Ain’t No Party Like a West Coast Party: How the Pac-10 Can Affect Big Ten Expansion

As I continue to follow the Illini (NIT) championship run with bated breath and brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack, I wanted to address this interesting story from Dennis Dodd.  The Pac-10 has explored the possibility of staging a conference championship game with its current league of 10 teams.  Of course, this would require changing the NCAA rule that mandates that a conference have at least 12 schools and divisions where the members of each division play an intra-division round robin in order to stage an “exempt” championship game.  (“Exempt” refers to the fact that such championship game won’t count against the 12-game regular season schedule limit.  Please see NCAA bylaw  This reminds me  of the “Amendment to Be” song from The Simpsons – “If we change the Constitution, then we can make all kinds of crazy laws!”

Regular commenter Adam has pointed out the byzantine process in which it would take to change the NCAA rule on this matter, which made it seem only slightly easier than going through a Senate confirmation hearing for a Supreme Court nominee or having to tell Suge Knight that you don’t have the money that you owe him.  What’s interesting from Dodd’s article was that changing the conference championship game rule would supposedly be “non-controversial”.  Who knows why it would be non-controversial today when the ACC was rejected several years ago in its attempt to stage a championship game with less than 12 members prior to adding Boston College.  Maybe schools in all conferences (whether BCS or non-BCS) believe that changing the rule would result in more conference membership stability or at least avoid having conferences add schools simply for the sake of a championship game.

The Big Ten could use a rule change to its advantage in a number of ways.  On the one end, the Big Ten could simply stand pat at 11 schools and stage a conference championship game without expansion.  This would yield an instant boost in revenue without having to add another school to split it with.  Other conferences that are at risk of being poached by the Big Ten (particularly the Big XII and Big East plus possibly the ACC) would likely be very supportive of this rule change if it meant that they could save the status quo as a matter of survival.

On the other end, though, the Big Ten could push for a further change to the championship game rule in exchange for supporting the Pac-10 on its proposal: remove the division requirement.  Why would the conference want to do that?  Because if the Big Ten goes up to 14-schools, not having divisions could ensure that all conference members would play each other at least 2 out of every 4 years in an 8-game conference schedule.  Each school could have 3 permanent annual rivals and then play all other conference members 2 years on/2 years off.  This solves all of the headaches of trying to figure out which schools should go in which divisions and making sure that every single currently protected annual rivalry is maintained.  The Big Ten is NOT like the SEC where it’s going to be acceptable for schools to go 4 straight years without playing each other – most Big Ten members freak out when they skip playing Michigan or Ohio State only 2 years per decade.  The lack of divisions also has a side benefit of having a stronger conference championship game by pitting the top two schools in conference regardless of geography, so there won’t be the 2008 Big XII worry about having 3 national championship contenders in one division and a bunch of scrap metal in the other division.  Adam has had a solid argument that if the 2008 Big XII South situation didn’t result in a change to the championship game rule, then nothing would.  However, I think the circumstances have changed as a result of all of these expansion talks and that conferences are going to want a lot more flexibility either immediately (10-school leagues wouldn’t have to expand) or in the future (12-school leagues would be more open to going up to 14-schools with such flexibility).

I’m tending to think that the Big Ten would want championship game rules to account for the latter scenario.  As I’ve stated from the beginning, the conference championship game is NOT the primary driver for Big Ten expansion.  (This is in contrast to way too many media pundits that continue to insist that the Big Ten just wants to expand so that it can maintain relevancy for the last couple of weeks of the season, which is ridiculous when you take two seconds to think about it since that could simply be solved by the conference scheduling regular season games in December just like the Pac-10 and Big East.)  The main revenue driver in this expansion process is and always will be new basic cable households and higher fees for the Big Ten Network.  The revenue that comes from that cable property blows everything with respect to a conference championship game out of the water.  So, the Big Ten isn’t going to drop expansion plans simply because it might have the ability to stage a championship game with 11 schools.  In fact, changes to the NCAA rules could embolden the Big Ten to have a larger expansion since it removes the concerns the scheduling concerns that I’ve described above.

The other important takeaway from Dodd’s article is that it appears that the Pac-10 is going to be very hesitant to expand.  It noted that the conference members were having a “hard time finding value” in two extra members (which would likely be accurate if one of those extra members isn’t Texas).  This doesn’t surprise me at all – I said back in January that I thought that the Pac-10 would end up standing pat no matter what happened.

That’s contrary to the widely mistaken perception that the Pac-10, which is hunting for revenue in order to catch up to the Big Ten and SEC, would supposedly be more willing than the Big Ten to bend its traditional requirements to maybe take in schools like Texas Tech in order to lure a school like Texas.  Here’s the problem with this line of thinking: the Pac-10 has a unanimous voting requirement for expansion.  Let me repeat that again: the Pac-10 has a unanimous voting requirement for expansion.  I need to beat this into all of your heads one more time: the Pac-10 has a unanimous voting requirement for expansion.  (As someone that grew up and continues to work in Cook County, where vote counting is an art form as opposed to a science, I’m hyper-sensitive to voting requirements.)

So, now that we know that the Pac-10 has a unanimous voting requirement for expansion, then we also know that all it takes is a single school to nix all conference expansion plans.  You can completely count on Stanford to be that school.  If the public thinks that the Big Ten university presidents are too methodical (and in reality, they are actually very forward-looking considering that they invited Penn State before it was fashionable to look for new markets and created the Big Ten Network when it was considered to be extremely risky), then Stanford is downright reactionary by comparison.  Stanford might be the one school in the entire BCS that literally doesn’t give a crap about TV money – the school has an endowment that is valued at over $1 million per student and its academic standing is right alongside Harvard, Yale and Princeton.  The Cardinal rejected Texas back in the 1990s, so even if the Longhorns are acceptable now, you can be sure that there’s NFW schools like Texas Tech will even be considered.  I think you’d be very hard-pressed to get Stanford to approve even a match-on-paper like Utah.  Stanford is in a position where it’s not going to compromise at all on academics and, as a result, the rest of the Pac-10 won’t be able to do anything even if the 9 others thought that some of the 16-school plans that I’ve seen in the comments were brilliant money-makers.  The Pac-10 can’t be aggressive because its voting requirements are specifically built to prevent such aggression.  (As a side note, you’ve haven’t lived until you’ve played EA Sports NCAA March Madness in mascot mode with the Stanford Tree vs. Otto the Orange at 2 am while hammered.  All I can say is that the visions on the screen must be what Keith Richards experienced non-stop from about 1965 through 1989.)

All of this means that the Big Ten’s chances to grab Texas (however small they might have been in the first place) could drop precipitously.  As plenty of observers such as Barking Carnival have noted, while Texas might want to switch conferences in a world without crazy-ass Lone Star State politicians, it would take the Pac-10 taking Colorado from the Big XII to give the school the political cover to make a move.  I’ve never bought that the Big Ten is seriously interested in Missouri, so I doubt that the conference would go after the Tigers simply to get Texas to act.  Therefore, if the Pac-10 is gridlocked in its expansion plans, there isn’t the requisite instability in the Big XII for a major Texas/Texas A&M shakeup.  That’s not to say that it still can’t happen (and no one should ever assume any school would preemptively reject any conference proposal without performing its own due diligence), but it pushes the chances of a Westward Big Ten expansion clearly down below an Eastward move.

If I had to bet on where the Big Ten goes in terms of expansion as of today (and I’ve changed my mind on this numerous times), I’m feeling that “JoePa’s Dream Conference” with Notre Dame, Rutgers and Syracuse would be the most likely.  (Yes, I know there’s a contingent out there that think that I overrate Syracuse as an expansion candidate.  I still think it would be a big mistake to leave them out in an NYC-centric strategy.)  Jack Swarbrick all but said that Notre Dame would join a conference if the Big East was destroyed, so it would make little sense for the Big Ten to take any Big East school without the Irish coming, too.  Securing the New York/New Jersey area as much as it can be locked down is really what takes the Big Ten to the next level in an Eastern-based expansion (although as I’ve stated elsewhere, the conference really needs Notre Dame in the mix if it wants to successfully pursue that strategy).  I wouldn’t be surprised if my opinion changes on this as more details come out, but if Texas is off of the table, then the Big Ten needs to add a population base that’s the size of the New York City market in order to make a 3-school expansion financially acceptable to the current members.

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

(Image from Retro Music Snob)


326 thoughts on “Ain’t No Party Like a West Coast Party: How the Pac-10 Can Affect Big Ten Expansion

  1. M

    I understand this argument (the “Stanford won’t let anyone into the Pac-10”) and have made it several times myself. However, somehow Arizona and Arizona State got in. If they, whoever they are, can sneak that combination past the Stanford watchdog, I would think they can get Colorado (much better than either one) and Utah (no worse).

    Looking at the Dodds article, it does seem that at least the mechanics of expansion are proceeding, as it says that they are about to hire a TV consultant.

    I still think the Pac-10 will send an invite to Colorado even if the plan is to stay at 11 (as was presumably the situation when they invited the Buffs 10 years ago). The new leadership is determined to do something and adding Colorado would be a substantial, though not Texas-sized, increase to their situation.


    1. spartakles78
      1. Here’s a very interesting contemporaneous opinion piece regarding USC’s threat to leave the Pac-8:,2924662&dq=stanford+arizona+pacific-8+opposed&hl=en

        It does point out something that I think is as true today as it was in the 1970s – LA is a complete fair-weather sports town. When USC goes through down periods, it doesn’t have the built-in attendance buffers that a lot of the Big Ten, SEC and major Big XII schools have. That town even ditches the Lakers (which is by FAR the most popular team out there) if they have a mediocre season. The following point that the commentary had was fascinating: there’s empirical evidence that LA would rather watch USC beat up on middling West Coast opponents than be .500 and watch great competition. Would that continue to be true if USC went to a conference that was much stronger today? If so, can any threat by USC of leaving the conference be taken seriously by the rest of the Pac-10, particularly since the school has really stepped up its academics over the past couple of decades (and definitely wants to be associated with Stanford, UCLA and Berkeley at an institutional level)? My feeling is that a Texas threat to leave the Big XII is much more legitimate than USC ever leaving the Pac-10, but I’d love to see everyone’s thoughts on that.


        1. M

          That link is a very good read. My favorite part was the subheading “USC Threatened to be Stupid”.

          I would think the threat for USC to leave the Pac-10 to go independent is even less credible today, but the risk is even greater to the conference. If USC and presumably UCLA leave, the Pac-10 is finished as a major sports conference. As much as Stanford might go against the desires of the rest of the conference, it needs the Pac-10 to maintain its all-sports dominance.

          On the other hand, there really is not a good current conference for USC to join. I suppose USC and UCLA could just join the the Big XII, but that would hardly be in the spirit of radical conference realignment.

          Instead, here’s a scenario: fed up with the powers that be in the Pac-10, USC and UCLA leave to form their own new conference. They invite much of the old Pac-10: Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Arizona State, as well as newcomers Utah and BYU to form the USC-and-Others-8. Meanwhile, Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Houston, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, New Mexico, and Colorado to form the Texas-and-Others-8. Together, the form one conference, the Texas-and-USC-16.

          This conference would have any extraordinarily large and fast-growing population, even on a per-school basis. USC would have a relatively easy path to 10 wins a year. Texas would also, and would have all of its Texas state school minions in its conference.

          While the scenario is admittedly far-fetched, it might be just reasonable enough that Stanford does not want to find out if USC would try it.


    2. I could definitely see Colorado – I don’t think there is really any issue with them. Utah may very well work, too, but those TV consultants are going to have to show that adding that market is going to have a meaningful financial impact. If you could tell me that Texas and Texas A&M would go along those 2, then I think that the Pac-10 pulls the trigger. I just think that we ought to throw water on the thought that the Pac-10 would be hyper-aggressive and be willing to include Texas Tech as part of an expansion – I just cannot wrap my head around Stanford allowing that to happen. All of us were talking about the academic merits of Boston College in the prior post, yet I find it extremely hard to believe that the most academically rigorous school in all of Division I-A football would let Texas Tech (or schools like it) into the Pac-10. At least both Arizona schools have long been considered upper tier research universities despite their undergrad reputations as complete party schools.


      1. Justin

        It is also ridiculous as some have suggested that USC and other schools would leave the PAC 10 (and Stanford specificially) if Stanford didn’t acquiesce to their grandiose expansion plans.

        Heck, if the situation — USC and several PAC 10 schools form a superconference with some Big 12 schools — and Stanford was ever left out in the cold, I’m pretty sure they would be invited in a nanosecond to the Big 10 for academics alone.


    3. Justin

      The scenarios that are likely being contemplated by the Big 10.

      (1) Add one team —

      Choices — Rutgers, Missouri or Pittsburgh

      Outcome — Pittsburgh is the best geographic fit, but if the Big 10 presidents elected to add one school, I can’t see the Panthers as the selection since they open up no additional TV markets (the Big 10 could charge higher rates fees in PA).

      If the Big 10 only adds one schools, I think its a decision between Rutgers and Missouri. Rutgers could probably get the Big 10 on basic cable TV in New Jersey, while Missouri could deliver KC and St. Louis. Missouri is a more natural fit, as a midwestern state, and a rivalry with Illinois, but I tend to think the Big 10 would select Rutgers. Why? Rutgers doesn’t leave PSU as the lone Eastern school in the conference, adds a fertile recruiting territory for football and has more upside (ie if they became a consistent winner, they could help the Big 10 get on TV in parts of NY).

      16 teams – Rutgers, Pitt, Syracuse, Notre Dame and Uconn/BC

      Outcome — I don’t even believe ND would jump to the Big 10 in a 14 team conference. The Big East could theoretically survive if Rutgers and Syracuse left. It would be a close call though. To ensure that the Big East is finished, and ND has no option, you take all Rutgers, Pitt, Syracuse, ND and either BC/Uconn. Why not? You would take over the entire East Coast, and not leave the door open at all for the ACC to ever make a play for the NYC/PHI/BOS TV markets.

      The sixteen team model dramatically shifts the culture of the Big Ten from a midwest conference to a northern conference with perhaps an East Coast faction aligning against a Midwest faction. This is the drawback, but if you can capture every major media market north of the Ohio river — Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, etc. — the upside is hard to ignore.


  2. Maybe the Big Ten ought to add three teams and forego a championship game so they don’t have to split into divisions thereby going with the scheduling scheme Frank outlines in this post.


    1. The most vociferous objection to a single 14 team conference without divisions will come from Michigan and Ohio State.

      If you adopt a 14 team conference without divisions, you could have 2-3 years a decade — if you simply look at the Big 10 history — where UM and OSU would play the last game of the season, and then rematch 2 weeks later in the Big 10 title game.

      I cannot imagine UM or OSU would countenance this proposal.


      1. Richard

        No, if there’s no good way to divide the league in to divisions, the Big10 may just not play a championship game. Added bonus is it’d give the regular season games more meaning as well.


        1. I don’t see the Big 10 foregoing a championship game if they have the means (12 teams) to do it.

          You are still talking about $12-$15 million being left on the table.

          This discussion cements one thing. The Big 10 needs Notre Dame to make this work.


          1. Richard

            That depends. Rivalry games bring in more ticket sales/higher ticket prices and fuel alumni interest.

            A championship game would mean about $1M more per school. Would the increased season ticket sales/game ticket sales/higher ticket prices and increased alumni donations from setting up the right rivalry games make up the difference? Maybe not, but it may make up enough to the point where having a title game isn’t worth the hassle.


      2. Adam

        For what it’s worth, I tend to agree with Justin. I just don’t see the Big Ten adding anybody and not playing a title game, and I don’t see the Big Ten taking the NCAA up on a “championship game with no divisions” rule change because of the OSU/UM rematch factor. Although Frank complained about columnists who blithely repeat that this is all about a CCG (a valid criticism), there’s at least something to that. Alvarez and Paterno have both cited that as why they want a CCG: to “stay relevant” later into the season. Yes, the Big Ten could schedule games that weekend, but the league also wants to accommodate its athletes (recall that this coming year will be the first season that the Big Ten plays until after Thanksgiving because they wanted to let the athletes go home for the holiday). I think the CCG is a compromise: most of the teams are off, but 2 are still playing (in a formally important game), keeping the league in the news.

        Maybe I am just naïve, but I have a hard time seeing Alvarez and Paterno being so full of guile that they would beat the “stay relevant” drum as a smoke screen for these cash grab concerns.


      3. Derrick

        That’s making the presumption that Michigan will regain its footing in football anytime in the foreseeable future and actually be a top level program again. I’m an optimistic guy, so I like to believe that won’t happen anytime soon.


  3. Jeepers

    Yeah, from what I understand from my Arizonian ex-girlfriend, ASU is basically a commuter college. How tough can it be?

    If the other conferences start getting bigger than 14 teams, I could see something being done about the unanimous Pac10 rule to get this done.


    1. Michael

      Well, I doubt that. I haven’t read the constitution or bylaws of the Pac-10, by I feel safe assuming that since there is a rule that expansion requires unanimous approval, changing that rule would ALSO require unanimous approval. I can’t imagine Stanford, which would be most likely to veto any expansion, being willing to give up what amounts to a veto power.


      1. Jeepers

        I can see the other schools approaching Stanford (or whoever) and saying “Look. We either expand, or we get left behind in this new conference landscape. Either that, or schools are going to start leaving.” Rules are made to be broken, yadda yadda.

        I’d like to know when this rule was made. I just don’t see one (or two) schools dictating the future of a conference in this day and age.


        1. @Jeepers – I could see that happening in theory. Still, this is Stanford we’re talking about as opposed to, say, Washington State being the objector. If part of the calculation of university presidents is that you’re only as good as the company that you keep, then Stanford has disproportionate influence on the Pac-10 because it’s both the top academic school in the conference (if not right up there with anyone else in the country) and #1 in terms of athletic revenue (even above USC, who has the benefit of selling 90,000-plus tickets for football). At the end of the day, the association with Stanford as an institutional level is extremely valuable to each of the Pac-10 schools that go beyond sports. I guess I just don’t buy that USC would leave (which is the one school that matters here) and, as you’ve seen, I’m very big on “follow the money” scenarios. If the Trojans don’t leave, then all of the threats from other schools are empty. Cal and UCLA are also going to work in tandem – they are going to be much more linked together than Texas/Texas A&M in any actions regarding expansion.


  4. Scott S

    I wouldn’t dismiss Arizona quite so quickly. Arizona is an AAU school. Doing over a half billion dollars of research per year, it ranked 20th in the US in 2006, which is 5th in the Pac-10. (It would rank 6th in the Big Ten.) Its research ranks just behind Berkeley and just ahead of Pitt, Columbia, Colorado, Texas A&M and Illinois in this regard. It’s also ahead of Yale, Harvard, UNC and Texas in research.

    Arizona’s ARWU rank is #45 in the Americas, ahead of Michigan State, Texas A&M, Virginia and Indiana. Wikipedia calls Arizona a “public ivy”.

    Its US News rank is lower (as might be expected), coming in at 102–just behind Nebraska and tied with Missouri.

    You are correct in that Colorado ranks ahead of Arizona in both the US News and ARWU rankings, though Arizona is ahead in research dollars.


    1. Michael

      Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. My understanding has been that Arizona thumbs its nose at ASU a lot because it does have a better academic reputation.

      Sure, both schools may be party schools, but that shouldn’t lead to a conclusion that they’re not good schools. Schools such as Florida and Wisconsin are well-known for partying, but that doesn’t take away from their prestige. Heck, having lived in North Carolina, I’ve heard that even Duke can be notorious for binge drinking, I would assume because it’s many students'(stupid) way of relieving the stress of high-pressure coursework.


      1. Adam

        NPR did something not long ago on Penn State being one of (if not the) biggest party schools in the nation. And their academics are obviously taken seriously.


        1. Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois have also spent time at the top of the party school list. Frankly, every Big Ten school is a pretty good party school (even Northwestern in relation to its private school peers). I doubt many of the Big Ten alums here were very bored on the weekends in college.


          1. M

            “even Northwestern in relation to its private school peers”


            The only “peer” that is worse is U Chicago (slogan: Where the fun goes to die) and that is only because the students who get drunk and wander around the south side of Chicago don’t come back.


          2. @M – Oh, Northwestern isn’t so bad! I’m not saying it’s Arizona State, but it’s a pretty social place compared to a lot of the other schools at the top of the rankings. Richard enjoyed himself, no? Agreed about U of C, though. No one goes there to have fun.


    1. Adam

      Not that I have reason to think it is, but the NCAA is like bizarro world. There’s always something unexpected waiting around the next corner.


    2. @Adam – your insight into the process has been extremely enlightening. It shows that it’s a tough process (at least on paper) to get rules like this changed in the NCAA. I’m wondering if other conferences are going to be willing to change the rule, though, if it means that there will be more conference stability. It might not matter with respect to the Big Ten’s expansion plans, which I don’t believe really hinge on a championship game, but it may be enough to dissuade the Pac-10. If the Pac-10 doesn’t expand, then the Big XII might be safe, which in turn means that the Mountain West and WAC could live on as-is, too. At the very least, changing the rule gives conferences more options and when you’re dealing with a rule that has an arbitrary number anyway (there’s no really great reason why 12 is such a critical number), I think that conferences would probably like more options. When the ACC’s proposal was rejected in 2003, it was probably seen more as the ACC trying to skirt the rules in an expansion process that had turned ugly. Today, conferences may want to change the rule for self-presevation or, if they still get raided, provide more flexibility in replacing members.


  5. OrderRestored

    This is sounding more and more like the only expansion that is going to occur west of the rockies is Boise St joining the MWC. The Pac 10 looks like it will remain stagnant in membership (although i look for them to come up with some sort of lucrative TV deal, their population base is too huge not to) The Big 12 seems like it is being a little too quiet on the expansion subject. Is the Big 12 looking to expand at all? I could see them sneaking through the ‘backdoor’ in all of this Big Ten destablizing the Big East and snatching Louisville and maybe gaining New Mexico to the west. It might be a good idea for them to start being proactive in all of this instead of sitting back waiting to be the victim.


    1. Michael

      I think you’re right about the Mountain West inviting Boise.

      For the past few years, the Mountain West has had some legitimate reasons to maintain the status quo and let Boise stay in the WAC. First, adding Boise may not add enough financial value to the whole conference for the existing members to benefit. Boise is not a very big TV market, and its home state, even though it’s growing, is quite sparse. It would take 50 years at this rate for Idaho to be the next truly large, Arizona-like boom state, so Boise offers very minimal local TV growth.

      Second, Mtn. West universities aren’t quite world-class like the Big Ten schools and most of the ACC & Pac-10 schools, but the league does take pride in its own level of academic standards. Put it this way: MWC supporters would say New Mexico “fits” the academic profile, but New Mexico State would not. Utah & BYU fit; Utah State, supposedly, would not. Basically, it takes a respectable SAT score and GPA in order to get into most MWC schools. Boise State is quite different because it’s not a research institution by any stretch. It’s easy to be admitted. It’s ranked around 40th in US News’ list of Master’s degree-granting schools… and that’s just in the West, not nationally. Boise would be an outlier in the wrong direction.

      Having said that, the MWC has little choice but to invite Boise. Its risk of having its most valued programs poached away is very high right now, and if MWC presidents hope to keep a chance of earning a BCS autobid, they’ve got to get Boise NOW. Otherwise, with the loss of Utah and BYU, Boise might decide it’s better off staying in the WAC.

      It’s pretty sad, though. A league that has progressed so much without the advantages enjoyed by the “Big Six” conferences may have to compromise its standards in order to survive. Worse yet, all its work may be torn apart by the expansion of its neighboring leagues.


  6. mushroomgod

    Syracuse is a private school with 19000 enrollment and $35M in anuual research $. It doesn’t fit the Big 10 profile. Unlike NW, it doesn’t have 100s of millions of dollars in research $. Unlike NW and ND, it is not highly selective in admissions. And it’s located several hours from NYC.

    In addition, Syracuse plays football in an aging indoor stadium that one commentator described as one of the 10 worst venues for college football in the US.

    If you take Rutgers, Syracuse is not necessary or desirable. Tne combo of ND, PSU, and Rutgers would secure the NY market, as much as that market can be secured for college football. Syracuse adds nothing and is a drain.

    Pitt would be far the better choice. Pitt is a biiger, better football school, in better football territory, with better tradition. And Pitt is far more convenient to reach for visiting football fans.

    As to the plan itself, all well and good. Exactly how do you convince ND to go along? If you go to them and say “Our plan is to add ND, Syr., and Rutgers” and they reply “not interested”, do you go ahead and take RU and SU anyway? If so, you’ve added 2 schools the vast majority of Big 10 fans and coaches have little or no interest in, in the hope of adding ND at some later date. Pretty shaky proposition. I mean, if you were going to add 2 schools just for the hell of it, they would probably be some combination of Mo., Ne., and Pitt.


    1. Jake

      If this champ. game rule change goes through, I think that would only hurt Pitt’s chances of getting into the Big Ten. Pitt already offers little financially to the Big Ten, and if you remove that 12-school requirement for a title game, there goes Pitt’s last chance to get in by themselves. I think they have a pretty good shot at getting into the ACC, if the Big Ten takes someone like BC.


    2. mushroomgod

      If I was the Big 10, I think I’d do as follows, assuming the rule requiring 12 teams for a championship game is not changed:

      1. Hold your nose and invite Rutgers.

      2. At that time let it be known that future expansion is still under consideration.

      3. Tell ND (discretely)…you’ve got 2 years to think about it…at that time we’re going to offer Pitt and Nebraska. You can have Nebraska’s place if you want it. If not, we’re going ahead.

      Reasons: I don’t see any way at this time that ND can be bribed or dragged into the Big 10 (see my post above). They will wait and see what BK does with the football program. If he is wildly successful, the AD will NEVER be able to convince the crazed alums to go to the Big 10. If he fails or is only moderately successful, the Big 10 stays in play. In the meantime, the Big East looks less stable, and everyone has a chance to see how everyone reacts to the Rutgers addition….

      The worst case scenerio here, imo, doesn’t look too bad. You’d be adding 2 top 70 rated, big-time research Us, and 1 top 10 all-time football power. Rutgers gives you some TVs, Pitt adds a great fit, Nebraska balances the conference east and west, so you can have the preferred east/west divisions. As far as Neb.’s academics go…it’s only rated #102 (as I recall) by US News..but from what I’ve read the state is pouring some $ into the U. If I recall correctly. thay have something like $140M in fed reseach $ annually, and it is an AAU member. The only other relative downside is that Neb is smaller than the other Big 10 Us other than NW–about 24000 enrollment…and of course, not many TVs in Neb….but obviously, you can’t have everything here….

      As an alternative (one I think Frank has proposed), I think I’d give serious consideration to just adding Neb. as #12. Doesn’t alter the status quo too much, gives the Big 10 a 4th fb power, and allows for the east/west division divide.

      If you don’t do either of the above, you’re allowing ND to hold you hostage….assuming the 12th team is as desirable as the coaches say…..


      1. omnicarrier

        mushroomgod Says:
        March 24, 2010 at 8:39 am

        “If I was the Big 10, I think I’d do as follows, assuming the rule requiring 12 teams for a championship game is not changed:

        1. Hold your nose and invite Rutgers.”

        Here’s the problem with that strategy as I see it. PSU will not be happy with Rutgers as their designated rival. They just won’t be – NFW. I’m surrounded by Nits and they still regard Rutgers as a non-major program which is what they were up until the mid-70s.

        ND will be happy with that decision because it keeps the Big East in tact for now, allows UConn, Pitt and SU time to either grow or get back on tract and also allows the ACC to get their act together in regard to a conference network.

        Which then puts the Irish in the driver seat having to decide between two or even three conferences 5 or 7 years down the road.

        The Big Ten has the complete upper hand now, that isn’t a guarantee 5 to 7 years from now.

        Lastly, I hope no one here believes Time Warner or Cablevision are going to add the BTN due to the Big Ten simply taking the Scarlet Knights. Anyone who watched how much trouble YES had getting on basic in NYC knows those cable companies will use any loophole to fight that.

        And the Big Ten has given them the best loophole of all – they have marketed the BTN pricetag along state lines. NYC isn’t in New Jersey, so those cable companies will not feel compelled to add the BTN to its basic service. They might get the 10 cents out-of-state rate that the Big Ten got with Comcast and Philly, but even that isn’t a guarantee. It’s going to take a combination of 3 of 4 schools (if not all 4) to have any hope of getting the BTN on basic cable in NYC – and they are ND, PSU, RU, and SU.


        1. Kyle

          I am also surrounded by Penn State folks, and I think you’re underselling Rutgers. The Scarlet knights don’t have to be a better designated rival than Ohio State; they just have to be a better rival than Michigan State. I think you understand how low the level of interest is in the land-grant trophy rivalry. For both New Jersey recruiting and alumni travel purposes, Rutgers is a much better rival for them, more so if JoePa can strong-arm them into playing in the meadowlands instead of their home stadium.


          1. omnicarrier

            “The Scarlet knights don’t have to be a better designated rival than Ohio State; they just have to be a better rival than Michigan State.”

            Anybody who believes Rutgers is or will become better than Michigan State as a football program is drinking far too much red cool-aid. It’s been 5 years now since their only significant win over Louisville.

            Pitt is PSU’s natural and best rival. Rutgers spent the majority of their football life playing the Lehighs, Lafayettes, and New Jersey Techs.

            “more so if JoePa can strong-arm them into playing in the meadowlands instead of their home stadium.”

            I don’t see that happening unless every PSU/RU game is played there. They refused to play ND there and then have to play ND at South Bend. Why would this be different? Wouldn’t this break the cardinal rule of the Big Ten that they “share” everything equally?


          2. Rick

            @Omni: Rutgers hasn’t played Lehigh and Lafayette since 1975-1977. They have never played New Jersey Tech (doesn’t exist). They have played Michigan State 5 times since 1988. They are 3-2. There have been many significant wins since 2006 as the program was being rebuilt. I would say that the 4-1 bowl record (4 straight bowl wins) were significant wins.

            You have chosen to denigrate the Rutgers program, I can understand that, considering you are Syracuse follower, that comes with the territory. I obviously have a dog in the fight too as a Rutgers Alum. Just don’t misrepresent the facts to make your points.

            As far as basic cable rates, DMA’s, NJ/Philly/NY Metro, we will see what the BTN can get. It will be tough negotiating no doubt. I have read your posts elsewhere and you seem to know your stuff on the cable TV business. I just feel Rutgers is a viable and important piece for the BTN to have as part of the package that they negotiate with the NY/Philly cable companies.

            As far as being PSU rivals, it doesn’t matter that much but I do know that the games they played drew alot of people. The game in 1977 in particular at Giants Stadium was a sellout. I know, I was on the field (got my ass kicked by Matt Millen, Bruce Clark and crew). So I have no doubt a renewed rivalry would be popular in NY/NJ/Philly markets.

            No one is saying that Rutgers will deliver the NY Metro DMA alone. As part of a BTN package with some assortment of RU/SU/PSU/ND/BC/UConn/PITT with the rest of the Big Ten opponents will do a very good job of penetrating the market and justifying reasonable basic cable carriage fees.


        2. Mike R

          Paterno has always regarded RU as “the sleeping giant of the East.” When Dick Anderson became head coach there in the 80s, PSU’s SID called RU “Penn State East.” With Schiano, I think Rutgers is gaining respect, maybe not as an equal, but as a looming threat to Joe’s NJ recruiting grounds. I think there’s enough there to form the basis of a rivalry.


          1. omnicarrier

            Assuming this is true, which I don’t buy at all – this isn’t about getting PSU a rival. If it were Pitt would be in the Big Ten already.

            This is about adding TVHHs to the BTN. TVHHs are not divvied up by state, but rather by DMAs, as the Big Ten found out in both Philly and in St. Louis.

            New Jersey has no DMAs of their own. All of their TVHHs are divided up into two DMAs, NYC and Philly.

            The question the Big Ten has to answer is – will adding Rutgers get full price and basic cable for the BTN in Philly? What, if anything will adding Rutgers do in terms of the BTN getting off the sports tier in NYC DMA for Time Warner and Cablevision subscribers?

            If Rutgers is such a big hit in NYC posters on this board seem to think, why has ABC shown just as many UConn football games on Saturday at 3:30 as they have Rutgers games?


      2. Charles C

        I have to agree with your take on Nebraska. The last three months have been strange indeed if we’ve gotten to the point where Rutgers is considered a more desirable addition to the Big Ten than Nebraska.
        From what I’ve read on this fantastic site, Rutgers’ primary (only?) selling point is the size of its home state and proximity to New York. However, as Omnicarrier points out, it will be far easier said than done to get the .80 to 1.00 fee enjoyed in current Big Ten markets.
        Exactly who is going to force Comcast / Time Warner / Cablevision to move the BTN to its expanded basic tier? The 49k Rutgers fans that show up to Rutgers football games or the 4,500 fans that show up for basketball games? For all the bashing of Syracuse as a small, private school of 19,000, they still manage to outrank Rutgers in total merchandising sales

        Additionally, adding Rutgers is effectively stating that the Big Ten believes that its current revenue model will continue in perpetuity, that cable companies will always be able to force customers to pay for every channel placed in its basic or expanded basic tiers. Is it really difficult to imagine that in 6 to 10 years cable companies will be forced into offering ala carte pricing? In this scenario, how many subscribers could Rutgers honestly be counted on providing? Do you think that number would be more or less than the number of Nebraska fans that would willingly pay for the Big Ten?

        I understand the limited population base of Nebraska. However, Nebraska football is a national brand, as it has been for the last 50 years. No matter how the revenue model for collegiate sports evolves over the next 10, 20 or 30 years, it will fundamentally revolve around producing content that people want to see. I feel much better placing a bet on Nebraska football still commanding the public’s attention in 20 years than Rutgers.

        Despite what it may seem, my point is not to denigrate Rutgers, but to point out that expansion is a decision that will impact the Big Ten far into the future. And while I don’t pretend to think like a university president, I’ve found that long term decisions based on the belief that the future will look exactly like today rarely work out.


        1. Mike B.

          I agree that Rutgers is not an ideal candidate.

          But Nebraska isn’t either.

          Rutgers passes the academic smell test; Nebraska doesn’t.


          1. Scott S


            ARWU ranking: Rutgers 38 (between Pitt and Florida)
            Nebraska in the 71 – 90 range, along with Florida State, Iowa State.

            US News ranking: Rutgers 66 (tied with UConn); Nebraska 96 (along with Florida State, Alabama, Kansas, Florida State, Arizona)

            Research: Nebraska $333 million; Rutgers $308 million. (Yes, as pointed out, Rutgers would have $246 million more if you count the University of Medicine and Dentistry NJ, but they are currently separate entities.)


          2. HerbieHusker

            Mike B.

            See Scott’s comment. Nebraska’s academics are far more competitive with Rutgers acadmeics than Rutgers athletics are with Nebraska’s athletics. Nebraska has recently invested alot of money into the academic side of things; and if I rememeber right, Penn St wasn’t necessarily an academic powerhouse when they first joined the Big 10 either. Nebraska is an AAU memeber with much room to grow, I’m not saying they are the best candidate by any means; but I think if the Big 10 were to select Rutgers they would be making the mistake of putting all their eggs in the TV Market basket. Rutgers isn’t the academic power they once were, and they are not (nor ever have been)anything to speak of athletically despite a marginal level of recent success.


          3. HerbieHusker

            Also, I’ve yet to see anyone mention on here the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha which ranks very highly in the US Weekly and the ARWU rankings for Grad programs. This is another asset to the University of Nebraska’s academics. Another thing to keep in mind when talking about Nebraska’s academics is that the richest man in the world is a Nebraska alumni. That has to speak for something.


          4. Rick


            “Rutgers isn’t the academic power they once were,”….

            Based on what? Are you referring to the recent hack job and biased post concerning Rutgers and the US News Rankings since 1997? It is well documented in academic circles that the methodology is flawed in the US News Rankings when comparing the academic merits of National Universities and Liberal Arts Colleges. What else are you basing your opinion on? The ARWU rankings? AAU membership? Graduation rates and Academic Progress Rates of athletes and Football players? Not sure I understand your statement.


          5. HerbieHusker


            I’m not completely basing my opinion on rankings alone; my cousin attended Rutgers and is adament that the academics at Rutgers has been on a decline ever since they ran out of money and had to become New Jersey’s state university. This has led to lower endowment and even lower alumni support…..if you don’t believe the rankings, listen to the alumni themselves.


          6. Rick

            @Herbie: I am an alum, I know a little about this. I even had a conversation with myself after reading your post.

            Rutgers has been the State University since 1945 and has not been running out of money and the academics sliding since then. Or now. Their academic standing is excellent in the eyes of the academic world. I’m really not sure what your cousin is talking about.

            Granted, Rutgers is facing the same State Funding cutbacks that many other large, flagship State Universities are facing and the budgetary constraints it causes but their academic and athletic quality remains very good.

            Granted, the endowment and alumni giving is below par compared to other similar large Universities.

            A few other facts (source Wikipedia):

            Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (usually referred to as Rutgers University), is the largest institution for higher education in New Jersey. It was originally chartered as Queen’s College in 1766 and is the eighth-oldest college in the United States.

            Rutgers is one of only two colonial colleges that later became public universities. (The other is the College of William and Mary).[3]

            Rutgers was designated The State University of New Jersey by acts of the New Jersey Legislature in 1945 and 1956.[4

            Rutgers is the largest university within New Jersey’s state university system, and it was ranked 54th in the world academically in a 2008 survey conducted by the Institute of Higher Education at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.[6]

            Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey is a leading national research university and is unique as the only university in the nation that is a colonial chartered college (1766), a land-grant institution (1864), and a state university (1945/1956).[24] Rutgers is accredited by theCommission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (1921), and in 1989, became a member of theAssociation of American Universities, an organization of the 62 leading research universities in North America.[25] Rutgers-New Brunswick is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as “RU/VH,” which stands for Research Intensive University, Very High research activity.[26]


          7. HerbieHusker


            I haven’t done any research on the subject; I’m just going by some conversations I had with my cousin about his alma-mater….I just assumed he knew more on the subject than I did. Apprently from your post there are differing opinions within the Rutgers alumni. I personally always believed that Rutgers (just the name) held more weight than most universities of its kind in the academic sense. Who knows, maybe my cousin was in one of his “this next generation just doesn’t know as much as we did” modes….he tends to do that. Didn’t mean to step on any toes, I was just commenting on the information I received through the only alumni from Rutgers that I know. What I do know for certain is the academics at the University of Nebraska aren’t to be balked at; it is a growing academic community with much more room to grow, maybe not thought of in the same regard as Rutgers…but not completely out of the academic realm.


        2. Rick

          @Charlie C.:

          “From what I’ve read on this fantastic site, Rutgers’ primary (only?) selling point is the size of its home state and proximity to New York.”

          Rutgers primary (only?) selling point? We have all read and heard from the Big Ten about various criteria they will be looking at when evaluating candidates. We heard about “15” candidates on a list. We heard about “5” in particular that have passed the “smell” test. Rutgers was mentioned as one of the 5. We know, or believe, that the BT will look at academics, AAU, research, athletics, facilities, attendance, population, TV markets, geographic connectivity. Given that the Big Ten consultants “Blair” specifically mentioned 5 names as having proved viable, I would say that, if we assume they looked at the various criteria listed above, Rutgers proved to them that there was more than just their location that would make them a fit for the Big Ten. To say that their primary (only) selling point is their state population and TV DMA potential is just not a fair assessment of what the Big Ten consultants have found. And to say that after reading these boards that is what your takeaway has been then I’m not sure what you’re reading. There has been a very open and honest discussion about the various attributes that Rutgers brings to the table other than location. Yes that helps and is a big one in favor of Rutgers but there is a lot more that initially the Big Ten consultants like as well.


        3. M

          Nebraska and Rutgers are almost opposites of each other.

          in New Jersey, the 11th largest state

          near New York City, the largest market in the country

          well-respected academically, but with some murmurs of decline

          poor athletic tradition, especially in football though improved recently

          questionable fan support regionally

          no fan support nationally

          in Nebraska (duh), the 38th largest state

          near no major city

          marginally academically, but better than its general reputation

          unsurpassed athletic tradition in football, though has not been as good recently

          unquestioned support regionally

          very good support nationally


      3. If the Big 10 adds Rutgers, I don’t think that locks down the NYC market at all. It would probably put the Big 10 on basic cable in New Jersey, but at best, we’d be no better then the Big East in NYC in football, and not close in basketball.

        IMO, the Big 10 needs to act bold. Grab Notre Dame, Syracuse, Pitt, Connecticut and Rutgers. If they do that, there would never be any threat to Big 10 heremony North of the Ohio River.

        The Big East could never reconstitute itself, and the ACC would have no inroads to NYC.

        The debate is between Boston College and Connecticut for the 16th spot. Who would Delaney prefer?


        1. @Justin – I think that you’re right about Rutgers alone with respect to the NYC area in general. On their own, they might be able to get the BTN onto basic cable in New Jersey at best. Now, that’s actually still a financial positive for the conference IF Rutgers has that type of leverage above all of the other “second tier” candidates. I’m still not feeling these 16-school proposals. I’d be concerned about Syracuse taking NY fans to another conference like the ACC, but Penn State has such a large fan base that Pitt heading to the ACC wouldn’t really hurt the Big Ten.

          If I was in the shoes of Jim Delany, I’d pick BC over UCONN easily from a revenue perspective. I think that you can count on BC delivering the Boston market if ND is included, whereas UCONN can only be counted on to deliver its home state (which doesn’t have a large enough population by itself to make it worth it). ND is still really important for any Northeast strategy to work – I don’t think it does any good for the Big Ten to just annex the original BE members without ND.


  7. Jake

    I really hope this rule gets changed. Getting to 12 for a conference championship game is a lousy reason to expand. If the MWC adds Boise State as the 10th team, and maybe Fresno as the 11th, it would be pretty sweet to have the top two teams meet in a conference title game without needing to find a 12th and split into divisions, or needing to add a ninth conference game.

    And as for the 2008 UT-Tech-OU situation, how would this rule change have solved that? The same thing could happen in any conference, championship game or no. If you have three teams with the same conference record, where A beat B, B beat C, and C beat A, there isn’t a real good way to resolve that. The Big 12 may have chosen the worst of all possible solutions (the Coaches Poll? Really?), but that’s hardly the NCAA’s fault. Things may have seemed a little simpler in that particular situation since Tech was beaten so handily by OU, but if that game had been closer, and you had changed the rule so the top two teams play for the title instead of division winners, you would have had three teams with an equal claim on two championship game berths. There are good reasons to change the 12-team rule, but I don’t think this is one of them.


    1. Adam

      I think the popular perception was that TTU got crushed by OU so badly that they deserved to be disqualified, and then the divisional rule forced the league to choose between UT and OU to play Mizzou instead of letting them play each other in the title game. Plenty of commentary at the time certainly talked in these terms; I had an e-mail exchange with an idiot columnist at one of the newspapers down there when he wrote a column complaining about the Big 12‘s decision to set their league up that way, as though there weren’t any NCAA rules in place that mandated that. (When I wrote to him, he had this smug attitude, said something like “I love it when people treat NCAA rules like they were holy writ. If the powers that be wanted them changed, they’d be changed” or some such stupid comment which is neither here nor there when discussing the particular league’s particular arrangement in a particular season.)


      1. Jake

        I get how that one particular situation was messed up, and how a UT-OU rematch would have been preferable to the title match-up that occurred, but I don’t see how changing the 12-team rule would prevent that from happening in the future. Three-way ties can happen in any conference, whether you have a nine-team round robin, a 12-team division winner title game, or a 10+ team top-two title game.


  8. Jake

    Anyone know what it would take for the Pac-10 to change that unanimous vote rule? Another unanimous vote, a 3/4 vote, disbanding the conference and writing a new charter?


    1. Mike

      From what I’ve read, adding a school is a constitutional matter, and all constitutional matters requre unanimous votes. So to change to constitution to expand with a 3/4 vote would require a unanimous vote.


  9. Nittany Wit

    Seems like a deflection by the Pac-10 knowing time is to precious for negiotiating a TV contract to wait for the NCAA rules to change. After all, they hired Larry Scott because they are “undervalued”. You don’t change being undervalued by staying at the status quo, whether that be signing the same TV contract or keeping the same number of teams.

    Right now the PAC-10 is who people are waiting on. This releases the pressure of who the Pac-10 will invite, but also when. This slows the game down enough that the PAC-10 may be able to see more of the Big-10’s hand. Imagine if the Big Ten added a Big 12 North team, then Colorado is easily a PAC-10 shoo-in if they want, but maybe the PAC-10 can ‘shop’ around to see if Texas might move. If so, they could grab Colorado, Texas, and maybe A&M and Utah.

    However, if they move first then they won’t get Texas. Texas only becomes vulnerable once two Big 12 North teams are out or on the way out. Justing losing Colorado means they could add Colorado St. or BYU. As of now, The Pac-10’s move is essentially limited to Utah, BYU, Colorado, and maybe, only if needed as the pivotal 12th team, Colorado St, Hawai’i or Boise St. Other than the first three, there aren’t many options for addition unless the PAC-10 looks into the Central time zone teams of the Big-12. And of the first three, it would see a longshot to add BYU.

    Once the bidding starts, things are going to go fast, but right now it is all posturing to be in the best position when that starts to happen. The second team to move actually has more clout since the first team will have disrupted the waters.

    Here’s how I see it playing out…if the PAC-10 doesn’t expand, then the Big Ten looks to wrap up the New York market in the order of 1) ND, 2) Rutgers, 3) Syracuse. If the PAC-10 takes Colorado, then the Big Ten takes Missouri (maybe Nebraska) and presses hard for Texas (with maybe A&M).


    1. Stopping By

      I think the Pac does something…just not sure what. Scott didn’t get hired to do nothing, and he certainly isn’t assembling the best/most progressive staff (including Kevin Weiberg) the Pac 10 has seen…to do nothing. On a side note, ANY hire would have been more progressive than the Hansen era.

      I think at minimum, it is a joint TV network venture with the Big 12 or ACC – but probably more.

      The one concern I have is the timing. Assuming the Big 12 is the current home of the targeted expansion teams, the rules state a two year notice w/ 50% loss of conference dollars or a one year notice with 90% loss of conference payout. In order for the two year notice – plans need to be in place by June (I think) and I just don’t see that happening. On the other hand, if a school is looking at change – I guess a large 1 year hit is worth sustaining. But do those payout cuts still apply if the conference is getting disbanded?


      1. Richard

        Probably not if everyone votes to disband. Of course, the smaller schools wouldn’t vote for that unless they’re all going to join a new Pac20/24.


  10. Mike

    If the PAC 10’s consults tell them that expansion (Texas or forming the 14 to 22 school western alliance) and starting their own network, will put them on par with the Big 10’s TV money and Stanford is the lone holdout keeping it from happening, is there a possibility that the PAC 10 could do something similar to what the Big 8 did? The Big 8 dissolved (the Big 8 didn’t expand, it ceased to exist) and then the Big 8 members and Texas schools formed a new conference, the Big 12. Given how desperate the west coast athletic departments are for money could this “Nuclear Option” (or even the threat of it) be used gain Stanford’s support? Now I realize that the Big 8 didn’t have any hold outs against expansion (at least if there were it wasn’t public) but if the west coast public schools are struggling for money as much as it is being reported, are the desperate enough to do something drastic?


  11. Richard

    If USC (and UCLA, to a lesser extent) wants expansion, it will get expansion, regardless of what Stanford wants, since USC could just withdraw from the Pac10 and form a new conference with Texas (if Texas is so willing) along with the schools from the Pac10 & Big12 they’d want to join them.

    Also, as as I noted in the previous post, times are different now; given the choice of cutting sports, laying off more staff, or expanding, Stanford would likely choose expansion:


    1. I think that Stanford would choose expansion with the right schools, but I just don’t believe they’d stretch it to where they’d just give Texas a blank slate to bring in whoever they want (or politically need to bring along), specifically Texas Tech, which seems to be what a lot of people imply the Pac-10 would be more willing to do than the Big Ten (and thus, why Texas might prefer the Pac-10). As I’ve said, I don’t think Stanford would ultimately have issues with Texas, Texas A&M and Colorado, and I think they’d bite on Utah. It’s more of these more radical expansion plans that would include Texas Tech or Oklahoma that I think Stanford would kill for sure. Of course, if a conference could bring in Texas and Texas A&M as a pair without the shackles of schools like Texas Tech, then the Big Ten really needs to keep pushing on that front because the conference would be idiots to let that pair go off to the Pac-10 alone. The issue is that the two main Texas schools are really the ones that can take the Pac-10 to the next level, whereas a more measured expansion with just Colorado and Utah may not be sufficient financially for anyone (much less meet the academic needs of Stanford).

      At the end of the day, I think the Pac-10 will ultimately be more conservative in its expansion moves than the Big Ten, as opposed to being more aggressive.


      1. Or would they (give Texas the blank slate)? Let’s not forget: The Big 10 did the hard work and “created” the model of the Big 10 network, laid out the capital, fought with ComCast, and got their hands dirty to make the money they’re making right now. The Pac 10 merely needs to see the model and copy it, right?

        So, with that assumption, why would the Pac 10 go the conservative route and capture a smaller market in Colorado and Utah if Texas is sitting there on the table? Every can do the same math with Texas(this assumes they move at all, and that’s a big Stanford “if”). If I was the Pac 10, I would be trying to tie up the biggest fish in the most lucrative market. If I have to take a few stinky fish along with it, well, so be it.


      2. Stopping By

        Pac 10 needs money anyway they can get it – and Texas delivers that the best. For all the reasons and arguments that have been posted here since you blogged the “Expansion Index,” I think that Texas and A&M need to have the Big 12 show vulnerability before making a move.

        A possible scenario, if expansion past 12 is the plan to begin with, is to invite CO only with ample time for them to put in their 2 year notice with the Big 12….then watch the Big 12 cookie start crumbling before inviting UT and A&M in the following months/year along with either 1 or 3 others to get to an even 14 or 16. The deal with TX and A&M would need to be secured though….or else its a bomb blowing up in the Pac 10’s face.


  12. loki_the_bubba

    So the likeliest scenario still remains: the P10 does nothing, the B10 adds Notre Dame, everyone else stands pat for another 10-15 years.

    Then the SEC starts looking towards the end of their contract and we start all over again.


    1. mushroomgod

      This isn’t likely at all, as ND isn’t going to join the Big 10 unless they are bribed/pulled/pushed, and in any event, not in the forseeable future.


  13. Playoffs Now!

    The B12 won’t expand unless next year they can nab a block of P10 schools extremely pissed that Stanford or a hanger on school is blocking major revenue expansion. IOW, pretty unlikely.

    However, if the rules for a conf champ game are changed (though I don’t think they will be) you might see the B12 shrink to 10 or have many of its schools withdraw to form a new 10 team conf. Deloss Dodds has previously spoken favorably of the 10-team format. UT has begun pushing for a 9-game conf schedule, and at 10 you can play every conf team each year (just as in the P10.) I’m not sure a majority of schools would view loosening the champ game rule as a stabilizer rather than a potential threat. And even if it passes, it isn’t certain that conferences would also drop divisions. Weaker schools may view dropping divisions as decreasing their chances of playing for the conf title.

    As to the P10 itself, Stanford could be a roadblock, but so could schools like WSU or OSU, concerned that expansion makes winning conference more unlikely for them. OTOH, increasingly dour budget situations may compel a block of schools to threaten to leave if wealthy Stanford blocks financial relief, tradition be damned.

    We’re only in the early stages of a process. Predictably it starts with unrealistic expectations and competing and often contradictory interests. The reports come back, negotiations are tentatively entered into, and everyone adapts to some realities. This can go on for several rounds, so I wouldn’t read too much into the exploration of rule changes. Might be just one aspect of due diligence.

    As to Texas, the P10 is and will be a west coast conference based in CA. The B10+ is and will be an Upper Midwest conference (perhaps with an eastern addition) based in the Upper Midwest. In both cases Texas would be on the outside fringe. Texas wants to be in a Texas-based conference. If they join the P10, they want to come in as a block in a merger or alliance of roughly equals. Virtually no chance of that with the B10+, so for now they’ll have high demands while aiming for a B12 (or B12-2) with the synergy of a potential shared TV contract. Second choice would be a P16, P20, maybe a P14, or the long shot of a P12 with only a portion of the P10 included. If none of that works out, only then are they likely to look towards the Big Tent, in which case their leverage will have diminished, so that joining with only aTm becomes an acceptable option.

    I can envision how (relatively) financially threatened P10 schools could use the threat of leaving on Stanford. Let’s look at some numbers: P10 has 55 million persons, or an average or 5.5 mil per school. For a very fuzzy comparison, the B12 has 48 mil, 4.0 per school. (BTW, say the Big Tent takes their most likely western options, NE and MO, with 2 mil and 6 mil respectively. The B12-2 remains at a 4.0 avg.) Subtract Stanford and the P9 still brings 55 mil. Add Texas, aTm, TT at 25 mil, CO at 5, OU at 4, MO at 6, and either Utah, KS, or ISU at 3 for a total of 98 mil and a 6.1 average. Or say that Texas views the AZ schools as similar enough to them in interests and voting matters, just a 14 school combo of the P9 plus Texas, aTm, TT, OU, and CO totals 89 mil and a 6.4 avg. That’s a 16% avg increase per school, a 62% market increase, and several central time zone schools that brings options and synergy to any TV and cable deals. Of course the real revenue potential doesn’t extrapolate that easily, you have unequal distribution, and there are other factors and intangibles, but it gives a rough picture of how numbers might sway some P10 schools into pressuring a Stanford. Or not.

    A couple of more points in that regard. B12 currently is 48 mil, 4.0 avg. But boot out or reform without 2 of the 3 vulnerable duplicate schools of Bay, OK St, and KSU, and you have a 10-team league still at 48 mil but a 4.8 avg, a 20% increase. Changing the champ game rules might make that a tempting option.

    Now say the first P10 expansion vote fails, and Texas then pitches its best Indecent Proposal: UW, OR, ST, Cal, UCLA, USC, AZ, Texas, aTm, TT, OU, CO. 12 schools, 89 mil market, 7.4 mil per school avg, and all states have a track record of good to exceptional growth. DFW and Houston were the top 2 urban areas for growth last year, Texas continues to add the equivalent of Nebraska’s population every 4 years. While it is unlikely enough to break up the tradition-rich P10, a 35% per school avg increase might be tempting. Ditch snooty Stanford for MO’s 6 mil (hey, Columbia is west of the Gateway Arch) ups the total to 95 mil and a 7.9 avg, a 44% avg. increase from the current P10’s 55 mil total and 5.5 mil avg.

    Again, unlikely, but time and events as this next year or three unfolds may change the equations or what is feasible. Lots of things to use as leverage, I wouldn’t rule out expansion just yet. Though I’ll stick with my prediction that a Western Alliance of joint TV packages between a P10 and a B12 is the most likely outcome.


    1. Playoffs Now!

      Forgot to add, if keeping the B12 becomes unlikely, I think UT’s main pitch to the P10 is a P16 with UT, aTm, TT, OU, NE, and CO joining UA and ASU in a Souhtwestern division, or a P20 with an untouched P10 division.


      1. Jake

        Taking UA without ASU might be tricky, but you could ditch Tech, or Oregon or Oklahoma if necessary, to make room for them. Or you could have a league of 13+.

        Anyway, I’m interested in the “New Southwest Conference” idea – joining Texas and California, plus a couple of other states, would allow for a conference that could really be on par with the Big Ten and SEC as far as revenues and competition.


      2. omnicarrier

        The rumors out of Texas is that they want 4 Texas schools in the mix, Texas, TAMU, Texas Tech, and Houston.

        How firm this is, is unknown. But it makes sense in light of the state of Texas trying to get both TT and Houston elevated to Tier 1 level in terms of academics.


          1. omnicarrier

            “Just out of curiosity, where are you hearing those rumors? I haven’t heard anything about Houston.”

            Supposedly it was something the UT president said at some shindig when asked if Texas was going to the Big Ten or the Pac-10.

            He supposedly mentioned both TT and UH. How much of this was because of who was in attendance at this shindig is the unknown.


      3. spartakles78

        The state of Texas has designated 7 institutions as ’emerging research universities’: UT @ San Antonio, Dallas, Arlington & El Paso; North Texas, Houston & Texas Tech. The nearly half-billion dollar endowment is part of the commmitment.

        The gist of the article is that the state is trying to respond to their demographics but that it will be a difficult task. For instance, $50 mil in matching funds is set aside. (dollar for dollar for $2-$10 mil gifts and 50% for $100k – $1 mil gifts) Only TTU ($24 mil in 3 Months) & UT-Dallas were able to raise the 8 figure amounts for the state matching fund.

        The schools must meet 4 of 6 criteria such as an endowment of $400 mil and awarding more than 200 doctoral degrees 2 consecutive years. TTU & UH were over $300 mil last year.

        Another item to get endowment money is the university must receive $45 mil worth of grants or contracts for research in at least 2 consecutive years. Only UH with $50 mil did that last year.

        This going to be at least a one to two decade process. From the Austin & College Station point of view do you wait or not for TTU, UH or UTEP to gain more academic status or feel less need to bring them along in any packaged deal?


      4. m (Ag)

        This is why I think their are some scenarios where a school like Rice slips into a conference. They don’t bring TV viewers and they don’t help the University of Texas in the legislature like a public school would, but they have great academics and great location.

        Consider, if Texas is interested in the monetary benefits of joining the PAC 10, but everyone plays hardball:

        1) the Washington and Oregon schools are adamant about playing in Southern California
        2) Texas wants to stay ‘Texas centered’
        3) Stanford insists on strong academic credentials

        You could end up with following conference:
        West division: Old ‘Pac 8’
        East division: Arizona, ASU, Texas, Texas A&M,
        Colorado, Missouri, Rice, Tulane

        Now, Rice and (especially) Tulane would be surprises, bringing little to no TV viewers. But the East division is certainly centered in Texas. Academics is most definitely acceptable in this arrangement, and Stanford will find the proportion of excellent private schools in their conference actually increases with this arrangement.

        The chance to play games in Houston and New Orleans in conference makes a great opportunity to play games close for recruits and alumni. Those schools have trouble selling out now, but that only means that fans from Texas and A&M would be able to pack in their fans in a conference road game every year. For Texas, add games in Missouri, Arizona, Colorado, California, the Northwest, with a non-conference game in Dallas against Oklahoma. That’s a very nice schedule for recruits & Alumni, blanketing the country west of the Mississippi.

        Now, this isn’t a ‘wow’ conference that grabs national attention, but it takes the current Pac 10 and adds the important media markets from the Big 12. Since you only have to divide the money 16 ways, everyone should make more money even before you schedule your championship game.

        This is the sort of thing the Big 10 wouldn’t agree to, but the Pac 10 might do.


        1. Stopping By

          I would swap Tulane for UNM in that scenario. Bigger TV market and faster growing population I believe. I understand the attractiveness of the New Orleans vs Albuquerque destination but NM would be a nice geographical bridge between the original Pac teams and the new Big 12 teams. I also believe their academics are strong enough for approval.


          1. m (Ag)

            Yeah, I was trying to point out that their could be some surprise candidates that make their way in with so many different interests that have to be balanced. Tulane would really surprise me if it got thrown in, but it wouldn’t shock me.


    2. Stopping By

      I see the logic in a Pac 16 with the original Pac 8 teams in one division with the Big 12 south (minus Baylor plus CO) in the other. You would essentially blanket all the major metro areas west of the Miss (minus Mizz) and that would give you one hell of a bargaining chip with for a TV deal in addition to plenty of population to create a conference network as well.

      Where I think people need to not let their ideas get ahead of themselves is when you talk about splitting up state schools that already exist in BCS conferences from each other. Wash can’t split from Wash St, Oklahoma from Ok St, etc, etc for all the reasons that Texas can’t go anywhere alone.


  14. loki_the_bubba

    Any thoughts on the B12 becoming proactive? As the most vulnerable of the four big football conferences they should be exploring this. Could they be the one to go to 14 first to become stronger? Add Utah in the north and maybe New Mexico in the south?


      1. loki_the_bubba

        Two growing states geographically adjacent to the current conference footprint. Neither of which is controlled by another major conference.

        There aren’t any good candidates in other directions for the B12. Do they just sit back and wait to be dismembered?


        1. Richard

          2 states with 2-3 million people each isn’t going to keep the Big12 from being dismemebered if Texas decides it wants to leave. Even with fast growth, it’ll be a while before they even get up to the Big12 average of 4M per school.


          1. Jake

            Which is why LA, which has two Pac-10 schools and four others within a day’s drive (along with a huge population base that undoubtedly includes many alums from all Pac-10 schools), makes the most sense as a permanent title game location. The NW schools won’t like it, but holding the game in Seattle would be akin to the ACC holding its title game in Boston.

            Of course, if UT and A&M join, then Jerry will want the game to rotate to Arlington every now and then.


  15. Michael

    Man, would the ACC be mad if the rule was changed. I can’t help but wonder if the league would have chosen not to add BC and/or Virginia Tech if it could have had a conference championship with 10 or 11 teams.

    Re: Pac-10 title game

    Personally, I think staging a Pac-10 title game, with divisions or not, could be a huge mistake. WSU has low home attendance and poor traveling. So do many other schools, and whether the game would be in San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix, or LA, it would be a long, expensive flight for small fanbases to take on a week’s notice. Attendance could be worse than the ACC’s. Any expansion should be based on TV revenue, not championship game revenue, IMO.


    1. Jake

      Michael – The ACC might have been stuck taking VT anyway thanks to the Virginia legislature putting pressure on the Cavaliers, but they might have passed on BC.

      A Pac-10 title game would mostly be for the TV revenue, but it is nice to have a good crowd. Having it at the home stadium of the higher-ranked team might be an option, or they could just hold it in LA every year and hope for the best. If USC or UCLA were in the game there would be a good crowd, and the NoCal and Ariz. schools could get there pretty easily as well. This is one drawback to not having geographically based divisions.


      1. Richard

        Attendance would make up a significant chunk of the revenue of a title game. If you can sell 70,000 tickets for an average price of $100 as the SEC can, that’s $7M (and they probably get more from renting out suites, etc. as well; heck average ticket prices may be even higher than that).


  16. Playoffs Now!

    I don’t know if this makes a difference, but the P10 provides more big name potential vacation package destinations that could be major fundraising trips. In a P16 UT would not only have yearly trips to Arizona (resort spas of Scottsdale, to a lesser extent Tucson) but every year hit one of LA, San Fran, Seattle, Portland, and Spokane. Spokane? Yes, even Spokane, don’t forget the awesome mountains and lakes of Couer d’Alene are about a half-hour east of the airport and within 2 hours of WSU’s stadium. One of their resorts would make for a great getaway from the lingering Texas heat for a Sept game.

    More difficult for the Big Ten to compete with that aspect, especially for annual fundraiser junkets. You’ve got Chicago, perhaps NYC depending on expansion, the PA mountains are nice in the fall and the Hershey Resort would work, perhaps Madison (are there top resorts at the Dells or is it primarily tacky touristy?) Minnesota has some nice areas in the fall, but are many in Texas aware of that?


  17. N.P.B.

    What is the age of the average Notre Dame fan in NYC and New England?

    If you’re over 60 yrs old, then following ND makes sense– the history and all that. If you’re under 40-50 yrs old, what would draw you to a ND following?… the Lou Holtz years were great– but that’s 15-20 yrs ago. ND basketball? Tripucka and Woolridge– that was ’78? The UCLA b-ball win was early 70’s. I would imagine interest will continue to wane for NYers and New Englanders.

    As a semi-neutral observer (I’m a Big East basketball fan, and a ND/Rutgers exodus would be fine), the Big Ten doesn’t need ND in the long term.


    1. Richard

      Maybe not in the long-term, but in the short-term, ND would be a big boost in getting the BTN in to NYC and NE.

      Basically, that’s the reason for the tension. In the short-term, ND would be a big boost for the Big10, but not so much in the long-term (if the Big10/BTN gets entrenched in the Northeast). In the long-term, I believe ND will have to join a conference to stay competitive, but they can still get by as an independent in the short-term, and their fans are vociferously living in the past, not even the present, much less the future.


    2. SH

      Well said. The updside value of ND has diminished significantly over the past 20 years. There is no denying that they are a national brand with a huge following, but that following is old and getting older. Most people who follow ND now do so b/c either a family member went there or they are catholic. But unlike the 60’s where a large percentage did not go to college, most people do go to college now, and those that don’t tend to identify with their region.

      Texas/A&M has a total enrollment of over 100,000. That is a lot of students who will now have ties to the B10. The state is expected to double from 25,000,000 to 50,000,000 in the next 25 years. If we looked at this like stocks, ND is like the NY Times and Texas is google. The former is still a name with national appeal, but the latter is where the growth is. ND may even lose value once it is in the Big 10. I don’t dispute they would be better off, but they may simply become another B10 school at that point – we don’t really know.

      If you could get ND and get to 12, then maybe you do it. But why add two others now? UT and A&M should be on the B10’s target list for the next 5 years until they are absolutely sure they are no longer an option. If they reject the B10 now, then wait.

      What we do know is that Texas is the 2nd most populous state in the country and by far the fastest growin state in terms of shear numbers. In 25 years, they may be the most populous. They have the more fortune 500 companies than NY.

      Demographics and growth all point towards UT. The other options will always be available to the B10 – at lesst for the foreseeable future. UT may decide that today they can stand pat, but it may be more ripe in the next five.

      The B10 should wait it out until UT joins or it is clear that they will not. We are not there yet.


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

  19. WolverinePhD


    Just like the very well targeted Big 10 leaks, this is the Pac 10 version. The Big 10 leaks were designed to squeeze Notre Dame into re-considering their future. It worked. Genius. Create fear and confusion to achieve your internal goals.

    Now the Pac 10 is doing the same.

    With the information about the UT president stating they are not going anywhere without TTU it is clear what is going on.

    Pac 10 leaked this to put the squeeze on UT.

    Let me translate this Dodd article from the Pac 10 perspective.

    “Look UT/TAMU, we have been talking for months and talks progressed to the point where we are okay with bringing both of you along for the ride and moving to 12 teams. Then you tried to add TTU to the mix and our presidents are opposed (just like they were in the 1990’s).

    Now we are making it clear that we are firm on TTU not being an option for us. So much so that we are open to just adding Colorado and getting the rules changed so we can add a conference championship game”

    So who will blink?

    I say in the end, Texas and TAMU blink and join the Pac 10.

    The proposal of a weakened Big 12 without Colorado and maybe Missouri will be enough to have them rethink their desire to pull TTU along with them.



    1. Jake

      WolverinePhD – To be fair, I don’t think UT and A&M really care that much about Tech. That comment – if it was actually made – seemed geared toward Tech alums in the Texas legislature. Either of those schools would gladly jump ship without the Red Raiders. I’m not really convinced they care about being in the same conference with each other, for that matter.


      1. WolverinePhD

        I think we are saying the same thing.

        They will try to appease everyone in Texas and have TTU come aboard, but in the end they don’t care and will drop them in a heartbeat when push comes to shove.

        Politics is tricky. And it is VERY wise for UT/TAMU to at least appear as though they are trying to make this happen, even if in the end they don’t.

        Negotiations 101.


    2. @WolverinePhD – That could be the reason for the Pac-10’s statement, but I don’t believe that the Pac-10 can really put the squeeze on Texas and Texas A&M. Remember that the Pac-10 actually pays out less TV money than the Big XII today, so Texas/Texas A&M would be moving to the Pac-10 based on the potential of a California/Texas combo than the guaranteed dollars of the Big Ten. The Big Ten can also simultaneously destroy the home for Notre Dame’s non-football sports along with offering more guaranteed revenue than the school’s NBC contract while virtually guaranteeing that Missouri or Nebraska would jump from the Big XII, so it’s a very different bargaining position. The Pac-10 simply doesn’t have that power over Texas and Texas A&M – it can definitely weaken the Big XII by taking Colorado, but the risk is that the Big Ten can still end up offering more to the Texas schools, anyway. Now, it might have that power over Colorado and Utah themselves, but those are clearly secondary options after the Texas markets.


  20. WhiskeyBadger

    One of the things that has been posted around here a bit as a side issue (it seems to me extremely unlikely to affect this process of expansion) is drawing hockey into the conference, creating the Big Ten Hockey Conference. I don’t know if you (a hockeyless Illini) have any insight into the matter, but that seems like quite a stretch. I suppose the WCHA and CCHA could combine after the Big Ten members leave, but I don’t see how abandoning such powerhouses (North Dakota, Denver, etc in the WCHA) makes anyone any money.

    If every BT member now plays hockey, it’s a disaster. These powerhouses (UW, Minn, Mich) pick up schools that have to begin hockey from nothing (Illinois, Iowa, etc.) and gives up former National Champs, contenders, etc.

    As it stands, the WCHA is the strongest hockey conference in the nation (half the national titles for almost any arbitrary time period). The only way I can see Wisconsin or Minnesota giving that up is for a crapload of money, and I can only imagine revenue would DECREASE with the fall in quality.

    The existing Big Ten hockey schools form up, ignore the ones who don’t play, and add some other powerful hockey schools from the WCHA and CCHA like Denver, North Dakota, etc. The only state that would care enough to demand the Big Ten Network for hockey would be the Dakotas, and I don’t know if other schools would want/could be eligible for membership in the BT academic conference (considering many don’t have FB, BB, etc.) Could that be enough? I don’t think so, but I’d love to hear other opinions. The other problem is that if any existing BT school decided to start a hockey program in the future, the new conference would be obligated to accept the new weakling.


    1. Adam

      I think WiskeyBadger’s points get to my point (and Frank’s analogy) about a basketball team. I think this notion of wanting all good teams in the same league is not wise. Every league needs a middle and lower class.

      Also, at least Illinois and PSU aren’t starting from scratch. They have strong club teams which it is said could make the jump to Varsity/Division I. (Or so I’m told.) If the Big Ten adds ND, that’s 6/12 Big Ten teams with hockey right there, with the possible additions of 2 more.

      Plus, I think there’s much more money to be made in a Big Ten hockey league; enough that, the “pride” factors aside, it would be in Minnesota’s and Wisconsin’s best interests to go along.


      1. WhiskeyBadger

        Why would it be in Minn’s and Wisc’s best interests? What is the possible benefit to them? I can’t see how this would generate any revenue (BTN already in households in BT country), any prestige (would weaken schedules), and it would eliminate STRONG rivalries (the NoDak-UW rivalry is ridiculous. Just ask someone about the “Water Bottle Incident.” NO benefit.

        As far as playing in a strong conference, it is VITALLY important. Getting into the tournament (only sixteen teams) relies almost entirely on the PairWise Rankings (sort of an RPI). The WCHA gets several nods each year just because they play sucha tough schedule. Also, as the old saying goes, “to be the best, you must play the best.”


        1. Adam

          There’s more money to be made in turning college hockey into a substantially higher-profile sport. It’s a niche right now; a much lower-profile sport than even the NHL. A Big Ten hockey league gets you a lot closer to the mainstream.

          And there would doubtless be non-conference games; indeed, everybody would have more non-conference games to go out and schedule aggressively, because a Big Ten hockey league (with either 6 or 8 schools) would be smaller than the 12-team CCHA and 10-team WCHA.


          1. WhiskeyBadger

            That’s a good point (especially if the conference ends up that small), but improving its profile would be quite a risk. Not that the BT is above gambling, but would games played on BTN generate more than the local FSN stations pay? The BTN already plays some games. Would the rest of BT country ever care? NHL can’t get a foothold, would college?


          2. @WhiskeyBadger – games on BTN are definitely more valuable than games on FSN. Remember that the Big Ten passed up a whole lot of guaranteed money from ESPN to put much higher value football and basketball games on BTN and that obviously was an extremely smart financial decision. Those rights fees from local FSN stations are worth pennies compared to making the BTN stronger (which raises cable subscriber fees and ad rates in the long-term).


          3. loki_the_bubba

            Related question on the baseball side (much more popular here in Texas than hockey, of course). Does the BTN broadcast Big Ten baseball? Would Texas be giving up any significant local revenue stream if they join the collective?


          4. Richard

            Yes, the BTN broadcasts baseball. I don’t think Texas would be giving up much current revenue, but they may be forgoing potential _future_ revenue. If Texas ever decides to start the Longhorn channel, baseball and basketball will be the main sports carrying it, since Texas (and the Big12) would still want the vast majority of UT’s football games to be shown through their national TV deal.

            Lost in the discussion of Big10 vs. Pac10 for expansion is that Texas has a third choice of starting its own cable channel while staying a member of the Big12, which it might do because really, what other choice does the Big12 have?


          5. @Richard – You’ve hit the nail on the head with the Longhorn Sports Network. That’s really the last revenue chip that the Big XII has to keep Texas around. It’s not going to be the formation of a conference-wide Big XII Network – it’s all about the Longhorn Sports Network getting enough events to be financially viable and then Texas can keep the revenue for itself.

            Also, unlike a Big Ten hockey conference, which would be a powerhouse, Big Ten baseball is a massive step down for Texas. The main thing that the Big Ten offers there is televised coverage on the BTN. Otherwise, the quality of play isn’t up to the Big XII (and definitely not on par with the Pac-10).


          6. Michigan has played in and won its fair share of College World Series…maybe Texas and the Big 10 need to look at it as a win-win. Why is Texas Baseball giving up anything with a move to the Big 10?

            Look at it this way: If the Longhorn Sports Network is going to televise Texas Longhorn Baseball, does it matter who they’re playing? And aren’t there enough dates in the regular schedule to maintain the traditional rivalries? Is the Big 12 Baseball Championship “that big a deal” to Texas that they wouldn’t switch over to the Big 10, compete and play for the seeding in the CWS and have a shot at winning that every year?

            Also, if the Texas Longhorn channel is such a slam dunk moneymaker, why hasn’t it already happened? I keep hearing this, but it seems to me if Texas wants it that bad, it would have already happened…

            What am I missing?


          7. loki_the_bubba

            Texas baseball will believe they are giving up a huge amount moving to the Big 10. The B10 CWS winners are far in the past. Modern college baseball is dominated by the south and the west. Look at the current Top 25 by conference: SEC (7), ACC (5), Pac-10 (4), Big 12 (3), C-USA (2), Big West (1), Big East (1), Big South (1), Mountain West (1). Schools in the SEC are building stadiums that hold over 10,000. And they fill them up. Texas baseball is one of the top handful of premier programs. And they have always dominated a premier baseball conference, whether SWC or B12. Yes they would fill out their OOC schedule with Rice and LSU and Arkansas, etc, if they move to the Big Ten. But they WILL feel a loss in their ego to move to arguably the ninth or tenth best conference in baseball. It’s the baseball equivalent of OSU football moving to the Sun Belt.


          8. omnicarrier

            And that advantage in baseball is the result of the warm weather climates.

            I’ve often wondered why the “northern” conferences have requested the NCAA consider a split in the baseball season, playing the OOC schedules in the Fall months and the in-conference schedules from April onward.

            Would it interfere with football too much?


          9. Adam

            No doubt, omnicarrier, the advantage is due to warm weather climates. Baseball isn’t going to take off outside of the Sun Belt unless the NCAA effectively forbids the southern schools from capitalizing on that advantage (or at least limiting their ability to do so) by shortening the season.


          10. loki_the_bubba

            I believe it was two years ago that the NCAA shortened the season and moved to a uniform start date at the behest of the northern schools.


          11. Adam

            This is interesting, spartakles. Just seems to me that’s going to have to keep creeping until later into the Spring. Maybe instead of 13 weeks before the NCAA Tournament, it’s 10, and you move the beginning of the NCAA tournament up a week. I don’t know. I’m (a) not a college baseball watcher, but (b) would like to find a way to make the sport at least watchable (if not necessarily particularly successful) in the Midwest.


          12. @omnicarrier – Yes, the Northern schools will always have a disadvantage since they’re still covered in snow in February when the college baseball season starts. I actually hadn’t heard the split baseball season proposal before – that would be a good way to handle it if it matters to the NCAA that the Northern schools are competitive. More often, I see the proposal that the start of the baseball season be pushed into March and then the College World Series would end 2 or 3 weeks later than it does now. That’s good in theory in terms of weather, but it doesn’t address Adam’s point about students not being on campus anymore in June. I’d love to see non-conference baseball played in September and October and the conference play in April and May, but the Southern schools don’t really have any incentive to give on that at all.


          13. Rich

            I am pre-occupied for a week, return to this blog only to witness the analysis continues to deteriorate at an accelerating rate.

            BC is a hook to bring ND into the Big Ten. Really? Who came up with this gem? That is like saying bring UIC into the Big Twelve would attract Illinois – Champaign to move. Frank, among Big Ten bloggers I do find you reasonable. This idea shows that you know absolutely nothing about the mindset at ND.

            Still, why are you perseverating on the potential of the BTN revenues in five years as the hammer that will convince ND or Texas to join the Big Ten? At least you realize that Stanford won’t be bought for five million. On the margin an extra 5 or 10 million will not have either institution drop everything and allow themselves to become a member of the Big Ten + 6. If the Big Ten agreed to pay Texas 50 million to join the Big Ten maybe they would listen — and the presidents of the cash-strapped Big Ten would be fired left and right.

            I agree with many of the posters, ND is not a good fit with the Big Ten. As some have written, we don’t add any current value. Our only value is among the geriatric crowd. We are secretly envious of the research missions of the Big Ten schools. In fact, we hope some day to become known as the Iowa of Indiana.
            Frank, you are correct, my failure to be persuaded by your arguments and of others on this board (especially over the nearly existential value of an additional 5m to ND) shows that I am on a nostalgic-emotional binge and am incapable of logical analysis.

            Why don’t you present a summary of your ideas on NDNation or Irishsportsdaily and see how many posters you persuade that we need to join the Big Ten.


          14. Richard

            Luckily for us, we don’t need to persuade ND fans (though some of your fellow fans believe that if ND is to continue to compete for national titles in football, joining a conference is inevitable). The people that need to be persuaded are the ND administration, and I doubt they’ll just sit by and watch ND become Army.

            As for BC, no doubt the ND fanbase cares not a whit for them, but I don’t think I can use the ND fanbase as a good gauge of what the ND administration is thinking (considering that ND explored joining the ACC and almost joined the Big10 in 2003, when opposition to joining a conference then was, if anything, higher).


          15. @Rich – Dude, I actually like you and give you props for coming here. I was just passing along what I had heard about BC and actually pointed out that ND and BC aren’t emotionally tied at all (which a lot of people assume simply because they’re both Catholic). What I was stating was that BC would actually serve to address two of the main complaints that your NDNation brethren keep advancing: that ND would become a “regional school” in the Big Ten and be in a conference without any instituonal peers. Considering that Big Ten expansion has a good chance of expanding to the East Coast and BC is the only other Catholic school that plays FBS football, those are two factors. I might have overstated that BC could be a hook for ND, but there’s an argument that they address 2 of the most common concerns of ND alums.

            I know that any person that goes onto NDNation and suggests that ND should join the Big Ten will get tarred and feathered. The alums can’t be talked into conference membership – I get that. It’s just virtually every substantive argument that ND alums seem to bring up against the Big Ten that’s presented – TV money, recruiting, national schedule – doesn’t really seem to hold water when looking at it.

            Regardless, the people at NDNation aren’t the ones that run a university. The ND administration may have different views on how the school is going to plan for the future. That’s not to say that they will definitely join the Big Ten, but I think the school’s leadership is just going to look at this a lot differently than the alums.


          16. Adam

            Frankly, Frank, I think that “virtually every substantive argument that ND alums seem to bring up against the Big Ten” doesn’t hold water because they aren’t arguments so much as post hoc rationalizations. The Notre Dame alumni base seem to feel that the school must do two things: (a) stand for a series of ideals and principles and (b) evangelize the rest of the sporting world about the truth of these principles. I could buy that if Notre Dame’s commitment to these goals were not an apparent tautology: “these ideals are exactly as important to pursue as we pursue them.” Thus, being in a league with Michigan is unacceptable, but playing Michigan every year is on the right side of the ideological tipping point.


          17. Richard

            You know what’s interesting is that in the comments section of the post Rick linked to (where some Domer was, ahem, vehemently arguing against joining the Big10), the posters who were willing to indicate they were alums (stating their class) all either believed joining a conference was inevitable or spoke out against the tone and arguments in the original post.

            If you think about it, independence in one sport is somewhat of a peculiar issue to get emotionally hung up about; they don’t have a problem with ND joining a conference for all other sports, but join a conference for football and the world would end.


          18. Adam

            Richard, that’s an excellent example of what I mean. I’d absolutely understand the ND position if they were an Independent in all sports (or at least football, basketball and hockey). I’d even understand their position if they agreed to join a league for sports outside of football (because of the importance of having conference-based access to the NCAA tournament), but insisted that the league consist of other schools devoted to the principles Notre Dame supposedly holds so dear. But instead, all of these principles are applied in an ad hoc fashion, and I’ve yet to even see an effort at expressing some kind of a priori schema for their application. The extent to which the standards need to be insisted upon or enforced seems defined only in relation to what Notre Dame actually chooses to do.


          19. Rob

            True, but there’s more money at stake for the Notre Dame than just what can earn from joining the BTN. ND has a multi-billion dollar endowment, the interest from which funds a significant portion of their operating expenses. The endowment comes from alumni donations and (although not in the past few years) investing the principal. So if ND gains an extra ~100M in TV rights over the next 10 years but loses 1B in donations from alumni mad at the change, net-net they’re behind.

            It might be worth staying independent to not rock the boat and upset some of the big ticket alumni.


          20. c

            Re: ND options

            OOC games question:

            1) Would ND have to share TV revenue for OOC games against USC and so on if they joined Big 10?

            OOC games equate to 33% of schedule allowing them to rotate their non-annual OOC games among various markets.

            2) Annual games against Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue:

            These are 3 games scheduled almost annually. Believe Mich and ND just signed a 20 year series agreement.

            3) Big East games: My understanding is ND has agreed to play 3 Big East teams a year beginning in 2014. In 2010 they play Pitt and SU, in 2011 they play USF, Pitt and UConn.

            They had been playing BC but cancelled that series with the move of BC to the ACC.

            4) Core games: USC, Stanford, Navy, Army seem close to annual games.

            Other teams seem to vary: 2010: Western Mich, Tulsa, Utah; 2011: Maryland; 2012: Baylor, Oklahoma, Wake.

            The Big East football games are partially if not primarily designed to ease relations within the conference. PSU would certainly be equivalent to Pitt; games against a northeast school like SU or RU could be scheduled OOC if these schools are not included as a 3 school package.

            In short, If ND joined Big 10, from football schedule perspective:

            3 games are currently against Big 10 teams;

            at least 2 Big East games could find equivalent matchups if ND and 1-2 Big East schools were part of a package;

            4 OOC games would remain free to be determined;
            hardly seems like major sacrafice, plus ND would be competing against major Big 10 schools for a conference title.

            B1) Other sports: It may be ND enjoys playing in a diverse Big East conference including numerous catholic schools.

            Joining the Big 10 has the advantage of geographical proximity; reduced travel time.

            The basic issue may be one of affinity: would ND prefer a southern based ACC conference with many private schools including BC, smaller though excellent public schools such as UNC, UVA?

            (They are not regularly playing ACC schools as they are Mich, MSU, Purdue.)

            Would their fans prefer ACC with an additional northeast team vs Big 10 with 1-2 additional northeast teams?

            If Big 10 expands by one team, that might remove pressure on ND to make a decision.

            If Big 10 decides to expand to 14, with or without ND, then ND would seem forced to move to either the Big 10 or ACC to secure it’s future.

            If Big 10 offers ND an opportunity as part of a 3 team package, is that attractive to ND?


          21. Scott S


            Perhaps you could enlighten me as to the mindset at ND, because I honestly don’t get it. Most domers seem to almost despise the Big Ten, yet they seem to love the games against Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue. Is there something particular you (ND people) have against the Big Ten–or do you dislike all conferences? If ND has a specific issue with the Big Ten, could you explain to me what the issue is? (I really dont’ get it.)

            Domers brag about being independent and are vehemently against joining a conference, but ND is, in fact, a member of the Big East. Is the Big East acceptable only because there are other Catholic schools there? If so, perhaps Frank’s point on BC isn’t as far-fetched as you might suggest.) Is there something specific about football that’s different from all other sports? If so, what is special about football?

            It seems to me, looking in as an ousider, that you’re only independent for football because of the cash brought in by your TV deal with NBC. So I can’t seem how this “independence” is some sort of long-standing position based on principle, as it seems to be so often suggested by domers–it appears to me to be a position based on cash. If there were no NBC deal, it seems to me that ND would be looking for a conference to join in football, too. To my eyes, it seems a hypocritical stance. Am I missing something? Because I’d like to understand.

            Perhaps you could explain to me, too, why it is that Notre Dame doesn’t care one little bit for Boston College, which is what you suggest in your post. One might think that as Catholic institutions trying to educate young people in the Catholic faith and life, there might be some commonality there. Some sort of bond. Is there some sort of rivalry / jealousy thing where each shool feels its better than the other? Are there other Catholic schools (Marquette, Xavier, etc.) with which ND has a closer bond–or does ND only care about ND?

            The other question I have is this–why are domers so emotional on this issue? It seems hard to speak with someone from ND because it seems they get so easily angered. For instance, there are some 200 posts on this page as I write this, but yours seems to be the most agitated. There were some BC alums on the previous page that didn’t like some of the things written about BC, but everyone on both sides of the discussion seems to me to be pretty rational and respectful. Less emotional.

            You talk about Frank writing his ideas on NDNation or Irishsportsdaily, but I’ve got to say, they don’t seem like the friendliest or most dispassionate of places to be posting if you’re anyone other than a ND alum. Post a view contrary to the mainstream Irish view, and you seem to get your head bitten off. Again, I don’t understand where all this anger is coming from.

            There may be others on this board like me, so perhaps this could be an opportunity for you to educate us on the Notre Dame mindset, as you see it.


          22. Dear Moron:

            Your own AD said that with the seismic shift that is about to occur in the college football landscape, the option of remaning independent may not make sense any longer and force Notre Dame’s hand…We all know and understand where the Notre Dame fan base stands on joining a conference. Thanks for reiterating. However, what’s apparent to EVERYONE with a working brain not doused in Irish Whiskey and Green Beer at 9:00 AM is that there is change coming – plain and simple. Whether or not the Domers are part of that, frankly, we don’t care. However, as stated a million times, try getting in to the national title game against two undefeated teams coming from championship conferences.

            Otherwise, really great, thoughtful and insightful post that reflects exactly what we have come to expect from you and your Domer bretheren….



          23. chris

            Ha, this from the same Rich who posted pro-BC/ anti-ND material earlier. We know you’re only posing as an ND fan, I don’t think anyone takes you too seriously.


          24. Playoffs Now!

            Why Texas wants the P10 and B10+ to take two of CO, NE, and MO, and why the B10+ has virtually no shot at UT right now:

            Texas wants to be the big fish in the small pond that is a state of Texas-based conference, especially since that pond is rapidly growing on their end. For a few years now there has been occasional discussion of bringing UHou into the B12 and making a Texas division. That would require either going to 14 schools or 1 or more schools leaving the B12. If only UH is added, then division alignment gets tricky (might temporarily kick TT up to the north or bring in UH as a north school.) However if 2 schools are taken in expansion, then UH and TCU can be added while OU and OSU bump to the north, a Big Eight Minus Two reunion.

            There are very few realistic scenarios where more than CO, NE, and MO leave if Texas stays in the B12. If a 3rd school is required BYU, Colo St, or Utah would help offset some of the population loss. Losing both MO and CO would temporarily hurt in that regard, but remember that every 4 years Texas adds as many people as live in NE. Considering growth in the entire conference, any loss would be made up within about a decade.

            That’s still a hit, but Texas is probably thinking that this can be offset by bringing in hungry schools just happy to be in a BCS conference with the status, recruiting, and fundraising advantages that brings. Hence they’ll probably be willing to accept a smaller payout than MO and CO would. Kind of the college sports equivalent of outsourcing. Some will say that the loss of NE would lead to the smaller schools having enough votes to increase revenue sharing. But until the P10, SEC, and B10+ all reach 16, Texas has the leverage of threatening to walk. Hence another reason for the Longhorns to want to bring in 2 Texas schools instead of perhaps a BYU and Colo St. (that would have brought in more population): UH and TCU wouldn’t have gotten in without Texas, so usually they’d be more likely to be dependable votes with Texas. The north schools would surely grumble, but a Texas division would guarantee each school at least 1 game in recruit-heavy Texas each year, and two games every other year.

            There are other reasons besides the voting block issue why Texas would prefer to add TCU and UH. A Texas division obviously reduces travel time and costs. It provides more opportunities for their fan base and players’ families to see the Horns play in recruiting-rich DFW and Houston. Replacing CO and NE or MO with TCU and UH actually increases the conferences’ strength of schedule. Replacing CO, NE, and MO with UH, TCU, and Utah/BYU does so even more, despite the fact that NE is an excellent national draw for ABC/ESPN games. While a TX division may make it harder for the Longhorns to go undefeated, it also increases the number of prime time and feature games that UT would play in, hence increasing UT’s revenue allocation. UT-Baylor would likely be the only TX Division game not featured by ABC/ESPN, while UT-OU would remain an annual game (since the schedule would probably go to a 5-1-2 format where each school has one cross-division game that becomes annual and the other 5 non-div teams are played twice every 5 years.)

            Perhaps the ‘Western Alliance’ envisioned is the shared P12-B12 cable venture and TV rights negotiations plus every school plays one game against the other conference (if the P12 also goes with an 8-game conf schedule.) This would give the P12 and B12 the chance to maximize the number of marquee games, again creating more revenue enhancement. Equivalent to 9 conference games but with more quality matchups in feature TV slots. Even coming off a down year, if this were in place you’d likely see 8 games featured. Say the P10 took CO+NE and the B10+ grabbed MO, here’s a typical potential slate:

            Texas-Stanford, USC-TCU, NE-OU, OR-aTm, BYU-OR St, Cal-UH, UCLA-TT, ASU-OK St, and on Thursday night perhaps even WA-KS, AZ-Bay, and/or CO-KSU.

            In the end the worst case (realistic) scenario of B12 shakeup puts the B12 (at least temporarily) in a smaller population base. Yet with a tougher strength of schedule and smart P12-B12 scheduling, each conference’s odds of multiple BCS selections and getting into the faux champ game or a + system replacement would increase. Being able to market the a stronger B12 as comparable to the SEC would also help with TV negotiations, reputation, and as a result, revenues. Finally, staying in a B12 with a Texas Divsion increases the Longhorns’ control of their conference, reduces their potential risk at the moment (from potential ramifications of state fiscal problems in P10 and B10+ states), while leaving options open for them. The P10 is never going to reach 16 without them.

            So it is actually in Texas’ interest for the B10+ and P10 to raid the B12 and take 2 or 3 schools. This is why taking MO or CO to try and lure UT by triggering the collapse of the B12 is a bad strategy, because it will backfire. Texas is probably hoping expansion takes two or three, which then opens the door to a Texas Division.


          25. @Playoffs Now! – I understand your reasoning… to a point. I’m sure that Texas would always like to be the big fish, as with any power school. However, I don’t think that they can be so naive to see that it’s not a coincidence that the Big Ten and SEC have the highest TV payouts by a wide margin and they both happen to have equal revenue distribution. As the old adage goes, you’re only as good as your weakest link and as long as Texas is in a conference with a lot of weak links, it will drag them down whether they like it or not. Also, why would Texas want to empower 1 or 2 new BCS competitors in their own home state that they already deliver to TV purposes? How could that possibly do Texas any good other than simultaneously diluting its TV money and giving them a lot more in-state competition for recruiting? Unless there are some political shenanigans going on (and that certainly can’t be discounted), there is no way that I could see why Texas would actually want TCU and/or Houston move up to BCS status.

            The Texas Division looks a whole lot like the SWC that disbanded 20 years ago. I think there’s a good reason why that happened – even in a state as large as Texas, you can’t become too regional in an increasingly national sports scene. An elite school like Texas ought to be looking OUTWARD, not back inward towards its home state. It already cleans up its own home territory so it doesn’t need help there – its growth area is going beyond its state’s borders. It’s just very interesting that a lot of people seem to think that Texas wouldn’t want to move to the Big Ten because it supposedly wants to play 12 games in the state of Texas every year, while Notre Dame wouldn’t want to move to the Big Ten because it doesn’t want to play any games anywhere near the state of Indiana. I honestly think ND has more of the right idea – if you want to be a national program, you’ve got to get out of your home area. Look at USC, who is in the middle of incredible recruiting territory, who goes across the country constantly to improve its national profile. As much as I can’t stand that school, I have to credit them for both playing extremely tough non-conference schedules and going out of their way to not just be satisfied with staying in California all of the time. If Texas wants to maintain or enhance its national profile, the last thing that they ought to be doing is adding more games within the Lone Star State.


          26. c

            Re: intentions of Texas

            Thinking “like a President”

            Perhaps Texas wants to be in a conference with it’s soon-to-be “peer” Tier one Texas universities, which I believe may well include Texas Tech and Houston, in addition to A&M.

            The goal might be to broaden the support of higher education and specifically tier one universities in Texas by linking them in a single athletic conference. This may be uniquely a Texas option given the size of their state and stong interest in football and sports within the state and desire to create political support for these public schools.

            I doubt Texas wants to see Nebraska or Colorado leave the Big 12 but they may well be wanting to expand the Big 12 to include Houston.

            I believe this may represent a long term strategic goal that might include building a CIC equivalent among the tier one Texas schools with participation of other tier one research schools that could include collaboration with Pac 10 schools.

            Pac 10 – Big 12 collaboration could perhaps also include creation of a sports channel.

            I am not saying this is the strategy of Texas President William Powers, but it may be one of several options he is considering.

            If Houston and Tech become tier one schools, might the 4 tier one Texas schools be acceptable to the Pac 10 as an alternative option?

            His biography at U of Texas says:

            “As president of The University of Texas at Austin, Powers has identified four areas of emphasis:

            • Building support for higher education throughout Texas

            • Elevating the university’s academic standing to the best in the nation among public universities.”

            Only included 2: however his desire to broaden support for higher education throughout Texas” may lead him to a broader vision than what is solely in the interest of Texas at Austen and hence explain a possible desire to secure a single conference for 4 tier one Texas schools and bring them all into a CIC type research cooperative..


          27. loki_the_bubba

            I’m not sure I’m understanding the talk about adding Houston to whatever conference Texas is in. The ‘recruiting’ logic does not hold any water. Texas already plays Rice pretty much 3/4 years. And the Rice ‘home’ game is at Reliant Stadium. Texas dictates the details. If Houston becomes a conference foe they won’t be able to do this.


          28. Jake

            Frank – I agree with you about UT. I doubt they really want to bring any Texas schools along with them, and A&M at least doesn’t feel like they need UT to be relevant. Tech might be a different story, but it remains to be seen just how much influence they have. Other than the OU game, I don’t think there’s a conference rivalry the Longhorns are really concerned about preserving. They might drop the A&M game (at least on an annual basis) if it wouldn’t cause so much backlash from alumni. There seems to be a growing assumption that UT has to bring some baggage along with them wherever they go, but I haven’t seen any argument or evidence to support it (apart from an unsubstantiated claim that UT’s president may have said something to some gathering somewhere). A 12-team Big Ten with Texas is entirely possible – they just have to careful how they go about it.

            I do disagree on the cause of the financial success of the Big Ten and the SEC. Those conferences bring in tons of athletic revenue because they have passionate fanbases in a number of populous states and strong followings across the country. Equal revenue sharing is a result of their strength, not a cause of it. If revenues ever dropped off precipitously in either of those leagues, the powerhouse teams might start to reconsider how they split up the loot, and Texas may be drawn to the Big Ten in spite of equal revenue sharing rather than because of it.


          29. Playoffs Now!

            (Trying again, this post belongs beneath and in response to Jake’s, not way up in the BFE section of the thread.)

            They might drop the A&M game (at least on an annual basis) if it wouldn’t cause so much backlash from alumni.

            Um, yeah, and Alabama might drop Auburn, Army drop Navy, USC drop Notre Dame, and Ohio State drop Michigan.

            Only two rivalries have been played more often than UT-aTm, and it is the most played involving BCS schools. Heck, both schools mention the other in their fight songs.


          30. Jake

            We seem to be having the same problem –

            Playoffs Now! – I didn’t say that UT would drop the A&M match-up, just that keeping it on an annual basis wasn’t their top priority. They’d probably keep it as an annual non-conf. game, but if something more lucrative came up (this is UT we’re talking about), they might let it slide for a season. Also, I believe Alabama’s fight song mentions the mascots of Alabama State and Alabama A&M, but I think those rivalries have fallen off the schedule.

            Basically, UT and A&M are both big boys (despite A&M’s recent struggles in football), and neither school feels that they need to be in a conference with the other. If UT bolts for the Big Ten, A&M could soldier on just fine in the Big 12 until they eventually found a home in the SEC or the Pac-10.


          31. michaelC

            “Only two rivalries have been played more often than UT-aTm, and it is the most played involving BCS schools. Heck, both schools mention the other in their fight songs.”

            Just to set the record straight. Wisconsin-Minnesota is the most played rivalry in the BCS (119 games reaching back to 1890). Texas and Texas A&M started in 1894.


          32. Playoffs Now!

            How about an interruption for a Bball tourney change that combines some expansion with best of three series in the final rounds:

            Top 8 teams get a bye of the first 2 weekends, then play best of three series the rest of the way.

            Teams 9-24 get a bye of the first weekend, but then have to play 2 “One and done” elimination games in weekend 2.

            Teams 25-88 have to play their way in, 2 elimination games each during the first and second weekends.

            The current format consumes 3 weekends, but since the NCAA appears likely to expand the tourney to 96 teams, one can conclude that they are ok with 4 weeks. Why not extend it 2 more weeks for 4 teams? This format would keep the “One and done” excitement of the first two weekends we have now, while preventing the top 8 teams from being eliminated by single fluke game. Makes the regular season more meaningful. Perhaps emphasize conference championships by making it a requirement to get a Top 8 bye.

            Basically leave the first two weekends unchanged with a Thu-Sun format. First weekend sees 64 play-in teams in 32 games to get to 32, then another round to get down to 16. Second weekend sees those 16 play-ins versus the 16 “One bye” teams, then the winners square off to get to 8 play-in finalists. Third weeknds starts the best of three series with those 8 against the Top 8 bye teams. Format is Sat-Sun, with Monday evening for any Game 3’s. Fourth weekend takes these Elite 8 winners and gets down to the Final Four. Fifth weekend the 4 square off, sixth weekend is Championship Weekend.

            8 “Top 8 Bye” teams plus 16 “One Bye” teams plus 64 “Play-ins” equals 88 participating schools, more than enough. Current systems finishes April 5th, proposed 96 plan would last to April 12th. This “64-16-8” system would finish April 27 or 28, before academic finals begin, and with the byes doesn’t increase much the average per school travel or classes missed.

            A compromise to address two of the biggest complaints about the current system, without destroying much of its magic.


          33. @Playoffs Now! – This is actually a pretty good proposal if we have to go down the road of such a large NCAA Tournament expansion. Of course, the thought of the NCAA whoring itself out to add another weekend of games continues to make me vomit inside. The only expansion that I would find acceptable is adding in 3 more play-in games for the worst schools in the tournament (so there would be 68 teams total). This would actually have a strengthening effect on the rest of the bracket since the #1 seeds would then likely be playing the equivalent of today’s #15 seeds, the #2 seeds would be playing the equivalent of today’s #14 seeds, etc. I know that I’ve been someone focusing a lot on college sports and money, but the NCAA Tournament is one instance where the NCAA could very well kill the proverbial golden goose if it drags down the pace of the tourney (which is part of why people love it so much) along with destroying all value of the regular season.


          34. Richard

            Hey Frank,

            as I detailed (below), you’ll just need an extra 1 or 2 to fit in an extra round. Thurs+Fri for the play-in. Sat+Sun for the round of 64, Mon+Tues for the round of 32, then Sat+Sun for the Sweet 16, Mon+Tues for the Elite 8, and the Final 4 Sun+Tues indtead of Sat+Mon.
            Play-in round could be 4 games, 8 games, or 32, if they expand to 96.


          35. Adam

            Frank, I don’t totally understand the frustration about going to 96. I think it would substantially improve the quality of the tournament.

            Right now, the 1/16 game is basically an automatic win (1s are 104-0). The 2/15 game is close to being an automatic win (2s are something like 100-4).

            The 15s and 16s are really bad teams. Consider their RPIs this year:
            94. UC-Santa Barbara
            103. Morgan State
            104. North Texas
            118. Vermont
            121. East Tennessee State
            129. Robert Morris
            152. Lehigh
            160. Winthrop
            183. Arkansas-Pine Bluff

            If the tournament adds 31 at-large bids, they are very likely to be 31 teams which are all better than any of the 15s and 16s. Sure, some will be middle-of-the-pack major conference teams. But it will still make for a better tournament. Why? Because you will essentially be eliminating the “bye” games. If we go to 96 teams, then the four 1-seeds will be playing the winners of the 4 games taken from the middle of the 64 teams playing the first weekend of the tournament (much like the 1s currently play the winner of the 8/9 games in the Second Round). That means that, after Kansas (No. 1 overall) gets a bye, their first round opponent isn’t Lehigh; it’s something like the winner of William & Mary (58) vs. Virginia Tech (59). Certainly, Kansas would be favored in that game, but it wouldn’t be the automatic win that it is now.


          36. @Adam – My worries are more about the regular season as opposed to the tournament itself. I feel that expanding the NCAA Tournament would effectively destroy all of the value of the regular season. At least in today’s NCAA Tournament format, the last month of the season and the conference tournaments feature a lot of critical games for teams on the bubble. The non-conference games in November and December also actually have a lot of meaning in today’s format in terms of evaluation by the NCAA Tournament committee, so teams do have to play with a sense of urgency from the very beginning.

            If the NCAA Tournament expands to 96 teams, then it risks turning the college basketball regular season into the equivalent of what the NBA regular season is now: a pure seeding exercise where everyone is marking time for several months until the postseason. Those November non-conference games where college teams are going at each other full bore knowing that the result is going to matter in March are going to look more like November NBA games in terms of intensity (and that’s not a good thing, and I’m someone that really enjoys the NBA).

            Now, is there a possibility that expanding the field to 96 teams could have an opposite effect where the “good but not great” teams that would be easily in the field in today’s format yet not guaranteed to be a top 32 seed will have to play with a lot more urgency in the regular season and conference tournaments in order to secure a first round bye? That’s certainly possible and would be the only positive impact on the regular season that an expanded tournament could have in my eyes. Still, it’s such a great risk to possibly invalidate the value of 4 months of basketball for the sake of adding one round to the NCAA Tournament.


          37. Adam

            You’re right that’s a risk, but it isn’t one that keeps me up at night. The Indiana High School Basketball Tournament was one of the greatest events in all of sports even though their regular season was entirely devoid of meaning (I think the pairings in the Sectionals were determined by a random drawing).

            Speaking of which, Jeff Sagarin has attempted to approximate what the NCAA Tournament would look like using Indiana-style sectionals:


          38. Richard

            Maybe, though since being seeded 8th and being seeded 9th (and having to play the extra round) would be pretty big, you could argue that the regular season could still matter for that reason. College basketball already doesn’t have any must-see regular season games. And yes, opening up mores slots would make the regular season more meaningful for a lot of mid-majors (many of whom have to be virtually perfect in the regular season to get an at-large bid, so after 5 losses, their only realistic shot of getting in is winning their conference tourney).

            Then the NIT can be cut down to 16 teams, which may actually save money.


          39. @Richard – Yes, that’s really the main way that I could see a 96-team tourney possibly adding some value to the regular season. Those mid-major schools from 1-bid conferences definitely get screwed in today’s format if they don’t win their conference tournaments, so in that sense, there is some fairness in ensuring that they’ll get into an expanded NCAA Tournament.

            I think that the NIT has to be killed off at that point, though, right? The NCAA controls it now and if it loses more major conference teams to the NCAA Tournament (look at this season where it had UNC, UCONN and Illinois all participating in the NIT), then it’s going to be really tough for that tournament to survive. From the perspective of the NCAA, the NIT doesn’t provide much value today (and it would be even worse if the NCAA Tourney expanded), but if it’s essentially merged with the NCAA Tournament as a play-in round, then it becomes fairly valuable.


          40. Richard

            Well, that’s why I like the idea of a 16-team NIT. The main attraction of the NIT (to me, anyway) is giving schools (often smaller ones) a chance to play in MSG. That number would remain at 4 regardless of whether the NIT has 32 or 16 teams. With the NIT still around, all regular season conference champs can still get to play postseason basketball (for those conferences so weak that their champ can’t make even a 96-team tournament).

            BTW, those smaller schools often are pretty excited about the minor tournaments, in part because it’s so rare for them to make any postseason tournament, and in part because there’s not much to do in places like Peoria or Tulsa.

            “Each game of the best-of-three championship series was won by the home team, and Tulsa had its second sellout crowd of the season at the Reynolds Center to create a raucous atmosphere. Fans from the student section stormed the court at the final buzzer.”

            “The team was presented with a crystal trophy and a banner to hoist in the rafters alongside ones commemorating the school’s NIT championships in 1981 and 2001. Players climbed a ladder to cut down the net as fans stuck around to cheer each snip.”

            “For the first time in several years, a sellout crowd came to the Reynolds Center for an opponent outside the top 10. Memphis drew a sellout earlier this season, and Oklahoma and Gonzaga also filled every seat for games in the past four years.”


          41. SH

            Couldn’t agree more. There comes a point when you try to get too much of a good thing.

            I have long argued that the NCAA tournament, and its companion conference tournaments, have ruined the value of the regular season to the point where I don’t really watch college basketball anymore. And now, I’m starting to not even watch the NCAA tournament as much, simply because I don’t know any of the players.

            Expanding the field by 50% is going to make me care less.

            This is one reason – a big one – why I am against a college football playoff. The other is simply because the bowl system is such a unique and wonderful experience. Agreeing that there are too many bowls and many are meaningless, if you are an alum of Purdue or IL – going to the Rose Bowl is special. I would hate for that to go.


          42. Richard

            Uh yeah, so that’s 6 weekends instead of 3. Quite a big difference. Also, you can easily fit in a 96-team tournament in to 3 weekends. Thursday+Friday for the play-in round. Sat+Sun for the round of 64. Mon+Tues for the round of 32. Then Sat+Sun for the Sweet 16, Mon+Tues for the Elite 8, and the Final 4 would be Sun+Tues instead of Sat+Mon like it is now. Only 1 extra day is needed to fit in 32 more teams.

            Another thing is that logistically, your plan would be a nightmare; the NCAA needs to schedule specific arenas for specific dates; (and fans’ travel plans depend on those fixed dates as well). Any best-of-3 series held on neutral site courts (with games that may or may not be played) would be nightmarish.

            In any case, why would you mess with the one-and-done nature of that postseason that has served it so well? The reason people watch is because every game matters. Few people care if “the best” team eventually wins it at the end or not.


          43. SH

            Jake, I do believe UT would have to include A&M, unless A&M came out and said it didn’t matter. Not just because of the politics at the state house, but because the citzenry would demand it -I think anyway – which gets you back to the state house.

            Preventing A&M from joining the SEC also makes this a good move. This protects UT and the B10.


          44. SH

            I’m not sure why UT would want to be in any conference with other Texas schools – other than A&M. And maybe not even A&M. The biggest reason why UT would include them in any discussion is political. The secondary reason would be to give them a partner when they are joining an existing partnership where they don’t have many ties to the existing schools or the regions.

            But UT is like any other large flagship university – it thinks highly mighty of itself and doesn’t think any other school in the state (or even region) matches up to it. I can see UT seeing some benefit to associating themselves with Michigan or Stanford – what it considers its true peer schools. I do not see UT wanting to use their leverage on dragging along what it considers “inferior” schools. While UT always thinks of itself as A&M superior, in every way, there is some mutual respect there. This is not shared with TT. Certainly, UT has no love for SMU. UH and TCU – those are schools UT will play just to make a visit to Houston or Ft. Worth.

            Some of the benefit of being in the B10 or P10 for Texas is lost if they are simply one of 3/4 schools in Texas in the conference where they would be diluting their biggest asset – that is delivering the state of Texas.


          45. Loki – Okay, I stand corrected. 10,000 at a baseball game – really? But, and this is still the Big 10 in me talking, wouldn’t baseball in the Big 10 improve dramatically if Texas were involved? I was made sick about two years ago when I saw what Michigan was paying for a new Soccer facility ($6M when a “covered dome” for baseball has been on the drawing board for a couple of decades. SOCCER SUCKS and is NOT a revenue sport. Bringing Texas into the Big 10 would force other schools to pony up for baseball and softball facilities and start spending some of those BTN $$$ that they are raking in to create additional revenue generating sports.


          46. loki_the_bubba

            “Loki – Okay, I stand corrected. 10,000 at a baseball game – really?”

            Quoted just in case this shows up in some odd place.

            Yeah, they have some amazing stadiums. I think Miss St now holds about 15k. And the conference is a stadium arms race. The new facility at LSU opened this year. It’ supposed to be a palace. And several others are renovating their stadium or building new ones.. But even a tiny school like Rice has a 5000 seat stadium that can be expanded with temporary bleachers for regional and super-regional series. Heck, if you look at attendance CUSA is pretty much third behind SEC and B12. Baseball is rapidly becoming the undisputed #3 college sport behind football and basketball.

            Would Texas provide a boost to B10 baseball? Undoubtedly. Enough to push B10 into the top ten conferences? You bet. Push it up with the big boys? Unlikely. That would take a major commitment and push from four or more B10 schools. Would they prioritize that above hockey as discussed above? That I can’t answer.


          47. Richard

            There are really several sports that are third in collegiate athletics behind football and basketball, depending on where you are in the country:

            Hockey in New England and the Upper Midwest, Lacrosse from upstate NY down to the Mid-Atlantic, and baseball in the Sun Belt.

            In terms of attendance, the top hockey teams average 15K (Wisconsin), 11K (ND), and 10K (Minnesota), the top baseball teams average 6K-7K (LSU, Arkansas, Miss St. & Texas), and the top lacrosse teams average 5K (Syracuse, Navy, & OSU).


          48. loki_the_bubba

            I would never question the rabid nature of hockey or lacrosse fans (my kids played lacrosse). But the fact is that baseball is much bigger and spread across the country. Just look at the number of programs in Division 1 (I just pulled from the NCAA site):

            Hockey 64
            Lacrosse 59
            Baseball 302

            It’s a different order of magnitude.


          49. loki_the_bubba

            Just for fun, the 2008 top 50 attendance figures for the possible expansion candidates and B10 teams (plus my school, just because I can):

            4. Texas 5,976
            10. Nebraska 4,391
            11. Texas A&M 4,208
            13. Rice 3,726
            32. Ohio State 1,863
            33. Michigan 1,822
            47. Notre Dame 1,261
            48. Missouri 1,167


          50. Mike

            There is some evidence that adding Texas to the conference will provide a boost to baseball. When the Big 12 was formed almost all schools either upgraded what they had(i.e. Kansas, KState), built new stadiums (Nebraska), or quit (Iowa State). The result is a pretty respectable baseball conference.


          51. Loki,

            Thanks for the reply – I have been a CCHA Hockey fan and I can tell you that no matter how well hockey does or what they do with it (the Big 10), it will never match those numbers. Yost Ice Arena only holds 8,000. And I believe that if there were indoor baseball stadiums in the Big 10, there would be plenty of fans looking for something to do here in the mid winter – early spring months. I honestly believe the Big 10 could market baseball/softball and make it work. They just need the facilities. And with the BTN looking to televise watchable sports, well, I wonder…

            As far as shrinking the schedule – NEVER gonna happen…When was the last time any sport ever reduced the number of games it played?


          52. PSUGuy

            Really have to think the ability to start this type of network up (Longhorn Network) has been reduced greatly by the current financial situation.

            Takes a ton of money to start a TV network and even with Texas being in a populous state with a large alumni base its still a very regional and specific target audience. The risks were high when the Big10 schools did it and they had much larger demographics…and money was practically thrown at high risk endeavors at the time.

            I just don’t see how they can do it any time soon.


          53. Stopping By

            Regarding the Longhorn Network as the Big 12 last bargaining chip to keep UT around…I am still not sure how much I buy that. If I understand you correctly, you are saying that the Big 12 will provide the Longhorn Network events to fill its scheduling and allow UT to keep ALL the revenue?

            I just don’t know if I buy that – that is essentailly a public act signifying that the Big 12 is UT and its bitches. Maybe schools like Iowa State and Baylor need to agree because there is nothing better for them or even on par with what they get now if the conference broke up. But OK, NE, Mizz, A&M, CO agreeing to that?


          54. Adam

            It could possibly be like an internalization of the current Big Ten/MAC relationship. The Big Ten is the one cashing the checks from BTN, but the MAC can at least say it’s getting more games on TV and greater exposure. A Longhorn network might help get more Big 12 games on TV; either by ensuring that your game against Texas will always be on, or, by placing Texas vs. whomever on the Longhorn network, freeing up a broadcast slot for someone else.

            Possibility also of bargaining with Texas: you keep all the Longhorn network money, but you don’t get a cut of the conference TV contracts. Texas gets to be an entrepreneur while the other schools only have to split the money 11 ways.

            Just thinking out loud.


          55. Richard

            What are their choices? Nebraska, Colorado, and Mizzou need to get invites from the Pac10 or Big10 first before they can have any leverage (same with OU and the SEC). In any case, the stuff that’s going to be shown on the Longhorn network (Texas basketball and baseball) isn’t a moneymaker for anyone now anyway, so it’s not as if they lose much.


          56. Adam

            I don’t think college baseball has any chance at getting popular unless the season is shortened and moved earlier into the spring. It has no momentum in Big Ten country because the students are off campus for so much of the season.


          57. loki_the_bubba

            It’s hard to see how it can be moved much earlier and still be played up there. February baseball in Minnesota can’t be any fun as it is.


          58. Adam

            Re: baseball, certainly March in Minnesota is no picnic; I am talking about a shorter season than that. Start no earlier than, say, March, instead of starting in mid-February. College World Series to end, say, the Monday or Tuesday after Father’s day in June. It wouldn’t be perfect, but it’d be better, I think.


          59. loki_the_bubba

            I understand the point of view. But we are already starting conference play here in March. Even cutting the OOC schedule down some would still leave us starting in February. And then the conference tourny goes to the end of May. Not a lot to cut out.


          60. Adam

            Loki, it would require change at the NCAA level. Baseball will never catch on in the northern United States unless the warm-weather teams are forced not to spend an extra couple of months taking advantage of the weather to hone their games in a way that isn’t as accessible to the Minnesotas and Michigans of the world. And, it’ll also never catch on unless the NCAA tournament is moved up earlier in the summer, at least by a week or two.

            It’ll be a hard thing to pull off here and would probably never really take off; best case scenario is incremental changes slowly improving interest in the sport.


          61. Richard

            Actually, I don’t really understand why Minnesota doesn’t dominate Big10 baseball, since they’re the only school that can play/train for baseball as long as the southern teams. Maybe folks up there just don’t care much for baseball.


          62. Richard

            Well, Minnesota plays baseball in the Metrodome, so it doesn’t really care. Other Big10 schools tend to start their seasons playing in tournaments or away games in sun belt states. So for instance, Michigan doesn’t play a home baseball game until 3/26; Northwestern plays its baseball game in Illinois on 3/30, etc.


          63. Adam

            I think, Richard, that part of that is because the northern teams need to do an extended southern tour to have any outside shot at being competitive. If you enforce a shorter season, the northern teams could afford to start their league schedules perhaps another week or 2 earlier in March; combine that with an earlier finish to the end of the regular season, and you get more of the league schedule (which is what’s going to draw fans) during that portion of the year when you actually have some students on campus. It would take some time to develop, of course, but that’s the only growth strategy I can see. And while I’m sure the southern schools like dominating the sport, perhaps they could be made to see that as popular as pro baseball is and college sports are, getting college baseball to develop in the northern part of the country is a financially wise decision.


          64. m (Ag)

            As baseball is one of the few sports that can make money for schools, it is foolish for the NCAA to give up games. Less games means less revenue means less scholarships.

            As people are noting on this thread, hockey can make money for northern schools. Would it make sense to shorten the season if southern schools said it would make it easier for them to add hockey teams?

            Now, having some baseball games in the fall might be a compromise. However, I think it would have to be one series a week, during the middle of the week, to avoid conflict with football.


          65. Adam

            One difference, m (Ag), is that the NCAA has ongoing concerns with cultural “problems” in baseball. I can’t find it now, but I’d have sworn I’ve seen that more than once in the NCAA News, even to the point that the powers that be have considered moving the CWS to earlier in June.


          66. Adam

            It was a whole basket of problems. The accusation was that there was a “culture of entitlement” or something like that with baseball players. I remember reading it and thinking, really? Why in the world would college baseball players think they’re such hot shit? Who cares about college baseball? But that is probably a product of the fact that I don’t live in an area where college baseball is worth much. At least one of the reasons was an accusation that college baseball players get to do what few other college athletes do, which is live something like the life of a professional athlete once the academic year is over: just play (and practice for) their sport and otherwise hang out. One of the proposed ways to attack the problem was to shorten the amount of time that the season/playoffs extend into the summer past when most schools’ academic years were going on by moving up the CWS.

            The fact that I can’t find it now makes me wonder if I’m imagining it, but I had such a powerful reaction to it when I read it that that seems unlikely.


          67. Adam

            Loki, this was tied into it. The accusation (as I remember it) was that the players make no progress academically because something about the sport inclines the athletes to be douchebags (paraphrasing). I just remember really being astonished by this because (a) I had a hard time imagining anybody caring so much about college baseball that there would be the kind of hangers-on that enable that sort of bad behavior, and (b) I found it odd that I kept reading articles about the problem in baseball, even though it sounded exactly like the same sorts of things people complain about in football and basketball. I just didn’t get it, but I remember being confused.


          68. @Adam – I’m not sure if it’s necessarily cultural, but simply that the differences in the weather between the North and South make the schools in each region almost diametrically opposed to each other. The schools in the South would love to start as early as possible in January so that they can schedule series once per weekend with very few (if any) mid-week games. Meanwhile, the schools in the North are the opposite where they want to push the start date as close to March as possible and are more than willing to play a compressed schedule with mid-week games to accommodate.

            I really like that fall/spring split season idea as a compromise. Schools already have fall baseball practice and usually play exhibition games, so it isn’t as radical of a change in the time commitment for athletes (and there would be a requisite shift of a lesser load in the spring). It’s probably way too outside of the box for the NCAA to handle, though – they’d rather just have the schools bitch and moan about “The uniform start date is too early!” from the North and “The uniform start date is too late!” in the South. This is sad because it would be great to see Big Ten baseball and other Northern schools have some viable programs again. Baseball shouldn’t be a niche regional sport in the college ranks.


          69. spartakles78

            Golf has a split season. It is usually rain outs which wreck havoc on a team. 5 games are usually jammed into Fri/Sat/Sun with a couple no-conference games during the week. It is still about recruiting especially pitching when it comes to tournament time.


          70. @m (Ag) – I definitely agree that there’s no way that the NCAA would reduce the number of baseball games. Baseball has become a pretty good revenue source outside of football and basketball.

            The one difference between baseball and hockey, though, is that the weather is an inherent issue for baseball in the North where teams simply cannot play at home in February (much less January before the uniform start date was instituted). In contrast, there isn’t a meteorological disadvantage to playing hockey in the South – the indoor arenas would create the same conditions as they exist in the North. Whether there’s actual interest in hockey in the South where you can actually find enough players and fans to support programs is another matter. That’s another thing to note – it’s not as if though people in the North don’t watch or play baseball, so it’s not an issue of not being able to find fans or players. MLB is obviously insanely popular in places like New York, Chicago and Boston, which is something that could be leveraged to get more interest from students in the college game on campuses.


          71. Richard

            Nah, even if they demolish it, they’d at most move back to an on-campus ballpark. However, as the Hump is publically-owned, they’d probably still play there. Looks like the university is building a new stadium to replace it’s old baseball park, so the Gophers may not play at the Metrodome fulltime in the future (though I would if I were them).


        1. @Mike B – If it’s determined that men’s hockey could be a revenue generator, then the way to satisfy Title IX requirements is to add a women’s hockey team. This is actually easier for Illinois since it doesn’t have a women’s team already. Penn State already has one, so it would either need to add another women’s team somewhere else or cut a different men’s sport.


      2. Mike

        I’ve watched some club hockey and I’m wondering where the notion that club hockey teams can move up to D1? Most D1 hockey players come from junior leagues like the USHL and I haven’t seen any club players that would top players in that league. Maybe I’m wrong, but my understanding is that a D1 hockey team would start from scratch and recruit a scholarship roster (club players could walk on) of non-club players. The club team woudn’t be affected at all. Does anyone have a better understanding of how this works?


    2. Adam

      I would say, though: for hockey to work, they need to get the football overflow channels working during basketball/hockey season, too. I, for one, am not interested in trying to follow a team unless every game is on television. BTN (with overflow channels) makes something like that possible. Plus, with a geographically workable league, you could even conceivably play something more along the lines of a basketball-type schedule, instead of being locked into this “2-game series on Friday and Saturday night” pattern.


    3. @WhiskeyBadger – From everything that I’ve read on the issue, Wisconsin and Ohio State are the main supporters of a Big Ten Hockey Conference, Michigan and Michigan State could go either way, and Minnesota is very against it. I’ve actually heard the opposite with respect to competition: the real danger is if Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Michigan State are beating each other up 4 times each year, that will be way too tough of a conference and those powerhouse schools will suffer from poor records.

      Honestly, if the Big Ten adds Notre Dame and/or Boston College, I’d be shocked if a BTHC isn’t formed within a couple of years (if not immediately). There are several reasons for this:

      (1) Big Ten Network executives have long identified hockey as being the main sport outside of football and basketball that would bring value to the channel. The issue is that it has been much tougher to get the CCHA and WCHA to grant rights to its games than anticipated. We should be seeing hockey every single Friday night (at the very least), yet the BTN has only had access to a smattering of games so far. I think that this has been very frustrating for BTN officials (and therefore, frustrating for the Big Ten conference office itself). Forming a BTHC would obviously eliminate that concern completely. This alone is massive from both an exposure and revenue perspective to have college hockey games nationally televised every week.

      (2) In terms of revenue, I really don’t know how the current Big Ten hockey schools could possibly be foregoing revenue by starting up its own conference. In addition to the Big Ten Network concerns above, remember that revenue is still driven by the casual fan. The hardcore hockey supporters may know that North Dakota and Denver are hockey powerhouses, but the casual fans that drive TV ratings and ticket sales have no clue. Cases in point: when Wisconsin decided to a play a game up at Lambeau Field, it chose to play Ohio State (which is hardly a hockey powerhouse), and when Wisconsin played a game at Camp Randall, it then chose to play Michigan (which is obviously a hockey powerhouse but not a WCHA rival). If you want to sell tens of thousands of tickets and more viewers on TV, the simple names of those Big Ten teams will draw more interest than North Dakota or Denver ever could. Certainly, Wisconsin and Minnesota can comfortably continue in the WCHA in terms of revenue because they will always draw well for hockey. However, if you want to expand interest in the sport beyond its current base along with getting more fans at other schools like Ohio State, then being in a conference where you’re playing the other brand name Big Ten schools is critical.

      (3) A BTHC would likely spur Penn State to move up to Division 1 and probably Illinois, too. I don’t think that you have to fear other Big Ten schools adding hockey programs, but if even if they did, it’s definitely not a bad thing (especially in an era where hockey is on a death watch at a lot of smaller schools). Hockey is an extremely expensive sport to run, so the more schools that can count on football revenue to start them up, the better for college hockey overall in the long-term for survival. Those expenses have been a roadblock to Penn State and Illinois getting Division 1 programs into place because it’s fairly risky, but if the Big Ten sponsored the sport and they could depend on the revenue generated by playing the brand name conference schools, then I think they’d make the leap. Regardless, if those are the only 2 schools added on top of the 5 Big Ten hockey schools plus Notre Dame, I don’t that would be a diluted league at all – that would definitely be the toughest hockey league in the country.

      If it comes up to the Big Ten office that Penn State and Illinois would start hockey programs in a BTHC, then it will absolutely come to fruition. Jim Delany isn’t going to give two craps about the WCHA or CCHA (nor should he). It’s not the responsibility of the Big Ten to subsidize those smaller programs outside of the conference if it’s a roadblock to progressing the sport with other schools within the conference. When you see how many schools out there are basically begging to get into the Big Ten in this expansion process, it would disingenuous for some current members to show more loyalty to the WCHA or CCHA than the Big Ten itself (especially when financial interests definitely support a BTHC).


      1. Adam

        I’m actually glad that hockey on BTN hasn’t worked. I want the Big Ten to form a hockey league, and I’m glad that the hockey schools aren’t getting a “best of both worlds” situation, where they get the exposure BTN can provide but without competing within the Big Ten Conference framework.

        As for some of the other issues: although this is from a long time ago, it suggests that it’s perhaps not as clear-cut as Frank suggests.
        Could be these sentiments are obsolete in the era of a BTN, though. Although I think in other sports Frank is totally right that the Big Ten’s job isn’t to subsidize smaller programs, in the hockey context, it’s my sense that there’s a vague sense that the bigger programs have a responsibility to stay within the current lame conferences for the greater good of the sport, since there are so few teams to go around. As it is, it doesn’t take much poking around the Internet to find people all angsty about the status of the college hockey program in Alabama (Huntsville?) and the tragedy that would attend them having to disband if they can’t find a “landing place” in one or another league. I do think there are bona fide “political” issues with the Big Ten starting a hockey league, although those can arguably be ameliorated if (a) it’s clear that it’s in the long-term best interest of the sport, and (b) it actually increases (or at least leads to no net change) in the number of programs.


      2. WhiskeyBadger

        @ Frank. Geez. You must be a good lawyer. You can convince me of anything. I agree with your main points.
        I do disagree/have comments on a couple points, however.
        1.) Michigan and Michigan State are no stronger than NoDak and Denver, so Wisconsin’s and Minnesota’s records should not suffer from “beating up on each other.”
        2.) A league as you describe (added one or more of ND, BC and possibly Illinois and PSU) would certainly be a tough league, it just depends on how the WCHA and CCHA realign.
        3.) Any chance of a “hockey-only” school joining the Big Ten in any regard? If Nebraska is added as a full-fledged member could NoDak join as hockey only? This does seem like a bit of a stretch to me, as I can’t imagine the academics are ranked highly enough, but that’s a lot of television geography covered (Nebraska and the Dakotas). I realize it’s not a huge number of eyeballs, but I can see the BTN execs drooling over that map and how they could present it to cable companies: “Look how much of the country already carries the Big Ten Network, why not carry it everywhere?”


          1. WhiskeyBadger

            I suppose U Chicago only stays because of history, but it can remain a pipe dream for me. My point about geography would also really only hold if the BT grabs another state (TX, NY, NJ…) along with the ones I mentioned.


        1. Mike

          In my opinion, an associate member for hockey (similar to how the PAC 10 handles wrestling) might be needed to form a Big Ten Hockey Conference.

          A side note, the new arena that Nebraska is building will support hockey. As far as I know they have no plans to field a D1 team.


          1. Adam

            Why do you say that, Mike? If Notre Dame joins, you’ve got 6/12, which is enough for a league, plus there’s a realistic possibility of PSU and Illinois adding programs if that happens. What need do you have for associate members?

            On the other hand, I don’t think there’s any chance of a Big Ten hockey league unless Notre Dame joins, so debating associate members in that scenario is a waste of time.


          2. Mike

            Successful hockey conferences have 10+ members and you may have to add some Minnesota teams so Minnesota can make the move politically.


          3. Scott

            University of Nebraska-Omaha has a D1 hockey team in the CCHA. I don’t think Nebraska could support two college hockey teams, especially in the same university system. Any hockey in Lincoln’s new arena would probably be played by the local USHL team, the Lincoln Stars.

            If the Big Ten did form a hockey league and Nebraska was became part of the Big Ten, they could certainly add UNO for Nebraska’s hockey team.


          4. Richard

            Why do successful hockey conferences need 10+ members?

            In any case,
            = 10


          5. Adam

            I don’t really see any inherent reason why a hockey league has to have 10+ members. The current leagues do, but aren’t all of the current leagues hockey-only leagues? The Big Ten would be unique in being a pre-existing all-sports league. Also, I would think that a smaller-sized Big Ten hockey league would be necessary for its success, in order to allow the members to continue scheduling their old conference foes in non-conference games and play the sorts of aggressive league schedules they feel they need to get a good position in the PairWise rankings.


          6. Mike

            I don’t see a USHL team playing in an arena of 16K seats. The ice (IMHO)is to give UNL the option for hockey.

            I would bet Nebraska could support two D1 Hockey teams. Nebraska already supports two D1 basketball teams (Creighton is top 15 in attendance the last three years according to the NCAA) and Lincoln’s USHL team consistently draws 4000+ (source: pointstreak). I don’t know how many people you have to draw to make money but 4000+ would put Nebraska in the top 20 average attendance (2008 figures from the NCAA).


      3. omnicarrier

        When you get beyond football and men’s bb, their are only three tourneys the NCAA presently makes $$$ on – baseball, hockey, and lacrosse.

        All of the power conferences have baseball as a conference sport. None have hockey and while the ACC has lacrosse, it’s not a “true” conference since only 4 teams play in it.

        If the Big Ten is being as forward-thinking as we believe, I would think they would want a hockey league to call its own, Since it is already the midwestern league and especially now if it is indeed trying to become the defacto league of the northeast as well.

        Where is hockey strongest?


      4. spartakles78

        The point about ‘loyalty’ to the WCHA was already shown when Michigan & Notre Dame left for the then less ‘prestigious’ CCHA. Michigan State & Michigan Tech followed suit. Tech later returned to the WCHA. There were concerns about travel costs then but now we see Alaska-Fairbanks…

        Teams already schedule out of conference games with other leagues and their top teams. What needs to be modified is the Pairwise Rankings system. Also if a viable Big Ten hockey league emerges you might see the NCAA tournament expanded by a few teams.


      5. m (Ag)

        The University of Connecticut has shown that a New England state school can add BCS football and be a reasonable success.

        Adding BC might be helpful in getting the Boston market now. However, if UMass decides to add a football team in 5 or 10 years, wouldn’t BC quickly become the 2nd team in the state? It just seems like a gamble in the long term to me. Of course, I also think Notre Dame will decline in the long term.

        As a fun aside in this hockey discussion, lets bring another university into question. In the early blog posts about Big 10 expansion, people brought up the possibility of the University of Toronto (an AAU member) joining the Big 10. I didn’t think much of it, since it would take a long time before they could build up a football team to BCS levels, and they might have local apathy towards ‘American’ football. However, what if the Big 10 offered non-football membership to the University of Toronto and the University of Massachusetts? They wouldn’t get football money, but would get almost a full share of the cable money (they would spread the cable channel everywhere in their state/province) . A new conference hockey league would quickly have its star member.

        It wouldn’t take long for a university to build up to division I status in non-football sports, so this would be feasible within 5 to 10 years. The Big 10 could expand to 14 football schools now, leaving open the option of these schools adding football in the future.


        1. omnicarrier

          m (Ag) Says:

          “The University of Connecticut has shown that a New England state school can add BCS football and be a reasonable success.

          Adding BC might be helpful in getting the Boston market now. However, if UMass decides to add a football team in 5 or 10 years, wouldn’t BC quickly become the 2nd team in the state?”

          In the state, perhaps. But MA is Boston. And no, UMass will never have a large fan base in Boston.

          Even BC doesn’t, but at least they will get the Catholic interest in Boston, whereas UMass will not.


      6. UWGradStudent

        @Frank: “when Wisconsin played a game at Camp Randall, it then chose to play Michigan (which is obviously a hockey powerhouse but not a WCHA rival)”

        Wisconsin didn’t choose to play Michigan, they were essentially forced to. The WCHA did not allow Wisconsin to play Minnesota due to concerns about lack of replay capability and not wanting the conference race to come down to what was essentially a “gimmick” game. Hypocritically, the WCHA did allow the women to play Bemidji State, which is a conference opponent, immediately beforehand.

        For all issues related to college hockey, there is really only one place to look: USCHO. There has been numerous discussions on that site, most of which result in people downplaying the possibility of a Big Ten Hockey Conference (BTHC)

        To provide some background, the hockey world is going through a relatively major alignment. The CHA conference is being absorbed into the other major conferences. The one team left out which will play next season as an independent is Alabama-Huntsville. Two teams are being added to the WCHA, and a third is being added to the CCHA. This puts most of the conferences at unsustainably high membership that also limits the ability of new schools to start D1 hockey teams. To summarize, this realignment was necessary to save hockey programs, but not for any deeper reasons.

        One thing to note is that the big schools do have at least some incentive to keep smaller schools afloat. Currently, the NCAA has granted an exception to hockey to hold a 16 team tournament. It was only 12 teams relatively recently (last 15 years or so?). If too many programs fold, this exemption may be repealed. With all Big 10 schools playing very difficult schedules, they are often left on the bubble during mediocre years. If the tournament field shrinks, the margin of error does as well.

        Now for my evangelizing. As a longtime fan of Wisconsin hockey, I very much prefer staying in the WCHA. The WCHA is arguably the most dominant conference not only in hockey, but in all D1 athletics. I want to play our real rivals: Denver, North Dakota, Colorado College, and Minnesota. While the Minnesota series is always huge, the other opponents are at the same level. The loudest I have ever heard the Kohl Center was this year when we beat #1 Denver. Fans here (and throughout the state) understand the significance of these rivalries. While I can’t argue that the casual viewer would not be more interested in seeing matchups between big time football schools, I would hate to give up North Dakota or Denver for any of Ohio State, Michigan State or Michigan. We play the Michigan schools once a year; that is plenty.


        1. UWGradStudent

          One additional point I forgot to make regards the competitive environment for college hockey. No other sport has such a large direct competitor for recruits as presented by the various Canadian hockey leagues. There is no other real competitor for the best basketball or football recruits. Therefore, it is in the best interest of all programs, including those of the Big 10 schools, to care about more than just their immediate direct financial interest. If programs start folding, and recruits see the Canadian leagues as a better place to showcase their talent, this could lead to a downward spiral of more programs being unable to compete.

          Also, here is a link to the infamous water bottle incident:


          1. Richard

            Soccer. However, this cuts both ways. _If_ the percentage of elite players who choose college stays fixed, the Big10 (and schools in it) would benefit if it manages to capture the top college-aspiring talent in the Midwest. College hockey teams mostly play only their conference foes, so if Wisconsin, Minny, MSU, and Michigan are all in one league, the key concern would be making sure teams like ND & OSU are good as well, not so much what happens to ND and Denver.


          2. m (Ag)

            “. No other sport has such a large direct competitor for recruits as presented by the various Canadian hockey leagues”

            Ummm…Major League Baseball signs players out of high school, though they start in the minors.


          3. UWGradStudent

            True, both soccer and baseball probably have competition for talent. I was thinking mostly of football and basketball, probably because Wisconsin doesn’t have a baseball team (which is very frustrating and somewhat embarrassing by the way), and soccer has never been high on the radar for me. Both good points.


  21. SH

    A few random points. I haven’t read all the comments, so excuse me if I am repeating something.

    1. It is laughable that the media continues to say that a championship game hurts the B10 because the teams do not play as late as the others. That is simply a scheduling issue.

    2. I think the lack of a championship game has benefitted the B10 more than it has hurt it. The B10 consistently gets 2 BCS teams, more than the other conferences. A title game may knock one out indefinitely. And a title game runs the risk of knocking a No 1 out of the BCS title game. It is unlikely that a B10 team would significantly benefit from a championship, since they would likely already be one of the top 2 teams in the country.

    3. As I have said all along, if the B10 or P10 want to change the NCAA rules, I don’t see how they don’t have the power to do so. I would suspect that the two conferences would work together on this due to their long history. Those two conferences have a lot more clout than the ACC.

    4. If the Pac 10 wanted a conference title game now, wouldn’t they want no divisions since they play a round robin?


    1. Jake

      1. Agree

      2. Not necessarily. The SEC regularly gets two BCS teams, and I don’t think the Big 12 has ever lost a BCS team due to a title game loss. In some cases, it may even earn them an additional one. Take last season: the Big 12 had one BCS team – Texas. If UT had lost to Nebraska in the title game, they would have had two, since Neb. would have gotten the auto-bid, and UT almost certainly would have gotten the at-large over undefeated Boise. Sure, missing out on the title game would have been bad for Texas, but that’s an extra $4.5 million to share, which is good for the conference overall. So, I don’t see a title game hurting anyone’s BCS chances.

      3. It might come down to who supports or opposes the change. If the title-game conferences (ACC, Big 12, C-USA, MAC, SEC) are united against it, that could be tough. However, I could see the Big East, MWC, WAC and maybe the Sunbelt supporting it (if only to reduce the chances of getting pinched by conference expansion), so who knows. Personally, I hope it gets changed.

      4. Maybe. The round robin schedule isn’t universally popular in the Pac-10 and they may be looking for a way to get rid of it.


    2. m (Ag)

      A title game hasn’t really hurt the SEC getting 2 BCS games. I can’t recall a Big 12 team that lost out because of its title game (in fact, I think they’ve gotten a second team in a few times only because of the title game). Now that they’ve added the extra BCS bowl, it will be a big upset for the SEC and Big 10 to not get 2 BCS bids in any given year.


  22. HerbieHusker

    Big fan of the blog Frank, thank you for all your work! The posts on here are great too, so thank you also to all the posters. That being said, I am a huge Nebraska fan; was raised in Lincoln, attended UNL, and (even though I now live in Oklahoma) I attend at least 2 home games a year back in Lincoln. That being said, the Husker fan in me wants to say good riddance Texas schools; don’t let the door hit you on the ‘you know what’ on your way to the Big 10 or Pac 10….the Old Big 8 will reform and make it work. But the realist in me knows that would be a nightmare scenario. Honestly, I don’t think anything is going to happen to the Big 12. I agree with many of you on here that the Big 10 will look east and the Pac 10 will probably not expand at all. If anything the P10 will just create some sort of joint network with the Big 12 and the conferences will be left as they are. The only member I see the Big 12 possibly losing is Colorado; to which BYU would probably the replacement. In my opinion this would only help the Big 12; the BYU fan base for the Colorado TV market appears to me to be almost a wash. Interestingly though in talking to some of my Colorado friends; they have even suggested that if the MWC gains BCS AQ status, they would be all for joining the MWC. Now that sounds ridiculous to me but I thought I’d toss it out there for debate. As for the talk about Stanford being the thorn in the P10 expansion’s side; they may be justified. Really, who outside of the Texas schools would be worth expanding for? The P10 is really limited. I can’t see the Texas schools joining the P10 because of what one of you other posters (forgive me I can’t remember which one) were saying; Texas wants to be in a Texas based conference. It is a pride thing, and the Pac 10 is and always will be a SoCal based conference.


    1. 84Lion


      Notice you didn’t mention anything about Nebraska possibly joining the Big Ten. What are your thoughts about that? Considering your comments, is Nebraska that wedded to the old Big 8 schools that even if the Texas schools left Nebraska would still try to make a go of it in a reduced Big 12?

      Personally I am rooting for Nebraska to be the 12th Big Ten team, or part of an expansion to 14 teams. It’s rather difficult for me to understand how Nebraska could leave a Big Ten join offer on the table considering the academic advantages (CIC) and economic advantages of the TV package. As a fan, wouldn’t you rather see the Huskers on BTN than PPV?


      1. HerbieHusker


        I would personally be estatic about a Big 10 invite, with or without Texas still in the Big 12. I think Nebraska would make that move. Not only would it be a huge move as far as TV market exposure; but we would then again be able to play Oklahoma every year (something every Nebraska fan loathes about the Big 12). The old Big 8 ties run deep, deep enough to keep Nebraska out of the Pac 10 (if Texas remains in the Big 12); but I think a Big 10 offer would be too much to pass up at this point; and Tom Osborne has said publicly that if his phone were to ring with interest from the Big 10, he would listen. That’s not begging for an invite, that is simply recognizing the times are changing; and Osborne is smart enough to not let Nebraska be left at the gate. But at this point in time the Big 10 is the only conference Nebraska would entertain in my opinion.


      2. Mike

        The best thing for Nebraska sports [the best thing for Nebraska academics is the Big Ten] is to follow Texas where ever it goes. Nebraska doesn’t produce enough D1 talent so they have to import it. Nebraska can recruit Texas effectively by telling kids, “your parents can watch all our games on TV and we play one game in Texas per year.” If you don’t have that, Texas recruiting will suffer. If Nebraska is the 12th Big Ten team and the Big Ten stops there they will have to try and recruit in Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio and the current Big Ten schools own those areas.

        The best scenario for Nebraska athletics is to go to the Big Ten with Texas and TAMU or be included in a “Western Alliance” where they play in a slimmed down PAC 10/Big 12 merged league where they get to be on TV in Texas and California regularly and play at least one game in Texas and California a year. Here is a sample “Western Alliance:”

        Pacific: UW, UO, Cal, Stan, USC, UCLA, ASU, and UA

        Plains: NU, KU, CU, MU, UT, TAMU, OU and TTU/Utah


        1. Richard

          The Big10 already recruits Texas and Florida. With the BTN, anyone who wants to can watch every game of every Big10 team fairly easily no matter where in the US they are. Of course, that doesn’t seem to have helped with recruiting (yet).


          1. Mike

            That’s why I included playing in Texas. Its basically a three hour advertisement for your team that is a must see for the entire state.

            Its not a coincidence that Missouri and Kansas got much better when they figured out Texas recruiting.


        2. HerbieHusker


          While I agree with you that Nebraska’s recruiting in the state of Texas would suffer to a point if they were to seperate ourselves from Texas; I don’t think we necessarily have to follow Texas where ever they go. Nebraska has always had a strong recruiting presence in the state of Texas, long before we shared a conference. Also, Nebraska recruits very well in the states of California and re-emerging their old recruiting routes in the state of Florida (and with Bo Pelini’s ties in Ohio, we are starting to make in-roads in Ohio which is new recruiting grounds for Nebraska) While I believe its nice to share a conference with Texas when it comes to recruiting, I hardly believe its vital. Remember, Nebraska won 3 national titles in the past 15 years; all 3 without being in the same conference as Texas.


          1. Mike

            @Herbie – I’m not saying Nebraska can’t be competitive with out being in conference with Texas, I’m saying the best thing for Nebraska is to be in a conference with Texas and a part of another high population area (either the Big Ten country or California). If Nebraska recruits California (or Illinois, or Ohio) well now, imagine how they would do playing a game there every year?

            (BTW The ’97 title team was in a conference with Texas)


      3. Scott C

        As a Nebraska alum, I’d have to say a Big Ten invite would be the greatest thing for the state. It would be a great way to highlight the new “Innovation Campus” ( ) in Lincoln.

        Like Herbie said, Husker fans would jump at any opportunity to play Oklahoma yearly. Although, I personally doubt it would happen if we joined the BIg Ten. That rivalry died when the BIg XII was formed. I am ready for a Nebraska vs. Ohio State game, though.


        1. Mike

          After Nebraska’s split title with Michigan in ’97 and then losing to the Huskers in the Alamo bowl in ’05 I’m sure Michigan would like a crack or two at them.


        2. 84Lion

          Herbie and Scott C, thanks for your replies.

          I guess my curiosity was whether the Husker community would (properly, IMO) view a Big Red move to the Big Ten in a positive light. Granted, a couple guys aren’t Husker Nation but I am encouraged that the view is positive from your vantage points. One of my concerns has been that Nebraska, as a founding Big Eight member, would be reluctant to jump ship. While the economic advantages and so forth are enormous, emotions do run high in this business – just look at Notre Dame. The advantage is that the morph of the Big 8 to the Big 12 seems to have done more to cause disharmony within the conference rather than to bind it. The days of the Big 8 are in the past and a return to prominence for that group of schools by themselves is probably as unlikely as Penn State leaving the Big Ten to join the Big East.

          As a Penn State alum I recall grumbling and discontent in Nittany Nation when the PSU join to the Big Ten was announced. After all, despite being an independent, technically, PSU had been playing an Eastern schedule (and often getting lambasted for it) for years, including Pitt, Syracuse, Rutgers, West Virginia, Maryland, and BC. Fast-forward to 15-plus years after the fact and I think any Penn State fan looks forward to the Ohio State, Michigan, Iowa, and Michigan State games as much as the old rivalries, if not more so. As a Penn Stater I would MUCH rather see PSU play Ohio State every year rather than Pitt.

          I will also add that although we live in ACC/SEC country, I have so far not missed a Penn State Big Ten conference game on TV since the inception of the reverse mirror. That includes those scintillating pre-season matchups with the likes of Temple. OTOH, my wife, a Husker alum and fan, finds that watching her Huskers on ESPN360 (when available) leaves a lot to be desired, and the PPV games just aren’t available, period. For us, BTN is part of the Comcast sports pack at $5 per month, an absolute steal considering everything else you get with it. OTOH, my wife’s dad, who lives in Nebraska, has to pay about $30 to see his Huskers when they’re on PPV.

          IMO if Big Red is interested in jumping to the Big Tweleven they should start the lobbying now. I don’t see any reason why Nebraska has to come along with the Texas schools or any other school for that matter. Nebraska is a good “fit” to the Big Ten by itself as a traditional football power, big state school with huge name recognition and a rabid, national following. Nice geographic fit, too, as it would provide a good rival for Iowa and yet another potential big season-ending game. If I were Big Red, I’d start leveraging Big Ten contacts like Alvarez and Graham Spanier, President of Penn State who used to be UNL Chancellor.

          The detractors always point out that Nebraska has a small in-state population. I can’t deny that, but another question to ask is, looking outside Nebraska, there will be a huge number of Husker fans dropping their cable company that doesn’t carry BTN to instead get one of the sat companies that do. People drool over the New York or even New Jersey markets, but I would argue that nationally, you will get more people signing up for BTN due to a Nebraska add vs. a Rutgers or Syracuse add. IMO a much better opportunity to make the BTN truly a “national” network. To me the ultimate goal should be to get BTN on “expanded basic” cable nationwide much the same as ESPN. Add Nebraska and Notre Dame and I think you can do that, regardless of the third school.

          Personally I think the ideal add combination, all factors considered, would be Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Rutgers. This does a number of things:

          1) Adds two huge national name schools and the New Jersey/New York market
          2) Preserves contiguous geographic makeup of Big Ten states
          3) Centers 7 Big Ten states on Interstate 80
          4) Adds two flagship state schools with excellent history and reputation, plus one private, religious-affiliated school with national (arguably international) name recognition, in the heart of Big Ten country

          Plus, it could still be called the “Big Ten” as the conference would consist of schools in ten states!


    2. Jake

      Herbie – Look, I’m a Mountain West fan, and it’d be great to have the Buffs, but Colorado would be taking a pay cut of at least $5-6 million a year in TV revenue if they left the Big 12 for the MWC. Even if we get auto-bid status (not a lock, regardless of how well the teams perform), they’d be passing up a conference (Pac-10) that could get two bids a year and has better bowl tie-ins outside of that. Maybe some CU fans think they could compete better in the MWC (I have doubts about that), but they’d be crazy to make that move.

      As for BYU vs. CU fan bases … BYU has 6.2 million (U.S. Mormons + Utah’s non-Mormon pop.) to Colorado’s 5 million. Granted, a bunch of people in either group aren’t fans of either school, but it appears the Cougars have the edge. I would guess that BYU’s fans might be a little more rabid as well. It’d be interesting to see BYU play Baylor – the Baptists wouldn’t take very well to getting their butts kicked by the LDS.


  23. m (Ag)

    I don’t like the idea of a conference with less than 12 teams having a championship game every year.

    For the PAC 10, even if they went down to 8 conference games, they would still have 2 teams that played pretty much an identical schedule. If 2 teams end up tied, or if 2 teams are within 1 game of each other and hadn’t played that year, a title game would be good. In other cases, a title game devalues the schedule, and it creates the possiblility that the 2 title contenders will be playing a week or two before the conference game.

    If you had 12 teams or more, I guess I could support a change where conferences with more than 2 divisions could have a title game. I think it was suggested by a previous poster here (several blog entries back) that you could have 3 or 4 divisions (or pods), and the best 2 division champions would meet in a title game. This would allow for more flexibility in scheduling, since you could have permanent and rotating games against the teams that aren’t in your pod. You also avoid the possibility of 2 teams playing each other late in the year and then playing again in the title game. Of course, you’ll have a whole new layer of controversy when a pod champion looses out on a tiebraker to go to the conference championship game.

    I would still prefer a rotating division lineup if you want to keep teams playing everyone often; it just keeps everything clear.


  24. bryandagamer

    In regards to the Big Ten Netowrk, how difficult would it be for the network to show sports and other programing that is more tailored to the specific region you are in? I am a student at Penn State and I will often turn on the BTN to see what is going on. More often that not, they are showing sports or programing for teams I frankly don’t care about.

    What I am thinking they could do that could add appeal to potentially Texas is to have the BTN show programing that is more about the school that is closer to them. Obviously the network would have to show the live sporting events just like the other networks (ABC, ESPN, etc.) and they can have nationally televised programs in the evenings but when there are no live events, they can show either tape delayed events, classic games, and so on. It would work similarly to how local televsion stations work now, showing random sitcoms during the day and then having network specific shows in the evenings. During those school-specific times, the network could run commercials for upcoming live events. This could add appeal for Texas because when they turn it on, they would have a greater chance of seeing sports from their school and not from schools up north in the midwest.


  25. Mike R

    Larry Scott wasn’t hired for the Pac 10 to stand pat. Having said that, I think their options are quite limited.

    Two of those options would extend the Pac 10’s current structure by bringing in a twinned pair of schools:

    1) Texas + Texas A&M (won’t happen if the big guns insist on lil brother Tech coming along) — the preferred option, I think, for the conference.

    2) Colorado + Colorado State (CSU would be regarded as little brother, although it certainly has the potential to be as competitive in the long run as WSU or OSU)

    The other true twins are nonstarters (the expected veto of BYU by one or more of the Cali schools would deep-six Utah+BYU; UNLV+Nevada would not be up to snuff academically)

    3) Colorado + Nebraska (the only other “wow” school that could conceivably be in the mix might be NU, which could be a “distant twin” with CU)

    4) Colorado + Utah (the most talked-about prospect, sort of a mix-and-match compromise)

    Are any other possibilities out there? I would rank them as follows:

    best — Texas + A&M
    second-best — CU + NU
    third-best — CU + CSU
    fourth — CU + Utah


    1. Jake

      Yeah, without Texas, expansion for the Pac-10 isn’t going to have much benefit. As for the rest, CU + Utah is a far more viable option than CU + CSU. The Colorado market is barely big enough to be of much benefit to the Pac-10 with just one school, and the Rams aren’t much of a draw. New Mexico would be a better pick than CSU. But that won’t happen either.


    2. HerbieHusker

      As long as Texas is still in the Big 12, I can’t see Nebraska being interested in joining another conference outside of the Big 10. Right now the Pac 10 is on par with the Big 12 as far as revenue so many would see it as an unnecessary lateral move. Besides, the old Big 8 relationships run deep with Nebraska; I can see them leaving those behind for the Big 10 and all its promise, but not for the Pac 10. The cultures don’t fit, the travel would be awful (although there is a huge Husker following in California) and leaving the Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri games behind would be too tough when considering the Pac 10. As a Nebraska fan I would be excited about a Big 10 offer because it means we can schedule the Oklahoma game annually gain as a non-conference, but i would be very disappoined if we jumped in the Pac 10.


  26. Jeremy

    One) About the hockey league they could make it work due to the fact the old division 2 teams can’t fund their prgrams so adding couple teams could be easier in recruiting players. The hockey in the NCAA will never be elite due to the the best players will go Canada becuase it is better. So as a whole the quality of what is being show will never be at par at it would be basketball, football, or baseball.

    Two) Colorado seems like it be shoe in. I am thinking by im little confused by Frank’s comments about Stanford. Are you ranking them as institutions? Would the Pac10 have 11 teams?

    3) Nebraska (or another Midwestern team) could join the Pac10 with Colorado. Assuming Texas shcools can’t get a deal so they are out. Then Utah, Nebraska, Mizzouri, Kansas, Colorado are all the best constalation prizes. People make the arguement Kansas wont go with out Kst so we can rule them out. Im not sure how many Nebraska fans live in the LA area. I assume thier is some that live there that would visit when they come to town. Who would seem more likely to join Nebraska or Utah? I read an ESPN rumour stating that Nebraska did not receive formal expansion talk from Big10 or Pac10. Geographically they could be an North division more apealing than east and west division if especially Texas isnt included. Did anyone see the episode of Big Bang Theory when they cheered for Nebraska? Is their enough alum and fans from Nebraska in LA to help them sell tickets in those stadiums?

    4) I don’t like to see BYu and Utah being broke up id like to see them compete with eachother in the Pac,Mwc, or Big12.


    1. WhiskeyBadger

      @Jeremy. “The hockey in the NCAA will never be elite due to the the best players will go Canada becuase it is better.”

      This is simply not true. While many Canadians stay in Canada, many also come here. There are plenty of great Canadian hockey players who play in the powerhouse colleges in the U.S.

      Two former Badgers come to mind: Dany Heatley and Brian Elliot. The former was a stud coming in, the later became one. I’m sure there are loads of Canadians in the NHL who played for U.S. universities.


    2. Scott C

      Nebraska has a fairly large fan group in California called “Californians for Nebraska” ( ). Overall, Nebraska has a decent following in the West. Their football games are broadcasted in Seattle, Tempe, and Las Vegas. There aren’t many schools with an out-of-state presence like Nebraska.


  27. Jeremy

    NDX2 do you see a team like Maryland or some other school join thats not ND for the 12th and then when the paradigm that ND should be research shcool they should add them? It could take years but another decade might do the trick?


  28. Nice article, Frank, your most interesting (at least to me) so far. Two thoughts. If the Pac 10 members other than Stanford were in a financial pickle, as they seem to be, they can solve their expansion problem by first disbanding and then reforming with new rules. One of the new rules would be that expansion requires a 70% positive vote. If Stanford wants into the new conference, one with newcomers X and Y in it, it can join. Second, what would the NCAA do if the Big Ten defied the NCAA by asserting it would form as you suggest with 12 or 14 members that play 3 permanent rivals and rotate all others in 2 by 2 with the top two teams playing in the championship game. The Big Ten’s argument can be that given its current shape with 11 teams we constantly run into co-champions and it is more important to resolve those issues than to create phony divisions. Ergo, the Big Ten refuses to abide by the rule. So sue us. The Big Ten could argue that divisional alignments wreck historical rivalries (cf. OU and Nebraska) and lead to imbalance in the strength of divisions (cf. the Big 12).


    1. Richard

      If that was possible, then any school could schedule & play 18 regular season football games and tell the NCAA “sue us”.

      So no, the Big10 isn’t going to pull that off unless they manage to push through a rule change.


  29. Nice article, Frank. Two thoughts. If the Pac 10 members other than Stanford were in a financial pickle, as they seem to be, they can solve their expansion problem by first disbanding and then reforming with new rules. One of the new rules would be that expansion requires a 70% positive vote. If Stanford wants into the new 12 school conference, one with newcomers X and Y in it, it can join.

    Second, what would the NCAA do if the Big Ten defied the NCAA by doing as you say and refusing to divide into divisions? The Big Ten’s argument can be that given its current shape with 11 teams we constantly run into co-champions and it is more important to resolve those issues than to create phony divisions. The Big Ten could argue that divisional alignments wreck historical rivalries (cf. OU and Nebraska) and lead to imbalance in the strength of divisions (cf. the Big 12).


    1. Jake

      Michael Geis – hopefully Stanford could be made to see reason before it came to something like that, but apparently it took the threat of USC leaving back in ’78 to get UA and ASU in. I think perhaps in today’s climate, the Cardinal might be more willing to consider expansion.

      There’s nothing that says the Big Ten has to divide into divisions unless they want to stage a championship game, even if they expand to 12 or beyond. If they tried to hold such a game without the divisional alignment, the NCAA would have a serious crisis on its hands. Let an entire conference openly flaunt its defiance of your rules, or try to discipline the most powerful organization in college athletics. But I doubt it will come to that – if the Pac-10 and Big Ten both decide they want the rule change, I don’t imagine anyone will mount too strenuous of an opposition.


  30. allthatyoucantleavebehind

    Notre Dame fans and administrators understand the need to be in a conference for all minor sports.

    Notre Dame administrators understand the coming-need to be in a conference for football.

    The fans will come around.


  31. Jeremy

    @M Toronto isn’t spending billions of dollars infranstructure to be a doormat team. It not worth it so what? They can get new funding for research not worth it. It also hard to recruit a person to go to Toronto instead of Michigan or LA. Knowing the Raptors have trouble with signing american and have to sign international. It wont work in this level.

    I say never. I should havnt said that it was overgerneralization. Heres my thought every year the elite Canadian juniour teams take the elite prospects like Patrick Kane,Cam Fowler,Jack Campbell, among others and if they take the players you expect they should be going through the American system than the whole league takes a hit. Sure I agree with you some players benifit to go to the NCAA and have great career. A team like Wisconsin will have a great program they will do just fine, but a expansion team that is trying to get players. The whole thing with the Candains taking players you have hard time sharing the talent. If you want an Iowa or Pennst to build a team it be harder. My general main point was if the best players are taken then what happens the level of play for the whole league is lowered.


    1. m (Ag)

      Jeremy: A University of Toronto could do fine in sports like hockey and Basketball by focusing only on recruits from Canada. And the infrastructure costs wouldn’t be nearly billions of dollars, especially since they could probably use some arenas in Toronto now. Heck, with the Skydome, they could probably be more competitive in baseball than many Big 10 teams.

      I don’t really expect a Canadian university to join the NCAA. However, if they did, I think they could make money in the Big 10, since they’d be sharing non-football revenue and would get the attention of Canadians who already follow US college sports to some extent.


      1. Richard

        I think it’s a long-shot. College sports just doesn’t get much attention up there. It’d be even riskier than adding BC in the hopes of capturing the New England market. At least BC would put the Big10 in Boston; I’m not sure Torontoans can be made to care about U of Toronto athletics.


      2. Scott S

        Both Simon Fraser University, SFU, (in 2000) and the University of British Columbia, UBC, (in 2005)–both of which are in metro Vancouver–petitioned the NCAA to become members of the NCAA. Since then, (2008), the NCAA has amended its constitution to allow Canadian universities to join the NCAA, starting in Division II.

        Both SFU and UBC are large (40,000 plus) universities. UBC in particular is a very good university, #2 or #3 in Canada in most surveys and #36 in the world (ARWU). That places it below Colorado and higher than Texas, UNC and Penn State. It does just under a half billion dollars per year in resarch, which would place it about #26 in the US at about the level of Illinois.

        The University of Toronto, (U of T), were it to join the NCAA, is a similarly large university, most commonly ranked #1 in Canada and ranked behind Illinois and ahead of Minnesota, Northwestern, and Duke (ARWU). Its 2008 research budget would place it in #2 in the US if we were to use 2006 numbers for the US schools. So probably still in the top five in North America.

        (Nearly all universities in Canada are public and they are a GREAT deal in terms of tuition compared to US schools.)

        One other point–junior hockey in Canada is much more popular than university hockey. It would be challenging to change that mindset.


        1. m (Ag)

          Yeah, if any Canadian universities join the NCAA, it certainly makes sense that the first universities would come from the West. They’re really close to Washington and Oregon, but really far from the other population centers of Canada.

          Since Washington and Oregon have a similar problem of being apart from the populated areas of the US, both sides would seem to gain from playing each other in sports.

          The people I’ve met from BC have mentioned in passing how they think they have more in common with the US northwest than either region has with the US or Canadian governments.


          1. Scott S

            Yes, see references to “Cascadia”, which some in Washington, Oregon, BC and sometimes Alberta feel would be a viable nation. (Alberta isn’t exactly coastal, but their people feel pretty isolated from Ottawa, and it’s highly attractive because of the oil fields which are the size of the state of Florida and contain more arguably more oil than Saudi Arabia.)


  32. Jeremy

    There are teams that will be gone due to the finanices. The bigger shcools can afford these adding Big10 powers brings potential that it may work having expansion team aside from a team that has players,but should be in division 2. Some hockey programs recieved money from the USA Hockey,which got money from the Nhl to bailout these teams in the ressession. I think more of the well known shcools the better it be.


  33. Terry

    The Big Ten has done something very well. It has create a $40M+ annuity for each B10 school’s athletic dept.

    This is a major accomplishment.

    To get the extra $20M per conference of a championship game, one would not dilute this annuity.

    Thus the only thing that makes sense is picking up a school which brings $20M worth of DMA to the party.

    I don’t think ND does that. Texas would. Texas and TAMU might. Rutgers? No.

    I don’t know what the B10 will do, but I hope they either get Texas or stay put. Everything else, including ND, is dilution.


    1. Richard

      Rutgers should, if they can put the BTN in every cable household in NJ. Why do you think they would not? Also, what 40M+ annuity?


  34. Jeremy

    I dont know about Toronto University because id rather see goverments pay for a new NFL team to come here not a multisport Bigten team. I dont like them competing in hockey when 60 major juniour teams genrate revenue for the Canadian goverment. 20 teams for the Ontario. People that are fans of Michigan and Ohio st will be always fans that live in Canada more so than a new Canadian team.


  35. Scott S

    Rick: Thanks for your impassioned defense of Rutgers’ academics higher up the page. Maybe you can tell me something about the place, though. I’ve never even met anyone who attended Rutgers. What kind of area is it in? I went to a wedding not too far from New Brunswick and while the area of the wedding was quite pretty, horse country, I”m told–man, we drove through some really rough looking areas (coming from New York City).


    1. Rick

      @Scott: Thanks for your words and interest. Rutgers is situated in what is considered Central Jersey on the Raritan River which flows into the Atlantic Ocean @20 miles away. This is pretty much the dividing line between North and South Jersey. The South being much more rural/suburban and the North being much more suburban/urban. Most of the industry is along the Northeast coastline between NYC and New Brunswick (Rutgers). Along that corridor are large oil refineries (Exxon), Auto Plants, Pharma Plants, and Newark International Airport. Very high density population. Probably 2/3 of the 9 million people live in North Jersey. The other high population area is across the Delaware River from Philly. Many of the cities and towns along this corridor are also bedroom communities for folks who work in NYC. The rail system is directly hubbed into NYC. This is the area you drove thru from the Airport to Rutgers. Northwest, West, and South of Rutgers is less densely populated, more farms and rural towns. Big horse country West and South of Rutgers where your wedding was. North Jersey is considered very wealthy per capita as well as the suburbs across the river from Philly down south. Princeton sits 20 minutes south of Rutgers, beautiful area. Rich in Revolutionary War History.

      Rutgers (New Brunswick) itself is a University with 5 campuses on both sides of the Raritan River. Two of them are in across the river in Piscataway (Athletic facilities as well), the other 3 are in New Brunswick, all very close and connected. Rutgers College (the original Colonial college) is set in downtown New Brunswick. It is best described as sprawling but conneted. Each have a both distinctive feel of their own and University connectedness. Access is very convenient via the NJ Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, and all points west. It is about a 45 minute drive into NYC. 30 minutes to Giants Stadium (The New Meadowlands), 30 minutes to the Jersey Shoreline, 90 minutes to Philly.

      Thanks for asking.


  36. Xenon

    Speaking of “Changing the Rules”, I think that is EXACTLY what the BigTen wants ….. Change the rules in such a way to make them the dominant (or one of the dominant) conferences, especially in Football.

    So here is my idea ….
    Big Ten adds 5 teams to go to 16 teams (and the SEC follows suit). They talk to the SEC and to ABC/ESPN about the next round of BCS contracts and the Selection Rules. The new BCS contract has 3 Tiers, unlike the current system’s two Tiers. Tier ONE is conferences with 16 teams (Namely BigTen and SEC), which get AUTOMATIC BIDS into the BCS for BOTH of their Division Champs, AND can get on more team is an At-Large (total of 3 BCS paychecks some years and two every year) Tier TWO conferences have less than 16 teams but are considered Power Conferences (BigXII, PAC10, ACC, BigEast), and get Automatic Bids for their Champion and can have 1 at-large team if they qualify. Tier THREE conferences are everyone else (MWC, MAC, WAC, SunBelt, etc.) and can get in a champion who meets a minimum ranking (probably 8 or 10 in the BCS poll)

    The PAC10 could never follow suit to get to 16 teams … they can’t really find 2 teams that they can all agree on, let alone 6. The BigXII will probably lose 2 to 4 of their teams to the expansion of the BigTen and the SEC, so they will be hard pressed to REPLACE 2 to 4 teams AND find 4 more teams to get to 16. And since the BigXII probably lost some of their BEST teams (Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, TexasA&M, are most likely I think), the 6 to 8 teams they replace with are not going to have nearly the stature of the teams they lost. The ACC is likely to lose a team or two as well. The ACC is perhaps the only threat to really get to 16 and look like the BigTen and SEC, by stealing 4 or more teams from the BigEast (effectively merging with the BigEast), but I think that would hurt basketball soooooo much, they opt not to do that.

    In the end, the BigTen gets to expand it’s TV market, and guarantees itself at least 2 BCS slots every year, and often 3.

    THAT’S a big enough change of the rules to make it worthwhile for the BigTen.


    1. Dcphx

      The BCS is essentially controlled by majority vote (big 6 conferences have 65 votes out of 120 football schools). The B10 & SEC don’t have the votes to put in a 3 tier system where only they benefit. However what they probably would have the votes to add a 5th BCS game (Cotton Bowl) and make 3 teams eligible per conference. The B10 and SEC are already near guaranteed a 2nd team and with more spots are the conferences most likely to get a 3rd bid (along with the B12).


  37. Jeremy

    Remember about NCAA in Canada. Football,Basketball, or Baseball may work. Hockey will be almost impossible to work. C.I.S. hockey teams recruit former OHL,WHL, QMJHL,players but the NCAA thinks that if a player makes below minimum wage playing hockey is considered a pro. So unless that dumb rule is changed than they can only recruit from the Juniour A leagues(not to be confused with major junoir leagues) from Canada. It’ll be hard to be recruit Americain players to come to UBC or Toronto, wherever don’t see it. Juniour hockey is more important in every community in Canada NCAA joining isn’t worth it.


    1. @Jeremy – That’s a really good point. Also, my understanding is that university hockey in Canada actually isn’t very good in comparison to the US even as of today. I’ve seen a number of US colleges play schools like Toronto and other Canadian universities for tune-up exhibition games (essentially the equivalent of Division II teams playing Division I teams for exhibitions in basketball). University of Toronto would be great as an addition to the CIC only, but I don’t see it at all in terms of sports.


  38. JRT

    I’ve only skimmed the comments, so forgive me if this has already been discussed. From a tradition standpoint I would like to see ND added to the B10 but am skeptical as to what value they would bring to the BTN. I say this because they wouldn’t add any guaranteed subscriptions, all their fans within 250 mile radius are still in states that currently have basic cable access. Outside the footprint there would be no way to estimate how many new subscribers would pay for the sports tier. BTN only guarantees 2 games per year be shown and based on the way ABC currently picks up every non-NBC game I’m sure they would not pass over any available games for several years. Therefore many smart fans, who are also likely ticked off about the conference inclusion, would forseeably choose alternate viewing for those 2 games instead of paying for BTN. In the end this is still good for the B10 as it’ll boost ABC ratings and they’ll be able to get more in the next ABC deal, but other than adding adveristing value during those 2 games, not sure if there are any other benefits. Yes, I’m sure they have a non-football fanbase (ie hoops) that would subscribe, but again impossible to predict a number. And yes, they could change the rules to force more ND football games on BTN, but that would have to be across the board and would be risky proposition as the price of that would be less leverage to get guaranteed ABC money.

    As an OSU fan in CO, I’m in the same boat but I choose to pay extra for BTN because I enjoy watching the other B10 football games AND want to watch OSU/B10 hoops. Thinking along these lines, I keep telling my self that basketball fandom is in fact important. Assuming Texas is off the table it brings me back to Mizzou or Cuse as the schools who best fit a BTN friendly profile – likely 3 to 4 football games per year as well as a strong desire to watch hoops. These are the kinds of fans that get the cable companies attention.


    1. @JRT – There are 2 ways that ND could bring value to the BTN. First, it’s arguably the top national name in college football, so to the extent that the BTN wants to extend itself nationally, ND would provide one of the best chances of doing that. Certainly, that might be a risky proposition, but there’s at least an argument that could work. Second, and much more likely to hold water, is that adding ND would give the BTN the leverage to raise the rates within its current footprint. If ND can garner around $.10 more per subscriber in the current Big Ten footprint (and that’s not so far fetched as they’re essential to the Chicago market and provide more inroads in the Philly market), then it’s definite financial winner.


      1. JRT

        @ FTT – I didn’t think about the aspect of a price increase within the footprint, which seems sensible (I say this having no knowledge how long current contract rates are in place). However that would certainly be seen as a shrewd move after the carrige battles previously waged. BTN would have to weather the storm of another tar and feather campaign, although potentially uglier as the legions of ticked off ND fans get involved verbally/virtually/financially/etc.


    2. @JRT – By the way, I do think you’re right about basketball. While expansion has largely focused on football, the BTN places a good-sized premium on basketball. This is partly why I like Syracuse much more as an expansion candidate than a lot of others. NYC might be a bad college football town, but I think it’s a pretty good college basketball town and Syracuse is one of the more popular teams there on that front. As duffman has noted, basketball is more important in places like Indiana and the preferences of different regions shouldn’t be ignored.


      1. omnicarrier

        “This is partly why I like Syracuse much more as an expansion candidate than a lot of others. NYC might be a bad college football town, but I think it’s a pretty good college basketball town and Syracuse is one of the more popular teams there on that front.”

        Yes, only Duke is more popular in NYC than SU when it comes to bb. Yes the same Duke that resides in Durham, NC. For those who just can’t seem to wrap their heads around the notion that NYC’s favorite college football teams are, in order, ND, PSU, gap, RU, SU, then another gap to Miami, Michigan, and UConn.


  39. Wes Haggard

    I have really been paying close attention to all of the talk about conference realignment. Just like in the early nineties, when the old SWC dissolved and the Big Twelve was born, I knew change was happening then and I feel confident change is happening now, behind closed doors of course. Already, many leaks to the press from the AD’s of the University of Washington, Notre Dame and Nebraska and even Rice University, that conference realignment is imminent.

    At least five possibilities, maybe more that I just can’t envision at this moment.

    A. Nothing happens, which I seriously doubt. Existing TV Network contracts are expiring and conferences are publicly looking for $big$ bucks and TV networks are looking for ratings to justify paying the big bucks.

    B. A&M and Texas both accept membership in the Big Ten. Not likely. Not a good fit.

    C. A&M and Texas both accept membership in the PAC Ten. Good fit but Stanford vetoes expansion just because they can.

    D. A totally new PAC Ten/Big Twelve Conference is born. Much like when the Big Twelve was born, it will be totally new and will be designed to discard perceived “dead weight” (think SMU, Rice and Houston) and keep the “bread winners” for TV. And for the teams that can really fill the stadium. (Not too many people would get really excited about a Washington State/A&M or Texas game….but a USC/A&M or Texas game would not only be a sellout but almost certainly a well watched TV game, especially on a brand new cable network (to copy the very profitable Big Ten Network) on all the 15 million new cable TV connections just in Texas. If a totally new conference is formed, the party would be by invitation only. Only heavyweights receive an invite.

    Here are the top heavyweights by earnings in college athletics: *** equals Potential new conference member

    2008-09 Revenue

    $138,459,149 ***

    Ohio State
    $119,859,607 TEN

    $108,309,060 SEC

    $103,934,873 SEC

    $100,077,884 SEC

    Penn State
    $95,978,243 TEN

    $95,193,030 TEN

    $92,524,125 SEC

    $89,842,749 TEN

    $87,001,416 SEC

    $81,496,357 SEC

    $81,487,835 ***

    Notre Dame
    $81,088,368 ***

    $80,151,282 ***

    $79,521,143 TEN

    South Carolina
    $76,254,236 SEC

    Michigan State
    $75,624,811 TEN

    $74,881,383 ***

    $74,695,254 ***

    Florida State

    $73,354,967 ***

    Texas A&M
    $72,886,100 ***

    $72,057,751 SEC

    Oklahoma State
    $71,805,825 ***


    $70,614,953 ***

    $70,322,992 TEN

    North Carolina


    $66,177,866 ***

    Boston College

    $63,978,641 SEC


    $60,615,528 TEN

    $60,575,780 ***

    $60,283,512 ***



    $59,919,102 TEN


    There could be more heavy weights in the new Western Alliance than in either the Big Ten or the SEC. And I don’t consider Missouri and the Arizona schools lightweights at all. Not at all. Lots of TV sets in those homes.

    Texas is pretty used to having their own way. I don’t know if they could get along with other heavy weights like Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and the very remote possibility of Notre Dame. But to not only be the Alpha Dog, and perhaps even the lead instigator in a new Western Alliance (maybe an inadvertent leak from the UT Pres to a booster to the Internet?) , maybe fewer giant egos (USC) might be involved in the final decisions. , UCLA, Stanford, UC-Berkeley,etc? I like the Big Twelve but I am not too sure the TV networks love the Big Twelve population numbers, hence lower pay outs compared to the Big Ten and the SEC. To cherry pick the new schools of a brand new conference and combine the potential conference membership from the populations of:

    Arizona (6,595,778) University of Arizona/Arizona State University

    California (36,961,664) USC, UCLA, UC-Berkeley, Stanford?

    Oregon (3,687,050) and University of Oregon

    Washington (6,664,195) University of Washington-

    with the selected populations of

    Texas (24,782,664), Texas A&M, University of Texas

    Missouri (5,987,580), University of Missouri

    Colorado (5,024,748), University of Colorado

    Nebraska (1,706,619), University of Nebraska

    Oklahoma (3,687,050) and University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University

    Kansas (2,818,747) University of Kansas

    in a new

    Western Alliance (total population 98,144,340)

    it just might titillate the Networks sufficiently to push some dollars out the door.

    Add a new 49% owned Comcast – 51% owned Western Alliance cable Network at fifty cents a household and you have some potentially $big bucks$ flowing. Crazy question, but what if Notre Dame avoided the Big Ten egos and also requested membership as an Alpha Dog? After all, Notre Dames alumni strongly oppose the Big Ten and USC is their number one rival. You can imagine the divisions any way your imagination takes you. I could be swayed to this new conference too.

    Think SEC west. Call if the Western Alliance. Use the divisions or pods that suit TV best.


    1. Stopping By

      @Wes. I can see the logic in some sort of 16 team Pac 10/Big 12 merger. I ultimately think Stanford will end up going along with a revenue producing vote, eliminating the need to disband and reform a new conference (especially if it came to that). This alos assumes that the Pac is taking the “parent” role. The merger I was thinking was more along the lines of a Pacific division with the original Pac 8 and a Southwest division with the Big 12 South (minus Baylor plus Colorado).

      In theory, I like the drop dead weight concept but in reality I don’t think it is applicable. The respective states would not let Washington just ditch Washington St, Oregon kill OR St, Oklahoma abandon OK St, or KS cut from KS St for the same reason that Texas is needing A&M and potentially TT.


    2. Playoffs Now!

      The best way to overcome the dual school politics is to accept and let them know that they are expendable. If I were Texas kingmaker Bill Powers, I’d scheme with the California schools and invite the following for a western dream conference:

      WA, OR, Cal, St, UCLA, USC, AZ, ND

      CO, NE, KS, MO, OU, TT, TX, aTm

      When the 2-school states object, make it clear that this is a California-Texas core conference that would be fine at just 12 teams, and there are plenty of alternate schools (Utah, IA St, etc.) to fill out to 12. CO, NE will certainly join, probably MO, so getting to 12 shouldn’t be a problem. Plus my guess is that at least one of the western states would play along, so you wouldn’t need Utah or ISU. Works even if MO goes to B10+.

      The lure for ND would be that this new conference could go with as few as conference schedule of as few as 5 or 6 games at 12 teams, or a 7-game schedule at 16. Give them the option of playing in the west division with USC and Stanford and that gives ND 4 to 7 non-conf games to still maintain somewhat of a national schedule. The B10+ can’t do that.

      Under any variation, a simple east-west division is easy to apply (even with ND to the west.) CO-NE is the only annual game that might be threatened, but otherwise you could in theory play all your conference games in division, to maximize OOC games and scheduling flexibility. That’s good for ND, and cross-division games could simply be scheduled and treated as non-conference games. Call it a Western Alliance Conference, but have it function as a P8 and a B8 that play a championship game between them (or P7-B7 or P8-B8.) More likely they’d compromise with a 5-2 conf schedule at 12 or 7-1 at 16.

      Get all 16 of the target schools and you have a market of 105 million persons (and rapidly growing) for an average of 6.6 mil per school. For comparison, the P10 currently has 55 mil and 5.5 per school, the B12 48 mil and 4.0. But say all the 2-school states (WA, OR, AZ, OK, KS) stick together and refuse to join, you still have a market of 84 mil (CA, TX, UT, CO, NE, MO, IN) and 7.0 mil per school.

      Can you get the Cal block to throw away years of tradition and brotherhood with WSU, OSU, probably ASU, and risk the same for WA, OR and AZ? That’s a very tough sell. Then again, their state is about to go bankrupt.


  40. Sportsman24

    As a fan of tBT (and specifically of Iowa) I’d love to see a relevant BT in baseball. I’d also love to see the BTHC materialize w/ Iowa adding a team. I say this, b/c I think there are others like me out there. If any all-sports conference could do it, it would be tBT.


  41. In the late 1950s, the predecessor to the Pac-10, the Athletic Assocation of Western Universities (AAWU), dissolved over member squabbling. I would think this could happen again if Stanford unilaterally vetoes any expansion, and that any contracts the Pac-10 has would be rendered null and void if such a shutdown occurred..

    I concur with Frank that the Big Ten probably has relatively little interest in Big 12 schools, with Texas as the obvious exception (though the political albatross with A&M and TTech would make it difficult). I sense the Big Ten will decide to take in Rutgers and Syracuse for the NY metro market, then give Notre Dame a take-it-or-leave-it offer. If ND declines, Maryland would become the 14th member.


  42. HerbieHusker


    I think you are very correct in your assessment that the BTN would greatly benefit from Nebraska’s national following. I live in Oklahoma and I have been to organized Nebraska watch parties in Tulsa and in Oklahoma City where entire Hotel conference rooms were filled with Nebraska fans watching games against the likes of Nevada or Arkansas St. I think the national following Nebraska has is greatly underestimated by those people who are not familiar with the program; it is a viable asset. Being able to watch Husker games on the BTN would open the door for areas of fans across the entire nation; just not in one specific region and this is something that the Big Ten has to keep in mind. While the huge east coast population would work for Rutgers or Syracuse or Insert east coast team here (and it is really still debatable whether they can really capture that region at all); there are very few people in California or Arizona or Nevada that would give much thought to seeing these teams on the BTN. That isn’t the case with Nebraska; the Huskers truly have a national following shared only by Notre Dame and there are huge fan bases for Nebraska on the west coast; on the east coast in North Carolina, and throughout the Midwest. This is why I think the Big Ten has to be careful not to put all its eggs in the Northeast basket…..I just don’t see regionalizing themselves as a smart move. If the northeast teams are a viable option they need to have Notre Dame or Nebraska along with them in a package because the northeast teams can’t stand alone.

    I have heard through people I know who are close to the athletic department that Tom Osborne does keep in pretty close contact with Barry Alvarez. Whether their conversations have to do anything with expansion or not, I’m not sure; but you’d have to think the topic does come up. Barry Alvarez has always been pretty close to the Husker program though so that may not mean anything; but it is a good ‘in’ to have. Tom Osborne is a very well respected man in the College Football world and he will not sit idle and let Nebraska be left out in the cold, I’d bet that there has been more communication between he and members of the Big 10 whether that be just casual conversations with Alvarez or even communication with Graham Spanier. You’d think that if it were put to a vote that Penn St, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota could at least considered as positive votes for Nebraska. But who knows in these matters….the point is that there is definitely more going on behind closed doors than is being made public.


    1. omnicarrier

      Without a doubt Nebraska football has a huge national following and appeal. I guess my question would be, where does the Big Ten see the BTN 10, 20 years down the road?

      If it sees that network as challenging ESPN and being the showcase for ALL Big Ten games, then take Nebraska and run. The Cornhuskers give Iowa a great rivalry game and helps balance the divisions with Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Iowa in the West and Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State in the east. This would appear to be a no-brainer.

      If it sees the BTN as still nothing more than a substitute for ESPN+, with its national premier games for the most part still on ABC/ESPN, then how many Nebraska games will likely air on the BTN vs being national games on ABC, ESPN, or ESPN2?


    2. Scott S

      Nebraska’s “brand” is stronger than it might first appear basedon their population. For example, I’ve seen a store completely devoted to the University of Nebraska in Scottsdale, AZ a few years back. So there must be enough fans / tourists coming through to support that store.

      In a way, Nebraska’s weakness–it’s lack of population–could be seen as a strength. A large chunk of people educated at Nebraska leave the state for greener pastures–whether that means jobs that may not exist in their home state, more “culture” of a city, a more urban way of life, whatever. This means Nebraska grads move away to places like Denver, Dallas, Arizona, California, and so forth.

      Nebraska and it’s Ag Department is also seen as an attractive school in areas like the Dakotas, Kansas, Wyoming–so I’d bet you could add the BTN to cable in a good chunk of the prairies, even where other schools not in the Big Ten exist (Kansas, Colorado).

      I’m sure the Big Ten is investigating where their grads go after graduation and whether their presence in those markets would allow the BTN to argue for access to TV sets in areas that may not be not be the obvious markets. And I’m sure their looking at where the merchandising dollars for the school are coming from, that is, where the Nebraska fans are that didn’t actually attend.


  43. HerbieHusker


    Well let’s take this last season for example; these Nebraska games were on ESPN or ABC (according to memory):

    @ Virginia Tech
    @ Missouri
    Texas Tech
    Kansas St
    @ Colorado

    So yes the marquee games still may be on the ESPN networks; but the 6 games that were not televised by the ESPN networks would suffice. Any Nebraska fan will tell you that it doesn’t matter who Nebraska is playing; if they are playing, you find a way to watch it or at least listen to it. (which is why pay per view revenue for Nebraska games is a fairly large sum of money) Guessing on the possible Big Ten schedule Nebraska would have, this is what it may look like:

    Florida Atlantic (BTN)
    Arkansas St (BTN)
    @ Virginia Tech (ESPN/ABC)
    Louisiana Lafayette (BTN)
    @ Minnesota (BTN)
    Michigan (ESPN/ABC)
    Illinois (BTN)
    @ Indiana (BTN)
    Michigan St (ESPN/ABC)
    @ Wisconsin (ESPN/ABC)
    Northwestern (BTN)
    @ Iowa (ESPN/ABC)

    That’s 7 games possibly on the BTN (maybe Minnesota would be televised by ABC, but this is all speculation). I’d say this would benefit the Big 10 immensely to tap into the fanatical nature and the desire to watch every single game that most Nebraska fans have nationwide.


    1. omnicarrier

      I’m big on Nebraska. I just think that once you take Nebraska out of the Big 12 where only the state of Texas has a significant number of eyeballs and put them in the Big Ten with huge populous states like Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, ABC will buy less Big 12 games and put on the majority of Nebraska conference games on as the Regional game at 3:30 unless there is a more compelling Oklahoma or Texas game on the same date and time. I’d say both the Illinois and Minnesota games would most likely be ABC/ESPN in the above schedule.

      There is no denying Nebraska’s national appeal. The real question is where does the Big Ten see the network heading 10, 20 years down the line? And this type of thinking should also include the a la carte possibility where consumers actually pick and choose the channels they want.

      For the moment though, the Big Ten has modeled the BTN along “state lines” in terms of price-tag. And in that regard, North Carolina, New York, or California (or anywhere else where we believe there is a larger Nebraska following then some might want to believe is likely to add the BTN to its basic cable package at the in-state rate of between 70-80 cents a month per subscriber because the Cornhuskers were added to the Big Ten.

      The Big Ten would need to modify its BTN approach. And that may be precisely what they are thinking about doing, at least I would assume it should be. But that will take time to achieve. It’s an interesting proposition, because to me after ND, Nebraska makes the most sense as #12 on a national level. I never fully bought into Texas as #12 because I always felt that would mean the league would need to expand to 14.


      1. @omnicarrier and HerbieHusker – I’m very big on Nebraska, too. I personally believe that the Big Ten won’t expand without Notre Dame or Texas, but Nebraska is the one school that could change my thinking on that. Reiterating M’s point and what I had referred to in my post on how Rutgers would work in the Big Ten, Rutgers and Nebraska bring opposite things: Rutgers has the large home market while Nebraska has the national appeal. That’s why if Notre Dame doesn’t bite even if the Big Ten invites 2 Big East schools, then Nebraska is a much better play than Missouri. Of course, I don’t think that the Big Ten would be inviting 2 Big East schools unless it was to ensure that Notre Dame was to come, but I think ND would take it seriously if a national name like Nebraska was in the discussion for Big Ten membership. Or, how about ND seeing the writing on the wall and the Big Ten adds to both sides of the conference: add Notre Dame, Nebraska and one of either Rutgers or Syracuse. That provides the entry into the New York/New Jersey area in terms of footprint plus the 2 largest national football names either within or adjacent to the current conference footprint. Does that turn the BTN into a national channel?


        1. HerbieHusker


          I’d have to think that if you had a conference with teams of the caliber of Ohio St, Michigan, Penn St, Nebraska, Notre Dame and even Wisconsin and Iowa to an extent; that the BTN would have to be very close to being able to market a national TV channel. Virtually the entire populated northern part of the United States would be interested in a network of this sort (it would dominate from Idaho to New York in the northern states) and I can say for sure that I know Nebraska has large fan bases in both Oregon and California (and Notre Dame has large fan bases in California as well). The only places that may be hard for this new Big 10 to penetrate are parts of Texas (but if I’m not mistaken, I think Notre Dame has large fan bases in this area) and the southeast united states which will always be SEC country. But beyond those markets I can’t see where the BTN wouldn’t benefit from becoming a National channel (although I admit I have no clue about the particulars in such a venture).


          1. Rick

            This lineup is a weak single addressing the NY market. Why not go for the fences with an aggressive play for NY and really create a national network. With a strong NY market the case is much stronger.


  44. omnicarrier


    Giants Stadium has only sold out for 5 college football games in its history, three involved Penn State and the other two involved Notre Dame. Rutgers was not the opponent in any of those games.

    If Rutgers has always been such a huge draw for the Meadowlands, why were they never involved in any of the 20 Kickoff Classics that were played there?

    New Jersey Tech = Stevens Institute of Technology, but somehow I believe you already knew that. I used New Jersey Tech for shorthand since not many people would know it if I used Stevens Tech instead.

    Lastly, I’m not denigrating Rutgers. But I’m not going to let outright lies about them go unchallenged either, especially considering the amount of SU bashing that has been present in many of these comments.



    1. Rick

      I am fully aware of the Kickoff classic games and posted weeks ago the games and attendence of Big Ten teams, ND, and others. Did you see that? I have never said RU were always a huge draw. I said that as a member of the Big Ten the games they would play there would be a big draw now and in the future.

      Rutgers in the late 80’s and 90’s were awful when the Kickoff Classic was in full schedule. (yes I know it began in 1983)

      The Rutgers game vs PSU in 1977 may not have been a sellout but is was a pretty full house. I should not have said sellout but you are nit-picking. I consider games over 70k as pretty good attendance although not a sellout in Giants Stadium.

      Rutgers last played Stevens Tech in 1914.

      I have never bashed Syracuse here. I am one of the proponents of RU/SU/Nebraska as the 3 added to get to 14. Have you seen that? I think they are a very good option for the Big Ten. Don’t lump me into any Syracuse bashers category.

      I do not overstate or post out right lies so I don’t know what you are referring to.

      Peace as well


      1. omnicarrier


        My apologies. I haven’t read through all the comments on the various blogs Frank has done.

        Just chalk it up to me still being bummed about SU losing last night.

        I’ve gone and reviewed some of your posts specifically, and your A-OK with me.

        Btw, as Frank can tell you himself, I’m not big on SU to the Big Ten. I think we are at best a “dark horse” candidate and I’ve always thought Rutgers was a great institutional fit for the Big Ten.



        1. Rick

          Neil, it’s cool. I follow your posts on other boards and respect and value your insights very much. I too am bummed about the Cuse last night. I really do think they would be a very good addition to the Big Ten with RU in the east and Nebraska in the west. I think that the RU/Su package will be strong in penetrating the NY Metro/NY State/NJ markets for the BTN. Although adding ND would probably by great for the BTN, I personally think the ND alums and fans will be a big problem for the Big Ten and might not be worth all the problems. If, however they can get over the “Independence” issues it might work out well. I am not sold on the Texas possibilities even though it make sense financially. Keep the faith on Cuse.

          Peace, Rick


  45. Josh

    In baseball, not only is the Big 10 not the equal of the Big XII, it isn’t even the equal of the Missouri Valley Conference. Michigan, OSU and Minnesota usually have good teams, but that’s about it. Sometimes Indiana is decent.

    Expansion is all about football, but basketball and hockey are considerations. Baseball would probably only be an issue with Texas, because that’s a big sport down there (although every sport takes a back seat to football) and joining the Big 10 would be a big step down for their program. Not that I would expect that to stop a move if it would help football.


  46. Jeremy

    Can any one see Nebraska be the 12 team?
    Thinking big but not too big lets expect Nebraska to be added as the 12 team. I say 12 beucase right now all have you have said besides Texas, Nebaska, or Notre Dame. So with the politics envolved you can Nebraska and wait for Notre Dame to beg you. This may take 20 years,but with everyone else switching it could be closer to 5-10 years maybe quicker than 20. Im just putting number out thier but point is itll be quicker than with relignment. Here is my proposals:

    Before any one is taken Big 12 this year goes to 14 takes either Louiville, BYU, Utah, TCU, or New Mexico

    So depends on who is taken who is taken from Big12 so the candidates are Colorado(Pac10), Nebraska(Big10), Texas(Pac10), or Texas AM (Pac10). So people argue a deal may not get done due to the fact the Texas Tech issue. So for the Pac10 they want 12 teams theyd add at least Colorado, but dont want Texas tech. Maybe Texas AM could join with Colorado. People can talk about Big10 doing that strategy maybe it could be with Pac10. A merger possibility doesn’t seem flexible enough to match every big school’s egos.

    With this news about the Pac10 may not join this time around, it could leave Big12 take two teams and possibly one more if Nebraska goes to B10. Than Notre Dame may feel going to ACC or most likely Big10 will be the best fit to survive. This sence of urgancy may speed up the footballexpansion/research shcool/adding more students for science programs. If they go to the B10 whenever people say they are small,but the fact the development in reasearch also means allowing more into science programs. This would close the gap in attendance for the school.

    Here my final point if best case scenerio comes for the 5 super conferences to convince Notre Dame into Big10. Big 10 adds 1 team, Pac10 adds 2-4 teams, Big12 adds 3 teams. That leaves ACC and SEC possibly add to 14. I don’t think that every conference wants to get fatter after taking 14 teams. Maybe its just me but for the B10 a team not in Michigan or Ohio st’s potental pod they miss out on revenue and the coverage they get with playing the two teams the full week before around the country. Personally having all 12 teams leagues would be great too but 14 could be likely the maximum. All it takes is one conference to doit. I can see a weaker conference like ACC try if BEast is in peril.

    Finally, if just Texas and TAMU go to the Pac10 and Nebraska doesn’t go, the Big12 adds TCU,Utah,BYU, New Mexico/Louiville or some other shcool. Making them all happy.


  47. m (Ag)

    People (on this thread as well as others) have been talking about Nebraska because it may get surrounding states. If you want to make sure you get the entire midwest, you could grab Colorado, Missouri, and Nebraska at once. It wouldn’t have the ‘potential’ of 3 East Coast schools, but it would have a lot more certainty. You would create a conference that got everyone from the Rockies to Pennsylvania, north of Oklahoma and Kentucky. Even the states didn’t have a school in the conference (Kansas, the Dakotas, etc.) would have enough fans to guarantee the channel is on.

    The setup would then pretty much force the Texas schools to do something. They could still go to the PAC 10, or, less likely, go independent or join the SEC. However, if they chose the Big 10 as the 15th and 16th schools, they could say they’re staying with natural rivals, improving their academics, and getting more money.

    If the Texas schools joined, you would have a perfect split into two 8 team divisions or 4 pods:
    Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State
    Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Northwestern
    Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri
    Texas, Texas A&M, Nebraska, Colorado

    (Note, if went with the pod idea, schools would either have Texas & Nebraska on their schedule or Ohio State & Michigan, so they would always play ‘name’ schools with travelling fans)

    It seems like the 16 team setup would be worth it financially if the conference was willing to go big (although who knows if they are). Would the 14 team option (without the 2 Texas schools) be worthwhile to the Big 10?


  48. Scott S

    I was considering one of the earlier statements Rich (the Notre Dame booster) made about Notre Dame’s values. One value he mentioned was graduation rates of atheletes. Because the Big Ten graduation rates are unacceptably low, he suggested, it would be against Notre Dame’s principles to join the Big Ten.

    So I was curious…

    Using 2007 figures (the most recent figures I found where this was all broken down)..the top graduation rates are Navy (95%) Northwestern (94%) Stanford, Boston College, Duke and Notre Dame (all tied at 93%), Air Force (92%), Vanderbilt (91%), Wake Forest (90%) and Army (87%).

    First, kudos to Notre Dame for having so high a grad rate.

    Second, it’s an interesting list in that all of the schools with top grad rates are private schools and military academies. Of course, it may not be overly surprising, I don’t think, that private schools out-perform publics, given the mission of public schools is not quite the same.

    And third, I can’t help but notice there aren’t a lot of football powerhouses on that list.

    So anyway, this information might provide Notre Dame’s answer. They could join a conference of private schools and military academies.

    However, you might notice that most of the other schools on the list belong to conferences with public schools and seem to have no issue with it. So they would have to convince other schools to leave their respective conferences.

    So how does the Big Ten do in terms of graduation rates of football players? The Big Ten’s average graduation rate is 66.5%. Meaning almost exactly two out of every three football players graduate.

    Is this good? Bad? I don’t have a lot of numbers handy, but evidently Michigan State graduates 72% of all students, Wisconsin 77%. So the football graduation rate isn’t off wildly compared to the average student. However, evidently that is too low for Notre Dame.

    What’s not too low? 64.375%. That’s the graduation rate for the Big East, the league Notre Dame did join.

    So yes, you’re reading this correctly–it appears that the Big Ten’s graduation rate is actually higher than Notre Dame’s conference in football. So based on the actual evidence, Notre Dame’s conference standards are actually lower than the Big Ten.

    I also noticed that one of Notre Dame’s biggest rivals, perhaps their biggest of all, is USC, which graduates 57%–lower still than the Big East average. While that’s some 7 percentage points lower than the Big Ten average, I guess that’s not too low either.

    Of course the sharp-minded among you may notice that these numbers are for football. Notre Dame doesn’t belong in the East in football. Just for sports like basketball.

    So you’re right. We should look at basketball. And how does the Big East fare in terms of graduation rates for basketball, you ask?


    Notre Dame, Marquette, Villanova and Georgetown all lead the pack, so kudos to them. But the conference also includes schools with graduation rates as low as DePaul (36%), West Virginia (33%), and UConn (22%)–all lower than the lowest Big Ten team, (Minnesota at 38%). And evidently Notre Dame doesn’t have a problem with them.

    So how did the Big Ten do in grad rates for basketball?


    So the Big Ten has higher graduation rates than the Big East in both football and basketball, with the difference between the conferences being even more pronounced in basketball, the portion of the conference Notre Dame has no problem joining.



    1. Scott S

      Curious about graduation rates for most likely expansion candidates? (This is for football only.)

      Notre Dame 93%
      Boston College 93%
      Nebraska 83% (The best of the public schools)
      UConn 78%
      Syracuse 71%
      Maryland 69%
      Colorado 68%
      Big Ten Average 66.5%
      Pitt 63%
      Texas A&M 62%
      Missouri 60%
      Kentucky 59%
      Rutgers 55%
      Texas 42%


      1. Rick

        @Scott: Very good analysis and I agree with your argument but according to the NCAA 2009 report linked here, your numbers above for football only are different. Listed below are the actual football only GSRs for teams and conferences and the APRs from the latest NCAA data. Was your data from Stanford Scout?

        Confer. GSR APR
        ACC 72% 56
        Big 12 61% 48
        Big East 70% 50
        Big Ten 69% 55
        Pac 10 60% 53
        SEC 63% 55
        Notre D 96% 80

        School GSR APR %tile
        Duke 96% 90
        Bost C 91% 80
        Wk Fst 81% 80
        UNC 80% 60
        Miami 75% 80
        Fla State 73% 40
        Va T 71% 40
        Virginia 68% 30
        Clemson 67% 70
        GaTe 60% 30
        NC State 57% 40
        Marylad 49% 30
        Nebrask 72% 60
        Baylor 70% 30
        Tex Tec 69% 40
        Kans St 66% 50
        Missouri 64% 60
        Iowa St 64% 40
        Colorad 64% 30
        Ok. ST 61% 50
        Kansas 58% 50
        Texas A 55% 60
        Texas 49% 40
        Okla 45% 60
        Uconn 82% 60
        Rutgers 81% 90
        Syracuse 77% 70
        Cinn 75% 50
        Pitts 68% 50
        West VA 61% 40
        So. Fla. 60% 10
        Louisvill 59% 30
        N’Wester 92% 80
        Penn ST 85% 80
        Iowa 74% 60
        Michiga 71% 60
        Illinois 69% 30
        Indiana 67% 70
        Wiscons 65% 70
        Ohio Sta 62% 80
        Purdue 59% 20
        Mich St. 56% 30
        Minneso 54% 20
        Notre D 96% 80
        Ball St 64% 50
        TexCU 65% 70
        BYUn 61% 50
        Utah 57% 70
        Stanford 89% 90
        Washing 69% 70
        Calif 64% 80
        Wash ST 62% 20
        USoC 58% 70
        AzSU 58% 50
        Ore. ST 57% 30
        UCLA 51% 60
        Oregon 49% 40
        Arizona 41% 20
        Vandert 91% 80
        Florida 69% 80
        Mississi 69% 10
        Alabama 67% 70
        Miss St 63% 40
        LaSU 60% 70
        Sou Car 60% 30
        Auburn 59% 60
        Georgia 57% 80
        Kentuck 55% 60
        Tenn 52% 60
        Arkansa 52% 20
        Boise ST 58% 80
        Hawaii 47% 40


        1. Scott S

          My info was from the Stanford Scout. They separated out football and basketball, which I didn’t find elsewhere.

          The number will change from year to year, certainly. Especially in basketball. With the smaller team size, one or two players delcare for the NBA draft early and your numbers change significantly within a year.


      2. Rick

        @Scott: The Stanford analysis is really good. It is however 2007 NCAA data. The 2009 NCAA data shows changes but your overall argument still holds weight and is important.


      3. Rick

        Big Ten likely expansion candidates (and current BT schools) using 2009 NCAA data for GSR and APR:

        School GSR APR %tile
        Bost C 91% 80
        Marylad 49% 30
        Nebrask 72% 60
        Missouri 64% 60
        Colorad 64% 30
        Kansas 58% 50
        Texas A 55% 60
        Texas 49% 40
        Rutgers 81% 90
        Syracuse 77% 70
        Pitts 68% 50
        N’Weste 92% 80
        Penn ST 85% 80
        Iowa 74% 60
        Michiga 71% 60
        Illinois 69% 30
        Indiana 67% 70
        Wiscons 65% 70
        Ohio Sta 62% 80
        Purdue 59% 20
        Mich St. 56% 30
        Minneso 54% 20
        Notre D 96% 80


        1. Scott S

          Do these stats include sports like women’s volleyball, field hockey, swimming, tennis, golf, etc.? A lot of these sports will have different grad rates and could skew the numbers. Notre Dame’s big issue, evidently, is that football is somehow special, requring independence. Does your source have 2009 stats broken down by sport?


    2. Scott S

      I’m reminded of something else Rich mentioned in one of his earlier posts (though mysteriously, likely placed lower on this page).

      Rich indicated that one of the big issues he had with the Big Ten is the poor graduation rates of its athletes.

      Yet when Frank suggested that Notre Dame might prefer joining the Big Ten if Boston College (also with a high graduation rate) was joining as well, Rich dismissed the idea out of hand.

      “Who came up with this gem?” he retorted. He then indicated that the very suggestion of this idea revealed “that you know absolutely nothing about the mindset at ND”.

      One might think that if graduation rates of conference schools were an issue, adding another school with a high graduation rate (93%) would, in some measure, help to address this concern. After all, in football this would mean the Big Ten would now have three schools with graduation rates of 93% or more, and eight with graduation rates of 70% or more. And in basketball that would mean four schools in the Big Ten with a graduation rate of 89% or more and six schools with a graduation rate of 78% or more.

      However, it would appear that while the idea of improving graduation rates is evidently an important consideration in theory, higher graduation rates do not appear to be a particularly important consideration in actual practice.

      Rich, if you see this and I’m misrepresenting your position on this, please feel free to correct me.

      I do have to admit, I am baffled by your position (and evidently, that of Notre Dame) that the Big Ten’s graduation rate in sports is unacceptable, yet you (and Notre Dame) have no issue belonging to a Big East conference with still lower graduation rates. If you could clarify this, I’d appreciate it because I fully admit, based on the dichotomy between statements and actions, I clearly understand “absolutely nothing about the mindset of ND”.


  49. This might have been posted elsewhere, but ND coach Brian Kelly had some wishy-washy comments about the future of the school’s independent status:,229907

    Here’s the key quote:

    “At the end of the day, you love the independent status as it relates to football. … If we can continue to do that, that would be a preference. But I’m a realist. We’re going to do what’s right for the University of Notre Dame.”

    Hmmmm… what does being a “realist” mean? Also, note that he talked about “what’s right for the University of Notre Dame” itself (as opposed to the University of Notre Dame football program).


  50. Playoffs Now!

    I can’t disagree with several of your points, Frank. I would prefer for UT to join the Big Tent, P14, or P16, but I think I understand why they may not choose any of those routes. This is just my prediction of what UT’s current first preference may be, if neither the P10 and B10+ will meet UT’s demands, and why the Horns’ demands may be so high.

    To expand a bit:

    Scheduling. Is the B10+ going to take OU along with Texas and aTm? Because at 14 or 16 teams the conference schedule will surely be 9 games. OU in Dallas is a UT’s biggest moneymaker, so now UT is down to just 2 non-conf games. Goodbye to home and home non-conf games against teams like UCLA or NC, and if they want to schedule a game in Houston against Rice then that’s only 6 home games in Austin. In contrast the P14 is more likely to acquiesce to an 8-game conf schedule, or perhaps taking OU as part of a P16.

    Power and Self Determination. Are you going to take TTech, Texas, aTm, and OU? Because Texas needs a voting block in a Big 16 or they could lose control of their future. Would prefer not to travel constantly. Wouldn’t be the first time someone or something has turned down higher raw pay because of intangibles.

    Discount Strategy and Division Structure. The ceiling on conf revenue may be lower with the B12, but uneven rev sharing makes a difference. Joint venture cable station with the P10 (to share startup costs) can narrow the gap some, plus don’t forget that the B12 has a clause where such can trigger TV contract negotiations moving up from 2016 to the present. UT, the B12, or a Western Alliance won’t get the same money as the B10+, but the real comparison is how wide is the gap for Texas after renegotiation.

    Texas makes its killing when it is on the featured TV games. Swapping TCU an UH for OU and OSU will usually be a net gain of 1 TV game, because OU will remain annual but reduce the number of games with the weaker north. UH=OSU, OU is better than TCU but the latter is still a high-profile game for UT. Adding a P10 opponent each year for every B12 team will significantly bump up overall conference revenue, since too many B12 schools have watered down OOC schedules with little or even no TV coverage. Pissant U gripes about its B12 revenues, but then turns around and schedules a I-AA that won’t be seen. But more importantly, shifting OU to the north increases the odds that UT appears in the conf. champ game each year. More money, more TV, more exposure, more image enhancement, more marketing. Sure TCU is a threat, but on average they are not as good as OU. UH is another Texas Tech. More risk of picking up a loss or two, but better odds of reaching the conf. champ game while increasing revenue and TV appearances for UT.

    When the SWC broke up the state of Texas had 7 teams and 19 million people. 2.8 mil per school. Today we’re at 25 mil, so 6 teams = 4.2 mil average per school. Current B12 avg is 4.0 per school. Say CO, NE, and MO are taken, replaced by UH, TCU, and BYU. Avg plummets to 3.2, but again uneven revenue sharing which likely becomes even more uneven in favor of Texas. Where are the remainder in the north going to go? In 10 years you’re back to 3.6, but clearly population isn’t the only factor determining revenue. Witness the P10 at 55 million and a 5.5 avg yet earning less per school than the B12 at 48 mil and a 4.0 avg.

    What causes that difference may be undervalued here. Lots of harder to quantify (for us outsiders) elements such as viewing habits, local culture, entertainment competition, time zone, quality matchups, etc.

    And in the end, sometimes it is just a whole lot easier to make additions to your house than to move.


  51. Playoffs Now!

    They might drop the A&M game (at least on an annual basis) if it wouldn’t cause so much backlash from alumni.

    Um, yeah, and Alabama might drop Auburn, Army drop Navy, USC drop Notre Dame, and Ohio State drop Michigan.

    Only two rivalries have been played more often than UT-aTm, and it is the most played involving BCS schools. Heck, both schools mention the other in their fight songs.


  52. More interesting comments from ND AD Jack Swarbrick yesterday:

    I doubt that these comments would placate the NDNation crowd. It was more of another “We don’t want things to change, but maybe things are changing” type of line. He also pointed out the Big Ten Network revenue model allows the pie to grow in the conference and “it’s a situation that we haven’t had before.”


    1. allthatyoucantleavebehind

      How is their network deal with NBC an asset for the future? Obviously, it’s keeping them afloat currently and has been their lifeline for independence. But unless NBC ponies up for 20 million or so per year in the next deal (2016 and beyond), how is that an asset for the future?

      I guess I’m wondering if there is any possibility of–assuming ND WOULD join the Big 10–NBC buying games from the Big 10 network…which would (maybe?) give the Big 10 network more money. ? Or Notre Dame maintains exclusive rights for NBC games despite joining the Big 10 and selling other games to that conference. ? Some kind of a hybrid “NBC has deal with ND for 4 home games and Big 10 Network owns the other 8” type deal. ND actually ends up with MORE money than the other Big 10 schools.

      Or is he speaking of current/past “asset value”?


      1. @allthatyoucantleavebehind – I’d argue that the NBC contract is really a main bargaining chip for ND as opposed to a continuing “asset”: they can sit at the negotiating table and legitimately say that they can walk away because the NBC deal gives them the leverage to do that. If ND joins the Big Ten, though, there’s absolutely no way that the NBC deal will continue. ESPN, which is paying (and can afford to continue to pay) a ton more money than NBC, isn’t going to watch the Big Ten add ND and then allow a rival network to air marquee games at lower prices. The Big Ten will pay off that NBC contract without hesitation – the potential revenue that comes from ESPN and the BTN far outweighs what might come from NBC (which is bleeding money like crazy).


        1. Mike

          If Notre Dame bails on its NBC contract does that free up NBC/Versus to become the Network of the “Western Alliance” or at least an expanded PAC 10?


  53. Jake

    Playoffs Now! – I didn’t say that UT would drop the A&M match-up, just that keeping it on an annual basis wasn’t their top priority. They’d probably keep it as an annual non-conf. game, but if something more lucrative came up (this is UT we’re talking about), they might let it slide for a season. Also, I believe Alabama’s fight song mentions the mascots of Alabama State and Alabama A&M, but I think those rivalries have fallen off the schedule.

    Basically, UT and A&M are both big boys (despite A&M’s recent struggles in football), and neither school feels that they need to be in a conference with the other. If UT bolts for the Big Ten, A&M could soldier on just fine in the Big 12 until they eventually found a home in the SEC or the Pac-10.


  54. ot

    I will write this again:

    If the Pac-10 does not expand for whatever reason (Stanford, Washington State, Oregon State, or Oregon voting no), the USC is ripe to be plucked by the Big Ten as its 16th member if the Big Ten were to become a coast-to-coast “superconference” with Rutgers, Texas, Texas A&M, and Notre Dame among its member.

    USC has CARRIED the LA TV market in the sport of football in the past 10 years. In contrast, UCLA football has been nearly invisible in the LA TV market this century.

    Remember that the NFL hasn’t had a team in LA for 15 years.


  55. Pingback: Notre Dame AD Runs His Trap Again and Land-o-Links for 3/29/2010 « FRANK THE TANK’S SLANT

  56. Pingback: The Real Economic Reason for NCAA Tournament Expansion: Avoiding a Pay Cut « FRANK THE TANK’S SLANT

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