the Big Ten spot as you can get without openly bashing the Big 12). Until an actual invite is handed out, virtually every target school president and AD is going to give a carefully parsed PC answer like this: “We are very happy in Conference X and we have no plans to move at this time.” If that school then accepts a Big Ten invite in a year or so, you can look back at that quote and see that he or she technically didn’t lie. So, anyone saying that they’re supposedly happy in their current situation doesn’t really mean much.


      1. M

        “I’m not going to say anything bad about the Big 12, but when you compare Oklahoma State to Northwestern, when you compare Texas Tech to Wisconsin, I mean, you begin looking at educational possibilities that are worth looking at. If a significant conference with a long history of academic and athletic excellence talks about you joining them, you shouldn’t just say, ‘We’re from the old Big 8 and I remember when’ … If they want to talk, we should talk, and we should listen,”

        You and I must have a very different idea of what constitutes openly bashing the Big 12.

        I agree official announcements are not likely to be forthcoming any time soon. The Big Ten statement said that they would notify the conference commissioner of the raided conference before beginning official negotiations. However, if Delaney is seriously investigating this possibility he must be putting out back-channel feelers and this action would be impossible to keep secret very long. The most ambitious scenario of Texas, A&M, and ND would be the biggest event in college football since the dissolution of the CFA in 1990 which led to the ensuing circus of conference expansion and television contract negotiation. It might even be bigger than the integration of the southern teams five years before that. I find it difficult to believe that all the involved parties will be able to withhold major information about its development.


  25. Doug

    Haven’t heard a peep. I think the Big 10 floated the news to draw public reaction and opinion. well, they got it. As you said, the AD and Gov from Missouri have already chimed in. The gov is a Mizzou grad, by the way.

    Frank takes a very rational, methodical, logistical look at how it should all shake out, and that’s OK because the Big 10 and CIC gurus will too. But rationality doesn’t alsways prevail. Baylor got into the Big 12 because Ann Richards (I think that was her name, correct if wrong) was a Baylor grad and governor of Texas at the time and wouldn’t sign off on the deal unless Baylor was included. I read that somewhere and can’t quote it, so, take that with a grain of salt as to whether that’s actually true or not, but it is plausible.

    I don’t know Rutgers at all and I’m sure they have money and influence in ways also. But I still go back to the culture of the Big 10. It’s a midwestern, Great Lakes oriented conference. Believe it or not, business in Missouri (KC and STL) is much more tied to Chicago than to Dallas. STL is an American Airline dominated city with all roads/trains/planes leading to Chicago. KC, likewise has close ties to Detroit and Chicago with all the car manufacturing plants there. Missouri is the outermost western extension of the Chicago market, both in business and academics.

    And, guess where Missouri’s largest alumni chapter is based? Chicago! A third of Mizzou’s freshman class of 6,000 each year come from Illinois, a Big 10 state, while the second most out of staters come from Texas.

    Missouri is already a Big 10 school, just needs the paper to be signed.


    1. Doug – I think that the issue is that if the Big Ten didn’t sign up Mizzou a few years ago, it’s hard to see them doing it now. The financial impact is much greater today and it would take a Texas or Notre Dame-type school to make it worth it for the Big Ten to add a 12th school.

      Also, I think that’s kind of the disconnect between what the Big Ten has always been (a Midwestern conference) and what I believe it wants to be in the future (a true national powerhouse). If anything, Missouri’s Midwestern location is its biggest liability. If the Big Ten is confident that Rutgers or Syracuse could deliver the NYC market or even a portion of it, then they’d go that route in order to expand its national footprint outside of the Midwest.

      You’re definitely correct that what eventually happens may not be rational, though. Ann Richards did leverage her power to get Baylor into the Big 12 over TCU and Houston. Also remember that the Virginia legislature basically forced UVA to get Virginia Tech into the ACC when Miami bolted the Big East. Whether there would be that type of political outcry in the state of Texas is the single biggest obstacle to getting a deal done.


      1. Richard

        Well, there are a couple big changes from the last go-around.

        The biggest is the BTN, of course, and the different dynamics between TV that tries to get the most number of eyeballs across the country and TV in a specific geographic area that most people may not care about but those who do care care enough to switch cable providers (or to Direct TV). Of course, this may not help Missouri as much as it makes Rutgers more appealing.

        The second biggest is that the automotive industry wasn’t imploding last time. I read on another board from someone who works at a Big10 school that the impetus for expansion this time isn’t just TV but broadening sources for research money. The Big10 schools realize that they need to expand their cachement area as the companies and state governments that provide much of their funding are struggling, so they want to diversify their funding sources and not be tied to the economy of a particular region. I think this is a reason why geography is a consideration, because it’s easier, after a few years, to get people in a neighboring state to consider themselves in “Big10 country” than it ever will be to get Texans to consider themselves Big 10 types of people. Of course, this doesn’t help Missouri’s bid much either, though it gives a boost to Rutgers and a big boost to Maryland, should they be interested (Syracuse, unfortunately, isn’t enough of a research school for this argument to help them).


  26. Matt

    You didn’t even mention another major benefit of adding Texas: is its role as a top research institution. To say that the Big Ten dominates as the top research conference would be a huge understatement.

    Of the Top 40 research schools (by $$$) in the USA:
    * 10 of the 11 Big Ten Schools (all but Indiana) are on the list
    * 15 of the top 40 don’t even play division I-A sports, meaning essentially that the Big Ten holds 10 of the top 25 spots.
    * Texas is on the list at #31 (above Northwestern, Purdue, Iowa, Michigan State)

    * The 15 non-Big Ten schools are
    ** Pac 10 – 6 schools (UCLA, Stanford, Washington, Cal, Arizona, USC)
    ** ACC – 4 schools (Duke, UNC, Georgia Tech, Maryland)
    ** Big 12 – 2 schools (Texas and A&M)
    ** SEC – 2 schools (Florida and Vandy)
    ** Big East – 1 school (Pitt)

    Source: The Center for Measuring University Performance


      1. omnicarrier

        I think the research component of the academics equation is being skewed somewhat by the amount of grant monies.

        I wouldn’t be fixated so much on the $$$ figures because the bulk of the grant monies go to institutions that are in medicine/health sciences or engineering/physical sciences.

        I would be more focused on the type of research that is going on at a possible candidate institution. Remember, part of the vision of the CIC was to bring together the different strengths of these research institutions – so if institution ‘1’ is strongest in areas ‘x”y”z’ and the current members of the CIC have x,y, and z pretty well covered, but institution ‘2’ is strong in areas ‘q”r”s’ and the CIC is weak in in r and s, then institution ‘2’ might be considered the better candidate even though 1 gets more grants monies.

        In this current climate, without knowing what fields of research the CIC already has covered, I suspect there will be a massive amount of influx from the federal government in terms of green technologies, cyber security, and education to go along with the two usual suspects.



    1. Richard

      Not for the next 15 years, though (unless there’s some clause in their contract with ESPN that bumps up their total take dramatically if they add UT). They just signed a long-ass TV contract, so adding another school would decrease each school’s take for the foreseeable future. If you think of it, this is the perfect time for the Big10 to expand, since the SEC essentially has taken themselves out of the expansion game for the next 15 years, and no other conference can come close to outgunning the Big10. The biggest threat to the Texas-to-Big10 scenario is actually UT becoming independent. Even if they can only pull in $20M annually from their own cable network, it’s comparable to what they’d get from joining the Big10 and they’d have more control over their own network.

      What this shows is just how the college football landscape has changed: 20 years ago, the money was in over-the-air TV, so a team with a disperse but national audience like ND pulled in the most TV money; now the money’s in cable, so a regional powerhouse like Texas could very well get the best TV deal by being independent.
      Which brings up another point: I don’t understand why so many people (outside ND) want ND to join the Big10. From the Big10’s perspective, what’s in it for them? Sure, they still have the most national appeal, but that’s going to matter less in the future, and the Big10’s _national_ TV contract gives each member almost as much as ND’s exclusive NBC contract. Meanwhile, ND doesn’t offer the Big10 anything in cable. Unless pulling in ND is part of an overall strategy to capture the NYC market (pulling in Rutgers & maybe ‘Cuse as well), I don’t see the appeal.


      1. Everything that I’ve seen from Texas alums is that there’s no desire to join the SEC whatsoever specifically because of academics (or the lack thereof). The only other conference besides the Big Ten that interests them is the Pac-10. There are certain advantages to the Pac-10 (specifically, weather and a great baseball conference, which is an important sport to Texas), but the revenue advantages of the Big Ten crushes anything that the Pac-10 offers on that front.

        I do think that Notre Dame is still very valuable. The consideration from the Big Ten Network’s standpoint is that ND could turn it from a regional network into a true national network. I’m not sure if ND really has that type of pull if we’re talking about a handful of football games per year, but it’s the one school out there that give the BTN the chance to do that.


  27. Matt

    Imagine if we could actually get Texas and Notre Dame. I’m sure Texas AM would follow of course but that would be very interesting. I think if Texas made it known that they wanted to join the Big 10 Notre Dame would probably change their stance. The Big 10 would automatically be even more appealing financially and academically with that type of addition. It would be a chance to join a mega-conference that would not only benefit football but would make sense in leaving the Big East as well.
    It may sound crazy right now but Mike Brey, the Notre Dame basketball coach, said that in late 2003 the ND AD told him they were going to the Big 10. Obviously that never happened but it proves Notre Dame isn’t as close minded to the idea as many seem to think. My only question is, what would be the SEC’s countermove?


    1. Richard

      Unless there’s some clause in their TV deal that increases the money they get when they add a member, as noted above, they won’t do anything.

      The interesting question is what the Pac10 and ACC would do. The Pac10 may very well take Utah & Colorado while, if we don’t take Rutgers this go-around, the ACC may feel compelled to go after Rutgers, Syracuse, or both.


  28. PoorTailor

    I will preface this as I am a Rutgers Alumni, so I am preferential to Rutgers getting an invite. I would like to point out a few things that get missed with Rutgers.

    1) TV Market – The number 1 reason for expansion is $$$. Let’s not kid ourselves. College Football is a business and the B10 is the conference that is run most like a business. Expansion will have to add money to the TV contract pot. In order to do that the geographic location is very important. With this in mind Texas would be a great add. There is no B10 viewing in that area, Texas is a large draw, and is a high level team. Rutgers, long the doormat of BCS football, is now drawing attention in the NY market. While NO COLLEGE TEAM WILL EVER CAPTURE THE MARKET (It is pro sports area), there is enough interest in Rutgers along with a large B10 alumni base in NY area to add significant eyes to the network. Even more important however is the large cable subscriber base. Getting 25 cents on the dollar to get on the NY area cable boxes would add LOTS OF MONEY. This makes Rutgers a viable candidate.
    2) Research – I hear a lot of talk about research institutes and Rutgers not being strong. The problem is most people do not realize that there is research and a medical school under the UMDNJ name. This will very soon fall under the Rutgers University umbrella. It should have long ago if the politicians weren’t so crooked in my home state. Rutgers is currently going thru a realignment that will make the university look more like a B10 school
    3) Geographics – While not the number one concern, it can’t be totally ignored. PSU would like a partner in the east. Rutgers and PSU go way back. Paterno would like Rutgers (that is no secret) and Rutgers, despite its retoric of late, would jump in a heartbeat. It is geographically a good travel spot as you have 4 major airports within an hour or so of the campus (Philly, Newark, LGA, JFK) along with a number of smaller airports.
    4) ND – Will never get rid of their holy image. B10 will never grovel. This is a battle of egos and I don’t see that ever changing. What needs to happen to them (sorry for this rant) is the Big East needs to kick them out of the league for all the other sports. They have too long acted above the law and deserve a good butt whooping.

    Just my thoughts. I do appreciate the thoughtful dialogue however on this board. Much more respectful of other schools then other discussion threads/blogs I have read on this subject.


    1. omnicarrier

      PoorTailor, everything you wrote is basically why the Big Ten has always had Rutgers on their radar, even when they were not very good. And your points 2-4 are still valid and may indeed carry the day for the Scarlet Knights.

      However, #1 (which you point out is the main reason for expansion) while true under the old paradigm may not hold true in terms of the new paradigm. At the very least, the Big Ten would have to modify the BTN model approach they have used so far – which has been up to this point in time a “state” model. And even then, there is no guarantee that it will work since NYC is likely to continue to be designated a professional sports city/BE city the same way Comcast designated Philly.

      And while there are close to 9 million people living in the state of New Jersey with approximately 3.5 million TVHHs, about 2 million of those TVHHs are subsumed in the NYC metro area and another 1 million subsumed in the Philly metro area. It will take time to sort it all out, just as it took time to sort it out with Charter Communications (nearly 3 years) for the southern Illinois residents subsumed in the St. Louis metro area.

      Will the Big Ten be willing to take less amongst their teams while waiting for it to be sorted out hoping for a big payout that may never come?

      This is probably one of the reasons why expansion is going to take 12 to 18 months to investigate.



  29. Xenon

    I think there is another important dynamic to take into account … The BCS is looking at the distinct possibility of having to add a 7th conference in the MWC at about the same time as the BigTen expansion. I don’t think ANYONE in the current BCS wants that to happen. What is the BEST way to stop the inclusion of the MWC WITHOUT lawsuits and senate hearings? Simply decapitate the MWC.

    Lots of quotes out there about how the MWC top 3 are BCS worthy (BYU,TCU,Utah), but that the rest of the conference is not. If the top 3 from the MWC were to suddenly find themselves in a BCS conference, POOF, problem solved and everyone gets to keep 1/6th of the BCS revenue, not 1/7th. And the math works out as well. There are three “open slots” in the BigTen and PAC10, and three teams that need to be in the BCS to stop all the lawsuits and complaints. Now, NONE of the three make sense for the BigTen, BUT they do for the BigXII and the PAC10.

    So, if all the BCS conferences work together a bit, everything works out just great. The BigTen takes a BigXII team (doesn’t really matter who), and the dominoes all fall into place.
    Nebraska to BigTen, Utah and Colorado to PAC10, BYU and TCU to BigXII.
    Missouri to BigTen, TCU and Texas Tech to PAC10, BYU and Utah to BigXII.
    IowaState to BigTen, BYU and Utah to PAC10, TCU to BigXII.

    My point is, I don’t think it is right to consider BigTen expansion in a vacuum. What the BigTen does WILL effect all the other BCS conferences as well (AND the non-BCS conferences). The BigTen can start a chain of dominoes that results in the BCS eliminating the one major threat to the BigSix, and I don’t think the BigTen leadership is unaware of those dominoes.


    1. omnicarrier

      Xenon wrote: “I think there is another important dynamic to take into account … The BCS is looking at the distinct possibility of having to add a 7th conference in the MWC at about the same time as the BigTen expansion. I don’t think ANYONE in the current BCS wants that to happen. What is the BEST way to stop the inclusion of the MWC WITHOUT lawsuits and senate hearings? Simply decapitate the MWC.”

      I agree that this may be part of the reason why both the Big Ten and the Pac-10 are looking at expansion. It’s not the only reason, but it certainly is a likely by-product of expansion.



      1. Xenon

        No, I don’t think it is the primary driving force (decapitating the MWC), BUT I think it is a “nice” by product IF the BigTen does the expansion right.

        For example, taking a BigXII north team makes it easier for the decapitation to work out easily. If they take a BigEast team, the decapitation is harder (but not impossible).

        ALSO, I think the timing is really important. IF, the BigTen takes too long (i.e. 18 months to decide to expand and another 12 to announce the team), so that they announce AFTER the BCS has announced that the MWC is a BCS conference, TCU and BYU and Utah might be a bit more reluctant to move (Big Fish is a BCS pond!)


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  31. Dr Drunkenstein

    Texas-Ex and rabid Longhorn sports fan here.

    The more I think about expanding to the Big 10, I like it. I think a few points people have made on this thread need to be addressed.

    1. There is a knee-jerk reaction for Horn fans to complain about geography for traveling to football games. Look…….out of 12 regular season games, 6 would be in Austin, the Okie game will still be in Dallas (the rivalry to me was always more compelling when the teams were in different conferences anyway) and the turkey day game against the Aggies would be in Texas, one way or the other. That is 8 of 12 games in the state of Texas…….that is fine. As far as traveling to out of state games, I think more people would rather fly to a game in C-bus or A.A. than to Lincoln or wherever the hell Iowa State is……

    2. The point about Texas state politics might be over-stated a bit. A&M knows it will gain easy entrance into another BCS conference and it will keep its rivalry game with Texas intact. When the SWC imploded, it just so happened that the Lt Governor was unusually influential and he had VERY strong Baylor & Texas Tech ties……a scenario unlikely to unfold again.

    3. To the guy who mentioned Arkansas plugging the hole that Missouri might leave in the Big 12….wow. My dorm at Texas had more TV viewers than the entire state of Arkansas.

    4. To the guy who was worried that Michigan or Ohio State would hurt Texas by stealing our recruits……the same was said about Nebraska when the Big 12 was formed. Kansas, Missouri and KSU have all had good football runs which relied heavily on Texas talent and the Longhorns have been just fine.


  32. Doug

    I still say there’s an unknown X-factor out there that we’re all missing. But, it’s fun to be rational and work out all the logistics. I think Frank is right in that the Missouri bid is rather weak alone due to its midwestern location, but i think they could be included in a group of three from the big twelve that would be significant.

    If invited, i think Texas would have a hard time convicing the state board of curators that abandoning all the other texas schools who feed off of playing Texas each year would be a good idea. Texas Tech, Baylor, A&M all make a bundle playing Texas. Lot’s of alumni from those schools in high places would frown on Texas dollars going to the likes of Penn State and other Big ten schools, IMHO.

    If Texas did leave the Big 12, I think the Big 12 would raid Conference USA schools like Houston, SMU and Rice to expand to 14, instead of Boise State or TCU. None of those are big research schools, but SMU and Rice are excellent academically and all three have large foortball stadiums, with SMU and Houston football on the upswing.

    Even so, the Big 12 would be much weaker without Texas no matter who they added. That would leave OU as the lone football powerhouse in the conference, with A&M probably gaining momentum and influence. I’m more concerned with what would happen to the Big 12, rather than the Big 10. I like the young conference, and it has the potential to to continue to improve. But, the Texas move would be a kick in the groin and send the conference reeling in new unforseen directions.

    To Dr. Drunkenstein’s 4 points:

    1. I know texas travels pretty well, but i can’t see them sitting in a snow covered stadium in College Station, PA in November, or Wisconsim, or M-State. OR, traveling to the likes of Indiana, Purdue, Illinois and Iowa who are nestled in boring little college towns. They are MUCH more likely to travel to Texas Tech, Baylor, and OK state…warmer, closer, and lots of other texans playin on those theams whom they are familiar with.

    2. Texas state politics? Big player last time, big player this time. See Franks comments above too. It’s the X factor I was talking about.

    3. True, there are about 3 TV sets in Arkansas, all tuned to the Hogs. Too much automatic SEC $$$ for Hogs to play in another pen.

    4. True, Longhorns get first pick, OU second, everyone else up for grabs. What Texas kid want to move to freezing Madison, WI?

    Good points. Longhorns have to overcome huge obstacles to make the leao it though, i think.

    So….probably Rutgers, Pitt, Syracuse…all 3 to Big 10. Leave the Big 12 alone!!


  33. Mark

    Frank –

    I’ve never visited your blog before until now, but thanks for the absolute best analysis I’ve come across on the intranets on Big Ten Expansion. I’m not sure why the subject fascinates me so much, but there’s only one place to get a real analysis, here. But I’m waiting on a new post… lets go already! A couple questions I have, possible disagreements, and points I hope you will address in your future post I keep waiting for.

    – I agree that 12 teams is what the Big Ten will be looking for, I don’t see them picking up more than 1 team.

    – I think you underrated Missouri and overrated Nebraska in your original post, specifically I feel that the equal 15 points on TV Value you placed on Nebraska and Missouri doesn’t seem right. Although I would concede that other parts of the country would like watching Nebraska vs. more than Missouri, Missouri would capture the entire St. Louis Market, and a good chunk of the Kansas City market which I would find more valuable considering the BTN, especially if we hypothesize grabbing Mizzouri could send the entire Big 12 into disarray. In addition, the Historic Rivalries/Cultural Fit as well as Mutual Interest seem to me to be 5s on both fronts for Missouri, which is probably part of the reason so many people think they are the front runner for expansion.

    – I completely agree that fishing for Missouri will make the Big 12 take notice, since eliminating their TV market has the potential to dissolve the Big 12, so I really like the Texas idea. In fact getting Texas might mean the Big 12 doesn’t dissolve, there would still be 3 Texas teams in Texas including A&M. Possibly the Big 12 could look to get a team in another state broadening their market, which is their current weakness. The only obstacle I see to the Big Ten inviting Texas is the politics involved. In fact, I think it will be a huge issue as it was during the SWC breakdown. If it proves to be such an issue that the Big Ten cannot get Texas, the expansion possibility might be over for another few years. What if the Big Ten countered with a less politically risky move (or maybe a secondary option if the politicians makes the deal fall through) for say, Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas A&M, or Kansas?

    – Maybe if being rebuffed by Texas politics the Big Ten would go east. Picking a Big East team is incredibly boring though, because nothing interesting would happen to realign all the conferences! Paterno says they would consider Pitt, Syracuse, and Rutgers, but one school I didn’t see discussed was Connecticut. Although UCONN is not an AAU member, they are good on both the athletic front and academics. Another school I didn’t see discussed much but is possibly a dark horse, Buffalo. Buffalo is an AAU member, and it has been discussed that in the coming years the Bills may be leaving town. If that were to happen and the Big Ten had the college team there, it’s possible that the fan base would explode around the Bulls. I’ve also read (although I have no hard facts) that there is a sizable portion of New York City who are Buffalo grads.

    – As stated in “Follow up #1” the ACC garners $67 million in annual TV revenue, which is LESS than the Big 12. I think the ACC has a lot more potential than the Big 12 since the cities they are located in have larger populations, but it stands to reason then that presented with a $22 million per school carrot some of the ACC teams might be enticed to move to the Big Ten. Maryland, Duke, North Carolina or Virginia would add huge East coast markets and nationwide fan bases, and pass the litmus test in both athletics and academics, while Miami is a huge grab in Florida.

    Anyway, I’m hoping to see you discuss some of these schools in your upcoming post, and thanks again for the good reads.


  34. Richard

    Oklahoma & Kanasas are both too small. Oklahoma is also not AAU, and both would drag down the Big10 academically/research-wise. There’s really no reason for the Big 10 to take either over Missouri, which is already the weakest of the (barely) plausible candidates. Colorado would be a fit in research/academics and has as much population as Missouri, but Colorado’s no closer to the Big10 than Texas, so you might as well take Texas. If Texas politics is a problem, take both UT and TAMU; it still makes more sense than taking one of Missouri/Colorado/Kansas/Oklahoma.

    The problem for the Big12, if UT, TAMU, or even Missouri goes to the Big10 (or Colorado to the Pac10), is that there is no possible candidate that can make up for such a loss. Considering that they simply aren’t going to steal any school from the Big10 or SEC, and there’s no reason for either Arizona school to jump the Pac10 to the Big12, they are left with Utah, BYU, and TCU, none of which can match even Missouri in terms of TV viewership.

    As for the Eastern schools, there’s a reason why UConn hasn’t been discussed; in terms of viewership, it’s less than Syracuse, Rutgers, or Maryland, and in terms of research/academics, it’s behind Maryland, Pitt, & Rutgers.

    Of the ACC schools, only Maryland is a possibility, because they don’t consider themselves a southern school any more, and the ACC is a southern, North Carolina-based conference. The other ACC schools listed would be fits academically, but they form the heart of the ACC (and have the least travel costs being located where they are). They won’t jump the ACC just as Illinois and Michigan won’t leave the Big10 for the SEC even if the SEC got twice as much TV money as the Big10.

    Buffalo may be intriguing 15 years from now, but not now, and the Big10 won’t take in a school just on the hopes that the school may be a power research and TV-wise (right now, even though it’s in the AAU, it’s neither; maybe in a decade or 2 and Buffalo becomes the undisputed flagship school of NY state and the Bills leave).

    Realistically, there are only a handful of possibilities:
    ND & UT (and TAMU along for the ride if politics dictates; there’s no way the Big 10 would add TAMU and not UT).

    Possible, in order of best fit:
    Maryland, Rutgers, Missouri . . . . .maybe, maybe Syracuse (actually, both Missouri and Syracuse are barely candidates; both would drag down the Big10 research-wise, and neither, really, none of these 4 schools bring enough TV viewers to move the needle much TV-wise).

    The most realistic scenario (assuming no ND, and other than no expansion) is adding UT, TAMU, and then either Maryland or Rutgers (possibly Missouri if the Texas schools insist on bringing along their Big12 cousin) to make up the numbers (Maryland would be an asset research-wise, Rutgers wouldn’t be a drag either, and both bring enough TV viewers to at least justify themselves).


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  36. Tom Smith

    I am really impressed by this blog. By far best analysis of B10 expansion plans. Kudos to the author. IMO, I think Texas will be the first choice, and in order for that to happen, B10 will have to also take A&M in order to satisfy the Texas politicians. Then to make the conference an even number, 14, I think it will come down to Rutgers, Syracuse, or Missouri. Is Missouri just a tease to entice Texas because with Mizzou leaving, B12 could collapse? Number 14 could be Notre Dame if, with the addition of Texas, the Irish get very nervous with the increasing loss of power in the NCAA. It will be crystal clear the after the addition of Texas, B10 is the stand alone king of the hill in the college financial, athletic and academic universe. Notre Dame may be arrogant, but not stupid. They may come begging at that point. If neither Texas or Notre Dame join, expansion plans could be delayed. No other candidates make a splash like these two.


    1. That’s exactly my argument about Mizzou – it’s a “stalking horse” to show the Big Ten’s real target of Texas of how unstable the Big 12 is right now. This is true to a lesser extent for all of mentions of the Big East schools with respect to Notre Dame. While any Big East member leaving the Big Ten wouldn’t affect Notre Dame football, it has a big impact on basketball and its other sports. The ACC raid of the Big East in 2003 was almost enough to drive Notre Dame to the Big Ten, so if a real basketball power leaves the Big East (like Syracuse) and/or the Big East football schools split off from the non-football Catholic members, that’s going to hurt ND’s other sports significantly. To come full circle, Texas itself is even more of a stalking horse for Notre Dame – ND has long assumed that the 12th spot in the Big Ten would be there forever, yet if a school like Texas might viably fill it, that safety net for ND has completely disappeared. ND isn’t going to feel the same way about Mizzou, Rutgers, Syracuse et. al since the Irish will assume that the Big Ten would expand further in the future to accomodate ND, yet Texas would conceivable end all talk of Big Ten ever inviting Notre Dame once and for all. That forces ND to make a real choice as to whether it’s truly comfortable with foregoing Big Ten membership forever (which it really hasn’t had to do up until this point).


  37. Bud

    I agree with your logic of looking at Big Ten expansion as a B10 President. I also agree that IF the B10 expands, it will be one team. Even if a conference championship game brings in $15M, it’s a money loser. To offset the loss, you have to look to increased BTN revenue & future TV contracts. Don’t forget the Big Ten office takes a cut of the TV/bowl revenue so it’s already divided 12 ways. When is the ESPN contract up for renegotiation? Imagine the added clout with Texas or ND. Given the joint ownership of BTN with Fox, you know they will be a player.


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  39. Stan Archibald

    As a long time UT guy, I’ve long thought that the Big 10 is where Texas would one day reside. As a subscriber to Orangebloods, I can tell you that, after reading your pieces, a great number of UT fans are already packed and ready to go.

    A move to the Big 10 needs to be orchestrated while Bill Powers is still UT’s president. Unlike most of his predecessors, Powers is not an arts & sciences professor. He’s an attorney who came from the law school, and is very politically savvy. He would be the ideal deal-maker to steer such a major conference change through the Texas legislature.

    One other factor is that Texas doesn’t have a small handful of wealthy supporters, it has literally hundreds of multi-millionaire alumni. These are the same people who also happen to be some of the state’s biggest political contributors. If the UT administration and athletic department were to call on the political support of this group, the necessary momentum to move to the Big 10 would be extraordiary.


  40. Paul

    Great job as always. I truly enjoy reading your comments and opinions.

    How do you think conference realignment will be affected by the U.S. Congress investigating whether the BCS violates federal anti-trust law? The Wall Street Journal reported this weekend that senator Orin Hatch of Utah has been able to move forward with an investigation of the BCS being a monopoly. The article also stated that the Obama administration is looking into the BCS because the president would like to see a playoff similar to the NFL. (Don’t these guys have more important things to do, like creating JOBS!).

    I know you recently wrote an article that Super Conferences were not likely to happen. But, with only 66 of 119 Division 1A schools in the BCS, I’m beginning to think the non-BCS schools may have a good case and super conferences might be a viable option.
    If the six BCS conferences expanded to 14 or even 16 teams, they might be able to get congress to back off because more teams would be covered under the BCS automatic qualifier umbrella. I know the 53 non-BCS teams currently get a piece of the BCS money, but apparently it’s not enough to appease some of them (Utah, Boise, TCU, etc).

    Do you think the Big Ten will wait for congress to act before they decide whether or not to expand?


  41. LonghornLawyer

    Let me answer a few points raised by Greg and Doug and anyone else who doesn’t think that Texas would leave the Big 12 for the Big 10:

    1) I don’t think there’s any fanbase out there that understands better than Texas fans the cliche that
    “college football is a business.” Whereas other fans lament the fact, however, Texas fans celebrate it in much the same way Yankee fans celebrate that “baseball is a business.”

    We have seen how winning brings in money to the athletic department and to the academic departments. In turn, we’ve seen how more money builds better facilities and brings in better recruits. College football is indeed a business, and so long as a program is good at the business end, it’ll probably be good on the field.

    Texas fans understand that, and so there’s no real divergence of opinion between Belmont Hall (i.e., the home of the athletic department) and the fans and boosters on major things. If Belmont concludes that a switch to the Big 10 will significantly improve our revenues, the fans will go along because we all know that will improve our teams.

    2) I don’t think anyone outside of Texas really understands the antipathy Texas’ fans and administration have for the Big 12. When speaking of the Big 12, the most common thing you’ll hear from a Texas fan is “F” before the words “the Big 12.”

    There’s good reason for this. For a conference we supposedly “control,” we don’t get much benefit. Much has been made of the fact that the Big 12 doesn’t equally share revenue, while the Big 10 does. But the fact is that the Big 10 powerhouses aren’t subsidizing the likes of Baylor, Kansas State, and Iowa State. Even though Texas makes $12M/year from the conference television deal, it still subsidizes these programs, which bring absolutely no revenue to the table.

    From a purely fan perspective, there has always been some latent hostility toward the conference, and the former Big 8 schools in particular. That really exploded last year over the whole tie-breaker catastrophe. Having stupid tie-breaker rules is one thing. Having conference coaches intentionally rig their votes to ensure an outcome (i.e., Mike Leach, Art Briles, and Bo Pelini voting Texas two or three spots lower than Oklahoma in the coaches’ poll) is another. To follow that up, we got to watch Bob Stoops and Bo Pelini fly to Tuscaloosa to give Alabama tips on how to game-plan for us before the National Championship Game.

    Go up to any Texas fan, booster, or administrator and say “F the Big 12,” and you’re likely to get enthusiastic agreement.

    3) The concept that Texas has an easier path to the national championship through the Big 12 is based on a very short-term recollection of the college football landscape. There’s no question that the Big 12 was down this year, but let’s not forget last year. During a four-week period, Texas had to play four teams ranked in the top 15 (i.e., Oklahoma, Missouri, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech).

    Certainly, if Texas beats Oklahoma, it has the inside track to the conference championship. But consider that Texas has beaten Oklahoma four of the last five years, and only won the conference once. To say that Texas plays a one-game schedule is false, and is obviously discredited by Texas’ (and Oklahoma’s) results over the last ten years.

    That is not to say that a move to the Big 10 wouldn’t entail a more difficult schedule. It would. It is simply to say that the difference on a year-in, year-out basis is not so great as to prevent a move by Texas.


  42. Rod M

    A very cool discussion. Texas as #12 never crossed my mind. With a Texas acceptance, I think the Big 10 very naturally becomes the Big 14 because of the politics and interconnectedness between UT and AM, as mentioned, and ND couldn’t ignore the massive advantages. With Texas in, ND will very badly want in also. I couldn’t see the conference keeping to 12 when a 14 school membership would be blockbuster with ND, A&M and Texas. That’s just an incredible thought.


  43. Tom Smith

    I agree, Rod. The ideal is for a 14 school Big Ten with Texas, TAM, and ND. I wonder though how much B10 presidents and Delaney want an eastern school as part of the expansion plan….Will it then become a 16 school conference with Maryland, Rutgers, Syracuse, and UConn, as candidates? (Pitt has academics but does not offer financial gain.)


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  46. Barry

    Interesting article and comments, and much of what you say makes sense. I’m a Texas A&M former student, so I have a little insight into this.

    The political issue in Texas is not just harsh feelings or bickering etc etc, the real issues is that both A&M and Texas draw significant revenue from the Permanent University Fund, which comes from endowments/investments and oil revenues from state owned/leased land. (vastly simplified statement)

    I’m not sure the current details or percentage breakdowns of who gets how much, or if that revenue is being shared among other state schools more equitably now vs in the past. The point is that I believe the Texas State Legislature has significant control over that fund, therefore they play a HUGE role in what the University of Texas will be able to do, and why a deal that doesn’t play well with A&M won’t work. Hard to say if Texas to Big 10 and A&M to SEC would even be acceptable.


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