I’ve been spending the last couple of months powering through The Wire for the first time on my Netflix queue. (I just finished Season 4. Until further notice, if anyone mentions a word about Season 5, I will hunt you down like Omar.) The overarching theme of The Wire is that our institutions in society are largely intractable, where “good soldiers” that follow orders and tow the party line are rewarded with promotions while bold thinkers usually end up getting demoted, fired or shot. “The System” is fixed in place with little hope for change, whether we’re talking about the drug trade, police tactics, political maneuverings or old people continuously believing that young people like the Black Eyed Peas. (As depressing as that sounds, The Wire manages to weave in at least a few laugh out loud moments in each episode and I understand why plenty of critics call it the greatest TV drama of all-time. I can’t believe that it took me this long to watch it.)
What the conference realignment process over the past year has shown is that college sports has its own entrenched system. Slant reader duffman put together some incredibly detailed analysis of various college football programs over the years (here and here), with some of the takeaways being that decisions and circumstances from the early 1900s set up the system that we have today and not much has really changed in the sport’s hierarchy since World War II. (This doesn’t count institutions that voluntarily de-emphasized athletics since then, such as the University of Chicago, Ivy League schools and service academies.)
When I first wrote the Big Ten Expansion Index post, I imagined conference commissioners and university presidents taking a Machiavellian approach in raiding each other to advance their own interests. However, it has borne out that risk aversion largely rules the day. For all of the talk about demographics, geographic footprint and basic cable subscribers, the Big Ten performed the equivalent of Berkshire Hathaway buying stock in Coca-Cola by adding tradition-bound and geographically contingent Nebraska. (To be sure, it was definitely the right move.) Texas, despite having the most powerful college program in the country on paper, couldn’t shake off the political shackles of Texas A&M and Texas Tech… assuming that it wanted to shake them off at all. Big IIX commissioner Dan Beebe somehow kept the conference together based on a bunch of pie-in-the-sky promises regarding exit fees from Nebraska and Colorado (which have turned out to be about a third as much as predicted) and supposed future increases in TV revenues. Now that the Big IIX has averted the Conference Grim Reaper, Texas-based politicians are likely going to keep it alive in perpetuity. I know a lot of people believe that Texas is on the road to becoming independent in a few years, but I don’t see it. Texas is in a very different situation than Notre Dame, not the least of which is having to answer to a whole lot of politicians and members of the general public that are going to demand UT to spread some wealth as opposed to just its fanatical alumni base. Besides, Texas wants to own a massive plantation and sip mojitos while watching a bunch of worker bees from Lubbock and Waco do the landscaping work. Notre Dame, on the other hand, just wants everyone to get the f**k off its lawn. Both Texas and Notre Dame are power-hungry, but have different approaches in seeking/maintaining such power.
It took a guy from the world of women’s tennis in the form of Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott to attempt a truly revolutionary move. Yet, in Wire-esque fashion, the Pac-16 proposal was rejected at the very last moment and the Pac-10 had to settle for the “good but not great” additions of Colorado and Utah that may not even raise conference revenues much compared to the status quo (if at all). Plus, ESPN, who is still the ultimate sugar daddy for every conference (even the Big Ten), came down hard against the prospect of 16-school conferences and appears to be willing to pay up in order to prevent them from ever forming. As a result, I’ve become extremely skeptical that there’s going to be much change for the foreseeable future among the Big Ten, SEC, Pac-10, ACC and Big IIX. (On a side note, the commenters have been discussing what the new name for the Big IIX ought to be. My vote would be for the Big Country: instant association with a band and song that you won’t be able to get out of your head for 8 hours straight after hearing it along with the ability to use Oklahoma State alum Bryant Reeves as the official conference mascot.)
This brings us to the Big East, which is the epitome of institutional dysfunction. The conference has reportedly has offered Villanova a spot to move up from FCS and is in talks with TCU. Now, TCU receiving an invite makes complete sense to me and I said as much back in February for a whole host of reasons. What’s amazing to me, though, is that the Big East-related people that I’ve talked to believe that if it came down to having only a single spot for either Villanova or TCU, then the invite would go to Nova since the conference is hell-bent on preserving its hybrid format at all costs. This would be the case despite the fact that Villanova has less history, a smaller student population and alumni base and worse stadium situation than Temple, which is a school that the Big East kicked out as a football member in the same Philadelphia market that has proven to focus almost completely on pro sports. Of course, I’m not an advocate of the Big East splitting for the sake of splitting in order to add a bunch of C-USA schools at the expense of breaking up arguably the nation’s best basketball conference, but the last thing that the Big East needs to be doing is trying to add in an FCS program. That’s a WAC-fighting-for-its-survival move as opposed to an expansion worthy of a BCS AQ conference. (By the way, please see this incredibly honest and straight-forward email from the athletic director of current FCS program and prospective WAC member Montana that several people sent to me and went into great detail as to what it would take to move up to FBS and how the FCS playoffs are losing money.)
This is a display as to how entrenched schools and conferences can be within their own microsystems at the expense of programs such as TCU and BYU that by every reasonable measure are BCS-level schools TODAY. The Big East was formed as a basketball conference that later tacked on a football component as a matter of convenience and that attitude still permeates even though the economics of college sports have changed over the past 2 decades where football rules all. True to form, the Big East decided to replace the retiring Mike Tranghese with his long-time lieutenant John Marinatto as commissioner this past year as opposed to going after a Larry Scott-type outsider that could actually make an unbiased judgment as to how the conference is perceived in the outside world. Combine that with former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue being brought on board as an advisor (who has an unabashed interest in preserving the hybrid as a trustee of Georgetown) and it feels as though we’re more likely to see a remedial or reactionary move by the Big East geared toward placating the delicate balance between the Catholic schools and football members than a forward-looking one in the form of inviting TCU and/or other worthy programs. I have nothing against Villanova, but the thought of that school having an easier time being granted BCS AQ status over a whole host of other schools is ridiculous.
With my understanding that the Big Ten isn’t going to be looking to add anyone unless Notre Dame and/or Texas suddenly have a change of heart, any members of the Big East that want to better themselves are likely going to have do it individually instead of looking toward the conference. Pitt, realizing that a Big East network isn’t on the horizon and likely wouldn’t work even if it ever came to fruition, has actually started its own TV network called PantherVision, which is largely made up of coaches’ shows, Olympic sports telecasts and bits of real panther, so you know it’s good. It would behoove the other Big East schools that have strong local fan bases (i.e. Louisville, West Virginia, Connecticut) to start their own similar channels because I certainly wouldn’t have much confidence in the lackluster leadership in Providence if I were running any of those institutions.
The shuffling among the non-AQ conferences will certainly continue with the WAC on the endangered species list. Among the power conferences, though, expect more of the same (with maybe a Big East addition or two) as opposed to bold moves for the next few years. I hope that the Big East does the right thing and invites TCU, but don’t be surprised if the institutional bias in that conference ends up elevating Villanova alone.
(Follow Frank the Tank’s Slant on Twitter @frankthetank111)
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250 thoughts on “Through the Wire with TCU and N to the Izz-O, V to the Izz-A”
Much truth there. The inertia is staggering. The only major change in status over the last 50 years was the demotion of the remnants of the SWC.
Well, many Independents joined conferences, we’ve seen the rise of southeastern college football, and from UNL’s perspective, 50 years ago they were in a 15+ year funk. If you would have told me 30 years ago that PSU and UNL would join the Big 10 in my lifetime, I would have thought you were crazy.
I think major changes do happen, but not overnight.
I can agree with most of this except that adding Villanova is a “desperate” move. They already are in all the other sports, so this is more like an easy way to without have screw up scheduling in all the other sports. It certainly doesn’t add much if anything other than an easier football conference schedule. I would much rather they add both. Given the choice, I’d take TCU.
But we all know it doesn’t work that way. It’s politics, risk aversion, and general gridlock. Much like the federal government. Adding Villanova only is more of a yawn than a head scratcher.
Hawks are the #1 team on a bye this week.
All is right with the world again!
Hail to the Lions!
I had thought the weekly picks/poll posts were expansion-free content. Now I realize (after skimming the loooong material that duffman posted) you all have been carrying on without me. But I’m back, baby!
I can’t believe you are just discovering the Wire… That is just shameful!!! You will never see the combination of diverse characters assembled in one television show weaving a tapestry of storylines, statements on our institutions, complex individuals and compelling, original dialoge. It was a show for the ages….
I completely agree with your assesment of the Big (L)East. Their leadership reminds of the folks that planned the Bay of Pigs invasion… and we know how that turned out….
There is very much inertia and an already formed status quo. Which is why BYU and TCU are so frustrated. With schools like Northwestern, UConn, Mississippi St, North Carolina State, Baylor, Vanderbilt, Washington St, Iowa St, are all getting passes to the BCS and the BCS money, while BCS level programs like BYU, TCU and Boise St are on the outside looking in.
Personally I hope the BCS does the right thing and expands another Bowl Game (Cotton Bowl in Jerry World) and gives the MWC a spot, or the MWC-C-USA winner.
interesting take on finances and possible choices from the Montana AD
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Frank – I went to TCU last July with my daughter to tour the campus, and was very impressed with the school.
As a small private school (under 10K undergrad & grad), TCU is undervalued in national rankings. I’ve always thought that one of the best ways to judge the quality of a private school is by looking at its endowment and ability to raise funds. It speaks to the success of the alums and their love/loyalty to the school. TCU has spent close to $600 million into campus renovations over the last decade. TCU is in the middle of another fundraising campaign that started with a goal of $250 million, and so far they have raised over $300 million. For a school with only 77,000 living alums, TCU has an endowment of $1.2 billion. After this season, TCU will renovate the football stadium to the tune of $105 million and not add any seats. Their goal is to make Carter Stadium the “Camden Yards” of college football. As a long-suffering Oriole fan, that sounded good to me. Here’s what the renovations will look like.
The point I’m getting to is that any conference outside of the SEC and the Big Ten ought to take a close look at TCU if they want to expand. TCU offers very good academics, an ambitious administration, affluent and influential alums, a great town, a beautiful campus, improving facilities, and a huge (albeit pro) market near a major hub airport.
In spite of geographical considerations, the Big East would pull a coup by getting TCU. TCU really deserves a better conference than the Big East. I think the Big IIX is being very short-sided by not taking TCU & BYU to bring number of teams to 12 again.
If TCU played better teams, they would lose a few more games, but the casual fans (and recruits) in the Metroplex would probably take more interest in the program. After Utah and BYU, TCU is the most AQ-ready school in the country.
It just amazes me that Rice has $5B in the endowment and is over halfway there in a Billion Dollar fund-raising campaign, yet isn’t competitive even in CUSA. I would hate TCU, but they hate SMU so I’m on their side.
loki, Rice would be a good addition to the Big Ten. They are an AAU university, first bar to pass. They are an excellent academic and research institution (Northwestern). Athletics are not bad. Plus they get the Big Ten into the Texas market without having UT.
Yes, if I was the Big Ten, I would look at Rice.
Unlike Frank, I do not believe the Big Ten is done expanding. By January we should have a better idea of what they are going to do.
They bring a barely existant fanbase. (Sorry Loki)
lol. I have no illusions. We have 44,000 living alumni.
BEast needs to come up with a sustainable game plan that does not involve having 35 members and 38 part time ones. If TCU fits that, great. If not, figure something out.
It all sounds good but their outlier status put them in a marriage of convenience. I think The once bitten Big East may really feel more comfortable with Nova. If they follow the Uconn model they would be justified.
Patterson has indicated he wasn’t real interested in B12 or SEC (not that TCU could refuse). I think he understands TCU would be smothered in those conferences. TCU is trying to differentiate itself from the rest of the Texas schools. They might be successful in the BE which isn’t quite as tough as B12 or SEC and allows them to differentiate in recruiting instead of going head-to-head. They would replace Baylor and Vandy at the bottom of the B12 or SEC in a few years.
Once the Cowboys settled in, TCU headed to the bottom of the SWC with the exception of a couple of years when they were SMUing. Like SMU they got caught. What people forget is that Baylor had easily the 4th best fan support and probably the 3rd best program in the SWC in 1996. TCU was way back and probably only ahead of SMU who just came off the death penalty.
As bad as Baylor has been and as good as TCU has been since the demise of the SWC, Baylor has still outdrawn TCU in fb 11 of the last 14 years. TCU is probably the 8th smallest school in FBS (3 service academies, Rice, Tulsa, Wake Forest, maybe Troy). They don’t have the fan base to succeed consistently in the SEC or B12.
If TCU fans are hoping to get in the B12 (which they add absolutely nothing to) or the SEC, they should remember the proverb: “Watch what you wish for, you might get it.”
Good post frank. I still see TA&M looking longingly to the southeast. And our pacific friends are not done. They are aggressive. BEast is a mess. Total disaster.
This is too important to pass up. The crowd at UM is being actively encouraged to re-vive the fire millen chants this sat.
I think even UM and MSU, especially the ones of polish heritage, can agree on this one. Let’s make it loud and proud!!!
So it’s cool for schools to start their own networks independent of what their own conferences may or may not be planning. Got it.
expect those greedy bastards in Austin….everyone else is cool.
Oh, and I’ve now heard that the Big 12 Network is an option, but that Oklahoma and the other big 12 schools are still looking at having their own network as well….and it’s OU that is the one that might kill the Big 12-lite minus Texas Network.
I don’t know why OU would even support a network where they’re the only relevant national brand (other than A&M if it even chooses to participate…).
I still don’t understand why A&M never took the deal with Texas to have a network between the two schools. Maybe Texas wasn’t willing to make it a 50-50 network, or maybe it was too expensive (considering that A&M is having trouble with the $ anyways), but that’s a decision I’d like to know more about…
Are we sure such a 50/50 network was on the table? I’ve heard that was rumored, but I don’t recall seeing any confirmation. Did I miss it?
Nope, there were no specifics; just some articles talking about A&M not wanting to be part of a Texas network.
Maybe that’s a good question for Dodds or Powers if someone manages to ask a question; find out what actually happened with A&M declining to be part of the network…
Somewhere in the back archives here is a link to an article with Bill Byrne himself mentioning turning it down and why.
I didn’t have my chance to ask Powers any questions, BTW. His office is really cool, though. 🙂
Yeah, there was some interview with A&M’s AD where he said he believed the future was in internet broadcasting of your games. He didn’t think cable networks where a good long term investment, so he passed on UT’s offer.
He’s probably right that in the future it will all be internet, but a move to cable probably would have made money in the short term while we’re waiting for the big move to the internet.
Sighting their tenuous grip on confrencehood, I would say that doing it on your own would be a smart move for now.
Frank the wire was great by the way but you should not be too upset if someone spoils season 5 for you.
More kudos to Duffman. The man must have been an engineer or insurance actuarial guy. He sure when deep into the data to share with all of us and game me something I did know yesterday today.
As far as compatibility goes, I think the BT won this round big time with Nebraska. The share gravitas of ND and UT would allow me to open my doors to them but the whole process we have gone through as a group shows me that they just might be the two least compatible teams/schools we could invite north of the Mason/Dixon and west of the Mississippi.
The thing the Big East loves about Villanova is probably more important to them given their brief history than it is to any of us. That is that they will always have them. TCU being a geographic and cultural v? Maybe not so much.
PSU fans, have you got any concerns? I think this may be the year the University of chief Illini beats PSU at Happy Valley.
Penn State right now is very beatable, so yes I’m concerned. This year’s team would like a whole lot better if Pat Devlin hadn’t left for an FCS team 2 years ago. They probably still would have lost to Iowa and Alabama, but the showings would have been better. One player doesn’t make a team, but starting a Senior QB vs. a Freshman QB makes a whale of a difference.
Yeah, that FCS team is Delaware! Number 1 in the polls.
Greg, I agree with you wholeheartedly about Devlin (although there are many Penn State alums and fans that don’t want to admit this and would prefer the argument not be brought up). IMO the Devlin incident made crystal-clear the problems with Jay at QB coach (but again this is Unspeakable Blasphemy to many PSU fans). Given that PSU started the year with 3 QB prospects (actually 4 if you count the kid they redshirted), you’ve gotta wonder what’s going thru the minds of McGloin and Newsome. Bolden really looks like a great prospect but I’m afraid if Jay has enough time with him that he’ll “regress.”
This PSU team reminds me a lot of the 2006 PSU squad, which lost to #4 Notre Dame, #1 Ohio State, and #5 Michigan (as well as #17 Wisconsin) but wound up 8-4 and beat Tennessee in the Outback Bowl. If PSU could go 9-3 or 8-4 this year that would be no worse than the 2006 squad. It should be remembered that the 2007 squad also went 9-4 (won Alamo Bowl against Texas A&M). It should be remembered also that Morelli QB’ed those teams.
That 2006 team had a lot of inexperience and youth, as does this team. I remember during the Notre Dame debacle that the TV announcers noted the large numbers of freshmen and sophomores on the team. This 2010 team is well over 50% freshmen and sophomores and that was pointed out also during a recent telecast.
Looking at the stats, Illinois is rather anemic on passing offense. Although PSU is bottom-of-the-barrel Big Ten in scoring offense, Illinois isn’t much better. Illinois is slightly better than PSU in rushing but they get penalized a lot, comparatively speaking.
On defense Penn State and Illinois are pretty close, although PSU is slightly better in PPG allowed (actually #3 in the conference which is not too shabby considering the two losses to pretty stiff competition).
Illinois lost to Missouri and Ohio State by almost identical scores while PSU lost to Alabama and Iowa by almost identical scores.
I took a quick look at the Illini roster and there appear to be a lot of Freshmen and Sophs. Looks to me like Illinois is a young team too.
What I see are two very similar teams so far having similar seasons. This game is a good test for both teams, and if both teams come out with their A game it should be very entertaining.
Given that PSU is at home and appears to be a bit better defensively and more disciplined, I give them the edge, but not much of an edge! The real question is whether PSU can FINALLY find their scoring offense, if they can they should be able to beat Illinois, if not convincingly at least with some small measure of authority.
The Ags didn’t hold Texas back in any political way from moving to another conference. We wished them well and started talking to the SEC….they said “hold on now…you’re suppose to come with us”.
We said “we are looking at ALL of our options thank you”. Texas realized they would be at a recruiting disadvantage if they moved to a west coast conference or a northern conference. They quietly backed away from the table…even while continuing to spout “how they were the center of college realignment”.
I’m headed to Michigan/MSU this weekend for my first Big 10 contest with friends. I hope to meet some of you nice folks…I’ll be wearing my Aggie hat.
Sounds like fun Ag1. it could be you will be see the heisman trophy winner 2010.
Kirk Cousins, dude. Kirk Cousins.
Does Nebraska play in College Station? Martinez looked really good tonight.
5 days before the UT game.
I’m pretty sure a Longhorn made that schedule.
If this is your first trip to the “Big House,” you are in for a real treat. Just make sure you dress appropriately, nights up north this time of year are a little coooler than you may be used to…
We had a great time at the Michigan /Michigan State game. Great fans, largest crowd in history and wonderful weather. Really surprised by the noise level…really loud throughout the game. Monster stadium!
Are we heading for D-I football without subdivisions (FBS & FCS)? With some FCS schools moving up and the rest dropping to D-II. Maybe some current FBS schools would drop down, as well. Is it possible that the NCAA completely revamps the divisional structures of CFB?
There are a _lot_ of schools that definitely want to be in DivI for basketball but can not field a FBS football team, so FCS will be around even if more schools either move up or drop down (which I predict will happen).
There are already many institutions that are D-I for BB (and/or other sports) that, in CFB, are BCS/FBS, FCS or don’t even sponsor FB. The overhaul of CFB (as far as the NCAA is concerned) would not affect other sports.
It would be something similar to what the NCAA did in ~1937, 1973 & 1978.
The question becomes, are we looking at a unified D-I in CFB? If so, would they further delineate the lower divisions?
Truth of the matter is the Big East became a BCS conference because of Miami, VT, and Boston College. When those schools left they should have lost their AQ BCS status but with all the politics involved there was no way it was going to change. Now we are left with a situation where the Big East gets more on a per team basis than any other conference from the BCS (This is due to the fact they are an 8 team conference – BCS AQ conferences get $17.7mm guaranteed, AQ conferences get an extra 4.5 for their second team). This is absurd.
The Big East is the answer when someone asks why the Mountain West should get an automatic invite. Their performance this year has been abysmal as they’ve gone 2-10 vs BCS conference schools with their only victories being over the football powerhouses Maryland and Vandy. Other losses like Rutgers-Tulane, Temple-UConn, Utah-Pitt, and Fresno St-Cincy damage their rep even more. The performance of this league is so bad that I’d put them as the 8th best conference and that is probably a disservice to Conference USA.
Personally I’d love it if the BCS gave their spot to the Mountain West when the contract is renegotiated in a few years but like you said in your article … once things get entrenched they rarely change.
The big thing is that BCS money is dwarfed by TV money for the major conferences (Big10, SEC, now the ACC, Pac12, and probably the Big12 when they renegotiate their TV deal), so they prefer to keep the 8 BE votes on their side so that no playoff that would endanger the importance of regular season games will ever be voted in to being. That’s why I think it would be wise for the BCS conferences to start another BCS bowl and give the MWC-CUSA champion a guaranteed slot (and let those 20+ schools split up a full share of BCS money) so that they have a stake in the current BCS system as well.
They definitely should not want to risk killing the goose that lays the golden egg by allowing any possibility of a 16-team playoff to come close to existence.
I agree that the existence of a 16 team playoff would kill profits for the current BCS conferences from the regular season (they don’t ignore cries for a playoff out of spite, the current system really is more profitable). I do disagree about the need for a majority though. The BCS conferences don’t have to have a majority of schools. If the Big East, Mountain West, Sun Belt, WAC, and MAC vote for a playoff, so what? It would be worthless unless the BCS schools participated and they aren’t going to unless it’s their decision too.
Politics is still definitely the issue though. I think there are two things going in their minds. 1. The Big East has some big markets they’d like to be represented. 2. They want to claim the system is based on performance and with their models, the Big East actually meets the criteria. You might be able to make an argument that it’s due to too much credit given to its 1-loss and undefeated teams and the effect of an 8 team league (with the top 2-3 teams given more credit just for being top 2-3 even though it means less in an 8 team conference), but regardless, for at least the last cycle it met the criteria and it’s hard to throw them given that reality. Also, it just looks bad to throw out a conference.
Well, I don’t see the power conferences leaving the NCAA & FBS (at least, they don’t want it to a showdown), so they’d definitely still want to have a majority of FBS be BCS AQ schools.
Other losses like Rutgers-Tulane, Temple-UConn, Utah-Pitt, and Fresno St-Cincy damage their rep even more.
One of these things is different
One of these don’t belong
Which one of these is not like the others
One of these things is wrong…
Heh… Utah fan maybe?
Utah is a very good team I was just pointing out other losses vs non-BCS conference teams.
I don’t if Utah is a position to talk much so far this year. While they are undefeated, their opponents are a combined 2-15 against FBS competition. The two wins: UNLV beating New Mexico and Pitt overcoming a half-time deficit at home to beat FIU.
In other words, if I were a Utah fan I wouldn’t bring up the Pitt game.
Perception is important, but the reality over the last two years is that the B10 is 6th among the big 6 conferences. The B10 is the one the MWC is chasing in the computer rankings. In fact, the BE has done surprisingly well since they lost BC, Miami and VT. In ooc win % vs. FBS they’ve finished 2nd, 4th, 3rd and 2nd in the years prior to this one. Yes, their schedule is probably even weaker than the SEC, but its not that much worse than the SEC, B10 and B12. The computers rank them 3rd or 4th. Every conference is entitled to a bad year, like the ACC last year and the Pac 10 the year before that (where they had to go 5-0 in bowls just to get to .500 ooc).
I have no idea if this is true or not, but the B10 has something the MWC doesn’t – shitloads of fans.
Also, agree everyone gets a few bad years.
The Big East’s overall ranking in the final BCS standings is a good example of how the computer part of that system is flawed. Does anyone really believe that the Big East was the 2nd best conference last year? Not a chance. They’ve been no higher than 5th in any year since Miami,etc left.
The Mountain West won’t get their AQ status under the average BCS standings because their current 7th place rank won’t improve due to the dead weight at the bottom of their conference. They do have an excellent chance to qualify using the “ranking of the highest-ranked team in the final BCS Standings” standard. Using the current AP standings, the 3 year aggregate would put the MWC in 5th with a pretty much insurmountable lead (6.7 avg finish) over the ACC (12.0) and Big East (13.7).
I based my numbers off of an article about the 4 year evaluation period at http://www.bcsfootball.org/news/story?id=5126859.
I still think making a non-AQ conference jump through all these hoops is silly when the power conferences can solve the political problem simply by offering a spot to the MWC-CUSA winner. Once the top tier of non-AQ schools have a stake in the system, everybody’s happy.
Who has told you that the BT is finished unless they can get ND or UT? The last I heard in the press RU and UMD were at the top of the BT’s wish list. That was mentioned by both Greenstein and Dodd.
@Joe4PSU – I’m not sure what Dodd has said, but I know Greenstein believes that the Big Ten is done for now. The talk about the conference studying expansion until the end of the year is just a formality – the integration of Nebraska alone is going to take time and the university presidents don’t have the appetite to expand further for awhile. The only thing that could change that is Notre Dame approaching the conference.
As much as I hate to say it…I just don’t know.
Once the Pac16 became a pipe dream I could see the Big16 (or 14) going the same way and it all started boiling down to who of the “singles” (ND, UT, Neb, etc) would want to join.
On the other hand, with the SEC, ACC, Big12, Pac12, and even the BigEast all finalizing their contracts prior to 2015, there may not be all that much money left in the pot for the next BigTen contract (one of the reasons I think they are pushing for a renegotiation now). Don’t get me wrong, I think they’ll get a payout, but it just might be the main way they are able to increase their per-school payout is by furthering the reach of the BTN.
In the end though I’d put money on conferences to hang at 12.
ESPN is literally printing money and throwing it at all the content they can get.
And FOX has hinted that it wants more content, so college football is at a premium.
My guess is we only renegotiate for the remainder of the term to 2016 (so a 4 year modification), and then redo the contract with a full negotiation for 10 years in 2016…
@PSUGuy – There might be some risk for the Big Ten, but realistically, they are at a separate level (along with the SEC) compared to the other conferences. Especially with Nebraska now in the fold, the Big Ten is really the only conference besides the SEC that a network like FOX would be willing to showcase in a national package like the CBS/SEC deal, and that alone is going to garner a heavy premium from ABC/ESPN to prevent that new competition from ever being created. ESPN already has been freaked out enough with the lower tier games on the Big Ten Network to the point where it’s now overpaying the SEC and ACC, so it’s going to ensure that the top tier Big Ten games don’t go anywhere else.
You know good point and something that makes me put on the tin foil hat…
What if Fox plans to go for the BigTen, Pac, and BigEast leaving abc/ESPN the sec,acc, big12?
Big payday had by all and you’d have wall to wall Saturday football. On several channels. Heck would even allow the MACs of the world to sign respectable contracts with Versus and the like.
I seriously doubt ESPN would let Fox get both the Big10 and Pac12. They’d bid a high enough amount so that Fox couldn’t possibly make money on college football, because they get extra value from showing 90% of the top college football games out there. Likewise, for the Big10 and Pac12, there’s extra value in being on ESPN, where College GameDay is located (unless the Big10 & Pac12 band together as a package like the old days and Fox starts a competing “College GameDay” type show). Also, you don’t want to have your second-tier games shown on the various Fox Sports channels; their production values are terrible, and your games are likely not to be shown nation-wide because those channels want to show their local MLB/NBA/NHL games. If I was Big10 commish, I’d actually prefer CBS/CBSCollegeSports or NBC/Versus over Fox/FoxSports.
@Richard – I agree with you. The only thing that I could ever see the Big Ten agreeing to do is have a national over-the-air game of the week package on Fox (just like the SEC has with CBS). Otherwise, the Big Ten would be foolish to give up the broadcasting real estate that it has on ESPN when push comes to shove. At the same time, ESPN would be foolish to let the Big Ten get away – if the conference has enough leverage to get its 2nd and 3rd tier games on basic cable via the Big Ten Network, it’s not going to want Fox Sports or Versus get a property that it could legitimately build upon.
Maybe I don’t get it…
I mean if Fox ponied up ABC/ESPN money and guaranteed to show x3 Big Ten games on Saturday (12PM, 330PM, & 8PM) Fox would become the defacto “national” Big Ten Network and the Big Ten would have national coverage on every time slot every single Saturday during the season (and that doesn’t even include the BTN).
ABC/ESPN can’t guarantee that and doesn’t even to its SEC/ACC contracts (though if it lost Big Ten games it might depending on match-up IMO).
Now I will admit though, thinking as a Fox exec the Big Ten, while large and spread out, may not saturate into certain regions enough to warrant that kind of deal and thus the Big Ten would lose out to whatever conferences also bought into the Fox contracts.
At that point, it becomes a question of who pays more for more exposure…
Sure, if Fox is willing to show all its Big Ten games on Fox instead of some on it’s Fox Sports channels, and the Big10 is the only conference Fox signs up.
Right now, the Big Ten is the only conference who’s home & conference games are always available to anyone in the country no matter how obscure, so long as you can get the BTN (anyone with the BTN could watch Illinois St. @ Northwestern earlier this year). This isn’t true for any other conference in the country. Not all Pac10, Big12, ACC, or even SEC games are televised nationally, and of course, Big12 and Pac10 fans have long complained about local pro sports preempting their football games on Fox Sports channels. Even the SEC gets only it’s top games shown by CBS and ESPN, with the less attractive games only available in those locales with stations carrying the “SEC Network” or the other regional networks the less attractive SEC games are parcelled out to.
Richard – the big variable in your statement is “so long as you can get the BTN.”
My understanding is that BTN games aren’t available on the ESPN Game plan. SEC games played on the nationally syndicated SEC Network, FSN, CSS, or PPV are all also available to anyone, anywhere in the country with the ESPN Game Plan.
Here is the affiliate listing for the SEC Network game this week.
As you can see, Big Ten fans in Chicago, Rockford, Evansville, Indianapolis, South Bend, Detroit, Cincy, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, Youngstown, and Pittsburgh can watch Vandy play Georgia by just turning on their TV. Most regional FSNs will carry the McNeese St./LSU game this weekend. In other markets, you can watch Vandy/UGA and McNeese St/LSU on ESPN’s Game Plan. The other games are either on CBS (national, not regional), ESPN2, or ESPNU.
Richard, you can make the argument that the Big Ten has a better financial deal with the BTN than the SEC has with CBS & ESPN, but its really indisputable that the SEC has the biggest out of market reach for each of their games.
Anyone with ESPN Game Plan gets BTN. I live in Virginia and get the basic sports tier (the one with FSN and ESPNU). With it, I get 5 channels of BTN and do not get ESPN Game Plan.
I get every single Big Ten home game (including such barnburners as Illinois State at Northwestern), including those played at the same time. To watch Northwestern play at Vanderbilt, I had to go to a sports bar.
We’re supposed to be impressed that Vandy-Georgia is available in 34 out of footprint markets?
The BTN is on the basic level of DirectTV and AT&T Uverse as well as 19 of the top 20 TV markets(http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/02/sports/02bigten.html). So it’s actually hard to be in a locale where you can’t get the BTN some way (you’d have to live in an apartment that doesn’t allow satellite TV or AT&T UVerse for some reason in a town without a cable provider that offers the BTN).
I prefer that setup to having to go through ESPN Gameplan.
Another important caveat in how the Big Ten gets tv coverage versus the rest of the college landscape…
Ignore markets outside of the conference region, the Big Ten is still the only conference that can actually make money off more than just the football/men’s bball/random third mens sport (hockey, baseball, wrestling, etc…depends on region).
The important number thrown all over the place is how few sports programs actually make money. Ignore the national coverage of mens football, when it comes down to volleyball, soccer and the tracks of the world only one conference will be able to support those programs (almost) indefinitely.
With football costing more and more and Title IX meaning women’s programs will be later to go (around the same time as football & bball IMO) the Big Ten might soon find itself in the position of being able to attract the best athletes in any sport simply because they can afford to play it.
On ESPN, the B10 is dominant. Whether I was in Texas or Georgia, I would get at least 4 B10 games a week even w/o BTN. Early games on ESPN and ESPN2 are generally B10. 1 later game is B10 and 1 national game gets covered, usually on ABC.
The Big 12 analysis indicated that not only Fox was competing with ESPN, but there were a couple of other players considering it. With 4 competitors it can drive the $ up.
Of course, they could also saturate the airwaves and split up the viewership, lowering the value for everyone.
WIN IT FOR MAJOR HESTOR!
If you’ve got a minute, check this guy out. A true classic. We’ve now got 2 hearts on the line. Jesus, I’m not going to get any sleep.
I’ll spoil the end of the Wire for you Frank!
The drug problem is solved!!! All it took was a little bit of policework!!!
Morgan Freeman comes in as Principal of a Baltimore school; he hires Michelle Pfeiffer as teacher and kids all over Baltimore start learning!
The new mayor tells all the politicians, ‘Enough with the corruption!’. This works!!!
All in all, a very hopeful series, the Wire.
I say he can skip the last season and a half. But the series definitely worth watching if you like gritty police crime drama stuff.
Interesting info from someone that apparently has a good reputation. TCU has not talked to the BE per se, but has talked to school presidents and ADs. Also rumors of Seton Hall being booted from the BE.
Why boot Seton Hall?
Apparently they’ve quit putting money into any athletics and have not even had an AD for over a year.
Reading that message board, there’s a lot of dysfunction in the Big East (of course, we knew that).
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Some UGA revenue projections for this year following an athletic board meeting from the Atlanta Journal Constitution (ajc.com-“football is the engine that runs the machine”-article mostly about Richt and how 1-4 record might impact $):
Total $84.75 million
TV-SEC $12 million
fb tickets $17.4 million
Hartman fund $22.8 million (fund giving priority for ticket purchases)
tickets other than fb $1.36 million
So with TV being at least $10 million fb related, $50 million of the $85 is directly football. $3 million directly other sports. Article doesn’t discuss the other $32 million, but based on other articles, it is probably $5-$8 million local media, $10-$12 million licensing with the rest advertising, athletic wear contracts and general donations, all of which are heavily driven by fb. At UK, media and licensing would be mostly bb driven, but at UGA, at least, probably 90-95% of revenue is football.
This article dates from May, but it talks about UT’s $138 million in revenues. Doesn’t separate fb from other ticket sales ($44 million combined).
That Montana email was very illuminating for me. With women becoming continuing to enroll at higher rates than men, I wonder how many other schools at all levels are forced into re-examining difficult cuts due to inability to fund new female sports trying to stay compliant with Title IX. Cal just had to cut important programs just for the finances, but inadvertently might of gotten ahead of future Title IX balancing issues.
Given all the difficult financial considerations, I think schools that get in a position like ‘Nova and Montana are going to be forced to decide to take the risk to move up for the possibility of more funds. It makes me wonder which, if any, schools in a somewhat similar positions are inquiring behind closed doors to be considered. Maybe in a future sense as they see a possible demise of FCS if the top programs continue moving up taking away the revenue fan bases away from an already profitless playoffs. Like, “I know we aren’t what you’re looking for now, but take a look at our programs and fans in a few years if you need to fill slots again.”
A relatively balanced story (IMO-also unusual IMO)on the Big 12 and its $ and staying together prospects.
You can’t call it the Trojan conference. Looks like they are doing everything the 4 Cal schools don’t want. Apparently Pac 12 will have even revenue split and they are strongly leaning toward NW schools + Bay Area in North. Read a Colorado Springs article saying part of the reason for not putting CU and UU in North was that CU was viewed as being a weak link. They didn’t want to put CU and WSU together.
Also if you read what Moos is saying about playing in LA 2 out of 3 years, its a full rotation, meaning no every year opponents from the other division. That means Stanford & Cal would also play in LA only 2 out of 3 years.
Cal & UCLA would not take kindly to that; ever since they started playing each other in 1933, they’ve played each other at least once a year (they played twice a year during WWII). For that matter, other than a brief interruption during WWII (when Stanford didn’t field a football team), USC & Stanford have been meeting yearly since 1925. I can’t imagine that there wouldn’t be at least 1 protected interdivisional rivalry so that Cal-UCLA & USC-Stanford can continue.
The SoCal teams also wouldn’t take kindly to equal revenue sharing. I wonder if the 4 Cali schools are suddenly considering if they’d like to join the new and expanded Big10.
More likely that they join the forthcoming superconference that will include Texas, Notre Dame, USC, Miami Fla., the four Cali schools, Oklahoma, A&M, and a couple of Notre Dame’s friends.
Notre Dame has friends?
With ND, the 4 Cali schools, Texas, TAMU, OU, & OSU (OU won’t be able to leave without OSU), you’re up to 9 schools already. Assuming the Texas legislature won’t let Texas leave without TTech, and you’re up to 10. Miami would make 11, though I don’t see why they’d leave the ACC for a conference that is mostly on the other side of the country and has no academic benefits.
Being in a conference with the 4 Cali schools, Notre Dame, and Texas is pretty stout academically, don’t you think? And I believe Miami is like Notre Dame, they perceive themselves as a national team. Take away FSU and maybe Va Tech, and what do they really care about the ACC? They can play 4 non-conference games in state (FIU, FAU, FSU, someone else), and only have four long travel trips.
They have an academic partnership thing in the ACC modeled after the Big Ten’s CIC (started by Miami’s President Donna Shalala, who was chancellor at Wisconsin). As for Miami perceiving themselves as national, well, they left the Big East (which gave them greater exposure outside the southeast) to join the ACC even though the money for them would have been the same, in large part because the ACC schools are closer.
Remember that football isn’t the only sport schools play; you’d have to give Miami a pretty compelling reason to start shipping its women’s soccer and volleyball teams halfway (or all the way) across the country. ND may be rich enough to not care; Miami (who’s athletic department brings in less money than KSU, Mizzou, Indiana, and Louisville last year), not so much.
It’s interesting, because we think of FSU & Miami as powers in athletics, but measured by revenue, they’re on par with schools like Syracuse and Vanderbilt.
Good points. Maybe join a regional conference for all sports other than football and basketball, or maybe I just forget about having a strong Florida presence in my dream national conference…
That lean toward a full rotation is supported by the following article.
Sorry, 1st link didn’t work-added extra period.
WSU AD interview
Sounds a bit wishful. There will either be give on some of the revenue sharing or the CA schools will play yearly. What other incentive is there for both of these to happen? I’m a northwesterner but I’m not sure ending the CA schools yearly meeting is good for conference “solidarity”.
Big east is adding Nova to get to 9-7 voting block and kick out the basketball schools. Then they add TCU and Big 12 leftovers (Kansas, KState, etc)
What Frank doesn’t report is that the Big East can NOT do anything until they change the voting dynamic in the conference. They need to flip one of the basketball schools to make it happen.
@Bobestes – I don’t believe that this is the case. The fact of the matter is that a supermajority of the schools (the Catholic schools plus Syracuse and UCONN) definitely want to preserve the hybrid. In fact, the entire point of adding Villanova is largely to keep peace with the Catholic schools so that there won’t be a split. At the same time, the Big 12 isn’t going to break up anytime soon – it’s going to be alive as long as Texas and its home state politicians want to keep it alive.
Remember that schools such as Syracuse and UCONN have MUCH longer histories with Providence, St. John’s and Georgetown than they do with Louisville, Cincinnati and USF – the inertia in the Big East to preserve the hybrid is staggering (and will continue to be even if Villanova moves up). The Big East makes more money from basketball than football and a lot of that is being able to sell ESPN that the conference covers the NYC, Chicago, DC and Philly markets. That market argument goes away if there’s a split, and the current Big East schools aren’t willing to give that up for anyone short of Penn State or Notre Dame (neither of which will ever happen).
Frank, if the BCS conferences ever decided to ditch the NCAA and form their own athletic association, might they force the Big East football schools to split from their basketball brethren? I don’t think the other conferences want the likes of Seton Hall and Providence in the fold were that scenario to take place.
I don’t see that scenario happening in my lifetime.
Vincent, this is where I believe the Big Ten is headed. But I will go one better. It will be an association based around AAU universities. Where those that are more balanced in their academics and athletics peel off from those that are more athletics than academics.
I was thinking along these very lines other day when I was reading some post on a Big East board. A lot of people that are not familiar with the Big East just assume the football schools and basketball schools split down the middle when it comes to conference matters. But as Frank says UConn & Cyuse have more common interest with the Villanovas and Georgetowns of the world than they do with the Cinncis and USFs of the world.
That being said I started kicking around the idea of a uneven football split slash raid scenario. Here is my hypothetical; let’s say all the various dysfunctions in the Big East finally come to a head and the football six use the nuclear option and split from the Big East, while at the same time orchestrate a raid/merger with the fly over 4 from the Big 12. They could also grab TCU and SMU to lock down the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex [or at least as much as it can be locked down with the ever present Cowboys/OU/Longhorn/A&M interest] And go to a 12 team all sports conference. It could look like this:
Some points to consider:
I am not 100% sure so if I’m wrong somebody feel free to correct me, but as I understand the NCAA bylaws in order to maintain continuity as a conference there must be at least six schools that played together for what I believe is 4 or 5 years. If this is the case, then the Big East 6 would meet this requirement and there by maintain their AQ BCS Bid so long as they added the other schools mentioned to stay above 8 [the minimum number needed to maintain a AQ bid in the BCS]
This would be a very good basketball league with Pit, WV, Kansas and Louisville, so even though there would be no AQ bid for the NCAA tournament initially. The league would be good enough to garner multiple at large bids in the short term and also would be good enough to be granted AQ status in a few years.
The Big East splitters would give up the MSG tournament, but with the Nets moving to Brooklyn in a few years, That new multi-million dollar facility is going to need events. Sounds like a good place for a B-ball tournament to me.
It may seem foolish at first glance to double down on Dallas with both TCU and SMU, but the way I see it SMU is where TCU was 10 years ago, they have made the commitment to football and are on the rise. The iron skillet game was a pretty good rivalry at one time and if SMU gets good again what would be better to create buzz and interest better than a BCS level cross town rivalry in the unofficial football capital of Texas. Also look at the rivalries that will be in this conference; Iron Skillet, Backyard Brawl, Keg of Nails, Ohio River Rivalry & the Border War. Not the SEC or Big Ten, but this is still a compelling conference with WV anchoring the east, and TCU anchoring the west.
The Big east splitters would loose the markets of DC, Chicago & Milwaukee. They would maintain the slightest of toeholds in Philly and NYC with Rutgers. And they would gain Dallas, Kansas City, and St Louis. I would say that is a push at best and at worse only a slight lost in market prowess.
The remaining Catholic Schools plus UConn & Cyuse would keep the Big East Name and MSG Tournament and become a 10 team non football Conference. They keep a lot of the big markets and get the double round robin back.
Syracuse & UConn would most likely have to wander in the wilderness as football independents in the near term. And long term maybe they could architect a new eastern seaboard football only league that would mirror the MWC 9 school model. It could be made up of smaller eastern schools and FCS football powers. It will not be BCS level but I think it would be instantly ahead of the WAC at its formation and would at least rival the MAC and Sunbelt in terms of Fan Interest and Competitiveness. Just for poops and giggles it may look like this:
Buffalo & Delaware would move their other sports to the A-10, and James Madison would Join the Atlantic Sun for other sports.
I think over all this is very over reaching and giving the Big East’s track record to date has a snowballs chance in hell of ever happening, but I thought it was a interesting scenario none the less I wanted to share.
This concludes this session of mental masturbation.
Thank you for your time. 😉
You are correct. You need 6 teams that have been together for 5 years with 8 total to keep an auto basketball bid. However, that is for an existing conference. If you leave one (as the MWC did) there is no continuation of the autobid. With the strength in bb, that is probably not that big an issue except that your conference tourney becomes meaningless. For football, however, you need 8 teams to be recognized, which is the big deal with the WAC and MWC over 2001 and Nevada and Fresno.
All that said, there is legislation, which seems likely to pass, to change the rules. It would do away with the continutity issue for an existing conference and only require 8 schools who meet the Division I qualifications.
Interesting idea, but were this split from the Big East to happen, I believe Syracuse and Connecticut would ultimately end up in the ACC. To me, Boeheim and Calhoun wield power at those schools; the former isn’t going to coach forever, and the latter’s authority may have been diminished due to NCAA violations. In the ACC, SU and UConn would still be in a strong basketball league while retaining a position in a BCS conference.
As for the 12-team conference you envisioned, one wonders whether ISU, KU, KSU and Missouri have the courage to get out from under UT’s thumb, and whether this new league could give them revenue similar to what they get now, even if equal revenue was assured.
You’re assuming the ACC want ‘Cuse and UConn. Consider that they haven’t decided to take those 2 schools already; why would the BE collapsing change their mind?
As for this new league, it all hinges on whether those guys could get an automatic BCS bid. Considering how hard the MWC has had it in trying to get one, that’s no sure thing (I’m also not sure they would keep the BE’s autobid).
Really, the BCS autobid is the main thing keeping the BE together.
Good points All,
As far as the ACC goes I do not think they would want to expand, they already have their big increase for doing basically nothing. And the TV entities have basically said the coffers are closed and no more money is coming regardless of the teams added. There was an article somewhere that outline this but I can remember what site I read it on. Also I would not be so sure UConn and Syracuse Would want in the ACC. Remember while the Pac-10, SEC, Big 12, Big Ten and even the ACC schools have been expanding for the sake of football These two schools have been worrying about weather or not they are going to have a annual home game with St. John’s. I am not judging but it should tell you something about their priorities.
One of my Syracuse Fan buddies basically outlined his feeling on the ACC like this. If the Big East imploded it would be an okay fall back position it’s a good Basketball conference with milk-toast BCS level football but as he puts it; it would be like the episode of the Twilight Zone where the guy wakes up in the parallel dimension everything seems the same, but looking around it just doesn’t quite feel right. 😉
As for the Autobid going away; the bulk of what is now the Big East that apparently commands a Autobid would still be intact. If they did not loose their bid when BC, VT & Miami bolted I don’t know why the split would make that much of a difference; although maybe it would? It seems like there would be a heap of lawsuits involved though, seems to me the path of least resistance would be to let the eastern 6 take their BCS bid with them especially if the are adding 4 big 12 schools to their ranks.
Speaking of the flyover 4 I agree a huge stumbling block in this particular hypothetical would be convincing them to leave the Horn-god conference. One could argue they had their chance to join some form of the Big East back in June and choose to stick it out in the Big 12. I felt a lot of their fans did not like that and felt it was a sign of weakness, or Stockholm Syndrome and there was a general feeling of “why don’t these school show some pride”. But all I could think about was the old Star Trek show Deep Space Nine [yes I watched Star Trek, don’t read my post anymore I’m a nerd! lol] and that Ferengi bartender who was always quoting these “Rules of Acquisition” and the one that stuck with me was “Rule 109: Dignity and an empty sack is worth the sack.”
The real reason why the 7 schools in the Big 12 not named Texas, Oklahoma or A&M stayed is because their bean counters crunched the numbers and realized they can make more money being second class citizens in the Big 12 than they could in a AQ Mountain West or even the Big East.
My hypothetical conference would depends solely on weather or not those 12 schools could command $180 million a year for their TV rights if they can’t do that then the whole enterprise will never get past the message board debate stage.
Article on Pac 10 divisions, revenue sharing, potential bidders for TV rights.
Does the BigXI-2 stay at 10 or re-expand to 12?
I do agree that the BigTen is going to stay at 12 rather than go to 16. I think Delaney and the BigTen Network people WANT to go 16, but I don’t think they can convince the presidents to go along ….
So the BigXII being either a 10 or 12 team league is the one big remaining question.
Before, the balance of power in the BCS was, well balanced. You had 3 conferences with 12 teams and conference championships, and 3 conferences with less than 12 and no conference championships.
That balance has changed … Now you have 4 conferences with 12 teams and 2 without. I don’t see that being a viable long term solution for the BigXII (nor the BigEast, but I don’t think the BigEast has a choice).
I think that the powerful triumvirate of Delaney / Silve / Scott will use the 4-2 voting bloc to make life better for conferences with 12 teams (at the expense of conferences without 12 teams). For example, what if “at-large” bid are only available to Conference Championship game losers? What if the new BCS formula gives special value to conference championship games? What if the money splits are something like $18M for 12 team conferences, $12M for less than 12 team conferences, and $6M for non-AQ conferences? etc etc etc
Anyway, I think the BigXII’s 10 team experiment is going to be short lived. If ESPN is really running the show, THEY want a BigXII championship game at the very least.
So what does the BigXII do?
Can they survive at 10 or not?
Do they go for BYU to get a new TV market?
Do they go for TCU or Houston or SMU?
With the money being thrown around for TV contracts these days, championship games are relatively chump change. Also, it’s not at all clear ESPN would want to spend $10M for a Big12 title game.
Non-equal revenue sharing really was a trivial difference in the B12 (a little less so in Pac 10 where USC and UCLA were so dominant on the airwaves and the formula was more unbalanced). The big $ make non-equal revenue sharing a bigger difference in the future and make a championship game less significant.
I suspect the B12 will go try to go to 12 just for the exposure when their network contract comes up for renewal. It won’t be anyone in an existing B12 state. The commissioner has already said that. Notre Dame won’t come. So it isn’t clear they will find anyone acceptable. BYU’s no Sunday play is problematic when the goal is better exposure. That leaves schools like UNM, CSU, Memphis, LaLa, NIU which have lousy fb now or a Big East school or a geographic stretch like Boise or UCF.
@Xenon – I don’t think a championship game in and of itself is that big of a driver for ESPN. For the new Big 12, the networks are largely paying to see Texas and Oklahoma as much as possible and none of the usual suspects from the MWC, C-USA or WAC would change that. The current Big 12 had a very good chance of pitting the Texas/Oklahoma winner against Nebraska every year for the championship, which was great for ratings. With Nebraska heading to the Big Ten, the potential championship game matchups in the Big 12 (other than a Texas/Oklahoma rematch) aren’t that appealing nationally. As the ACC has found out, jerry-rigging a marquee championship matchup can backfire and actually hurt the perception of the conference (empty seats in Jacksonville)
Yeah, this is the problem the Big 12 now faces.
If they try to divide up Texas and Oklahoma, what happens if one has a down year or what happens if both do?
The current Big 12 South stacks up Texas and Oklahoma, so you have those two down there along with A&M which has been absent from the national stage for a while…
It just doesn’t work if you don’t have enough national brands, and there’s no way to fix that for the Big 12.
UNL was the big loss to me. CU has had some good years and is clearly a top 20 brand, but they aren’t at the same level. If the Big 12 had to replace just CU, they could have added CSU or BYU or gone east w/o missing that much. And I really felt them leaving was inevitable. The 4 remaining northern schools are all viewed as more basketball (or wrestling) schools more than football.
It isn’t really so much the national brands. There are only 9-12 and only the B10 has more than 2. The problem is that the other 8 schools haven’t been good long enough or still aren’t good. If you look at just the last 10 years, the B12 would have been stronger w/o CU and UNL. But pre-Big 12, Tech, OSU, ISU, UM, KU almost never did anything. KSU was one of the worst teams in the country historically. Baylor has done nothing since the B12 started.
The B12 has good mid-level teams, but they don’t have the reputation from being good long enough or consistently enough-like Wisconsin, Iowa, UGA & Auburn do.
I would argue the SEC has more than 2 as well. Florida and ‘Bama are always there. UGa, LSU, & Tennessee are there as well when they’re good.
“when they’re good” is the key phrase. UGA, LSU and TN are 2nd tier brands. They aren’t in the top tier of a dozen or so schools.
Now, that 2nd tier is what the Big 12 lacks. A&M and KSU were at or near the 2nd tier a dozen years ago, but both have slipped. Noone else has consistently been good enough. Each school but Baylor has been good for a year or two, but noone has been consistently solid, like a Wisconsin.
Richard & Bullet – Historically and recently, Georgia, LSU & Tennessee are just as good almost any school in the country. If “dozen or so” means close to a dozen, more or less, then all three fit as top tier teams.
Only nine teams have won more national championships than LSU since 1936. Only 11 teams have won more NCs than Tennessee since 1936. Georgia is one of only 30 teams to have a NC since 1936. I use 1936, since that is the first year that AP crowned a national champion. Pre-1936 NCs were awarded retroactively, which I always thought was extremely silly.
According to ESPN’s All-time Prestige rankings, which were compiled in January of 2009, Tennessee was #12, LSU was #13, and Georgia was #14.
In ESPN’s Prestige rankings for the BSC era, LSU was ranked #7, Georgia #9, and Tennessee #12. LSU has 2 BCS national championships (03 & 07) during the BCS era and three total (1958). Tennessee has one BCS national championship (98) and two total (1951). Georgia won a national championship in 1980.
Regarding all-time (1869-present) winning percentage for AQ teams, Tennessee is #9, Georgia is #12, and LSU is #13.
Regarding winning percentage for AQ teams since 1936, Tennessee is #6, Georgia is #12, and LSU is #14.
Regarding winning percentage for AQ teams in the BCS era, Georgia is #7, LSU is #11, and Tennessee is #12.
It all depends on where your cutoff is, I guess. ND, Texas, OU, Nebraska, PSU, Michigan, tOSU, Florida, ‘Bama, and USC are indisputably among the top dozen brands(Florida’s a relatively recent addition, but I don’t see them dropping out). Then you have FSU, Miami, Georgia, Tennessee, LSU, TAMU, & UCLA who are there when they’re successful.
LSU has recovered in the last 10 years, but from 80-99 they had 10 losing seasons, including 6 in a row and 3 with only 2 or 3 wins. In the 90s their record was 54-58-1. LSU is just not as consistent as the top group. LSU had a lot of mediocrity mixed in with good seasons in the 60s and 70s also. Tennessee has the same kind of history. UGA is a little more consistent, but hasn’t had as many high points as TN and LSU recently.
Texas hasn’t had a season worse than 4-7 since 1956. And there have only been 2 of those and 5 total losing seasons. You have to go all the way back to 1936 to come up with 10 losing seasons for Texas. The other top “brands” have similar results. They’ve all had rough streaks, but not nearly as bad or as long as LSU.
My dozen top schools include Duffman’s 9 which were discussed here: UNL, OSU, UM, PSU, UT, OU, USC, AL, ND and 3 newcomers who I think have earned a spot, the 3 FL schools. With their inconsistency, LSU, TN and UGA just don’t belong, although I would put them near the top of the next tier.
Duffman’s earlier comments got me thinking about who I considered the top and I came up with the dozen + TN, LSU, CU and UW as the best of the rest. Those 16 schools have all the championships over the last 25 years except for GT’s shared title. And since GT went winless 2 years later, I don’t consider them in the same class. I tested that by looking at the top 3 and top 5 in the final AP rankings. Those 16 schools have 102 of the 125 top 5 spots and 68 of the 75 top 3 spots in that time frame. The only other schools to make the top 3 were UGA twice and AU,VT,Utah, GT and Oregon each once. Those 16 are the only schools to crack the top 5 more than twice.
School # in top 5
bullet – Several “top tier” schools have had rough patches. From 1942 to 1961, Nebraska had 16 losing seasons. Florida only won its first SEC in 1991. Florida State had never done anything of note until Bobby Bowden. Miami had never distinguished itself until Howard Schnellenberger.
You can manipulate numbers however you want, and you did, in an attempt to make your point.
With the exception of the 1940s and the 1990s, LSU has won at least one SEC championship in each decade.
In the 80s, LSU did have 3 losing seasons, but won 2 SEC titles, went to 2 Sugar Bowls, an Orange Bowl, and had a Top 5 finish. In the 80s, LSU’s winning percentage was .625.
LSU had 8 losing seasons over an 11 year period (89-99), and those years were terrible. I was there and witnessed the worst football ever played in Tiger Stadium, LSU had 3 bad coaching hires in a row.
The researchers at ESPN that compiled the All-Time Prestige Rankings last year put Tennessee at #12, LSU at #13, and Georgia at #14. You obviously disagree, and that’s your right to have a differing opinion.
Personally, I think they nailed the whole thing with a margin of error of +-2 spots.
I would consider their Top 15 as all-time “Top Tier” programs.
3. Ohio St.
4. Notre Dame
9. Florida State
11. Penn St.
Looking at #s 16-25, I think these teams would be included in the top tier only under the “when they’re good” analysis.
18. Georgia Tech
20. Texas A&M
22 (tie) Clemson
22 (tie) Colorado
24. Ole Miss
Florida, FSU and Miami were nothing prior to the 80s and don’t do to well in any long term analysis. But they have been the top 3 programs over the last quarter century. The population growth of the state has changed their situation permanently, not just a good coach or two. That’s not manipulation, just common sense. So I believe they belong in that top group even if their results over 120 years aren’t as good.
And my list doesn’t really differ from the ESPN list except that I have Florida higher because of their Spurrier and later era success. And I consider there to be a gap after #12.
I’d be surprised if most people outside SEC states didn’t agree. I’d also be surprised if most SEC fans didn’t disagree.
Well, the ’60’s are a long time ago. I think the only quibble is whether Miami and FSU have permanently made it in to the top tier.
I think, to judge whether a school is a top brand or not, you have to consider whether the school has a “wow” factor associated with it when OOC opponents schedule them even in times when it isn’t winning. I know that back in 1997, we (at Northwestern) were still excited to play OU in the Pigskin Classic even though OU was going through it’s near decade-long stretch of mediocrity. Using that criteria, Miami & FSU qualify (along with ND, tOSU, Michigan, PSU, UNL, USC, OU, Texas, ‘Bama, & Florida). Georgia _maybe_. Tennessee use to, but I don’t think any more.
Bullet, recall that just prior to the formation of the Big XII, Nebraska, KSU, CU and KU were all top 10 teams.
Okie St. never quite made it over the hump, but they had Jimmy Johnson, Barry Sanders, Thurman Thomas, etc, and won quite a few games. I think one problem with the conference is that it has become too Texas-centric. Texas is a great base for football recruiting, but when most of the conference is recruiting from Texas and their own smaller local population (and not much else), there just isn’t enough to go around. And its difficult to change that paradigm when most of the power schools in the conference don’t care about TV exposure outside of Texas. If the conference is going to have more quality and balance, some of the schools
are going to have to recruit from CA and FL and where ever with some consistency. And the two schools most capable of that just left.
Actually, the Texas recruiting has helped a number of programs, notably Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma St.
KU did have a top 10 finish in 94 or so as you mention. But that was very rare.
I think all of the Big XII schools (except CU) benefit from recruiting Texas, but getting the scraps from Texas is not going to be enough to make the also rans consistently nationally competitive.
RE: perception of the ACC and empty seats in Jacksonville
It’s doubtful that if the ACC had divided up the league geographically, with the NC schools divided any way you choose, that the league would have had better attendance at its title games.
The biggest problem is that the game has been held in way off-center Florida, first in Jacksonville and then even farther in Tampa. It should have been in Charlotte all along. Charlotte is less than 5 hours from 8 schools, and only 7 from Maryland.
Had the game been held in Charlotte, ’09 would have been a sellout with Clemson only 2 hours away and GT only 4 hours away. ’08 and ’07 (VT vs. BC) would have had far, far more Hokie fans in attendance with Blacksburg only 3 hours away; BC fans might not have shown up even if the game was in Foxboro. ’06 (GT and Wake) still wouldn’t have been a sellout since both schools are an afterthought in their own states, but tickets would still sell better since it would be closer for both. In ’05, which was a sellout, my guess is that the Seminole fans in Jacksonville would have been replaced with Hokie fans in Charlotte.
Here’s the big irony: There’s still a good chance the ACC title game, which will finally be moved to its proper location, could wind up being FSU-Miami.
Actually, GT and Wake likely would have sold out since Atlanta is close to Charlotte (4 hours away) & GT draws 50K even if they are an afterthought in Georgia while Wake is right there in NC. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that those 2 schools could have brought fans close in numbers to their average attendance (50K for GTech, 30K for WFU) to fill up 73K BofA stadium. The games that wouldn’t have sold out likely would have been the VTech games; even if the Hokies brought 60K (they average 66K at Lane), I don’t see FSU bringing 10K+ up to NC and I certainly don’t see BC bringing 10K+ to NC. Still, holding it in Charlotte would have guaranteed a mostly full stadium every year. I guess the ACC didn’t plan on both FSU and Miami missing out nearly every year.
Richard – I can’t speak to how the ACC allots tickets to their championship game, but the SEC allots 17,500 tickets to each participating school. The balance is reserved for the SEC office, other SEC schools, sponsors, and sold locally.
Oddly enough I wouldn’t be surprised if the Big 12 (aka 10) and the Big East stay at less than 12 members.
If I was a betting man I would guess the Big East moves to 10 teams (eventually); likely adding Nova plus one current FBS team (TCU, UCF, someone?)
The reason I think these “lesser” conferences can work is the un-equal TV distribution in the Big 12 and Big East hybrid format play right into the hands of the two biggest powers in College Football; Texas and Notre Dame.
The Big East’s allowance of catholic “basketball only” members is perfect for Notre Dame, and I don’t think its too far-fetched to think Notre Dame would actually help the Big East stay afloat because it allows them to both stay independent and be a major player in basketball & non-revenue sports.
Likewise the Big 12-2’s unequal revenue sharing allows all mighty Texas to get what they want; money, their own network; and a conference to rule.
Essentially both of the less than 12 conferences can manage to stay viable and stable enough because each has one powerful backer (Texas or Notre Dame) that wants things to stay as they are.
Sigh, I thought we danced this dance before . . . the primary reason the Big 12 is staying at 10 has nothing to do with “all mighty Texas” and everything to do with the fact that there was not a realistically attainable pair of schools which could have been invited to join the conference which would have resulted in a net strengthening of the conference.
Staying at 10 was easily the best decision for all remaining schools. Not just Texas.
John Swofford (ACC commish) discusses ACC TV contract and fb vs. bb $.
Here’s the television ratings/share for Notre Dame football so far this season:
Purdue (NBC) – 2.3/6
Michigan (NBC) – 4.5/10
at Michigan State (ABC Regional with Texas-Texas Tech) – 2.3/8
Stanford (NBC) – 2.1/?
at Boston College (ABC Regional with Stanford-Oregon) – 1.3/5
Pittsburgh (NBC) – 1.4/?
Notre Dame’s remaining games are Western Michigan (NBC), at Navy in NJ (CBS), Tulsa (NBC), Utah (NBC), Army in NY (NBC) and at USC (ABC).
The three games in South Bend kickoff at 2:30 with the Navy game at noon, the Army game at 7PM from Yankee Stadium and the USC game at 8 PM in LA.
ND had better hope Utah is undefeated and USC gets back to winning because the ratings for those games are going to be really bad.
If Notre Dame does become a regular double digit winning team, then they should be much better in the overall television ratings. But when they get out of the gate slowly, the numbers tend to plummet.
One thing that the folks at NDNation continuously harp on is that if Notre Dame joins the Big Ten Conference, they would become regionalized.
But when you look at the television ratings, it’s ND’s games with Big Ten teams (and USC) which get higher ratings/share. In 2006, for example, ND had a 4.6/11 ratiing for its game with Penn State.
It will be interesting to see how Notre Dame does in the northeast. The ratings for its games against Pittsburgh and Boston College were the lowest so far this year. ND also has its two games in New Jersey (against Navy) and New York (against Army)–will there be empty seats there and will those games be watched by many people on television?
When I look at these numbers, it makes me wonder if adding Notre Dame really is a prerequisite for successfully expanding the Big Ten Network into the northeast. Or would having Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State and Penn State (and Wisconsin and Iowa) be “enough” to at least make adding a couple of programs from the Big East or ACC worthwhile in terms of cable coverage in NYC/NJ/NE/DC? Or do you bet on Notre Dame getting good again because its still considered a slam dunk regardless of their current standing?
@cutter – ND’s long-term value is still extremely strong. When the Irish are rolling, there truly isn’t a better ratings draw anywhere – they just happen to have a mediocre team right now. I think the Big Ten has come to the conclusion, at least as of today, that there really isn’t anyone alone from the Big East that can help the BTN gain traction in the NYC market, which is effectively a financial necessity if the conference expands to 14 schools (and completely non-negotiable if it goes up to 16). That’s the market where ND is still considered to be essential to get basic cable carriage. The Big Ten could grab other markets if it wanted to go after ACC schools such as Maryland, but I’m just extremely skeptical of the ACC being vulnerable. A 14-school Big Ten needs the NYC market (or its equivalent, which require something along the lines of all of Texas or Florida) in order to work out financially, which is why places like DC or Boston wouldn’t be enough even if they were available.
Yeah, if Notre Dame had won those two Michigan games or even split them, the draw would probably be much better.
Like any team, their full value shows when they’re 6-0 and not 3-3. Dropping those games again Michigan, Michigan State, and Stanford probably turned most viewers attention spans to other games…
the domers i know were all talking about “next year” after the Stan loss. i see ND geting a bowl this year though.
It’s actually going to be a semi-decent bowl too (well at least compared to Hawaii). If they make it to 7 games (likely in my opinion), they’re going to end up in the Champs Sports Bowl in all likelihood, taking the Big East’s #2 spot (can do this once in four years).
Notre Dame’s ratings for the Western Michigan game was 1.4 with 1.1M households watching it per an article in USA Today.
That’s not surprising given the nature of the competition and that it started an hour before Texas-Nebraska and Iowa-Michigan.
Next up is Navy at noon on CBS from the new pro stadium in New Jersey. The timing probably helps ND seeing that there aren’t too many high profile games beginning at that hour. Who knows? If the USNA makes it competitive, the rating numbers might break 2.
Thanks for the response. I just moved to the DC area and have some good friends who went to Maryland. By and large, they wouldn’t be interested in moving to the Big Ten because their primary interest is in basketball and their rivalries with Duke and North Carolina. They do realize the athletic department is under financial duress and the football stadium expansion hasn’t been successful, but basketball is still king around here.
I don’t know if Notre Dame is different than any other major program when it comes to be a ratings draw. This link shows the ratings of bowl games through 1998
The high water mark for Notre Dame and its ratings was the 2006 Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State. That game was #2 overall at 12.9 behind the epic Texas-USC national championship game that had a 21.7 rating.
The next season was a bit of a slip though. This was Weis’ second season and Notre Dame had another ten-win season. But their rating in the Sugar Bowl against LSU was 9.29. That was third best that season, but you can see that the ratings dropped around 3.6 points from the previous year.
The other game with major ratings was the 2001 Fiesta Bowl between Oregon State and Notre Dame–it was 10.1. I seem to recall the attraction to that game was people looking forward to Oregon State beating the crap oout of the Irish (which is what happened by a final score of 41-9) because ND had vaulted some teams to get that BCS bowl berth.
Notre Dame’s television ratings have been all over the place. In the 2005 and 2006 seasons, the numbers were 3.6/9 and 3.0/7. There was lots of optimism about Weis’ early years and having two pretty successful seasons helped out immensely.
But when the season falls apart, it goes downhill fast. 2007 was the worst with a 3-9 team and a 1.9 rating. 2003 (5-7) and 2001 (5-6) were both 2.4/6.
When I look at the variability in the ratings, I still have to question whether or not getting ND into the conference will actually get the BTN on NY cable basic.
At most, I would assume there would be perhaps three ND football games on the BTN each year and its likely none (or maybe one) of those games will be against a major opponent. If ND is having an off year and they have a mid-season game with Rutgers being shown on the BTN, for example, will Paul Tagliabue make sure he leaves his early morning tennis match on Long Island in time to watch that game? 🙂
OTOH, they will share coverage on the BTN preview, wrap-up, and weekly shows which should generate some interest for the network among the Irish faithful in the northeast.
ND men’s basketball doesn’t seem like it would be a big draw to me. Obviously, there would be the Olympic sports as well, but that’s not the BTN’s meal ticket–its football and men’s basketball and I don’t know if there would be enough value in adding ND to make the BTN “must see” televison.
I do appreciate the long-term investment side of this given NBC’s relationship with Notre Dame and their willingness to extend their contract through 2015. The network clearly thinks ND has value enough to pay up $12M plus or so to televise six or seven games per year. Perhaps the NYC cable providers would think the same.
We’ll see. I will be very curious to hear about how the ABC/ESPN negotiations wrap up with the addition of Nebraska and which network gets the rights to the Big Ten football conference championship game.
If those contracts turn out to be exceptionally lucrative, will they give the confernce enough resources to add two more teams from the northeast (other than ND) to the Big Ten in order to get a stronger hold on that market? It might not mean basic cable in NYC, but it would increase the conference’s geographic footprint and lay the groundwork for getting to a sixteen-team conference that would include Notre Dame.
The Big Ten is looking at conference distributions in FY 2011 of $22.2M. I’ve posted before that if the new ABC/ESPN contract is on rough order of parity with the ACC (and the B10CCG gets each team $1M plus per program), then those distributions may get up to $28M in FY 2012. Is that the kind of revenue which would get and really hold Notre Dame’s attention? Is football independence for sale and at what price?
ND is locked into its contract with NBC thru 2015, so they aren’t going to be increasing their television revenues for another five years. Bowl payouts, NCAA basketball tournament distributions, etc.–those probably won’t change much either unless the BCS changes its mind about ND maxing out at $4.5M when it gets into a BCS bowl game.
The other question I have is this–would adding Notre Dame to the Big Ten Conference kill the goose that lays the golden eggs? Does a ND team in the B10 remain the same ratings draw that it had as an independent? Or does that alter the brand so much that the Irish fans (in the northeast and elsewhere) drop interest–much as they do currently when the football program loses?
If the Big Ten goes to nine conference games along with two divisions, Notre Dame will probably have a better overall schedule than now. But will it come at the cost of brand identity? With only three non-conference games, does ND continue to play USC (probably yes) and Navy (probably no) each year? How willing would ND be to schedule a really good OOC slate of games if it had to play Penn State and Ohio State (and perhaps Pittsburgh) on a regular basis along with either Michigan or Nebraska (or Iowa or Wisconsin)? My answer to that is not very likely, unless they’re willing to have seasons with only six home games every other year or will pay top dollar to get a pretty good program to play them in South Bend only.
Notre Dame is never, ever going to drop Navy from their schedule. With all the talk of a 9-game schedule, I think that would be a huge turnoff to ND even if other factors led them to pursue conference membership.
@jcfreder – I agree. Notre Dame would actually drop USC from its schedule before Navy. For all of the talk about ND being selfish, the school’s honoring of its commitment to play Navy annually over 60 years ago is admirable. 9 conference games is definitely a turn-off for ND – it would be difficult enough to get ND to wrap around the idea of 8 conference games.
I can appreciate why Notre Dame is attached to Navy. Without the V-12 training program during WWII, I understand Notre Dame would probably have had to shut its doors, and thus the 60-plus year old debt.
But if it ever came down to brass tacks and Notre Dame had to decide between Navy and USC for football, I still think they go with the Trojans. Simply put, it’s a higher profile game and it’s much more helpful in recruiting (i.e., California) than going against the USNA. That’s particularly true because a ND football program in the B10 will already be playing former BE or ACC programs located in the northeast and/or mid-Atlantic.
I appreciate that both teams have long rivalries with one another–ND first played ND in 1926 and Navy in 1927. Who knows? Maybe ND in the Big Ten would still schedule both programs as non-confernce games on an annual basis. Or perhaps they would alternate years between USC and USNA.
On a related note, is there any expectation that Jim Delany will have a stand alone press conference at the end of the expansion study period? Or will there be a small press statement with a few paragraphs saying its complete, thanking the participants and adding how pleased they are with the addition of Nebraska?
I also wonder how much Delany is invested in the idea of bringing the Big Ten Network onto basic cable in the northeast. Would he be willing to propose inviting perhaps two schools as an interim step to that goal? And more importantly, would he get support from the presidents and ADs for such a move?
What exactly would be the financial “hit” for the programs in the Big Ten is two programs were added from the northeast and Notre Dame wasn’t one of them? Per Michigan’s athletic department budget for FY 2011, the Big Ten is looking at distributing $22.2M per school with $16.6M coming from television for basketball and football.
Going forward into 2012 and beyond, the conference is looking at adding a renegotiated contract with ABC/ESPN plus the revenue for the rights to the conference championship game. You can make an argument that the conference distribution per program will be in the $25M to $30M range by FY 2012 with those new deals in place.
But what would happen to those distributions going forward if, say, Rutgers and Maryland were invited to join the conference starting in 2013 under the same terms as Nebraska (which has the Huskers not getting a full share until, I believe, 2015). If the DC/Baltimore/NJ area put the BTN on basic cable, what would the other schools being looking at in conference distirbutions?
Unless there’s a huge financial incentive or some structural change in college football, Notre Dame is going to continue to work to remain an independent. Is the conference going to continue to wait on ND to go forward (like it did between 1999 and the present)? Or has cable television, the BTN and the overall popularity of college football changed the amount of influence Notre Dame has on any B10 expansion decision?
Well, ND would probably choose whatever option would lead to brass tacks not ever coming. If it ever comes down to BigTen or keeping both USC & Navy, the choice for them is an easy one.
Cutter, I have to disagree.
The Navy game is a debt of honor. Say what you will about ND, they’ll honor it. USC became the “western” rivalry game at the expense of Nebraska back in the 20s.
ND would *hate* to lose the USC game, but there’s no way they’ll tell Navy no. As long as the Navy Ath. Dept. needs the game to balance the budget, that game will be played.
Thoughts and prayers for everyone in the ND community today.
I think if push came to shove, Navy gets into the B10 with ND. Talk about a pair joined at the hip. Also, agree M. What a tragedy.
If push comes to shove, I see both ND and Navy staying independent indefinitely as more likely that Navy joining the BigTen or ND giving up Navy.
Agree. I’m just saying, if, big if, ND ever came along. Navy might be with it. Hell, Navy’s worth more in tv-land than Rutgers.
Doubtful. Even if ND comes along, Navy wouldn’t. Navy doesn’t fit the BigTen profile in any way.
Yeah, but they fit the “tough shit” profile. taking them is well worth it get ND. I’m just saying, if the discussion was hey we’re coming if we get to pick #14, there is a decent shot 14 is Navy. Though I really doubt ND is ever going to go to the B10 nor do I really want them to. I think at the end of the day, if ND is 13, they’re pickin 14 or having a hell of a say in it.
And it’s not like taking them would be some huge disaster. I mean c’mn. It’s a great school, big history, huge fan base, historic independent, and pretty decent team of late. We’ve got 11 of one flavor; we don’t really need another. ND’s not going to be CIC if they come anyway, so that’s not really much of a point.
I don’t see why the BigTen would pick Navy over, say, Rutgers.
ND is an exception because of their huge fanbase, but in pretty much all other areas (fit, research, alumni), Rutgers beats Navy.
Ole Miss picks their new mascot. The Ole Miss Black Bear Rebels.
We’ll just call them the teddie bears.
I saw pictures of Colonel Rebel and I honestly didn’t understand the big deal with him. He didn’t have any confederate gear on him that I could see. If a northern team was named Rebels and had the same mascot, no one would have even blinked an eye. A colonel frankly makes more sense than a bear for the “rebels.” I hate political correctness.
Couldn’t agree more, Eric, although it would have been cool if they would have made a mascot that looked like James Dean, only in this case he’d be a rebel WITH a cause. 😉
What does a bear rebel against? The park rules that say, “Don’t eat the people”?
Maybe he just wants picnic baskets.
I read an article that quoted an admissions person at Ole Miss that said they had the school mascot mentioned as specific reasons why students they were interested in were thinking about going elsewhere.
Fact is it may not be a big thing to you, but there are people in this world who respond, both positively and negatively, to something.
In the end, there wasn’t a litigation or lawsuit…this was 100% (I think anyway) the school saying “we need to change”.
And after that’s been said…who’s to tell someone they aren’t allowed to change of their own accord…no matter their reasons?
Admiral Akbar still makes more sense than a bear.
There is no doubting this fact.
Michigan vs Alabama in Dallas 2012.
Tough schedule and they only have nine games booked so far including Notre Dame, Mich St, Iowa, Nebraska and Ohio St.
New AD is shaking things up including the first night game ever at the Big House in 2011 against Notre Dame.
Alabama & ND make 10. The night game is only possible now because the renovations at the Big House allow for lighting.
BTW, I noticed that Saban has hit upon a neat scheme to smooth his way to the national title game. Like Michigan (against ND) and tOSU, Alabama is going to schedule one marquee non-conf opponent a year, but instead of doing home-and-homes like Michigan & OSU (which means going on the road in to a difficult environment against a top team half the time), ‘Bama will play it’s marquee game at a neutral site. More variety for the players, more access for its fans to the top game every year, and ESPN gets to show ‘Bama vs. a top team. Everybody wins!
2007: @ Jacksonville vs. FSU
2008: @ Atlanta vs. Clemson
2009: @ Atlanta vs. VTech
2012: @ DFW vs. Michigan
2013 & 2014 in Atlanta vs. ACC teams again.
OK, they do have to go to Happy Valley to play PSU in 2011, but that series was scheduled over a decade ago.
a good way to shake things up wpould be to get a BB coach.
i feel like i have been in the big house with lights before (portable). maybe this is the first night football game with the new permanent lights. the first time they will play a game with the new lights is a hockey game against MSU in December.
Michigan has played with temporary lighting before, but never for a game scheduled in prime time. Those were 3:30 starts late in the season, which meant the games were ending in the dark.
The installation of the permanent lights will start the day after the the final home football game against Wisconsin. All the infrastructure was put in place with the renovation, but that wasn’t publicized much because the local community wasn’t happy with the idea of night games.
Obviously, that’s changed and my guess is that Michigan will have at least one night game per year going into the future, starting with Notre Dame next season.
Big IIX/Country? I wouldn’t live there if you paid me to…
No one’s offering…
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I get the premise that ESPN likes the status quo and will pay to protect it. But if you buy the idea that ESPN is calling the shots, it doesn’t seem that automatically eliminates Big Ten expansion. ESPN and the Big Ten could have a common interest in the relatively untapped Northeast college football market. The Big East does not lose much if Rutgers goes to the the Big Ten, and yet if it is part of strategic expansion to leverage the conference and specifically the Penn St brand in the Northeast, that seems to ESPN’s benefit. ESPN would not want zero sum competition of current conferences producing winners and losers, but would want an expantion that increases the total revenue pool.
ESPN and the Big Ten could have a common interest in the relatively untapped Northeast college football market. The Big East does not lose much if Rutgers goes to the the Big Ten, and yet if it is part of strategic expansion to leverage the conference and specifically the Penn State brand in the Northeast, that seems to ESPN’s benefit.
But would ESPN have the same feeling about the Big Ten also taking Maryland, a school which apparently has more value to the ACC than Rutgers does to the Big East?
If conference realingment is all about football – yes. I don’t think the ACC loses much in term of football competitiveness with Maryland leaving. In reality the ACC losing Maryland would be more emotional for sure, but the ACC itself has moved past most of the tradition that pulls Maryland back.
ESPN does not want to lose more teams/games to the BTN.
It is my understanding that if ESPN wants more big ten games all they have to do is show them on one of their family of stations. I was down in Orlando yesterday and was amazed to see the IU-Ark St. thriller. All the BTN network does is provide an outlet for the games not picked up by ESPN/ABC. I believe ESPN would rather show Maryland vs. Purdue than Maryland vs. NC St. I was a big fan of the southern strategy for expansion, until I saw the statistics on this site regarding the conference preferences in the NE and the number of big ten alumni in the NYC area. I think this was the direction Delany was heading all along, and Nebraska just plopped into his lap thanks to Scott/Dodds.
No, ESPN is contracted to show a certain number of Big Ten games each year on their family of networks. More importantly, the BTN can “jump” ESPN under certain circumstances. The BTN is allowed to show every Big Ten team in a conference game at least once every season (so it seems to get second pick some times). This is how a game with an undefeated MSU playing Illinois ends up on the BTN while Arkansas St. vs. Indiana is on ESPNU and Minnesota vs. Purdue is on ESPN2.
Also how the BTN got OSU-Illinois 2 weeks ago while PSU-Iowa was primetime ESPN, Northwestern-Minnesota was on ESPN2, Wisconsin-MSU was on ABC, and Michigan-Indiana was on ESPNU
What would be the ABC/ESPN reaction be to the possibility of Notre Dame joining the Big Ten Conference? Would ND being part of the B10 be a major or minor factor behind the network supporting the conference going to 14 or 16 teams?
With all of Notre Dame’s home and neutral site games on NBC, how much is the acquisition of all of ND’s football games to the B10 inventory worth to ABC/ESPN? Would ABC/ESPN talk directly to Notre Dame and lay out what they would pay to televise a 14- to 16-team Big Ten Conference as part of the effort to persuade ND into the B10?
ABC/ESPN would not encourage the Big Ten to expand.
Right now the Big Ten could probably get an exclusive network deal, like the SEC has with CBS. Since Fox is co-owner of the Big Ten network, and baseball is not surging in popularity, Fox would make the most likely partner right now.
However, a 14 team Big Ten with Notre Dame + (presumably) Rutgers would be even stronger. NBC would probably be another big bidder for that contract. And they could sell the games that currently go to ESPN to Versus, Fox Sports, or another cable network, elevating the prestige of the network drastically. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bigger non-sports network, like USA or TNT bid to get solid Saturday programming that will help them keep their prices up and let them advertise their other shows through the week.
The more desirable schools the Big Ten has, the less the Big Ten needs the ESPN marketing push, and the more ESPN needs the Big Ten on its networks. Obviously ABC/ESPN would bid for games from an expanded Big Ten, but they would hope that the Big Ten wouldn’t expand in the first place.
From your reply, it seems to me that you’re placing most of the negotiating leverage in the hands of the Big Ten Conference.
The renegotiation of the current ABC/ESPN contract and the competitive bidding for the Big Ten Conference Championship game (B10CCG) should be instructive on where the power actually does lie.
The current contract with ABC/ESPN goes through 2015. Will this contract renegotiation just last through 2015 or will it be extended beyond that? If its the former, then I could see the Big Ten looking at some of the other broadcast venues you suggest, i.e. NBC, Fox Sports, Versus, etc. It its the latter, then the conference and the conference both see the value of a longer relationship beyond 2015.
I would also add that this means the Big Ten does see real value in not only the ESPN marketing push, but also having ABC/ESPN as the most viable media outlet coupled with the Big Ten Network to distribute B10 football, basketball, etc. My own personal opinion is that ESPN is the de facto college football network based on the number of channels and resources they dedicate to the sport at this juncture–a powerful ally with major brand recognition (which is something the ACC recognized in the end when its contract was up–not to mention the BCS bowls which were on Fox but are not on ESPN.)
On a side note, it will be interesting to see how Pac 12 commissioner Larry Scott is going to come up with $170M in media revenue–it will be telling to see if ABC/ESPN is partnered up with a new Pac 12 network. If he does go with Fox Sports Network or CBS Sports, then I could see that opening up future possibilities for the Big Ten Conference.
If I’m ABC/ESPN and the conference does have most of the leverage, then it might well be in the network’s best interest to work with the Big Ten towards its goals–which seem to still include penetration into the northeast/mid-Atlantic and the addition of Notre Dame to the conference.
Going back to the future Pac 12 media agreement, one thing comes to mind. If ABC/ESPN had the agreement in place a year ago, would the network have worked so hard to save the Big XII? Or would they have helped facilitate the creation of the Pac 12?
Right now, ABC/ESPN has recent agreements in place with the SEC and the ACC and they’re renegotiating with an expanded Big Ten. If the Pac 12 also casts its lot with them, that leaves a slightly smaller Big XII among the major conferences (and if you want to watch Oklahoma-Missouri or Nebraska-Oklahoma State this week, don’t turn to your local FSN channel). In that sort of landscape, does the creation of super conferences (and perhaps a college playoff) make more sense to ABC/ESPN or not?
On a final note, I’ve seen the NBC broadcasts of college football and there’s no way I want the Peacock Network or Tom Hammond anywhere near Big Ten home games. 🙂
If the Big 10 extends their ABC contract, I would think 2 things happened:
1) ABC offered a lot of money
2) There’s a condition that either voids the contract or raises payments if the Big Ten expands.
I don’t think the Big Ten necessarily wants to get away from the ABC/ESPN relationship. However, the more big programs the conference has, the more ESPN needs the conference and the less the conference needs ESPN. ESPN’s dominance in college sports isn’t just in the number of stations, but the number of prestige programs that fall under it’s umbrella. The current Big 10 + Notre Dame would generate plenty of hype year in and year out, regardless of the networks that carry it. If ABC/ESPN wasn’t that network, then its college sports packages would fall in popularity around the country and specifically in the Midwest and Northeast.
Right now, Notre Dame and the Big Ten are bid separately. In theory, if ABC/ESPN missed one, it could somewhat replace it by bidding on the other the next time around. If the 2 join together, that is no longer an option. ABC/ESPN would have to offer more than it would for the 2 parties separately because they couldn’t adequately replace the gap in their programming. Bidding on the MAC wouldn’t help!
For this reason, ESPN wants to keep the best programs in smaller conferences (or independent). With smaller conferences, each conference depends more on ESPN, and it doesn’t hurt ESPN if it misses out on 1 or 2. So it can throw a bit more money at the ACC and Big 12 to quell the expansion fervor, knowing it would cost more money to keep up if there is realignment. In the meantime, it can promote BYU as an independent to build up another separate program, and make offers to Hawaii to do the same.
@m (Ag) – Great points. I definitely don’t think that the Big Ten wants to get away from the ABC/ESPN relationship – ESPN has such a huge influence on the national sports conversation that not having a relationship with them carries a ton of risk. Look at it on the non-AQ level this year, where Boise State, who has gotten a lot of ESPN exposure, seems to have the upper hand in the public perception over TCU and Utah (who get no ESPN exposure as part of the Mountain West), even though the MWC is the stronger conference overall. At the pro level, the NHL’s picture is effectively on the side of a milk carton in terms of SportsCenter coverage. Believe me, the other conferences would KILL to have the Big Ten’s ABC and ESPN time slots plus regular GameDay visits – I have an extremely hard time seeing the Big Ten giving those up, especially since the conference would likely get even stronger coverage with Nebraska now in the fold.
@m (Ag) – Also, I hear constant complaints from Pac-10 and Big 12 fans about games being on FSN or Versus as opposed to ESPN. Look at how BYU left the MWC because of the lack of ESPN exposure. The most change I can see the Big Ten doing is having a deal with Fox similar to the SEC and CBS with one game per week that has guaranteed national over-the-air coverage. The next tier of games, though, need to be on ESPN (with the last tier on BTN).
I think ESPN has a nightmare scenario for 5 years down the road: A 14 or 16 team Big Ten with a contract with Fox and some other cable network (USA, TNT, even the sad FSN), while a 14 or 16 team SEC has a contract with CBS, another cable network, and its own SEC network. Those 2 conferences would have a huge chunk of the nation’s most passionate college football fans.
Under this scenario, Gameday has to travel to schools it doesn’t air just to stay somewhat relevant nationally, and even then it will likely lose popularity. The desirability of ESPNU would definitely fall, and the ratings of ABC/ESPN would decline on Saturdays.
I believe you’re correct that the Big Ten wants to continue the ESPN relationship, but ESPN’s bargaining position gets weaker with each big school added to the Big Ten.
Well, ESPN has the SEC locked up for about 20+ more years, but you’re right, any network that wants to be considered a major player in college football would need either the BigTen (+ one more conference) or the SEC (+ several more conferences). ABC managed with the BigTen and Pac10 under contract (back when the CFA schools were on CBS). I think the BigTen & ACC would work as well.
In any case, I agree, I can’t see any scenario where BigTen expansion would actually be beneficial to ESPN under current circumstances.
I would agree with m(Ag) that if the Big Ten does extend its contract with ABC/ESPN, then it would be for a lot of money. The network was very aggressive in keeping its relationship with the ACC and I have no doubt they will essentially do the same. That’s one of the reasons why I think the B10 conference distributions could well go up from an estimated $22.2M in FY 2011 to the $27M-$28M range in FY 2012.
Your second point is equally valid–there will probably be specific information in there about what happens if the conference does expand. If the Big Ten ever decided to pitch itself to Notre Dame (or vice versa), then it would make sense to have how much ABC/ESPN would pay in writing with a clear discussion on extra revenues or the renegotiating process, etc.
As I read the posts below, I can’t help think we’re overlooking something–the Big Ten Conference has a second network already in place and its called the Big Ten Network. Why would the B10 want to siphon off games from ABC/ESPN and the B10 Network to Fox or TNT or USA–especially since it has an equity stake in the B10 Network?
Would adding another network to cover the Big Ten be exceptionally lucrative to the conference? Since the SEC doesn’t have its own network, does it make more sense for them to have the deal with CBS than it would for the Big Ten to have something comparable for itself?
CBS Sports signed its contract with the SEC in 2008 for 15 years at an average of $55M per year (about $4.6M per program). In return, CBS gets to televise two double-headers per year and one game for the other weekends–that’s perhaps sixteen games a year. See http://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/article/59762
But doesn’t the Big Ten Network already fill much of the role (for football) with the Big Ten that CBS Sports does with the SEC? Also, does CBS Sports cover all the other collegiate sports in the SEC as intensively as the BTN does with the B10? See http://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/article/59762
I think we’re largely agreed that the success of the Big Ten Network was one of the main factors which spurred the current expansion study which brought Nebraska into the confernce. The reason why the B10 was looking at going to 14 or 16 teams and has a program like Rutgers on the list in the first place is to get the Big Ten Network on basic cable in the northeast and mid-Atlantic.
If the goal is to make the Big Ten Network more attractive, then why bring a third network into the equation if the conference expands? That seems counter-productive to what I imagine are the Big Ten’s goals for the BTN.
Saw something interesting on a Pitt-Syracuse highlight…there were sideline banners all over the place that said “Syracuse, New York’s College Team”.
Branding effort. What do you expect them to say? “Syracuse: Old Declining Industrial Town Out in the Boonies”
@Richard – That’s a Don Draper-worthy slogan right there.
Now there is something, mushroomgod should love! As for the New York’s team banner, how aptly does ‘just because you think it, doesn’t make it true’ apply?
Apparently the deal is done.
NW schools would rather be shut out of SoCal than be in a separate division from all Cal. But they’ll take equal revenue sharing. Note that the Pac 10 has the most unequal revenue sharing of any of the major conferences. So its WA/OR/Bay Area in north with a 5/2/2. The Bay Area schools will apparently get the SoCal schools every year. That appears to be the one things the SoCal schools got. There is a $2 million bonus to the LA schools, but it will likely not be in effect once the new TV contract gets in place.
No surprise here. When Colorado joined the Pac10, they were promised a division with SoCal and this is exactly what they got.
Pac 12 wants network so Big 10 doesn’t out-recruit them-in volleyball!
Article mainly out Big 10 network and why the Pac 12 wants one.
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I applaud the PAC12 for going to a 9 game conference schedule and for playing it’s championship game at the home site of the team with the best conference record.
That said, they didn’t detail the tiebreakers for the best conference record. Obviously, head-to-head would be #1, but in the unlikely event the north champ is 9-0 and the south champ is 9-0 (meaning they obviously didn’t play each other), how are they going to determine where to play the game?
I definitely hope the Big Ten eventually goes to a 9 game schedule and if the first couple of championship games at Indy, Chicago, Detroit, etc,.. aren’t well attended, I think going to the PAC12’s championship game solution is a good idea. Provided, of course, that the tiebreaker thing is resolved.
@DenverSpartan – I think the tie-breaker will end up being the BCS ranking (I’m one of those people that had absolutely NO problem with the Big 12 using that as a tie-breaker between Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech 2 years ago).
As far as the Big Ten championship game, I highly doubt attendance is going to be a problem – it’s going to be right alongside the SEC championship game as a hot neutral site ticket. The ACC, though, should really consider using home fields.
@Frank: You’re probably right on that tiebreaker. And that’d be fine with me too.
And while I share your confidence that the Big Ten championship game should have no problem selling out at the neutral site, the possibility that it won’t certainly exists. So, why risk it?
I also like the fact that they cite the desire to ensure “an electric collegiate atmosphere befitting of a major conference championship game”. Assuming the fans for both schools travel well to the Big Ten championship game, is a 50/50 split quite as “electric” as seeing a stadium in a sea of the home team’s colors, save the one section occupied by the visiting team’s fans? I think not.
I guess I’m just not a fan of the neutral site championship game.
Have you ever been to a GA/FL, TX/OU or Army/Navy game? I’ve been to the 1st two. That really is electric.
I think the ACC would do better with a more centrally located game. They are trying Charlotte now. It will be interesting to see how they do. Florida is tough to do on a week’s notice. Their races have been very competitive and noone could really plan on being there. Atlanta would probably work for them if the SEC wasn’t already there.
BC and Miami don’t travel well, so it really doesn’t matter that they are far away, but Orlando is the only place close to either of them. FSU is the only one whose turnout is hampered by a game in Charlotte.
Charlotte is so, so much closer for most of the schools, and that location benefits more than just the schools in North Carolina.
Charlotte is under 3 hours from Clemson, Wake, UNC, Virginia Tech, NC State, and Duke; about 4 from Georgia Tech; under 5 for Virginia; and about 7 for Maryland. Even FSU is just over 8 hours away. Not bad for the tenth-closest school.
Just think how many more fans would have been at the Clemson-GT game last year if it was in Charlotte instead of Tampa, or especially Wake Forest-GT in ’06.
You know, I bet you could have gotten great odds in Las Vegas if you walked into a betting establishment a few years ago and said “I want to place a bet that the first championship game for the Pac -x Conference will be played in Utah”.
@ m (Ag): I bet you still could.
Best answer I’ve seen on what is really going on in the Big East. And it makes sense. TCU people aren’t really talking about it that much, so I suspected it was not that far along. I’ve read that Villanova is expected to make a decision in December. The answer is that the BE is just trying to figure out what they want to do and what they want to be.
@bullet – That seems to be a broken link for some reason. This one should work:
All I can say is that’s ridiculous.
Really! Like they haven’t had 5 years already to figure out what they want to be.
The worst part about it is that the world is clearly changing at a rapid pace. Ever since they lost 3 (3 of the most valuable) to the ACC, they needed to have a plan in place to deal with future conference expansion.
I mean the Big Ten has been at 11 since 1993; they should have had contingency plans in place for years.
They’re still torn between whether to go straight for a massive football upgrade in TCU or to keep the 16 team hybrid and bind everything tighter through Villanova.
My problem with the Villanova solution is still the same as it was before. It doesn’t increase the value of the conference at all for TV.
I strongly suspect the Big Ten Conference had contingency plans in place after the addition of Penn State and brought the conference to eleven programs.
The B10 was certainly ready in 1999 when they felt the time was right to invite Notre Dame into the conference.
Clearly, with the advent of the Big Ten Network and the addition of Nebraska, the contingency plans are being reworked to get the conference to 14 or 16 teams with a major media presence in the northeast and mid-Atlantic.
I think the problem is the Big East has been dealt a bad hand (partly of its own making) over the years and may not have many good options in place right now.
One of these days, some football-playing members of the Big East are going to wise up, simply leave the conference and let it tumble like of house of cards, basketball be damned — even if it means having to live as an independent for a few years. Force the hand of schools like Syracuse and Connecticut, seemingly the ones most attached to the Big East yoke, to make a move, whether Boeheim and Calhoun like it or not.
@Vincent – Calhoun at least understands the situation. I recall him being asked back in the spring which conference would be best for UConn, and he replied, “We will go wherever our football program takes us.” Boeheim, on the other hand, seems hell-bent on torpedoing any Syracuse move. He was openly critical of the prospect of moving to the ACC in 2003 and did the same this past year with respect to the Big Ten. I have to imagine that there a lot of Syracuse leaders want to put a muzzle on him.
I liked the idea of the Beast calling up the dwarves + TCU and making one decent national conference. Just do it. The dwarves would be better off, I think.
Open question to you knowledgeable folks out there… At what point does Notre Dame realize its best option is joining the big ten while it can? (I hope this does not happen, but I am realistic enough to appreciate that it probably will.)
Never? The money ND brings in from alumni through donations dwarfs it’s TV money. The alumni donation money would have to dwindle a lot or their alumni will have to change their worldview (and a bunch of old alums would have to die off) for them to join the BigTen. Or ND would have to be frozen out of the national title picture, or they would only be able to bring in 3-star recruits as an independent.
Much more likely is the scenario where ND and the BigTen entering in to some sort of alliance (where BigTen teams and ND agree to play a set amount of games in football and other sports while ND nominally stays independent). I don’t see that happening while Delany still heads the BigTen, though.
I don’t see how it’s their best option now. They have a good deal with the BCS, make a lot of cash, have a ton of fans, do what they want and have some pretty solid friends out there (Navy, USC, UM, MSU, Stan, GT, BC, etc.), and have a home for every other sport in the Beast. I’d say they are sittin pretty. The loss of the CCHA might hurt them a bit, but not enough to call Big Jim & Co.
Though my understanding is that izzo has tried to schedule them for as long as he’s been there and they won’t do it. I dunno why.
I think there are a few interlocking factors which could be the reason why Notre Dame joins the Big Ten.
In my opinion, the primary driver is the status of the Big East conference and its composition. As long as it stays in its present state, Notre Dame has two to three opponents for its schedule in the latter two thirds of the season, a conference for its sports outside of football and access to non-BCS bowls that would be difficult (but not impossible) to obtain without the conference affiliation. ND AD Jack Swarbrick has often commented on the changing landscape of college football and I imagine this is one of the things on his list. There was also a recently published story where ND’s men’s basketball coach was told Notre Dame was going to the Big Ten back in 2003 when the latest cracks appeared within the Big East.
I don’t think finances are a major problem for the football program. Notre Dame has its contract in place with NBC through 2015 and its brand name is still good enough at this point that some other network would pick them up if that relationship didn’t continue onward. We saw a perfect example of that when ABC/ESPN picked up Brigham Young when it went independent.
While Notre Dame will continue to have plenty of revenue to support its football program, the growing amount of dollars to other conferences means there are scores of programs that are equally well funded (and have ready access to television, media, etc.). In a 85-scholarship situation, that means ND (or any other major team) is going to have fewer situations where it will play an outmanned opponent with the way it puts together its schedule because the “middle class” of football will have as much money to hire coaches, to build facilities and to recruit. The margins for error are thinner, and when you look at the up down nature of Notre Dame football since 1993, you can see a perfect illustration of that happening.
Touching on what I said above, if Notre Dame was shut out by the BCS bowls or couldn’t participate in the national championship game because of its independent status, then ND would be compelled to join a conference (the same would go if Division 1-A adopted a playoff system). I don’t really see that as being highly likely at this juncture, but it would definitely push the Irish into a conference.
I don’t know if any of those factors are on the horizon for Notre Dame. If the Big East expands its football membership with Villanova and/or Texas Christian and continuts its round robin scheduling, it means fewer open slots for the BE programs to play ND.
I don’t know what would happen if the Big East lost its BCS status–it would definitely show the conference is on the downturn and it would change the bowls they have in their inventory. It might also mean lower overall revenue for the BE programs, which puts them in greater financial duress (look at Rutgers’ finances as a good example). Would a BE program being invited into the Big Ten take a lower amount of revenue than the other B10 programs during its initial membership stage in order to make it a financially viable alternative for all the parties involved?
At this juncture, I don’t think Notre Dame has any appetite to make such a move. As long as their games gets on televison and a network is willing to pay them, there’s no real financial incentive.
Also, if Notre Dame is able to put together a proper schedule and get access to bowl games, then they’ll stay independent for as long as possible. Cut off access to the post-season or reduce their access to quality opponents for the schedule and you’ll start seeing ND rethink conference affiliation.
I think the really big barrier to entry for Notre Dame is its image and how it markets itself to its alums, the media and the public. If ND joins the Big Ten, does it remain “Notre Dame” in the eyes of those individuals and organizations? Or does it lose its essential appeal or allure at this point–and some of its value (both monetary and otherwise) to the Big Ten? This also ties into Richard’s comments about alumni (including subway alums) support and giving to the university–that’s a relationship Notre Dame wouldn’t want to screw around with, unless absolutely necessary.
Notre Dame would become one member of a 14- or 16-team super conference and it would have to share the table with thirteen or fifteen other partners. That means essentially no scheduling flexibility and little chance to play many games outside the (very large) geographic footprint of the Big Ten. In time, ND would become just another team with a storied tradition and whatever differentiated it from the rest of college football would gradually erode. That’s something I think very few people connected with Notre Dame would really want.
I agree with Richard that ND become a part-time member of the Big Ten isn’t likely–its all or nothing. I would also add that I don’t think the Big Ten programs would actually embrace playing a non-conference Notre Dame team in the midst of Big Ten play–especially if its a nine-game conference season. The weaker programs (Indiana, Minnesota) definitely wouldn’t want to do that because they want to schedule enough wins to be bowl eligibile. The stronger programs have division titles and a berth in the conference championship game to think about (not to mention the current BCS system), so they don’t have much incentive either (especially in a Big Ten Conference that I think is going to be much tougher with the addition of Nebraska). Overall, I can’t see that happening for any really practical reason either.
Nothing you listed (football games against top teams late in the season, non-BCS bowls, whatever else) would trump pissing off the alumni except for maybe losing the chance to play for the national championship. The BCS isn’t going to shut out ND & the BE isn’t going to spite it’s face by cutting off its nose either (by kicking out ND) unless that league is more irrational/dysfunctional than everyone knows. ND’s going to remain independent until they dwindle to national irrelevance.
They are also not a big research institution. They’re a great school, just not doing the kind of research the rest of the B10 does. The faculty voted nearly unanimously to joint he B10 awhile back.
I don’t think the college football would cut off Notre Dame from the BCS or the BCS bowls, but the process does require it to reevaluate conference performances and to see if they should become automatic qualifiers or not.
That’s where I could see a potential problem for the Big East. I thought the Moutain West was definitely creeping towars automatic qualifier status before Brigham Young opted to go independent. I don’t know what the loss of BYU and the addition of Boise State, Frenso State and Nevada-Reno will do to the MWC’s chance to become part of the BCS. But my guess would be that if the Big East is part of the BCS, then the MWC will eventually be included as well.
But unless the Big East improves its product, I don’t know how long they remain part of the BCS conversation. As I write this morning, there are no Big East teams in the top 25 of the polls. I don’t know if that will come to pass by season’s end, but the people who sponsor the BCS bowls, etc. can’t be happy by the prospect of one of the current Big East teams playing in one of their bowls (it would be kind of like Pittsburgh a few years back when they went to the Fiesta Bowl and lost to–I think–Utah).
If Notre Dame is a rational actor, they’ll do something before they dwindle to national irrelevance outside of hiring and firing football coaches every three to five years. I know they’re trying to upgrade the schedule and ND will continue the offsite games for a bit. But if they don’t turn it around on the field and they’re seeing a number of other programs becoming better resourced then they are, the attitude might change.
@cutter – One point about ND: the automatic qualifier rule for ND is largely symbolic (where they get an auto bid if they finish in the top 8 of the BCS rankings). In reality, one of the BCS bowls would definitely take ND as an at-large if they were ranked that high with or without the auto-bid status (and frankly, if ND is BCS bowl eligible at all as a top 14 team, they’re almost certainly going to receive an at-large bid from someone).
ND’s issues are more about what happens if they don’t make a BCS bowl. That’s where the pickings are getting slim, as taking the Champs Sports Bowl BE slot once every 4 years is now the best that they can do (whereas a generation ago they were Cotton Bowl regulars and up until this past year could get a slot in the Gator Bowl). Now, a lot Domers will tell you “BCS or bust” is their attitude and don’t pay attention to that second level of bowls. However, I think that’s pretty easy to say on their part when they’ve basically had “all or nothing” teams for the last 15 years or so – they’ve either been good enough to make it to a BCS bowl or haven’t been (or have been barely) bowl eligible at all. If they put a streak together where they have a bunch of 8-4 or 9-3 seasons (not good enough for the BCS, but clearly better than Motor City Bowl status), will they be singing the same tune? Maybe more importantly, will recruits start caring about that (if they haven’t already)? I don’t think that will be outcome determinative for ND in terms of whether it ever joins a conference, but it’s another factor piled onto the others we’ve discussed (what happens to basketball and non-revenue sports, university research goals, long-term football competitiveness).
Maybe this will sound ridiculous, but it seems that it’s not in the Big Ten’s best interests to have Notre Dame join. All these of scenarios of cornering Notre Dame into having no choice but to join a league it’s adamantly refused to join for decades overlook an important principle: people work together best when they’re happy to be together.
Just look at the Big 12. Its problems weren’t as much about bowl access or money–the league was likely to get a huge TV revenue increase in the next few years because of sustained good ratings nationwide, especially w/ Nebraska if they had stayed. The Big 12’s problems were, quite simply, dysfunction. Sure, Nebraska will probably make a fair amount of more money in the Big Ten, but the appeal for them was stability and prestige. They’ll make for a cooperative member. Colorado might not make more money at all from Pac-12 membership, but that school just wanted to be in a west coast league.
Notre Dame isn’t interested in all that. They wouldn’t be a cooperative member because they’d only join if it’s out of options.
It’s not as though the B10 is hurting w/o ND; it’s the most lucrative league in the country and only stands to become more lucrative with Nebraska coming on board.
I say that if Notre Dame is so determined to remain independent, then great! (And no, I’m not a Notre Dame fan AT ALL.)
I agree with much of what you say regarding any partnership the Big Ten Conference would have if Notre Dame joined the B10. Under the scenarios listed above, I’d be hard pressed to to describe ND as a “willing” partner to the B10 in the same terms as one would use with Rutgers or Pittsburgh or Missouri. The conference has been fairly harmonic in its vision to date and we’ve certainly seen instances where these organizations break up because of different goals, values, etc.
In a real sense, it seems to me that the Big Ten expansion issue is at something of a stalemate. I expect that after the study period is over at the end of this year (12 months from the initial announcement) or sometime in the summer when Nebraska formally joins (18 months), Jim Delany will announce the conference is done for now regarding expansion.
I’m sure we could be surprised because there are always factors behind the scenes and unexpected events that we’re not privy to. But I suspect the Big Ten is in the consolidation period right now as they renegotiate with ABC/ESPN, put the conference championship game out to bid and work on future schedule (beyond 2012) in place with an eye to playing nine conference games. I think all those things will put the Big Ten in a preeminent position in terms of finances and media when its all over, and the addition of Nebraska puts the B10 on perhaps a rough par in terms of football prowess.
One of the reasons I brought up the questions concerning a Big Ten expansion without Notre Dame is for all these reasons. Would ND be a good partner for the Big Ten? How much would the ND brand or value be diminished if it joined the conference and no longer had its independent identity? Or would it be enhanced? Would it make sense for the conference to expand its geographic footprint into the northeast w/o ND by inviting two programs from the Big East? Can the Big Ten operate successfully as a 16-team superconference without Notre Dame–and would ABC/ESPN support it financially? Or would ABC/ESPN work with the B10 to help get ND into the conference because it couldn’t work any other way?
Like I said above, I don’t think the B10 is going to be very aggressive until matters sort themselves out somewhat. The twelve programs in the conference are going to want to see how the financial projections work out, the nature of compeition with Nebraska in the conference, how popular/unpopular the conference championship game turns out to be, etc., before going forward on any move.
The conference can also afford to be patient. The B10 did invite Notre Dame into the conference six years after Penn State joined in 1993 and was rebuffed. It took another eleven years before the means became available and the opportunity presented itself for Nebraska to come into the fold. But if there’s a seismic change in college football or if the Big Ten leadership really does want to expand into the northeast/mid-Atlantic as a near term goal, then things might be different.
After a few years of working Nebraska into the Big Ten fold, both athletically and academically, I could see Delany making another Big Ten expansion push, say about the spring of 2014, That’s when adding members such as Rutgers and Maryland could pay off in new TV contracts, especially in the Northeast. (And if the Big East continues to flounder, that would be an ideal time for the Big Ten to make its move on the eastern seaboard.)
Vincent, I think/hope you are correct here. My greatest fear is that a mediocre ND senses it is now or never and joins the big ten, who welcomes them as a prodigal son. The big ten is different, and we should think in terms of centuries and not decades. 50 years from now ND will be as irrelevant as the service academies and U of Chicago (w/o the academic upside). I hope we move into the NE with Rutgers and Maryland, taking advantage of the latent big ten support in the area and leveraging the Penn St. brand. A huge untapped population center, and the media implications are huge in terms of Heisman and BCS voting. Delany’s gut feel is correct, and I hope he is not gun-shy after all that has transpired. The big ten needs to proactively make this move, and then stand pat, saving two spots for the best prospects that would become available if the consolidation to 16 team superconferences occurs. Right now the big ten holds all the aces. It is the time to press the advantage.
I think you may be right if ND tries to stay independent for another 50 years. However, I think ND has a chance to stay relevant if it joins a conference in the next 10 years.
Just to clarify, you weren’t suggesting ND has poor academics when you said, “50 years from now ND will be as irrelevant as the service academies and U of Chicago (w/o the academic upside),” right? Notre Dame arguably offers a more competitive Bachelor’s degree than most Big Ten schools. I’m assuming the lack of an “academic upside” was a reference to the research compatibility with the Big Ten universities…
You are right. ND offers a fine BA.
I have no objection to Notre Dame joining as part of a 16-member Big Ten. The question then is who joins Rutgers, Maryland and ND as member #16? This might be how Pittsburgh slips in (I don’t see it as part of a 14-team Big Ten, and perhaps ND could pave the way), unless the Big Ten believes Syracuse’s ties to metro NYC (many of its students and alums hail from downstate or the suburbs) makes up for its relative lack of research. Or if the Big Ten could persuade Virginia to ditch its southern traditions; as northern Virginia continues growing, UVa becomes a more valuable potential property to the Big Ten.
I suspect you lack standing. 🙂
One for all the lawyers on this board.
So, does Missouri climb back into any of the B10 scenarios if they keep winning in football? Or, has that ship sailed?
The Tigers have had some good success in recent years (rated #1 briefly in 2007) and appear to be building a brand and selling out a 71,000 seat stadium. Last Saturday’s prime time win on national TV over Oklahoma was awesome. A win at Nebraska this week and in the B12 championship game would be very impressive.
Missouri might be the 16th team in the aforementioned expansion scenario of Rutgers/Maryland/Notre Dame, but I don’t see it bumping ahead of any of those three.
I don’t see those 4 being added. On the .0000000000001% chance of ND joining the BigTen, I think you’ll see only a 14th team, likely Rutgers.
I think 14 or 16 are natural resting spots (near permanently), it just depends on the order.
If ND changes its mind before the Big Ten expands further, then I think ND-Rutgers is an ending point.
If the Big Ten expands first to 14 with say Rutgers/Maryland, then a move to 16 would still be on the table for ND.
Essentially, it all depends on ND this time around. There’s no Nebraska’s out there to grab and make expansion an easy payoff.
Fresno State and Nevada agree to stay in the WAC through the 2011-12 season and pay $900k to leave.
I previously saw some discussion that the $5 million only applied to the 1st school to leave, that once one school left the agreement was void.
So basically the WAC settled for 36% (900k+900k of $5000k) of the agreed fee. The fact that BYU didn’t actually join impacted things, but they didn’t join simply because Fresno and Nevada left. What it says is you should have exit fees 2 to 3 times what you actually need because it will be negotiated down. CU and UNL paid a similar percentage of the maximum fee, although it was more like 50% when you consider that CU was trying to give 2 years notice instead of just 1.
So I guess Hawaii will leave in 2012 as well. This’ll give them time to fill their schedule with games in October & November.
Hawaii ought to go independent. It’s easy for them to get teams to come play them; it’s practically a bowl game for anyone who plays on the islands.
Since the independents have a hard time scheduling other teams, I suspect they might actually form an agreement that makes an unofficial, de facto mini-league with BYU, Hawaii, ND, Army, and Navy. Each will probably play the three of the other four in any given year, anyway. This would solve a lot of those schools’ scheduling challenges in October/November.
La. Tech ought to join C-USA if it can. Even the Sun Belt would make much more sense than the remaining WAC. San Jose, New Mexico State, Utah State, and Idaho look like they’re going to be stuck with a bunch of teams in transition from the FCS.
Heck, I’d be surprised if the MWC isn’t considering an invite for Utah State, if for no other reason than to keep the mtn. on basic cable in Utah. Houston’s got to be under consideration, too, especially since TCU might be leaving.
Well, LaTech has been trying to get in to CUSA since forever, but evidently CUSA doesn’t want them. The MWC may very well take Utah St. when all as said and done.
As for Hawaii, yes, independence makes sense. They likely won’t be able to get home-and-homes with the conferences that will have championship games (Pac12, BigTen, SEC, ACC), though they’ll have an annual series with BYU, likely annual series with Army & Navy, and play ND regularly. If the MWC doesn’t add Utah St. (to get to 12) or loses TCU, plenty of MWC teams would schedule with them as well. If the Big12 stays at 10 teams, the schools there that fill their stadiums likely would play Hawaii frequently too. Even if they pay the Big West teams a travel subsidy (to cover the expense of shipping their non-revenue sports teams to Hawaii), Hawaii likely would come out ahead financially as an independent.
ESPN reporting WAC says they will expand w/i 30 days now that they have the NV/Fresno issue behind them.
So if MWC wants to kill WAC, its got less than 30 days to invite Hawaii and/or Utah St.
Update from San Jose paper indicating UTSA and Texas St. are likely to get quick invites. Denver, Seattle still under consideration. WAC waiting on Montana to decide.
Personally, I would like to see the WAC go away just to make it easier to eventually do a playoff. Instead, the WAC is likely to expand FBS by 3 more schools, making it a little harder.
SJSU and Idaho with their anemic fan support and limited success in recent years, really s/b in FCS. LT s/b in CUSA or Sun Belt. Hawaii could be indy. That would leave NMSU and USU to find homes. NMSU might be able to get into Sun Belt with their strong bb program.
MWC probably isn’t inclined to expand, but they also probably want to see what will happen to TCU and with the CUSA/MWC negotiations. With 2 10 team leagues it might be easier to swing a deal with the BCS than a 10 and a 12 which would have a championship game.
Navy isn’t joining the B10. Ever. Either is ND, for that matter.
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