Red River Realignment: Texas and Oklahoma Talk to the SEC

(Image from Omaha World-Herald)

When I first started writing about conference realignment over a decade ago, it was always clear to me which school was the biggest prize for every conference: the University of Texas. Whatever metric is used for conference realignment value, Texas has a perfect score in all of them – national historic football brand, rabid fan base, massive home state delivering multiple key TV markets, elite academics and a top recruiting area for football and virtually every other sport. Adding Texas was the original dream for Big Ten expansion and the Longhorns were the centerpiece of the Pac-16 proposal. The Texas power was so overwhelming that they effectively ran the Big 12 as their own conference.

While it has long been assumed that Oklahoma would take an invite from the SEC under the right circumstances, the conference where it just means more has been a relative underdog when it comes to courting Texas. Sure, the pure football fan base out of Austin would love a schedule full of SEC opponents, but the academic and administrative sides at UT have always viewed the SEC was a wary eye. Add on top of the fact that Texas A&M moved to the SEC on its own back in 2011 and there was an undercurrent that the Longhorns couldn’t ever be perceived to be following the Aggies on principle.

At the same time, much of the value of the Big 12 to both Texas and Oklahoma was political peace. Fellow in-state institutions such as Texas Tech and Oklahoma State could continue be protected as a part of a Power 5 conference with the bargain being that UT and OU would be calling the shots for the league. In fact, it had been becoming difficult to see how Texas and/or Oklahoma could proactively leave the Big 12 without any of their “little brothers” with such a huge divide between the Power 5 and Group of 5 conferences, especially when they turned down the Pac-16 proposal that would have largely incorporated them all.

As a result, the Houston Chronicle breaking the story today that Texas and Oklahoma have reached out to the SEC is an earthquake followed up by a tsunami for conference realignment purposes. To quote Dr. Strange, “We’re in the endgame now.” The past two decades of conference realignment (starting with the ACC’s original raid of the old Big East football conference by expanding with Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College) have been leading up to this moment.

The COVID-19 pandemic also crystallized something very clearly for schools both large and small across the country: no one can afford to leave material amounts of money on the table any longer. That can’t be emphasized enough. It’s not an accident that a 12-team college football playoff is coming down the pike sooner rather than later and now, several months after the SEC has signed a Game of the Week deal with ESPN worth around $300 million per year (and note that this is on top of their existing ESPN deal and the SEC Network), it appears that all of the overarching concerns and obstacles that UT and OU may have had (whether internal or external) might be melting away.

Another important point is that SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey has become the unambiguous alpha dog of college sports. While the SEC was always well-managed and clearly had the best product on the field for many years, it was really former Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany that was the main visionary of college sports during his tenure and who changed how leagues look at media rights (particularly the invention of the conference network) and conference realignment (where growth outside of the existing footprint became the focus). Ever since Delany retired at the end of 2019, Sankey has really positioned the SEC to be as bold off-the-field as it has been on-the-field. Within the past month, he has spearheaded the development of the new college football playoff system, completely called out the NCAA and put out a thinly veiled threat that the Power 5 could leave on their own… and now appears to be on the precipice of a once-in-a-generation SEC expansion.

It’s hard to say where this leaves competitor leagues such as the Big Ten. I can’t imagine that Texas and Oklahoma searching for a new home alone without their little brothers would have just been ceded to the SEC under Jim Delany’s watch. This isn’t a critique of current Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren, but rather that Sankey’s dominance compared to the other P5 leaders right now is unchecked. If UT and OU end up in the SEC, I could see the Big Ten having a lot of interest in Kansas. Note that KU has had the largest third tier rights TV deal in the Big 12 outside of UT’s Longhorn Network (even higher than OU), which shows the particularly unique value of the Jayhawk basketball program. There are few basketball programs that move the P5 conference realignment needle today, but KU is one of them as a true blue blood. Basketball content is quite relevant to the Big Ten Network in particular. Still, it’s difficult to find another great fit for the B1G outside of a much more difficult raid of the ACC (e.g. Georgia Tech, Virginia) or (gasp!) Pac-12 (e.g. Colorado).

Now, there have already been rumblings that Texas A&M will work try to block this SEC expansion. While I could see the leadership of Texas A&M voting against adding Texas and Oklahoma in order to superficially placate their alums, it’s completely insane for me to think that any other SEC member would oppose those additions regardless of any past history (such as Missouri’s experience with Texas in the Big 12). Any conference that has the ability to add two of the biggest brands in college sports in one fell swoop will hammer this through, particularly with a leader like Sankey.

The bottom line is that Texas and Oklahoma going to the SEC would be the greatest heist in conference realignment history. We’re in the endgame now.

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

610 thoughts on “Red River Realignment: Texas and Oklahoma Talk to the SEC

  1. FLP_NDRox

    It begins again 😀

    Was it the pandemic? The NIL $$$? Looking forward to riding the rollercoaster with you all.

    Subscribe, Go Irish.

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    1. m(Ag)

      1) SEC agrees to major money with ESPN to replace CBS several years out (The money is the big impact, but note a side affect…since all SEC rights will now be owned by ESPN, it makes folding the LHN into SEC easy)
      2) COVID makes major money more appealing to everyone
      3) B12 tries to get ESPN & Fox to add years to their contract (expiring in 2025) in exchange for money…and those networks say no. Any delusions B12 members could have had about where they stand are now gone.

      #3 was reported 2 months ago…I’d imagine the discussions between OU and the Longhorns started right away and they’ve been talking directly with the SEC for a month or so. Of course, it’s also possible that those 2 schools started planning this before #3, and those negotiations were a last-ditch attempt to see if it would be financially sensible NOT to move.

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  2. Alan from Baton Rouge

    Geaux LSU Tigers!

    If this happens, what a coup for the SEC!

    What’s the next domino to fall?

    Kansas to the B1G, but who is #16? It would appear that the only schools up for grabs would be B-12 (implosion) and SEC (no granting of rights). Would Mizzou make the jump from the SEC to the B1G? Other than something crazy like Mizzou and the Aggies quitting the SEC in protest, Iowa State would appear to be the best fit to partner with Kansas. Or would the B1G stand pat at 15 like they did at 11 for so many years?

    Does this force Notre Dame to join the ACC full-time? If so, who is #16 for the ACC? West Virginia? I never thought the ACC snobs would take Louisville, until they did.

    What does the PAC-12 do? OK State, Texas Tech, K-State & Iowa State may not fit in at the west coast cocktail party or have PAC academic credentials, but neither does Washington State and Oregon State. And these B-12 schools have more passionate fanbases than most current PAC-12 schools, if that matters. The PAC desperately needs to get into the central time zone for their next TV contract.

    Are former Rose Bowl Champion TCU Horned Frogs and the reigning basketball champion Baylor Bears relegated to the American?

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    1. urbanleftbehind

      Pac10 needs to get over its feels and offer Baylor as a way of getting BYU to drop it’s no games on Sundays. They can then get to 16 by adding 2 more of the old 12.

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      1. @urbanleftbehind – I’d never say never to anything these days, but the Pac-12 adding either BYU or Baylor is very near the top of “never” regardless of money. Stanford, Berkeley and UCLA (at a minimum) aren’t signing off on being married to those schools in the same league for a whole host of reasons.

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        1. Alan from Baton Rouge

          Frank – despite its middle name TCU is a very secular school. Unlike Baylor, BYU, and Notre Dame, the religious affiliation of TCU has no draw. Most TCU students probably don’t even know the church the school is affiliated with. Whether the PAC would have any interest in them, I have no idea, but they shouldn’t group TCU in with BYU and Baylor.

          TCU’s religious affiliation is with the Disciples of Christ, which somewhere between the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians on the spectrum of moderate mainline Protestant denominations. The church has nothing to do with TCU’s governance. And most people have never heard of them.

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        2. EndeavorWMEdani

          The B1G made their bed when, against the advice of Fox Sports and every same person in B1G leadership, they passed on Jim Phillips. Now they have to bring in Alvarez to navigate this expansion mess, call those involved who have no confidence in Warren, and throw a few Hail Marys.

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      2. Brian

        There is zero chance the P12 would offer Baylor or BYU due to religious interference in research and teaching. There is also zero chance BYU would drop their Sunday game rule since the church runs the school. Besides, what would Baylor add to the P12?

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        1. urbanleftbehind

          It’s a Central Time zone school (for TV), midway between the DFW metroplex and the greater Austin area, would be like MD/Rutgers for the BIG. TCU paired with T Tech might be a more palatable route.

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          1. Brian

            Having 1 central time school doesn’t really help. No west coast fans want 10 am kickoffs, and 11 am is only marginally better. Look how many fans complain about noon games.

            And Waco is a tiny market. The P12 isn’t making inroads into TX with just Baylor.

            TCU would be more palatable and is in DFW. TT doesn’t bring much of a market, but it is a state school that is strong in west TX.

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          2. Alan from Baton Rouge

            Enrollment, alumni base, media markets, endowment, and attendance should all be considered when looking at schools that aren’t no-brainers.

            Certainly none of the remaining B-12 schools move the needle for the B1G, unless they panic and feel the need to go to 16. Iowa State & Kansas are AAU and Midwest.

            I don’t think the ACC plays this realignment round unless the Irish feel the need to join the conference full time. If so, Kansas and West Virginia may come into consideration for #16.

            I do think the PAC needs to get into the Central time zone to expand their TV windows. Having four teams in Central time would make a nice pod to go with a Mountain time pod (AZ, AZ State, CO & UT), and Pacific NW pod (OR OR State, WA & WA State) and a CA pod (Cal, Stanford, UCLA & USC).

            2019 average attendance
            Iowa State 59,794
            OK State 54,817
            TX Tech 53,418
            K-State 48,818
            PAC-12 average 46,080
            Baylor 45,517
            TCU 42,881
            Kansas 33,875

            AAU – Iowa State & Kansas. While not AAU, TCU and Baylor are very good schools.

            Endowment
            TCU $2B
            Kansas $1.8B
            Baylor $1.7B
            TX Tech $1.32B
            Iowa State $1.1B
            OK State $760M
            K-State $524M

            Enrollment
            TX Tech 40K
            Iowa State 33K
            Kansas 28K
            OK State 24K
            K-State 21K
            Baylor 20K
            TCU 11K

            I’d consider Baylor a non-starter with the PAC. Baptists with multiple scandals.

            As far as media markets, TCU gets them into DFW, but they certainly don’t control it. Kansas and K-State are close to Kansas City. OK State is near OKC. Iowa State & TX Tech are in outposts but have more passionate fanbases than most PAC schools.

            Take your pick PAC. I’d pick TCU, Texas Tech, Kansas, and Iowa State. If USC & UCLA don’t want to play in Ames in November, than take OK State. Baylor and K-State – no shot.

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          3. Brian

            Alan,

            I agree that multiple central time schools could make sense, but just 1 wouldn’t. And Baylor would be about the P12’s last choice. KU, ISU, OkSU, TT and TCU are all options, but not great ones.

            A football-only arrangement with the B10 might work, but it fell apart due to 9 game schedules and locked OOC rivals (ND) last time. And there is really only value in some of the P12 teams. The P12 can’t drop to 8 games because everyone wants to play in CA. With 9 games plus rivalries, it’s hard to force another P5 game on everyone in the P12 anyway.

            The real question is how would the B10 benefit enough to justify it.

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    2. There is a lote of chatter on social media that the SEC has invited Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin snd Michigan. To the SEC to solidify the creation of college footbal’s first SUPER conference. Also Oregon and USC. As the conference dominos began and GOR rights fall apart, FSU, Miami, Clemson and UNC are aso targets. 26 powers would cause the NCAA brass to take notice.

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      1. @Wes Haggard – You can ever say “never” in conference realignment, but that is as close as you’ll get to a “never” from me. I can buy the hypothetical notion of a college football super league where all of the powers leave their leagues and get together – I don’t find that likely, but can see the financial aspect of it. The Big Ten powers aren’t just going to join the SEC wholesale – that’s just the epitome of social media realignment insanity (and I say that as someone that is associated with social media realignment insanity).

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  3. Brian

    A few issues:

    * The little brothers haven’t played their government cards yet. It remains to be seen if this is even possible.

    * Would they announce it now but not move until the current GoR ends? Do they pay a massive buyout (can’t see why the rest of the B12 would make it easy on them)? Or do we see a GoR get challenged for the first time?

    * Do the SEC non-powers really want 2 more bluebloods to lose to? It’s hard enough to win in the SEC as it is.

    * Presumably UT and OU would join the west, so is Auburn moving to the east? If so, do they lock AL/AU? Or does MO also move to the west so AL and Auburn both go east? What do LSU, MsSU and MS think about that?

    * Do they stick at 8 SEC games, with just 1 crossover? Or being the SEC do they drop back to 7 and let teams use the extra non-conference game to play other SEC teams if they want?

    * Obviously the B12 would have to react, but would anyone else? Other than KU and maybe WV, all the prime expansion targets (ND, all ACC schools) are in deals that prevent them from moving. The B10 will presumably at least talk to UT and OU, but I don’t think OU has any interest in the B10 and I doubt UT does either.

    * Does the B10 really want KU (another football dreg)? They’re at least interested. But who do they partner with? There are no other viable B12 teams for the B10 (beyond UT and OU), ND can only join the ACC, and ACC teams can’t leave due to their GoR. I can’t imagine 15 teams making sense if you maintain divisions.

    * How would the P12 respond? Do they blindly expand just to chase numbers? Who would they consider? KU and … ?

    * What does WV do? The other B12 schools trying to rebuild the conference makes some sense, but WV is an outlier. Without the big money, you have to think WV looks elsewhere. Do they have to join the AAC because the ACC and B10 don’t want them?

    * This could be the impetus for the P5 looking to change CCG rules again to eliminate the need for divisions. That lets the B10 have 15, and the SEC can schedule a little more easily. The ACC already inquired about it.

    * What does this mean for the CFP expansion? 12 teams with 4 autobids? 5 autobids? Are people still willing to not cap the number of teams from 1 conference? Would any non-SEC fan trust the committee to rank teams fairly?

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    1. @Brian – Agree that these are all issues, although I think that if UT and OU truly do have the political issues worked out (or at least believe that they have the autonomy to make this decision on their own), there’s no way that the SEC itself can say no. Everything is completely in the hands of UT and OU. It would be like Batman and Superman leaving The Justice League and asking if they can join The Avengers – we can debate about cultural fit, the political ramifications of DC superheroes joining a Marvel property, or whether Iron Man and Captain America would feel relegated in status, but the bottom line is that The Avengers HAVE to say “Yes” in that situation.

      My guess is that conferences are eventually going to have the option to scrap divisions, particularly since a 12-team playoff system where the top 6 conference champs get bids (as opposed to unambiguous auto-bids for the P5) is going to incentive leagues to always have their best two teams in their respective conference championship games. So, the SEC divisional split may end up becoming moot.

      I also tend to agree that the realignment reaction from the other P5 leagues (beyond the Big 12 backfilling with options like Houston, Cincinnati, BYU, etc.) might end up being muted since there really aren’t great options to react with here. Kansas is the one remaining school that combines value to the Big Ten, Pac-12 and ACC with the institutional profile to fit in with them, but everyone else in the Big 12 is like trying to fit a proverbial peg into a round hole. I don’t think the Pac-12 has any interest at all in schools like Texas Tech and Oklahoma State without Texas and Oklahoma coming along with them. A school like Iowa State has the academic and institutional profile for the Big Ten, but they have the intractable problem that they’d be a second Iowa school, which doesn’t work financially (and really doesn’t address the entire long-term goal of Big Ten expansion to get *out* of the Midwest and into regions with better demographic growth).

      To use my earlier example, if Batman and Superman leave for The Avengers, I believe that The Justice League would be pretty paralyzed from really reacting at all: they’re not going to start adding random characters for the sake of adding them when The Avengers just took their two marquee brand names. It’s the same thing with the SEC adding UT and OU – it’s the ultimate power play because the SEC can add them and the rest of the P5 really don’t have any realistic countermoves at all outside of marginal options that may not even fit. That’s a big contrast to the conference realignment period that kicked off in 2010 where there lots of options and scenarios for all leagues if someone else made a move.

      Frankly, the best option for the Big Ten and Pac-12 might be to stand pat as individual conferences but attempt to resurrect the broad-based partnership that was scuttled several years ago.

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        1. @greg – The Big 12 is able to play its conference championship game without divisions since it has a full conference round robin. For conferences with 12 or more teams, you need divisions where the schools play a round robin within their respective divisions. That being said, I’d wager on the divisional requirement going away (more because of the proposed 12-team playoff heavily incentivizing it going away than anything about realignment specifically).

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    2. Mike

      @Brian –

      * Would they announce it now but not move until the current GoR ends? Do they pay a massive buyout (can’t see why the rest of the B12 would make it easy on them)? Or do we see a GoR get challenged for the first time?

      I saw one report (I forgot where) that said UT/OU declaring to leave would cause ESPN/Fox to use a composition clause in the contract to either renegotiate or exit the deal. The thought was since the GOR is tied to the original contact UT/OU would then have the grounds to exit the deal under the normal Big 12 fee structure. The fee structure would be reduced, because the fees are tied to future distributions and the new contract would be less than the current one.


      * Do they stick at 8 SEC games, with just 1 crossover? Or being the SEC do they drop back to 7 and let teams use the extra non-conference game to play other SEC teams if they want?

      My guess is they’ll go to pods. I would be surprised if the division requirement stays.


      * Obviously the B12 would have to react, but would anyone else? Other than KU and maybe WV, all the prime expansion targets (ND, all ACC schools) are in deals that prevent them from moving. The B10 will presumably at least talk to UT and OU, but I don’t think OU has any interest in the B10 and I doubt UT does either.

      I imagine the Big 12 will cherry pick the MWC, with an outside chance at a full on merger. Former OU President Dave Boren would have “crawled on glass to Chicago” for a Big Ten invite. I don’t know anything about the current president, but you would think the Big Ten brand would carry some weight.


      * Does the B10 really want KU (another football dreg)? They’re at least interested. But who do they partner with? There are no other viable B12 teams for the B10 (beyond UT and OU), ND can only join the ACC, and ACC teams can’t leave due to their GoR. I can’t imagine 15 teams making sense if you maintain divisions.

      IMO – yes. I imagine they’ll take them, and wait (three pods of 5 assuming the division requirement goes away). If I was Kevin Warren, I’d try and swing a KU/OU expansion especially if the Tech problem resurfaces.


      * How would the P12 respond? Do they blindly expand just to chase numbers? Who would they consider? KU and … ?

      If it was me, I’d offer OU/UT/TT/OSU and hope political problems make the PAC12 the only choice.


      * What does WV do? The other B12 schools trying to rebuild the conference makes some sense, but WV is an outlier. Without the big money, you have to think WV looks elsewhere. Do they have to join the AAC because the ACC and B10 don’t want them?

      My guess, they stay in the new Big 12 or go indy.


      * What does this mean for the CFP expansion? 12 teams with 4 autobids? 5 autobids? Are people still willing to not cap the number of teams from 1 conference? Would any non-SEC fan trust the committee to rank teams fairly?

      Four major conference champions, four Byes.

      Orange – ACC Champ
      Sugar – SEC Champ
      Fiesta – Big Ten Champ
      Rose – PAC 12 Champ

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      1. Brian

        Mike,

        1. OU isn’t going to the B10 without UT. The SEC means more money and their academics are better now with TAMU, MO, UF and Vandy all in the AAU. Add in UT and that’s pretty solid company. The SEC is also a much better cultural fit.

        2. Pods are nice to say, but nobody has used them successfully. Most conferences don’t easily split into equal-size chunks, and especially not ones that are competitively balanced.

        SEC:
        SW – UT, OU, TAMU, MO
        S – LSU, MS, MsSU, AR
        N – UK, UTN, VU, AL
        SE – UF, UGA, SC, AU

        It’s very hard to not break important rivalries and still respect geography. And look how easy AL’s pod is.

        B10:
        W – KU, NE, IA, WI, MN (easy)
        C – IL, NW, IN, PU, MSU
        E – UMD, RU, PSU, OSU, UM

        Again, there’s no good way to deal with OSU/UM/MSU. I think the B10 might lock a few rivalries and rotate the other games equally. You can lock 2 and play 6 of the other 12 every year with just 8 games (or 7/12 to stay at 9). Or lock 3 and play 6 of 11 every year.

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        1. Mike

          Pods are nice to say, but nobody has used them successfully.

          The NFL’s divisions are essentially pods.

          The issue is a 15 team set up doesn’t work great with 9 conference games unless you have a Notre Dame type member. it works better with 8 or 10.

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          1. Brian

            The NFL is 32 peers. College conferences are much smaller, have a much shorter season, have much greater disparities in talent level, and there are a lot more non-geographical rivalries in CFB to maintain.

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    1. Roman Crane

      This has to get fixed ASAP, and I think the conference commissioners know this. SEC-Big Ten will need to lead the way on governing this issue to prevent the collapse of college sports.

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      1. Richard

        They’ll “fix” it by allowing them to take place.

        College football players will (finally) get paid no matter whether you like it or not.

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        1. UWBob

          I hear this comment a lot, that college football players will finally get paid. College football players do get paid, a lot. Cost of tuition room and board, etc. Its a minimum 50k per year salary. Add in all the other perks like free advertisement every Saturday showcasing their ability, access to trainers, nutrition, and a whole host of other perks most football probably rake in more than 200k per year worth of monetary value. In addition, most college football players would never be admitted to most big colleges based on academic competition, how much is that worth to skip the line of every college kid who is more academic worthy to get into the school of your choice? 100k? More? Couple California celebs just did jail time paying for that very thing.

          Sure you can say that an elite level athlete is probably undercompensated, but most college athletes are way overcompensated for the value they bring in. Not every recruit is a 5 star NFL prospect, fact, most are not. The vast super majority are not.

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      2. billinmidwest

        What can they do?

        Cutting back on the length of the season and raising admission standards might go a long way toward justifying the “we can’t pay the players” argument, but that would cut into the revenue portion of college athletics and would necessitate cutting non-revenue sports. And, since some of the biggest boosters in college athletics were male college athletes (Phil Knight was a Track athlete at Oregon), there’s a limit to how much a college can cut men’s sports since cutting female sports isn’t happening without changes to Title IX.

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        1. Brian

          Unless the schools separate the revenue sports from the schools. Just turn them into AAA football and be done with it, and remove the college names and logos. Then with about 140 fewer male athletes, they can cut a whole bunch of female sports too while being Title IX compliant. Yes they’d lose all the TV money, but most athletic departments lose money on sports. And it’s not because of the non-revenue teams, it’s the high cost of football usually. For most of I-A, this would be a net positive.

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          1. Richard

            “but most athletic departments lose money on sports”

            Eh. They claim to lose money. (There are cross-subsidies everywhere in higher ed).

            But I don’t see many DivI programs dropping down to FCS or DivIII. Which tells me that for the vast majority of DivI schools, the net benefit/drag (including alumni donations and attracting students) is still at least neutral if not positive, not negative.

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  4. Marc

    Was it the pandemic? The NIL $$$?

    Texas and Oklahoma are leaving a lot of money on the table by not being in a more lucrative league. In college sports, when there is money to be made, eventually someone goes after it.

    I do think the 12-team playoff is a big driver. In the current system, Oklahoma has reached the playoff four times in six years. They were the B12 champ in each of those years, and never had more than one loss. Now, imagine how they would have fared if they had played an SEC schedule. Although current rules allow a conference to place two teams in the playoff, the SEC did that only once.

    With 12 teams in the playoff, it is almost guaranteed that the SEC will get two each year, and I would bet they often get three. The second regular-season loss won’t be a playoff killer, as it is now.

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    1. Christian

      I think the SEC is projecting they get 4 to 6 teams in the playoff each year (7 would be the max for any conference). With only 8 conference games and mostly weak non-conference scheduling, there will often be several 9-3 SEC teams that are ranked in the top 15.

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      1. Roman Crane

        Their odds of getting 5 or more go up quite a bit if their UT/OU raid effectively neuters the Big 12 and turns 6 auto-bids to 5….

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  5. Marc

    I have a question about NIL rights. Let’s say 5* QB prospect Fred Bloggs is weighing scholarship offers from Alabama and USC. An Alabama booster tells Bloggs, if he signs with the Tide, he’ll get a $1 million NIL deal to endorse the booster’s Tuscaloosa gardening business. But wait just a sec. A USC booster offers Bloggs $2 million to endorse a Los Angeles accounting firm. Bloggs signs with USC.

    Is that an NCAA violation?

    Like

    1. Brian

      I believe their tenuous rules do forbid that, technically. You can offer him the deal, but you can’t make it contingent on committing. But you could announce that you’d like to sign the starting USC QB to a $2M NIL deal next year.

      I doubt any restrictions can really get enforced right now because there are so many loopholes.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Marc

    Kansas to the B1G, but who is #16?

    I don’t see the B10 rushing to add Kansas. These moves are driven by football, and nobody covets Kansas football, however great their basketball program is.

    There has never been a time in history when all of the major conferences had equal numbers of teams. As it is, you could argue that Nebraska, Rutgers, and Maryland have not really carried their weight. If the B10 adds another one or two, have to be super-duper sure that they are making the league better.

    Although the ACC is untouchable now, by the late 2020s its schools will be in the same position UT and OK are today—able to start flirting with other conferences. I could easily see the B10 waiting till then.

    Does this force Notre Dame to join the ACC full-time?

    I cannot see why. These moves would not change ND’s position at all.

    What does the PAC-12 do? . . . The PAC desperately needs to get into the central time zone for their next TV contract.

    Unlike the B10, the P12 has obvious problems. It is probably a better conference with the additions of Kansas, K-State, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State. I would not be surprised if they were talking already. That would leave TCU, West Virginia, and Iowa State to join the American.

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    1. Scott

      You misunderstand the expansion of Rutgers and Maryland by the BiG. It wasn’t football driven at ALL. It was BiG 10 diaspora in NY and DC metro areas. It is huge. Adding them allowed FOX into those markets for the BTN, thus bumping up the payouts to the league.

      It is not about quality of just the local football tea, it is how many alumni there that will sign up for the BTN network, or force the local cable to carry it. It is much more complex.

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    2. FLP_NDRox

      If the Pandemic showed Texas and OU what happens if you leave money on the table, it showed ND what scheduling would look like if late seasons OOC windows went away even more than currently and I have to think it scared the heck out of the AD’s office. If the SEC goes to a 9 or 10 game conference slate to handle the 16 teams and TV demands more conference games for the B1G and the ACC I can see how ND’s hand might be forced, unfortunately.

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      1. Alan from Baton Rouge

        FLP – I think a 10 game conference schedule is coming. ESPN will demand it, and get it with their exclusivity and control over the SEC. You know ESPN is at the table with Sankey during these UT/OU discussions.

        All the other conference TV contracts expire in a few years. The networks will want something of value such as in more good games in exchange for cash.

        How air tight is that agreement. Is ND to the B1G even a remote option?

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        1. Brian

          Alan,

          The SEC might finally get pushed to 9 games, but 10 is not happening any time soon. More likely ESPN would push the SEC to toughen up by dropping all those I-AA games in November and maybe moving to parity-based scheduling to get even more big games.

          ND can only go to the ACC through 2036 unless that contract can be broken. I’m guessing the lawyers made it as airtight as possible. But for enough money, any contract can be broken.

          Like

    3. Brian

      Marc,

      KU hoops is very valuable, especially to a conference that hasn’t won the national title in 20 years. KU also brings another large metro area into the footprint. And KU is AAU.

      That doesn’t mean the B10 will add them, because KS isn’t a large state and KU doesn’t help the eastward push, but they are certainly a viable option. I don’t know if they are a breakeven school in terms of finances or not, but the experts can crunch those numbers.

      The ACC GoR lasts through 2036, and the remaining schools would still probably prefer the ACC to joining the B10, so I doubt the B10 can just wait and hope to poach UVA. And note that none of the ACC options for the B10 (i.e. not Clemson or FSU) are great help in football except ND.

      In some ways, this may be the first step towards a super league (similar to the P5 separating from D-I).

      Like

  7. No schools that would really move the needle besides Texas and OU (and ND).

    I’m still in favor of a B20 (either UNC+UVa+Duke+GTech and maybe whatever is needed to placate them like NCSU or the CA Pac schools and extras like UDub and CU). Possibly even a B24 so long as the extra schools can pay for themselves. There is strength in numbers and would be needed as a counterweight to the SEC.

    KU wouldn’t add as much as even those schools.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. FLP_NDRox

      Not sure how tight the contracts are. I don’t see the B1G panicking and adding members less desirable than KU. And they waited at 11 for years.

      I think last year was interesting because it was basically a best case scenario ACC schedule and I don’t think there was much fan interest in it at all outside of the two Clemson games and that’s telling. If the B1G can create a more interesting schedule than the ACC (and that means Annuals with at least some of the Eastern powers) there’s a possibility. But the ACC is more likely to leave space for Navy and the California trips since those games leaving were the ones that got the biggest reaction.

      Like

      1. @FLP_NDRox – Obviously, I’d love Notre Dame in the Big Ten as a B1G guy. That being said, there’s certainly something in ND’s core identity where independence in and of itself is the goal, whether it’s rational or not. At most places, I’d say that the fear of disgruntled alumni withholding donations is usually overblown, but I wouldn’t say that with ND and their alumni base (and you probably would know that better than me).

        Like

        1. FLP_NDRox

          All that is very true. But there was a real question about being able to have a full schedule after the B1G and 12-Pac first cancelled then went to Conference Only, The SEC went to Conference Only, and the ACC was at Conference +1. Of course the fact I don’t remember what the BXII did is also kind of telling.

          I think the AD’s office wants a conference for scheduling purposes, guarantee money, and better bowl tie-ins. I think the president’s office and the BOT would prefer independence like most all the Alumni. I think that the ACC experiment last year did not go as well as they hoped even going undefeated in the Regular Season and getting a playoff birth as far as fan interest or having people be less against joining the ACC or another conference. The Pro-Independence sentiment is still very strong. But so is the desire not to have to play BYU, Liberty, NMSU, and Army every November.

          I think ND stays put til the GOR is up in the 2030s, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the Irish join a conference due to not being able to get a schedule.

          …That and the Rose Bowl trying to kill on-campus play-off games. Home Playoff Games was the argument to the alumni for Swarbrick making a play-off where ND could never have a 1st round bye as an independent. That’s a story that’s not getting enough traction.

          Like

  8. davidpsu

    How about The University of Toronto to the B1G? All of Canada would be a nice addition of TV viewers. How could Notre Dame resist an invite after that?

    Like

    1. Colin

      Toronto would be a tremendous addition. AAU member, largest school in the NCAA by far with 93,000 students, third largest metro area in the B1G footprint behind NYC and Chicago, adds Ontario to the BTN footprint (15 million). And here’s the academic ranking of the top 20 universities in North America:

      Rank University Country
      1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology United States us
      2 Harvard University United States us
      3 Stanford University United States us
      4 Cornell University United States us
      5 University of California, Berkeley United States us
      6 Johns Hopkins University United States us
      7 Columbia University in the City of New York United States us
      8 University of Michigan United States us
      9 University of Washington United States us
      10 University of Minnesota-Twin Cities United States us
      11 Penn State University United States us
      12 University of California, Los Angeles United States us
      13 University of Pennsylvania United States us
      14 University of Toronto Canada ca
      15 Yale University United States us
      16 Purdue University United States us
      17 The University of Texas at Austin United States us
      18 New York University United States us
      19 University of Wisconsin-Madison United States us
      20 Carnegie Mellon University

      Like

  9. Tyson

    I think any concerns about state legislatures “blocking” this move are overblown. The only thing worse than seeing a “junior” being overlooked in realignment (ie Okla St, Texas Tech), is seeing your state’s flagship school being placed at a serious competitive disadvantage, which is where Texas and OU find themselves in the Big12. Now, that’s not to say political moves can’t be made; would it be in the interest of the SEC to facilitate Mizzou’s move to the B1G, making room for BOTH OU and OSU to join the SEC with Texas? The B1G also adds KU and–BOOM, goes the dynamite!—two 16-team “superconferences” are created.
    As a Texas fan, I love the idea of playing OU, A&M, LSU, and Arkansas every year. These are our natural rivals. Would absolutely LOVE this outcome

    Like

      1. Tyson

        I haven’t seen a single credible source saying Arkansas and Mizzou are no votes. And if you think about it, why in the world WOULD Arkansas vote no? Since their disconnect from Texas and the SWC they have languished in mediocrity, and I defy anyone to tell me who Arkansas claims as a “rival”.

        Like

        1. Alan from Baton Rouge

          Tyson – everyone in the state of Arkansas hates LSU. And what makes them hate LSU even more is that LSU fans could care less about Arkansas. Arkansas also considers A&M to be a rival.

          I would think Arkansas would welcome Texas and Oklahoma for the following reasons: guaranteed sellouts; Fayetteville won’t be an outpost any longer; and they have a shared history with those schools.

          Arkansas and Texas gave periodically played each other over the last 30 years. I’ve never sensed any bad blood.

          Like

    1. frug

      The only thing worse than seeing a “junior” being overlooked in realignment (ie Okla St, Texas Tech), is seeing your state’s flagship school being placed at a serious competitive disadvantage, which is where Texas and OU find themselves in the Big12.

      The Texas State Legislature was more than happy to force UT and A&M to stay in a SWC that was in far worse shape than the Big XII is now if they didn’t take TTU and Baylor with them.

      Like

      1. Alan from Baton Rouge

        Frug – it’s been almost 30 years since the demise of the SWC. Things have changed. The money in college sports has increased exponentially.

        And generally speaking today’s legislators (in all states) are more partisan, less sophisticated, and dumber than their predecessors in the 90s.

        Like

        1. frug

          And generally speaking today’s legislators (in all states) are more partisan, less sophisticated, and dumber than their predecessors in the 90s.

          Doesn’t that kind of prove my point though? I mean if legislators of the early 90’s were willing to force UT and TAMU to stay in the zombie SWC what would the idiots in office now being willing to do?

          This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s impossible for Texas to leave (aTm was able to get out by getting a friendly and distracted governor in place and then waiting for the legislature to end its session), but I’m sure their are plenty of politicians that would be perfectly willing to screw UT to protect TTU and Baylor.

          Like

          1. Alan from Baton Rouge

            Frug – my point is this current group doesn’t have the political acumen to pull off a similar power play Ann Richards and Bob Bullock did back in the 90s. And Texas’ current Gov is a Longhorn.

            Like

          2. frug

            Maybe. But Oklahoma’s governor is a Cowboy and he could put a kibosh on this as well. Not saying he will (in fact I give UT to OU 50% chance of joining the SEC which as these things go is pretty high), but plenty of politicians have the leverage and willingness to protect younger brothers.

            Like

    2. Brian

      Tyson,

      Where is the current competitive disadvantage? UT and OU have a fairly easy path to the CCG and thus the playoff right now. They get paid on par with the B10 and SEC schools once you add in their 3rd tier rights. They might make even more in the SEC, but at the cost of a much tougher path to winning the conference and making the playoff.

      Like

    3. billinmidwest

      You may be right about the Texas legislature not blocking the move, but the financial situation for higher education over the next 10-20 years was looking pretty bad *PRIOR* to the pandemic.


      https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelhorn/2018/12/13/will-half-of-all-colleges-really-close-in-the-next-decade/?sh=160f5e1752e5

      Maybe OU and UT will be fine over the next 10-20 years, but not without some belt tightening. This belt tightening will be made harder when the legislature decides to help smaller schools in their states out of bad blood stirred up during this move to the SEC.

      Like

  10. Logan

    Kansas’ blue blood basketball program is facing a number of Level 1 NCAA violations equal to the number of conference wins their football program has over the last 10 seasons – 5.

    I’m biased as a Mizzou fan living in KC, but the Big Ten adding KU after the SEC adds Texas and OU would be like adding LiAngelo after the SEC adds LaMelo and Lonzo, or Cooper after the SEC adds Peyton and Eli.

    I get that this is the point of the article, that the SEC is now king, but how did we get here? Was the Nebraska/Maryland/Rutgers expansion a mistake? Or is this just a product of Nick Saban’s dominance? Will the B1G react to the SEC’s moves by poaching whoever is available to get to 16, or will they attempt to make a big splash of their own?

    Like

    1. Richard

      We got here by A&M joining the SEC and the SEC having the most fertile recruiting grounds.

      Adding UMD and RU opened up the East Coast more to the B10. I would not call adding them a mistake. This was going to happen even if the B10 had stood pat in any case.

      Only way to have thwarted this was if the B10 had added Texas in the early ’90’s.

      Like

      1. Tyson

        I’ll admit the Mizzou to B1G is a stretch, though not as big as you suggest; however I think it is very possible that KU gets a B1G invite

        Like

        1. Richard

          Unlike Frank, I disagree.

          KS is a small-population non-growing Midwestern state like Nebraska and is a marquee brand in the less popular sport.

          Either the B10 will poach the top brands that are academic fits from either the Pac or ACC (or both) or will do nothing.

          Like

          1. Scott

            You are somewhat mistaken. Two key guidance of the BiG10 is AAU status (KU is) school is land grant state flagship.

            But bigger is BiG diaspora in the region, not necessarily record of that home school. That is why they wanted Rutgers and Maryland. Not football quality, it is the amount of BiG alumni in the are, so that the local cable systems would carry, or alumni would subscribe/stream the BTN and the Fox Sports Network that carries them. THAT is the driver. Selling subscriptions, diaspora gets to see games. Here at Maryland, you would not believe how many locals are BiG Ten alumni. Fox then sells the BTN to local cable. That is how it all works.

            I cannot attest to BiG diaspora in Kansas. Only DC metro area and NY.

            Like

          2. Richard

            Scott:
            I’m not really mistaken at all.

            I agree with you on wisdom of adding RU and UMD, but
            1. Neither are small-population states.
            2. Both have a bunch of alums from many B10 schools.
            3. Both are fertile grounds for both football recruits and OOS students.

            Other than Husker alums in KC, none of that is true of KS.

            Like

          3. @Richard – The argument for Kansas is the basketball corollary for adding Nebraska for football: large passionate fan bases that are legi blue bloods in their respective sports. I’m not saying that’s the right move for the Big Ten, but it’s at least a colorable argument if the current belief is that the media shift to streaming puts more of a value on passionate fan bases and national brand names compared to larger markets for cable TV households.

            The challenge is that Kansas looks like a pretty good expansion choice when paired with another school like UT or OU, but adding KU alone is probably a tough sell for the Big Ten and it’s hard to find someone to pair them with outside of attempting to poach ACC or Pac-12 schools or adding Notre Dame, all of which are exponentially more difficult (and may not be financially feasible when the ACC has a long-term grant of rights agreement in place).

            Like

          4. Nostradamus

            Frank, the counterargument is that basketball revenue is a drop in the bucket compared to football revenue. If you are trying to avoid diluting your $54 million per school pot, Kansas’ NCAA basketball tournament credits and inventory for BTN don’t do that at all.

            Like

          5. @Nostradamus – I agree with that generally. That being said, I do think that Kansas could be in a different category with maybe a very small handful of other schools (UNC, Duke and Kentucky being the others) where their basketball pedigree elevates the TV value for a conference in a way that others can’t.

            Like

          6. Nostradamus

            Frank,

            I agree with you on that. If this goes down, they’d be the least of the remaining Big XII schools that need to worry as a power conference likely picks them up. I just don’t necessarily think it is the Big Ten from the monetary side. That hurdle for the Big Ten versus say the ACC for the Pac-12 is pretty wide right now. The Big Ten can afford to be and it should choosier this go around.

            Like

          7. Richard

            I’d have to disagree, Frank. I don’t think bringing solely a basketball brand is enough (unlike bringing solely a football brand, as in the case of UNL or OU). UNC, UK, and Duke (as well as UCLA) offer more than solely basketball (some combination of decent football, population/demographics/recruiting, and academic brand). KU doesn’t.

            Like

          8. Roman Crane

            KU’s true value is TBD while they are facing a record five Level 1 infractions and potentially several years of probation.

            Bringing them on now would be like acquiring a physician practice that has hundreds of millions of medical malpractice claims. Too much risk at this point.

            Like

          9. @Roman Crane – That’s certainly a short-term risk, although I still think that any analysis of Kansas (or any other school) would be independent of that factor. The list of schools with some massive potential liabilities over the past several years are still many of the most valuable schools for conference realignment purposes: UNC, USC, LSU, etc. Heck, look at inside the Big Ten itself with scandals at Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan. Frankly, the fact that Penn State has effectively recovered its status in fairly short order means that pretty much nothing thrown KU’s way would keep them down for long.

            Once again, I don’t know if adding Kansas *alone* for the Big Ten makes sense and it’s hard to see a realistic school to pair up with them in an expansion. That’s definitely a practical issue here. Still, it’s just easier to get schools to move when there’s a period of overall conference realignment instability (e.g. politicians aren’t going to be worrying about protecting Kansas State if KU is in a sink-or-swim situation), so if the Big Ten really *does* want Kansas in its long-term plans, then this is the time to do it.

            Like

    2. Brian

      Logan,

      Adding UMD and RU has worked exactly as hoped – it got the B10 a lot of TV money and helped with eastern recruiting for college students. I think NE has been a disappointment since they lost AAU status (we knew that was in process when adding them) and have been terrible in football. NE’s only real value was as a football brand, and they haven’t lived up to it at all.

      As for KU sanctions, nobody really cares. KU is a blueblood and will bounce back.

      We got here by the south being a growing area, fanatical about CFB because they lacked NFL teams for decades, more interested in winning than following rules, and more interested in CFB than academics. Since all the money is in CFB and the southeast dominates in CFB, the SEC has the power.

      Like

  11. loki_the_bubba

    I can see the end of the endgame clearly. Now that we pay the players, have a 12 team playoff, and are consolidating the greedy conferences, the smaller players fall further and further behind. I don’t see the Sun Belt and CUSA being viable in the long run. The service academies may end up in FCS (where they frankly belong), but the Rice Owls, and others, will be D3 by the end of this decade.

    I wonder if the UAA still has a spot for us…

    Like

  12. Marc

    I’m still in favor of a B20 (either UNC+UVa+Duke+GTech and maybe whatever is needed to placate them like NCSU or the CA Pac schools and extras like UDub and CU). Possibly even a B24 so long as the extra schools can pay for themselves.

    A 24-team conference is really two conferences. Even if you split into two 12-team divisions, the teams within a division couldn’t play each other in football every year, unless you almost completely eliminate the non-conference slate. And when would they play teams in the other division? Almost never.

    There is strength in numbers and would be needed as a counterweight to the SEC.

    What makes a large conference necessarily better? If these moves happen, it’s because UT and OU are football kings, not because the SEC wants to get bigger for the sake of size.

    Like

    1. Network effects.

      And simply get rid of divisions. 4 protected opponents and rotate the other 15 teams over 5 slots if B20. 3 protected opponents and rotate the other 20 teams over 6 slots if B24.

      Like

    2. Kevin

      I don’t think this happens quickly or smoothly. Too much collateral damage. You could see state legislators hold up funding. They will want a viable solution for the other state schools not Texas or OU.

      Like

    1. Marc

      Kansas and Georgia Tech to B1G?

      If the B12 implodes, Kansas has an existential problem now. Georgia Tech and the other ACC teams are bound by a grant of media rights that goes into the early 2030s. So there is no way this is happening.

      (Never mind whether the B10 would even want those two schools, assuming they were available at the same time.)

      Like

  13. Colin

    Frank, you forgot about the “Gentlemen’s Agreement”. For decades we have been told of a handshake agreement by the university presidents of Florida, UGA, South Carolina, Kentucky and now Texas A&M to vote together to block FSU/Miami, GT, Clemson and Louisville from joining the SEC.

    I believe the Gentlemen’s Agreement is real and I believe A&M will use it to keep UT out of the SEC. FYI, I was on the faculty at A&M at the time that they joined the SEC and there was much contempt for DeLoss Dodds and his asinine Longhorn Network.

    Like

    1. Mike

      There have been several reports that this isn’t true. If it were, we wouldn’t even see a report like this, the SEC would have outright denied.

      Like

    2. Richard

      To be precise, I don’t think it’s real for A&M.

      UF and UGa have options (the B10 would gladly add them) if the SEC pisses them off and the SEC would not trade either of those 2 for FSU or GTech. (SC just isn’t a big enough state for anyone to get bothered about either way).

      The SEC would happily trade A&M for Texas, though.

      Like

    3. Marc

      If there ever was a Gentleman’s Agreement (and this is much disputed), A&M was not a party to it, as they weren’t in the SEC then. If the other schools want it, A&M can’t block it.

      Like

      1. Alan from Baton Rouge

        I have been posting here for a decade the “gentlemen’s agreement “ is a myth. Yesterday’s actions by the Aggies prove it.

        The Aggie beat writer from the Houston Chronicle broke the story right before Jimbo Fisher speaks at SEC media days? Coincidence? If there was a gentlemen’s agreement, the Aggies’s wouldn’t be trying to torpedo the deal in such a public setting because it would already be dead. The Aggies are hoping that OK State and Texas Tech, along with TCU and Baylor can kill the deal politically. Or that FOX makes a Godfather counteroffer for UT & OU to join the B1G. Or the PAC tells OU & UT that little brothers are welcome.

        This story broke solely because the Aggies can’t stop this move from within the SEC.

        Like

    4. @Colin – While I believe that there may have been an implied “Gentlemen’s Agreement” over the years in the SEC, there are two important distinctions here: (1) those most likely to deploy that Gentlemen’s Agreement were flagships trying to protect against elevating in-state rivals, whereas this is a situation where a flagship itself (UT) is approaching the SEC and (2) it’s simply Texas, so all bets are off. This reminds me of whenever there’s a rule change or structural shift that would hurt independents on its face… but then there’s always an exception made for Notre Dame that allows them to do whatever they want. Texas is in that same category where any normal standards go out the window. There’s just no way that the SEC itself would pass up owning the entire state of Texas forever. The deal as presented – *only* UT and OU going to the SEC without any other package deal – is the most slam dunk expansion in the history of conference realignment. If this falls through, it’s because UT and OU won’t/can’t move as opposed to the SEC scuttling the deal.

      Like

  14. ccrider55

    The P16 was a done deal, until it wasn’t.

    OU/OkSU to the Pac may have been voted down, but those suspected of motivation to do so denied it (was a vote actually taken?), and rumor was OU creating leverage with B12 negotiation was exposed to Pac by aTm. with talk of the move possibility being shot down during a Friday night (near midnight ET) FB game by commish.

    At a time Frank thinks money is even more important than ever wouldn’t the risk/damage to “little brothers” be a greater loss state wide than the bump that a king would get by moving to a summer residence?

    Like

      1. Little8

        The state politics have changed since the B12 was formed and P16 proposed. During previous move speculations/attempts I said Oklahoma would not go anywhere without Oklahoma State until Boone Pickens was dead (Thomas Boone Pickens Jr: May 22, 1928 – September 11, 2019), but that is no longer an issue.

        The Texas politics are even clearer. With the legislative session just ended the only person who can stop Texas from moving is Governor Abbott (Texas alum). So all UT needs to do is convince Abbott that a move to the SEC is good for UT.

        If you have seen Texas legislators in the news realize they have no power to stop anything until January 2023. In a special session (what they are in now) the legislative agenda is set 100% by the governor, That is why A&M announced it was leaving right after the legislative session closed. A&M knew they had Perry (A&M alum) on their side and that gave them 18 months before any blocking legislation could pass. By then it was moot. The earlier block by Governor Richards (Baylor alum) kept UT and A&M from leaving without Baylor and TxTech had some legislative involvement with the governor’s backing.

        Like

        1. billinmidwest

          No question Abbott has a personal vested interest in UT going to the SEC.

          But, Abbott is likely going to face the toughest re-election fight a Texas Governor has had to deal with in decades, both in the primary and the general election.

          UT and OU moving to the SEC is going to be a huge economic hit to certain areas of Texas. Waco and Lubbock are not going to be happy, making a primary election that much more difficult. And, the political rhetoric required to win that primary is going to make winning the general election even more difficult.

          Like

  15. Roman Crane

    As a result, the Houston Chronicle breaking the story today that Texas and Oklahoma have reached out to the SEC is an earthquake followed up by a tsunami for conference realignment purposes. To quote Dr. Strange, “We’re in the endgame now.”

    —————–

    So perfect.

    Like

  16. Roman Crane

    Also, regarding a potential block by current SEC members – I find that to be highly unrealistic despite what some currently think.

    Sankey has the power to push this through and help everyone visualize the amount of incremental money and power this NewCo SEC would wield. Sure, A&M will stomp their feet, but for everyone else this makes sense because it goes beyond just making the conference bigger and gets the SEC to the point of governing themselves, providing limitless possibilities.

    Like

    1. Logan

      It’s been reported that Mizzou is a no, but I don’t think that is true.

      a) Like most schools, we need the money. Just built a $100m endzone facility and have a $30m indoor practice facility on the way.

      b) Texas is still a prime recruiting area, getting more games in the state would help

      c) Those with bad blood (Texas AD once said their worst years are better than Missouri’s best years) have left and moved on. Leadership at Mizzou from Chancellor to AD to head coach have all changed.

      Like

      1. Marc

        It’s been reported that Mizzou is a no, but I don’t think that is true.

        The other B12 members resented the power Texas had. In the B12, UT could legitimately say that without them, there is no league. I don’t know if they ever said that out loud, but everyone knew it was true. Not in the SEC. The Longhorns aren’t going to tell Alabama what to do.

        I don’t know how many votes it takes to expand in the SEC, but I would betcha that the two newest members can’t block it by themselves. The Aggies might pout a little, as they would once again be the #2 Texas team in their league, but that’s how it goes.

        Like

        1. Roman Crane

          True that UT will not tell Alabama what to do, but I would not be surprised at all if they start pushing for the SEC to not be so Bama/Georgia-centric (SEC HQ, SEC baseball tournament, SEC FB championship, etc.), which could ruffle some feathers.

          Like

          1. Alan from Baton Rouge

            Roman – I have discussed that point on LSU message boards. Alabama doesn’t really dictate terms in the SEC like Texas does in the B-12, but the Tide are definitely first among equals. With another western expansion, Nashville, Memphis, and New Orleans would be more centrally located with better airports. Also, New Orleans just built a brand new terminal.

            Like

          2. Richard

            I certainly can see Memphis, Nawlins, and TX cities getting some title games.

            Possible that the football CCG stays in Atlanta while the basketball tournament rotates around Western cities.

            Or Atlanta and the Metroplex/Houston split the football CCG and the basketball tournament (and baseball tournament) rotates everywhere.

            Like

          3. Alan from Baton Rouge

            Richard – selfishly I’d love to see the SEC CG alternate between Atlanta and DFW, but Atlanta does such a good job with the game and logistically MB stadium is ideal. I don’t know that DFW would embrace the game like Atlanta has done.

            For MBB, Nashville is the semi-permanent host. I think Nashville hosts 3 out of 4 years. I could see that reduced to 2 out of 4 years.

            I’d love to see the baseball tournament moved from Hoover Alabama and think Memphis would be ideal, even though it’s very close to Ole Miss. The Redbirds have a beautiful AAA ballpark. The Hoover Met is a dump, but the city of Hoover has really embraced the tournament.

            Like

    2. Scott

      Except, TAMU is not alone, Arkansas and Missouri are already against it. They have dealt with Texas before, and they know they don’t play nice. 1-2 more schools against, Texas is dead on arrival. They would probably go along with Oklahoma separately.

      However, Delaney and BiG had been in discussion with TX/OU back in Dec 2018. Things died down a little. Don’t be shocked if this is some sort of pressure to get BiG back to the table.

      Like

      1. Alan from Baton Rouge

        Scott – see my post above regarding the gentlemen’s agreement. If the Aggies, or Mizzou, or Arkansas could stop this, the discussion never would have been made public. OU & UT to the SEC would already be dead.

        The Aggies need help from outside the SEC to blow up this deal. But they better be careful. OU + UT > A&M by a lot!

        In the end, the Aggies will fuss and stomp their feet, but take all that ESPN money that OU & UT will make them.

        Like

      2. Nostradamus

        I mean the old axiom possession is 9/10ths of the law applies here in that A&M and Missouri are in the SEC, but really how much power do they wield here? If it came down to it, the conference would swap A&M for Texas or Missouri for Oklahoma in a heartbeat.

        Like

        1. Richard

          Indeed. And really, are Mizzou or Arkansas or even A&M going to leave the SEC over this?

          In fact, this is a pretty brazen move by A&M. Shows how much they value collegiality.

          Like

  17. By the way, if the Big Ten actually doesn’t want Oklahoma, then to put it bluntly, they’re dumb as f**k. If I were running the Big Ten, I’d take OU with *Kansas* in a heartbeat, much less Texas.

    I think that would be true for every other league: there’s certainly no question that the Pac-12 and ACC would take a UT/OU expansion immediately. The only reservation in my mind previously was if UT and/or OU insisted on package deals with Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and others. When those mandates are taken away, it’s asinine to me that the Big Ten or any other P5 league would turn down a straight up UT/OU expansion. That is the Holy Grail of conference realignment.

    Like

    1. ccrider55

      “ The only reservation in my mind previously was if UT and/or OU insisted on package deals with Texas Tech, Oklahoma State…”

      Or politics in each state won’t allow the move abandoning the other P5 state school?

      Like

      1. Colin

        Texas politics wouldn’t allow anyone leaving the old Southwest Conference until Boom, it happened. Then Texas politics would’t allow anyone leaving the Big XII until Boom, it happened.

        Like

          1. ccrider55

            “ Current TX governor went to UT.”

            So…Baylor would have lost out. TT is still a state school and home to a fair number of legislators.

            Like

          2. loki_the_bubba

            Baylor is not going to be invited anywhere. The events there over the last two decades will weigh heavily on the minds of the inviting conferences. Baylor is toxic waste at this point. The best they can hope for is to remain in the rump B12.

            Liked by 1 person

      2. @ccrider55 – Yes, the political factors were also a huge obstacle, but more for UT and OU themselves. I was looking at it more from who the other P5 leagues would ultimately be willing to invite regardless of political considerations.

        Like

    2. Marc

      By the way, if the Big Ten actually doesn’t want Oklahoma, then to put it bluntly, they’re dumb as f**k. If I were running the Big Ten, I’d take OU with *Kansas* in a heartbeat, much less Texas.

      Unfortunately, I think the B10’s moment has passed. Assuming UT and OU have the freedom to move as they please, the SEC is the more logical fit for them.

      Like

    3. Brian

      Frank,

      I think the B10 would take OU/KU, but OU isn’t going anywhere without UT so it’s a moot point. OU/UT would be a no brainer.

      OU would be adding NE again, but with better demographics, better athletics and worse academics. The B10 presidents would have to hold their noses to vote yes, but the football money might persuade them. I don’t think it’s as clear as you portray it, though. The academic snobbery of the COP/C is very high. They barely approved NE, and they did vote NE out of the AAU. I think the OU brand and SW access is too big to ignore, but academics view the world differently.

      Like

    4. frug

      By the way, if the Big Ten actually doesn’t want Oklahoma, then to put it bluntly, they’re dumb as f**k.

      I agree and if I were the Big Ten I would be calling OU and UT and trying to sell them on the B1G right now. But, we have seen conferences do far dumber things before, and the Ivory Tower types would still be very hesitant to add a school with Oklahoma’s academics.

      Like

  18. EndeavorWMEdani

    Other than the B1G adding a Pac12 pod of USC/UCLA/Stanford/Washington/Oregon 😁 I would hope they would stand pat. We don’t need any more football bottom feeders. Delaney’s crystal ball apparently couldn’t foresee streaming when he saddled us with Rutgers and Maryland.

    Like

    1. Richard

      RU and UMD still add value (contact with alums for donations and recruiting). Not so much UNL (and KU is like UNL except a power in the far less important sport).

      And the Pac additions the B10 would want are the CA schools (+maybe CU and UDub).

      Like

    2. Jersey Bernie

      As others have said, the B1G was not saddled with RU and MD, but rather took control of the east coast, from NYC to DC. The population of MD is 6 million and that does not include DC.

      The population of NJ is 9 million and the NYC metro area is 25 million. Exclude those in Jersey who are part of the NYC metro area and there are still close to 30 million people impacted by the addition of RU. That is almost 10% of the population of the entire country.

      These two areas include probably in excess of one million B1G alumni.

      The numbers show that the addition of the two schools (states) added millions to the payout of each B1G team and the value of the presence in NYC and DC is measured in more than dollars.

      If you wish to argue that RU sports brought negative value to the B1G that is another question, though it does seem that with additional B1G money and better coaches and facilities, RU is at least approaching B1G mediocrity.

      Like

  19. Christian

    Billy Liucci, owner of TexAgs.com, is as plugged in with the A&M AD as anyone. His initial reaction when the news broke yesterday was no way this is happening. Well, after some time to check with his sources, he went on TexAgs radio today and said it’s a matter of when, not if. Complete 180, even trying to justify it to his (pissed off) fan base.

    All reporting seems to indicate this is a done deal on the SEC side of things. Barring some interference from the Texas legislature or Ken Starr or Okie State, it’s happening.

    Like

    1. Richard

      Yep. And I wonder how much the politicians in TX can do. Because Texas can always say “well, if you forbid us from joining the SEC, we’ll just go independent”. Can politicians really keep a school that doesn’t want to stay in a conference within that conference?

      OU will tell the OK pols “look, we either follow Texas or both OK school are left out”.

      Like

      1. Brian

        And it’s relevant to note the TX legislature has its own issues at the moment. It’s not obvious that a special session could convene due to the partisan fighting going on over the voting rights bill. If UT can push this through quickly, the government may be unable to respond.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Mike

      Chip Brown (Texas) posted an update calling yesterday’s news the “Aggie leak.” The feeling was this was A&M’s last chance to stop it.

      Like

  20. Alan from Baton Rouge

    The SECN’s morning talk show proposed a Pod and scheduling arrangement as follows:

    Pod A – Georgia, Florida, Kentucky & South Carolina
    Pod B – Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee & Vanderbilt
    Pod C – LSU, Miss State, Ole Miss & Texas A&M
    Pod D – Arkansas, Mizzou, Oklahoma & Texas

    9 game schedule with 3 pod games and 2 games each from the other 3 pods.

    Every team visits every campus within a four year period.

    FWIW – these pods match with what I came up with last night.

    I don’t know how much journalistic independence the SEC This Morning crew has, but I would think if Sankey and ESPN didn’t want it discussed, there wouldn’t be this kind of detail-specific speculation going on by their own network.

    Like

    1. Colin

      UT, OU, A&M and Arkansas whould need to be one pod.
      Another is LSU, Miss State, Ole Miss & Mizzou.
      Third is Bama, Auburn, UGA and Florida.
      The fourth is Kaintuck, Tenn, Vandy and S. Carolina.

      Like

    2. Eric

      Only with issue with this (the setup is same one Ive imagined when heard news though), is whole idea of pods is to create 2 divisions (just rotate what they are). I would say use they and use the one remaining crossover to lock teams outside the pod in years not on division. Not sure that works, but would keep all teams in division each year playing and play everyone over 3 years (less than ideal but with 16 you do not get ideal).

      Like

    3. Brian

      Alan,

      It seems like those pods would still leave some angry people. UK loses TN? UGA loses AU? LSU loses AL and AR? UT and TAMU don’t play annually?

      I don’t think there are any great options, so these may be as good as it gets, but there are some definite down sides.

      Like

      1. Alan from Baton Rouge

        Brian – with any expansion, some traditions have to be sacrificed. I wouldn’t be surprised if pods are not adopted, each school is just assigned 3-5 permanent opponents, and the top 2 teams go to the SEC CG. I understand some NCAA rules would have to be amended, that is if the NCAA survives as a rule-making body.

        Like

      1. Alan from Baton Rouge

        Mike – you’re assuming they want to play each other every year. Under the suggested scheduling arrangement, they would play two out of four years.

        If A&M and UT have to be in the same pod (assuming pods are adopted) I’d swap A&M for Arkansas rather than Mizzou. Mizzou has more history with OU, UT & A&M than they do with any other SEC teams. Arkansas has played LSU and the MS schools annually for 30 years.

        Like

        1. Mike

          you’re assuming they want to play each other every year.

          I’m more of a they need to be playing every year type of a guy.

          If A&M and UT have to be in the same pod (assuming pods are adopted) I’d swap A&M for Arkansas rather than Mizzou.

          My assumption was Arkansas would prefer their old SWC friends over the Mississippi schools. I have no insight into their thinking though.

          Like

  21. Richard

    I think the B10 will look West, not East.
    1. All of SoCal/Bay Area/Seattle/Denver have either a lot or a ton of B10 alums (really only Atlanta is the same in the footprint south of DC and north of FL).
    2. Unlike the ACC, the Pac has TV rights coming up for negotiation soon.
    3. Because the better UCs are so insanely difficult to get in to now, CA sends out a ton of OOS students (and there is a lot of money on the West Coast).
    4. Plenty of athletic talent there (in all sports).

    Only concerns are
    1. Folks on the West Coast are pretty tepid about college sports.
    2. West Coast is really far from anywhere else with people in the US. Though folks there are a bit use to flying long distances if they leave the state).

    Like

    1. Brian

      Richard,

      But the P12 schools have to want to split up, be allowed to leave little brothers, and be wiling to travel all their sports teams to the east coast every year. The CA 4 won’t split up, so at a minimum you’d have to add 4 schools. Is 18 schools really a conference, or is it 2 conferences put together? With weak college sports fans out west and the cost of travel, I’m not sure expanding to the west coast makes sense.

      Like

      1. Richard

        I’m taking all 4 CA teams and maybe UDub and CU. Only 1 little brother issue (and WA will definitely allow the Huskies to go).

        Even with 6 more teams, if you protect 4 rivals and rotate 5 over 15 slots, the non-western B10 teams will only make roughly 1 more extra trip out west each year (unless there is a Midwestern-West Coast protected rivalry; Michigan-USC, anyone?).

        CU is already as close to the western part of the B10 as most of the rest of the Pac.

        If the 4 CA schools play each other annually (and some have CU/UDub as an annual game), they would make 2 extra trips out east. I can’t imagine that’s a huge deal. UDub would travel a lot more, but being on the corner of the US, they have to fly far all the time already.

        As for making the additions work: network effects.

        Interest in Pac games is on the whole more tepid than in B10 games, but add in all the current B10 alums who are in CA, WA, and CO to the cream of the Pac and you get synergy. It’s how the B10 made the additions of RU and UMD work.

        Like

        1. Brian

          You are not mentioning all the other sports. All of them would need to fly a lot, and Stanford has roughly 36 teams. It might make sense for football, but everyone else?

          The importance of the networks is decreasing. Their carriage is dropping with cord cutting, and you can’t leverage a conference network on cable distributors when people don’t care about it. All the P12 fans didn’t have the power to make the P12N work, so B10 fans won’t make the BTN work out there. National fans matter more now and USC is the only big CFB brand out there.

          A scheduling arrangement in CFB (and maybe other sports) makes more sense to me than actually adding teams.

          Like

          1. Richard

            RU and UMD by themselves wouldn’t have been able to make a network in their home states work either, but add B10 fans from the original footprint in those states and it does work.
            That’s what I mean by network effects.

            And yes, cords are being cut. But there’s more than cable TV to consider. Just like bowl games featuring teams from different regions and conferences tends to draw better ratings, so would conference games in a bigger conference. OSU-Michigan would draw more eyeballs in LA if that game had effect on whether the Trojans made the CCG. Network effects.

            And it’s not just TV. Alumni donations also matter and the B10 has the most national alumni footprint of the P5 conferences. This gives B10 teams a chance to visit and connect with alums in far-flung locations, meaning more money.

            And adding those 6 schools would give the B10 the top 3 metros, 5/top 8, 11/top 17, 12/top 19 (portions of 14 of the top 21). I don’t think that is insignificant.

            Plus, CA sends a ton of kids OOS for college.

            As for travel for the non-revenue sports, nothing says that you can’t form geographically based pods where teams play schools in their pod more than schools outside their pod.

            The only reason the B10 may not go for this is if the B10 powers are afraid of making USC too powerful.

            Like

          2. Brian

            Richard,

            The NYC and DC metro areas were the top 2 locations for B10 alumni outside of the footprint, and they did work based mostly on the locals (RU and UMD alumni) with PSU boosting both. The numbers out west are lower, though decent in LA and SF. And the level of interest of the fans out west is also lower.

            While big games might gain ratings out west (OSU-UM is already the #1 game annually), they aren’t tuning in to watch Purdue. And midwestern and eastern fans aren’t begging to watch more Stanford games (look how low UMD and RU ratings tend to be in the midwest). And the bigger you get, the less tight the connections between schools get.

            A scheduling arrangement could accomplish almost all the same things without all the travel. It’s why B10 schools schedule OOC games out west now.

            The only reason the B10 may not go for this is if the B10 powers are afraid of making USC too powerful.

            No, there are many reasons. And nobody is afraid of USC’s power in the B10.

            Like

        2. ccrider55

          CO alums are primarily west. That was a big reason they’d been looking at the Pac for a couple decades, almost did it in the 90’s. Where would their new recruiting grounds be? Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, vs all of CA, Seattle, Phoenix (basically everything to their west). Hmmm, tough choices.

          Like

          1. Richard

            Umm, all 4 CA Pac schools are coming along to the B10 in my scenario. So you really think CU will stick it out in the Pac without the CA schools?

            Like

  22. z33k

    I disagree with most people here on Kansas. I really don’t think the Big Ten will add Kansas alone.

    Big Ten needs to justify around $50 million per year in TV money from any new addition and most of that comes from football.

    I think the Big Ten stands pat if ND isn’t going anywhere.

    Big Ten’s goal should be to add 2-6 from the ACC. Those are the only schools that move the needle in terms of population demographics/size/football as regional targets.

    UNC/UVa/Va Tech/Ga Tech/Duke as well as Clemson/FSU/Miami all on the table; if Big Ten money is measurably ahead of the ACC by late 2020s, it’s a reasonable consideration.

    But yeah this is probably happening at a time when the Big Ten can’t really move. I don’t think the Big Ten will rush to take Kansas unless ND is there to join with it…

    Like

    1. Brian

      I don’t know if the B10 would add just KU. I think it’s a tossup. But ND can’t go anywhere for over a decade, just like the ACC members.

      Like

      1. z33k

        Yeah I think the Big Ten has to wait and see how this all goes down; Texas/OU have a GOR with the Big 12 for 4 more years.

        Do they wait that out before changing, or what?

        That will affect how the Big Ten looks at whether it can get anything from the ACC on a timeline, but that’s a decade from now at the earliest…

        So yeah, all in all, I think Texas/OU moving might not actually cause that much drama elsewhere.

        Like

    2. Richard

      And if the ACC schools, really only UNC moves the needle, but UNC has too many rivalries it wants to keep (NCSU, Duke, and UVa).

      Yes, even Clemson and FSU aren’t worth it for the B10.

      I think the B10 looks west.

      Like

      1. Brian

        In terms of athletics, I agree UNC is the only big brand. But for demographics, UVA is also strong (and adds a rival for UMD). UVA could bridge to UNC, too, and the B10 would also take Duke if that helped UNC decide. The fourth could be KU (all the hoops powers but UK), or it could be GT.

        Clemson and FSU aren’t academic or cultural fits and they would have zero interest. UVA, UNC and Duke would be good academic fits but might feel out of place culturally.

        The west coast is so far away that I struggle to see that happening. I think the B10 would rather stay at 14 than stretch from NJ to CA.

        Like

        1. Richard

          In pretty much all aspects besides distance, the Pac CA schools are equal too or offer more than the UNC/UVa/Duke (and GTech/KU) combo.

          Especially in terms of potential eyeballs, wealth, OOS recruits, and media centers.

          And unlike the ACC, the Pac’s TV deal is ending relatively soon.

          Like

          1. Brian

            I agree the CA4 offer a lot as well, but they are farther away. Distance, and the costs that come with it, is a very real thing that has to be weighed in this decision. And the time zone difference is a problem for football. Also the cultural differences in terms of fan interest.

            Like

          2. Richard

            The cost from distance is overblown, IMO.

            For the original B10 schools, it’s an extra football game out west each year. As I mentioned, for the CA schools, it’s about 2 extra games out east each year. Everyone could just cut down on long-distance OOC games of they cared enough.

            For the non-revenue sports (and even for basketball), nothing says you can’t just have geographic pods and play teams in your own pod more often.

            Like

          3. Brian

            It’s not a conference if you don’t play each other. If this is just for CFB and MBB playing each other, that’s a scheduling arrangement. And many sports play too often to just stick in your pod.

            Like

          4. Richard

            “It’s not a conference if you don’t play each other”

            Every team in the NFL use to play every other team in the NFL.

            They don’t any more. It’s still one league.

            Times change.

            Like

          5. ccrider55

            Richard:
            “ nothing says you can’t just have geographic pods and play teams in your own pod more often.”

            We currently call them conferences. 😉

            Like

          6. Brian

            Richard,

            Yes, the NFL is a professional sports league. It is NOT a college athletics conference. The schools have other considerations beyond CFB.

            Like

          7. Richard

            Brian:

            Sure, there are always other considerations.

            But after COVID, there will be a lot more rationality to college sports. So if it was rational for the NFL to expand from it’s Midwestern/Northern/frozen tundra footprint to become a national league, it will be rational for the B10 to do so too.

            Remember that the world won’t stand still even if you choose to do so.

            Like

          8. Brian

            The NFL created new teams where none existed, they didn’t take them all from other leagues. And the NFL had no other concerns. That doesn’t make it “rational” for the B10 to do the same things. Different business models, different environments, different priorities.

            Like

          9. Richard

            BTW, re: “It’s not a conference if you don’t play each other.”

            In that case, I don’t want to hear you refer to the ACC as a conference from now on, as ACC teams play some other ACC teams only twice in 14 years.

            Like

          10. Richard

            BTW, you can actually get as big as 24 and still both protect rivalry games and ensure that teams play at least as often as B10 teams play each other now (2 protected rivals and 21 schools over 7 slots)

            Like

        2. z33k

          I don’t agree on FSU/Clemson having no interest.

          When the $ difference is big enough (that ACC contract is that bad), they’ll care.

          But I think the Big Ten needs to take like 4-6 to make that work.

          Like

          1. Brian

            FSU and Clemson are too different culturally. They would have no interest in any B10 team outside of the big names. The travel would be pretty bad as well. And their academics are subpar for the B10.

            Like

          2. frug

            I think the one really big error the Big Ten made in realignment was not pursuing FSU when it was clear they were frustrated with the ACC. In 2012ish the president voted against raising exit fees and then the chairman of the schools board actually endorsed leaving the ACC. I really believe right then the Big Ten could have had them but the CEOs didn’t want another non-AAU after Nebraska.

            Like

          3. Richard

            frug:

            In hindsight, how much of an error was it?

            If FSU football is down, they don’t offer anything to the B10. (Huskers at least offer a fanatical fanbase regardless of results, which would be valuable in the streaming world, though they do have to start winning again or else interest will die with the older generations).

            The Noles have trouble selling out even conference games, had their lowest attendance game in 36 years in 2019, and barely outdrew small(ish) private U of Miami. In fact, the Noles were closer in attendance to UCF in 2019 than to UF. They aren’t in a major metro with a lot of B10 alums, don’t bring an academic brand, aren’t a basketball power, and don’t own most of FL (UF does, if any school; FSU owns the FL panhandle, but that’s sparsely populated).

            Like

          4. frug

            Richard:

            Grabbing FSU probably opens up the rest of the ACC. Hard to see the conference surviving without its most valuable football program. V-Tech probably jumps to SEC if FSU leaves and then it would be every man for themselves.

            Like

          5. Brian

            frug,

            I have a hard time believing FSU to the B10 was ever an option. FSU was/is upset with the ACC money, but joining a northern conference with a 9-game schedule would mean a much harder schedule or dropping the Miami game as an annual rivalry. Would players from FL want to join the one team that plays in the north all the time? I also doubt the B10 would have accepted FSU’s academics.

            Like

          6. Richard

            Besides what Brian said, taking UNC unlocks the ACC. But the ACC existed before FSU joined and did about as well as it ever could have in recent years when FSU might as well not have been playing football, so no, I don’t think taking FSU would have unlocked the ACC.

            Like

          1. Alan from Baton Rouge

            GA Tech is the private school of public schools. Only their alums care about the Yellow Jackets and they are spread out all over the country. They may be only the 3rd most popular team in Atlanta, behind UGA and Auburn. Playing Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan in Bobby Dodd Stadium may produce a few more season ticket requests, but I doubt it moves the needle in the ATL. I know Atlanta is very diverse with many Northern transplants, but the natives will not embrace the B1G and GA Tech could get some blowback.

            Assuming the ACC is open, I think the best play for the B1G is UVA and VA Tech. Virginia is becoming more Mid-Atlantic state and less Southern every day. Own DC.

            I don’t think the B1G will be embraced by the state of North Carolina as it is still too Southern.

            Like

          2. z33k

            I agree with Alan 100% on UVa + Va Tech.

            Honestly feels like the strongest combo in terms of bringing in a state and expanding the Big Ten in the Mid-Atlantic while letting a lot of schools visit that region every year between Md/UVa/Va Tech.

            It’s a good duo if UNC isn’t going anywhere.

            I’d be thrilled with that combo in the Big Ten if we do go to 16.

            Like

          3. Brian

            Alan is right that GT just doesn’t have the strong fan base. It has a small alumni base, and it’s dispersed across the US. Atlanta is UGA territory, with Auburn, FSU and GT all being important minorities.

            As a semi-realistic option, UVA/VT has been proposed before and it makes some sense. It forms a wall to keep the SEC in the south and locks up DC while adding a growing state and rivals for UMD. But I’ll contend the B10 is better off at 14 than adding them. They don’t add enough to make up for playing other schools less often, unless the COP/C foresee needing the state for future students.

            If you add UVA/VT, you get terrible pods for balance but they work okay overall:
            W – NE, IA, WI, MN
            C – NW, IL, PU, IN
            N – UM, MSU, OSU, PSU
            E – RU, UMD, UVA, VT

            3 pod games + 2 teams each from other pods

            An E/W divisional split is okay but not balanced:
            W – NE, IA, WI, MN, NW, IL, PU, IN
            E – UM, MSU, OSU, PSU, RU, UMD, UVA, VT

            7 division games + 2/8 rotating

            Like

  23. Brian

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/bigten/2021/07/22/big-ten-commissioner-kevin-warren-college-football-playoff-expansion/8040721002/

    Kevin Warren isn’t onboard (yet) with expanding the CFP to 12 teams.

    Ahead of Big Ten media days in Indianapolis on Thursday and Friday, commissioner Kevin Warren told USA TODAY Sports that he wants to gather more feedback – including from current and former football players — before supporting the 12-team model that was recommended by a CFP subcommittee and advanced for further discussion by university presidents on the CFP’s board of directors last month.

    Warren, whose first year as Big Ten commissioner was consumed by matters related to the pandemic, said he favored expansion of the playoff in the abstract. …

    “I don’t know what the right number is,” Warren told USA TODAY Sports. “Any time you can provide student-athletes an expanded opportunity to win a national championship that’s beneficial, but this is a season and summer of being methodical. By our next (CFP) meeting in September I want to talk to all of our coaches, athletic directors, faculty reps, senior women administrators and current and former student-athletes and get a sense from them because we need to be really thoughtful in this area.

    Like

  24. z33k

    Here’s why the Big Ten should be patient: look at the weakness of the ACC’s contract. The ACC signed a contract through 2036 that’s already undervalued just 2-3 years into the contract. It pays less than the Big 12 per year.

    That contract lasts another 15 years, and that’s a long, long time in college football.

    Most important thing is for Big Ten to extend its lead by $ to around $20-30 million over the ACC contract by 2030.

    Then call up the ACC schools that the Big Ten wants and make it happen; take a big pile of them and just end conference expansion.

    Like

    1. z33k

      Nope, we’re past the point of execs caring about cable boxes as much as before.

      Everything is different now; actual eyeballs are what matters now in the new streaming era.

      I think the Big Ten waits for 10 years then targets the ACC schools hard since they have a terrible contract through 2036.

      Like

    2. Brian

      No. UConn was never an option except in the minds of UConn fans. The B10 never showed any interest in them, and the B10 is already in the NYC market with RU so UConn doesn’t add anything. Their CFB team is worse than RU’s, too.

      Like

      1. Jersey Bernie

        UConn is not in the New York market in any event. Storrs is more than 140 miles from NYC and in totally different TV markets.

        Rutgers is less than 40 miles from NYC and is within the NY metro area and TV markets.

        For what little is may be worth, surveys in NYC showed that the most popular college football team in the City was Rutgers, followed by Notre Dame and then Penn State. UConn was not relevant. Syracuse may have been ranked fourth in NYC.

        Obviously for RU, PSU, and Cuse that was a function of alumni in the City. Notre Dame has its “subway” alumni.

        UConn effectively gave up its football program when they rejoined the Big East. Basketball money from the Big East is more than CT football and basketball were generating from the AAC.

        UConn football is now an independent with no real hope of ever winning anything.

        Like

      1. ccrider55

        Not sure. Does UT need the money? Not really. Will their prestige grow joining the ranks of “possible contenders” for a pod, or division, or maybe an SEC title? Are Alabama, LSU, Georgia, etc going to suddenly learn the lyrics to “I’ve been working on the railr”…err, “the eyes of Texas are upon you”?

        Like

  25. Alan from Baton Rouge

    Now R. Bowen Loftin, the ex president of A&M, is saying that a “gentlemen’s agreement” was discussed when the Aggies and Mizzou joined the SEC. He thinks A&M can kill the deal.

    The article is posted on ESPN.com.

    I think he is part of the A&M’s PR campaign to kill the deal. Again, if the gentlemen’s agreement was real, OU and UT to the SEC would already by dead.

    Like

  26. Colin

    Frank, please note that there is not one “Like” in this entire long, long thread. The “Like” button does not work. Try it yourself.

    Like

  27. Britt

    Just wanted to say how fun it is to be back in realignment mode. Back in 2010, I used to refresh Frank’s blog almost hourly as my work colleagues and I drew up 16-team pod schemes and farfetched promotion/relegation scenarios. I emailed a couple of those guys this morning to let them know that Frank is back, along with key commenters like Brian, Richard, Alan from Baton Rouge, etc. Good times!

    Like

    1. Mike

      The most interesting part to me. He is also not high on Kansas.


      What’s next for college athletics?
      This is where things get really interesting. Conference commissioners Kevin Warren of the Big Ten, Jim Phillips of the ACC and George Kliavkoff of the Pac-12 all are about to endure a baptism by blowtorch.

      All are new enough to their jobs where they haven’t done a college sports television contract. The Big Ten’s contract runs through 2022-23. The Pac-12’s goes through 2023-24. The ACC is buried by the untenable deal with ESPN that keeps it frozen in what’s already a second-tier deal until 2036.

      This impacts all of those leagues in significant ways. ESPN is going all in on the SEC, as it’s expected to pay enough to get Oklahoma and Texas whole with the rest of the SEC, which is north of $60 million annually after 2023. That eats up money, inventory and the best television time slots for the SEC. The SEC wouldn’t be adding this without the extra $120 million a year for OU and Texas, and it’s reasonable to think there’d have to be a bit more sweetener to help the other SEC schools feel good.

      “What happens if all of a sudden ESPN isn’t a bidder and Fox has less competition,” said an industry source. “The ripple effects are … PHEW!”

      The ACC is in a difficult spot because it ate a bad deal from ESPN to get a linear network. Now it is frozen for two decades in an antiquated agreement, as the ACC gives schools more than $32 million per year.

      Phillips needs to do something dynamic to blow up that deal and get back to the bargaining table. Those options are limited, and ESPN isn’t going to be eager to give up a sweetheart deal on its end.

      The loss of Texas as an option is a huge blow to the ACC’s ambitions, as multiple sources indicated that the ACC was caught by surprise Wednesday. The ACC’s other big play was Notre Dame, but the league failed to use any leverage it had on Notre Dame as a quasi-member the past few years. The new College Football Playoff proposal doubles as a security blanket for Notre Dame’s independence, which means little incentive for it to find a league home. Especially with its own lucrative TV deal coming.

      The best remaining option for the ACC will be some type of scheduling arrangement or merger with the Pac-12. And that hints at another potential ripple from this move – is this going to be remembered as the pivot point toward super conferences?

      There has long been a notion in college athletics that the Big Ten and SEC were pulling away from all the other leagues because of the financial success of their networks and the corresponding success on the field. Now, the Big Ten will go to market without the adrenaline jolt that the SEC got in its deal. The only corresponding move the Big Ten could make would be a play for Notre Dame, but that remains unlikely because of how secure Notre Dame’s future is in the new football playoff.

      The issue for the Big Ten would be that Ohio State is isolated as the league’s power. Could the Big Ten leverage the potential of its next deal with a move to answer, adding Virginia, Georgia Tech, Florida State, North Carolina and Clemson to cover the league’s Eastern flank and fortify the Interstate 95 corridor? There will be pressure on Warren to be bold. But the ACC is protected by a grant of rights through the length of its TV deal.

      “It’s about combining forces now,” said a high-ranking college official. “Who teams up with who? Do we end up with four leagues? Do we end up with three? Or do we go to a 32-team NFL model. This is going to be earth-shattering.”

      Kliavkoff joked on Twitter about his active first month as commissioner getting more interesting. The Pac-12 is last in line to go to market, and there’s a feeling that it needs to do something creative. There’s still great value in the West Coast, even if the football has been subpar for the past five years. But this move, the Big Ten deal and an upcoming deal for Notre Dame potentially put the Pac-12 in a position of weakness thanks to a lack of suitors.

      The ripples of this potential SEC deal will be felt from coast to coast. And it’s not good news for any of the other leagues because of how much ESPN oxygen this sucks up. As one industry source put it: “The current schools in the SEC wouldn’t agree to this if all of a sudden their games are relegated to ESPNU. It’s not just money, it’s exposure.”

      Like

  28. Andy

    Wow, I don’t think I’ve posted in this thread in 7 or 8 years or more. I remember arguing with some of you endlessly about how the Big Ten should take Mizzou back in the day. Amazing to see all these years later pretty much the exact same people commenting here.

    Well, I think the SEC just won realignment. Unquestionably.

    As far as what happens next?

    I think the ACC *could* add West Virginia, but I don’t see a whole lot of reason to.

    Same goes for the Big Ten and Kansas, as a lot of you have already discussed. Yes, Kansas could make some financial sense, but it’s pretty borderline. And then who do you pair them with? There really isn’t anybody.

    So my best guess is the Big Ten and the ACC both stay as they are.

    That just leaves the PAC. Do they want to expand? They could add Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech. It might make some sense athletically. But would Berkeley/UCLA/Stanford/USC sign off on those additions? I’m not so sure.

    So we might just be done. I could see a new Big 12 of

    Kansas
    Kansas State
    Iowa State
    Oklahoma State
    Texas Tech
    Baylor
    TCU
    Houston
    West Virginia
    Cincinnati

    I think that’s a league that could survive as a 5th best league. The TV money would probably be cut in half. But they could survive. The basketball would be decent at least.

    So what could the B1G have done to avoid this?

    In hindsight, I think their mistake was focusing on the ACC. Breaking up the ACC, it turned out, was not as easy as they thought it would be. Yeah, they got Maryland, but they didn’t get UVA/UNC etc like they were hoping. They should instead have pushed harder for Texas.

    I think when they took Nebraska they should have also taken Mizzou and Kansas. And then continued to woo Oklahoma and Texas. I think that was their chance.

    By declining to take Mizzou and Kansas ten years ago and looking east instead, the SEC ended up taking the spoils from the Big 12. In the end they got Texas A&M, Mizzou, Oklahoma, and, ultimately, the big prize in Texas.

    Now the SEC has 8 or 9 “kings” in football. They’ve also substantially upgraded their academics. Texas, Texas A&M, Mizzou, Florida, and Vandy are all AUU schools. Georgia is #47 in the USNews Rankings so that’s another solid academic school, even though they aren’t AAU. So the SEC has gone from a league with a pretty spotty reputation academically to one that at least has a good number of decent schools.

    The B1G didn’t do terrible. They’re making a ton of money. They’ll probably be the solid #2 league in the country and serve as a northern foil to the SEC.

    But I think it’s possible they could have played this better.

    Like

    1. z33k

      I don’t think the Big Ten had much of a choice.

      Really had to look East to strengthen its roots in the Eastern seaboard.

      I think the real tell is whether the Big Ten can grab some more ACC schools in the future like UVa/Va Tech.

      If the Big Ten has to stop here, then yeah it’s a bit less desirable of an outcome.

      Like

      1. Andy

        Sure doesn’t seem like the ACC is going to break up. That seems to have been Frank the Tank’s thesis from the start, and what the B1G was banking on, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to pan out.

        The SEC adds Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and Mizzou.

        The B1G adds Nebraska, Maryland, and Rutgers.

        Seems like one did way better than the other,.

        In hindsight it would have probably been better for the B1G to focus on raiding the Big 12, not the ACC.

        Although maybe it wouldn’t have made a difference anyway. I think they could have gotten Mizzou and Kansas if they had struck early, and then *maybe* Oklahoma. But I have no idea on Texas. Maybe that was impossible.

        Oh well, it is what it is now. Everybody will have to live with it.

        I’d have preferred Mizzou in the Big Ten, but they’ll have to figure out how to win in the SEC. They did win 2 division tittles, and they’ve been recruiting better lately, so maybe. It’ll be tough though.

        Like

      2. z33k

        The ultimate question is how much does money actually matter?

        The ACC’s got the worst contract in the sport right now; it’s like $8 million less than the Big 12 and Texas is getting out of that.

        And the ACC is tied to it to 2036. Just doesn’t feel like it can hold onto all its schools when the difference between them and the SEC/Big Ten will be gigantic by 2030.

        Like

      3. z33k

        I think Mizzou got the best landing spot for them (especially financially), though obviously competitively they’d be much better off in a winnable Big Ten situation than the monster that the SEC is going to be after this.

        Like

    2. Colin

      Nope. Instead of Rutgers and Maryland, the B1G could have taken Texas A&M, Mizzou, Kansas and Colorado. AllAAU and three of the four jumped conferences. Plus Kansas would do so in a heartbeat.

      BTN Network would get Texas, three times zones and Atlantic Ocean to Rockies coverage.

      Like

      1. z33k

        A&M was never interested in the Big Ten.

        The Big Ten at one point wanted Texas/A&M/OU/Mizzou/Kansas.

        But Texas/OU said no, and A&M always had its eyes on the SEC.

        Like

      2. Brian

        Colin,

        That assumes all those schools wanted to join the B10. CU wanted the P12 because that’s where their alumni live. TAMU only ever wanted the SEC, and they’d be a terrible cultural fit in the B10.

        MO and KU would’ve come, but they weren’t worth expanding for on their own. They didn’t bring enough value to justify it. The B10 had a demographics problem and the mid-Atlantic was a fix for that. Two more plains/midwest states were not. RU and UMD brought better media markets, too.

        Finally, the B10 was trying to expand slowly because the addition of PSU went so poorly. Delany wanted to get the addition of NE correct, so he didn’t try to go beyond 12. By the time the B10 was ready for 2 more, MO already had a home and they aren’t leaving the SEC.

        Blocking ND 100 years ago was a terrible mistake. Whiffing on UT in the 90s was probably a big mistake (you never know how well or poorly it would’ve worked). Not being able to convince ND to join in the 90s/00s was unfortunate. The rest are minor losses at most.

        Like

        1. Andy

          Adding just Mizzou and Kansas wouldn’t have been that big of a deal for the Big Ten, I agree. So if that’s all it was going to be then it doesn’t make that big of a difference either way. They would have been better fits athletically for the Big Ten than Rutgers and Maryland, but they’re not going to move the needle that much financially.

          But maybe by taking three Big 8 teams in Nebraska, Mizzou, and Kansas, maybe that entices Oklahoma to join. And Oklahoma is a major football power. And then if you’ve got Oklahoma, maybe then you can get Texas.

          But, we’ll never know. Now Mizzou, Oklahoma, and Texas are in the SEC, and Kansas is likely either going to the Pac 12 or will remain in a much diminished Big 12.

          The Big Ten will probably stand pat at 14, at least for the next decade or more.

          Like

    3. frug

      If the Big Ten had added Kansas and Missouri in 2010-2011 the most likely scenario is Oklahoma and Texas going to the PAC along with OSU and TTU. The Big XII barely survived the losses of Nebraska, Colorado, aTm and Mizzou, but add Kansas to that list and Oklahoma and UT wouldn’t have regarded the Big XII as a conference worthy of their membership. Oklahoma made pretty clear they were either unwilling or unable, or both, to ditch the Cowboys at that point and the Big Ten wouldn’t have added Okie St. then or now leaving the PAC as the only viable alternative. (UT might have tried independence but I don’t know where they would have put their non FB sports).

      Plus, adding Kansas would not have been easy since KU and KSU share a board of regents that would have to approve any move and I can’t see the board allowing Kansas to relegate the Wildcats so long as the Big XII was viable.

      Like

  29. Brian

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/big12/2021/07/22/big-12-add-schools-texas-oklahoma-sec-houston-ucf/8060264002/

    B12 expansion options. It’s mostly the usual suspects – UH, UCF, UC, Memphis, SMU, BSU, SDSU, BYU. But it ends with this:

    Nebraska

    Wait, what? OK, that’s an even longer long shot. But the Cornhuskers’ relationship with the Big Ten has been strained of late. There are probably too many fences to mend with the members of Nebraska’s former league to make this a realistic possibility, but if we’ve learned anything in this era of change, it’s never say never.

    It also notes that UCF and USF don’t get along, so UCF would try to keep USF out.

    Like

  30. z33k

    Looks like this is really happening if OU/Texas aren’t on that zoom call.

    I agree this is the “Endgame” Frank, but I feel like it’s going to last a long time unless the ACC revamps its TV deal.

    That ACC deal is literally the most important piece for any Big Ten expansion play I think, and that could be a long drawn out mess.

    Though if Texas/OU leave early, I guess we find out what these GoR are really worth.

    Like

  31. loki_the_bubba

    And Fake Dan Beebe is back…

    Like

  32. Brian

    https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/31863713/texas-oklahoma-joining-sec-break-gentlemen-agreement-league-schools

    TAMU’s former president on the “gentlemen’s agreement.”

    R. Bowen Loftin, who helped steer the Aggies into the SEC in 2011 while serving as A&M’s president, said the oft-discussed unwritten rule was a “specific conversation” during expansion talks in 2010-11 when he was involved. Loftin also served as chancellor at Missouri in 2014-15 after the Tigers made the move to the SEC.

    “There’s this understanding among the membership — at least it was 10 years ago — that you don’t admit a school from the same state as a member school unless that member school’s OK with it,” Loftin told ESPN.com on Thursday. “We talked about it from time to time among ourselves, that this was the way it was going to be, that if we had another school in Texas wanting to enter the SEC, Texas A&M would have veto power.”

    Loftin said the agreement prevented expansion discussion involving teams such as Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Miami, even when the league was targeting the ACC if 16-team superconferences came to pass in the last round of realignment.

    “We discussed those specific possibilities,” Loftin said. “Florida State was never in the conversation, for obvious reasons. It was clear that they would not be admittable unless Florida wanted them included, and who could imagine that?”

    Loftin said most expansion discussion centered on schools such as North Carolina, NC State, Virginia or Virginia Tech, all schools in states with no SEC members.

    “I can tell you that, during my time in the SEC from two different schools, that was the understanding we had,” Loftin said. “It was unwritten. There’s no specific rule you can point to. You can point to the bylaws, talk about having a three-quarters majority to admit a new school, which means four schools could stop it from happening legally and officially. But beyond that, there was this understanding.”

    “I can recall a meeting with the commissioner and a few of our regents that were with me, [Texas] came up in the conversation,” Loftin said. “Mike assured us that they got what they wanted in Texas A&M because they got the Texas market, and they got a school which was very compatible with SEC schools.”

    Like

    1. Alan from Baton Rouge

      Brian – I referenced that article earlier, but can’t post a link from the computer I’m on. Thanks for posting. Again, if the “gentlemen’s agreement” was real, we never would have heard anything about UT & OU to the SEC, because A&M would have killed it the first time it was mentioned.

      Loftin doesn’t know much about SEC history either. Florida sponsored Florida State’s application to join the SEC when the Seminoles were an independent throughout the 80s. They also sponsored FSU in the early 90s when FSU left the SEC at the alter and joined the ACC because of Bobby Bowden.

      Like

      1. bullet

        And Loftin nearly killed Missouri as chancellor with his mishandling of the BLM issues there.

        He’s also the guy who claims he said he was committed to the Big 12 as is when they decided to stay together as 10, but was thinking in his mind that he meant the Big 12 with Nebraska and Colorado. So he used that “as is” to tell himself that he wasn’t lying to the other presidents. So take anything he says with a grain of salt.

        Like

    2. Richard

      In any case, circumstances change, and so do the people in power.

      Also, the B10 would definitely take UF or UGa if they were disgruntled enough to leave.

      I don’t see A&M leaving the SEC.

      Like

  33. Richard

    BTW, I don’t think people on here are thinking long-term enough.

    Adding the Pac 6 to the B10 and creating a national conference that includes 2 of ND’s rivals eventually unlocks ND.

    Like

    1. Marc

      Adding the Pac 6 to the B10 and creating a national conference that includes 2 of ND’s rivals eventually unlocks ND.

      I don’t see why that “unlocks ND.” Before the last re-alignment, ND played three B10 teams almost every year: Purdue, Michigan, and Michigan State. That did not induce them to actually join the B10. It doesn’t change if you add USC and Stanford.

      A number of ACC teams were regular ND opponents in the old model, but that wasn’t why they joined the ACC. They joined because the ACC was willing to give them the deal they wanted.

      ND wants (among other demands) to play a national schedule. They compromised with the ACC at five games a year. They were playing 2–3 ACC teams a year anyway, so that wasn’t such a stretch, and that gives them seven games they can spray around however they want.

      Beyond their ACC schedule, ND plays Stanford, USC, and Navy every year. The remaining four are two buy games and two premier P5 opponents. There is no way they could do that as full-time members of any conference, be it the B10, the ACC, or anywhere else.

      Like

      1. Richard

        “ND wants (among other demands) to play a national schedule.”

        Which they would get if they joined a conference that was national.

        “Beyond their ACC schedule, ND plays Stanford, USC, and Navy every year. ”

        Check, check, and check. In the B22 (I’m envisioning 5 protected rivals and the other 16 rotation across 4 slots), ND would play USC and Stanford every year in conference as protected rivals. They could schedule Navy as an OOC opponent.

        “The remaining four are two buy games and two premier P5 opponents.”

        Check and check. They’d get Michigan every year as well as each of PSU/OSU/MSU/Wisconsin/Nebraska/Iowa/Oregon/Washington/UCLA once every 4 years.

        They could fill out the last 2 slots OOC with buy games (though I would expect them to mix in some Shamrock Series games as well).

        “There is no way they could do that as full-time members of any conference”

        Not as of any current conference but yes as a member of the P22.

        Like

  34. Great writeup, Frank!. It’s been awhile since I was last here. There’s a part of my that kind of doesn’t want Texas to join the SEC just because I know their reputation on how they have treated their other conferences, but I know in the end you just can’t turn down a program like Texas. And schools like Alabama, UGA, UF, & LSU won’t let them run roughshod over the SEC. It is definitely going to be interesting to see how the SEC divides up the teams now.

    But I’m now starting to wonder how long will the Pac 12 schools stand pat with their current tv revenue. You probably know more about it than me, but their tv revenue can’t be that much better than the Big 12’s, is it? And the main reason for UT & OU jumping ship is because it doesn’t sound like the tv networks were willing to pay the Big 12 anywhere close to what the SEC & B1G are currently making. So how long will the likes of USC, UCLA, Stanford, UW, Oregon, and Colorado continue to allow their revenue to lag so far behind? I personally think the B1G should make a real overture to try and pull some of those Pac 12 schools, especially if it is obvious that the Pac 12 won’t be able to do much about their tv revenue. What are your thoughts about the possibility of pulling some Pac 12 schools (I’m sure this has probably already been discussed in this thread somewhere, but I haven’t had a chance to read all of the posts yet)?

    Like

    1. frug

      The PAC 12 Network never lived up to even the conference’s most pessimistic projections and as a result the PAC pays even worse than the Big XII. Actually, the PAC is projected to distribute less money in 3 years than the Big XII distributes now. This is part of the reason USC and UCLA refused to extend the GOR back in 2018 (the conference was considering bringing in a strategic partner but the media group they wanted to partner with demanded the GOR be extended for decades and the LA schools said no).

      So, the PAC schools are definitely unhappy with their TV deal which expires in 2024. The question is what options do they have? Try to revive the scheduling alliance with the Big Ten (which the Big Ten is still pissed the PAC killed at the last minute) Leave for the Big Ten? Does the Big Ten really want to span for time zones? Do they want non-revenue sports to have to fly from Newark to LA on weeknights? Given the historic ties between the conferences does the Big Ten want the PAC’s blood on its hands? And if they did, which schools would the Big Ten want? It’s hard to see the Cali schools willing to break up, so those 4 plus U-Dub and Oregon? Maybe Colorado and Arizona, too? Is a 22 school conference really manageable?

      Like

      1. Richard

        “Try to revive the scheduling alliance with the Big Ten (which the Big Ten is still pissed the PAC killed at the last minute)”

        Agree. As the B10 has no good reason to trust the Pac, I don’t see this happening.

        “Does the Big Ten really want to span for time zones?”

        National conference that includes 2 of ND’s main rivals. Will eventually land ND.

        “Do they want non-revenue sports to have to fly from Newark to LA on weeknights?”

        Do geographic pods for non-revenue sports where schools play each other in their pod more often.

        “Given the historic ties between the conferences does the Big Ten want the PAC’s blood on its hands?”

        I’m all for it. Then the Rose becomes an all-B10 affair.

        “And if they did, which schools would the Big Ten want?”

        4 CA schools + UDub + CU. OK, maybe Oregon too if they can leave ORSt. behind.

        21 team conference with a spot for ND.

        Scheduling would have to be. . .creative. I would go with 4 annual rivals and rotating the other 16 over 5. But 2 protected and rotating 7 over 18 would also work.

        Like

        1. I guess the biggest question with pulling Pac12 schools to the B1G is whether or not ESPN and Fox (or any other networks) would be willing to dish out the type of money that they would need to for that many schools. The tv networks have already proven that they value the B1G greatly, but do they value the Pac12 schools enough to fork over that kind of cash to keep up with what the SEC will be making. I think they would probably value USC, UW, Stanford, Oregon and maybe Colorado and UCLA. But I don’t see them valuing Cal. But even if they value those schools, that’s still a lot of money they’d have to dish out for that many schools, so who knows if they’d be willing to do it.

          Like

          1. Richard

            Well, the B10 is currently ahead of the SEC in payout. After adding Texas and OU, the SEC may pull ahead on a per capita basis, but likely not by much.

            I would add the Pac schools even if the per capita payout doesn’t increase for the B10 (and meeting the average B10 payout level shouldn’t be too difficult because those 7 schools, which are a little more than half the Pac, carry nearly all of the Pac’s value) because adding those schools given ND good reason to eventually join.

            Like

          2. Alan from Baton Rouge

            Richard – you couldn’t be more wrong if you think the SEC won’t get much of a bump by bringing in Texas and Oklahoma. There’s no way the SEC, UT & OU are talking about this without involving ESPN. I’m hearing $80 million per school per year is a realistic number.

            The SEC footprint population is 104,928,727. The B1G’s footprint is 85,504,966. Throw in NY and the B1G gets up to 104,804,947. I know the B1G has many more alums and higher income, but come on! When you throw in NY and consider the states of Illinois, Maryland and Minnesota are more pro team states, there’s a significant portion of the B1G footprint that is dispassionate about CFB. On the other hand, every single state in the SEC footprint is crazy about college football.

            With A&M, OU and UT, the SEC will own Texas – #2 in population. UF is the dominant team in Florida (other than the Bucs) – #3 in population. UGA is the dominant team in GA – #8 in population.

            The 16 team SEC will include Kings Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas, Florida, and LSU. They have accounted for 12 NCs this century. Throw in Tennessee and Auburn and that’s 14 in the 23 years.
            The B1G will have Kings Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State. Ohio State owns all two of the B1G NCs in the last 25 years.

            Unless FOX buys exclusivity for the B1G during the next round and overpays, the 16 team SEC will most likely be at least $10m ahead on the per school basis going forward.

            Like

  35. Brian

    https://www.elevenwarriors.com/the-big-ten/2021/07/123697/big-ten-to-begin-rotating-championship-game-sites-metlife-stadium-in-new-york-an-option

    The B10 is going to start rotating CCG locations after the Indy deal ends this season. We’ll see if they stick with domes, but I doubt it because they want to play in NYC and DC even if they get ignored (just like in MBB).

    Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren told New Jersey Advanced Media on Thursday that the conference plans to begin rotating the Big Ten Championship sites as early as next season as the Big Ten’s contract with Lucas Oil Stadium expires this year.

    “We’re going to sit down and figure out the best way to rotate it, probably take out a [request for proposal] for basketball and football,” Warren told NJ.com. “I’m open to any location our fans will travel to and enjoy in our footprint, anywhere from Nebraska to New Jersey.”

    Like

    1. @Brian – Interesting to see this here. The main thing is that the Big Ten wants/demands that their conference championship game is played in prime time so that it isn’t going head-to-head against the SEC Championship Game. That has been an advantage of Indianapolis with a dome beyond its centralized location. While it might look good in TV, places like Soldier Field in Chicago can be very brutal weather-wise to watch a night game in December.

      Like

      1. Brian

        Maybe this is just a ploy to get Indy to pay more for the game. But the B10 was dumb enough to move the MBB tournament to NYC and DC, so they’re dumb enough to hold the CCG outdoors at night in places that don’t care about B10 football (like NYC and DC).

        Indy’s central location and low odds of giving home team advantage is hard to beat in my opinion. If they want to rotate to MSP and Detroit as well, that’s fine. Maybe even St. Louis. But nobody needs a night game on shitty grass and/or a frozen solid field in December.

        Like

  36. z33k

    @Frank

    I feel like the most important factor for the Big Ten will be the length of the next TV contract.

    Knowing the ACC’s contract ends in 2036, can the Big Ten aim to end its next contract around 2030-2031 so it can try to lure some ACC schools over with a big new contract signed around 2029?

    I feel like the difference in payouts should be around $20 million per year at that point. And can discuss with Fox what happens if say 2 more schools are added like of UVa/Va Tech quality or other scenarios.

    Like

  37. m(Ag)

    I think the most likely conference to take any Big 12 leftovers is the Pac 12. I don’t think Kansas moves the needle enough for the Big 10 to open its doors (unless it comes with a bigger prize). But I could see the Pac 12, knowing it’s preferred expansion targets are gone, swallowing it’s pride and taking 2 schools (assuming the divisional requirement for conference championship games goes away). I’m not saying it’s likely, but it’s conceivable:

    -The Pac 12 being worth less money per school makes it easier to add someone without a net loss.
    -A few schools in the central time zone help with spreading out game times and perhaps more TV exposure. (Big Noon Kickoff: USC at Texas Tech?)
    -The Fox network in particular might abandon a Big 12 that is losing its 2 biggest draws, and replace those games with an extra Pac 12 game or 2 each week. (This is something missing from your story Frank: in the short term ESPN is a winner and FOX a loser, though whenever the SEC next goes to market free of restrictions it’s going to command a truly monstrous deal).

    But which 2? There is no perfect candidate:

    -Texas Tech: Of schools based in Texas, it’s probably the most popular one remaining, but it’s a distant 3rd, and is also behind out-of-state schools like OU and LSU. It’s growing its (not great) academic reputation. Has a history of playing the Arizona schools (in addition to playing Colorado, which is true for every school on this list except TCU and Houston). A negative is that it’s far from the Metroplex and really far from the other population centers of Texas. There cause would be aided if the Longhorns (and perhaps Aggies?) feel obligated (perhaps due to legislative pressure) to schedule them as a non-conference opponent.

    -TCU: Private school in a major metro area fits the Pac 12 style, and I’m sure there are Pac 12 universities that would use it to recruit students and hold alumni fundraisers. Not a huge fan base, but they have money. Texas Tech’s biggest fanbase is in the Metroplex, so the Pac 12 would be doubling down on the region if they took both.

    -Houston: (Not Big 12, but a candidate). Public school gives it perhaps more chance to grow a bigger fan base in the long-term than TCU.

    -Oklahoma State: more football history than the Texas schools and probably more money. Will probably be playing Oklahoma in non-conference, giving the Pac 12 the TV rights to Bedlam every other year.

    -Kansas: Basketball. I think this is less desirable than Frank thinks.

    -Iowa State: Don’t laugh. Of all the schools here, it probably has the biggest fanbase. Not counting the Covid year, they have been over 50,000 in attendance every year since 2011. That would have placed it 5th in the Pac 12 according to this article (1). That would probably drop a bit with the conference move, but it would still be solid by Pac 12 standards. Good academics. They also have the annual non-conference game against Iowa. A strong finish this year could help its cause the same way TCU’s run of success got it into the Big 12. Location is the biggest drawback.

    (1) https://www.pacifictakes.com/2020/5/27/21272206/pac-12-football-ranking-teams-attendance-5-year-oregon-washington-usc-ucla-colorado-arizona-stanford

    Like

    1. @m(Ag) – If the Pac-12 were to make a move on the Big 12 leftovers, I think TCU and Kansas are probably the most palatable. Quality private schools in key markets generally punch above their weight in conference realignment matters, whereas a lot of non-flagship public schools get overrated when people get so focused on student enrollment size. If you look back in my archives, I was bullish on TCU moving up way back in its MWC days. TCU (despite its name) doesn’t have the overt religious conflicts that schools like Baylor and BYU would have as Pac-12 candidates.

      It’s a shame about Iowa State’s location since I agree that they have an excellent fan base (and note that the Iowa Cubs at the Triple-A baseball level were in the Pacific Coast League until the minor league baseball system was realigned this year) – the problem is that they’re really hard to justify as an addition anywhere else in the P5.

      Like

      1. z33k

        16 teams for the sake of 16 teams doesn’t make sense, but for the Pac-12 does a 4 team group from the central timezone still make any sense to them or do the names available without Texas/OU just don’t pay for themselves?

        Like it makes sense from the perspective of getting better times for games, getting some press/publicity in the middle of the country to look at Texas Tech/TCU/Oklahoma State/Kansas, but obviously there’s no way they’d take Oklahoma State without Oklahoma…

        Like

        1. bullet

          I’ve read that Texas Tech has the 2nd largest alumni base in DFW after Texas.

          My DFW area HS sent more to Tech than any other 4 years school and Tech is a lot bigger than it was way back then.

          They have minimal following in Houston, but don’t underestimate their significance in DFW. A Tech/TCU combination might be attractive to the Pac 12 if they could get past academic snobbery.

          Like

          1. Alan from Baton Rouge

            Bullet – I agree. Every time I’ve walked into a sports bar in DFW, it’s full of black and red.

            One thing I don’t think people are considering about the leftovers in the Big 12 is not just their stand alone value, but their value in providing USC and the other Pacific time zone schools destinations in the Central and opening up better time slots.

            TCU, TX Tech, Kansas, and OK State provide the PAC that platform, making the west coast schools more valuable.

            I don’t know if the PAC can see that by looking down their noses at those schools.

            Like

          2. Brian

            Alan,

            The problem with those time slots is that they are still at 9 am PT. Fox is forcing the P12 to have a bunch of those games this year and fans hate it. Does it make it better that for one team it is 11:00? The B12 teams can play each other then, but that’s relatively few games and wouldn’t really help the P12 brand much (it would still feel like the B12).

            I also wonder if the P12 fans have any interest in games against those schools. Will they buy tickets? Will they watch on TV? Conversely, will the plains schools care about most of the P12 schools? And will they watch late night games?

            Like

          3. Alan from Baton Rouge

            Brian – without a B-12 taking up preferred slots on FOX and FSN, the PAC can move into better slots, not just 11 central.

            Like

          4. Brian

            Alan,

            With UT and OU gone, the B12 will lose many of those better slots to the P12 anyway. The P12 doesn’t need to expand to get them.

            Like

  38. Doug

    Bret McMurphy tweeted an hour ago. “Source on Big 12 call tonight told
    @Stadium
    , league wants to know Texas & OU’s motivations to leave for SEC. “Is it financial? Or other issues? What would it take for them to stay?” Neither UT & OU participated on the call. Source added: “I don’t think it’s 100% they’re gone”
    So let’s just suppose for a second that Texas and OK are bluffing. They let it leak they’re interested in SEC. Of course SEC likes that. Now they say to Big12 we want a bigger share of $$$. Better yet they call the B10 and say We’re going to the SEC but will join you if A. We get an immediate full share of the BTN or B. An accelerated timeline to get the full share.

    Like

    1. Colin

      Doug, they may indeed be bluffing. Seems like Texas would be throwing academics under the bus to get into a division with the likes of LSU, Ole Miss, Miss St and Arkysaw. Maybe the Horns are angling for A&M to have a cow (no pun intended) and then say, “OK, if you don’t want us we’ll go to the B1G instead.”

      Then again, maybe Texas wants to go down in history as the only university to single-handedly destroy three conferences: The Southwest, the Big Eight and the Big XII.

      Like

        1. @bob sykes – That’s an interesting point and shows how the situation has shifted compared to the conference realignment round that kicked off in 2010. The pre-2010 Big 12 *was* a better academic conference than the SEC, so Texas did have the argument that the SEC was beneath them academically. Since then, though, all of the other AAU schools in the Big 12 besides Kansas and Iowa State have left for other leagues, including Missouri and Texas A&M going to the SEC. The SEC now has 4 AAU members (Vanderbilt, Florida, Texas A&M and Missouri). Plus, Georgia has cemented itself in the top 50 of the US News undergrad rankings over the past several years and all of the other non-AAU members besides Mississippi State are public flagships. So, the SEC still might not be on par with the Big Ten, Pac-12 or ACC academically top to bottom, but the gap has narrowed and they’ve passed the Big 12.

          My guess is that Texas has looked at *today’s* SEC (as opposed to how it perceived it in the prior decades) and has determined that it meets the “good enough” standard academically. Once that academic bar was reached, the SEC is clearly a better option financially and athletically compared to the Big 12 (not to mention how much more power the SEC has in controlling the college sports landscape) and that may be why this move is finally happening.

          It’s sort of like how colleges that might have been looked at as “safety schools” 20 or 30 years ago and could be still perceived as such by older generations are now super-hard to get into for today’s applicants (e.g. Florida and Georgia being prime examples). The SEC had this perception that it was academically inferior for such a long time, but when you take a step back and actually look at its composition today, we really can’t say that any longer (and that’s a powerful attribute when combined how dominant it is for football).

          Like

  39. Mike

    Chip Brown thinks independence is an option.

    https://247sports.com/college/texas/Article/Texas-Longhorns-Oklahoma-Sooners-SEC-no-show-Big-12-call-conference-realignment-Texas-AM-Aggies-168124564/


    That news becoming public could also mean potential media rights partners stepping up to try to offer Texas and Oklahoma an alternative to the Big 12 or the SEC, such as going independent, sources told Horns247.

    One industry source said Texas and Oklahoma could go independent and do an exclusive broadcast agreement with a partner like Fox, and create schedules full of Big Ten and Pac-12 opponents, because Fox already has media rights agreements with the Big Ten and Pac-12.

    “Fox could probably put up some big numbers to make that kind of a deal really worth Texas and Oklahoma’s while,” the source said

    Like

    1. Alan from Baton Rouge

      Mike – my well-connected friend at TCU (former faculty rep on the Athletics committee) told me that those on the Big 12 conference call tonight were told the SEC’s (ESPN’s) number is $80m per year per school with the addition of UT & OU.

      I don’t know how any other conference could match that number. Also, I do think the fan bases’ & recruits’ preferences have to be considered. Rightly or wrongly, any move other than to the SEC at this point would be a disappointment to them.

      Like

    2. Christian

      You can pretty much ignore Chip, his sources have been terrible the last few years. He did a great job breaking the Texas and friends to the Pac10 story in 2010, but any more he gets scooped by the other Texas sites.

      This independence scheme may have been thrown out by Fox, but it is full steam ahead on Texas/OU to the SEC. Chip’s write-up makes it seem like independence is being seriously considered, but it is not. Inside Texas and Orangebloods are the best sources for Longhorn insider info.

      Like

    3. Brian

      Mike,

      How could the UT and OU create schedules full of B10 and P12 schools? That assumes those schools are all looking to play UT and OU, and especially that they’d play them during October or November. I find that hard to believe unless Fox pays a lot for it.

      I could believe Fox trying to pay them to join the B10, as it’s the only conference that could realistically approach that SEC figure.

      Like

      1. Mike

        @Brian – Before Christian’s comment I assumed that Texas was using Chip to put out their Plan B incase there was too much meddling. I do agree, UT and OU going independent would be very difficult and would run into the same complaints that Notre Dame fans have about November home schedules with some combo of UConn, NM St, BYU, and UMass being on the slate.

        Like

        1. Richard

          It wouldn’t be easy, but with 2 more big-time independents, ND and Texas + OU could schedule each other late in the season.

          Plus, the ACC could potentially offer them the same deal they offered ND.

          Like

  40. Peter Griffin

    Jack Swarbrick ought to be sounding out his brethren at, inter alia, Texas, USC, Stanford, Nebraska, Baylor, BYU, Miami, and maybe a few others about independence and and independent football alliance.

    Like

    1. Brian

      Most of those schools are in GoR’s so they can’t go independent at the moment. In addition, most of them also don’t have enough national fans to make more money as independents. It works when they’re playing great, but nobody cares about 8-4 Miami. Nobody cares about Baylor ever. Who is NE going to play if they go independent? The B12 and B10 schools seem unlikely, and that’s every school near them. That may work for football (if they start winning again), but all the other sports?

      There are good reasons why the old independents chose to join conferences. ND is one of the few schools that can prosper as an independent.

      Like

      1. Richard

        And ND “prospers” as an independent by leaving an absolute ton of money on the table. Northwestern and Rutgers both take in several times more TV money that ND does these days.

        It’s the Domers’ choice, but I doubt many schools would choose the same path.

        Like

        1. Brian

          But donations stay high because they are independent. Joining a conference would hurt them and their reputation. Nobody else is in their position as a longtime independent and national brand.

          Like

      2. Peter Griffin

        Everybody needs to think beyond today or tomorrow right now. Baylor, BYU, and some others are already homeless or are staring down the barrel of it now. Others — USC and Stanford come to mind — are stuck on what could quickly become a sinking ship. And the likes of Nebraska and Miami, while stable at the moment, are either second class citizens in their own conference (Nebraska) or with a couple of moves over the horizon also looking for something more stable (Miami). The point being that nobody wants to be in a position of having their future dictated to them. Get six (or so) such schools together, have them play each other every year, and then fill out the rest of their schedule independently, and selling TV rights won’t be a problem.

        Now, non-football is an issue. But in the case of Baylor or BYU, what other option do they have? More importantly, if the football piece isn’t right, then financing the rest of the sports will always be a problem. When the music stops, lots of schools are going to be on the outside looking in, and they will all be looking for non-football opponents.

        Like

        1. Richard

          Well, if you don’t abandon your house and go start living under the bridge even if you might be foreclosed on soon until _after_ you’ve been evicted. And the Power 2 conferences (SEC and B10) aren’t kicking members out.

          Like

          1. Richard

            Argh. No edit button. Meant:
            Well, you don’t abandon your house and go start living under the bridge even if you might be foreclosed on soon until _after_ you’ve been evicted.

            Like

        2. Brian

          How is NE a second class citizen in the B10? They get equal money. They aren’t winning a lot, but that’s a them problem. They wouldn’t be winning much in any conference lately.

          To make more money, these schools need to be in a better conference than their current one. I don’t see enough big names on your list to achieve that.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Peter Griffin

            The move to the Big 10 has crippled Nebraska football. (And, btw, Nebraska is a case study in why Notre Dame never did likewise.) Getting TV money from the Big 10 agreement isn’t everything, particularly with all the sand beginning to shift all around. Smart schools won’t wait to become homeless. Just ask West Virginia and Oklahoma State.

            Like

          2. Brian

            No, NE football crippled itself. Devaney won 83% of his games and Osborne won 84%. It was unrealistic to expect that to continue, but fan bases get spoiled. Osborne got them through the first years of the B12, but then OU returned to glory under Stoops (Bob Stoops won just under 80% at OU). Solich won 75%. Callahan won 55%. Pelini won 71%. Riley won 50%. Frost is below 38%. A few better decisions on coaches and NE would be fine.

            After that 1 extra second against Texas, they’ve never been the same. If they can’t win in the B10 West, they wouldn’t be winning in the B12 either.

            ND has a completely different set of reasons for not wanting to join any conference. They certainly aren’t worried about how NE faded. Most schools go through that (ND did after Holtz).

            And how does becoming homeless apply to NE? Nobody’s kicking them out, and the B10 isn’t dying.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Richard

            Peter Griffin:

            So how would Nebraska have been better off not joining the B10? I’m looking at OK St. and WVU. How do you think they feel about OU and Texas leaving their league? UNL would be in the place of WVU if they hadn’t joined the B10.

            Are you seriously delusional enough to think that UNL would want to be in the place of OK St./WVU right now or that OK St./WVU would not give their right arm to trade places with UNL right now?

            Like

  41. Mike

    New Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff talks realignment

    https://www.mercurynews.com/2021/07/23/new-pac-12-commissioner-george-kliavkoff-talks-realignment-if-the-big-12-folds-cfp-expansion-media-strategy-in-wide-ranging-interview/

    “I love the schools and the teams we have today. We are not actively seeking to poach any teams from any conferences. But we’d be foolish not to listen if schools call us.”

    A lesson learned from the Baylor lawsuit. Call us, because we can’t call you.

    Like

      1. Brian

        https://www.cleveland.com/tribe/2021/07/cleveland-indians-choose-guardians-as-new-team-name.html

        In a release announcing the name change, owner Paul Dolan explained why the name Guardians was chosen.

        “Cleveland has and always will be the most important part of our identity,” said Dolan. “Therefore, we wanted a name that strongly represents the pride, resiliency and loyalty of Clevelanders. ‘Guardians’ reflects those attributes that define us while drawing on the iconic Guardians of Traffic just outside the ballpark on the Hope Memorial Bridge. It brings to life the pride Clevelanders take in our city and the way we fight together for all who choose to be part of the Cleveland baseball family. While ‘Indians’ will always be a part of our history, our new name will help unify our fans and city as we are all Cleveland Guardians.”

        In surveys and focus groups with fans, according to Dolan, two themes resonated. The name Guardians was well received and all fans questioned wanted to keep the Indians’ colors — red, white and blue.

        “Since the announcement to change the name in December, our team has been hard at work to ensure we pick a name that our community, fans, partners, employees and players will be proud to have represent Cleveland Baseball,” said Brian Barren, president of business operations. “Through our research and discussions, we identified a few key themes that were most important to fans – connect to the city of Cleveland, honor our rich baseball history and unite our community – and we believe Guardians upholds all three of those pillars.”

        Like

      2. billinmidwest

        Agreed.

        For a while there, the team was called the Naps in honor of Nap Lajole.

        Some Cardinals fans here in the St. Louis area wouldn’t be that opposed to the Cardinals being renamed the Musials, so the Naps would make more sense.

        Like

        1. Brian

          The bridge the name and logo comes from is right by the stadium and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

          As for other names, I think they had legal issues with Blues (St. Louis hockey) and maybe Spiders (U. of Richmond). Certainly there were trademark and URL squatters making some names difficult. The Spiders also had a dismal ending in Cleveland, including the worst season ever in MLB) so maybe they just didn’t want to recall that.

          Like

  42. z33k

    My only question is whether 16 is an actual stopping point.

    Reality is there’s not a single school out there that would justify expansion beyond a 16 team SEC with Texas/OU on its own.

    Like unless it’s Notre Dame or something, who’s going to add $80-100 million a year to their group, let alone 2 schools able to command that value.

    And of course the ACC’s long-term GoR means we’re likely in holding until closer to 2032; nobody’s paying 15 years of buyout for an ACC school. 3-4 years sure, but that’s a full decade away.

    By then the SEC could be so far ahead that it’s hard to envision who would add to their group; even schools like UNC/Duke wouldn’t really add to their group financially.

    Like

    1. Brian

      The next step would be sport-specific super leagues. Take the top 24-32 football programs and have them form a league for huge money. Do the same in hoops and other revenue sports. Basically end the idea of all-sports conferences to chase money.

      CFB: AL, AU, UF, UGA, LSU, TAMU, UTN, UTX, OU, USC, UO, UW, ND, OSU, UM, PSU, NE, WI, MSU, IA, Clemson, FSU, Miami, BYU, …

      They’d make a lot more, and they could potentially share their largess with their conference members who don’t make the group, so the conferences survive for non-revenue sports. The other schools might also play them in OOC games to maintain rivalries and connections.

      Like

      1. Jersey Bernie

        No way that such a league would work politically, or anything close to it. Too many states would get burned and Congress would step in. At one quick glance, Indiana, Illinois, KY, MN, NJ, MD, UT, CO and others who have state flagships with seats at the table would lose those spots.

        NY state loses Syracuse, not a state school but would likely be protected by Congressional delegation. California loses UCLA, Cal and Stanford. Ouch.

        Even states with flagships that make it might have Congressional delegations up in arms. PA gets PSU, but loses Pitt. IA loses Iowa State, etc. etc.

        Which members of Congress would stand up lead the battle to support this?

        It would be a gigantic bloodbath.

        Like

        1. Brian

          Congress can’t do anything right now (literally). They couldn’t pass a “water is wet” bill in less than a year. They’d have all sorts of hearings that broke down into partisan bickering and deadlock on any vote.

          Super leagues are the natural progression of what’s happening in college sports. There will be legal issues to deal with, but the current structure has those too.

          Note that I listed 24 potential members. It could be larger or have different members. Maybe they have 1 league for both CFB and hoops, so that pulls in Duke, UNC, KU, UK, IU, PU, MSU, SU, UCLA, UArizona, …. Maybe they add a lower tier league with it’s own national championship for the other P5/elite G5 schools, and they could even consider a form of relegation so schools could move up.

          And if the super league schools bring that money back to share with their conference mates, that could net more money for everyone.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Richard

            There would be 2 super-conferences called the “SEC” and “Big 10/22/24”.

            Maybe at some point, they’ll merge.

            Like

  43. https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/31868545/source-oklahoma-sooners-texas-longhorns-verge-making-sec-move

    https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/31868545/source-oklahoma-sooners-texas-longhorns-verge-making-sec-move

    Per Austin American Statesman, UT and OU could make their move to the SEC official in a matter of weeks. A Big 12 source believed talks between the two schools and the SEC have been ongoing for more than six months, though SEC member Texas A&M had been left out of the discussions, though an SEC source said that it’s inaccurate that Texas A&M was left out of the conversations.

    It is believed Texas and Oklahoma would likely owe the Big 12 upwards of $76 million apiece to buy out the remainder of their grant of media rights, which runs until 2025. A new agreement with the SEC, however, would likely make that price tag easily affordable for the two powerhouse programs.

    .
    .

    Not in the linked report, but I’ve read other reports that are estimating by adding the two schools, SEC members may be looking at revenue disbursements of more than $80 million per school per year.

    Like

  44. Brian

    https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/31868545/source-oklahoma-sooners-texas-longhorns-verge-making-sec-move

    Timeline info and a prediction for a superleague.

    Texas and Oklahoma could make their move to the SEC official in a matter of weeks, ESPN has confirmed.

    The Austin American-Statesman reported Friday that a Big 12 source believed talks between the SEC and the two schools had been ongoing for more than six months, though SEC member Texas A&M had been left out of the discussions. An SEC source told ESPN’s Heather Dinich that it’s inaccurate that A&M was left out of the conversation.

    The report also said the move could become official in a matter of weeks. A high-level administrator said his understanding of the situation mirrors that timeline.

    Several ACC athletic directors believed that their league would make a push in the next few years to add both Texas and Oklahoma — along with Notre Dame, which already is a partial ACC member — as it looks to restructure its TV contract, but the suddenness of the Longhorns’ and Sooners’ move to the SEC took them by surprise.

    One ACC AD wondered whether this could be the first domino leading to a massive shake-up that would ultimately result in a 32-team superconference. Two other ADs suggested that the best path forward might be for the ACC, Pac-12 and others to work together toward a new media rights package that could help counter the outsized strength a 16-team SEC would command, with one AD also saying he believed there was minimal value in what would remain of the Big 12.

    Why would the ACC think they could add UT and OU? The SEC and B10 have more to offer financially and competitively.

    Like

  45. wscsuperfan

    From a Rutgers beat writer

    https://www.nj.com/rutgersfootball/2021/07/conference-expansion-what-should-big-ten-do-if-sec-adds-oklahoma-texas.html

    The meat of the article below:

    What should Big Ten do if SEC adds Oklahoma, Texas?
    by James Kratch, NJ.com


    Here’s why the Big Ten may stand pat, and perhaps should stand pat, if the carousel starts spinning again:

    The white whale is still off the board. Notre Dame is tied up in the ACC’s media grant of rights through the 2035-36 academic year. And even if the Fighting Irish could wiggle out, an expanded playoff strengthens their resolve to remain a football independent. The Big Ten would crawl through broken glass and walk over lava to add Notre Dame. Everyone knows that. But it’s hard to see how the opportunity will ever present itself in the current climate.

    The same goes for other ACC targets. The conference boasts five AAU members — an unofficial Big Ten membership prerequisite — that could be Big Ten targets: Duke, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Virginia and Pittsburgh. But all of them are just as tied up as Notre Dame, if not more due to their all-sports affiliation with the ACC. Politics would also be a major issue. The statehouse intervened to get Virginia Tech into the ACC alongside Virginia and North Carolina State and Wake Forest would likely fight to keep Tobacco Road united.

    A Pac-12 raid feels unlikely. Arizona and Colorado would be inspired additions. Both are AAU members that would be contiguous to the current geographic footprint and bring booming populations, fertile recruiting grounds and big media markets. But the conference has never gotten its hands as dirty as other leagues when it comes to expansion. The Big Ten has added four members in the modern era, but it has never outright poached a school. Rutgers had legitimate reasons to go out and seek the invite, as did Maryland, Nebraska and Penn State. Unless the Pac-12 begins to implode — which certainly could happen — it’s hard to imagine the Big Ten would brazenly move on its members. And even then, a push to the far West could still be too bold for the league’s leaders.

    Would the Big Ten want the Big 12 leftovers? Iowa State and Kansas are AAU members and fit the Big Ten’s footprint. The Cyclones would fit into the league just fine, but they would not move the needle much from a big-picture standpoint. It would feel like an act of charity more than a strategic pickup. The Jayhawks would be the splashier addition, but does the Big Ten want to get into bed with an athletics department that seems to have a new scandal every other week? Something tells us a league as holier-than-thou as this one does not want Bill Self’s lifetime contract on its books.

    The SEC caveat. Missouri and Vanderbilt are SEC wallflowers. And they’d become even more irrelevant if Oklahoma and Texas join. But they would fit the footprint and if you put them in the Big Ten, they would be viable programs in all sports from the start. You could even throw Kentucky into this group as well. The idea of a school leaving the SEC seems crazy, but would anyone miss them and/or stand in their way if the Big Ten is determined to expand?

    The bottom line. If the SEC does add Oklahoma and Texas, it feels like it would be the perfect surgical strike: That league gets worlds richer and stronger while the Big Ten and everyone else have little to no recourse to respond, and the right move becomes no move.

    Like

    1. Brian

      I agree with most of that. The idea of schools leaving the SEC is ridiculous and I thought the B10 poached UMD, but the rest is reasonable. There is no equal move to OU and UT joining the SEC, so the B10 should only move if there is an option they feel improves the B10’s future. Maybe KU fits that bill, especially if they worry the ACC might get them and thus strengthen themselves. Otherwise it seems prudent to wait until a truly valuable option appears.

      Like

  46. EndeavorWMEdani

    Now that the gentlemans’ agreement that prevented in-state rivals from being invited to join the SEC has apparently been waved by Florida, South Carolina etc. I fully expect Clemson and FSU to eventually join as well. “But wait,” you say ” ESPN won’t allow it. They would much rather control (own) two conferences (networks) than one.” Perhaps, but unless they renegotiation their network contract with the ACC, there is no way 2036 is sustainable for the ACC or tenable for Clemson.

    Like

    1. FrankTheAg

      Without question this is the next step. It might be 5 years down the road but the SEC is not stopping at 16. The role of governing college football will transition to conferences and the SEC will get bigger – I’d say 20 – 24.

      Clemson, FSU, UNC, VTech, are the targets.

      Like

      1. Brian

        And then to aid with scheduling and building camaraderie they can split into 2 conferences like the pro leagues do. Call them the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Southeastern Conference, maybe. Or maybe it’s the Southwest Conference and the Southeastern Conference.

        Like

        1. bullet

          And maybe that’s what Warren should be doing–calling up Sankey, UNC, ND, FSU and Clemson and creating two 22-24 team super leagues in the east. With Texas and OU, the 3 eastern leagues have 45 teams. Add WVU, KU and one other Big 12 team and you have 48.

          I would think the SEC and Big 10 could get more value out of the ACC schools by splitting them up. That would also be a way around the GOR as the two leagues absorb everyone (or nearly everyone).

          Like

          1. Alan from Baton Rouge

            At some point next decade when the ACC’s GofR is getting close to expiring, I could see a Fox League of College Football and an ABC/ESPN League of College Football, but I hope not.

            Maybe 16 is the max. Looking at scheduling options, I think 16 will work out better than 14.

            Like

          2. Brian

            bullet,

            The B10 and SEC can’t collude to carve up the ACC. Someone would have to want to add WV and the others, they aren’t going to take them just to hit a certain number.

            If they are chasing value, then they would only want some of the ACC. Schools like WF don’t add any value. Truly maximizing value would be dropping some current members, but that isn’t going to happen either. That’s where sport-specific superleagues come in.

            I think it is harder to get around a GoR than that. Unless it is unanimous or maybe just 1 dissenter, I’m guessing the minority are protected.

            Like

          3. Brian

            Alan,

            Mimicking the NFL TV setup seems more likely to me. One network has the B10 and the other the SEC, but both conferences are part of an overarching structure. There’s more money in that. But that’s basically what we have now. It’s just that Fox has 3 conferences (dropping to 2?) and ESPN has 2.

            Like

          4. Kevin

            Agreed on the similarities with the NFL. If I am ESPN I have some concerns that the coverage is regional. Or relegated to the East and the South. Albeit a lot of population in that area.

            If I am FOX I don’t want to lose the Texas footprint and I would want to get into the Southeast at some point.

            What ever happens I hope FOX goes hard after the Rose Bowl.

            Like

      2. Richard

        Yep, as I mentioned above to people on this thread, the world won’t stand still even if you want it to.

        Thus why the B10 should also add the 4 CA Pac schools + UDub + CU + Oregon (and ideally ND eventually).

        Like

      3. EndeavorWMEdani

        For all intents and purposes ESPN wants to control college football, post NCAA, (duh) with one super league (SECmax ☺). Clemson, UNC, FSU and perhaps Duke will be SEC within a decade, guaranteed. The Big Ten’s only hope is to combine with the best of the Pac and ND. I believe that will happen out of necessity.

        Like

        1. EndeavorWMEdani

          With the big tech streamers in the mix for the next rights negotiations, this is going to happen sooner rather than later. I know many will scoff at this, but two super leagues a is where this is headed. The grinding and gnashing of teeth will be intense (and sad) but College Football is now a professional sport.

          Like

  47. Mike

    Chip Brown says Monday,.

    https://247sports.com/college/texas/LongFormArticle/Texas-Longhorns-Oklahoma-Sooners-leave-Big-12-join-SEC-conference-realignment-Texas-OU-football-Texas-AM-168151146/#168151146_1

    Texas and Oklahoma, the founding members of the Big 12, are leaving the league – and barring any unforeseen developments, will join the Southeastern Conference, a high-level source close to the situation told Horns247.

    Texas and OU officials plan to inform the Big 12 on Monday that they won’t renew when the league’s grant of rights expire in 2025, a step that clears the path for the SEC to formally consider adding Texas and OU.

    Again, barring unforeseen circumstances, an SEC vote on adding Texas and Oklahoma “could move quickly,” the source told Horns247.

    Like

  48. FrankTheAg

    Every internal source at A&M thinks this is a done deal. Timing is all that remains.

    Texas politics might huff and puff some but just like A&M’s exit, the can’t / won’t stop it.

    Like

  49. CousinYeti

    I get that it’s not viable from a $$ perspective, but a KS and WV move to the B10 would balance 4 pods geographically, and it would make for an awesome “Civil War” type conference challenge between the North (B10) and South (SEC). WV breaking from VA during the war, and KS being on the free state side with MO aligning with the South…it would even be sort of accurate for the two sides historically. It would make for a compelling yearly “Challenge” between the two conferences, a la the B10-ACC Challenge in basketball.

    Nebraska would gain a western partner, and I could imagine Penn. St. and WVU being a rivalry. Two good basketball schools too.

    Like

    1. Marc

      I get that it’s not viable from a $$ perspective, but a KS and WV move to the B10 would balance 4 pods geographically…

      Pods are a second-order decision after you’ve made the first-order decision that these additions make economic, cultural, political, and competitive sense. Nobody expands because the pods make sense.

      Nebraska would gain a western partner…

      Nebraska was in a conference with Kansas for many decades, and they walked away from it. I don’t think Kansas is the partner they are looking for.

      Like

  50. manifestodeluxe

    I’m not an expert, but humor me. I think there are some interesting questions that arise for the B10 if we roll with certain assumptions.

    *Let’s just assume UT/OU are off to the SEC. Maybe the B10 attempted to put their hat in the ring but we rebuffed. Regardless the assumption here is they are not a possibility for the B10, as all currently known information seems to suggest. Unfortunate but let’s move on.

    *Assume ND is still content to be in ACC/Independent. There’s nothing here that leads me to think ND, if they finally decided they just needed to be in a conference for some reason, would suddenly have a change of heart about the B10. Maybe someone more plugged into ND administration will disagree, but let’s use this assumption for now.

    *Assume the ACC is off limits due to GoR contracts tying all schools down for the next 15 years. This includes ND. Even if the entire ACC is currently looking at that contract and doing the “I’ve made a huge mistake” meme, let’s assume it’s airtight and they’re stuck until 2035 or whatever. As such this eliminates all ACC school to B10 scenarios.

    *Assume revenue projections long term are less concerned about cable subs and more concerned about potential subscription subs, which may be related but aren’t one in the same.

    *Assume that, for the B10 at least, any P10 team is off the table. Not only for logistical reasons, but because the P10 is the only conference I think the B10 regards as a legit partner versus a friend-until-we-decide-we-like-your-stuff. So while I think it’s a given here, I’m setting this assumption to eliminate Colorado.

    *Lastly, assume the B10 actually wants to expand at all, and still wants to expand despite all of the huge negative assumptions listed above.

    So, using those assumptions: When news of this broke and I got the email with FtT’s post, my initial thought was, “Kansas and Iowa State to the B10? Not a chance in hell. Bad football and they’re low-pop states in the midwest.” However, are we sure those would really be nonstarters?

    Academically both fit the profile the B10 generally covets. Large flagship public research universities with strong academic profiles and AAU status. This is fairly common knowledge, but should still be restated. Small population states, but Kansas boasts 350k alumni, and Iowa State lists around 260k.

    Population proximity for potential colleges mattered before because of recruiting potential, both academic and athletic, and for cable subscriptions. It’s the reason Maryland and Rutgers are in the B10 now, again which is a given but worth restating. But if we’re talking streaming in the long term, would population proximity be as big of a factor as the last round of expansion, versus simply “how many people know about your product and care enough to pay to stream it?”

    Because Kansas basketball has that. Does it offset the fact that their football product is a dead fish if people are still subbing? As a football *fan* I say no, because we already have a lot of meh or worse teams in the B10. But if we’re talking just from a business decision? That I’m unsure. As Frank stated, they’re one of the few blueblood names in basketball, and the others (UK, Duke, UNC) aren’t in play and may never be. Iowa State doesn’t bring that type of cache, but they’re a decent middling football team with a devoted fanbase. And unlike TA&M/UT or even PSU/Pitt it seems like Iowa might not throw a gigantic tantrum at the prospect of a second state school. Of course, maybe they’re also super friendly only because Iowa has never thought it was seriously a consideration.

    I guess, for me, if we’re saying streaming is the direction of the future and cable is dying (and this is a safe statement for the most part), then the old B10 axiom of expanding the footprint may not be the ironclad rule it once was. As such, teams that would’ve normally been dismissed out of hand might not be so easily dismissed this round. Again, under all of the large assumptions listed above anyway.

    Like

    1. Brian

      Even given all those conditions, ISU is a non-starter. It adds nothing (no brand in sports, no new territory of fans), so the average payout per school would decrease. And Iowa would most certainly throw a fit.

      You can at least make a financial case that KU would be a breakeven or better addition, but ISU has no upside. 260k alumni? That’s tiny for a B10 school. OSU is around 600k and is not the largest in the B10.

      Like

      1. manifestodeluxe

        ” 260k alumni? That’s tiny for a B10 school. OSU is around 600k and is not the largest in the B10.”

        ISU would be tied for second smallest, yes. With Iowa, and right in front of Northwestern.

        Indiana University — 400k (Bloomington only, https://alumni.iu.edu/about/alumni-census/campus-school-grads.html)
        University of Maryland — 360k (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Maryland,_College_Park)
        University of Michigan — 500k (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_University_of_Michigan_alumni)
        Michigan State University — 500k (https://alumni.msu.edu/alumni-donor-counts.cfm)
        Ohio State University — 500k (https://www.osu.edu/highpoints/alumni/.)
        Pennsylvania State University — 726k (https://www.alumni.psu.edu/news)
        Rutgers University — 530k (https://www.rutgers.edu/info/alumni-donors)
        University of Illinois — 470k (https://illinois.edu/about/facts.html)
        University of Iowa — 250k (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Iowa)
        University of Minnesota — 485k (https://twin-cities.umn.edu/about-us)
        University of Nebraska — ??? I didn’t see anything reliable
        Northwestern University — 200k (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwestern_Alumni_Association)
        Purdue University — 400k (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purdue_University)
        University of Wisconsin — 460k (https://www.uwalumni.com/alumni-achievements/)

        Average (sans NU): 445k

        I don’t really think the B10 would be interested, but I did think it was worth trying to state a case. I think the case for KU is stronger, and I’m unsure a reasonable play wouldn’t be to admit them and sit at 15 while lobbying to remove the divisions requirement.

        Like

        1. Logan

          Kansas has an enrollement of 28,000 while Iowa State has an undergrad enrollment of 33,000.

          Counting alumni is a bit tricky as it is based on historic enrollment, but I believe KU count anyone who attended and doesn’t limit it to only graduates. No idea what ISU does, but that may explain the difference.

          Like

        2. Logan

          Kansas has an enrollment of over 27,000 while ISU has an enrollment of over 33,000.

          I realize alumni is a product of historic enrollment, but even that isn’t 100% clear. For example, Kansas counts anyone who attended as alumni, regardless of whether or not they graduated. No idea how ISU counts, but that may explain the difference.

          Like

      1. @Mike – Yes, it tough for me to see how Iowa State gets into the Big Ten. They’re a good academic and cultural fit with a solid fan base, but the lack of a new market and location seems to be the death knell financially. They don’t have a national brand like Kansas basketball, either.

        It pains me since I really respect Iowa State at a personal level – they’re one of those schools that has largely done things right athletically and academically but they’re simply in the wrong location for conference realignment purposes. If they swapped locations with TCU, Texas Tech or Baylor, they probably would have Big Ten and Pac-12 invites already.

        The only thing that I could think of is that Iowa politicians put pressure on the University of Iowa and that’s somehow leveraged in combination with other Big Ten members similar to how Virginia politicians intervened with UVA’s vote to effectively force an ACC invite for Virginia Tech in order to also add Miami in 2003. However, Kansas isn’t Miami circa-2003 where it would be so important and valuable for the Big Ten to add them that there could be some type of forced package deal.

        Like

  51. Mike

    Stewart Mandel with a thread that starts here that I’ll unroll.


    There’s this assumption out there that if the SEC goes to 16, everyone else will follow.

    That’s outdated thinking.

    This is not 2011. Cable households don’t matter. There are no available P5 programs (after UT/OU) that would drive TV value for the B1G in particular.

    The B1G is going to get a massive new TV deal in 2023.

    Would it get even more massive by adding Kansas or Iowa State?

    Not at all, and in fact, it might mean less per school than what they’d get at 14.

    The calculus might be different for the ACC, which is stuck in a 20-year deal it can only change if it adds new members. But again, is ESPN going to rip up the contract and throw more money at them for adding West Virginia?

    I doubt it.

    The interesting one is the Pac-12. It needs to do *something* to increase relevancy before next TV deal.

    The Pac-12 and leftover Big 12 will talk scenarios, one of which may just be combine their rights.

    But individually, TCU, Baylor, etc., do nothing for the Pac-12 either.

    Like

    1. z33k

      Not sure I completely agree with him on that.

      In both inventory and national brands, a big move that includes schools like Clemson/FSU or even UNC would absolutely move the needle.

      Most other schools don’t move the needle though.

      Like

      1. Richard

        Clemson has done stellar given its circumstances (credit Dabo), but none of those 3 are on the same level of the super-kings /kings like UF/UGa/Bama/LSU/Texas/OSU/ND/UMich/PSU/OU.

        Clemson is essentially Iowa in a great recruiting ground with a coach who’s a terrific recruiter.

        And we’ve seen what’s happened to FSU once they made a few bad coaching decisions. Texas and ND each have gone close to a decade without a double-digit win season (8 years) including multiple losing seasons during that span, but the true bluebloods don’t suddenly start featuring half-empty stadiums after a couple of down years (and the Noles aren’t even far removed from winning a national title!)

        Like

        1. billinmidwest

          Terrific recruiter *and retainer of talent*

          One of the reason why Clemson has a very low transfer rate (relative to the rest of college football) is that he makes it very clear to recruits that “you will work for your playing time or you will sit on the bench”. Of course, a lazy bum like Rashan Gary didn’t want any part of that culture.

          A lot of coaches kiss players’ butts on recruiting trail and then the coaches are shocked that the player thinks he’s too good to work for his playing time.

          The latter phenomenon is a big reason why my Wolverines are out of Big Ten title contention until at least 2025. A player who has had his butt kissed on the recruiting trail is going to react very negatively to Harbaugh’s prickly demeanor. Hence Michigan losing so many guys to the Transfer Portal.

          Like

  52. Andy

    AAU schools by conference in the new landscape:

    B1G: 13
    PAC: 8
    SEC: 5
    ACC: 5
    Big 12: 2

    The University of Georgia is a school that seems like it could maybe at some point get AAU status, which would pus the SEC up to 6.

    Like

      1. Brian

        It is very hard to join the AAU, in part because all the other non-members are also working to improve. The AAU also doesn’t want to grow too big, so old members may need to get booted to make room for new ones (see NE and SU).

        GT just got in in 2010. Other recent additions are Boston U, Tufts, Dartmouth, Utah and UC-Santa Cruz. Back when NE was fighting to stay in, they published a table that showed schools ranked by AAU indicators. The data was based on 2007ish, so obviously there will be some changes since then. GT was 1 of only 2 eligible candidates that ranked above the 50th percentile of AAU members (Yeshiva U. was the other).

        The next eligible candidates (in order) were Dartmouth, Boston, UAB, Tufts, UMBC, Utah and UC-Santa Cruz. Note that 5 of those 7 have since joined. The only other schools above the 25th percentile were #55 RPI and #57 Wake Forest. #110 UGA ranked just behind #109 Nebraska, and NE got voted out. The lowest remaining AAU members were #87 and #94. I’m not saying that table is the absolute admission order list, but it matches pretty well. UGA has a ways to go and many schools to climb over to get an AAU invitation.

        Like

        1. Andy

          Interesting. That’s 14 years ago. But I would have thought Georgia would be higher than that. They have a pretty strong undergrad profile. I guess they don’t do that much research.

          Like

          1. Brian

            The undergrad profile means nothing for this type of ranking. School reputations are driven by research and faculty members (National Academy members, major awards won). Academics don’t give any credence to things like US News rankings.

            Like

          2. @Brian – I agree, although I can understand that we can’t get too focused on AAU membership per se for conference realignment purposes. Notre Dame isn’t a research institution and will likely never be anywhere near AAU membership, yet they’re quite clearly academically acceptable to the Big Ten and every other league. Meanwhile, the University of Toronto and a whole host of other AAU schools (e.g. Rice, Buffalo, etc.) won’t ever realistically be good enough athletically for Big Ten membership.

            Schools like Georgia and Tennessee are generally going to be looked at as higher in the academic rankings than Oklahoma (the school that UT is directly linking itself with here), so I think the point is that the SEC has finally crossed the threshold of being academically acceptable to Texas.

            Like

          3. manifestodeluxe

            “so I think the point is that the SEC has finally crossed the threshold of being academically acceptable to Texas.”

            All it took to convince them was stealing half of the B12’s academically acceptable schools.

            Like

          4. Brian

            Frank,

            For realignment purposes, I agree. But I was directly addressing manifestodeluxe’s discussion of UGA and AAU membership.

            ND was #99 back then, so well ahead of UGA. OU was #91. TN didn’t make the top 126, but UK, MS, SC, and MsSU did. So did WVU and KSU.

            But since you need to make about the top 50, none of those schools is all that close to joining the AAU.

            Like

          5. Andy

            So I don’t know what secret formula the AAU uses, but in terms of pure research dollar rankings, here are the rankings

            2017 R&D Spending Rankings

            #2 Michigan (AAU)
            #5 Washington (AAU)
            #6 Wisconsin (AAU)
            #8 Duke (AAU)
            #10 Stanford (AAU)
            #11 UNC (AAU)
            #12 UCLA (AAU)
            #16 Pitt (AU)
            #17 Minnesota (AAU)
            #19 Texas A&M (AAU)
            #22 Ohio State (AAU)
            #23 Penn State (AA)
            #24 Georgia Tech (AAU)
            #25 Florida (AAU)
            #26 UC Berkeley (AAU)
            #27 USC (AAU)
            #29 Northwestern (AAU)
            #31 Vanderbilt (AAU)
            #32 Michigan State (AAU)
            #33 Rutgers (AAU)
            #35 Texas (AAU)
            #36 Illinois (AAU)
            #37 Purdue (AAU)
            #38 Arizona (AAU)
            #43 Maryland (AAU)
            #44 Arizona State (Non-AAU)
            #45 Indiana (AAU)
            #46 Virginia Tech (Non-AAU)
            #47 NC State (Non-AAU)
            #48 Colorado (AAU)
            #49 Iowa (AAU)
            #51 Virginia (AAU)
            #53 Georgia (non-AAU) (up from #72 eight years ago, on the rise)
            #54 Cincinatti (non-AAU)
            #61 Utah (non-AAU)
            #64 Miami (non-AAU)
            #66 Washington State (non-AAU)
            #73 Iowa State (AAU)
            #77 Nebraska Inon-AAU)
            #78 Kansas (AAU)
            #82 Florida State (non-AAU)
            #84 Oklahoma (non-AAU)
            #85 Temple (non-AAU)
            #86 UConn (non-AAU)
            #88 LSU (non-AAU)
            #90 Mizzou (AAU) (Down from #74 nine years prior and in steady decline)
            #94 Mississippi State (non-AAU)
            #101 Notre Dame (non-AAU)
            #106 South Carolina (non-AAU)
            #107 Tennessee (non-AAU)
            #109 Kansas State (non-AAU)
            #111 Clemson (non-AAU)
            #113 Texas Tech (non-AAU)
            #114 Oklahoma State (non-AAU)
            #115 Auburn (non-AAU)
            #117 West Virginia (non-AAU)
            #120 Wake Forest (non-AAU)
            #122 Louisville (non-AAU)
            #125 Houston (non-AAU)
            #128 Arkansas (non-AAU)
            #132 Syracuse (non-AAU)
            #139 Ole Miss (non-AAU)
            #159 Oregon (AAU)
            #179 Alabama (non-AAU)
            #206 BYU (non-AAU)
            #237 Baylor (non-AAU)

            By that list, the P5 schools that are best positioned to become AAU members that currently aren’t members would be Arizona State, Virginia Tech, NC State, and Georgia. I don’t know how close any of them are to getting it, but those look like the most likely candidates.

            The AAU members that play P5 football that are doing the least amount of research are Oregon, Mizzou, Kansas, and Iowa State. I don’t know if any of them are particularly close to losing status. Oregon seems to be by far in the worst shape of the four.

            I notice Mizzou has been steadily slipping down the rankings over the last 20+ years. The new leadership is trying to do something about it. In 2020 they just opened a new $250 million health sciences research institute, specifically to boost themselves in this kind of research rankings. Looking at the list, it wouldn’t take a whole heck of a lot to jump up about 20 spots in the rankings. But that would basically just get them back to where they were 10 years ago.

            Like

          6. Andy

            Ah, you’re right. Utah just joined in 2019. And they’re about 10 spots below on that list than Georgia. So yes, looks like I was right and Brian was wrong (wouldn’t be the first time). Georgia does probably have a decent shat at AAU membership at some point.

            Like

          7. Andy

            Ah, you’re right. Utah became AAU a couple years ago. And if you look, they’re about 10 spots lower on the list than Georgia. So looks like I was right and Brian was wrong (wouldn’t be the first time). Yes, Georgia probably does have a decent shot at becoming AAU at some point.

            Like

          8. Brian

            The table is the AAU’s own rankings of schools in 2008. They use 7 metrics (4 primary, 3 secondary). Total research spending is not one of them. They use competitive federal research funding (NSF, NIH, …), in which UGA ranked #87 back in 2008. But UGA suffers from the same problem as many land grants – that funding isn’t counted while the ag faculty are. So in the normalized metric (research spending per faculty member) UGA was #120. They also lagged in citations of their work (#70, but #101 normalized). The normalized indicators are the basis for how the AAU ranks schools, with UGA = 102. That put them #110 in the rankings.

            The AAU may change their criteria, and UGA may have moved up the list recently (which I said before – it’s old data). But there were more than 40 schools ahead of them on the list back then, and all of those schools are also trying to improve. All the recent additions had an average indicator value of 53 or lower (vs UGA’s 102), so I don’t see any reason to believe UGA is about to be invited.

            Like

          9. Andy

            The University of Georgia’s total R&D spending has gone up from $369M in 2008 to $578M in 2019. That’s a 57% increase. So yes, I think 2008 numbers are pretty stale and it’s hard to say where they’d rank today. In terms of both total R&D spending as well as USNews rankings, Georgia is one of the highest ranked non-AAU schools. They may not join the AAU any time soon, but it seems like they’re better positioned than most to do it eventually.

            Like

          10. Brian

            The AAU does not care about US News rankings.

            The 2019 CMUP report (most recent one) has UGA at #78 for federal research (closer to what the AAU values) vs #57 for total research, and lagging in National Academy members.

            UGA actually dropped in total research from 2008 to 2017 by 4.5% but increased their federal research by 23%. But just for comparison, OSU was almost triple the amount of UGA (they give values in 1983 dollars, so I’m not quoting the numbers).

            None of this is to say UGA is a bad school, but if we assume a school needs to be about 50th percentile to get invited to the AAU (true for all recent additions), then UGA has a ways to go to get there and it is facing a lot of competition.

            Like

          11. Andy

            If that’s the metric, then here are the rankings for P5 schools (AAU schools starred):

            *Washington 2
            *Michigan 3
            *Stanford 4
            *UNC 5
            *Duke 9
            *Pitt 10
            *Georgia Tech 12
            *Wisconsin 14
            *UCLA 17
            *Penn State 18
            *Minnesota 20
            *Vanderbilt 21
            *Northwestern 22
            *Ohio State 24
            *Texas 26
            *Maryland 29
            *Colorado 30
            *Illinois 32
            *Michigan State 34
            *UC Berkeley 35
            *Rutgers 37
            * Florida 38
            *Texas A&M 41
            Arizona State 45
            *Indiana 50
            *Iowa 52
            *Purdue 55
            *Utah 56
            *Virginia 57
            Arizona State 58
            NC State 60
            Miami 64
            Virginia Tech 70
            Oregon State 76
            Georgia 78
            Wake Forest 80
            Tennessee 83
            Washington State 89
            *Iowa State 91
            Florida State 94
            *Mizzou 100
            Nebraska 103
            Notre Dame 109
            South Carolina 110
            Mississippi State 111
            *Kansas 113
            LSU 120
            Kansas State 123
            Oklahoma 124
            West Virginia 125
            Clemson 133
            *Oregon 138
            Auburn 142
            Arkansas 159.
            several P5 teams were so low they didn’t make the rankings

            So yes, Georgia isn’t quite there. They probably need to move up about 20 to 25 spots. Looks like the schools that are closest are Arizona State and NC State. I wouldn’t say Georgia won’t ever make AAU, but it’ll probably be a while.

            Oregon is in the most trouble, then Kansas, then Missouri, then Iowa State. The rest are probably pretty safe.

            As I said, Missouri has dropped about 15 or 20 spots in recent years. They really need to get that turned around. They have all new leadership now and are trying to prioritize it, and just in the past year opened a new $250M research facility among other things so maybe they can reverse the awful trend.

            Like

          12. Brian

            That sounds about right. The hardest part about climbing the list is that every school is always working to improve research funding, and it’s competitive.

            The AAU may go through another round of pruning in the next 20 years, in part to make room for new members that are more deserving now. That might aid the most likely candidates.

            Like

          13. bullet

            UGA doesn’t have a medical school and has only a minimal engineering school (GT has the engineers) which are two of the largest research generators and one of their strongest schools is Agriculture, which doesn’t get counted as research for the AAU because dollars are often distributed politically instead of by merit.

            UGA has become ridiculously difficult to get into. It is probably the 2nd hardest in the SEC right now after Vanderbilt. I do know kids who couldn’t get into UGA who got accepted by Florida.

            Like

        2. Colin

          You folks need to understand that the AAU refuses to recognize agricultural research. Land grant schools like Nebraska, Oklahoma and K State are heavily involved in research but it “doesn’t count” to the AAU snobs.

          Like

          1. Brian

            Trust me, we’ve had plenty of discussion of the AAU over the years here.

            They do not consider non-competitive research funding, and unfortunately most agricultural research falls into that category. It’s a double whammy because the ag faculty still count, so the per capita metrics look worse as well. But a whole lot of land grant schools are in the AAU, so you can work around it. You need to do lots of other research as well, and it really helps to have an affiliated medical school (and it must be close enough to count as part of your school).

            Like

  53. z33k

    Yeah I’m not bullish on Kansas at this juncture. If we were going to add Kansas, it would have been with Missouri last time.

    The most obvious and sensible approach right now is to just wait. Kansas will literally always be there.

    Kansas is the even number (the +1) like Rutgers not the odd number (the one you actually expand for) like Maryland in this type of scenario.

    There is literally no reason for the Big Ten to rush when there’s going to be a lot of other stuff to consider over the next 10 years.

    Like

    1. Brian

      MO was also an even number add, that’s one of the reasons the B10 stopped at 12. The B10/Delany was also scarred from how poorly the PSU integration was handled, so they wanted to slow down and do it right. In that time MO jumped to the SEC so it was too late. Otherwise MO and KU might have gotten an offer, or might not (is KC plus more of St. L worth it?).

      Normally RU would be an even number but I think the NYC market and the ties to PSU alumni moved them up to almost an equal with UMD. Delany wanted NYC, but he needed a partner for RU. Going west didn’t make sense for that, so KU was left out again.

      Like

      1. z33k

        Yeah, it was clear that the math back then was different.

        And the calculations included the # of Big Ten alumni in NYC/NJ and DC/MD, which are both big numbers, far larger than the numbers that live in Missouri/KS.

        I just think it’s hard to argue Big Ten should take KS when there are way more attractive ACC schools that might become available (though it may take 4-6 as a group to get them to move).

        And yeah the problem with both KS/Mizzou is both are solid +1s neither made sense as the reason to expand.

        I can see where Rutgers/MD became a combo in a sense as a way to get the Big Ten more heavily on the East Coast and in better recruiting grounds for recruits/students as well as where alums and big markets are.

        Like

        1. Brian

          I mostly agree with you. The only current reason I see to take KU is to keep them away from the ACC or P12, basically preventing what happened with MO. But for the B10 to care, KU would need to be valuable (either for hoops $ or as part of a larger strategic plan). So in this case it would be the first step towards future additions by weakening the competition. But generally the B10 has headed east, so I’m thinking that’s where any future moves would focus. Hope the ACC implodes and go for UVA/VT/UNC/Duke, maybe. Or maybe it’s just UVA and VT. Or maybe UVA and KU. Or maybe they think 14 is plenty.

          If KU’s football team was even mediocre they’d be easier to justify, but the last thing the west (or B10 overall) needs right now is another weak team.

          Like

  54. bob sykes

    Instead of conference expansion, there is a suggestion over at Conference Realignment Board that the ACC and B1G form a marketing alliance to sell themselves as a package deal:

    https://virginiatech.sportswar.com/mid/15693396/board/vtrealignment/

    How you get around the ACC GOR, might be a problem, but if everyone agrees it’s probably doable.

    This is not quite the same thing as was discussed between the PAC 12 and the B1G sometime ago. There’s no partial scheduling merger.

    Actually, a marketing alliance with the PAC12 might work better than one with the ACC. Or would a three-way alliance be better yet?

    Like

    1. Brian

      I’ve seen multiple people suggest that the ACC and P12 do something like this. I don’t see how it’s in the B10’s best interest. The B10 makes a lot more than the ACC now, so how does working with them help the B10? It seems like the B10 would just be helping the ACC get a boost.

      Would the B10 happily add some of the current ACC? Of course. But working with them actually undermines the B10’s chances at adding ACC members later.

      Like

    2. Marc

      I don’t see what the B10 gains from an alliance with the ACC. The B10 distributes substantially more per school than the ACC. There is no way to generate enough value for the B10 to come out ahead.

      Like

    3. @bob sykes – The issue is in looking at it from the Big Ten perspective, both the Pac-12 and ACC need the Big Ten significantly more than the other way around. Remember that the Big Ten is going back to market with their TV rights again within the next couple of years, so their lead over the Pac-12 and ACC is very likely to expand even further than today. Now, the SEC may ultimately be ahead of the Big Ten at the end of the day after this UT/OU expansion, but the Big Ten at worst will be a super-strong #2.

      That gives some credence to quotes in the media that it might be the Pac-12 and ACC that would be the ones aligning with each other down the road. They are both falling further behind the SEC and B1G, so they have much more of a need to find some type of external way to add revenue beyond their current memberships.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Brian

        I think time zones make that hard, though. The P12 teams don’t want 9am games and the ACC don’t want 10pm games. That only leaves the 3:30pm and 7-8pm windows for these games. Do the ACC teams play each other at noon with the P12 teams playing at night to free up the middle windows for crossover games?

        Nobody is paying more for WSU vs WF, they’d have to focus on Clemson/USC, FSU/UO, etc. Will the lesser programs stand for being treated differently as long as they get equal money?

        It might work well to pull in ND, though, as 7 of their games are already in this mix.

        Like

  55. EndeavorWMEdani

    Colin Cowherd was spot on today when discussing why the UFC and SEC are both winners. “If you’re politically correct and passive in (the business of) sports, when the music stops, you’ll be left without a chair.” The B1G is politically correct and passive. First with their pandemic debacle and now this.The fact they are talking to Kansas and Iowa State, even as a courtesy, perfectly illustrates their second tier mentality.

    Like

    1. Brian

      It’s just rude not to take the phone call. You don’t know exactly what they have in mind until you hear them out. It doesn’t mean there’s any interest from the B10 in adding them.

      As for being passive, how much crap did the B10 get for announcing they were looking into realignment in 2009 before getting NE?

      The B10 may be below the SEC in money, but they’re way ahead of everyone else. That’s hardly second tier.

      Like

      1. z33k

        Yeah I don’t get why the Big Ten wouldn’t take courtesy calls.

        There’s absolutely no reason not to.

        Everyone just has to relax; yes the media will hyperventilate about the SEC even more than usual, but the Big Ten will be okay.

        The Big Ten is positioned about as well as anybody outside of the SEC can possibly be given the # of big programs in the SEC relative to everyone else.

        As for being passive, what exactly is the Big Ten supposed to do? Pay 15 years of ACC buyout money to grab some ACC schools?

        That would be a braindead level play. The Big Ten’s best play is to just wait until the moment is right to add schools that add value.

        It’s not like the Big Ten’s contract is going to fall apart or something because Texas/OU go to the SEC.

        Like

        1. Brian

          I think a key move is for the other conferences to start voting to help themselves and reduce the SEC’s advantages. Cap teams per conference in the playoff at 3 or 4. Don’t count I-AA wins towards bowl eligibility. Require 10 P5 (or equivalent) games to make the playoff. Refuse to play the SEC in OOC games (except existing rivalries). If the SEC wants to declare war, then fight back in every way possible.

          Like

          1. Alan from Baton Rouge

            Brian – how did the SEC declare war on CFB by taking a call from two all-time top 10 football programs? .

            The B1G certainly would have taken that call. If the B1G was about accept OU & UT as members, I doubt you’d be saying the B1G just declared war on the rest of CFB.

            Like

          2. Richard

            Yeah, no such thing will happen.

            The SEC’s advantage is that nearly the entire conference (besides the northern part) is situated in terrifically fertile recruiting territory. Unless you institute a draft (not happening), that’s not going away.

            Like

          3. Brian

            Alan,

            Actually I would say the same thing about the B10 if they did that. I’m not saying the SEC shouldn’t do it, just like I wouldn’t say the B10 shouldn’t, but it is declaring war on the rest of CFB. It kills the B12, and may lead to killing the ACC and P12. It puts one conference well beyond any other and risks giving them veto power on the sport. It’s not healthy.

            I doubt the others will do anything about it, because they never do. But they should.

            Like

  56. Alan from Baton Rouge

    Assuming OU & UT to the SEC happens, and ESPN is going to pay $75-80m per year per school, how does that affect the B1G and PAC’s upcoming TV contract negotiations?

    Will ESPN be much of a player? There are only so many slots with 16 teams in the SEC and 14 teams in the ACC locked up through the middle of the next decade. That may be enough for ESPN/ABC, along with some filler American games.

    Does the B1G sell one or two noon games per week to ESPN just to be relevant of Sports Center and Game Day? Does the PAC sell one or two PAC after dark games to ESPN for the same reason? Does ESPN want them? Will FOX demand exclusivity for the BIG and PAC? Will FOX overpay for exclusivity?

    Having lost the SEC game of the week, will CBS be a player?

    Like

    1. Mike

      I am sure Fox will be a bidder on the Big Ten, as Bryan notes, they just freed up 660 million. That’s in addition to anything they save on the Big 12’s contract after UT/OU leave. Some of that will be invested elsewhere, but they’ll have the cash. They need the Big Ten (and the PAC) to keep FS1 and FS2 relevant.

      CBS may make a run to bolster Paramount+, but its hard to see them out bidding FOX. Amazon is a wild card.

      Like

  57. wscsuperfan

    From a Nebraska message board. Take it FWIW:

    ——————————————————-

    If you recall, back in February the Third Wiseman came in with a report that the BIG expansion sub-committee had met for the first time in almost 24 months…

    Today he checked back in with all the happenings…

    “Amazing few months on the expansion front. Earlier this year I told you how the BIG had started looking again at expansion as a viable model and was examining potential targets. What I hadn’t gone into was “why” that it had started to emerge as a hot topic. The genesis of that was a report that predicted the impact of the Streaming Services on broadcast rights and the desire of Amazon and Apple to dominate these areas over the next decade.

    With these new players emerging the belief is that ultimately college football will be controlled by super conferences outside of the control of the NCAA–and that “first movers” in the efforts to re-vamp expansion will reap big rewards–as they will have de-facto control over this rapidly changing environment.

    In late March, the BIG was contacted by The Montag Group who presented the concept of Texas and Oklahoma joining the BIG. The Montag Group now has Jim Delany as a partner, so this shouldn’t be all that surprising. However, what was surprising is that the BIG was not immediately receptive to this idea–mainly because they felt that Oklahoma was not a good fit academically and from a research perspective—and as they weren’t an AAU member they didn’t enhance the vision that the BIG has for the future of new expansion candidates.

    Texas is clearly the prize in that twosome, but they felt they would/could only move with Oklahoma as a partner—so despite the BIG’s interest in the Longhorns the combination was too much for them to swallow.

    Where it gets interesting now–however—is the interest of some PAC schools who see the writing on the wall and are desperately clawing for a spot with one of the mega conferences.

    So who does this mean?

    Well it means Oregon, Colorado, UCLA and USC are all VERY interested…..and all have made direct overtures to the BIG about membership…..

    all four of them are AAU Members—all have fine research credentials and more than solid athletic programs.

    This would also complete Delany’s dream of BIG football from “coast to coast”….

    stay tuned as a LOT will be breaking in the very near future….”

    Like

    1. z33k

      Hate to say it, but we’re in a new world now.

      I know this isn’t thinking like a President anymore, but ultimately the football schools of the Big Ten (especially Ohio State I’d imagine), will want a big focus on $ earnings/power from expansion.

      That’s why I think it’s way more likely FSU/Clemson will be considered for the Big Ten in some kind of big ACC group.

      Of course, I could be wrong, but I think that there’s no way the Big Ten will allow academics to hold back a decision that would protect the Big Ten financially in the long run if it has to be made.

      I think Big Ten would have taken Texas+OU in a second if they wanted (but the SEC is the much more natural fit for those 2).

      Like

        1. z33k

          Yeah, that’s always the danger in this, overreacting, but and it’s a big BUT, we’re in a new wild west of media after watching the collapse of the old cable subscriptions model where every TV channel no matter how few eyeballs could get some fees off all the subscribers to the bundle.

          The simple reality is that eyeballs matter now, the past where mediocre content could exist and derive fees is in complete collapse, and that affects these discussions directly.

          The schools that can’t carry their weight in media or give something else like location/large alumni base/whatever in each conference (and beyond the SEC/Big Ten, there’s a lot in some of these conferences), are going to make it more likely that the biggest brands want to be alongside other big brands.

          Like if you’re Ohio State, you absolute care about the football side of the equation more than anything and that’s what I think will drive this discussion.

          I think that’s absolutely what’s driving Texas/OU to the SEC as they look at the longer term and realize that they can’t be held down by just being a part of a very regional conference in the Plains/Midwest, and I think it’s something that the Big Ten Presidents realize and will make them look to the Mid-Atlantic/Southeast.

          Like

          1. Richard

            I disagree. The NIL means the all the richest powers are sitting pretty. Besides the SEC super-kings of Bama/LSU/UF/UGa (and now super-super-king Texas), that includes also OSU, UMich, PSU, and ND. In this new framework, it actually matters less who you situate yourself.

            As I outlined else, Texas jumped (and OU followed) to the SEC now (as opposed to before) because sea changes made the SEC more attractive (B12 less attractive) in key ways:
            1. The SEC and B10 will pull away even more financially from the rest of the conferences after the next round of TV deals.
            2. The expanded playoff lessens the advantages of playing in a weaker conference (disadvantages of playing in a strong conference).
            3. Traditionally, Texas didn’t want to “stoop to the SEC’s level” in recruiting but the NIL means your boosters can now legally pay players, and Texas has more money than anyone.

            Unlike for Texas if they had stayed in the B12, none of these are huge points of concern for the B10 powers.
            1. The B10 will still keep up with the SEC (enough) financially.
            2. The B10 has more depth than the B12. Also, unlike for Texas, there is zero geographic or cultural fit for the B10 powers in the SEC.
            3. The B10 powers are unshackled as well now. That means they’d rather prefer to surround themselves with schools they like more than anything.

            Like

        2. billinmidwest

          A pandemic that economically hammered higher education (which was already looking bleak financially prior to the pandemic) like nothing else in our nation’s history will have University Presidents clamoring for money.

          https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelhorn/2018/12/13/will-half-of-all-colleges-really-close-in-the-next-decade/?sh=160f5e1752e5

          “Think like a University President” is still sound advice when discussing conference realignment.

          Like

      1. Brian

        Z33k,

        The B10 held out on multiple bowl slots for decades over academics. The B10 almost didn’t add NE over academics. Members of the B10 voted NE out of the AAU just before inviting them to the B10. These are university presidents making the decisions, and many of them are academic snobs with little to no knowledge of, or interest in, sports.

        OSU is certainly different there as our new president was a college athlete and she worked with the AD to persuade the B10 to play CFB last fall. We know how valuable CFB could be for us, but we’ve been happy to share revenue equally for decades (not all the fans are happy, though).

        I do agree with you that I doubt the COP/C would have said no to UT and OU as a pair, but they’d certainly discuss it first. Academics, culture, …

        Like

    2. Richard

      Add all 4 Pac CA teams + UDub + Oregon + CU as I said before.

      That combo would also eventually entice ND.

      Note also that while football drives the bus now (and football talent is richest from NJ down to GA east to TX + FL + CA (specifically, SoCal) with some in the Midwest and a heavier density of that in OH), tastes change. Who knows if in a couple generations, e-sports would be hotter among the kids.

      Add the schools I propose and the B10 would have the majority of AAU schools in Div1 and own the majority of the top 15 (and top 5, 9, 20, and 25) metros (also the top 4 CS schools in Div 1; 9 of the top 11 CS schools in Div1; GTech and Texas are the only non-B22 schools to break in to the top tier).

      Like

      1. Richard

        And such an expansion would extend the B10 footprint to half the US population.

        I don’t think the ramifications of becoming the only national conference should be underestimated.

        Like

    3. Andy

      Not sure I buy it. So is the B1G going to have like 24 schools from coast to coast? How is that even a conference?

      If the B1G does that, does the SEC then cannibalize the ACC and expand to 24 schools?

      Craziness.

      Like

      1. @Andy – Yes, that’s always the reality check when you put these superconferences into practice. Once you get beyond 16 schools (which is really what I believe is the realistic upper limit), it’s effectively a scheduling arrangement with an umbrella organization. It might as well be the old College Football Association from the 1980s. Plus, the scenario here is basically just asking all of the Pac-12 to leave except for Oregon State and Washington State, in which case you might as well do a full merger… but the Pac-12 schools are the ones that need that merger a whole lot more than the Big Ten.

        To reiterate a few other commenters here, for all of the hysteria about the SEC getting UT and OU (which, to be clear, is the ultimate baller expansion move), the Big Ten is still going to be, at the very worst, a super-strong #2 league with the SEC. The Big Ten is getting new TV contracts in a couple of years where its revenue gap compared to the Pac-12 and ACC is going to get even wider.

        So, the point is that the Big Ten does NOT have to respond and it certainly doesn’t need to be carrying the water for the weaker Pac-12 and ACC in any type of proposed alliance or merger. The best move for the Big Ten might very well be to stand perfectly still at 14 schools.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Andy

          Frank, I agree with all of that. I doubt the B1G expands. In my mind the question is does the Pac 12 expand? I could see it going either way. If they added, say, Texas Tech, TCU, Oklahoma State, and Kansas, that might make some sense, but it’s borderline. But for the Big Ten, I don’t think it makes a whole lot of sense to expand at this point unless Notre Dame is involved.

          Like

    4. @wscsuperfan – I’ll take that one with a MASSIVE grain of salt, although I’ll play along here on a couple of fronts since it would be fun to think there’s a kernel of something real here:

      (1) If the Big Ten actually turned down a UT/OU combo because they were concerned about OU being an academic fit, that would be *massively* disappointing to me. I’m someone that believes in the importance of academics to the Big Ten as much as anyone (and it’s the biggest reason why I wrote the Big Ten Expansion Index post in the first place all those years ago), but if they had a chance to get both UT and OU but then let the SEC get them instead, then shame on the Big Ten leaders. My guess is that it isn’t that simple (see my Twitter pointing out the story of how the Texas Board of Regents chair that’s also a former GOP Texas State Senator is the one driving the discussions, so there are some political reasons why the school is being Southern-focused in this round of realignment).

      (2) I’ll need a whole lot more evidence that schools like UCLA and USC would actually reach out the Big Ten in a serious manner. Oregon is a strange one, but interesting. Colorado isn’t as far-fetched to me.

      Like

      1. wscsuperfan

        Oh I agree………it’s a very doubtful piece, but an interesting one nonetheless.

        I still think if OU/UT go to the SEC, then the B1G does nothing in the short term unless you get the P12 big boys or ND wanting in.

        Like

      2. Richard

        Monitor/whoever could have proposed Texas+OU to the B10, but that doesn’t mean Texas would have actually played along and wanted to join, so I doubt the B10 really had a true option to turn down.

        I think that Andy Staples podcast I posted is worth listening to. The SEC always made the most sense from a geographic perspective if Texas was to leave. So why hadn’t Texas joined the SEC before and why would they join now? What has changed? Three things:

        1. The B12 will fall behind the SEC (and B10) financially even more after the next round of TV deals.

        2. The B12 had offered the advantage of an easier path to the playoffs. Just beat your rival and the other teams that you have some absolutely silly massive advantages over and you’re in (granted, Texas ever accomplished that once, but that means they would have been trounced even more badly in the SEC). But now with the 12-team playoff, you’re in if you finish in the top 10.

        3. Before, Texas had disdained stooping to the level of the SEC in recruiting, so to speak. But now, as Staples put it, with the NIL, “your boosters can pay your players (legally); and if that’s the case . . . well Texas should kick ass in the SEC”.

        Liked by 1 person

    5. ccrider55

      WS Superman:

      How mush research dollars does UOr do? During the last realignment I recall them being said to be on the short list to be booted. I recall OrSt having two to three times as much in research.

      Like

      1. Brian

        2017 data

        Total research: OrSU #85 ($260.9M), UO #169 ($72.5M)
        Federal research: OrSU #76 ($157.7M), UO #138 ($57.1M)

        UO may be one of the stragglers in the AAU. There are a few of them that got in a long time ago but are lagging now.

        Like

  58. Jeff

    Just to play that out though — if some sort of friendly takeover of the Pac-12 by the B1G took place, the Pac schools would (a) get to drop the schools with “State” in their name; (b) dramatically improve their cable/streaming situation; and (c) presumably play in a division with nothing but former Pac schools. The B1G meanwhile would hit it big and dwarf the UT/OU move.

    Not sure how scheduling would work, but you could have a western division of the 8 Pac schools, a central division of CU, KU and the 6 current BIG schools west of the Ill./Ind. border, and an eastern division of the 8 current BIG schools east of the Ill./Ind. border.

    Like

    1. Andy

      It wouldn’t be the end of it though. If the B1G adds USC/UCLA/Stanford/Cal/Oregon/Washington to go to 20 schools, then the SEC would probably just turn around and add UNC/Duke/Virginia Tech/Virginia or something like that to go to 20.

      Like

      1. Jeff

        Maybe at some point, but the ACC’s GOR will be in effect for a long time to come. Plus, while poaching UNC and UVa would be a no brainer, it’s not clear that any other additions would help the SEC.

        Like

        1. Andy

          Okay, well, in your very unlikely hypothetical situation, yes, a 20 team B1G that goes from Los Angeles to New Jersey might be able to command a media rights deal that was similar to the SEC + UNC/Duke/UVA/Whoever. So they both make tons of money. Fine. So then we have two super conferences with 20 teams each. Except they aren’t really conferences. They’re more like conglomerations where half the teams hardly even play each other most of the time. Yeah, hypothetically it could play out that way. Seems pretty pointless though, other than maybe as a money making exercise.

          Like

          1. Richard

            “other than maybe as a money making exercise”

            Kind of important. Hard to pay the bills (or anything else) without money.
            COVID has shown colleges how much money matters (if they didn’t realize before).

            Like

    2. Brian

      Jeff,

      Does the B10 actually benefit from that? Even after dropping the “State” schools, would the remaining P12 schools be worth what the B10 schools earn? The problem is that too many low value athletic brands would still be involved. It would help the P12 schools tremendously, but that isn’t the B10’s concern. The P12 could drop their dead weight and achieve the same things.

      Like

      1. Richard

        Well, USC is a king (OK, kind of a poor king). UCLA, Stanford, Oregon, and UW-Seattle are princes. So I don’t see a lot of deadweight. And they would bring synergies. Bowl games featuring teams from different regions tend to draw more viewers than bowls with teams from the same region for a reason. The Rose Bowl drew gangbuster ratings for decades (more than any B10 game and way more than any Pac game).

        Plus, hitting LA, the Bay Area, Seattle, and Denver means a lot more fundraising opportunities for current B10 schools, pretty much all of whom have significant numbers of alums in many/all of those metros.

        Like

        1. Brian

          Your additions are more limited than Jeff’s. USC has value. UW and UO have value if they don’t become mediocre, but OR is not a large state. Stanford and Cal are near SF but have no brand value. UCLA is redundant. UC is decent. Maybe UA to get Phoenix, but they have no football value. And western fans care less than those elsewhere.

          The B10 can play OOC games in those markets to do fundraising (and they have, for decades). Unless it’s a very short list of P12 teams, I’m not sure the value is there.

          Like

      2. Jeff

        Well, the B1G would lock up all of California and the rest of the West. Calif., Wash., Ore., Ariz., Colo. and Utah together are 20% of the U.S. population, and that share is growing. One of the B1G’s problems is that the current footprint is shrinking as a share of the U.S.

        Like

        1. Brian

          The population is great for getting students, but not so good for CFB eyeballs. The west just isn’t as fanatical about it. And if the local schools are playing a bunch of midwestern schools all the time, I think they’ll be even less interested.

          Like

          1. Richard

            Getting full-pay OOS students is rather important to many B10 schools.

            That’s why I would be in favor of taking the cream of the Pac even if per capita distributions would be the same (that is, so long as they don’t dilute; they don’t have to move the needle). Which taking the Pac CA 4 + UDub + CU (+ maybe Oregon) should do because you’d take roughly half the Pac but get the vast majority of the value of the Pac (I’d say about 90%), and while Pac distributions are a lot lower, their average conference distribution is still more than half the B10 average distribution.

            Like

  59. z33k

    Ultimately, the world is different from 15 years ago. 15 years ago the cable bundle reigned supreme and ESPN had ever growing eyeballs and clout.

    ESPN’s clout is still there, but the fact is the breakup of the bundle has sharply wounded ESPN.

    For ESPN and for the SEC/Big Ten, what matters most now is aggregating eyeballs because the days of just relying on the network subscription fees (whether ESPN or SEC/Big Ten Networks) is not going to cut it.

    You need schools that actually draw eyeballs to screens; that actually bring the value of people watching their games; it’s no longer just relying on a school having a giant alumni base in an area that can deliver subscriptions/fans to the conference.

    And all of that is why I think schools like FSU/Clemson have to be considered in some kind of future of the Big Ten (if they’re not going to the SEC at some point).

    If the Big Ten looks at taking 4-6 from the ACC, those 2 would have to be considered in some form.

    Academics can’t hold that back because the most important factor right now is outright survival for college sports in terms of aggregating eyeballs of the biggest brands.

    Like

    1. Richard

      One problem with adding any southern school that is culturally/geographically closer to the SEC is that they would jump to the SEC the first chance they get (and you can sure that their in-state SEC rival would make sure to point out to recruits that they are in the SEC and their rival travels to snowy places to play football). I think that’s another reason Texas decided to join the SEC; they got tired of A&M using that as a recruiting advantage.

      And it’s not as if the SEC is dumb and doesn’t realize whatever value Clemson/FSU would bring (that’s the other problem; they’re great when they are winning but don’t add anything to the B10 when they don’t).

      So if the B10 does anything, they will take the cream of the Pac (and try to entice ND).

      Like

    2. Brian

      I might buy that if the B10 was in trouble, but it isn’t. It’s a strong #2 as is. And Clemson is one coaching change away from being average again (see FSU). So other than a recruiting tie to FL and SC, they might not add much. You could add GT instead and get strong academics at the same time.

      Like

  60. Logan

    The Dodd article mentions penalties of $80m each for OU and Texas. If others leave, I assume they will owe something similar.

    Looking back, Nebraska and Colorado paid a combined $16m when they could have had to pay over $30m. Maryland paid $31.4m, not the $52.2m their ACC deal stipulated. A&M and Mizzou paid a combined $12.4m when they could have owed just shy of $30m.

    If the Big 12 remains, I doubt they will let anyone off easy. Unlike the other departures, the Big 12 would be left in a severely weakened state and would have a lot of incentive to fight for every penny.

    With Texas gone, the Big 12 be free to invite new members, sign a new TV deal with a grant of rights, and exclude any new members from collecting penalties. $160m divided 8 ways, or if KU/ISU go to the B1G, up to $320m divided 6 ways. Even if that is negotiated down, that’s a big chunk of change. Maybe everyone leaves and K-State throws one hell of a party.

    The Big 12 is dead, long live the Big 12.

    Like

  61. Richard

    Andy Staples:
    “I keep seeing people trying to figure out which leagues are in the Power 5 going forward.

    There won’t be a Power 5.

    There won’t be four superconferences.

    It’ll be the Power 2, the middle class and everyone else.”

    Pretty much.

    Like

  62. Doug

    It will be interesting to watch how the GOR plays out.
    1. ESPN has enough $$ to let TX & OU buy their way out.
    2. Some clever lawyers find a loophole in the GOR
    3. Rather than having two lame duck members Big 12 negotiates a settlement.

    Depending how it plays out it could be the template for ACC teams to consider bailing. That would be the time to take a run at UVA, UNC, Duke (UNC won’t come without them) and maybe Kansas to fill out the dance card. What a killer basketball conference…..and (sigh) ND the ONLY way they move is if they feel the earth shifting out from under them. In that case I would think ND would choose the BIG over the SEC but what do I know?

    Like

  63. ccrider55

    Yo, SEC. Just a heads up.

    SWC ☠️
    Big XII (12) 🤢
    Big XII 1.2 (10) ☠️(probably)

    There is a common denominator.
    Several refugees are in the SEC.
    History may not repeat, but it often rhymes.

    Like

  64. Longhorn McLonghornface

    I think some are slow to realize how much is changing right now. We’re probably in a Redefining rather than just Realigning phase.

    Why the assumption that the SEC is done expanding? Angry aggy leaked the UT/OU deal, but others may be in the works that are still quiet. I doubt the SEC will stop at 16 if they can draw more blue bloods, and right now they have a huge recruiting advantage over everyone but Ohio State and Clemson, which will only grow larger with this expansion and NIL changes. Kids want what they perceive are the best NFL pipelines, regardless of how realistic that is. Everything is changing, and fast.

    From here it looks like if the B1G doesn’t join the SEC in defacto relegation by skimming off the best of the P12 (which could trigger the ACC’s powers to fight the GOR and chose the SEC or B1G), they risk become a permanent also ran well behind the SEC, I doubt we see 4 super conferences, and am skeptical than DisneySPN can keep it at 3. It sure looks like we are heading to either the B1G and SEC dual leagues, or just an SEC league and a group of whatever underlings.

    As in there’s a real chance that if the B1G stands pat (including just adding KU/ISU) they risk losing Ohio St and Michigan to the SEC. There’s rumors that those 2 and Clemson/FSU are the final targets of the SEC.

    Like

    1. FLP_NDRox

      Since this all started back up on Wednesday I’ve been thinking along those same lines. I think the SEC will carry the banner of the schools that are looking to basically professionalize the sport. It makes sense that Texas and Oklahoma would want to join them. I think the B1G will carry the banner of the schools who will want to keep up at least some of the amateurism for lack of a better term I can think of right now.

      And I think it will not come down to conferences but individual schools deciding which set of rules they want to play under since I don’t see either of the major factions ceding the power to the exposed NCAA.

      I think we will see the biggest moves in about a decade when the ACC is set to renegotiate, but I think that there will be a massive reshuffling of the entire sport. Since the B1G and the SEC will become the defacto NCAA successors, 16 is merely the start and twice that is certainly feasible. tOSU to the SEC and Notre Dame to the B1G could well happen.

      Like

    2. Brian

      I’m going to guess you’re a UT fan.

      The SEC may not be done trying, but I don’t see many viable options left. They are now so valuable per school that very few additions make sense for them – ND, USC, OSU/UM/PSU.

      It’s easy to say the B10 should raid the P12, but logistics and history make that unlikely. The B10 and P12 have a long relationship and tend to think similarly about issues. And the time zone differences and distances between the two are a logistical problem. It’s workable for CFB, but makes zero sense for other sports.

      The idea of 4 equally sized superconferences was always ridiculous. CFB has never worked that way. But geography may well force 3 or 4 to exist (SEC, B10, P12, maybe ACC) until conferences become single sport entities, or at least football pulls away.

      Will the money difference force the ACC to implode? Possibly. It was pretty shaky not too long ago. But does the SEC want to pick up Clemson, FSU and Miami? They are in the footprint already. If the SEC doesn’t want them (and they haven’t so far), who does? The P12? Would the B10 add a southeastern pod with poor academics? Presumably UVA, UNC and Duke are the only other desirable schools for the SEC, and maybe only UNC.

      The unanswerable question is where all those ACC schools would be willing to go. Would they consider the B10, or only if the SEC rejects them first?

      But at some point, a conference is too large to be meaningful. It’s just a league like the pros. I don’t know that the schools are willing to go there any time soon.

      And just FYI, there is 0.0% chance of OSU or UM ever joining the SEC. They might join SEC members in a superleague, but they wouldn’t join the SEC. There isn’t enough money in all of college sports to make that happen.

      Like

  65. Peter Griffin

    I would argue that a decent (though not perfect) proxy for a school’s media power is its average home attendance. Here are the top 80 over the five years ending with the 2019 season. With media/streaming and NIL driving the realignment train, I’d suggest keeping this in mind.
    For starters, Iowa State vs Kansas is a no-brainer. In contrast to Iowa State (#30), Kansas (#80) is the lowest ranked major conference school in terms of home attendance. No major football conference is interested in Kansas.

    I’ll add that while I assume Northwestern (Big 10) and Vanderbilt (SEC) are safe for historical/academic reasons, I would not be sanguine about my major football future if I were Syracuse, Oregon State, Boston College, Washington State, Wake Forest, or Duke.

    1 Michigan
    2 Ohio State
    3 Penn State
    4 Alabama
    5 LSU
    6 Texas A&M
    7 Tennessee
    8 Texas
    9 Georgia
    10 Nebraska
    11 Auburn
    12 Florida
    13 Oklahoma
    14 Clemson
    15 Notre Dame
    16 Wisconsin
    17 South Carolina
    18 Michigan State
    19 Florida State
    20 Washington
    21 Iowa
    22 USC
    23 Arkansas
    24 Virginia Tech
    25 Mississippi State
    26 Ole Miss
    27 UCLA
    28 BYU
    29 NC State
    30 Iowa State
    31 West Virginia
    32 Kentucky
    33 Texas Tech
    34 Miami
    35 Oregon
    36 Oklahoma State
    37 Missouri
    38 Kansas State
    39 Louisville
    40 Arizona State

    41 North Carolina
    5-Year Average: 48817.20

    42 Georgia Tech
    5-Year Average: 46556.20

    43 Utah
    5-Year Average: 46349.20

    44 Colorado
    5-Year Average: 45687.20

    45 Arizona
    5-Year Average: 45456.20

    46 Purdue
    5-Year Average: 44996.80

    47 Minnesota
    5-Year Average: 44926.40

    48 Baylor
    5-Year Average: 44536.20

    49 TCU
    5-Year Average: 44352.80

    50 California
    5-Year Average: 43457.00

    51 Stanford
    5-Year Average: 43263.40

    52 Pitt
    5-Year Average: 43117.80

    53 Indiana
    5-Year Average: 42700.60

    54 Virginia
    5-Year Average: 42036.00

    55 Rutgers
    5-Year Average: 40031.40

    56 Illinois
    5-Year Average: 39830.60

    57 Maryland
    5-Year Average: 39001.00

    58 East Carolina
    5-Year Average: 38031.20

    59 Memphis
    5-Year Average: 37228.80

    60 Northwestern
    5-Year Average: 37125.20

    61 UCF
    5-Year Average: 36009.80

    62 Syracuse
    5-Year Average: 35608.60

    63 Oregon State
    5-Year Average: 35217.60

    64 Boston College
    5-Year Average: 34018.80

    65 San Diego State
    5-Year Average: 33407.40

    66 USF
    5-Year Average: 33171.60

    67 Cincinnati
    5-Year Average: 33123.80

    68 Boise State
    5-Year Average: 32829.80

    69 Navy
    5-Year Average: 32458.60

    70 Houston
    5-Year Average: 32174.40

    71 Army
    5-Year Average: 31450.00

    72 Temple
    5-Year Average: 31326.40

    73 Washington State
    5-Year Average: 30339.20

    74 Vanderbilt
    5-Year Average: 29810.00

    75 Fresno State
    5-Year Average: 29643.20

    76 Air Force
    5-Year Average: 27910.40

    77 Colorado State
    5-Year Average: 27484.20

    78 Wake Forest
    5-Year Average: 27081.40

    79 Duke
    5-Year Average: 27115.20

    80 Kansas
    5-Year Average: 26610.00

    Liked by 1 person

  66. Mike

    I assume this isn’t to bless the marriage.

    Like

    1. Alan from Baton Rouge

      Mike – the Aggies are losing their minds. I can’t believe their lawyers haven’t talked them off the ledge.

      What are they going to do? Sue the SEC? Quit and join the Big 12?

      Hopefully, this is all just show for their irrational fans. The administration can throw a little red meat to the fans and act like they are doing everything they can do to keep UT out of the SEC, but could be an act of mutiny. If it’s mutiny, the Aggies may get kicked to the curb.

      UT + OU > A&M

      Like

      1. Little8

        If A&M is really serious about not playing with Texas their best option is to apply to the B1G. That is a more realistic B1G add (for school value) than any of the Little 8 schools mentioned on this board. However, when A&M cools off I think they will stay put.

        Like

        1. z33k

          A&M is just throwing a tantrum, but it’s a stupid one.

          SEC doesn’t need them; they need the SEC. They’re not Alabama or Florida or a school that’s been in the SEC for decades.

          Like

          1. z33k

            Just looks foolish to act like this publicly when the decision has basically already been made. Trying to put a halt to it this late just looks like a performative rebellion.

            Like

          2. Brian

            Maybe with the pandemic and all, this round of media days is the first time they felt they could bring it up. They can’t stop it, but they need to show their big donors that they tried their best.

            Like

          3. Richard

            “They can’t stop it, but they need to show their big donors that they tried their best.”

            I agree with Zeek.

            To a neutral like me, unless they really are wild and crazy enough to leave the SEC (I just don’t see it), they just come off as infants throwing a tantrum. When a 2 year old does it, it can be cute. When it’s older guys in leadership doing it, it just comes off as pathetic.

            Like

          4. bullet

            This is not surprising for the Aggies.

            Why do you think Texas (and everyone else) wasn’t particularly upset when they left on their own?

            Like

  67. Colin

    Alan, A&M would be a huge addition to the B1G. Preseason polls have the Aggies #2 in the SEC behind Bama. Texas joins the BTN and would bring in more TV money than anyone else available.

    Also be aware that Texas has three AAU schools: UT, A&M and Rice. Rice might also be looking for a home.

    Like

    1. Brian

      TAMU would be a big get for the B10, but there’s no way they leave the SEC for the B10. They fit perfectly in the SEC.

      And while Rice is AAU, it’s not an option for the B10.

      Like

  68. Peter Griffin

    People might want to consider whether the Texas/Oklahoma/SEC merger might imperil playoff expansion.

    The CFP playoff expansion committee works at the behest of the CFP Board of Managers. The CFP Board of Managers is composed of 11 school presidents. They are:

    Penn State, Eric Barron
    Southern Mississippi, Rodney Barron
    Clemson, Jim Clements
    West Virginia, Gordon Gee
    Troy, Jack Hawkins
    Notre Dame, Jenkins
    Miss State, Mark Keenum
    Wash State, Kirk Schulz
    Buffalo, Satish Tripathi
    SMU, R. Gerald Turner
    UNLV, Keith Whitfield

    It seems impossible that when they told expansion committee working group to proceed after the June briefing, that the 11 university presidents (other than the Miss State president) knew of the SEC machinations in the works. In fact, Bob Bowlsby (along with Greg Sankey), is a member of the expansion working group. Obviously Bowlsby didn’t know, or else he wouldn’t have been working to dig his conference’s own grave.

    So my point is that, with the Texas/Oklahoma/SEC news now out, it seems entirely possible to me that the CFP Board of Managers might want to revisit expansion, given that it seems pretty intuitive that expansion is a sine qua non of the SEC/UT/OU gambit.

    Like

    1. largeR

      I haven’t looked up sine qua non or gambit, but I am sure none of them, with the possible exception of Jenkins and Clements would love to keep the current ‘final four’ process!

      Thanks Frank for your blog and to the many knowledgeable posters on here-you are all way ahead of most other sites.

      Like

    2. Brian

      More money is still more money. I think the details of CFP expansion might change, but I doubt it gets derailed. The G5 presidents shouldn’t really care about UT and OU moving, and neither should MsSU’s president. It’s 4 P5 presidents and ND’s president that might care. Those 5 could band together to stop it, but wouldn’t that just be cutting off their noses to spite their faces? Beyond that, could Gee holdout and demand this move not happen as a condition of approval? I suppose, but eventually the UT or OU president would be on the committee.

      Like

    3. Little8

      The SEC move may make it more likely for playoff expansion. Although all of the Little8 want to quit the B12 who wants them? It is not like the AAC is getting any calls from these schools. WV would like to go to ACC or B1G, KS and ISU would like to go to B1G. The rest would like to get in the P12. What all of these have in common is these conferences have rejected all of these schools in past expansion moves. Not much has changed. The P12 was objecting to TxTech and OkSt in the deal including TX, OK, and A&M. KS is probably acceptable as a #2 of a pair, but who is #1?

      After all the rejections/nonresponses come in from the B1G, P12, SEC, and ACC I expect the Little8 will stay together not by desire but by necessity. The B12 still own the Big8 trademark, so they could rename and stay pat. However, they will probably add 2-4 schools to backfill the loss of TX/OK and still be a distance 5th strongest conference.

      Playoff expansion can leave the B12 with a guaranteed spot like the other 4 power conferences, or more likely provide 2 of the 12 spots (vs. 1 bowl slot today) to the non-power conference champions, including the B12. That still leaves 6 at large for the power conferences. They know they are shutout in the current setup even if undefeated.

      Like

  69. z33k

    Notre Dame is the most interesting factor in all this and I think FLP_NDRox can attest to this.

    Come 2030-2032, if the ACC hasn’t gotten its contract reopened or expanded, ND is going to have to take a long hard look at the current CFB landscape.

    If it looks like the Big Ten is going to poach the ACC at some point around 2031, would ND consider joining with a big group (say 5+) of ACC schools and make the Big Ten some kind of 20 team conference with a lot of teams on the East Coast for ND to play with…

    I mean ND + UVa/UNC/Duke/Ga Tech/FSU (just as an example) would basically mean a half of the Big Ten is basically eastern.

    Penn State/Rutgers/Md/UVa/UNC/Duke/Ga Tech/FSU gives you 8 out of 19 on the East Coast and access to every major market on the East Coast from NYC down to Atlanta (and theoretically FSU brings most/all of Florida’s markets in some capacity).

    I realize ND doesn’t give a hoot about TV money considering how much lower NBC pays than a SEC/Big Ten style payout; they have more than enough of it and have big donors that can give them enough to cover any major expenditure.

    Still it’s just interesting to think about…; that group of 6 would basically bring everything the Big Ten could want/need in a move to 20; a bunch more prestigious academic schools (4 AAUs), the big basketball rivalry of UNC/Duke, full access to the Eastern seaboard from NYC down to Florida, and 2 big football brands in ND/FSU.

    Obviously, I’d assume this would only occur in a last case scenario for ND, but it’s worth considering.

    Like

    1. Brian

      I think ND would want the B10 to take schools from both coasts. USC, Stanford, UVA, UNC and Duke for example. That gets almost all their rivalries into the conference and gives them a national schedule. They can use the remaining games to play Navy and dip into the deep south.

      Like

      1. z33k

        Yeah, I just think it gets a bit more unwieldy if we start talking Pac-12 schools, and still don’t think Big Ten will ever poach them with so many ACC schools right there that also helps keep things geographically similar.

        Going above 20 feels prohibitive (heck 18-20 already does), but I’m starting to come around to 20+ occurring at some point if we do expand.

        Hard to see just 2 schools to take and then be set at 16. Feels like we need 4-6 or possibly more to get everything we’d need in next round of expansion.

        Like

        1. Brian

          14 is already unwieldy in my opinion.

          USC brings more value than any ACC team, and Stanford gives SF access and is ND’s rival (Stanford has limited value as a brand). But to be clear I’d be amazed if Stanford would leave without all 4 CA schools, and surprised if USC would. But from ND’s POV, that would seem like the best option. Otherwise they’d have a conference schedule and then 3 OOC rivalries, so no freedom in scheduling.

          From the B10’s POV, I think an eastern addition would be the first choice. If that couldn’t happen then an all P12 option would be considered, but only if the P12 schools came to the B10 to ask about it. I agree the B10 wouldn’t poach them. The last option from the B10’s POV would be an east and west expansion.

          Anything 18+ is 2 separate conferences with a scheduling deal to me. 16 is borderline. I just don’t see how you can maintain ties in a group that big.

          Adding just 2 makes perfect sense if it’s the right 2 (see UT and OU). ND + 1 would satisfy the B10. Otherwise I agree that you go to 4 or 6 and give up on the concept of a conference.

          Or you stay at 14 instead. The B10 was fine at 11 while others went to 12. The B10 would be fine at 14 while the SEC is at 16. I’m not convinced that any expansion without ND actually makes sense for the B10.

          But some eastern hypotheticals:
          1. UVA, VT
          2. UVA, UNC
          3. UVA, VT, UNC, Duke
          4. UVA, UNC, Duke, KU
          6. UVA, UNC, GT, KU
          5. UVA, UNC, Duke, ND
          7. UVA, UNC, GT, ND
          8. UVA, UNC, KU, ND
          9. UVA, VT, UNC, Duke, GT, ND
          10. UVA, VT, UNC, Duke, KU, ND

          Going west instead:
          1. USC, Stanford
          2. USC, Stanford, UCLA, Cal
          3. USC, Stanford, UCLA, Cal, UW, CU
          4. USC, Stanford, UCLA, Cal, UW, UO
          5. USC, Stanford, UCLA, Cal, UW, ND

          Any favorites?

          Like

          1. jbillini4012

            I think the best case scenario would be: USC, UCLA, UW, CU, UNC, and Notre Dame.
            If no ND, then maybe add Oregon.
            If needed to placate UNC, then add Duke or Virginia instead.

            5 team pods of:
            USC, UCLA, Washington, CU, Nebraska
            Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Minnesota
            Michigan, Ohio St, Mich St, Indiana, Purdue
            UNC, Rutgers, Maryland, Penn State, Notre Dame (or Duke or Virginia)

            Like

          2. z33k

            Thing is, I’m not just thinking about TV money, but I’m also thinking about future positioning, i.e. access to recruiting grounds that are more important as well as students/alumni of the current members. How much actual synergy is there if we take schools out West versus East? I think there’s a factor of synergy that adding continugous states gives, whereas going as far out as California just loses that synergy because the markets and people are completely different. It’s hard to describer but making Virginia a Big Ten state per se, is a lot more valuable than making California a Big Ten state for purposes of synergy. I’m just not sure we get the full value from California although it’s hard to expressly describe why. It’s such a separate part of the country for purposes of college football.

            Like how many recruits come from the Mid-Atlantic to the Big Ten versus West Coast.

            LA/California are important markets, but I just don’t think they come close to the value of East Coast markets in the Mid-Atlantic/Southeast for discussions of these purposes. Texas is also way more important than the West Coast, especially for CFB (but that’s not accessible if UT goes to the SEC).

            Yes, USC alone is more valuable than FSU or any other ACC school, but I think there’s way more value to the Big Ten to take 4-6 ACC schools and position itself with the Mid-Atlantic/Southeast as part of Big Ten territory/shared with the SEC.

            I think TV executives at Fox would agree.

            As far as expansion scenarios go, how much value do we really think Va Tech has post-Beamer? Do we think Va Tech will fall back to being slightly more valuable as a football brand as UVa?

            Don’t get me wrong, I think UVa+Va Tech to 16 is a solid play if that’s where we have to settle for the long haul and say something UNC can’t ever move because they share the same board as NC State.

            But I’m not sure double dipping into Virginia has that much long-term value as opposed to grabbing somebody else if we’re trying to stay to 20 or less.

            I think #5 or #7 makes a lot of sense, though I think if we go to 20, you absolutely want to take FSU alongside ND to give you a big part of Florida’s markets as well as a 2nd big football brand along with ND out of those 6.

            Like

          3. Brian

            I’m with you on the west coast thing, but some people are really enthusiastic about that option so I included it.

            I also agree that VT has lost its luster, but if UNC won’t/can’t come it’s the only other option to pair with UVA. You might need both to really “own” VA anyway since the UVA brand isn’t that strong. VT + UVA would certainly lock down DC/NoVA, though, and keep the SEC out.

            I suppose I could have included UVA + KU as an option, but it seems highly unlikely that UVA would come without a neighbor. For similar reasons I included Duke a lot thought they have zero CFB value. I just figure UNC might require them.

            I don’t know about FSU’s value. Post-Bowden, they aren’t the same. And the panhandle of FL is way too southern to fit with the B10. Maybe Miami? At least GT has academics and a lot of transplants, though the SEC will always dominate Atlanta and GA. Realistically, I just don’t see the B10 being successful that far south. VA is tough enough, and NC seems a stretch right now.

            Like

          4. Richard

            I really feel like you folks aren’t thinking like a uni president (or maybe like an SEC uni president). For the SEC, football doesn’t just drive the bus, football _is_ the bus. There’s no reason to consider anything else.

            But for the B10, expansion really does have to be a multi-dimensional game.

            For example, UW-Madison gets about 4 times as many OOS students from CA than from all 3 of VA+NC+GA.

            And it’s not as if the combo of UNC+Duke+UVa+GTech is so spectacularly better than the Pac CA 4+UDub+CU. Moneywise (also brandwise), the ACC combo wouldn’t be better than the Pac combo.

            Like

          5. Brian

            That’s nice for WI, but OSU gets the same number from VA+NC+GA as from CA (about 925 from each per year). The number from NC has more than doubled since 2009. OSU gets more from NY than CA and almost as many from NJ as CA thanks to RU. Adding UMD has boosted numbers from VA and NC, too.

            So what’s good for some schools might not be as good for others.

            I also disagree with expanding without any monetary gain. There are downsides to being larger, so some compensation needs to come with it.

            Like

      2. Ultrium

        I am wondering if 24 teams is not doable. With 24 teams you could have 2 divisions of 12 or 4 pods of 6. I think they are 10 teams that the Big 10 could add that would fit geographically. First you would take the 4 California schools:UCLA, Berkeley, Stanford, and USC. Then take Oregon and Washington to take the whole west coast. That is now 6 schools. Arizona and Colorado are both AAU schools. That is 8 only 2 more to go. If I where the Big 10, I would take Kansas. That only leaves one more. Obvious if Notre Dame wants in, that would get the last spot. If not, then you would have to pick Utah or Arizona State. I would pick Utah because you would already have Arizona. Plus, the Big Ten would be continuous from New Jersey to California if Utah was the last one. The division or pods could work.

        Pod East
        Rutgers
        Maryland
        Penn St.
        Ohio St.
        Michigan
        Michigan St.

        Pod Central
        Indiana
        Purdue
        Minnesota
        Wisconsin
        Illinois
        Northwestern

        Pod Mountainl
        Colorado
        Arizona
        Nebraska
        Kansas
        Iowa
        Utah

        Pod West
        UCLA
        Berkeley
        Stanford
        USC
        Washington
        Oregon

        If the Big Ten did this, they would be a truly national conference while the SEC would be a merely regional conference.

        Like

        1. Kevin

          In this circumstance there is no need for a 12 team playoff. Have division championships and conference championship at the Rose Bowl. Then stage a 2 or 4 team tourney afterward.

          This would be my preference.

          Like

        2. Brian

          Ultrium,

          Just from a scheduling standpoint, you can make any size league work for football. At 24 you can do 4 pods of 6 and play everyone once every 5 years or so, as you show above. But looking at your pods, how do you get Iowa to accept being isolated like that? The central teams don’t want to be separated from the kings and IA like that. Arizona would hate being isolated from the CA schools. Only the west pod would be happy.

          Or you can lock just 3 rivals and play 5/20 of the rest so you play everyone every 4 years.

          Or you could split into 2 divisions of 12 that don’t play crossover games, and play each other almost every year. Let’s call them conferences.

          But back to your scenario, would this group of 24 teams make more money than the B10 does now per school? I doubt it. There aren’t that many big brands.

          Like

          1. Richard

            “But back to your scenario, would this group of 24 teams make more money than the B10 does now per school?”

            I would take the Pac CA 4 + UDub + CU even if the addition doesn’t increase the per capita payout. They just have to pay for themselves. Why? Again, think like a university president.

            The number of OOS students at UW-Madison from the fast-growing states of FL and TX increased by about 20-30% from 2010->2019.
            The number of OOS students at UW-Madison from NJ and MD nearly doubled from 2010->2019.
            And pretty much all those OOS students are paying hefty OOS tuition.

            Like

    2. FLP_NDRox

      It will be quite interesting. I’m relieved that with the current contracts were probably years away from being able to make a move which will give us a chance to see how things develop, even if it puts us at a temporary financial disadvantage.

      I remember last time when it looked like the ACC wasn’t going to make it, and any conference lacking true kings (Clemson is good now, but so was FSU and Miami, etc.) Is always one step away from getting cracked.

      I don’t see ND jumping in the the SEC, but I can see plenty of ACC teams who would.

      I think a lot of Swarbrick’s bandwidth the last year had been taken up with COVID and the playoff expansion. I wonder what he’s been up to this week

      Like