From the first time that I wrote about the Big Ten’s plans for expansion way back in the winter of 2009, I emphasized the importance of the conference’s television contracts and revenue, particularly the setup of the Big Ten Network. Up until that time, the standard thinking of conference realignment among college sports fans was that it should be focused upon geography. Back then, Penn State in the Big Ten looked like a major geographic outlier among the power conferences. Then, we entered a 2-year period where 1 out of 4 schools at the FBS level switched conferences (plus a trickle-down effect to non-football conferences such as the Atlantic 10 and Colonial Athletic Association), including a marquee brand name to the Big Ten (Nebraska), two massive markets to the SEC (Texas A&M and Missouri), ownership of the Rocky Mountain region by the Pac-12 (Colorado and Utah), consolidation of the East Coast power base by the ACC (Syracuse and Pitt) and massive upheaval in the Big 12 and Big East. With such a massive number of movements that were seemingly driven by television money, my previous minority view was turned on its head where all that many people are thinking about the is value of the latest TV deal. This leads to continuing rumors of the ACC getting raided by the already raided Big 12 simply based on TV money*.
(* It’s August 15th, which was supposed to be the deadline for ACC schools such as Florida State and Clemson to bail for the Big 12. Where are the “done deals” that were supposedly ironclad a few months ago?)
The general argument, which we have explored on this blog several times, is that sports programming is particularly valuable in this age of fragmented viewing audiences and high DVR usage. There is no other type of programming that delivers younger male viewers (the most expensive demographic for advertisers to reach) that watch TV live* (meaning they actually see the commercials) than sports. As a result, this has been pushing rights fees further and further into the stratosphere for all types of leagues (whether college or pro). Currently, the Pac-12 has the largest TV contract out of any college conference even though it is only in 5th place for TV ratings among the power conferences for football and 6th place for basketball.
(* Of course, “live TV” is a loose term for NBC Sports. I’ll spare you a lengthy treatise of how much I loathed the over-the-air NBC Olympics coverage since this issue has been rehashed extensively in many other places, but suffice to say, I’m never watching Animal Practice just on principle. There was a brief moment when I thought that Bob Costas was trolling us by saying that “they would be back in an hour” for the end of the Closing Ceremonies, as if it were some type of perverse joke in light of all of the #NBCfail commentary over the past 2 weeks, but NBC proved that they can’t even be trusted to do tape delays correctly.)
The Big East is the next college conference that’s coming up to bat for a new TV deal and it will be a litmus test of how the overall sports TV rights market is faring prior the next large group of marquee properties that will be hitting the open market over the next few years (Major League Baseball, NBA and the Big Ten). Regardless of any critiques of the Big East’s leadership over the years, the conference certainly understands how important the new TV contract will be for its long-term stability, which is why it has hired former CBS Sports Vice President Mike Aresco as its new commissioner. (For what it’s worth, I believe that this is a fantastic hire for the league.) Negotiating media deals has become possibly the #1 priority for all conference commissioners, so it makes sense for any league to place a huge premium on those who have worked at the highest levels of the TV sports industry. At the same time, the Big East has hired Chris Bevilaqua as a consultant, who was the lead negotiator for the Pac-12 in that league’s record-breaking TV deal. So, the conference seems to be setting forth the best TV negotiation team possible. The question will be whether the Big East will be judged on its fundamental intrinsic value (which is much lower than the 5 power conferences) or get paid a hefty increase simply because of the overall TV sports bull market.
On the one hand, the Big East has been battered with the loss of West Virginia, Syracuse and Pitt. Even if replacements such as Boise State could match or exceed the quality on-the-field of those programs, those were tradition-rich schools with a large amount of national TV brand value. (I know that Syracuse has blown chunks for the past decade and Pitt is only starting to recover from the Wannstache era, but they are still in the old school fraternity of college football, whether it’s fair or not.) At this point, the only school left in the Big East that was a continuous member since the BCS system started in 1998 is Rutgers. (Temple was in the conference at that time, but they were kicked out in 2004 and just invited back in to start in 2013.) From a national perception standpoint, the Big East is at an all-time low since it is a league full of noveau riche schools in a college football world that values blue blood lineages the most.
On the other hand, the Big East has the potential benefit of market timing that, say, the ACC didn’t have (as the Carolina-centric league signed its current deal with ESPN right before the bull market for sports TV rights began and then negotiated a decent increase only after expanding with Pitt and Syracuse). At the same time, there is a reinvigorated competitor of Comcast-basked NBC Sports Network that has been hungry for additional sports content yet hasn’t been able to procure much beyond the properties that NBC already had such as the Olympics and NHL. As a result, there is this belief/hope that NBC is going to be willing to overpay for Big East content because it has few other choices with the other power conferences off of the table and all NFL packages locked up for several more years.
If the major college conferences were all negotiating new TV deals at the same time today, I would rank them as follows in terms of value: (1) SEC, (2) Big Ten, (3) ACC, (4) Big 12, (5) Pac-12 and (6) Big East. Of course, the Big East is fortunate that none of those other conferences are going to have new TV deals soon, so it can possibly be the beneficiary of overall market timing. As we saw with the tulip bulb craze of the 1600s, a dramatic rise in the overall market isn’t always necessarily rational (and on the flip side, just as we saw with stock market crash and bank runs in the 1920s, drops in the markets fueled by panic aren’t always rational, either).
My feeling is that the new Big East TV contract is going to be the proverbial canary in the coal mine of whether we’re in the sports TV rights equivalent of the US real estate market in 2006 (when it was at its peak before the global financial meltdown) or networks will start fighting back to have a cooling off period. In the real estate boom, even houses in poor locations were being swept up in paper value, while the real estate bust has shown that the old “location, location, location” maxim is more important than ever. So, is the Big East a penthouse on the Upper East Side of Manhattan (which intrinsically has a high market value no matter what is happening in the overall real estate market) or a spec house in an exurb that is completely beholden to overall market forces? Loose lending practices artificially fueled the housing market and we may be seeing the same thing with cable subscriber fees driving up sports TV rights fees. As carriage disputes between TV networks and cable/satellite companies continue to escalate and become more common, there’s a not-so-insignificant risk that the market could snap back harshly if the gusher of cable subscriber fees doesn’t continue.
We have seen a wide range of estimates for how much the Big East deal is going to be worth, with a low point of around $4 million per year per all-sports school to high estimates of the league ACC-type dollars that would be in the range of $17 million per year per school. This reflects the corresponding wide range of interests involved, with those low numbers likely being provided by people on the TV network side (who have a heavy interest in seeing a slowdown in the rise of sports rights fees) and the high numbers being thrown out by those that make their livings negotiating against the TV networks. Indeed, Chris Bevilaqua himself stated that the low predictions are being provided by those with “some kind of agenda”, but that cuts both ways. For instance, Neil Pilson, who was the former president of CBS Sports, seems to have been quoted in virtually every single article that I’ve seen regarding the new Big East television deal for the past 6 months (in just the past 24 hours, he’s been quoted by the New York Times and ESPN) and has always given an extremely rosy prediction. At a surface level, this sounds great to Big East fans, who see this as someone that has a lot of industry experience that is willing to give on-the-record predictions (as opposed the anonymous “TV industry sources” that are often quoted). However, dig a little deeper and you’ll see that Pilson, as the owner of the largest TV sports consulting business in the country, has quite possibly more incentive than any single person out there to see all sports TV rights continue to skyrocket. His incentive is that if the Big East can procure a large TV deal simply because it’s live sports programming for the sake of being live sports programming (ratings, popularity and national interest be damned), then his own clients that draw much larger audiences (e.g. the International Olympic Committee, NASCAR, the Rose Bowl, etc.) can effectively name their own prices and TV networks will have to pay up. That’s why Pilson is so willing to go on the record with reporters regarding the Big East – he is attempting to use the conference’s new TV deal as a catalyst to pump up the overall sports rights market even further into the stratosphere. If the Big East is getting $17 million per school per year essentially for existing, then how much is the Big Ten going to be worth with much larger fan bases and TV appeal? What about Major League Baseball and the NBA? These leagues and their respective TV consultants would love nothing more than to see the Big East to receive a payday on steroids. To be sure, Pilson’s optimistic predictions for the Big East may end up being correct, but it just needs to be noted that he’s not a neutral observer in the least (just as the anonymous sources that are providing the opposing sandbagged figures have their own agendas).
Regardless, if there’s any semblance of reason out there, then the truth will likely be somewhere in the middle. NBC Sports Network effectively needs any type of halfway decent live sports content, so it has a larger incentive to pay a premium to the Big East. Comcast is NOT a charity, though, as evidenced by the aforementioned Animal Practice interlude to the Closing Ceremonies of the Olympics. This can’t be emphasized enough: Comcast is going to pay the least amount that they can possibly get away with in order to win the Big East rights. As a result, that floor is going to be determined by how much interest ESPN and, to a lesser extent, Fox have in the Big East. If the conference wants to obtain maximum value, then it particularly needs to have ESPN legitimately involved in the bidding process or else Comcast isn’t just going to hand over large rights fees for the hell of it and negotiate against themselves. In my humble opinion, ESPN isn’t going to want to let NBC Sports Network get the Big East for free, but the guys in Bristol aren’t going to go balls out to retain the Big East, either (and Comcast, who has gone toe-to-toe with ESPN in tough negotiations on many fronts, definitely knows that). That points to a potential Big East contract that’s in the middle of the high and low figures that have been reported out there – let’s say about $10 million per all-sports school per year and $4 million per non-football school per year.
Jim Delany, David Stern and the Crypt Master Bud Selig are all watching this closely. The Big East’s new TV contract will have a large impact on how much of a payday their own leagues will be receiving over the next few years.
(Follow Frank the Tank’s Slant on Twitter @frankthetank111 and Facebook)
(Image from SBNation)
199 thoughts on “Gold Standard or Tulip Bulbs? The Big East and the Overall Sports TV Rights Market”
We are..Penn State..(saying these words does not mean that you support child abusers or those who enable them)
Interesting read. That jives decently well with my admittedly only somewhat informed perspective. Even $10M per year strikes me as a dubious deal given the utter lack of marquee names in the league (and the ever-present possibility that the closest thing, Boise, will crash back down to earth), but it wouldn’t stun me to see Comcast paying a premium just to get in the game.
So, if the spikes in contract amounts for sports programming are an anomaly, do you think a conference like the Big Ten would push more of its content towards the BTN if they felt they weren’t receiving enough in 2016? I understand the argument that they will always want programming on channels like ESPN/ABC, but could (would) they move more tier 2 to the BTN in order to capture more of the profits if the rights fees were at a low point?
Depend obviously on how much the B10 can negotiate for its tier 1 and tier 2 deals. If ABC and ESPN want to pay handsomely for 3-4 games a week, they’ll get them. BTN is supplemental revenue though in the unlikely event the networks don’t show the interest in the B10 when it comes time to negotiate, I could see the B10 moving more games to the BTN.
It also depends on the arrangement the conference has with Fox re: BTN. If Fox doesn’t pay enough for the additional inventory such a move likely makes little sense. As it stands now with the renegotiation following Nebraska’s addition, quite a few weeks have games in all 3 time slots (12, 3:30, and 6 or after) pre-November. Putting more games on overflow channels isn’t going to make you much money.
The way to monetize BTN further at this point is to add quality rather than quantity. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next television contract has Pac-12 like provisions that let BTN select 1st or 2nd a couple weeks a year. That is the more likely change in my opinion.
As an aside, I don’t think Delany is overly concerned with the bubble bursting in the near future. If he was, they could’ve hedged last year by re-working the ABC/ESPN contract when Nebraska was added.
August 15th was only important if ACC teams were intent on leaving in time for the 2013 season. But, as we’ve seen continually with A&M, Mizzou, Pitt & ‘Cuse, reduced buy-outs can be negotiated. Bottom line – Big 12 must expand by two for the 2014 season. Our “Champions Bowl” contract with SEC mandates that we do so. Expect teams to be FSU plus Clemson/Louisville/Georgia Tech.
No, the contract does not state that. This was confirmed by the Big 12 at their media days. Just more bad reporting from the outlets pushing an agenda.
“Bottom line – Big 12 must expand by two for the 2014 season. Our “Champions Bowl” contract with SEC mandates that we do so. Expect teams to be FSU plus Clemson/Louisville/Georgia Tech.”
Do you have a link to support that? I’ve never heard that the B12 had to expand by 2014 as part of the deal. That would be important new info.
That was a story that was widely spread among the “insiders.” Supposedly, the SEC insisted the Big 12 have a ccg as part of the Champions Bowl deal. The story never made sense.
Your $10 million coincides with what SDSU was estimating when they jumped. I believe I saw an actual article with the AD saying the BE was saying $6.4 million for football only schools.
The contrarian point will look at the MWC and CUSA. CUSA got a $1.4 million deal just last year. MWC is getting a cut to $1.0 million from around $1.5, but getting 3rd tier rights back. CBS wasn’t willing to do much on their proposed merger, but did have existing rights already under contract, reducing the league’s leverage. They mutually agreed to shut down the league network which was losing money, proving league networks don’t work for everyone.
I believe ESPN has exclusive rights through the end of September for the BE. I saw one article speculating that ESPN will go for basketball, but won’t be much interested in football. It is worth noting that ESPN already has all the football inventory they can use. They couldn’t take on the whole Pac 12 package because they didn’t have enough time slots.
For those who haven’t been following, Boise has been in a bad spot with the Big West not wanting them and the WAC disentegrating around them. However, it appears they have managed to buy their way into the Big West, so they will be Big East bound for football while Big Westing it for other sports.
The Boise President is claiming it will soon happen according to an Idaho Statesman article today in a blog-Murph’s turf. (Link is showing a bunch of bizarre characters, so I can’t link it here).
I can’t imagine that it would cost that much to buy your way in to the Big West. Pay for teams to fly up to Boise, essentially. Heck, the Cali teams in the Big West could knock off their trips to Hawaii & Boise in one Thu-Sat or Fri-Sun roadtrip (in bball). They could fly the men’s and women’s soccer and the the men’s and women’s bball teams on the same planes as well.
Agreed, I mean we’re really talking about a couple hundred thousand here, give or take?
Per Boise prez, Big East is pitching in to help pay the Big West to take Boise.
Pretty sad comment on Boise’s non-fb value and financial position and the BE desperation in fb.
If the BE is that desperate for Boise, just how much is the conference really worth? UC, UL, USF, UCF, UM, UH, SMU never made much in CUSA. The brand new entire CUSA contract (which included the last 4 schools) is only worth $16 million a year for all the schools. Boise and SDSU never made much in WAC or MWC. Temple got kicked out of the BE once. UConn is 7 years into FBS. Rutgers has been around 143 years but never won a conference title, and after 1869, probably hasn’t made the final top 10 since. They have only made the top 20 twice since 1969.
RIP WAC. Yesterday Boise says its all but admitted to the Big West and today Idaho gives up on the WAC and requests trustee approval to move to the Big Sky for non-football sports. That leaves Seattle, Denver and New Mexico State. Its all over but the formality.
Well, Boise (and possibly SDSU) have been undervalued for a long time. In other words, Boise & the WAC were a relative steal for ESPN, but now they’re going to be revalued (granted, Boise has to keep on winning, but they have a chance to be Nebraska-lite if they keep winning for a few decades). Also, UL, UC, and USF haven’t been in CUSA in a long time now. You can’t really compare what they made in CUSA almost a decade ago with what they will make in the BE.
Finally, why is it a “sad comment” on Boise’s non-FB value? Do you consider UC-Davis’s non-FB value “sad”? They’re a bigger school in a bigger metropolitan area as well. Just because Boise’s football has been pretty good doesn’t mean they should or have to get revenue in other sports as well (though their wrestling’s evidently pretty good, it’s still wrestling).
Heck, the Cali teams in the Big West could knock off their trips to Hawaii & Boise in one Thu-Sat or Fri-Sun roadtrip (in bball).
IMHO – That would be a miserable weekend.
Not any more miserable that the roadtrips that many non-power conference squads regularly take during the OOC part of the bball schedule.
GEAUX LSU Fightin’ Tigers!
I wonder if we could see the TV rights split. With ESPN bidding high on the basketball rights, but NBC bidding high on the football rights.
Something tells me that ESPN really does not care about the Big East that much anyway. ESPN will say–take what we offer or we will drop out of the bidding and leave the Big East to take whatever NBC is offering. Which will then be lower because NBC is effectively bidding against itself. Only Fox can step in to create a mess.
Meanwhile, the Big East for $17M rumors are out there to convince ESPN that its “take it or leave it” offer needs to be a big higher.
I’m still baffled as to how they could even get logically close to that $17M figure.
We’re talking about a collection of ex-CUSA and ex-MWC schools at this point. Their market value shouldn’t be anywhere north of $10-12M per year but we’re still in the sports rights boom right now, so who knows what will happen.
if the Big East gets $17M, did Pitt and Syracuse make a mistake? Maybe that’s my next article.
Here is the last one, btw. The Confidential is now 50/50 on seriousness.
As Frank implies, it’s no different from a condo selling for more in 2006 than a 4 bedroom house in the same town sold for in 1998.
If the Big East gets 12-15mm, it’s not because its intrinsic value is close to the ACC, it’s because the ACC would get $20-25mm if they were free but are instead locked into a undervalued contract.
The SEC is ages away from the open market, but if this continues the mind boggles at what the Big Ten might get in 5 years.
I agree. But then Florida State is right and the ACC has entirely messed up its TV negotiations with both a long term deal and an extension.
If one of the high end scenarios for the Big East comes to pass, you should end up with even more discontent in the ACC, because they pushed the eventual day they can get their contract to market out 3 years just to get Pitt and Syracuse.
I think I’ve said $35-40M/school (total TV revenues) for the B10 by 2015 for a while now. ND would get at least that much as well. SEC would get more if they could come to market.
Mind you, that would be average value over the life of a long (10 years or so) contract. Starting out, TV take/school about be about $30M/year or even a little lower.
“Something tells me that ESPN really does not care about the Big East that much anyway. ESPN will say–take what we offer or we will drop out of the bidding and leave the Big East to take whatever NBC is offering. Which will then be lower because NBC is effectively bidding against itself. Only Fox can step in to create a mess.”
So in Shark Tank parlance, ESPN is playing the role of Mark Cuban and pushing for a low-ball deal that explodes if they talk to anyone else; NBC is Robert, who may offer a fair deal but won’t go crazy (and no one is that excited to work with NBC or him); and Fox is Barbara, who the Big East is praying will step in at the end with her patented “now wait just one second” lines right before Cuban steals another business for pennies on the dollar.
The PAC-12 needs to get their s*** together about their network. For months I had been told that the PAC-12 Network would be available in my area, and as recently as yesterday their channel finder said it would be in my area and check back when the network launched to find the station number. Sure enough I checked today, and I will not be getting after all.
This after they just announced they were losing states like Oklahoma just last week…
Yeah, a few hours and it’s obviously a failure…
Seriously though, there do seem to be a few technical and communication issues. In their defense, they have consistently said that the providers had control of whether or not to exercise the right to show the content they purchased outside the footprint.
I’ll spoil it for you: the ducks beat the bruins.
Things are always rocky in the first year. It was the same situation in the Midwest with the Big Ten launch.
I wouldn’t judge the Pac-12 Networks until after year 2 (football season). That’s enough time to really see where it’s going…
I think this regional network thing is confusing a lot of fans. I haven’t really figured it out but I guess I don’t live in the PAC footprint. I really like the BTN approach of 1 national network and overflow channels for gamedays. Just wish the overflow channels were in HD as well.
@Kevin – Whether overflow channels are in HD depends upon your provider. DirecTV has them all in HD.
I have TWC. So unfortunately no HD. I am reluctant to go dish as I live in Wisconsin and have heard all the horror stories of weather problems etc.. If a snow storm affects the signal, DirectTV or DISH refuse to get on the roof until spring. That’s not going to fly in my household.
You don’t need to put the dish on the roof. My parents puts the receiver on a (Dish-provided pole) in their lawn by a corner of their house. So long as you can position your dish to point south-ish and there’s nothing obstructing the signal (or local animals that can maul it), you’d be fine.
Do you live in a wooded area? You might want to call Dish or DirecTV to find out more.
Actually, it might not be on a pole; could just be the siding on a corner of the house. Anyway, I can touch it.
Update (that I doubt anyone else cares about):
The PAC-12 channel finder is once again saying that I be getting the P12N, but I checked with Comcast and they said they will not be carrying the network in Illinois (at least not yet) and that the channel finder is wrong for a lot of zip codes and not just for Comcast.
In other words, don’t trust the channel finder.
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If Comcast overpays for the Big East, how would ESPN respond? Remember what happened after the Big East turned down ESPN’s offer last year? Pitt and Syracuse got invites to the ACC after encouragement from ESPN. There are still spots “available” in the ACC and Big 12. Would ESPN whisper to the ACC that there are two schools that are academic fits in the New York market that just might up the value of the ACC media deal (and keep the ACC intact if there is any grumbling)? Would they make it worth the Big 12’s while to add Louisville +1?
I think ESPN’s role in realignment is far overstated. I think the ACC expanded last year to sure themselves up against a possible SEC move (and to a lesser extent to finally end Boston College’s isolation and sure up the northeast). ESPN will pay for extra content, but I don’t think they want to be in a position where they are pushing changes themselves.
ESPN is paying UT for programing difficult to distribute, that incidentally kept longhorns from moving and delaying superconference formation, and the bargaining power they would have to deal with. If basically stalling massive realignment, and being able to influence the incremental (comparatively) changes currently happening isn’t huge influence I’m not sure what is.
Offering money to help one school stay where it is is very different than actively encouraging a school to leave for elsewhere. If ESPN came to the ACC and said we’d like you to invite ____ and _____ and offer this amount of money, they’d be open lawsuits.
They probably didn’t do that, but they did say we’ll pay the most for X and Y which has the same effect.
UT: (hypothetical) well, we’re off to the PAC 16, possibly command a 4 or 5 billion conf tv package and start a P16N with tons of good inventory, creating an actual competitor. They tell us in time we could see 40+ mill/year.
ESPN: (hypothetical) would you consider an additional 15 mill/year right now, with no risk, in addition to your conf deal to stay put?
UT: huh, really? I mean sure, you bet, absolutely, where do I sign?
ESPN: whew, we just saved billions. Greed is good…for us.
Eric – I think they have a big role. They may not be the driver like I implied above but they do have a role.
If the Big East gets even close to ACC money, it should cause some grumbling in the ACC and if the ACC haters are right, will cause Florida St to look elsewhere. To stay intact, the ACC will need more money from ESPN. ESPN isn’t going to give the ACC money for nothing, so the ACC has to do something to trigger an opening of its contract. Last time they wanted to do that they added Pitt and Syracuse. If the ACC is smart, they will ask ESPN the value of potential additions. ESPN’s answer will determine if the ACC expands or not.
A one million dollar increase to the average value of the ACC contract costs ESPN an average of 50 million a year ((14 existing*1 increase)+(18 new value * 2 new teams)).
A one million dollar increase to the Big 12 contract to add two teams (w/o title game) costs ESPN/Fox an average of 52 million year ((10 existing*1 increase)+(21 new value * 2 new teams)).
Mike, Potentially that could work. I would be surprised if the ACC expanded again for fear of over expanding, but if they really wanted an immediate increase, maybe.
Interesting article on the debate of TV content bundling vs. a la carte. I’ve long thought that “a la carte” is coming to consumers any time soon.
Meant to say “is not” coming to consumers anytime soon.
I don’t think its happening soon. I’m not entirely sure I want it to happen since everyone pays for ESPN now. For households that don’t watch ESPN or Disney, it would be cheaper.
But the Disney guy is just blowing smoke about everyone wanting hundreds of channels. In our house, other than sports (ESPN, ESPN2, FSN, CBS College Sports) and local stations, we really only watch 10 channels regularly + Encore. If we didn’t have 300 channels, we would probably watch more of the secondary local channels. Atlanta has 24 stations with 76 channels. With an indoor antenna, we get 19 of those with 63 channels. That’s quite a few choices (although the administration and wireless companies are trying to shrink the free TV market by getting more spectrum for wireless devices-they decided taking channels 52-69 wasn’t enough-and 2-6 are pretty useless for HDTV-only 41 of the 1800 US full power stations are still in channels 2-6 now).
They’re all blowing smoke.
The problem is what happens if we see more provider-distributor mergers?
It’s in Comcast’s interests to make sure that all of their cable subscribers pay for all of NBC’s ancillary channels. What happens if this is the wave of the future?
But in a general sense, you’re right. Most households with several hundred channels probably only use a dozen or two for almost all of their TV viewing needs. At a certain point, the saturation dissuades you from moving away from your comfort zone.
Right. There’s a point where there are too many choices. Certain grocery products are that way. Maybe you don’t want something weird, but it gets hard to find. Even products like shampoo have gotten that way. Its like Maryland’s uniforms. It just gets ridiculous.
@bullet – The thing that’s most objectionable is how those ND helmets look. If they just changed up the jersey but kept the regular golden dome helmets (or even the version where they put the shamrock on the side), then it would at least be tolerable. Completely destroying the helmets, though, is horrific. I feel violated and I’m not even a Notre Dame fan.
I can’t see $10M for the new Big East (Houston, SDSU, SMU, et. all.).
PSU BoT = corrupt idiots
One big thing that will depress whatever NBC is willing to pay for the Big East: it would be far, far, far, far, far smarter for Comcast to overpay for MLB, NASCAR, or the Big Ten than for the Big East. To overpay for the Big East would be a waste of money and treading water at best compared to NHL games. Comcast should be in the race, but they should focus most of their money and efforts towards getting that Tier 1 content.
If ABC/ESPN does lowball the Big Ten again, it’d be interesting to see whether the Big Ten takes up an NBC/NBCSN kind of offer (similar split of games as ABC/ESPN) or instead chooses to go with something like Fox/ESPN. I can’t see the Big Ten leaving ESPN completely, but if Comcast does choose to overpay to get the whole T1/T2 package, Delany would have to consider it…
“I can’t see the Big Ten leaving ESPN completely, but if Comcast does choose to overpay to get the whole T1/T2 package, Delany would have to consider it…”
He may publicly claim it is a consideration, but privately he would have to admit that not retaining some financial connection with ESPN would be an incredibly stupid and short-sighted decision. There are way too many intangible benefits from mass ESPN exposure that would more than offset a slight discount in TV revenue for the Big Ten.
What if the difference isn’t slight though?
What if the difference is say $300M over 10 years?
$300M/10 years is $2.5M per school per year, which is fairly slight. This is a package, after all, which I project to be worth $4-5B over 10 years.
Only way that extra $2.5M per school gets Comcast the whole B10 1st&2nd tiers package is if Comcast is willing to commit to put close to 2 B10 games on NBC every week (a national B10 game of the week on NBC + some games on primetime or the morning slot), leaving 1-2 B10 games a week on NBC Sports.
@Brian #2 – I agree. I’d put it at about 95% likelihood that the Big Ten will continue to have a fairly extensive ESPN package. If there’s one change that I think the Big Ten would want, it would actually be more on the over-the-air side as opposed to the cable side. I don’t think there’s that much of a desire to move higher tiered content to BTN – the subscriber rates and market penetration wouldn’t change that much unless they *really* start putting marquee games on frequently (e.g. Michigan-Ohio State) and it’s hard to see whether the extra revenue gained there would compensate for the revenue they’d lose by not offering those marquee games to a third party. My expectation is that Fox will bid heavily for the top tier Big Ten games with an offer for a national game of the week similar to the SEC on CBS (particularly if Fox ends up losing the MLB package). That’s going to be a horse race between Fox and ABC/ESPN. The cable side is likely going to be where Comcast gets into the bidding on top of Disney and Fox, but this is one property that ESPN cannot afford to lose along the lines of the NFL/MLB/NBA/SEC, so they’ll pay whatever it takes.
ND is trying to win the weirdest uniform contest. Their special uni features a helmet that is 2/3 polished gold and 1/3 navy with the fighting leprechaun logo on it.
Ugly as all get out
I think they should add green splotches, paintball-style, to improve it.
Sacrilegiously ugly. Whoever was responsible for this trash should be fired…and head straight to confession.
@Brian – Those uniforms say to me, “Maryland’s uniforms are too understated.” I can’t believe Notre Dame, of all schools, is going to wear that trash.
Are you sure that picture wasn’t leaked by the Dude of West Virginia?
After Nebraska rolled out their alternative uniforms, I’m not sure that there’s any school that’ll be willing to wear anything.
That being said, I’m fairly shocked that Notre Dame allowed a design that cartoonish to pass the “look test”…
More pictures. The jersey isn’t bad and the pants are would be alright if not for the weird strip that is only on the left leg, but the helmet is atrocious and the glove thing is just bizarre.
If they only wore one they could say they were honoring Michael Jackson.
I read the ACC bringing in Syracuse and Pitt as being similar to the Pac bringing in Utah- it doesn’t amount to the greatest add for your conference, but absolutely gaffles your upstart regional competitor and ensures absolute dominance over your domain.
An alternate universe 2012 MWC with Utah, Boise State, TCU, BYU, Air Force, San Diego State, Nevada, and Hawai’i assuredly threatens the territorial legitimacy of the Pac merely by being a subversive presence competing for the same territory; but removing the key elements of this alliance decimated its structure and ensured its collapse. Similarly, removing Syracuse and Pitt from the Big East detonated its integrity while ensuring the supremacy
If the Big East is successful in accruing a high value for its media it would legitimize a number of emerging programs while invalidating the zero-sum logic of the other conferences’ amalgamating schemes. For this reason I would argue it to be an ideal praxis to be sought after by advocates of an idealized system of fair play and competitive balance, but an unlikely outcome for that very reason. The amalgamating alliances have far too much invested in he programmatic value redistribution of realignment to enable a favorable deal for the Big East.
To be fair though, everyone else gains down the road if the Big East gets a big payday…
The Big East sets an absolute minimum for the other 5 conferences, and they’d expect to be paid significantly better given that the Big East is little more than a collection of ex-CUSA/MWC kind of schools at this point.
How about the possibility of NBC overpaying the Big East just so the other conferences do ask for more making it impossible for ESPN to control it all. Then NBC can grab someone else down the road because ESPN won’t want to pay them.
Look what happened to netflix when competition showed up..
Well, we have to be sure who the bidders here are.
ESPN may want to keep its powder a little dry considering that they’re going to have to shell out big bucks on a playoff plan (as the $80M deals for the Rose and Champions Bowls show).
They also have to consider that the Big Ten’s ABC/ESPN deal is coming up for renewal; so they may just give a lowball offer to the Big East considering that they already have so much of the Big 5 content…
If ESPN isn’t willing to bid above $10M, then it may just be NBC bidding against itself or Fox…
I wouldn’t be surprised if ESPN lowballs football but is aggressive on basketball. Not all content is equal.
Also wouldn’t it serve ESPN’s interest to make NBC or FOX overpay for the big east. NBC executive says ( Oh crap we just spent 15 million per a team on the big east we aren’t sure if we can afford the big 10 now). Which means ESPN doesn’t lose something it actually wants. If NBC gets the big east with little spent it will be able to buy more down the road.
Another reason to take any USNW ratings with a grain of salt. Its one thing when Clemson makes up data. But now you’ve got a very highly ranked university in Emory making up data over a long period of time. I imagine those two aren’t alone.
#1 Did the B12 ever announce their “new” TV deal that has supposed to be happening any day since last fall?
#2 Frank, will you be doing the weekly football vote post? If so when will your first one be?
#1 Nothing official from the Big 12 yet.
#2 Yes, I’ll be doing a weekly BlogPoll post. I’m not quite sure when the first one will be since the polling hasn’t opened yet. Obviously, it needs to happen pretty soon.
Did you guys hear about the Nike bb tourney in a few years? Sounds really cool. They are talking about a 16 team event. MSU and OSU will be there for the B10, plus 13 other high profile schools and host Portland.
I’ve heard a little bit about it. Will it be a standard single-elimination event or will they have a losers bracket to get at least 2 games for each team? It seems wasteful to have 8 teams only play once.
Here’s the details:
24 Nike-backed basketball teams to be in two tournaments in November 2017 that will celebrate Phil Knight. Nike’s billionaire co-founder turns 80 during that season, on Feb. 24, 2018.
Three-game format that will have some schools hosting a game before playing two more matchups in Portland, Ore., near Nike headquarters.
It says there are 16 teams signed on and looking for another 8.
Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Florida, Ohio State, Michigan State, Connecticut, Georgetown, Oklahoma, Texas, Oregon, Stanford, Butler, Xavier, Gonzaga and Portland
That’s a lot of heavyweights (some BCS rather than bball heavyweights, but still)
They should just do a straight up 16 team bracket with seeds picked randomly. That would be awesome. Whatever it is it looks great.
@jj – Technically, these are 2 separate 8-team tournaments. You can’t have more than 1 school from a conference in a preseason tourney, so setting up 2 tournaments over the course of several days is how they can get both UNC and Duke, MSU and OSU, etc.
All of these are good basketball schools. That’s quite a tournament. They’ve got 2 teams from each of the Big 7 (6AQ + A10) basketball conferences + 2 from the WCC.
Thanks Frank, I didn’t know that. The field looks great. Wish the last 2 could meet up somehow.
It’s a shame that people have made you feel the need to qualify that. You and alumni of your school have every right to support your school, and you shouldn’t have to clarify that you are opposed to monsters like Sandusky.
That was intended for Penn State Danny.
Great article. Hiring Aresco seems like the exact right person to solidify the league.
Presently, there is no way that the Big East can prevent poaching from the more powerful conferences. If the B1G wants Rutgers or the ACC wants UConn or B12 wants Louisville, these schools should jump without a second thought. The Big 5 conferences have built clear differentiation against the rest of the FBS schools…but these conferences also have to follow similar tried-and-true rules for their affiliations (geographic proximity, fairly rigid caste systems [kings/princes/peasants], premium on local fan support and game attendance).
The Big East can now fully break this mold. First, they need to fully embrace that they are the sole and best national conference [changing names to your Big Country Conference suggestion would help]. Second, admit that in-game attendance is completely secondary to television exposure [Boise State should be the model for brand building]. Third, promote the fact that new leaders always fill a vacuum [West Virginia, Louisville and Cincinatti had great teams after Miami & VT left the Big East]. Fourth, don’t worry about petty slights and just exploit the opportunities [Notre Dame and Big 5 schools are going to need to schedule games]. Finally, exploit the fact that you got a foot-in-the-door in the three best markets for recruitment and viewership [California, Texas and Florida].
A commissioner who is adept at TV promotion can give the conference a unique advantage. If one of your teams gets poached by the Big 5, then you need to have financial superiority over the lesser conferences. You need to respond by easily luring the next best from the dozens of available schools. This model helps to mitigate the risk that a defection from the league would hurt TV valuation.
Although a collection of CUSA and MWC schools hardly seems like a gold mine, The new commissioner may be able to sell a different model conference to TV executives.
If the Big East signs for the same money as the Big East……how do you think FSU reacts to USF/UCF making the same money at FSU…..and FSU making about 50% of UF?
In that scenerio Frank thinks the ACC is stable?
I don’t get it.
Everybody will cross that bridge if we get there (and I doubt we will).
In other words, that’s a huge “IF”.
AP Top 25:
1 USC (25) 0-0 1445
2 Alabama (17) 0-0 1411
3 LSU (16) 0-0 1402
4 Oklahoma (1) 0-0 1286
5 Oregon 0-0 1274
6 Georgia 0-0 1107
7 Florida State 0-0 1093
8 Michigan (1) 0-0 1000
9 South Carolina 0-0 994
10 Arkansas 0-0 963
11 West Virginia 0-0 856
12 Wisconsin 0-0 838
13 Michigan State 0-0 742
14 Clemson 0-0 615
15 Texas 0-0 569
16 Virginia Tech 0-0 548
17 Nebraska 0-0 485
18 Ohio State 0-0 474
19 Oklahoma State 0-0 430
20 TCU 0-0 397
21 Stanford 0-0 383
22 Kansas State 0-0 300
23 Florida 0-0 214
24 Boise State 0-0 212
25 Louisville 0-0 105
Others receiving votes: Notre Dame 83, Washington 55, Auburn 53, North Carolina 32, Utah 30, Georgia Tech 25, Brigham Young 22, Tennessee 15, South Florida 11, Baylor 9, Texas A&M 5, UCF 4, Missouri 3, North Carolina State 3, Cincinnati 3, Houston 1, Louisiana Tech 1, Mississippi State 1, Northern Illinois 1
SEC – 6 (2, 3, 6, 9, 10, 23) – a little top heavy
B12 – 6 (4, 11, 15, 19, 20, 22) – good spread, but OU seems a little high with all the recent problems
B10 – 5 (8, 12, 13, 17, 18) – nice spread but no elite team
P12 – 3 (1, 5, 21) – top heavy
ACC – 3 (7, 14, 16) – no elite team
Other – 2 (24, 25)
So let me get this straight: the Big ten has five teams spread out widely among the top 20, and that’s “nice”. The SEC has 5 teams spread widely among the top 10, and that’s “top heavy”. Okay…
That’s the correct analysis though.
He said the Big Ten has a decent bunch of teams but no elite teams, whereas the SEC has up to 5 national title contenders but little in the way of a middle class this year unless other teams upset those teams and move into the rankings themselves…
And considering what happened last year with those 5 teams all winning double digit games, the very same thing could happen this year…
Or maybe the middle class in the SEC is just richer than the middle class in the Big Ten.
If the 5th place team in the SEC is ranked 10th in the country and the 5th place team in the Big Ten is ranked 20th, that’s the same number of good teams in each league and the same number of not so good teams. It’s just that the good teams in the SEC are better. Also, the SEC has a sixth top 25 team, and the Big Ten only has 5. But then the SEC has 2 more schools than the Big Ten so it evens out.
And I don’t think it can be argued that the unranked SEC teams are any worse than the unranked Big Ten teams. Clearly the opposite is true. Give me Auburn, Mizzou, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, and Vanderbilt over Illinois, Purdue, Minnesota, and Northwestern any day.
I think we’re saying the same thing.
The point is you’re talking about a league with 5 top 10 teams and then the rest are far away from them, versus one with a spectrum of teams.
Top heavy is a good thing for the SEC but not for the Pac-12. It doesn’t have to mean the same thing for both.
I think top heavy is when you have one or two good teams and a lot of mediocre teams. That’s the Pac 12 in a nutshell.
I think when 40% of your league is really good teams, another 40% is above average, and the bottom 20% is decent, that’s not “top heavy”.
Last year, the SEC was VERY top heavy. At the very top, indeed, there were a pair of 800 lb. gorillas. LSU and Alabama were both absolutely elite, but after them there was a huge dropoff. Arkansas may have been ranked very high and had just 2 losses. They were solid, but they were not in the same class as the top two, as evidenced by multi touchdown losses to both of them. South Carolina was a close fourth, with its 11-2 record punctuated by victories over ACC champ Clemson, Big Ten #3ish Nebraska, and East division champ Georgia. After those teams, what made the middle so strong? Auburn’s near disaster vs. Utah State? Georgia going 1-4 vs. teams with comparable records (SC, LSU, Boise, and Michigan State, with the win over GT)? Florida’s embarrassing 7-6 record? Newcomer Texas A&M’s flop in its final Big 12 season? Other teams who finished around .500 despite scheduling 3-4 gimmie non-conference games?
Hey, nobody is saying the SEC isn’t the best conference in college football. I’m just saying that its depth is exaggerated because people who follow the game are mesmerized by their string of championships. The message that the league is oh-so-deep and every game atmosphere is oh-so-superior to everywhere else has been repeated so many teams that the league’s #5, #6, #7, #8, and lower teams get more credit than they deserve.
Again, take Georgia as an example. Sure, they may turn out to be very good, but who knows? They lost to SC, to Boise (in Atlanta, by the way), to LSU (no shame in that, although they could have kept the game more competitive), and to a fellow CCG loser in Michigan State. Yet they are in the top ten. Why? Because they’re in the biggest, baddest conference in the land, where someone always wins the national title. How about Florida? Why the heck do they deserve to be in the top 25?
I think your standards for “deep” are just a little high if you don’t think the SEC was a deep conference last year, especially if you throw in Missouri and A&M.
Jeff Sagarin’s final computer rankings:
10. South Carolina
14. Texas A&M
31. Mississippi State
So the 10th place SEC team was rated higher than the 7th place Big 12 team (including TCU and West Virginia), the 6th place Big Ten team, the 4th place Pac 12 team, and the 4th place ACC team.
Looks to me like the SEC was by far the deepest conference in the country.
The only reason to call it “top heavy” is because it happened to have two ridiculously good teams that were far better than anyone else from any other conference. But even the middling SEC schools were dominant. Missouri blew out North Carolina in the Independence Bowl, Florida beat Ohio State in the Gator Bowl, Texas A&M easily handled Northwestern in the Meineke Bowl, and of course Arkansas and South Carolina handled Kansas State and Nebraska.
If you wnat to try to make it somehow a bad thing that LSU and Alabama were really really good and use that as some sort of half assed way to discredit the SEC, go ahead. But it’s ridiculous and you know it.
Discredit the SEC? Did I not say, “Hey, nobody is saying the SEC isn’t the best conference in college football?” Of course it is! I’m just saying it is given TOO much credit, and the practice if bowing down and worshiping at the altar of all things Southeastern Conference is getting out of hand. Again, the conference is very strong, but it’s not the only strong conference. Some nauseating talking heads even go as far as to say, this league is as good as the NFC East. Give me a break. And can we stop with the double standards? Yes, the SEC deserves credit for beating K-State, Clemson (SC), and Nebraska, but not if its losses to Boise, Michigan State, and Clemson (Auburn) are ignored.
OK, so your point is that yes, the SEC was the best conference last year (and for the last several years) but some of their teams sometimes lose games so they are not unstoppable gods?
Well, yeah, sure. That is factually correct. While the SEC does have 5-6 extremely good teams and another 4-5 pretty good teams, no, every single SEC team cannot beat every single non-SEC team 100% of the time. That is true. The 2nd place Big Ten team can in fact narrowly defeat the 4th best SEC team in a bowl game. That’s true. The best ACC team can defeat the 6th best SEC team during the reglar season. The 2nd or 3rd best Big East school can even defeat the 14th best SEC school in a home game of a rivalry series.
So yeah, I guess the SEC isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
A little disingenous arguing the SEC was the best conference last year and including Missouri and A&M.
And the Big 12 was overrated in Sagarin last year. A&M 14 at 7-6, Missouri 16 at 8-5 and Texas 17 at 8-5 was simply not reasonable.
I included WVU and TCU in the Big 12, which helped their numbers a lot.
Sagarin is just a computer formula. It applies the same formula to everyone equally. It shouldn’t be biased at all.
Personally, I think it is kind of silly to try to assess the strength of one league vs. another for this year before any actual games have been played. The SEC may turn out to be amazing this year. That, IMO, requires a LOT of teams proving their mettle not just against each other (which members of all conferences do), but against comparable teams from other leagues. Last year, the SEC didn’t really do that. Teams in the middle did very little to assert the SEC as better than the Big Ten, Big 12, etc. Instead, everything fell on the top teams.
Anyway, regardless of what the preseason rankings say, the SEC may have another year with a select few doing the dirty work against non conference competition. It may have a truly elite year where just about the only teams who can beat them are other SEC teams. Or, it may be somewhat of a down year. Alabama, LSU, & company have yet to win a game this year. SC, Georgia, and Florida very well could go 0-3 against their in state ACC rivals. The national championship game easily could feature USC and/or Oklahoma and/or Oregon and/or Texas and/or Florida State and/or Michigan and/or Michigan State… with the best SEC team in the Sugar Bowl at 11-1 or 10-2. Who knows? More importantly, why are we assuming that an SEC team will make it through the league with 1 or no losses if it’s so darn tough? And if it’s so darn tough every year, why hasn’t the SEC champion lost an SEC game since 2008?
It’s not hard to look this up:
Last year, SEC non-conference games vs BCS opponents…
Vandy beat UConn and Wake Forest, lost to Cincinatti
Texas A&M beat Northwestern and SMU
Tennessee beat Cincinatti
South Carolina beat Clemson, Nebraska, and Navy
Missouri beat North Carolina and lost at Arizona State in OT on a missed FG
Mississippi State beat Wake Forest and Memphis
Ole Miss lost to BYU
LSU beat Oregon and West Virginia
Kentucky lost to Louisville
Georgia beat Georgia Tech and lost to Boise State and Michigan State
Florida beat Ohio State and lost to Florida State
Auburn beat Virginia and lost to Clemson
Arkansas beat Kansas State
Alabama beat Penn State
So I’m not sure exactly what you’re complaining about. All SEC teams played some other BCS schools and on the whole they won 70% of them. Which is better than any other conference did. So what’s your point again?
CFN uses the final AP poll from each year to determine the “best” team overall and also the “best” for each decade.
All time top 10:
RANK TEAM POINTS
1 Oklahoma 946.5
2 Michigan 919
3 Ohio State 908
4 Alabama 874
5 Notre Dame 872.5
6 USC 757
7 Texas 750.5
8 Nebraska 701
9 Tennessee 678
10 Penn State 645
#11 has 530 points, so it’s a pretty big gap (PSU has over 20% more points). Say hello to the standard list of kings, but the bottom 2-3 may be replaced over time.
I’ve never thought of Tennessee as a king. Until their run starting in the mid-90s I remember them being mostly solid, nothing special. Maybe in the 60s they were a king (Duffman-do you remember Tennessee having a higher stature?), but I view them as similar to UGA, Auburn, LSU and UCLA, except that LSU has had a better run in the last 10 years. Miami, Florida and Florida St. have almost all their points in the last 30 years. FSU has 438 of their 446 since the 80s. Miami has 436 of their 511. Florida has 399 of their 469. In the same time frame, Tennessee has 279.
TN was very good from 1995-2001 and ranked nearly every year from that stretch until 2007, although they haven’t cracked the top 10 since 2001. But from 1973-1994 they were in the top 10 only 3 times, 1985, 1989 and 1990. They had a stretch from 1975-1984 where they didn’t even crack the top 20. By contrast, they were 4th (behind ND, OU and UM) for the period from 1936-1959. Note that Army was 6th, Georgia Tech 8th and Duke 9th over that time frame. Tennessee hasn’t fallen as far as them, but they haven’t maintained either.
the rest of the top 25:
11 LSU 530
12 Auburn 517
13 Georgia 517
14 Miami 511
15 UCLA 503
16 Florida 469
17 Florida State 446
18 Arkansas 414
19 Michigan State 364
20 Texas A&M 337
21 Washington 330
22 Georgia Tech 317.5
23 Wisconsin 305
24 Pittsburgh 293
25 Iowa 291
“I’ve never thought of Tennessee as a king. Until their run starting in the mid-90s I remember them being mostly solid, nothing special.”
TN in the final AP poll by the decade:
30s – 5
40s – 5
50s – 7 (1951 NC)
60s – 15
70s – 15
80s – 24
90s – 4 (1998 NC)
00s – 20
10s – NR
They were a power, then they stayed prominent mostly because of their big rivalry game against AL and a lack of other southern powers. If they don’t get back in SEC contention soon, though, they may even lose prince status.
“but I view them as similar to UGA, Auburn, LSU and UCLA, except that LSU has had a better run in the last 10 years. Miami, Florida and Florida St. have almost all their points in the last 30 years. FSU has 438 of their 446 since the 80s. Miami has 436 of their 511. Florida has 399 of their 469. In the same time frame, Tennessee has 279.”
Is being better lately more valuable than being better back then? To the fans’ perception of their status, yes, but this list was simple math. Points now are no better than points in the 30s.
I should have said the “traditional” list of kings rather than the “standard” list.
8 SEC (out of 14)…
7 B10 (out of 12)…
4 ACC (out of 14; includes Pitt)…
3 Pac 12…
2 Big XII…
This is why the power conferences are the power conferences; they have all the kings and princes.
Tennessee is 1a in the SEC. They have been great at times, but at least good enough in the other times. I am not positive but I seem to remember that Bear Bryant never beat Neyland. They have a solid history of coaches long term and they still have one of the biggest stadiums in the country. That kind of demand usually does not happen overnight. The Vols are like Michigan in that they have been able to sustain a program over the long term. Georgia gained the power Georgia Tech used to have (3 of 4 MNC’s for the Yellow Jackets were in the SEC) the same way Tennessee has overtaken Vandy and LSU has passed Tulane.
Back about a year ago when I ran the the “underachiever” posts in college football I do believe the post WW II era moved the state schools ahead of the private ones for good. Texas and Oklahoma now get the MNC’s over say Rice or TCU. Stanford and Notre Dame may be exceptions where they can rise above when the majority of small and / or private have been lost to history such as Duke or Army. I do think that the Vols have issues because TN seems to be a recruit import state and not an export one. I was stunned at how good Vanderbilt was in the beginning and the Iron Men came from Sewanee yet who under the age of 40 – 60 would even think it was possible? I always fall back to the pre war Gophers vs the post war Gophers as the touchstone for how fortunes can change, yet this still has not happened in Knoxville.
“Stanford and Notre Dame may be exceptions…”
That was my first thought, but I think he meant small private schools. USC has an enrollment of almost 37,000 students.
You have some solid observations regarding the fading of former national powers. I would only add that in addition to institutions like Army and Duke losing football power, the Ivy League schools also stand out.
In particular, your comparison between Minnesota and Tennessee is interesting. I do think, though, that there are a few factors that may have worked against Minnesota that did not for Tennessee.
First, while Tennessee hasn’t historically had great high school football to draw on, it is still relatively close to places that do. Knoxville is not terribly far from South Carolina, Georgia (which is now on par with Ohio for high school football talent), Alabama, or Mississippi. Plus, even though Memphis is several hours from campus and is as much Ole Miss territory as it is Tennessee, it still is a solid, in-state city for high school football talent. Minnesota, on the other hand, is much farther away from the nearest state that traditionally has had elite football talent. Drawing recruits from relatively distant Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, or even Chicago is much more difficult for Minnesota that it is for Tennessee to draw from its neighbors to the south.
Second, I can’t help but wonder if the Minnesota Vikings overtaking the Gophers as the state and city’s favorite major football team hurt them in a way Tennessee never has had to face. The disparity of success between the pro and college teams couldn’t have helped, either. The Vikings were busy going to four Super Bowls in the 60’s and 70’s while Minnesota was falling off its perch. Moving into the Metrodome must have, in many ways, underscored how much the Gophers had fallen into the Vikings’ shadow. Tennessee, meanwhile, has never had an NFL team in town to compete with for competition. The Titans have been in the state for the past 15 years or so, but my theory is that their 3-hour distance from Knoxville limits any harm they may have on the Vols’ popularity. Directly competing in the same city would likely prove too difficult. There are exceptions where colleges in large, NFL citiies can draw strong attendance consistently (Washington comes to mind), but those are rare.
To take it further, I suppose an argument could be made that the Dallas Cowboys hurt SMU and TCU in the same way the Vikings hurt Minnesota, whereas the Packers didn’t hurt Wisconsin and the Cowboys/Oilers/Texans didn’t hurt UT or A&M because of distance.
The Ivy League is easy to explain; they don’t allow athletic scholarships, which were instituted in the 1950s.
” I am not positive but I seem to remember that Bear Bryant never beat Neyland.”
Just to clarify, you are correct that Coach Bryant never beat General Neyland. Keep in mind though that Coach Bryant was coaching at Kentucky when they coached against each other. I’m pretty sure Neyland had retired before Coach Bryant started coaching at Bama.
Here’s an article about private schools in the BCS:
It’s from about a year ago, but most of it still holds. Basically, the only schools that have been consistently good are the convicts (USC, Miami) and the Catholics (ND, BC). The rest range from middling (Northwestern, Stanford, Wake Forest, Syracuse) to dismal (Vanderbilt, Duke).
I’d say Stanford has moved up a notch with their past few seasons.
This site makes it easy to run the numbers again to include last season:
Team Win% gm W L T
Southern California 0.845 129 109 20
Boston College 0.651 129 84 45
Miami (Florida) 0.651 126 82 44
Notre Dame 0.576 125 72 53
Wake Forest 0.500 124 62 62
Northwestern 0.496 125 62 63
Stanford 0.471 119 56 63
Baylor 0.383 120 46 74
Syracuse 0.358 120 43 77
Vanderbilt 0.308 120 37 83
Duke 0.212 118 25 93
Stanford has had 3 really good seasons, but they had 25 wins total in the 7 years before that. It remains to be seen how well they can maintain their success post-Luck. A number of these teams have caught lightning in a bottle (e.g. Baylor last year), but long term success has been elusive.
Over just the last 5 years, the order is a little different at the top:
Team Win% gm W L T
Southern California 0.781 64 50 14
Stanford 0.635 63 40 23
Boston College 0.591 66 39 27
Northwestern 0.562 64 36 28
Miami (Florida) 0.540 63 34 29
Notre Dame 0.508 63 32 31
Wake Forest 0.492 63 31 32
Baylor 0.452 62 28 34
Syracuse 0.361 61 22 39
Vanderbilt 0.355 62 22 40
Duke 0.267 60 16 44
The last set of numbers is what I mean. Stanford is rising like MSU. Meanwhile NW has been dropping. I have no idea if Stanford can sustain a top 25 team for a while, but they’ve certainly been well above NW for the past few years.
MN is now claiming the 1904 NC as well.
I thought only Tennessee and Alabama did that.
Texas would have won 6 of the 10 national titles from 1961-1970 on that basis, but noone claims that (every year but 64 when they went 10-1 losing by 1 pt to unbeaten Arkansas and 65-67 when they went 6-4 3 years in a row). If you use any group mentioned in the NCAA record book, Texas would have at least 10 instead of the 4 legitimate ones they claim.
Of course, against any competition, outscoring the opponents 725-12 as Minnesota did that year is pretty good. But Dunkel has some of the strangest results of the BCS pollsters.
Yeah, it’s nice to catalog old MNCs, but at the same time, I’m not sure this means much to anyone.
Minnesota shouldn’t have that 1960 national title. Back then the final poll was before the bowls. Missouri finished that season 11-0 with an Orange Bowl victory over #4 ranked Navy. Minnesota lost to #6 ranked Washington in the Rose Bowl. After the season Missouri was selected by the Poling System as national champs, but that form of championship isn’t widely known so Missouri doesn’t claim it. Alabama probably would.
The very idea that national champions were crowned before the bowl games back then seems kind of ridiculous.
A similar situation happened with basketball. Missouri has a couple of those “mythical national championships” from the 1920s, but unlike Kansas, they don’t hang any banners for them.
IMO, Missouri should hang banners for all of their championships, even if they’re not the officially used AP/Coaches titles. As long as they label what kind of national titles they are, I don’t see the harm in it.
Kansas used to label their older championships “Helms Titles”. Now they don’t . They mark them exactly the same as their tournament championshiips, which I think is highly misleading.
In the old days, bowls were considered irrelevant exhibitions and not everybody went. Now they get over-weighted. How a team performs 6 weeks after the regular season is over doesn’t always reflect much of what they showed during the regular season. Also polls were used more to sell newspapers than to crown champs.
The AP poll started after the bowls after what happened in the 1964 bowls. Arkansas and Alabama went unbeaten in the regular season. Arkansas beat Nebraska in the Cotton. Texas, whose only loss was 14-13 to Arkansas when they missed a 2 point conversion, beat the Joe Namath led Crimson Tide in the Orange Bowl 21-17. Both polls were done before the bowls and selected Alabama.
The coaches poll was last finalized before the bowls in 1970. While UT made the 2 point conversion and beat Arkansas 15-14 in 1969 in the “Game of the Century” and beat Notre Dame 21-17 in the Cotton Bowl in ND’s 1st bowl appearance in 50 years (note the similarities to 1964), Texas lost to Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl after 1970 for their only loss. Nebraska, 10-0-1 won the AP Title while Texas won the UPI (coaches).
Idaho has been cleared by state board to play 2013 as an independent. Also cleared to begin negotiations to return to Big Sky in non-football sports.
Boise State is set to join the Big West for 2013-14 for all sports except for certain sports that will play as associate members of other leagues: football (Big East), women’s swimming & diving (Mountain West), wrestling (Pac-12), and gymnastics (WAC). Only an official vote by league’s presidents is required to complete the formality.
That leaves Seattle, Denver, and New Mexico State as orphans for 2013-14 until they can find a new home. (And Boise State gymnastics, too, which apparently needs to find a home since the WAC won’t exist 10 months from now.)
By the way, this sure does stink for the University of Denver. They were an extreme geographical outlier in the Sun Belt. In 2010, when the WAC came calling, they must have figured, understandably, that they were joining a more geographically-friendly, stronger basketball league. But apparently the Sun Belt could at least offer a promise of actually existing for the foreseeable future. How was UD supposed to know that leaving Sun Belt would hurt so much, leaving them without a home (as of today) for 2013-14?
As for Seattle, they’re just back where they were before joining the WAC: not in any conference, or at least in the non-automatic bid Great West Conference. It will be interesting to see what NMSU does.
WAC interim commissioner gives up on football. Not yet giving up on the conference.
CFN’s preseason top 25:
SI’s B10 preview:
“LEADERS Conference Overall
Wisconsin 7-1 11-1
Illinois 5-3 9-3
Ohio State* 5-3 9-3
Penn State* 3-5 6-6
Purdue 2-6 5-7
Indiana 1-7 5-7
LEGENDS Conference Overall
Michigan State 7-1 11-1
Michigan 6-2 9-3
Nebraska 5-3 9-3
Iowa 4-4 8-4
Northwestern 3-5 6-6
Minnesota 1-7 4-8
Conference championship: Wisconsin beats Michigan State”
They are one of the few picking the east winner to win the CCG.
@Brian – 9-3 prediction for Illinois?! I want some of that SI Kool-Aid!
It’s certainly a stretch. This includes wins @ASU plus 5 of these 8:
I assume they counted IN, MN, PU and NW as wins. Apparently PSU as well based on picking them to go 3-5. I guess that’s all possible, especially if PSU is bad.
To me, if Michigan State or Michigan goes for 11 wins, there’s no way either loses to Wisconsin. They’ll be plenty battle-tested although Michigan State-Wisconsin is always guaranteed to be a crapshoot…
Houston and San Antonio bid for the Champions Bowl. I found it hard to believe those two wouldn’t even try. 2 days left and 5 are in. Phoenix, Tampa, Jax, Orlando and Nashville still haven’t bid yet.
I still don’t see either of them winning unless they really overpay just for the chance to get the game.
In terms of a pure neutral site, Houston would work best. Dallas is undisputed Big 12 territory (unless we’re giving the Big East any credit with SMU), and New Orleans is arguably more the quintessential SEC city than even Atlanta. The Sugar Bowl-SEC relationship goes back far longer than the SEC championship game.
I doubt Houston has much of a chance, though, not going against Jerryworld or the apparent savings from the Sugar Bowl for a huge bid.
According to SEC sources in a CBS article a week or two ago, the SEC wants the game in Dallas for the recruiting exposure in deep Big 12 territory. They already own Louisiana and Georgia, so holding the game in New Orleans or Atlanta wouldn’t provide any new exposure or recruiting upside.
Excerpt from Posanski’s Paterno book
Saw this article linked elsewhere. Despite the 2nd paragraph of this article talking about hard details, Hancock makes it clear most everything major has been decided on the BCS short of the TV provider. There aren’t a lot of specifics, but there is an agreement in principle on allocation of revenues. “Everyone realizes this new revenue…is being driven in large part by who can potentially be in the game.”
Much of the lack of info lately was deliberate. They were letting everyone get through conference media days.
Some more nuggets from the article:
The model could be based in part on conferences’ past performances. “There will also be a significant share just to the (playoff) participants,” Hancock said.
Hancock said there’s interest in distributing some money based on academic performance, perhaps using Academic Progress Rate scores as a barometer.
Unfortunately, setting aside playoff money to study concussions isn’t on the radar.
Next comes choosing the playoff sites based on bids. Hancock said he suspects finalists to be chosen around next February with a goal of picking the cities in April. Every semifinal for the 12-year playoff cycle will be chosen immediately but only a few of the championship game sites will initially be decided, Hancock said.
Chuck Carlton @ChuckCarltonDMN
RT @Big12Conference: #Big12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby says revenue from Champions Bowl could by 2.5 times more than expected.
Hmmm, I wonder if the experts that are certain FSU won’t leave for the B12 predicted anywhere close to this kind of payout for the Champs Bowl?
Does the B12 even need them now?
BTW, if NBC is going to overpay the BEast to get content, are we still certain that the B12 is going to sign that ESPN contract rather than wait and go to the open market?
“2.5 times more than expected”
Who was doing the expecting, and how much was he expecting?
Bob Bowlsby, and he was expecting 40% as much.
40% of what? You need a number to know what that 40%, or 2.5 times represents.
I know. Thats the joke.
If i need to explain the joke, it went over like a turd.
Sorry. I thought it might be. But I also haven’t been paying close attention and thought perhaps a number had been mentioned by a “reliable” source.
I just changed volunteer position for a 200% pay increase…
@greg – I thought it was funny.
I don’t know what Bowlsby was expecting, but I remember Deloss Dodds saying, rather skeptically, that the Big 12 was being told the game would generate $XX. That figure was either $40 million or $50 million. Didn’t readily find the interview, but we will know soon enough. 2.5 times would be $100 million to $125 million.
The Big 12 really wanted to pull the bowl games and playoffs away from the bowl committees, but the Pac 12 and Big 10 wanted to keep the ties. It seems there is serious money if the colleges keep control themselves. Note that Bowlsby made his comments after the 5 bids came in from the cities.
Those are some big leaps in logic right there. Yes, the Big 12 has some premium teams at the top, namely Texas and Oklahoma. Pair a high likelihood of one of those two kings in a matchup with the #1 or 2 team from the SEC and you’ve got a blockbuster bowl matchup every single year. Of course that’s worth money. But I’m sure bowl executives will be rooting against OSU, WVU, KSU, and TCU every year because if one of those teams wins the Big 12 then the tv ratings will take a nosedive.
But the league as a whole beyond those two teams? Not so much. I doubt networks are chomping at the bit to get into the Kansas, Iowa, and West Virginia markets.
Let me expand on this point. The Big 12 has ten schools. Three of them: Baylor, Iowa State, and Kansas, are basically worthless properties as far as football, except once in a blue moon.
Two more: Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, have had some off-and-on high level success, but come from small markets, their games are modestly attended, and their national appeal is limited.
A couple more, TCU and KSU, are small schools with small fanbases and modest-to-poor football traditions that have had some high level success in the modern era. Yes, there’s a chance they’ll make some noise in the polls, but they’re not big money makers.
Then there’s WVU, an above average program that took off when Miami and Virginia Tech left the Big East. They were able to make a lot of hay beating up on Rutgers, Syracuse, Pitt, UConn, and South Florida for the past few seasons. It has excited the hill-folk of appalachia, but they’re by no means a national power or huge money maker.
So that leaves Oklahoma and Texas. Two legit powers on par with USC, Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, and LSU. They are worth a ton, there’s no doubt about that.
So that bowl game, which would likely include one of those two, is a worthwhile investment. You pay for the one game and you get a 75% or so chance that you’ll get one of those two teams in that game.
But to pay out the nose for the whole league, you’re buying a whole bunch of games. And most of them don’t have Oklahoma or Texas in them. You’re getting a lot of Texas Tech vs Iowa State and West Virginia vs Kansas. I’m not sure those games can command a high dollar pricetag.
Now, bring in some more quality inventory like Florida State and Clemson and make it makes sense to up the price, but it doesn’t look like that’s happening.
Bring in Louisville and BYU and you really don’t change the game. Those two wouldn’t really bring down the average of the Big 12. They’re actually on par with the average Big 12 team as far as appeal. But they shouldn’t increase the payout.**
**sidenote: for those thinking, well why does Missouri and Texas A&M add to the SEC, and why did the Big Ten look at adding Missouri? Those two schools are about average as far as quality for the SEC and Big Ten. The answer there is market increase. A&M brings in Houston, Mizzou brings in St. Louis and half of Kansas City. Those are bigger adds than Louisville or Clemson. BYU might just be a decent add as far as markets since they have a national following. And of course Florida State would seem to bring some markets to the table.
I think what we’ve seen is that market size doesn’t matter. Nebraska is a tiny market, but they have national appeal and strong local appeal for the BTN. TCU added nothing in market and WVU added little, but both have been successful and were picked for national TV ratings over other schools with bigger markets. Utah and Colorado don’t add a lot of eyes for a conference that already has California. CBS gave the CUSA, MWC and SEC a collective yawn for their additions. The markets for the SEC don’t matter for the national games. The big markets the CUSA and MWC picked up don’t matter really at all. Its about national appeal and local penetration. The Big 12 did pretty well with Fox and there is every indication the league will do close to or even better than the Pac 12, which has a substantially higher population.
ESPN is probably paying well enough that the Big 12 is wise to take the money for the next 3 years instead of waiting for the open market. There is value in having open bidding instead of closed, but there is a risk the market doesn’t increase and the loss of the extra $60 million the Big 12 will get over the next 3 years. In addition, Fox is apparently renegotiating the brand new contract as well. ESPN and Fox are sharing content, similar to the Pac 12 deal, instead of a straight Tier I and Tier II.
Market size does matter. A small market (or a duplicated market, as with TCU replacing A&M in the B12) can be overcome if accompanied by a great brand name (Nebraska) or lots of recent wins and positive exposure (WVU), but market size is still huge in terms of appeal during TV negotiations.
The ACC, for example, has had better TV ratings than all but the Big Ten and SEC. Had it gone to market in 2011 or 2012 instead of 2010, it therefore could have commanded a payout closer to those leagues and to the Pac 12, and certainly more than the Big 12. Would this have been because of positive exposure or recent wins? Nope, because the ACC has had precious few of those. Would have been because of brand names? Yes, to a certain degree, because Florida State, Miami, Virginia Tech (to a lesser extent) and Clemson (to an even lesser extent) still can command strong audiences. How much would TV markets have helped? A ton! The ACC has flagship schools and/or tradition rich programs in each of the fast growing states from Maryland to Florida. The ACC owns Maryland. It owns Virginia. It owns North Carolina. And, as someone who grew up in SC, I can promise you, it owns the state of SC every bit as much as the SEC does.
Anyway, I think it’s pretty clear that market size matters very much. C-USA picked UNC-Charlotte, a school that doesn’t even have a football team or a stadium yet, over my App State Mountaineers, which has consistently drawn over 28,000 a game (darn good for C-USA level) and has had tremendous success in the past 8 years. Likewise, the MWC chose San Jose State and Utah State over New Mexico State and Idaho because of market size. Georgia State got picked by the Sun Belt over Georgia Southern because of market size. And so forth.
The Big 12 basically needed warm body replacements after losing 4 of their best schools. It remains to be seen if TCU and WVU will add much, but at least they kept the Big 12 in the game.
The Pac 12 did just fine by adding Colorado and Utah. They’re making far more money now. They now have the west coast and mountain west timezones locked up.
Nebraska is a unique case in that they’re one of the top 5 or 10 football programs in the country. Market matters a lot less at that level. There are very, very few examples like that.
Most every other example is going to be in the Texas A&M/TCU/Mizzou/WVU/Louisville/BYU range. Teams that are above average to pretty good, but not great. That’s where market size is the difference maker.
And yes, the SEC needed more markets. Outside of Florida, Atlanta, and New Orleans, they were lacking in large markets. They have a great product on the feild and needed more households to sell it to. Adding Missouri and Texas A&M will increase their viewership significantly. Also, as has been stated a million times, they’re working on an SEC network as we speak, even though for some reason you like to pretend it isn’t happening.
My post was responding to bullet. Unfortunately the format in this comments section doesn’t always make it clear who you’re responding to.
One more little piece of common sense that shouldn’t even need to be said: if West Virginia really is so much better than Missouri, as Big 12 fans love to say these days, then why did the SEC choose to take Missouri over West Virginia? West Virginia was on their knees begging to get into the SEC. Missouri was skeptical and had to be convinced to go there. And yet the SEC recruited Missouri hard and West Virginia was merely their backup plan in case Missouri said no or went to the Big Ten instead.
With your “own” the state comments, you are making my point about penetration. BC is pretty much worthless based on TV ratings. They may be the only college game in town, but the pros own Boston. Now the ACC owns Virginia and North Carolina and Clemson and FSU have excellent penetration in their states.
The SEC picked Missouri because they didn’t need a team that drew well for CBS. They have plenty of those. The Big 12 didn’t. Both picked teams that served their needs.
Michael, when you’re talking about the bottom 5 leagues, market size matters a lot.
When you’re talking about the Big 5, you’re talking about market size and penetration.
The key difference is that almost none of the schools in the bottom 5 leagues have much penetration into their markets, so you just grab schools in large markets if you’re a commissioner of one of those leagues (i.e. Big East/SunBelt/C-USA/MWC/MAC expansion).
Andy, people were making the argument that WVU has better football performance than Missouri, and that it is a better cultural fit. Obviously no one can argue that there are more TV-viewing eyeballs in the Charleston and Wheeling metro areas to compete with St. Louis and KC. Given conference championships and bowl performance, I think it’s pretty straightforward that WVU in recent history is the more successful program. And while the Big East is undoubtedly easier to win than the Big 12, the fact that West Virginia defeated the SEC, Big 12 and ACC champs in 3 different BCS bowls under three different coaches gives some credence to the idea that WVU can consistently compete above the Big East level. But Mizzou is by no means a bad program, and given the population difference I think it was an entirely reasonable choice for the SEC to make in light of its network strategy, even if I was personally unhappy when the decision was made. Also, Mizzou had the luxury of not being desperate to get into the SEC (or Big 10 or whatever) because it already had membership in a conference that wasn’t going to be a C-USA rerun league. If TX/OK had gone to the PAC, the desperation level would have undoubtedly increased.
A second point on an unrelated subject: I think the biggest reason that the Big East is going to suffer in light of the new bowl system is because they will only rarely have a premier matchup for their champion. I do not believe that WVU’s fortunes would have risen like they did in the last seven years if the BCS bowl victories had come against second or third place teams from the more prominent conferences. If South Florida or Louisville or whomever is going to be able to increase their national profile and reputation, it won’t require mere league championships. They’ll have to get into the Top 4 repeatedly, which may be impossible if there is a SoS element to the playoff selection criteria. Beating, for example, the third-place SEC team while the first-place team is in the playoffs and the second-place team is in the Champions Bowl just won’t be the same.
As I said, WVU has made a lot of hay by beating up on Pitt, Syracuse, Rutgers, UConn, and South Florida over the last few years. Back when Miami and VA Tech were in the Big East WVU almost never won their conference. Yeah, they won a lot of games, but they weren’t having to play Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, etc. Missouri’s schedules have been much, much tougher, and they’ve averaged 9.5 wins per season over the last 5 seasons and are one of only 6 schools to win at least 8 games per year over the last 6 years.
Yeah, WVU has had a lot of success in football lately. But I’m not sure we can say that WVU has been substantially better than Missouri in the last few years if you factor in strength of schedule.
And not that it’s relevant, but the Missouri and WVU did play in the Insight Bowl a few years back, with Missouri winning that game.
Just look at the final Sagarin rankings for the last few years. These give a lot of weight to strength of schedule. It just isn’t true that WVU has been any better than Mizzou over the last few years:
2007: Missouri 6, West Virginia 3
2008: Misosuri 19, West Virginia 26
2009: Missouri 54, West Virgnina 32
2010: Missouri 17, West Virginia 36
2011: Missouri 16, West Virginia 22
To put it another way, if WVU fans think they’re gonna roll through the Big 12 like they did with the Big East they’re in for a rude awakening. I expect they’ll average about 9 wins per year just like Mizzou did.
If you are making a strength of schedule argument (we don’t actually know how Sagarin’s overall rankings are calculated*) that West Virginia is in for a rude awakening, why not look at Sagarin’s SOS numbers?
2007- Mizzou 25, WVU 40
2008- Mizzou 45, WVU 47
2009- Mizzou 47, WVU 31
2010- Mizzou 28, WVU 60
2011- Mizzou 13, WVU 57
*Sagarin says SOS is implicit in the formula by comparing records of teams played, but the major components are wins losses and where the game was played.
Either way it doesn’t favor WVU.
The general sentiment among Big 12 and WVU fans is that WVU is somehow superior at football compared to Missouri, but over the last few years that simply isn’t true. Yes, they’ve averaged slightly more wins per season, but their SOS has typically been weaker. In 3 out of the 5 years you listed Mizzou’s SOS was significantly stronger than WVU’s. And for 4 out of the 5 years, Missouri was ranked higher in the Sagarin rankings.
Point is, WVU’s record is inflated by their weak Big East schedule, where as Missouri’s record was hard earned by playing in a tougher Big 12. Comparing wins and losses between the two schools doesn’t give an accurate picture.
Sure, if you look at the AP rankings etc, WVU is typically higher. But that’s because voters (and fans) aren’t very good at accounting for this sort of thing.
Andy, kudos on the 1998 Insight Bowl victory. That being said, a team that hasn’t won a conference championship since 1969 has awfully little to show for its on-the-field superiority, Sagarin rankings notwithstanding. If WVU fails to win the Big 12 between now and 2055 I will admit that Mizzou is a program with superior gameday performance.
Winning the Big 12 North was a hell of a lot tougher than winning the Big Least, and Mizzou has shared the Big 12 North title 3 out of the last 5 seasons.
Haven’t there already been predictions from “inside sources” that the Champions Bowl will match the Rose Bowl’s new payout of $80MM? I don’t think is news, unless the Champions Bowl payout is larger than the Rose Bowl, which seems hard to believe.
Regarding the impact to realignment, was there ever further confirmation that the entire deal hinges on the Big 12 expanding by another 2-4 schools by 2014?
No confirmation, but there has been a lot of talk about it.
That’s the TV money. The cities are bidding for the right to host the game. Those bids have come in during the past week.
@Brian 2, As bullet stated, the $80 mil speculation is only for the TV rights for the game. I think what Bowlsby is speculating on includes the bids by the host cities, along with coporate naming rights (such at the AT&T Cotton Bowl, or All State Sugar Bowl).
Here is a recent article that talks a little bit about it: http://www.mysanantonio.com/sports/college_sports/college_football/article/Bid-for-Champions-Bowl-worth-the-hefty-price-tag-3805625.php
I’m not endorsing the above blog post in any way, but it did have some interesting data I wanted to mention. This is a look at the OOC schedules for the last 9 NC winners. The point of this is not an attack on any of these teams, but to show that playing a weak OOC schedule has been part of the path to the NC. They are going to have to implement serious incentives in the playoff to get the top teams to play harder OOC schedules in the future.
That isn’t to say nobody plays a hard OOC schedule (see LSU last year), but most teams play at most 1 tough game. Fans say they want more than that, but do they really? How willing are fans to lose a shot at a NC just for better OOC games, or do they just want other teams to play the tough games?
Year Team Record
2003 LSU 13-1
Out Of Conference 17-32
2004 USC 13-0*
Out Of Conference 25-22
2005 Texas 13-0
Out Of Conference 17-17
2006 Florida 22-28
Out Of Conference 22-28
2007 LSU 12-2
Out Of Conference 25-25
2008 Florida 13-1
Out Of Conference 27-25
2009 Alabama 13-0
Out Of Conference 21-27
2010 Auburn 14-0
Out Of Conference 21-27
2011 Alabama 12-1
Out Of Conference 30-21**
Average OOC 23-25
* Two wins vacated for USC in 2004
** All FCS teams are included in this, namely Georgia Southern, which went 11-3 in 2011 and lost to Bama 45-21
Fans can say that all they want, but we all know how much more important being in the MNC conversation is.
Take Michigan for example. Can we really consider them to be a national title contender when they’re a 10 point underdog in their first contest of the season?
It’s an easy hole to dig out of I guess, but I’m not sure fans really want to be taking those kinds of risks. How is it going to feel for Michigan fans if they lose that game and then have to spend the rest of the season hoping other teams get knocked off even if they win out…
I don’t think anybody realistically considers Michigan to be a national title contender this year outside of one reporter from Illinois on the AP Poll.
But to answer your question, UM’s had early season losses to Notre Dame, for example, and then had to look up the polls and hope that teams ahead of them would lose in order to even get a sniff of a national championship (admittedly, most of those aforementioned losses came before the BCS was implemented). That’s probably the same for a lot of other schools as well.
I agree with the larger point being made here, i.e., it makes good sense to schedule “strategically” in order to make a run at the BCS national championship. That usually means maybe one major non-conference opponent per year in order to ensure the strength of schedule is reasonable .
But now that we have conference championship games at season’s end and seeing that the playoff is expanded to four teams, programs have a basic decision to make depending on how SOS is going to be used in the selection process. Do they put together a relatively light non-conference schedule in order to better secure an undefeated season? Or do they go for a tougher OOC sked with the thought they can recover from an early season loss, win their conference, and still get the invite as one of the four teams selected. Also, of course, we have to figure out how this committee is going to weigh conference championships. Would a 11-2 Big Ten Conference or ACC champion beat out a 11-1 SEC team that didn’t go to the SEC conference championship game? Until there’s a guideline there or a track record for how the committee thinks (and given the variable nature of the membership, that may also change over time), it’s impossible to tell.
Georgia Southern scored more than anyone else against Alabama and was down only a TD in the 3rd quarter. Saban passed for a TD in the final minute to make the score bigger than it was. So you could argue Georgia Southern was a lot tougher than most of the SEC.
Texas and Ohio State played each other in 2005 and 2006 and both years, the winner made it to the BCS game.
I think 9-game conference schedules will make it more and more rare for teams to schedule more than one tough non conference game.
FSU was scheduled (originally) for 4 ACC home games, 4 ACC road games, USF on the road, and WVU, Florida, and one FCS team at home. (The fact that WVU cancelled doesn’t change the fact that FSU was prepared to face 3 teams from AQ conferences.)
Now, however, FSU will alternate between years with 5 ACC home games/4 ACC road/1 Road game at Florida and years with 4 ACC home games/1 at home vs. UF/5 ACC road games. The remaining 2 games would both have to be home games every year (i.e., cupcakes) in order to have 7 home games.
The one saving grace in the days of 9-game league schedules might be when teams are willing to trade a home non conference game for a high paying neutral site game. LSU did this last year. It had six true home games (4 SEC, 2 ‘MAC-rifice’ type games), 5 true road games (4 SEC, 1 vs. WVU), and 1 in Dallas vs. Oregon.
For Florida State, I do miss it when it was facing Florida, Miami, and the likes of Notre Dame, USC, or Texas A&M out of conference, but I concede that the ACC was even weaker top to bottom in those days and could better afford to do those games. But, really, FSU is less willing to schedule those games now for financial reasons.
I doubt the playoff will change that pattern.
On another note, I feel that schedule strength was put in place as a factor for the playoff selection committee in order to protect teams like Oklahoma State, which was passed over in favor of Alabama despite a tougher schedule AND a conference title.
M in R,
“On another note, I feel that schedule strength was put in place as a factor for the playoff selection committee in order to…”
What is in place? Other than the vague statement that there may be a SOS component involved do we know anything about the specifics? I would assume if it was to actually be of some importance that teams would be upgrading their schedules. So far I don’t see it. In fact we continue to talk of the importance of scheduling cupcakes and limiting potential risk.
Some support for Frank’s position on the BE TV deal from Jon Wilner:
“Reaction IV: So what kind of deal are we talking about for the BE? It turned down an offer from ESPN last year that was reportedly worth $11 million per school, which looked like a monumentally bad decision in the wake of the subsequent Pitt/Syracuse/WVU departures. But my realignment sources believe the conference will, in fact, sign a comparable deal in the next few months, for three reasons: 1) The additions of Boise State and San Diego State are appealing to the networks because the conference now has access to all four times zones 2) Comcast, which owns NBC and was outbid for the Pac-12 rights, is eager to add to its college football inventory, and 3) The Big East is the only conference with its rights currently up for bid. I expect an ESPN/Comcast partnership, with ESPN handling Big East basketball — those two entities have grown up together — and NBC taking the lead on Big East football.”
‘This has to be one of the most civil, fair-minded, intelligent college football blogs on the internet. That is a credit, of course, to Frank, as well as to the commenters. I just feel that is worth mentioning.
Some of the ideas I’ve read here about the Big East are really interesting. First, someone suggested the idea that the Big East won’t get much help having its market value driven up by ESPN. The WWL has September and October for exclusive negotiations with the league. Since ESPN is filled to the brim with content from the ACC, SEC, B1G, Pac-12, and Big 12, ot to mention its other sports properties, the network isn’t hurting for colege football programming. As has been suggested, ESPN could tell the BE during those negotiations, “Here’s what we’re offering. Take it or leave it because we have no need to pay any more.” Then, if and when the league goes to the open market, the league’s bidders would only be NBC and Fox, with CBS likely being a non factor. Sure, there could be a bidding war, but ESPN, the company with the deepest pockets wouldn’t be there as the biggest driving force. So perhaps the fact that the Big East is the last major college
conference to go to market until the Big Ten in 2015 is actually a disadvantage:
the best bidder might be unavailable.
Second, is the question of how the Big East will use basketball to leverage football money. In 2010, the ACC for the first time rolled its basketball contract with ESPN into the football contract. With the sports being an all-or-nothing deal, the league was able to command more. For the Big East, would a similar maneuver be effective? Would it even be possible, given that the b-ball contract does not expire for another year? Or would the league maximize revenues by keeping the contracts separate, where, as has been mentioned, NBC gets football and ESPN gets basketball?
I expect the Big East to pass on whatever ESPN offers but for it not to get a much higher offer from either Fox or NBC. For basketball, though, NBC won’t be willing too compete with ESPN.
I expect a lowball offer from ESPN for the football portion of the package (or for them to just offer on basketball as bullet’s mentioned).
NBC is the really interesting questionmark. The question is how much they value the Big East’s football for building NBCSN.
With Comcast in charge and looking at every $, you’d think they’re going to be conservative, but they did far outbid Fox and ESPN for the next Olympics contract. Of course, you can’t compare the Big East on NBCSN to that, but it’ll be interesting to see where the dollars end up.
My guess is they end up with a package around $10-11M per year for each of the football schools. I’m not really sure the ratings justify breaking the bank for a conference whose content will end up entirely on cable…
Big 12 TV contract:
Deal not quite done. Was looking for a different article, but couldn’t find it again. In the other one, Bowlsby says ESPN and Fox weren’t working together as well as they expected. The deal has been reworked similar to the Pac 12 deal where ESPN and Fox share tier I and tier II. Getting them to work it out has delayed the deal, even though the major issues and $ have been agreed upon.
Apparently the grant of rights is delaying things as well as everyone is fine tuning the language for the 13 year GOR (since there is already a 6 year, not sure why the 13 should be so difficult).
Note that the SEC doesn’t have a deal done yet and their season is about to begin with 14 teams instead of 12. Bowlsby comments that the Big 10 had 3 years without a contract with ABC. We may not know for a while specifically what the Big 12 deal is (Neinas responded to a question about the $20 million figure from the SBJ, saying it would be that “or more.”). Rumours have it as high as $23 million. We may not know what the SEC is for a while either. The SEC may be playing this season not having a contract guaranteeing they don’t get a pay cut for adding teams (not that they seem the least worried about that).
And on expansion, Bowlsby says they always talk about it and will continue to. He didn’t name any teams that had contacted the Big 12. In essence, expansion is part of college sports now. It does sound like they believe they need to get ESPN and Fox to tie up their TV deal before they expand. That would add one more level of complexity, although a signed deal reduces their leverage.
Look what you can do if you are forced to curtail spending in certain areas for a few years 😉
Fingerprint identification? They really want to keep regular students out. Interesting that rather than reserving times in general facilities, there is a move to build facilities exclusively for the athletes. Its kind of like the athletic dorms. I don’t think that separation is a good idea for the student-athletes or the budgets of the universities.
Wow. Interesting post.
From reading this before, there are some minor inaccuracies. For example, only part of the MAC moved down in 1982 (not sure exactly which ones, but I believe 6 of the 10 did-NIU, BG and WMU did move down-they were ranked in the I-AA poll that year) so it was split like the MVC.
If you are interested in any one particular conference, the NCAA football records book (available online at NCAA.org) has a section with changes by conference. If you are interested in basketball conferences as well, there is a “conference history project” on Matt Peloquin’s conference realignment board (just google it). It was pretty complete through around 2005. Not sure if it has been updated or not.
Yeah, someone just posted it as a thread on another site, so I’m not surpised that there are some minor inaccuracies. But I did find it interesting that there have only been 5 years since 1936 in which there was no conference realignment. The media has protrayed the recent years of realignment as something out of the ordinary, and keeps asking when is this going to end. If history tells us anything, it’s that realignment probably will never fully end unless something major changes in how college football is run.
What has been different is that some top programs have considered moving and some have. And all the major conferences have been impacted to varying degrees, not just certain ones.
The Big 8 was unchanged from 1960-1996.
The Big 10 was unchanged from 1953-1993.
The SEC was unchanged from 1966-1992 (Tulane left in 66).
The SWC was unchanged except for adding Houston from 1960-1992.
The P8 was unchanged except for adding the Arizona schools in 78 from 1964-2010.
The ACC only lost South Carolina and added Georgia Tech from 1954-1992.
Once the WWII and post-war changes occurred, the big movement was below the top conferences until the realignment of the early 90s.