Template for Shooting Down Any Argument Against Texas Going to the Big Ten

It appears that the Earth is now 70% covered by water, 25% covered by schlocky Black Eyed Peas TV appearances and 5% covered by Big Ten expansion Internet ramblings.  I really didn’t think that I could cover too many more angles regarding the positives and negatives of Texas moving to the Big Ten, but the general ignorance of much of American public on the issues at hand that I’ve seen in various newspaper columns, blogs and message boards has brought up a number of additional thoughts.  I guess this should’ve been as predictable as the NFL ignoring all musical acts from the past half century for the Super Bowl Halftime Show.  Regardless, many Texas alums themselves have debunked a lot of the popular misconceptions themselves (such as well-informed posters like Ice Man on Orangebloods, who went over a lot of the points I’m going to be making in this post), which should serve any non-Texas Big XII fans notice that Texas is NOT joking here.  (By the way, multiple Facebook groups supporting Texas joining the Big Ten have popped up here and here.)  The feedback that I’ve been receiving is that Texas is looking at every possible scenario, ranging from joining the Big Ten or Pac-10 to even becoming an independent.  Let’s reiterate some of the arguments that I’ve seen from Texas alums along with a few more tidbits of my own that ought to blow every common objection to this out of the water.  I’ll warn you ahead of time that this blog post will be almost as long as Greg Oden’s third leg.

1.  More reasons why travel costs are a “penny wise, pound foolish” concern – It’s still the most common financial argument against Texas making a move to the Big Ten, even though I began to address travel costs in this post.  As people continue to bring it up as an issue, I actually went to the Texas Longhorns athletics site to see exactly which sports need to travel for conference games or matches.  Contrary to popular belief, Texas isn’t going to have to send the vast majority of its teams traveling any more in the Big Ten than they do today in the Big XII.  Out of the 16 non-revenue varsity teams that Texas supports, only 5 of them involve substantive conference schedules: baseball, softball, women’s basketball, women’s volleyball and women’s soccer.  Remember that these teams still have to get onto a plane for every place they travel to in the Big XII other than College Station and Waco, so it’s not as if though they are really losing many bus trips (where the costs savings are really accrued).  As I’ve stated before, once you have to get onto a plane, the actual distance that you have to travel is irrelevant in terms of costs since commercial flights are dependent upon supply and demand on that particular route (where a plane flight from Austin to Oklahoma City could easily cost much more than a plane ticket from Austin to Chicago), while the largest cost for chartering a jet is the fixed expense of having to charter it in the first place.

Meanwhile, the following 11 teams travel to regional non-conference meets for the bulk of their schedules: cross country (men and women), golf (men and women), swimming and diving (men and women), tennis (men and women), track and field (men and women) and rowing (women).  Just take a look at their schedules for yourself.  In almost all cases, the only time that any of those teams face inter-conference competition is for the weekend of the conference championships, which would be the same whether Texas was in the Big Ten or Big XII.  So, Texas moving from the Big XII to the Big Ten would only have a material impact on 5 non-revenue sports with the other 11 non-revenue varsity teams experiencing no real change in travel.

When it comes to the revenue sports of football and men’s basketball, let’s not forget the obvious example of why travel costs are certainly irrelevant to a wealthy athletic department: Notre Dame.  I believe that we all can agree that Notre Dame isn’t hurting for revenue, even though we’ve established that Notre Dame’s NBC contract ($9 million per year) is actually only worth less than half as much as the TV revenue that each Big Ten school receives ($22 million per year).  What’s interesting is that part of the reason why Notre Dame wants to keep its NBC contract and avoid joining the Big Ten or another conference is exactly the opposite reason why a lot of travel-obsessed people think that Texas shouldn’t join the Big Ten: the Irish play a true national football schedule with games that literally stretch from coast-to-coast annually.  In fact, Notre Dame is even scheduling “home” games in locations far from South Bend, particularly in… wait for it… the state of Texas.  A number of Notre Dame alumni have stated to me that the NBC contract is just a means to an end, where the point is that it’s more than enough revenue to allow Notre Dame to remain independent and keep its national schedule.

At the same time, Notre Dame’s non-football teams play in the incredibly dispersed Big East, which ranges from Milwaukee over to Providence and down to Tampa.  As a result, Notre Dame has to get onto a plane for every conference opponent except for DePaul and Marquette.  For all of this trouble, Notre Dame receives about $1.25 million per year from the Big East in TV revenue.

Let’s put this all together: Notre Dame makes about $10.25 million per year total from its NBC contract and the Big East basketball TV contract.  It plays a completely national football schedule each year where they have games in California, Texas and the Northeast corridor.  As part of the Big East for other sports, the Irish are required to get onto a plane for 13 out of its 15 conference opponents.  Through all of this travel, Notre Dame has leveraged itself into becoming one of the most profitable athletic departments in the entire country.  That shows you how much more powerful television revenue is compared to travel costs.

Seeing that Texas would be making, at a minimum, $22 million in TV revenue per year in the Big Ten (and it will probably be closer to around $30 million) compared to Notre Dame’s $10.25 million per year, yet Notre Dame endures a travel schedule in all sports that would be more than comparable to Texas in the Big Ten, there is absolutely no rational way to think that the Longhorns’ increased travel costs would come even close to approaching the increased revenue or be of the slightest financial concern.

2.  When did at least an extra $10 million per year become “not a big deal”? – It is amazing to me when I see comments, especially from the mainstream media that ought to have the cursory ability to do some research on Google, stating that at least $10 million extra payout per year isn’t a big deal or, even better, that Texas supposedly has “enough money already”.  One Omaha columnist that epitomizes the “N stands for Nowledge” stereotype went so far as to call the extra money “measly”.  Well, I think guys ranging from Omaha native Warren Buffett to Jerry Jones have more than enough money, too, but you don’t see them standing around not trying to make more.  In fact, I don’t know too many high achievers that are satisfied with the status quo – they’re always looking to add to the coffers.  It’s also incredulous to me that the myth that Notre Dame wouldn’t join the Big Ten because it supposedly makes too much from its NBC deal is often advanced yet again.

So, the general argument that we’ve been seeing a lot in the mainstream media is that an extra $10 million per year supposedly isn’t enough of an incentive for Texas to join the Big Ten, yet the approximately $10 million total that Notre Dame is receiving from NBC and the Big East is “too much to give up” to join the Big Ten.  These are completely contradictory statements that any random person (such as a lawyer that writes a blog in his spare time) could instantly debunk by performing a couple of searches on the Internet.  There’s little wonder why I previously wrote about how the newspaper industry was being run into the ground.

Suffice to say, an extra $10 million per year (and I have to emphasize again that this is the MINIMUM that Texas would enjoy because it would likely by closer to an extra $15-20 million based on projections) is the equivalent of a school adding more than the entire value of the Notre Dame NBC contract that allows the Irish to be independent and that people seem to think gives them great power.  That’s definitely a big deal for any school, even one that’s as financially flush as Texas.

3.  The largest slice of the pie in the Big XII is still smaller than an equal slice of the pie in the Big Ten – Further to point #2, it continues to perplex me that a lot of people still advance the argument that Texas won’t leave because the revenue sharing in the Big XII favors them.  This is the equivalent of saying that you don’t want to move to a mansion in Beverly Hills because you own the largest house in Compton.  Once again, every Big Ten school in its equal revenue distribution model, from Ohio State down to Indiana, made $22 million in TV money last season.  In contrast, Texas, in an unequal distribution model that completely favors them in the Big XII, with the most national TV appearances and a BCS bowl berth, only made $12 million.  You don’t need to have been a math major to understand that $22 million > $12 million.  I’m not sure why Texas cares about getting the largest slice of the pie in the Big XII when an equal slice of the pie in the Big Ten is so much bigger.

4.  Texas has the nation’s wealthiest athletic department IN SPITE of the Big XII (not because of it) – Following up on points #2 and #3, the notion that Texas won’t move because it already has the nation’s richest athletic department is the same thing as arguing that a minimum of $10 million extra per year isn’t a big deal and the Longhorns should pass that up so that they can preserve road trips to Lubbock.  Texas isn’t competing with Texas Tech and Baylor in order to win the Texas state college championship.  On the national scene, it’s competing with Florida, Alabama, Ohio State and Penn State, all of whom will each take in about $100 million more than Texas over the next decade just for showing up to play if the Longhorns stand pat.  That’s going to have a material long-term impact on Texas competing at a national level.  Texas might be the wealthiest athletic department in the nation today, but that’s IN SPITE of the Big XII and its poor prospects for television revenue as opposed to because of it.

5.  The Pac-10, with its own expansion plans, is REALLY helping the Big Ten out – Out of all of the BCS conferences, the Big Ten and Pac-10 arguably have the closest relationship with very similar academic institutions and, of course, the connection through the Rose Bowl.  Whether intentional or not, the rumors that the Pac-10 is considering to add Colorado and Utah has started to really make the Big XII look incredibly unstable and ripe for the picking by the Big Ten.  I explained in the Big Ten Expansion Index post that Missouri was essentially a “stalking horse” in this expansion process, where the threat of Mizzou leaving for the Big Ten (which would take away the most populated state in the Big XII other than Texas) would cause Texas to engage in CYA measures of its own and consider bolting the conference instead.  The practical issue, though, was that the Missouri-to-the Big Ten rumors never really seemed legitimate other than to some sportswriters and fans that still see conferences as purely geographic exercises and the pining has almost been completely coming from Mizzou as opposed to the Big Ten.

Colorado going to the Pac-10, on the other hand, is a different story.  Check out this interview of CU’s Phil DiStefano chancellor in the Denver Post, where he is already talking about weighing the exit penalties for leaving the Big XII and the school’s better alumni base in the Pac-10 region.  Remember my mantra that you need to think like a university president instead of a sports fan when talking about expansion?  Well, CU’s chancellor, who is the actual person who will be making the decision to switch conferences, has come out talking publicly about the machinations of moving to the Pac-10 when the normal answer to a newspaper reporter at this point in time would be “No comment.”  That’s about as clear of a sign that Colorado is ready to bolt to the Pac-10 ASAP without actually saying, “Smell ya later!” and there are a lot of indications that the interest is mutual.

Losing Colorado is just as damaging to the Big XII as losing Missouri (and from the Longhorns’ perspective, CU is the closest cultural and academic match that Texas has in the conference).  Colorado represents the second largest population base in the conference in the Big XII outside of the Texas along with the largest single TV market (Denver) in the conference other than Dallas and Houston.  This sets up the scenario that Texas blog Barking Carnival has brilliantly described in this post examining what should be the thought process of University of Texas president William Powers.  Here’s a great quote:

Even though the Big 10 began expansion discussions first and needs to add just one school, expect the PAC 10 to move first. Importantly, the PAC 10 will be useful to Texas when it breaks the seal of the Big 12 with the recruitment of Colorado.

While inside the mind of Powers, take note of how important it will be for Texas not to make the first move. Powers’ job description involves managing a complex brew of relationships, not the least of which is big-P Political (versus small-p political, which is a rich tradition in universities of all sizes and reputations). Were Texas to initiate the move that drops the value of Texas Tech’s share of a TV deal in half, the talk in the capitol building will be about Texas’ greed and complete disdain for other parts of the state. The West Texas lobby may not be strong enough to keep the deal from going forward, but a university president can die from a thousand papercuts.

You want more control over tuition? You want relief from the top-10% rule? Cry me a river, Mr. Ivory Tower. We’ll show you who runs the show in this state. Sorry that we can’t afford to fund your building maintenance requests. Better luck next year.

Some historians will note that Texas had a hand in leaving TCU, SMU, Houston and Rice in limbo when the Big 12 was formed. The way former K-State president Jon Wefald has told the story, the Big 8 made an initial overture to form the Big 16, and that it was Texas president Robert Berdahl who indicated his preference to split the pie twelve ways rather than sixteen. But it is also important to note that UT already had very poor relations with the Legislature at that time, something Larry Faulkner and now Bill Powers have worked effectively to improve.

On the other hand, if Colorado or Missouri make the first move (and both could make a move without directly impacting another university in their respective states), then Powers will have the moral authority to make the move that best serves Texas. Adding TCU to replace a defector will result in a net loss to Texas. While Powers may be politically prohibited from initiating a move, he will be held blameless for reacting to one.

While I’m personally not a fan of the 16-school conference proposal described at the end, everything else in that post is spot-on.  In fact, it elevates the “think like a university president” rule to the maximum degree.  Colorado, Missouri and now even Nebraska are beginning to look like the first actors here, which can give Texas the political cover to make a move first.  The Pac-10 making overtures to Colorado has now given even more incentive for Texas to move and the Big Ten gets a lot of leverage from it.

6.  Texas isn’t doing this for leverage because the Big XII can’t give anymore – Another common argument that I’m seeing is that Texas is only talking to the Big Ten and Pac-10 in order to get more concessions from the rest of the Big XII.  The problem with this argument is that it only works if the other Big XII members can actually give anything more to Texas.  The Longhorns already receive the most TV money in the entire conference.  The football conference championship game is likely to be played at Jerry World in Arlington more often than not.  The Big XII headquarters are already in Dallas.  There’s virtually nothing else that Texas can extract from the Big XII, yet as reiterated in point #3 above, it still pales in comparison to what it could receive in the equal revenue sharing model in the Big Ten.

Kansas State blog Bring on the Cats, using an apt poker analogy, brought up a well-written argument that Texas might be doing this in order to scare Missouri and other schools back into line so that the Big XII status quo and the unequal revenue sharing that favors the Longhorns isn’t disturbed.  Indeed, as I mentioned in the comments to that blog post, Missouri badly misinterpreted its bargaining position in the expansion process.  Mizzou likely thought that it was in a “no lose” situation where it could either extract more revenue concessions from Texas and other Big XII members in order to stay in that conference or bolt to the Big Ten.  Instead, Mizzou has spurred Texas to make a move first (just as the Barking Carnival discussion that I linked to in the Big Ten Expansion Index post predicted), which wind up leaving Mizzou in a much weaker Big XII without any chance of moving to the Big Ten.

However, the issue with the poker analogy in Bring on the Cats is that I don’t believe that Texas is bluffing at all: they have the nuts in this scenario and all of the other Big XII schools are going to lose one way or another (either through not getting any type of better revenue sharing in the conference or Texas actually leaving).  At the same time, while Missouri might be scared back into its place since a Big Ten invitation really isn’t imminent, Colorado could leave for the Pac-10 anyway and take down the proverbial house of cards itself.  In that case, Texas would bolt anyway.

7.  The Big XII won’t magically sign a new TV contract that is anywhere close to what the Big Ten and SEC are receiving today – Another popular argument from non-Texas Big XII fans is that the Big XII will supposedly sign a much better TV contract over the next few years that will be competitive with the Big Ten and SEC.  While I’m not a television executive, let me point out exactly why this is not a reasonable proposition whatsoever.

First, let’s take a look at the population bases of the states comprising the 5 BCS conferences other than the Big East (which I’m only excluding because they have large states on paper but don’t really deliver the key ones that well for football), with the numbers coming from the always reliable Wikipedia:

Big Ten 67,379,505
ACC 59,697,664
SEC 58,581,019
Pac-10 54,047,294
Big XII 44,097,046

The Big XII, as of today, has over 23 million less people than in its footprint compared to the Big Ten.  What’s worse is that it’s not even diversified, where around 24 million of those people reside in the state of Texas.  The reason why the Big Ten and SEC have such massive TV revenue is that they are able to combine intense passion for their schools with fairly large population bases.  There might be some intense passion within the Big XII, but it has nowhere near the population base to even come within the vicinity of the deals of the other conferences.  Not only that, but Texas has to compare any prospective Big XII revenue to what the Big Ten revenue will look like with the Longhorns included, where the Big Ten’s population base would catapult to over 90 million people.  On a financial level, the Big XII simply will not be able to compete with the Big Ten.

Second, there aren’t networks out there that would pony up that type of money.  The main entity that can afford to pay the most in rights fees, ESPN, already has its best time slots locked in with – guess who – the Big Ten and SEC.  The Big Ten dominates the 11:00 am CT time slot on both ESPN and ESPN2.  At the 2:30 CT time slot, the Big Ten is guaranteed nationwide reverse mirror coverage on ABC/ESPN, where if a Big Ten game isn’t shown in a particular region on ABC, it is guaranteed to be shown on ESPN or ESPN2 in that region (which effectively gives the Big Ten nationwide coverage for all games in that time slot just like the SEC on CBS).  Meanwhile, the SEC is guaranteed to have a prime time game on ESPN or ESPN2 every single week.  As a result, ABC/ESPN simply doesn’t have any more room and, as a result, doesn’t have much incentive to pay much more than it does now for Big XII games.

With respect to the other networks, NBC is satisfied with Notre Dame football and, frankly, is the cheapest network out there when it comes to paying for sports rights.  (Please note that the NHL is actually paying NBC for airtime as opposed to the other way around.)  CBS has its own massive deal with the SEC for 2:30 CT national games, so it’s definitely not looking for any more college football games.  Fox is committed to Major League Baseball for most of the college football season, so it doesn’t have any time slots on Saturday for college football along with having much less incentive to broadcast the sport after giving up the rights to the BCS bowls.

So, unless the Big XII thinks that Fox Sports Net or Versus is going to come through with a massive new offer, there’s literally not much upside to look forward to in the next conference TV contract.

8.  The Longhorn Sports Network (which is why there isn’t a Big XII network today) is an open question mark – Further to point #7, lots of non-Texas Big XII fans have suggested building a Big XII network modeled after the Big Ten Network.  Of course, that was an idea that was proposed several years ago but was vetoed by – guess who – the University of Texas.  Texas has looked into starting the Longhorn Sports Network where it would build its own TV network and keep all of the revenue itself.  This is actually probably the only financial argument that could possibly support Texas staying in the Big XII as opposed to moving to the Big Ten.  However, let’s take a reasonable look at how viable this network could be.

Starting up a new cable network, while it looks like easy money on paper, is not for the faint-of-heart.  Here’s a list of major sports organizations that have endured one year or more involved in nasty carriage disputes:  the NFL with the NFL Network, the New York Yankees with the YES Network and the Big Ten with the Big Ten Network.  These only happen to respectively be (1) the most powerful and highest-rated professional sports league in the nation, (2) the wealthiest Major League Baseball franchise and most popular sports team in the nation’s largest media market and (3) the most powerful college sports conference that has the largest population base.  If you could pick any 3 organizations in the country that would have the most leverage in cable negotiations, those would likely be at the top of the list.  Even with all of that leverage and, more importantly, a whole lot of high value programming to offer in the form of exclusive coverage of live sporting events that a critical mass of fans deem important, it took an extremely long time for all of them to get the desired cable carriage and they all ended up having to accept lower subscriber rates to get their deals completed.

The University of Texas has leverage in the state of Texas in theory, but the issue would be whether a potential Longhorn Sports Network would have much (if any) high value programming that would make it into a must-have for basic cable systems.  It took over a year for the Big Ten to get basic cable carriage and that was with a full slate of high value football and men’s basketball games from across the conference to offer viewers.  Texas might not have control to televise any live football games or men’s basketball games, which would likely result in the network not (a) getting full basic cable carriage in the state of Texas and/or (b) receiving a desirable subscriber fee.  On top of that, Texas would need to lay out a large amount of capital expenditures in order to get the network off the ground.  This is in contrast to the Big Ten Network, which Texas could enter into with no risk or capital expenditures and have an important stake in a true national sports network (as opposed to one that’s just confined to the Lone Star State).

There will be smarter people than me looking further into this issue.  Honestly, this is really the critical question for Texas other than politics (and definitely more than emotionally-based thoughts like rivalries): does starting up the Longhorn Sports Network trump the revenue that would be received from the Big Ten Network?  If the answer is no, then I think Texas moving to the Big Ten becomes even more likely.

9.  You think that Texas recruiting would be hurt by moving to the Big Ten because players would supposedly rather travel to Waco and Lubbock?  Seriously?!  Have you heard of the power of “national TV” in recruiting? – One of the more ridiculous arguments out there is that Texas would supposedly be hurt in recruiting by making a move to the Big Ten.  Deciding which college to attend, whether you’re an elite athlete or average student, depends upon a whole host of factors and is a highly personal decision.  That being said, the typical top football recruit isn’t going to attend the University of Texas just because it’s close to home.  If that were the case, top kids from the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas would end up attending places like SMU, TCU, the University of Houston and Rice instead.  Top recruits go to Texas because they want to play big-time games and big-time environments that are beamed across the country on national TV so that they can watch themselves on SportsCenter late at night.  I have a hard time believing that Mack Brown sold Colt McCoy on coming to Texas based upon trips to Texas Tech and Baylor instead of, well, the home-and-home series against Ohio State back in 2005 and 2006.  While there might be a handful of kids that will only go to where their families could theoretically drive to all of the games (which, by the way, doesn’t happen in the Big XII with the widely dispersed Big XII North states), it’s the games in the Big House, Horseshoe and Happy Valley that get the blood pumping for the vast majority of elite athletes.  These are guys that are going to prioritize getting maximum exposure in terms of getting to the NFL way more than worrying about how far the road games might be.  If top recruits cared that much about family road trips, USC would always have terrible recruiting classes since they have to travel by plane for every road game except for the UCLA game.  We obviously know that’s not the case.

Meanwhile, it’s not as if though the University of Texas at Austin campus would be physically moving to the Great White North.  If you reasonably assume that all 4 non-conference games would be played in the state of Texas (Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry in Dallas, home-and-home against Texas A&M, and 2 patsies to play at home in Austin) plus 4 conference home games, that means that UT would still be playing 8 games in the state of Texas every season.  The road games that aren’t in the state of Texas are in some of the largest and greatest venues in all of college football that would get maximum coast-to-coast coverage.  Anyone that attempts to compare the road trip desirability of Waco and Lubbock to even the least picturesque Big Ten college towns (much less all-world places like Chicago, Madison and Ann Arbor) has literally no fucking clue about what he’s talking about.

At the same time, if I hadn’t made this clear before, every single Big Ten football game is available across the country via ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or the Big Ten Network in high-definition.  It seems to me that this is a much more important selling point to elite athletes, especially when you consider how many recruits the school might lose by making them pay $39.95 just to watch a third-tier blood money game in Austin itself against Louisiana-Monroe.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re playing your state rivals and they’re close by if the games aren’t available on television – last year’s Texas A&M-Texas Tech game wasn’t even televised!!!

For all of the consternation about the relative handful of athletes and families along with the few thousand fans that might be inconvenienced by the longer travel involved in the Big Ten, people have completely missed out on how appalling it is that Texas still has to have millions of its fans fork over nearly $40 just to watch a third-tier home game on pay-per-view.  That will absolutely never be a concern for recruits, families and fans in the Big Ten.

10.  The weather is actually pretty nice in Big Ten country during football season – This is another ignorant argument that I’ve seen in dozens of places: “Why the heck would Texas want to play in the snow in the Big Ten?”  Any person that writes this obviously hasn’t gotten out of his or her bunker to realize exactly what the weather is like in the Midwest from September through November.  The first two months of the season actually provides spectacular football weather for the most part – it’s not agonizingly hot like Texas can be in September while October normally provides great fall weather.  It can get colder in November, but you’ll virtually never see snow during that time.  Does the weather suck royally hard in the middle of February as I’m writing this blog post?  Absolutely.  However, football season is a completely different story.  Even if we grant that it can get chilly in the Midwest in November, Texas would likely only have one road game in that environment anyway every year (since you can presume the Texas A&M game will always be played Thanksgiving weekend).  This isn’t any different than Texas having to take a trip to a Big XII North school during that time of year.  The weather issue is both a red herring AND completely wrong.

11.  Texas A&M or no Texas A&M?  That is the question – I vacillate back-and-forth about whether I’d want Texas A&M in a hypothetical 14-school Big Ten if the Aggies are politically required to tag along with Texas.  Texas A&M is kind of like a girl that isn’t that terrible looking from certain angles, yet she seems a little bit off where you wouldn’t be surprised if she engaged in things like ritual animal sacrifices.  The Aggies don’t fit in with the Big Ten at a cultural level in the same manner that Texas does, although the main things that A&M has going for it is an excellent academic research reputation (much more so than other Big XII candidates like Missouri and Nebraska) and the combo of Texas and Texas A&M would truly lock down the state of Texas as completely Big Ten territory (which does carry a lot of long-term value).

In this post, I voiced my original skepticism as to the desirability to build a 14-school conference from a financial standpoint.  Frankly, I’ve been surprised by how many people out there like the prospect of 14 or even 16-school super-conferences.  In my opinion, there are just significant diminishing returns as you move past the 12-school conference model, not the least of which is that it doesn’t do much good to have Texas, Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State in the same conference if they’re only playing each other a couple of times per decade because the conference is too large.  (This matters to both university presidents AND sports fans.)  Personally, I think that adding Texas alone for a 12-school conference would be the best thing from a competitive and cultural fit standpoint as well as being the per school revenue maximization point.

That being said, the prospect of the Big Ten adding Texas is just too great to pass up and I’m resigned to the fact that if it means Texas A&M has to come along, then the conference needs to pull the trigger. At that point, the Big Ten can give one last shot for spot #14 to Notre Dame (and I think that they’re probably going to be much more open to taking it than people generally believe with the knowledge that the Big Ten would truly close off membership forever) and if the Irish turn it down, then virtually every school in the country outside of the SEC will be gunning for that slot and the Big Ten can have its pick.

Once again, I’d much prefer just adding Texas alone for a 12-school Big Ten.  However, if A&M needs to come along, then the Big Ten has to take heed the words of the great Joel Goodson: “Sometimes you’ve got to say, ‘What the fuck, make your move’.”  Only instead of “Looks like the University of Illinois!”, it’s now “Looks like Agricultural & Mechanical!”

12.  How to sell this to the Texas Legislature: Better Academics + More Research Funding = More Jobs – Out of all the arguments against Texas moving the Big Ten, the one that truly has real validity is that Texas state politicians would block the move.  One major way to alleviate this concern has already been addressed, which is to take Texas A&M, too.  The other way is to make sure that it’s emphasized that a move to the Big Ten doesn’t just affect some football games in Austin.  The CIC, which as discussed before is the academic arm of the Big Ten (plus the University of Chicago), would likely invite the University of Texas Medical Branches located in Dallas, Houston, Galveston and San Antonio to participate as guest members, which is similar to how the University of Illinois at Chicago (which performs a large amount of biomedical research as the home of the U of I Medical School) is able to take advantage of the consortium.  The UT Medical Branches actually perform $1.4 billion of research annually, which is nearly three times as much as the Austin campus itself.  This means that the major medical centers in all of the largest cities in the state of Texas would have access to more research funding, which in turn translates into more jobs in those cities (and high value jobs, at that).

In this economic environment, Texas state legislators will be put on the defensive if the frame of the debate is that they are trying to protect a football conference at the expense of more research funding and jobs for the top hospitals in the state’s major cities.  As much as football might be a matter of the highest political importance in the state of Texas, there are concrete medical research and economic incentives that would apply to places outside of Austin with UT making a move to the Big Ten.

So, when you get into an argument about Texas joining the Big Ten at your local bar, I’ve provided you with a template to refute every knee-jerk response out there.  I’m getting a little more optimistic each day that this is the massive move that the Big Ten is going to make.

(NOTE:  The long-promised Big East analysis is forthcoming.  Until then, feel free to follow me on Twitter @frankthetank111.)

(Image from Doc’s Office)


195 thoughts on “Template for Shooting Down Any Argument Against Texas Going to the Big Ten

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

  2. Pingback: Another solid blog entry, re: Big Ten Expansion & Texas

  3. Art Vandelay

    I completely agree with you. After reading your posts about a week ago, I have been arguing with many a person as to why it makes sense for Texas to join the Big Ten, and most people seem to be idiots and respond with the arguments you listed. After my rebuttal, their usual response is something along the lines of “it just doesn’t make sense. Texas would have to give too much up” (what they actually give up, no one actually specifies). The more I think about it, the more sense it makes for Texas to join the Big Ten. Other than geography, they’re ALMOST a perfect fit.


  4. Frank,

    Do you know whether the good folks in Park Ridge have been reading your very cogent arguments? You’ve been so thorough, that even if you were advancing this case before the US supreme court, you’d probably get all 9 aye votes despite the partisan split.

    You are right that the simple addition of a 12th team would work best for maintaining our existing conference rivalries and only giving up one slice of the pie. However, through ultra-expansion we can break the other conferences and generate even greater advertising revenue for the Big Ten Network.

    If we bring in A&M (and ND for argument’s sake), we can divide the conference up North/South by splitting up our major rivalries, but maintain them as protected cross-rivals.

    North – South
    A&M – Texas
    Minnesota – Iowa
    Wisconsin – Illinois
    Purdue – Indiana
    Mich. St. – Northwestern
    Michigan – Ohio St.
    Notre Dame – Penn St.

    The Illini would have an intermittent Cannon game with Purdue, but otherwise keep our current protected rivalries with Indiana and NU, plus we get the Illi-Buck series back regularly.

    ND gets all three of its current Big Ten foes. More importantly by splitting up Texas and A&M, all of our brethren get the opportunity to get into their fertile recruiting ground. Everybody wins.


    1. Richard

      No way Michigan-OSU will be interdivisional, since no one wants to see them face off in the last game of the regular season and then a week later in the championship game. That goes for virtually all other season-ending rivalry games as well (maybe Purdue & Indiana could be put in different divisions, since no one can imagine both of them winnign their respective divisions).

      If it’s UT, TAMU, and an Eastern school (ND/Maryland/Pitt/Rutgers), the divisions can be split very easily down the Indiana-Illinois state line. Of course, to ensure that each school play each other at least half the time as well, you may have to rotate divisions, but if the 14th team is ND, it’s harder, since they have more traditional rivalries to protect.


    2. m

      if you add A&M and Texas, both schools will want to be put in the same division, for the same reason Ohio State and Michigan will want to be put in the same division. They can’t be scheduled as the last game of the year if they might play each other in the Conference championship game.


    3. Seth9

      That set up makes little sense athletically. There is a respectable balance of power between the divisions there, but it allows too many chances for games like Michigan-OSU or Texas-Texas A&M to be marginalized at the end of the year. More likely is an non-geographic orientation like so:

      Interior-Exterior (The exterior schools would surround the interior schools)
      Michigan-Minnesota (Little Brown Jug)
      Ohio State-Penn State (Developing rivalry between historical powers)
      Notre Dame-Texas (give the most prestigious schools remaining a yearly game)
      Indiana-Iowa (By default)
      Purdue-Illinois (current rivalry)
      Northwestern-Wisconsin (geographic proximity)
      Michigan State-Texas A&M (This could be a great rivalry of the in-state land grant colleges who are dominated by the superior institutions in their own state; and yes, I am a Michigan fan)

      There’s definitely room to move teams around a bit here, and protected rivalries aren’t strictly necessary (I included them for fun). However, it retains a respectable balance of power when you divide the teams into basic tiers of prestige* and doesn’t ruin any important rivalries.

      *Tiers of prestige:

      Tier 1: Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Texas
      Tier 2: Iowa, Michigan State, Texas A&M, Wisconsin
      Tier 3: Illinois, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue
      Tier 4: Indiana (mean, but true)

      Should a Big East school come instead of Notre Dame, the divisions could remain virtually identical, with the Big East school playing Penn State on a yearly basis and a yearly OSU-Texas game. And should Missouri or Nebraska come, we’d switch Penn State into one division and put the other Big 12 team in with Texas and Texas A&M.


    4. Richard

      I’m not sure why everyone’s so excited about the idea of protected cross-division rivalries. It seems to me that the best solution is to group teams in to pods of 3-4 teams that they play annually, and rotate the pods to form divisions.

      For instance, Minnesota-Iowa-Wisconsin is a pod. If ND joins, ND-MSU-Michigan-OSU is a pod. Then the other 4 school pod is Illinois-NU-UT-TAMU, leaving PSU-Indiana-Purdue as the default 4th pod. Then switch the 3-team pods every 2 years, and each school will play every other school at least half the time (which I believe will be a major deal with the Big10 schools).

      Notice that in this case, half the time, the league is easily divided by the Illinois-Indiana state line in to East-West and no real rivalries are broken up (NU-Purdue isn’t a rivalry, and in football, Illinois has a bigger rivalry with Iowa and Wisconsin than with Indiana) so no cross-division rivalry games are required. When you split north-south, then ND-Purdue may have to be protected, so PSU & Indiana can have rivalry games with OSU & MSU while Illinois & NU will have rivalry game with Iowa & Wisconsin, leaving Minnesota & Michigan for TAMU & UT.


      1. Richard,

        I really like this idea in a 14-school setup. The thought of schools going 4 or more years without playing each other was my major hangup with having 14 schools (and I know that matters a ton with the people that lead the Big Ten schools, who already freak out when they have to skip playing Michigan or Ohio State for 2 years out of a decade), but the rotating divisional pods work. My only qualm is those years where you have Michigan, OSU, PSU and ND all in the same division. Even though you can’t predict records from year-to-year, there’s going to be a perception that having all 4 of those schools battling each for the division with only Texas as the marquee name in the other one will cause problems. Optimally, it would be great to get Texas and Penn State into the same pod (especially if Michigan, ND and OSU are all in the same pod), but it’s hard to see how it works because I think you’re exactly right regarding which rivalries need to be protected (i.e. MN/IA/WI trio).

        Of course, maybe Jim Delaney isn’t lying in saying that the Big Ten isn’t concerned about having a conference championship game. As I stated in another comment, you can just have each school have 3 protected rivals that they play annually and then play everyone else 2-years on/2-years off. Under current NCAA rules, though, the Big Ten wouldn’t be able to stage a conference championship game since it wouldn’t be split into divisions that play round-robin schedules within those divisions. It would be great to get that rule changed where the conference could get a championship game by having the best 2 teams play each other without worrying about divisions. That would create the risk that you can have instant rematches in the championship game (i.e. Michigan-Ohio State 2 weeks in a row), but that’s balanced by allowing all schools in the conference to continue to play each other and usually getting a better matchup in the conference championship game.


      2. Richard

        Thanks Frank,

        Yeah, I think you’d need pods/quadrants for any 14-team of 16-team league to work if you want to hold a league championship game. Then again, no championship game means a Big10 team has a better shot of going undefeated and heading to the national championship game (heck, if they don’t play each other, Big10 teams could take up _both_ slots in the championship game).

        A couple decades ago, the SEC use to determine a league champ by playing only 6 conference games (with 5 being against the same annual opponents), so an 8-game schedule with 3 protected games and games half the time against the other 10 schools is definitely doable. No championship game also makes expanding to 16 teams easier (same 3 protected games, but conference slate expands from 8 to 9).


      3. Richard

        I just thought of something: if you don’t have a league championship game, then you’re sure to guarantee that the season-ending rivalry games are meaningful for the league leaders (and in general, make the regular season more meaningful). In a 14-team conference, any school that wants to win the conference would almost certainly have to be perfect. With a conference championship, a division could be decided before the final game, and a barely-over-.500 team could win a division. With no conference championship game and thus the conference championship hinging on the outcomes of multiple games, a lot more conference games become must-see-TV (making the BTN more valuable).

        Plus, you won’t have entire states tuning out on games that are not in their division. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense to not have a conference championship, since it gives you other ways to make up the $15M.


      4. Richard

        I just came up with a list of protected games (assuming UT, TAMU, and ND join):

        Minnesota: TAMU, Iowa, Wisconsin
        Wisconsin: Iowa, Minnesota, NU
        NU: UT, IL,Wisconsin
        Illinois: NU, Iowa, IN
        Purdue: TAMU, ND, IN
        Indiana: OSU, PU,IL
        ND: PU, MSU, Michigan
        Michigan: OSU, ND, MSU
        MSU: PSU, Michigan, ND
        OSU: PSU, Michigan, Indiana
        PSU: UT, OSU, MSU

        NU, Purdue, & Indiana have 1 heavyweight on the protected list (Wisconsin & Illinois don’t because they have too many bordering rivals; Minny doesn’t because someone has to play TAMU). MSU has 3, because they already have annual rivalries with Michigan, ND, and PSU.

        Among the heavyweight, PSU, OSU, and Michigan all have 2 other heavyweights on the protected list. UT and ND only have one mainly because ND’s 3 set rivalries make their schedule inflexible.

        ND-Mich-OSU-PSU-UT will face off 7 times a year. You could fill virtually every week with a primetime game.


      5. Playoffs Now!

        UT isn’t going to join a conference without a conf champ game. After the nonsense they went through in 2008 they want the championship decided on field as much as possible.

        Without a playoff college football already has a huge credibility problem, a 12 or 14 team conference without a championship game would be subject to great ridicule, and deservedly so.


    5. Richard

      Some guidelines to keep in mind when forming divisions & interdivision rivalries:

      The trio of Iowa-Minnesota-Wisconsin will have to play each other every year (realistically, they all have to go in to the same division).

      Indiana-Purdue will have to be annual.

      OSU-Michigan has to be annual, and be in the same division.

      MSU-Michigan has to be annual.

      If ND joins, ND-Michigan, ND-PU, and ND-MSU will have to stay annual affairs. (Realistically, then, MSU-ND-Michigan will have to be in the same division, as well as OSU, since they have to be in the same division as Michigan all the time, if ND joins).

      Illinois-NU is a rivalry game, but as a Northwestern grad, I can say that that’s more because of a historic legacy; these days, NU has more of a rivalry with Iowa or even Wisconsin than Illinois, so I think it may be broken, but the presidents and ADs may not agree.

      PSU-MSU and PSU-OSU are also rivalries, but can probably be broken, so long as they play at least half the time or more.

      All current Big10 schools will still want to face both Michigan and OSU at least half the time each. Specifically, I can’t see any set-up passing muster where Minnesota doesn’t get to play Michigan at least half the time, Illinois doesn’t get to play OSU at least half the time, or the Indiana schools don’t get to face off against both OSU & Michigan at least half the time.

      Big10 Presidents & ADs will be more concerned with maintaining rivalry games than with balance-of-power concerns (especially since football prowess fluctuates; nobody could have dreamed that Michigan would ever have a 3-win season when Lloyd Carr retired nor could they have imagined PSU having 4 losing seasons in 5 years when PSU joined the conference, yet both happened).


  5. Kyle

    Well; that was pretty exhaustive. Bravo.

    I’d wager that Notre Dame takes a bus down to Louisville too, though.

    I’m looking forward to your Big East breakdown. I think the best thing for the Big East is if the Big Ten takes Missouri as the 14th member and leaves Notre Dame and Rutgers with us. We could afford to lose either, but it would hurt. Especially losing the Irish and the bowl tie-ins they give leverage on.


  6. Matt

    Honestly everything seems to be common sense. It’s to the point now that if the Pac-10 and Big-10 do decide to expand Texas would be insane not join one of the two. The Big Ten would make the most sense IMO but I’m also a little biased. When the best argument against Texas to the Big 10 is travel expenses I think that pretty much says it all.


  7. spartakles78

    You can check out a better picture of the revenue/expenses of college sports by checking a couple online databases that are available.

    USA Today has a NCAA athletics finance database for several colleges for 2004-2007 posted in January.


    The IndyStar also has an interactive database for 164 universities for 2004-05


    Scholarships, grants & salaries represent roughly 50% of expenses in athletic departments. This is not an area where it is easy to make cuts. The next big area is total team travel costs which are nearly 10% of the budget. So more bus rides are to be taken especially now that there are surcharges for each bag, etc. Still, this is not a deal breaker for any BCS school.

    The Big Ten is located in 8 states and only needs to add 2 states. Texas and ?


    1. GCS

      Looking at the USA Today chart, Texas spent less than $7 million on travel for the entire athletic department in 2007-2008. If moving to the Big Ten would double that (which I think is extremely pessimistic), the extra costs would still be covered easily by the new TV revenue. The travel costs issue is bunk.


      1. Jake

        And keep in mind that the travel budget is going to include hotel rooms, meals, buses for getting to and from the airport, etc., which won’t change much in a different conference. Yeah, the cost of those flights to Columbus won’t even be an afterthought if Texas is invited to the Big Ten.


    2. Craig

      Texas spent more on travel than UCLA in 2007-08. I don’t think Texas’ travel expenses are the such a great bargain now that it’d be an issue in this decision.


    1. For everyone that looks at these financial reports, please note that these are figures from before the Big Ten and SEC signed their latest TV deals. They provide a lot of insight for other issues, though, such as quantifying travel costs and how many contributions schools are receiving.


  8. psufan


    While these arguments are all valid, I disagree with the Supreme Court thing… People like Ginsburg and Breyer prefer to vote how they feel, rather than how the law/arguments are laid out. They would vote to protect rivalries and keep TTU/Baylor feeling like they belong. Cuz, you know, no child left behind and such…

    Anyways, just like the last article, a great write-up. I can only hope that this is the thought process UT and the B11T are going through, rather than the “OMG SO FAR TO FLY!” arguments that tWWL and SI are putting forth.


  9. WhiskeyBadger

    Great post as usual. Assuming Texas’s choices are Pac-10 or Big Ten, what would you say are the odds of going to the Big Ten over Pac-10? Theorists argue that Pac-10 will go after Colorado, but don’t they have the same info we do? Aren’t they pursuing Texas, too? With Texas, they would be able to build up a tv presence as well, albeit a few years behind the Big Ten.

    P.S. Good game against my Badgers last week. We’ll get you in Champaign with Leuer back.


    1. Pretty much all of the arguments favor the Big Ten over the Pac-10 for Texas: it’s not financially close (in fact, Texas might risk a downgrade in TV revenue by the move), the travel distances are a wash and the time zone issue is a big negative. While the weather is certainly nicer for the Pac-10 overall, that is really only relevant for baseball compared to football (and football is the main driver here by far). The Pac-10’s TV situation would obviously jump dramatically with Texas in the fold, yet the Big Ten already has the infrastructure in place in a more populous footprint with generally more rabid fans.

      The one major thing that the Pac-10 can offer, though, is that its 2 open spots can naturally filled by both Texas and Texas A&M (whereas the Big Ten would need to make a decision to go past 12 schools in order to add A&M). The Pac-10 didn’t want A&M back in the 1990s, but if they’re seriously considering Utah right now (which may or may not be happening), then I’m not sure why they would have reservations against the Aggies at this point. That’s the biggest selling point for the Pac-10, especially if the Big Ten is queasy about the thought of a 14-school conference.

      BTW, I just don’t know what to think of this year’s Illini team. Anything between an NIT bid or a hot Elite Eight run wouldn’t surprise me at this point.


      1. Richard

        Even if the Pac10 starts their own cable network? You can argue that it’d be very tough to pull off, but the Pac10+Texas would have the same leverage as the Big10 without Texas. Naturally, the Big10+Texas gets even more leverage+money, but the financial difference may be small enough to allow non-financial factors to sway the decisionmaking.

        I could imagine a grand bargain where the Pac10 takes Colorado & Utah/Nebraska, “allowing” the Big10 to take the Texas schools, and in return, the Pac10 schools get coverage on the BTN (maybe with or without an ownership stake) or get combined with the Big10 as a package deal for the next round of TV negotiations (which would increase the leverage of all parties involved).


    1. Seth9

      That article isn’t meant to be taken entirely seriously. Staples knows that non-revenue sports need to compete in the NCAA to have actual competition and he also knows that the NCAA would almost certainly revoke the rights of any major school that leaves the NCAA for football to play in any NCAA league. He was just using the idea as a platform to discuss the somewhat logical idea of superconferences.


    2. Richard

      It’s more of a humorous post than anything else. There’s no reason for the Big10 to take the weaker teams of the Big12 North (including a non-AAU school like KSU) while leaving the Texas schools for the Pac-10 and all the Northeast schools for the ACC.


      1. Erik

        When it comes to conference realignment, people are obsessed with geography. I also find it amusing that he thinks 64 teams would band together and leave the NCAA. When that happens, it’ll be closer to 32 teams leaving, if not less. Why would the big boys subsidize Wazzu, TTU, Wake et al?


  10. Gopher86

    First off, great post Frank. I really enjoy your work.

    I will bring up one more point for the inclusion of A&M. The one thing you never do in business is allow a competitor an entrance into your backyard. Sometimes it makes sense to cut a deal below your expectations to preserve your territory. The state of Texas is such a market.

    It’s pretty clear that this is ultimately a Big 10 vs. SEC fight for TV sets and clout. Leaving A&M looking for a home makes them a prime SEC target. Picking up A&M and Oklahoma makes sense for all parties in a post Big 12 world. The SEC nabs TV sets and two historic programs, and A&M and Oklahoma nab golden parachutes.

    What happens if the pendulum swings back from Texas to A&M in the post Mack Brown era? I’m not saying it will happen, but it’s a possibility.

    As you’ve stated, if it is a package deal with Texas & aTm, you still have to pull the trigger. I just feel that there is more merit to it than meets the eye.


    1. I agree with this overall point. UT is powerful enough on its own to deliver its home market, but A&M on top of them locks down that entire state forever – the Big Ten would truly have a monopoly there without any danger of the SEC or another conference entrenching on that territory. A&M is just a little bit tougher sell to the current Big Ten members because I think UT has enough cultural similarities with the rest of the Big Ten that it still feels like a “Big Ten school” despite the geography while A&M feels like an “SEC school”. That being said, A&M still has great academics along with a top 15 revenue football program, so if they’re a package deal with UT, then the Big Ten needs to go for it.


      1. Converse

        While Texas might like to leave ATM high and dry, there is a big risk. Should ATM and Oklahoma be left out in the cold without a viable conference (assuming Texas and CU leave), it is plausible that the SEC sees a great big Texas TV market (which OU has a giant place in – particulary in DFW) and picks them up.

        If that were to happen, the media draw between the B10 and SEC might tilt towards the SEC (here in Texas). The result of that might be to erode Texas’ in-state recruiting advantage.

        Texas (currently) doesn’t do a great deal of recruiting outside our borders. Last year, Texas made offers to 32 prospects. Of those 32, Texas got commitments from 24. So, Texas is getting the pick the players they want (note: there are obviously some players Texas wanted but didn’t offer because they were solid to other schools).

        If ATM and OU started to make serious inroads Texas’ in-state recruiting advantage, UT could start down the road of what it was during the 80’s & 90’s (pretty mediocre).

        Therefore, the safest thing for Texas to do would be to bring its little red-headed stepson along to the B10. OU, by itself, is a much, much smaller threat to Texas recruiting than the combination of ATM, OU and the SEC.


      2. GregZeppelin

        I am an Aggie, and a very recently graduated one at that, I am here to set the record straight about what A&M can bring to the table.

        I graduated from A&M in December and can honestly say that A&M’s culture is changing rapidly. The argument that A&M doesn’t fit with the Big 10 because it feels more SEC-ish is, in my opinion invalid. I would also like to add that I claim Ohio as my home state, I grew up there before moving to Texas, and my Mom’s side of the family are all Ohioans while my Dad’s side hails from Michigan. I have spend the past few months touring law schools, and I have to say, the vibe of Indiana University is eerily similar to that of A&M, more so than anywhere else I have ever been, and I have been on a LOT of college campuses all over the nation.

        In addition to its highly respected academics (USNWR currently has A&M tied with Purdue and Minnesota in its academic rankings, both from the Big 10 already) Texas A&M is not the ultra-conservative small town hick school that many people perceive it to be. The Bryan-College Station metro area has a population of nearly 200,000 as of the 2000 census (and it has grown rapidly in the past 10 years). Also, in contrast to popular belief Brazos County almost always comes up Blue in elections, in very large part part because of the University’s presence.

        Most importantly, The Aggies are a fiercely loyal fan-base, and a very large one to boot. Consider that adding Texas and Texas A&M both to the Big 10 would give the Big 10 SIX of the TEN largest universities in the nation by enrollment, in addition to locking down the Texas TV market in totality. Consider also that UT and A&M would be the Big 10’s 3rd and 4th largest universities respectively, behind only Oh. St. and Minn.

        When A&M played Miami in Miami a couple years back, the Ags had almost as many fans in attendance as the Canes did, and Southwest and AA both scheduled additional flights from Houston, Dallas, and College Station to Miami to accommodate the Aggies. Point being: A&M travels period. (lets also remember that A&M was god-awful that season, and still traveled like that)

        In summation, all of this talk about bringing along the “red-headed step-child” or ugly girl analogies are both uncalled for, and grossly misinformed. If any of this eventually comes to pass, any conference that doesn’t make a play for A&M will miss out on a golden opportunity to increase its viewership, and its prestige, both athletically and academically.

        I wold love to see UT and A&M in the Big 10, and I am saddened that so many people would presume so much about a school because of two little letters in the name. Remember also that during the time period when most other schools dropped their agricultural monikers for the more appealing ‘State’ or ‘Tech,’ the state of Texas already had Texas State and Texas Tech University systems, leaving A&M little alternative.


    2. m

      The SEC just signed some long term TV contracts while the economy was good. Unless CBS & ESPN promise to raise the money they pay the SEC, I’m not sure if it makes sense for the SEC to expand right now.

      That said, it wasn’t that long ago that A&M was strong and Texas was middling. Taking only Texas wouldn’t be a bad thing for the Big 10, but getting both would mean you would keep any other conference from having a big presence. In addition, you could likely get away with charging more in the Big 10 area (any time the Big 10 sought to raise its rates over whatever A&M’s conference charges, you can be sure A&M fans would complain).


  11. Mike B.

    Frank, as usual, great analysis. However, I do have a question on some of you figures. Currently, for the 11 Big Ten schools, they’re bringing in $242 Million in TV money, or $22 million per school. In the above article, you state that Texas would get close to $30 million. For 12 schools, that’s $360 million total. Where are you coming up witn an incremental $120 million? I’m having trouble coming up with half that.

    BTW, I’ve sat in the west stands in Austin on a September Saturday afternoon. It was not pleasant. The Big Ten cities have far superior football weather than Austin. And to put things in perspective, in over 100 years of Illinois football, they’ve played one regular season game in December — last year.


  12. Erik

    Another solid post Frank.

    Has anyone heard anything about the possibility of the Big Ten and UT creating a separate network, something along the lines of “Big Ten Texas”? Texas alone can’t get cable companies to carry a UT only channel, but if one were bundled with TBN in the state of Texas, it might have a chance. Fill it with UT baseball, all mens and womens bball games not on other networks and some HS football games, and you might have something.

    Hell, they could probably make a “Big Ten Great Lakes” that they sold in Minn and Wisc that showed all of those schools hockey games, and a ton of other NCAA ice hockey.


  13. m

    I’m an Aggie, and I’m definitely hoping A&M is actively trying to get into the Big 10 or Pac 10, preferrably with Texas. I’d add the SEC to that list, but with their TV contract, I don’t think they have an incentive to add at the moment.

    “You can presume the Texas A&M game will always be played Thanksgiving Weekend”.

    Well, if the 2 schools both go to the Big 10, they will certainly be put in the same division so they can continue that tradition. However, if Texas goes to the Big 10, and A&M goes to the Pac 10 with Colorado (A&M would bring many more cable subscribers to the new Pac 10 network than Utah), would the schools be able to resist the pressure from the conferences not to have a possible Rose Bowl preview so late in the season?

    On other points:

    While Notre Dame makes a good short term media buzz canidate, I’m not sure if its as good a long term prospect as is made out to be. I started viewing college football in the 80s, so I definitely remember when Notre Dame was still deserving of the attention it gets. However, that’s faded for me, and I think people younger than me don’t have more reverence for it than they do, say, Oklahoma.

    In addition, once it joins a conference, it loses what makes it unique. Yes, it still has a large fan base around the country, but non-alumni who live outside of the Big 10 area are likely to drift away over time once it becomes just another Big 10 school located in the midwest.

    I think a big school from the ACC (Florida State, Virginia, Maryland) would be better for the Big 10 in the long term. Such a school might not bring as much buzz, but it’d get a whole state to add the Big 10 cable network at the higher rates. In the case of Florida State, it’d also increase the attractiveness of the conference to recruits in Florida.

    Heck, if the Big 10 announces it has increased its financial lead over the other conferences by adding the state of Texas, it might be able to convince USC or Florida to be a 14th school.

    Obviously, I’d like to see a 14 team Big 10, and don’t particularly like the idea of a 16 team conference where you see teams in the other division once every 8 years. However, I wonder if a 16 team conference could justify making 2 cable channels. Outside of the Big 10 region, most basic cable systems would get the primary channel with the most appealing games and sports, while in the (large) Big 10 region, both channels would be on. Obviously, you couldn’t charge too much more for 2 channels, but you might make enough extra to make it worthwhile.


  14. cmr

    This article makes me really think this is very possible. I was talking with my boss about it the other day, and neither of us thought that Texas would want to go through with it based on travel, but with your breakdown of travel costs and the extra money added, they would be crazy NOT to take it. Frank The Tank for PRESIDENT. HAHA


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  16. Frank,

    Your analysis is spot on. I have been saying for years that the idea for growth in any conference is to get to areas where they aren’t; not more coverage in areas where they are. But what really turned me on to your line of thinking was the single line, “Follow the Money.” If sports fans would do this, it would all become clear.

    But, something I have always wondered and continue to think about is why do non-revenue generating sports “need” to play conference games/meets/matches at all? Think of this:

    1. All non-revenue generating sports enter into local agreements (within a bus ride) and form loose alliances with regional universities for regular season competition.
    2. The major conference games/meets/matches take place during a weekend or week long tournament at the end of the season. Doesn’t Field Hockey, Volleyball, Women’s Basketball, etc, already do something like this anyway?
    3. In this way, you reduce the travel costs, get additional local exposure and maybe even increase home ticket sales when a lower D1 school plays at the University of Texas, Michigan, or Illinois.

    I don’t know of anything that is keeping AD’s across the country from looking at alliances or scheduling like this in order to reduce costs. You may lose some head to head rivalry games in non-revenue sports, but such is life in student athletics.


  17. Derrick in KC

    What happens when Texas secedes from the Union? Will I need a passport to go see my Spartans play in Austin, or will a drivers license get me across the border?

    On a serious note, adding TX to the Big 10 could prove to be a serious boom to recruiting, as getting more visibility for the Big 10 among TX high school players would be huge. I heard an interview with Gary Pinkel (Mizzou’s coach) talking about how important TX has been for Mizzou’s recruiting, and they pull in multiple players every year from the state.


  18. M

    Great post as usual, just have a few comments.

    “It’s still the most common financial argument against Texas making a move to the Big Ten, even though I began to address travel costs in this post.”
    I mean geez, hasn’t everyone on the interwebs read your blog?

    As far as the revenue split, I’ve seem a number of commentators say that they realize that Texas receives less, but they prefer to be in a conference that has unequal revenue split because that gives them a direct advantage. In other words, currently Texas receives twice as much as Baylor, where as in the Big Ten, they would have the same amount as Illinois. I guess this is related to the general fear of inability to win as often.

    What do you think of the possibility of staying at 13 schools? I know the assumption has been that if A&M and Texas both join, another school would be added to even it out. However, if ND continues in its position, I think adding a 14th just for scheduling purposes sounds exactly like the “add anyone just to get to 12” mentality.


    1. Tom

      I think the league could stay at 13, but it has some enticing options at 14. Assuming ND passes, the league will basically have free reign over anyone from the Big 12 / Big East, and maybe Maryland out of the ACC.

      While Rutgers, Syracuse, Missouri, and Maryland aren’t football powers, they are all located in highly populated states near some major metro areas, and would each increase the number of potential viewers of the BTN pretty significantly, therefore adding more money to the pile that each school would receive.

      As a 12th school, these schools might not be enough, (other than Missouri and maybe Maryland) to get the BTN on basic cable in those states, but as a 14th school in a league with Michigan, Ohio State, Texas, A&M, Penn State, and with those schools visiting routinely, it might just be enough to entice those cable carriers to but it on basic.


    2. I’ve thought about that regarding whether you add a 14th school that isn’t Notre Dame. You’re right that we can’t make the assumption that the Big Ten would add a warm body as school #14. It would probably blow people’s minds if we ended up with an odd numbered conference yet again, but there’s no reason to add someone just to add someone.

      That being said, if ND doesn’t join at that point, then I think the Big Ten will truly move on. If ND turns down more money and maintaining a national schedule (since Texas and Texas A&M would be added) by joining the Big Ten, then there’s not much else that the conference could ever offer. I’m more of the opinion that school #14 needs to push the conference past the tipping point where the Big Ten Network would have the leverage to become a national ESPN-esque conference as opposed to simply looking for additional markets. Notre Dame could certainly do that, but who else would fit the bill? Nebraska? Maryland? Syracuse (if only for an elite basketball program)? Would Missouri be enough? It’s tough to say. I’m actually leaning toward Nebraska out of that group IF they can pass the academic smell test (and they are RIGHT on the border in terms of that discussion). The Huskers are kind of “Notre Dame lite” where they don’t really deliver a substantive market, but have a national football name and fan base.


      1. Playoffs Now!

        Good point about Nebraska, however I think the 14th would be an eastern team. PSU wants a regional buddy on their eastern frontier. Plus UT, aTm, and Colorado leaving wouldn’t necessarily kill the Big 12, since BYU, TCU, and Boise (or maybe Houston) could fill in somewhat (in fact actually improving the conference’s schedule strength in football.) But a 4th departure with Nebraska likely could break the conference’s back and ramp up national political opposition from several states.

        I disagree about 14 being ND’s last chance. Four or five 16-team superconferences are a likely eventual end result, so the BT will probably have another round of expansion once other conferences react, expand, and realign. If the speculation is true about the conditions suggesting ND would do better in conference than independent, these differences should grow starker over the next decade or two. Plus my gut feeling is that ND’s aura and relative following will continue to diminish over the long-term. The conference may end up better off going with other schools. Should the benefits of expansion play out for UT, aTm, and MD or Rutgers, it isn’t inconceivable that academic top tier Florida and an improved FSU or Miami, or perhaps Virginia might be the 15th and 16th in another decade or so. Or a USC and UCLA.


      2. Tom

        With regards to Pac 10 expansion, do you think they would go after Notre Dame?

        Like you said, ND has no problem flying its basketball and non-revenue teams (besides hockey) to the east coast and views its football program as a national program. Of course they have a rivalry with USC, but they have also played Washington and Stanford fairly frequently over the years. Notre Dame alums tend to disregard the Big Ten as being a provincial midwestern league so I could see the Pac 10 trying to sell them on the sexiness and allure of the west coast.

        The Pac 10 wants to expand but its main problem is getting TV exposure in the east where the majority of the country lives and where the money lies, so adding ND would somewhat accomplish that. ND would most likely have to part with the Michigan rivalry, as the Michigan State and Purdue rivalries are more storied, and they would want to keep Navy and Pitt on the schedule, but its a move I could see them considering. Perhaps ND could help the Pac 10 in securing a deal with NBC?


      3. Richard

        The ACC is more desirable to ND than the Pac10 (though in their minds, both are compared to the Big10, since their decision-makers care more about access to fertile recruiting grounds than research). The ACC allows them to play in Northeastern cities where their fanbase is as well, though.

        As for taking Nebraska, considering that no politicians in WVA, NJ, or Conn did anything (or really could) when the ACC raided the Big East, I’m not sure what exactly you have in mind that the politicians in Missouri and Kansas would or could do if Nebraska left along with UT and TAMU (since, if the Big12 broke apart, Colorado would join the Pac10 and Oklahoma would angle to join the SEC).

        In any case, I agree that Nebraska is ND-lite, and since they at least add some local BTN subscribers (unlike ND), if ND is considered desirable, I can’t see why Nebraska wouldn’t be as a 14th team.


      4. Richard

        BTW, as for Nebraska and the research aspect, they are on the edge (below pretty much every single current Big10 school in research, though they are AAU). However, ND isn’t even a research university and certainly not in the AAU, so if the national appeal of ND is great enough to overcome all their other flaws, the (somewhat lesser) national appeal of Nebraska should be able to make up for their (lesser) flaws as well.


  19. Playoffs Now!

    Hoo boy would I love to see the Big Ten (sic) pull off the superconference coup of landing USC, UCLA, UT, aTm, and ND, if for nothing else to see the heads that would explode and the dominoes it would tip. Would likely lead to some sort of Congressional attempts at intervention, with a good shot at an actual college football playoff being some part of the settlement. One possible reaction might be a fast marriage between the Pac 8 and Dust Bowl 8, with Baylor and IA St being jettisoned unless MO walked to the Big Least. Not as weak a combo as one might think, there are still a heck of a lot of SoCal kids playing for the schools to the north and the state of Texas is chock full of transplants from OK, KS, NE, and MO, as well as TxTech cranking out tons of alumni. This would still be a 16-team powerhouse conference and still able to draw plenty of viewers in TX and SoCal, even if not on the level they would if the TX and SoCal schools were in conference. Yeah 16 teams means money spread a bit thinner, but all the equations change when the SoCal and TX anchors leave.

    But then does the SEC feel compelled to reach 16? Without a playoff they have to, because all of a sudden with 2 superconferences the strength of schedule components start to regularly freeze out the SEC, suddenly burned by the joke of a system they had gamed. Lengthy contracts can be renegotiated in such a majorly changed landscape. (BTW, does the Rose Bowl then declare they intend to withdraw from the BCS and be the defacto nat’l champ game?) Does the SEC nab a couple of ACC teams and OU and Ok St. (or TCU)? Does the BigPac 16 then reload with Utah and TCU? Does the ACC grab some Big Least teams, and do the leftovers and non-AQ conference elites form a coast to coast superconference (or two) and squeal for an AQ?

    Since I hate with a red hot passion the BCS and lack of a playoff, any implosion is a good implosion. The SoCal gambit would be a perfect catalyst. However it is unlikely to happen, for a variety of reasons. Still…

    Anyways, back to the Big Ten (sic) and how to split the new conference. Keep it simple and avoid silly confusion like with pods by just dividing at the IL-IN line or similar. First off, there is no way they go to 16-teams unless they get Notre Dame, so a 16-team conference can easily be setup so that every year west teams play either ND or Mich or OSU or PSU. 7 division games and 2 cross-conference games with 1 guaranteed to be with one of the 4 anchor programs. Assuming UT and aTM come in, you might shift NW or the PU-IU duo depending on who the 15th and 16th schools are.

    Now say it is just 14 schools. With UT, aTm, and ND you can do an 8 game conference schedule and still have the same guarantee for west teams of facing 1 of the 4 east anchor schools each year. Add a 9th conf game and west teams get to play them 12 times in a 7 year rotation. 5 years with a home and an away against them, 2 years with just one. If the 14th team is Maryland or Rutgers or NE or MO instead of ND, then you still can go 9 conf games and face Mich/OSU/PSU 9 times over a 7 year rotation (1 per year during 5 years and a home and away for 2 years.)

    The point being that expanding to 14 teams still can allow you to play any team in the opposite division 3 times every 7 years, not 1 in 4. Not perfect for Big Ten (sic) purists, but everything is a trade off, and the conference was already considering going to a 9 game conf schedule. Something as complicated as going to pods is just going to piss off fans far more than it pleases them. A basic east-west divide makes the most sense and maintains the most rivalries. Even with ND in the east, it still remains fairly balanced. ND, Mich, OSU, PSU, and sometime MSU equates to TX, IA, WI, and sometimes MN, aTm (which is bouncing back), NU, and IL. IU and PU are the least likely of the 14 to have successful seasons.

    I still predict that it will most likely be UT, aTm, and either MD or Rutgers.


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  22. Jake

    Got a little curious about the travel costs, so I went on Southwest Airlines’ website and looked up some ticket costs. These are all one-way from Austin Bergstrom to the closest airport I could find to each school. They all leave on Aug. 6 (the furthest weekend out I could get):

    Current Big 12 destinations:
    Dallas: $138
    Lubbock: $157
    OKC: $171
    Kansas City: $286
    St. Louis: $296
    Omaha: $412

    Big Ten destinations:
    Minneapolis/St. Paul: $422
    Columbus: $415
    Detroit: $405
    Milwaukee: $387
    Chicago (Midway): $382
    Indianapolis: $328
    Philadelphia: $286

    I guess Southwest doesn’t fly to Iowa, but that’s okay, because they’d have a trip there in either conference, so it evens out.


    1. Mike B.

      For the record, the fares Jake have cited are the fully refundable “anytime” fares. If you opt for non-refundable (does anybody do anything else these days?), the gap between the Big Ten cities and the Big XII cities is much smaller.

      For instance, the lowest non-refundable one-way fare from Austin to Lubbock is $75. Austin to OKC is $86. Austin to Chicago is $107. Austin to Detroit? $129.

      Chump change.

      BTW, there are two reasons commercial fare is relevant: 1) Non-revenue sports travel costs 2) fan travel costs. Football and Men’s BBall would obviously fly charter.


  23. Adam

    The one thing I don’t see anywhere and I need to read an argument about is the BCS. Right now the Big Ten has 2 teams almost every year. This is a big advantage for OSU, PSU and UM. Texas has been going to the BCS almost every year since it started. So basically 3/4 of these teams go the BCS almost every year. If you add Texas to the Big 10, now only 2/4 of these teams go to the BCS. This hurts recruiting. If the focus is only football (which clearly it is not), then this needs to be addressed. There is a major impact on the quality of teams in the BCS if Texas moves to the Big 10 and it hurts the major programs as well.


    1. Richard

      If the mega-conference consolidation occur, you could see the mega-conferences push to drop that rule. More likely is that they vote to add another BCS bowl and expand the limit up to 3.


    2. mm

      Even if the Big 10 doesn’t get 3 BCS slots, the price for its annual non-BCS bowls will all go up, and the Cotton Bowl will likely be added to the Big 10 lineup.

      The Big 10’s top bowls will likely get as good ratings as several of the non-championship BCS games.


  24. mr.green

    Interesting comment about Maryland going to Big Ten. This year PSU plays Indiana at Fed Ex Field (Redskins home). I bet the game draws more people than 4 Maryland games combined. OSU, UM or PSU at Maryland could be moved to Fed Ex and would sell out immediately.


    1. Jake

      They didn’t change the name when they went to 11, why would they change it for 12? “Big Ten” is a valuable brand name, and you don’t mess with that. AT&T doesn’t really do telegraphs anymore, Southwest Airlines flies all over the country, and CCM (hockey equipment company) hasn’t dealt with cycles and motors for quite some time, but they don’t change their names because that would mean doing away with an established brand. Message boards can mock the “Big Twen,” but I doubt that will phase them. Although how they hide a 12 in their logo is beyond me.


      1. Kyle

        Depending on how expansion shakes out, the Big Ten could end up representing 10 States instead of ‘institutions’, which would eliminate a lot of the confusion with various branch campuses and UChicago.


  25. Brent

    Here was my take on possible pods that I posted elsewhere on the web. This was done assuming that we end up with 3 Big 12 teams to give Texas a full Big 12 pod.

    Division A:
    Michigan State
    Ohio State

    Division B:
    Penn State

    Division C:

    Division D:

    Each 2 year period you play your own division, 1 other division and some teams from a third division. The next 2 year period you play your own division, the division that wasn’t touched and the other teams from the division that you only got a part of. In this way you play every school 2 out of every 4 years with keeping your closest rivalries intact. It would just be a slight variation on the standard 12 team setup that the conferences use now.

    You then just combine a 4 team division and a 3 team division to form your 7 team master division based on which divisions are currently matched up against each other and the winners of each 7 team master division play for the title.

    I gave very little thought to full balance in throwing these together and it could probably be tweaked a little bit. The way it is set up you would always have Texas/Nebby/tAMU in an opposite division from OSU, Michigan and MSU. Given current football power the PSU/Iowa/Wisky/Minny division is way better than the Illinois/Indiana division that would always be on separate sides but that could easily change from year to year.

    I put Penn State with the Iowa/Wisky/Minny group because they needed to go someplace and putting them in either of the other 3 team divisions seemed like it would overpower those divisions as far as big names. That and Iowa/Penn State seems to have developed into a pretty good rivalry in the past decade.

    As an example.

    Year one:
    Division A and Division D are Master Division 1
    Division B and Division C are Master Division 2

    Division B would then play all of the other teams in Division B and Division C and two teams from Division D. The following 2 years Division B would end up in a master division with Division A playing all of Division B, all of Division A and the two teams from Division D that they didn’t play.

    Because Division A and C have one less member they end up with a permanent partner that never leaves their schedule out of the other 3 team division. This would allow a Texas/Ohio State, Michigan/Nebby and tAMU/MSU annual rivalry to develop giving the old Big 12 members a true rival in the new teams. Nebraska fans HATE Michigan so setting them up to play every year would immediately become a rivalry to replace Colorado in the division. And based on the Texas message boards Texas fans are drooling over the possibility of playing OSU every year for a real marquee game.

    I am a little big biased toward Nebraska getting the nod for the 14th team because I live in Lincoln and want them to have a reason to get the Big 10 network in here. The concept works regardless of who is added – you would just need to mess with the divisions some.


    1. m

      Though I’m not sold on Nebraska, I like the way this works out. You play 3 teams every year, while you play the other 10 teams in the conference home and away once every 4 years.

      I agree the one pod is underpowered, but unless one team becomes good, I don’t know that it helps any other team win more conference titles. To win the conference a team must first win its division then win the championship game. For teams in the Iowa/Minnesota/Wisconsin/Penn State pod, they always have 2 easier cross-divisional games than their 3 division mates. This gives them a slight edge every year, but they still need to beat most of the teams in their division. For teams in the 3 team pods, they have 2 years where they have an easier path to the title game (with less difficult teams in the division), followed by 2 fairly difficult years with no easy opponents.


  26. DenverSpartan


    I discovered your blog about a week ago and have read all of the Expansion posts and most of the comments. Have even clicked on a few links, but as time is definitely a factor, only a few. So, anyway, great job on all the expansion posts and I agree completely with you. I even posted on a Dodd article at CBSports.com using the TV revenue and CIC points BEFORE I found your blog. So, we’re absolutely on the same page.

    Anyway, as a 15-year Denver resident, I want to shed some light on the area’s TV Market. Denver may be the largest Big 12 TV Market outside of Dallas & Houston, but Denver is a VERY transient population. Meaning the number of transplants is nearly equal to the number of natives, if not larger.

    For example, at least half of every Big 10 and SEC school (and Notre Dame) has an alumni chapter in Denver and each one gets together for football and weekend basketball games. The bar that hosts the “Rocky Mountain Spartans” also hosts the University of Georgia Alumni and the University of Colorado Alumni (one of many CU chapters I presume). The Spartan group usually brings in 100-150 for football games, and that number swells to well over 200 for the ND and Michigan games.

    Other Alumni groups that I’m aware of: Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio State, Michigan, Indiana, Florida, LSU, Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, Virginia Tech, Texas, Nebraska. And that’s just the ones I’m aware of.

    Further, there are just as many CSU, Wyoming, and Air Force fans (combined) as there are CU fans.

    In fact, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to work on Monday after a football weekend and the conversation is about how ABC force-fed us some weak Big 12 matchup (Baylor/Oklahoma State anyone?) when they had another more interesting matchup, usually involving ranked teams, airing in other parts of the country.

    So, my point is that the Big 12 can’t claim Denver as a “Big 12” TV Market. It’s obviously in the footprint, but a large segment of the population would rather watch games involving teams from other conferences.

    If the Big 12 ever did try to do a Big 12 Network, it would certainly be carried by the local cable systems. But I guarantee the Denver ratings for that channel wouldn’t be anything to write home about.



  27. joesimmons


    Your article had numerous errors.
    The baby being about Colt McCoy and his

    The point you keep throwing in about all the
    Sharing of resources is true only for the
    library system,

    The universities all compete for grants they do not except for less than 2% or the exception to the rule join to get a grant. This was stated to me by a director of the CIC. Cant you quit throwing this crap out there without checking it.
    The added revenue if there be any on a weighted basis from athletics DOES NOT GO TO THE ACADEMIC depts.That is what this is all about the academic dept. want their mitts on and control of the money in the atletic dept. YOU cant stand
    the salaries of the coaches.
    I checked on federal grants and MIT is the only college ahead of Texas in grants so get your facts straight.
    Your analysis of the travel costs is pure crap. You leave out the time and expense of the fans. Most fans to Texas games drive to the games or don’t go.Sure deep pockets can fly to hell and gone but the average ticket holder cant spend the extra grand to fly to Madison.
    Joiningg the Big 10 is nuts.


    1. Erik

      Wow, they’ll let anyone use the internets these days. Pretty much everything you said was wrong, but I’ll just point out one: Colt had offers from UT, AM and LSU (in addition to about 15 others) and was a top 15 national QB. You may not be, but that’s big time.


    2. Oh, where to start with this one:

      (1) You might be correct that Colt McCoy wasn’t heavily recruited, so I’ll concede that technical point. However, this is failing to see the forest for the trees, where the real issue is that a top-tier football coach is going to be selling 5-star recruits on playing Ohio State as opposed to Baylor.

      (2) Please point to where in my blog posts that I’ve overstated the value of the CIC. The Barking Carnival “Being Bill Powers” post explains how the benefits of the CIC work and it’s realistic. Even if that 2% number is correct, that’s 2% that Texas didn’t have before. Considering that the University of Texas system engages in about $2 billion per year in research, 2% of that figure ($40 million) isn’t exactly an insignificant number. Is it enough to spur Texas to join the Big Ten? I don’t know, but to discount it as a factor is being naive.

      (3) Once again, there wasn’t any single reference in any of my blogs posts suggesting that a single cent of athletic department revenue goes to academics. I know full-well that athletic departments largely operate autonomously at major universities. I’m not sure where the heck the rant about academics trying to get a hold of athletic money came from, but I don’t know why that’s some type of evil and nefarious plot even if that were true, particularly when public universities all across the country are having to cut programs.

      (4) It’s laughable to even suggest that I care about the salaries of coaches. If these blog posts have shown anything (along with posts that I’ve written on a whole slew of issues ranging from sports to politics), it’s that I’m a libertarian that has no qualms about any person or entity acting in its rational economic self-interest as long as it’s not illegal. For avoidance of doubt, I absolutely have no issue whatsoever with how much Mack Brown is getting paid by Texas. If that’s what the market says he’s worth, then that’s how much he should get paid.

      (5) Your argument that Texas is #2 behind MIT in grants is the same as arguing that Texas is #1 in athletic department revenue, which supposedly means that they shouldn’t change. Once again, all of that’s IN SPITE of the Big XII as opposed to because of it. Your comment also suggests that Texas doesn’t want to improve in either area and is satisfied with the status quo, which I sincerely don’t believe is the case. If I were alum that actually has a degree from UT, I definitely hope that the university wouldn’t stop trying to improve itself further in all areas even if it’s #1 or #2 today.

      (6) I’ve addressed the fan travel issue a number of times. While you’re correct that it would increase travel costs for fans, you’re elevating the interests of a few thousand fans that travel over millions of other Texas fans across that country that either (1) can’t see Texas games at all because they’re not on national TV or (2) even worse, have to shell out $40 to watch a pay-per-view game against a third-tier school like Louisiana-Monroe. It doesn’t seem to bother Notre Dame or USC fans that virtually every road trip requires a plane ride and it’s not as if though Texas is some type of tiny state – it’s a long way to get to places like Lubbock from Dallas or Houston and frankly, your Madison comparison is awful and exposes your ignorance. There is no rational reason whatsoever that anyone could think that there’s any positive to going to Lubbock for a trip as opposed to Madison (quite possibly the best college town in America) other than straight cost for the football game only. It’s like saying that I’m going to pass on a trip to Maui because hotel rooms are cheaper in Baghdad.

      Thanks for stopping by.


      1. Richard

        Also not sure where he gets his numbers on federal grants. Taking a look in the spreadsheet below (http://mup.asu.edu/Rankings-I/2008_Top25_Natl.xls), Johns Hopkins blows everyone away when it comes to federal research money (thanks to their massive medical complex, though I’m sure being close to DC doesn’t hurt). UT-Austin is actually behind 15 schools or so (including half the Big 10). Maybe he’s counting all branches of UT, though MIT isn’t first anyway, and the point still stands that for big science projects, collaboration is going to be more important (http://www.cic.net/Libraries/Reports/ResearchCollaborationOpportunitiesForCIC.sflb.ashx).

        For any school that styles itself a serious research university that’s going to tackle large-scale science projects, joining/starting a consortium like the CIC will mean real money gained/saved in the future. The UC schools have the University of California system, and the Ivy League has cooperated on multiple things for a long time now, but otherwise, I don’t see another consortium that can acheive the heft of the CIC (though the ACC is attempting something similiar).

        For a comparison, here’s what the Big10/CIC does now compared to what the ACC does now (http://www.cic.net/Home.aspx vs. http://acciac.org/)

        I’d be in favor of bringing in research universities with DivIII athletic programs in the Big10 footprint in to the CIC as well (WashU, Carnegie Mellon, and Case Western). Hope the Big10 presidents consider that.


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  29. Adam

    The trouble with all of this is that I just don’t care. I am morally opposed to Texas joining the Big Ten. I want nothing to do with them. While it is true that conferences are not necessarily “still . . . purely geographic exercises,” that is what *I* want out of *my* conference. If the ACC or Big East want to create a non-geographic conference, more power to them. But I demand that my school’s conference remain geographic. And I am convinced that the value of indulging that preference is higher than the value of the other pecuniary benefits that this analysis tends to fixate on.


    1. Adam

      I should make clear: I care in the sense that I am interested in knowing what the Big Ten does. But no amount of additional revenue brought in is worth breaking the essential Midwestern character of the Big Ten (indeed, if I had my druthers, we could probably do without Penn State and actually be a league of 10 schools).


      1. To me, “character” is much more about academic standings and the types of students that actually attend a school as opposed to geography. I think that you’ll find that Michigan and Wisconsin students have a lot more in common with Texas students than they do with a lot of MAC schools that happen to have a Midwestern location. To me, the Big Ten should mean “big-time research schools with big-time sports” first and foremost, with Midwestern locations being a secondary matter. I’ve stated elsewhere that the notion of not having Penn State in the conference is ridiculous on a slew of levels – that might have been the best conference expansion decision in history. Times change and the well-run organizations need to adapt to them for long-term viability.


      2. Adam

        I agree that “character” is much more about academic standings and the types of students that attend, but it is as a subset of geography. I do not want to be associated in any way with any entity that has any connection with a place where a politician who thinks that secession is constitutional can actually be taken seriously. I deeply resent the “everything’s big in Texas” mantra that Texans seem to wear as a badge of pride. I have nothing but disdain for a jurisdiction that stubbornly clings to the politically immature notion that the number of convicts executed is an indicator of how “serious” you are about fighting crime. I am exasperated by the hypocrisy of a jurisdiction that holds itself out as some sort of entrepreneurial valhalla of economic success even while Texas is the home of as many or more military bases pumping enormous sums of federal dollars into the local economy (I bet that helps maintain no State income tax!).

        Of course, in a federal system, they get to make those decisions for themselves. But I do not want the school I graduated from to be formally associated with that place in as intimate a way as fellow membership of the same Conference. Nor would I be moved if UT-Austin was some sort of island of UC-Berkeley hippiedom. It’s part of Texas. I want no part of it for me and my alma mater, irrespective of any pecuniary benefits that may result.


      3. Gopher86

        If I can play devil’s advocate for a moment: Why would Texas want to be associated with sleazy Illinois politics?

        There’s a lot more good in Texas than there is bad, just as there is a lot more good in the Midwest than there is bad. It works both ways.


      4. Adam

        Obviously Illinois has issues, but I think it’s fair to say that the endemic corruption in the Illinois government is the exception that proves the rule of Midwestern decency. David Broder wrote something along these lines when Blagojevich was impeached. And personal feeling is, better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.


    2. Adam

      Note that I do not really say this to protect some self-interest; I have only traveled to a road Big Ten game once. My position is not driven by this notion that I deserve to be able to afford to attend road games.


    3. Richard

      I don’t think your demands really matter, in the grand scheme of things. You could demand that Coke brings back “New Coke”, that that ain’t gonna happen.


      1. Adam

        Mine individually? Sure. But these discussions have certainly spent a lot of time talking about what alumni are saying out on teh interwebs. Just saying my piece.

        The business side is something I am not unsympathetic to. It’s just that I don’t want Texas’ business. I am a proponent of either adding Notre Dame or standing pat, because going to 12 for the sake of 12 doesn’t make any sense either (even if it’s what someone who looks at it only from a sports fan point of view would want).


  30. Doug

    Frank dismisses Texas and TAM going to the PAC 10. I think the Pac 10 folks would go for them first before going to Colorado, because they need to add 2, not one school. The UC/Utah chick has buck teeth compared to the Texas/TAM babe. The Denver market is a Broncos market anyway and nobody there gives a damn about left coast anything. adding UC does NOT bring in the Denver market.

    Academically, and belive it or not, culturally, UT/TAM have more in common with California, the ‘Zona twins/ and Washington more than ANY other Big 10 school. They do cows/horses/illegal immigrants in CA and AZ too ya know.

    But, PAC 10 would have to do a makeover to make themselves attractive. Put on some lipstick by cranking up the PAC 10 Network (surely not hard to do with the center of the TV universe being in LA.) Wear a nice new black dress and create their own research consortium (eggheads at Stanford go sit in the geek room at animal house). Strap on some high heels and re-do the revenue sharing thing.

    Now you’ve got a smokin’ hot attractive package worth lookin’ at. I say dump the Big ten fat girl, hitch up the pony’s and travel west. Who wants midwestern corn and beans and great lakes rust anyway?


    1. I don’t dismiss it at all, but from a financial standpoint, the Big Ten is definitely more attractive. Even though the Pac-10 has some very good markets like LA, their fan bases simply don’t have the same type of intense support in the manner of the Big Ten and SEC. At the same time, the Pacific Time Zone will always be on a drag on a potential Pac-10 Network’s traction nationally along with its traditional TV contracts. Finally, the Big Ten’s population base is still larger than the Pac-10 (even when you take into consideration the entire state of California – it’s very similar to the situation with the disproportionate share of people that live in Texas in the Big XII footprint). Certainly, I see Texas going to the Pac-10 as a very viable option (much more so than the football-focused people that think Texas would ever entertain the idea of going to the SEC), but the Big Ten’s main draw is that it would provide an instantaneous financial windfall, whereas there’s the risk of having to build something new in the Pac-10 that may or may not be better than what Texas already has in the Big XII. Money will be a huge issue here and the Big Ten is a guarantee for Texas while the Pac-10 is more of a crapshoot.


  31. SH

    Great posts. Keep them coming. As a Texan who is a big fan of the Big 10, I see this as a win-win for all. The biggest downside would be having to listen to the UT faithful say that Texas was needed to save the Big 10, especially after they have put down the Big 10 for so many years. But that is beside the point.

    The idea of taking A&M is intriguing. While I agree that a 12 team conference with just UT would make more sense, the consensus seems to be that the politicians from Texas would require the inclusion of A&M. As a Texan, I agree. As to your point No. 12 above as to how to sell the idea, I think it is a good selling point, but I think you underestimate the power of football in Texas. Just look at all the blogs from the past few months regarding the recent bi-annual high school redistricting. Everyone knows football is king in Texas, but its even more so than you can imagine.

    However, besides the politicians requiring A&M, there are strong reasons why UT may be lobbying for them to be included regardless. It mitigates almost all the other concerns.

    1. It avoids the political fight altogether. Plus, if Texas can show that it is looking out for A&M it provides them good PR throughout the state. Plus it gives them additional bragging rights – they will always be able to hold it over A&M’s head that if not for UT, A&M would not be in the Big 10.

    2. It gives them a stronger voice in the conference (if we conclude that UT/A&M will often times align themselves). PSU notwithstanding, the other schools have a long partnership together and are all based in the same region. Having A&M would give UT a partner for issues that would be important to any school – conference title games, hosting other championships, directing research down to Texas. UT would no longer be the lone southern voice in the group (though a second may not mean that much). Instead of UT having 8% of the vote, Texas would have 14-15% of the vote.

    3. The travel and geography concerns (which I agree are shortsighted and will not be much of the discussion) are mitigated since there is now at least one school that is only 100 miles away and while Texas is not next to the other states, there are two schools in Texas.

    4. As someone else already pointed out, it forever forecloses the SEC from including the state of Texas in any meaningful capacity. LSU will always have a presence in parts of east Texas and Houston, and OK (who may be destined for the SEC) will always have inroads to the North Texas/Dallas area, but by and large Texas

    In the end it is just the easiest way to sell such a bold move. And while losing a public relations battle may not have lasting negative reprecussions, the Big 10 and UT are both large and proud institutions. Neither will want to make a move unless it has almost a 100% success rate. Both have learned first hand from past experiences (dealing with ND and dealing with the breakup of the SWC) that allowing outsiders to influence a decision of this magnitute can impact your prestige.

    This is why I think we are going to see a lot of information be leaked throughout the year to allow them to gauge public interest and see where the politicians line up. Interesting, while the sports talk stations have had a field day over this , I have yet to hear a politician bring it up.


  32. SH

    Who knows what the ultimate Big 10 expansion will look like, if anything. But let’s assume UT/A&M join to make it a 13 team conference. Then what. Thirteen seems like an odder number than 11, so they must naturally expand to 14. Will they, probably, but I see no reason for them to expand any time soon. Even if ND wants to joint immediately.

    It took the Big 10 forty years to add an 11th team, and now it looks like after 15 years, they are willing to add a 12th (and maybe a 13th). The best course of action for the conference would likely be to take the necessary time to assimilate the new teams into the conference and to see how things shake out. Assess the impact of the BTN from the expansion, see what unfolds with the BCS.

    Obviously, the Pac 10 will look to expand, but they are not likely to pick a team that the Big 10 would ever truly consider. The SEC may expand (though the TV contract situation indicates they would stand pat for a while), but if it were to look anywhere, it would likely be OK or a southern ACC school.

    The Big 10 will be the premier conference (as it always has been). It may not always boast the best football or basketball teams, but it will continue to be the most prestigious and financially sound conference.

    So if it was a 13 member conference, why would it immediately consider a Nebraska or Missouri to even out the West side or look to a Syracuse, Rutgers, MD to expand east. Or even take a ND that really only has one thing in common with the other schools – a good football program in the Midwest.

    Ultimately, the Big 10 will have their pick from several desirable schools. But it will be in their best interest to wait a few years to see who is most desirable. Ten years ago, ND would have defintely been that school, now maybe not. Will ND still be desirable in 5 years, who knows?

    If we use your math and conclude that UT/A&M is 11+2 equaling 14 (or at least 13.5), then the 14th school must be equivalent to gettin to 15-16. Doesn’t sound like a MD, Syrcuse or Rutgers or a Nebraska. But in 5 years, who knows.


    1. Richard

      The Big10 has already said they’ll consider 12, 14, or 16 teams, but ruled out odd-numbered teams again for scheduling purposes (too many bye weeks lead to peculiarities like the 2010 football schedule where both Michigan and OSU have a bye week before facing PSU). The 14th team can just make up the numbers if number 12 & 13 are big enough, and I believe Nebraska does more than make up numbers in football (albeit they are weak in research and basketball). You also get returns to scale as a megaconference. Note that the Big10 only has 15% more population than the ACC and 20% more population than the Pac10, but gets over twice as much TV money.


      1. M

        “The Big10 has already said they’ll consider 12, 14, or 16 teams, but ruled out odd-numbered teams again for scheduling purposes”

        I vaguely recall hearing something like this, but do you have a link? It seems like if a school doesn’t justify going from 11 to 12 (which the general opinion at least on this blog eliminates all but Texas and ND), it would not justify going from 13 to 14.


      2. Richard

        I read it somewhere back in December. You can probably google it up.

        I think they were reserving that 12th spot for ND, plus, back when PSU was added, the BTN wasn’t around and the difference in TV revenue between the different conferences was rather small.


  33. Justin


    Another great post, I think you discount Missouri’s chances.

    If Colorado leaves for the PAC 10, I think Texas will seriously explore its options. I don’t know if one Big 12 school’s departure will compel Texas to accept Big 10’s overtures.

    If Missouri joins the Big 10, then I think the handwriting is on the wall and Texas will leave. We can argue about whether CU brings the Denver market, and whether the Big 12 can overcome that, but if you lose CU and MU, that’s the three largest markets outside of Texas, which will force Texas to either create a 21st century version of the SWC (TCU or Houston is likely to be added to the Big 12), or leave.

    To me, the Big 10 invites Missouri if they know it seals the deal with Texas. If Texas is going to come with A&M, you need a 14th school anyway.

    Would the Big 10 stop there? My guess is there is little difference between 14 and 16, so the Big 10 may just decide that its worth maximizing TV revenue and destroying two conferences in the process.

    I figure Pitt gets one of the spots. Just like A&M locks up Texas for the Big 10, Pitt locks up Pennsylvania from a future ACC raid.

    The 16th spot is probably between Syracuse and Rutgers. Both have their advantages. Cuse is more known for their secondary sports — while Rutgers is a speculative play.


    1. Richard

      Pitt is great in all respects except it doesn’t expand the Big10 footprint. In any case, the Big12 is doomed if the Big10 took Nebraska as well.

      I’d prefer either Maryland or Colorado to Mizzou or Syracuse, but we may want to let the Pac10 take Colorado to maintain harmony and Maryland may not want to leave it’s ACC basketball rivalries.


  34. Pingback: Top Posts — WordPress.com

  35. Mike R

    Looking forward to the Big East post. Agree with those who are pessimistic about the long-term prospects of ND as a national school.

    1) I don’t think it has the pull it once had as the de facto flagship school for Catholic immigrants and their kids. Those groups are more assimilated and the state flagship schools probably exert a greater pull.

    2) Look at NBC’s ratings. They’re competitive, but more often than not the ABC 3:30 ET game or CBS’ SEC game is the top-rated college game of any given weekend.

    3) Except for Charlie Weis, who was seen by WR and QB hopefuls as a ticket to the NFL, the school has not been able to recruit in depth. That’s partly a function of the fact that for most teenagers, ND’s image is as the team that gets its head handed to it by USC and Michigan. They weren’t born in 1988 and could care less about Joe Montana and Nick Eddy.


    1. Jake

      They couldn’t care less, you mean. If they could care less, that means they do care somewhat.

      And I think you might be overly pessimistic. Notre Dame’s recruiting classes have been better than a lot of people give them credit for – in fact, that appears to have been Willingham’s main strength. They just aren’t turning the talent into winning teams.

      As for demographics, there’s a reason Notre Dame played a home game in San Antonio – they’re trying to get Hispanics interested in the school. The Irish may not have the same kind of allure to students from their faith that, say, BYU has, but there will always be plenty of Catholics who make Notre Dame one of their top choices.

      But if you want to be pessimistic, Notre Dame hired Brian Kelly as their head coach. Good luck with that.


  36. mike m

    Enjoying everyone’s analysis on this. I’m an Aggie, and would rather keep the current Big 12 as is, but that’s unlikely.

    One angle i haven’t seen discussed much… the possibilities that could flow from the pending Comcast purchase of NBC, and their rumored desire to use NBC’s well-established broadcast & cable properties to form the first viable national competitor to ABC/ESPN.

    That scenario involves getting the ACC, Big 12, and Pac-10, giving them top-tier national college content to go w/ their NFL, NBA, Olympics, etc programming, and rebranding MSNBC or CNBC or something.

    A smartly arranged joint-venture among those 3 conferences and Comcast would have a population base of 150 million people, a coast-to-coast footprint with the ability to put together marquee games in all major sports (in-conference, OOC, and Notre Dame, fwiw). NBC/Comcast would be able to bring new inventory of national TV coverage slots to the table, equivalent to those of AbcEspn/Cbs (unlike FSN).

    If something like that were really in the pipeline it might change Texas’ equation, because if the money and TV exposure were closer to even (maybe through uneven distribution), my gut says the the political, alumni, and fan support for Texas going to the Big Ten would dry up quickly… (every thing is going their way in the B12, except the money).

    I’m not a TV expert and haven’t given it much critical thought beyond this, so passing it along to you analysts out there to determine if a Comcast Superconference holds any water…


    1. Dcphx

      Comcast owns Verses. That’s where you’d see that sort of programing rather than a rebranding of MSNBC or CNBC.

      Verses already has the NHL, Tour de France, Mountain West Conference football, IRL, a few Pac10 & Big12 fb games and some MMA.


    2. Richard

      If the Pac10, Big12, and ACC all band together to form a cable network, UT would have to share the TV money with 33 other schools instead of the 11 or 13 it would have to in the Big10. That channel/TV deal would have to be worth over 3 times what the Big10 gets.

      You could try to distribute the money unevenly, but good luck trying to do that in an alliance with 2 other conferences.


      1. Dcphx

        Well more likely than the 3 conferences banding together in a rights sale, NBC/Comcast might become a bigger player in the cfb market. Verses has struggled to get onto basic cable, but as a bigger outlet for Pac10, Big12, ACC or BE football, they may be able to negotiate better. I wouldn’t be surprised if Comcast partners on the Pac10 Network similar to Fox & the BTN.

        The Verses lineup is infinitely better than the early ESPN lineups, although I do miss Aussie rules football and English darts on ESPN.


      2. Richard

        In which case, the TV rights would still have to be about 3 times the Big10’s TV rights (even with uneven revenue sharing, they’d have to be close to that, say 2.5 times, when right now, all the TV money for all 3 conferences in all sports added together is slightly less than what the Big10 gets from its TV deals. I know there are issues with lag (the ACC, for instance, is seeking a 50% increase for it’s TV rights), and banding together may add a few more percentage points, but it’s going to be awfully hard for those conferences to go from where they are now to 3 times where they are now.


  37. David

    This is an Aggie POV here. Honestly, good riddance to Texas. A&M will be happier in the SEC and we will gladly go there and smile as Texas slips back into mediocrity. Wisconsin??, Illinois??, Big 10 football is boring. Texas A&M will still be an elite academic institution in the SEC.

    And to all of you guys disrespecting and dismissing A&M (like the guy who repeatedly referred to us as “tAMU”), screw you.


    1. Richard

      Sorry, don’t think UT will let you guys go free. More likely is that they (and the Texas legislature) would drag you guys over as a pair (and while it seems the A&M fanbase has a hard-on for the SEC, the administrators see the benefits of Big10/CIC membership).


  38. Tyler

    Just to add a little more to the merits of A&M as a companion (beyond academics and locking down the television markets in Texas): the football has clearly been mediocre as of late, but they do bring a lot to the table in terms of the non-football athletics. They won three NCAA team national championships last year (men’s golf, men’s outdoor track/field, women’s outdoor track/field), both basketball teams are ranked (and have been tournament teams each of the past 4 years or so), the women’s soccer and softball have been deep in the NCAA tournaments in the past few years, and baseball has come close to getting back to the CWS. Hell, A&M beat Texas in the silly “Lone Star Showdown” (a trophy is given to one of the two schools based on results from head to head competition in all sports during the year) two years ago and tied them last year. In essence: the football situation at A&M is by no means representative of the quality of the athletic department’s competitive product as a whole.

    That said, football drives most of this conversation, so I do get why A&M feels like little brother. Still, not a bad little brother to have when you look at the big picture.


  39. Dcphx

    Some semi-official information from B10 side. Barry Alvarez has indicated that there “were” 15 schools on “an” initial list.


    Madison — Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said Friday that Big Ten officials have hired a firm to research potential candidates as the conference considers expansion and that 15 programs were included in an initial report.

    Alvarez declined to identify schools on the list of 15 candidates but acknowledged he did not see Texas on the list.

    “In our initial study, there wasn’t anything on Texas,” Alvarez said.

    “You saw what happened a handful of years ago with the ACC and the Big East,” Alvarez said. “I think there may be a re-alignment, and I think people are out there trying to position themselves, saying: ‘When the music stops, we better have a chair.’

    “I think people are looking right now and trying to decide what’s best for them. I think our league is doing the same thing.”

    One school Alvarez doesn’t see joining the Big Ten or any other league is Notre Dame.

    The commentary about ND is not surprising to anyone who follows them. If there’s anyone who has ND’s pulse it’s Alvarez from his time as an assistant to Holtz.

    Initial list not having Texas on it means absolutely nothing in my opinion. The initial list may have already been reduced and/or added to.

    Who I think could be on the initial list in no particular order:
    1 Notre Dame (i)
    2 Missouri (b12)
    3 Nebraska (b12)
    4 Colorado (b12)
    5 Iowa State (b12)
    6 Pittsburgh (be)
    7 Syracuse (be)
    8 Rutgers (be)
    9 UConn (be)
    10 Virginia (acc)
    11 Maryland (acc)
    12 Boston College (acc)
    13 Virginia Tech (acc)
    14 Vanderbilt (sec)
    15 Tennessee (sec)
    16 Arkansas (sec)
    17 Kentucky (sec)

    Obviously there are more than 15 here, but those are all of the BCS conference teams that are reasonably close to the B10 footprint. I don’t think they would reach beyond the 6 BCS conferences, but if they did maybe Temple and Marshall would be options as well.

    While I know that most people haven’t really considered the SEC teams as options, if there is a conference that could poach from the SEC, it’s the B10. Vandy’s an obvious academic fit. The other three are pretty borderline and I’ve not looked into their research activity. Arkansas & Kentucky were the last two ranked schools before Tier 3 in the latest US News rankings. Tennessee is a bit behind Missouri/Nebraska


    1. Richard

      Who’s the freakin’ idiot firm if they didn’t have UT on the initial list?

      By all the criteria listed (academics, size, size of arenas, attendance, populace in that specific area), UT would be at or near the top. In fact, it’s hard to even come up with schools that aren’t already in the Big10 that come close to UT in those categories (Florida, then . . .UCLA?)


      1. Mike B.

        In case anyone hasn’t read the article, the 15 schools weren’t mentioned. Alvarez said, “In our initial study, there wasn’t anything on Texas.”

        I read this two ways:
        1) Texas is such an obvious candidate, they don’t need a search firm to study them, and this study was only conducted if they choose to add multiple schools.
        2) Texas will be included in a subsequent study.


      2. Richard

        In which case, why bother going through with the exercise (since ND, according to Alvarez, isn’t a target this time around). Unless they’re looking to add solely for research reasons and don’t mind taking a hit in TV money (unlikely, since “value-added” was first on the list of criteria), or they want Nebraska (less ambitious choice that could move the needle, if only slightly, due to their national appeal), there’s no point to announcing that they’re going to expand. Other that certain schools on the West Coast (even farther away than Texas) or the SEC (little incentive to join the Big10, unless Florida really wants to position itself as a serious research university and doesn’t mind chucking away all it’s traditional rivalries), no other schools increase the share of the pie even slightly for the current Big10 members.


      3. Richard

        No reason to exclude Nebraska even if geography is important. In any case, Missouri & Rutgers don’t increase the TV money per school, and Pitt decreases it, even. If it’s a choice of only 1 of those 3 schools, without Texas or Nebraska (or ND) as the endgame, I’d oppose expansion.


      4. Steve

        Pitt will be the 12th team.

        Great academics, research and large endowment along with geography win the bid. Big Ten goes to 9 conference games, but no championship game. Penn State plays Pitt in annual rivalry game the week following Michigan/Ohio State on ABC’s national network to keep the Big Ten relevant until bowl games. Gives Penn State a travel partner and keeps JoePa happy. Chance to build great rivalry with nearby Ohio State.


      5. Paul

        Three reasons why Big Ten will expand even if it’s just Missouri or Pitt:

        1. Media reports here in Michigan over last several months indicate AD’s are becoming more vociferous about scheduling problems resulting from odd number(11)of teams combined with complex television schedules.

        2. Most of the AD’s, and fans, want to go to 9 conference games. Twelve teams solves this problem. (With 11 teams, one team will end up with only 8 conference games if Big Ten goes to a 9 game schedule. This could create big issues if the first place team only plays 8 games.)

        3. Big Ten Network needs more original programming. BTN has done a great job so far, but there are still times they show too many reruns. Better to show original programming of a second tier sport like wrestling, volleyball or hockey than frequent replays of the same basketball and football games. Adding even one more team provides more content and value.


      6. Richard

        In terms of dollars, these are small benefits (less than the monetary benefits of holding a championship game). The Big10 has held up from expanding even though most of these reasons also existed in the past. If the Big10 adds only 1 school and it’s a lesser school than ND or Nebraska, I’d be shocked (and would have to consider them idiots).


      7. Steve

        – $68M Health Research Grant for Pitt.
        – $15M Physics Labs Research Grant for Pitt.
        – Pitt Biomedical Researchers Reap “Billions”
        in Federal Recovery Act Grants

        With all due respect to football, basketball and the Big Ten Network, Big Ten presidents may also be looking very closely at research funding like the three recent examples that I attached below.





  40. Playoffs Now!

    To expand on that, regardless of the political games, ‘Plausible Deniability’ statements are often based on momentary snapshots of a situation. For example, Colorado bolting for the Pac10 could quickly change the equation for many parties.

    Just a few of a zillion reasons why money and the CIC might not trump other interests. Perhaps UT prefers to be the big fish in a little pond they can more control. No matter how many teams leave the Big 12, there are always non-AQ conference wannabees that could be plugged in as replacements. Boise, BYU, Utah, TCU, SMU, Houston, Tulsa, etc. Legit arguments can be made why adding any or all of these would be a bad idea, but we aren’t making the ultimate decisions. Say CO moves west, NE and MO go BT, then BYU, TCU, and Houston can step in. That’ll shift OU and OSU to the north and make UT master of a SWC-lite division (variations of which have been talked about for awhile now) while improving the B12’s strength of schedule in football. May very well increase UT’s chances of winning BCS computer/poll battles for the faux champ game slots versus their chances as a BT member. Football is just one facet, but the prestige of virtually staying in the faux title game rotation is worth a lot of dollars.

    Or maybe enough BT schools don’t want to bring in a team that is potentially too good. ND and NE ain’t what they used to be, and MO, MD, Rutgers won’t consistently be a strong threat to take one of the conferences BCS bids. Similar concerns in other areas where schools would compete in conference, not just in athletics.

    If the Pac10 is unlikely to ever take a BYU because of liberal bigotry, it is possible that enough decision makers in the BT could have a similar distaste for anything Texas (or vice-versa.) Emotion, bigotry, and ideology have scuttled many, many a good idea. Who really knows all the possible minefields out there, but seemingly slam dunks often don’t happen.

    I still say UT will end up in the BT, but the landscape is dynamic and there are plenty of good reasons why this might not happen.


    1. Jake

      Remember – think like a university president, not a sports fan. As odd as it sounds, winning national championships isn’t a top priority. Making piles of cash is. There’s no guarantee that you’ll win a title, no matter how easy your road to the championship game appears. In the Big Ten, however, Texas would be GUARANTEED boatloads more money than they would make in the Big 12, from both athletics and academic research. This is like two birds in the hand over one in the bush.


  41. SH

    I wouldn’t read too much into any statement from a Big 10 official, AD, president, coach or otherwise which would indicate that UT is not an intended target. If they were to come out and say that UT was on any list, that would be announcing to the world that UT is the only target they really want because UT is far and away the biggest fish.

    And if no deal happens, then the Big 10 can always claim that UT was never a serious target. The Big 10 doesn’t want to be seen as being rejected by its No 1. target again.


  42. According to a Dennis Dodd piece at cbs.com, the Big Ten has commissioned a firm to study the feasibility of 15 schools as expansion candidates. This list does not contain either ND or Texas. One could argue that they don’t need to be studied or that these schools might be insulted by being on such a list. A simpler argument would be that they aren’t on the list because the Big Ten knows they will say, “No.” An even better reason is that the Big Ten has already decided not to invite them. Why? Read further.

    Texas already brings in a bit more than Ohio State but Ohio State supports something like twice as many sports as Texas. Do you really think Ohio State would agree to give Texas $10 million more per year to put into its football and basketball programs? I think you can be sure that Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, etc. would demand that Texas add some 10 or so sports at the very least. I think they will simply veto Texas. Pretty simple when you look at it that way.


    1. Richard

      That logic is somewhat shortsighted and only makes sense if the Big10 teams think Texas will stay in the Big12 forever. If the Big10 rejected Texas and the Longhorns go to the Pac10 (which then starts it’s own cable network), that logic would look incredibly stupid (especially if the Big10 precipitates the fall of the Big12 by taking Mizzou or Nebraska).


  43. I forgot the link — [url]

    And to be clear. While Texas would be getting $10 million in new money, Ohio State, for instance, would be getting nothing more so that would put Ohio State at a significant economic disadvantage since any bump OSU would get with the addition of Texas, Texas would get as well.

    I might add that putting Texas in the league would kill off Big Ten baseball and, though it is a little less obvious, Big Ten golf and track and field. No way that the Big Ten adds a school that would dominate in outdoor sports forever — at least until global warming hits the north.


  44. Richard

    In any case, I agree with SH. Think about the current expansion strategy of the Big10 & Pac10 and how different it is from all the past attempts at expansion (both successful & failed ones).

    When the Big10 took PSU, nothing was announced until PSU had agreed. When the ACC took Miami, nothing was announced until Miami had agreed. When the Pac10 tried to get Colorado in the ’90’s, I don’t remember the Pac10 announcing any expansion plan; they just offered Colorado, who rejected, and I don’t recall reading anything in the press. Likewise nothing was put in the public when UT tried to join the Pac10 and Big10 when the SWC was breaking up. Finally, with ND, the Big10 just stuck an offer out there.

    This time, you see 2 conferences announcing expansion plans but being vague about who they are going after. Why would they do that? You don’t go this route if you’re going after an independent or your target is a school you’re sure will jump at the chance to join your conference. That means the Pac10 isn’t targeting Utah (or any other MWC or WAC school) and the Big10 isn’t targeting Missouri or any Big East school (only). You _do_ go this route if your target is a school that is comfortable with the status quo, but would be forced to look around if the conference it’s in looks like it will disintegrate. That means, despite protestations, the Pac10 is targeting Colordao and/or Texas, and the Big10 is targeting Texas and/or Nebraska. Now, why the protestations by the Big10 that they’re not so interested in Texas? Note that the Pac10 has few qualms about stating that Colorado and Utah look to be logical fits. That’s because there are no negative repercussions for stating an interest in those schools. The state legislatures in those states won’t complicate negotiations and demand other schools in the state join the Pac10 with big brother (well, I’ve heard that BYU has so much pull in Utah that they might not allow Utah to go to the Pac10 without BYU, but that would be a self-defeating maneuver, since Utah is _definitely_ not the Pac10’s chief target, and they would just take Colorado with CSU, or Colorado with New Mexico, or any other combination of Colorado with a non-Utah school).

    So so far, nothing the Big10 has done shows it’s not interested in Texas. Now granted, I would look pretty foolish if the Big10 expands by 3 and one of the schools isn’t Texas, or by one and the 1 school isn’t Texas, ND, or Nebraska, but the Big10 would look even more foolish in that case, if Texas truly wasn’t their top (non-ND) target.


    1. Tom

      I find it odd that the list of potential candidates is as big as 15 considering neither Texas nor Notre Dame are on the list.

      Assuming the two automatic cutoffs are whether the school is an AAU member, and whether the school is located somewhat near the midwest, (if Texas is not on the list, then I’m assuming geography is a factor,) then you can come up with the following:


      Big East:

      Big 12:
      Iowa State



      It shouldn’t take a committee to have to weed out schools such as West Virginia, Cincinnati, Louisville, etc. Anyone with a brain knows the Big Ten would never offer any of these schools.

      I’m going to go ahead and include UConn, a school that is not an AAU member, but that still is fairly well regarded.

      Furthermore, you can probably lop off Iowa State, as the Cyclones would likely cost each Big Ten school millions in TV revenue. However, I’m going to keep Pitt in the discussion, even though they do not add new TV viewers, they probably bring the best academics among the possible candidates.

      Vanderbilt is extremely unlikely to make a move seeing as that they bank almost just as much in the SEC and have been in the SEC for a long time.

      I am also going to cut UVA, only because while they meet the criteria in every facet, I find it hard to believe that the state government would let them go to the Big Ten without Virginia Tech after having made the ACC take Va Tech instead of Syracuse years ago. I would throw in Va Tech as a sort of package deal to the Big Ten, but the Hokies are not an AAU member, and they would be tied for last in the Big Ten according to US News and World Report. (I can see the league making an exception for UConn who is not an AAU member, but I can’t see the league making two exceptions for Va Tech.)

      Buffalo gets the cut as well, because I’m sure the Big Ten does not want to become the laughingstock of college football.

      So that basically leaves eight schools, one of which is not an AAU member. Basically, sitting here from my computer, I just narrowed down the list of candidates in 15 minutes, surely a “search committee” is not needed to do what I just did.

      Either this expansion committee story is more along the lines of the many unsubstantiated rumors that we have heard, or the Big Ten is seriously digging in the crates for some possible additions.


  45. aps

    Great blog, Frank the Tank. Lots of good information as well as sound analysis.

    First, I am an Ohio State alum and have followed the Big Ten since the 70’s. I do believe that the Big Ten will do what is in the best interest of the Big Ten and that pertains to the whole package. Any university that will be added will have a sound academic program first followed by a good (not necessarily great) athletic program second. University Presidents run this conference not the Athletic Directors.

    What many people are missing is how the Big Ten operates. When Penn State was added (prior to the Internet with this 24 hour news cycle and rumors) nobody knew it was coming until it happened. Only the Presidents knew what was happening. I can remember Bo Schembecher having a cow because he was not in the loop being the AD for Michigan. Shortly afterwards, Bo resigned as AD.

    People should go back and see how Penn State was added. If I recall correctly, the President of Illinois had been a high level official (Provost or VP) at Penn State prior to going to Illinois. He knew the situation at Penn States both academically and athletically. He also knew that Penn State was concerned about the stability of their athletic program since it was so heavily dependent upon the football program doing well year end and year out. He also knew that Penn State would fit academically within the Big Ten and how similar it was to many of the Big Ten schools.

    Thus he worked with the individuals at Penn State to petition the Big Ten for entry. The University of Illinois acted as a first and Ohio State acted as a second in recommending Penn State as a member. Michigan opposed the entry of Penn State.

    I give this history as an example of how the processed worked. I know that the Big Ten Presidents have given Delaney the power to further expansion. Delaney knows what the University Presidents are looking for and what they are not looking for. Any thing he comes up with must still be approved by the University Presidents.

    As far as Barry Alvarez, I believe he is being used as a sounding board or trial balloon.

    I do believe that any university added (outside of ND) MUST BE an AAU member. And I do believe that any university that has high level administrative officials (President, VP, etc) that came from a Big Ten University or has links (individuals that now reside in high positions within a Big Ten university) has an inside track. These individuals know how Big Ten Universities think and operate. They have the contacts within the Big Ten office (Delaney) as well as within other Big Ten Universities. These are the operations, the interaction we do not see that will have more impact on who gets in and who does not given all else being equal.


  46. 4 MNC in a row

    Hard for me to figure why you, Frank the Tank, are so religiously adamant about spreading one endless argument on top of another concerning a scenario that is clearly not going to happen (and you must be aware of this as well, I have to suspect). I am guessing you must have one mighty big agenda that you, for one reason or another, have a great deal of interest in pushing upon the ignorant, public masses.

    As I stated before in my posts, Texas identifies with the West Coast much more so than with the Mid-West. No one down here, no matter how downtrodden and bland they maybe, gives a twat about anything to do with the old, ugly, utterly unexciting, butt homely Mid-west. The Mid-West is like a man still living with his mother into his 40’s. People down here give as much shit about the Mid-west as a young adolescent male typically does about an old butt woman with unattractively hanging tits. You know, the type that is just on the verge of becoming elderly and has aged and shrivelled up pre-maturely due to her two pack a day smoking habit – a kind of women, fittingly, which I am sure the Mid-west is absolutely full of. No matter what kind of money you are talking about, those are the kind of images which the Mid-west invokes upon the imaginations of everyone who is lucky enough not to live inside of that region referred to accurately as the “rust belt”.

    And don’t get me started on the B10’s ugly ass cheerleaders and that region’s typically ugly ass girls in general. Yuck. The only thing uglier than the hairy ass crack shots of your “Ms. Piggy look-alike” cheerleaders, is the slow-butt, hum drum, completely uninspiring brand of football that is played on the field in the B10. B10 football is like watching a bunch white boys playing b-ball. Yawn. B10 teams look as if they are playing on a field sprayed with super sticky molasses – that’s how fucking slow and stiff your B10 players look on the field.

    Before the SEC started offering their games in the mornings down here in Texas it was sheer torture having those those B10 games pop up on the screen everytime you flipped on the tube, since there was nothing else on. Instead of making one feel uplifted and giving one a sense of a release from the weight of the world, watching the monstrosity known as Mid-western football, along with its monstrous, butt ugly looking cheerleaders, makes a person feel even more uptight, stressed, dissatisfied, and suicidal than before. Everytime I happen to B10 football, I always wonder what’s the fucking point. What’s the fucking point of playing football and having cheerleaders in short skirts jump up and down and spread their legs, when the football played is so god damn pitiful and the girls so god damn, hellaciously, butt ugly. Better to fucking watch the nothing going on a blank white wall than to watch the stress inducing, pitiful thing you call B10 football. Believe me, Bud, if B10 football fell off the edge of the world and disappeared forever, nobody down here in Texas would give one damn bit of shit and most probably would never even have noticed that it was gone. That’s how truly irrelevant B10 football is in Texas.

    Texas and Cali already have a built in rivalry which the entire population of both states share in common. Texas is the conservative upstart who wants to return the rest of the country back to its conservative roots – whatever the hell that means. Cali is the liberal icon who wants to smoke and ingest all the roots it can get its hands on, presuming it gets them off, gets them high, and makes their homo sex more pleasurable. Cali is the concrete example and proof that the libs offer for their belief that liberalism can work and can even offer a lifestyle which is preferable. For the longterm (and these conference realignments will look at the long run, one would suspect), both Texas and Cali are in regions which will grow, whereas as the Mid-West will either decline or remain decreptly the same. The demographics in Texas and Cali are more similar and much more desirable to national advertisers than that of the B10. Both Texas and Cali are still youth orientated cultures, still flush with young, uppity dumb butt professionals who like spending alot of money trying futilely to be something they are not – and advertisers just love such a population segment. The Midwest demographics, in constrast, is filled with smelly, old rotten farts, most with already one foot in the ground – not the most desirable group in the world for greedy, ethic-less businessman. The Pac10 along with Texas could do as well or much better than the B10 and, in the long run, will definitely do much better than that decaying, old fart region you call the Mid-West.

    Finally, as I said before, you are failing to mention or to even consider the most important point of all. All these realignments will be done from a national point of view and not from the interests of just one conference or just one school. There is just too much money and interests at stake to allow schools and conferences to go here and there, willy nilly, just out of chance or their own desires, interests, or volition. If that were allowed to happen who knows what the fuck would happen, chaos or an alignment which does not maximize revenue from a national perspective could ensue. Let the public believe what they may, but one has to believe that all this realignment and the formation of super conferences is going to be a top-down affair and will be dictatorially coordinated nationally in a top-down fashion. And from a national perspective, there is just too much money and interest to be lost from a Pac10 and Texas conference not forming. It is not in the interests of college football and the money it will generate for Texas to go the B10, while letting all that potential money and opportunity on the West coast rot away and be lost forever. It just ain’t gonna happen.

    No matter how much you wish to convince people otherwise, Frankie, those people coordinating the whole orchestra are not that dumb. Now they may not be smart and they may even be, in fact, dumb, but they ain’t that dumb, Frank – they know that mo’ money is betta’ than less dough. You know better than that, my friend, so why all this endless verbiage about something you probably know ain’t gonna happen to begin with?


    1. Kyle

      So in summary, the Big Ten sucks because it’s ugly and slow and nobody cares about them.

      A jingoistic rivalry between the free state of Texas and the People’s Republic of California is preferable to competing with anyone in the Midwest.

      Anyone bothering with a measured analysis of the academic and financial factors at play is dumb because “they know that mo’ money is betta’ than less dough.”

      Well, shit; I’m certainly convinced.


      1. Richard

        Thanks Kyle, for making my day.

        I also got a kick out of how he ranted on and on about how Texas would never join a Midwestern conference, and what did Texas do when the SWC collapsed? Join a Midwestern conference.

        I guess his next spiel will try to convince us how Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa aren’t Midwestern states. Oh wait, Iowa’s in the Big10. Hope his head doesn’t explode.


  47. Jake

    Frank –
    I have a question about the Big Ten Network. It’s already on the extremely basic 100 tier for me down here in Texas with AT&T Uverse (the same tier as the ESPN channels; the NFL Network and Versus, by comparison, are on the 200 tier, which is slightly less popular). I haven’t checked thoroughly, but judging by the reactions of my friends with other television services, the BTN has similar distribution across the board. So, just how much of a revenue boost could the conference expect from adding UT if they already have so much penetration with their network in the Lone Star State?


    1. Richard

      They can charge the cable companies more for each of their subscribers in Texas.

      Get enough national programs (Texas, ND, and Nebraska along with OSU, PSU, and Michigan), and they may be able to raise the national rate as well.


  48. osman lake

    Frank,I’d love to hear your opinion as to why if the the BIG TEN wants Notre Dame to join the conference why do they continue to play ND in non conference games. IMHO this only helps ND remain an independent.


    1. Richard

      ??? ND won’t join the Big10 just because they can’t get to play Purdue and MSU any more. Even Michigan isn’t a huge deal for them, since they could just start an annual rivalry with Miami instead or something like that.


    2. Gopher86

      Notre Dame is a national brand. The Big 10, though the most popular, has a regional reach. Playing Notre Dame is a guaranteed nationally televised game, no matter if it is Purdue or Michigan.

      Also, do you want to be the athletic director that has to explain that the rivalry was discontinued due to a leverage move?


  49. Vincent

    If Texas is indeed out of the running, I sense the Big Ten will select three of these five: Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Rutgers and Syracuse. All are in states adjoining current Big Ten schools, and all are AAU members. Four of the five have fan bases in large urban markets (SU has many fans in both upstate New York and the metro NYC market), and the fifth, Nebraska, still is a national “brand name.” I’d be surprised to see the Big Ten go to 16, but if it did, these five would make the most sense if Texas or Notre Dame isn’t in the mix.


    1. Richard

      Maybe, though without ND or Texas, there’s little incentive to expand by even 1, much less 3. Maybe adding Nebraska + Syracuse + Rutgers (or Maryland + Syracuse + Rutgers) really expands everyone’s slice of the pie significantly. Maybe. I don’t really see it, though.

      In any case, I won’t count UT out of the running unless the Big10 actually goes ahead and takes a bunch of schools not called ND or UT. Remember, again, it’s not actually in the Big10’s interest to say Texas is a target.


  50. 4 MNC in a row is absolutely right in saying that Texas feels closer to the West Coast than to the Big Ten. Culturally, Texas is a Western/Southern state — nothing about it says “we love Northern values and weather.” Texas is closest to Arizona culturally and perhaps SoCal than the rest of the Pac10. Definitely they are far from NoCal, Oregon, and Washington. IMO, from growing up to adulthood in Oklahoma and Texas, Texas is going to make the Big 12 work for them somehow. Certainly the Pac10 is not attractive — they represent a worse option than the Big 12 is itself.

    The poster trying to figure out how the list could have 15 members is on point. IMO much of that is “due diligence” and means nothing. The real list probably has 6 or 8.

    Of the Big 12 schools, clearly Missouri and Nebraska are culturally closest to us, specifically Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota. I would add Oklahoma and Kansas to the list as well (personal experience) as being marginally possible from a cultural standpoint. I think it is very important that the people of any state school we add feel some affinity for Midwestern values. If not, it just won’t work.

    By the way, this whole argument is being advanced by Big 10 people like Frank. Where are the UT bloggers and fans and university leakers?


    1. I’ve linked to several posts from Texas blogs and message boards such as Barking Carnival, Burnt Orange Nation, Orangebloods and Hornsfans discussing a move to the Big Ten. There’s actually quite a bit of support for the move from Texas alums, especially if they’re faced with a Big XII sans Colorado and/or Missouri. It’s everyone else in the Big XII that’s pooh-poohing the idea because of the perception that “Texas owns the Big XII so NFW will they leave.”


    2. Richard

      I don’t think cultural affinity has much place in this discussion. How much cultural affinity did Texas have for places like Kansas, Nebraska, or Iowa (really, the whole Big8 outside of OK) when they merged with the Big8? How much cultural affinity did BC have with NC, SC, and Georgia when they joined the ACC?


      1. Adam

        I think there’s a fair degree of commonality between Texas and the rest of the Great Plains, like Kansas and Nebraska. I agree that BC didn’t have much connection with the rest of the ACC, but then again, I think that’s been a big mistake for both parties.


    3. Gopher86

      As a Kansas fan, I will tell you that there is an outsider perception of Texas in Big 8 country. Many believe the merge of the SWC schools to the Big 8 to have been a marriage of convenience or opportunism to begin with. Over the last 12 years or so, there has been very little integration of rivalries between the Big 8 & Texas besides Oklahoma and to a lesser extent, OSU. There is certainly disdain between many of the schools (specifically Nebraska) and Texas.

      At the same time, Big 8 fans (those that aren’t drinking haterade) recognize what a terrific success the merge has been from a financial and athletic standpoint. Uninformed fans may welcome Texas leaving, but those that recognize their importance fear them dissolving their ties.

      So I will say this: Texas is a great asset to any conference, but they are certainly very fickle about having their way. If they could, they would be an independent, but I don’t think they’ll try their hand at that, despite the chatter. The idea that Texas shares a culture with anyone is ludicrous, because they have their own and like it that way.

      I would agree that the majority of the Big 12 North teams share common values with Big 10 teams. Kansas and Nebraska folk consider themselves in the Midwest. It’s really of no issue, because the Big 10 will not add a like minded school unless it meets financial and academic criteria first.

      As to this idea being advanced by solely Big 10 fans, I think you’ll find that quite a few Big 12 fans find merit to it. A poll on the BringontheCats site (K-State blog) showed that 50% of their fans believe a team will leave the Big 12 over the next few years.


  51. Playoffs Now!

    If Texas to the BT is impossible because it doesn’t fit geographically and culturally, I guess the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East will also never succeed?


  52. Richard

    In any case, this is how I see this play out:

    Keep in mind the key fact:
    If the Big12 loses Mizzou, Colorado, or even Nebraska, it would be akin to the SWC losing Arkansas.

    This is why the Big10 & Pac10 expansion strategy (of announcing they’re looking to expand rather than just engaging in secret negotiations with their targets) makes sense, because UT & TAMU (or even Nebraska & Colorado) may not be willing to leave right off the bat.

    Mizzou is, though (for the Big10). They’re the chink in the Big12 armor. If Mizzou desires to leave, the Big10 can play them off of Nebraska; essentially telling Nebraska that the Big12 will collapse and the Big10 will take either the Tigers or you. Result:
    Step 1: I foresee Nebraska (or Mizzou, if Nebraska is illogical and stays in the Big12) joining the Big10 in 2012 to form a 12-team conference.

    Step 2: If no one leaves the Big12, Colorado has little incentive to jump from the Big12 to the Pac10. If the Big12 is in danger of breaking apart (or becoming a glorified SWC), they have to protect their own interests. The Big12 would likely get BYU, but they wouldn’t be a full replacement for Nebraska or even Missouri. Result: Colorado to the Pac10 in 2012 (with second team to be determined later).

    Step 3: The Big12 is going down the same death spiral the SWC went down. Now what about ND? I had thought that ND will be obstinate, and would never give up independence, even if it means long-term irrelevancy, but I’ve been hearing noises from people saying they have contacts in the ND administration saying this time, the Irish will jump. Result: ND announces they will join the Big10 starting in 2016 (right in time for the new TV contract). This allows ND time to clean up it’s schedule (as an independent, they’ve already scheduled a ton of games for the future and to mollify its alums).

    Step4: So the Big12 is in a death spiral and both the Pac10 and Big10 have 1 open spot. UT and TAMU could split up (the SEC would be an option for TAMU as well, but they’d take a financial hit to expand just right now). Ultimately, I see the Big10 winning out and both UT and TAMU joining the Big10, also in 2016. This really gives UT the best of both worlds; they get a 4-year window of independence to maximize their profits (10 home games, anybody?), yet also the long-term security of conference affiliation.

    Steps 5, 6, 7: The Big10 is up to 15, the Pac10 up to 11. The ACC may look to expand up the Eastern seasboard, but the Big10 would win any head-to-head battle. I see them heading there to get more of the metropolises on the East Coast (and because ND would want to play games there). The Pac10 still needs a 12th team. Since I see them losing out on the Texas sweepstakes, they’ll settle for Utah, New Mexico, or maybe Kansas or Nebraska if Mizzou went to the Big10.
    Result: Rutgers to the Big10, Nebraska (if they’re available, or Utah or Kansas or NM to the Pac10). The ACC decides to take the basketball (and academically respectable) schools of Syracuse & Pitt (remember that their basketball TV contract pays them more than their football TV contract). They may take UConn and another Florida school like USF as well to have more of a presence in Florida.

    Final Step:
    By 2020, the SEC would finally be looking to negotiate a new TV contract. Oklahoma has been looking to jump for years. They finally join the SEC. The SEC also wants to contest Texas recruiting with UT and TAMU. Thus I think it’s likely that they’ll take OKSt. & TTech as well. That makes 15. Lucky 16 will be either Mizzou (if they hadn’t jumped to the Big10 long ago) or Kansas (if they hadn’t gotten in to the Pac10/12/14/16 by then).

    Texas recruiting will be a boondoggle. The SEC schools (OK, OKSt., TTech, LSU), with their nonexistant academic standards may win more head-to-head battles, but UT and TAMU can at least comfort themselves with the extra research funding they’re getting. The SEC, ACC, and Big10 will all have 16 teams. The Pac-whatever may still be at 12, because they face less competition to expand, and there really aren’t many great targets out west, besides the old Big12 schools. The Big East may still exist (standard bearers: Cincy & WVA) as well as the Big8/12 (standard bearer: BYU), and they may still have BCS bids, but by this time in the 2020’s, there would be 14-16 BCS bids, mostly hogged by the Big4 conferences, and a plus-1, putting in place essentially a playoff system.



    Using all the arguments Frank has raised, isn’t the ultimate direction this realignment should go is 1 or 2 superconferences solely designed to maximize TV audience? Essentially NCAA East & West, or North & South? Why not take the top 1/2 of the Big 10, SEC & PAC-10, plus Texas and maybe A&M and a few ACC schools? That’s about 20-24 teams that could cover every major TV market in the country, two 12-team divisions whose champ games would be semi-finals for the big trophy at the end. Only about 25 programs are profitable anyway, so why not put them all together to play for all the real marbles, and the rest of CFB can be relegated to a “minor league” 24-team conference, then another, and another…

    The top 2-3 and bottom 2-3 teams from each tier would trade places in a relegation system like English/European soccer. This seems to be the best way to organize sports with dozens of teams with drastic differences in resources. There’s no reason to have 118 teams in “Division One” just like there’s no reason to have 100 teams in the Premier League. Buffalo & Ohio State are not in the same universe, and its a fiction to act like they are.

    Take the biggest, richest, and most TV appealing programs from around the nation, and group them together. Let the top teams from below play their way into the next higher division and stay there if they perform. If a team can’t consistently perform in one division, it falls to the next.


  54. Gopher86

    This supposes Mizzou would ever be offered. I think that the Big 10 Network is trying to build a national brand here– similar to ESPN. I could be wrong, and they could really just be after their tv sets (which I will argue are far fewer than meets the eye).

    I think that because the Big 10 has a financial interest in the size of their viewership, their 5-10 year plan is to become a nationally carried network in basic cable. Their interests are different from the Pac-10, ACC and SEC, who do not profit directly from their audiences (though the Pac-10 is going to try to bolster it for their upcoming contract).

    If you really wanted to grab the most valuable domino outside of Texas, you’d start with Nebraska. Trust me, they’d leave without remorse and offer much more than Mizzou.


  55. Theta

    Very thoughtful post Frank.

    You didn’t address the tougher schedule though Frank. If Texas and A&M go to the big 10 and play a 9 conference schedule and have OU as a non-conference game that sounds like a tougher schedule. Right now Texas just has to beat OU and then beat the teams they are supposed to to go undefeated. Adding Iowa, Wisconsin and possibly ND and then 2 of 3 of Oh St, Penn St, Michigan sounds much tougher. Texas fans like that easy shot at the BCS Title game.

    Can you add this as one of the talking points? Would the new Big 10 new BCS terms, a 6th game, a +1 playoff? Would the Texas schedule be comparable to the Big 12 but it just looks tougher since we don’t have knowledge of these teams?


    1. Richard

      Depends on the number of teams. If the Big10 eventually goes to 16 teams, the Big10 West would have NU, the other NU, IL, Wisconsin, Minn, Iowa, UT, and TAMU. Are Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois that much tougher than OK St. and TTech? Granted, their conference championship game would be tougher, but the money would still be worth it.

      BTW, the know that Frank and others doubt a 16-team Big10 won’t come to pass because too many teams would have to give up rivalries. Really, though, it seems that the concern is giving up Michigan and OSU (Is Illinois really so intent on playing MSU or Purdue Wisconsin)? To address that, I’d have 1 protected interdivisional game and 1 rorating interdivisional game along with the 7 division games. The key thing to keep in mind is that just by going to 12 schools, the western half of the Big10 would play only OSU and Michigan half the time. At 16, all the Eastern teams would still play OSU and Michigan every year. That leaves the Western teams. They’d gain Texas as a recruiting ground, so that’d soften the objection. Still, if they’re so keen on Michigan and OSU, I’d protect Minnesota-Michigan (Little Brown Jug) and Illinois-OSU (the misshappened turtle). NU would trade OSU and Michigan for a yearly game with ND (remember they were rivals once), and Iowa would be mollified with a rivalry game with PSU. Wisconsin’s stuck with MSU, but they can be outvoted, plus they may be happy enough with going down to Texas every year. The main rivalry that’d be broken up in a 16-team Big10 is Illinois-Indiana, but I don’t think Illinois fans care (in football). Indiana may, but they can be outvoted. To throw them a bone, they can have Nebraska (who they played often in the past) or Texas as a rival.


  56. 4 MNC in a row

    In reply to Richard and Adam’s reply to me, 4 MNC in a row.

    I sense of bit of sarcasm in your being convinced, but, no matter, if you have actually been educated in one of your much ballyhooed B10, Tier I research universities, then you better bet that you ought to be convinced by such an argument.

    Who wants to be apart of what is old, unexciting, and past its prime? Once again I repeat, watching B10 football is comparable to fucking a Roseanne Barr (and I bet she’s from the Midwest) – while you are straight up sober and with your eyes wide fucking open, and in daylight of all things. I’d rather watch golf than B10 sorry ass football.

    Texas and Cali are already engaged in a deep engrained cultural and financial rivalry. They are competing with each other to determine whose cultural example this nation will follow in the future. Um, notice, no one is even bothering to consider the Mid-west in this discussion of future influence. Is it not safe to say that whereever direction the Midwestern culture may be going, assuming it’s old raggedity ass is going anywhere at all, no one in their right mind in the rest of the nation is wanting to follow suit?

    Why not translate this innate and deepy engrained rivarly and hate that Texas and Cali have for each other onto the the football field. Makes sense, does it not? One can only imagine that such a rivalry would be a big winner and certainly inspire more interest and renewed passion than any rivalry that the dull, homely Mid-west could ever hope to offer. What, you think I am the only one who can see the potential windfall from a Texas/Cali rivalry becoming an actuality on the football field? Like I said, don’t underestimate the ding dong, ethically challeged businessmen coordinating this whole realignment bruhaha.

    And, shit man, mo’ money is betta than less money. Just cause it is a simple truth, doesn’t mean it needs to be ridiculed and summarily dismissed as unconvincing. Besides you lame ass Midwesterner missed the most important point behind the argument. The revenue issue is being considered from a NATIONAL point of view and not just from that of one school or conference. The goal is to maximize the revenue for all of college football as a whole and not just for one conference like the lame butt B10 – and most certainly not if that additional B10 revenue will come at the expense of potential revenue (which is probably greater) somewhere else which would be lost as a result.

    And finally, KU, NU, MU, and ISU maybe Midwestern, but (1) they are still closer culturally and relate to Texas moreso than the eastern B10 states, like Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Penn, and Indiana. Shit man, half the people in Texas probably do not even fucking know that such states even exists (and I ain’t kidding about this). That’s an example of how utterly irrelevant those states, their culture, and their concerns are to Texans in general. As far as Texans are concerned, you guys just live in a whole ‘nother world, and we don’t care a rat’s ass about it. (2) Those states are not as Mid-western as the B10 states, but, even so, look what is happening now. Texas wants to get the fuck away from them. If Texas so badly is dying to get away from states that are only so so Midwestern, then why would it run away from them only to go into the fat, flabby, hot dog eating arms of the super-concentrated Midwestern states? (3) Also, those damn schools are just closer to Texas and that is all Texas had to work with at the time. You really think that if Texas had a legit choice, that they would actually voluntarily wish to join up with such schools as you mentioned? The only reason why Texas even bother to associate with such schools is due to convenience, lack of better options at the time, and geographic constraints. If you think that it is rational for a man to go and dump an unsightly, ugly ass girl for an even more unsightly and an even more uglier girl, then go right ahead and think that a marriage between UT and the super concentrated Midwestern states makes sense, but if you don’t, than just go ahead and admit that my points above were in fact very convincing after all – and please do so without that air of lame ass Midwestern sarcasm. Do you guys have anything up there that isn’t lame, rusted, and about to croak and die? Sure doesn’t seem like it to me after reading some of y’all’s dum dum, Midwestern posts.


      1. M

        You’ve misspelled “faggotty” (faggoty is also acceptable). Also, I’m intrigued by your constant use of profanity and obscenity combined with the initialism “b.s”. I believe that makes you a gosh darned cunt.


        1. As much fun as it’s been to have 4 MNC in a row involved in these discussions and that I personally don’t like having to engage in any type of censorship, I’m going to have to draw the line with respect to homophobic slurs (or other clearly derogatory phrases). They have no place here.


          1. Doug

            And now, back to our oirginally sscheduled broadcast….

            The Big 10 will take UT and TA&M. Colorado will go to Pac 10. Big 10 needs one more to make an even 14.

            I think the discussion is really all about who that 14th one is for the Big 10. Must be an AAU school, no doubt. Who’s left? Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa State from the Big 12 are AAU schools. Rutgers, Syracuse, Maryland, Pitt, and Vandy are others often mentioned and also in AAU.

            Out of all those one must be chosen to make 14. Looking at market value only, none add a lot of value. Missouri or Maryland are probably tied for first place. Rutgers and Maryland second. Others also rans.

            Academically Vandy and Pitt are best. Pitt adds no market value. Vandy is a small private school and although located in Nashville, few really follow the school’s athletics, and besides…why leave the SEC? That leaves Pitt. But, no extra TV sets there.

            So we are left with Missouri/Maryland/Rutgers. Big 10 has been scheduling Missouri forever in both basktball and football. Rutgers a newby in that regard and pretty squishy in anything but football recently. Couldn’t compete in basketball whatsoever. Syracuse opposite. Maryland? Can’t think of any Maryland/Big 10 school rivalry to date. Why would they keave the ACC anyway?

            Academically Rutgers and Maryland have more research production than Mizzou. But, i would’t kick Mizzou out of bed for eating crackers. Markets? STL and the non KU half of KC would be added with Mizzou. Rutgers? Some say NY market. I don’t buy it, looking at East Coast blogs. Maryland? Baltimore/DC market would open up. Lots of Big Ten alumni in DC area.

            So, we’re down to Missouri/Maryland. Both are in-betweeners. South of I44 in Missouri very southern oriented. I-70 and Northward very industiral with midwestern-chicago dominated industries. Maryland. More southern than northern. Better ACC fit than Big Ten. Doubt if Maryland is as ecited about joining Big 10 as much as Missouri is.

            So, Texas, Texas A&M and Missouri end up in Big 10, now the Big 14. If want a Super conference, add Nebraska & Pitt, Syracuse and Rutgers for 18 schools. I don’t see Maryland wanting to leave the ACC and Kansas adds no market value, nor does Iowa State.

            What happens to Big 12? Need to replace 4 schools to get back to 12 with the original scenario of 4 schools leavning Big 12. Add BYU, TCU, New Mexico, and UNLV. That would add large city TV markets of Las Vegas, Salt Lake, and Albuquerque, ad add another texas school in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Good football in TCU and BYU plus good basketball in UNLV & New Mexico.

            Pac 10? Add Utah, Colorado. Only 2 that make sense.

            Well, that’s it. Carnack the great has spoken.


          2. Jake

            I don’t know, I still don’t see the Big Ten adding more than one team – specifically, Texas. I don’t think the Texas legislature will put up as big of a fight this time, so long as the Big 12 is still around for A&M, or they can move to the Pac-10 or SEC. And would the Big Ten really go past 12 schools, divide up the reveneu and create all of those scheduling problems, just for Missouri or Maryland? It would take someone like Notre Dame to get them to do that.


          3. Doug

            They (Barry Alverez of Wisconsin) keep saying that they (the Big 10) are considering adding multiple schools. If they did only take Texas, the Big 12 would be really vulnerable due to lost TV revenue. Colorado would bolt to Pac 10. Big 12 would have to expand to replace the 2 lost schools and make up for most TV revenue. Can’t possibly equal Texas, but adding New Mexico, BYU, TCU and UNLV would help…better than nothing. Wouldn’t hurt to get greedy and add Houston and SMU too…programs re-emerging from oblivion.

            As for Nebraska…wouldn’t have to leave. Got OU, Texas, A&M, Missouri and Kansas as natural old Big 8 rivals.

            Some have mentioned PAC 10 schools merging with the left over Big 12 schools after Texas leaves. Time zone problems prohibit this, most likely. TV scheduling with 2 hour differences from STL and LA would be pretty tough, although not insurmountable. Flying from STL to Washington a LONG haul.

            Wish they had spell check…I can’t type OR spell worth a damn.


          4. Richard

            Don’t give Nebraska short-shrift. Sure, they don’t bring much of a local population base but ND brings none, and they’re still highly desired. Nebraska’s not as much of a national program as ND, but they still get some of the higher TV ratings in the country, despite being fairly mediocre recently and located in the middle of nowhere. If the BTN has aspirations of being a national channel, getting ND & Nebraska (to go with PSU, OSU, and Michigan) would do it, with out without Texas.


  57. Mike

    Colorado will start this ball rolling. CU’s Athletic Department is struggling with money (even though they have the minimum amount of sports required for Div 1) and the Big 12’s uneven revenue sharing isn’t helping. The Athletic Department had to take out a loan from the University to fire Barnett (still paying that one off) and they couldn’t fire Hawkins this year because they didn’t have the money to do so. If the PAC 10 wants the Buffs (and that’s a big if) and can promise them more money than the Big 12 will give than they are as good as gone.


    1. Gopher86

      If Colorado wishes to leave, they have to pay a penalty of half the value of the revenues they would have received from the Big 12.

      The Pac-10 will renegotiate to what will presumably be a better deal two years from now. Considering Colorado couldn’t come up with the scratch from the alumni to fire Hawkins (who has been a HUGE disappointment), they’d need another loan to cover the two years of payments to the Big 12.


  58. arby

    I’d love to see a 14 team conference and believe it could be built in a way that would allow the conference to maintain a sense of traditions and rivalries. I’d opt for creating a structure where schools play 3 different teams from the opposing division each year, rather than having one protected rivalry or doing the current method of changing out every 2 seasons. The net effect is that schools would play every non-division rival 3 times every 7 years, so there would be a pretty consistent exposure to all the conference rivals (almost every other year). By spacing out PSU – OSU – Michigan in the eastern rotation, you can insure that each western school gets a relatively similar schedule, playing only one of the traditionally strong “big 3” schools 5 out of every 7 seasons.

    First let’s assume for argument’s sake that the 3 new schools are Texas, A&M and Nebraska/Missouri. In this scenario, Illinois is the 7th eastern team and preserves rivalries with the Indiana schools, OSU and Michigan, while getting 2 games among Iowa, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Minnesota 5 out of every 7 seasons.

    East Rotation Order

    Penn State – Indiana – Michigan St – Ohio St – Purdue – Illinois – Michigan

    West Rotation Order

    Texas – Iowa – Northwestern – A&M – Wisconsin – Neb/Mizzou – Minnesota

    In this scenario, the Texas non-division schedule could be as follows —

    Year #1 – @PSU, vs Indiana, @Mich St
    Year #2 – vs OSU, @Purdue, vs Illinois
    Year #3 – @Michigan, vs PSU, @Indiana
    Year #4 – vs Mich St, @OSU, vs Purdue
    Year #5 – @Illinois, vs Michigan, @ PSU
    Year #6 – vs Indiana, @Mich St, vs OSU
    Year #7 – @Purdue, vs Illinois, @ Michigan

    If Notre Dame were to join as the 14th team instead of one among A&M/Neb/Mizzou, Illinois moves west and a rotation could be built to keep separation among the east’s big 4 schools. So it would be impossible for a western team to play more than 2 of the big 4 in any one season.

    Year #1 – @PSU, vs Indiana, @OSU
    Year #2 – vs Mich St, @ND, vs Purdue
    Year #3 – @Michigan, vs PSU, @ Indiana
    Year #4 – vs OSU, @Mich St, vs ND
    Year #5 – @Purdue, vs Michigan, @PSU
    Year #6 – vs Indiana, @OSU, vs Mich St
    Year #7 – @ND, vs Purdue, @ Michigan

    If a eastern team other than ND is perceived to be weaker on the field and less attractive on the schedule and TV than Notre Dame, you could slot it with some separation from Penn State, so the 2 eastern schools (PSU and ???) don’t appear on teams’ schedule in the same year. A rotation could look like this –

    Penn State – Indiana – Michigan St – Ohio St – “new eastern school” – Purdue – Michigan


  59. Pingback: List of 15 Big Ten “Candidates” is Who May Come With Texas or Notre Dame (not Instead of Them) « FRANK THE TANK’S SLANT

  60. spartakles78

    funny how much 4MNC in a row is hating on the Midwest women. Who can we turn to for a beauty contest?

    Miss America?

    3 Texas–1942, 1971, 1975

    Big Ten–21 winners which includes a rusty 9 crowned since the last Texan won

    6 Ohio–1922, 1923, 1938, 1963, 1972, 1978

    5 Illinois–1927, 1969, 1991, 1998, 2003

    5 Michigan–1939, 1961, 1970, 1988, 2008

    3 Minnesota–1948, 1977, 1989

    1 Wisconsin–1973

    1 Indiana–2009

    Big Ten +1

    5 Pennsylvania–1924, 1935, 1936, 1940, 1954

    (clearly, expansion was for academics & coin)

    Miss USA?

    The most successful state has been Texas with 9. It has had the most semi-finalists and winners, including five consecutive Miss USA titleholders during the 1980s. The last ten years has seen two winners, one Top Five and 4 Top Ten finalists for Texas. While states in the Big Ten haven’t won the crown, there have been 5 Top Five and 3 Top Ten finalists. “Unlike the Miss America pageant, there is no talent section at Miss USA.”

    Playboy Playmate of the Year?

    since 1990:

    Texas–1993, 1995
    Illinois–1991, 1994, 2003
    Ohio–1999, 2004

    Penthouse Pet of the Year?



    1. M

      I don’t know whether to be impressed or frightened by the exhaustiveness of this list. I would try to google it but I am afraid what would come up. I cannot believe Frank missed this angle in his template. A gaping hole, to be sure.


    2. 4 MNC in a row

      What is it with you Midwestern folk? For graduates of supposed Tier I universities, you guys argue like a bunch of retarded, little pansy girls.

      Your rather extreme and bizarre effort to refute me, just proved my point about the ugliness of Midwestern women even more than before. You, dumb butt, with all your effort to refute me, you have only managed to refute yourself. Can you see my point yet, Encyclopeadia Brown?

      Hypothetically, if I had bothered to insult the appearance, the comeliness, and the attractiveness of girls on the West coast, would anyone have bothered to come up with a frighteningly exhaustive list such as yours? Nope, I think not. Probably, no one would have even bothered to notice such statements. Why? Cause every fucking guy out there with a fully active and armed weiner already knows that girls on the West coast are hot, or at the very least not on the same level as Midwestern, butt ugly.

      You with your bizzarro list (hey, I never said that the Midwest might not have a decent looking girl here and there, probably like finding a needle in a hay stack though) only go on to confirm the profound inner insecurity (no matter what front you may portray outwardly) you have with regard to the butt ugliness of your female counterparts up there in the Midwest. I ask: Do guys endowed with big dicks ever bother to stuff socks in their crotches? No, it is only the self-conscious, small dicked guys that bother to do such things. In the same sense, would regions with truly hot chicks bother to come up such a bizzarro lists? Nope, of course not. Only regions with woof, woof, hound dogs for fuck buddies would feel the need to pull such a stunt.

      Dude, just quit trying to convince me. It might have worked if I was blind as a bat and never had had the opportunity to feel up on an unshaved, math major look alike, Midwestern hound dog. But, unfortunately for you and your silly list (what the fuck is it supposed to prove anyway), I do have eyes. I see the big, fat, untanned, cellulite laden asses that come on the tube when I accidently flip onto B10 games. I’ve heard the bitter cries of hard-upness and ugly overdose from guys who have moved from that region. And, finally, I’ve been up in that region enough to know that the typical girl on the street in that region is about as attractive as your decaying, decrepit, rust belt, city sky line. The typical girl up there (and I have seen this with my own fucking eyes, so fuck your stupid list) is about as attractive as a forty year comode, not recently cleaned, at some out of way gas station in the middle of nowhere.


      1. RM

        I hesitate to agree with your critique due to your lack of sophistication however, having been raised in the Midwest what you say is true. Now wash your mouth out, go to bed and attempt to figure out why you hate so much?


  61. Pingback: Frank the Tank Shoots Down Arguments in Texas/Big Ten Issue | JN Blog

  62. Blueshorn

    I graduated the University of Texas back in the mid-’70s. While I was there, a guy running for Student Senate made a campaign promise that, if elected, he would change the inscription engraved on the front of the UT Tower where the suits reside from “Ye Shall Know the Truth and the Truth Shall Make You Free” to “Money Talks.”

    A lot of UT fans can’t picture themselves in the Big Ten. The PAC 10 seems more culturally similar and the travel destinations more inviting, to their way of thinking. Unfortunately, the PAC 10 can’t bring the money to the table that the Big 10 offers and the two-time-zone difference is highly problematical. And several of their institutions aren’t academically in “our league.”

    The big clencher in favor of the Big 10 is the CIC and the research money. The decision will be made by the Chancellor, the President, and the Board of Regents, not the AD or the football coach or the fans. With the decision makers, “Money Talks.” All that will be required is a little window dressing to make it politically feasible. Tip one or two dominoes in the form of Colorado, Missouri, or Nebraska and the Big 12 stack crumbles.

    Bottom line: Put enough money on the table, both academically and athletically, and Texas will be there. All this conversation about what the fans want is a lot of happy horseshit.


  63. Steels

    Great read- I’m an Iowan who spent over a decade in Texas, Texas to the Big Ten would create some awesome game environments. Iowa/Texas tailgates would be epic (it’s our life in Iowa)! Bratwurst and BBQ, Pork and beef, sweet-corn and breakfast tacos, Shiner Bock and Templeton Rye; and some hard-nosed football. Sounds like Valhalla to me.
    Don’t forget the tourism $ Texas stands to make from a BigTen move- Iowa sent over 30,000 fans to the Alamo Bowl repeatedly and they would do it in Nov. too for a game against UT. The idea of a ranked Wisc., Mich., OSU, PSU, or Iowa team going into Austin in Oct. or Nov. for a Conference showdown is mindnumbing. Do it Texas, make our football seasons a little more fun and give me and millions of other mid-westerners an excuse to come to Austin every other year!


  64. 4 MNC in a row

    Why is that I get banned whereever I go? – and I am not just speaking with respect to the internet. I mean, I can barely step outside of my door with getting banned from something or somewhere. Heck, even within my doors, I am fucking banned from certain rooms.

    I believe that I deserve better. I am utterly irrefutable in a argumentative battle. In fact, I have yet to be defeated by anyone on the internet – and that is no hyperbole, it is the literal truth, just ask the losers on BC. My homophobic slurs and other clearly derogatory phrases were not that out of the ordinary, nor were they that derogatory. I have and I am sure that you have, Frank, seen and heard much worse than them. I personally thought they were funny as hell, along with them having more than a touch of truth, at least from certain perspectives. Anyway, I will refrain from such slurs in the future, assuming I ever decide to post on your site ever again, Frankie. You know, you never answered my question, Frank (and of course, I doubt if you ever will).

    Remember, whenever and whereever you see 4 MNC in a row coming, go run and hide, causing he is coming to kick your arse and take names. I am utterly undefeatable and everyone quakes out of awe in my presence.


    1. “I am utterly undefeatable and everyone quakes out of awe in my presence?” I’m honored to have former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson as a commenter on my blog.

      I really couldn’t find your question in between the various rants, but you said yourself that “Mo’ money is betta’ than less dough.” Um, the main reason why my whole argument is viable in the first place is that Texas would make a whole lot more cheddar in the Big Ten than what it does today in the Big XII. I don’t really get what the heck you’re trying to say regarding that it’s about being “national” – if anything, the Big Ten is as close as you can get to a real national conference (and it certainly would be more so with Texas). It’s certainly possible that the Pac-10 plus Texas could be worth even more (which I think is what you’re trying to say beneath all of that), but it’s still speculative compared to the virtually guaranteed dollars offered by the Big Ten.

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by, Champ.


      1. 4 MNC in a row

        “I am honored to have former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson as a commentator on my blog.”

        Um, I can live with that except for the former part. Unlike him, I’d like to think of myself as still current. And, likewise, it’s an honor for me to be on the blog of someone who refers to himself as “Frank the Tank”, who is from the Midwest, and yet is still feely touchy sensitive enough to be personally offended by mild homophobic jokes (on a sports blog of all places, who would have thought of such a thing), to the point of not having any hesistation in using the edit and delete button to help prevent a gopher from being publicly turned into ground meat. It is not often that guys named, Frank the Tank, from the Midwest turn out to be so sensitive and compassionate about the feelings and the needs of others. Must be the Oprah watching type. But then hey, it’s the modern age of diversity, and to each his own I guess.

        That you are also a lawyer on top of all this makes your sensitivity all that more remarkable. From what I understand, normally, the brutal, back-biting reality inherent in the practice of law, and especially on the brutal, “take no prisoners” streets of places like Chicago, almost without exception sucks all of the heart, compassion, honesty, and sensitivity right out of the people who are forced to face such a bleak, cold blooded world, day in and day out. That would be pretty much how I would describe most of the lawyers I have met in my life – and most certainly for all of the ones who went on to become highly successful in their field. That you claim to be an exceptional exception to this rule, despite your namesake, your geographical place of residence, and your stated occupation must mean that you were blessed with an over-abundance of love, of LOOOOVE I say, for all things in your warm and fuzzy heart since birth. And that, I say, is most certainly deserving of applauds by everyone perceptive enough to see how truly exceptional your qualities as a human being happens to be. From me, sincerely: clap, clap, clap, and clap.

        With regard to the other part of your comment, if individual schools and conferences were allowed to determine their own fates and finances, then, yes, all that you have said would be correct and Texas would most assuredly end up in the B10. Actually, in fact, it would be a bit amazing that such a union had not taken place long beforehand. But such a union did not take place, and, just watch, it ain’t gonna be happening in the future either. All of which would suggest that your whole analysis of the situation is off base and incorrect.

        As for your being utterly unable to comprehend what I am meaning by “national”, again I have a slight difficulty in seeing how this is possible, given that, from your other posts, you seem to have no trouble whatsoever in comprehending the diverse, various, and intricately complex viewpoints and arguments of everyone else, besides me, who seems to visit your blog and cares to leave a comment. And again, you being a lawyer of all things makes your inability to comprehend my simple concept all that more amazing (if you know what I mean, Frank, and, of course, you do).

        Now I don’t care to get into the nitty gritty of all of this (who in the right mind would want to), but, still, even from a broad base, superficial viewpoint, a person should be able to see how the issue of profits (we are all agreeing that this is what is driving all the realignments, correct?) ought to be viewed from a national perspective rather than from the interests of just one school or conference, here and there. Even assuming all of our assumptions and parameters were true and correct (of course, none of them are, but, as I said above, I’d rather pass on all of that), in your artificial view of the world, who is still dishing out the dough? Who happens to be the ultimate source of all the money? As long as we choose not to ponder this question with great philosophical depth, I believe we can all agree that it is the T.V. or cable corporations. Right, everyone?

        Now, is anyone naive enough to think that these corporate execs are not actively involved in all of this realignment process. After all, it is just their billions going out of the door and it is just their future profits and individual retirement plans at stake. Do you think, given these stakes, that those monetarily rich (what do we know about money? With money comes power, right?) execs are going to just sit idly by, on the sidelines, while the schools and conference realign themselves based solely on their own individual self interest, without even one damn concern over the profits of college football in general as a whole? What interests would these execs have in making more profits in one geographic region if that only means losing profits and opportunities in another market? The point being that these corporations are national entities. Is this not right? And so it would be rather simple and logical to conclude that their interests would extend to a nationwide level, that they would view profits from a national level rather than from just one geographic region.

        So, even from this rather simple and extremely superficial view of the whole situation (basically I am arguing with both my hands and feet tied behind my back, and, yet, of course, I will still win though), one can see how the “mo’ money” principle ought to be viewed from a nationwide perspective, if one wishes to accurately view the true forces which are currently changing the landscape of college football. And, Frank, don’t tell me that you yourself could not have done all of this elementary level inferring on your own, before you forced me to write all of this crap with your pathetic, feigned, and sarcastic ignorance.

        Also, about the inequitable value of the T.V. contracts. After seeing how involved the T.V. corporate execs are in this realignment process, is it a stretch, is it so hard to see that the value of the contracts have been made inequitable at this current time intentionally to create all the noise for change and realignment and to provide a rational outward justification and explanation for why all this change had taken place? – why some schools won big with the change, why some others lost, and why a change from an amateur collegiate game into that of a semi-pro game was inevitable and completely not the fault of the academic institutions under whose namesakes the undeniably exploitative semi-pro game will be played.

        And finally, in truth, the mo’ money principle is waaay overrated. Once we put our goo goo eyes back in their sockets, after hearing about all this dough, a hundred million this and a hundred million that, um, exactly how much money does it take to field a decent football team? Who the fuck said it was a requirement that one had to make an extra hundred million to remain competitive on the football and avoid sliding into obscurity on the national scene? Just one more of the fallacies with regard to this subject matter. Needless to say, all the opinions and statement about collegiate sports finances is just a bunch of b.s. Such b.s. that it ain’t worthy of any further comment. Anyway, I don’t care to get more involved with this subject matter. Believe what you all want to believe. I personally don’t give a damn. And, Frank, you keep spreading whatever B.S. that you wish to spread, whatever is on your agenda. Again, I don’t give a damn and I will never again post on your blog, ever.

        Transmission Ends,

        The Awesome and The One and Only, 4MNC in a row.


  65. spartakles78

    I think Maryland is a stronger candidate as a 14th member. It can still keep it’s southern charm when recruiting. It also has solid depth in its program when you look beyond football and basketball. It’s 14th in the Fall standings of the Learfield Sports Directors Cup.

    Increased access to federal funding for both Maryland and the Big Ten could be a positive selling point. There are a lot of transplants in the Baltimore-Washington-Northern Virginia market. A number of athletes have been willing to go to Big Ten schools. Of course, Maryland is 1-35-1 against Penn State in football and so may want to avoid extending that futility. http://football.stassen.com/


  66. Regarding point #7 of this thread, the Big 10 also has an advantage in that they have very little “overlap” in their population areas. While it seems like the ACC/SEC are breathing down our necks with populations within their conference footprints, some of their population is shared. Florida, Georgia, South Carolina. Those are some major population centers right there. And when you consider that the Big East (while not a major player for football dollars, granted) also shares some of those markets (Boston/Northeast with ACC, Florida via USF with ACC/SEC) it makes their population share much smaller. The Big Ten–with or without Texas or Notre Dame–has a strong hold on the population base within its current conference footprint. If you were to add 2 Texas schools or even just Notre Dame by itself, LOOK OUT!


  67. JC


    One question for you regarding the comparison between ND’s NBC contract and the television revenue generated by Big Ten schools each season.

    It seems that your comparison does not account for the fact that the NBC contract covers only half of ND’s regular season (i.e., the school’s home games). As such, the $9M/$22M comparison seems a tad off. Any idea on the revenue ND generates from ESPN/ABC for the games televised during the remainder of the season?

    ~ JC


    1. Unless I’m completely missing something, ND doesn’t generate any TV income from its road games. Those are all games whose TV rights and fees are controlled by the home team’s conference (or in the case of fellow independent Navy, the school itself similar to ND). ND will take a percentage of the ticket sales (negotiated on a game-by-game basis), yet there shouldn’t be any exchange of TV rights fees. There’s about $2 million that ND generates from the Big East basketball contract, but even when that’s added in on top of the NBC contract, it’s still much less than the Big Ten’s current take. You also have to compare it to what the Big Ten TV revenues would look like with ND in the fold.


  68. Pingback: Notre Dame watching expansion plans - Page 3

  69. Pingback: The Big Ten and Texas.....(very long) - Page 7

  70. NDJoe

    Simply amazing at how inept Frank’s analysis was in reviewing these threads. Laughably bad and wrong at almost every step of the way.

    In hindsight, the B1G was never going to get UT, A&M, ND as the league just isn’t good enough for those schools to be interested. UT wouldn’t doom its fans to the rust belt. A&M always was headed to the SEC (the “I guess we’d take A&M” comments might be the funniest of all – helllo NU, Maryland and Rutger… lol) and ND is superior in every way to its midwest dumb cousins.


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