Texas and Oklahoma Leave the Big 12: Why Newton’s Third Law Doesn’t Apply to Conference Realignment and the Big Ten

Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that for every action in nature, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Ever since news broke last week that Texas and Oklahoma were looking to leave the Big 12 (which was made official today) and join the SEC, one of the most common questions has been how the Big Ten and the other Power Five conferences would react. As sports fans, many of us have a preternatural desire for clean and organized structures, such as seeing 4 superconferences with 16 schools each in college football as a logical endpoint. However, conference realignment doesn’t work that way: it is a messy uncoordinated process with a lot of different individual entities acting separately trying to advance their own respective self-interests. While the Big 12 would clearly seek to backfill with replacement members at a minimum as a matter of survival, there is absolutely nothing that requires the Big Ten, Pac-12 or ACC to react at all if it doesn’t make financial and cultural sense. There isn’t any master plan or rationale that says that other leagues need to go to 16 members simply because the SEC has done so. In essence, Newton’s Third Law of Motion simply doesn’t apply to conference realignment.

The fact of the matter is that the SEC adding Texas and Oklahoma is the most baller power move in conference realignment history because it doesn’t leave the Big Ten, Pac-12 or ACC with any logical moves to react at all. This is quite different than the 2010-13 round of conference realignment when there were many theoretically valuable expansion options actively looking to move on the table for the power conferences, fewer restrictive covenants locking schools into their home leagues (such as Grant of Rights agreements), more cable households being added every year for conference networks and lower revenue thresholds for new members to clear to ensure that expansion would actually make money for leagues.

With all of the hysteria with the admittedly outstanding power play by the SEC, let’s take a step back and remember where the Big Ten is today. An undercurrent in the media stories and fan perception back in the realignment wars of 2010 was that the SEC had to be the revenue leader and top power broker because of its prowess on-the-field, but that was never correct: it was always the Big Ten in front… and that’s still the case now.

In the fiscal year ending in 2019 (the last full season prior to the COVID-19 pandemic), the Big Ten distributed approximately $55 million to each school (outside of Rutgers and Maryland who had still been receiving reduced shares), while the SEC provided an average of $45.3 million per school (excluding Mississippi because of a postseason football ban that year). The fiscal year 2020 figures show a similar gap outside of the SEC advancing each member $23 million against future earnings for relief plus the general pandemic-related revenue reductions of the past 18 months (which should hopefully be aberrations).

To be sure, the SEC did sign a new deal with Disney/ESPN in December for its Game of the Week that will be worth $300 million per year on average starting in 2024. CBS had been previously paying $55 million per year for that package (the absolute TV rights steal of the century), so that in and of itself will increase per school revenue in the SEC by $17.5 million per year for 14 schools. Note that this is on top of the existing ESPN contract for the rest of the SEC’s TV rights and the SEC Network. Whether any of the amounts being paid by ESPN will be adjusted by the addition of Texas and Oklahoma is an open question. (The reports that UT and OU started talking to the SEC in December, which would have coincided with the new ESPN contract, might mean that such new contract is effectively funding the conference expansion, but that’s purely my speculative guess.)

On the other hand, the Big Ten’s current TV contracts with Fox and ESPN expire fairly soon in 2023. This gives the Big Ten another opportunity to reload in a still ever-increasing sports TV rights environment (once which saw leagues like the NHL, much less the NFL, get explosive new TV contracts in the past few months), so the Big Ten will very likely continue to be effectively even with the SEC (if not still ahead) in terms of revenue. The additions of Texas and Oklahoma simply keep the SEC on par with the Big Ten for revenue, not zoom ahead.

Now, the SEC expansion with UT and OU certainly exposes the long-term demographic issues of the Big Ten footprint that Jim Delany was trying to address over a decade ago with expansion. The Big Ten will still be in the same tier with the SEC revenue-wise for the next decade, but the SEC will now have the flagship of Florida on one end, the top two schools in Texas on the other end, and a complete stranglehold on the college football universe in all points in between with elite national brands like Alabama and the best pound-for-pound recruiting area.

The problem is none of that can be addressed by the Big Ten adding any of the Big 12 schools available. While schools like Texas Tech, TCU and Baylor are located in the State of Texas, they aren’t academic or institutional fits with the Big Ten and are far behind Texas and Texas A&M in terms of in-state power. Kansas may have some value as a blue blood basketball program and has membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU) that’s a key academic credential for the Big Ten, but it’s certainly not a demographic play. Iowa State has AAU membership, too, but it would be doubling up on a small population state that the Big Ten already has covered. None of the schools in the Big 12 meet the Big Ten academic standards.

Frankly, the only real options to address the Big Ten’s longstanding demographic issues that would also make enough revenue are in the ACC and Pac-12, but those are significantly tougher nuts to crack compared to all of the Big 12 schools essentially being free agents now. The Big Ten would clearly love to go after several ACC schools such as Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia Tech, but that league has a Grant of Rights agreement that won’t end until 2036. It will be difficult enough to see how Texas and Oklahoma deal with a Big 12 Grant of Rights agreement that won’t expire until 2025 (or more likely, the stiff financial penalties involved to get out of it early), so trying to convince ACC schools to put their TV revenue for the next 15 years on the line is realistically way too tall of an order right now.

The current Pac-12 TV contracts end in 2024, so the Grant of Rights issue isn’t as much of an urgent concern there, but the challenge with the Pac-12 is that they legitimately fit with each other institutionally and culturally similar to how the Big Ten schools fit with each other. Colorado would be a good fit for the Big Ten on paper and a logical westward expansion with great demographics, but that school is also already a perfect fit for the Pac-12. Meanwhile, the Big Ten would certainly take heavyweights like USC and UCLA from the Pac-12, but that’s the West Coast equivalent of trying to say the B1G should add UNC and UVA: that’s way easier said than done.

The bottom line: a new Big Ten school would need to deliver at least $70 million per year just for the league to not lose money on expansion. Notre Dame could do that along with UT and OU (who are now off the table) and some of the aforementioned options in the ACC and Pac-12, but it’s otherwise hard to see anyone else. (Plus, any “expansion plan” that is predicated on Notre Dame joining isn’t an expansion plan at all since they are committed to independence as an institutional identity. The ACC needs to be reminded of this just like the old Big East football conference.) The only Big 12 school that even has a chance at the Big Ten is Kansas (and that’s assuming that its basketball program is so uniquely and singularly valuable a la Duke/UNC/Kentucky that it overwhelms its football issues). As I discussed many years ago with the original Big Ten Expansion Index, a new school needs to be an academic and cultural fit, bring in a new market and/or national brand and, above all else, make a lot more money for the conference. At the end of the day, the Big Ten isn’t going to expand just for the sake of expanding.

(Image from Wired)

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

474 thoughts on “Texas and Oklahoma Leave the Big 12: Why Newton’s Third Law Doesn’t Apply to Conference Realignment and the Big Ten

  1. Colin

    Best option for the Big Ten is to add Army and Navy. Adding Army and Navy would give both Rutgers and Maryland a crosstown rivalry and neither university actually has an archrival. Rutgers and West Point actually have joint academic ventures right now (link).

    https://www.rutgers.edu/news/rutgers-and-west-point-offer-joint-pilot-program-explore-ethics-war

    Maryland and Navy also have ongoing joint academic ventures. There is a U of Maryland regional campus called “University of Maryland – College Park at U.S. Naval Academy” through which Midshipmen can take accredited U of Maryland courses at the Naval Academy campus.

    Both play lacrosse and Army plays Div 1 hockey so those sports could be added to the B1G. Let’s face it, the B1G East Division has Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State and doesn’t need any more football heavyweights. If Army and Navy joined, every school in the B1G would have service academies on their schedule on a regular basis. I’m a Purdue guy and I’d certainly prefer to play Army and Navy over nothingburgers like Kansas or Iowa State.

    Also, we should grab Army and Navy before the ACC figures out that they’d be perfect additions to their conference as well.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Colin

        Mike:

        In 2020 Army lost to West Virginia 24-21.
        In 2019 Army lost to Michigan 24-21.
        In 2018 Army lost to Oklahoma 28-21.

        Army can hang in there with the Big Boys. You don’t need to be concerned about that.

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      2. Colin

        Mike, in 2020 Army lost to West Virginia 24-21.

        In 2019 Army lost to Michigan 24-21.

        In 2018 Army lost to Oklahoma 28-21.

        Army can play with the Big Boys.

        Like

    1. Marc

      Best option for the Big Ten is to add Army and Navy. . . . Army can hang in there with the Big Boys. You don’t need to be concerned about that.

      No, they can’t. That is why none of the service academies are in power conferences. Occasionally, they give a scare to P5 teams, while seldom actually beating them. That’s partly because they play a wishbone offense that those teams almost never see. It would be different if they played every year.

      That same Army team that only barely lost to WV last year, also almost lost to The Citadel and Georgia Southern, and got clobbered by Cincinnati and Tulane. How many wins vs. P5 teams do they have in the last 10 years? Look that up.

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      1. Colin

        Marc, Army and Navy can be competitive with B1G teams. In 2016, Navy beat Notre Dame. In 2017, Navy beat UVA 49-7 in a bowl game right after the Middies lost to Army. Both Army and Navy would do just fine in the BiG.

        But competitiveness isn’t the key issue here. We’d be perceived as America’s national confernce, the patriots, the Yankees. The SEC would be the Confederate conference. Stars and Stripes Conference vs the Stars and Bars Conference. Get the picture?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Marc

          @Colin: Army and Navy can be competitive with B1G teams.

          That simply is untrue. Yes, Navy beat Notre Dame in 2016. If you play an opponent every year, sometimes you will win. But in their last 10 meetings against the Irish, the Middies are 2–8. In their last 50 meetings, they are 4–46. That is more reflective of the competitive gap between Navy and the Power Five.

          I mean…just look at the schedules the service academies play. They are mostly avoiding the Power Five.

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    2. Brian

      Colin,

      The academies don’t want to be in a P5 conference. Due to restrictions they face, they can’t match the OL and DL of major schools. They can compete for a game or 2 per season, but not for a whole conference season. They know this.

      As for money, neither academy needs TV money. And they wouldn’t be worth it to the B10, either. The B10 has plenty of losing teams already.

      Like

      1. Colin

        “The academies don’t want to be in a P5 conference.”

        Look, you lost your credibility right there. You don’t speak on behalf of the service academies. And you are right, they have no need of TV money. So let’s invite them in not give them a BTN payout.

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        1. Brian

          Have any of them ever asked to be in one? Did they line up to get into the B12 last time around? Army bailed from CUSA(?) because it was too demanding.

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    3. CPCAR

      I would agree that the incremental increase in value is just not there. But, you raise an interesting point re: the service academies and their national branding. Whereas the majority of schools cultivate their following from a combination of state residence and alumni/family ties, the tier 1 schools transcend this with national brand appeal. And that tier 1 with national brand following is a very select group of the so-called kings; most of them would arguably be regional not national brands. By this I mean OSU vs X respectable P5 school can carry a time slot nationally whereas Auburn is more dependent on that other program for southern Midwestern and west coast eyes to tune in.

      Which brings me to the academies. They are undoubtedly national. Both in the patriotic, Army-Navy is the only game broadcast that day sense but also in following. The ring-knockers are rabid fans but a small alumni base a la Stanford Duke or NW. the expanded fan base though are people with ties to those branches of service-personal, familial, or patriotic. My father played basketball at Illinois before becoming a SWO: we watched navy over the Illini growing up. My brother did olympic sports at Madison: we watched Wisconsin then Navy or the national game at home and now the same goes at his house. Now I went to the D3 foundii in my member of the western conference and have been AD Navy for 13 years: my household is Wisconsin, Navy, then the national/rivalry game. Now, navy rarely carries prime time coverage so I usually avoid conflict with the biggest game. But, I’d much rather watch Navy vs P5 and the prospect of an upset than Iowa Iowa state, Oklahoma Oklahoma State, MS MS State or some other mid level 1500 EST rivalry I don’t care about. You talk to people on active duty (13 years for me) and most of them are the same: their state/childhood team allegiance, the “big” game, or their service academy.

      So, does that translate to value? Yes. Value for the B1G or ACC? Yes, Wisconsin-Navy, Purdue-Army NW-Air Force etc lure wandering eyes, particularly with a service history – over 2 million strong. Now I would agree that value to the B1G SEC PAC is as scheduling partner for OOC games. But, for a freshly dismembered B12(8) along with some 2-4 of cincinnati CSU BSU UCF USF BYU or an ACC poaching WVU- possibly.

      My question for the better minds here is does that moderate national 2nd tier branding carry weight in terms of academy viability in a new concentrated coleviate football paradigm? If not, does the significant political clout unique almost exclusively to the service academies buttress their chances of survival in this whole reshuffling? By this I mean, do they get a seat at the table even if just as independents filling out scheduling gaps for the Southern Northern and Eastern/Western super conferences that survive this reshuffling? Like, Notre Dame doesn’t exist as an institution without the US Navy, hence they play annually as a sort of honor debt. Does ND AD or, better yet, Congress allow the academies to slip into irrelevance? Particularly when football pays the AD budget for all the other sports that forge many of our future military leaders?

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      1. Brian

        I don’t think much will change for the academies. They already lag the P5 in money and media coverage and they do just fine. The SEC getting richer won’t change that. There will always be a place for them on that G5 tier, because they do have solid fan bases and they don’t have to worry about not being able to afford to play football. I don’t see any of them moving up because they just can’t get enough top players to safely and effectively compete at the elite level, and nobody wants to see them going 2-10 all the time.

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        1. Dcbiiii

          Army and Navy clearly neither want nor need to make a move, but it did make me think: how does the NIL apply to the service academies? They’re unique, and I am not sure they can even participate in it.

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          1. Brian

            I’m guessing the academies have rules that prevent players from taking advantage. Otherwise the NIL rules would be the same for them as anyone.

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          2. Albino Tornado

            The players at the service academies are considered active-duty personnel. They’re paid a salary/stipend (starting at $900/month) and are already an exception in the NCAA rulebook to playing players. They’re also forbidden as federal employees from using public office for private gain, so NIL is a non-starter for cadets and midshipmen.

            Like

  2. Colorado to the Big 10 makes a lot of sense. More money for CU and a rivalry with Nebraska – while for the Bug 10, Colorado brings a BOOMING state with great demographics plus geographic continuity plus AAU status.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Colin

      If we took Colorado plus the Air Force Academy, that would give the Buffs an in-state rival in close proximity and they would also regain their old rivalry with Nebraska.

      If I ruled the B1G, I’d add Army, Navy, Air Force and Colorado. We’d be a truly national conference and the SEC would look like the Dixie Redneck Conference in comparison.

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      1. Marc

        If I ruled the B1G, I’d add Army, Navy, Air Force and Colorado. We’d be a truly national conference and the SEC would look like the Dixie Redneck Conference in comparison.

        You are certainly making clear why you do not run the B1G or any other conference!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Brian

        Not one of those schools is worth adding ($70M/year), and most of them don’t want to be in the B10. Other than that, it’s a great plan.

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        1. Colin

          The service academies have no need of TV revenue and we shouldn’t pay any to them. They want national exposure, not cash. Invite them in without any cut from the BTN.

          Like

    2. Brian

      CU would be a nice addition, but they’re not worth $70M per year. Besides, CU moved to the P12 to be closer to their out-of-state alumni who predominantly live in the coastal states.

      And who who be #16? KU? Someone else from the P12 (Utah?)?

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  3. wscsuperfan

    https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/texas-oklahoma-announce-intent-to-leave-big-12-but-plan-to-honor-their-existing-agreements/

    With Texas and Oklahoma on board, the SEC will at least have the potential to pass the Big Ten as the No. 1 revenue conference. That almost compels the Big Ten to act. Its teams earn more than $50 million per year between TV rights, BTN money, bowl payouts and NCAA Tournament revenues. Its media rights contracts expire next year, so even without adding teams, the Big Ten and its members are due for a windfall.

    But which teams out there add “pro rata”? In other words, which teams are worth proportional value of $50 million-plus per year?

    The biggest remaining chips on the realignment board are Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame and USC. The Buckeyes and Wolverines aren’t going anywhere. Notre Dame has shown no indication of assimilating into the ACC permanently after playing there (successfully, mind you) in 2020 due to COVID-19.

    It’s conceivable the big cigars at USC, tired of the underachieving Pac-12, could be interested in joining the Big Ten. That gives the Trojans better access to the playoff and certainly more money.

    Such a move would probably involve getting travel partners in Washington, Colorado and possibly Arizona State. That would bring the Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver and Phoenix markets into the Big Ten. What would UCLA and Oregon (and Nike) have to say about that?

    Don’t sweat the travel. Geography ceased to matter in realignment long ago. Think of a West Coast scheduling “pod” that could include USC, Washington, Colorado, Arizona State, Nebraska and Iowa.

    That’s the next potential blockbuster, at least comparable to what the SEC just did. That’s a Big Ten with conceivably seven of the top 16 TV markets in the country stretching coast-to-coast. Before all this occurred, Rutgers was handed a document from the Big Ten during its assimilation into the league. It stated the league’s per-school revenue would be $67 million by 2027. Now try to imagine what it would be if the West Coast joined in.

    Kevin Warren being a rookie commissioner who struggled to align the Big Ten around COVID-19, it’s hard to envision such a massive move for the conference. But with Texas’ interest in the SEC spurred by a powerful board of regents chair, there are powerful forces above commissioners that could make this happen.

    The Left Coast seems vulnerable in a Big 12 sort of way. However, the Big Ten could instead turn the other direction and try to beat the SEC to the punch in terms of world domination by going after Clemson and Florida State.

    A source told CBS Sports over the weekend that Clemson is absolutely committed to the ACC.

    Would Kansas be on the Big Ten’s short list? Believe it or not, football remains the primary revenue driver at KU. Its languishing football program might be a plus in realignment. Big Ten football is strong enough to absorb a team that would be an automatic W despite it subtracting from overall schedule strength. It would be a no-brainer because Jayhawk basketball is a historically great program.

    Interesting note: In the last round of realignment, former Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany went after some combination of Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Virginia. He settled for Maryland and Rutgers.

    Delany brilliantly signed a short-term six-year TV deal that expires in 2022. With the Big Ten standing as the next major conference to renegotiate, will it sign a mini-extension to 2025 allowing its deal to sync up with those in the Big 12 if it wants to go after a Kansas and/or Iowa State? Or will it take a giant swing and look West?

    Warren was asked twice by CBS Sports over the weekend whether the SEC’s move compelled the Big Ten to expand. He did not answer directly. “You could feel the ground in college athletics was going to shift,” he said.

    Like

    1. ccrider55

      “ With Texas and Oklahoma on board, the SEC will at least have the potential to pass the Big Ten as the No. 1 revenue conference. That almost compels the Big Ten to act”

      Did you miss the part…I mean the entire purpose of Frank’s post?

      Like

  4. Stew Levine

    The commentary feels right about the B1G. The only schools that would seem to make sense for the B1G to expand for would be Notre Dame and Texas – both bringing the academic credentials and the eyeballs both would want. Whether either would be interested in going to the B1G remains to be seen.
    As for the ACC, steps that would allow them to reopen their deal with ESPN seem like they would be the order of the day. WVU would gladly seek refuge in the league and if uConn had already moved back to the Big East and lowered its expectations for its football program, you could squint and see how the ACC could at least argue for reopening the contract regardless of whether ESPN would agree.
    And for the Pac-12, it’s hard to see what would make sense for them. UNLV and Boise are brands that welcome the credibility that comes from the Pac-12 (maybe BYU does too although they certainly have other motivations), but would the Pac-12 want any of them?
    Finally for the remainder of the Big 12, they will certainly feel out their options individually before deciding whether they can do better staying together plus adding whomever they can pluck from other conferences as a ticket out of the Group of 5, similar to what Utah, WVU, and TCU received a few years ago.
    In the end, the execs at ESPN and FS1 are probably the ones who will drive what happens, if anything after UT and OU move on. In this new streaming world, we don’t know how much money either will be willing to fund more movement, and even with both Comcast and Viacom including live sports as part of the Peacock and Paramount+ offerings, it’s not clear there is a conference contract that would add enough to translate into additional subscribers.

    Like

  5. z33k

    The biggest factor is going to be FSU/Clemson as the difference between the ACC contract and SEC/Big Ten contract grow larger.

    I think that matters because I think the Big Ten would take 1 of them (probably FSU), so by 2030-2032 if the ACC hasn’t come up with something to change the dynamic, I don’t see why FSU would agree to extend that GoR.

    Same applies to Clemson if they talk to the SEC or Big Ten and find interest there.

    There would have been moves here if the ACC hadn’t extended its GoR from 2027 to 2036. That’s really why nothing is likely to happen for a while.

    Like

    1. Al

      Zeek,

      In the comments of last week’s post you talked about synergy and the value of contiguous states, etc. There’s cultural fit and shared values.

      I’m having trouble reconciling that position with your desire to add Clemson/FSU, schools that (from my perspective anyway) not only don’t fit the traditional Big Ten profile, are not contiguous and have no traditional conference rivals, and to me are culturally more culturally aligned with the SEC in both athletics and academics.

      I get the desire to get a foothold in Florida but taking those two by themselves (and not as part of a group of 4-6 ACC schools as you’ve also discussed) seems fragmented. I’m fine with ACC additions but I’d rather explore Pac12 opportunities then have outlier schools like FSU or Clemson.

      Like

      1. z33k

        Oh yeah I agree with you completely, I don’t think either would be invited alone (or as a duo) per se, but as part of an expected bigger group. They’d be the first domino.

        Like I don’t see FSU coming to the Big Ten without Ga Tech and some other Mid-Atlantic schools to connect them to the Big Ten footprint.

        Ditto Clemson. They aren’t cultural fits with the Big Ten, but the athletic fit (and more importantly money) fits.

        I do think both would go SEC if that’s on the table first. But how sure are we that the SEC wants one or either? SEC could have easily taken both to go to #16 a couple years ago before the GoR when FSU was basically telling everyone they were looking around.

        In my mind the SEC as constructed is a complete conference at 16, demographically and athletically. Do they need Clemson or FSU? Do they want Clemson or FSU?

        I don’t feel the same about the current Big Ten at 14, and I think the Big Ten probably has to go to 18-20 to really get more schools in the Southeast to reach the right territories.

        I don’t worry about cultural fit as much for UNC/Duke as maybe others do, I think UVa/Ga Tech fit easily with the Big Ten schools, and I think UNC/Duke would want to be with those two and Maryland assuming they have the choice.

        Clemson and FSU (and Va Tech) feel like sort of the biggest outliers though maybe Va Tech isn’t quite as much an outlier to schools like Penn State.

        Like

        1. Brian

          I think it’s asking for trouble to add poor cultural fits into a conference of 18+. At that size you’re losing the connections that a real conference has. You need something to hold it all together besides money.

          Like

          1. z33k

            How much trouble is it though? Like if Florida doesn’t want FSU in the SEC, is it that big of a deal for us to take FSU as far as cultural fit goes?

            The rest of the adds would all basically be perfect fits I’d imagine academically/athletically/culturally (UNC/Duke might be a bit different but not so far) if you’re talking a group of 5 of ND, UNC, UVa, Duke, Ga Tech as the others.

            Like

          2. @z33k – Florida State isn’t a perfect fit with the Big Ten, but it’s a bit better than what a lot of people are giving it credit for. I actually think it would fit in better culturally with the B1G compared to, say, Texas A&M and a lot of other Southern schools.

            A lot of people are neglecting to mention the Florida school that would fit in the best culturally: Miami. While it’s private, it has a significant academic research base (one of those schools on the cusp of AAU status) and in reality a Northern school that happens to be located in the South when it comes to its student body.

            As the saying goes, the further south you go in Florida, the more northern you get.

            Like

          3. Brian

            Richard,

            At some size, I agree the P12 option is better than the ACC option.

            My preferences (in order), by size:

            Add 2:
            ND + whoever they want
            UVA + UNC
            UVA + VT
            I wouldn’t add any group of just 2 from the P12 because I don’t think they’d feel comfortable.

            Add 4:
            ND + whoever they want
            UVA + UNC + Duke + GT
            UVA + VT + UNC + Duke
            I wouldn’t add any group of just 4 from the P12 because I don’t think they’d feel comfortable.

            Add 6:
            ND + whoever they want
            I wouldn’t add any group of 6 that didn’t include ND

            But if forced to choose:
            USC + UCLA + Stanford + Cal + UW + UO
            UA and CU are backup options, but I think the NW pair work better to keep people happy.

            UVA + UNC + Duke + GT + FSU + Miami
            UVA + VT + UNC + Duke + GT + FSU
            UVA + VT + UNC + Duke + GT + Miami
            UVA + UNC + Duke + GT + Clemson + FSU
            UVA + VT + UNC + Duke + GT + Clemson
            There are a lot of ACC options of similar value to me. I don’t value Clemson as much because of markets and what they’ll be without Dabo. Their current value is way above their typical value as a brand and I don’t think it’s sustainable.

            Like

          4. Brian

            z33k,

            Schools that don’t fit in are a headache and more likely to leave or cause unrest (like FSU in the ACC, or UT in the B12, or Boise anywhere). The fans and donors complain non-stop to their president and badmouth the conference publicly. It’s a recipe for infighting and maybe even a conference split later.

            Like

        2. Richard

          While true, Miami will be under water within decades.

          Being a smallish private, the part of their fan base that is dedicated is tiny (support is mostly a mile wide and an inch deep, as they say).

          Nevertheless, I would add Miami if I thought Miami wouldn’t be submerged (they’re a smaller USC).

          Like

  6. Nick in South Bend

    Depending on someones version of a blue blood in football, it is possible that the SEC will have too many. I realize this is all about money, but can all of the following maintain their historic levels of excellence when playing each other (nearly ) every year?

    Texas, Oklahoma, LSU, Auburn, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia.

    Like

    1. z33k

      That’s why they want the 12 team playoff.

      With 12 teams, it’s not as bad if they go 10-2 or even 9-3 in any given year if they’re facing 4 or 5 of the other top programs (say 3 bluebloods on top of their game + another 1 or 2 of the remaining 8-9 that are up).

      10-2 SEC teams will be getting into the playoff regularly.

      Like

    2. ccrider55

      “… when playing each other (nearly ) every year?”

      They don’t do that now. Are they going to abandon playing Presbyterian et al?

      Like

    3. bullet

      Its the middle class I’m concerned about. Do Arkansas, Missouri, South Carolina and A&M descend to Kentucky level? And Auburn and Tennessee may struggle as well. And Kentucky, Ole Miss, Miss. St. fans may become like Vandy fans and wait for basketball or baseball season.

      I look at the Big East supersizing in basketball as a negative lesson. DePaul and St. John’s went from powers to abysmal. Rutgers, USF stayed abysmal. Schools like Georgetown, Seton Hall and Providence struggled. As you get bigger, those conference championships become out of reach for the bottom half and fewer and farther apart for the top half.

      I don’t think its good for the SEC as someone who grew up following the SEC (in Kentucky). UT, OU, Bama, Florida and Georgia will be fine. But its not the top quarter of the SEC that makes it strong. Its the rivalries and the middle of the SEC.

      Like

      1. z33k

        It’s also possible that the SEC targets the ACC as well to add another 2-4 to fill out the footprint into the Mid-Atlantic.

        I’d imagine both SEC and Big Ten want UNC/Duke/UVa but there’s also Va Tech/NC State as well over there.

        20 with the number of football brands may be more comfortable for winning % for the biggest dogs.

        Like

      2. FrankTheAg

        laughable to put A&M in that categorization. What happened 30 years ago doesn’t matter unless you want to pine about the good ole days. For instance, let’s take a look at A&M’s record in the SEC vs. Arkansas and USC…it’s 16-0 during that time.

        This is the reality of it, especially looking at recruiting…

        Tier 1: Bama
        Tier 2: UGa; LSU;
        Tier 3: Auburn, Florida, A&M, OU, Texas

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    4. bob sykes

      Precisely. The Kings need Princesses they can beat up to demonstrate their prowess. In a conference of Kings only, everyone would be 6 and 6, and barely qualify for a bowl game. What is Ohio State without Purdue, or Clemson without Wake Forest?

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      1. Colin

        Bob, the last B1G school to beat Ohio State was Purdue and it wasn’t even close, 49-20 in 2018. Perhaps you meant to say “What is Ohio State without Indiana?”.

        Like

        1. Marc

          …the last B1G school to beat Ohio State was Purdue and it wasn’t even close, 49-20 in 2018. Perhaps you meant to say “What is Ohio State without Indiana?”.

          @Colin: You really like your cherry-picked results, don’t you? Every once in a while, a powerhouse loses a game they should not lose, against an opponent they fail to take seriously.

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          1. Colin

            Marc, I didn’t cherry-pick anything. Bob Sykes made the analogy of Ohio State – Purdue being similar to Clemson – Wake Forest. That is male bovine droppings.

            All-time, Purdue is 13-38-2 vs OSU. That isn’t great but it’s the fifth best record in the B1G vs the Buckeyes behind Michigan, Penn State, Illinois and Michigan State. So that leaves eight Big Ten schools more worthy of that particular dishonor.

            And in recent history, the last ten B1G teams to beat OSU were, in sequence, Purdue, Iowa, Penn St, Mich St, Mich St, Mich St, Nebraska, Purdue, Penn State and Michigan.

            Like

      2. Brian

        It will be interesting to see how UT fans respond to being in the SEC and (presumably) losing a lot more games. They may play 3-4 teams on par with OU going forward, not just the 1 game they’ve had lately.

        This is definitely an issue for the superleague concept. NFL fans are used to lots of 9-7 seasons, but fans of CFB power expect 10+ wins in 13 games. Will the fans adjust quickly, or will coaches get fired willy nilly for a while?

        Like

  7. m(Ag)

    “Whether any of the amounts being paid by ESPN will be adjusted by the addition of Texas and Oklahoma is an open question. ”

    I suspect:
    1) ESPN 1st adjusts the contracts so the SEC makes the same per school.
    2) Both parties expect the SEC Network revenue sharing to be higher than it would have been (they’ll raise rates quicker and have more advertising demand). This might not be a lot on a per team basis.
    3) ESPN agrees to pay a large amount of money on top of that in exchange for a 9nth conference game and some other concessions (such as a 2nd game for ABC on Black Friday: get ready for Missouri v Oklahoma at noon ET followed by Aggies v Longhorns, If you’re a fan of the “Old Big 12” the SEC has a day just for you!).

    Like

    1. Alan from Baton Rouge

      mAg – exactly. Without UT & OU, the SEC schools will be making $67m per year when the new tier 1ABC/ESPN/Disney contract kicks in. That’s not including any look-ins for the current ESPN Tier 2 and SECN Tier 3 deals.

      Frank – I know you said you were just speculating, but you would never advise a client to obligate themselves for ten years on a deal that may or may not happen. I’m sure ESPN has competent lawyers. The 10 year $3B deal is for the existing SEC.

      With UT & OU added to the SEC, $80m could be a realistic number. How? Let’s assume OU & UT play 4 of the SEC’s marquee programs per season. That’s 8 additional premier games. That’s almost another Tier 1 deal in the amount of great games. The $300m deal also includes the SEC CCG, so I’ll throw it out, but with the 8 additional premier games plus the other inventory of 16 games (SEC & OOC) still should be worth another $300m. That gets OU & UT their $67m, plus another $10m per school for 77m per school. What’s a 9th game worth? That’s another 16 games. $5-10m per game? Let’s say $5m. That gets the SEC schools to $82m per year.

      With the SEC and ACC locked down through the middle of the next decade, there aren’t many viewing windows left. What if ESPN tells the B1G and the PAC they won’t be bidding on the conferences’ next TV deals? Assuming CBS doesn’t play, FOX won’t have to overpay to keep the B1G and the PAC.

      The SEC will have kings Alabama, LSU, Florida, Texas & Oklahoma, and barons Auburn, Tennessee, A&M & Georgia. All of these teams have won a national championship since the beginning of the BCS/CFP era, except for A&M and Georgia. And I know, I know, Tennessee isn’t what it once was and probably never will be. Neither will Nebraska.

      In contrast, the B1G has kings Ohio State, Penn State & Michigan with barons Michigan State, Wisconsin & Nebraska.

      Going forward, I think there will be a larger gap between the SEC & the B1G than currently exists, but in the SEC’s favor.

      Like

      1. Richard

        The B10 has roughly the same number of top-drawing football games as the SEC each year (no other conference is close to the Power 2).

        It’s not as if Fox and ESPN are the only networks (and ESPN isn’t going to not bid for essentiallyvhalf of the most-watched college football games each year).

        Like

        1. Alan from Baton Rouge

          Richard – The windows on ABC are limited. When the SEC moves over to ABC, the SEC will get the lion’s share of the 3:30 and 8p windows.

          Looking at the 2019 season, including non-conference matchups, the SEC+OU+UT (SEC+) were involved in 17 games drawing more than 5 million viewers. The B1G was involved in 10.

          Now the schedules will change but but let’s use it as a reference. At least 10 big time SEC+ games will need an ABC slot. ABC has long term commitments to the SEC+ and the ACC.

          Will the B1G be interested in just getting the Noon ABC slot?

          CBS – 8 games: All SEC
          ABC – 11 games: 5 SEC+; 6 B1G
          FOX – 6 games: 2 B-12: 4 B1G
          ESPN – 2 games: All SEC

          SEC+OU+UT 17 games

          16.64 LSU – Alabama CBS
          11.43 Auburn – Alabama CBS
          9.29 Notre Dame – Georgia CBS
          8.63 LSU – Texas ABC
          7.25 Oklahoma – Texas FOX
          7.18 Auburn – LSU CBS
          6.98 Georgia – Florida CBS
          6.86 Oregon – Auburn ABC
          6.79 Oklahoma – Baylor ABC
          6.77 Georgia – Auburn CBS
          6.46 A&M – Clemson ABC
          6.45 Florida – LSU ESPN
          6.43 Auburn – Florida CBS
          6.11 Alabama – A&M CBS
          5.97 Miami – Florida ESPN
          5.82 Oklahoma – OK State FOX
          5.44 Houston – Oklahoma ABC

          B1G 10 games

          12.42 Ohio St – Michigan FOX
          6.75 Michigan – Notre Dame ABC
          6.74 Penn St – Minnesota ABC
          6.68 Michigan St – Ohio St ABC
          6.66 Michigan – Penn St ABC
          6.65 Wisconsin – Ohio St FOX
          6.14 Ohio St – Nebraska ABC
          5.80 Penn St – Ohio St FOX
          5.03 Wisconsin – Minnesota ABC
          5.02 Iowa – Michigan FOX

          Like

          1. Brian

            Alan,

            They won’t have 17 when they’re all in the same conference. Part of the reason they had so many was they had multiple networks filling prime TV windows. If it’s just ABC/ESPN, some of those will have to conflict. The CBS slots will go away, and the Fox slots will move to the B10 (mostly).

            I don’t know the details of what ABC/ESPN has to do with regards to the B10. There may be a minimum number of specific slots promised to the B10. ABC/ESPN probably can’t satisfy their B10 contract with just noon slots.

            Like

          2. Richard

            OK, I should amend to “The B10 had roughly the same number of top-drawing football games as the SEC each year”.

            Regardless, networks will be interested in games that draw a ton of eyeballs and Fox would have a lot of slots.

            Like

          3. bullet

            Its the Big 12 and Pac 12 that should be concerned about that. That is why I thought it was a good idea for both to try to redo their deals before Fox and/or ESPN filled up on Big 10 content.

            But when they said no to early deals with the Big 12, that was when the OU/UT to SEC went into overdrive. That coupled with NIL and the pay for play issues were what I think is driving this. Along with how the CFP has influenced recruiting.

            Like

  8. davidpsu

    I totally agree! Since the press release stated that Texas and Oklahoma are not renuing their Big Twelve contracts, it is interesting it does not announce a new conference. Could Texas still be open to Big Ten membership? Are they simply throwing this out there so they can get the best offers? Perhaps Texas to the Big Ten and Oklahoma to the SEC?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Little8

      The TX & OU statements were legal. They also said they would honor the GoR through 2024-25 season (no admission of intent to breach contract). Everyone knows a settlement will be reached so they can leave after the 2021-22 season… unless FOX wants to broadcast a lot of paycheck games. Any games with SEC will be from the bottom (think Vandy, MsSt, etc.) and any OOC power games will be at neutral sites if the GoR is still in place.

      Like

      1. Marc

        Everyone knows a settlement will be reached so they can leave after the 2021-22 season.

        I would be surprised if they get out that easily. What is the remaining eight members’ incentive to settle? You are right, four years of lame-duck football is not very appealing. The alternatives are worse.

        Like

  9. Tyson

    While TV $ definitely animates these discussions, I wonder sometimes when people talk about teams and their TV markets. I think USC, for instance, has much more appeal as a national brand than as a team that delivers the SoCal TV market. Nobody in LA cares that much about USC or college football in general, at least as a percentage of the total population. What makes the SEC really go is that people in those states care PASSIONATELY about college football. This is one of the reasons I thought Rutgers was a curious choice for the B1G. Do people in NJ even realize when Rutgers is playing on TV??

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    1. Jersey Bernie

      To repeat the numbers, the NY Metro area, which includes New Brunswick is 25 million people and is 40 miles from NYC. NJ has 9 million. Eliminating double counting, that is about 30 million people. A pretty small percentage would probably be enough.

      Again, repeating based on NY Times reporting, RU is the most popular college football team in NYC. ND subway alums were number two and Penn State number 3. Syracuse may have been fourth, but a long way down. (By the way UConn is 140 miles from NYC, Syracuse about 250.)

      If the B1G wanted NYC, there was literally only one game in town. Did the B1G want the only college FB team in the largest market in the country, which ignores the financial, social, etc., power of NYC? Add in UMD, and Washington to NYC is exclusively B1G football territory.

      Like

      1. Marc

        Again, repeating based on NY Times reporting, RU is the most popular college football team in NYC.

        Rutgers has a plurality in NYC, simply because there are no other Power Five teams nearby. But most New Yorkers who care about CFB follow other teams, and the support Rutgers does have is pretty shallow. You won’t find that many office workers with Rutgers insignia at their desks, or much Rutgers talk at the water cooler.

        This contrasts with most other B10 states, where the support for the local college team (or teams) is passionate and overwhelming. I grew up in Southeastern Michigan, where almost everyone on fall Monday morning, whether they were a serious fan or not, knew if the Wolverines and Spartans had won or lost. Rutgers does not have that kind of support.

        Like

        1. Jersey Bernie

          Rutgers does not have deep support like Michigan or Ohio State (or Wisconsin, etc)

          Years ago when RU beat Louisville in a Big East game, the Empire State Building was lit up in scarlet for the RU football team. Schiano was coach then too.

          The Empire State Building was also lit up scarlet for the 250th anniversary of Rutgers in 2016 as well as for the 150th anniversary of College Football, also in 2016. It as been lit up a couple of other times for other teams for wining national championships.

          Before Schiano left for Tampa Bay, the RU football team was gathering quite a bit of interest in the NY metro area and all of Jersey.

          I assume that you have not driven around NJ in the last few years. Lots of Rutgers stickers on lots of cars. More RU stickers than Yankees or Giants. That was not true 15 or 20 years ago. Admission to the B1G lead to an explosion of stickers on cars. I lived in NJ at the time and watched it happen. Actually my wife and I were pretty surprised when it happened so quickly.

          The issue is not the potential, but the miserable leadership at the RU athletic department and the football and the resulting lousy teams. It is almost hard to believe the terrible decisions that they have made.

          Schiano is back, but not because of good leadership. There was a huge fan revolt demanding Schiano. If the AD had not hired Schiano, he would had to resign immediately.

          The last clown coach was Chris Ash, former assistant at OSU. Apparently Ash did not realize that he was not still as OSU, as he never recruited and expected top recruits to flock to him. After Ash was fired, the most powerful high school coaches in NJ all said that Ash never called them or spoke to them about players. There was a good reason why his recruiting classes were ranked in the low 50s or 60s.

          The last AD was a woman who was associate AD at Louisville. She was a total fiasco. It was well known that one member of the RU Board of Directors demanded that a lesbian be the next AD, which would have been fine if she did a good job. She was just the most recent in series of lousy leadership. The others were all incompetent men. A truly memorable history of stupidity after stupidity.

          Also keep in mind that at least through the early 1970s, RU considered the Ivy League to be its intellectual and sports competition. The idea until then was that NJ kids who got into Princeton, Columbia, etc., who could not afford to go went to RU. As an example, the undefeated RU football team of 1961 was led by a guy who transferred from Yale.

          The prior president of RU had less than zero interest in sports. He was hired to facilitate the merger between RU and two medical schools, a dental school, the NJ Institute for Cancer research and a couple of other odds and ends. The merger went smoothly and he retired.

          The new president, Holloway, was provost at Northwestern, so he knows what the B1G is. He also played football four years at Stanford. (Or as he put it, he practiced four years but not play much)

          It looks as though there is a shot that Schiano can revive the football team to being competitive. I think that he has preliminarily signed more four stars than ever in RU history. Will they beat OSU in the near future, no. They might be able to compete with everyone else, or almost everyone.

          If RU is even vaguely competitive they will be a very big deal in NYC as well as NJ. There are 30 million people. Not a very big percentage need to interested in college football. They potential is there, but a competitive team is needed to bring it out.

          As to the Times college football support survey, RU was a plurality, but it was not even close. I think that they found about 600,000 RU football fans in NYC. Of course, NJ is not counted in that survey, so I was surprised that it was that many.

          Beyond all of that, you comment avoids the significance of being in the NYC market. Clearly wrapping the territory from DC to NYC was the goal and that was accomplished.

          Like

          1. Everyone: we have a great comment community here. Please no personal political opinions (which differ from discussing political considerations and issues that apply to conference realignment that are perfectly fair and relevant) or discriminatory comments (whether about race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity or any other protected class).

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      2. Colin

        Imagine the Battle Of The Big Apple! Rutgers vs crosstown archrival USMA West Point. And when that one is over, we’d watch the Battle Of The Beltway, Maryland vs crosstown archrival USNA Annapolis! All right here on the Big Ten Network!

        Like

          1. Jersey Bernie

            Actually the last Rutgers Army game was in 2015, the year after RU joined the B1G.

            I have not bothered to check, but I assume that the 2015 game was scheduled several years before the B1G invitation. Not exactly a regular series anymore.

            It seems that Jim Delany understood the significance of the B1G controlling the DC to NYC corridor and the 50 million or so people who live there. If others dont, so be it.

            Like

  10. EndeavorWMEdani

    In regard to USC’s future, Newton’s second law is more applicable, but I prefer Danielle’s Law of the Golden Jenga. When the Golden Jenga is removed, those at the top of the structure will consider any desperate measure to avoid total collapse. I have two dogs in this fight, having attended the B1G for my undergrad, and the PAC for my JD. Unless the rest of the conference agrees to favored nation status for USC in the distribution of funds, USC will never sign a new GOR. It will not happen. Everyone knows they have feelers out. In regard to a big ten merger, the numbers game is tricky. Seeing as how the University of California is the world’s leading public research university system, I can’t imagine the B1G wouldn’t have to take Cal as well. Stanford’s a given. That means two of Oregon, Washington or Colorado. Those on this thread who think USC would never leave, or go independent are mistaken. Something big is going to happen in the next two years. The fact that ‘B1GPAC/BIG20’ is also the only scenario that would make the Big Ten presidents swoon, is no small consideration either. I can see most of you are on the U.S.S. Steady As She Goes, which is fine, but I think you’re in for a surprise. It’s been fascinating to see what the conventional wisdom is in B1G country. Take Care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. urbanleftbehind

      In this thread and the previous thread, no mention of U of Arizona or Arizona State as tag-alongs? Are they falling out of the AAU? Lack of passion from fanbase/state? No revenue? Soccer demographics in near future? Wacked out state politicians/politics? Local population, such that is comprised of transplants and 2nd generation Chicagoans/Detroiters/Ohians- already has allegiances to the respective B10 schools? ASU has a big student pop and alumni base, as well as Big 10 hockey team.

      Like

      1. Richard

        ASU isn’t in the AAU.

        But I have considered the AZ schools. ASU makes a lot of sense (being in Phoenix).

        They’d probably be added in a Big24 but not Big20.

        Like

      2. @urbanleftbehind – I don’t buy the Big Ten’s ability to raid the Pac-12 as being very high at all, but to the extent that it would happen, I agree that a lot of people are overlooking the Arizona schools. The critical mass of Chicagoans, other Midwesterners and Big Ten alums in general in the Phoenix area would certainly be a positive for the conference. (There are enough Chicagoans there to justify both a Lou Malnati’s and Portillo’s to go along with the Cubs and White Sox spring training sites.)

        To be honest, the only two Pac-12 schools that the Big Ten would say, “Meh!” to would be Oregon State and Washington State. The Pac-12 has a *ton* of depth when it comes to conference realignment value. That points to the Big Ten effectively needing to merge with the Pac-12 entirely to really extract the maximum value that it would want (or in a less intrusive scenario, bringing back an alliance).

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          1. Brian

            I’d add ASU to the meh list. UA gets you Phoenix anyway. UU is AAU, but SLC isn’t big enough to bother unless you’re taking 8 teams.

            Like

        1. Alan from Baton Rouge

          Frank – Jay Bilis is calling on the ACC commissioner to call the SEC about a merger. That would effectively create the Disney College Sports League. If, as you suggest, the B1G and the PAC merge, that would effectively create the Fox College Sports League.

          Then, if they want to go Ted Lasso on us, Disney and Fox could pick among the G-5 for relegation divisions.

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          1. Brian

            Alan,

            I don’t see the value for the SEC or the B10 in that.

            The money play is the ACC, B12 and P12 merging and separating into 2 tiers. The top tier brands form a counterweight to the B10 and SEC (not quite on par, but closer) and bring in the rest of the country, while the lower tier stays above the G5.

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      3. Brian

        urbanleftbehind,

        I see UA as a 5th or 6th option from the P12, on par with CU. ASU isn’t AAU, and UA would get the B10 into Phoenix anyway, so ASU’s only shot is if it’s a full merger.

        Like

    2. Jason Bellistri

      Long time lurker, first time commenting here – it’s been a blast reading the discussion here in the past decade. Hear me out on my lengthy first rant.

      I agree with Frank’s original premise that there really isn’t a counter-move readily available for the BiG. But I also concur that the comment that staying out for any other conference doesn’t work. The SEC has home field (talent base sits in their states) advantage, as well as having a fan base that is simply more fanatical – so long term an inert non-SEC conference would eventually lose out.

      In other words, SEC is besting everyone else at the game that Delany set up in the late 2000s/2010.

      Prior to 2010, the game was purely recruiting. SEC had more fertile recruiting grounds (vs, say BiG’s depopulating trends to the coast/south). The game of recruiting was tilted in the SEC’s favor.

      So Delany changed the rules of the game by introducing its BiG network, picking off blue chip names and media markets, thus giving more $ to schools to improve its facilities/coaches to get a leg up on the SEC.

      So if any other non-SEC wants get another leg up on the SEC (i.e. bring more $), it will need to change the rules of the game again. I think it would have to be some combination of expanding streaming rights then tying in with NIL rights.

      The 5* recruits will have their NIL $ anywhere. It’s bringing some sort of uniform NIL shares to the rest of active roster that could entice the 2* to 4* recruits that would otherwise flow to the SEC. To support that, the pie has to grow substantially larger.

      The only thing in terms of $ larger than either of BiG/SEC in the past 2 decades has been the NFL. Sunday belongs to the NFL with 3 game timeslots. Teams are located on both coasts and play division rivals twice, plus teams on rotating pods. Alot of us don’t like the NFL but we can’t argue with the economic achievement of the product. The NFL is worth $10b a year.

      A BiG/PAC tie-in might not be sufficient to entice a company or group of companies to pay, say $260 million (26 schools at $100m each).

      But if say a BiG/PAC/ACC tie-in/rebrand for $410 million (41 schools at say, $100m each). That sounds like alot. But it’s substantially cheaper than $10 billion a year to the NFL.

      And this sort of programming would definitely be national. Any non-BiG school would likely jump at $100m a year in this environment (except ND, maybe).

      At season end, pod-winners face off against one another, so ignoring all complications of such a tie-up, semi-finals at the Rose Bowl / Gator Bowl / Indy, a conference championship game in New York (or Jersey, say MetLife Stadium), would certainly be a narrative the media maybe able to sell (and coaches can sell to recruits as “Win with us and you get to New York!” (or LA, or both)).

      And winners and losers all have potential to be selected into the new CFB playoff.

      Just saying there are options for non-SEC conferences, as long as you don’t try to fight the SEC head-on.

      Like

      1. Brian

        Welcome Jason.

        You need to check your math – you’re off by a factor of 10. That would be $2.6B and $4.1B respectively.

        But more importantly, what would make those groupings worth $100M per school? The likes of OrSU, KSU and WF hardly move the needle. A smaller group of the bigger brands would have more value per school.

        Like

  11. Andy

    It’s highly doubtful that the Big Ten will remain #1 in revenue unless they make a radical move like adding Notre Dame or poaching the top 6 Pac 12 schools or something like that.

    If they stand pat they’re probably looking at $65 to 70M per year. The SEC is looking at more like $75M+ per year.

    But that’s not really that big of a difference. The Big Ten will be a close #2 in terms of money.

    What they need to do is get more competitive on the field. Michigan needs to stop being mediocre. Nebraska needs to stop being terrible. The potential is there for the Big Ten to have several top 20 teams. Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Nebraska, even Northwestern can all be top 20 type programs. If they start playing more to their potential, then the B1G can be a legit alternative power conference to the SEC.

    Northwestern stomping Auburn in the Citrus Bowl last year was a step in the right direction. Ohio State stomping Clemson in the playoffs was as well. More of that and the Big Ten will be fine.

    Like

    1. Brian

      I agree, the SEC will pass the B10 once all the new deals are worked out. It’s just hard to dial in exactly what those numbers will be right now for the SEC. But as you say, it should remain close with the B10 way ahead of #3.

      Like

    2. Richard

      The B10 already consistently has several top 20 teams. Often times as many as (or at least close to as many as) the SEC.

      The main difference between the SEC and B10 (before the addition of the B12 giants) is ‘Bama.

      Like

  12. manifestodeluxe

    Ultimately the BigTen is unlikely to react simply because imo there’s nothing to react with. The SEC just mic dropped on the rest of college football rather emphatically.

    The only remaining name that’s even remotely on par is Notre Dame, and that’s not a real option. It’s fun to revisit this will-they-won’t-they relationship between ND and the BigTen, but there are way more reasons why it hasn’t happened (and won’t happen) versus why it will or should.

    After that they have a meh in Kansas and a bunch of increasingly fantastical scenarios. Sit it out, wait and see what if the ACC panics.

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  13. Marc

    It’s highly doubtful that the Big Ten will remain #1 in revenue unless they make a radical move like adding Notre Dame or poaching the top 6 Pac 12 schools or something like that.

    Are there six P-12 schools that would increase the B10’s payout per school? I am not so sure. ND absolutely would, but they are not giving up independence anytime soon.

    What they need to do is get more competitive on the field. Michigan needs to stop being mediocre. Nebraska needs to stop being terrible.

    That’s right. The SEC is not making those two schools as bad as they have recently been. Even by Big Ten standards, they are not punching at their weight.

    Like

  14. z33k

    I fully understand that Rittenberg’s sources are telling him that the Big Ten only wants AAUs, but I also think if push comes to shove, we’d probably accept a football power with decent academic prestige that’s not AAU if it comes paired with some other school(s) that the Big Ten wants. And I don’t mean that about just ND.

    Is the Big Ten really going to say no to Oklahoma if Texas is coming? No. (just a hypothetical since we all know Texas/OU are headed to the SEC).

    Likewise, does the Big Ten really say no to FSU or Clemson or Va Tech if they’re coming with a group like UVa/UNC/Duke/Ga Tech and ND?

    I just don’t see it.

    It’s easy to give broad platitudes, but I just don’t see AAU status preventing Big Ten expansion.

    A Big Ten comprised of 14-17 AAUs can easily handle 2-3 not being AAU but being seen as a decent (it not smaller in research) school.

    I get that’s not thinking like a President, but it’s understanding the world we’re living in…; there’s no group of schools out there that’s all AAU and obvious additions, the schools that are out there in the ACC/Big 12/Pac-12 are the only ones worth considering for purposes of these discussions and other than Texas + 1, there’s no obvious addition to the SEC or Big Ten.

    Like

    1. @z33k – On this point, I agree with you. If the Big Ten had a legitimate chance at adding Texas and Oklahoma yet passed on it because of OU’s academics, then they’re complete idiots. That would be a multi-generational (possibly forever) mistake. (To be sure, I’m not saying that’s the case. Note that UT’s Board chair, who is a straight up politician, has been driving this process and he may very well have wanted the SEC all along.)

      Like

      1. z33k

        Yeah for sure; I agree and think UT/OU were 100% focused on the SEC for the cultural fit due to what their leadership was looking for, so that’s fine.

        I just think I’ll be upset in 10-12 years if we pass over a school like FSU as part of a combo of schools like UNC/UVa/Duke/Ga Tech and maybe ND. That combo has everything you’d want in a big move if we feel the need to really divide up the non-West part of the country between the Big Ten and SEC.

        Just makes too much sense to take a school like FSU as part of a group like that since it’d bring a 2nd football power and the Florida markets (as much as A&M brings the Texas markets, which is significant for a #2).

        Like

    2. Brian

      Agreed, good but not AAU schools are viable if they bring enough other factors (brand, markets/demographics, …). So ND and OU should be acceptable.

      My concerns with Clemson and FSU are more about culture and distance. They wouldn’t fit in and their fans (and donors?) don’t want to be in the B10. That’s tough to overcome.

      Like

  15. Marc

    It’s easy to give broad platitudes, but I just don’t see AAU status preventing Big Ten expansion.

    I mostly agree with you. We know the Big Ten would have accepted ND (non-AAU). They also accepted Nebraska, knowing the school’s AAU membership was hanging by a thread at the time.

    I think they’d be fools to turn down a package deal where FSU came with UVa, UNC, Duke, Georgia Tech, and Notre Dame. But the opportunity to consider a deal like that is probably at least a decade away, by which time there will probably be different people in charge.

    Like

    1. z33k

      Yeah, I firmly believe that FSU and Clemson are the main dominoes to fall whenever the ACC situation is finally resolved in early 2030s.

      FSU and Clemson were looking at other options the past decade which caused the ACC to go for the GoR.

      But does anybody believe that FSU/Clemson will agree to continue the GoR if they’re making $30-50 million less per year than SEC and Big Ten schools?

      Of course not. There’s no point to the GoR to lock them in then.

      So say the Big Ten talks to FSU while also talking to a bunch of AAUs in the ACC. That’s how you get an expansion where you get a school like FSU in with a bunch of tag along AAUs.

      Like

      1. Marc

        But does anybody believe that FSU/Clemson will agree to continue the GoR if they’re making $30-50 million less per year than SEC and Big Ten schools?

        I was a bit surprised they signed it last time. But what were their options? No offer was forthcoming from the B1G or SEC. They probably could have had a Big 12 offer, which they wisely rejected (or did not pursue).

        If they refused to sign the GoR, the ACC would have received an even worse TV deal than they have now, and FSU would have been sitting in a league that could implode at any time. With no other prom date available, FSU took the date they had.

        What will be the story in 10 years? We all have opinions but nobody knows. I fully expect FSU to test the waters, because they did last time. I feel no assurance that the SEC or B1G will necessarily welcome them.

        Like

        1. z33k

          I think the key was that UNC wasn’t prepared to move. And without UNC willing to move, nobody else (UVa/Duke/Ga Tech) were willing to consider options. That’s how they got Clemson/FSU to accept the GoR because Big Ten/SEC weren’t willing to go past 14 at that time.

          I should rephrase what I said, the key to everything is probably FSU/Clemson as well as UNC.

          If UNC is willing to consider options knowing FSU may try to bolt, that opens things up. I assume Big Ten will talk to both first and then if UNC is willing to go, you’d see a big package of say 5 schools get Big Ten invites with a 6th spot open for ND.

          FSU couldn’t go anywhere last time because UNC held the conference together (also shares a board with NC State which complicates things to put it simply). We’ll see if money differences getting gigantic changes things.

          Like

        1. Marc

          …wouldn’t the Big 10 prefer Virginia and North Carolina to Clemson and FSU? Give the SEC Clemson and FSU and we’ll take the University of Florida.

          There is no way UF is leaving the SEC. If the B10 wants the state of Florida, it’s FSU or nobody. FSU would need to be part of a package that includes the likes of UVA, UNC, Duke, and Georgia Tech. I am not sure they would take that deal, but they might. I cannot imagine the B10 taking Clemson.

          Like

        2. Richard

          Honestly, none of the ACC schools move the needle that much (otherwise, their TV deal wouldn’t be so much worse than the B10’s). Certainly no more than the cream of the Pac, and the top Pac schools are a better cultural fit.

          Like

          1. z33k

            The problem with the ACC contract is so few schools bring football value.

            FSU, Clemson, and then maybe Miami draw ratings nationally. That’s about it. You’ve got some in-between teams like Va Tech/UNC/UVa/Louisville that maybe draw some ratings if they’re rated, but that’s about it.

            That’s the problem with a 14 team conference without many draws.

            Like

  16. Andy

    With all of this talk about AAU status, I decided to dig around a bit about who’s at risk of losing AAU status, specifically Missouri. I’m a Mizzou alum as well as a Northwestern alum, so I follow SEC and Big Ten sports. A look at AAU numbers for some schools. The first number I listed is overall research spending and the national rank, and the second number is federal research grants, which is more relevant to AAU.

    Johns Hopkins $2,556M (1). $2,173M (1) (top AAU member)

    Rutgers $633M (33). $316M (37) (representative of an average AAU member)

    Utah $318M (72) $218M (56) (newest AAU member, added 2019)

    Here are the weakest AAU members:

    University of Buffalo $386M (59) $184M (68)
    Iowa State $310M (75) $125M (91)
    Stony Brook University $235M (92) $125M (92)
    Mizzou $243M (90) $107M (100)
    Tulane $167M (118) $93M (106)
    Kansas $164M (119) $85M (113)
    Oregon $72M (169) $57M (138)
    Brandeis $62M (176) $44M (154)

    It seems to me that Tulane, Kansas, Oregon, and Brandeis are at very high risk of being booted.

    Iowa State, Stony Brook, and Mizzou are at medium to high risk of being booted.

    For reference, here are some deserving, non-AAU schools with Utah-like that would maybe be able to get in when there’s room:

    University of Miami $365M (63) $193M (64)
    North Carolina State $488 (46) $213M (60)
    Arizona State $484 (47) $214 (58)

    So back to Mizzou. I asked around with some people I know who work for Mizzou. I knew there was a big push there to avoid Nebraska’s fate and to maintain AAU status. They’ve recently spent hundreds of millions specifically on ways to boost these numbers, with the centerpiece being a $250M NextGen Precision Health Institute that just opened in October.

    I asked around about what the expectations are in terms of how much it’s going to improve their numbers, and they’re thinking Mizzou may rise 40 spots or more in the rankings. This may be optimistic, but it sounds like even in the most pessimistic of scenarios Mizzou probably goes up at least 20 spots.

    So Mizzou will still be near the bottom of the AAU, but most likely passes Iowa State in the rankings in the next few years and is more in line with the University of Buffalo, but probably still behind Utah. That’s probably enough to stave off elimination for now, but they’ll need to keep working on it.

    Tulane, Kansas, Oregon, and Brandeis had better take drastic action or they’re most likely out.

    Like

    1. Colin

      AAU membership is important until it isn’t. Notre Dame can’t even spell “reesarh” yet the B1G would take them in a heartbeat.

      Like

      1. Andy

        Right, but Notre Dame is top 15 in the USNews ranking with an average ACT score or 34 or so, I believe. So they’re academic credentials aren’t really questioned.

        Like

        1. @Andy – Right – Notre Dame is without question a super-elite undergrad institution. While the Big Ten generally looks at academics from a graduate research perspective, ND is certainly not going to get dinged regarding academics.

          Like

        2. Colin

          Andy, these adacemic rankings vary greatly depending on the metrics used. USNews uses alumni contributions as one of its criteria, and I think most of us would agree that most of the alumni donations for ND are for the football team, not the Math Dept.

          Here’s an academic ranking of the top 200 schools in North America which is actually based upon academics (!). Notre Dame is #84, behind every B1B school and immediately after #83 Colorado State.

          https://www.4icu.org/top-universities-north-america/

          Like

          1. @Colin – While the graduate research rankings may reflect that for Notre Dame, let’s not get too into the weeds here (and I’m no ND homer): ND is clearly one of the top 15 hardest schools to get admission to for undergrad in the country (and likely in the top 10) based on the academic credentials of its student body. It is one of the few schools outside of the Ivy League that legitimately rejects a critical mass of valedictorians with perfect/near-perfect test scores because the quality of the applicant pool is so insanely high. There are lots of critiques of ND, but academics would be the last concern by far.

            Like

    2. @Andy – I believe that the AAU takes into account size of institutions – they recognize that it’s not fair to compare smaller schools like Tulane and Brandeis to massive places like Michigan and Ohio State based on sheer total numbers. So, Tulane and Brandeis are likely doing fine when looking at a per capita figure or some other metric that normalizes research spending for institutional size. It’s a fair point regarding Kansas and Oregon, though.

      Like

      1. Andy

        @Frank, OK, I don’t have the per capita numbers. Seems like Brandeis is an outlier in that they are by far at the bottom of the numbers for AAU, but maybe per capita they’re ok? Tulane for sure would probably be in better shape if you adjust for per capita.

        Kansas and Oregon have numbers worse than Nebraska, and Nebraska was already booted. So I think both of those schools are in big trouble.

        And like I said, Mizzou would be, but they took action so I think they’re probably going to be okay for the time being as they’re almost certainly going to pass Iowa State and maybe Buffalo. I’d feel better if they could catch up to Utah though. That’s probably a ways off, but at least they’re moving in the right direction.

        Like

        1. Brian

          In general I’d guess that the schools in trouble with the AAU are land grant schools who joined 100+ years ago and do lots of agriculture research. The AAU’s focus has changed over the decades but not all land grants have been able to keep up with those changes.

          The others at risk are schools like Syracuse who changed their focus away from research.

          Like

          1. Andy

            Right, Missouri, Nebraska, and Kansas do a lot of agriculture research. What will save Missouri (at least for now) is that they also have a medical school and they’re doubling down on medical research and are investing hundreds of millions on that.

            Like

          2. Brian

            Yes, and NE couldn’t count their med school. KU hasn’t been as researched focused and probably is pushing hard to improve their numbers after what happened to NE.

            Like

      2. Brian

        Correct Frank. They use normalized metrics to compile their rankings. That’s why ag schools suffer – ag research doesn’t increase the counted research but the AAU do count the school’s entire size.

        Like

  17. Andy

    Notes from OU and UT on the move:

    OU:
    *The SEC wanted OU in 2012 alongside Texas A&M, Mizzou was the backup plan.
    *OU was not willing to leave OSU behind (this was more of a gentlemen’s thing than the legislature, etc.)
    *OU didn’t really want to separate from Texas (to a lessor extent). These two factors led to Mizzou getting the spot in the SEC instead fo OU in 2012.
    *OU over estimated their importance in realignment, especially once UT shut down the PAC move
    *OU has basically been wanting to go to the SEC ever since they weren’t able to go to the PAC. New leadership meant they are no longer as concerned with the fate of OSU.
    *The SEC didn’t have a need for OU as a stand alone or with OSU. Once Texas decided to move then and only then would the SEC take OU with UT.

    Texas:
    *Texas is VERY aware of the advantages TAMU is enjoying by being in the SEC, at the highest levels.
    *The B10 may have been interested in taking OU/UT, and while that might be enticing to UT academically, it doesn’t solve the SEC recruiting advantage and actually might be harder to recruit to the B10 than the B12.
    *Texas firmly believes the only path to restoring all doubt that UT as the flagship of Texas is to join the SEC.
    *With the playoffs expanding, that made it possible for Texas to join the SEC and still have a decent shot at the playoffs relative to staying in the Big 12.

    Like

    1. ccrider55

      “ *OU didn’t really want to separate from Texas (to a lessor extent)”

      Maybe…
      Watch what they do, not what they say.

      Like

    2. Jersey Bernie

      It may also be relevant to OU that T. Boone Pickens died in 2019.

      He was without doubt the biggest contributor and booster of OSU. His passing may have eliminated some political hurdles.

      Like

  18. Jersey Bernie

    I know the AD at FSU and it should hardly be a surprise or secret that he is really upset that UFlorida may be getting $75 million plus from the SEC, while FSU literally gets tens of millions less from the ACC.

    This a huge difference in getting coaches, upgrading facilities, etc. It is again no secret that FSU was totally bummed out when Jimbo Fisher let and went to Texas A&M. TAMU offered Jimbo $75,000,000 over ten years. All FSU could do is watch and it has been a disaster since Jimbo left.

    Like

    1. Nick in South Bend

      Yes, and now they will be making half of what the SEC does and only slightly better vs. the Big Ten. The ACC will have to renegotiate, or they will fall really far behind. And yes, i know what a GOR is. Clemson needs to find a way to get the ACC to get a higher payout.

      Like

      1. Brian

        There’s basically one way for that to happen – get ND to join in football. No other addition is going to move the needle per school.

        Like

    2. FrankTheAg

      It wasn’t just the contract cash, it was also the facilities. A&M has surged well past FSU in this area (and honestly almost everyone except a small handful of universities).

      This is why I think FSU ultimately joins the SEC. They are a perfect fit, along with Clemson and now that “gentleman’s agreement” is dead, IMO, Sankey is going to pursue both full steam ahead for 2025.

      Like

      1. z33k

        Is there a point at which there’s too many kings/princes though in the SEC?

        You’re already up to 9 schools that have national drawing power. What does a South Carolina or Mississippi State or Kentucky or Ole Miss or Vanderbilt or Arkansas do if you guys add Clemson and FSU?

        Somebody has to lose games. Just feels like the SEC is hitting a point at which it may become a bit dilutive to just keep adding national brands.

        Like

  19. Polkapolkapoker

    Assuming the remaining B12 doesn’t collapse (big if), why does the Grant of Rights NOT get fully enforced? Everyone assumes there will be a negotiated settlement, and I suppose there will be. But can’t the B12 just enforce the contract and say, “F you, pay me?”

    I get that UT and OU would want to drag it on to be more unlikely, but isn’t that then breach of contract and the B12 could also sue for legal fees?

    In a situation like this, I don’t get why the plaintiffs wouldn’t go for blood and demand every last penny.

    I’m not a lawyer, and I know you are (Frank). Any thoughts?

    Like

    1. Marc

      @Polkapolkapoker: I agree with you. Parties tend to settle when each has something to lose. I cannot see what the B12 leftovers have to lose, that would induce them to accept a penny less than they have coming.

      I could imagine UT and OU leaving a year or two early, and simply paying what they owe as the price of getting out of a lame-duck conference. But that would not be any kind of settlement — the B12 would get all that it is due.

      Like

  20. Brian

    https://www.espn.com/college-sports/story/_/id/31891660/oklahoma-state-cowboys-president-kayse-shrum-blasts-oklahoma-sooners-statement

    OkSU’s new president is not happy.

    Oklahoma State president Kayse Shrum said Monday that Oklahoma’s intentions to explore leaving the Big 12 are “the result of months of planning with the SEC” and a “clear breach” of the conference bylaws.

    Shrum made the comments in a statement and in a series of tweets. In the statement, she called Oklahoma’s actions “strategic” and “deliberate.”

    “It is difficult to understand how an Oklahoma institution of higher education would follow the University of Texas to the detriment of the State of Oklahoma,” added Shrum, who took over as president on July 1.

    Like

    1. Mark

      Never a good sign when a school proposes the “UConn” strategy! I don’t remember OSU helping the SWC schools they abandoned to form the Big 12. Also too many important items (such as an active pandemic) for politicians to worry about sports.

      Like

      1. Little8

        OK and OKSt both left the SWC before 1926 for the MVC. OkSt was the last member to join the Big8 in 1957. It was Tx, A&M, Baylor, and TxTech that left the other 4 members of the SWC in the dust after Arkansas left for the SEC. Only TCU ever made it back to a P5 conference. Houston & SMU in the AAC; Rice in the wilderness.

        Like

      2. ccrider55

        “ I don’t remember OSU helping the SWC schools they abandoned to form the Big 12.”

        I don’t recall when OkSU had the power to do so. OU/UT ran the show and Nebraska didn’t/couldn’t stop them. Also, who was first out when opportunity arose.

        Like

      3. Marc

        I don’t remember OSU helping the SWC schools they abandoned to form the Big 12.

        As others noted, Oklahoma State wasn’t in a position to help the four SWC schools that were left by the side of the road. With that said, they were perfectly happy to be a party to the transaction, knowing that this was the outcome.

        They were also perfectly happy to leave the Big 12 to join the “Pac-16” (along with Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech), if only the Longhorns had not scuttled the deal.

        The new president had nothing to do with all of that, but historically their school were opportunists, as most schools are. They just don’t like it now that the shoe is on the other foot.

        Like

  21. BoilerTx

    Quick question for the group that I haven’t seen answered yet…

    If the ACC renegotiates their TV deal does that break apart the GOR until a new deal is complete? I know there’s rumblings that ACC doesn’t want to wait 10+ years with their deal, particularly if they add someone, but wouldn’t that open the GOR up for someone to leave?

    Thanks.

    Like

    1. z33k

      Naw, they’d extend their GoR to whenever the new TV deal ends.

      But presumably unless they get ND into the conference, they won’t be able to expand and extend the agreement, and there’s no reason for FSU/Clemson to agree to an extension without a big expansion of payouts.

      Basically, the ACC GoR ends in 2036 and most likely FSU/Clemson will start contacting other conferences around 2031-2032.

      Like

    2. @BoilerTx – I haven’t seen the ACC agreement, but the Big Ten and Big 12 GOR agreements have been posted online before via FOIA requests. If the ACC GOR agreement follows the same format, then the answer is NO. For the Big Ten and Big 12, the GOR agreement is a grant of the schools’ media rights for a certain period of time regardless of any TV contract being in place. It could have the same end date as a TV contract by design (as is the case with the Big 12) or it could be totally different from the TV contract dates (as is the case with the Big Ten), but the GOR isn’t contingent on any TV contract.

      Like

    3. Brian

      The only way they can renegotiate the TV deal is if they change composition (add someone). Otherwise ESPN is happy as is and won’t agree to it. And if they do add someone, ESPN may just keep everyone whole. It needs to be someone important (ND) to get ESPN to agree to up the amount per school and/or shorten the deal. But if they do add someone, part of that is adjusting the GoR to include the new member so they could also choose to adjust the end date at the same time.

      Like

  22. JimboCoppertone

    Frank, I always liked your write ups. Great job!

    I don’t think the B1G is going to be doing any more piecemeal additions.

    The next move, if there is one, is a complete merger with PAC. This is the best cultural and overall fit (Presidents’ view, academically, sports wise, and revenue wise) and extends the conference from coast to coast, across four time zones. They’ll get the successor to BTN into every home in the country, dominate the most largest markets, and be big enough to leave the NCAA and establish their own rules for competition (which I think is an underlying goal of many institutions now). They’ll be the only conference able to market to sponsors and advertisers on a national basis, rather than a regional basis, which opens up a whole new level of partnership revenues; a quantum improvement. The key to “B1G expansion” is to understand the university presidents’ needs while thinking like a business executive. Too many of the commenters and analysts only think like an AD and see the sports only. At this point, it’s not about getting more bank branches, it’s about acquiring the banks. If a merger happens, there might be room for a couple of additional institutions to jump on board and fill in some needs, where they might not make sense as B1G-only members.

    Your thoughts?

    Go Illini!

    Like

    1. FLP_NDRox

      I wouldn’t completely merge? What’s to point of going to Pullman or Corvallis? Does Utah move the needle the right way? Are both Arizona and State worth sending a lifeboat? Is Cal Berkeley? IDK, but if I’m the B1G I need to find out.

      Like

      1. Brian

        Agreed.

        OrSU, WSU and ASU are all redundant. SLC isn’t very populous (nor is Utah), so UU is debatable.

        Do Cal and Stanford serve a purpose? They’re near SF but are small brands. If you have USC, do you get into all of CA anyway? Is UCLA even necessary? Do you have to add some of the other CA schools just to get USC, and which ones?

        You want a minimalist approach to maximize the money, but from a culture and comfort standpoint I think you need at least 6 of them to make them feel comfortable and be willing to join.

        Like

        1. Richard

          “If you have USC, do you get into all of CA anyway?”

          No. CA is a huge state and USC is big for a private but not all that big. When I lived in the Bay Area, I would see more B10 representation than people wearing USC gear (and a ton of Cal grads). In fact, I didn’t know any USC people. Heck, virtually no UCLA people.

          You’d need all 4 Pac CA schools. And ASU is huge. Bigger than OSU. I would choose ASU over UA. Hmm. Sacrifice CU for the 2 AZ schools. In any case, the CA 4 and UDub would be the core of any Pac takeover.

          Like

          1. Brian

            I suppose it depends on what “getting into CA” means. Football games are national for coverage mostly, so it doesn’t much matter there. But if there is regional coverage, how far does USC get you? Any game played in CA helps recruiting in all of CA, but closer to their home is better. Stanford and Cal are minor athletic brands in the major sports and they don’t have large fan bases. An din terms of money, what would Fox pay for just USC vs all 4.

            As I said elsewhere, I wouldn’t attempt to add USC without all 4 CA schools. I’m just curious how much just USC would get you, versus the other 3 diluting the money with smaller brands.

            I know ASU is large, but it isn’t AAU and UA is. It’s not like either one is a football brand of consequence.

            Like

          2. @Richard – To be sure, the Los Angeles metro area alone has more people than every state other than Texas, Florida and New York (not including California that it’s already a part of). Plus, USC is an elite marquee national brand. Getting USC would be the endgame as opposed to the starting point (similar to the SEC getting Texas).

            Like

          3. Richard

            1. I don’t think you can get USC by itself.
            2. It’s still a private (without a religious component) that is dwarfed by the big state flagships (so not comparable to Texas or the B10 powers). It’s essentially a bigger Miami. Not bad, but not on the same level as the superkings or even true kings. USC certainly doesn’t own all of LA.

            Like

          4. Brian

            Richard,

            “1. I don’t think you can get USC by itself.”

            Neither do I. They’d have to be really desperate.

            “2. It’s still a private (without a religious component) that is dwarfed by the big state flagships (so not comparable to Texas or the B10 powers). It’s essentially a bigger Miami. Not bad, but not on the same level as the superkings or even true kings. USC certainly doesn’t own all of LA.”

            It’s 48,000 students, so larger than all but ASU in the P12. But it is only 20,000 undergrads compared to UCLA’s and Cal’s 31,000. They claim almost 450,000 living alumni and have a sizable fan base in LA (especially when they’re good).

            * – Numbers from Wikipedia, so 50/50 odds they’re correct.

            Nobody owns a city like LA. But USC is the top brand out there.

            Like

          5. ccrider55

            Brian;

            “ It’s still a private (without a religious component) ”

            It does have a religious component, or origin. But, like TCU, it doesn’t define them. Before they were the Trojans they were the Fighting Methodists.

            Like

    2. bob sykes

      I think the era of poaching other conferences is over, unless the B12 collapses. But conference mergers are another thing entirely, and they are likely. But there are half way houses, like joint scheduling agreements that substantially increased the number of cross-conference games. The PAC 12/B1G alliance/merger would be a natural because of their long history with each other and the Rose Bowl.

      If the B12 does collapse, Kansas U and maybe KSU and ISU might make good bridge programs. I know everyone thinks UConn is not a cadidate, but it might be useful filler and would help cement the NYC market.

      Like

      1. Brian

        I agree that scheduling agreements might work. But it’s tougher than it sounds because 9 conference games + 1 more means 5 home games out of 10. Now I have to choose between playing a P5 school in a region of interest to my school (for recruiting, for alumni, etc.) or buying 2 G5 games to get to 7 home games. Let alone the schools that have a locked OOC rival, getting them to 11 controlled games.

        As for bridge schools, the B10 has NE. That gets you to Colorado without any need for ISU (we have IA anyway), KU or KSU. And you certainly don’t need both KS schools.

        What is the value of UConn? They’ve downgraded their football significantly. They might as well be I-AA.

        Like

  23. FLP_NDRox

    Go Irish! Subscribe!

    So much has changed in a decade, but “Think Like A University President” still applies.

    Of course, thinking like a TV exec is gonna really help this time around. Last time lifeboats were thrown to maintain inventory. In the new world of NIL and streaming, it seems like only brands matter and consolidation is coming even worse than we dreamed in 2010. Back then we feared 4×16.

    Now we are looking at a world where maybe two or three dozen schools and two or at most three Superconferences will govern them because the NCAA has basically lost the ability to control big time football. And there’s only so much money to go around in a cord cutting world.

    Frankly, I think it all depends on what the SEC’s intentions are.

    If they are looking to maximize revenue, I think they will have to stand at 16. At $70-80 mil a year, who is left they can get that will increase the share? I can’t imagine ND. I doubt tOSU would leave unless things became apocalyptic, and really who else could increase the share like that? Clemson and FSU wouldn’t, look at the ACC’s deal. Ditto for Southern Cal.

    If the SEC’s ambitions are larger, that’s a bigger problem for the B1G and the rest of college football. If the SEC wants to be the governing body of fully professionalized college football, they are in a prime position to do that. I see that as an existential crisis for ND, Michigan, and most of the rest of the country.

    The good news is that I dont know that the individual SEC schools are willing to have reduced share value so the league office can make it more expensive to run a program. I may be wrong, and that may just be me being optimistic.

    But I think there is going to be a *lot* less movement than a decade ago. The ACC is unpoachable til 2030 due to their GoR that even ND doesn’t seem willing to challenge. The PAC-12 is geographically insulated and has no obvious targets now that they are at 12 and UT is off the board. The ACC is not going to go to 15 without the Irish, sorry not sorry WVU. None of the rest of the schools in the Big XII/8 move the needle except for Kansas and even then only for Gx conferences, see UCONN.

    I think the Big XII/8 will hang together since there nowhere for them to go that makes more sense than staying together until their contracts run out.

    I think everyone is on the phone with Fox and Disney, and I doubt they are being told that bailouts are incoming. I think they are telling these remaining schools their big paydays arent coming til the ACC opens up or the PAC-12 does better ratings.

    Like

    1. z33k

      Yeah, the more we talk about it, the more all the reaction this week has sort of been a tad overblown, especially the wild talk about 4×16 finally happening.

      The impact of Texas/OU going to the SEC can never be overstated, but the impact on the rest of the Power 5 (ACC/Big Ten/Pac-12) probably is.

      There’s no real move that the rest should make at this moment in time; everyone just has to wait and see how things play out.

      But the ultimate reality is that this is the opposite of the big era of superconferences that everyone imagined before.

      This is instead a consolidation down to the SEC and maybe 1 or 2 others as you point out. This actually is the beginning of reducing CFB down to basically 2 or maybe 2.5 conferences that people will care about.

      The ultimate question as you note is will the SEC basically just stand pat at 16 given how high their rights fees will go? Or would they still try to grab somebody else despite knowing there’s very few schools that can match the $ they’re bringing in per school.

      There’s some other complications in all the other scenarios; like the Big Ten taking in 6 teams is a big lift for a conservative conference as much as it sounds easy to pick 6 teams in the Southeast (and ND) to add.

      There’s other complications like UNC and NC State sharing the same board.

      Just feels like we’re not really going to know how this shakes out until it all shakes out. Obviously the SEC will make a ton of money, but those top teams will likely also lose more games; the mid-tier teams will also lose more games; we’ll see how that plays out if they go to a 9 team schedule.

      Like

  24. Brian

    Should the P12 try to get a scheduling alliance with the B10 again? The rumors of it are out there. Should the B10 agree? And if so, what would it take to keep everyone happy?

    The first problem is the set of locked rivalries. USC and Stanford are just going to have to suck it up and play 11 P5 games, but the B10 can promise USC a home game or neutral site (Vegas?, Dallas?, somewhere in the midwest?) every year to maintain their revenue. Stanford is probably okay with 6 home games. Likewise, IA will have to accept 11 P5 games. But they could also be given a neutral site game to help maintain revenue (KC?, STL?).

    Everyone in the B10 would have to accept their P5 OOC game being against the P12 every year. Most schools prefer to rotate regionally. Do you do only half the conference each year, so in off years schools can go elsewhere? Maybe you do it by divisions, so one year is B10 East vs P12 South, the next is West vs North, then East vs North, then West vs South.

    Like

    1. Marc

      Should the P12 try to get a scheduling alliance with the B10 again? The rumors of it are out there. Should the B10 agree? And if so, what would it take to keep everyone happy?

      I have probably lost the plot, but what was the “needle-moving” benefit of a scheduling alliance with the P-12? As I understand, the B10 wanted every member to play a P5 non-conference opponent every year (and to prohibit FCS match-ups), mainly to improve their TV inventory.

      When the P-12 backed out, the B10 left it up to the individual members to build an OOC schedule that complied with the rules. They have all done so (albeit with a generous definition of “Power Five”). All a revived alliance would do, is to dictate each team’s P5 non-conference opponent as always being a Pac-12 member. (Well, I guess two B10 members would be on their own, since 14 != 12.)

      Here are the B10 members’ P5 opponents this year: Virginia, Cincinnati, Iowa State, West Virginia, Washington, Miami, Colorado, Oklahoma, Duke, Oregon, Auburn, Syracuse, and Notre Dame × 2.

      If you replace that with 100% Pac-12 opponents, you gain USC, UCLA, and Stanford. But you lose Oklahoma, Auburn, Miami, and two Notre Dame games. You also get some dud games, i.e., someone’s gotta play Oregon State. I don’t really see a benefit there, unless at some point the B10 members can no longer schedule desirable OOC games on their own.

      Like

      1. Brian

        Marc,

        I agree it doesn’t seem to have a ton of upside for the B10. It made more sense when conferences played 8 games. But if it helps the P12 prosper, that might have indirect value to the B10. It also provides western market access, though the B10 can already choose to schedule those games now. If it could help the media sell it and get more attention, that could mean more money. And maybe Fox would offer a boost for guaranteeing these games with the P12.

        Like

    2. @Brian – There’s definitely a logistical challenge. When the Big Ten/Pac-12 alliance was being contemplated, the Big Ten was still at 8 conference games per team per year as opposed to the current 9 conference games. At 8 conference games, that would have allowed for each Big Ten school to have 1 Pac-12 opponent plus another P5 OOC game annually. My educated guess is that the Big Ten will continue with 9 conference games going forward because the $chool$ really do want them (despite coaches always complaining about it and the net negative it has for playoff purposes), so it makes any potential full-fledged Pac-12 alliance logistically much harder (or impossible) for football. (There are certainly many benefits to a Big Ten/Pac-12 alliance in other sports, but that alone would have a minimal effect compared to football.)

      A more interim option is to have the Big Ten and Pac-12 set up the equivalent of a “opening weekend Rose Bowl” on Labor Day weekend in the way that the SEC and ACC have informally played so many Chick-Fil-A kickoff games. Maybe have one Big Ten/Pac-12 game in Chicago and another game in LA opening weekend and then the leagues share the rights. It’s not a comprehensive alliance, but money is still money.

      Like

      1. Brian

        Frank,

        I agree, a partial deal makes more sense. Do it by brands (bigger brands vs bigger brands, smaller brands vs smaller brands) and take turns rotating through it. Often these games already are scheduled, they just need to be branded and touted as something special. Maybe play 1 game in a neutral site outside both footprints (Vegas?).

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      2. urbanleftbehind

        Meh…that reminds me too much of the early 80s Big Ten when, in addition to many of the teams trying to get themselves a California prep QB, they had a few seasons with 9 conference games and almost always a game against a Pac-10 team early in the season, leaving only 1 other game for an intersectional. Also, how much pushback would there be from the MAC/Gateway state schools who likely would lose a money game against their state’s B10 opponent?

        Like

  25. EndeavorWMEdani

    Although some on here are quick to dismiss the power of media narratives, once they take root, and an expectation of action (by the public) builds, they are often difficult to extinguish. I have actually been surprised by the degree to which ESPN’s college football analysts are promoting a B1G/PAC merger (seemingly against their own self-interests) .This is a good example with D. Pollack. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MS6SjKl806E
    My favorite though is Paul Finebaum getting noticeably irritated by (one of his favorites) Brandon Marcello, who explains why the B1G/PAC is an academic, pod-a-licious match made in heaven. Part one of this interview is also good.

    Like

  26. Peter Griffin

    In terms of fan interest, it’s hard to overstate how dominant the SEC will be if they successfully add Texas and Oklahoma. I’m using 5-year average fan attendance (through the 2019 season) as a proxy for interest. It’s not perfect (ND is #15, for example, below Tennessee, at #7), but it strikes me as a reasonable approximation.
    Looking at the top 40 — and I cut it at 40 because that seems like an approximate number of schools that will be left standing when we finally get to wherever it is that college football is heading — here’s what you find:

    SEC – 15 (with Missouri in 15th place in the SEC at #37)
    B1G – 7 (very top heavy with Iowa in 7th place at #21)
    ACC – 6 (Clemson, FSU, Va Tech, NC State, Miami, Louisville in 6th place at #39)
    Big XII – 5 (Iowa State, WVU, TTU, Ok State, Kansas State in 5th place at #38)
    Pac-12 – 5 (Washington, USC, UCLA, Oregon, ASU in 5th place at #40)
    Independent – 2 (ND and BYU)

    Looking at this, aside from one-offs or two-offs (a couple that look fairly obvious to me are WVU to the ACC and Iowa State to the B1G), the big moves that seem plausible are the B1G taking something like two-thirds of the ACC in order to include the ones that you academically seem to want (UNC (#41), Ga Tech (#42), and UVA, even though none of them do anything for you financially). Query whether PSU would block Pitt (#52).

    It’s also conceivable to me that, short of that, maybe the ACC would try to work a way to absorb at least some of the Big XII leftovers and then unwind Syracuse, BC, Duke and WF football.

    Finally, I don’t see much of a solution for the Pac-12. A max of three Pac-12 schools (USC, Wash, Oregon) do anything for the B1G’s football profile, and, similarly, none of the Big XII leftovers match the Pac-12’s academic profile. So the Pac-12 looks to me to be stuck and quite possibly among the long-term losers here.

    As far as “think like a university president” goes, we are beyond that point in football. If you’re playing football at the highest level, then little of this will be perfect fits. But accommodations will have to be made, or presidents may choose to have their schools drop down a level.

    Here are the top 40:
    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

    Like

    1. Brian

      UVA, UNC and GT bring plenty of money to the B10. It would be in the form of student tuition, because the midwest is aging and growing quite slowly. The B10 presidents know they need good sources of future students. In addition, those are great schools that open more opportunities for collaborative research. As more and more research is being pushed in multi-university research teams, these sorts of relationships are vital.

      That’s much, much more important than football. That’s why presidents consider more than football when making these decisions.

      And how do you propose the ACC unwinds certain football programs? You can’t do that unless the schools are kicked out, and you can’t kick them out except for cause. And they can’t dissolve to do it because that would need to be unanimous.

      Like

      1. Richard

        Well, for adding OOS students, adding CA (and the Pac) makes much more sense.

        It’s crazy tough to get in to the better UCs (especially if you want big time sports). Not as difficult in VA/NC/GA (if you want a P5 school).

        Like

        1. Brian

          Maybe. I believe the distance to CA will always limit the numbers willing to come to the midwest for school. CA students mostly go to other western states.

          Like

      2. Jersey Bernie

        You are right on about the research dollars. All the talk of dropping football teams, ignores the fact that the B1G brings in many more dollars and much much more academic acclaim through research and other projects with the schools their consortium.

        Does anyone believe that the top academics at the B1G would damage the academic reputation of the league so that football can bring in an extra $10 million, or even more, per team. The SEC has no such academic grouping, so it does not matter in the same way.

        Does anyone really believe that the SEC would dump academic shining star, Vandy?

        By the way, why do people keep putting WVa with the ACC. Does anyone believe that WVa will bring extra money to all of the other teams? And enough extra money that schools like Duke, NC, UVa will ignore the academic downgrade?

        And Iowa State to the B1G. Why? Can Iowa State bring in the extra $65 or $70 million or so to cover itself and not bring an extra penny to the other B1G teams? Any theory on how Iowa feels about that?

        Like

  27. Peter Griffin

    One other idea comes to mind. The ACC adds USC, UCLA, Oregon, Washington, Stanford, and Cal for football only (and drops Syracuse, BC, Wake Forest and Duke).

    Along with benefitting the ACC independently, doing something like that MIGHT be an enticement to Notre Dame.

    Like

    1. Marc

      @Peter Griffin: I can do no better than quote Frank the Tank: “Third rule of conference realignment: if an expansion plan is predicated on Notre Dame joining as a member, then it’s not actually a plan. That’s called a prayer that isn’t getting answered.”

      Beyond that, the PAC schools need a home for their non-football sports, and under current rules a school cannot be in two conferences. The only exception is if they play a sport their home conference doesn’t sponsor, and that obviously could not apply in this case.

      Never mind the implausibility of the ACC dropping Duke and Wake Forest.

      Like

      1. Peter Griffin

        “Implausibility.” A lot of this was “implausible” not all that long ago. Duke and Wake Forest (for two) add nothing to college football. If we’re going to a super conference model in football, the likes of Duke and Wake will not be part of it. And Clemson/Florida State rightly don’t care to continue subsidizing them.

        You misinterpreted the Notre Dame angle. It’s an added bonus, not a condition; although it’s something I’m sure (in my hypothetical) that would be discussed with ND up front.

        Like

        1. Marc

          “Implausibility.” A lot of this was “implausible” not all that long ago.

          If you mean Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC, it’s a possibility that has been discussed before. When UT and OU openly flirted with the Pac-12 a decade ago, they made it abundantly clear they were open to other offers. Those of us who’ve been on this board a while, had long expected that those two schools would survey the landscape again when the GoR came closer to expiration. This is exactly what they did.

          Duke and Wake Forest (for two) add nothing to college football.

          What do Indiana and Vanderbilt add to college football? And yet, there is no talk of their home conferences booting them out.

          If we’re going to a super conference model in football, the likes of Duke and Wake will not be part of it.

          That is a big “if”. A lot of people are skeptical that CFB is going to what you described as a “super conference model.” Moreover, it is not clear that this model excludes traditionally weak teams. Alabama can’t play powerhouses every week. They have to play Vandy sometimes.

          Conferences want a few bottom-feeders, so that the top-feeders can have easy wins on their schedule. That is why Florida State doesn’t mind playing Duke.

          Like

          1. @Marc – One other thing is that I put Duke into an entirely different category as one of the few basketball programs that has such a national impact that it can overcome any football issues. (It’s similar to the argument for Kansas being at least possible for the Big Ten.) You can see the list of top-rated college basketball games every year and it will be loaded with Duke games: they are to college basketball what Notre Dame is to college football. Sure, comparing Duke’s value to Texas or Oklahoma is a non-starter based on football. However, I think a lot of fans get a bit obtuse when they start thinking that more middle-of-the-pack football brands are somehow more valuable than a school like Duke. Both the Big Ten and SEC would take Duke within 5 milliseconds if they wanted to leave the ACC.

            By the way, I think NIL will shake out to have a greater impact on basketball recruiting than it will for football at the end of the day. It’s not an accident that the average NBA star has greater endorsement opportunities than all but a handful of NFL stars – basketball players are simply more visible and have greater individual brands separate from their teams. Plus, a single basketball superstar can propel a team to the Final Four, whereas it takes a whole lot of institutional coordination for a football program to be turned around. While that’s not really directly tied to conference realignment, I think a lot of fans are too focused on the regional “Alabama/Texas booster that owns a car dealership and signs up football players” and not focused enough on the national Nike/adidas money that will be going to basketball players (and already has been indirectly funneled to them via the AAU circuit).

            Like

        2. Brian

          Peter,

          As long as it’s a conference, Duke and WF football has to be there. The ACC can’t just drop them. That would require a sport-specific superleague.

          Like

    2. Brian

      Peter,

      Where would all their other sports go? They’d need a western conference without football that wants 6 more schools, and is willing to play schools with huge athletic budget advantages.

      Like

  28. The B1G should leverage what they have – academic chops.
    Why not make a play for Florida and Georgia? Can’t tell me that the academics at these schools wouldn’t be thrilled at the opportunity to be part of the BTAA. Yeah, Georgia isn’t AAU but it’s damn close. The move weakens the SEC and gives the B1G inroads into the South and two big population states.
    Ultimately college is about academics, and a move like this would really hammer home that idea.
    Best of all, if the B1G University Presidents make this move, they could back-door this without getting Warren involved – which might actually make it happen.
    You could later add UNC and Virginia to make the footprint contiguous. Both are AAU.
    No doubt people will cite distance issues but looking at the map, while Florida is a bit of an outlier, there’s probably more distance between Columbus and Lincoln than Columbus and Athens.
    Anyone for a B1G championship in Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta? Man, wouldn’t that just piss off the SEC!

    Like

    1. Marc

      @84Lion: Academics figures in conference realignment up to a point, but not as much as that.

      Yes, all things being equal, Florida and Georgia would love to play academically in the Big Ten sandbox. But all things aren’t equal. They won’t make a stupid move that would be entirely against their interest athletically, financially, and culturally.

      Best of all, if the B1G University Presidents make this move, they could back-door this without getting Warren involved – which might actually make it happen.

      If the B1G presidents were considering this move and didn’t include Kevin Warren, then they should fire Kevin Warren. If you cannot include your commissioner in decisions about conference composition, find another commissioner.

      Like

      1. Logan

        Does joining the B1G actually enhance a school’s reputation? Have Nebraska, Maryland and Rutgers seen any appreciable benefits in the last 9-10 years? Or does it take longer than that to see any impact?

        Academics were the big selling point for Mizzou to want in the B1G last time, along with money, descent geography and rivalries with Illinois and Iowa. I don’t see any desire now to leave the SEC (nor is there interest from B1G), but I think the idea that just being a member of the B1G will be a boon to your academic reputation wasn’t all that realistic.

        Like

        1. Marc

          @Logan: The Big Ten Academic Alliance (former CIC) has real tangible benefits, as the schools collaborate on research. Trust me, if membership in the B10AA were not contingent upon being in the conference, there are plenty of AAU schools who’d be dying to join. That is the benefit, not intangible “reputation” that is impossible to measure.

          Of course, now that Missouri is in the SEC, there is no way they are leaving. They are doing just fine there, and the B10’s reasons for rejecting them the first time have not changed. In an imaginary world where they are still in the Big 12, would the Big Ten now take Missouri and Kansas? I don’t think so.

          Like

          1. Logan

            So do we have data that shows that the amount Nebraska spends on research each year has increased at a faster rate than non-B1G peer institutions like KU and Mizzou? Are they attracting better students than before joining?

            I’m just trying to quantify the benefits. If the B10AA was this amazing organization that can transformer your average AAU school into a public Ivy, then I would see the appeal for an ACC or even an SEC school to join. I’m just not sure it is anything other than something that sounds nice, that university administrators can brag about, and represents some prestige, but ultimately has little tangible financial impact. Or maybe it’s something that we can’t quantify for 20, 30, 50 years.

            Like

          2. Mike

            @Logan


            So do we have data that shows that the amount Nebraska spends on research each year has increased at a faster rate than non-B1G peer institutions like KU and Mizzou? Are they attracting better students than before joining?

            That’s going to be very hard to quantify. Here’s some data from the National Science Foundation ranking “Total R&D Expenditures” that may give us some insight.

            https://ncsesdata.nsf.gov/profiles/site?method=rankingBySource&ds=herd

            Nebraska’s 2010 rank was 91/742 (13th percentile). The 2017 rank (latest available) is 77/902 (9.4 percentile).
            Missouri 82 (11.8) -> 90 (10.8).
            Kansas 76 (11th) -> 78 (9.5).
            Iowa St 79 (11.4) -> 73 (8.9).
            Iowa 39 (6.1) -> 49 (6.3).
            University of Nebraska Medical Center (its own school) 122 (17.2) -> 124 (14.5)

            Hard to make any conclusions off of seven years of data, but the trend has been up.

            Like

          3. Marc

            @Logan: Since the B10AA is private, they do not have to disclose every detail. What we know is that the presidents value it, and they have access to a lot more facts than we do. One or two presidents could be wasting their time and not realizing it, but it is unlikely all 14 are.

            There is a lack of nuance in your post. If the B10AA makes makes a school a little better, that is a very real improvement you’d be happy to have, but it doesn’t transform Nebraska into Harvard.

            The B10 is an athletics conference first. It has academic standards, which is why Clemson isn’t getting in. But they are not making athletically stupid decisions, simply to attract schools with the academic profile they like. That is likewise true of the schools, which is why no one is leaving the SEC.

            Like

          4. Logan

            @Marc I’m trying to be nuanced. Clearly, the association is a benefit but not transformative. So how important it is, exactly? From the data Mike provided, it does appear there might be a tangible benefit. Of course, there could be other factors influencing the data beyond the Big Ten affiliation.

            The fact that the B1G has academic standards and isn’t going to compromise them to add schools that don’t fit the profile is a separate issue. I’m talking about the context of 84Lion’s comment, assuming the B1G extended an offer, would the B10AA valuable enough to convince a Georgia or Florida to leave the SEC?

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          5. Kevin

            I was at an event a number of years back and Barry Alvarez hinted that Florida reached out interested in B1G membership. The conference declined due to distance. This was more than 15 years ago and times have changed.

            The SEC has improved their academic status with Missouri, A&M and Texas. Florida is a very strong academic school but they are in a good spot long-term.

            These SEC schools only stand to improve academics over time with the population shifts. The B1G needs to be a little more forward thinking.

            Like

          6. Marc

            @Logan: No one ever has suggested that the B10AA is so transformative that it overtakes every other reason for being in a conference. That is why I am suggesting a lack of nuance in your post. An alliance that is “good for you” doesn’t necessarily have to be transformative.

            From the publicly available facts, it appears Nebraska got better over the last decade. Still, their reasons for joining the B10 were athletics first. They would not have left the B12 if the athletic relationship had been satisfactory.

            In contrast, for Florida, joining the Big Ten would be athletics suicide. It does not matter how great the B10AA would be.

            Like

          7. Logan

            @Marc I don’t think we are in all that much of a disagreement, actually.

            As far as what I’m getting at, 10 years ago, Mizzou had a clear preference of 1. B1G, 2. SEC, 3. Big XII. The B1G isn’t offering now, but hypothetically if they did, would Mizzou be receptive? Or would inertia and the improvement that the SEC has experienced cause them to say no? I think the administration/academic types might push for a move while the fan base at large would say no, but I’m not certain because I don’t know exactly how valuable that B1G affiliation is. It’s a moot point, but one I was curious about in light of 84Lions post.

            Like

          8. Brian

            Logan,

            The median SAT score rose from 1150 to 1225 from 2008 to 2017 (a jump of +35 in terms of national ranking). Their research money didn’t really change over that period, but the type or quality may have.

            Like

          9. Andy

            A few things: 1) We can’t actually say that Mizzou was “rejected” by the Big Ten. I know people that know for a fact that Mizzou was deep in talks with the Big Ten about joining at one point. They ended up taking Nebraska at the time, but clearly the Big Ten considered Missouri a serious option. Had Missouri not joined the SEC shortly after that, it is possible that Missouri would have been seriously considered for future Big Ten expansions,.

            2). The Big Ten Academic Alliance is I’m sure valuable, but I think it’s pretty clear that it’s not transformative. It provides marginal benefits, no doubt. But it hasn’t gotten Nebraska back into the AAU nor anywhere close.

            3) The SEC is improving academically. They’re getting to the point where they could set up their own SEC Academic Alliance and it would have some benefits. They now have five AAU schools in Vanderbilt, Florida, Texas, Texas A&M, and Missouri. And then there’s Georgia, which isn’t quite AAU but is a strong academic institution. They also have a collection of mid tier universities that aren’t AAU but are at least decent and do a fair amount of research, in South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Oklahoma. And then, yes, there are half a dozen or so members that don’t really do that much research. No, it wouldn’t be the same level as the Big Ten Academic Alliance, but it could be decent at least and could provide some benefit to members. Some of the schools in the SEC are pretty stagnant, but some of them are real up and comers that have improved a lot in recent decades. Texas A&M and Georgia, for instance, have trended way up on research as well as undergrad profile. And as I discussed earlier, Missouri has gotten serious about medical research and has invested hundreds of millions into that in recent years, so they’re trying to become more of a serious research institution (and preserve their AAU membership).

            4) Would Missouri listen to the Big Ten at this point? Probably not. I think 10 years ago they would have liked to have joined, but now they’re trying to make the most of where they ended up.

            Like

          10. Andy

            Brian, yes, but last i heard it didn’t do a whole lot yet. Certainly not as involved as the Big Ten’s Academic Alliance. But honestly I haven’t looked at it in a few years. Maybe it’s becoming more substantial.

            Like

          11. Marc

            We can’t actually say that Mizzou was “rejected” by the Big Ten. I know people that know for a fact that Mizzou was deep in talks with the Big Ten about joining at one point. They ended up taking Nebraska at the time, but clearly the Big Ten considered Missouri a serious option.

            When the Big Ten speaks to multiple schools about its 12th slot, and picks Nebraska, what word do you use for the others not picked? I would humbly suggest that “rejected” is the one word that most succinctly describes what happened.

            Missouri was a serious enough candidate to merit discussion, but in the end only one could be invited, and they were not it. I can’t say what the B1G would’ve done if Missouri had been available the next time they expanded. Would they have been preferred over Rutgers? That would have been my preference, but by the time the B1G looked again, Missouri was off the market.

            Like

          12. Richard

            Kevin:

            I’m pretty certain it was FSU who reached out to the B10 about joining and was rejected because of academics. UF would not be rejected by the B10 because of academics.

            In any case, neither UF or UGa are leaving the SEC for the B10.

            Like

          13. Kevin

            @Richard. This overture by Florida was a long time ago. Well before the B1G expanded with Nebraska. It was definitely Florida. This was at a time right before SEC dominance began.

            At the time Florida was an academic outlier with Vandy.

            Like

          14. bob sykes

            The B1G schools do not collaborate on research via the BTAA. Collaboration is organized by the schools themselves, usually at the department level, because departments are more likely to have common interests than colleges or other larger units, and often by individual faculty who know each other.

            The BTAA does help coordinate a variety of activities among the B1G, like outreach to under-represented groups. It is also coordinating research with the Ivy’s on concussions. But this consists of organizing conferences, not in supplying money. Conferences are hosted at the individual schools, because the BTAA does not have significant conference room space. It is actually housed by the B1G conference headquarters.

            The BTAA also organizes the B1G’s interlibrary loan operations.

            I served 35 years on tOSU faculty and never once heard of the BTAA (CIC) until the very tail end of my career. I was involved in a few research applications that included other schools, but the BTAA had nothing to do with them. They were organized initially by personal relationships among faculty at the different schools, and the process was facilitated by our own colleges and research foundations (for the legal stuff).

            Like

          15. Andy

            Marc, while it is accurate to say that Missouri was rejected in favor of Nebraska specifically for spot #12, it is not possible to say if Missouri would have been taken for spot #13 or 14 (or 15 or 16) because by the time the Big Ten reached that point, Missouri was no longer available, having joined a similarly lucrative conference. Certainly from what I’ve heard, Missouri was and would have been very strongly considered in any future expansions by the Big Ten, but once they were in the SEC it was no longer on the table. So to say that Missouri was rejected outright by the Big Ten isn’t really accurate.

            Like

          16. Kevin

            Andy – Your point seems fair. It’s all speculation at this point. The Big Ten went after Nebraska because they needed another football power. Unfortunately that hasn’t materialized yet. No reason why they can’t be as strong as Wisconsin or a MSU.

            Like

          17. Andy

            @bob sykes, if what you’re saying is true, then this actually sounds pretty similar to what the SECU (the SEC’s version of the Big Ten Academic Alliance) does. It sounds kind of underwhelming to me. But I guess it’s better than nothing.

            So then I guess the main difference between being a member of the Big Ten vs the SEC is that in the Big Ten you can collaborate with 12 or 13 other schools that are serious about research, whereas in the SEC it would be more like 4 to 9 other schools that are serious about research (depending on how strict you want to count it). So it’s not as good in the SEC, but not nothing.

            Like

        2. Brian

          Logan,

          The presidents of NE and RU (and their faculties) thought so. Maybe not UMD as much since they came from the ACC.

          https://unlhistory.unl.edu/exhibits/show/move-to-big-10/to-big-10

          Although the University’s decision to leave the Big 12 was fueled by athletic motivations, the move to the Big Ten dramatically raised the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s academic profile by increasing the ability to recruit higher quality students, faculty, and administrators to the University. Overall, Big Ten universities were perceived as being higher-quality academic institutions than Big 12 universities at the time. Chancellor Harvey Perlman noted the importance of a Big Ten degree in his State of the University Address in 2012: “We need to relentlessly pursue every Nebraska high school graduate to demonstrate that this University is the only one where they can get the breadth of opportunity, the richness of experience, and the life-time value of a Big Ten degree at resident tuition rates.” [6] Perlman acknowledged the reality that moving to the Big Ten increased the academic profile of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Since the University raised its academic profile, it was now able to attract higher quality students, faculty, and administrators to the University. In a teleconference with members of the Association of American Universities (AAU), Perlman noted this exact effect: “Big Ten: We see significant increases in the quality of the students, faculty, and administrators we are able to recruit.” [7] By moving to the Big Ten Conference, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was able to attract higher quality personnel to campus, which altered the University’s identity.

          The move to the Big Ten fueled a renewed emphasis on research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In an executive meeting of faculty, Professor Kenneth Nickerson noted that the University must increase research to keep pace with the rest of the Big Ten: “Many schools in the Big Ten that are members of the AAU have far more support for research faculty members, thereby allowing them to teach less and conduct more research.” [8] When the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was in the Big 12, they lagged behind the research done by Big Ten schools. In order to keep pace with the rest of the Big Ten, the University had to expand research on campus. By increasing research on campus, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln further raised its academic profile, as research is a critical component of a school’s academic profile. Thus, another positive effect of moving to the Big Ten Conference was the renewed focus on research at the University.

          In addition to a renewed focus on research opportunities, the move to the Big Ten also provided the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with membership on the Committee on Institutional Cooperation.When the Big Ten accepted the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s membership, faculty and administration were simultaneously invited to join the Committee on Institutional Cooperation. The Committee on Institutional [9] Cooperation is a committee of all of the universities in the Big Ten Conference, as well as the University of Chicago. The committee works together on various projects, including “research opportunities, shared course offerings, study abroad collaborations and joint purchasing agreements.” [10] By working on projects with the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln raised its academic prestige as an University. In addition, membership on the committee is prestigious and exclusive, as it only includes Big Ten schools and the University of Chicago. Thus, membership on the committee raised the academic profile of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

          The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s decision to join the Big Ten Conference sparked a new sense of ambition on campus. As mentioned before, joining the Big Ten enabled the University to recruit higher quality students, faculty, and administration. By having higher quality personnel on campus, there was an overall increase in ambition at the University. In his State of the University Address in 2011, Chancellor Harvey Perlman acknowledged this change: “I want to suggest that as we elevate our ambitions as a Big Ten university, these same priorities remain the key to our success.” [11] Perlman recognized that joining the Big Ten meant higher expectations for the University. In order to meet these expectations, the University had to elevate its goals and mindset. Without a doubt, sparking a new sense of ambition is a positive for any university, as it fuels excitement, passion, and motivation on campus.

          Like

          1. Jersey Bernie

            You are correct that the academics at Rutgers were thrilled with the move and have never looked back. Obviously the move saved RU football, but there plenty of excitement about the academic side of the B1G.

            Everyone at Rutgers things that the move has helped the academic side of the world.

            Here is an article about the advantage of the then “Committee on Institutional Cooperation”

            https://rutgersclassics.com/2012/12/05/even-before-the-b1g-rutgers-will-join-committee-on-institutional-cooperation-on-1-july-2013/

            “The CIC, which is governed by the chief academic officers/provosts of the member universities, is committed to advance its members’ academic missions, leverage campus resources such as libraries and equipment, share expertise, and expand academic and research opportunities for students and faculty. With the addition of Rutgers and the University of Maryland (which has also been admitted), the CIC universities collectively engage in $9.3 billion in funded research and own more than 100 million library volumes.”

            “Our students will gain new academic opportunities because of Rutgers’ membership in the consortium. To give one example, CIC’s CourseShare program gives students access through distance technology to more than 120 less commonly taught languages. There are also summer research opportunities, shared study abroad programs, and reciprocal library borrowing, among other benefits.”

            For graduate students, one of the great perks of institutional membership in the Committee on Institutional Cooperation is the CIC’s Traveling Scholar Program—now in its 40th year. This enables doctoral students to spend up to a full academic year pursuing specialized courses of study, researching library collections, and working in laboratories and facilities at other CIC institutions with no change in registration procedures from their home university or additional tuition. Graduate credits earned at the host university are automatically accepted by the home university. Since Rutgers already has a consortial arrangement of cross-registration at the graduate level that includes Fordham, Columbia, NYU and Princeton, that makes for a lot of cooperation and high-value exchange!

            Like

    2. Brian

      84Lion,

      There is no chance at stealing UF or UGA from the SEC. It makes no sense for them in any way and their fans would literally kill the leadership that made this move. I mean armed people in the streets shooting folks. Seriously. They take SEC membership that seriously down there.

      The SEC has improved academically too. The BTAA is nice, but it isn’t that big of a deal. Plenty of schools collaborate deeply on research outside of such an alliance. It’s mostly a way to save on some purchases and share a few key resources, though the supercomputing aspect of it is nice. The SEC has its own academic alliance now, by the way.

      Like

    3. bullet

      The odds of the Big 10 getting Notre Dame are infinitely better than the odds of getting Georgia or Florida.

      Except for Mizzou, Vandy and maybe Kentucky, anyone else in the SEC would have to stifle a laugh if the Big 10 called. Just not going to happen.

      Like

    1. Marc

      In case you are wondering, nobody in the history of conference re-alignment has sent such a letter and been rejected. Such letters are sent when the result is already assured.

      Like

      1. Brian

        That makes me wonder if the B12 has any legal case they can pursue here. Clearly the SEC has been talking with UT and OU for a while, or they wouldn’t be publicly applying so quickly. I assume they are protected by saying they won’t leave until 2025 when the GoR ends, so they aren’t breaking a deal.

        If there is a B12 by-law that precludes these sorts of discussions (as the OkSU president implied), would that be sufficient basis for a lawsuit? Or would there just be some penalty written into the by-laws?

        I must say, I hope the B12 makes the lives of UT and OU living hell until 2025. Give them terrible schedules in every sport. Odd start times (when Fox doesn’t control it), short layoffs, lots of tough road games. Bedlam should be at OkSU every year. So should UT vs TT. Give them KU, KSU and ISU as home games every year. Make them both play at WV, TCU and Baylor every year.

        Like

        1. Marc

          @Brian: Those are good questions, but I would be shocked if the B12 by-laws prohibit members from talking to other conferences. It is hard to prohibit talking. Otherwise, Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri, and Texas A&M broke those by-laws too.

          I think the OkSU president is just belly-aching. Not that I blame the other schools for being mad, but I doubt there is anything they can do about it if the two departing schools wait until 2025 to leave.

          I must say, I hope the B12 makes the lives of UT and OU living hell until 2025.

          If they did that, the B12 could very well be exposing themselves to legal troubles the other way. Plus, it would annoy their TV partners (even if they legally could do so). It is generally not a good idea to piss off someone whose help you might eventually need.

          When schools have left conferences in the past under unfriendly circumstances, I don’t recall any kind of “schedule punishment” to the degree you are suggesting.

          Like

          1. Brian

            Most times the schools have ended up agreeing to leave sooner for a fee. If they really plan to stick around for 4 more years, that would be new.

            They can’t control a lot of game times (TV controls CFB and BB at least), but they can control scheduling in terms of byes, short weeks, etc. Fox won’t care about that as long as they get their games. Likewise, Fox doesn’t care which is the home team as long as they are showing UT or OU.

            Like

        2. Little8

          B12 bylaws make it a violation to talk to another conference about possible membership. They also require a member to notify the conference office within 12 hours of any unsolicited contact that discusses membership, and reject any offer within 48 hours. Violation results in loss of voting rights. So there is a legal case but the TX/OU defense will be that every B12 school violated the agreement, and therefore should have been stripped of their voting rights like TX/OU. That will probably lead to a negotiated settlement. I expect the B12 to keep all of the money for 2021-22, and they may get a little more…TX/OU will be released from the GoR probably starting in the SEC in 2022. There will probably be some deal between ESPN and FOX that helps the settlement. Might be some side OoC scheduling agreements by TX/OU such as OU/OkSt.

          Like

          1. Marc

            B12 bylaws make it a violation to talk to another conference about possible membership. They also require a member to notify the conference office within 12 hours of any unsolicited contact that discusses membership, and reject any offer within 48 hours.

            I am amazed that UT ever voted for a bylaw like that. But if the only consequence of a violation is loss of voting rights, my guess is they don’t give a rat’s behind about that.

            Like

          2. Mike

            Section 3.2 of the Big 12 Bylaws:

            Withdrawing Member. A Member (a “Withdrawing Member”) may Withdraw, or shall
            be deemed to have Withdrawn, as a Member of the Conference: (i) if it gives notice
            of the intent to Withdraw to the Conference; or (ii) if a Supermajority of Disinterested
            Directors by affirmative vote determines that such Member: (A) makes statements
            or takes actions that are determined by a Supermajority of Disinterested Directors to
            evidence the intent of such Member to withdraw from the Conference either currently
            or in the future; (B) breaches or evidences its intent to breach or not honor and fully
            comply with its obligations to the Conference under these Bylaws or the Grant of Rights
            Agreement for the entirety of the respective terms thereof; (C) if a third party offers to,
            or attempts to induce a Member to, leave the Conference and/or breach or not to fully
            perform its future obligations under the Grant of Rights Agreement and the Member
            does not both (1) inform the Conference of such action as promptly as possible (but
            in any event not later than twelve (12) hours after such action) and (2) immediately
            and unconditionally reject that offer in a form and manner reasonably acceptable to
            the Commissioner; or (D) if a Member otherwise takes or fails to take actions that are
            determined by a Supermajority of Disinterested Directors to be contrary to the best
            interests of the Conference taken as a whole.

            Click to access bylaws.pdf

            Like

        3. Alan from Baton Rouge

          Brian – I would think if there’s a case against anyone, it may be ESPN. ESPN has an existing contractual relationship with the B-12.

          Do they also have a fiduciary relationship?

          I defer to any commercial litigation attorneys on the thread.

          Like

    2. loki_the_bubba

      Re-alignment would be so much more fun this cycle if the SEC would vote separately, with OU gaining admission and UT rejected by a couple of votes.

      Like

      1. urbanleftbehind

        In that scenario, I could see OU getting in 14-0 and UT ekeing in at 12-2, the no-votes coming from TAM and maybe the other USC as a shot to Clemson. The political comparable would be Warnock and Ossoff, Warnock winning his race by several thousand more votes than Ossoff winning his, ostensibly due to “Herschel Walker voters” – conservative, but just wanting to see any black man win a statewide race in GA.

        Like

      2. largeR

        @loki -this would be fun for you too!

        A B1G grad living in a PAC city here, and I absolutely love both conferences. Since there has been so much discussion on expansion, mergers, AAU status, time zones, etc., here is a tongue-in-cheek solution for the PAC while they await annexation by the B1G and relegation to the MWC for it’s members.

        Because they cannot offer membership for fear of being sued for tampering by all the lawyers in America, or all the lawyers on this blog, (whichever is greater), make it known that they will only accept applications from Division 1, AAU members in the Central Time Zone(Or is that right there a suable offense?). Assuming these institutions have applied, add Kansas, Iowa State, Tulane and Rice(see Loki, I’m here for you)! Presto-4 AAU status universities in the right time zone for televised football games! I know, I know, there IS the problem of making money for the PAC 12 members, but certainly 9 AAU member institutions and their business departments can figure that out!

        Now imagine the conundrum for the B1G CoP/C as they begin their annexation discussions of the PAC! How do they tell fellow AAU presidents and chancellors that they just don’t measure up to the B1G! There, Loki, THAT would be fun!

        Like

        1. loki_the_bubba

          But wait! Leaks and rumors abound during the process. The SEC decides to act boldly and re-admits Tulane! They don’t want to fall further behind in the P4 AAU arms race.

          Like

          1. Alan from Baton Rouge

            Loki – I’m all for it!

            Then my two alma maters can renew their bitter ancient, albeit lopsided, rivalry for “the rag’.

            Like

          2. largeR

            Exactly! Now we are getting somewhere on this blog! Stony Brook, Carnegie Mellon, Brandeis, Washington U., Case Western Reserve come into play for B1G or SEC expansion. Sadly, Bama receives relegation to the Southern Conference. (sigh). Well we can still dream!

            Like

          3. Alan from Baton Rouge

            largeR – what comes around goes around. After being tied with The Citadel 10-10 at half-time a few years ago, Bama wants no part of the mighty SoCon!

            The SoCon is actually the father of both the SEC & ACC and the 5th oldest conference.

            Here’s an excerpt from the Southern Conference’s website regarding their history:

            The original Southern Conference constitution, drawn up in 1921, is housed in the archives at the league office in Spartanburg, S.C.

            The decision to form a new athletic conference was motivated by the desire to have a workable number of conference games for each league member. With 30 schools in the SIAA by the early 1920s, it was impossible to play every school at least once during the regular season and many schools went several years between playing some conference members.

            By the 1930s, membership in the Southern Conference had reached 23 schools. C.P. “Sally” Miles of Virginia Tech, president of the Southern Conference, called the annual league meeting to order on Dec. 9, 1932, at the Farragut Hotel in Knoxville, Tennessee. There, it announced that 13 institutions west and south of the Appalachian Mountains were reorganizing as the Southeastern Conference. Members of the new league included Alabama, Alabama Polytechnic Institute, Florida, Georgia, Georgia School of Technology, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Mississippi A&M, University of the South, Tennessee, Tulane and Vanderbilt.

            Like

          4. largeR

            @Alan, I needed to look up Alabama Poly while thinking that it was probably Auburn. The name change happened in 1960. The U of the South became ‘Sewanee, the University of the South’ in 2004. Amazed that they had schools of dentistry, law and medicine before the Episcopal Church decided to concentrate on Theology.

            Like

          5. Alan from Baton Rouge

            largeR – my daughter toured Sewanee when she was considering colleges. It’s a beautiful campus on top of a mountain. There are deer grazing on the soccer field. The architecture looks like Hogwarts.

            In 1899, the Iron Men of Sewanee completed the most impressive football trip road in history.
            ***********************************************
            Sewanee became the powerhouse of the SIAA, and the 1899 “Iron Men” of the Sewanee Tigers remain legends of the game. That year Sewanee burned up the southern playing fields with a 12-0-0 season under Coach Billy Suter, fresh out of Princeton, and manager Luke Lea. Their long-standing reputation rests on winning five games played during a six-day road trip that covered 2,500 miles. Not only did the “Iron Men” win, they shut out their opponents.

            Traveling the rails in a chartered Pullman sleeper, the 21 players met their foes after long overnight rides. They departed Sewanee on November 7, 1899, to the cheers of the 326-member student body:

            Rah, rah, ree, who are we?

            S-E-W-A-N, double E!

            Rough, rough, we are the stuff,

            We play football, never get enough!

            On this epic road trip, Sewanee beat Texas (12-0), Texas A&M (10-0), Tulane (23-0), LSU (34-0), and Ole Miss (12-0). A secret to their success? The Sewanee school year ran from March through November, not the customary September to May. The “Iron Men” had practiced all summer — weeks of calisthenics, wind sprints, blocking and tackling, and running plays that the other schools missed. The team also traveled with trainer Cal Burrows, the rub-down man, in an innovation long before team doctors came on the scene. Team captain and star halfback Henry G. Seibels received recognition for the road-trip feat with his 1973 induction into the National College Football Hall of Fame.
            ***********************************************

            After that epic six day road trip , what did these Iron Men do?

            On the seventh day, they rested.

            Like

          6. largeR

            Alan from Baton Rouge
            largeR – my daughter toured Sewanee when she was considering colleges. It’s a beautiful campus on top of a mountain. There are deer grazing on the soccer field. The architecture looks like Hogwarts.

            Alan, I attended Penn State. It is a beautiful campus near a mountain in the middle of nowhere. Deer on our soccer fields are shot! 🙂

            I google earthed Sewanee-very beautiful!

            Like

  29. EndeavorWMEdani

    BEHOLD! Self-Own Armageddon! -The day when the Fox Sports suits and university presidents self-interests align to cast the evil SEC into the fiery barbeque pit of Heck! It unfolds as follows: Prior to the BIG12 GoR expiring in 2025, word spreads that the B1G is preparing to add the nine PAC AAU schools, creating a coast-to-coast Academic/Athletic juggernaut the likes of which the world has never seen. As a result, the Univ. of Texas pointy-heads revolt (weeping and gnashing of teeth, duh!) demanding to join their ‘like-minded’ brethren. -AND DO! Bringing the MonsterCon to 24 strong. The SEC immediately poaches the best of the ACC, with ESPN’s blessing, while Notre Dame, lured by the siren song of a conference with USC, Texas and Stanford (while secretly longing to reunite with their nemesis of old (in the plural) join as a full member. Bwaa-ha-haaaa! The SEC is rent asunder! THE END. Actually four pods of six is very doable, but in this scenario, one school would have to go, or forego sports. Watch and see! 😁

    Like

    1. urbanleftbehind

      That would be good. One other thing to keep in mind is that many people assume USC and Stanford are in 100% philosophical lockstep with the Bruins/Golden Bears. I could see the needs of USC and the desire of the SEC to become like the Southern Pacific Railroad merge into an offer to USC and maybe 1 to 3 other bridge western schools (maybe thats an endgame for the UA and/or ASU) to get to 24 concurrent or immediately after a move for several ACC schools.

      Like

    2. stewlevine

      @LargeR – Just because the SEC grows doesn’t mean the UAA needs to get messed up. (Although I wouldn’t mind seeing the Carnegie Tech – Notre Dame rivalry come back and we do need that Sugar Bowl rematch against TCU)

      Like

    1. z33k

      Yeah, reasonable article that delves into monetary disparities and even notes the trouble that the conference has in engaging its TV markets… and then ends with the thought that an SEC-ACC merger is reasonable, which of course goes against every point in the article for why only ND helps the ACC.

      SEC isn’t in the business of charity and won’t be taking on 5-10 extra mouths to feed that don’t feed themselves.

      Like

  30. FLP_NDRox

    https://www.mercurynews.com/2021/07/25/big-12-on-the-brink-texas-cash-grab-the-pac-12s-next-move-the-cfps-future-and-espns-master-plan/amp/

    There may not be $$$ for the rest of college football if Disney is targeting the SEC and the playoffs, suggests Jon Wilmer. And how much will Fox want to dump in if they can’t get the biggest stage? Idk, but I can see why tOSU and UM were doing due diligence.

    It doesn’t look like there will be many lifeboats this time around, I fear.

    Like

    1. @FLP_NDRox – I agree with the general premise that ESPN is the power broker, but I’m not quite following the logic in Jon Wilner’s commentary (who is significantly more knowledgeable on realignment issues than most media members) that there wouldn’t be enough money for the rest of college football. Fox has already been paying a lot of money for college football (and to a lesser extent CBS with its expiring SEC contract and NBC with Notre Dame) without having access to the current College Football Playoff. Frankly, the biggest upside for the conferences with an expanded CFP is that a lot more regular season games end have having much more national relevance, which would elevate the value of conference packages even further (especially conference championship games with the proposed top 4 conference champ bye format) on top of increased playoff revenue.

      Ultimately, sports rights have still continued to increase in value (especially relative to other forms of programming) since sporting events are the only TV programs that people still watch live. Putting aside the NFL, both MLB and the NHL just signed new deals with huge increases in rights fees, so it stands to reason that the Big Ten and Pac-12 will end up doing very well when they sign their next TV deals. College football is the second most-watched sport in America right now after the NFL, so I’m bullish on there being plenty of money for everyone even if the SEC becomes the clear dominant player (which is also why the P5 leagues shouldn’t expand just for the sake of expanding).

      Like

      1. loki_the_bubba

        Frank the Tank said:
        “I’m bullish on there being plenty of money for everyone even if the SEC becomes the clear dominant player”.

        Fran the Tank forgot about the rest of us down here in the CUSA/MAC/Sun Belt.

        Like

        1. ccrider55

          Loki, I haven’t forgotten.

          Back when P16 was being scuttled by UT I suggested Rice as a replacement for the longhorns. A somewhat smaller Texas version of Stanford, if you will.

          Like

          1. loki_the_bubba

            It’s more than just Rice. To the P2 the next step down is the ACC/P12. Then a tier with the B12-2-1-1+2-2/AAC/MWC. There is no money left for the bottom three conferences. The top two tiers would not even notice if they moved all of them into FCS or D3.

            Like

          2. loki_the_bubba

            I don’t think the price LSU pays McNeese, Southern, or Grambling, or what Bama pays Austin Peay, will double.

            Like

      2. bullet

        Pac 12 is the 5th most watched conference, well behind the Big 12 and ACC. They are #5 in both average and median attendance EVEN if you exclude Texas and Oklahoma from the Big 12!

        Big 10 will do very well. Pac 12 is very much uncertain.

        Like

    2. Marc

      Wilner is a good writer, so I take his opinions somewhat seriously. He thinks there is no available expansion for the Pac-12 that would increase revenue per school.

      My instincts say they ought at least to look at adding 4–6 of the B12 leftovers. These are quality programs, and it would get more P12 games into the earlier time slots on fall Saturdays. If the P-12 is ever going to expand, I cannot imagine a better opportunity.

      Like

      1. z33k

        Yeah I agree with that, regardless of the issues of football brands per se, getting better timeslots is a value in and of itself.

        There possibly is some value in having 4 Central teams in the Pac-12 that may justify it, in and of itself for getting 2 central games each week on average or more.

        A quad of Texas Tech/TCU (or Houston)/Oklahoma State/Kansas does sound somewhat reasonable in terms of getting at least a foothold in the center part of the country.

        Is that foothold worth $35 million a year to each of those 4? That remains to be seen, and the answer probably is no but it’s worth at least considering.

        Like

        1. manifestodeluxe

          Financially it probably makes sense for the Pac12 to stand pat, but I feel it’s also worth considering the recruiting impact for football.

          Right now the entire Pac12 is reliant on California for the bulk of its best recruits. Adding two teams in Texas — while not the two they would’ve preferred — would help with exposure. California produces a ton of talent, but I could see Oregon (with Nike money and NIL) or UCLA/USC seeing the value in getting additional exposure to the state of Texas. Colorado too. And it’s arguable that this lack of exposure in the state has been a serious issue for Nebraska after they left.

          Like

      2. @Marc – One thing from my vantage point: I think the desire/need for the Pac-12 to get into earlier time slots is way overrated. Sure, the Central Time Zone argument made sense in the Pac-16 proposal when Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma were going to be added along with Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. I just don’t see how that’s compelling with only Texas Tech and Oklahoma State (and/or whoever else from the Big 12) alone.

        At a certain point, the Pac-12 would be throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater: why would there be a drive to put on a USC-Texas Tech game (as a hypothetical example) on at 9 am Pacific Time when that means you’re depressing the home team audience that also happens to be the freaking 2nd largest TV market in the country (Los Angeles)? Frankly, the most compelling games from the proposed Pac-16 combo (Texas/Oklahoma vs. USC/Oregon/UCLA) would be the ones that any TV network would be putting on in the late afternoon or prime time slots, anyway. If/when USC is a marquee program again, no TV network wants to put them on at 9 am PT when they’re a massive prime time national draw AND a monster home market.

        So, those early time slots games would essentially be ones where Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Kansas and/or Kansas State would be playing each other, which were combos that were rarely ever featured in the Big 12 TV packages in the first place.

        Long story short: the Pac-12 shouldn’t expand just for the sake of expanding (just like the Big Ten or ACC).

        Like

        1. larryphelps20

          How to land Notre Dame (eventually) while adding value to the B1G in the process…

          1. 2021 – Add…USC, UCLA, OREGON, COLORADO, UW. All AAU and would make the B1G a coast to coast conference . Brings the conference total to 19.

          – Call Notre Dame…”you guys interested in a coast to coast conference?”. If no, sit tight at 19 and renegotiate your media rights deal w/out them. If yes…good lord that contract would be massive. Either way keep your media rights deal to 10 years tops because…

          2. 2033-34 (earlier if somebody from the ACC successfully challenges their grant of rights deal and wins. Highly unlikely.) Add UNC, DUKE, UVA, GT. Again, all AAU with growing demos, new markets and pristine academic credentials. This brings you to 23.

          – Call Notre Dame….”You guys want in now? We’ve got one spot and we’re done expanding this century.” Make it clear to them that scheduling nonleague games will be next to impossible in a 24 team league. (save for a cupcake tuneup game).

          If they say no, add Kansas and you’re done. Kansas fits the AAU criteria and can make up for their football shortcomings w/ their monster hoops brand. W/ Duke, UNC, UCLA, IU you’d have 5 of the top 6 historical blueblood hoops teams in your conference adding further tv/streaming inventory.

          3. 2034/2035 = renegotiate media rights deal

          You end w/ a 24 team national conference of like-minded academic/athletic universities in every time zone with tv/streaming content coming out the wazoo with a monster new media deal freshly in place.

          Chronologically this is the only way I can see getting the Irish to the B1G while adding value, brands, new markets and strong research universities without diluting existing members $$$.

          Thoughts?

          Like

          1. bob sykes

            You have to add all of the PAC12 or none of it. It has to be a total merger.

            Think of the flip side. If the newly added former PAC12 schools actually replace some B1G schools, which would they be? Illinois and Purdue, two charter members?

            If it’s a total merger, would there be room in a 26 team conference for Notre Dame? I suspect the answer is yes, but who is ND’s partner?

            Like

      3. Mike

        @Marc


        My instincts say they ought at least to look at adding 4–6 of the B12 leftovers.

        They will. I will be shocked if they take any of them.


        These are quality programs

        They are quality programs. As Texas found out, there is little upside in playing them. Your fan base won’t get excited about playing them and expect you to beat them. The problem is, they are too good for you to show up and win.


        it would get more P12 games into the earlier time slots on fall Saturdays.

        I don’t know how thrilled the west coast teams are to play at 9AM Pacific time


        If the P-12 is ever going to expand, I cannot imagine a better opportunity.

        None of those schools (except maybe Kansas) are going anywhere better than the PAC12. They will be available.

        Like

        1. Marc

          They [B12 leftovers] are quality programs. As Texas found out, there is little upside in playing them.

          What do you think is the upside when Texas plays Vanderbilt?

          I don’t know how thrilled the west coast teams are to play at 9AM Pacific time.

          If the Pac-12 is ever going to expand, there is only one direction to go. The west coast schools already know that. Of course, I cannot tell you the dollar value of adding former B12 teams. I can only say that there are probably no better options.

          This is very different from the Big Ten, which could very plausibly have a shot at the plum ACC schools in the 2030s. This is why the Big Ten is unlikely to take Kansas and Iowa State. It can gain by waiting.

          In contrast, the Pac-12’s options do not improve with time. This is not an argument for expanding for its own sake; if the B12 schools are dilutive, the Pac-12 shouldn’t take them. I am only saying that if these schools are at all accretive, there is no good reason to wait for better ones.

          Like

    3. Brian

      If the schools are smart, they won’t give the whole playoff to one network. You want at least 2 involved so they hype it all season and feel a desire to invest in the regular season as well.

      also from that piece:
      <For years, there have been not-so-quiet whispers of college football morphing into English soccer, with a group of 30-32 schools creating a version of the Premiership and the other 90-something programs existing on the second tier.

      One could argue that the SEC, with Texas and Oklahoma and Alabama and LSU and Georgia and Florida, would be that very Premiership.

      Or framed differently: Competitively and economically, it would be a mini-NFL.

      The sport-specific superleague. I think it will be really difficult to get there. First you need the rules to allow it, which means convincing the schools that wouldn’t be in it to approve it (OrSU, PU, Vandy, …). Second you need it to survive legal challenges and political blowback. The pro sports leagues have anti-trust exemptions. Wouldn’t the superleague need one? Would congress agree to it?

      Then you have the details. How many teams? How many games? Who else do they play, if anyone? What happens to the post-season? Do these teams play bowls against the non-members? Is there a playoff that includes non-members? How is money shared among members, and with non-members?

      I don’t think it’s trivial to overcome these obstacles, but it is possible given enough time and money.

      Like

      1. Marc

        First you need the rules to allow it, which means convincing the schools that wouldn’t be in it to approve it (OrSU, PU, Vandy, …).

        The other rumor is that if the SEC gets big enough, it will just set its own rules, and won’t bother to ask permission. They aren’t big enough to do that now, but eventually they might. Mercer and Austin Peay are already so over-matched, what do they care if Alabama has unlimited scholarships? They lose either way.

        You are spot on about the other problems, and anyhow they aren’t ready to totally set their own rules, but Sankey has dropped hints that that could happen. That’s what the NFL does — they don’t care whether other football leagues have the same rules as them; they do what they want.

        Like

        1. Brian

          Marc,

          Just being a large conference (24-team SEC) doesn’t cause this problem. It causes other problems, like how to interact with non-members. If the rules are different enough, do they still play OOC games? Bowls against non-members? What doe sit mean for the playoff?

          It’s being a football-only conference whose members are in other conferences for other sports that I’m talking about. Are Vandy, UK, MS, MsSU and AR (for example) going to approve AL, UT, LSU, … getting to join a football league that pays double what they’re earning?

          Like

          1. Marc

            I have assumed that Alabama and LSU want Vandy and Kentucky in their league. They can’t play a 12-game schedule entirely against kings and princes.

            Like

          2. Alan from Baton Rouge

            Yes. They both make for great road trips, and contribute to the conference in other ways, like basketball, baseball, volleyball & bowling.

            Like

          3. Brian

            Marc,

            Yes, that’s the big SEC model. But others have been talking about taking the top few from every P5 and combining it into NFL-lite with 32+ big brands. That’s the superleague that I think will be tough to form.

            Like

          4. Al

            So what does that look like operationally? I can’t image most of the “non-Premiere league” schools signing off on this within existing conference structures.

            So would the 32 teams all have to be in the SEC? Would the SEC then have to withdraw from the NCAA to set this up? What does it take to withdraw from the NCAA anyway? And what about the other sports?

            Like

          5. Peter Griffin

            ALL SEC teams, except Vanderbilt, attract enough eyeballs to warrant staying in a super football division so long as it extends to 40 teams. And the SEC would keep Vanderbilt in — so long as they wanted — for comity/history/academic reasons.

            All other leagues have a multitude — more than half — of teams in jeopardy. Perhaps if enough people say and write this, B1G fans will start grasping it.

            Like

          6. Marc

            All other leagues have a multitude — more than half — of teams in jeopardy. Perhaps if enough people say and write this, B1G fans will start grasping it.

            Perhaps enough people are not saying it because it is not true.

            Like

          7. Brian

            Peter,

            All other leagues have a multitude — more than half — of teams in jeopardy.

            The B10 has 14 members. So which of OSU, UM, PSU, NE, WI, IA or MSU is at risk of being left out?

            And why would all these P5 conferences agree to desert half of their members? There are serious consequences to that.

            Like

          8. Peter Griffin

            “Perhaps enough people are not saying it because it is not true.”

            If we are talking about a 40-team super division, then it’s necessarily true. The SEC has no need (nor desire, presumably) to jettison anyone. No other league can say that. But put it another way. If conferences merge, it won’t be entire conferences; the acquiring conference simply won’t do that. So if the B1G decides it’s going to stand pat, when the dust settles it will be the only conference with multiple bottom feeders. More power to Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State I guess if they want to subsidize that in perpetuity.

            Like

          9. Peter Griffin

            “The B10 has 14 members. So which of OSU, UM, PSU, NE, WI, IA or MSU is at risk of being left out?”
            IMO, they are all safe. Everybody else would be at risk in a 40-team super division. But to answer your real question, everybody is safe so long as someone is willing to subsidize them.

            Like

          10. Brian

            Peter,

            Who decided it would be 40? Why not 32, like pro leagues? Or why not 48 since there are so many I-A schools?

            The SEC has no need (nor desire, presumably) to jettison anyone. No other league can say that.

            The B10 doesn’t need to jettison anyone, nor does it want to.

            If conferences merge, it won’t be entire conferences

            That’s the definition of merger – 2 whole enterprises coming together. If one takes part of another, that’s an acquisition.

            So if the B1G decides it’s going to stand pat, when the dust settles it will be the only conference with multiple bottom feeders.

            There’s a huge leap in logic. What happened to all the other conferences and their members?

            Like

          11. z33k

            Why would everyone else be at risk in the Big Ten? The SEC has only slightly fewer teams that few people care about outside the footprint as the Big Ten.

            Why would Ohio State/Michigan dump a situation where they have complete control for a situation that’s SEC heavy if they don’t need to?

            A Big Ten that grabs some ACC schools (along with ND) can match the SEC in monetary heft or at least come close.

            And the SEC has 16 teams, it’s a long way to 40 from there, and there may be no appetite for that. That’s a lot of different motivations from different cultures/parts of the country.

            The 40 team super league stuff is just not likely.

            And it won’t work out cleanly so that it’s “only the 40 most valuable teams”. There’s value in location.

            The schools having geographic proximity provides value to the big brands. Ohio State and Michigan fans fill stadiums throughout the Big Ten. But other schools travel well too. You need that proximity to have that network effect.

            Like

  31. z33k

    “Super League” scenarios are just unlikely. Somebody has to lose games, and these aren’t professional teams. A lot of their boosters/fans/etc. want to see them win most of their games (even if they may lose a game or two or three against other power programs).

    But years of 0.500 seasons? That will take a big toll even if it’s in an NFL-lite conference.

    When every game is a big game… then none of them are.

    And that’s why the teams that are already in the SEC and Big Ten like Vanderbilt/Miss State/Arkansas or Northwestern/Indiana/Rutgers or whoever are going to keep their spots.

    Ohio State has lost what, 1 game a year on average if that in the Big Ten on average the past decade or so?

    That’s just not happening in a Super League of all Kings/Princes.

    Like

    1. Peter Griffin

      The response to that is that people are tired of the same troika — Alabama/Clemson/Ohio State — competing for the national championship. The only way to shake that up is to essentially force parity. Works pretty well for the NFL, and they find it very lucrative.

      Like

      1. Brian

        1. I thought that was the point of CFP expansion.

        2. Right, because the NFL doesn’t have dynasties and elite teams vs bottom feeders. The Patriots/49ers/Steelers/Cowboys are the same as the Lions/Bengals/Jaguars/Chargers.

        Like

      2. z33k

        There’s never going to be parity in CFB because there’s never going to be a draft, and the schools are unequal in terms of brand/history/etc. even if you’re just considering king level programs.

        This isn’t going to force parity.

        King programs can stumble for extended periods of time; some haven’t stumbled as much as others, but that doesn’t particularly matter as much.

        Just smashing all the kings together doesn’t make them all compete at a higher level than they were previously.

        Like

        1. Peter Griffin

          Now you’re contradicting yourself. Up above you wrote:

          A lot of their boosters/fans/etc. want to see them win most of their games (even if they may lose a game or two or three against other power programs).

          But years of 0.500 seasons? That will take a big toll even if it’s in an NFL-lite conference.

          Now you’re saying, There’s never going to be parity in CFB

          You were right before. Cutting the highest division of college football down to — I’m saying 40, but that’s sort of random — necessarily lessens the disparity in talent from top to bottom. You may think that a super division is unlikely to happen, but if it does, the talent disparity between top and bottom (1-40 rather than 1-130) will diminish and a higher degree of parity will naturally follow.

          Like

          1. Kevin

            Peter – I think this is a plausible outcome for football. It doesn’t always work out that way with basketball though. I still think if there is a lower level conference with the ACC and Big 12 leftovers I think they will recruit well and field similarly competitive teams as they do now but with a slight drop off. I don’t think they are relegated to MAC status or anything.

            Like

          2. Brian

            Peter,

            Lessening the disparity is not the same as creating parity. What’s AL’s record against top 25 teams under Saban? Many/most CFP games are won by 10+ points, and those are supposedly the top 4 teams.

            The NFL has a draft, a salary cap and only 32 teams and it doesn’t have parity. Why would CFB, where you recruit, can spend all you want and have more teams?

            Like

  32. EndeavorWMEdani

    Apocalypse Now! My end times prophecy is proceeding nicely! Dan (WME client) Patrick said today on his show that his source-of-all sources tells him not only is the B1G and PAC in preliminary (likely very soft) discussions about a quote, ‘merger’, to save the Rose Bowl etc. but that Notre Dame, who believes the Clemson +1 to the SEC talk has substance, has set up a meeting with the ACC to warn them of the consequences. The notion that DP is just going to spout off in this manner, after detailing how right this source has been in the past, is nonsense. He is ridiculously well connected and not prone to hyperbole. Obviously everything is fluid, unfolding over the next couple years, but the ‘standing pat’ talk is nothing but a smokescreen. NO ONE believes that’s a viable long term strategy when ESPN is on the march. Interesting Wilner only mentions Fox (which is far more capable of swimming in these waters than he implies). No mention of Netflix, which has made no secret of its desire to jump into the live events arena, or Amazon which is another potential player in the next round of negotiations.

    Like

    1. Marc

      I wonder what the P-12 would be willing to pay, to buy into the Big Ten Network? The P-12’s own network was a flop. Rather than start again, with prospects uncertain, why not join something that has already succeeded?

      Like

  33. Brian

    https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/31891294/a-texas-ou-move-sec-greater-good-college-sports-rather-gets-best

    This article includes a good analogy for the risk of over-expanding your conference and/or adding poor cultural/geographic fits.

    … Over the years, they have all asked the same question: “Hey, NASCAR used to be so big. McGee, you worked there. What happened?”

    The answer is a cautionary tale. A warning shot. Past as prologue.

    I tell them about a sport that was on such a steep growth curve for so long, its leadership went to sleep at the wheel and didn’t realize it. There was so much money coming in via unwavering ticket sales and always-rising TV revenue, it masked years of bad decisions. At some point, the leadership bought into the assumption that their core fan base would always have their backs no matter what they did. So, they abandoned their roots, leaving traditional racetracks and ditching decades-long annual race dates for flashier new facilities in sexier new markets. Then, literally overnight, the economy tanked, and the cash flow stopped. When NASCAR looked up, the cool new fans and cool new markets it worked so hard to woo had moved on to the next cool thing. But the sport had also wandered so far from its base that the old-school fans were nowhere to be found, having departed the less-charming present in search of nostalgia. They were angry Darlington Raceway was empty on Labor Day weekend. Just as college sports fans in Oklahoma and Texas will be angry when they don’t see “Cowboys” on the football schedule or “Jayhawks” on the basketball calendar.

    It’s why I have always followed up my NASCAR explanation to the people who run college sports by suggesting they assign their best sports management students to perform a CSI on American auto racing. Or, for that matter, Major League Baseball. No one is immune to the trappings of “Don’t worry, they’ll always need us.” Not even Dale Earnhardt Jr. or the New York Yankees.

    Whether you are a fan, sportswriter, player, coach, or even a conference commissioner, we all watch, cover or work in collegiate athletics because, at some point in our lives, at some level, we fell in love with it. And, at some level, we will always love it. Because of that affection, we want it to grow, evolve and survive well into the future so the next generation will love it, too, alongside us as we wear our school colors and sing the alma mater as we beat our oldest, most hated rival.

    After all that growing, evolving and surviving, let’s just make sure we can still recognize whatever sport comes out on the other side of it all. And that we still have that old rival to hate.

    Like

  34. Richard

    I feel some people don’t understand network effects as well as others. When you add large schools in high population states, you don’t just get 14+8 = 22. You get more than 22.

    You also get fans/alums paying more attention to the biggest games in their new conference (because it affects their team now).

    For instance, in recent years, the B10 has had about as many games that drew over 5M viewers as the SEC. But before adding UMD and RU, the B10 hadn’t matched the SEC (though was still above the other leagues).

    The tough question is, besides the Pac CA 4 and UDub, who do you add? CO has the population but interest in the Buffs is tepid. The AZ schools are massive (will have a ton of alums) but both are rather meh brands (UA pretty good in bball, though). The Ducks are flashy and have Nike money but are in a low-population state.

    Like

    1. Brian

      For that matter, do you need all 4 from CA? USC is big and a huge brand. Does UCLA add enough value to merit adding them? Likewise, do you need both Cal and Stanford?

      I would chase all 4 for other reasons, but just financially what combo is best?

      I think UO is the biggest national brand out of those choices and the best geographic fit with the other 5, so probably them. It also keeps UW vs UO in conference which might keep UW happier.

      Like

      1. EndeavorWMEdani

        If they wanted to go the ‘hostile takeover’ route, the optimum scenario would be to stop at twenty, with the California four, Oregon and Washington. It would be nice to swap out Cal for Arizona or Colorado, but that’s the price of UCLA. A friendly merger would probably require all the AAU’s.

        Like

        1. Jeff

          That’s something that I think people are missing. A hostile takeover of the Pac by the B1G seems quite unlikely at this point. Maybe down the road, but not now. A full merger wouldn’t happen because the B1G would never take the three non-AAU schools (ASU, OSU, WSU). But if the remaining nine come to the B1G, hats in hand … who knows.

          Like

        2. Tom

          I think the optimum scenario would be to acquire the 9 AAU Pac 12 schools and Kansas from the Big 12. Adding just the California 4 + Oregon + Washington would leave those 6 on an island. If you throw in Utah, Arizona, Colorado and Kansas you create a bridge from the Pacific to the Great Lakes and beyond. The bigger you get, the more flexible you can get with scheduling/pods

          EAST
          Maryland
          Rutgers
          PSU
          OSU
          Michigan
          MSU

          CENTRAL
          Indiana
          Purdue
          NW
          Illinois
          Wisconsin
          Minnesota

          WEST
          Iowa
          Nebraska
          Kansas
          Colorado
          Utah
          Arizona

          PACIFIC
          Wash
          Oregon
          Cal
          Stanford
          USC
          UCLA

          Like

          1. Kevin

            I think the East would be way too strong relative to the other divisions. As a Wisconsin fan the central line up would be a little boring. Some of this depends on how many conference games are played.

            Like

          2. Brian

            Tom,

            The pods make sense geographically but fans would go nuts. 3 kings in the east pod? It’s worse than the East division now. IA is the only longtime B10 member in the west? AZ is the only longtime B10 member in the west?

            Lock 3 rivals and rotate 6 of 20.

            Like

          3. Jeff

            I think Tom’s pods (divisions?) make a lot of sense. Geography is important. If you’re going to add a bunch of Pac schools, you can’t tell them that they’ll need to play half of their conference games in the Central and Eastern time zones. And the fans won’t want that either.

            This is imaginary, I know. But four groups of six would also leave room to add four ACC schools in another decade or so.

            East – PSU, Rutgers, Maryland, Virginia, UNC, Duke, Ga. Tech
            East Central – OSU, Michigan, MSU, Indiana, Purdue, Ill., Northwestern
            West Central – Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Utah
            Pacific – Wash., Ore., Stanford, Cal, USC, UCLA, Arizona

            Like

          4. Brian

            Jeff,

            Geography is important, but so are existing connections and rivalries. IA’s main B10 rivals are MN, WI and maybe NE. Those pods drop the 2 most important ones. CU joined the P12 to be closer to their alumni in CA, but the pods take that away and put them back in the plains. The concentration of brands in the east pod is egregious.

            “If you’re going to add a bunch of Pac schools, you can’t tell them that they’ll need to play half of their conference games in the Central and Eastern time zones.”

            First, they have 3 OOC games to play wherever they want. Let’s assume 2 out west and 1 elsewhere. Next add in 3 locked B10 rivals (all local for them), so that’s 3 more western games (5 total). Then 2.5 of the other 6 conference games will be home games on average, making 7.5 western games. Of the 3.5 road games, 5/18 of them (so 0.97, let’s round it to 1) will be in PT or MT. So that’s 8.5 games out west every year on average unless they choose to play more eastern OOC games.

            And many/most of those 3.5 road games in ET and CT territory will not be before noon PT, so no big deal. It’s not like P12 fans were driving to most of their road games anyway.

            “This is imaginary, I know. But four groups of six would also leave room to add four ACC schools in another decade or so.”

            Leave room? How so? 4 pods of 7 are almost 4 separate conferences. It’s the NFL at that point.

            Like

    2. z33k

      Yes, there’s a variety of complexities in this discussion.

      Ohio State’s viewership for its national games (i.e. in the CFP) includes a lot of Big Ten alums of other universities; how interested are they in watching Ohio State in the SEC? Maybe they’ll watch it at first like Lebron when he went to Miami, but they’re not fans of Ohio State like those Clevelanders may have still been fans of Lebron. They watch because of conference affiliation not as personal fans.

      One of the Big Ten’s strengths has long been that it has the largest universities by far (on average), and they pump out hundreds of thousands of alums that watch the conference’s games and that includes Ohio State/Michigan/Penn State/Wisconsin/Michigan State when they’re representing the conference on the national stage against other conferences.

      How much will the rest of the country care as universities that represent those states fall out of major conference status. It doesn’t really matter much with the Big 12 (since you’re only really losing Kansas as a major conference state), but if say Ohio State/Michigan/Penn State bolt the Big Ten, that’s millions of people in the rest of the Big Ten that may no longer care as much about those teams.

      It’s not determinative, but there is value in having multiple “major” conferences with up to 32-48 teams, or one-two major conferences with another tier below with teams that can challenge as well.

      Like

  35. Kevin

    Not sure of all the reasons that lead to Nebraska losing its AAU status. Obviously the big one was how they structured the University of Nebraska medical center. I remember reading that it was moved in part due to geography as it is primarily located in Omaha. It’s less than an hour drive between the Lincoln and Omaha. If having the Medical Center under the governance of UNL would have saved the AAU status I can’t see why they couldn’t work that issue out.

    Probably too late to regain the status.

    Like

    1. Brian

      That was a big factor, yes.

      The fact that non-competitive federal research grants don’t count toward the total federal research amount the AAU considers is another big one. The AAU normalizes by the size of the school, and the ag school counts there, but ag school research mostly doesn’t count. That lowers the overall standing of the school.

      The other factor is that over the decades, the school focused less on research. Part of that is the state, how they fund the school, and what they tell the state school to focus on, and the rest is what the school itself chose to focus on.

      Like

      1. Colin

        Examining the AAU Gatekeepers

        In wake of Nebraska’s ouster and Syracuse’s decision to leave research university group, some institutions look over their shoulders, and other experts question membership criteria.
        By Libby A. Nelson
        May 11, 2011

        When the Association of American Universities voted in April to strip the University of Nebraska at Lincoln of its membership, it was the first time in the organization’s 111-year history that members had so blatantly turned on one of their own, an event widely described as “unprecedented.” The question now is whether it will be repeated.

        The vote to kick out Nebraska, and to nudge out Syracuse University, which chose to leave the AAU, followed a quiet rethinking of the organization’s membership: it no longer comes with a lifetime guarantee.

        For the 61 remaining members, especially those who superficially resemble Nebraska or Syracuse, this might be a reason to look over their shoulders. Officials at many such universities say they are confident that they perform well in the metrics AAU uses to assess candidates as well as evaluate members and, increasingly, determine whether they will retain their place in the group. Still, most are also taking steps to shore up their research performance, often through strategic plans that were already in place before the membership vote last month.(Note: This paragraph has been changed to correctly reflect the number of universities in the AAU.)

        At the same time, the departures have rekindled debate about the AAU’s ranking methodology and whether membership in the elite group has been given too much weight.

        “Universities are prestige-maximizing entities,” said Ronald Ehrenberg, a professor of labor relations and economics at Cornell University who has written extensively on the role of higher education. “But I think you sort of have to ask: At what price prestige?”

        The AAU evaluates its members based on five major criteria: research expenditures normalized by number of faculty, National Academy members, the National Research Council faculty quality indicators, a selection of faculty honors, and scholarly citations.

        By those markings, Nebraska had been on shaky ground within the AAU for more than a decade. The medical school for the University of Nebraska system is not affiliated with the flagship campus in Lincoln, meaning that research dollars from the National Institutes of Health do not count in its overall expenditures. The university’s land-grant mission means it conducts a significant amount of agricultural research — federal funding for which is given much less weight in the association’s rankings.

        Should the AAU continue to cull its members, universities with similar profiles might be considered the most vulnerable, but the shock waves from Nebraska’s ouster and Syracuse’s decision to leave extend beyond the few members that look like them. “For all of the universities in AAU that are not at the very top, it raises the question of what will eventually be their vulnerability,” University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said.

        Full link here: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/05/11/examining-aau-gatekeepers

        Like

        1. Marc

          As I recall, the motion to expel Nebraska passed by a margin of one vote — not a landslide. Syracuse resigned shortly thereafter, in the belief that if they did not do so, they would face the same humiliating fate.

          And then something strange happened. The prediction that others would get kicked out simply didn’t happen. There have been no further expulsion votes, nor even a suggestion of them. The issue just disappeared, at least from public view.

          I think there were many AAU members who didn’t like the way it was done. Many of the criteria are arguably unfair, e.g., the Ag faculty count against them, and yet Ag faculty can’t do the research that the statistics favor.

          I never understood what was the exact question, for which booting out those two schools was the answer.

          Like

          1. Brian

            Marc,

            At it’s heart, the AAU is a group of academic snobs. If they let “lesser” schools in, it reduces their prestige. If they let too many schools in, it reduces their prestige.

            https://www.aau.edu/who-we-are

            MISSION STATEMENT
            Founded in 1900, the Association of American Universities is composed of America’s leading research universities. AAU’s 66 research universities transform lives through education, research, and innovation.

            Our member universities earn the majority of competitively awarded federal funding for research that improves public health, seeks to address national challenges, and contributes significantly to our economic strength, while educating and training tomorrow’s visionary leaders and innovators.

            AAU member universities collectively help shape policy for higher education, science, and innovation; promote best practices in undergraduate and graduate education, and strengthen the contributions of leading research universities to American society.

            https://www.aau.edu/who-we-are/membership-policy

            Membership Policy
            The Association of American Universities is an association of leading comprehensive research universities distinguished by the breadth and quality of their programs of research and graduate education. Membership in the association is by invitation.

            The association maintains a standing Membership Committee, which periodically evaluates both non-member universities for possible membership and current members for continued membership, with the goal of ensuring that the association in fact comprises comparable leading research-intensive universities.

            Non-member universities whose research and education profile exceeds that of a number of current members may be invited to join the association; current members whose research and education profile falls significantly below that of other current members or below the criteria for admission of new members will be subject to further review and possible discontinuation of membership.

            While the association does not have a specific limit on the number of its members, it values remaining a relatively small organization whose composition enables productive meetings and collegial relationships among the member presidents and chancellors. It endeavors to balance these characteristics of the association with the expectation that its membership will include the leading research-intensive universities.

            In its evaluation of institutions, the Membership Committee is guided by a set of Membership Principles and Membership Indicators. The Membership Principles specify the primary purpose of the association and the corresponding characteristics of its member institutions. The Membership Indicators are a two-phase set of quantitative measures used to assess the breadth and quality of university programs of research and graduate education.

            In assessing potential new member universities, the evaluation of university profiles based on the Membership Indicators is the first stage of a two-stage process used to identify institutions that may be invited into membership. The second stage involves a more qualitative set of judgments about an institution’s mission, characteristics, and trajectory.

            Like

          2. Brian

            And don’t forget, B10 schools were the deciding votes. If all the B10 schools voted to keep them in, they would’ve stayed in. But WI and UM (IIRC) were against it.

            Like

          3. Marc

            @Brian: I read that at the time. Nevertheless, for over a century then never expelled anyone. Then, they did it precisely once, and in the ensuing decade, have never done it again.

            So, they don’t have a regular and recurring policy of doing this. Nor was UNL overwhelmingly out of step, as the motion to expel them just barely passed.

            Nor can one say that UNL’s presence was harming the institution’s reputation in any visible way. One will search in vain for the commentary in the early 2000s that the AAU just ain’t what it used to be.

            Despite their policy pronouncements, but their actual behavior does not say that they routinely cull the bottom. They did it once in a hundred years.

            Like

          4. Brian

            Marc,

            Yes, they gut a bug up their butts about something and trimmed 2 schools, and then I think everyone was a little shocked and backed off of it.

            Part of it was the recent addition of several schools, especially since they were so far ahead of certain members by the AAU metrics. I think there was some pushback about why some schools were grandfathered in while better schools now couldn’t get invited.

            And NE was pretty far behind.

            Recent additions:
            GT – 32 was their average in the AAU’s primary metrics based on 2007 data
            Dartmouth – 38
            Boston – 38
            Tufts – 45
            Utah – 51

            Recent losses:
            NE – 101 (dead last among members)
            SU – 100

            Bottom 25% of members:
            88, 84, 81, 80, 77, 76, 76, 73, 72, 69, 67, 65, 61

            Like

          5. Andy

            @Marc, you’re right, nobody has been voted out since Nebraska. But I guarantee you Missouri has not forgotten. When they hired their current president, Mun Choi, in 2016, he’s made improving Mizzou’s AAU profile his #1 priority for the past 5 years. The most recent research numbers I’ve seen are from 2017, but from what I’ve heard they’ve already got their research numbers up at least 30% since then, and then on top of that they opened the NextGen Precision Health Institute, which cost $250 million, in October, who’s entire purpose seems to be to boost federal medical research grants. Mizzou seems determined to get out of the 90s in the rankings and up into the 60s or 50s, to avoid Nebraska’s fate.

            Like

      2. loki_the_bubba

        I was reading another realignment board earlier today. Some Houston fans seemed to think they will be in the AAU by 2024. The school has come a ways since I was young, but I see no chance of that happening.

        Like

        1. Brian

          Agreed, that seems like a stretch. They were just ahead (literally 1 place ahead) of SU back when NE got booted, with a metric average of 99. I know they’ve been pushing to improve, but there are other schools that will get in before them.

          Like

    2. Donald

      I believe that Nebraska lost AAU status for three reasons:

      1. The medical school is under a different administrative structure. At least one Big Ten school has its medical campus further from its main campus than UNL, but it is included in AAU metrics because it is under the same campus administration.

      2. Much of Nebraska’s research activity lies in agriculture, which is primarily funded through non-peer reviewed grants; these items are excluded in AAU metrics (but the ag faculty are included, so the per capita research activity takes a double hit!)

      3. Harvey Perlman’s (the UNL chancellor) attitude towards Nebraska being put on notice that their status was in jeopardy. Instead of using the several years of “probation” to address the shortcomings (e.g., it might have been possible to adjust the medical school’s status, but not trivial; there are a number of land grant institutions that are just fine in the AAU despite the discrimination towards agriculture) and adopting a conciliatory approach to his peers, he basically (in my view) simply declared that UNL was fine for the AAU, virtually daring the organization to expel the school.

      There is no way that Nebraska will be readmitted to the AAU in my lifetime (unless there is a radical expansion of the membership); there are simply too many other institutions with superior portfolios.

      Like

      1. Brian

        Yes, several people mentioned that his approach to the response didn’t go over well. I don’t know if that actually mattered, though. There may have been no case he could make that would’ve protected NE.

        Like

        1. Brian

          I’m not sure his mention of the number of AAU members in red states versus blue states was helpful, for example. Or showing how few great plains schools they included.

          Like

      2. bullet

        One of the former Texas presidents wrote Pearlman a letter and suggested an approach with the committee. Pearlman did the opposite and, as you said, basically dared them to kick UNL out. He said they should count the medical school. They should count agriculture. He basically gave a middle finger to the AAU and its standards. Not surprisingly, they returned the favor.

        Telling an organization that their standards are ridiculous is not a way to stay in that organization. A better president would have gotten enough votes to stay in.

        Like

        1. Donald

          bullet, while no one can know what would have transpired if Perlman had followed that advice, I do believe it likely that a reasoned tone would have persuaded the one (or perhaps it was two) of the forty-odd negative voters needed to maintain membership. I agree that it is difficult to envision a more counterproductive approach!

          Like

    3. Logan

      Kansas is basically the exact same situation, as Lawrence is as close to Kansas City as Lincoln is to Omaha, and KU Med is located in Kansas City, KS.

      Like

      1. BoilerTx

        Yes. If you look at the numbers, you could make an argument ISU, KU, and Oregon could all be in trouble if the AAU decides to start booting people again.

        Like

    4. Mike

      @Kevin –


      If having the Medical Center under the governance of UNL would have saved the AAU status I can’t see why they couldn’t work that issue out.

      I don’t think gaming academic snobbery ratings is a big enough reason to justify restructuring the state university system. AAU status is important, but for realignment purposes its just it allows for presumption of it not being all about money. Like everything else, Its just a rule until its not. Swap Oklahoma’s athletics history and support with Kansas St, and KSU would be on top of the Big Ten’s board.

      Like

      1. Marc

        I don’t think gaming academic snobbery ratings is a big enough reason to justify restructuring the state university system. AAU status is important, but for realignment purposes its just it allows for presumption of it not being all about money.

        You’re conflating a couple of separate issues. No school has sought AAU membership so they could switch conferences. It has almost nothing to do with that. AAU membership has real benefits, which is why so many want in. It’s not because of athletics.

        Nebraska absolutely should have merged UNL and UNO if it would have allowed them to keep AAU status. Their structure (with the flagship and medical school separate) is highly atypical, and it clearly worked to their detriment.

        Like everything else, Its just a rule until its not.

        The vast majority of voluntary conference moves involve a school switching to a more prestigious set of academic partners—it really does matter. Just look at every realignment move in the last 20 years where the school and conference were not acting out of desperation. Academics count in almost every case.

        With that said, the Big Ten is the only conference that has made AAU status a priority, but they are not kidding about it. Every school they are known to have seriously considered at was in the AAU at the time.

        Swap Oklahoma’s athletics history and support with Kansas St, and KSU would be on top of the Big Ten’s board.

        As far as we know, the Big Ten never wanted Oklahoma. Frank thinks they’d be crazy to turn down Oklahoma, but there were no rumors of serious discussion between the two. They wanted Texas, which is an AAU school.

        Like

        1. Mike

          Marc –


          No school has sought AAU membership so they could switch conferences. It has almost nothing to do with that. AAU membership has real benefits, which is why so many want in. It’s not because of athletics.

          For the Big Ten, AAU status is the fig leaf coving the expansion moves so the participants can say this isn’t all about athletics. That’s how it plays in realignment. You take the best athletic option and then use what ever academic metrics to justify it. AAU membership just happens to be the metric the Big Ten uses. Everyone knew about Nebraska’s AAU status and the Big Ten still chose them. Non-AAU Notre Dame would be taken in a heart beat.

          The ACC cares about academics nearly as much as the Big Ten does, and when they needed a school they took Louisville (US News #176) over UConn (#63) and all of the available AAU schools (Rice, Tulane, Buffalo) in a fairly naked athletic add. This is the best Swofford could muster: “When you look at Louisville you see a university and an athletic program that has all the arrows pointed up — a tremendous uptick there, a tremendous energy,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said [https://www.mcall.com/sports/penn-state/mc-xpm-2012-11-29-mc-louisville-acc-1129-20121129-story.html].


          Nebraska absolutely should have merged UNL and UNO if it would have allowed them to keep AAU status. Their structure (with the flagship and medical school separate) is highly atypical, and it clearly worked to their detriment.

          Do the benefits of AAU membership out way the costs/benefits of keeping the two institutions (UNL and UNMC, UNO is a different school) separate? IMHO – if Big Ten membership necessitated a UNL/UNMC merger, it would happen.


          The vast majority of voluntary conference moves involve a school switching to a more prestigious set of academic partners—it really does matter.

          When Arkansas moved to the SEC, it went from a better (AAU wise) league to a worse one. Before 2012 the Big 12 was (by number of AAU institutions) a better academic league than the SEC 5-2. Missouri and A&M still moved. If the SEC had 0 AAU schools, they were all going to move.


          With that said, the Big Ten is the only conference that has made AAU status a priority, but they are not kidding about it. Every school they are known to have seriously considered at was in the AAU at the time.

          You forgot about Notre Dame. The Big Ten will wave its AAU rule for the right addition.

          Like

          1. m(Ag)

            Arkansas was never in the Big 12. It went from the SWC to the SEC. And I’m fairly confident A&M wasn’t an AAU member at the time. Don’t know about Texas, Florida, or Vanderbilt.

            Like

          2. Mike

            @m(ag) – I wasn’t implying they were. I was just showing how Arkansas made an academic downgrade (by number of AAU schools at the time) by moving.

            Like

        2. cpcar

          “ Nebraska absolutely should have merged UNL and UNO if it would have allowed them to keep AAU status. Their structure (with the flagship and medical school separate) is highly atypical, and it clearly worked to their detriment.”

          Highly atypical is inaccurate. Issue with medical school is consistent access to patient case volume and diversity to support clinical mission and accreditation which means you have to support most if not all medical specialties at your medical center.

          Fundamentally demands a larger population center than some of traditional college towns (yet somehow Iowa city makes it work?)

          School: Public Primary Medical Campus.
          Illinois: Chicago (Urbana has satellite campus along with Rockford and Peoria actually larger, Urbana is mainly MD PhDs)
          Indiana: Indianapolis
          Nebraska: Omaha
          Kansas: Kansas City
          Oklahoma: Oklahoma City
          Texas: flagship med school is UTSW (Dallas), Austin just started in past decade.
          Colorado: Denver
          Alabama: Birmingham
          Arkansas: Little Rock
          Tennessee: Memphis
          California: UCSF is the flagship
          Georgia: MCG, Augusta
          South Carolina: MUSC, Charleston
          Cornell (Ithaca): Cornell-NYP (NYC)
          Oregon: OHSU (Portland)

          For many of these the research funding of the medical school is separate and for the likes of UCSF, massive.

          Like

          1. cpcar

            Realistically the biggest upside to a Nebraska : UNO merger would be the additional big ten hockey team forcing Illini alums to pull a penn state and go from club to d-1.

            But, the biggest issues has been pointed out multiple times. AAU research metrics bias heavily to competitive government grants like NIH, DOD, DOE, etc while devaluing private research endowments, non-competitive grants like DOAg, and internal funding like WARF at Madison funded by Coumadin or cisplatin return for Michigan State.

            Like

          2. ccrider55

            OHSU is a stand alone university. It is related to UOr only by state organization structure and collaborative efforts, that other universities do, also.

            Like

          3. cpcar

            the assertion was that having the public flagship university (UNL) and flagship public medical school campus (UNMC) separate is uncommon. Of the states with a public medical school (AK, DE, MT, WY don’t have one, ID & ME private DO only, NH & RI private MD only) the following are not associated with the flagship public school that harbors the D-I football team:

            AL, AR, CA, CO, GA, IL, IN, KS, LA, MD, MS, NE, OK, OR, SC, TN, TX.

            That’s 17/43, or nearly 40%, public flagship medical schools not at the public university physically or administratively (may be off on one in the latter. For comparison, PSU med school is in Hershey but I believe it is still administered by Penn State College Station; Rutgers administers the old UMDNJ in Newark (flagship) and new brunswick (slightly smaller school)

            So the pertinent question may be whether any of the others listed with AAU status were able to credit research dollars and academic productivity of an administratively distinct medical campus toward their AAU metrics? Like, can Illinois credit the biomedical research of the Urbana Medica campus or can it count the whole UIC SOM funding into its reporting-I believe it’s the former but am not sure. Can Kansas count KUMC, even though it’s administratively distinct from Lawerence. Does Rutgers count the primary Newark campus productivity or just New Brunswick. And so on. If yes, , then why didn’t/ couldn’t Nebraska.

            FWIW Didn’t know UNMC wasn’t tied to UNO, though.

            Don’t know why I put Cornell on there, I guess it is a land grant Ivy League chimera.

            Like

          4. Brian

            cpcar,

            Roughly 2/3 of the AAU members have a medical school that counts. Of the others, some don’t have an affiliated medical school at all (like GT). Unfortunately, the list of AAU members with their rankings that NE released in 2008 doesn’t name the AAU members (except for itself) so I can’t check individual schools that are in the AAU. But the CMUP report does tell you which schools include a medical school.

            Assuming the AAU has the same criteria:
            Don’t count – AL, AR, CA, CO, GA, IL, KS, MD, MS, NE, OK, OR
            Count – IN, SC, TN, TX

            Like

  36. Everyone: we have a great comment community here. As a reminder, please no personal political opinions (which differ from discussing political considerations and issues that apply to conference realignment that are perfectly fair and relevant) or discriminatory comments (whether about race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity or any other protected class).

    Like

  37. Marc

    I don’t know how to upload a graphic, but there is a bar graph on the AAU’s home page right now, showing that member universities had 61% of federal research funding in 2018, presumably the last year they have data for.

    Over half of the total comes from Health & Human Services. Agriculture funding is one of the bars shown on the graph, but it is the smallest bar, comprising less than 2% of the total.

    So you could see why a university with no medical school and a lot of ag research would be in trouble by AAU metrics. Even if UNL could somehow snag 100% of the federal agriculture research budget, which it of course cannot, it is just not a very big pie to begin with.

    Like

    1. Brian

      Click to access Research.pdf

      Yep. HHS includes the NIH (medical research). The other 2 big players are DoD and NSF.

      HHS – $14.3B
      DoD – $3.9B
      NSF – $3.1B

      Ag – $0.4B

      I believe they are only including competitive grants, not the formula-based funding that supports a large chunk of ag research. I think the total from the USDA is closer to $0.9B.

      Like

  38. Andy

    What’s this all about?

    Sure sounds like they’re going to expand, right?

    If they do you’d have to think Texas Tech and Oklahoma State are top of the list. Maybe Kansas and Iowa State after that?

    Like

    1. Brian

      They might. But he’s right that if a P5 goes away, then the bidding for the remaining P5 rights may go up as there are fewer chances for other competitors to get a piece of the action. If the big tech companies want in on the action, they may have to pay more.

      Like

    2. Marc

      Sure sounds like they’re going to expand, right?

      If they do you’d have to think Texas Tech and Oklahoma State are top of the list. Maybe Kansas and Iowa State after that?

      He’s not leaving much room for imagination. TT and OSU are the two biggest fish he could hook. If they aren’t worth expanding for, then nobody is. The only question is how far beyond that they go.

      Like

      1. manifestodeluxe

        I think if the Pac12 is being serious with themselves they know their best play is OkSU, TT, TCU, and KU. It’s not as good as Texas/OU but they aren’t an option, and there aren’t better options in the western half of the country that current members would accept (ie. no BYU).

        Like

        1. Brian

          If they go that route, does TCU trump UH for their purposes? TT is the 3rd big state school in TX and OkSU is a decent CFB brand, so those make some sense. But TCU is small and in DFW. Does TT carry enough weight in DFW that getting UH is more helpful to them? Houston is a long, long way from Lubbock. And I suppose KU for the hoops brand and KC, though adding a bad CFB team isn’t ideal for the P12.

          They have 4 schools in CA. Maybe 3 in TX makes sense? TT, TCU and UH.

          Like

          1. manifestodeluxe

            Brian, you’re more tapped into the prestige standing for a lot of these schools than I, but I selected TCU over Houston partially based on what I believed to be TCU’s higher academic standing versus Houston. And I could be wrong there of course, but my understanding is they’re a very good, wealthy private school. Additionally it’s supposedly a religious largely in name only which would appease the Cal schools in a way BYU never could.

            From a pure branding perspective I also think TCU has a stronger brand due to its years in the B12, which might be negated if the two schools were on equal footing but as stands isn’t.

            I think, for me, if the Pac12 is determined they need to expand it’s still about trying to make lemonade, because their best play (Texas/OU) was a swing and miss and no longer an option. So from there it’s trying to satisfy as many criteria as you can with a lot of slim pickings. KU is stinky in football but acceptable academically and in basketball. TCU is small but a good school, well off, and in a major metro in Texas — not Houston but DFW isn’t nothing either. And then TT/OkSt are worse off academically but still fairly strong football brands. In truth I could see Houston swapping in for TCU, but I thought TCU was the stronger combination of factors.

            They’re not kings, but then there are no real available kings anymore. But what adding them gets the Pac12 is a larger footprint, particularly in a football crazy state, some legit basketball talent, and some decent academics (versus what, say, a Boise State might get them). And they get it with adding states that are close outward expansions (versus trying to add an ACC school).

            Like

          2. Alan from Baton Rouge

            Absolutely nobody in Houston cares about U of H.

            TCU has a following. Fort Worth , by itself is a major city, has embraced the Frogs. Between their stadium , practice facility and basketball arena, the Frogs have poured over $200m into their programs over the last 10 years. In cash! Their alums write big checks and don’t want to go back to the G-5. When USC & Oregon come to town, they could move the game to Jerry World. Out of all the remaining B12 schools, TCU is in the best market, has money and isn’t afraid to spend it.

            Like

          3. Brian

            TCU is well regarded, but UH is a better research university. It was just ahead of NE on AAU metrics in 2007, for example. And they’ve been working hard to improve. I agree that TCU is rich, and secular enough for the P12.

            TCU is a bigger CFB brand now, thanks to their coach winning enough to get them into the B12. But UH was in the SWC with them, so it hasn’t been all that long. Especially for Texans.

            Football is 85% of TV money, roughly. That’s why KU is an iffy addition for anyone. Their football brand is so bad that it hurts you. If KU was just mediocre, they’d be an easy choice.

            I really don’t know if TCU or UH is a better choice. They have pros and cons, and it partly depends on the strength of TT in DFW versus Houston too. That’s why I threw it out there. The people here from Texas might be better placed to evaluate that. I’m not sure OkSU or KU are necessary, so you could take 1 of them and 3 from TX.

            Like

          4. manifestodeluxe

            Brian,

            “_I really don’t know if TCU or UH is a better choice. They have pros and cons, and it partly depends on the strength of TT in DFW versus Houston too. That’s why I threw it out there. The people here from Texas might be better placed to evaluate that. I’m not sure OkSU or KU are necessary, so you could take 1 of them and 3 from TX._”

            Yeah I think TCU/UH could be a toss up. I’m definitely not wedded to TCU, I just think they wouldn’t be a terrible choice for the Pac12 given the circumstances.

            I am a bit bullish on KU though for whatever reason. Their football is horrendous, really just awful.
            But I feel like it’s something that could be pointed out upon entering, like “let’s get real guys, you need to spend some cash and real effort on this. You don’t have to be USC but you need to be better than a Charlie Weis or Les Miles retread hire.” Their ceiling is higher than a Kansas State or Iowa State imo — I feel like they’ve severely underachieved. And if you can get them to just commit to mediocre I think it becomes a good choice (which is also why I’m not totally against them getting a B10 invite either, though I’d need more convincing). I think it’s a fixer upper opportunity.

            But I also totally respect someone’s opinion of looking at that dumpster fire of a football program and determining there’s no redeeming it.

            Like

          5. Marc

            Think about TCU vs. Houston as a 50-year decision. I think Houston probably prevails, because they are the larger school. TCU has done well lately, but do they keep that up after the current coach retires? CFB programs tend to revert to their historical mean, and historically Houston was the (slightly) better program.

            I am a bit bullish on KU though for whatever reason. heir football is horrendous, really just awful. But I feel like it’s something that could be pointed out upon entering, like “let’s get real guys, you need to spend some cash and real effort on this. . . . I think it’s a fixer upper opportunity.

            They have tried. It might seem crazy now, but they hired Charlie Weis to get better. They hired Les Miles to get better. It is just really hard to create a winner where historically they have not won.

            Like

          6. manifestodeluxe

            @Marc: I don’t disagree. Historic records:

            TCU — 116 seasons, 641-538-50, .541: https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/schools/texas-christian/index.html

            Houston — 73 seasons, 436-359-15, .548: https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/schools/houston/index.html

            TCU has been decent-and-sometimes-very-good under Patterson and Dennis Franchione back through 1998, and then some real up and down years before that. Houston has been up and down depending on the coach — obviously they’ve been more of a stepping stone program and therefore have had a lot more turnover.

            In truth I feel it’s close, and if it was my choice to be made it’d probably need to be on strengths in other areas. For example, that Houston is the better research school would have to factor heavily. That said, on the field, TCU has had a lot more stability and has done it in a harder conference for about the last decade. And, yeah, it’s under only two coaches, but we’re still talking about stability and relative success for the last 23 years or so.

            Like

          7. Brian

            Alan,

            Thanks for the insight. Like I said, I was just throwing out options because I don’t know details about the value of the various TX schools in terms of following. I assume UH’s problems are the Texans and that it was a commuter school for many. But seeing how TCU perked up with joining the B12, I have to think UH might become more followed than they are now if they were playing USC and UO regularly. UH has some alumni who will throw around money as well.

            Like

          8. bullet

            Lots of people follow Houston in Houston. But while TCU fans are pretty loyal, UH is like Miami. They follow when they win and don’t pay much attention when they lose.

            One way to judge following is the sporting goods store. If you go to just about any sporting goods store in Houston, you will see about equal UT and A&M merchandise. UH is 3rd (and occasionally equal with UT and A&M). Baylor, LSU and Rice share 4th to 6th well behind the top 3. Everybody else is hard to find.

            Back in 2008-9 when UH was having a good run, there were some Houston TV ratings put out in the Chronicle. Texas was through the roof (during their best run) and UH was 2nd in Houston. They had some really good ratings.

            Houston alumni heavily stay near Houston and it was the 2nd biggest public school in Texas during most of its SWC years, until A&M passed it in the late 80s/early 90s.

            I still think the Pac 12 would take TCU over Houston in a Texas strategy.

            Like

  39. z33k

    Craziest thing about all this is that the move (Texas/OU) is so much more dramatic than anything in the previous round, but it feels like we have to wait 10-12 years to find out the true ramifications (i.e. FSU/Clemson/UNC in the ACC).

    Well, at least Frank has another decade plus worth of content out of this. Never would have imagined this would take so long to happen when we all started coming around here.

    I think a Big Ten/Pac-12 scheduling alliance makes the most sense at this point for now. Then probably just see what happens with the ACC in 10-12 years.

    Like

      1. Richard

        UNLESS

        The Big 10 drops down to 8 conference games and drops divisions. 3 protected rivals and 10 teams rotating over 5 slots means B10 teams would face some B10 schools more often than they do now.

        And even then, it’s really only the top teams that would drive value in any B10-Pac scheduling alliance. OSU/PSU/UMich/Wisconsin/MSU/UNL vs. USC/UCLA/UDub/Oregon/Stanford (heck, I can’t even come up with a 6th Pac team while Stanford is pretty iffy when it comes to TV value).

        As the B10 has 14 teams and the Pac 12, you can skip Iowa and another B10 team if they want out regardless of whether you have 8 or 9 conference games.

        You know, thinking it over, 9 conference games are here to stay in any case.

        Like

        1. Brian

          Richard,

          Yes, the good ol’ days of 8 conference games.

          I suppose the other P12 options would be CU (decent brand, good market) and ASU (for Phoenix), since those are places the B10 has alumni and likes to recruit.

          But as you say, the monetary value isn’t really there in replacing a conference game. And I doubt you could get both sides to agree to add this on top of 9 conference games. Just do what they do now – let schools schedule those series as they see fit.

          Like

        2. Brian

          It would be nice if conferences got away from divisions. It’s artificially forced just so they can play a CCG. They don’t force that in MBB, so why force it in CFB. Locked rivals and rotating games worked fine at 10 and 11 for the B10, and it works better as you get larger. It’s the same concept as lots of small pods (like the NFL – 8 pods of 4) but with fewer restrictions.

          3 locked rivals with 6/10 rotating.

          Quick example:
          RU – UMD, PSU, NW
          UMD – RU, PSU, IU
          PSU – RU, UMD, OSU
          OSU – PSU, UM, IL
          UM – OSU, MSU, PU
          MSU – UM, NW, IU
          IU – PU, MSU, UMD
          PU – IU, IL, UM
          IL – OSU, NW, PU
          NW – MSU, IL, RU
          WI – MN, IA, NE
          MN – WI, IA, NE
          IA – WI, MN, NE
          NE – WI, MN, IA

          Or you can unlock some of those third rivalries that are not needed (RU/NW, UMD/IU, UM/PU), I did 3 for everyone for symmetry and ease of explanation to fans.

          Like

          1. Colin

            Brian, I agree that your format is better than divisions or pods. Actually, it’s vastly superior, and although you chose to use three locked rivals for each school, there is no reason that each school would need to have the same number.

            For example, two would seem to be appropriate for Rutgers and Maryland:

            RU – PS and MD
            MD – RU and PS

            However PS would have three locked rivalries: RU, MD and Ohio St. And a school like Illinois might want to have five: Indiana, Purdue, NW, Wisc and Iowa.

            Also, a Variable Locked Rivalry System, for lack of a better name, does not preclude a conference championship game. You simply have the two teams with the best conference records face off for the CCG.

            Like

      2. Marc

        I don’t think a scheduling alliance adds anything extra and only constrains OOC scheduling.

        That was my conclusion as well. The only reason they considered a scheduling alliance 10 years ago was to add good TV inventory. But in fact, the B10 has not had any trouble getting attractive OOC match-ups. It does not need the P-12 for that.

        And of course, every game won’t be Ohio State vs. USC. You also get Washington State vs. Rutgers.

        Like

    1. Brian

      Not a surprise. But it’s easy to have fake followers or weird results.

      On 6/28/2021 they said the main athletics accounts had this many:
      1. OSU 2.9M
      2. UF 2.3M
      3. UO 2.3M
      4. UT 2.1M
      5. UGA 1.8M
      6. WI 1.8M
      7. AL 1.7M
      8. UNC
      9. UK
      10. NE

      Now on 7/6/21 the football program had:
      1. AL 3.4M
      2. LSU 3.0M
      3. UM 2.7M
      4. OSU 2.3M
      5. UGA 2.1M
      6. Clemson
      7. OU
      8. ND
      9. TN
      10. UO

      Combined that’s 5.2M (lots of overlap I’m sure) for OSU, 5.1M for AL. Is it somehow more important which account they follow, if the main account reposts things from the individual teams?

      Like

    1. Brian

      Note that there wasn’t much difference in the numbers without OU and UT games (1.86M to 1.56M) except for KU, KSU and Baylor.

      It’s optimistic for Tramel to think all of OU’s upcoming SEC OOC opponents would swap for OkSU. But I agree, any B12 team needs to beef up their OOC schedules with UT and OU gone. Who knows if OU or UT will agree to play them in the future, or TAMU.

      Like

  40. Brian

    https://www.dispatch.com/story/sports/2021/07/27/cfp-games-horseshoe-not-so-fast-ohio-state-ad-smith-says/5384184001/

    Gene Smith does not think campus playoff games are wise, at least for OSU.

    But while a December playoff game at Ohio Stadium would give the Buckeyes a competitive advantage, at least one prominent person is pumping the brakes on the idea.

    Ohio State athletics director Gene Smith said he has serious reservations about the Horseshoe as a playoff site.

    It’s a matter of safety because of possible bad weather, he said.

    “I just think we ought to look at our reality,” said Smith, “and our reality is in the northern part of the country, we have inclement weather. And I don’t want to put the kids in a situation where they’re playing on the hard, frozen field.”

    Smith played at Notre Dame in the 1970s. He was a recent graduate when Joe Montana led the Fighting Irish to a comeback victory at a frozen Cotton Bowl. Though that game became legendary, Smith considered the toll it took on players.

    “Anybody that’s played on a frozen field, you don’t want to do that to them,” he said.

    Smith pointed out that most fields have artificial turf, which gets particularly hard in cold weather.

    “If you’re on this surface,” he said, “and it’s 10 degrees and it’s rained and snowed the night before? No, I don’t want to do that.”

    Since the playoff started in 2014, all games have been played in the South or in California. Northern fans have questioned how Southern teams would fare in difficult weather. Northern teams are constructed with bad weather in mind. Those in the South are not.

    To Smith, the competitive advantage a Northern team would have is offset by the safety issue.

    “Our kids have still got to play on that, and our trainers afterward have got to fix that,” he said. “I just think it’s risky.”

    Smith hasn’t done a detailed study of the weather in December in Columbus. He said if he learned the weather was milder than he believes, he’s open to changing his mind.

    If not, he asked, “Why take the risk?”

    Ohio State coach Ryan Day had a similar view.

    “You talk about 18- to 22-year-olds, the wear and tear on the body, you have to be smart about that,” Day said. “We’ve got to be smart about the venues where we play. Certainly, we’d love to host the University of Miami on December 13 in the Horseshoe and 20-degree weather. But I’m not sure that’s the best experience for our student-athletes. I don’t know. Those are things to be worked out.”

    Smith said he believed that Ohio State could use Lucas Oil Stadium, a dome in Indianapolis, for a home playoff game. It’s only three hours from Columbus.

    Another advantage for using Lucas Oil Stadium, Smith said, is that it would eliminate the logistical issues Ohio State would face in hosting a playoff game on short notice.

    “Let’s imagine we have that opportunity, and we’re hosting,” Smith said. “I’ve got to get Ohio Stadium ready lickety-split. Could we do that? No question about that. But it’d be better if we already knew, let’s say, we’re going to Indy.

    “I’m not strong on this because obviously, I’m still thinking about it like everybody else. But I just think it’s the best way to go — to have those kids inside.”

    Like

    1. Alan from Baton Rouge

      Brian – it’s good to see your AD say that. While playing up north sounds good in theory, it will be difficult to pull off.

      The writer’s line in the article about Northern teams being built for cold weather games is a good line but not based on fact. Sure, some places are cold in late November, but no college team is built for a late December game in freezing rain.

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      1. Brian

        Alan,

        Yes, and fans have scoffed but certain ADs have pointed out that they normally would have winterized their stadium by then to prevent broken pipes. And how do you de-ice all the steps in a stadium for safety?

        Northern teams aren’t built for sleet per se, but there is a reason they stayed a little more run-focused than the south. You know you will have 2-3 rain, high wind, snow or sub-freezing games every year and you can’t have a pure air raid offense and survive. Even Purdue kept a running attack to go with it.

        And it’s always funny to watch Miami players in coats and huddled around heaters at a bowl game while the Badgers are wearing short sleeves because it’s only in the 40s.

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        1. manifestodeluxe

          If they commit to home stadium games in CFP as an Ohio State fan I’m excited, but as a realist I think they’d need a long lead time to prepare. Because frankly some stadiums are going to need some renovations to handle it. Can field turf handle warmer coils underneath its surface? Is that even a thing? Is the stadium plumbing able to deal with the lower average temps? What about surrounding traffic infrastructure, including foot traffic to and from the stadium?

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          1. Brian

            MN’s field is field turf and has heating coils.

            Plumbing is a serious concern, as is hypothermia, slip and falls and other fan risks. Then you have the issue of plowing snow for roads and parking lots, and having cops directing traffic for hours outdoors.

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          2. Little8

            The Minnesota stadium was winterized by the VIkings (also included restrooms, concessions, etc.) so they could use it while they were building a new facility. Few college stadiums are set up for winter conditions. And as noted, all plumbing must be freeze proof, not just the field.

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    2. Marc

      @Alan: You can get those games in November, too. While it is not an annual occurrence, it definitely has happened. A few seasons ago, there was an Iowa City game with temps in the low teens. Kids who grow up in the North will at least occasionally have played in those conditions.

      In contrast, there are some Southern teams composed almost entirely of Southern kids, some of whom have perhaps never seen snow, much less played in it. Most of those teams probably don’t have cold-weather gear, and it’s a tall order to get it on short notice just for one use.

      I am pretty sure some of the Northern stadiums have never hosted a winter event. Pipes could freeze; concession stands might not be operable. If there are four campus playoff games a year, eventually one will be played in conditions that are absolutely horrendous.

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      1. Alan from Baton Rouge

        Marc – I agree kids in the North have been exposed to more cold weather than kids in the South. I take issue with the statement that teams up North are built for the cold. College football takes place in the Fall. No college plays an outdoor game in December. I know it gets cold in November, but it’s not the kind of cold you get in December & January.

        We have extreme weather too. If a B1G team came to Baton Rouge or Gainesville for a Labor Day weekend game, their players would be at risk. Cold is miserable. Heat can kill.

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        1. Brian

          Alan,

          Army-Navy is always in December and outdoors. The P12 CCG was on campuses and thus outdoors. There is talk of moving the B100 CCG around, including to MetLife stadium in NYC (outdoors).

          It’s unusual, but it can get dangerously cold in November even in Columbus. Obviously not as often as in January, but still. And cold can also kill, though they would likely cancel the game for that type of weather. Southern heat is no joke (20 years in Atlanta), especially with the humidity. We do get days in the 90s up here, but not as many and usually not with as much humidity as the festering swamp that is much of the south (DC, Atlanta, New Orleans, Houston – all miserable). There’s a good reason UA and ASU only play night games for the first few weeks of the season. If you think LSU’s heat is bad, try to play in Phoenix heat for a day game on Labor Day weekend.

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          1. Alan from Baton Rouge

            Brian – the outdoor games you cited are played in NFL stadiums that are better equipped to deal with the weather.

            LSU played at Arizona in 2003, and at Arizona St in 2005. I attended both games. Thankfully, both were night games. The heat is certainly a factor in LSU’s preference to play night games.

            The difference between Arizona hot and South Louisiana hot is the difference between being broiled and being boiled,

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    3. @Brian – Smith and Day certainly aren’t wrong. Speaking as someone that has attended Bears games in December with the wind whipping off of Lake Michigan, it’s simply not a good experience for the fans (much less the players) and the typical college stadium has a lot fewer amenities compared to an NFL stadium. Pretty much everyone would trade home field advantage to watch the same game in California or Florida. I’ve never been one of those Big Ten fans that thinks it’s a good idea to move more postseason games to the Midwest to get SEC teams to play in the cold: no thank you – it’s not worth it. (To be sure, I’m a firm supporter of the 12-team playoff in concept, so it makes sense that they’d want first round games on campus under the format they’re proposing here.)

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      1. Brian

        Yes, all of us B10 alumni know it. His idea of using local domes makes sense to me. It still gives you the advantage of distance and maybe time zone, but doesn’t risk terrible conditions.

        OSU’s coldest games:

        11/15/2014 – 15 degrees (10 deg. windchill) for OSU at MN, including JT Barrett’s 86-yd TD run against MN that took about 5 minutes

        11/25/1950 – 10 degrees (-8 deg. windchill) for the infamous Snow Bowl vs UM (30+ mph wind, snowing 2″/hour). There were 4 feet of snow on the tarp before the game. The game had 4 first downs and 45 punts.

        11/21/1964 – 20 degrees (-30 degree windchill with 25+ mph winds) vs UM

        Sure, you can say that we did actually play through those conditions. The games were terrible to watch, though. There was also much less concern over injuries to players back then. And OSU didn’t have artificial turf back then. As close to the water table as the Shoe is, I’m not sure if underfield heating is even a viable option.

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        1. bullet

          Great story on that 1950 game. Remember reading it in a book as a kid, “Strange but true football stories”—–“Roses Bloom in the Snow.”

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        2. Marc

          As close to the water table as the Shoe is, I’m not sure if underfield heating is even a viable option.

          Even if possible, it is an extravagant expense for a fairly rare event. (OSU could have a first-round bye, or they could be the road team, or they could be the home team and the weather is great.)

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          1. Brian

            Marc,

            Being OSU, we do extravagant football expenses somewhat regularly and can probably afford it. It could prove helpful for November games, and we do have several of those every year.

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          1. Brian

            Of course they are. Nobody ever said they weren’t. But ADs have to prepare for the worst case, not just assume things will be fine.

            And again, the playoff game would be in early- to mid-December. That’s the relevant weather.

            Using your own source:
            On December 11, the temperature in Columbus typically ranges from 32°F to 40°F and is rarely below 18°F or above 56°F.

            To them rarely means 10th and 90th percentile, so 10% of the days the low will be below 18. And with those polar vortexes the past few years, it was a lot colder (0 or lower).

            The average perceived temperatures on 12/11 are H = 34, L = 25, and it is 32 or above from 1-5 pm, based on their plot.

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      2. manifestodeluxe

        @Frank — That said, I’ve hovered around those discussions regarding bowl prep a little bit, and I know there’s legit concern and struggle to get fans to commit to two bowl trips as is. I fear asking for potentially three bowl trips in a single season maybe every season is untenable. Gene Smith might have the right idea of utilizing the sites currently used for conference championship games. It’s still a geographic advantage for the “home” team but it’s not full blown, “let’s get your Dilly Bar Dan masks out because we’re going to a game in Minnesota in late December.”

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      3. Marc

        I am sure the committee debated the merits of campus games vs. neutral-site games for the first round. Here’s the thing…

        In the proposed model, OSU hosts a first-round game at the Horseshoe. They will have no trouble selling that out. They win and go to a second-round game at a traditional major bowl. They will have minimal trouble selling that out. The semi-finals and finals will be prestige games, and the organizers will be able to sell thousands of tickets to corporations, who buy well in advance without knowing who the teams will be.

        Now imagine the first round is at a neutral site. Very few people will buy tickets for that game without knowing who the teams will be. And attendance by Ohio State fans might be rather muted, because if the Buckeyes go all the way, there’s up to 4 games within a few short that they might have to pony up for. If they skip anything, they might skip the first round, which is probably the least interesting round for them.

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        1. Brian

          Marc,

          That’s why Smith mentioned using a local dome as a pseudo home field. OSU would sell a lot of tickets for Indy. The B10 CCG sells a lot of tickets well before the teams are decided, not all of which are from fans who will only go if their team does. A decent number of midwestern fans would pay to watch a CFP game near home.

          It’s even easier for some schools. UM and MSU would do fine at Ford Field, a short drive away. What’s harder is schools like PSU or NE.

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    4. Richard

      An idea: Neutral site games but spread out geographically for each region (in a dome or in warm weather). As it stands, there are 4 major conferences left standing, so one in each. I also don’t think it makes sense to put a quarterfinal in a city with a NY6 bowl, but it should be at an NFL stadium so I’d rotate between 2 groups of 4 cities:
      1. Indy/Detroit
      2. Charlotte/FL city; I pick Tampa over Jacksonville because the Tampa metro is bigger.
      3. Houston/Nashville
      4. Bay Area/LV

      SEC still advantaged because they get 2 quarterfinals every year, but no great way around that.

      B10 teams would get decent to good to great support at the Northern site, in Tampa, and at the western cities while some may drive to Nashville/Charlotte too.

      But you may also end up with a bunch of games at the western site featuring 2 southern teams and few people watching in the stands.

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      1. Brian

        Richard,

        As an OSU fan, I’d be fine with that. Fans of PSU or some West teams might find Indy/Detroit too far away.

        The Bay area never works well for CFB in my opinion. Las Vegas is the clear choice out there, especially if no western team is hosting. Vegas can draw neutral fans or get southerners to travel, and there’s no risk of direct home town advantage.

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    1. Mike

      @Loki – It really feels like A&M really missed a chance to win a PR battle vs Texas. After their divorce, Texas was asking to join a league it always looked down on. Somehow, A&M ended up looking bad.

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  41. ccrider55

    If you assume the Pac may (as some suggest) need to expand, and their only home runs are gone, the suggestion of three in Texas is intriguing .
    Logical me thinks12-15 Pac trips into the state per year should make something of an inroad to those recruiting grounds. However, would there be a grudge angle that might preclude TT after having made the offer a decade ago, and supposedly declining the OU package, too.
    Vindictive me would consider TCU/Houston (or Rice) to get into the two large metro areas 8-10 times a year and not provide UT/OU the ability to claim they “knew” their siblings would land ok. Or add OkSt and KU (or Rice/ISU) too and let UT have the responsibility which they in fact do have for TT’s situation.
    Devious me would wait a couple years to decide….

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    1. Brian

      Yes, I’d enjoy some vindictive choices too since it isn’t my school or my conference.

      If you really want to stick it to TT (and Baylor), go with TCU, SMU, UH and Rice. That’s 7 trips to DFW and 7 to Houston every year, plus you get a great school in Rice. The 4 that got left out of the B12 move up while the ones that forced their way into the B12 get skipped.

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      1. ccrider55

        “ That’s 7 trips to DFW and 7 to Houston every year,”

        I believe it’d be 9 each, unless they reduce the number of conf games. Both conferences played 9 for quite a while.

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    2. Marc

      However, would there be a grudge angle that might preclude TT after having made the offer a decade ago, and supposedly declining the OU package, too.

      If TT can get into the Pac-12, and declines because of that, someone in Lubbuck is not thinking very clearly.

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      1. ccrider55

        The offer was UT/TT. OU would if UT did, and OkSt was going as the sidekick. So a short time later supposedly an Oklahoma pair move fell apart. If Pac scuttled, bad on them. If OU was merely leveraging B12, some cowboys are now more “concerned.”

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        1. Marc

          I think you’ve recalled it accurately. For Pac-12, it was no deal without Texas, and the Longhorns effectively scuttled it by insisting they would keep the Longhorn Network. That was a bridge too far for the Pac-12. I don’t know if they’d reject that offer today, but they did then. As I recall, most people here thought they were right.

          The Pac-12 is in a weaker position now. They’ve fallen farther behind, their conference network flopped, they’ve missed the playoff 4 straight years, and they’re not getting UT under any circumstances. If they are ever going to expand eastward, TT and OkSt are the best schools they will get.

          But TT and OkSt are in a weaker position too. There are no conceivable additions that preserve the Big 12 as a peer of the other Power Five. Without a Pac-12 offer, they are stuck trying to cobble together a second-rate conference with the very same AAC schools they rejected just a few years ago (i.e., Houston, UCF, USF, Memphis, etc.).

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          1. Kevin

            I could see a scenario years from now that if the B1G and Pac 12 merge to an extent, ND joins this national conference that Texas would consider moving from the SEC into this national conference. Not saying I would put a high probability on that scenario but if their experience is in the SEC is mediocre they may have second thoughts and want to associate with more like minded universities. Recruiting will never really be an issue for them

            I think with Texas you can’t ever be certain that they are committed for the long haul.

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          2. ccrider55

            Marc:

            “ effectively scuttled it by insisting they would keep the Longhorn Network. ”

            LHN did not yet exist, it was (I suspect) an espn promis to disincentivize the P16.

            “ The Pac-12 is in a weaker position now. They’ve fallen farther behind, “

            They are arguably at least in the same, if not better position than prior to the last realignment. Now minus BEast, and probably B12 for all intents and purposes.

            “their conference network flopped,”

            It has made money from day one, inspite of being a 7 channel operation.(which I suspect the Pac continued in order to have a “hole” for the LHN until it’s expiration before P16N took over rights). It could easily be streamlined to regional channels having 4 school instead of 2.

            “they’ve missed the playoff 4 straight years,”

            There is no playoff, it’s an invitational.

            “and they’re not getting UT under any circumstances.”

            Not under any currently foreseeable circumstance.

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          3. bullet

            Fox was the favorite to get the LHN at the time. And it was still expected to be in the range of $3 million a year as late as November 2010, 5 months after the Pac 16 did disentegrated.

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          4. ccrider55

            Bullet:

            Yup, I recall now. But I still think the exorbitant price espn payed was recognizing an opportunity to gain a hand in realignment, wham it occurred again. Interesting that the amount of potential buy out is similar to what remains owed to UT for cancellation of remaining LHN contract.

            I don’t like media “partners” becoming the organizing authority. The medium truly has become the message.

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    3. z33k

      Hard feelings/grudges are not going to enter the process at this point. This is about cold hard cash and securing a school/conference future.

      That applies to everyone and even includes ND’s feelings about the Big Ten I’d imagine.

      Now about what you’re discussing, the Pac-12 adding 4 schools from the Texas/Oklahoma area sounds sensible if the dollars work.

      They’d easily be the #2 conference in Texas and get their schools a lot of visits there.

      Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, TCU and maybe Houston as the 4th makes a world of sense in that kind of scenario.

      Gets lots of visits for Pac-12 teams into Texas. The question is money. I think the Pac-12 understands that they’re protected by geography but that they have to figure out ways to increase their funds to try to keep pace with the SEC and Big Ten even if they may never actually catch up.

      Being 3rd to the SEC and Big Ten is not a bad place to be for them if the ACC implodes.

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      1. ccrider55

        “ Hard feelings/grudges are not going to enter the process at this point. This is about cold hard cash and securing a school/conference future.”
        Agreed that they shouldn’t , if there is a clear advantage. Does Lubbock based TT hold more potential than a good private in the Ft Worth/ Dallas area? or an exceptional small private, or a huge public U based in Houston?or a combination?

        In reality grievance lasts generations, and does manifest. Being declined in order to maintain their situation and that of their fellow state school, while not necessarily in their peak financial interest was respectable to the Pac.
        Unless TT is a clear favorite to add I’d be in favor of watching the Pac allow the general Texas FB fans to do the math on UT in and with SEC money plus TT with MWC money?

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        1. z33k

          Yeah Texas Tech is probably more valuable than a good private because it pumps 8-9k or so grads (mostly) into Texas markets every year. They average 55k fans which is better than anybody else not named Texas/A&M in that state. That’s a decent proxy for their fanbase in Texas.

          There’s value in that, sorta similar to Rutgers’ value to the Big Ten besides location being the hundreds of thousands of alums in the NYC/Philly markets.

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          1. ccrider55

            The new Pac comish has made some intriguing statements about the necessity of AAU membership. Out of 66 how many are actually available and/or interested in a change of athletic conf membership? I’m waiting th hear presidents and chancellors give the ok to something significantly lower.

            P.S. No, TT is not in the shadow of Rutgers value to a conference. Sage brush and jackalopes aside. 😉

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          2. Little8

            Only 40 AAU members play big time football. This excludes the Ivy League, but includes such catches as Buffalo, Rice and Tulane. Other than those 3 I think Kansas and Iowa State are also looking.

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    4. Colin

      Look, this is kinda goofy. The Big Ten isn’t going to add Texas Tech or SMU or TCU or Houston or Rice or OK St or ISU or Rice or UTSA or Texas A&M Corpus Christi. It is not going to happen.

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        1. Colin

          Oops, I missed that. However, the best expansion schools for the Pac-12 are Hawaii, UNLV (they are already archrivals), BYU and Air Force. That’s four time zones plus excellent away games sites in Vegas and Honolulu.

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          1. Marc

            @Colin: Do you have a random number generator that spits out these impossible combinations? Even with a collective lobotomy, those are not move the Pac-12 would make.

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          2. Colin

            Marc, the Pac has traditionally been pairs or natural rivals. The Pac-8 was Wash & Wash St; OR & OR St; Stanford & Cal and USC & UCLA. Next they added AZ & AZ St.

            But then came Colorado and Utah, which have never had a rivalry and the attempt to create one has flopped. However if the Pac added BYU and AFA, then there would again be two pairs of natural rivals: Utah & BYU and CO & AFA.

            Hawaii and UNLV doesn’t sound like a rivalry. Nonetheless, it is one. They have a traveling trophy (link) and the Hawaiians nickname for Vegas is “The Ninth Island”.

            Now, if you were an alumnus of Cal or USC or UCLA living in California, where would you prefer to visit for away football games? Honolulu and Vegas? Or Lubbock and Houston?

            https://hawaiiathletics.com/news/2017/10/31/football-unlv-hawai-i-debut-new-rivalry-trophy.aspx

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          3. Little8

            Since Hawaii’s stadium only seats 9000 there is not going to be much room for visitors.
            FYI: Aloha Stadium (former home) is closed…had to be due to structural issues.

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          4. Colin

            Little8, New Aloha Stadium

            In July 2019, Governor of Hawaii David Ige signed Act 268 into law, appropriating $350 million for an Aloha Stadium redevelopment project. The funds will go toward the construction of a new stadium and land development, including a mixed-use sports and entertainment complex.[31]

            The New Aloha stadium is a proposed 35,000 seat multi-purpose stadium to be built in Halawa, Hawaii for the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football program, starting in Fall 2023. The area around the stadium will also include entertainment venues, retail stores, restaurants, housing, hotels, recreational sites, cultural amenities, and green space. It will replace and be constructed on the site of the current stadium

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          5. Little8

            35K is a G5 size stadium. Only 4 P5 stadiums <45K: Duke 40K, Vandy 39.8K, WSU 35.1K, and Wake Forest 31.5K.

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          6. Brian

            Colin,

            The NCAA had to create special rules to get anyone to play Hawaii, basically bribing schools with an extra game’s revenue to pay for the trip. P12 schools don’t want to fly all of their sports to HI every year. And it’s not like HI is a TV brand.

            Also, CU’s rivals are NE and CSU. And CU and UU were rivals from 1903-1962 (2nd most frequent rival after CSU or USU), then they stopped playing. AFA is not a rival and never will be.

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      1. Brian

        We’re talking the P12, not the B10. And we’re kind of joking (about Rice and SMU, anyway).

        That said, the P12 should definitely add Rice and Tulane.

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  42. Mike

    IMHO – not the best move they could make

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