When I was cursing the dehydrated gerbils that run the WordPress commenting platform in an insomnia-induced haze on Friday evening, I thought to myself, “We need a message board! That’s the answer!” So, I quickly created one and hastily posted it up. In less than 48 hours, I’ve realized a few things:
(1) Between work, family and writing this blog, it will be impossible for me to monitor a message board on top of all this. I’m an idiot and didn’t think this through at all. In case you didn’t know, I have 7 1/2 month old twins at home, which pretty much means my free time is a couple of hours at night at most. Since I obviously can’t quit my job, never want to truncate my time with my family and love writing this blog, the message board is going to be more of burden at this point.
(2) Part of the nice thing that’s developed over the past couple of months is that each blog post has turned into a free flow discussion on expansion issues, with news articles and viewpoints converging in a centralized place. After thinking about it over this weekend, a lot of that would be lost be diverting discussions to a separate message board. As awful as the WordPress commenting issues are at this point, it’s been nice to just go to one website for a discussion and not have redundant discussions going on at multiple sites. I really want to preserve the flow of discussions here on the blog because, personally, that’s been the most fun part of writing in the first place.
(3) If you like the message board format, there are already more established and robust sites that focus on expansion issues, particularly the BigEast BBS Expansion/Split board (which has a Big East focus but draws people from across the country, including me where I post as Frank the Tank) and the forum at CollegeSportsInfo.com (which reviews expansion issues from a national perspective and where I post as illinibluedemon). There’s no need for me to establish a new message board regarding conference realignment when all of you would be better served by checking out these 2 other boards which have existed for years with much broader users bases to interact with. I highly recommend both of these boards.
So, this is a long-winded way of saying that I’ll be closing down the forum later tonight before too many people get invested in it. It’s an extra step that isn’t necessary with the existence of the blog discussions here and established message boards elsewhere. I want to thank all of the people that quickly signed up as users. The threads that have been posted will be archived at the site, so they will still exist to refer back to if you’d like in the future. So that people don’t think that their effort has been for naught (because there’s already been a lot of great stuff posted), I’d like to post a couple of entries from the forum that are really excellent blogs in and of themselves for your review.
The first is from PSU2433, who has created this 16-team scenario:
FranktheTank: Let me first and foremost thank you for your insightful thoughts and the passion you bring to college football. I share the same passion for college football as you and have been pro-playoff for 10+ years.
After reading all of your blogs, I am leaning towards the Big10 being the first conference to go BIG and form a 16 team super conference. Money is power and right now the Big10 has a whole lot of both. At the end of the day, I think the Big 10 goes for a Grand Slam and invites TEX,TAM,ND,SYR, & RU. I think they start with the Texas Two Step and then proceed to lock up the NorthEast. In order to lock up 5 teams, they have to produce at a minimum, $110 million for the BigEleven to break even. Well, these 5 teams all but lock up the 8mil HHs of Texas and 15mil HHs of NY & NJ for the BTN. I also believe the BTN could command MORE than the $.70-$.80 they are currently getting from Comcast. I think this would push them over the $1.10 range per HH. One could also argue, with the national presense of ND,TEX,PSU,OSU, & UM that this now becomes a National Conference.
So how is scheduling going to work. I am a huge fan of the 4 POD system with 9 conference games. At this point, all the money is in the conference so the more conference games the more money. I am sick of watching OSU-Akron & PSU-Little Sisters of the Poor so I think the conference maximizes the amount of games. Here is how I see it playing out.
East Pod: PSU, RU, SYR, ND
South Pod: TEX, TAM, PUR, IND
West Pod: WIS, IOWA, MINN, NW
North Pod: UM, MSU, OSU, ILL
Each team plays their pod every year. You play one other pod for 2 consecutive years and that pod is on your side of the confernece for the championship game. You also play 2 other teams from another POD for 2 years. This creates a balanced schedule over a 12 year period where you play your POD 12 times (6H/6A) and you play every other team 6 times (3H/3A). The conference alignment would change every 2 years for the conference championship game. It would look like this
East/West vs. North/South
East/South vs. North/West
East/North vs. South/West
East/West vs. North/South
East/South vs. North/West
East/North vs South/West
A sample schedule looks like this. I’ll use Penn State as the example.
Year 1: SYR, @ RU, ND, @ WIS, IOWA, @ MINN, NW, OSU, @ MSU
Year 2; @SYR, RU, @ ND, WIS, @ IOWA, MINN, @ NW, @ OSU, MSU
Year 3: SYR, @ RU, ND, @ TEX, TAM, @ IND, PUR, @UM, ILL
Year 4: @SYR, RU, @ ND, TEX, @ TAM, IND, @ PUR, UM, @ILL
Year 5: SYR, @ RU, ND, @ OSU, UM, @ MSU, ILL, @TEX, IND
Year 6: @SYR, RU, @ ND, OSU, @ UM, MSU, @ ILL, TEX, @IND
Year 7: SYR, @ RU, ND, @ WIS, IOWA, @ MINN, NW, @TAM, PUR
Year 8: @SYR, RU, @ ND, WIS, @ IOWA, MINN, @ NW, @ OSU, MSU
year 9: SYR, @ RU, ND, @ TEX, TAM, @ IND, PUR, @WIS, IOWA
Year 10: @SYR, RU, @ ND, TEX, @ TAM, IND, @ PUR, WIS, @IOWA
Year 11: SYR, @ RU, ND, @ OSU, UM, @ MSU, ILL, @MINN, NW
Year 12: @SYR, RU, @ ND, OSU, @ UM, MSU, @ ILL, MINN, @ NW
Conference championship games held from Dallas, Chicago, Indy, Cinncinati, & NYC.
For basketball 18 conference games stay the same, you play your pod home/away (6 games) and everyone else once (12) games. Championship tounrneys in Indy, CHI, NYC, & Houston.
I haven’t run the numbers yet, but I think a conference this size could command $600-$800mil /year with an outside shot of $1bil if the BTN can go national.
I’ve got my sports goggles on here but all 5 fit the academic mold the conference is looking for as well. The weak link is SYR (I’d be open to MD as well) but SYR with RU & ND all but locks up NYC & NJ.
Am I nuts? Hopefully this dream will turn into a reality.
The second is from TheBlanton, who examines how he thinks the dominoes will fall:
1. Big 10 fires the first shot. Inviting Texas and Notre Dame. Big 10 knows that even if they only land one, they will be in position to stage a CCG.
2. Texas, already having a contingency plan in place demands that A&M be included. Notre Dame stalls and goes to committee. Big 10 gives an ultimatum which ND ignores. After 6 months, ND’s spot is offered to A&M. Texas and A&M are brought into the new big 12. Cable rates increase across the board.
3. The Big XII moves quickly. Because there is no love lost between the old Big 8 and the Texas schools, they find UT and A&M easy to replace. Wanting to maintain the Texas market as Big 12 country, the Big 12 offers TCU and Houston. This has already been worked out between Big 12 officials and Texas Legislators in a secret room inside Jerry’s Stadium scoreboard. Now instead of 4 BCS conference schools, Texas has 6. New Big 12 cable channel is formed with revenue sharing. Again cable rates increasre.
4. The Pac 10 tries to lure Colorado and Utah. Utah jumps at the chance but Colorado, sensing new balance in the Big 12, rejects the Pac 10 to stay with its old big 8 cohorts. Pac 10 is left reeling, after some time a vote is brought up on BYU. Stanford and Cal vote no, Pac 10 is stuck at 11 members. In a desperate move, Pac 10 forms a B division, with the promise that if they show growth, they may join the original 10 in a full capacity. San Diego State, Fresno State, Nevada, San Jose St, New Mexico St, BoiseSt, Colorado St, and Utah form the B division. A conference championship game is scheduled between the A and B division. If the B division team wins they are immediately considered for inclusion in the A division by simple majority vote. Cable rates stay surprisingly unchanged.
5. The Big XII, sensing the weakness of the MWC and the WAC, decides to shoot the moon and go to a 16 team conference. Rice, New Mexico, UNLV, and BYU are offered and jump at the chance to join a big time conference. The B12 is immediately split into two new divisions, with Oklahoma and OK st, joining the Big 8 division (former Big 12 North). The 5 Texas schools join the western schools for the Southwest Division.
6. The remaining MWC and WAC merge.
7. The Big 10, not to be outdone decides to go for a 16 team league. The reformed Big 8 gets a much better deal from the newly formed TV station that covers the new Big 8-Southwest Conference, closing them off to Big 10 expansion. Big 10 decides to make a play for the NY market and grab Syracuse and Rutgers from The Big East. One final offer is given to ND, assimilate or die. Pittsburgh is holding a standby ticket. Cable rates increase.
8. ND finally capitulates, joining the Big 10+6. Cable rates increase.
9. The Big East is crumbling. The basketball only schools break off and pick up a few regional catholic universities.
10. Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Conn, and Cincinnati Join The ACC based largely on their basketball revenue. ACC forms it’s own TV Channel. Cable rates increase during basketball season.
11. By this time SEC TV deal is on the horizon. They move to add Louisville and South Florida, and expand their market by adding SMU in Texas and Tulsa in Oklahoma. They form their own Cable channel. Cable rates are so high now that people are forced to work for the cable company full time in order to receive service.
12. Conference USA merges with the Sunbelt Conference.
After everything shakes out there are now 5 super conferences. Big 10+, Big 8-SW, Pac 10+, ACC, and SEC each have 16 teams. The MWAC and Sunbelt USA conference have some undetermined number of inconsequential schools.
The Cotton Bowl is revived as a BCS bowl In JerryWorld, making 5 BCS bowls.
The plus one system is added making the National Championship game during the bye week before the Superbowl, it rotates every year between the BCS sites. The winner is chosen by taking the two highest ranked teams after the bowls.
Every Mega conference is offered 2 BCS Bowl bids. 1 for the CCG winner, and an at large. However, the 2 BCS bids max is removed and any Mega Conference can steal any number of at-large bids as long as the team stealing the bid is ranked higher than the at-large team from the other conference.
In addition, the smaller conferences can steal an at large bid as long as they are ranked higher than the at large and any other 3rd team from a mega -conference.
(West)- Texas, A&M, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana
(East)- Penn St, Ohio St, Michigan, Mich. St, Syracuse, Rutgers, ND, Purdue
(8) -Nebraska, Oklahoma, OK St, Kansas, Kansas St, Missouri, Iowa St, Colorado
(SW)- Texas Tech, Baylor, TCU, Rice, Houston, New Mexico, BYU, UNLV
(A)- Wash, Wash St, Oregon, Oregon St, Cal, Stanford, USC, UCLA, Az, Az st
(B)- Utah, Nevada, Boise St., San Diego St, San Jose St, Fresno St, New Mexico St, Colorado St
(North) – BC, Pitt, Uconn, W Virginia, Cincy, Maryland, Virginia, VaTech
(South) – Wake, NC, NCst, Duke, Clemson, GeorgiaTech, FSU, Miami
GA , Tenn, Vandy, Kentucky, Louisville, South Carolina, Florida, South Florida
(west) – Auburn, Alabama, Ole Miss, LSU, Miss St, Arkansas, SMU, Tulsa
So there it is. I have now wasted half of my Saturday. Please start picking apart my suggestion, really I was just writing it to get it out of my head and on paper. I think this lasts about 50 years until greater global forces (crumbling economy, fuel shortage, Armageddon) force a need for smaller more compact conferences, probably 8 10 school conferences or 10 8 school conferences…. Discuss amongst yourselves.
I’m still fairly skeptical of 16-school conferences being form in this round of conference realignment. I think it will be hard enough for the Big Ten university presidents to wrap their minds around a 14-school conference at this point. Still, there are some extremely interesting scenarios out there and they’re fun to discuss. So, the forum is dead. Long live the forum. Sorry for blue-balling everyone and keep the comments and news articles coming here. Meanwhile, I’ll be spending my time over the next few days enjoying the NIT. (Ugh.) Go Illini!