The Art of Deception: Big 12 vs. ESPN

For most conference realignment moves, the timing may often be surprising, but the logic behind them makes sense. The SEC taking Texas and Oklahoma is a perfect example: the move came out of nowhere last week and shocked the college football world to its core, but it’s a move that makes perfect sense for the parties involved with increased money and power.

Every once in awhile, though, conference realignment causes a story that goes beyond the realm of reasonable possibility, such as a Power 5 conference commissioner publicly going postal on ESPN. Yesterday, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby sent a cease and desist letter to ESPN where he accuses the network of attempting to induce league members to join another conference. Then, he didn’t just let that letter speak for itself: he basically went to every media outlet out there (sans ESPN) and left no doubt about how he really feels. Conspiracy! Deception! Manipulation! Tortious interference! Backstabbing partner! All that we need is a missing body and this would be an episode of Dateline!

The only thing crazier than all of this is ESPN’s alleged plan: dissolve the Big 12 by having 3 to 5 members join the AAC. Not the ACC, but the AAC. Now, from a pure ESPN perspective, the dissolution of the Big 12 makes financial sense: that allows Texas and Oklahoma to move to the SEC without paying any exit obligations (likely in the neighborhood of $70 million to $80 million for each of those schools), move the most attractive remaining Big 12 brands to a less expensive AAC contract that’s 100% under the control of ESPN, and eliminate around $1 billion in rights fees that are remaining on the current Big 12 contract with ESPN. I have no doubt that ESPN would love everything to play out this way.

However, if these allegations are true, this is an insanely brazen and obtuse proposal regardless of incentives for ESPN. If we assume that no other P5 league is going to take any of the remaining Big 12 members, how on Earth did ESPN think this was going to work? Think of it from the perspective of the remaining Big 12 schools of the ESPN “offering”:

(1) This would have involved asking Oklahoma State to ask Tulsa for an invite to a league. It would have involved Texas Tech, Baylor and TCU to ask SMU and Houston to the same. Putting aside football, this would have required Kansas State and freaking Kansas (whose basketball program was founded by basketball inventor James Naismith) asking Wichita State to join the Shockers’ league!

(2) The Big 12 would just willingly disband and give up $140 million to $160 million of exit fees from Texas and Oklahoma.

(3) The Big 12 would further willingly dissolve and give up around $1 billion for the rest of the existing TV deal with ESPN.

Once we take a step back from the initial shock of how openly public this dispute is between the Big 12 and ESPN, the alleged proposal from ESPN is frankly comical. It’s no wonder that Bob Bowlsby claims that he has receipts that ESPN has been attempting this here: any Big 12 school that received a proposal from ESPN for them to join the AAC (not the ACC) so that they can dissolve the league and make less money in the process would have forwarded those texts and emails to the Commissioner’s Office with the subject line: “Dude?! WTF?!”

To be sure, nothing is going to change ESPN’s power position in college sports (or simply the sports world in general). However, I believe that this is going to backfire on the AAC quite badly. The AAC might get a few days of positive news cycles where they appear to be the aggressor as opposed to being the hunted in the conference realignment game. However, when anyone takes a step back and goes line-by-line comparing the Big 12 and AAC members, the fact of the matter is that the AAC would take every Big 12 member while there are several schools that the Big 12 wouldn’t touch from the AAC. That inherently means that the remaining Big 12 schools as a core are simply more valuable than the AAC and it makes more financial sense for the Big 12 to take the best schools from the AAC as opposed to the other way around.

Just 24 hours ago, I would have believed that the Big 12 was aiming to have as little backfilling as possible (maybe just taking 1 AAC school like Cincinnati plus independent BYU) or even simply stand pat at 8 schools. Frankly, the Big 12 has been spending the past several years convincing itself of reasons to not take AAC schools such as Cincinnati, Houston, UCF and Memphis. I believe those days are gone. With this accusation of the AAC coordinating with ESPN for the equivalent of a hostile takeover, my sense is that the Big 12 is going to find every reason to strip mine anything of value from the AAC to neutralize any real or perceived threat here. This may turn out well for the AAC schools that I just mentioned, but any current schadenfreude at the Big 12 predicament from the bottom half of the AAC is wildly misplaced.

In the past week, I feel that a lot of fan chatter has overrated the chances of the Big 12 schools to get an invite to any of the other Power 5 conferences since they were ignoring institutional fits and simply how much more money a school needs to bring to the Big Ten, Pac-12 or ACC just for expansion to break-even for them (much less actually be more profitable). However, it seems as if though the tide has turned where the Big 12 is now underrated in comparison to the AAC and rest of the Group of 5 leagues. The truth is somewhere in the middle – the rest of the Big 12 may not be finding homes in other P5 leagues, but they still have absolute poaching power over the G5 leagues if only because of a combination of autonomy status with the NCAA, incoming exit fees from Texas and Oklahoma and existing NCAA Tournament credits. To say that I’m watching all of this from the sidelines while eating popcorn is an understatement: this is all worthy of downing an entire souvenir Chicago skyline tin of Garrett’s Popcorn.

(Image from the Big 12 Conference)

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

1,008 thoughts on “The Art of Deception: Big 12 vs. ESPN

      1. Danny K.

        Go Coors Beer and Go Macy’s!

        Whut?

        Back in the old days, Coors had a mystique because you couldn’t get it. Smokey and the Bandit had to bootleg a whole semi full of Coors from Texarkana because of that mystique.

        Now that it’s available everywhere? Just another mediocre mass-produced beer.

        My point is that Nebraska and Oklahoma we’re almost a legend. They came from this exotic place that people thought was full of steers and wheat. Now that Nebraska is available everywhere and has tougher competition? Meh. Same thing is going to happen to Oklahoma, but they won’t fall as far.

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        1. Colin

          Danny, back in the old days Coors beer was not pasteurized before or after canning/bottling. It was great stuff, fabulous flavor. It had to be kept cold during trucking all the way from the from the brewery to the final destination. That was the reason for local distribution, not beer snobbery.

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          1. Danny K.

            The point is still that you covet something that is not readily attainable. Once you attain it, you find out it was no big deal.

            Like

  1. manifestodeluxe

    So will we see those “receipts” in their entirety and not just email quotes plucked from context?

    Regardless, this would be an insanely stupid move from ESPN. Not that ESPN is a genius, but this “sources tell me WVU and Army are going to get an SEC invite” bad.

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  2. Al

    How long do you think the Big 12 would maintain conference autonomy without Texas and OU, regardless of the G5 schools they add?

    That doesn’t seem to be in the best interests of the SEC or ESPN.

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    1. Brian

      I think that’s up to the other conferences and/or NCAA. I don’t actually know the process by which certain conferences were named as autonomous.

      The P12 and ACC may have a vested interest in protecting the B12’s status so they won’t be next to lose it.

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  3. loki_the_bubba

    So, as always, we all want to know how this will impact the mighty Rice Owls. Unfortunately my first thoughts are negative. If the B12-2-2+2-2 raids four from the AAC, the American may want to be a more compact conference. Let’s say the chosen four are Houston, Memphis, Cincy, and UCF. The bulk of the conference will be east coast, with the small privates Tulane, SMU, and Tulsa, plus basketball only WSU, out west. The AAC could easily to decide to become an east cost group. Not adding anything west of the Mississippi makes sense. The could go with Marshall, Charlotte, MTSU and WKU. Leaving the Owls in a rump CUSA.

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    1. Jersey Bernie

      I must say that your musings about Rice are interesting. Looks like you may have to settle for Rice being an outstanding academic institution and never be a football power in Texas.

      Somehow that seems like that is not a bad deal for Rice alums, though I understand your frustrations.

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  4. z33k

    Ultimately, this move made perfect sense from the ESPN angle, it solves all their problems in a nice and tidy way:

    Texas/OU take all of their big brand value to the SEC an supercharge that league, all of TV rights of which will soon be under ESPN control.

    And then the AAC swallows all of the remainder of the Big 12 with their deal with ESPN that places heavy emphasis on games on ESPN+.

    That’s pretty much a perfect solution for ESPN, except for the plain financial incentives for the Big 12 to remain together and poach the AAC instead as you outline here Frank.

    And yeah, most sensible scenario from here is for the Big 12 to poach the AAC of its best value schools and establish themselves as the clear #5.

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    1. z33k

      The scary thing for everyone else in CFB is that ESPN is basically laying out their plans in such a naked way:

      They want to consolidate the big brands and pay them premium dollars and give them most of the big TV slots in a smaller # of conferences.

      And then the rest will get much smaller paydays and be shown more on ESPN+.

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    2. RichardMoler

      The only way this could have worked is if one or more of the Power 4 Conferences invited a few of the remaining Big XII schools. Say the Pac taking Tech and Oklahoma State and Kansas going Big Ten or ACC.
      Then the AAC could target schools like Iowa State, Baylor, and Kansas State (the three schools least likely to ever get invited to a Power Conference and hope they jump ship to secure themselves a life raft.

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  5. Colin

    June 4th, 2010: Big Ten expansion: E-mails hint eyes are upon Texas

    “A decision about expanding the Big Ten might be months away, but e-mail conversations indicate that the University of Texas is an object of the conference’s attention. And the school’s athletic director isn’t making a commitment to stay in the Big 12.

    “Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee sent an e-mail to Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany on April 20 saying that he had spoken with Texas President William Powers.

    “I did speak with Bill Powers at Texas, who would welcome a call to say they have a ‘Tech’ problem,” Gee wrote in an e-mail that was among several obtained by The Dispatch through a public-records request for documents and correspondence related to Big Ten expansion proposals.

    “Texas Tech is one of Texas’ rivals in the Big 12 conference. Ohio State officials declined a Dispatch request to explain the “Tech” problem.

    “Public record laws do not require us to provide further clarification on meaning,” OSU spokeswoman Amy Murray said in an e-mail. “While a few of the e-mails are cryptic, we aren’t obliged to provide additional explanation.”

    “Although speculation about the Big Ten’s interest in Texas has been widespread in the 51/2 months since the conference announced it would consider expansion, the e-mail is rare evidence of communication between the school and a high-ranking Big Ten representative.”

    https://www.dispatch.com/article/20100604/SPORTS/306049719

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      1. Colin

        Clearly, Texas was ready to sign on with the Big Ten at that time. So it appears that the Big Ten dropped the ball sometime during the last decade. Now UT is going to the SEC without even talking to the Big Ten as an option. What happened?

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        1. manifestodeluxe

          The landscape shifted? Think about where the conferences were in 2010 compared to 2021, or the business of football, or the NCAA, or Texas and Oklahoma politics, or even the country in general. There’s any number of reasons why Texas decided to pursue the SEC vs the BigTen this time around.

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          1. Colin

            Spin it any way you wish but, ten years ago, we had the Horns hooked (sorry for the pun) and now we’re having serious discussions about bringing in Kansas instead. The Big Ten dropped the ball, period.

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          2. z33k

            Sorry but we didn’t have the horns hooked, there was always a problem.

            Whether the BTN or the TT issue.

            As soon as ESPN made it worth Texas’ money to stay, they stayed.

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          3. Brian

            Colin,

            Did we? UT uses leverage as needed. They almost joined the B10 in the 90s, and there the B10 screwed up. But in 2010? You don’t know where UT wants to be until they commit to somewhere.

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        2. @Colin – 11 years ago, the Longhorn Network (whether right or wrong) was clearly a priority for UT. They killed the Pac-16 proposal over the LHN (where other Big 12 schools were confirmed to have SIGNED contracts with the then-Pac-10 to make the move) and it would have been even more untenable in the Big Ten.

          Now, Texas is willing to get rid of the LHN to join the SEC, but I don’t think that was in UT’s headspace 11 years ago when having your own network was priority #1.

          Another point that I’ve mentioned before: the UT Board of Regents chair has been driving the discussions with the SEC and, if you look at his biography, he is a 100% pure politician’s politician. The academically-minded administration at UT may very well prefer the Big Ten, but from a political standpoint, my educated guess is that aligning the state’s flagship university with the South is likely going to be significantly more popular in that region with the much more plentiful T-shirt fans.

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          1. manifestodeluxe

            “The academically-minded administration at UT may very well prefer the Big Ten, but from a political standpoint, my educated guess is that aligning the state’s flagship university with the South is likely going to be significantly more popular in that region with the much more plentiful T-shirt fans.”

            Right. Austin the city may be one thing, but Texas the state is another beast entirely. UT made good sense, but culturally the state fits more with southern states/schools. I remember reading quite a few UT fan comments that were positively livid about the Pac12 deal, to say nothing of the OU/OkSt/TT fans. They didn’t want to be associated with California.

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        3. Marc

          Clearly, Texas was ready to sign on with the Big Ten at that time.

          All you’ve got is an email from Gordon Gee telling Delany he ought to speak with the UT president. There’s a long way from that, to “ready to sign on.” We don’t even know what was said in the supposed phone call. No source has ever reported that UT was at the point of signing on.

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        4. Brian

          Colin,

          More cynically, what UT really said was they wanted the B10 to tell them they have a TT problem. That would be evidence UT could use to show the politicians that TT is holding them back from better options, then they could go to the SEC.

          They knew the B10 would say no to TT while the SEC might have said yes to get UT.

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  6. Mike

    The formal SEC vote is today (I saw a report of 4ET). The next shoe to drop is how Texas and Oklahoma are going to avoid the next five years in the Big 12. I have a feeling this is going to get uglier.

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    1. Marc

      Slim and none.

      They will make more money in the SEC. They will be playing more of the schools they consider to be peers. They will be playing against schools that are culturally similar. They will be playing the schools that Texas H.S. football stars want to be playing against. They will preserve their OK regular-season rivalry as a conference game.

      The B10 is worse for Texas in every respect, except academics. But the SEC has improved academically—not to B10 levels, but to an extent where Texas is not embarrassed to be there. Nobody makes a conference switch for purely academic reasons when it is athletically and financially worse.

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      1. manifestodeluxe

        “The B10 is worse for Texas in every respect, except academics.”

        Well and money. The SEC projections may be forecasting future earnings past the BigTen, but what we’ve seen so far is that the BigTen has made more per year to date. There’s no saying Texas/OU couldn’t earn more by taking their talents to the BigTen instead of the SEC. Aside from that caveat though I agree.

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        1. Marc

          The SEC projections may be forecasting future earnings past the BigTen, but what we’ve seen so far is that the BigTen has made more per year to date.

          It’s true, if you look backwards, the Big Ten has been the bigger money winner historically. No analyst I am aware of thinks Texas looking forwards could make more money in the Big Ten. If you think so, I’d love to see the math.

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          1. manifestodeluxe

            @Marc: I have seen analysts make projections for the SEC, but I haven’t seen any make projections on the BigTen because that’s not the story.

            All I know is the SEC wasn’t beating the BigTen financially without Texas, despite all of the advantages they have. We know this based on reported fact. Now they’re expected to beat the BigTen financially, based on analysis including Texas. But it’s not like Texas would suddenly drop a ton in value if they went to a conference that was already ahead, nor would that conference drop in existing value before admitting them. So I fail to see how it would hold that they wouldn’t potentially make more in the BigTen.

            Now, that isn’t to say Texas is somehow screwing up by choosing the SEC and not even giving the BigTen a sniff this round. Money might be the bus driver, but there’s more to this than just money. I just don’t think it’s fair to say the SEC has a financial advantage at the foundational level, because we already know this hasn’t been the case and there isn’t much known evidence that this would be the case without Texas/OU.

            Remember, the BigTen’s agreement expires in 2023. If they had managed to get Texas/OU under contract before that the next deal would’ve been astronomical as well. But they didn’t, so this is all academic.

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      2. Andy

        The thing about SEC academics is it’s not as bad as it used to be. 10 years ago the SEC was the worst academic conference among the P5 conferences, but that’s no longer the case. The SEC now has 5 AAU schools: Texas, Texas A&M, Florida, Vanderbilt and Missouri. Also, Georgia and Kentucky, while not AAU, are still solid research institutions. Georgia ranks #55 in research spending, and Kentucky ranks #62. So, again, not AAU, but in that tier just below AAU. Even LSU and Oklahoma rank in the 80s so not terrible.

        In a way, the SEC is kind of like the Big Ten in reverse. In the Big Ten, the top half of the conference is pretty good at football and the bottom half is not very good at all. But almost all of them are solid academically. In the SEC, the top half of the conference (including Texas and Oklahoma) is decent at academics and research, whereas the bottom half is not very good. But almost all SEC members are solid at football.

        The top half of the SEC are decently strong research institutions, so there’s plenty there for Texas to collaborate with. It’s good enough. So that makes the decision palatable, and then they can join for all fo the football reasons they wanted to join and not feel too bad about it.

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        1. Andy

          To drive home my point about the Big Ten being the SEC in reverse, if you look at the social media rankings for football programs, here’s the Big Ten

          3. Michigan
          4. Ohio State
          11. Penn State
          15. Wisconsin
          20. Nebraska
          23. Michigan State
          27. Iowa
          38. Minnesota
          48. Rutgers
          50. Illinois
          52. Maryland
          54. Purdue
          55. Indiana
          73. Northwestern

          So the top half is actually pretty good, but the bottom half is pretty meh. You could say the same exact thing about SEC academics.

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  7. Andy

    I’m extremely skeptical that the ACC wants West Virginia. And while the Big Ten might tolerate adding Kansas, I doubt they would do so without a viable partner (Missouri, Colorado, Notre Dame, Virginia, someone like that). I seriously doubt Iowa State is considered a viable partner.

    The Pac 12 might benefit from expanding, and if they did I could see them taking Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Kansas, plus one more. So that’s the real question.

    If the Pac 12 does expand, then the Big 12 is vulnerable, and then maybe they merge into the AAC or something.

    Otherwise, the Big 12 will survive. They could add 2, 4, 6, or 8 teams. I’m guessing 2 or 4.

    Best available options, by Social Media presence rank as a proxy for fan support:

    existing members:

    19. West Virginia
    30. Oklahoma State
    31. TCU
    39. Baylor
    44. Texas Tech
    45. Iowa State
    57. Kansas
    70. Kansas State

    Candidates:

    33. UCF
    37. BYU
    43. Boise State
    49. Houston
    59. USF
    62. Cincinnati
    63. Navy
    65. Wyoming
    68. Army
    71. Temple
    76. Colorado State
    77. Fresno State
    85. SMU
    87. Utah State
    89. Southern Miss
    91. Memphis
    94. Air Force
    96. Tulane
    98. San Diego State
    99. UNLV
    100. UConn

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    1. Marc

      Good data. I think the B12 would want to get back up to 12 members. I suspect they are not interested in Boise State, no matter what the stats say. The most plausible adds are UCF, USF, Houston, and BYU. If BYU doesn’t work, then Cincinnati.

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  8. Tyson

    Texas to the B1G leaves most of us Texas feeling like we’re getting an upgrade in pay only. The games against Big 10 teams just aren’t compelling, especially since most predict we would go to the west in the B1G. But placed in the SEC we get to renew historic rivalries with A&M and Arkansas, start new rivalries with LSU and others, and of course, most importantly, keep the marquee game with OU. It is by FAR the best solution. No fan really gives a shit about the academics of the league, but the SEC is at worst a push and more likely an upgrade from the Big 12

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  9. z33k

    It’s completely nuts (because I’m not sure it really works geographically) but I do expect at least one Big Ten president to ponder adding 6-8 Pac-12 teams to the conference.

    USC, UCLA, Cal, Stanford, Oregon, UW, Arizona, Colorado.

    Those 8 probably would be considered. I can’t see a full merger happening, Utah is AAU but I can’t see them getting invited and if somebody gets left behind, it’s probably them.

    Arizona State, Oregon State, Washington State also left behind.

    My ultimate question though is… does this make more money for everyone involved?

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    1. Brian

      There are a lot of people in CA + OR + WA + AZ + CO. Over 60M by my quick math. Plus people in nearby states like NV and the mountain states who root for P12 schools. Their fandom isn’t as strong as the south or midwest, but it’s still a lot of people. And the B10 COP/C would love to have Stanford, Cal and UCLA in the group for academic/research reasons. I think Fox and/or ESPN would make it worthwhile.

      I’m not saying it will happen or that it should.

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    2. manifestodeluxe

      I can see why a B10 president might consider it, but would the Pac12 schools? Unlike the B12 their members don’t seem to be panicking about being #3 or #4 on the revenue totem. There’s plenty to like though, and the idea of the SEC/BigTen relationship to essentially become The United States vs The South is fairly amusing.

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      1. Marc

        I can see why a B10 president might consider it, but would the Pac12 schools? Unlike the B12 their members don’t seem to be panicking about being #3 or #4 on the revenue totem.

        I would not say they are panicking, but they are not happy either. It’s a big reason why they forced out Larry Scott.

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        1. Mike

          The only way I see the B1G adding PAC teams is by getting enough to create pods (instead of divisions) and then having a western pod. This way travel (and 4 hour time differences) can be effectively managed.

          20 teams is the fewest that I think would work for the B1G. Add 5 schools from the PAC (western pod) and one from somewhere in the central or eastern time zone to have 15 teams (3 pods of 5)

          UCLA and USC maximize the exposure in California, meet AAU requirements, and fulfill football/recruiting needs. They do this without needing to add other California schools which would limit revenue earning potential. (This leaves out Cal and Stanford – which are great institutions – but redundant in the California market)

          Washing and Oregon also meet the same criteria as USC and UCLA, and do so by adding additional states/TV sets.

          Colorado and Kansas would make the most logical adds of teams that are available. New region/revenue with Colorado, and they would be in the western pod. Kansas helps build the bridge to Colorado, and they would be in Midwest pod.

          20 schools is a very large conference, but allowing the western schools to stay in their own pod minimizes travel while maximizing new revenue and recruiting regions.

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    3. Colin

      z33k, yesterday I would have thought your proposal was indeed completely nuts. However after reading some of the internet traffic over the past 24 hrs, there may indeed be some melding of the B1G and Pac-12.

      Imagine both conferences remaining intact but teams of either playing each other as conference members. For example, a B1G school like Illinois would play 7 B1G schools plus 2 PAC schools each year, and all 9 games would count as conference games in the B1G. Ditto the PAC schools, B1G games would count as PAC games. Nebraska and Colorado resume annual in-conference rivalry. Fox buys half of the PAC-12 Train Wreck TV Network and we get a single national network that combines both the BTN and the Pac-12 Train Wreck Network.

      One thing that the PAC has learned for sure, conference networks need a Sugar Daddy. They can’t go it alone. They need a national broadcaster to bundle their sports network with the regional and national content.

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  10. Brian

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/sec/2021/07/29/steve-spurrier-weighs-texas-oklahoma-leaving-big-12-sec/5416990001/

    The head ball coach is at it again.

    “I can understand Texas jumping over,” Spurrier said, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “They get to play Texas A&M again. They get to … they can’t win the Big 12 anyway.

    “I think they’re only won two in the last 30 years or so. What is it?”

    “I’m sort of surprised Oklahoma,” Spurrier said, according to the Sentinel. “I just don’t think they’re going to come over to the SEC and win with any regularity the way that they win the Big 12. Their fans might say, ‘Yeah, now we can beat Alabama and LSU and all these dudes.’ It may not happen like that.

    “I don’t know. It’s obviously more money.”

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    1. manifestodeluxe

      Eh, he’s right and he’s wrong. To counter the attitude, I think if SEC fans are anticipating Oklahoma to hop over and get rolled like another Missouri they’re going to be sorely disappointed. Texas and Oklahoma are kings for a reason. OU getting steamrolled by a stacked LSU squad in the playoffs isn’t the same as OU playing the rest of the SEC.

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        1. bullet

          Mizzou actually won a couple SEC East titles while they still had Big 12 players. Haven’t done much since.

          Texas bowl games vs. SEC since 2014:
          Sugar 28-21 Georgia
          Texas 33-16 Missouri
          Texas 7-31 Arkansas
          Oklahoma bowl games vs. SEC since 2014
          Cotton 55-20 Florida
          Peach 28-63 LSU
          Orange 34-45 Alabama
          Rose 48-54 2OT Georgia
          Sugar 35-19 Auburn
          Sugar 45-31 Alabama

          Guess Spurrier is just mad about last year’s Cotton Bowl.

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          1. Andy

            Missouri’s decline wasn’t about not having Big 12 players, it was about their winningest coach of all time, Gary Pinkel, getting cancer and retiring. Win percentage took a big hit after that. We’ll see how the new coach, Drinkwitz, does. Maybe he can recapture some of Pinkel’s magic.

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          2. FrankTheAg

            @Andy

            Highly unlikely there will be pods. Much more likely the league will go with 3 historic rivals and rotates the other teams in groups of 6.

            I’d bet Missou gets OU, Ark and Kentucky. They’d play either A&M or Texas once a year as well in the 6 game rotation.

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        2. bullet

          Pinkel was a loss, but so was Texas recruiting. Pinkel was able to get some good Texas players to Missouri when they were in the Big 12, but not afterwards. Will anyone be able to get good Georgia and Florida players to Missouri? Will they be able to get good Texas players again with Texas and OU in their division?

          Texas always had trouble when they tried to recruit Florida players to Austin. They could do California and Arizona, but Florida was just a different culture.

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  11. This becomes all about FOX. If FOX wants to expand the PAC 12 it can encourage an invitation to OK St, Iowa St.,TCU, and ? zand leAve the others scrambling.That dissolves the Big XII, helps FOX (and ironically Espn) by doing away with the rights fee paybacks that would otherwise be owed by the breakaway schools –including Texas and OU. The PAC’s hubris as to their insistence on additions with academic purity can be mollified by $$$.

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    1. Marc

      There’s no way the Little Eight are going to walk away from what Texas and Oklahoma would owe if they leave before 2025. The dollars are just too big. Nor can I imagine that Fox would be willing to pony up such a sum, just to start a new deal a couple of years early.

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  12. Brian

    https://theathletic.com/2735350/2021/07/28/why-the-secs-realignment-maneuvers-could-lead-others-to-pump-the-brakes-on-college-football-playoff-expansion/

    It has become clear, both to other college sports leaders and to anyone following the timeline of events closely, that SEC commissioner Greg Sankey was preparing to poach the Big 12’s crown jewel programs even as he worked alongside Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby in the four-person CFP working group that studied expansion options. It is also clear, now, that Bowlsby was unaware of what was in motion behind his back; he praised Sankey for supporting a 12-team model that would be “what’s best” for college football at large.

    “It creates some concern about the way the 12-team proposal was constructed, with a limited number of folks in the room and imperfect information between the people who were in the room,” new Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff told The Athletic. “The proper process is: Everybody who has a say should have a say, and everybody should be operating with the same information.”

    The CFP’s 12-year contract runs through the 2025 season, but the surprise announcement of a 12-team proposal last month led many to assume the four-team format would be blown up sooner than that. Now, momentum to make the change to the format before the contract runs out may be grinding to a halt.

    “More importantly, I’ve yet to get an answer — although I think in hindsight I understand the motivations — about why we were rushing to get this out in June,” Kliavkoff said, “with Alston (the Supreme Court case) and NIL on the table and with no immediate next step in (the timeline for) expansion. There was, at the time, no understanding of why you needed to announce it in June.

    “We mis-set expectations among our fans about how quickly this can get done. I think that’s a shame.”

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  13. Jersey Bernie

    The article is behind a paywall, so I did not read it.

    While what Sankey did was surely legal, it was just as surely immoral. While I am sure that the SEC does not care, there is no reason to trust that conference in the future – for a long time. The SEC presidents had to know what Sankey was doing by poaching those teams and going for a 12 team payoff.

    As I posted on the prior thread, the obvious (and proper) reaction would be to reduce the playoff number to 8 from 12, or limit the number of teams from one conference to say four or maybe five maximum. In light of how this went down, why would any other conference even accept the chance that the SEC might squeeze in six teams. Going to four might make a few SEC teams wonder if they just lost spots by bringing in UT and OU.

    Like

    1. @Jersey Bernie – I just don’t how the powers that be can backtrack on playoff expansion. The other part of The Athletic article was Kliavkoff also saying that he wasn’t looking to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater and it would probably more tweaks to the playoff proposal as opposed to an overhaul.

      I’ve noted this elsewhere: just because the 12-team playoff might be good (or even great) for the SEC doesn’t mean that it’s not good for everyone else in college football.

      For all of the talk about at-large bids, probably the most important change that I’ve seen over the past few years is how damaging it is to a power conference for them to NOT have a participant in the playoff. In the BCS era, the Rose Bowl race and playing for other BCS bowl slots could still keep the interest of fans, but that’s simply not the case any longer. Instead, TV viewership is much more akin to the NFL where games with playoff stakes (no matter who is playing) are now the driving force while everything else is ignored by comparison. To be clear, that’s not necessarily a bad thing since the viewership is in some ways a bit more egalitarian where the playoff race games trump pure brand name games. Of course, the problem is so many of those playoff race games involve 4 programs in particular (Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma) where it’s leaving little oxygen for the rest of college football.

      Anyway, the point is that if the Pac-12 can ensure that it’s going to get at least its conference champ into the playoff every year, then the at-large bid issue is almost superfluous. If the SEC position is that they either stay at 4 teams or go to 12 teams, I’m fairly certain that all of the other leagues (when push comes to shove) would rather go up to 12 teams (as the current CFP system that’s technically ALL at-large bids would be even worse with the perception of SEC power).

      Simply put, the playoff train might be delayed a little bit, but it’s still heading toward the station.

      Like

      1. Brian

        Frank,

        The presidents haven’t agreed to anything yet. It’s not backtracking. And going to 8 instead of 12 would still be expansion. Likewise limiting a conference to 4 teams in. The SEC will be against it, but they can always be the conference to veto expansion if they want.

        The 12-team playoff is bad for CFB and most schools in I-A. But it’ll pay more than the 4-team CFP, so they’ll agree to it.

        For all of the talk about at-large bids, probably the most important change that I’ve seen over the past few years is how damaging it is to a power conference for them to NOT have a participant in the playoff.

        The corollary will be getting in 1 team while the SEC gets 4-6. And how about all the G5 conferences that still don’t get in? What does it do to the MWC if the AAC keeps getting and they don’t?

        In the BCS era, the Rose Bowl race and playing for other BCS bowl slots could still keep the interest of fans, but that’s simply not the case any longer. Instead, TV viewership is much more akin to the NFL where games with playoff stakes (no matter who is playing) are now the driving force while everything else is ignored by comparison. To be clear, that’s not necessarily a bad thing since the viewership is in some ways a bit more egalitarian where the playoff race games trump pure brand name games.

        Yes, it is necessarily a bad thing. It is also what caused UT and OU to move.

        Anyway, the point is that if the Pac-12 can ensure that it’s going to get at least its conference champ into the playoff every year, then the at-large bid issue is almost superfluous.

        No, it isn’t. If 6 SEC teams are in and ESPN is showing the games, it will be broadcast as a 6 team playoff with some generic opponents not worth naming playing the all mighty SEC teams.

        If the SEC position is that they either stay at 4 teams or go to 12 teams, I’m fairly certain that all of the other leagues (when push comes to shove) would rather go up to 12 teams (as the current CFP system that’s technically ALL at-large bids would be even worse with the perception of SEC power).

        Or the rest could be adults and stand up to the SEC, who want the money as much as anyone. Draw a line in the sand and make the SEC be the lone dissent that prevents any expansion because they couldn’t get their way entirely.

        Like

        1. Marc

          Likewise limiting a conference to 4 teams in. The SEC will be against it…

          I don’t see the SEC vetoing a 4-team limit, if that’s what it takes to get it done. The current proposal is that the top six champs get in, and the rest are at-large. In their minds, they’d get their champ and three at-large, with everyone else left to fight over the remaining three at-large.

          Sure, they’d rather be able to put 7 teams in, as the current proposal allows, but a four-team limit still puts them in a position to dominate, assuming their teams are as good as they believe.

          Like

          1. Brian

            That’s why I said 4. It is a reasonable limit. If you aren’t top 4 in your conference, you don’t deserve to be in the CFP no matter where you are ranked. Otherwise the conference season means nothing.

            4 also happens to be how many the B10 and old SEC might have gotten in based on the CFP era. The idea is to not let taking UT and OU turn into 2 more spots for the SEC. It just gives them 2 more options to fill their 4 spots.

            The SEC has always been adamant about not limiting how many teams can get in, and foolishly everyone keeps agreeing with them. Even with this expansion to 12 they fall in line. The G5, P12 and B12 should always have been pushing for a cap (ACC too, but they keep thinking Miami and FSU will be elite again). ND, too. Only the SEC and B10 gain by unlimited teams, and now the SEC even more.

            Like

    2. Marc

      While what Sankey did was surely legal, it was just as surely immoral.

      Immoral, in what way? Everyone in the room has plans that they are under no obligation to share until they are ready. Did Bob Bowlsby really think that Texas wouldn’t test the waters as the GoR expiration date approached? The exact timing is a surprise, but not the outcome. Nobody who knows UT’s history ought to be shocked by this.

      For me, the biggest shocker is that Bowlsby was caught totally off guard. He apparently didn’t know his members at all. No wonder Fake Dan Beebe has come out of the woodwork. When your two keystone members leave, and you had no clue, there is something very wrong with how you’ve done your job.

      While I am sure that the SEC does not care, there is no reason to trust that conference in the future – for a long time.

      If we eliminate every conference that has poached another league’s members, I am not sure who’d be left to design the next playoff. Maybe ND would have to design it by themselves.

      Like

      1. Jersey Bernie

        This was not a question of poaching teams. Sankey went into those meetings and negotiated with the full knowledge that he was going to eviscerate the Big12 for the benefit of the SEC.

        Would other people in those negotiations have reacted differently if this were public knowledge?

        The expansion of the playoffs was not supposed to adversarial, but for the common good.

        Exclusive of the Big12, I believe that others in that room might well have viewed many things differently had they known the actual state of facts.

        When your “partner” intentionally misleads you, I call that immoral. If the negotiations were adversarial, that might be different. As far as I know, this was not supposed to be every man or woman for his or her own self.

        Like

        1. Marc

          It would’ve been naive to think SEC was in the room for purely altruistic reasons—assuming anyone thought that. Conferences have always been adversaries, who cooperate only in the minimal sense of agreeing on common rules so that they can compete against each other.

          Exclusive of the Big12, I believe that others in that room might well have viewed many things differently had they known the actual state of facts.

          True, but Notre Dame’s Jack Swarbrick was in the room too. How do you know he doesn’t have plans he hasn’t shared yet? Bowlsby could’ve had plans as well, the only difference being that his didn’t work. Ultimately, I think FTT is right that the playoff was going to expand regardless.

          When your “partner” intentionally misleads you, I call that immoral.

          Sankey didn’t mislead anybody, unless he said the SEC is staying at 14 teams forever, which I am sure he didn’t say.

          Like

        2. @Jersey Bernie – I honesty don’t believe this changes how the rest of college football views the overall playoff structure. Notre Dame and the G5 leagues are still going to want a 12-team playoff as currently proposed – they’re getting better access than before regardless of the SEC’s actions. The Big Ten and Pac-12 may want something firmer with guaranteed auto-bids for the power conferences and maybe making the Rose Bowl a permanent quarterfinal, but those are more specific details to be discussed as opposed to an objection to the overall structure.

          Even looking at it from a Big 12 perspective, I think the only thing that changes for them is that they’d probably push for a guaranteed power conference auto-bid for them as opposed to having the top 6 conference champs get auto-bids. They were going into the playoff discussions thinking that they were 99% protected within the top 6 conference champs, but that’s definitely not going to be so clear going forward. Otherwise, staying with a 4-team playoff certainly doesn’t help them or the other P5 leagues at all. They and the other P5 leagues might prefer an 8-team playoff with auto-bids for the power conference champs, but ND and the SEC have made it clear that they don’t agree and they can kill the deal themselves.

          Here’s the bottom line: I think it’s now a choice between staying at a 4-team playoff or going to a 12-team playoff because of the aforementioned SEC/ND opposition to 8 teams. My feeling is that fans are more bothered by the prospect of more SEC auto-bids than the leagues themselves. Ultimately, the powers that be want the format that’s going to (1) ensure that they get at least one team into the playoff every year so that the value of their regular season and conference championship game TV packages go up and (2) make the most money from the playoff itself overall.

          Like

          1. Brian

            Frank,

            “I honesty don’t believe this changes how the rest of college football views the overall playoff structure. Notre Dame and the G5 leagues are still going to want a 12-team playoff as currently proposed – they’re getting better access than before regardless of the SEC’s actions. The Big Ten and Pac-12 may want something firmer with guaranteed auto-bids for the power conferences and maybe making the Rose Bowl a permanent quarterfinal, but those are more specific details to be discussed as opposed to an objection to the overall structure.”

            I think this part of the disagreement. What you label as details is part of the overall structure in my mind. How many autobids? For whom? How many champ bids? What criteria for those champ bids? Any limits per conference? Where do they play? When do they play? How are teams chosen? None of those are minor details to me.

            If you just mean 12 teams with 4 byes as overall structure, there probably isn’t much disagreement since it’s more money and more access for everyone. Some people in every conference will worry about too many games, but nobody will turn down the money.

            “Even looking at it from a Big 12 perspective, I think the only thing that changes for them is that they’d probably push for a guaranteed power conference auto-bid for them as opposed to having the top 6 conference champs get auto-bids.”

            I think they’d definitely want to cap the number of teams the SEC (and thus anyone) can get, too.

            “Otherwise, staying with a 4-team playoff certainly doesn’t help them or the other P5 leagues at all. They and the other P5 leagues might prefer an 8-team playoff with auto-bids for the power conference champs, but ND and the SEC have made it clear that they don’t agree and they can kill the deal themselves.”

            Staying at 4 teams doesn’t help ND or the SEC either. They could kill the deal, but so could everyone else if ND and the SEC decide they have to get their way 100% or they’re going home. That sword cuts both ways. Why do you talk like everyone must acquiesce to the wishes of ND and the SEC on this?

            “I think it’s now a choice between staying at a 4-team playoff or going to a 12-team playoff because of the aforementioned SEC/ND opposition to 8 teams.”

            Screw them. If other conferences firmly believe 8 is the better option then they should stand up for it. You can always expand again to 12, but it’s almost impossible to shrink a playoff even if you realize you over-expanded it.

            “My feeling is that fans are more bothered by the prospect of more SEC auto-bids than the leagues themselves.”

            Sure, but fans always care more. ADs and presidents want the money first and foremost and don’t care about much else despite what they say. Since fans don’t get any of the money, we have other priorities.

            But even the people at the CFP meetings might have thought differently about limiting teams if they knew OU and UT would be in the SEC. We all saw the projections for how many teams from each conference would’ve made it over the past few years.

            Something like this since 2014 (CFP era):
            SEC: 8 schools and 19 appearances
            B1G: 7 schools and 20 appearances
            P-12: 7 schools and 11 appearances
            B-12: 5 schools and 12 appearances
            ACC: 4 schools and 11 appearances
            AAC: 4 schools and 4 appearances
            ND: 3 appearances
            MWC, MAC & SB: 1 appearance each
            CUSA: 0

            Of the B12 appearances, OU would’ve had 6 and UT 0. But add OU into the SEC mix, and you have 9 schools with 27 appearances. Of course the addition of OU and UT might also have knocked out some of those appearances as OU would be playing these other SEC playoff teams. So let’s call it 8 schools and 24 appearances. That’s still well ahead of the B10’s 7 and 20.

            That’s 44 of 84 slots to the SEC and B10, an average of over 6 of 12 slots per year. In 2018 it would’ve been 8 of 12. How would people react to that? And would that become a self-fulfilling prophecy, because past success helps those conferences do even better? That’s the trend from 2014 to 2020.

            “Ultimately, the powers that be want the format that’s going to (1) ensure that they get at least one team into the playoff every year so that the value of their regular season and conference championship game TV packages go up and (2) make the most money from the playoff itself overall.”

            No, they want the format that will make the most money for themselves. Presumably that includes making it in every year for the P5, and also making the most for the whole CFP. Everyone else will have much better odds of getting in if they cap conferences at 4 (or even 3) teams per year, and I doubt it would cost them much money overall (if any). Maybe cap with restrictions, like no at-large team outside the top 20 can get in over a 5th (or 4th) team from a conference, so you don’t dilute the field.

            The other questions is whether 6 champ slots makes as much sense to everyone with UT and OU in the SEC. That now sounds like the P4 plus 2 of the B12/AAC/MWC/other G5. Do they really want that? Might they put a restriction on rankings for the 6th champ?

            Like

          2. bullet

            The SEC and Big 10 will now have 30 of the 65 P5 teams and 7 of the 9 traditional and 8 of the 12 modern (including Florida schools) powers,, so its logical they would have around 50% of the bids to the playoff.

            Like

          3. Brian

            bullet,

            That doesn’t mean people would accept it. 30/65 < 0.5 but 8/12 = 0.667. An average of 6 (still above their weight, but not crazily so) with peaks of 8? That's every at-large pick in some years. I could see others wanting to cap entrants to give themselves better odds of getting an at-large bid.

            The enormous detail we haven't discussed is how the money will be split in a 12-team playoff.

            Currently:
            P5 each get $67M
            G5 split $92M
            $6M per team in the CFP
            $4M per team in the NY6

            Will the same sort of structure remain? The G5 are guaranteed at least 1 team getting in. There will be a lot more at-larges. If the major bowls are part of the CFP and an aligned champ doesn't qualify, what happens? Will the AAC and MWC be content to see the B12 reap a huge windfall despite having no real separation from them in terms of brands and TV ratings? Or will there be pressure to pay more to teams that make it and guarantee less (as a %)?

            The answer to the revenue split is directly tied to how conferences will feel about capping entrants.

            Like

  14. Mike

    Outgoing FSU President

    “My point to (FSU director of athletics) David Coburn and to (new ACC commissioner) Jim Phillips is I don’t want Florida State to be left behind. I consider us as part of the ACC, but I also know that we have a marquee name, Clemson has a marquee name. I think there might be people coming after us, I don’t know, but we’ve got to be prepared no matter what the options are.”

    https://www.news-journalonline.com/story/sports/college/fsu/football/2021/07/29/florida-state-fsu-football-john-thrasher-president-university-retiring-acc-ncaa-oklahoma-texas/5415221001/

    Like

    1. Brian

      “At the end of the day, it’s all about money. It’s about TV revenue, contracts. Nobody can leave a conference without a significant buyout penalty, including us, so it would have to be something very special for us to leave,” Thrasher said.

      “On the other hand, that doesn’t mean we can’t attract some other people. I think the ACC, when you put the academic side of what it’s about today against any of the other conferences, we’re head and shoulders (above), I think. That, to me, is attractive to some of the universities out there. Preparation, options, all that’s on the table. We’re getting prepared for whatever happens.

      Oh really? I can think of a couple of conferences who might disagree. Maybe even 3.

      Like

    2. Jersey Bernie

      I know a bit about the FSU situation, including knowing David Coburn,. but nothing that I am about to write is not commonly known. I have no inside info, but know how they think (which is obvious to everyone in any event).

      FSU has two huge issues/problems.

      Disparity in money to UF as opposed to FSU. FSU does not have huge money donors who could even try to close the gap, which will grow dramatically.

      Since TAMU “stole” Jimbo Fisher, the football product has collapsed. For now FSU is still a king, but for how much longer. Lots of people in Tallahassee do not mind the UT to SEC situation, since it is pure aggravation to Fisher.

      Back in the old days FSU had a top 5 recruiting class year after year and had the number one class more than once.. Now if they wind up with a top 10 class, they will be thrilled. The past three years FSU has been around 20, while Clemson is in the top two or three.

      While FSU still has a strong label, for how much longer? Since they are in the Florida/southern Georgia recruiting area, the potential to get back to the top is there. Will that last forever?

      Like

  15. Mike

    Like

    1. Brian

      How many bean balls should they expect in B12 baseball games over the next 4 years? Hard fouls in hoops? Clips, cut blocks and personal fouls in football?

      Like

      1. Mike

        How many bean balls should they expect in B12 baseball games over the next 4 years? Hard fouls in hoops? Clips, cut blocks and personal fouls in football?

        I hope none, because the athletes didn’t have any say in the decision and I don’t want to see injuries because of it. I do expect some very hostile crowds, untimely fouls, penalties, and tight strike zones. To the extent they can, I’m sure they’ll get the short end of the stick on start times (how’d Oklahoma end up with another 11AM kick? oops) and bowl slots.

        Like

  16. Alan from Baton Rouge

    So the SEC won the realignment game. The B1G has no counter other than Notre Dame and that doesn’t look like it’s happening anytime soon.

    So what does the B1G do? A merger with or raid of the PAC doesn’t appear to be the B1G’s style. The B1G should just play a different game.

    A scheduling alliance has been discussed, but what about a B1G/PAC showdown over the Labor Day weekend? Last season’s B1G # 1 plays PAC #1 on down the line, and then B1G 13 plays B1G 14 non conference.

    Sell it as a separate package when the current agreements expire. Use Thursday night, and three time slots on Friday, Sunday, and Monday, four slots on Saturday. No game competes against another. The top four games all on network primetime. PAC hosts one year, B1G hosts the following year. It would be a B1G/PAC marathon/telethon.

    Benefits include the B1G/PAC owning opening weekend and limiting the SEC to ACC schools for their neutral site games, or punching bags.

    This also allows the B1G and the PAC to boycott the SEC without formally boycotting the SEC.

    I’m an SEC guy just trying to help.

    Like

    1. z33k

      Only way the Pac-12 schools (6-8 of them join the Big Ten) is if USC drives that bus out of the Pac.

      USC is the one that makes those types of decisions in all likelihood (same way they did on them giving up their preferential deal that they and UCLA had for extra money to get a Pac-12 Network off the ground).

      As far as Big Ten goes, I think Big Ten just waits until we get closer to 2030s.

      FSU and Clemson aren’t going to sit in the ACC without making noise if they fall way behind the SEC and that could shake things up there for not only those 2 but also UNC/UVA and the rest of the ACC as well as ND.

      There’s no reason for the Big Ten to do anything to respond to the SEC here.

      Like

      1. ccrider55

        “ on them giving up their preferential deal that they and UCLA had for extra money to get a Pac-12 Network off the ground)”

        There was no extra money exchanged. It was a guarantee they would get the amount that was scheduled if the new numbers were low. They were not low. As a benefit of all schools grant of rights the P12N was able to be formed.

        Like

      2. Marc

        FSU and Clemson aren’t going to sit in the ACC without making noise if they fall way behind the SEC and that could shake things up there for not only those 2 but also UNC/UVA and the rest of the ACC as well as ND.

        FSU and Clemson have the same problem they had 10 years ago: no assurance that any other conference would offer them a better deal. That was why they signed the GoR.

        Arguably, their situation has gotten worse. Last time around, they could have flirted with the Big 12. Now, they can’t even do that.

        FSU is a rare bird in CFB: a recently crowned king. Their history of sustained excellence doesn’t go back a hundred years, or even fifty. They are in a rut right now. They don’t have the structural advantages that, say, Michigan has (another program in a rut). Even if there were no GoR, I am not sure the SEC would want them today. We already know the B1G doesn’t.

        So they can rattle their saber as much as they want, but it only matters if they have other options.

        Like

      3. Tom

        We will have to see what type of number the new SEC gets but I think it’s going to be significantly above what the B1G gets for the foreseeable future. I would guess UT/OU produced 70-80% of the Big 12’s value, and that value was just transferred to the SEC.

        Waiting until the 2030s to take a shot at the ACC/ND schools would be a major mistake. In the next 10+ years the SEC will be cashing checks, hiring the best coaching staffs, recruiting the best players, winning titles, and then repeating the cycle. There is already talk about the new SEC being the equivalent of the Premier League of college football. Assuming no other realignment, there’s going to be only one conference getting all the media attention and only one conference recruits flock to.

        Keep in mind the SEC will also be targeting the same ACC schools for its next expansion in the 2030s. I think the B1G could win a battle for UVA and GT but I think the SEC would win the battle for UNC with Duke coming along. At that point I could see the SEC offering FSU to lock up Florida.

        So now the B1G is looking at Miami or ND as its remaining ACC targets. Miami isn’t AAU and ND has spurned the B1G multiple times before. Would the addition of UVA/GT change that? Frankly, in this scenario I see ND remaining independent and keeping its non hockey sports in the reduced ACC which would still have Clemson (hard to see the SEC doubling up in South Carolina with a school that while elite now was above average not too long ago), Miami, and VT as football headliners and would most likely add UCF and WVU. ACC would be diminished but it would still be a power 4 league.

        I think the time is now to explore an acquisition of 6-9 Pac 12 schools in some form so that the new SEC doesn’t suck up all the oxygen in the room. To be clear, there aren’t any moves the B1G could make to stay ahead of the SEC, but I think this is the only move that keeps them close.

        Like

        1. Brian

          Tom,

          The SEC won’t find out their new numbers for a while if UT and OU don’t join until 2025 (doubtful). The new deal to replace the CBS deal starts in 2024. ESPN already agreed to pay a ton for that, but will presumably up the number now. The existing SEC/ESPN deal runs through 2033-34. While ESPN will boost the SEC deal to account for UT and OU, it won’t be quite the same as if the SEC was starting a new deal because Fox can’t bid against them and drive the price up.

          The B10 starts a new deal in 2023. The B10 projects to be paying out almost $60M per school by then, and roughly $70M by 2029 just based on annual 3% growth. Historically, new deals also include a bump up from the old deal as sports rights keep increasing in value.

          Most leaks have put the SEC in the vicinity of $80M per year roughly. I don’t see that as huge gap, especially if the B10 gets a bump with their new deal. We’ll know soon enough as the B10’s new deal should come out next year I’d think.

          I doubt UT and OU are quite that much of the value, simply because other teams provide 75% of the appearances and they have better brands than G5 teams, but I agree it’s more than 50%. And UT hasn’t been in the B12 CCG a lot, so other schools have been providing value there.

          Until proven otherwise, the ACC is untouchable until the 2030s. All their rights are given to the ACC until 2036. It can’t make financial sense to take any of their teams until the 2030s. If the UT and OU moves shows otherwise, then maybe the B10 or unhappy ACC members push harder.

          The world isn’t ending. ESPN already only talks about the SEC and they already get most of the top recruits. This won’t really change much, as OU and UT could already recruit well.

          Like

        2. Marc

          Waiting until the 2030s to take a shot at the ACC/ND schools would be a major mistake.

          The ACC schools are locked up with a GoR, and nobody has ever broken one of these. UT and OU timed their SEC application to align with the GoR expiration. There is no serious talk of them getting out sooner.

          The hardest contract to break is a simple one, and the GoR is quite simple: you grant your media rights to the conference in exchange for revenue shares while you are a member. If you leave, you get zero. How do you break out of that? The fact that you regret a contract is never reason in itself to invalidate it. These are sophisticated parties, so they cannot claim they were duped.

          This is why no informed party is talking about the ACC breaking up before the 2030s. It can’t be done at acceptable cost.

          I think the time is now to explore an acquisition of 6-9 Pac 12 schools in some form so that the new SEC doesn’t suck up all the oxygen in the room. To be clear, there aren’t any moves the B1G could make to stay ahead of the SEC, but I think this is the only move that keeps them close.

          A Pac-12 acquisition would be a media story for the first 15 minutes. Then, the Big Ten would have those mouths to feed for decades. There aren’t 6–9 Pac-12 schools that would improve the Big Ten’s revenue-per-member, which is the only metric worth expanding for.

          Your suggestion is a bit like getting pregnant so you can be the center of attention for 9 months, forgetting that you then have a baby to raise for 18 years.

          Like

    2. Marc

      A scheduling alliance has been discussed, but what about a B1G/PAC showdown over the Labor Day weekend? Last season’s B1G # 1 plays PAC #1 on down the line, and then B1G 13 plays B1G 14 non conference.

      That would be a rounding error in the TV contract. Bear in mind, the current B1G scheduling format is 9 conference games, 1 OOC P5 game, and 2 buy games. They are not going to eliminate the buy games, because every team wants 7 home dates every year. They are not going to eliminate a conference game, because that’s revenue the B1G doesn’t have to share.

      So all that happens, is that the P5 game on their schedule is always against the Pac-12. I am not sure that’s much of an improvement, because the B1G attracts some pretty good OOC match-ups from other conferences.

      Like

      1. Alan from Baton Rouge

        The only B1G OOC game to attract 5m+ viewers in 2019 was UM/ND. This plan would give you 3 or 4.

        I didn’t say this is a counter that equals the SEC’s move, but it’s the best I can come up with.

        Like

        1. Brian

          Alan,

          2019 was also the only year recently when OSU didn’t have a marquee OOC game. We had 5 road B10 games, and the TCU home and home got converted to a single neutral site game (Dallas) in 2018 leaving us with FAU, UC and Miami (OH).

          Like

    3. wscsuperfan

      B1G doesn’t need to do anything in the short term. In another year or so, they will negotiate a new TV deal that will put the league close in revenue to the “new” SEC.

      Like

  17. ccrider55

    I wonder if a B1G/Pac scheduling arrangement could be set up to include a number of games with members of a reconstituted B12. A soft wall isolating the the southeast.

    Like

    1. z33k

      Problem is just those remaining 8 teams in the Big 12 don’t really bring significant eyeballs.

      It is what it is, but after the conference lost Texas/A&M/OU/Nebraska/Colorado/Missouri; they lost all the teams that have markets bigger than your average AAC team.

      Rest of the schools will probably still get home and homes in many cases the first couple years… but after that?

      Some of them might have to do 2 for 1s.

      Like

  18. LonghornMcLonghornFace

    From an Austin reporter

    https://old.reddit.com/r/CFB/comments/otfccl/ama_hi_we_are_jenni_and_brian_and_we_cover_ou_and/

    hookem_statesman 29 points 8 hours ago

    It’s my understanding from Texas sources that moving to the SEC was the only legitimate play that was available. There’s no other league that makes sense to them. Having made the trip to Cal (2016) and then the trip to USC (2017), getting home at 5 or 6 a.m. Central time turned a lot of Texas administrators off from going to the Pac-12.

    Like

    1. Brian

      Slightly more context:

      Was the SEC the only conference OU and UT looked at or did they explore moving to other conferences as well?

      OU reporter
      Our reporting hasn’t turned up anything that would suggest OU and Texas were looking at other conferences. Perhaps they did, but geographically, the SEC makes the most sense. Its profile is also highest, so makes the most sense. The Big Ten has a pretty huge conference payout out, like the SEC, so maybe there was a glance there, but again, we haven’t heard anything from anyone official to my knowledge that it was anything other than the SEC.

      UT reporter
      It’s my understanding from Texas sources that moving to the SEC was the only legitimate play that was available. There’s no other league that makes sense to them. Having made the trip to Cal (2016) and then the trip to USC (2017), getting home at 5 or 6 a.m. Central time turned a lot of Texas administrators off from going to the Pac-12. BD

      I think it’s important to note that they didn’t find any evidence UT seriously considered the B10 this time around. It squashes the rumors that the B10 rejected them because of OU.

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    2. FrankTheAg

      I think it came down to recruiting. If OU and Texas were to go anywhere else but the SEC, they would have real challenges recruiting at the level of the SEC programs.

      If the “recruiting problem” hadn’t developed over the last decade, I think Texas would have looked really hard at the B10 or Pac12.

      Like

  19. Brian

    https://www.dispatch.com/story/sports/2021/07/30/ohio-state-ad-gene-smith-indoor-cfp-playoff-games-buckeyes/5418509001/

    A little more from Gene Smith about northern outdoor CFP games and the B10 CCG.

    “I love the concept, for fans and everybody else. And I imagine TV people would want to see that and talk about it. That’s excitement. I get that,” Smith said Wednesday, one day after the Dispatch ran a story in which the AD mused how it would be “risky” for Ohio State to host a December playoff game because player safety could be jeopardized by competing on a frozen field.

    Yes, Smith agreed that the Buckeyes would have a built-in advantage against warm-weather southern schools coming north to play a first-round playoff game in the cold. (“Playing us in a snowstorm, no question our people would like to see that,” he said.) But he also doubled down on why conducting “championship games” in open-air northern stadiums is not the best option, explaining that quality of performance as well as player safety are considerations.

    “For a championship game, it ought to be played in the best conditions possible for players to perform,” he said. “The playoff is a championship opportunity. You’re playing for a championship at that point. It’s why we play the Big Ten championship game indoors.”

    When reminded that Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren revealed last week that outdoor stadiums would be considered for future conference championship games, Smith said that outdoor venues are discussed every year, with nothing coming of it.

    In other words, don’t hold your breath that Soldier Field in Chicago or MetLife Stadium in New Jersey are getting Big Ten championship games anytime soon.

    We need to clarify Smith’s initial statement on player safety. Given the blowback on social media, clearly many Ohio State fans misinterpreted his comments to mean he was mostly, or even only, concerned with the safety of players from southern teams.

    Hard stop. Irate fans heard Smith say: “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.” They assumed his safety warning was aimed at players from hot spots like Florida State, Miami and Alabama.

    “I’m talking about all players, including ours,” Smith clarified on Wednesday.

    Circling back to Smith, it should be noted that he is not dead-set on having his way.

    “This is all just my opinion. I wouldn’t stand on the table (for it),” he said. “All I’m doing is raising concerns. I’m not saying you can’t do this. Players may say, ‘We’re fine playing in the cold.’ We just need to look at all angles. Who knows? Maybe by the time this happens, we might have heat (under) the field.”

    Like

    1. Marc

      MetLife Stadium is a modern NFL facility that hosted a Super Bowl in January. It is probably safe for a college football game in December. (I would prefer the Big Ten avoid it because no team is near there except Rutgers, but that’s a different argument.)

      On the other hand, the Big Ten sends teams to the Pinstripe Bowl, which takes place in Yankee Stadium even later in December than these games would be. No championship is at stake in those games, but if you are concerned about safety, presumably the stakes of the game ought to be irrelevant.

      We need to clarify Smith’s initial statement on player safety. Given the blowback on social media, clearly many Ohio State fans misinterpreted his comments to mean he was mostly, or even only, concerned with the safety of players from southern teams.

      I interpreted Smith’s comment the way he meant it initially, i.e., that he was concerned for OSU player safety as well. But it’s a bit sad that IF the only concern was the opponents’ safety, many fans think he shouldn’t care.

      Like

      1. Brian

        The NFL plays outdoors games in December and January all the time. But:
        1. They’re pro players, not amateurs.
        2. They have fancier stadiums designed to be open then.
        3. They have more money to spend on snow removal, installing underground heating, etc.
        4. There are only 32 NFL teams and many are in the south and west where this isn’t a concern. CFB has a lot more teams in areas of concern and all of them would have to be prepared to host.

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    1. Brian

      And this:

      The only other major note that has come up in several conversations it that the Texas school that actually might have the best shot of grabbing a Pac-12 invite isn’t Texas Tech, but TCU.

      On paper, that seems like an awkward fit, given TCU’s status as a religious private school and the Pac-12 has historically been loath to engage with religious private schools as potential members, but I’ve told that TCU’s religious affiliation is not anywhere close to what religious affiliation looks like at say, Baylor, or BYU.

      TCU’s growth in graduate programs, their status as the only particularly urban school left in the Big 12, and their willingness to be flexible, makes them a candidate not to be completely overlooked, especially if the Pac-12 expands by more than one, and if the league is seriously willing to be less dogmatic about academics or institutional fit as they’ve historically been.

      Like

    1. Brian

      In our defense, it was true before. The vagaries of the TX government made it possible for UT this time. The changing of the guard in OK allowed it for OU. Those parameters are a little outside the purview for most of us.

      Like

      1. ccrider55

        And now both Texas and Oklahoma get to find out if there are, or what the in state long term ramifications may be over years and years to come.

        Like

    2. Mike

      @Marc –

      When Texas says they have a “Tech problem” we don’t really have much choice other than to believe them. Its hard to know that David Boren’s policy of refusing to abandon OSU isn’t also held by his successor. Those situations changing result in the conventional wisdom on here being wrong from time to time. We do the best we can and (IMHO) that makes this the most knowledgeable board* on realignment. We end up getting a lot more right than we get wrong. That being said, I’m pretty sure every A&M fan has Frank’s “Angry Aggies” page bookmarked to refute anything said here.

      *Try some of the others “ECU to the Big Ten!”

      Like

      1. Marc

        As I noted above, I am not saying we were wrong or naive to have believed that. Based on the parties’ public statements and behavior then, it was the right thing to believe.

        Like

      2. FrankTheAg

        To be fair, that blog by Frank was woefully wrong and many Aggies knew it at the time it was posted. However, its not relevant any longer.

        It would also be foolish to just say “things” are different now. Without understanding that the “thing” most different is A&M joined the SEC a decade ago. Its exited and nothing happened other than more money, better recruiting and a much healthier overall program.

        One might say it paved the way for this outcome.

        Like

  20. Mike

    For those wanting the P12 teams to bring value check out this: https://medium.com/run-it-back-with-zach/which-college-football-programs-are-the-most-valuable-in-conference-realignment-b8e840f42189

    “Which college football programs are the most valuable in conference realignment?

    No single metric tells the whole story. But I averaged out each program’s ranking in four different categories to calculate a sensible ranking of the most valuable programs. Here are the categories:

    Home attendance: The number of people attending each home is one way to measure the size and passion of a fan base. College Football News calculated the five-year attendance average for every FBS school after the 2019 season.

    Market size/share: In 2011, Nate Silver calculated the number of fans of each college football team using market population and survey data. The data might look a little different if redone in 2021, but it’s as strong a methodology for determining the number of fans that I’ve seen.

    Valuation: After the 2019 season, the Wall Street Journal calculated how much each college football program would be worth on the open market if it could be bought and sold like a professional sports franchise. The valuations take into account revenues and expenses, along with cash-flow adjustments, risk assessments and growth projections.

    Social media following: It’s not perfect, but one easy way to measure the size of each fan base is to look at how many people follow each team on social media. As TV moves over to digital, it’s valuable to look at which teams have the largest followings in the digital space.”

    Top 30

    B1G
    1. Ohio State
    2. Michigan
    5. Penn State
    15. Wisconsin
    16. Nebraska
    18. Iowa
    19. Michigan State

    SEC
    3. Alabama
    4. Texas
    7. LSU
    8. Georgia
    9. Auburn
    10. Texas A&M
    11. Florida
    12. Oklahoma
    13. Tennessee
    17. South Carolina
    20. Arkansas
    28. Mississippi
    29. Kentucky
    30. Mississippi State

    ACC
    6. Notre Dame
    14. Clemson
    21. Florida State
    22. Virginia Tech
    24. Miami

    PAC-12
    23. Southern Cal
    25. Washington
    26. Oregon
    27. UCLA

    Like

      1. Mike

        The PAC schools may have the greatest opportunity for growth out of any on the list. They have limited media coverage and the PAC network is a flop. Get them games in the 6:00pm time slot for the central/eastern time zones and additional coverage from BTN and they may provide more value then their current rank.

        Like

        1. Brian

          You also get the advantage of all the B10 fans and displaced midwesterners suddenly gaining an interest in P12 games. And frankly, many P12 fans are more interested in USC vs the top half of the B10 than USC vs much of the P12. Especially since they’ve been missing the CFP, they don’t have the conference allegiance as strongly as the SEC or B10.

          Like

          1. @Brian and @Mike – Yes, those are the main arguments for an alliance (or some type of arrangement) with the Pac-12 even though the Big Ten currently has a decided revenue advantage.

            In terms of short-to-medium term revenue over the next 10-15 years, the Big Ten is way far ahead of the Pac-12.

            The main risk for the Big Ten is more in the 20-plus year timeframe when the SEC, ACC and Pac-12 population bases have continued to grow while every state in the Big Ten besides maybe Maryland is in slow-to-no-growth mode (and even Maryland is hardly booming like Florida/Texas/Arizona). If the SEC has locked up the Deep South plus Texas/Oklahoma and the ACC “near” South schools like UVA and UNC still don’t want to move, then the only other option for the Big Ten to get into any area with great demographic growth is West.

            I personally don’t advocate for a merger between the Big Ten or Pac-12, but whenever I see proposals that the Big Ten should “just” pick off 6 to 9 Pac-12 schools, you may as well be arguing for a full merger at that point. Of the 3 non-AAU schools in the Pac-12, I’d have to think Arizona State has to be as acceptable as any non-Notre Dame non-AAU school could possibly be for the Big Ten as a massive research university that is *directly* located in the mega-fast-growing Phoenix metro area that has one of the largest concentrations of Big Ten alums outside of the Midwest. Oregon State and Washington State may not be perfect Big Ten fits, but if taking them means that you’re getting every other school of value in the entire Western portion of the US for college sports purposes (and it’s effectively a true regional monopoly with no other power conference competitors), then it’s reasonable for the Big Ten to consider that proposal.

            As I’ve stated, it makes little sense money-wise for the Big Ten to do this in the short-to-medium term. My guess is that the Big Ten won’t be doing anything in reaction to the SEC moves that is anything more than maybe a non-conference scheduling alliance with the Pac-12. However, if we’re looking at the 20-50 year horizon, today might be the most powerful that the Big Ten is going to be compared to other P5 leagues, so it’s a consideration.

            (Another thought regarding the revenue gap between the Big Ten and Pac-12: the main reason why the Pac-12 is behind the other P5 leagues revenue-wise is the Pac-12 Network. The “good” thing if you’re looking at this from the Big Ten point of view is that the Pac-12 can unilaterally decide whether to continue with that network or not. In essence, the Pac-12 could immediately fold the Pac-12 Network and consolidate those rights into the Big Ten Network. That would quickly unlock a ton of value in all of the Pac-12 schools (even ones like Oregon State and Washington State) that hasn’t been realized for the past 10 years. Even though cable households aren’t the be-all end-all that they were 11 years ago, that would still be a *massive* expansion of households and coverage for that channel in the short-term and huge inventory of content for streaming purposes in the long-term.)

            Like

          2. Brian

            Frank,

            I’d counter by saying another big reason the P12 is so far behind in revenue is the membership of low values schools like WSU and OrSU. They have no brands and bring no markets. The other members would be earning over $40M per year if the money was split 10 ways instead of 12.

            I’m not convinced ASU is needed or that the COP/C would consider them. Yes it’s in Phoenix, but Tucson is only 115 miles away. UA does more research than ASU and is an AAU member. And as with the other “State” schools in the P12, ASU brings no brands. Dropping to 9 schools would make the payout almost $45M.

            That leaves the northern CA pair, which I have to believe the COP/C covet regardless of what the revenue numbers would do, and the mountain pair of CU and UU. Both are AAU members that bring their states, though Utah isn’t a big market. You could potentially drop UU as the newbie to the P5 and the smallest state out there.

            That leaves an 8-team package that would pull over $45M per school and maybe approach $50M. That’s with a crappy conference network and poor TV windows.

            Now move those same brands into a deal with the B10 and their value automatically increases. Look how much money adding RU and UMD made for the B10. Now the B10 would add LA, SF, Phoenix, Seattle, Riverside, San Diego and Denver, all top 20 metro areas (giving the B10 #1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 10, 12-17, 19). And it would add team Nike.

            The point is, even in the short run I think the B10 could break even or better if they added a subset of the P12. I’m not advocating for it, but I don’t think a short term loss would happen. Besides, if the money was less they could agree to a slightly lesser payout so the current 14 lose nothing and the P8 would still be getting a huge bump.

            Like

          3. @Brian – Oh, I agree that adding USC, UCLA and a handful of the other most valuable Pac-12 brands is worth more (per school) to the Big Ten than a full merger. There’s no doubt in my mind on that one.

            It’s more of the point where if you’re asking over 50% of the members to leave a league, you might be logistically looking at a full merger if you realistically want to get all of those schools to agree to come. The Big Ten targeting 2 to 4 Pac-12 schools is one thing. If you just truly want every Pac-12 market of value, though, then you’re at the point of taking so many more schools that we have to question whether the Big Ten is going to let Oregon State and Washington State get in the way. Granted, maybe the Big Ten’s answer there is “Yes – we’re not taking Oregon State and Washington State even if it means giving up the entire rest of the Pac-12.” I wouldn’t put it past them to take that position, either. It just wouldn’t be a hard “No” in I’m putting myself in the Big Ten leaders’ shoes, though.

            Like

          4. Brian

            If UT and OU can escape their little brothers, so can UW and UO.

            It could really bolster the MWC, and frankly they’d fit better there.

            Like

          5. z33k

            Yeah Frank, I think logically, the Big Ten has to make its moves in the next 10-12 years, especially if we’re talking about grabbing ACC schools or Pac-12 schools.

            If you go past 20 years, I don’t think the numbers work anywhere near as favorably and you’ve probably fallen way too far behind the SEC.

            One thing to keep in mind though is demographically, much of the SEC looks like much of the Big Ten.

            Yes, Texas/Florida/Georgia are substantially different, but the rest of the SEC is similar demographically to the Big Ten.

            It’s mainly just that the Big Ten has to get onto the East or West coast in the next 10-12 years; whichever the leadership picks.

            Like

          6. Andy

            Utah was just admitted into the AAU and from what I can tell, Arizona State actually ranks about the same in research and federal grants as Utah. Just looking at the rankings, it looks like Arizona is about as high as any non-AAU member.

            Among P5 schools that are not AAU, in terms of strength of candidates in terms of federal research grants, it looks like it would rank something like this:

            1. Arizona State
            2. NC State
            3. Miami
            4. Virginia Tech
            5. Kentucky
            6. Georgia
            7. Oregon State

            Like

          7. Brian

            Andy,

            You forget about normalization by size. ASU is huge, so it’s research number has to be large. But per faculty member, it drops down.

            WF should be #1 on that list from an AAU perspective. They were the next P5 school in line to join the AAU after the latest round of additions, with Miami just behind them (both around the 25th percentile of AAU members). OrSU was a little farther down the list. ASU, VT, NCSU and OU were all between the next-to-last remaining member and the last remaining member.

            Click to access annual_report_2019.pdf

            The CMUP data shows ASU with $484M in federal research and UA with $610M (both in 2017). Considering how much larger ASU is, I’ll take the much smaller school with a lot more research.

            Like

          8. Andy

            @Brian, ah, so it’s per faculty member, is it?

            These seem to be the schools of interest, schools at risk of getting kicked out and P5 schools that would like to get in. Federal research dollars and full time faculty counts:

            Missouri $107M in 2017, I’m hearing it’ll be at least $150M to $180M after $260M in recent capital investments in medical research at Mizzou. 1200 full time faculty.
            Kansas $85M. 1300 full time faculty
            Iowa State $125M. 1500 full time faculty.
            Oregon $57M. 1100 full time faculty
            Oregon State $157M 1400 full time faculty.
            Arizona State $214M. 2100 full time faculty.
            Nebraska $99M. 1300 full time faculty.
            Oklahoma $70M. 1300 full time faculty.
            Wake Forest $147M. 600 full time faculty.
            Miami $193M. 1100 full time faculty.
            NC State $213M. 1700 full time faculty.
            Virginia Tech $181M. 1900 full time faculty
            Georgia $153M. 2100 full time faculty
            Kentucky $168M 1400 full time faculty
            LSU $80M. 1300 full time faculty

            So I realize there are probably several other universities making major capital investments for the purpose of staying in/getting into the AAU, but the only one I have specific information on is Missouri, and I’m trying to be pretty conservative on the projection.

            Here are the rankings of the ratios, number is federal grant dollars per full time faculty member:

            1. Wake Forest 245k
            2. Miami 175k
            3. Missouri projection after new investments: at least 125k, maybe as much as 150k
            4. NC State 125k
            5. Kentucky 120k
            6. Oregon State 112k
            7. Arizona State 102k
            8. Virginia Tech 95k
            9. Missouri in FY17 89k
            10 Iowa State 83k
            11. Nebraska 76k
            12. Georgia 73k
            13. Kansas 65k
            14. LSU 62k
            15. Oklahoma 54k
            16. Oregon 52k

            Some observations:

            1) It looks like Missouri will probably retain AAU status due to their recent investments in medical research.
            2) Kansas and Oregon have a lot of work to do to avoid getting kicked out. I believe Kansas is scrambling like Missouri is and they are making improvements, but I don’t know the details.
            3) It looks like I was wrong about Georgia. They are not particularly close to getting into the AAU, and neither is Oklahoma or LSU.
            4) Kentucky actually looks like the SEC’s best bet for a 6th AAU school.
            5) Wake Forest and Miami should be in the AAU.

            Like

          9. Brian

            Andy,

            Yes, the AAU ranks schools based on normalized (per faculty member) metrics. That’s why ag schools are a problem – their research isn’t counted bu their faculty are. Schools can make a case for themselves based on the straight numbers (NE tried that), but the AAU defaults to normalized values.

            “So I realize there are probably several other universities making major capital investments for the purpose of staying in/getting into the AAU,”

            Yes, it’s a never ending race to get more research. The current AAU members are in that race too, so the bar keeps getting raised.

            “1) It looks like Missouri will probably retain AAU status due to their recent investments in medical research.
            2) Kansas and Oregon have a lot of work to do to avoid getting kicked out. I believe Kansas is scrambling like Missouri is and they are making improvements, but I don’t know the details.
            3) It looks like I was wrong about Georgia. They are not particularly close to getting into the AAU, and neither is Oklahoma or LSU.
            4) Kentucky actually looks like the SEC’s best bet for a 6th AAU school.
            5) Wake Forest and Miami should be in the AAU.”

            As long as they keep pace or slowly move up the rankings, MO should be fine.

            KU and UO both have the ag school issue and could be at risk if the AAU gets into a snit about trimming outliers again, but they aren’t that far behind the rest. SU was another 10 spots down the list from them, and NE 14 down.

            OU is at about the same as UO and KU. That’s not enough to get in, but it is respectable. UGA and LSU rank near NE.

            In 2008, OU was just ahead of UK in the AAU rankings. Both are decades from getting in.

            Like I said, WF and Miami are equivalent to the 25th percentile of the AAU members. based on the past, they need to get to about the 50th percentile to be invited (on par with GT and Dartmouth). That’s moving up about 25 spots in the rankings. But they are the next schools in line.

            Like

          10. Brian

            No, that was just a screw up in editing. I think UO’s problem has been a lack of funding. They’re been very short on tenured faculty, at about a 35:1 ratio before starting to do more hiring. That also cuts into how much research they do.

            Like

        2. z33k

          Also, I’m with Brian on this.

          The Big Ten will not add all 12 Pac-12 schools in a merger. It just doesn’t make financial sense. You’re not going to be able to justify feeding 26 mouths when you can feed 22 a larger split of nearly the exact same pie.

          The problem with the ACC and Pac-12 is both have a lot more schools that don’t bring anything (even just location if not brands) to the table compared to the Big Ten.

          If the Big Ten adds Pac-12 schools, it will most likely be 6-8 (probably 8 just to bring all the AAUs and all the major markets except Utah).

          Like

          1. Andy

            Every conference has them.

            The SEC probably has the least in terms of revenue. They certainly have some poor performing academic schools, but in terms of valuation, the only school ranked outside of the top 33 is Vanderbilt. There’s literally very little fat to cut in terms of athletics value and revenue.

            But the Big Ten has quite a bit of low valued schools in #36 Minnesota, #46 Illinois, #51 Rutgers, #52 Indiana, #54 Purdue, #58 Maryland, and #61 Northwestern.

            That isn’t a lot different from the Pac 12 with #41 Utah, #44 Cal, #48 Stanford, #50 Arizona, #53 Colorado, #63 Oregon State and #66 Washington State.

            View at Medium.com

            If you’re really trying to consolidate and maximize value, you should blow up the Big Ten and the Pac 12 and start over, make a top 12 combined league:

            Ohio State
            Michigan
            Penn State
            USC
            UCLA
            Washington
            Oregon
            Nebraska
            Wisconsin
            Michigan State
            Iowa
            Arizona State

            That would be a power league that could maximize revenue and rival the SEC.

            But I doubt the Illinoises and Indianas and Utahs and Colorados of the world would be thrilled about that.

            That’s why the talk of consolidation and cutting down to 40 or less schools is not such good news for the Big Ten. If you really want to do that, then a big chunk of the Big Ten needs to go. If you’re interesting in protecting Big Ten members, then the conversation should be more toward a 60 school system rather than a 40 school system.

            Like

          2. z33k

            That’s not how I’d calculate value. The problem with that analysis is that it’s not at all clear that that’s the proper way to calculate school value as it pertains to realignment.

            State population, school size, (whether they’re in the same state as another school), all matter in my mind as well as raw fanbase size and fans in seats. Cable boxes still exist (78 million people still pay for that; that’s still going to affect this discussion for 2-3 decades).

            I don’t think there’s a measurable difference between a school ranked outside of the top 20 and one ranked around 50 by those metrics.

            There’s maybe 20 teams (probably less) that actually move the needle in terms of national eyeballs. The SEC goes from 7 to 9 (Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Auburn, Texas A&M, Tennessee). That’s still another 7 teams that aren’t really on the short list of national TV relevance.

            Both the Big Ten and SEC have a bunch of teams that don’t matter nationally. There’s virtually no difference to a random viewer of when those teams play each other unless they’re ranked.

            The fact that those Big Ten schools are all large publics (except Northwestern) that bring states/markets gives them value to this discussion.

            Like

          3. Andy

            Okay, sure, but same could be said of the Pac 12. Point is I don’t see how you can say Indiana and Purdue are valuable but Utah and Oregon State are not.

            Like

          4. Brian

            Andy,

            1. Ordinal rankings of value are silly. It’s the actual values that matter.

            https://sports.usatoday.com/ncaa/finances

            I’m just going to look at USA Today’s list of school’s AD revenue as a proxy of value.
            1. $224M
            5. $174M
            10. $158M
            20. $138M
            30. $112M
            40. $103M
            50. $86M
            60. $56M

            The gap from #1 to #5 is the same as #10 to #40. The key is to be above the steep decline lower down. The entire B10 is in the top 39. SEC is in the top 37. The P12 has 5 schools in the 40s and 50s, with the last just at the cusp of the drop. The B12 has 5 in the 40s. The ACC has 3 below 40.

            Note: It is only for public schools.

            Like

          5. z33k

            The issue is additive value. You have a fair point about Utah, but not about Oregon State and both Indiana/Purdue.

            The Big Ten and SEC only each have 2 programs that bring little TV value to their leagues (Mississippi State and Vanderbilt in the SEC, Purdue and Northwestern in the Big Ten). I suppose you could say at least Vanderbilt/Northwestern bring academic heft and location (Nashville and Chicago), so that’s a plus for them. Mississippi State and Purdue just produce more extra SEC and Big Ten grads without adding extra footprint value.

            If you have Washington/Oregon/Arizona in a conference, then Washington State/Oregon State/Arizona State don’t add much extra value to your TV contract. None are national brands, so they’d have to bring something else to the table, and they just don’t some large separate territory. You can actually argue the same thing about Stanford probably as well for the Pac-12. So that’s basically 4 out of the Pac-12, but I assume they’d go with the other Cali schools as a big block of 4.

            Yeah I realize we’re in the business of measuring actual eyeballs now, but still schools that represent a state do a lot better in this type of metric.

            The ACC has a problem with like a half the conference on this metric.

            Like

          6. @z33k – Even as an Illini guy, I’ll defend Purdue here: they are the equivalent of a flagship (a true side-by-side school with Indiana as opposed to beneath them akin to a larger Georgia Tech) with excellent academics and a massive alumni base. To be more specific, if the Big Ten didn’t want Purdue, then the ACC (and probably even the SEC, although that may now change with the UT/OU addition) would take them in a second. Not having Purdue splits the Indiana market in a way that I don’t think is the case if you just have Ole Miss without Mississippi State. Purdue shouldn’t be compared to Mississippi State in terms of conference realignment value: they might be superficially seem superfluous in the context of the Big Ten itself, but they have a ton of value to other leagues where it wouldn’t make sense for the B1G to give them up.

            Like

          7. z33k

            Yeah Frank, I agree largely with what you’re saying.

            But I also think that Purdue is more valuable to another conference than the Big Ten (if that makes sense).

            I think the one thing we’ve learned in CFB conference expansion is that you want large publics with strong brands in new markets/territories.

            SEC and Big Ten have followed that model the past 30 years: South Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri, Texas A&M, Texas, OU to the SEC; Penn State, Nebraska, Rutgers, Maryland to the Big Ten.

            I also think people still underestimate how important markets are to this generally; cable boxes are still near 80 million; yes they’re decreasing, but there’s still going to be tons of people paying for Pay TV the next 30-50 years.

            It’s not just about eyeballs on screens quite yet, and I doubt it will ever just be that, though maybe we get there.

            There will be some sort of re-bundle-ization through streaming services like ESPN+ or Amazon Prime, and that’s where the value will be driven for schools like Indiana or Purdue to a different conference than the Big Ten (but of course neither is going anywhere just like Mississppi State isn’t leaving the SEC).

            Like

          8. urbanleftbehind

            This is a reply more for Frank the Tank re his defense of Purdue – back in my 90s undergrad then grad at 2 B10s, I always thought greek-or-die Purdue had, along with OSU, a campus/scene that wouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb in the SEC. The blondest school in the Big 10, even moreso than the MN-IA-WI trifecta.

            Like

          9. Colin

            urbanleftbehind, that seems like a strange comment about Purdue. With three Purdue Polytechnic High Schools up and running, I’d say Purdue is recruiting more inner city kids than any other D1 university in the country.

            https://pphs.purdue.edu/

            Like

    1. Andy

      I’m amazed that Nebraska has managed to stay as high as they have, considering how bad they’ve been at football for the last 15 years or so. Missouri was top 25 in attendance for years in football and made one bad hire in Barry Odom and they drop all the way to 37th (33rd in this ranking). But Nebraska has made several bad hires in a row and they’re still top 20. Kudos to them. You would think Nebraska will finally get it turned around at some point, right? They can’t stay that bad with that kind of persistent fan support, can they?

      Missouri is more fair weather. If Drinkwitz wins, I think they go back into top 25 level fan support. If not, probably not.

      Like

      1. Brian

        The really big brands have staying power, even during down periods. That’s why they’re kings. The older fans and announcers remember them when they were great and pass the feeling that they’re important on to younger fans.

        Like

        1. ccrider55

          I believe the same it true to an extent regarding rivalries/loyalties. One may really dislike, or even “hate” a team or three (usually in your conf) but they are among the biggest games you play and most enjoyable to win. This is what the major conferences that have close to, and in a number of cases over a century of history are risking with drastic realignment (as opposed to addition of an occasional school that has risen to the level desirable). It’s not just individual rivals, it’s the dna of the conference.

          Like

          1. Andy

            Yeah, the move to the SEC has overall strengthened Missouri, but there were some things lost as well. Missouri had 100 years of history with those old Big 8 schools. There was a lot of history with teams like Iowa State and Colorado, sure. But the big ones were Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. Those were the big draws that would fill the stadium and get fans really excited. Missouri’s going to start playing Kansas again in the non-conference, finally. And now Oklahoma is joining the SEC and will most likely be in the same pod as Missouri. The one Missouri is not getting back is Nebraska, and that’s a real shame. That was a huge game every year. It’s looking like Missouri’s pod will be with Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. So they’ll need to develop rivalries with Texas and Arkansas to replace what they lost.

            Like

          2. Andy

            For sure. Missouri has played Texas 24 times in football, so there’s already some history there. But competing with them directly in a pod every year should turn up the heat on the rivalry.

            Like

          3. Marc

            Missouri’s going to start playing Kansas again in the non-conference, finally.

            It doesn’t exactly replace what was lost. They’ve got home & home with Kansas in 2025–26, and again in 2031–32. They have more future dates against Illinois than Kansas.

            It’s looking like Missouri’s pod will be with Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. So they’ll need to develop rivalries with Texas and Arkansas to replace what they lost.

            Every opponent circles the Texas game on their calendar. It doesn’t mean Texas does the same.

            Like

          4. Andy

            Oklahoma will be a rival because they’ve already played each other 96 times dating back over 100 years, and Oklahoma is entering a brand new conference with a bunch of schools they have very little history with. So Missouri and Oklahoma will be rivals by default.

            Arkansas makes a fair amount of sense as a rival for Missouri as it is, and putting them in the same pod will help. Currently Missouri leads the series 9-3, but Arkansas should probably make it competitive at some point.

            Texas won’t want to see Missouri as a rival, that’s true. But, having already played Missouri 24 times, that means they have more history with Missouri than all but 2 or 3 other SEC teams. And being in the same pod and directly competing for a pod championship every year necessarily elevates the importance of the games. But in the end it’ll be on Missouri to keep up competitively. If Texas continues to beat Missouri 75% of the time like they’ve done historically than it won’t be much of a rivalry. If they can do more like Kansas State has done (Kansas State is 10-9 vs Texas since the year 2000) then that would legitimize the rivalry more.

            I believe the idea was for Kansas and Missouri to start playing annually again, but Missouri already had an 8 game series with Illinois as well as a series with Colorado and another with Kansas State, so there wasn’t room on the schedule yet to do it every year. But maybe at some point that will happen, depending on how things go. But with the SEC likely moving to 9 or 10 conference games per year it might become harder to do. Basketball should have no trouble being an every year thing going forward.

            Like

  21. Mike

    The PAC schools may have the greatest opportunity for growth out of any on the list. They have limited media coverage and the PAC network is a flop. Get them games in the 6:00pm time slot for the central/eastern time zones and additional coverage from BTN and they could provide more value then current rank.

    Like

  22. So Sankey worked with Bowlsby on a CFP subcommittee (with no B1G and PAC 12 reps?) while surreptitiously negotiating the decapitation of his conference. And Bowlsby is nursing the dagger wound in his back from his old friend Castiglione. Bowlsby fires off a cease and desist letter to ESPN. The gloves are decidedly off. So I have a question, as the majority of you are way more knowledgeable and savvy than myself on this stuff: Would it be a feasible strategy for the Big 12 simply refuse to make an exit deal with OU & Texas now? It’s not like they need to preserve relationships with OU & Texas at this point–collegiality is out the window. The landscape in college football is shifting so fast now, who knows what would happen in 4 years to make this deal less appealing and fall through? I’m not making the case for pettiness and retribution, but rather asking, why not engage in a strategy of litigation and delay that could ultimately end up working to the benefit of the Big 12 by buying them more time? Especially if there is potential that their contractual payout gets reduced due to the loss in value after OU & Texas leave?

    Like

    1. Marc

      Would it be a feasible strategy for the Big 12 simply refuse to make an exit deal with OU & Texas now?

      It’s not only a feasible strategy — I think it is their strategy. UT and OU applied to the SEC and were admitted on the basis of fulfilling their full contract with the Big 12 through 2025. No one yet from the conference or the two schools has mentioned any kind of settlement that gets them out early. It is only journalists and fans saying that.

      There is no precedent for breaking a grant of rights. If the schools try to leave early, I cannot see what their options would be, other than to pay every penny they owe. I can’t see what incentive the Big 12 has to settle for anything less.

      Like

      1. Brian

        Agreed.

        Will it be ugly in meetings and in stadiums? Sure. If you don’t like it, pay us $150M+ in penalties and/or leave your rights behind.

        Like

      2. bullet

        They could just leave in 2022 and the Big 12 would get only the $40 million it withheld from each and would have to sue to get anything else.

        They will settle. I suspect UT and OU stay 2 more years in the Big 12 and leave 2 years early, paying the full $80 million in exit fees and ESPN makes some guarantee to keep the remaining 8 whole through the rest of the contract. Maybe some SEC games to boost up the value of the contract over the last 2 years.

        No need for the lawyers to be the only ones who benefit.

        Like

        1. Brian

          They could, but if I was them I’d sue for every penny I’m owed. And maybe Fox would chime in. The B12 are also still partners with ESPN, so they could apply some pressure that way.

          The lawsuit would also give the B12 a chance to get discovery and look for evidence against ESPN. Make it ugly, even if all the money goes to lawyers.

          Like

  23. Colin

    Speaking of Pac-12 expansion, take a look at BYU’s 2021 schedule. They play five PAC-12 teams including a season finale at USC. Regarding that USC game, I will copy ‘n paste from the article:

    “The 2021 matchup with USC is the fourth in the series that started in 2003. BYU is coming off a 30-27 overtime victory in the last meeting when the Cougars downed the No. 24 Trojans on Sept. 14. 2019, in LaVell Edwards Stadium.”

    2021 BYU Football Schedule
    Date Opponent Stadium Location
    Sat., Sept. 4 vs. Arizona Allegiant Stadium Las Vegas, Nevada
    Sat., Sept. 11 Utah LaVell Edwards Stadium Provo, Utah
    Sat., Sept. 18 Arizona State LaVell Edwards Stadium Provo, Utah
    Sat., Sept 25 South Florida LaVell Edwards Stadium Provo, Utah
    Fri., Oct. 1 Utah State Maverik Stadium Logan Utah
    Sat., Oct. 9 Boise State LaVell Edwards Stadium Provo, Utah
    Sat., Oct. 16 at Baylor McLane Stadium Waco, Texas
    Sat., Oct. 23 at Washington State Martin Stadium Pullman, Washington
    Sat., Oct. 30 Virginia LaVell Edwards Stadium Provo, Utah
    Sat., Nov. 6 Idaho State LaVell Edwards Stadium Provo, Utah
    Sat., Nov. 20 at Georgia Southern Paulson Stadium Statesboro, Georgia
    Sat., Nov. 27 at USC LA Memorial Coliseum Los Angeles, California

    Like

  24. Nick in South Bend

    Any chance Stanford pulls a U Chicago and decides the business of college sports is getting too dirty? The NIL stuff will make big time football and basketball in a semi-pro league(s).

    Like

      1. ccrider55

        And they just reversed their irrevocable decision to drop 11 sports and hired away Cornell’s wrestling coach (one of the top in the nation).

        Might be an interesting back story on those decisions.

        Like

  25. Dave

    I’m curious how the SEC news will change how the 12 team playoffs in implemented.
    If a team can’t be 1st or even 2nd in their own conference, why should they should they be given a spot to play for the national championship?

    I would think it would be in the interests of all non-SEC conferences to have a low cap on the number of teams from each conference in the playoff. With a cap of 2 (maybe3) teams per conference, all non-SEC schools would benefit. At this point, even the B1G would benefit if they could raise MWC, AAC,BIG12 exposure at the expense of the SEC.

    I would like to see the 4 top rated conference champs get a bye (as it is now).
    I’d like the next 4 highest rated conference champs or independents (ND, BYU) host the opening round games. Opening round games would then tend to be 4 at large teams (likely power 5 schools) having to travel to Group of 5 conference champions. Those games would have a great atmosphere of “underdog conference” conference champion teams (and fans) wanting to show that they belong against likely power 5 opponents.

    As a plus for ND, they would more than likely host an opening round game, because they would likely always be ranked higher than the 8th highest ranked conference champion (from somewhere like C-USA, Sunbelt, or MAC)

    What the current proposed 12 team playoff misses is the underdog element that is always so fun to watch in March Madness.

    Like

    1. Brian

      Dave,

      Play that out.

      Top 4 champs get byes – let’s call those the SEC, B10, ACC and P12
      Next 4 champs/ind. get home field – B12, AAC, MWC, SB/CUSA/MAC, ND, BYU, other

      Should it really be that easy for an independent to get a home playoff game? They just need to outrank the SB, CUSA and MAC champs? That’s a pretty low bar in many years. Why do the independents get preference over an at-large from a conference?

      The 6 champ rule guarantees the G5 at least 1 entrant without setting a low bar. It also doesn’t give an independent like ND an advantage over all the conference members. Trust me, people would throw fits if ND was blatantly given a leg up like that.

      Like

      1. Dave

        The relative strength and composition of conferences is affected by the current bowl/playoff format. The current format led to weaker group of 5 conferences and less independents.
        If this new playoff format were to take place of a period of time, I would think dominant schools
        in weaker conferences would have more of an incentive to stay put, with an easier path to appear in the playoff. The upper schools in lesser conferences would become more attractive places for athletes to attend school, and there wouldn’t be as steep a drop off to the MWC,AAC, and CUSAs of the world.

        This playoff format still doesn’t allow independents to get a bye. And initially it may provide some incentive of other schools to seriously consider becoming football independents (UT, FSU), as some of the disincentives of independence would be gone. To host a play-in game ND would still need to outrank CUSA, SB, MAC, and BYU. If one treats the grouping of independents as a grouping for the purpose of playoff selection, joining the group of independents is a benefit, until that grouping becomes too strong.

        Maybe to host a play-in game, maybe a team should actually have to win something (like their conference championship)

        Like

        1. Brian

          Dave,

          TV money and scheduling difficulties (in all sports) long ago forced most independents to join conferences. It’s not going to go the other way. Likewise, TV money drove the top teams into better conferences. You can fight to win the SEC and make $80M per year, or you can cruise through the MAC for $1M per year plus some CFP money.

          Independents can’t get byes, but they also don’t play in CCGs and risk a loss against a good team. After that first round, they will have played the same 13 games as every champ that got a bye. That why ND is fine with it.

          Like

    2. Marc

      If a team can’t be 1st or even 2nd in their own conference, why should they should they be given a spot to play for the national championship?

      That was the argument against expanding. It seems that ship has already sailed. But for what it’s worth, most sports offer that opportunity.

      With a cap of 2 (maybe3) teams per conference, all non-SEC schools would benefit.

      Starting in 2025, it appears there will be just four power conferences. With a cap of two, you’d be reserving four of 12 slots for independents and non-power conferences. Why should they get such generous access, if they have not earned it on the field?

      What the current proposed 12 team playoff misses is the underdog element that is always so fun to watch in March Madness.

      But March Madness does not limit the number of teams per conference. In 2011, the Big East sent 11 teams. Their 11th-best team could (in theory) have won it all — exactly the idea you oppose for college football.

      Although the basketball tourney allows the possibility of upsets, they committee doesn’t give underdogs an artificial boost, such as allowing them to host a game they haven’t earned. I realize there are no home games in the tourney, but top seeds have other advantages. Nobody has suggested taking those advantages away, in order to create even more upsets.

      Like

      1. Brian

        Marc,

        The difference, of course, is that hoops has 68 teams so no conference can be more than 1/4 of it even if every team gets in. That’s equivalent to 3 teams in a 12-team CFP.

        Like

  26. Brian

    https://www.espn.com/college-sports/story/_/id/31922593/ncaa-sets-table-dramatic-overhaul-how-governs-college-athletics

    The NCAA plans to meet in November to completely revamp how college sports are overseen.

    The NCAA Board of Governors called for a constitutional convention in November on Friday with the goal of launching dramatic reform in the governance of college sports that could put changes in place as soon as January.

    Stung for years by criticism that it is too heavyhanded and out of touch, the NCAA said it wants to “reimagine” how to more effectively manage the needs of its more than 450,000 athletes at more than 1,100 schools.

    “As the national landscape changes, college sports must also quickly adapt to become more responsive to the needs of college athletes and current member schools,” Jack DiGioia, chair of the Board of Governors and president of Georgetown, said in a statement. “This effort will position the NCAA to continue providing meaningful opportunities for current college athletes and those for generations to come.”

    A 22-person Constitution Review Committee with university presidents, conference commissioners, athletics directors and students from Divisions I, II and III will be created to redraft the NCAA’s constitutional articles.

    “This is not about tweaking the model we have now,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “This is about wholesale transformation so we can set a sustainable course for college sports for decades to come. We need to stay focused on the thing that matters most – helping students be as successful as they can be as both students and athletes.”

    Like

  27. Colin

    Due to climate change, the Corn Belt is moving north. This has been going on for decades. Seed companies in western Canada are planning from a shift from wheat to corn in as little as five years. The nations of the vast Boreal Forest, a global ring of forestland that stretches from Scandinavia across Siberia thru Alaska to the Atlantic coast of Canada, are quietly giddy about a 40% increase of arable land by 2050.

    Now, there are concerns that current population shifts from the Midwest to the South will continue into infinity. That won’t happen. The weather in the South will become increasingly hot and humid and miserable while the Midwest becomes increasingly more temperate. This humongous population shift will slow, stop and reverse.

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/farmers-must-adapt-as-u-s-corn-belt-shifts-northward/

    https://www.farmprogress.com/story-heart-corn-belt-moving-north-9-148167

    https://seedworld.com/corn-belt-marches-north/

    https://www.agupdate.com/illinoisfarmertoday/news/crop/corn-belt-moves-north-as-planting-practices-shift/article_da2df746-f994-11e8-ba1d-c3a39c0a4c35.html

    Like

    1. Brian

      On the other hand, that also means a lot of permafrost melting (and releasing huge amounts of CO2, increasing the problem) and coastal land being lost to the ocean. It’s already a problem in Alaska, with indigenous peoples losing their villages and their way of life as the ice melts too soon.

      And much of this newly arable land in Canada belongs to indigenous people. Do they want to be corn farmers? Does it bring conflict as agribusiness wants to farm their land, or do they want the money?

      Like

      1. ccrider55

        Small town about 100 miles north of Vancouver, BC hit 121° just a few weeks ago. Then it burned down later that week from dry lightning sparked fire. Higher temperature than ever recorded in Miami.

        I guess that truth is turning out to be rather inconvenient.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Brian

          Well, the midwest could use all those people coming back from the south and west. Maybe living where there is fresh water will start to make sense to people again (looking at you, AZ and NV and …).

          Like

      2. Colin

        The permafrost will be “lost” to the northern advancement of the Arctic tree line and those trees will sequester far more carbon than frozen ground.

        And do the Inuit want to be corn farmers? I don’t know but right now they have no choice. It’s fish or die.

        Like

        1. Brian

          https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/145880/permafrost-becoming-a-carbon-source-instead-of-a-sink

          No, the trees won’t. As it thaws, bacteria are freeing tons and tons of “sequestered” CO2. And the coastal land is subsiding into the sea at an accelerating rate, so trees can’t grow there.

          Winter carbon emissions from Arctic regions appear to be adding more carbon to Earth’s atmosphere each year than is being taken up by Arctic plants and trees. It is a stark reversal for a region that has captured and stored carbon for tens of thousands of years.

          Scientists have estimated that permafrost stores more carbon than has ever been released by humans via fossil fuel combustion. These frozen soils have kept carbon safely locked away for thousands of years, but rising temperatures are making them thaw and release those greenhouse gases.

          Like

          1. Colin

            Brian, estimates are that the Arctic tree line will grow 300 miles further north by 2100 (link). That’s a lot of trees. However, for the purposes of this discussion, there is little doubt that Canada and the Midwest will grow warmer in the next century. The primary reason for migration from the Midwest to the Sun Belt is weather and the harsh winters of the Big Ten footprint will become more moderate.

            https://www.reuters.com/article/us-arctic-green/trees-may-grow-500-km-further-north-by-2100-idUSTRE74B7B020110512

            Like

          2. Colin

            Again, for the purposes of this discussion we’re talking about changing weather patterns in the Big Ten footprint, not the impact of climate change on planet earth. If you take a look at the map in the link below, the prediction is for a stunning shift in the Wheat Belt, and America’s Breadbasket, by 2050. Canada will experience a huge increase in arable land and large area of Alaska will be available for farming for the first time.

            This means much warmer weather for the upper US and notably, milder winters. We’ll be experiencing the kind of weather that Tennessee has right now.

            https://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2006/12/05/americas-breadbasket-moves-to-canada/

            Like

        2. Brian

          Colin,

          Forest is good in many ways, but the permafrost is a huge, huge store of carbon from tens of thousands of years. It is tens of feet thick

          https://www.amnh.org/explore/videos/earth-and-climate/climate-change-alaska/article-carbon-sinks-and-carbon-bombs

          … Schuur’s research has discovered that there is about twice as much carbon stored frozen in permafrost soils as the atmosphere currently holds. “The next question that follows from that is how fast can this stuff come out, and how fast is it coming out now?” Schuur says.

          The answer depends on how fast permafrost will thaw and how rapidly microbes can break down the organic matter, yet the expansion of shrubs in warming tundra areas could offset some of that release. Schuur’s current estimates predict that at least initially, plant growth in northern latitudes will be an effective sink for the excess carbon emissions from permafrost. After a few decades, however, a greener Arctic won’t be able to take up slack. Net carbon release from the world’s permafrost could approach 1 billion tons of carbon per year if widespread permafrost degradation were to occur—roughly equal to the current amount added annually by tropical deforestation.

          Like

          1. Brian

            Also

            https://academic.oup.com/forestry/article/85/2/161/527316

            Forest soils and specifically those of the boreal region are a reservoir for long-term storage of boreal C and a significant contributor to global C storage (Jones et al., 2009) and therefore have the potential to greatly influence the global GHG balance as either a sink or a source. In fact, boreal forest ecosystems account for ∼50 per cent, or more, of world forest ecosystem C stocks compared with 14 per cent for temperate and 37 per cent for tropical systems (Malhi et al., 1999). Boreal forest soils also hold more total ecosystem C than is found in the overstory (Havas and Kubin, 1983; Gower et al., 1997; Schultze et al., 1999; Martin et al., 2005). Indeed, soil C in boreal ecosystems has been reported to account for about five times the total C in the standing biomass or ∼85 per cent of the total biome C (Malhi et al., 1999). Boreal forests account for ∼33 per cent of the total land area of the circumpolar region (Jones et al., 2009), but most of the C stored in high-latitude ecosystems is found within peat bog and permafrost soils (Tarnocai et al., 2009). Of all permafrost soils, about 40–55 per cent are found in boreal forests with the remaining portion found in the Arctic (Allison and Treseder, 2011).

            But enough about this. Let’s stick to happier topics like how evil ESPN is and how to thwart the SEC’s plans for global domination.

            Like

          2. Colin

            Brian, the amount of carbon stored in the permafrost is trivial. You need to understand the big picture. If you go to “Marine Food Web” in Wikipedia, it provides an excellent explanation of the role of carbon and carbon dioxide in the earth’s ecosystems. The following paragraph was copied verbatim:

            “If phytoplankton dies before it is eaten, it descends through the euphotic zone as part of the marine snow and settles into the depths of sea. In this way, phytoplankton sequester about 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the ocean each year, causing the ocean to become a sink of carbon dioxide holding about 90% of all sequestered carbon.[2] The ocean produces about half of the world’s oxygen and stores 50 times more carbon dioxide than the atmosphere.[3]”

            Stated another way, 10% of the sequestered carbon on earth is incorporated into the tissues of land vegetation (forests, crops, grasses, jungles) and you may as well include permafrost here too. The other 90% is in the ocean in the form of phytoplankton (live, dead, decayed, digested) that have sunken to the sea floor as sediment. Phytoplankton live for only a few days thus a bloom of these organisms becomes deposited on the ocean floor quite rapidly. A “marine rain” of these organisms and their remnants is continuously being deposited on the ocean floor and this has been going on for hundreds of millions of years. This biomass of phytoplankton sediment eventually becomes decomposed and compressed into petroleum. Phytoplankton are actually the “fossils” from which the fossil fuels oil and natural gas are formed.

            Also, only 2% on non-sequestered carbon aka carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere. The other 98% is dissolved in seawater.

            Clearly, the most natural and logical way to remove excess CO2 from our atmosphere is to nurture the growth of phytoplankton and increase their deposition into the ocean’s carbon sink. This strategy has been studied and appears to be effective. Those studies are summarized in the following link:

            https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/complicated-role-iron-ocean-health-and-climate-change-180973893/

            Like

          3. Brian

            You weren’t talking big picture, you were talking about the noprth, the moving corn belt, arctic and boreal forests.

            Like

          4. Kevin

            I think we will find out the B1G’s direction by June 2022. The leagues TV deal is through the 2023 fiscal year. For college that is a June 30 year end. I have yet to see a scenario where a league did not announce their new TV contract before the start of the last contractual year.

            In June 2016 news broke of the Big Ten’s new TV deal. It took until the following summer for the formal release as it took awhile for Fox and ESPN to negotiate game selections etc.

            In most cases expansion was timed with TV rights. Nebraska was added in the middle of a deal but the CCG and BTN were used to integrate.

            Maryland and Rutgers leveraged BTN plus there was a lower payout schedule for 6 years. With the payouts where they are at now there is no way to make it work from a timing standpoint without aligning with the contractual Tier 1 TV rights.

            Not a lot of time to work with.

            Like

  28. z33k

    Demographics are important yes, but they’re not the be all, end all in this discussion.

    10-12 years ago, I used to think so, but if you look closely at the latest 2020 census, 3 states lost population over the past decade: Illinois, Mississippi, and West Virginia. Mississippi was a surprise to me.

    Michigan’s population growth was basically similar to Ohio, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Louisiana. (Michigan actually performed over expectations imo based on what I was seeing after the 2008 recession).

    States like Iowa and Indiana actually grew faster than a half of the SEC states.

    Of course, the SEC has Florida, Georgia, and Texas; 3 large states growing robustly. South Carolina and Tennessee (for now) as well have strong growth, but the reality is just that a half of the states of the SEC (and the schools within those states) face similar pressures over the long run as most of the Big Ten.

    Doesn’t mean that the Big Ten doesn’t need to get schools in some faster growth states, but if/once we do, I don’t think things are all that different demographically overall.

    These things are going to change significantly over time; Covid and the housing bust show that; original projections 20 years ago were for the US to hit 450 million in population by 2050, that looks highly unlikely to happen now and more likely the US will be around 400 million.

    I think things like climate change will also start to have a more dramatic impact on population shifts over the next 30-40 years as well.

    Yes, there will continue to be a shift towards the coasts and Texas, but it doesn’t mean the rest of the country will depopulate, and eventually I think things will stabilize more or less.

    Big Ten needs to figure out its strategy over the next 10-12 years, but that’s plenty of time. The big shifts will take a lot longer than expected imo.

    Like

    1. Marc

      @z33k: You’ve cherry-picked your statistics. For one thing, it is a mistake to look at growth rates. Yes, Iowa is growing faster than half of the SEC states. But that growth is on a very low base to begin with: the Big Ten does not need more of Iowa. Otherwise, it would have issued an invitation to Iowa State, which would accept in a heartbeat. Iowa’s growth rate is still below the U.S. average.

      If the Big Ten cared only about growth rates, rather than absolute numbers, its next invitations would be to BYU and Boise State. Utah and Idaho both grew by more than 17% over the past decade, the only two states to do so.

      Yes, I am sure Michigan was happy simply not to lose people over the last 10 years. But Michigan grew only 2% over the last decade, versus the U.S. average of 7.4%. It is still losing a seat in the House of Representatives, and so is Ohio. States in the Big Ten footprint are losing four U.S. House seats, whereas states in the SEC footprint are gaining four. The Big Ten is the only P5 conference that contains no states that gained U.S house seats.

      The Big Ten has just one state growing faster than the U.S. average, but only barely: Minnesota, which grew 7.6% over the past decade vs. the average of 7.4%. Still, Minnesota slipped from 21st by population ten years ago to 22nd. The ACC has five states in its footprint that grew faster than Minnesota.

      Yes, the SEC has a number of low-growth states, including one (Mississippi) that actually lost people. But it has four states growing at a blistering pace well above the rest of the nation (TX, FL, SC, and GA). And remember, that growth rate is on top of a huge base. When the Texas population grows by 15%, it’s a lot more people than if Iowa grows at that rate (not that Iowa did).

      Like

      1. Brian

        Marc,

        “For one thing, it is a mistake to look at growth rates.”

        Yes and no. Rates can be misleading, because fast growth from a low base still ends with a small total, but they can be useful for spotting trends. Unless old people are flocking to IA, growth is a good sign for their demographics.

        “Yes, Iowa is growing faster than half of the SEC states. But that growth is on a very low base to begin with:”

        IA is larger than AR and MS and growing faster than them.

        “If the Big Ten cared only about growth rates,”

        A claim nobody made ever.

        “Yes, I am sure Michigan was happy simply not to lose people over the last 10 years. But Michigan grew only 2% over the last decade, versus the U.S. average of 7.4%.”

        Remember when you said it’s a mistake to look at growth rates? TX and FL are huge. When they grow at high rates (15.9% and 14.6% over the past decade, respectively), it skews the national rate. Almost one third of all growth in the US was TX + FL. And CA added over 2M as well.

        “It is still losing a seat in the House of Representatives, and so is Ohio.”

        See thew growth of TX and FL.

        “The Big Ten is the only P5 conference that contains no states that gained U.S house seats.”

        So? That’s a poor measure because seats change in such large discrete steps. A seat may move over a few thousand people in one state vs another. You need to look bigger picture and note that this showed a much slower rate of the south and west gaining seats than previous decades. Heck, CA lost a seat and it is huge and growing pretty fast.

        Changes from 1960 – 2020:
        FL + TX + CA = +45
        B10 footprint = -44 (average of -8 per decade until 2010, so -4 this time is better)
        NY = -15

        We’ve long known that people moved south and west. In part due to air conditioning, in part due to weaker unions leading to manufacturing jobs, in part due to retiring to warmer weather. But things change over time. Global warming (and the hurricanes, flooding, forest fires and drought it brings) could change things. Unions have lost power in the north, so labor prices are more similar. Cost of living in the south will rise and make things level.

        Changes from 1960 – 2020:
        MO + AR + TN + KY + LA + MS + AL = -6
        SC (1) + GA (4) = +5
        SEC footprint except FL and TX = -1

        VA +1
        NC +3
        WA +3
        OR +2
        NV +3
        UT +2
        AZ +6
        CO +4

        The gains have been in the west outside of the big 3.

        Like

        1. Marc

          Remember when you said it’s a mistake to look at growth rates?

          I was engaging the original post on its terms. Michigan is not a currently a great demographic story, regardless of which stat you use.

          [U.S. House Seats are] a poor measure because seats change in such large discrete steps.

          I would welcome a better measure. I cannot find one that makes the Big Ten’s demographics look good when compared to other power conferences’ footprints. However, I am open to suggestions.

          Like

          1. Brian

            We all know the B10 has some demographic issues.

            Better news?

            House seats in footprint:
            SEC – 133 (but the big states are all split)
            ACC – 132 (not the primary conference in states with 1/2 of the seats)
            B10 – 118
            P12 – 88
            B12 – 52

            It’s hardly the end of the world. The B10 still has 26.9% of the US seats.

            Like

          2. z33k

            Yes, my point is that if you add Cali/Oregon/Arizona/Washington/Colorado or Virginia/North Carolina/Georgia/Florida as potential markets/recruiting grounds/etc. to the Big Ten, then what do those numbers look like.

            Like

    2. z33k

      Marc, my point is that yes you need some anchors in big markets, but the rest of the footprint is more or less fine compared to the rest of the footprint in say the SEC.

      The Big Ten has 2 paths to those markets: ACC or Pac-12. A big clump of 6-8 schools in fast growth markets basically would make the Big Ten equivalent demographically to the SEC. That’s the broader point I’m trying to make.

      And I don’t think anything will change substantially in the next 10-12 years to prevent the Big Ten from doing that due to the current lead the Big Ten has over those 2 conferences.

      Of course, maybe Phillips has a rabbit in his hat down in the ACC to pump up their value, but I doubt it.

      Like

      1. bullet

        PA, WI, NJ and MI are all in the 13 states with the oldest median age. Only Florida in the SEC falls into that group. Big 10 states are in for slower growth. With Chicago and Minneapolis’s recent problems, that will hurt some of the Big 10’s growth pockets.

        Like

        1. z33k

          Yeah, but my point is largely that outside of a half dozen states in the South/Northwest you could probably say that about 20-30 states.

          Like

  29. Kevin

    I saw Gene Smith’s comments about pausing on playoff expansion. Makes sense to me. No reason to give the entire postseason to one TV partner at a discount. Best to have multiple partners and the championship game rotated.

    Like

  30. Jersey Bernie

    Here are Gene Smith’s comments, as I do not see them above.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/ncaafb/ohio-state-ad-gene-smith-says-pause-button-should-be-hit-on-cfp-expansion-others-fret-over-espns-grip-on-football/ar-AAMLrBb

    Smith thinks that the expansion of playoffs needs to be put on hold. It appears that the actions of ESPN and the SEC have upset a few people. Good. Perhaps Sankey’s less than above board behavior will not be condoned.

    The article states

    “The combination of uncertainty in the environment and a building skepticism over the power being collected by ESPN and the SEC after recent realignment moves have prompted a more cautious approach to expansion. The exploration of growing from a four-team model to 12-team model was announced in early June and is being deliberated on, with a decision expected in the fall.

    “I think the pause button should be hit,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith told Yahoo Sports. “We need to evaluate the landscape and what it’s going to look like. We still need to evaluate the 12-team playoff. We don’t need to rush into that when there’s legitimate concerns that need to be addressed.

    Other leaders around the country have expressed a skepticism toward the financial value of allowing ESPN to continue to be the sole owner of the most powerful rights in college football. The College Football Playoff is, essentially, a television contract with ESPN that runs through the 2025 season. ESPN owns all of it now, which includes three playoff games and other New Year’s six bowls.

    “It’s behooves everyone not named the SEC and ACC [for the CFP rights to go to market],” said a Power 5 athletic director outside the Big Ten. “It’s in all of our best interest [of other leagues] to let the contract through and go to open market. Why would a streaming service want to bid on a league like the Big Ten or Pac-12 to carry the regular season if they are going to just hand it over to ESPN for the playoffs?”

    Sankey’s reaction, pretty much that this is no big deal and the recent moves with OU and UT should not much matter.

    “Sankey added: “I was never walking into this with an assumption that something would happen quickly. It has nothing to do with recent news. … If others want to continue to deliberate, that’s not a surprise. I could have foreseen that with no breaking news.”

    Like

    1. Brian

      It’s good to hear some of these people are starting to grow a spine. Maybe don’t agree to everything the SEC or ESPN wants for once. Recognize that ESPN is not a neutral party, they have a very vested interest in the SEC succeeding more than anyone else, and then maybe the ACC. They dabble in everyone else just in case.

      Like

    2. Marc

      Smith is apparently not contesting that the playoff ought to expand. This is wise on his part, given that his school would have been in the playoff every year, had the proposal been in place from the beginning.

      He is just saying that other networks ought to be given the chance to bid on it, which I totally agree with. From the beginning, I thought that it was a long shot that all the parties would agree to tear up the contract before it expired.

      Like

      1. Jersey Bernie

        Smith did say that they need to evaluate the 12 team playoff. To me that sounds as though everything is on the table.

        The threat of staying at 4 teams, or 8 max, creates leverage to at the least limit teams from one league. In my opinion, a hard cap of four from one league is plenty and three would be better.

        We have to keep in mind that ESPN will use everything that it has to maximize the number of SEC (and ACC?). If there are five SEC teams and two ACC, that is more than half of the playoff field. That is too many from the ESPN stable.

        As Brian said, it is good to see someone with a spine and Smith is clearly speaking not just for OSU, but for the B1G. I would guess it will be 12 teams with a reasonable max limit from any conference and perhaps a couple more new twists. Certainly there is zero chance of ESPN getting a renewal with bidding for it.

        If the UT, OU, move had been on the table before the “private meeting” involving Bowlsby, Sankey, ND, and a G5 team, the conversations likely would have been very different than they actually were.

        Like

        1. Marc

          The threat of staying at 4 teams, or 8 max, creates leverage to at the least limit teams from one league. In my opinion, a hard cap of four from one league is plenty and three would be better.

          The threat of staying at 4 teams is totally non-serious. Smith, along with everyone else, recognizes that the current format is starving playoff access for all but a handful of teams. Sankey did not push it to 12 all by himself; there was broad consensus that that was the sweet spot.

          I am sure that, even without the recent events, it is very likely that the proposal would have been tweaked somewhat. The issue Smith has been most vocal about — outdoor Northern games in December — has nothing to do with the SEC expanding. I thought it would be Southern teams complaining about that, not Ohio State. Whatever the disadvantage to the Buckeyes of playing in those conditions, the disadvantage to them is surely worse, as Smith has acknowledged.

          Smith also probably knows that his leverage shrinks over time. To tear up the playoff contract and rewrite it, every party must agree. After 2025, there is no contract, which means one party alone cannot scuttle the whole deal. The remaining P3 could outvote the SEC if they are united, but there’s no assurance they will be: their interests do not necessarily coincide.

          If the UT, OU, move had been on the table before the “private meeting” involving Bowlsby, Sankey, ND, and a G5 team, the conversations likely would have been very different than they actually were.

          You’ve mischaracterized the so-called “private meeting.” There is a group of 12, which consists of the 11 FBS conference commissioners and the ND athletic director. That entire group agreed that a subcommittee would examine the playoff format and come back to them with a recommendation.

          The subcommittee was Bowlsby, Sankey, the Mountain West commissioner, and the ND athletic director. The ND athletic director was also on the committee that devised the first playoff format. He didn’t seize that authority; the rest of them willingly chose him as their spokesman. I think Bowlsby and Sankey were chosen because the other three P5 commissioners are relatively new. The MWC commissioner was the token G5 rep.

          Anyone who didn’t expect Texas to test the market when the B12 GoR approached expiration is a complete idiot. While the exact timing is sooner than a lot of us expected, the reality that it could happen was well known. The person who should’ve known that more than anybody was Bob Bowlsby. The fact he was taken utterly by surprise only speaks to his incompetence.

          Had this been known earlier, I think the only difference is that Bowlsby wouldn’t have been on the committee.

          Like

          1. Brian

            Marc,

            “The threat of staying at 4 teams is totally non-serious. Smith, along with everyone else, recognizes that the current format is starving playoff access for all but a handful of teams. Sankey did not push it to 12 all by himself; there was broad consensus that that was the sweet spot.”

            I think Smith could live with staying at 4. It worked okay for OSU on the relative scale of things. That said, I agree most people seemed to want expansion.

            “I am sure that, even without the recent events, it is very likely that the proposal would have been tweaked somewhat.”

            Probably, but mostly at the detail level. Nobody was really picking out any major points of contention. By far the biggest thing Smith noted is that ESPN has a monopoly on the CFP and that’s not healthy. This UT and OU move stresses how risky it is to give ESPN an exclusive deal for the CFP. I think they were heading towards signing up again with ESPN without much thought until this happened.

            “Smith also probably knows that his leverage shrinks over time. To tear up the playoff contract and rewrite it, every party must agree. After 2025, there is no contract, which means one party alone cannot scuttle the whole deal. The remaining P3 could outvote the SEC if they are united, but there’s no assurance they will be: their interests do not necessarily coincide.”

            They need a unanimous agreement to sign the new deal, too. They can’t force it on anyone.

            “You’ve mischaracterized the so-called “private meeting.” There is a group of 12, which consists of the 11 FBS conference commissioners and the ND athletic director. That entire group agreed that a subcommittee would examine the playoff format and come back to them with a recommendation.

            The subcommittee was Bowlsby, Sankey, the Mountain West commissioner, and the ND athletic director.”

            Yes, and Bowlsby would react differently after Sankey stole his kings. He would review every proposal in a different light. The others would have as well.

            “Anyone who didn’t expect Texas to test the market when the B12 GoR approached expiration is a complete idiot.”

            They didn’t test the market, they secretly jumped straight to the SEC. Probably with input from ESPN. The market would’ve included other options.

            Like

          2. bullet

            If you aren’t Alabama, Ohio St. or Clemson, you are for expanding the playoff. So Dabo and Gene Smith like things the way they are. Duh!

            Pac 12 is just haggling for concessions. They need it more than anyone.

            Like

          3. Marc

            They need a unanimous agreement to sign the new deal, too. They can’t force it on anyone.

            That is true, but when there is no active contract whatsoever, it is hard for one party to hold up everything, because something has to be done. In an extreme case, one or two parties can just get left out. That was what happened with the predecessor system to the BCS: everyone signed except the Big Ten and Pac-12. But when you are talking about tearing up an existing deal, any party can block progress by just saying no.

            They didn’t test the market, they secretly jumped straight to the SEC. Probably with input from ESPN. The market would’ve included other options.

            These negotiations usually start in secret, and stay that way until the news is leaked. If you’ve got a better phrase than “testing the market,” I’ll take it. Most conference switchers have a preferred destination, and if they get the offer they want, do not seriously consider others.

            My larger point is that we all expected Texas to look at (one or more) other options as the GoR approached its expiration date. The timing is earlier than I expected, but not the fact that they did it. Nobody should be surprised, and the last person who should’ve been surprised (if he is at all competent) is Bob Bowlsby.

            Like

          4. @Marc – This is where negotiation tactics get really interesting regarding the playoff.

            A party can certainly decide to hold up the entire CFP deal and force it to go until the end of the current contract. That’s the ultimate hammer.

            However, that party also has the *most* leverage in renegotiating the current contract now because it has that hypothetical hammer. If the current contract expires and the parties start from scratch, then that leverage is gone and they no longer have any veto power.

            That’s why I believe the current contract is ultimately going to get renegotiated and extended. If the majority of the parties already agree that the overall structure (12-team playoff with the top 6 conference champs getting auto-bids) is ultimately what’s going to be the future, then they’re better off negotiating it now when they have unilateral veto power than they would be waiting until an entirely new contract is formed.

            Like

          5. ccrider55

            Marc,

            Nobody is tearing up an existing deal. It continues until expiration unless a new deal replaces it. I’m not sure why we wouldn’t want open market bidding on whatever new deal is being proposed. It might delay higher payouts by a few years, but at what cost? If fox, nbc, cbs, (Amazon, Apple?) have a few more years to prepare there could be an actual bidding war.

            “Had this been known earlier, I think the only difference is that Bowlsby wouldn’t have been on the committee.“

            Had this been known there may have been a delay in forming the committee.

            Like

          6. @ccrider55 – I noted this in my last post about the playoff proposal: no one can underestimate just how much revenue colleges (even ones that people would think are wealthy) lost in the past year. The pandemic was a (hopefully) once-in-a-century black swan event that completely upended the financial fundamentals of the higher education industry.

            That’s why the powers that be seemed to be so willing to open up the deal now. Could they make more money by waiting and going to the open market? Absolutely. Do they want to wait until 2026 to start making more money? Absolutely not. Trust me – there are so many institutions that need that money *now* that they feel that they can’t afford to wait on such a low-hanging fruit of an instant revenue generator.

            Liked by 1 person

          7. Brian

            Frank,

            The problem with that theory is that ESPN has exclusive negotiating rights now. They can’t involve Fox or the streaming options until later. It hurts everyone to agree on a new CFP plan now.

            Like

          8. Brian

            Frank,

            Yes there were major losses. But they can borrow money for free, virtually, and pay it back once the new deal starts. And a lot of schools reported they didn’t end up losing as much as they initially feared because they made cutbacks and some CFB was played.

            I just don’t see them being that short-sighted after seeing how blatantly ESPN is tipping the scales. A new CFP couldn’t start until 2023 anyway, so what’s 3 more years?

            Like

          9. Marc

            Nobody is tearing up an existing deal.

            Tearing it up is on the table. Of course, as it now stands, any of the numerous parties to the deal could scuttle that by simply saying no. As it approaches expiration, any naysayers will gradually lose power, because something must replace it.

            I’m not sure why we wouldn’t want open market bidding on whatever new deal is being proposed. It might delay higher payouts by a few years, but at what cost?

            I think it’s a virtual certainty that other networks will get a chance to bid after 2025. If the proposal is compelling enough, I could see the scenario where the deal gets torn up for just the remaining term. From the start, I thought that tearing up the deal was unlikely — there are just too many people who can stop it cold by saying no. Still, some folks are proposing that, so it’s possible.

            Had this been known there may have been a delay in forming the committee.

            My tea-leaf-reading is not that good, but I know there was broad dissatisfaction with the current system, because so many of the playoff berths were going year after year to just a few teams. The SEC’s move doesn’t change that problem. Perhaps it even makes it worse.

            Like

          10. ccrider55

            Marc:

            “ Tearing it up is on the table.”

            No, it is not. Are several conferences going to suddenly say they are out and try to market and play their version of post season while this contract governs? That’s tearing it up.

            “ that a subcommittee would examine the playoff format and come back to them with a recommendation.”

            They did, and now we understand better some influences that informed them. There is no commitment given to accept those recommendations.

            “ Anyone who didn’t expect Texas to test the market when the B12 GoR approached expiration is a complete idiot.”

            I’ll add that to my resume. As I’ve said for near a decade I didn’t think UT would be able to move without TT and the only place TT and OkSt could go was the Pac as concessions to gain OU/UT. Plus, I believed what bullet had espoused that having their own individual LHN was important enough for it to run through its contract. It also stabilized the B12 in an “extortive” kind of way that ESPN appeared to support. I had not anticipated the brashness of ESPN’s intent to get into the business of reorganizing the landscape of the college athletics that they were purportedly covering/broadcasting as a media “partner.”

            “ timing is sooner than a lot of us expected, the reality that it could happen was well known.”

            Yes, and with the egos in Austin there were some that a GOR challenge could happen whenever, but most felt that very unlikely, too.

            Like

          11. ccrider55

            “ I think it’s a virtual certainty that other networks will get a chance to bid after 2025”

            If the recommendations are accepted the absolutely won’t. You think ESPN’s doing this without getting a long term extension? Now that really would surprise me.

            Like

          12. bullet

            ESPN would be leaving money on the table if they don’t re-work the deal.
            They would prefer a long term extension. But it could be no extension or it could be a 3 to 6 year extension.

            Like

    1. @ccrider55 – Yeah, I try to avoid downtown Chicago during Lollapalooza week in a normal year. (Not being a hater – I know I would have wanted to go there if I was a teenager again.) I watched some of the Lolla coverage streaming on Hulu and it’s totally packed in like it would be in a pre-pandemic year. The COVID numbers had already been spiking in the Chicago area again in the past couple of weeks, so this isn’t a great time for a massive concentration of tens of thousands of people (including a ton of out-of-town tourists) in one place in Grant Park.

      Like

      1. bullet

        Just got back from a trip to Montana/Wyoming/Dakotas. Every place was packed. Airports were packed. Hotels had no vacancies. Restaurants didn’t have enough help to serve people. Everybody is stir crazy and ready to get back to normal. Barring some change, I expect football stadiums to be packed.

        My wife was talking about going to Charlotte for Georgia-Clemson, but is now starting to have 2nd thoughts. We (and especially her) were pretty conservative from March 2020 until April. Other than 3 or 4 essential repairmen, didn’t have anyone in our house until the end of April and didn’t travel.

        Like

        1. Brian

          You mean something like the Delta variant being more contagious than chicken pox and half of America refusing to get vaccinated?

          Like

  31. Andy

    I posted this way up above but so it doesn’t get lost I’ll post it here too. Brian pointed out to me that AAU rankings are roughly federal grant dollars per faculty member, so I attempted to roughly calculate those for the schools that are either at risk fo getting kicked out of the AAU or P5 schools that have at least some hope of joining:

    These seem to be the schools of interest, schools at risk of getting kicked out and P5 schools that would like to get in. Federal research dollars and full time faculty counts:

    Missouri $107M in 2017, I’m hearing it’ll be at least $150M to $180M after $260M in recent capital investments in medical research at Mizzou. 1200 full time faculty.
    Kansas $85M. 1300 full time faculty
    Iowa State $125M. 1500 full time faculty.
    Oregon $57M. 1100 full time faculty
    Oregon State $157M 1400 full time faculty.
    Arizona State $214M. 2100 full time faculty.
    Nebraska $99M. 1300 full time faculty.
    Oklahoma $70M. 1300 full time faculty.
    Wake Forest $147M. 600 full time faculty.
    Miami $193M. 1100 full time faculty.
    NC State $213M. 1700 full time faculty.
    Virginia Tech $181M. 1900 full time faculty
    Georgia $153M. 2100 full time faculty
    Kentucky $168M 1400 full time faculty
    LSU $80M. 1300 full time faculty

    So I realize there are probably several other universities making major capital investments for the purpose of staying in/getting into the AAU, but the only one I have specific information on is Missouri, and I’m trying to be pretty conservative on the projection.

    Here are the rankings of the ratios, number is federal grant dollars per full time faculty member:

    1. Wake Forest 245k
    2. Miami 175k
    3. Missouri projection after new investments: at least 125k, maybe as much as 150k
    4. NC State 125k
    5. Kentucky 120k
    6. Oregon State 112k
    7. Arizona State 102k
    8. Virginia Tech 95k
    9. Missouri in FY17 89k
    10 Iowa State 83k
    11. Nebraska 76k
    12. Georgia 73k
    13. Kansas 65k
    14. LSU 62k
    15. Oklahoma 54k
    16. Oregon 52k

    Some observations:

    1) It looks like Missouri will probably retain AAU status due to their recent investments in medical research.
    2) Kansas and Oregon have a lot of work to do to avoid getting kicked out. I believe Kansas is scrambling like Missouri is and they are making improvements, but I don’t know the details.
    3) It looks like I was wrong about Georgia. They are not particularly close to getting into the AAU, and neither are Oklahoma or LSU.
    4) Kentucky actually looks like the SEC’s best bet for a 6th AAU school.
    5) Wake Forest and Miami should be in the AAU.

    Like

    1. Andy

      For reference, here are the other AAU B1G and SEC schools

      Michigan $882M 6200 full time faculty
      Northwestern $438M 3300 full time faculty
      Michigan State $329M 2500 full time faculty
      Wisconsin $552M 2200 full time faculty
      Minnesota $448M 2100 full time faculty
      Iowa $236M 1300 full time faculty
      Maryland $361M 2000 full time faculty
      Rutgers $316M 2200 full time faculty
      Ohio State $427M 2300 full time faculty
      Indiana $241M 2000 full time faculty
      Purdue $225M 2000 full time faculty
      Penn State $477M 3000 full time faculty
      Illinois $334M 2300 full time faculty
      Florida $314M 2300 full time faculty
      Vanderbilt $442M 1500 full time faculty
      Texas $337M 2800 full time faculty
      Texas A&M $294M 2800 full time faculty

      Ratio rankings, federal research grant dollars per full time faculty member:

      1. Vanderbilt 294k
      2. Wisconsin 250k
      3. Minnesota 213k
      4. Ohio State 185k
      5. Iowa 181k
      6. Maryland 180k
      7. Penn State 159k
      8. Illinois 145k
      9. Rutgers 143k
      10. Michigan 142k
      11. Florida 136k
      12. Northwestern 132k
      13. Michigan State 131k
      14. Texas 120k
      15. Indiana 120k
      16. Purdue 112k
      17. Texas A&M 125k

      Observations

      1) this formula seems to give some wacky results. Vanderbilt seems way high. And a school like Michigan, who is obviously a research powerhouse, ends up kind of low on the list.
      2) It looks like after the $260M in capital investments in research, Missouri will probably be more in line with the bottom portion of this list, which again, to me would seem to indicate they will probably not lose AAU status. Maybe Kansas and Iowa State can catch up? I doubt Oregon can.

      Like

        1. Andy

          To be extra pessimistic and conservative on Mizzou’s numbers, say they only get up to about $140M in federal dollars and let’s say their number of faculty increases by 100 to do it. Again, this is worse than what I’ve been told, but just to be conservative. That would still be $108k federal dollars per full time faculty member. I don’t think they’d be as safe in that scenario, but they’d rank similar to Purdue and Texas A&M and substantially above where Nebraska/Iowa State/Kansas/Oregon were so probably decently safe from getting kicked out.

          Like

      1. Colin

        Andy, it makes a big difference if they have a medical school on campus, especially a small school with a medical school on site. That’s what Vandy has.

        Large universities with no medical school, e.g. Purdue, aren’t going to be very high on that list.

        Like

        1. Andy

          @Colin, got it. And I’m sure that really hurt Nebraska. Missouri has a medical school and they’re doubling down on that with a lot of investment, like I said above. Kansas has a medical school so I’ve got to think they’re probably doing the same thing, but I don’t know the details.

          Like

          1. Colin

            As I understand it, that was THE issue that nailed Nebraska. Their medical school was part of the UN-Omaha campus rather than the Lincoln campus and someone made a stink about it.

            Like

          2. Andy

            If that’s all it was then maybe nobody else will get kicked out. But Missouri hasn’t felt safe and are taking major action, and I would think Oregon, Kansas and Iowa State would as well.

            Like

      2. Brian

        Andy,

        Normalized competitive federal research is one of 4 main metrics for the AAU. They also use National Academy members, number of major awards won (Nobel, Fields, etc.), and number of citations of their research papers. Each normalized metric is ranked, then they take the average. The schools are then ranked by that average.

        You can find most of the data in the CMUP report I linked earlier, but the CMUP doesn’t normalize. It does list how many faculty members there are, though. Scroll down to where it shows the top 200 research schools and you will see it.

        And that’s another key point. There are official definitions of who count, so your numbers may be off.

        Like

        1. Andy

          I see. I don’t know if I’m up for that much work. Well, I think I got a rough estimate, anyway, by dividing federal dollars by full time faculty. It’s probably not exactly correct but gives a general idea of roughly where all these schools stand. And Bullet gave more details below which helps get a better idea of it.

          It sounds like there were originally about 7 AAU members who were scoring low in this ranking system. Nebraska was the lowest and was kicked out, then came Syracuse who left voluntarily. It seems likely based on my calculations that the next lowest on the list is probably Oregon, so they were probably #94. Kansas seems to be the next lowest, so they were probably #87. Then Iowa State at #83. Then probably Missouri at #81. I’m not sure who would be #76. Stony Brook? Purdue? Virginia? Rice? I’m not sure.

          So then looking at the ratios and what’s expected to happen with Missouri’s federal research numbers and faculty, a pessimistic scenario would put their federal dollars to full time faculty ratio at about where Oregon State was. And Oregon State is listed on Bullet’s ranking below at #67. So that would be about a 14 spot increase, which I think makes sense given thee investment Missouri is making. So I think roughly we can say Missouri was probably at #81, and probably will increase approximately to around #67. Would they be safe from getting kicked out of the 66 member AAU at that point? I would think so, yes.

          And it sounds like neither Kentucky or Georgia are particularly close to eligible for joining, according to Bullet’s list below. Looks like the next two new members will be Wake Forest and Miami.

          Like

          1. Andy

            I don’t see citations metrics in the document you linked. I do see National Academy and Awards, but as you said they’re not normalized and I’m not going to go through all the work to normalize them. It looks like on National Academy members, Missouri does fairly well, as does Oregon, and Kansas does relatively poorly, as does Nebraska. For Awards Missouri doesn’t do as well, and Iowa State does quite well.

            Just looking at that, I’m more convinced that Kansas is one of the lowest ranked AAU schools, probably #94 or #87 and Oregon is the other one, and Missouri is probably either #81 or #83 and Iowa State is the other one.

            Like

          2. Brian

            Like I said, most of the data is there. And it’s not worth my effort to normalize the data either. That’s why I keep quoting the old numbers.

            I think everyone is safe for a while. I don’t think the membership liked what happened so they’ll wait a while before doing it again. But I agree that MO should be safe as long as they keep making the effort. KU and UO face a bigger struggle, but they are still well ahead of where NE was before they got voted out..

            Like

          3. Andy

            To me it’s about more than just not getting kicked out. If Missouri wants to be a legit research university then they shouldn’t be behind schools like Hawaii, Alaska Fairbanks, Wayne State, and New Mexico in these rankings. They’re basically AAU in name only as long as they’re ranked that low. These investments that they’ve been making, if they get them up into the 60s in the rankings, and it seems like that’s what’s going to happen, then at least they’ll be more deserving of the designation.

            Like

    2. bullet

      At the time Nebraska was kicked out, they were 109 and Syracuse 105 in their rankings. The next lowest schools were #94, #87, #83, #81 and #76. AAU schools were not identified by name, but non-members were. Schools eligible for admission (* means they have since been admitted):
      31 Georgia Tech *
      37 Boston U. *
      37 Dartmouth *
      40 UAB
      43 UMBC
      49 Utah *
      52 UC-Santa Cruz
      55 RPI
      57 Wake Forest
      59 Miami, FL
      61 UI-Chicago
      62 Cincinnati
      64 Colorado St.
      67 Oregon St.
      68 GWU
      69 New Mexico
      72 Wayne St.
      72 UC-Riverside
      76 Alaska-Fairbanks
      78 VCU
      79 Vermont
      79 Hawaii
      81 UConn
      83 Georgetown
      83 Delaware
      86 SUNY-Albany

      Of the schools you mentioned, OU was 91, UK 96, UGA 110 and LSU 112. Its clear that some of these schools are ranked highly because of their medical schools and wouldn’t be admitted (see UAB and UMBC).

      Like

      1. Andy

        Based on my calculations above, I’ve got to think Oregon is probably #94, Kansas is probably #87, Iowa State is probably #83, and Missouri is probably #81. I don’t know who #76 is.

        And as I said, Missouri just opened a $250M medical research center and have putting a bunch of investment into medical research, so they should move up at least 10 to 20 spots, so they’ll probably end up somewhere in the 60s or worst case low 70s.

        I have to think Kansas is doing something similar but I don’t know the details.

        Like

  32. Donald

    I don’t believe that Kansas, Missouri, or Oregon are in any significant danger of being expelled from the AAU. The university presidents are, in general, a fairly collegial group, and I suspect that the very public controversy that ensued from their only ejection of a member is not an experience that they relish repeating. As long as a current member is clearly making good faith attempts to improve their academic programs and avoids adopting the Perlman defense tactics their membership card should be secure.

    Like

    1. Andy

      That may be true, but even if they’re safe no matter what, it’s far preferable to be in the 60s in those rankings than in the 80s or 90s. As I said above, if you’re ranked below Wayne State, Alaska Fairbanks, and New Mexico, are you a legit AAU institution, or are you basically just AAU in name only? I’m glad Missouri is taking steps that should push them up into the 60s or higher in the rankings. That way they’ll actually be legitimately deserving of their long held AAU membership.

      Like

    2. Brian

      Donald,

      Around 2000, both Catholic University and Clark University were persuaded to decide to leave the AAU just as Stony Brook and TAMU were being invited in. Around 2010 Syracuse was persuaded to make the same decision and NE was forced out, just as they added GT and Boston U.

      The AAU around 2019 added 4 more schools, so they may be looking to trim the fat again. In 2019 they attempted to kick out the 2 Canadian schools by changing the membership criteria to being a US school, but the members forced the AAU to reverse that decision. The AAU really doesn’t like to grow larger, so the bottom few should be concerned.

      Think of it like GE’s infamous rule of firing the bottom 10% of their workers every year.

      Like

      1. Donald

        Brian, I had not heard about the Canadian school issue, but then the members did reject this plan (was it a membership subcommittee that proposed this change to the organization?). I knew that the AAU had been quietly pruning the list of schools that had fallen far off of the scale and had decided not to maintain the level of research programs expected for a member. Perhaps you are correct about the 10% rule, but given that Nebraska, which was clearly an outlier in the AAU given their new membership criteria, failed to remain in the group by only one vote even after an incredibly inept defense, I don’t believe that if Kansas et al are making serious attempts at upgrades that they will pressure the Jayhawks to resign. With the recent significant expansion in the membership we’ll probably soon know whether the AAU is going to attempt to maintain a fixed number of members.

        Like

        1. Andy

          I’m guessing if a university makes significant upgrades and can show that they are significantly improving their standing they’ll be fine. But if they’re ranked in the 80s or 90s and showing little to no progress they’re probably at risk.

          I honestly don’t know what Kansas, Iowa State, and Oregon are up to. It seems likely that they are making upgrades like Missouri is but I don’t actually know.

          Like

        2. Brian

          https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2019/10/08/american-research-university-association-proposes-then-abandons-plan-expel-canadian

          You can read about the Canada issue here. The membership committee recommended it to the board of directors and the board approved it. They wrote a letter to McGill and Toronto telling them they were going to be removed, then the AAU were forced to reverse their position within days by the other members.

          Yes, it was clear that the AAU members are divided on what the membership criteria. After NE, some said it was disappointing that the criteria had become quantified. Basically, they liked it as an old boys club.

          The AAU does say that if your numbers aren’t good, the next best thing is to have positive trends. So if KU is catching back up, they’ll be fine. But if they grow research at 5% while the rest of the AAU grows at 10%, they’re in trouble.

          Like

          1. Donald

            Brian, thanks very much for the link. I am quite surprised that the AAU Board of Directors would accept such an extreme recommendation and begin implementation without first consulting the entire membership!

            Like

    1. Andy

      Basically his take is that the Big 12 can probably keep their automatic playoff bid if they can hold together and add a couple of teams. Then they could split that playoff money 10 ways and make decent money.

      Like

  33. Peter Griffin

    Here’s a scenario I could see happening sooner rather than later:

    SEC acquires a majority subset of the ACC for football (8 out of 14, which I imagine would facilitate dissolving the grant of rights), yielding 24 teams:
    Alabama
    Clemson
    Georgia
    Texas
    Oklahoma
    Florida
    LSU
    Texas A&M
    Florida State
    Auburn
    Miami
    Tennessee
    Arkansas
    Ole Miss
    Miss State
    South Carolina
    Missouri
    Kentucky
    Va Tech
    North Carolina
    NC State
    GA Tech
    UVA
    Vanderbilt

    Meanwhile, the B1G acquires the nine AAU members of the Pac-12 plus Iowa State (also AAU), also yielding 24 teams:
    Ohio State
    Michigan
    Penn State
    USC
    Nebraska
    Wisconsin
    Oregon
    Washington
    Iowa
    Mich State
    Stanford
    Cal
    UCLA
    Iowa State
    Northwestern
    Minnesota
    Indiana
    Purdue
    University of Arizona
    Colorado
    Utah
    Maryland
    Rutgers
    Illinois

    Notre Dame and BYU stay independent, bringing the total to 50 teams.

    Like

    1. z33k

      It could happen, but I will say that the one certainty in all this is things will probably end up messy, i.e. one conference at 22-26, the other at 18-20 or something like that if the ACC and Pac-12 both implode and lose their most valuable members.

      The power programs and other programs with markets are just not distributed in a way that makes for a clean split.

      And we’re at the point where it’s getting very hard to justify additions without bringing a combination of national brands and markets.

      Like

    2. bob sykes

      If you are going to take 8/14 or 9/12, you are better off just merging. It would be a lot quicker, cheaper, and cleaner. It could be done this calendar year and implemented for 2022. Trying to split up a conference that has a GOR going to 2036 is sheer nonsense.

      Like

      1. Brian

        Bob,

        Quicker right now, yes. But if you wait until the P12’s rights deal is about to end, the B10 could theoretically do this quickly. But my problem with that is the B10 has never added more than 2 schools at once, always choosing to take time to assimilate new entries (like the pause after NE). Would the B10 be willing to add 8-9 teams at once?

        Cheaper? The B12 and P12 deals are about to end. Only the ACC would require a long wait. But while talking money, the B10 members would lose money by adding the entire P12 rather than just the best brands and bigger states.

        Cleaner? For whom? I think it would actually be messier in some ways because the tendency would be to keep the 2 separate. That’s just a joint TV deal. A merger implies equality, and then the two sides fight for supremacy of the culture or just stay separate. An acquisition clearly adds new members to the existing group and expects them to assimilate.

        I agree that trying to breakup the ACC right now seems crazy.

        Like

      2. Peter Griffin

        There’s no financial incentive, though, for one league to acquire another in whole. And this whole shake-up is about finance, so leagues are only going to do what is in their financial self-interest. It is NOT in the SEC’s financial interest to acquire the ACC whole. But it may be in their (and ESPN’s) interest to do something like what I’m positing.

        “Nonsense” or otherwise, it’s foolish to think that high revenue schools are just going to stand pat for the next 15 years tied into a substantially under-market revenue deal. Respectfully, I think that’s what is nonsense.

        Like

        1. Marc

          “Nonsense” or otherwise, it’s foolish to think that high revenue schools are just going to stand pat for the next 15 years tied into a substantially under-market revenue deal.

          When you sign a bad deal for 15 years, you are stuck with that deal. You cannot get out, simply because you wish you hadn’t done it.

          No one yet has found a way out of a GoR, and the breakage costs are in the stratosphere. You could imagine Texas and Oklahoma (or their TV partners) “eating” the costs for a year or two, but not FSU and Clemson eating 15 years’ worth.

          If they knew then what they know now, maybe FSU and Clemson wouldn’t have signed. But if they wanted the deal’s benefits, they had to accept its risks too, which they did.

          Like

    3. Jersey Bernie

      I do not believe that anything like this could happen, but it makes much more sense than a 32 team super league. Far less likely opposition from Congress, since only a few teams are really hurt, as opposed to many states being involved.

      As far as ending the ACC grant of rights, if the SEC wanted a merger with the ACC, it could happen since they are both with ESPN. I do not see what is in it for the SEC, unless it is just size.

      This certainly leads to some interesting ACC questions. Is Duke really going to be left in the dust? Would the ACC leave behind Wake, which is a founding member?

      I also can not imagine the screaming from Syracuse, Pitt and BC, who left the Big East and finalized its implosion. Had these three stayed in the Big East and added a team or two, the conference probably would have survived as a P6 group. In addition to those three, there was Cincinnati, Louisville, West Virginia, UConn, Rutgers, and ND as a non-football member (And after the seriously bad blood between the remaining BE members and those who left, there would a serious amount of Schadenfreude in the northeast.)

      The last ACC team left out is Louisville, but they were left in the lurch after the BE collapse, before being saved by the ACC.

      Of course for idle speculation, I guess that this is as good as any.

      Like

      1. Brian

        A superleague shouldn’t face congressional problems if it was set up correctly. It’s essentially just a new conference. If the SEC is legal with 16 teams, then the College Football Conference with 32 members is legal.

        Like

        1. Jersey Bernie

          Brian, a super league of 32 teams would, of necessity, remove teams from at least 20 states (and perhaps more), where universities have hundreds of millions of dollars invested in football and other facilities that will no longer be viable. That is state money.

          It is not that those schools would go to another P5 conference, they would be related to a league where their income goes from multiple tens of millions per year to a tiny fraction of that.

          Among those 20+, I count states that have two P5 schools and will lose one if there is a super league. If Oregon goes to a super league and Oregon State is gone because of a monopoly of 32 schools, what will the Congress critters from Oregon do? How much will the State of Oregon lose. It is not simply that the PAC is breaking up and O State has nowhere to go, it is this is happening all over the country.

          How about Pennsylvania? Will it be OK to watch Pitt collapse because PSU makes the cut? I kind of doubt it.

          Then of course states like NY (though Cuse is not a state school), NJ and a bunch of others will be totally left out. I know that in NJ priority number 1 for Senators Booker and Menendez would be to stop this if they wanted to be reelected.

          Will the Senators and Representatives from Alabama support this because both Auburn and Bama make the cut? I kind of doubt that they would want this fight. This is clearly a matter where those who get burned will be very motivated to act and Congressional people from states that are not hurt will be much less interested in the fight.

          Like

          1. Brian

            Bernie,

            “Brian, a super league of 32 teams would, of necessity, remove teams from at least 20 states (and perhaps more), where universities have hundreds of millions of dollars invested in football and other facilities that will no longer be viable. That is state money.”

            Remove them from where? Schools change conferences all the time. And if it is only 32 teams, there’s no reason the rest should stop being viable. Maybe they can’t spend $70M on just their football team anymore, but they can still persist. The NFL’s existence doesn’t stop CFB from making money.

            Also many states aren’t included in P5 football already: AK, HI, ID, WY, MT, ND, SD, NV, NM, DE, RI, CT, ME, NH, VT. I don’t see them on the rampage.

            State money? Lots of I-A school are private, and most state schools pay for athletics with donor money and TV revenue. There’s very little state money involved.

            And it’s entirely possible that the 321 teams would be passing on a lot of extra revenue via multiple pathways:

            1. Paying their former conference to let them stay a member for everything else.
            2. The CFP gives money to everyone. The superleague could also do that as a way to share the wealth. These teams probably would still want some OOC games to keep rivalries alive, so they need to keep everyone happy.
            3. Promotion/relegation

            “It is not that those schools would go to another P5 conference, they would be related to a league where their income goes from multiple tens of millions per year to a tiny fraction of that.”

            1. Would they?
            2. So? Who promised them infinite football money just for existing? Schools missed out on the B12 and survived. Schools couldn’t make the I-A cut and survived. Some schools dropped scholarships or even the whole sport and survived.

            “Among those 20+, I count states that have two P5 schools and will lose one if there is a super league.”

            Why? If Iowa makes it, ISU was barely holding on to a spot in a dying P5. What was lost? School with no football brand generally suck at football and invest very little in it, so their congresspeople have no reason to get upset.

            “If Oregon goes to a super league and Oregon State is gone because of a monopoly of 32 schools, what will the Congress critters from Oregon do?”

            Nothing. They know OrSU doesn’t deserve to be in the top 32. Elite football isn’t a right.

            “How much will the State of Oregon lose.”

            Nothing. The state might make even more, it just will be split differently.

            “It is not simply that the PAC is breaking up and O State has nowhere to go, it is this is happening all over the country.”

            They don’t need to go anywhere. Most of the P12 would be left out with them. They could play a round robin of quality football.

            “How about Pennsylvania? Will it be OK to watch Pitt collapse because PSU makes the cut? I kind of doubt it.”

            Is it the 70s still? Pitt fell apart a long time ago. And PA only sort of has state schools anyway. The Steelers play in Heinz Field, so the stadium will be fine.

            “Then of course states like NY (though Cuse is not a state school), NJ and a bunch of others will be totally left out.”

            NY is essentially out already and nobody cares.

            “I know that in NJ priority number 1 for Senators Booker and Menendez would be to stop this if they wanted to be reelected.”

            Stop free enterprise on what basis, exactly? We don’t like who the winners are, so it should be illegal? NJ went decades with no elite football and nobody complained.

            “Will the Senators and Representatives from Alabama support this because both Auburn and Bama make the cut?”

            Yes. But they also don’t need to support it. It’s just more realignment. Besides, congress couldn’t get the votes to do anything even if they wanted to. Between winners and losers, red and blue this would just devolve into news bites and hissy fits.

            Like

        2. bullet

          Those 15 states you mentioned out of the P5 are the 11 smallest, 13th, 15th, 19th (NV) and 22nd (CT). WV and NE are the smallest states in the P5. If you start knocking out bigger states, it matters both to the states and to the TV partners.

          Like

      2. Peter Griffin

        To state the cliche, change is always difficult. But I think it’s foolish to believe that the highest level of college football is going to willingly keep the amount of dead weight around that exists right now. While it made some sense until two weeks ago to think that perhaps the future was 66 teams (power 5 plus ND and BYU), the SEC just killed that notion. IMO, it’s a stretch to think that any more than two schools (Iowa State and maybe WVU) from the remaining Big XII will survive. No major league has a financial incentive to add any of the others, and while one or more of the G5 leagues might be tempted, doing so won’t make them a major conference.

        In sum, the bloodletting has commenced, and anyone with open eyes should see that.

        Like

        1. Marc

          I think it’s foolish to believe that the highest level of college football is going to willingly keep the amount of dead weight around that exists right now. While it made some sense until two weeks ago to think that perhaps the future was 66 teams (power 5 plus ND and BYU), the SEC just killed that notion.

          There are no reports that the SEC intends to axe Vanderbilt or Kentucky, both of which are dead weights in football. Kentucky has a great basketball program, but football is 85% of the TV revenue in college sports.

          After the dust settles, the Big Ten is still going to be pretty close to the SEC in payouts per school. Nobody in the Big Ten is talking about kicking out their “dead weight” programs, either. If it’s so foolish for these programs to exist, the folks in authority would be talking about giving them the axe. Yet, they are not.

          Like

          1. Peter Griffin

            It seems you haven’t followed this particular sub-thread. The “dead weight” I referenced was from the Pac-12, ACC, and Big XII. I expressly excluded any loss of existing SEC or B1G teams in the two mega conferences I posited.

            Like

          2. bullet

            And as Frank has pointed out, the number of teams in power conferences has changed very little.

            Houston, SMU, Rice and TCU got relegated. Later Louisville, Cincinnati and USF got brought up and Temple got kicked down. TCU came back and Utah moved up. Cincinnati and USF got put back down. Net result of the last 30 years–4 schools in pro markets (UH, SMU, Rice, Temple) moved down and Utah and Louisville moved up. And Rice and Temple had been marginal since at least the 60s.

            Maybe there will be a “mezzanine” conference, but they aren’t going to push down a bunch of schools until the pay for play forces schools to commit or drop a level on their own.

            Like

    4. Brian

      Peter,

      “SEC acquires a majority subset of the ACC for football (8 out of 14, which I imagine would facilitate dissolving the grant of rights),”

      Why would the other 6 agree to dissolve the GoR when there are hundreds of millions in penalty fees coming to them if they stay?

      Who is financing this? The SEC would lose money (per school) with some of these additions. Why add VT and UVA, when just UVA gets them VA? Are they taking a loss to keep from splitting VA with the B10? Okay, that’s possible despite the B10 clearly not wanting VT (non-AAU). But UNC and NCSU? The B10 wouldn’t take NCSU and they already own VA. Likewise, GT could only be a blocking move because UGA owns GA, including Atlanta. And both FSU and Miami when they already have UF?

      “Meanwhile, the B1G acquires the nine AAU members of the Pac-12 plus Iowa State”

      Again, who is paying for this? The B10 has no use for ISU. They’d much rather add a new state with KU.

      I think it is a stretch that the B10 and SEC will both be at 24 teams. They will expand as it makes financial sense for them, not to chase a nice round number and be the same size.

      Like

      1. Peter Griffin

        I’m less wedded to the B1G side of things. If they don’t want to go to 24, so be it. Likewise, if they want to subsidize Kansas in order to have Kansas’ basketball brand, so be it.

        The reason the SEC would acquire 8 of the ACC is that’s a majority; and while I haven’t seen the text of the grant of rights, I’m not sure how the ACC would survive if more than half of its members vote to dissolve it. IOW, while Wake or Duke might squawk and scream, the grant of rights isn’t vested in THEM, it’s vested in the ACC. But if there’s no ACC, then what claim do they have? So while you are correct that by taking UVA, for example, the SEC is acquiring some relative dead weight, that’s the price of doing this now rather than waiting 15 years.

        Like

        1. Marc

          The reason the SEC would acquire 8 of the ACC is that’s a majority…

          Even if they could acquire eight ACC teams for free, why do it when most of those teams are worth less money than the teams they have now?

          I haven’t seen the text of the grant of rights…

          Suggestion: perhaps you ought to read it before issuing a legal opinion on how easy it is to break.

          Like

        2. Brian

          All accounts of GoR’s I’ve heard say it only takes 1 member sticking around. Dissolving has to be unanimous. Otherwise it’s 13.5 schools leaving the ACC and that 1 school collecting billions in fees. Now, a conference below a certain size would need to add new members to maintain its status with the NCAA and get autobids to the postseason, but that’s a small problem. If WF was the only one left, they could invite all the AAC members to join the ACC and be back at full strength. The ACC brand has more value than the AAC, so they’d come along. WF’s payout would drop to the AAC level, but they’d have billions in fees.

          Like

          1. Peter Griffin

            Where are these accounts you reference asserting that each school has sole and independent veto authority regarding conference dissolution? I’m not doubting you, but I haven’t seen anything to that effect.

            Like

          2. z33k

            The problem is that it’s probably impossible to dissolve a conference without unanimous approval due to the Grant of Rights now.

            In the past it may have been theoretically possible, but if one school wants to keep everyone’s grant of rights to the conference in effect, then it should hold as a contractual arrangement.

            Like

          3. Brian

            Peter,

            The link to the B12’s GoR has been posted here before. Read it to your heart’s content. I’m just repeating what I’ve seen lawyers say.

            Like

        3. Jeff

          “if they want to subsidize Kansas in order to have Kansas’ basketball brand, so be it”

          You seem to be assuming that each program will remain forever in its current state. But programs go through peaks and valleys.

          Though both KU and Iowa State are historically mediocre, KU actually has had a little more success. And of course, it’s one of the few programs that brings real value in basketball.

          There’s really no doubt at all that the Big 10 would choose KU over ISU.

          Like

  34. Andy

    To me, what doesn’t make sense about a 32 team super conference is that it necessarily means the destruction of the SEC, Big Ten, Pac 12, and ACC. To me that just doesn’t seem realistic.

    The only way you get a proper 32 team league is if the football powers of all of those leagues abandon their conferences and come together to start something new. But would they really do that?

    Would USC and UCLA leave Stanford and Cal? Would Michigan and Ohio State leave Northwestern and Indiana? Would North Carolina and Virginia leave Duke and Virginia Tech?

    Is that realistic?

    And what about the Big Ten Academic Alliance? Does Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin just abandon that? The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor’s budget is over $9 billion. Only about $200 million of that is athletics. That’s about 2%. And what’s the payoff of this move? An extra $50 million in TV money? Does the University of Michigan sign off on destroying the 100+ year old Big Ten and the Big Ten Academic Alliance to chase after what amounts to abotu half a percentage point of their total budget?

    It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

    What’s the point of college sports? It’s to promote academic institutions. Boost enrollment. Promote alumni engagement. But aren’t things like the Big Ten and the SEC part of that? Do you just throw that away to chase a little bit more money?

    I’m highly skeptical that university presidents would sign off on that.

    Like

    1. z33k

      Yeah, the SEC and Big Ten have the most reasonable conference layouts, mostly large publics and mostly flagships with a few non-flagship publics and 1 top private school. They each cover a lot of different states and few are tiny states.

      There is no reason to blow up those 2 conferences.

      The Pac-12 is sorta similar but it has a bit more overlap (especially Arizona/Oregon/Washington), but it’s still in a growing territory and it’s protected by distance with all its powers on the West coast.

      The ACC is basically headed the same route as the Big 12 imo though.

      Realistically, I can see the SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and then 2 lesser in-between conferences Big 12/ACC surviving; maybe those 2 merge into a distinct #4.

      That’s about as far as I see it going; I have a hard time believing that the Big Ten and SEC will implode and the powers all leave to make some super conference NFL college version. They can make plenty of money $80+ million a year per school by 2030+ without blowing themselves up.

      Like

    2. Brian

      Andy,

      There are 2 different ideas that get mixed up. Some are suggesting a football-only superconference, with the current structure remaining for everything else. Others truly mean a new conference with 32 members. I agree that the latter seems highly unlikely. But a sport-specific conference that pays a lot more for football? That at least sound feasible to me.

      Like

      1. Andy

        But wouldn’t even a football only situation cripple the Big Ten/SEC/Pac 12/ACC?

        Isn’t 85% of conference revenue from football?

        If the top halves of those leagues left for football, wouldn’t that basically wipe out the revenues of everyone else? Wouldn’t schools like Duke and Purdue and Stanford see their athletics revenue drop by 75%?

        Why would those schools then be allowed to have their cake and eat it too? Go off and make a ton of money in their new football league and keep it all to themselves and then come back and play basketball and baseball and wrestling and gymnastics as if nothing happened? And still participate in the academic collaborations?

        I would think if Ohio State and Michigan and USC and North Carolina etc walked out on football they’d basically be destroying their conference and would be otherwise locked out by the spurned remaining members.

        Like

        1. z33k

          Yeah, all that is the crux of the problem.

          Don’t think anybody from a “lesser school” wants to be earning $15 million a year in TV money and then be compete with super conference football-only schools that are generating $100 million a year and plowing a lot of that into non-revenue sports.

          Like

        2. Brian

          Andy,

          “But wouldn’t even a football only situation cripple the Big Ten/SEC/Pac 12/ACC?”

          Not necessarily. There are too many unknowns about revenue and how it would be distributed. And if schools had to take cut, they’ll survive. The G5 get by on a tiny fraction of what the P5 get. again, high revenue isn’t a right.

          “Isn’t 85% of conference revenue from football?”

          Yes, but the P5 would/might still play games against these teams, so that’s good money. The postseason could have big money for them. They also might demand a split of the superleague’s money to allow conference members to play in it and then come home for other sports. These are issues that those who want to form such a league would have to figure out.

          “If the top halves of those leagues left for football, wouldn’t that basically wipe out the revenues of everyone else? Wouldn’t schools like Duke and Purdue and Stanford see their athletics revenue drop by 75%?”

          There would still be other revenue streams on top of what they make from CFB. And maybe they wouldn’t need to spend as much if they weren’t trying to compete with the Alabama’s of the world.

          “Why would those schools then be allowed to have their cake and eat it too? Go off and make a ton of money in their new football league and keep it all to themselves and then come back and play basketball and baseball and wrestling and gymnastics as if nothing happened? And still participate in the academic collaborations?”

          Who said they were keeping it all for themselves?

          Like

      2. ccrider55

        Brian,

        “ But a sport-specific conference that pays a lot more for football? That at least sound feasible to me.”

        Of course it does to a tOSU guy. 😉
        Seriously, this is dramatic enough proposal that I think most non selected schools would insist on a complete divorce. Let them create a complete new governing association and play among themselves. And in a few years the fans of the constant top performers of the new nfl lite will want to jettison the “dead weight “ that isn’t “adding anything. “

        College sports shouldn’t be about maximizing espn (or fox, etc) profits.

        Like

        1. Brian

          Feasible as in it could happen, sure. Much more so than superlarge conferences which make zero sense to me.

          They would need to figure out the details of the money to make enough people happy, which isn’t trivial, but enough money in the right places can make almost anything happen in college sports.

          Why divorce if you make more money by letting them do it?

          It shouldn’t be about money at all, but it always is. The goal isn’t to maximize the profits for the media companies, but that’s a side effect of maximizing the revenue for the schools. The genie is out of the bottle on money being in college sports, so now it will inevitably go towards maximizing it until enough schools quit participating to change the model. College sports should be intramural and not broadcast events. They should be for students who happen to enjoy the sports, not a reason to recruit great players who may or may not be able to read. But that’s not the world we live in, and schools can’t afford to go back to it because they’ve taken on debt. They’re stuck in it.

          Like

          1. Andy

            For it to happen you’d need the university presidents at most or all of the top football schools to all agree that it was worth totally blowing up the traditional conference system to chase after a few extra million dollars per year, vs. making $70+ million per year in tv money in a system that more or less looks like what we’re used to. Could they do it? Sure. Will they do it? I don’t think it’s very likely.

            Like

          2. ccrider55

            “ Why divorce if you make more money by letting them do it?”

            It’s called alimony.

            “ The goal isn’t to maximize the profits for the media companies, but that’s a side effect of maximizing the revenue for the schools.”

            Unless the media company involves itself in organizing the entities it will, and won’t reward. That’s why we have an invitational instead of a playoff to begin with.

            There has always been money in college FB. Groucho Marx asking “do we have a school?” Yes. “Do we have a FB team?” Yes. “Tomorrow we start tearing down the school. We can’t afford both” is approaching a century ago. We’ve given ground to it but this is almost the inverse of the Ivys leaving the money battle. Now money interest seems to try to leave all the rest, save a small select group that for the most part has always held a significantl financial advantage.

            Like

          3. Brian

            I’m not suggesting this, recommending it, or saying it’ll happen anytime soon. Just that I think it’s more feasible than 2 giant conferences. It’s all dependent on how much the money would increase with an elite group in their own playoff. If they could all make $100M+ per year while keeping their conference mates above $50M, it would be more likely to happen. If it’s only a small bump in money, nothing will change.

            But consider that they’re saying the CFP will double (or more) in value by expanding to 12 teams. Then look how much more the NFL playoff is worth.

            There’s no inherent reason big money sports need to be in all-sports conferences, they just are because of history. But as the postseason and its money take over the sport, things change. One or two court decisions could force CFB to become professional if it makes big money. Tell me that wouldn’t shake the structure up. Maybe the revenue sports would officially split from the schools, just keeping the name and colors.

            Like

          4. Marc

            One or two court decisions could force CFB to become professional if it makes big money.

            I finally got around to reading the Supreme Court’s Alston decision over the weekend. This was the recent case that ruled many of the NCAA’s player compensation limits violate the Sherman Act.

            The Court’s decision took it as given that the players are “paid workers.” It catalogued the many types of “payment” they already legally receive under the NCAA’s previously existing rules.

            As the saying goes: “We have established what you are, madam. We are now merely haggling over the price.”

            Like

          5. bullet

            There is a pretty big intercollegiate club level. Someone I knew played tennis for the Virginia Tech club. Schools from MS to VA were participating in a tournament in Atlanta. Texas has clubs for many sports that are scholarship. Its far more than just intramural. There are interscholastic competitions in many areas, robotics, chess, college bowl, debate, etc.

            The increasing money going to football and basketball may drive some of the scholarship sports back to club level.

            Like

        2. Andy

          Also, as I’ve said before, if this had any likelihood of happening any time soon, then why would Texas and OU be willing to pay upwards of $80 million in exit fees to join the SEC? Obviously they think the SEC is going to be around for a very long time or they wouldn’t bother to do this.

          Like

          1. ccrider55

            ESPN willl be paying about 80M to get out of LHN. Just a fortuitous happenstance that it enables the expansion of one of their most valuable conferences under contract, and possibly impro the possibility of expanding and extending their CFB invitati…RRR, playoff contract.

            Like

    3. bob sykes

      For the most part, I could not agree more. Conferences are about many things, including school culture, mutual history, tradition, and goals… Except for the destruction of the existing conferences. Therein I disagree. They will certainly survive, albeit poorer. The survival of the super conference is in question.

      Most importantly, for a King like TOSU, the great majority of its audience are faculty, students, staff and alumni from OTHER B1G schools, probably at least 80%. (Brian will have the numbers.) Why would the alumni of Purdue watch TOSU football if it moves to an all Kings football conference and doesn’t ever again play the Boilermakers. In any sport. The B1G will freeze TOSU out of men’s basketball, softball, hockey… TOSU will be left with one sport, not 30+ unless the other Kings bring all their sports.

      It is likely an all Kings conference would fail economically, especially since almost all teams will go something like 6 and 6, and their historic audiences will boycott them.

      Like

      1. Brian

        Bob,

        This is one reason I think a sport-specific superleague is more feasible. CFB makes enough money to be national, but most sports don’t.

        As for the audience, the vast majority are fans but not directly affiliated. OSU has < 700,000 living alumni, students, staff and faculty but has millions of fans in Ohio. OSU has lots of fans in neighboring states and nationally, too, many of whom are also unaffiliated.

        Why would PU alumni watch OSU? For the same reason they watch Alabama or Clemson – because they are CFB fans. Why does anyone watch the NFL?

        As for records, they should look much like NFL records. Some teams will win 10+ games, some will win 3 or fewer, many will win 4-8 games. That's the price of forming such a league. Maybe they'd also play some OOC games just to boost records and get extra home games.

        Like

  35. Iggy

    I wonder if the speculation and panic over what will happen or what certain school should do isn’t missing a larger issue. All of the discussion presupposes that college football will remain as popular as ever, and therefore the revenue will remain strong. However….

    Before the OU/Texas move, there was general dissatisfaction with the direction of colleges football by casual fans from all but the most successful schools fan bases. The fact that so few teams have ever qualified for the playoffs, players are now free to transfer without restriction, and players are now essentially semi pro with completely unregulated NIL impacts. It’s hard to say how much all of these factor may have turned off a large segment of the casual fan base, but fare to say it would have been measurable to some extent. If realignment goes much further as a pure money grab, what might be left is not the tradition and pageantry but rather a minor league potentially regional sport relevant for only a (relative) handful of schools. Even if most schools the past 10+ years did not actually have a chance, there was at least the appearance they had a chance.

    With the glow gone, so might be a good number of fans. In that world, when does the advertising $$ start to dry up and therefore the TV $$? It won’t go away entirely, but it might not stay so lucrative forever.

    There is a path for the Pac 12/Big 10/ACC to essentially freeze out the SEC by agreeing to mutual scheduling agreements and staying away from the fear based temptation to further destabilize their leagues with additional realignment from within. Doing so may mean proceeding with a lot of money, but not the “most possible” money recognizing the health of college football long term is at stake here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Iggy – I think this is more about sports TV rights in general as opposed to college football itself.

      The general argument for the continuing rise in sports TV rights fees is that their *relative* value compared to all other types of programming (e.g. scripted shows) is actually higher than ever now. Ratings are down for all TV programs across the board, but sports ratings are down significantly less by comparison to everything else.

      Drilling down, the *relative* value of college football compared to all other non-NFL sports is also higher than ever now. It would have been unthinkable up through the 1990s that college football postseason games would outdraw MLB postseason games, but that is what has consistently happened over the past 15 years.

      The inherent value of sports in today’s world is that it’s one of the few types of programs where advertising has any value in the first place because people generally still watch sports *live* (AKA actually watch commercials). I know that there are plenty of anecdotes that sports fans like to DVR games or watch them later, but the aggregate data shows that this group is a tiny percentage of the viewing audience (whereas it is now a massive percentage of any given scripted show audience).

      Like

    2. Marc

      If realignment goes much further as a pure money grab, what might be left is not the tradition and pageantry but rather a minor league potentially regional sport relevant for only a (relative) handful of schools.

      There is one constant in college football: No matter how it changes, some fans will say that the sport has been ruined, and nobody will watch anymore. Those concerns go back over a century. Money in college sports goes back to the beginning. With each turn of the ratchet, there was somebody to say that this will be the death of the game.

      Now, is it possible that some change finally will ruin the sport? I can’t rule that out. But if the sport actually died every time someone predicted that, it would’ve been gone long ago.

      There is a path for the Pac 12/Big 10/ACC to essentially freeze out the SEC by agreeing to mutual scheduling agreements and staying away from the fear based temptation to further destabilize their leagues with additional realignment from within.

      What the SEC did, all the other leagues want to do. The Pac-12 was perfectly happy to add Texas and Oklahoma a decade ago; they just couldn’t make a deal. The Big Ten would add more ACC schools in a heartbeat, if they were available. Conference re-alignment to make more money is nothing new, and I doubt this is the last of it.

      Like

      1. ccrider55

        “ With each turn of the ratchet, there was somebody to say that this will be the death of the game.”

        It’s not the sudden death that always gets pointed to that concerns me. It’s the evolving into the spaces that were specifically regulated against in order to foster a more equal playing field.

        “ What the SEC did, all the other leagues want to do. ”

        Agreed, but the SEC didn’t do it alone. I didn’t see a media “partner” stepping up to enable a move a decade ago. In fact one stepped up with a stupid expensive contract that would prevent it supposedly until the ‘30s. Now that same contract provides for buyout with the remaining amount owed.

        Like

    3. Brian

      Iggy,

      That may cause a shift in fans rather than a loss. Those things turn off the older generation, but the younger generation doesn’t know a different world. Many younger fans were excited to see player paid. And based on how popular the NFL is, many neutral fans might like a superleague approach. And now that college sports gambling is broadly legal, a whole new type of interest is drawing in viewers. A superleague could drive that even further. As could the growth of fantasy football which would work better in a superleague than it does now.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. billinmidwest

      There’s a lot of what you said that I agree with, Iggy.

      That said, I don’t think the TV money is going to significantly decline in the next 10-20 years. It’s pretty easy to turn on the TV and take in a game on TV these days.

      The revenue-related issues that would keep me up at night if I were an AD are every other source of revenue for CFB, mainly ticket sales to the stadiums.

      Fans with memories of the 1970s-1990s are getting to the point where they can no longer move up and down the stadium stairs to reach their seats anymore.

      Which leaves the fans of 1990s college football onwards who don’t have the money to spend on ridiculously overpriced CFB tickets.

      With student loan debt to pay off, expensive cost of living to pay for, and college funds for kids to save up for, the under 40 crowd can’t justify spending well over $500 on the tickets, travel, lodging, concessions, and merchandise at a CFB game.

      Like

      1. Colin

        billinmidwest, your cynical analysis is pretty much spot on. Cord cutting is not being done by B1G alumni, young or old. There is an undercurrent of folks who are TV penny-pinchers and they don’t want to pay for a lot of cable stuff, BTN and Oprah and the Cooking Channel included. Those folks are not the B1G alumni base.

        With Fox as our Sugar Daddy, I don’t think we need to fret about losing our BTN cable base.

        Liked by 1 person

  36. z33k

    Re: adding 6 to 9 Pac-12 teams to the Big Ten.

    The more (and more) I think about it, I always come back to “add schools that add value and figure out scheduling later”…

    Adding say 6 to 9 Pac-12 teams to the Big Ten does make sense financially, and they’d all be AAUs so it would also make sense academically as well as adding all those large/growth states out West.

    Scheduling can be worked out, whether you put them in their own division or whether you give everybody 6 or 7 locked games, you can make the scheduling work.

    Something like 6 locked games in a 20 to 23 team Big Ten makes some sense, you get most of your schedule region locked and then have to possibly travel cross country for 1 or at most 2 games. That limits everyone’s travel. Apply the same to all other sports. Just lock a lot of games to keep cross-country travel low.

    Take having 6 locked games: even if USC has 3 games against current Big Ten teams in a 9 game schedule, you’d figure 1 or 2 of those would be home games, so that’s at most 2 games traveling to the current Big Ten. Rutgers would play 6 of its games against mostly Big Ten East (maybe 1 or 2 West) teams and then 3 games against the rest.

    That’s basically very manageable. And the money would obviously be there.

    The question is just whether the Big Ten’s leadership feels the need to make such a dramatic move.

    I do find it interesting that USC and UCLA basically halted the 25-30 year extension of the Pac-12’s grant of rights in the past couple of years when the conference was trying to gauge outside interest in the Pac-12 Networks. Who knows what happens, but I expect them to look hard at their options. There seems to be a lot of dissatisfaction with the Pac-12 Networks and their TV deal generally from those two.

    Like

    1. Brian

      z33k,

      I’d modify that to “add schools that add significant value and figure out scheduling later.” Don’t mess up a good thing for a small increase in value. And importantly, remember that value isn’t only financial (or at least not just athletic $).

      If the B10 added 6-9 P12 schools, I agree there are creative things you can do. I wouldn’t lock 6 games, because we already know that those games lack value (although we know being in the B10 would add some fan interest in the midwest). But lock 2-3 out west to preserve rivalries, play half of the remaining western block, and then rotate through the B10 teams.

      So with 6: 3 locked + 1 P12 (rotating) + 5 B10 (rotating)
      EX. USC: UCLA, Cal, Stanford + UW/UO + 5 B10

      So with 9: 2 locked + 3 P12 (rotating) + 5/14 B10 rotating
      EX. USC: UCLA, Stanford + UW/UO + Cal/AZ + UU/CU + 3 B10

      Likewise the B10 teams would lock some rivals and rotate through the rest.

      Like

      1. z33k

        Yeah, I was just doing more of an info dive into Wilner’s past Pac-12 reports, and the situation out in the Pac-12 is roughly as bad as it was in the Big 12 except that they’re not really in danger of just 2 schools bolting (if something happens it’d be a giant number of them coming to the Big Ten).

        The Pac-12 Networks just looks like a complete failure based on his reporting the past couple of years, and I have to think with everything aligned right now for the Big Ten negotiations and Pac-12 as well as the Pac-12’s GoR being up relatively soon, things just look interesting.

        Especially with the Texas/OU thing causing everyone to rethink their assumptions.

        These were the 2019 figures for the Pac-12 Networks:

        Pac-12/National: 14.8 million
        Pac-12/Los Angeles: 3.0 million
        Pac-12/Bay Area: 2.1 million
        Pac-12/Washington: 1.1 million
        Pac-12/Mountain: 1.0 million
        Pac-12/Arizona: 0.7 million
        Pac-12/Oregon: 0.6 million

        And they were at something like 13 cents a month per sub.

        Team payouts were still under $3 million per school per year.

        No wonder USC and UCLA didn’t extend the GoR. They clearly don’t see that as sustainable, with good reason.

        There is a part of me that thinks that decision makers in the Big Ten and at USC/UCLA will at least think through these types of 6-9 schools come to the Big Ten kind of thing. Because there’s just no reason to keep their networks going or merge the conferences (Big Ten wouldn’t want all 12 clearly).

        Like

    2. Marc

      I always come back to “add schools that add value and figure out scheduling later”

      Which 6–9 Pac-12 schools do you think add value to the Big Ten? I am not sure that they exist, even at the low end of your range. I agree, that if the value is there, and it is significant, the Big Ten would surely make the deal and “figure out scheduling later.” That is what conferences almost always do.

      The Pac-12 botched their network rollout, but I doubt their conference would ever have the kind of value (per team) that the Big Ten does. They just don’t have as many schools with the passionate fanbases and the national appeal.

      I do find it interesting that USC and UCLA basically halted the 25-30 year extension of the Pac-12’s grant of rights in the past couple of years when the conference was trying to gauge outside interest in the Pac-12 Networks.

      I think that idea was a Larry Scott “Hail Mary”. No other conference needed a quarter-century grant of rights to make a network viable. TV partners don’t plan that far in advance. If you need a 25-year lock-in to make the numbers work, then it’s a bad investment.

      Like

      1. z33k

        I think USC, UCLA, Oregon, Washington for sure would be above the average value of a Big Ten team or SEC team in terms of TV value.

        The question is how many teams do you have to add to get those 4?

        I mean even with a disastrous Pac-12 Network agreement paying less than $3 million per year, those schools are still getting $35 million in conference payouts.

        Imagine if they were added to the Big Ten, and the Big Ten bumped those states to its in-state subscriber payments for BTN.

        And then think about the fact that you can basically drop 4 schools from the current Pac-12 and that wouldn’t change the TV payments they’d be receiving for a supposed Pac-8 (drop the 3 State schools and Utah).

        Basically, I think a Pac-8 (minus the State schools and Utah) is probably worth at least $60 million a year per school to the Big Ten.

        Just those top 4 are probably worth like $80 million a year to the Big Ten but they’d probably come with 2 to 4 more (Cal/Stanford and Arizona/Colorado).

        Also, Fox wouldn’t mind because they’d basically just be paying all that Pac-12 money to the Big Ten instead so splitting it less ways works better for them. Basically doing the same thing that ESPN is doing by moving Texas/LHN and OU to the SEC from the Big 12.

        This would simplify the situation for FOX, they could just dump the Big 12 and Pac-12 (except for maybe just small deals for FS1/FS2 content) and focus on the Big Ten paying 20-22 Big Ten teams.

        Like

      2. ccrider55

        “ I think that idea was a Larry Scott “Hail Mary”.

        I don’t believe they were asking for the grant, but we’re exploring the possibility if an Amazon, Google, Apple were to request something along those lines to avoid developing a new sports delivery method only to lose those rights as it’s viability was established.

        “No other conference needed a quarter-century grant of rights to make a network viable. “

        Without a grant there is no network. See: B12 how long did ACC grant?
        Viability isn’t the issue. It’s how much might be bid if a significant time is committed.

        “TV partners don’t plan that far in advance.”

        Oh, I bet they have long term projections. The outline of this OU/UT move has surely been considered since Nebraska announced its exit.

        “If you need a 25-year lock-in to make the numbers work, then it’s a bad investment.”

        Or how long you’d like the numbers to work for you?

        Like

        1. Marc

          Without a grant there is no network. See: B12 how long did ACC grant? Viability isn’t the issue. It’s how much might be bid if a significant time is committed.

          Yes, every conference with a network—except the SEC—has a GoR, so that the TV partner making the up-front investment knows it is guaranteed a minimum time with the inventory intact. But nobody needed 25–30 years to make the numbers work. The ACC is the max, and they went out to the mid-2030s.

          As part of my day job, I am involved with planning long-term investments. Nobody goes out more than 10 years. If there isn’t an attractive rate of return after a decade, then it is just not attractive at all. To put it differently, there is almost always a better use of capital than an investment that doesn’t pay off in 10 years.

          It’s not that they don’t have planners who are blue-skying the next quarter century and beyond. But the error bars 25 years from now are extremely wide. Nobody makes programming plans that depend on being right that far out.

          Like

          1. ccrider55

            Oh, I agree. And I’m not advocating for necessarily signing one…unless Amazon, or whoever made an offer you simply couldn’t refuse (with escalators tied to what other conferences increases were, etc), and maybe not then. I just don’t think USC, UCLA, etc we’re actually presented anything for them to refuse.

            Nobody buys property as an investment anymore?

            I guess this is the problem. I’d prefer to think of conference alignment as property ownership and many seem to think of it almost as day trading.

            Like

          2. Marc

            Didn’t the Big 10 do 25 years when they started the BTN?

            I searched high and low, but could find no reference to that.

            Like

          3. Marc

            Nobody buys property as an investment anymore? . . . I’d prefer to think of conference alignment as property ownership and many seem to think of it almost as day trading.

            Conferences generally look at realignment as a generational decision. They can do that, because the teams are highly likely to have similar relative value 25 years from now.

            Not so with TV rights: how many sports TV properties are still with the same network partner they had 25 years ago? Not very many.

            If the sports fan of 1996 could time-travel to 2021, the sport of football would look pretty much the same. But the TV landscape would be totally different.

            So, if I am running the SEC, I am highly confident that I can add Texas and Oklahoma, and be sure that will be a good decision a quarter-century from now. I would not have the same confidence in any sort of TV deal.

            Like

  37. Jersey Bernie

    Impact of NIL. OSU recruit QB Quinn Ewers was the number one ranked player in the class of 2022.

    He just reclassified and will be enrolled at OSU for the upcoming season. The reason being the chance to cash in big time under the new NIL rules.

    As an aside, OSU also recently got a commitment from the number one prospect in the class of 2021. Defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau

    https://247sports.com/Article/Ohio-State-football-Quinn-Ewers-to-enroll-early-Ryan-Day-CJ-Stroud-168502286/

    Like

    1. loki_the_bubba

      “the very large DFW market whose largest constituency is Texas Tech alumni. ”

      I’m gonna need to see the data on this one…

      Like

    1. z33k

      The most interesting parts to me are the actual legal language used for the Grant of Rights.

      The reality though is that even if they are unenforceable (say became UT can’t be sued over it due to sovereign immunity or some other legal reason), no conference wants to test that.

      That’s why Texas/OU and the SEC are all saying publicly that they’re leaving in 2025. Nobody wants to really deal with the fallout from actually litigating it when they can just leave free and clear in 4 years.

      And there are still lawyers negotiating behind the scenes on a buyout regardless, but yeah just don’t see it ever getting challenged. No real reason for conferences to want to blow up GoRs because that will just make TV networks antsy about signing deals with them.

      Like

  38. Iggy

    While it’s fair to say that the many changes over the years have all been met with fear that the sport will be ruined, there is a tipping point where the sport can become less popular. The massive changes occurring simultaneously now are speaking to the fabric of the allure of college football. It’s hard to predict how much of an affect it will have, but it would be nice if we could measure it before we go with the nuclear option of 2 or 3 super conferences.

    I’m terms of the age of fans, so we have any data to suggest the game is as broadly popular with the younger generations as it has been with older generations? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I would expect it’s something media companies who have or will bid on future rights will pay close attention to.

    Like

    1. Marc

      The massive changes occurring simultaneously now are speaking to the fabric of the allure of college football.

      Which massive changes? So Texas and Oklahoma are joining the SEC in four years? Is that any more massive than when Texas blew up two old conferences — the B8 and the SWC — to form the B12 a quarter century ago? If we had a dollar for every time schools have switched conferences, we could start our own TV network. (OK, not quite…)

      The only other big change this year is that players can now sell their NIL rights, something that most people not named “NCAA” thought they should be able to do a long time ago. With everyone else making buckets of millions from college sports, they should be able to cash in too.

      Like

      1. Iggy

        @ Marc

        “ The only other big change this year is that players can now sell their NIL rights, something that most people not named “NCAA” thought they should be able to do a long time ago. With everyone else making buckets of millions from college sports, they should be able to cash in too.”

        This is primarily what I’m speaking of, you make it seem trivial that college football players can now earn unlimited and unregulated revenue. Realignment is not new, so 2 schools shifting conferences alone is not a huge deal. But NIL is a big deal, though obviously it’s too early to know what the long term affects will be.

        Like

  39. bullet

    Note Frank’s tweet. Bowlsby said in TX legislative hearings that UT/OU half of the TV contract and will reduce its value from roughly $28/school million to $14 million.

    Sounds high for just the ESPN/Fox TV contract which averages $20 million from 2012 to 2024/5 unless there is a really steep escalation. Not sure what all is included in his number.

    Like

    1. Brian

      Is that the value now or at the end of the deal? Is he including bowl money?

      There could be other losses (losing huge Sugar Bowl payment, losing NCAA tourney shares over time, …) he isn’t counting, too.

      Like

    2. Little8

      Texas testified that B1G, PAC, and ACC were considered internally, but only the SEC was contacted. So per this narrative no opportunity for B1G to turndown OU.

      Also a lot of reps from Waco, Lubbock, and Ft. Worth complaining about economic impact. They need to show how the Houston economy was “devastated” by the double demotion of Rice and U. of Houston. Doubt any real action will come from the hearings.

      Like

      1. z33k

        Yeah it makes sense that Texas did all their due diligence on their own, basically expect that from king-level programs looking to move.

        I fully expect USC/UCLA to do the same groundwork before the Pac-12 deal is re-upped in exploring a move to the Big Ten and leaving behind the Pac-12 Networks mess behind.

        Doesn’t mean they’ll make the leap, but everything does line up for a move right now.

        And I still maintain that if Texas/OU ever wanted to come to the Big Ten, the Big Ten would have accepted both.

        Like

    1. Andy

      Of course, none of that has actually happened yet, and odds are it won’t. But it is theoretically possible, I’ll grant you that.

      Like

    2. Marc

      The writer asks, “Are Tradition, History, Stability and Sustainability Worth Abandoning For A Bit More Money Right Now?”

      The Big 12 has existed for only 25 years, a mere blip in college football time. UT has no lengthy history with the former Big Eight schools, other than Oklahoma, which it is bringing along for the ride. It is losing its long-term rivalries with Baylor and Texas Tech, but regaining long-term rivalries with Texas A&M and Arkansas. It’s also losing TCU, but it already kicked them to the curb once before.

      Oklahoma is leaving more rivalries behind. But of the eight teams that dissolved the Big Eight to form the Big 12, the Sooners are the fourth to leave. It is hardly fair to blame them when three others have preceded them out the door.

      And if we go back farther…when Oklahoma joined the conference, it had Grinnell, Washington (MO), and Drake. In 1928, the conference split up. Those three plus Oklahoma State were kicked out (or left on their own). OSU did not rejoin until 30 years later. Colorado also came later.

      So when people refer to tradition, they are being very selective.

      Like

  40. Peter Griffin

    Back of the envelope math follows:

    Say that the SEC acquires

    Clemson
    FSU
    Miami
    North Carolina
    NC State
    Va Tech
    Virginia
    Ga Tech

    Assume further that this would not devalue the forthcoming SEC deal on a per capita basis — and with two 12-team divisions consisting of (1) Alabama, Auburn, Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, LSU, Va Tech, Virginia, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and (2) Georgia, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Clemson, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Miss State, Ga Tech, North Carolina, NC State — I don’t immediately see why it would. Thus, going forward, those 8 former ACC teams would each be receiving $70 million/year from the SEC for media rights.

    Then, in order to placate the six schools left behind (Syracuse, BC, Wake, Duke, Pitt, Louisville) per the ACC grant of rights, the aforementioned “Clemson 8” schools contribute $15 million/year for 15 years to a GOR “pool.” That amounts to $1.8 billion. Divided 6 ways, that’s $300 million, or $20 million/year for 15 years for the six recipients.

    So, to bring this all back home, if $55 million/year exceeds the expected value of the current ACC media rights deal, and it does by a fair amount, then it would be in the financial interest of the “Clemson 8” to take the deal. Likewise, it’s hard for me to imagine that the “Duke 6” wouldn’t accept this settlement in order to avoid litigation and the prospect that the grant of rights could fall entirely if litigated to a conclusion. Moreover, $20 million a year net for 15 years is, by itself, not insubstantial and would be on top of whatever else they might be able to realize as a minor college football brand. So everybody moves on reasonably happy.

    Like

    1. Brian

      Peter,

      It’s a huge assumption that those teams could match the value of the SEC. Clemson might now, but won’t if they go back to their norm. FSU and Miami would’ve back in their prime, but not now. Especially since UF already has the SEC in all the FL media markets. VT’s brand is way down since Beamer. GT has no brand any more and adds no market. UNC, NCSU and UVA never were CFB brands. You are adding lots of smaller state schools and a private, so they have smaller alumni bases and fan bases. Add in the smaller brands you included, I don’t see how they can match the SEC.

      Why on Earth would the 6 agree to this? The TV rights of those 8 schools belong to the ACC for 15 years. Your plan would have them agreeing to a reduced payout for 15 years just to avoid litigation. At a minimum they would demand the 8/ESPN keep them whole through the end of the deal. So whatever is left over is what the 8 get as a bump.

      Like

    2. Jersey Bernie

      That would probably mean that the remaining 6 would be giving up their football programs for $20 million a year for 15 years.

      Are there other schools that they could pick up which would result in a P5 league? Which ones? A merger with the AAC? West Virginia leaving the B12 might make sense. UConn has a $30 million dollar break up fee to pay to the Big East for 6 years, and then a sliding scale, but their football is now worse than a disaster.

      If the ACC split, it is not at all clear that any of the 6 would have a home anywhere else, unless, like the B12 they rebuilt with leftovers..

      B1G? Duke has value due to basketball, but Coach K is about to retire. Will the magic remain? Great school, but is that nearly enough?

      Wake good relatively small private school, but then what?

      Cuse no AAU and private school with no major market power. Cuse is 250 miles from NYC, the same as PSU, so that is not meaningful. Cuse has about 250,000 alums which sounds good but is far less than most B1G schools.

      BC has not delivered Boston market to the ACC, what would it do for the B1G?

      Pitt adds zero to Penn State. Louisville, really?

      On the other hand, as Brian already said, what do the 8 add to the SEC, other than cementing the southeast, but probably at a loss of income/school. Clemson sure. FSU maybe, if they can come back to glory. They are geographically close to most SEC teams so FSU has that going for it, and are a certain cultural fit.

      Miami? 450 miles from FSU and a long way from other SEC schools, if that matters. In addition, is Miami really a northeast school located in southern FL? I think most of the student body comes from the northeast or Latin America, but I have not researched that. I do not think that Miami with its $71,000 per year estimated annual cost is a likely school for most SEC type fans. It is also not very big with a student body of 16,000.

      What do FSU and Miami add to U Florida? FSU does have a huge group of fans in FL and South Geogia (the FSU campus is less than 25 miles from the FL-GA border). Miami?

      VA and NC both the flagship schools in new states for the SEC. Very attractive. I may be wrong, but would not be surprised if the academic people at those two would prefer the B1G, where they would be gladly welcomed, if the ACC crashed and burned.

      What do VaTech, NC State or GaTech add to the picture? Dead weight?

      Like

      1. Marc

        Duke has value due to basketball, but Coach K is about to retire. Will the magic remain?

        Kings tend to remain Kings. UNC remained elite after Dean Smith’s retirement. Duke will be elite without Coach K.

        Like

      2. Peter Griffin

        I’m starting from the premise that ESPN wants to maximize viewership. Part of doing that is reducing the number of schools playing in the highest division. To cite an obvious example, Clemson plays maybe two or three meaningful regular season games a year. That’s no good for ESPN and boring for fans. So downsizing has to occur, but it seems unlikely that conferences are going to kick members out on their own. (Granted, I could be wrong about that, but that seems to me to be the least likely way for downsizing to occur.) So it will have to occur through partial conference mergers. Texas/Oklahoma is the first salvo, and if I had to bet a few bucks, I’d say between 0-2 Big XII teams will still be playing major conference football in five years; the rest will be roadkill.

        As far as the SEC goes, I agree that if it were entirely up to them, they’d probably just stop where they are. But I doubt ESPN likes that for the reason I mentioned above; the ACC as a whole is a deadweight conference at present. And the only way to begin fixing that is to trim the bottom. However, I don’t think the ACC could realistically trim more than six because of the GOR, leaving eight teams to be acquired, and the SEC is the natural conference to do this. While I agree that eight is more than the SEC would like to take on their own, it’s the minimum (I suspect) that they could take in order to shut down the ACC and work around the GOR. Plus, the eight schools I’ve identified, on balance, probably help the SEC’s academic standing, particularly UVA, Ga. Tech, and UNC. (The others — Va Tech, Clemson, Miami, FSU, and NC State — are easily all mid-tier within the SEC.)

        In sum, then, by approaching acquisition in this manner, ESPN gets better matchups for ACC schools while not diminishing the SEC’s football profile. At the same time, the SEC improves its academic profile and strengthens its grip on college football.

        Like

        1. Brian

          Maximizing average viewership you mean? Because they will be seriously lacking for inventory if they cut all the “dead weight.” And some of the regional fans will tune out if none of the local schools are in it. The NFL keeps 32 teams for a reason. They could cut the Lions and Jags (just 2 examples) and get higher average ratings.

          ESPN’s goals are to maximize profit and revenue, and not always in the short term. If they make more money with low viewership, they’ll do it. See all the crappy bowls they own.

          Every major vote in a P5 conference takes at least a super majority (75% in most/all of them). That’s 11 out of 14 in the ACC. I think dissolving would take unanimity. Otherwise it would be too easy to use the loophole to evict schools.

          And in 5 years the B12 will still exist. Presumably that will still count.

          Like

          1. Peter Griffin

            If you believe that 66 teams (P5, ND, BYU) will continue to play at the highest level of college football within 5-10 years (let alone all 130 FBS), then we just disagree about that. I firmly believe we are headed to contraction at the highest level. How that will happen is the question.

            In contrast, if you are of the belief that the overall picture will be status quo ante for the foreseeable future, well then I can see why you think nothing substantial will happen re mergers, etc.

            Finally, sure, you are right that ESPN likes having lots of inventory, but they aren’t going to pay everybody what will be necessary for schools to compete at the highest level.

            Like

          2. Brian

            Peter,

            Then we disagree. It might be 68-70 (if the B12 expands this time), but it won’t be < 60. That level of change take time and a large step-change in money. The P5 will get a big bump from expanding the CFP, so that will delay them looking to do anything more drastic for a while.

            I don't see mergers making sense. It only works financially if both sides bring about the same thing to the table in terms of value and the combined entity is somehow more valuable than the sum of its parts. The SEC and B10 have no need to merge, but they might be the only conferences that fit the description.

            ESPN has been happy to keep paying everyone. Having "dead weight" reduced the cost to them of having the big brands. They like that. More inventory for less money.

            Like

          3. Jersey Bernie

            Peter,

            Basically you are saying the presidents of numerous major schools will sell out academic integrity to presumably make a few more dollars in sports. As someone said in this thread, the sport budget of U Michigan is about 2% of the entire university budget.

            After many decades of playing against and academically collaborating with Purdue and Northwestern, for example, would UM skip out the B1G and leave them out in the cold?

            A school like OSU gains tens (or hundreds) of thousands eyeballs from B1G fans, who otherwise would not care about OSU or watch OSU games.

            Will a school like Stanford become part of the mini-NFL? What does the relationship between USC, UCLA, Stanford (and maybe Cal) mean?

            Why would any school not in the select 32 play any of that group in any other sports?

            Perhaps you do not consider the political implications of what this 32 or even 40 team league would be. Congress has no problem getting involved in college sports issues, and this would be the granddaddy of issues.

            I can tell you without hesitation that delegations from some states would be up in arms. If Rutgers had stayed at the level of the AAC forever, so be it. Now that they are in the B1G, any attempt to dump them due to “downsizing” by the B1G, would result in the entire NJ Congressional delegation putting everything into stopping that.

            The same thing would happen in other states. Who in Congress would stand up for the plan – to protect ESPN revenues? Good luck with that. How many members of Congress would go to the wall for ESPN?

            This of course ignores state politicians who vote on school budgets and might not be thrilled.

            Like

          4. Brian

            Bernie,

            “Why would any school not in the select 32 play any of that group in any other sports?”

            The same reason as for everything we’ve been discussing – money.

            “Perhaps you do not consider the political implications of what this 32 or even 40 team league would be. Congress has no problem getting involved in college sports issues, and this would be the granddaddy of issues.

            I can tell you without hesitation that delegations from some states would be up in arms. If Rutgers had stayed at the level of the AAC forever, so be it. Now that they are in the B1G, any attempt to dump them due to “downsizing” by the B1G, would result in the entire NJ Congressional delegation putting everything into stopping that.”

            And exactly what power does the NJ delegation have over the B10? Congress already refused to give the NCAA an anti-trust exemption like pro sports have, and they can’t manage to pass an NIL law either. They will do what they always do lately – talk a lot and pass nothing into law.

            “Who in Congress would stand up for the plan”

            Those from states who net benefit from it? Those who think Congress has more important issues than college sports to deal with?

            “to protect ESPN revenues?”

            If ESPN is making money, so are the schools ESPN is paying.

            “This of course ignores state politicians who vote on school budgets and might not be thrilled.”

            Or might see this as a source of funding for schools that doesn’t require tax money.

            Like

  41. Brian

    https://theathletic.com/2749212/2021/08/03/big-12-commissioner-bob-bowlsby-to-meet-with-pac-12s-george-kliavkoff-on-tuesday-sources/

    The commissioners of the B12 and P12 are meeting to discuss options.

    Their meeting is expected to be a key first step in talks about whether the two conferences would benefit from strategically working together during college sports’ new phase of realignment.

    Discussions on a pact between the two could go in several different directions. One option would be a scheduling alliance between Big 12 and Pac-12 members. Bowlsby acknowledged this possibility on Monday during his appearance at a Texas Senate committee meeting on the future of college sports in Texas. Pursuing a merger with another conference is another possibility.

    “I think there are options for us to partner with other conferences,” Bowlsby said Monday. “There may be opportunity for mergers. There may be opportunities to add members. There may be other opportunities that are currently unforeseen.”

    One other possible solution Bowlsby floated while appearing for the committee in Austin on Monday would be the Big 12 working with another conference to aggregate their negotiating rights for the next TV deal.

    I don’t see the upside here.

    How does a scheduling alliance get them more money? They both already play 9 conference games and usually (always?) at least 1 P5 OOC game. How would playing more B12 teams help the P12’s value? Nobody wants OrSU vs KSU. At least the B12 would get games against USC, UO and UW. What games would they give up for this alliance? Other P5 OOC games? G5 OOC games? Conference games?

    How does a merger help? You add more travel and games against unfamiliar foes with equally weak brands.

    The third option is aggregating their rights. They wouldn’t gain significant negotiating leverage with the media companies in my opinion. And what if the companies offer one conference better terms than the other? Why would they say no just to protect the other conference?

    Like

    1. z33k

      Would not surprise me that the Pac-12 called the Big 12 after finding less interest from the Big Ten this time around now that the Big Ten is at 9 conference games and like you said doesn’t really have an interest in locking its OOC games.

      Last time the Big Ten and Pac-12 announced an alliance, we only had 12 teams, and 8 game conference schedules.

      I find this interesting if only because it probably lets me think that USC/UCLA are going to contact the Big Ten and have some backside discussions.

      At least fits a narrative of Big Ten aiming more for adding schools not just a scheduling alliance.

      Like

      1. ccrider55

        It would surprise me. I don’t recall the writer covering P12 media days who said in 10 hours he had zero people express an interest in the B12-2-2+2-2.

        What wouldn’t surprise me would be discussion regarding support (or not) for the playoff proposal, and/or possible alternative, and the timeline. Also a major “remake” of the ncaa is going to begin discussion in about three months.

        I’m sure some of the other items you mention will be broached, but those would be heavily influenced by what occurs regarding these big items.

        Like

    2. Jersey Bernie

      They are meeting to discuss options, since both have major problems. Maybe the PAC views this as a way to somehow stop USC/UCLA and a couple of other from jumping ship, though I do not understand the logic. I guess that they have nothing to lose by talking.

      I do not see the upside to the PAC, unless it decides to welcome a few B12 schools, but I hardly believe that Bowlsby is going to a meeting to finalize the death of his league.

      Of course, there have been lots of comments here about the B1G working with the PAC, and I do not understand those either,

      Like

    3. Marc

      I also cannot see how the Pac-12 would benefit from an alliance. They have a new commissioner who is still learning his way around college athletics, so he might as well take the meeting. Talk is free.

      It seems to me that if the Pac-12 wants to be allied with any Big 12 schools, it should just raid the Big 12, which it could do quite easily. I doubt there is any Big 12 school who’d turn down a Pac-12 invite.

      Bowlsby is in the more vulnerable position, as his league just lost half its value—a problem the Pac-12 does not have.

      Like

    4. Brian

      https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/31950751/sources-commissioners-big-12-pac-12-meet-discuss-potential-strategic-partnership

      Some more about the meeting.

      The meeting, which was first reported by The Athletic, does not signify an expectation for an official partnership to materialize, only that both commissioners are vetting options for how to move forward in the wake of Texas’ and Oklahoma’s decisions to leave the Big 12 for the SEC.

      In an appearance before the Texas Senate on Tuesday, Bowlsby raised the possibility of the Big 12 partnering or merging with another conference and, at Pac-12 media day last week, Kliavkoff told ESPN he wouldn’t rule on a scheduling alliance with another conference or expansion.

      Kliavkoff’s stance is that Texas’ and Oklahoma’s departures strengthen the Pac-12’s national footing as the only Power 5 conference with teams in the Pacific and Mountain time zones.

      “I think, over time, the dominoes will start falling as a result of the move by Texas and Oklahoma,” Kliavkoff said. “And we’re not determined that we need to expand in order to thrive; we can thrive at 12. We don’t understand the paradigm that if someone else has 16, you need to have 16. It just doesn’t make sense.”

      Like

      1. ccrider55

        I seriously think espn needs to sit out any reporting regarding anything to do with conference makeup. Fair or not, it has a fox guarding the henhouse and reporting on the internal machinations vibe.

        Like

        1. Brian

          Who better to have the inside scoop on realignment than the people driving it? It should make getting interviews easier: “Hey boss, can I have a few minutes to talk to you?”

          Like

        2. buckeyeinexile

          In a recent ESPN College Football podcast they discussed the acquisition of OU/TX (I could only stomach listening to 10-15 minutes) and the frame and talking point they kept repeating over and over was “unintended consequences.” It was like I was listening to a certain network’s news program.

          Like

        3. billinmidwest

          Should ESPN be sidelined for the purposes of journalistic impartiality? Absolutely

          Will ESPN be sidelined for the purposes of journalistic impartiality? LOL nope!

          Like

  42. Iggy

    This P12/B12 meeting seems like due diligence. I’d expect this to occur between all the conference commissioners, they wouldn’t be very good at their jobs if they did not have these conversations.

    Like

  43. Colin

    I’m a veterinarian and I’m entitled to beat a dead horse. I think we should take another look at adding the two Canadian universities which are both AAU members, Toronto and McGill. The Canadians are clearly softening on their current position of awarding “tuition only” scholarships to athletes and are more receptive to the American “full ride” version. Here’s a quote from the link below:

    “Hahto said that athletic scholarships have been an emerging topic in the last few years. She explained that the U Sports rules are debated quite regularly. “I don’t think you’ll see a change next week, but it’s not outside the realm of possibilities,” she explained.”

    https://thelinknewspaper.ca/article/a-glance-at-the-canadian-american-scholarship-systems

    Both Toronto and McGill are large public universities, McGill has 40,000 students and Toronto has 62,000+ on the main campus. However UT has another 30,000+ on two regional campuses, each just twelve miles away within the Toronto metro area so the total local student enrollment is actually over 93,000 (link):

    https://www.utoronto.ca/about-u-of-t/quick-facts

    The province of Ontario would add 14.5 million people to the footprint of the Big Ten Network and Quebec (McGill is in Montreal) would add another 8.4 million. Together, that would be about 23 million which is over 61% of Canada’s population.

    Academics at both schools are superb. The following ranking of colleges in North America places Toronto between two Ivy League schools at # 14 and McGill at # 46, between Georgia Tech and Pitt.

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

    To get these two schools to come on board would take some salesmanship by the Big Ten. It will entail a cultural change but appears there is growing resentment to the top Canadian athletes going off to the NCAA, so that may no longer be a showstopper. Note that one Canadian college, Simon Frasier U, joined the NCAA in 2009 and now competes with American colleges in Div II. If the Big Ten sat down with the presidents of U of T and McGill and explained that TV revenue, including the BTN, would more than cover the cost of athletic scholarships, that might be convincing.

    Another issue, Title IX is an American law, not an NCAA rule. Canadian colleges wouldn’t need to comply with it unless they wished to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Brian

      Colin,

      It’s been brought up before. I have several concerns about it:

      1. Canadians don’t care about B10 football or B10 anything else. They wouldn’t pay for BTN.

      2. Canadian college sports suck. That’s why Simon Frasier is D-II. Would you suggest that any US D-II school try to join the B10 athletically? It’s a much bigger leap than RU is trying to make.

      3. International laws can be a real pain in the butt to deal with. Look at the border issues with COVID. It was a huge deal for the NHL to work something out, and the NHL is vital to Canadians.

      4. They don’t play US football, and neither do most Canadian high schools.

      5. And for those wondering, their hockey teams aren’t great. Most of the best players in Canada play in the major junior leagues or NCAA hockey.

      6. Americans don’t care about Canadian colleges or their teams. You think ESPN wants to show OSU vs Toronto? At least people know who RU is.

      7. They wouldn’t admit schools into the B10 that didn’t take women’s sports somewhat seriously. Title IX doesn’t apply to them, but the B10 would make them basically follow it (level playing field).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Colin

        Brian, in response to each of your concerns:

        1) Canadians won’t pay for BTN. That is a groundless assumption on your behalf. If the Canadians had their own teams playing in the B1G, they’d be signing up by the million.

        2) “Canadian college sports suck” because all of their top athletes go south to play in the NCAA.

        3) “international laws” are a totally lame excuse. Ever see the Blue Jays get stopped at the border?

        4) “They don’t play US football”. Are you serious? Countless Canadian football players have gone south to play NCAA football. It would be a trivial transition to switch from US to Canadian rules.

        5) “ . . . their hockey teams aren’t great. . . “ because all of the good ones go semi-pro league or to US colleges. Over half of the Ivy League hockey players are from Canada.

        6) “Americans don’t care about Canadian colleges or their teams.” That comment is too childish to be dignified with a response. Toronto would probably dominate B1G hockey in three years.

        7) ”They wouldn’t admit schools into the B10 that didn’t take women’s sports somewhat seriously.” I didn’t say they wouldn’t. They would probably comply with Title IX voluntarily but if they didn’t, the B1G would tell them: You must comply with Title IX. Problem solved.

        Like

        1. Brian

          “1) Canadians won’t pay for BTN. That is a groundless assumption on your behalf. If the Canadians had their own teams playing in the B1G, they’d be signing up by the million.”

          Now who’s making assumptions? If 7/8 of the live contests and all of the historical content don’t include a Canadian school, why would they pay? They have zero allegiance to the B10 schools and don’t care about their teams (or their sports).

          “2) “Canadian college sports suck” because all of their top athletes go south to play in the NCAA.”

          And that will suddenly stop? It hasn’t for Simon Frasier. These schools would be building every team from the ground up. That’s a huge and very expensive undertaking. Do they want to invest hundreds of millions in facilities and coaches and recruiting?

          “3) “international laws” are a totally lame excuse. Ever see the Blue Jays get stopped at the border?”

          I saw the Blue Jays have to play home games in Buffalo. Colleges can’t and won’t do that.

          “4) “They don’t play US football”. Are you serious?”

          Yes. They play Canadian football – 12 men, longer field, 3 downs, etc. You may have heard of it.

          “Countless Canadian football players have gone south to play NCAA football.”

          https://saturdayblitz.com/2019/07/13/college-football-analyzing-list-2019-international-players/

          Entering the 2019 college football season, a total of 143 international players fill roster spots for 64 Division I FBS schools (including 33 Power Five programs).

          Most international college football players by country:
          1. Australia – 42
          2. Canada – 40
          3. American Samoa -18

          That’s just over 1 per team, and 16-20 per year for all of I-A. That seems very countable. There are more Aussie punters than Canadians.

          “It would be a trivial transition to switch from US to Canadian rules.”

          Depends on the position. Generally US players are better trained since they grew up with the rules, so they win out.

          “5) “ . . . their hockey teams aren’t great. . . “ because all of the good ones go semi-pro league or to US colleges. Over half of the Ivy League hockey players are from Canada.”

          And they’ll keep going pro. College is for the ones who can’t make it in major juniors right away.

          “6) “Americans don’t care about Canadian colleges or their teams.” That comment is too childish to be dignified with a response. Toronto would probably dominate B1G hockey in three years.”

          No they wouldn’t, and good luck getting neutral fans to watch a Canadian team outside of professional sports (and they struggle) or a major international competition against the US. I’m sure Toronto vs Iowa will be a big hit in the south. There’s a reason ESPN doesn’t show Blue Jays games except if they’re at the Yankees/Red Sox/other big US brand. The recent Stanley Cup finals were the second-lowest rated ever on NBC. The worst? 2007 when the Ottawa Senators were playing. See a theme? 3 of the 5 lowest SC’s on NBC involved a Canadian team. If the NHL can’t get Americans to watch Canadians (or Canadiens), CFB sure won’t.

          “7) ”They wouldn’t admit schools into the B10 that didn’t take women’s sports somewhat seriously.” I didn’t say they wouldn’t. They would probably comply with Title IX voluntarily but if they didn’t, the B1G would tell them: You must comply with Title IX. Problem solved.”

          No, you said they wouldn’t need to comply with it unless they wanted to:

          “Another issue, Title IX is an American law, not an NCAA rule. Canadian colleges wouldn’t need to comply with it unless they wished to do so.”

          Like

    2. Marc

      The Big Ten cares about academics, but it is a sports league. Canadian schools don’t play American football, which generates 85% of the revenue.

      Like

    3. z33k

      I don’t mean to be negative, but the reality is that Canadian schools just wouldn’t attract US eyeballs.

      That’s the problem. US viewers are US-brand centric.

      Like

      1. Donald

        I was initially quite intrigued with Toronto as a possible Big Ten candidate back in 2010 for all the advantages listed, but I don’t believe that such a move is remotely possible. Toronto is one of the premier universities in the world, and their (extremely successful) model ignores the “athletic branding” so prominent in the US. I cannot imagine that the University of Toronto brass would welcome creating a $100M+ enterprise (with all of its governance issues) so orthogonal to their current operating procedure, even if they would be a financial boon to the Big Ten (and I’m a skeptic on this point).

        Perhaps the Big Ten could develop a partnership with UT in a few non-revenue sports (i.e., an Associate Member); having UT in the BTAA and a (small) claim to be the only “international conference” would be attractive to the Big Ten (I’m not certain how UT would view such an arrangement).

        Like

        1. Brian

          If they stepped up their athletic program first, then it might make more sense because it would show they do want to compete. But otherwise it’s like adding RU from the 70s and hoping they’ll decide to try. If the BTAA wants to add them, fine. Or add them for hockey only as a proof of concept. If they can’t compete in hockey, they won’t in anything else either.

          Like

  44. Jersey Bernie

    Recap of meeting in Texas regarding UT leaving the B12 for the SEC.

    To me the fun takeaway was Bowlsby throwing more cold water on the playoff expansion to 12 teams. In doing so openly he joins OSU AD Gene Smith. Do I personally think they will kill playoff expansion? No. I think that this is pressure on the SEC to happily go with a cap on maximum number of teams. Again I think that three is a nice number. Three might keep OU or UT out of the playoffs for a long time, and wouldn’t that be fun.

    Or maybe go to 8 teams, with a two team limit.

    Bowlsby claims that a lot of people are not excited about moving forward. We shall see.

    The article said:

    College Football Playoff expansion looked like a lock in early July with the expectation the system would jump from four to 12 teams. That seems far from a certainty now.

    Bowlsby, along with SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, was part of a four-person working group who helped craft the 12-eam proposal. And he seems to be hitting pause on that idea. Directing a question toward Bowlsby during his testimony Monday, Senator Lois Kolkhorst mentioned that 12 teams will soon have the potential to reach the playoff, to which Bowlsby interjected: “Maybe.”

    When asked for clarification, Bowlsby said the landscape of college football has shifted in recent weeks, pointing toward the decision of Texas and Oklahoma to leave the Big 12 for the SEC.

    “I was on the subcommittee to look at it,” Bowlsby said. “The tectonic plates have shifted a bit since the recommendation was made.

    “That’s not a personal opinion at this point. That’s a reflection of what I’m reading in the trade publications. There’s a lot of chatter about people not being excited to move forward given what’s happened in the two weeks.”

    https://247sports.com/college/texas/LongFormArticle/Recapping-a-wild-day-at-the-Texas-capitol-for-college-football-168657104/#168657104_1

    Like

    1. Marc

      I just love a line like, “more possible than it was just 24 hours ago.” This makes him right either way.

      If KU moves to the Big Ten, he can say: “I told you it was possible.”

      If KU does not move to the Big Ten, he can say: “I only said it was possible, not definite.”

      Like

          1. Mike

            Most of the smoke in Kansas is from the Canadian* wild fires.

            If there is *any* truth to the rumor, my guess is Kansas has reached out to the Big Ten and there is a courtesy Zoom call between officials where Kansas will make a presentation on why they would be a good addition to the Big Ten. As bullish as I am on Kansas, I don’t think the Big Ten’s response to the SEC is to invite the worst P5 football program they could find. Kansas will always accept a Big Ten offer. There is no need to rush.

            *University of Winnipeg to the Big 12!

            Like

          2. Brian

            I understand the confusion, though, since that is what the B10 did last time with RU.

            It’s like we want a monopoly on historically bad CFB programs. IU, NW, and RU are the top 3 in total losses, with KU and KSU tied for 6th (WF and Tulane at 4th and 5th). ISU is 8th, NMSU 9th and Vandy 10th. All of those except Vandy and WF would accept a B10 invitation. Just saying.

            Like

  45. Mike

    Rumor round up.

    Like

  46. z33k

    I think we forget that there are a lot of ways of gauging interest in realignment other than contacting the league directly.

    More often I would bet first contact is between the president of the school looking to leave with a president of the league they wish to join.

    After all that is where the infamous “tech problem” came from…

    Like

    1. bullet

      UT President Cunningham described a meeting with the Georgia president at a convention in around 1989 where they talked about possible UT interest in the SEC.

      Also you can have members of the board meet members of the board of institutions in the other conference.

      You can also have prominent boosters. Supposedly two different sets of prominent UT boosters talked to the Big 10 during the 2010 round.

      Its reported that the WVU AD, before WVU officially joined the Big 12, talked to board members at FSU and Clemson about possible interest in the Big 12, before the ACC signed the GOR.

      There are lots of different ways to make contact.

      Like

      1. z33k

        Yeah exactly, I would assume that the conference would only get involved if it’s a school they really want that contacts somebody inside and they hear from one of the conference schools “hey school X is really interested in coming and there may be a way to make this work.”

        The first contact is rarely going to be the school calling the conference directly.

        Like

  47. Mike

    Like

    1. Brian

      I challenge the assumptions he’s making. Overall the deal may be 80% football, but that isn’t true on a school by school basis. KU’s value is almost all MBB while others are almost all CFB.

      UT and OU are CFB kings, so say their value is 95% CFB. That means $119M of their value was football and $6M for MBB. The original deal was $250M total, so $200M for CFB and $50M for MBB. That leaves $81M for CFB + $44M for MBB. That would average $10M per school for CFB, but KU is a hoops king and a CFB serf.

      So UT + OU = 119/200 or 60% of the total B12 CFB value. Let’s assume KU is 50% of the remaining MBB value. That’s $22M. Then give them half a share in CFB, or $5M. That’s $27M in what’s left of the B12.

      But KU’s value goes up if they are playing other MBB brands (MSU, IU, UMD, OSU, UM, PU, IL). So that’s puts them over $30M. And wait, because we haven’t accounted for BTN and the addition of KS and the KC market (much of which is in MO). KU makes a lot for their tier 3 rights already, so they’d be worth an equal BTN share. And KS + KC = 5-6M people.

      That makes KU near the value the B10 is currently paying, just by quick math.

      Like

          1. Brian

            Probably, but he also took the overall average value of the deal and it should be above that average this late in the deal.

            Like

  48. Marc

    It seems a lot of people misunderstand the B1G’s AAU requirement. We’re told that the league won’t add schools unless they are AAU members, with Notre Dame the only known exception.

    But that doesn’t mean adding AAU schools willy nilly. The school needs to add something athletically that the conference wants. The Big Ten is a sports league, with 85% of the revenue coming from football.

    I don’t care if Kansas wins the NCAA basketball tournament 10 times in a row. They’ll still be representing a low-population, low-growth state, with one of the worst football programs in the power five. At least they play the sport, which is more than McGill and the University of Toronto can say.

    Case Western Reserve anybody? The league needs a second Ohio school.

    Like

    1. Colin

      Marc, with Toronto and McGill, the market already exists for Big Ten sports. March Madness is so popular in Toronto that there is widespread loss of business productivity during the tournament, this due to people calling in sick or watching games on their office computers:

      https://www.thestar.com/sports/basketball/ncaa/2021/03/22/monday-fun-day-march-madness-kicks-off-the-week.html

      Canadians like American football far more than Canadian football. They’ve been trying to get the Buffalo Bills to move to Toronto for years. It appears Trump blocked the latest attempt:

      https://www.thestar.com/sports/football/2017/11/05/trump-behind-movement-to-stop-bills-from-moving-to-toronto-group-says.html

      Ontario, in particular, prefers American football over Canadian football:

      “What’s more, Ontario seems to be one of the most promising regions for NFL growth, in which half of all football fans in the region watch the NFL, compared to just one fifth that exclusively watches the CFL. These statistics are rather surprising being as the province is home to three of the CFL’s nine franchises and no NFL teams. This shows that the NFL is indeed gaining an ever-growing presence in Canada, despite home loyalties.”

      https://torontoguardian.com/2020/10/the-growth-of-the-nfl-in-canada/

      Actually, it’s an ideal situation for Big Ten football. Toronto would be the third largest metro area in the B1G footprint but would have no NFL presence. We would also be gaining a huge market for Big Ten hockey in both Toronto and Montreal.

      Full scholarships for athletes is the showstopper. If the Canucks can be convinced to provide NCAA type scholies for their athletes, all else would fall into place quite quickly. Heck, with today’s transfer portals, both schools could probably field competitive football teams in twelve months.

      Also note that McGill has an interesting athletic history . . .

      https://www.mcgill.ca/about/history/features/birth-3-sports

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Marc

        March Madness is so popular in Toronto that there is widespread loss of business productivity during the tournament…

        Since football is 85% of the revenue, only football matters.

        If the Canucks can be convinced to provide NCAA type scholies for their athletes, all else would fall into place quite quickly. Heck, with today’s transfer portals, both schools could probably field competitive football teams in twelve months.

        Rutgers has been playing NCAA football since 1869, and they are the only FBS school in their state. They are still not competitive.

        Look at any school anywhere that has tried to step up from FCS to FBS. It takes years to be competitive, assuming it ever happens. That is far less of a leap than creating a program where none has ever existed, and where no local high schools play the sport.

        Like

      2. Brian

        Colin,

        Millions of people watch March Madness and no other MBB games all year. That doesn’t help the B10 much.

        The Super Bowl is popular worldwide. That doesn’t translate to CFB popularity. It’s like assuming AAA baseball will be popular somewhere because MLB is. Canadians prefer the NFL to the CFL because the NFL has better players and the US hype machine is strong.

        https://mediaincanada.com/2021/01/11/how-to-reach-canadas-eight-million-college-football-fans/

        All of Canada has 8M CFB (US, not Canadian CFB) fans. That means about 1.25M in the Toronto area. That’s for all schools combined. By proximity and alumni base size the B10 will be a decent chunk of those, but so will other national brands (ND, AL, Clemson, UT, OU, …) and non-B10 schools. So call that 500k to be generous. That’s not much.

        https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/eh-game/the-great-canadian-ratings-report-224629677.html

        Fewer than 380,000 Canadians watched the 2016 NCG, just 68,000 more than watched the Canadian CFB championship game (which gets almost zero hype or coverage). That’s 1% of Canadians watching. By contrast 25.7M Americans watched it, or > 7.5%.

        Get back to me if/when they start giving full rides and invest in their athletics programs. The football stadium seats 5000 and the team last had a winning record in 1995, including a record 49 game losing streak that was part of a 1-67 stretch over 9 seasons. Hockey seats 4100 and hasn’t won their conference since 1993.

        Like

        1. Colin

          Brian, college football is a club sport in Canada. Do you understand what a club sport is? My Purdue Boilermakers play 31 club sports: cricket, water polo, trap & skeet, fencing, badminton, women’s rugby, on and on. No one watches it. No one cares. They are club sports.

          In a hockey-crazy country, no one watches the U of Toronto Varsity Blues hockey team. It’s a club sport. If Canadians had a NCAA Division 1 football team in play, they’d have the same fan support that American teams have.

          Like

          1. Brian

            No, they play intercollegiately at a level above club sports. Over 300,000 Canadians watched their CFB NCG. Name a US club sport that matches that.

            What evidence is there that they would support college sports that way? It’s not their model of sports. The US model is unique and there’s no reaosn to think Canadians will fall in line once they are exposed to it. They have major junior hockey and the NHL. Toronto playing B10 hockey wouldn’t change that much if at all. They have the CFL and NFL and no history with the B10. There’s no reason to assume they have pent up demand to watch B10 teams, or US CFB in general.

            Like

          2. Colin

            That is not true. They play intercollegiately at the club sports level. Look, Purdue and Illinois have hockey teams and they both play intercollegiately. They play each other, Iowa, Indiana, the Southern Illinois, etc. But those schools do not play Div 1 with big salaries for coaches, recruiting budgets, etc. They are club sports.

            Wisconsin, Minnesota, Notre Dame et al play intercollegiately at the Div 1 level. For those schools, it is not a club sport.

            Like

          3. Brian

            Colin,

            They give scholarships. It’s part of U Sports (was CIS – their equivalent of the NCAA). By definition that’s above club level. The Canadian universities play pre-season games against the D-I hockey teams. They lose a lot, but they play. They also have club sports.

            There are some really good clubs in the US (like IL hockey which could easily follow PSU and go D-I if they had a big donor), but that’s not representative of club sports in the US.

            Like

          4. Colin

            It is not NCAA Div 1 nor is it NCAA Div II. It is similar to NCAA Div III and there is the same level of fan interest.

            Like

          5. Brian

            Nobody claimed they were D-I level. They’re above D-III because they can get scholarships. D-II might be a reasonable comparison since most athletes there get partial scholarships if anything.

            That’s entirely separate from discussing the quality of play (varies from school to school at any level) or level of fan interest. There are lots of D-I sports with little fan interest – that doesn’t make them not D-I.

            Like

          6. Colin

            True, Div III colleges are not allowed to offer athletic scholarships. However schools can and do give financial aid through “leadership grants” and “needs based financial aid” but they are not full rides.

            Div II colleges can give full ride scholies. The NCAA limits each Division II school to 36 full or partial scholarships per year. Good example is the Div II Ivy League which does indeed give full rides.

            Canadian schools are essentially identical to the NCAA Div III model.

            Like

    2. Brian

      It’s simple:

      Tulane to get New Orleans/LA
      Rice to get Houston/TX
      Emory to get Atlanta/GA
      Washington U to get St. Louis/MO
      Buffalo to get NY
      BU, Brandeis, IT and Tufts to get Boston/MA
      NYU and Stony Brook to solidify NYC
      Carnegie Mellon and Case Western to solidify PA and OH
      Fully onboard Johns Hopkins to solidify Baltimore/MD
      Bring back U Chicago to solidify Chicago/IL

      And then ask ND to join and make an even 30.

      The B10 would add the south and southeast as well as the northeast and solidify their hold on the footprint. And the B10 would dominate federal research funding.

      Like

      1. Marc

        Case Western Reserve could resume their rivalry with Ohio State. They are the only Ohio football team with an all-time winning record vs. the Buckeyes (6–5–1).

        Like

        1. stewlevine

          Hell yeah, bring CMU back to the big time.
          Case can’t seem to decide whether it wants to abandon the OAC or the PAC, and unless Emory, NYU, and Brandeis add football – where is the money?
          And poor Rochester as the only UAA school without a home, maybe they become WVU’s eastern dance partner in the Big 12?

          Like

          1. stewlevine

            Heck just let the UAA be more content in the B10 channel.
            The last CMU football game I can remember being televised was the Diskette Day game against Case in 1987 and the last basketball game I know of was in 1989 at NYU when NYU had 5 games/year on MSG.

            Like

          2. Brian

            Sure, NYU dropped football in 1952 but they could revive it with B10 money coming in. Besides, they wrestle and that’s the important thing (how else will they get ccrider55’s approval?). Half of the UAA plays football, so they can convince the other half.

            Like

      2. Jersey Bernie

        Go NYU Violets. We won a national championship in girls Division III volleyball a number of years ago. Yes, I remember those glory days (even though it was long after I graduated from law school).

        Turn Washington Square Park into a football stadium. It has become a drug den recently anyway.

        Like

      3. bullet

        Poor choices. RPI to get upstate New York and NYU paired with Fordham for NYC!
        Maybe even poach Penn from the IVy to get a stronger grip on Philly.

        Like

  49. greg

    If you’re gonna aim for dream schools that aren’t going to happen, why waste your time with Toronto or McGill?

    Invite Harvard and Yale.

    Like

    1. Brian

      Heck, dream big. Oxford and Cambridge, Sorbonne and Ecole Polytechnique, Heidelberg and LMU Munich (or Technical University of Munich). We use the NFL’s move to Europe to lay the groundwork for B10 football there. And think of the research possibilities.

      Like

  50. Mike

    Dodd with a PAC12 centric update. Excerpts:


    – Ohio State and Michigan have no interest in leaving the Big Ten.

    – “We’re listening [to what’s going on elsewhere],” a high-profile USC official told CBS Sports. “We’re just trying to listen and learn like everybody else.”

    -“I have taken the stance that we’re not going to be reactively poaching any schools,” Kliavkoff said. “What I will say is that my phone has exploded the last five days [after the Texas/Oklahoma news broke]. Blown up. We are having inbounds from lots and lots of schools.

    – Industry sources tell CBS Sports there is no combination of remaining Big 12 schools that would bring value to the Pac-12.

    -“Historically, USC has had a close nexus with Stanford, UCLA, Washington,” said a veteran source with USC ties. “Academic and athletic success. I don’t see [USC] vacating the West Coast. Where would they go? It’s just so far to travel.”

    https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/college-football-rankings-alabama-tops-clemson-in-preseason-cbs-sports-130-ahead-of-2021-season/

    Like

    1. Brian

      Some other key bits:

      The Big Ten doesn’t have to make a move. Remember the value of Ohio State and Michigan. The league’s footprint already contains a quarter of the United States population. Plus, the Big Ten is seemingly in line for a significant TV revenue bump when its current contract with ESPN and Fox expires in 2023. Former commissioner Jim Delany was wise enough to sign only a six-year deal in 2017 so his conference could get to the open market ahead of the Big 12 and Pac-12. Any speculation about adding Pac-12 schools to the Big Ten starts with those additions bringing at least $60 million worth of annual value to the Big Ten contract. (That’s assuming even a conservative increase in the Big Ten’s current deal in 2023.)

      It’s safe to say the Pac-12 can’t wait until the end of its current media rights deal in 2024 to make a move. The collection of West Coast schools still has value because of their “hegemony,” according to a veteran of media rights negotiations. The combination of the Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver and Seattle TV markets is significant. That source added that there was no value in any current Power Five conference “stretching” across the country to get Pac-12 schools.

      “When you’re in our conference, you have a golden ticket,” Kliavkoff said. “People don’t give up golden tickets.

      “If that decision [to leave] is made, it’s for short-term financial gain, which by the way, I think would be a long-term financial loss. It would be made giving up everything else our conference brings.”

      That’s good news for those speculating about a Big Ten reach to the West Coast. However, there is a combination of four Pac-12 schools out there (including USC) that would be a good academic and athletic fit for the Big Ten.

      Like

      1. Alan from Baton Rouge

        The first thing the Pac should do is market the PTN and sell it to a company that can either generate more carriage (ESPN or FOX) or to a streaming company.

        The PTN may be just the type of underperforming package (cheap) for any one of Amazon, Apple, or Netflix to dip their toe in the water of CFB.

        Like

        1. Colin

          A conference network needs a Sugar Daddy. B1G has Fox. SEC has ESPN. That way they can bundle the conference network with other programming and sell it to the Comcasts and the Spectrums as a Full Meal Deal.

          The PAC-12 Network doesn’t have that. They tried to go it alone and that’s why they have flopped. Perhaps they should just try to sell half of the PAC-12 Network to Fox. Fox could then have a “Superconference Network” that combined the programming of the BTN and the P12N without having to combine the two conferences together.

          Like

          1. Brian

            Perhaps neither Fox nor ESPN wanted the P12N. My guess is they offered a low number so the P12 decided to try it on their own.

            Like

        2. Brian

          Alan,

          They certainly need to do something. The P12N as it exists now generates way too little revenue. It has served its primary purpose of getting the Olympic sports broader coverage, but the presidents now realize they need more from it.
          .

          Like

          1. Colin

            Brian, isn’t that what I done told you? Listen up this time, OK?

            “A conference network needs a Sugar Daddy. B1G has Fox. SEC has ESPN. That way they can bundle the conference network with other programming and sell it to the Comcasts and the Spectrums as a Full Meal Deal.”

            A consolidated BTN-P12N would have four time zones, five football games every autumn Saturday, another five of FS1, Thursday games, Friday night games, Sunday games. It could swamp the SEC Network.

            Like

          2. ccrider55

            Colin,

            The Pac exploded,and turned down, sugar daddy interest less than two years ago. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.seattletimes.com/sports/uw-husky-football/pac-12-declines-to-sell-ownership-in-media-rights-to-a-private-equity-firm-but-search-for-a-partner-continues/%3famp=1
            While as.yet the financial value has not been as high as others it still is the conference’s network. While labeled SECN or ACCN they are both basically broadcast rights agreements with an espn dedicated channel. BTN was 51%-49% conf/fox ownership at the start, with fox immediately when the option opened extended the agreement and moved to the majority ownership position. I forget the expiration date of that agreement. Point is that there is value and control with ownership that both fox and espn covet. Pac knows this but is hamstrung a bit out on the left coast. One of those who formed the BTN said a do over would be 100% self owned. I suggest that sec is getting a premium deal from espn in part to dissuade a true conf owned network (their membership soon would be impressive enough that nationwide demand wouldn’t require espn leverage to market).

            Like

          3. Colin

            No no no. A “private equity firm” is not a Sugar Daddy like Fox or ESPN. They are venture capitalists willing to gamble the conference network on some marketing scheme. They cannot bundle the P12N with other programming like Fox News, FS1, etc.

            Like

          4. Brian

            ccrider55,

            Maybe in a redo now, the B10 would do 100% ownership. But I recall the fights for initial carriage when nobody knew what conference networks were. They needed Fox back then. They still have to fight in some places.

            Like

          5. z33k

            5-6 years ago I would have agreed Brian.

            But now I’m not so sure; with cord cutting and all, having a half of the payments be stable annual rights fees mitigates the downside risk of cord cutting and all.

            BTN has lost millions of subs over the past few years (as has SECN); there may likely be a point at which the profitability from the network is a bit lower per school than the annual rights fee we’re guaranteed before profit sharing (49% to Big Ten, 51% to Fox).

            Like

          6. ccrider55

            Brian,

            Now, and when he was helping/advising P12N formation.

            Or perhaps the current association with fox is mutually beneficial enough to continue when current arrangement expires?

            Like

          7. ccrider55

            Z33k,

            “ …having a half of the payments be stable annual rights fees mitigates the downside risk…”

            You don’t think the fox payments are, at least in part, dependent on carriage?

            Like

          8. Brian

            z33k,

            I think cord cutting is overhyped. Yes, networks have lost viewers. But prices have also gone up. In recent years ESPN has seen their revenue increase despite the cutters. BTN is available on multiple streaming services. It may even become possible to subscribe directly to BTN.

            But while it’s cost subscribers, I’m not convinced cord cutters were sports viewers. Streaming is a tiny portion of viewership. Most cord cutters don’t care about live sports.

            I would think Fox protected itself against a loss of subscribers.

            Like

          9. Kevin

            Silverman had said that BTN has about 60 million subs. They’ve maintained that amount with cord cutting. It might be a little lower now but not much.

            I do know quite a few people that only have a Netflix or Prime subscription and don’t watch much TV anymore.

            The younger generations are not into cable or TV for that matter. Not sure how they consume sports, if at all.

            Like

          10. Alan from Baton Rouge

            They have an internet connection and then sign on with their father’s username and password for access to all of his cable channels.

            I’m just guessing…

            Like

          11. Brian

            ccrider55,

            “Now, and when he was helping/advising P12N formation.”

            But after seeing others succeed. That’s my point.

            “Or perhaps the current association with fox is mutually beneficial enough to continue when current arrangement expires?”

            The deal ends in 2032. Who knows what might make sense then? Having a partner may still have value in terms of getting on streaming services and into streaming apps.

            Like

          12. Brian

            You told me the P12N wasn’t making enough money? No, I’m pretty sure I knew that years ago.

            A consolidated BTN/P12N would be worse. Nobody cares about the P12N, that’s why they can’t get carriage. B10 fans wouldn’t want half the time wasted on P12 teams. P12 fans wouldn’t want to watch the B10. That would just be Fox helping the P12N, and I’m not convinced there’s enough money in that for them to bother with it.

            Like

          13. ccrider55

            Colin,

            “ No no no. A “private equity firm” is not a Sugar Daddy like Fox or ESPN.”

            Yes, they absolutely are the equivalent of a sugar daddy, hiring them almost solely for the money. Fox/espn are more like a madam running brothels and higher class escort service – the schools are simply being arranged into what the madam thinks will be most profitable for her.

            Like

      2. bob sykes

        Poaching schools from the PAC12 is not going to happen; they will hang together. But, USC and UCLA (and others) are unhappy about the payouts they get, so they might be open a scheduling deal that regularly brings B1G football teams west and sends PAC12 teams east. USC@Penn St is sellable as are many other combos. And a scheduling agreement could be limited to most valuable games. No need to schedule Rutgers@Or St, unless they got uppity.

        There’s enough money in football to support transcontinental travel, and teams do a lot of it anyway.

        And the scheduling agreement could be limited to football and mens’ basketball. Maryland@UCLA would be an attractive basketball matchup. The Olympic sports could stay in conference.

        Like

        1. Brian

          Bob,

          What the upside for the B10 in that deal? We can get those OOC games now.

          Or would they replace conference games and still count in the standings? That might be interesting.

          Like

          1. z33k

            That’s exactly the problem.

            Why would the Big Ten agree to a scheduling alliance when we benefit more from actually absorbing the schools into the Big Ten and then expanding the BTN footprint and all the other synergies.

            Scheduling alliances just don’t make as much sense; there’s a reason the SEC and Big Ten have been taking teams whole to try to incorporate their territories/fanbases/value into the conference. You just don’t get that with a scheduling alliance.

            Like

    2. Marc

      Industry sources tell CBS Sports there is no combination of remaining Big 12 schools that would bring value to the Pac-12.

      If that is true, then I cannot think of any other switch within the Power Five that would make sense. We’ll most likely see the Big 12 poach however many G5 schools as they can justify. I am sure they will at least go back up to twelve.

      This probably won’t happen for a little while. Those schools will always be there, so there’s no need to rush into anything.

      Like

      1. Brian

        I agree.

        It’ll be interesting to see how large the B12 chooses to become. Stay at 8 and play just 7 games with a CCG? Do they stop at 9 so they can play 8 games and keep the CCG? Do they go back to 10 to keep the same format? What about 12 with divisions?

        Fewer games makes it easier to keep a good record, plus it frees up OOC games to play UT or OU. It also leaves room to play more outside brands like the P12, ND or BYU. And fewer teams means more appearances for the smaller brands. They do need enough games to provide the contracted inventory to Fox/ESPN or they’ll lose money, though.

        12:
        W – TT, TCU, Baylor, OkSU + UH + BYU
        E – ISU, KU, KSU, WV + UCF + UC

        I just picked 4. They might choose others instead (USF?, Memphis?). USF would obviously go in the East. If need be, ISU or the KS schools could shift.

        10:
        TT, TCU, Baylor, OkSU, ISU, KU, KSU, WV + UH + UC

        9:
        TT, TCU, Baylor, OkSU, ISU, KU, KSU, WV + UH

        Like

        1. Logan

          If the SEC goes to 9 or even 10 conference games, and if others follow suit, then it will be a huge challenge to get 5 OOC games scheduled against attractive opponents. Scheduling FCS opponents, which almost every Big XII school does, makes the league look even weaker.

          I wonder if there is value in expanding east only and not adding BYU. Try to build a bridge to WVU and have a more cohesive footprint.

          Ideally, the Pac would fall apart and someone like ASU would be a prize addition, but that doesn’t seem likely short term, so no real benefit to waiting/hoping it happens.

          Like

          1. Alan from Baton Rouge

            Assuming no other conference will take any of the remaining 8, if I’m the B-12, I go to 12 schools with BYU & Boise (football only), Houston and Cincy; have an eight game schedule; schedule two OOCs with SEC, B1G, PAC, or ACC; and then hope that’s enough to stay in Power 5 and get some TV network to give me $25m per school (with a reduced amount going to BYU & Boise).

            I suggested that the B-12 take BYU & Boise as football-only members several years ago. Now, it makes more sense than ever.

            Even though Houston isn’t that popular in Houston, another Texas school gives everyone more games in Texas. In Cincy, WVA finally has a travel partner.

            I think UCF and USF are a bridge too far, but the existing Texas schools may not want Houston. If so, take UCF as a football only member. The Knights can always join the A-Sun in other sports.

            The SEC may be amenable to some sort of scheduling arrangement with the remaining 8 as part of a negotiated settlement to allow OU & UT to join the SEC in 2022. OU & UT currently have the following OOC games scheduled with SEC opponents: OU – UGA 23, @Tenn 24, LSU 27, @LSU 28, @UGA 31, Bama 32, and @Bama 33 UT – owes LSU a home game from 2020, Bama 22, @Bama 23, UGA 28, @UGA 29, @UF 30, and UF31.