Hollywood Nights: USC and UCLA Joining the Big Ten

Jon Wilner reported today that the Big Ten is adding USC and UCLA as early as 2024 and multiple other reporters have confirmed. There could be an announcement as early as tonight. I’ll be honest: I have been quite skeptical of predictions of any major moves by the Big Ten in the wake of Texas and Oklahoma leaving for the SEC and thought that we were in the end game for power conference realignment. Clearly, that was way off base.

While the SEC adding UT and OU involved the movement of two massive brand names, it was still in some ways a small “c” conservative expansion with schools in states that either overlapped or were contiguous with the SEC geographic footprint. At the same time, it was a rare expansion that actually reinstituted rivalries (particularly Texas-Texas A&M and Texas-Arkansas) more than breaking them up.

There’s nothing small “c” conservative with this Big Ten expansion. This is now a legitimate coast-to-coast conference spanning from New York to Chicago to Los Angeles. If USC and UCLA are the only Pac-12 schools coming to the Big Ten, they’ll be leaving their regional peers and rivals entirely.

Of course, the immediate question for me is whether USC and UCLA are really going to be the only Pac-12 schools going to the Big Ten. I’ve long thought that for USC and UCLA to viably be a part of the Big Ten, it would take an expansion of several more Pac-12 schools to the point where it would almost be a full merger. The Pac-12 has several other AAU members in key markets, namely Cal, Stanford, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Utah and Colorado. Arizona State is located directly in the Phoenix market that’s one of the largest hubs for Big Ten alums outside of the conference footprint itself.

Yet, that’s counterbalanced by the fact that USC and UCLA are the clear financial lynchpins to the Pac-12: they are the blue blood brand names in football and basketball, respectively, located in the league’s largest and most important market of Los Angeles. If USC and UCLA have already been convinced to come to the Big Ten alone, it’s an open question about how much value any other additional Pac-12 schools would bring to the table at least financially. The Big Ten would instead be considering non-financial factors at that point such as institutional fit and long-term demographic goals (which could point to the league wanting to be in places like the San Francisco Bay Area regardless of the immediate financial impact).

People throughout all of college sports and media industry were perplexed by why the Big Ten TV rights negotiations, which were initially projected to be completed by Memorial Day, have been delayed. We now know the answer. This goes way beyond TV rights, though. Even with though the Big Ten expansion with Rutgers and Maryland went into new territories for the league, that was still more of an extension of what the league had already started when it added Penn State in the 1990s. There was still a firm profile of what a “Big Ten school” looked like just as we generally have a good sense of the profile of an “Ivy League school” or “SEC school” or… up until now, a “Pac-12 school.” In contrast, a Big Ten that’s now on the West Coast is going to completely alter how we look at the league.

Up until two hours ago, I thought the Armageddon scenarios for power conference realignment were off the table for the next decade or so and the SEC expansion with UT/OU effectively caused complete paralysis among everyone else (which is why the initial response of the Big Ten, Pac-12 and ACC was to form a generally toothless Alliance). I certainly didn’t believe that it would be the Pac-12 that would be vulnerable to a poaching by its Rose Bowl partner of the Big Ten. If anything, the main long-term expansion prospects that I saw for the Big Ten were in the ACC. It just goes to show that all of the turmoil in the college sports business in general are upending the assumptions of even people like me that quirkily follow conference realignment. Some of those wild conference realignment scenarios that I was posting over a decade ago suddenly don’t look so wild anymore.

(Image from UCLA Alumni Association)

2,084 thoughts on “Hollywood Nights: USC and UCLA Joining the Big Ten

  1. z33k

    I really believe this is just the first domino.

    Oregon/Washington to the Big Ten is the obvious next step in my mind. They can ditch Oregon State/Washington State using USC/UCLA as an excuse.

    Then maybe ND + Stanford or something else.

    Either way, this doesn’t feel anywhere near done. USC/UCLA probably need at least 2 others (Oregon/Washington) to create travel partners that they can play annually.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mike

      @zeek

      I really believe this is just the first domino.

      What’s bothering me is Oregon St and Washington St can’t be so much of a drag that the Big Ten money is double or triple. There must be some “synergy” from adding the PAC media markets to the Big Ten to make this whole a lot more than the some of its parts. If so, then I find it a bit hard to see where it stops. San Francisco, Oakland , Seattle, Portland, Phoenix, Denver, and SLC all seem like each would be additive.

      Like

      1. z33k

        Yeah but at $100 million shares, there aren’t that many schools that can justify joining without denting the earnings power or diluting match ups. We want to see USC, Ohio State, etc. playing each other at a reasonable pace.

        Maybe just Washington, Oregon, Cal, Stanford, Arizona, Colorado (if we’re leaving off Arizona State as non-AAU).

        I think Utah, Oregon State, Washington State are on the outside for sure.

        Like

      2. Brian

        Mike,

        The problem is that Cal and Stanford don’t have big CFB/MBB brands, and SF residents don’t care all that much about them. USC and UCLA may not get the BTN into SF, but I don’t know that Cal and Stanford would either.

        I think the brands of UO and UW make them likely candidates. But if the B10 adds too many, it will basically need to split back into the B10 and P10. UO and UW would make 18, and the B10 will always leave a spot reserved for ND just in case.

        New W14?:
        WSU, OrSU, Cal, Stanford, UA, ASU, Utah, CU
        Baylor, TT, TCU, UH, OkSU, KU

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          1. z33k

            Nope, ND football has no limitations or exit fees because they aren’t a part of the ACC (according to Dinich).

            They just have to pay a GOR fee for basketball+Olympic sports which isn’t that big I’d imagine.

            If ND wants to come to the Big Ten, the Big Ten would probably be willing to pay that.

            Like

          2. z33k

            Or ND joins for just football now and leaves other sports later. Either way their football situation is apparently free.

            Like

          3. FLP_NDRox

            Not really, what ND cares about is the end of the season trip to California. When the PAC-12 redid their schedules, USC and Stanford were grandfathered into having an open date for the last game of the season. If the B1G can offer that roadtrip ND is listening.

            Like

          4. Brian

            https://www.sportingnews.com/us/ncaa-football/news/notre-dame-join-big-ten-future-irish/zteje9akz0h2iwgkwlgeuehd

            That grant of rights deal includes language that if Irish choose to join a conference in football before 2036, they are contractually obligated to join the ACC.

            When ND went to the ACC (non-FB), part of the deal was that they couldn’t join any other conference but the ACC until 2036. Was that not binding? Did the fine print leave a loophole? I know they can leave the ACC, but can they actually bring football to the B10 before 2036?

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          5. z33k

            Supposedly Heather Dinich is saying that only applies to non-football. But who knows, we’ll find out soon enough.

            Like

          6. Mike

            Or ND joins for just football now and leaves other sports later. Either way their football situation is apparently free.

            Isn’t there an NCAA rule that you could only join another conference for football if your primary conference doesn’t offer it?

            A Washington, Oregon, Stanford, Notre Dame expansion to get to 20 would be interesting. 4 pods of five.

            Like

          7. Here’s a blast from the past – remember this?

            https://frankthetank.org/2018/05/18/oh-the-places-youll-go-where-big-ten-graduates-live-and-conference-realignment/

            So if we look at where Big Ten alumni are concentrated plus co-located in major TV markets – http://bl.ocks.org/simzou/6459889 – we find seven viable options:

            Atlanta – Nielsen TV Market rank 9 – Georgia Tech
            Boston – #7 – Boston College
            Dallas Fort Worth – #5 – TCU
            Denver – #17 – Colorado
            Phoenix – #13 – Arizona State
            San Francisco – #6 – Stanford
            Seattle – #12 – Washington

            You could make a good argument that FSU or Miami would bring the State of Florida, but the BTN is already in basic cable throughout Florida. Oregon is a good brand but the Nielsen rank is 22. Clemson Nielsen rank is 37.

            Like

          8. Brian

            Colin,

            Viable options for what? The B10 isn’t looking to add BC or TCU. GT would require UVA and UNC coming as well, which seems unlikely for now.

            You give market rankings, but that’s just for 1 city. Brands cover fans in the whole country. UO’s brand is much bigger than Portland’s market (thanks to Nike). And most of SF doesn’t care about Stanford’s teams. RU being near NYC had huge value back in the day, but I don’t think the same effect applies now with Stanford and SF and BTN (but I could be wrong).

            I’d also guess ASU is a non-starter academically. The market is nice and full of B10 alumni, but UA is the AAU school.

            I think it’s best to look at the pros and cons of each candidate through the lens of what will make ND most likely to join as well. That’s where Stanford really brings value. CU is a rival for NE but otherwise pretty isolated. UW is a brand and brings Seattle. UO is a brand and brings Portland. And all of them help give ND the national exposure they want.

            Like

          9. Brian: “Viable options for what? The B10 isn’t looking to add BC or TCU. GT would require UVA and UNC coming as well, which seems unlikely for now.”

            I agree. I was just taking a look at the criteria that we used last time around: top TV markets and concentrations of B1G alumni. That’s how we ended up with Rutgers and Maryland.

            I think BC, TCU, ASU or Stanford are highly unlikely choices. Stanford might sound good but it is a small school with a small fan base. I’m not sure that Oregon and Washington would want to leave the PAC. They certainly won’t bring the value that USC and UCLA do.

            I question that the Big Ten will expand further but if ND comes in and we need another school to get to an even number. Colorado seems the most likely. It’s contiguous and many are their fans were unhappy with the PAC-12 before USC and UCLA chose to leave. They’re probably climbing the walls today.

            Like

        1. vp0819

          Big Ten presidents want Cal and Stanford as a tandem for their academic heft (and since Berkeley is arguably America’s premier public university, I can’t imagine the 14 B1G presidents from state schools will want to reject it) Bring the Bears and Cardinal, alongside Washington and Oregon.

          Like

          1. Wall Street Journal ranks UCLA ahead of Berkeley

            24 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor 16 65 4 236 $17,357

            27 University of California, Los Angeles 18 134 12 19 $15,718

            33 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 22 96 195 309 $10,085

            36 University of California, Berkeley 19 254 110 56 $18,522

            40 University of California, Davis 30 196 223 13 $15,886

            43 University of California, San Diego 29 236 312 13 $14,864

            45 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 27 300 25 63 $14,660

            45 University of Washington-Seattle 34 190 254 82 $10,692

            47 United States Military Academy 56 23 89 >400 –

            48 Purdue University West Lafayette 49 112 4 266 $12,684

            Like

          2. Ryan

            Agreed. This is a “hundred year” relationship they’re working on. So the AAU thing matters a lot.

            The valve of Pac-12 assets to the Big Ten has turned on…Cal, Stanford, Oregon, and Washington are flowing for sure. That’s 20 for the Big Ten.

            It could stop there. But Colorado (with Nebraska as a contingent state and old rival PLUS Denver’s market)…and Arizona (with Phoenix’s large alumni base and UA’s proximity PLUS contingent status with SoCal and Colorado) seem like easy pickings too. Neither are home run sports additions…but what’s the end goal?

            24 seems like a nice number to stop out for this round…so who fills out the dance card? Is it Utah? Kansas? Notre Dame? Arizona State?

            Like

    1. Eric

      Timing is interesting. ACC fans lament the current far dated contract, but the grant of rights signed alongside it makes their teams (and Notre Dame) untouchable while the SEC and Big Ten look around.

      If it is just these two, can the PAC-12 still raid the Big 12? I am not sure it wants to anyway, but I lean to yes.

      First PAC-12 replacement definitely San Diego State in my view. They were too far away for other power conferences and didn’t make sense with 4 California schools, but now provide the PAC with a southern California replacement.

      Like

  2. Alan from Baton Rouge

    So much for THE ALLIANCE and all their aspirational flowery prose about doing things the right way, and standing up to the dirty ole ESS-EEE-SEE.

    Turns out The Alliance was more like the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, only to have the B1G launch Operation Barbarosa on the P-12 a year later.

    Seriously, as I wrote this time last year, the UT & OU to the SEC, was the first step toward a Disney League and a FOX League for college football. USC & UCLA to the B1G is just the next step. I wouldn’t be shocked it every P-12 school – except Oregon State and Washington State – eventually get a B1G invite to get to 24. Then the SEC responds by picking their best eight in the ACC – UNC, Duke, NC State, VA Tech, UVA, Miami, Florida State & Clemson – when available.

    In the words of Frank the Tank, serious baller move by the B1G. Congratulations on the second best expansion move.

    Like

    1. z33k

      I’d agree on second best if this is it.

      But I don’t think this is it. Add in Washington/Oregon and it’s probably bigger than Texas/OU to the SEC.

      Like

      1. Alan from Baton Rouge

        I don’t think Ore/Wash along with UCLA/SC to the B1G eclipses OK/TX to the SEC.

        Now if the B1G can snag Notre Dame by hanging out the carrots of annual conference games with historical foes Purdue, Michigan, USC and Stanford…

        Like

        1. Kevin

          I would disagree. It already eclipses the SEC from a financial standpoint. The B1G will be in the top 3 markets in the country along with a number of other top markets including Philly and DC.

          SEC is still top from a competitive or talent perspective but financially it is now the B1G.

          Like

          1. Alan from Baton Rouge

            The problem is NYC (19m) LA (13.2m) & Chicago (9.5m) are not college towns. I would argue that DFW (7.6m), Houston (7.1m) and Atlanta (6m) have more college football TV watching fans than NYC, LA & Chicago.

            Locking down the second most populous state (TX) that is college football crazy with the four most popular college football teams in the state (UT, A&M, OK & LSU) is more important than locking down the second most populous city (LA) that doesn’t care about college football.

            Again, if the B1G can snag Notre Dame down the line with this move, the B1G wins.

            Like

        2. Brian

          Alan,

          I agree with you.

          UT + OU > USC + UCLA + any other P12 schools
          USC + UCLA + ND + any other P12 schools > UT + OU (but not by much)

          Like

        3. m (Ag)

          In the long term, I think the SEC’s 16 is better than the Big Ten’s 16 (assuming the Big Ten stops there). That said, the SEC is still held back by the long deal they signed before the Big 12 started to crack; it’s going to be awhile before it can take the 2nd & 3rd tier deals to market. The Big Ten is going to get more money in the short term because it’s selling rights now.

          Like

  3. Brian

    1. I hate this. I hate it for the B10, for the P12, for college sports, for all the student-athletes taking weekday red-eye flights, for the lost rivalries, for P12 fans, …. This is worse than UT and OU to the SEC, since at least they were regional additions.

    2. I hope that the schools came to the B10 rather than being poached, but this is still wrong by the B10.

    3. I’m shocked. I know the money is huge, but USC and UCLA are going to lose a lot of rivalries and regional games. And a lot of that money is going to go into travel expenses.

    4. I’m surprised UCLA left Cal, and that it was allowed to happen. The UC system is very political.

    5. Noon ET games for UCLA and USC? 8pm PT games for eastern teams? Are western fans clamoring for more games against the bottom half of the B10?

    6. Why would you not also take UO and UW to complete the coastal grab (if they want in)? More local rivalry games for them, and more big markets with good football brands.

    7. P12/B12 merger into a new conference (so they can dump the B12 newbies and deadweight from both sides) announced in 3, 2, 1, …

    Like

    1. Alan from Baton Rouge

      Brian – No more moral high ground for the B1G. The PAC has been the B1G’s wing man for decades with the Rose Bowl, shared TV contracts, opting out of the Bowl Alliance, and initially shutting down the 2020 COVID season..

      This is like Brutas stabbing Caesar.

      If you can get past that, its a really big power move.

      Like

      1. ccrider55

        Just mail the B1G baseball trophy to Westwood. Rename it the annual Jackie Robinson commendation trophy.

        Do we now get Bill Walton as a BTN announcer?

        I guess the LA press can continue to ignore college sports just as well in the B1G as the Pac, once this story blows over.

        Go Dodgers, Angles, Rams, Chargers, Clippers, Lakers, LA Galaxy, LA FC, etc.

        Like

        1. Brian

          At least B10 baseball teams could get some conference games in early in the season. USC and UCLA host all their home games, then finish the season on long road trips.

          Like

      2. Brian

        Alan,

        You know better than that. Moral high ground is something you claim, not something you actually earn. The B10 will continue to claim it.

        It might also mean the end of the Rose Bowl as an obstacle to CFP expansion, or as a relevant game. Will anyone care about the Rose Bowl and it being B10 vs P12 in the future if USC and UCLA are in the B10? Is UW vs UCLA in the Rose Bowl exciting, or just a P12 game?

        Like

          1. z33k

            Does that stuff really matter?

            Look at politics today; look at the Supreme Court. Not to delve deeply here, but it’s just raw power that matters.

            You have votes or you don’t. Nothing else matters.

            College football is now the same thing. You either have the TV markets, big brands, and all the rest that matters, or you don’t.

            All that stuff ended when Texas/OU joined the SEC. At that point, this path was basically set.

            Like

      3. bullet

        Nebraska to the Big 10 was the one that changed college sports. BC to the ACC changed college sports in the east, ultimately killing the Big East, but Nebraska was the first true power to move and it weakened the Big 12 significantly perceptually, although not as much financially.

        Like

          1. bullet

            Yes, but they were an indie and so didn’t impact any conferences.

            As for Arkansas, the SWC was already doomed and while they were #3 in the SWC, they weren’t a power.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Brian

            bullet,

            PSU expanded the B10, and many at the time said it led to the other independents joining conferences. I won’t claim cause and effect, but it was the first major power to move in recent history. Just because it didn’t weaken another conference doesn’t mean it doesn’t count in my book. It led to the end of the major independents (except ND), and that was a big change to college sports.

            Like

    2. Nathan

      Slight topic change as we’ve seemed to have beaten “who else is the B1G gonna add” question to death: assuming the era of the “Big 2” is upon us, and also assuming that major governance changes are afoot (jettisoning the NCAA, NIL, players as employees, etc.) what are the odds that college football realigns with some sort of “farm system” in place. I’m thinking something like Alabama has a relationship with one or more G5 (or even the leftovers of the P5) schools and they place freshman/sophomore players at those lower schools to get in-field experience. Give UAB a million or so a year, and here are some players I want you to help develop. When our current starters graduate/lose eligibility the developmental players transfer back to Alabama.

      This gives lower schools access to some 5 star players, helping sell tickets with a better quality product, and earn some additional $$$ from the formalized relationship.

      Like

      1. Little8

        With the transfer portal an official farm system is not required. Now athletes that were not offered at their desired school either through not being noticed or late (i.e. college) development can transfer to a higher ranked school after a year or two of good performance.

        Like

  4. Milton Hershey

    Fortune favors the bold! Very happy to hear the news today. Expansion will continue as long as revenue per school continues to grow… and with streaming services now getting into the mix, that’s bound to happen. I’d like to add Ore and Wash next. Not sure how long we’ll have to wait for that…

    Like

  5. Hard to believe unless you check a map but if the B1G took USC/UCLA/Az St/Colorado, we would still be a contiguous conference and really less spread out than you would imagine.

    Like

  6. ccrider55

    Goodbye “college” athletics. Thanks NLI. The need for massive $s to bid on FB recruits contributed, if not drove the speed of these moves, moves that are anathema to the idea of college athletic rivalries, conferences, and associations.

    Disappointed in the B1G acquiesce. Also, NEITHER school wrestles!

    Like

      1. ccrider55

        Yeah, ‘cause money was an issue at U$C.
        UCLA dropped just after having an ncaa Hwt champ, and a couple tremendous recruiting classes that dispersed to be integral to Iowa and OU, with some World and Olympic golds to come for a couple of them.

        Like

  7. FLP_NDRox

    I read and I officially don’t know what’s real or not.

    I don’t know what I would do if I was Savvy Jack Swarbrick. If the Pac-12 loses their headliner and largest state’s flagship, the PAC is toast. The BXII is meaningless, and the ACC is a sinking ship. Even if you take the best of the rest: Washington, Oregon, Cal, Stanford, FSU, UNC, Kansas, Clemson, etc. there’s not enough brands available to form a competitive third option.

    It might be time to fall on the sword, join the B1G, and try to get them to make us Southern Cal’s primary rival. It may be well worth $50mil to get off the sinking ship.

    This blows.

    Like

  8. Jersey Bernie

    While everyone recognizes that Rutgers was the huge winner in the expansion lottery, the powers that be at U Maryland are looking pretty darn smart. They left an ACC which is financially almost on life support, to get into one of the two super conferences.

    Like

    1. It’s so nice to be proven right (as Frank knows, I was the one, under another username, who championed Maryland’s move to the Big Ten a decade ago; at the time, that idea was considered not only out of the box, but out of the neighborhood). The kicker: In 2014, I moved from Virginia to Los Angeles, and two years from now I’ll be able to watch Terrapin teams — football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s soccer, a resurgent baseball program — play in town (OK, SC has no men’s soccer team, but UCLA does).

      Like

    1. While it’s better to be on the Big Ten side than the Pac-12 side here, yes, it does suck.

      I always respected the Pac-12 as the Big Ten’s West Coast mirror: they were all institutional fits with a clear identity.

      This is distinct from the UT and OU move to the SEC in my mind. For anyone that has been reading this blog for over 12-13 years at this point, so much of it was based on the fact that Texas wasn’t in its optimal home in the Big 12. It didn’t fit institutionally in that league (especially after the wave of defections in the early-2010s) even beyond the financial and sports aspects.

      In contrast, the Pac-12 was the perfect institutional fit for USC and UCLA. This was purely a money grab, which worries me for the long term if these are the only 2 schools that the Big Ten adds. (It makes me think more that this is going to be a much deeper raid of the Pac-12. The Big Ten is likely going to be able to take *whoever* it wants from that league starting today.)

      Like

      1. m(Ag)

        A conference is 2 things:
        1) a source of money and/or prestige
        2) a set of schools you would like to have on your schedule, home and away.

        Throughout realignment, every major school that moved (with the possible exception of Maryland), has a good argument that they improved their home & away schedules from their fans’ perspective. Interestingly, many schools that didn’t move (such as Texas 10 years ago or FSU when they seemed to have a chance to join the SEC with A&M) stuck their fans with a worse home and away schedule by not moving.

        This move by the 2 California schools is the first one where I think it’s clear the local fans will be less interested in the new overall schedule. The Kings of the Big Ten will get headlines, but the 2nd-tier schools of Iowa, Wisconsin, etc. will probably draw less interest than schools like Arizona, Stanford, and Washington.

        I think adding 2-4 more Pac schools would go a long way to addressing that…and that the Big Ten needs to do it even if it doesn’t completely add up in dollars and cents for the national deals. If UCLA and USC can each play 3 current Pac 12 schools as annual conference games + 2 more of its most passionate rivals in the non-conference, the fans will probably be happy in the long-term.

        Like

        1. Brian

          m(Ag),

          I understand your premise, but I’m not sure it’s true. P12 fans often show so little interest that I’m not sure how much this hurts. Does replacing UA, ASU, UU, CU, OrSU, WSU and Cal with B10 teams really matter much to them? They keep ND and UCLA. They can schedule Stanford if they want. They lose interesting games against UW and UO, but add OSU, MI, PSU, NE, WI, IA and MSU. I think it might be a net upgrade, especially with B10 alumni available to buy tickets out west.

          Like

      2. Doug

        Assuming we’re now in the endgame phase, does this create a path for the Big Ten and SEC to partner up and systematically dismantle the ACC too?

        The ACC GOR goes away if the majority of the schools in the conference leave, so 8 defections would do it – 4 to SEC, 4 to B1G.

        Add these schools to the mega power conferences, as well as any remaining additions from the PAC to the B1G, and we’ll finally be where many predicted about a decade ago.

        Like

  9. Andy

    I think the B1G and SEC will continue to expand. The open question is how big do they get? 18? 20? 24? I doubt they go any bigger than 24. I think the shopping lists for both conferences are something like the following:

    B1G:

    1. USC
    2. UCLA
    3. Notre Dame
    4. Stanford
    5. Cal
    6. UNC
    7. Duke
    8. Virginia
    9. Washington
    10. Oregon
    11. Colorado
    12. Arizona
    13. Utah
    14. Arizona State
    bottom of the list: Kansas, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Pitt, Syracuse, Boston College

    I’m guessing they take 4, 6, or 10 of the above schools. The schools lower down at he bottom the list have almost no chance.

    For the SEC it’s:

    1. Notre Dame
    2. UNC
    3. Duke
    4. Virginia
    5. Florida State
    6. Miami
    7. Clemson
    8. Virginia Tech
    9. NC State
    10. Georgia Tech
    11. Louisville
    bottom of the list: West Virginia, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Iowa State, Kansas State, Pitt, Wake Forest

    I’m guessing they take 2, 4, or 8 of the above schools. The schools lower down at the bottom of the list have almost no chance.

    There will then be a couple of lesser semi-major conferences, one in the east, one in the west. Add in schools like BYU, San Diego State, Boise State, UCF, CIncinatti, Memphis, etc.

    Like

  10. Nathan

    I read something somewhere that the ACC had an out of the GoR if they expand. Will be interesting to hear which schools are all the sudden bullish about “expansion” as a way to leave while the getting’s good.

    Like

  11. Mike

    If you are wondering about Notre Dame.

    Like

  12. Mike

    If you are wondering about Notre Dame

    Like

  13. Milton Hershey

    If you ask me, the changes to the transfer portal and NIL money have been terrible for college football. Everything is changing. What it boils down to is survival of the fittest… those who adapt quickest will reap the benefits. That’s the way it is. To stay competitive schools need to recruit the best players, work the transfer portal, get their players as much money as they can via NIL and conferences must continue to expand. I love the nostalgia and tradition of college football but it’s big business now.

    Like

    1. Nathan

      I think the transfer portal and the NIL happened in response to all the realignment shenanigans, not the cause of them. Schools would be doing exactly what they’re doing now if there was no NiL or change to transfer portal regs. The money in FB/MBB became so high it was basically insane to try to treat the primary workers who produce your product as “students”.

      Like

  14. Andy

    What this big realignment move potentially means for the SEC academically:

    Right now the SEC has 5 AAU schools:

    Vanderbilt
    Texas
    Texas A&M
    Florida
    Missouri

    They also have 3 more schools whose research numbers are at least on the lower fringes of the AAU:

    Oklahoma
    Georgia
    Kentucky

    If the SEC does a raid of the ACC as predicted, they could end up with the following:

    AAU schools:

    UNC
    Duke
    Virginia
    Georgia Tech

    Not AAU but on the lower fringe of having AAU status:

    Miami
    Virginia Tech
    NC State
    Florida State

    So the SEC could end up with as many as 9 AAU members and 7 schools that do enough research that they could potentially work their way into the AAU. Granted, I don’t know if they’d take Georgia Tech or NC State, and UNC, Duke, and Virginia may well end up in the Big Ten. But the potential is there at least for the SEC to step up and become a pretty respectable conference academically after being basically bottom of the barrel just 10 years ago.

    Like

  15. z33k

    I turned super bullish on USC/UCLA (and Washington/Oregon) joining the Big Ten a few years ago.

    I think Stanford is guaranteed to eventually join, the reason being that I think ND will eventually join the Big Ten as well.

    ND will want Stanford/USC as guaranteed games annually (duh), so it’s pretty obvious for Stanford to also come.

    Only question is whether Cal gets left out…

    Like

    1. EndeavorWMEdani

      Exactly. It’s going to be Oregon, Washington, Stanford and Notre Dame. None of the rest carry their weight. They can play Cal in an out of conference game.

      Like

    2. Mike

      I think Stanford is guaranteed to eventually join, the reason being that I think ND will eventually join the Big Ten as well.

      They are a very large academic “fig leaf” so that the Big Ten can say this isn’t all about money.

      Like

  16. Nathan

    If I were one of the better schools in the Big 12 I’d be immediately calling the other top 4/5 schools and the top 4/5 schools left in the PAC 12 to start a new conference. GoRs end roughly the same time and I’d try to lock in as many of the better PAC-12-2 teams as I could while there’s still uncertainty around getting an invite from the B1G.

    It’s not like they’ll get huge money, but if you have a good 10 teams from both leagues it’s got to be more per school than what they’ll currently get with a Big 12 raided PAC12 or vice versa.

    Like

  17. Mike

    I post this reluctantly since I’ve always felt this guy was making stuff up. However, he’s been talking about USC/UCLA to the Big Ten for most of the summer so he might know something. He’ll post some (imo) racist/sexist stuff from time to time so beware. I don’t follow him for those reasons but he keeps popping up on my radar. Anyway, here’s his thread on Notre Dame:

    Seems awful fast for Notre Dame to get 175 Million together to leave the ACC, but who knows anymore.

    Like

    1. z33k

      Most of what he says just sounds like a fever dream.

      I mean a lot of us have been speculating USC/UCLA to the Big Ten for years now, and it seemed like the next obvious domino.

      Like

      1. Mike

        Most of what he says just sounds like a fever dream.

        I agree, he’s been right on enough that I can’t tell if he just got lucky or actually does know someone.

        Like

        1. Brian

          Greg Flugaur (@ flugempire) posted in late March about USC to the B10. Inside info (as he always claims), or a blind squirrel finding a nut? We’ll never know for sure.

          Like

  18. Alan from Baton Rouge

    Mandel’s most recent Kings/Barons list by future conference alignment.

    SEC (9)
    Emperor – Alabama; Kings – Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma & Texas; Barons – Auburn, Florida, Tennessee & Texas A&M.

    B1G (8)
    Kings – Michigan, Ohio State & USC; Barons – Iowa, Michigan State, Nebraska, Penn State & Wisconsin.

    Kings and Barons not affiliated with either the B1G or SEC (5)
    Kings – Clemson (ACC) & Notre Dame (Ind); Barons – Florida State & Miami (ACC), and Oregon (P-12)

    Like

  19. Brian

    This seems like an extreme step to take just to get rid of divisions. Or did the B10W just get 2 new members with PU moving to the B10E?

    Divisions? (7 + 2/8)
    W = USC, UCLA, NE, IA, WI, MN, NW, IL
    E = RU, UMD, PSU, OSU, MI, MSU, IN, PU

    I think not.

    Pods?
    W = USC, UCLA, NE, IA
    N = WI, MN, NW, IL
    E = RU, UMD, PSU, OSU
    S = MI, MSU, IN, PU

    I think not.

    3 locked rivals?
    USC – UCLA, OSU/MI, PSU/NE
    UCLA – USC, OSU/MI, PSU/NE

    NE – IA, MN, USC/UCLA
    IA – NE, MN , WI
    MN – NE, IA, WI
    WI – IA, MN, NW

    NW – IL, WI, RU
    IL – NW, PU, IN
    PU – IL, IN, UMD
    IN – PU, IL, MSU

    OSU – MI, USC/UCLA, PSU
    MI – OSU, MSU, USC/UCLA
    MSU – MI, RU/UMD, IN

    PSU – RU/UMD, OSU, USC/UCLA
    RU – PSU/MSU, UMD, NW
    UMD – PSU/MSU, RU, PU

    Probably something like that.

    Like

  20. Big Ten is driving all this. They got all the media for their new League. Sec is going to behind in everything. NBC,Cbs,Fox,Espn. will fill all time slots only showing their teams. Sec only has espn. their screwed. B10 been working on this for 2+ yrs. It’s been on the down low. but inside info has been leaking out. Could be 30-40 teams in new League. Sec?

    Like

  21. Brian

    So what does this mean for the TV deal? Obviously even more $$$, but beyond that. It’s more big brand games with national appeal, making the Fox/CBS/NBC(or ESPN) plan more viable. You have a truly coast-to-coast conference. Game windows at 12, 3:30, 7 and sometimes 10 ET.

    Like

  22. I always thought USC and UCLA to B1G was inevitable but contract after this one when neither could no longer stomach the financial gap.

    I’ve also said 20 will be the new 12. Just works well in a non-division format yet not so huge brand dilution hits.

    Seems unlikely B1G would say no to Cal and Stanford. Academic prestige in spades and in the sixth largest TV market.

    Washington is in the next biggest TV market after Phoenix. Arizona State isn’t the B1G dream school in academics but it’s a B1G hotbed and 11th largest TV market. Arizona is attractive as well.

    Oregon has to be in the discussion with a great national brand and Nike love.

    Colorado interesting in academics and the Denver market.

    I think we can safely say Washington State and Oregon State aren’t going B1G. Utah is a nice academic fit but 30th tv market and no strong national brand probably scratches them.

    That leaves seven schools with some chance of following USC and UCLA and probably three on the wrong side of the choices made by B1G

    Don’t you know there is muttering around Big XII asking why the heck B1G didn’t do this a year ago before they pulled the trigger on BYU UCF Houston and Cincinnati?

    Like

    1. Ryan

      You’re dead on. Except for the Arizona State love. You’re right that ASU is in Phoenix…but Tucson is just down the road and it has equal sports (better?) and is an AAU school, which matters to the Big Ten.

      You make a great point about Utah. I could see Kansas coming ahead of Utah. Nebraska and Colorado are its old Big Eight foes. Utah was a MWC team for most of its history.

      Did you hear that Kansas just took off its wedding ring and put its hand on the Big Ten’s knee (as it said it would be willing to be football independent and bball in Big East rather than be in the B12)?

      Like

  23. Brian

    Is the B10 now the “Conference of Champions”? Stanford is #1 in titles, but UCLA and USC are #2 and 3. Those are the only schools over 100 titles, while #4 UT has 54.

    Top 25 B10 schools:
    5. PSU
    12. MI
    16. UMD
    17. WI and OSU
    23. IA
    24. IN

    Like

    1. Longhorn McLonghornface

      Yes, I’d like to once again congratulate Stanford on piling up all those championships in Olympic sports that nobody else competes in, like bottlecap juggling, Dungeons and Dragons, and the tire relay.

      Like

  24. Brian

    And what about the B10’s Rose Bowl record now? We get to claim all the USC wins, right?

    Will NW miss not being the only private school in the B10?

    The B10 will have more women’s water polo teams than the P12 after this.

    Like

  25. Andy

    Seems very likely now that the Big Ten will add

    USC
    UCLA
    Stanford
    Notre Dame
    Washington
    Oregon

    To get to 20

    They can then go to 24 with the best they can get from the rest of the Pac 12 and ACC.

    The SEC will probably expand too and their top targets will probably be

    UNC
    Duke
    Virginia
    Virginia Tech
    Miami
    Florida State
    Clemson

    The Big Ten will probably try to go in and get some of those schools the SEC wants. It will be interesting to see who wins out.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Andy

        And go to 22?

        If that happens I think the SEC would respond by adding

        Clemson
        Florida State
        Miami
        Virginia Tech
        NC State
        And maybe
        Duke
        Georgia Tech
        Louisville

        Like

    1. Brian

      The B10 hasn’t looked to expand that fast before. Today is the deadline for P12 schools to announce they are leaving in 2024 and avoid a penalty, so any others might have to wait a year (or pay up).

      I think the B10 is probably pausing to see if ND expresses any interest, and what schools they would want added (Stanford?). If you can get UCLA, USC, ND and Stanford, do they still want UW and UO? Might they look to CU and UA instead?

      Like

      1. Brian

        Did UW, Oregon, & Stanford announce they were leaving the P10 Thursday to avoid the exit penalty once they find a new home?

        Like

  26. m(Ag)

    I wonder if there’s any chance the ACC throws up its hands and decides to offer schools a chance to buy their way out and give the conference a chance to move forward without the dread that will hang over their heads every year until the Grant of Rights ends. This would also give the remaining schools a chance to try and grab some Big 12 schools…and maybe even follow the Big Ten’s example and add some Pac 12 schools to form a coast-to-coast conference. (8 leftover ACC schools, 8 leftover Big 12 schools, and 8 leftover Pac 12 schools in 24 team national ‘conference’?)

    The grant of rights ends in 2036. They can say any school can leave in 2024 in exchange for,$10 million every year until 2036 to the remaining members, provided they make the announcement in the next 6 months. Ignoring Notre Dame for the moment, if 6 schools accept, then the 8 remaining schools would divide $60 million a year between them: $7.5 million a year for each school. (The ACC distributed $36.1 million per school last year).

    Some fan bases will likely be disappointed when they find out they’re not actually wanted (because the barrier to entry to the Big Ten and SEC is higher than ever)…those that remain would have to accept that this is their new place in life and would be more motivated to making the new ACC work instead of counting down until 2036.

    Like

    1. m (Ag)

      I’ve thought more about this. If the ACC wants to put all the speculation behind it (and perhaps have some kind of Pac merger like Frank suggested), the schools can get together and collectively buy out their Grant of Rights from each other.

      Assuming they reach a separate agreement with ND (splitting what they get from them), the other 14 schools would each put into a pot the value of their grant of rights each year and then receive 1/14 of the total pot back. This would last until the GOR expiration date.

      How would you determine the value each school’s rights? By what conference they ended up in.

      My example (feel free to come up with your own):

      Amount in millions each team puts in pot per year
      $35 – teams getting full SEC or Big Ten membership
      $25 – teams getting full Pac or Big 12 membership
      $20 – teams staying in ACC or getting non-football SEC/BT/Pac/B12 membership
      $10 – teams getting Big East membership
      $0 – teams that have to join Sunbelt, etc.

      Scenarios with the above values (fractions rounded down):

      2 teams to SEC/Big Ten, 12 stay ($22.14m in pot/year for each team):
      teams leaving each pay net $12.86 mill/year…other teams each get net $2.14 mill/year

      —-

      6 teams to SEC/Big Ten, 8 stay ($26.42m in pot/year for each team):
      teams leaving each pay net $8.58 mill/year…remaining teams each get net $6.42 mill/year

      —-

      4 teams to SEC/Big Ten, 6 to Big 12/Pac, 4 teams join AAC! ($20.71m in pot/year for each team):
      teams moving to SEC/Big Ten each pay net $14.29 mill/year; teams moving to Big 12/Pac each pay net $4.29 mill year; teams moving to AAC each get net $20.71 mill/year (and are very lucky the conference wasn’t dissolved before the payouts were negotiated!)

      —-

      4 teams to SEC/Big Ten, 10 to Big 12/Pac ($27.85m in pot/year for each team):
      teams moving to SEC/Big Ten each pay net $7.15 mill/year; teams going to Big 12/Pac each get net $2.85 mill/year

      If the conference isn’t dissolved, there might also be a one-time exit fee for departing schools.

      Like

  27. z33k

    I wrote this August 11, 2021:

    “Basically, don’t be shocked if something happens with USC next year and the ACC schools in the early 2030s; those are basically where things would be decided.”

    I’ve been completely on board with USC to the Big Ten since Texas, OU announced last year.

    Everything made sense: money, exposure in the East half of the country on a much bigger stage.

    Everything pointed to USC needing a much bigger stage and the Pac-12 completely being an afterthought nationally and in its media deal fed into that.

    I think now Big Ten puts a hard press on ND to join.

    If ND says yes, I think they come with Stanford, UW, Oregon. Maybe Cal/Arizona but I don’t think those 2 are in line.

    This is cutthroat decision making now.

    I expect Washington and Oregon have good odds of getting into the Big Ten. Not sure about anybody else except Stanford with ND if ND says yes.

    Like

    1. Longhorn McLonghornface

      “Remember last year when the Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 formed “The Alliance” after the SEC added Oklahoma and Texas?”

      Big 12, eh? Stellar work from Barrett Sallee. Oxford comma fail, too.

      Like

    2. Little8

      The B1G knew the impact the USC/UCLA move would make on the P12. I am sure the B1G developed the potential TV and overall value of each of the remaining 10 members since they could assume that once USC fell all of the others would want to follow. The fact that the B1G did not make any more invites indicates that even Oregon and Washington are not that additive and may even dilute the B1G payout per team. Unlike 2010, the TX/OK SEC move showed that now the B1G/SEC can pick up kings without taking their entire entourage. UCLA was the only other school the B1G had to take to get USC.

      In the second article from the Brian’s link above, D.Dodd brings up the possibility of making room for the likes of Oregon and Washington by ejecting low performing schools (Indiana and Purdue mentioned). The flaw in this logic (besides no conference is yet at the point of ejecting members like the Big East did to Temple) is that the payout to the kings and barons probably increases more by just ejecting the low performing members without replacement. This is what the B12 observed when they went to 10 members.

      Like

      1. Tom

        I remember some speculation that the Big Ten would expel Penn State during the Sandusky scandal and supposedly it takes only a 60% vote to expel. That’s not very high if it’s true. You can’t rule it out.

        Like

  28. SideshowBob

    After UT/OU joining the SEC, there will really on two “available” kings that made any sense for the Big Ten – USC and Notre Dame. Notre Dame wasn’t going to happen, so the obvious play was USC with a solid partner if the Big Ten were to expand. And, obviously, this move makes the opportunity to get the other king – Notre Dame – down the line that much more likely given their history with the Trojans and desire to play a more national schedule.

    Other shoes will drop, but ultimately the next big play is to get Notre Dame. That’s the remaining move that jumps the needle. Sure they might do something like Oregon/Washington and I think that would be acceptable but Stanford/Notre Dame has got to be what the conference is zeroed in on as a goal.

    Like

  29. Peter Griffin

    Sports Illustrated (Dellenger) says that multiple Pac teams have contacted the Big, and the Big is reviewing options. So who’s next from the Pac to the Big?

    Like

    1. z33k

      I feel pretty confident it’s a very short list now of just Washington and Oregon as a pair and then Stanford as the +1 to Notre Dame.

      I don’t see how anybody else can justify expansion at this point.

      ND gets first choice. If they don’t join, I still think we add Washington, Oregon.

      If ND joins, then I think we announce all 3 together of Washington, Oregon, Stanford.

      Still a lot to play out next few weeks.

      Like

      1. Brian

        What is the expected time range it would take for the Domers to say no to the B10 again? Last time it took months it seemed.

        Like

    2. Brian

      You have to assume UW and UO applied. Cal and Stanford presumably want to be with USC and UCLA. Likely all the other AAU schools did (UU, CU, UA), too. But I’d guess some outside the P12 did as well (KU, maybe others), just in case.

      Most likely to me:
      1. Stay at 16 for now (waiting on ND)
      2. Add UW and UO (then wait on ND)
      3. Add UW and CU (then wait on ND)
      4. Add UW and Stanford (then wait on ND)
      5. Add ND and Stanford
      6. Add ND, UW, UO and Stanford
      7. Add ND + other 3 (or more) from P12

      Like

        1. Brian

          Because history shows the B10 to be incremental expanders, and always with an eye towards getting ND. They can always add Cal later, they don’t need to chase them now unless ND requests it. Neither Stanford nor Cal have large fan bases or “bring” the SF market, so Stanford’s rivalry with ND gives them the edge. The larger brands of UO and UW put them higher on my list, too.

          Remember, the question was “So who’s next from the Pac to the Big?” and not “So who would ever come from the P12 to the B1G?”

          Like

        2. Brian

          What do you base you belief the BIG10 will accept Cal? Research grants, delivering a media market, it’s AD budget deficit, poor quality sports teams, or what?

          Like

    3. Bruce in Ohio

      Stanford, Cal and Washington make the most sense if Notre Dame joins. If ND refuses, then Washington, Stanford, Cal and Oregon.

      Like

  30. z33k

    The rest of this Pac-12 story will likely take a couple more weeks and months to unfold.

    We all know (and Big Ten execs know) the numbers work for Notre Dame + 1 (Stanford most likely to preserve ND-USC and ND-Stanford game slots) no matter what.

    Most likely the Big Ten is running the numbers on Washington/Oregon and figuring out what they would look like in the conference.

    We all know (and they know) the numbers work for Notre Dame + 1 (Stanford most likely) no matter what so don’t need to look at finances there.

    I’m not sure the numbers work for anybody else beyond Washington/Oregon, as much as we like to discuss Cal, Arizona, Colorado (which are all good schools in good locations, but not sure any of them is anywhere close to justifying $80-100 million revenue a year).

    I think we’re basically just down to Washington/Oregon as a pair and Stanford with ND being the remaining options from the Pac-12. Any kind of larger group of Pac-12 schools looks unlikely right now barring something changing.

    Like

    1. SideshowBob

      Yep. In the short term for the Big Ten – i.e. before they sign a new media deal – I think one one of the following moves are really the only things on the table:
      1. No other moves, stay at 16
      2. Washington/Oregon join
      3. Stanford/Notre Dame join
      4. all four of Oregon, Washington, Stanford, Notre Dame join

      I really don’t think anything else is remotely likely.

      Like

      1. z33k

        Agree with you completely. Those 4 scenarios are the only scenarios on the table for the next few months. That’s where the focus will be for decision makers.

        Like

      2. EndeavorWMEdani

        It’s 4, and sooner rather than later. LAY YOUR BETS: Washington/Oregon within 48 hrs. Stanford and Notre Dame within a week.

        Like

        1. Brian

          How did you determine 48 hours & 7 days for the next 4 additions? Domers will always drag it out since they have to look in the mirror before any decision to admire their fleeting beauty. Dub-Ducks seems like a natural fit so why would it take even 48 hours, either they are an immediate take nor not. Something must be more important or it would have been done by now.

          Like

    2. Brian

      z33k,

      Reporters are saying that further expansion is on hold, at least for now. That makes sense to me.
      The B10 wants to give ND time to think about the new B10 TV numbers that Fox/CBS/NBC will offer with this addition (and how much more ND would add).

      I’m willing to bet the B10 already has the financial numbers for every other viable P5 school out there. Yes, ND + anyone works and I agree Stanford seems the most likely partner (for several reasons – ND and USC rivalries, SF market), though you don’t need even numbers in a non-division world.

      If any others come from the P12, UW and UO seem like the best options. They are solid brands, each add a state and a media market, they are rivals, and USC/UCLA fans will like playing them.

      I also agree the rest can’t match that value. There are a lot of B10 alumni in AZ, but the brand of UA is too small and USC and UCLA don’t care that much about playing them in football. CU is a good school and a rival for NE, but again can’t bring enough value to match and doesn’t help USC and UCLA feel at home.

      On the bright side, the southwestern B12 schools (and Cal) could merge with the B12 pretty easily. UA, ASU, UU and CU would add some heft and major markets. The schools at biggest risk are OrSU and WSU – the MWC may be their only option if things go poorly.

      Like

      1. z33k

        Agreed, I think they’re letting ND think it over first.

        ND will get a few weeks to think over the $80-100 million a year revenue numbers that are being tossed around.

        And then Washington, Oregon will probably be talked to in some capacity. I think both of them make sense regardless of ND’s decision.

        But a lot easier to add ND then Washington/Oregon/Stanford as a trio. Makes travel considerations a lot easier and you add all the west coast markets (Washington, Oregon, SF).

        If ND says no, I think it’s still reasonable for the Big Ten to add Washington/Oregon before they finalize the TV deals.

        Like

        1. Brian

          It feels like if UW/UO is going to happen, it has to happen almost immediately or wait for ND. I’m sure USC and UCLA kept this quiet, but UO and UW applied to get in today and the B10 should already know their answer if the numbers clearly favored them.

          I think going to 18 is daunting for the B10, and the B10 won’t readily do it without ND. They probably would have if USC and UCLA demanded it, but they didn’t. Adding UW/UO wouldn’t add money per school, but it wouldn’t really hurt either. But it does further dilute the rivalries of the old B10 members. At some point, further expansion just isn’t worth it.

          Like

          1. z33k

            I feel like 18 can’t be daunting because we know they’d go to 18 for ND.

            And things changed now with the division setup beyond tossed aside and the SEC breaking the glass on 16.

            With the concept of protected rivalries, it’s very easy to add Oregon/Washington because the money will be there, quality inventory will be there, markets will be there, and you create a stable setup for the conference with 3 protected rivalries and then 6 games outside.

            Like

          2. Brian

            Sure they’d do it for ND. But would they for anyone else? That’s why I say it’s daunting. Going to 18 means being willing to go to 20 to get ND. I don’t know that they’re ready for that yet.

            Like

        2. Brian

          When is the realistic time range to ink the TV deals? Is the deadline say Dec 31? Multiple media outlets said the B10 TV deal was expected by Memorial Day.

          Like

      2. Further expansion is on hold right now because in all likelihood no one else of note had inquired about membership before today.

        I may be the most wrong person to ever post a comment on a Frank blog post but I don’t share the apparent consensus feeling that B1G goes Oregon/Washington if they add only two more (presuming ND’s deal makes them implausible short-term).

        It’s obviously not just markets or AAC would have had a fatter deal and Nebraska, Arkansas, South Carolina would have been non-starters. Viewers matter. People willing to sign up to a streaming package matters.

        I think Stanford just does more for B1G than any of the 10 left in PAC with the exception of Oregon.

        Stanford academically would be highly regarded academically in any Division I conference. Even the Ivies would look at them positively.

        They’ve got a good brand in addition to being in the nation’s sixth biggest TV market. Their alums are all up and down the chain of command of the streaming services and tech companies.

        Oregon’s weirdness has created a following and while not the TV market that Phoenix or Seattle offers, they are B1G compatible in academics and offer eyeballs across the country. All that in addition to Nike love.

        Like

        1. Brian

          Arkstfan,

          Stanford is a great school, but they have very little brand value in revenue sports. They had a few good years in football, but that is fading. The don’t have hard core fans and they don’t have a huge alumni base (rich, yes, but not huge). And their alumni are spread out internationally. Even in the prior round of expansion, getting BTN into the SF market based on adding Stanford would’ve been a tough sell. I don’t see it helping much at all now.

          Stanford’s best shot is as a condition of adding ND, in my opinion.

          Like

      3. bullet

        10 years of 5-7 and Oregon is Indiana without good basketball.

        Oregon has good value now as they’ve been one of the most successful schools over the last dozen years not named Ohio St., Clemson or in the SEC. The Big 10 will also consider long term value. They will be stuck with their new additions. Oregon isn’t as sure a bet for #17 to #20 as many of you seem to think. Washington has a much better sustainable value. The Bay Area is a big attraction even if Stanford and Cal individually aren’t.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Brian

          bullet,

          I agree UO’s value is iffy. They may lose AAU status, Phil Knight’s heirs might not support UO the way he has, everyone has been doing different uniforms lately, and they no longer have a unique offense. But they are still a UW rival and familiar foe for USC and UCLA while also bringing the Portland market. Nothing is for sure in expansion until the paper is signed.

          Like

          1. bullet

            The 4 California schools and UW left behind the Oregon schools and Washington St. in 1959, along with Idaho. It wasn’t until 1964 that the first 3 rejoined the others. If Oregon is included, it will be because of value. They don’t have as strong a ties to the other schools as UW.

            Like

          2. ccrider55

            Bullet:

            Do you do this intentionally? Repeating it won’t change the Pac precursor’s history, only distort it. The “other” schools (plus Stanford) dissolved the conference over pay for play in the 50’s. Stanford joined the 4 others in forming a conference for regional scheduling and competition. The rest were invited back in short order with stricter rule oversight, except for Idaho, and Montana (who had immediately upon leaving become a founding member of a different conference).
            Independence was way more common at that time.
            Not that history, rivalry, or trust have a place anymore in the quest for ever more dollars.

            Iowa, Indiana, Perdue, NW, ?U maybe should be wary. If the conference will not just countenance but participate in this attack on its longest term and strongest ally, can it not be reasonable to assume the last barrier (self amputation) may be contemplated once all the cherrys have been picked?

            Like

          3. z33k

            Only issue Oregon has is the AAU issue (like Nebraska).

            They are probably ranked in the bottom 6-8 of the AAU so eventually they may be out… but that’s an argument for adding them now.

            But for the sports aspect and marketability/national brand, they’re fine.

            I don’t agree with the argument that Oregon could fall off; sure they could but they’ve built such a strong brand as being tied with Nike that it’s long-term sustainable.

            Like

          4. z33k

            Oregon’s national brand is strong enough that they generate good ratings in matchups to outweigh their local market.

            Probably as strong as Wisconsin or depressed Nebraska’s brand.

            Like

        2. SideshowBob

          I actually agree that Oregon is a bit questionable in terms of future value, though I think joining the stability of the Big Ten and exposure to larger media markets would help their viability. But to me that’s more of a “is Oregon worth it to the Big Ten?” question not is Oregon a better option than other Pac-12 schools. I think Oregon along with Washington is clearly the best available choices to the Big Ten or any other conference from the PAC (including the Bay Area schools) which reflects really how unremarkable the options are once you move past USC and helps explain why losing the LA school has tossed the entire conference into chaos.

          If Oregon isn’t a take, then it’s likely no Pac-12 schools are coming.

          As an aside, I think that future prospects is one of reasons I’m not very bullish on Clemson. They are great now, but it isn’t tough to see them because more average and have far less value, especially if they were playing a more vigorous schedule in the SEC than in the ACC. If I were Clemson leadership, I’d try to get into the SEC sooner rather than while the school’s value is at the peak.

          Like

    3. Ryan

      I think in the old paradigm, the question “does School A add $80 million in value by themselves” made sense.

      In the new paradigm, things are consolidating very quickly. With UCLA and USC gone, the Pac-12 went from 3rd or 4th best conference to the 5th best conference immediately. And they CANNOT backfill. It’s about loading up your arsenal now. The “Power 2” talk is gaining steam…and the Pac-12 schools increase the Big Ten’s profile and footprint. AAU schools galore…major Western cities. The SEC is the little backwoods conference that thumps everybody at football…the Big Ten is an American collegiate conference that still looks like a college conference with their academic rep.

      I think the Big Ten might have its eye on being the pioneer of college athletics. If they pull off 24 teams with ND, Stanford, Cal, UW, Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, and Kansas…they’d stretch from coast to coast and be a presence in 14 of the 22 most populous states, with only two schools (ND and Nebraska) not in the AAU of the 24.

      Like

    4. Running the numbers also implies that they inquire what the networks are willing to pay for adding those schools and the potential matchups they bring with current big10 teams. If the networks don’t value the adds as much as the big10 does, then the big10 will not just add schools if it means diluting the share for the members.
      That said, with this move of USC/UCLA, and potentially ND plus another, IMHO ESPN is again looking to be a major part of the new “deal”, with ND leaving the ACC arrangement, the ACC Network and contract to 2036 is looking worse and worse to ESPN, given their huge startup investment.

      Like

  31. jog267

    From SI:

    “USC was the impetus behind the shift in conferences, according to Ryan Kartje of the Los Angeles Times…. The two schools approached the Big Ten expressing their intent to leave the Pac-12, asking if the conference wanted to take them in or not.”

    What was their likely Plan B?

    Like

    1. z33k

      I don’t think there was a plan B.

      They expected to get into the Big Ten, and the Big Ten would not turn down USC and UCLA.

      Alternative I guess would be to tell the Pac-12 to give them much larger revenue shares in exchange for signing a new GOR.

      Like

    2. Brian

      Plan B: Stew quietly
      Plan C: Ask the P12 for unequal payouts
      Plan D: Go independent
      Plan E: Join the B12
      Plan F: Join the MWC and get unequal payouts

      Like

  32. frug

    The incompetence of the PAC 12 over the past dozen years is just mind boggling. Obviously a lot can be laid at the feet of Larry Scott and his wildly over optimistic revenue projections of the PAC 12 Networks and refusal to bring in a strategic partner (not mention his decision to send costs through the ceiling by basing the network in Bay area and launching 7 different networks instead of 1), but the schools themselves pulled the rug out from under him (not to mention poisoned relations with the Big Ten) when they killed the Big Ten-PAC Scheduling Alliance at the last possible second for no good reason. It was an absolutely asinine decision at the time that just somehow manages to look stupider every day that goes past.

    But at least the Oklahoma schools will always be there for the PAC to grab in case they need them.

    Oh wait…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. z33k

      I agree on that, there’s probably an alternate universe where the 12 team Big Ten and Pac-12 have a Big Ten-Pac-12 annual football challenge and neither goes to 9 games.

      May not have added Maryland/Rutgers if that panned out…

      But who really knows at any rate, it’s impossible to fully spin out the future. Either way Big Ten and Pac-12 would have been much closer with that scheduling agreement in place.

      Like

    2. Marc

      I agree, this failure is more at Larry Scott’s feet than anyone else’s.

      I am not sure consummation of the Big Ten–PAC scheduling alliance would have changed this outcome. Sure, everyone was salivating over the likes of USC–Ohio State as an occasional regular-season game. But many of the potential B1G–P12 matchups don’t move the needle to a great extent, relative to the games they can schedule anyway without a formal alliance. The Pac-12 would still be trailing badly in the money game, which is the reason USC/UCLA are moving.

      Like

  33. frug

    On another note, in addition to being the second biggest get in modern expansion history, this has to be by far the best counter move any conference has ever made. I remember a number of us speculating about something like this after the SEC announced it was adding OU and UT, but I don’t know how realistic anyone really thought it was.

    Like

  34. Dave M.

    I admit this came as a complete surprise to me in terms of the announcement coming so soon. I wasn’t expecting anything further at the P5 level until 2024 or 2025.
    As more of an FCS follower myself, I am now wondering what the comino effect of this seismic a move will be.

    Like

  35. Well, that would take the Big Ten to base sixteen. If they wanted to push to base twenty with two divisions of ten, which would also make Big 10 even better to a math nut, then you’re probably looking at adding states. So Colorado / Utah, Oregon, Arizona State, and Washington would be my guess to take it to 20.

    Like

  36. bob sykes

    The end point for the B1G is 24 teams. To maintain long-standing relationships, it will add Oregon, Washington, California, and Stanford. The last two tie up the San Francisco market.

    Those additions bring you to 20. Notre Dame is going to be brought, whatever the cost. The best candidates for the remaining three seats are Colorado and Kansas. I bet Missouri would be interested, as would Boston College and Miami.

    That package may be worth $3 billion per year in TV fees, paraphernalia, and endorsements.

    Like

    1. z33k

      It’s very hard to see many additions if USC/UCLA were willing to come alone.

      Giving them Washington/Oregon is sensible because they’re high value in terms of national tv value and have decent markets. Also gives Big Ten claim to control the entire West coast markets.

      Like

    2. Marc

      Several of the teams you mentioned bring almost no value in football, the sport that drives most of the revenue. Why would the Big Ten want Kansas or Boston College? They would only dilute the brand. The Big Ten already said no to Missouri. Cal and Stanford do not tie up the San Francisco market despite being physically located there.

      Most of the Pac-12 markets are not passionate about football the way the Big Ten markets are. When I grew up in Michigan, just about everyone knew whether U-M and MSU won or lost on a given Saturday. You couldn’t miss it, even if you wanted to. That kind of passion simply does not exist in San Francisco for Cal and Stanford football.

      Like

  37. Marc

    Like a lot of you, I didn’t see this coming. Kudos to the Big Ten, USC, and UCLA who — unlike the SEC, Texas, and Oklahoma — kept this totally quiet until they were on the brink of announcing it.

    Notwithstanding the money, I think it’s inconceivable that USC/UCLA make this move without believing that the B1G will eventually add more western schools. Even for football, their travel schedule will be unpleasant, assuming no further adds. For the other sports it will be awful. But what do I know?

    I do not believe this will affect Notre Dame at all. Before they half-joined the ACC, Notre Dame had practically annual games with 3 Big Ten teams: Purdue, Michigan, and Michigan State. They never thought that because 3 games on their schedule were in the Big Ten, they should be in it as well.

    What could affect the Irish is the money. Even today, they could very likely have made more money in the Big Ten and chose not to, simply because to them football independence is part of their identity. The only question is whether at some point the money gap becomes so large that they cannot resist it.

    I do expect the Big Ten to act with deliberation, since the decision to add schools cannot be undone (or at least that has been the presumption up to now). The Big Ten knows that the ACC and Pac-12 are now on life support. It is a question of when, not if, they can cherry-pick the best of the rest.

    Like

      1. Marc

        For aTm to have leaked it, they had to know about it first. As far as I can tell, no other Pac-12 school knew USC and UCLA were negotiating to leave.

        Like

      2. Marc

        Sorry, I didn’t say that very well, since aTm is obviously not in the conference that Texas and Oklahoma are leaving. You suggest that “the SEC kept it quiet,” but at least one of its members did not. That is in contrast to this deal which was completely leak-proof.

        Like

  38. greg

    I thought this move may mean that the Olympic sports would fall by the wayside while football dominated the room. But USC’s announcement of the move included news that they’re now able to grant a $6k stipend to all athletes.

    Maybe USC was struggling with recruiting in other sports and felt they had to make this move to keep up. These football schools are using their riches to take other sports to the next level.

    I can’t see a scenario where Stanford doesn’t want to be part of this. I hate the obsession everyone has about trying to get ND in the B1G but that is where all signs are pointing.

    Like

    1. Marc

      I can’t see a scenario where Stanford doesn’t want to be part of this.

      The question is not what Stanford wants, but what the Big Ten wants. There is not a school in the Pac-12 that would decline a Big Ten invite. As I noted upthread, I don’t think Notre Dame’s willingness to join is driven by whether Stanford is part of the deal. It is mostly about money.

      Stanford did not become a regular on ND’s schedule until 1988.

      Like

  39. z33k

    Ultimately the question is, who adds $80-100 million per year; we’re at a point where there aren’t that many schools that can justify that kind of valuation to the Big Ten or SEC.

    In the Pac-12, Washington and Oregon can probably command that kind of value in terms of TV money (inventory, brand value to match ups, markets, etc.).

    I don’t think anybody else can. As much as we talk about Colorado/Arizona/Cal/Stanford/Utah, I don’t think any of them carry $80-100 million in TV weight. Now that USC/UCLA are in the Big Ten, the bar is almost unreasonably high for anybody other than Washington/Oregon to join.

    The point is also not to dilute match ups, we want USC, UCLA to play Big Ten teams. This is the reason why the Big Ten chose expansion instead of scheduling alliance; we want them each playing 5-6 games against Big Ten teams.

    Stanford is probably the lone exception as a partner with Notre Dame if ND changes their mind about independence anytime soon.

    My hunch is that ND will get another opportunity in the next few months (but they are still not likely to give up independence before they’re forced to and their hand isn’t forced yet until/unless the Big Ten and SEC close the playoff window off).

    Washington/Oregon are still likely in my mind to join the Big Ten. They make sense as additions in the way that Maryland/Rutgers did with better football brands. They stabilize the situation for USC/UCLA in the way that Maryland/Rutgers did for Penn State.

    Give Big Ten clear control of the Western TV markets/football brands; enable the Big Ten to set up a schedule with 3 or 4 locked rivalries (depending on the team) and the USC, UCLA, Washington, Oregon teams will have 3 locked rivalries against each other.

    Then you get 24 games of USC, UCLA, Washington, Oregon playing the current 14 teams annually. That’s a substantial amount of national games (Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan State will account for 12 of those games).

    That justifies the $80-100 million a year tag per team.

    18 teams is where we settle for the next couple of years with the door open to ND in case the Big Ten decides to play hardball with the playoff.

    Like

    1. Mike

      Ultimately the question is, who adds $80-100 million per year; we’re at a point where there aren’t that many schools that can justify that kind of valuation to the Big Ten or SEC.

      In the Pac-12, Washington and Oregon can probably command that kind of value in terms of TV money (inventory, brand value to match ups, markets, etc.).

      I think you are right. Just last year Oregon-Ohio St had 7.73 million viewers while Michigan – Washington had 4.75. My guess is Oregon/Washington vs some combination of Ohio St/Michigan/Michigan St/Penn St/Nebraska/Wisconsin/Iowa will rate solidly better than then top half of the PAC sans USC/UCLA would. Probably solidly enough to justify their inclusion.

      Is there enough network effects around Stanford to justify their inclusion? Despite lower ratings, are Stanford grads hard enough to reach for TV to pay a premium? Are there enough executives who are Stanford alums in positions to influence sponsorships? I think you could make a case for Stanford to be included.

      Like

      1. z33k

        Stanford can be justified for a lot of reasons as an add on to ND, but I don’t see the valuation for a Cal/Stanford pair at this point. I think Stanford is sort of in the same holding pattern as Rutgers; they need ND to be their Maryland.

        Doesn’t mean it can’t happen, but I don’t see the $ working for Stanford outside of a pairing with ND.

        Once you get past the $, Stanford makes a lot of sense. Plants a flag in the SF market, more games for those West coast teams to ease travel concerns, further locks down West as Big Ten territory. Brand is probably stronger than much of the remainder of the Pac-12 outside the top 4.

        Like

        1. Mike

          Doesn’t mean it can’t happen, but I don’t see the $ working for Stanford outside of a pairing with ND.

          Crazy thought. Take a hypothetical four team expansion. Washington, Oregon, Stanford and X (not ND). How much is it worth to the Big Ten presidents to be associated with Stanford both athletically and in the BTAA (formerly CIC)? Lets say the difference in value with Stanford and X is 2 million less a year a school. Do they do it? Will they do it for 5 million a school? I think there might be some leeway with Stanford (and maybe even Cal) that doesn’t exist for any other school.

          Like

          1. Marc

            @Andy: The question is not if Rutgers made sense athletically, but if Maryland and Rutgers together did. Rutgers only got an invite because Maryland was available. The Big Ten either needed to turn down Maryland or add the best available 14th school to go with it, which they believed then was Rutgers.

            Now, we could argue all day whether the combo Maryland+Rutgers made athletic sense. But I am quite sure the Big Ten thought it did. They were not adding those schools because of the value they’d bring to the CIC.

            With Missouri, as you know, they reached the opposite conclusion, i.e., that Missouri plus the next best 14th school (which probably was still Rutgers) could not be justified. I am not here to argue whether they got that one right.

            To clarify though, I consider athletic revenue to be an athletic decision, even if the teams that provide the revenue are losing.

            Like

          2. Jersey Bernie

            At the time, Rutgers definitely did not make sense athletically. It was a financial and strategic move to bring in the market between DC and NYC. A huge part of the country in terms of population, financial and political status.

            That was then. No things are a little bit different. Rutgers finished 48th in this years Director’s Cup. That is ahead of Nebraska, Illinois, Purdue, Iowa, and Indiana. Also ranked in the 40s were Michigan State, Penn State and Maryland. In other words, being in the B1G has lifted to RU to solid mediocrity in the B1G.

            Here are the Director’s Cup standings. https://scarletknights.com/documents/2022/6/30/FinalDIstandings.pdf

            Like

  40. Ghost of Nile Kinnick

    To hades with Notre Dame and their oversized ego. All B1G has to do to instruct their teams to quit scheduling the Irish in football. Case closed. Bring on Southern Cal and UCLA!

    Like

    1. Marc

      Bo Schembechler once said, “To hell with Notre Dame,” but university presidents and sports administrators do not feel that way—never have.

      Like

  41. z33k

    Gene Smith on Notre Dame: “I love my alma mater, and I’ve always thought they should be in a conference … I hope they consider it, and I hope it’s the Big Ten.”

    Clearly, the focus is on ND right now. But I do believe Washington/Oregon will be next.

    I think Big Ten reaches 18 or 20 before this round finishes in the next few months.

    Like

  42. z33k

    As far as the ACC goes, I think we need to temper our thinking on who can join the Big Ten or SEC.

    UNC is obvious (with a partner, most likely UVA or Duke for the Big Ten). Both the SEC and Big Ten want UNC. SEC might want Va Tech with UNC to maximize football markets.

    Florida State and Clemson can justify themselves off the football brands, though FSU is much more guaranteed to have a landing spot down the road.

    And then I’m not sure who else comes close to justifying the $.

    I’m not sure Miami brings $80-100 million; it’s big, but it’s not USC being the king of Cali. Florida has 2 bigger schools than Miami in UF and FSU. Va Tech is sort of like Miami. They have more pull on Virginia as a state at this point, but that likely only applies for the SEC but even they might prefer UVa.

    Georgia Tech is off the table in my opinion. I don’t see how the Big Ten justifies them as an addition given what we’re seeing with the USC/UCLA expansion. The Big Ten is taking schools that justify their shares. Ga Tech is an afterthought in Atlanta and the Big Ten doesn’t need to fight for scraps of that market.

    I can see the argument for UNC/UVA or UNC/Duke or FSU + UNC/UVa/Duke. Or something including ND and FSU and 2-4 others, that might be the only path for Ga Tech. Either way things are going to change fast in the mid-2030s but the paths are much smaller than previously thought.

    Endgame is likely a 22-24 team Big Ten if ND and UNC are along for the ride.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marc

      UNC is obvious (with a partner, most likely UVA or Duke for the Big Ten)….

      They are not “obvious” to me. UNC is a blueblood in basketball, but football is driving these decisions.

      I’m not sure Miami brings $80-100 million.

      Miami is worth that only when they are great, which they have not been for a long time. The Big Ten will want programs that bring TV dollars all the time, not just when they are winning.

      Like

  43. illiniowl

    ND’s longstanding surfeit of leverage has now fully evaporated to zero. For the long term — even the medium term, thanks to the accelerating force of NIL — maintaining independence is not viable. Neither is joining the ACC — unstable and now an exceedingly distant third-best conference. Neither is joining a best-of-the-rest XII/Pac — same reasons. Neither is joining the SEC — the SEC would take them, of course, but acquiescing to that culture would be anathema to ND.

    That leaves one option. And when you have one option, you have no leverage. So all this talk about the Big Ten needing to woo ND now — up to and including paying ND’s way out of its ACC contractual commitments — is exactly backward.

    Big Ten can make ND the same offer Michael Corleone made to Senator Geary.

    Liked by 2 people

  44. EndeavorWMEdani

    Gene Smith on Notre Dame: “I love my alma mater, and I’ve always thought they should be in a conference … I hope they consider it, and I hope it’s the Big Ten.”

    Like

  45. Mike

    Pretty big hint the Big Ten isn’t done.

    Like

  46. frug

    Let’s assume for a moment that the Big Ten is done poaching for now. Obviously that is a big if, but given that assumption how would you rank the likelihood of the following scenarios

    1. PAC poaches the MWC
    2. PAC poaches the Big 12
    3. Big XII poaches the PAC
    4. PAC and Big XII merge
    5. The top of the PAC and Big XII form a new conference

    Like

      1. The pac adding MWC teams, and the big12 adding g5 teams, do not provide the cash flow from networks that allow those conferences to compete on the same scale as the SEC and big10.

        Like

    1. Marc

      In the short term, #1: The Pac-12 will look at MWC schools, but I don’t know whether any of them make financial sense. The Big XII stayed at 10 schools for several years after finding that no expansion candidates really moved the needle. Schools the Big XII rejected include those the Pac would very likely be looking at today, including Boise State for example. The Pac doesn’t have to expand.

      For either the Big XII or Pac-12 to poach the other, there would need to be a clear superiority, and right now that is just not obvious. The Pac-12 has the more storied programs, but not a lot of recent success on the field. There are vast cultural differences between the two leagues that would need to be bridged.

      The TV landscape will take time to shake out. The difference between Pac-12 money and Big Ten money made the USC/UCLA decision a no-brainer. The future TV value of the Big XII and Pac-10 remains to be seen.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. vp0819

      #3. The B1G adds Cal, Oregon, Stanford and Washington for a 20-member league, while the Big XII assimilates what’s left of the Pac (UA, ASU, Colorado, OSU, Utah and WSU, thus expanding to 18 once UT and OU leave)) Notre Dame would be part of a B1G expansion to 24 with three AAU ACC members (UVa, UNC, Duke?), while the SEC would absorb VT, NCSU and whrever else it wants.

      Like

    3. Ryan

      They’ll be slow to expand because every one of them (sans WSU and OrSt) will be waiting by the mailbox to see if their Big Ten applications were accepted. 🙂

      Like

  47. EndeavorWMEdani

    I realize Delany still has an ‘advisory’ role, but considering his east coast obsession, I do wonder if if he wouldn’t have had qualms about going all in on the west. Obviously no one, including Delany, would turn down USC, but if the B1G adds Oregon, Stanford, Washington and ND, it greatly limits ACC options. Especially with ESPN holding all the cards. My guess is they’ll lock up Clemson, UNC, FSU and Duke for the SEC, and allow the ACC and it media deal to collapse. Everyone knows the Super Conference era is upon us. I would love a Florida presence for the B1G but it would probably take ND’s urging to get FSU or Miami in.

    Liked by 1 person

  48. Alan from Baton Rouge

    How to make Notre Dame join the B1G.

    Hear me out guys. Notre Dame has stated their great preference to stay independent in football subject to three variables: (1) continued playoff & bowl access, (2) a home for other sports, and (3) not losing too much money to stay competitive. I would add (4) football scheduling games in October & November.

    Notre Dame’s home for non-football sports and five game ACC schedule works for them as long as the ACC exists. Check off #2 and #4, for now.

    Notre Dame’s Swarbrick and the SEC’s Sankey have had a bromance brewing for the last several years. Under the Swarbrick-Sankey proposed 12 team format, a 10 win Notre Dame would almost assuredly have a spot and a 9 win Irish would make it in many years.

    I think its safe to say that the Irish are unlikely to join to SEC. It would make for great TV drama though. The smart kids from the iconic school everybody loves to hate (unless you love them) coming down South every other week to play in front of hostile crowds of 80 to 100k.

    Assuming the SEC is not a viable option for the Irish, Sankey has no reason do anything to push the Irish toward the B1G. He and Swarbrick will continue to work together to ensure playoff access for the Irish. Check off #1, for now.

    NBC has a great deal with the Irish. They could certainly push the Irish to play only one non-ACC cupcake per year, in addition to Navy and give more cash. But the B1G and the SEC will be making $80 to $100m per year. How much will NBC pay for ND to keep up with the Joneses

    The ACC has a Grant of Rights until 2036. Assuming there is not a vote to dissolve or Duke, UVA & UNC lawyers are smarter than everyone else, the ACC stays in a safe place at #3, getting lapped by the B1G and the SEC, but most likely lapping the B-12 and the Pac-?.

    The biggest variable is playoff access. Since the next playoff format will not have to be unanimously approved by all current participants, the SEC and the B1G could suggest a playoff format in a take it or leave it fashion to the rest of the college football world. I assume the B1G now likes the format suggested by the CFP subcommittee with more at large teams.

    If the rest of the college football world doesn’t agree, by 2036 at the latest, I could see a 4-team B1G playoff and a 4-team SEC playoff with the champions playing each other in the Sugar (even numbered years) and the Rose (odd numbered years) with the runners-up playing in the other bowl. The B1G and the SEC could sign bowl agreements with Cotton, Fiesta, Orange & Peach for #s 3-6, and the Citrus, Las Vegas, LA, Outback, Alamo & Gator for #s 7-12. That locks in the best best bowls for the top half of the two conferences. That shuts Notre Dame out of the SEC/B1G invitationals. Throw in Houston, Charlotte, Nashville, Memphis for #s 13-16 just for fun. Note, I’m not an anti-trust lawyer, but what little I know about it, I don’t think this suggestion runs afoul of the law.

    Why would the SEC every agree to anything that would push Notre Dame into the arms of the B1G? Answer: the B1G and the SEC agree to a territorial arrangement where they agree not to share any state. The B1G will not consider any ACC team for membership located south of the Potomac River and the SEC will not consider the Irish. (I can’t help but think of Blazing Saddles as I wrote that!)

    So the B1G gets their long sought after Midwestern jewel with a national following, and the SEC gets the pick of the ACC litter in the South. If the final number is 20, I would assume the SEC accepts Clemson, Florida State, UNC and UVA or VA Tech, If the number is 24 (I think that’s the ultimate number), then additional invitations go out to the other VA school, Miami, NC State & Duke.

    If the number for the B1G is 20, we can assume it adds Washington, Oregon, Stanford & Notre Dame. If the ultimate number is 24, I would think some combination of the Arizona schools (B1G retirement community), Cal, Colorado (bone-throw the NE), Utah (AAU) & BC (another Catholic school for ND) would be in the mix.

    Not fighting over the same schools may return some level of collegiality to college sports. It gives each conference a growing section of the country with recruiting hotbeds. The B1G footprint would stretch from coast to coast with top tier academic schools and about 150m in population. The SEC footprint would be more regionalized, contain a mix of schools and have about 125m in population. That’s about as fair as it can be for the two remaining super powers. The other reason for a detante between the SEC and the B1G is twofold: (1) they may have mutual agreements but they will never merge, and (2) one will never defeat the other. Finally, each conference needs to have an adversary.

    Like

    1. Washington and Oregon joining the Big Ten isn’t like USC and UCLA coming in. USC & UCLA are archrivals. Oregon and Washington are not. Oregon’s archrival is Oregon St and Washington’s is Wash St.

      The TV markets are also less robust. Seattle has a respectable Nielsen rank of 12 but Portland is only 22 and Eugene isn’t in it. Eugene has it’s own market area and it is ranked 121.

      I’m not sure UW and OU would want the Big Ten and I question that the Big Ten would want UW and OU.

      Like

      1. frug

        OSU and WSU regard Oregon and Washington as their biggest rivals, but the reverse is not true. Oregon is Washington’s biggest game and vice-versa. (It is a similar dynamic to how Michigan St. views Michigan as its biggest rival, but Michigan views Ohio St. as its arch enemy).

        Like

        1. frug: “OSU and WSU regard Oregon and Washington as their biggest rivals, but the reverse is not true. Oregon is Washington’s biggest game and vice-versa.”

          I have a 50-year buddy who is a duck alumnus and he says the polar opposite. The Beavers are their biggest rivals – they call it the Cival War – and he also says that Oregon alumni are totally disgusted with USC and UCLA screwing over the conference.

          Like

          1. frug

            My dad’s whole family is from Washington and even my Cougar alum grandfather concedes that UDub cares more about Oregon. Different perspectives I suppose.

            That said, I do agree that the rest of the PAC community (especially fans of the original PAC 8) are furious with the LA schools. However, I have zero doubt that no matter how upset they are, Oregon and Washington (and the all the other schools for that matter) would take a Big Ten bid right now without a second thought. Or as SBNation’s Oregon blog put it in their headline Good riddance! (also take us with you…)

            Like

    2. Marc

      Answer: the B1G and the SEC agree to a territorial arrangement where they agree not to share any state.

      Such an agreement almost certainly runs afoul of anti-trust laws. Even if the two parties wanted such a deal in theory, there are too many people who’d be aware of it, and who might deliberately or inadvertently let the secret out.

      BC (another Catholic school for ND) would be in the mix

      BC and ND do not have a major rivalry. Their first football game was in 1975, and they did not start playing near-annually until 1992. That’s not enough of a reason for the Big Ten to add the Eagles, a program they would otherwise surely not want.

      Like

      1. Alan from Baton Rouge

        Until yesterday, there have been territorial arrangements for 100 years in college athletics, hence reasoning for many of the conferences’ names.

        Like

        1. Marc

          Until yesterday, there have been territorial arrangements for 100 years in college athletics, hence reasoning for many of the conferences’ names.

          There was no arrangement not to invade each other’s territories. Conferences tended to be geographically coherent because it made sense. Nevertheless, they poached from each other repeatedly where it suited their interests. Otherwise, Maryland would still be in the ACC, Colorado in the Big XII, and so on.

          Like

    3. vp0819

      If college presidents are calling the shots, I can’t imagine Cal-Berkeley (arguably America’s premier public university) being left out — especially by the research-oriented Big Ten. It will enter in tandem with Stanford, thus patching up Cal’s ties with sister school UCLA.

      Like

      1. @vpo819 – On this front, I agree. I think there has been a lot of underrating of Stanford and Cal over the past 24 hours.

        Putting aside the Big Ten’s academic prestige or the fact that they’re located in the SF Bay Area (which is a particularly critical market and innovation engine for the broader US economy beyond the TV market), let’s just remember that these university presidents are human. If you gave any of them truth serum, they would ALL take the university president jobs at Stanford and Cal. As noted, Stanford is the single most difficult school to get into in the country (even more so than Harvard) and Cal is arguably the #1 public university. In essence, the Stanford and Cal jobs for university presidents are the equivalent of the Ohio State and Alabama jobs for football coaches.

        Anyone that is arguing that the Big Ten wouldn’t accept Stanford and Cal is really arguing that these Big Ten university presidents would look these schools in the eye and tell them, “You’re not worthy.” Once again, putting aside all of the objective data in realignment, that absolutely makes no sense for the pure rational self-interest of the careers of those university presidents. They would basically be blackballing themselves from *ever* getting two of the positions that would be considered to be the pinnacle of academia.

        I’m not saying that Stanford and Cal would just be allowed in on that basis as I believe there are many other reasons why it would make sense for the Big Ten to add them. However, I’m only saying that we can’t ignore the human element here. Stanford and Cal aren’t simply merely good academic schools – they are arguably the #1 private school and #1 public school in the country. This isn’t like rejecting, say, UVA or Duke for financial reasons (which are also great academic schools). Stanford and Cal both have a very specific hold over all of academia that’s very different than nearly everyone other than the tier that includes Harvard, Yale, Princeton and MIT.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Jersey Bernie

          If UCLA, USC (?) or Notre Dame ask for Cal or more likely, Stanford, they are in. These will still be economic decisions. If one school comes and it is not at the request of UCLA, it will be Stanford. Can Berkeley be justified financially if Notre Dame requested Stanford as its plus 1?

          If the academics of those two were so vital, why have they not already been invited by the B1G, along with USC and UCLA? From all rumors, for whatever rumors are worth, Washington and Oregon seemed next on the B1G list. How could they be ahead of the Bay area schools if academic prestige is the key?

          Like

          1. Richard

            I don’t believe the rumors that UO is ahead of Cal.

            The B10 had to secure USC and UCLA first. The next school on the list is ND.

            Like

        2. vp0819

          Also, keep in mind that of the “power” conferences, the B1G blends AAU status (15/16) and public education (Southern Cal joins Northwestern as its only private institutions). No wonder its presidents would be predisposed toward Berkeley.

          Like

          1. chico85

            I disagree on U of Chicago There are already too many teams in the midwest and USC and U¢LA need a travel partner. The school that has even better academics than Stanford and Cal is in southern california. Let Go Cal Tech Fighting Beavers

            Like

  49. Alan from Baton Rouge

    I think the Pac stays at 10 if Oregon & Washington don’t leave. Any adds further divide a shrinking pie. No reason for any to jump ship to the B-12 either, unless central time zone kick offs significantly add value.

    Going forward, there will be a lot of B-12, Pac-? games on Thursday and Friday nights.

    Like

  50. z33k

    https://mobile.twitter.com/dennisdoddcbs/status/1542930693205934082

    My hunch here is the Big Ten only wants to take from the Pac-12 one more time which is why it’s telling UW and UO to wait.

    ND chooses whether to join first.

    If ND says no, Big Ten takes UW and UO.

    If ND says yes, Big Ten takes UW, UO, Stanford.

    Basically next set from Pac-12 will be 2 or 3. All up to ND as to whether Stanford is included.

    ND gets a few weeks to decide, then Big Ten moves on.

    Big Ten finalizes TV contract with 18 or 20 schools by late August or September.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mike

      @zeek – Seems fairly plausible. At 20, four pods of five, lock non pod rivals (OSU/MI, ND/SC, NW/IL, PU/IN) rotate through the others.

      USC. UCLA, Stanford, UW, UO
      Neb, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisc, NW
      IL, MSU, ND, Purdue, MI
      Rut, MD, PSU, IN, OSU

      If I were commissioner, it would include my Big Ten playoff. 8 conference games plus one game scheduled late like the Covid year. Pod winners play for Big CCG. Everyone else plays a TV scheduled game. East pods host games one year, western pods the next.

      Like

      1. Brian

        Mike,

        I don’t see that happening. No divisions and locked rivals seems more likely to me. Why would they want 3 of OSU’s games locked against RU, UMD, and IN every year, plus the added complication of the extra locked games?

        Like

        1. Mike

          I see it as an attempt to keep some resemblance of playing regional/historical games and limiting travel. The pods could be realigned to limit extra locked games (swap Ohio St and ND, Purdue and Penn St or whatever).

          Also, I want my playoffs.

          Like

        2. bullet

          More likely is Illinois instead of NW with Wisconsin, et.al.,
          Ohio St., Michigan, Michigan St., Indiana, Purdue
          Notre Dame, Penn St., Rutgers, Maryland, Northwestern.

          No locked rivals.

          Like

      2. z33k

        I think divisions/pods are going away.

        It’s just 3 or 4 locked rivals and the rest unlocked.

        Big Ten would go to 3 locked rivals and USC/UCLA/UO/UW will be locked with each other.

        Remaining 6 games against rest of the Big Ten. Gives us 24 crossover games every year.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Mike

          You will have to go to four locked rivals if ND joins because ND should be locked with USC. In all likelihood they’ll just go with X locked rivals because it simplifies things for the schedule makers. I probably won’t get my playoffs though.

          Like

          1. z33k

            Yeah, it’ll be 3 or 4 protected rivals.
            3 for the teams in the East, 4 for the teams on pacific coast or something of that nature.

            4 team seeded playoff or something like that.

            Like

  51. Tom

    I haven’t read the ACC’s bylaws or contracts, so I don’t know if this is legally feasible, but…

    If enough ACC schools want to leave for the B10 or ACC, can they get around the grant of rights by simply voting to dissolve the conference? It would require some coordination between the SEC and B10 to make sure they take enough schools, which seems unlikely given that they probably would want some of the same schools, but you can’t rule it out.

    Like

    1. Mike

      I would wager the answer is yes, but I don’t think there is enough teams who are confident they’ll find a new home to make it happen.

      Like

    2. frug

      That’s always been the assumption, but that would require either 2/3 or 3/4 of the schools to find homes before the dissolution vote and that seems unlikely right now.

      Like

  52. Peter Griffin

    Brock Huard just suggested that he’s hearing Washington and Oregon (and he also mentioned Stanford) have been offered half-shares by the Big Ten. That’s hard to give much credence, but that’s what he said.

    Like

    1. Marc

      If there is any credence to this, I suspect it’s a buy-in over time, not permanent second-class status. USC/UCLA, on the other hand, might well have been offered full shares from the get-go—they’re that valuable.

      Like

    2. Brian

      Peter,

      Permanent half-shares? That wouldn’t make sense. Half-shares for a while as their buy-in to the BTN (like NE, RU, and UMD did)? That might make sense. A B10 half-share will probably be more than they’d get from the P12.

      Like

      1. z33k

        Washington/Oregon/Stanford will get different buy ins, probably their payouts will ramp up over 7 years while USC/UCLA may get full shares up front.

        Like

    3. z33k

      They may be offered different buy ins, but it all depends on what ND does.

      Eventually everyone becomes a full member. If Rutgers is a full member soon then so will they be.

      First question, what does ND want. If ND wants to join, we take 3. If they don’t, we take 2.

      That has to be decided first.

      Like

  53. Mike

    UO and UW hopes of joining the Big Ten might be on a clock.

    Like

  54. Mike

    I used to be bullish on KU to the Big Ten, however, KU has shown zero interest in investing in football since 2010 (IIRC their last facilities upgrade was 2008) and if the KU admin doesn’t care about their football team why should anyone else. At this point, I would put KU’s Big Ten chances behind every PAC12 team except Washington St. and Oregon St. after the USC/UCLA news.

    Like

  55. Nick in Tallahassee

    I definitely do not think the B1G is done. Having USC and UCLA on an island does not make a ton of sense. The next move may take time to develop.

    Like

  56. z33k

    I’ve been wrong before, but I believed USC would join the Big Ten this year before the TV deal is signed. I’ve believed that since Texas/OU announced their SEC move.

    I still feel that it’s 90% or so likelihood that Washington and Oregon end up in the Big Ten in the next 2-3 months regardless of ND’s decision.

    ND is on the clock; they probably have a few weeks to decide. Their decision really only affects Stanford’s situation in my mind. Big Ten can wait until August-September to finalize the TV deal.

    Dennis Dodd
    @dennisdoddcbs
    ·
    3h
    Sources: Oregon and Washington have been told by
    @bigten
    that it is standing pat for now. Waiting on a decision by Notre Dame.

    Like

    1. Longhorn McLonghornface

      Paywalled, so can you give us a summary of any important new info?

      Anyway, after having had a day to digest this, it seems clear that there is only one way for the leftover P5 schools to find the money to compete with the 20+ school B1G and SEC:

      Combine together into the LIV 12.

      Like

      1. frug

        Nearly a year ago, following Texas and Oklahoma’s jump from the Big 12 to the SEC, the Big Ten Conference quietly formed an exploratory committee to look into its own expansion.

        But the Big Ten was also focused, first and foremost, on its own wellbeing. The league formed its working group and used four primary principles to evaluate potential additions, which ranged from academic and cultural profiles to competitiveness and financial sustainability. The league had conversations with and about a number of schools — but multiple sources said USC and UCLA both reached out to the Big Ten first.

        The league’s communication with USC and UCLA grew more serious over the past six to eight weeks, sources said. A trustee at a Big Ten institution said Big Ten schools were asked to look into the feasibility of adding USC and UCLA about two weeks ago.

        “It really came down to, are you gonna expand, or are you not? And that’s the decision. And if you are, this is it. This is your moment,” a Big Ten source said. “It was do or die: Either you stay at what you are forever and let someone else capitalize, or you go. And that was the prevailing sentiment.”

        Travel was one of the biggest concerns — there are nearly 2,800 miles between the campuses of Rutgers and UCLA, for example — though most schools eventually came to the conclusion that travel would be a bigger question for USC and UCLA than for current members.

        “We’re literally nuking the Rose Bowl,” one Big Ten source said. “But what’s the point of the Rose Bowl if the whole point is the Playoff?”

        Also, Kevin Warren is London this week meeting with potential sponsors and had to conduct the final vote and negotiations over Zoom.

        Like

  57. z33k

    This is the Big Ten’s pitch to ND right now:

    You were an independent for 100 years to preserve a national schedule and national identity and more recently as long as you could preserve access to the playoff/BCS/CFP with a home for Olympic sports, it made sense.

    But now CFB is dividing up between the SEC and Big Ten and only the Big Ten can offer a national platform for you to play coast to coast.

    The eventual Big Ten will be a 22-24 team conference with the current 14 + USC, UCLA, Stanford, Washington, Oregon, UNC, UVA (and 2 others, maybe Duke and FSU or Miami or Ga Tech).

    That conference is the national college football/sports league. You can have the national platform and not have to worry about access to the highest level of sports.

    If we make our own playoff that ends at the Rose Bowl, you’d have access to that. If we partner with the SEC and take most of the spots in the playoff, you’d have access to that.

    That’s the only secure path for you to have a national schedule and be a national brand for the next 100 years.

    It still may not work for the short term. But I think the Big Ten is positioned to be there after the ACC is raided in the mid 2030s as the national conference for ND.

    Like

    1. Andy

      Don’t be so sure the Big Ten will get any ACC school it wants. The SEC will get some of them too. Some of you were sure the Big Ten would get Texas but Texas chose the SEC and some of these ACC schools will do the same.

      Like

      1. z33k

        Sure, but while schools like FSU, Clemson probably have the same leanings as Texas/Oklahoma, I think schools like UNC, UVA, Duke etc. would be much more receptive to the Big Ten.

        Academic heft won’t even be comparable if you add ND, Stanford, Washington, USC, UCLA to the mix.

        I get the southern aspects of UNC, but I find it hard to believe they wouldn’t go to the Big Ten with UVA/Duke.

        Like

          1. Andy

            One thing I think would make a lot of sense is once the Pac 12 and ACC are raided they’re going to need replacement schools. Send half the Big 12 to the Pac and half to the ACC

            ACC

            kansas
            Kansas State
            Iowa State
            Cincinnati
            West Virginia
            UCF

            PAC

            BYU
            Baylor
            TCU
            Houston
            Oklahoma State
            Texas Tech

            That could work.

            Like

        1. Ryan

          With the whole red state/blue state stuff we see…the SEC is predominantly red. The Big Ten is predominantly blue.

          UNC is a rare Southern blue state.

          Just sayin’…

          Like

      2. Marc

        We talk as if the entire ACC will be available at the same time, like contestants on The Bachelor, with the Big Ten and SEC going on dates with every school before deciding whom to marry. So far, realignment has not been like that. Rather, the dominoes tend to fall one or two at a time.

        I think one day in the 2030s, a couple of ACC schools will abruptly leave when nobody saw it coming, provoking a crisis for the others. What happens next depends on which pair of schools and where they go. I would put my chips on FSU and Clemson to the SEC.

        Like

    2. Marc

      @z33k: That’s the most believable pitch to Notre Dame that I have seen. That doesn’t mean they will jump, but I think they must be closer now than ever before.

      Like

    3. Ryan

      Why not poach the ACC too?
      GaTech
      UVA
      Duke
      UNC

      Plus 8 Pac-12 schools…

      Plus Kansas and ND. 30 schools.

      Three protected rivals. Three other regional games. Four national games. 10 game conference schedule.

      Like

  58. While the B1G walls are certainly closing in, I still don’t think this forces ND’s hand.

    First, the money and prestige has always been better in the B1G. And while it’s about to be much better in the B1G, in the current era, making the playoff is all that matters. They did that twice under Kelly. If they want to continue making it, the path is easier via a 6 game ACC schedule. A 1 loss ND is going to be hard to exclude from a top 4 playoff.

    Second, the ACC remains a functional league to house ND’s basketball and non-revenue sports. It will remain functional for the next 14 years given the grant of rights. There has been talk that these rights can be negotiated or settled, but there is a reason OU and Texas aren’t starting SEC play until 2025 when the B12’s GOR expires. If Texas can’t afford to waste money on getting out of its grant of rights, no one in the ACC can. So realistically, if you’re an ACC school we’re talking at least 10 years before you start thinking about a settlement to get out early. Which means the ACC is on relatively solid footing for the next decade.

    So for the B1G, that leaves the Pac 12 to plunder, specifically Cal, Stanford, UW and Oregon. UW and Oregon are the obvious football plays, but the fact that USC/UCLA entered into separate and clandestine negotiations rather than as a package of 4-6 Pac 12 schools tells me they made this move with intent of becoming the sole west coast teams in the B1G. If you’re USC and you’re complaint is that we’re stuck in the P12 playing west coast teams on regional stages in late night time slots that’s killing our recruiting and preventing us from competing with Alabama, Georgia, OSU, etc., I would think you make the move to the B1G to maximize the number of games against PSU, OSU, and Michigan. If you come along with 5 other Pac 12 schools, you’re going to be playing the Pac 12 teams most of the time just under a different banner.

    That tells me, the B1G is done expanding for now.

    One last point, I agree with Frank above regarding Cal/Stanford. Despite lackluster football and indifferent fanbases, they bring a lot to the table in other areas: elite academics, great non revenue sports, SF bay area presence. Those are two schools you make an exception for. Remember, “think like a university president”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Richard

      Small nitpick: Until recently, the money and prestige of the B10 definitely was not well beyond that of ND. In the near future, the money will be by a ton.

      Like

  59. Scout

    Long time reader, first time poster.

    Hot take – Florida and Georgia, not FSU/GT, join the B1G when the SEC grant of rights expires in 2033 (2 years before the ACC GoR expires). UNC/UVA/Duke follow 2 years later.

    The reasoning is that outside athletics, Florida and Georgia don’t consider many of their fellow SEC schools to be their peers.

    Florida states its peers are: Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Illinois, Indiana, Penn State, Cal Berkeley, A&M, Texas, Virginia, and UNC
    https://www.chronicle.com/article/who-does-your-college-think-its-peers-are#id=134130

    Georgia states its peers are: Iowa, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio State, Purdue, Michigan State, VT, NCSU, Iowa State, Arizona, Missouri, Florida, and Kentucky
    https://www.chronicle.com/article/who-does-your-college-think-its-peers-are#id=139959

    If we’re in a world where UCLA and USC are going to join the B1G I don’t think anything is off limits.

    Like

    1. Kevin

      I recall Barry Alvarez made a comment at an alumni event maybe 15 years ago suggesting that Florida, at one time, reached out to the Big Ten for membership. This was prior to the ascent of the SEC. They turned them down due to distance.

      I think Georgia is an ascending academic school that may find an AAU invite down the road. They are in a highly educated state with a big population base. They should have access to top students and financial resources for academics.

      Like

    2. Jersey Bernie

      The University of Florida and FSU are both moving up significantly in academic rankings. The population of Florida continues to grow rapidly and neither of the two flagship universities are increasing enrollments. There are lots of other Florida universities which the state is not limiting, UCF, USF, Univ North Florida, etc.

      This is the same think that happened at UT Austin, which has raised admission standards significantly. I do not know, but I would assume that U Georgia, Athens is doing the same thing.

      Like

  60. After Clemson and Florida State join the SEC, is there any chance the B1G could get the University of Florida? My wish list is Notre Dame, Florida, UNC and Virginia.

    Like

    1. Little8

      There is no chance of Florida leaving the SEC. As to FSU, Florida sponsored them for SEC membership before they joined the ACC. No current or future members are likely to leave the SEC. 14 of the SEC members have a much better cultural fit with the SEC than any other conference. The exceptions are Missouri and Texas (which really does not fit well in any conference). I doubt the B1G wants to go after Missouri.

      Even though Texas A&M was miffed about the Texas invite, they are not stupid. Georgia Tech got upset at the SEC and quit…they have zero chance of ever getting back in. Florida will not quit the SEC if FSU is offered an invite.

      I expect both the SEC and B1G will also go after UNC and Virginia. Like Texas, those schools will consider both conferences.

      Like

      1. Little8: “I expect both the SEC and B1G will also go after UNC and Virginia.”

        Seems like UNC and Virginia wouldn’t be at the top of the Big Ten’s wish list. Neither is a strong football brand and neither captures a strong TV market. I imagine the B1G’s pecking order is:
        1. ND + ?
        2. Washington and Oregon
        3. Two of Clemson/FSU/Miami
        4. UNC and UVA

        Like

        1. Little8

          ND has always been the #1 B1G target. Agree that WA/OR are now #2. However, #3 assumes that the B1G will drop their unwritten AAU membership rule for Clemson, FSU, and/or Miami. We know ND is an exception, but I am not sure the others will make the cut with B1G presidents. UNC and UVA are AAU members.

          Like

        2. Tom

          The Big Ten will definitely go after Virginia. Yes, the league is already in Washington D.C., but the Virginia side of that market is arguably more lucrative than the Maryland side. And Virginia is one of the top 3-4 public schools for academics in the country with Michigan, Berkeley, and UCLA. It’s a no brainer. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Big Ten would have preferred Virginia to Maryland in the last round of expansion, but Maryland had more financial problems that made it more willing to leave the ACC.

          Duke and UNC would lock up almost the whole state of North Carolina, which is a top 10 state for population, even if the individual markets aren’t that big. Furthermore, it would be a nationwide basketball draw and an academic prestige move. If the SEC and Big Ten offer roughly equal money, it will come down to southern culture vs. academics for those schools when deciding. Keeping in mind that these are college presidents making the decisions (or at least recommendations), I think I know which one they will go with.

          The only other maybes in the ACC in order (not counting ND as an ACC school are):

          Georgia Tech: Gets you into the big market of Atlanta, excellent academics, used to be good at football years ago.

          BC: Smaller school, not a college sports town, but a big town nonetheless, good academics, decent football, and might help draw Notre Dame if you have another Catholic school.

          Syracuse: Decent academics, decent football, decent basketball, but doesn’t really get you any more markets.

          Like

      2. Jersey Bernie

        Clearly there is less than zero chance that Florida leaves the SEC. UF’s biggest rivals are FSU and SEC teams. Due to the hatred between fans, I think that UF and FSU are still each other’s biggest rival, though the annual game against Georgia in Jacksonville is also now a very big deal for UF.

        In the event that FSU got an SEC invite (which I agree will eventually happen), the Florida legislature would force UF to vigorously support FSU. Just like what happened when the Virginia legislature forced UVa to back VaTech into the ACC.

        At the time of any SEC invite to FSU, it would be a financial life preserver and there is no way that the pols in Florida would allow UF to block that. Right now by far the biggest concern at the FSU athletic department is how FSU can possibly keep up with UF given the difference in funds from the SEC and the ACC.

        Like

  61. Gary

    I’ve been lurking here since 2010, and it’s never better than when big (and B1G) moves are happening. With all the talk about Notre Dame possibly joining, I started thinking about scheduling, and about who their rivals really are. Below are all B1G teams, and any others that seem to qualify as potential rivals for ND. This came from:http://www.mcubed.net/ncaaf/series/
    The format is: Team/Times played/Record (from ND’s perspective). The site has much more information, including first and last times played, etc.

    Like

  62. Gary

    Sorry. Here is the information.

    Air Force 30 (24-6)
    Army 39 (39-8-4)
    Boston Coll. 26 (17-9)
    Ga. Tech. 37 (30-6-1)
    Illinois 12 (11-0-1)
    IU 29 (23-5-1)
    Iowa 24 (13-8-3)
    MD 2 (2-0)
    Miami (FL) 25. (18-8-1)
    UM 44 (18-25-1)
    MSU 79 (49-29-1)
    Minn. 5 (5-0)
    Navy 94 (80-13-1)
    NE 16 (7-8-1)
    NU 49 (38-9-2)
    OSU 6 (2-4)
    PSU 19 (9-9-1)
    Pitt. 72 (50-21-1)
    Purdue 87 (59-26-2)
    Rutgers 5 (5-0)
    Stanford 35 (22-13)
    UCLA 4 (4-0)
    USC 92 (50-37-5)
    Wisconsin 17 (9-6-2)

    We can draw our own conclusions, of course, but the five teams ND has played the most are: Navy, USC, Purdue, MSU, and Pitt. ND has plus records against all but UM, OSU, and PSU.

    Like

    1. Marc

      The list of teams the Irish considered their “rivals” has shifted over time. Before they half-joined the ACC, ND was playing Purdue, MSU, and Michigan annually (or almost annually). But they allowed all those series to lapse, so that they could keep Stanford.

      They have partially restored Purdue to the calendar (5 games scheduled from 2024–28). They have two future games apiece against Michigan and MSU. I know Purdue was especially eager to get them back, although I think Michigan and MSU would play them more often if they were available.

      Like

  63. loki_the_bubba

    I know you’re all waiting to hear how this impacts Rice, but his is really the opening of the fifth or sixth seal I Revelation. when ND and NC make their choices it’s over. The P2 is done. Rump FBS is not viable for small schools. D3 here we come. I hope out new president has UAA on speed dial.

    Or maybe we can get a southern version. SMU, TCU, Baylor, Tulane, Tulsa, the service academies. Then in a power move in D3 we can pull in Emory and WashU.

    Liked by 1 person

  64. loki_the_bubba

    Let me amend that. I want nothing to do with Baylor. Plus SMU and TCU have enough ego to keep throwing good money after bad so they won’t join us.

    Like

  65. Marc

    Way too early locked rivals if ND+STAM+UO+UW join:

    Divisions, pods, or more than 3 locked games, produces ridiculous pairings that make no sense. So, I assume 3 locked games per team. This allows the remaining pairs to see each other “reasonably often” (scare quotes intentional).

    One immediately sees a math problem. There are 5 Western teams. They cannot all have the same number of Western teams that they play every year, assuming USC and Stanford keep playing ND every year. That leaves you with 13 locks to spread among 5 teams, which is impossible unless you change the rules to allow fractional games.

    So, one Western team needs a locked non-Pacific Time game other than Notre Dame. I picked Stanford vs. Northwestern as having more logic to it than any other I could think of.

    RU: MD, PSU, MI
    MD: RU, PSU, MSU
    MI: MSU, OSU, RU
    MSU: MI, IU, MD
    OSU: MI, PSU, IL
    PSU: OSU, MD, RU
    IL: NW, OSU, PUR
    IU: PUR, MSU, IU
    NW: IL, STAN, IU
    PUR: IU, ND, IL
    ND: PUR, STAN, USC
    IA: MN, NE, WI
    MN: IA, NE, WI
    NE: IA, MN, WI
    WI: IA, MN, NE
    STAN: ND, UW, NW
    UCLA: USC, UO, UW
    UO: UW, UCLA, USC
    USC: UCLA, ND, UO
    UW: UO, STAN, UCLA

    Like

    1. Bob

      Your locks are mostly on target. STAN would probably want at least one CA school every year, and NW would probably want MI or OSU each year to help with attendance. The rest make sense.

      A core concept in scheduling should be play each other more not less, so divisions don’t work. Some of the current delays between matches are nuts. Depending on the eventual number of B1G teams, these options seem possible:
      1) 16 teams; 9 games; 4 pods; rotate 2 of 4 from other pods every two years
      2) 16 teams; 9 games; 3 locked; 6 of 12 rotating every 2 years
      3) 18 teams; 10 games; 3 locked; 7 of 14 rotating every 2 years
      4) 20 teams; 10 games; 1 locked; 9 of 18 rotating every 2 years
      5) 20 teams; 10 games; 3 locked; 7 of 16 rotating basis

      I don’t see any way the BIG stays at 16. It puts USC/UCLA on an island. 18 or 20 seem far more likely. My preference would be 20 with these locks for sure:
      OSU/MI
      PSU/MSU
      WI/MN
      NE/IA
      IN/PU
      NW/IL
      MD/RU
      USC/UCLA
      WA/OR
      ND/STAN

      Like

      1. Marc

        NW would probably want MI or OSU each year to help with attendance.

        Every school wants MI or OSU each year to help with attendance.

        I don’t see any way the BIG stays at 16. It puts USC/UCLA on an island.

        This was my initial reaction, too. But unless there is a very well kept secret, USC/UCLA were apparently willing to move even if nobody else does. The press all say that the next move is Notre Dame, but the Irish have kept people waiting for decades.

        Even if Stanford, UO, and UW all eventually join, travel for their athletes is still going to be miserable. The Olympic sports will have it even worse.

        Like

        1. Richard

          Ehh.

          The Dodgers and Giants were 2 time zones away from the nearest MLB team back when traveling from the West Coast to any other MLB city meant days-long train rides.

          If you have 5 schools on the West Coast, you can do a lot to alleviate travel issues by having travel partners, forming divisions (and scheduling more games intradivision), sending teams on 2 or 3 or heck, even 4 game road trips, depending on the sport.

          Like

          1. Marc

            The Dodgers and Giants were 2 time zones away from the nearest MLB team back when traveling from the West Coast to any other MLB city meant days-long train rides.

            By the time the Dodgers and Giants moved west, they could travel by air. But it is not a valid comparison anyway, because Major League Baseball teams go on the road for weeks at a time, an option not available to most college sports teams.

            If you have 5 schools on the West Coast, you can do a lot to alleviate travel issues by having travel partners…

            When you see the phrase “travel partner,” it is a sure sign the proposal is not happening.

            Like

          2. Richard

            Huh? Conferences have and still do have travel partners.

            Doesn’t the Pac still utilize travel partners for basketball?

            Like

          1. bullet

            Ohio St., Michigan, Michigan St., Indiana, Purdue
            Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois
            Penn St., Rutgers, Maryland, Northwestern, Notre Dame
            Then 5 in a western pod. Or maybe you get Kansas instead of a 5th western school (KU with NU, IA, etc., IL to eastern group) and put Notre Dame with 4 western schools.

            Like

          2. Marc

            You’ve shown why pods don’t work, at least not with that set of schools. You have Notre Dame in a pod that includes none of its historical rivals. Illinois and Northwestern are not in the same pod. It works mathematically but makes no competitive sense.

            Like

          3. Bob

            No matter how you try to juggle 4×5 pods in a 20 team B1G, there are simply too many negatives for the majority of members (and the networks) to agree any one setup. Every combination splits rivals or creates odd matchups no one wants. The fewer locked games the better. The more conference games the better.

            Like

          4. Imposed solutions to sooth the minds of people who like mathematical harmony are how you end up with an airport meeting where schools pissed they don’t play each other annually and unhappy at the impact of those missed games on ticket sales and fund-raising happen.

            People forget that an extra million per conference member has utility against schools outside the conference but no utility within conference play where donations, ticket sales, and local sponsorships determine who has greatest resources for 2/3rds or 3/4ths of your football schedule.

            In a non-division format TV is going to dictate certain games happen and ADs are going to dictate others. A non-division format is the only way you can keep the power programs happy

            Like

    2. Richard

      If there is a Big20,
      I would have 3 annual rivals, another 4 schools played half the time, and the other 12 teams played 1/3rd of the time (which would be about the same as now in terms of minimum frequency B10 teams may play some teams).

      I have that category between the locked rivals and others because there are schools like Iowa that have 5 rivals that should be played more than the minimum and schools like Minny that have 4. And this way, the 5 WC schools get to see each other at least half the time.

      Like

  66. houstontexasjack

    It looks like Oregon and Washington are the key for the PAC to survive. I think it could make it through a limited poaching of Stanford if that were what it took for Notre Dame to jump to the Big Ten. A PAC with Washington/Oregon looks like a more attractive place to play for Houston/TexasTech/Kansas, etc.

    Like

    1. Marc

      I don’t think Stanford has much to do with whether ND will join the Big Ten. They are the most logical 18th team if ND joins. But that would simply be a consequence of ND joining, not a condition of it.

      With that said, what kind of league do you have if Cal is your tentpole program in the state of California? I don’t think Houston, Texas Tech, and Kansas would view an invitation to that league as a step up.

      Like

    2. Little8

      I agree that keeping Washington and Oregon are key to PAC survival. However, without USC/ UCLA what is left of the PAC looks a lot like the B12 without TX/OK. With increased travel, unknown rivals, I doubt they will be able to take any B12 school with the exception of BYU. The money is likely to be about the same. The options for the PAC (assuming no losses other than Stanford) are:
      1) Stay at 10 like the B12 did if no losses; this may provide the best per school payout
      2) Invite San Diego State and maybe some other Mountain West schools. Everyone in the MW has always wanted to be in the PAC, so like the AAC to the B12 the PAC can have any school in this conference they want.
      3) Invite BYU with all of its baggage

      If WA & OR leave I expect the B12 may be successful in pulling off some of CO, UT, AZ/ASU from the PAC. At that point the PAC will still survive (has better name recognition) but would be little more than a renamed Mountain West.

      Like

  67. billinmidwest

    Honestly, college athletics is bailing water while the ship is rapidly sinking.

    -The over 60 crowd can’t move up and down the stadium stairs in order to take in a game at the stadiums even if they can afford the ridiculous prices.

    -The under 60 crowd can’t afford to take in a game for a variety of reasons

    -CNBC and CBS News were speculating prior to 2020 that anywhere from 25% to 50% of colleges might close nationwide over the next 10 to 20 years

    -Which means colleges will have fewer alumni to donate to the university from 2040 onward

    -It also doesn’t help that the quantity and quality of coaching in CFB and CBB has been declining since 1990s

    So, when you sit down think about it, the desperation of the USC/UCLA move to the Big Ten makes a lot of sense…in the short term anyway…

    Like

    1. Marc

      I think there is a problem with your math. Let’s say 25–50% of colleges close — obviously a dire prediction. That means getting into the remaining ones will be even harder than now. The survivors, which will include every university we are talking about here, will have the luxury of choosing whom they want their alumni to be. They have that power already, but will have even more of it in the future. In response to the demand, some will probably expand, so that they can churn out even more new alumni per year than they do today. They have nothing to worry about.

      I do not understand the comment about stadium stairs. CFB stadiums were never very friendly to people with mobility issues, but quite a few of them have renovated to become more accessible. I know USC and Michigan both removed seats in order to do this.

      I am not aware of any evidence that the quantity and quality of coaching in CFB and CBB has been declining. Given the escalation of coach salaries, you’d expect more talented people to enter the profession, not less.

      Like

      1. bullet

        He’s talking about the fan base getting older. I think the average CF fan is 50. But it seems its more like 70-75 when people quit going.

        Like

      2. billinmidwest

        The escalation of coaching salaries with regard to slightly above average coaches like James Franklin implies that there are too few top-tier coaches.

        With marriage dying out faster than a cell phone battery, young males have no incentive to pursue stressful jobs like being a big-time college football coach.

        Like

  68. EndeavorWMEdani

    If ND is adamant about Stanford (Oregon being a given), I’m not so certain Washington makes the cut. If 20 members is the ceiling, I think the B1G will leave an open spot for UNC. I didn’t realize their was so.much bad blood between Oregon and Washington (particularly with Knight).. According to the LA Times, USC doesn’t care to have any.other PAC 12 members come.along. They think being the only west coast island in a super conference (along with UCLA) is great for recruiting and media exposure. The B1G better grab Oregon quick.

    Like

    1. EndeavorWMEdani

      Listening to (very well connected LA Times scribe) Bill Plaschke talk about this on a podcast. Sorry for the typos, (‘there’ etc), wrote it in a traffic jam on the 405 😊

      Like

    2. Marc

      I am not sure I understand your statement about “Oregon being a given.” Conferences don’t want odd numbers. The Big Ten is about to be at 16. ND plus Stanford would be 18.

      Are you saying they would admit Oregon and stay at 19 for the next 10+ years until the ACC grant of rights expires, and then maybe (but maybe not) UNC agrees to be #20?

      The B1G better grab Oregon quick.

      Why? The Ducks have nowhere else to go.

      Like

    3. I do not understand why the Big Ten would have UNC on its wish list. Here is a ranking of football brands by the Wall Street Journal (2019). Washington is 19, Oregon is 21, UNC is 50 and UVA is 53.

      1 Texas
      2 Ohio State
      3 Alabama
      4 Michigan
      5 Notre Dame
      6 Georgia 138,088,467
      7 Oklahoma
      8 Auburn
      9 LSU
      10 Tennessee
      11 Florida
      12 Texas A & M
      13 Penn State
      14 Wisconsin
      15 Nebraska
      16 Arkansas
      17 South Carolina
      18 Iowa
      19 Washington
      20 Michigan State
      21 Oregon
      22 Mississippi
      23 Southern California
      24 UCLA
      25 Arizona State
      26 Clemson
      27 Florida State
      28 Virginia Tech
      29 Kansas State
      30 Oklahoma State
      31 Kentucky
      32 Minnesota
      33 Texas Tech
      34 Stanford
      35 Miss State
      36 Georgia Tech
      37 Utah
      38 Colorado
      39 Kansas
      40 California Berkeley
      41 Miami of Florida
      42 Texas Christian
      43 Iowa State
      44 Indiana
      45 Northwestern
      46 North Carolina State
      47 Louisville
      48 Arizona
      49 Illinois
      50 North Carolina
      51 Maryland
      52 Wash State
      53 Virginia
      54 Purdue
      55 Oregon State

      https://graphics.wsj.com/table/NCAA_2019

      Like

      1. Marc

        It’s a question whether you are adding football brands or TV viewers. Maryland and Rutgers were added for regional demographics, not because their football is great. That would be the argument for UNC. (I am not pro-UNC, only pointing out the reasoning if they do it.)

        Like

      2. Andy

        There’s something fishy about that list. Missouri is ranked #56. But most recent numbers have Missouri in the top 20 in athletics spending.

        Like

        1. Andy: “There’s something fishy about that list. Missouri is ranked #56. But most recent numbers have Missouri in the top 20 in athletics spending.”

          I abbreviated the data. The original listing from the WSJ read like this:

          College Football Value Rankings

          RANK SCHOOL REVENUES ($) 2018 VALUE ($) 2017 VALUE ($)
          1 Texas 163,928,296 1,105,493,378 1,243,124,000
          2 Ohio State 136,574,384 1,048,166,317 1,510,482,000
          3 Alabama 140,831,439 1,009,903,620 930,001,000
          4 Michigan 133,665,548 924,625,003 892,951,000
          5 Notre Dame 118,740,294 913,401,562 856,938,000
          6 Georgia 138,088,467 891,099,506 822,310,000
          7 Oklahoma 126,416,865 885,558,053 1,001,967,000
          8 Auburn 128,960,499 871,907,615 724,191,000
          9 LSU 122,703,938 852,445,897 910,927,000
          10 Tennessee 113,766,836 727,849,384 745,640,000

          Like

          1. Andy

            2017? It doesn’t really square with the numbers I saw from 2021. Missouri was top 20. Hard to believe they’ve moved up 37 spots in just 4 years but maybe they did?

            Like

      3. Andy

        I think the cleanest way to settle all of this is as follows:

        The Big Ten takes USC, UCLA, Stanford, Notre Dame, Washington, and Oregon. Stops at 20.

        The remaining 7 Pac 12 schools add BYU, Houston, TCU, Baylor, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, San Diego State to get to 14. Optionally could add UNLV and Boise State if they want. They could still survive as a conference, payout would go down somewhat.

        The SEC adds UNC, Virginia, Clemson, Florida State. Stays at 20.

        The ACC still has 10 of its schools. Adds Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, West Virginia, Cincinnati, UCF to get to 16. Still a decent conference, payout goes down somewhat.

        4 power conferences. All 4 get playoff access. SEC and Big Ten make far more money than the other two.

        Like

        1. Ryan

          Here’s where your logic is flawed…and it’s why I think the Pac-12 is doomed:

          The Pac-12 sees itself as an academic elite. Like a Big Ten lite. Like a West Coast Ivy League.

          If they can keep the other 10, they’re fine. If they go to 8, they might be fine. Seriously. They don’t want Boise State and San Diego State. Too much pride.

          It’s why I think a quasi-merger is very possible. By annexing 8 of the Pac-12 teams, they dissolve that conference (for all that that matters). The Big Ten becomes a contiguous national brand that dominates almost in every sport (minus football for the time being)…but even with football, it gets as many or more eyeballs than the superior SEC football product.

          Like

      4. Delany is a UNC grad. Decent Football, and storied basketball, in a huge, growing media market. Very good academically. Yes, the big10 will keep a spot open for UNC.

        As the $$ gap widens the ACC barons (UNC, Duke, Clemson, VaTech) will get very very antsy as they can’t “keep up with the Joneses”. I see no way that the GoR holds until the end of its current term.

        Like

        1. Marc

          Delany is a UNC grad.

          So the ex-commissioner is deciding whether the Big Ten will hold a place for them?

          I see no way that the GoR holds until the end of its current term.

          Of course there’s a way. Dissolving it probably requires at least a 2/3rds vote, if not 3/4ths or unanimous (you would need to look at the details). There are certainly more than enough schools to block such a move, because they would be worse off than now. The whole point of a grant of rights is that you cannot just walk away because you found a better deal.

          For more than a decade, people on this board have predicted that schools would escape their grant of rights. It has never happened.

          Like

    4. Bob

      UNC isn’t going to the B1G without UVA or Duke. They’ll stay put or go to the SEC before a solo move to the B1G. I’d be very curious to see what the B1G’s internal research says about the value of WA/OR vs. UNC/UVA (or Duke).

      Like

      1. EndeavorWMEdani

        If Stanford doesn’t come, I can see them holding those last two spots for UNC/Duke. I can also see the SEC moving heaven and earth to add them. I just don’t see either conference going over 20.

        Like

        1. Marc

          I remember when folks on this board said, “16-team conferences don’t work.” I always thought that was a weak argument, based primarily on the failure of the 16-team WAC. People were extrapolating from one data point.

          So now that both the SEC and Big Ten are about to have 16, I hesitate to trust anyone’s judgment as to what the endpoint is. Scheduling is difficult with large numbers, but they said that about 16 — and here we are!

          Like

          1. Exactly people act as if the number 16 caused the failure. The WAC16 failed because the rules of day mandated divisions and no divisional alignment permitted all schools with mutual desire to play annually to do so.

            Larger than 16 member leagues in the past fractured over regulatory issues of postseason play and acceptable scholarship limits and disagreements over what was included in a scholarship, not over being too large.

            Like

    5. EndeavorWMEdani

      I never said there would be an odd number. I believe the first pairing will be Oregon and Notre Dame, with 19-20 being either Stanford/Wasington or Stanford/UNC. It’s actually Stanford who has nowhere to go, and may not want to. The ONLY incentive they have to join the B1G is media exposure for their sports. If the ACC isn’t raided by the SEC, throwing their grant of rights into chaos, UNC is likely off the table as well. Point being, Stanford, if interested (and at the behest of the B1G presidents and Notre Dame) is likely 19 at some point in the future. If UNC remains shackled to the ACC or chooses the SEC, Washington will likely be Stanford’s expansionl partner.

      Like

      1. Scoring Explosion

        According to Jon Wilner, the guy from the Mercury News in the Bay Area that broke this story, it’s equally likely that Stanford abandons major college football in the not distant future. Either way, I don’t think Stanford is the first name unless it is a requisite for ND – and I don’t think that’s the case.

        https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/07/02/hotline-mailbag-kliavkoffs-culpability-pac-12-expansion-options-the-future-for-cal-and-stanford-valuing-the-arizona-schools-and-loads-more/

        Like

  69. Seems like Notre Dame is between the proverbial rock and hard place. We all know they far prefer to remain independent with a ‘national’ schedule rather than a ‘regional’ conference slate. But the deal they now have with the ACC traps them into the East Coast for half their schedule if you include Navy, and the money is guaranteed to remain low given the peanuts that ESPN is paying the ACC until 2036 and the peanuts that NBC is paying ND for their home games.

    Now comes the New Big Ten which will be truly a coast-to-coast national conference with HUGE revenue payouts, four longtime ND rivals and an evolution of college football that makes it clear that their will be a Big Two, Little Three and an even lower caste of MAC-like rabble.
    And then there’s this: What if the SEC poaches FSU and Clemson? The ACC then has zero top brands, the TV revenue drops even further and ND’s strength of schedule gets even weaker.

    I don’t think that ND wants to join the Big Ten. But I think that’s their best option right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marc

      I don’t think that ND wants to join the Big Ten. But I think that’s their best option right now.

      Their other option is to re-up with NBC and wait. They will get a bump in their NBC deal, because sports rights always go up. They won’t make as much as the Big Ten would pay, but if it were solely about money they would be in the Big Ten already.

      What if the SEC poaches FSU and Clemson?

      I see no way that can happen before 2036, but let’s say it does. The remaining league would be similar to the original Big East, which Notre Dame was happy to be a member of (in all sports except football).

      The question is when the money gap becomes so huge that ND simply cannot resist it. They would have severe blowback from some of their big money donors, which they would have to manage.

      Like

      1. Marc: “The remaining league would be similar to the original Big East, which Notre Dame was happy to be a member of (in all sports except football).”

        Not really. The big difference is that ND is obligated to play 5 football games each year vs ACC schools. And if Clemson and FSU are removed from that pool, you’re looking at five East Coast cupcakes in addition to East Coast cupcake Navy..

        Like

        1. Marc

          The last 5 years, FSU has played sub-.500 football, basically no different than a random ACC opponent. Even if you assume FSU becomes a powerhouse again, they and Clemson are usually not on the schedule in the same year, and sometimes neither is on it. So basically, that’s (at most) one marquee game per year that the Irish have to replace, which is not that difficult. Notre Dame can always find good teams that want to play them.

          Also, you assume there is no ability for ND to renegotiate their deal with the ACC if the league composition changes. When ND joined, the ACC was solidly in the Power Five, and in a position to insist on 5 games a year. The ACC without FSU and Clemson is a fundamentally different beast.

          But anyhow, 5 games with the denuded ACC poses no problem for Notre Dame. Even without FSU and Clemson, the ACC is stocked with the types of teams that ND has historically played regularly.

          Like

      2. Little8

        The real issues Notre Dame has to deal with is recruiting and playoff access. If all the 4* and 5* high school kids want to play in the SEC or B1G will ND be able to put a team on the field that can win a national championship? What access will ND get in the next playoff deal? The money is nice, but those two issues are what will likely drive ND to join the B1G. Once ND comes to the conclusion that they will never win another national championship as an independent than they will be ready to join a conference.

        Like

  70. EndeavorWMEdani

    Duke would obviously be a feather in any academically minded conference’s cap, but minus Coach K, I think that’s a gamble. AAU notwithstanding, I would much rather invite one of the Football oriented Florida schools. I believe Miami might be available even after an SEC raid.

    Like

    1. Marc

      Offhand, I cannot think of a power conference realignment that was driven by academics if the football revenue did not make sense. And Duke’s football value is peanuts. Sure, every university president would love to be aligned with Duke, but conferences are sports alliances first.

      While one can never be positive, I think it’s extremely likely that Duke basketball remains relevant. Power programs have built-in advantages that tend to persist, regardless of who coaches them. They may stumble if they hire a bad coach, but eventually they almost always return to their winning ways. You could have safely predicted that UNC basketball would survive Dean Smith’s retirement, and Coach K will be no different.

      But major conference realignment is not primarily about basketball or academics, which means Duke is problematic even if Coach K were still there and 30 years younger.

      Like

      1. m (Ag)

        “While one can never be positive, I think it’s extremely likely that Duke basketball remains relevant.”

        Not so long ago, many of the small private schools in the current Big East (Georgetown, etc.) were treated as big national brands. The conference as a whole is still relevant (even as some brands like Georgetown are down), but those schools have significantly faded in national appeal as 1) conference rivals went to bigger conferences (mostly the ACC) and 2) Other conferences started football-powered networks that provided a) extra money to invest into basketball and b) more exposure for those basketball teams.

        If Duke doesn’t get picked up by the SEC or Big Ten, I see it going the way of the Big East schools, for much the same reasons. In fact, you might see some sort of division of the ACC leftovers between the Big East and Big 12.

        Duke will have a greater relevance than those schools, because former ACC members will still schedule them for non-conference games. But I doubt they’ll be a top TV brand in 15 years if they’re not in one of the big conferences.

        Like

        1. Richard

          Agree fully. It’s pretty tough to maintain clout as a small private school even with stellar academics and basketball. There’s no reason for Duke to be more valuable than Georgetown in the long run, for instance.

          Like

          1. @Richard – I think Duke is very different than a place like Georgetown or even the other main blue blood basketball programs like UNC, Kentucky and Kansas. At least for my generation and younger, Duke basketball is actually what Notre Dame football was to prior generations as the knee-jerk instant “love them or hate them” team in college sports at a true national level. It goes beyond the normal sports hate for teams that happen to be winning a lot at a given time (like Alabama now or the Patriots during their Tom Brady era) and more to the core that there’s a fundamental gut reaction to the institutions themselves – the way people think about Duke basketball and ND football is the way people think about the Yankees, Cowboys and Lakers where fans universally have such instant strong feelings about them no matter where they live and no matter if they’re rivals or even regular opponents of their favorite teams at all.

            All of that is to say is that Duke is really the one program that can leverage basketball in conference realignment in a very football-focused world.

            FWIW, John U. Bacon, a reporter that has covered Michigan for many years, was asked in an interview with Paul Finebaum the other day (who I generally can’t stand listening to for more than 90 seconds at a time but I checked out his podcasts because he had some good realignment-focused guests) about whether the Big Ten would be interested in any ACC schools. Bacon replied clearly and without hesitation that he has heard from the league consistently over the years that the Big Ten would want UNC and Duke specifically. It wasn’t a general response that the Big Ten would be interested in a bunch of ACC schools that could have value (such as UVA, Florida State, Clemson, etc.), but rather UNC and Duke would be the specific targets. Once again, take that FWIW.

            Like

          2. Arkstfan

            Friend who worked at a high level in the SEC in the late 80’s early 90’s says UNC Duke were atop the wish list then

            Like

        2. Mau

          Maryland would love to be in the same conference as Duke. Would make Coach K squirm. He hate us because we dipped for more dough. Refused to schedule us. Since the Terps left the ACC, due to his request, not one ACC-B1G challenge game. My wish list as a Terp for further B1G poaching is UVA, UNC and GT. F Duke.

          Like

  71. Peter Griffin

    I commented earlier that z33k nailed USC/UCLA to the Big Ten. I also found something that I proposed that, in retrospect, I bet Jim Phillips wishes he had considered given that it’s pretty much what the B1G appears to be doing now:

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

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

    In retrospect, the “football-only” idea was an unnecessary complication. And I should have added Louisville to the drop list. In fact, had Phillips pursued this option, he would have had a damn near perfect “Coastal Conference” with East and West groupings. Then it would have been up to ESPN to placate (buy off) Syracuse, BC, Wake, Duke, and Louisville. I think they would have done so, and I suspect that’s what they will be doing now anyway when the ACC collapses, which it will. And ND would have been sorely tempted to jump in 100% at that point.

    Like

    1. z33k

      It was interesting to suggest, but no way the Big Ten would have allowed USC/UCLA to go anywhere else.

      If they put themselves up for sale, Big Ten was going to be first in line before ACC.

      But you are right, that would have been a solution to get ND to commit to some kind of bi-coastal grouping.

      It’s just hard to see that working in practice though when the Big Ten wouldn’t sit still and let that happen.

      Like

      1. Peter Griffin

        I don’t know how much say the Big Ten would have had. The idea presumes ESPN buy-in and further presumes a group of six from the Pac. Was the Big Ten prepared to match that kind of offer? The Big Ten didn’t NEED to do anything; but the ACC — as I think we know now — has been on life support and needed to take drastic action to preserve itself as a separate, viable, “big boy” league. Phillips failed to lead them to take the sort of action that was required. Now they are left hoping for SEC or Big Ten invites while the walls slowly cave in.

        Like

        1. z33k

          Yes because USC, UCLA have always seen themselves more like OSU, Michigan, Penn State, Wisconsin, etc. than any other schools. Giant schools with prestigious academics and huge research budgets/AAU that are high minded.

          That’s who they want to be with if forced to join a national conference.

          There was never going to be an ACC option for them, they knew Big Ten would take them.

          Like

    2. Andy

      I think what we don’t know is are the B1G and SEC headed for 20 or 24. If it’s 20 then there’s more than enough good schools to go around and both the B1G and the SEC are going to add nothing but high quality schools. If it’s 24 then that puts the two in direct competition, and there could be a real battle over who gets the top ACC schools like UNC, and I could see Duke and maybe NC State thrown in to sweeten the deal.

      Like

    3. Marc

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

      Conferences and schools generally do not re-align unless the benefits are compelling. At the time that Jim Phillips might have proposed this, the ACC was already struggling. To switch from a struggling West Coast league to a struggling East Coast league is not a very compelling idea.

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

      What would this give ND that they do not have now? You could say, “a national schedule,” but they have a nationals schedule already.

      Like

  72. Peter Griffin

    I also think there is some overestimation here about whether the SEC covets UVA and/or UNC. I don’t think they do, and, in any event, not nearly as much as the B1G apparently does. But . . . if the SEC did go after them, and also either Duke or Wake Forest, then I think ND . . . might . . . give the SEC a look. If the SEC wants ND, and I’m not sure they do, and, in any event, certainly not as much as the B1G does, that would be the way to pitch ND.

    Like

    1. z33k

      Anything is possible, but it’s just unlikely that ND ever joins the SEC.

      The cultural fit matters as we saw with Texas/OU to the SEC and USC/UCLA to the Big Ten.

      ND’s cultural fit is ACC or Big Ten. The issue is money disparity there. There’s no way for the SEC to suddenly become a cultural fit for ND by plugging in one or two schools.

      UNC on the other hand is truly in the middle. I can understand the arguments for them going SEC just as I can argue for them going Big Ten. They really are “in the middle” and the one where what their friends want may matter (UVA and Duke).

      Like

      1. Peter Griffin

        I don’t think UVA or UNC do anything for the SEC’s bottom line, though. I’d say they are a net negative, which is why I don’t think the SEC is an option for them.

        Like

          1. Peter Griffin

            I don’t see how UNC would be “hugely profitable” for the SEC. UNC is not in the top 40 in average attendance, and in the WSJ college football “value” ranking, they are #50, behind everyone in the SEC other than Vanderbilt and Missouri. And I think it’s fair to say that the SEC doesn’t put near the premium on academic standing that the B1G does, so that piece doesn’t hold nearly the sway with the SEC that it does in certain B1G circles.

            https://graphics.wsj.com/table/NCAA_2019

            Like

          2. Andy

            I don’t think those WSJ rankings tell the whole story. I’ve heard for years that UNC is a top target for the SEC. Their overall brand value is very high.

            Like

          3. Jersey Bernie

            The value rankings being cited are from 2018, which makes them dramatically outdated. Missouri is getting much more from the SEC now than they were in 2018. The two schools most affected are probably UMaryland and Rutgers.

            In 2018, a full B1G share was around $50 million. Neither Maryland nor RU were even close to that. In fact in 2018, RU’s athletic income was less than $30 million. In the next few years both UMd and RU will be getting full B1G shares and will have paid back their loans from the conference. Each team will certainly by getting $90 million from the B1G or so as opposed to less than $30 million total revenue.

            The new schools in the Big 12 will be getting jumps soon also. This list of schools and athletic income is certainly a moving target.

            Like

        1. Peter Griffin: “I don’t think UVA or UNC do anything for the SEC’s bottom line, though. I’d say they are a net negative, which is why I don’t think the SEC is an option for them.”

          “Other than a negative, UVA nor UNC do anything for the Big Ten’s bottom line either.”

          Like

          1. Brian

            They’d do a lot for tuition dollars by providing future students. The midwest is aging and the B10 schools need to look elsewhere for students.

            Like

  73. z33k

    I’m skeptical right now that the Big Ten will go to 20 without ND right now. 18 without ND seems possible with Oregon/Washington. 20 with ND, Stanford, Oregon, Washington seems possible.

    There aren’t an infinite number of seats here; the Big Ten is trying to grab the national brands/markets as efficiently as possible in order to minimize frictions and maximize quality of matchups, how often teams can play each other, etc.

    I doubt the Big Ten ever goes above 24, 24 is probably the absolute maximum number that this conference ever reaches.

    And if they can keep the number at 20 or 22 while getting ND, they will try to do that.

    Like

      1. z33k

        UNC, UVA is more important for the Big Ten.

        Big Ten has been wanting mid-Atlantic secured since it took Maryland.

        There’s 4 growth regions of the country: Mid-atlantic (NC/SC/VA/MD), Southeast (FL/GA), Southwest (TX), West (CA/AZ).

        USC, UCLA anchors Big Ten in the heart of the West.

        UNC/UVA would anchor Big Ten in heart of the Mid-Atlantic.

        Having said that, Big Ten will likely take Washington/Oregon regardless to protect its West flank and build around USC/UCLA.

        Like

        1. Marc

          Big Ten has been wanting mid-Atlantic secured since it took Maryland.

          It feels like eons ago that the Big Ten took Maryland. We all assumed it was part of an eventual push down the Eastern seaboard, but no one then was talking about USC/UCLA. Now that they have done it, I wonder how UNC/UVA compare to adding more Western teams. It is not so clear to me.

          Like

          1. z33k

            Yeah it’s hard to know where this ends.

            Basically Big Ten presidents really have to be thinking about what final formation of the Big Ten looks like.

            Can they foresee a 20-24 team Big Ten by the mid-2030s?

            Are they confident about their ability to maintain such a large grouping (double the size of the pre-2011 conference).

            Like

          2. Richard

            Yeah, why choose? If ND is willing to play along, go to 24 with Stanford, Cal, UW, ND, UVa, UNC, Duke, and GTech.

            The B10 could set up a potent academic brand that would be close to the Ivies with no other grouping near (important for those big Midwestern publics in states with decreasing HS populations that want/need those OOS/international tuition dollars).

            Like

          3. Richard

            BTW, even at 24 schools, you could still play all schools at least every third year (so similar to now in some cases). 2 annual rivals, the other 21 every third year.

            Like

          4. Brian

            At that size you risk splintering as schools do not feel connected and just chase their own interests. It’s one reason the B10 has always chose to be gradual with expansion. The new member have to feel part of the collective whole and be willing to put the good of the conference above their own wants. Is that possible with a rapid jump to 24? Is playing once every 3 years truly a conference relationship? You wouldn’t even play everyone in basketball every year.

            I think they will be very careful about future growth.

            Like

          5. Richard

            Oh, and I don’t believe the ACC schools will be available until the mid 2030’s anyway, so first the Pac schools. If ND comes, ND+Stanford+Cal+UW.
            Otherwise, just add Stanford+Cal.

            Like

      2. Brian

        Under Delany, it would likely be UNC/UVA. Under Warren? UW and UO might bring more money, and they certainly provide some regional games for USC/UCLA. But UVA and UNC are closer, are better academically, and provide a growth region of interest. I’d guess the B10 is actually torn about which direction to go. I’m sure UMD and others lean east, while NE probably lean west.

        Like

          1. Marc

            Difference is that the ACC’s exit fees are far more onerous.

            This is true, but university presidents tend to have a longer-term perspective than fans. If you believe that UVA and UNC are ultimately the schools you want, then you wait.

            Like

          2. z33k

            Any ACC teams are being discussed for 2030s.

            Big Ten has always waited for the schools it wants to become available before expanding.

            If the presidents want UNC/UVA next (if ND says no), then they will wait until the 2030s and stand pat.

            My hunch though is that they will take UW/UO regardless to build the Western presence.

            Liked by 1 person

  74. Jersey Bernie

    I agree that this is an absolutely nasty comment. Schadenfreude big time. The future of big time sports at BC, Syracuse and perhaps Pitt is in serious jeopardy. At least for BC this is totally self created. Syracuse probably deserves this too.

    The football Big East was an actual P5 (6) conference. Had the football conference remained together, it would have remained a major conference.

    When U Miami joined the BE, their football team was in the dumpster. Whether there was a causal or coincidental connection, after joining the BE, Miami was back in the national championship picture again. Then with Miami as the leader, The Canes, joined by BC and VaTech joined the ACC. VaTech was pushed in by UVa (at the demand of the VA state legislature). As I recall, Syracuse was to be invited until replaced by VaTech.

    U Miami showed that it could not be trusted. Just weeks before it flipped to the ACC, the president of the school, Donna Shalala, made a speech thanking the BE for taking the Canes and pledging fidelity to the league. Very soon thereafter Miami was gone. Given Miami’s geographic location, a flip to the ACC was not totally nuts, but was really nasty.

    VaTech really should have been in the ACC with the other “local” southeastern schools, so no one blamed them.

    BC’s move made absolutely no sense. The BE probably could have survived the loss of Miami and VaTech, though it would have been hard. The loss of three teams was too much.

    BC left all their traditional rivals (including basketball rivals) in the northeast to go to a conference where the closest rival was in Maryland. (And there was not much money involved, not exactly like RU to the B1G). Many of the northeast basketball teams refused to play BC for a while. The State of Connecticut sued BC, but the case was ultimately dismissed.

    UConn, Providence, St. John’s, etc, do now schedule BC every few years in bball. Those were the key local rivals for BC basketball.

    Now BC honestly has no where to go other than to hope the ACC survives, or they wind up with the group of leftovers (including Syracuse and possibly Pitt, though Pitt has a reasonable shot at the Big 12). Other than ND requesting them as a partner, even with the Boston market, the B1G, SEC and Big12 would probably not take BC. (Though maybe the Big 12 would be desperate)

    Once those three were gone, I guess that it was only a matter of time until others left. Syracuse and Pitt were invited to the ACC and it was clear neither had anywhere else to go, so they helped the BE ship sink. Neither was ever going to be invited to the B1G and the Big 12 was not terribly interested at that time either, though Pitt might now be very interesting to the Big 12. Cuse is actually worse off than BC, because they have the number 85 TV market and are irrelevant to NYC, which is 250 miles away. Cuse now offers nothing.

    Of the remainders, Rutgers won the Willy Wonka golden ticket while UConn was out in the cold. UConn football is essentially a dead independent along with UMass. UConn basketball got back to the Big East basketball league which is worth maybe $15 million per year.

    Like

    1. I’d love to know how tv telecasts of ACC hoops are doing in the NE. I suspect ESPN has liked that outcome. Joining ACC has helped brand awareness of the northern schools in the south.

      The ACC is really an optimization of markets.

      It can’t produce SEC/B1G money but it gets great basketball to markets that like great college basketball.

      The ACC just has a hard time not being seen as Clemson and the other guys in football since Florida State and Va Tech aren’t what they were. The real money comes from being a football beast.

      Like

    2. Marc

      The future of big time sports at BC, Syracuse and perhaps Pitt is in serious jeopardy.

      Are they big-time programs even now? When was the last time any of them was a big deal in football, which is the sport that drives all the revenue?

      The what-ifs are hard to game out. But as I distinctly recall, the Big East was regarded as the weakest of the then-Power Six. “Big Least” and “Big Easy” were two of its nicknames. Without Miami and Virginia Tech, it was sure to become what the American is today — the conference that stronger leagues plunder when they want to expand.

      No one yet has suggested a credible way to puncture the ACC’s grant of rights, so Pitt, Syracuse, and BC are likely safe till 2036. To predict past that is a fool’s errand. It is very possible they wind up in a lower-tier conference much like the Big East would have been if it had stayed together. Just because those leagues are not the Big Ten does not mean they are dead. Occasionally, a team from one of those leagues has a magical year, as Cincinnati just did.

      Like

      1. Jersey Bernie

        Yes, the Big Least (I do not recall the Big Easy) was the common nickname and the loss of Miami and VaTech alone might have been fatal. There were a few fill in schools, Louisville, Cincinnati, and maybe a couple of others that potentially could have maintained P6 status. An earlier version of the current Big 12. With BC also gone, there were just not that many viable replacements, even for a low level P6 conference.

        When I say big-time, I mean part of a P5 conference. Pitt, Cuse and BC could all maintain D1 sports, other than football, with a downgrade in conference. The income difference between G5 and even the worst (ACC) payout from P5 is probably at least $15 or $20 million. Compared to the SEC and B1G, well in excess of $50 million per year.

        Like

    3. z33k

      UNC, UVA is more important for the Big Ten.

      Big Ten has been wanting mid-Atlantic secured since it took Maryland.

      There’s 4 growth regions of the country: Mid-atlantic (NC/SC/VA/MD), Southeast (FL/GA), Southwest (TX), West (CA/AZ).

      USC, UCLA anchors Big Ten in the heart of the West.

      UNC/UVA would anchor Big Ten in heart of the Mid-Atlantic.

      Having said that, Big Ten will likely take Washington/Oregon regardless to protect its West flank and build around USC/UCLA.

      Like

  75. Jersey Bernie

    The Big East is the northeastern basketball conference.

    Obviously, Duke, NC, and some others have national basketball interest, but the ACC is no more a factor (and might be less) than the B1G is in northeastern basketball.

    Remember that the ACC did not take UConn while the Huskies were at the height of their men’s and women’s basketball prominence. There were rumors that BC ended UConn’s ACC chances, but I do not think that it was ever confirmed.

    Like

  76. m (Ag)

    Whenever the ACC opens up, I wouldn’t be surprised if the SEC goes for a package that expands the geographic area while keeping rivalries together:

    UNC
    NC State
    Virginia
    1 Football power (probably FSU, but Miami and Clemson have a chance).

    A lot of people want to pair Duke with UNC, but I think getting both public schools in the large (and growing) state is a better long term bet, and makes it easy politically for UNC.

    Virginia Tech probably makes a better addition in many ways than UVA, but (original ACC member) UVA has longer rivalries with the Carolina schools (and a particularly historic one with UNC). That’s enough to make it the first choice.

    North Carolina and Virginia border existing SEC states Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia, allowing for the creation (and renewal) of many rivalries.

    SEC’s basketball would be greatly improved, the football would still have plenty of powers, inventory would increase, and many more fans would be added.

    Like

  77. frug

    Interesting take from Jon Wilner

    https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/07/02/hotline-mailbag-kliavkoffs-culpability-pac-12-expansion-options-the-future-for-cal-and-stanford-valuing-the-arizona-schools-and-loads-more/

    In all candor, I believe this could mark the beginning of the end of major college football for the Bay Area schools.

    Their relatively low value within the college football marketplace is one reason for that bleak outlook.

    The other reason for our skepticism is the economic landscape.

    At some point in the near future, college athletes likely will be declared employees, or pseudo-employees, and receive compensation from the schools for their services.

    There’s no chance Stanford would ever do that, and we doubt Cal would take the plunge. On both campuses, the faculty would revolt like it’s Paris in 1789.

    Unrelated, but also mentioned in the article is that 3 years ago ESPN offered to take over the PAC Networks and extend the conference’s Tier 1 deal, but Larry Scott turned them down. If Scott could have convinced the LA schools to extend the GOR as part of the deal with ESPN (no guarantee, but not out of the question) the PAC would find itself in a similar situation to the ACC; trapped in a below market contract, but stuck together. Not ideal but still better for all the PAC members outside of USC, UCLA and maybe Oregon and Washington if they can secure Big Ten bids.

    Like

    1. Ryan

      Wilner knows a heck of a lot more than me. But college sports are still the curb appeal for a lot of these elite schools. Are Cal and Stanford willing to be a Harvard and a Yale? Maybe. It happened 80 years ago…when the Ivys disappeared. And if they throw in the towel on football, does that diminish where their other VERY elite Olympic sports compete? Stanford’s swimming in a league with Fresno State and UNLV? Eesh. That’s going to take a toll.

      As a national college sports fan, I think those two schools have appeal. I see their value…and if sharing research dollars is as big a deal as I’ve heard, why would they want to sever ties with UCLA and USC (and not have the chance to merge with the Big Ten’s AAU’s)???

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Tom

      They probably regret it, but not sure voting ‘yes’ would have prevented USC from moving on. I view their move similarly to UT’s move to the SEC. From UT’s perspective, getting back to the top of the college football world was not going to happen in the lesser Big 12, especially with your arch rival A&M achieving new heights in the SEC, even though the path to the playoff would have been easier in the Big 12.

      Like

    2. z33k

      It doesn’t matter because any changes to the CFP contract required unanimity.
      Big Ten was going to veto it regardless.

      12 team CFP was not in the Big Ten’s interest at that point in time.

      Like

      1. Marc

        It is not the same when you are the last remaining no vote. Because the Pac-12 and ACC were also saying no — for different reasons — the committee could never satisfy all of them in the allotted time. Imagine that the Pac-12 and ACC are enthusiastic yes votes, and the only remaining problem is to satisfy the Big Ten. That is a very different negotiation.

        12 team CFP was not in the Big Ten’s interest at that point in time.

        Where did you get that from? No article I have read (and there are many) suggested the Big Ten was a categorical no.

        They probably regret it, but not sure voting ‘yes’ would have prevented USC from moving on.

        I agree with you, but the remaining conferences would have had the expanded playoff money locked in. Next time around, they won’t be negotiating with the Big Ten as equals anymore. The playoff will be whatever Greg Sankey and Kevin Warren say it is.

        Like

  78. z33k

    Some have mentioned this before, but I hope that Kevin Warren has his NFL hat on when he thinks about how to build the value of the Big Ten football postseason. That’s really the untapped well of $ here.

    Why export the postseason value to the CFP or Bowl system?

    Imagine a Big Ten tournament that leads to the Rose Bowl.

    A 4-6 game conference championship tournament could probably be worth insane money if it ends at the Rose Bowl with the Big Ten taking complete control of the Rose Bowl.

    Make the Rose Bowl into the Big Ten’s Super Bowl.

    That’s the real power play at the end of this; I don’t know if the Big Ten executives can see that, but to me, that’s really where the biggest $/exposure/power/control would be.

    Like

    1. Kevin

      Totally agree but then I think the conference will have to take more PAC members to basically kill that conference.

      Best case scenario would be a plus 1 after the bowls. And in most years that would be the B1G vs SEC champ. Although you could see a SEC rematch but that would be lame. I don’t think either conference would want to exclude other FBS schools from the possibility of a NCG however unlikely.

      Like

      1. z33k

        Yeah I think Washington/Oregon are almost guaranteed to be coming to the Big Ten.

        I’ve thought about it a lot, and it’s basically to protect the Western flank which is just USC/UCLA right now. What if USC/UCLA have a down period? What happens to cfb in the West?

        I think if you add Washington/Oregon, you’re almost guaranteed to have one of those 4 be good in any given stretch of time, it just eases the burden over there and simplifies travel.

        Obviously if ND is involved, add Stanford as well to plant a flag in SF.

        A Big Ten with USC, UCLA, Washington, Oregon, Stanford gives you control of the West Coast and enough strength to justify the Big Ten taking full control of the Rose Bowl.

        And yeah just have a BCS style championship after the bowls.

        Like

        1. Under Delaney B1G as weird as this will sound, stepped lightly enough to not gut those they raided. None of Big XII, ACC, Big East was harmed so deeply they were presumed to no longer be in the “big boy club”.

          A PAC12 that also loses Oregon and Washington and maybe Stanford has a tenuous claim to being in the club. No one left is a brand that is top tier of P5.

          Delaney era a second hit would be unlikely. Post-Delaney who knows?

          Like

          1. Marc

            Under Delaney B1G as weird as this will sound, stepped lightly enough to not gut those they raided.

            Was that Delany “stepping lightly,” or did he simply not have the chances? Did he ever say no to an expansion he could have had that made financial sense?

            Like

          2. He had told the Sun Belt commissioner that his presidents asked him assess whether Big East, ACC, Big XII would survive and remain viable. So likely more a mandate from his bosses than his own concern for collegiality.

            Like

          3. z33k

            I think NIL and players getting paid is enough of a sea change to merit dividing the sport up.

            All the schools aligned with the Big Ten that are financially sustainable joining together and setting up a system that makes sense for them in the context of competing for championships.

            I think the Big Ten taking USC/UCLA is basically a statement that the old world of cfb is over.

            Big Ten is out to reorganize the sport and take all the schools that make sense along the way.

            Which is why I’m struggling to see why Big Ten would leave Washington/Oregon out…

            Like

          4. Marc

            He had told the Sun Belt commissioner that his presidents asked him assess whether Big East, ACC, Big XII would survive and remain viable. So likely more a mandate from his bosses than his own concern for collegiality.

            Still, as far as we know, he never actually turned down any expansion that suited the Big Ten’s proprietary interests. Anyhow, the Big East did not survive, and the Big XII is down to half of its original membership.

            Like

        2. Zeek: “Obviously if ND is involved, add Stanford as well to plant a flag in SF.”

          Couple of issues here. USC reportedly doesn’t want any more “West Coast” schools going to the Big Ten. And Stanford may not want to join us.

          If ND joins the B1G, I think the other school will be Colorado. If you look at a map, it makes a USC/UCLA less of a stretch, brings in a good TV market and would give the Big Ten schools in all four time zones. Buffs are also unhappy in the Pac-12, especially the Pac-12 Network.

          Like

          1. Marc

            USC reportedly doesn’t want any more “West Coast” schools going to the Big Ten. And Stanford may not want to join us.

            I hear Texas A&M “reportedly” did not want Texas in the SEC. USC is hardly in a position to tell the Big Ten what to do.

            Like

          2. Brian

            What is coming out of Boulder? Only thing I heard was 4 schools contacted the B12 about admission. If they were so unhappy, wouldn’t we have heard more or at least some of their wishes? They left a better B12 than if they were to return.

            Like

          3. Little8

            Every PAC team that does not have a shot at getting into the B1G should have a plan B. In order, I think all 4 of the schools meeting with the B12 would like to:
            1) Join the B1G (but most know this is unrealistic)
            2) Stay in the PAC with the current 10 members
            3) Move to B12 if a further B1G raid takes OU/UW.
            The B12 is worse than when CO left but better than the PAC less USC/UCLA/OU/WU. As long as OU/WU stay in the PAC CO will be better off where it is at.

            Like

  79. HooBurns

    ND will not join any conference anytime soon. The ACC is in survival mode and will never bend in using its Grant of Rights legal & financial leverage to prevent any of its schools from leaving. And no P5 conference is going to expel members (a la Big East/Temple).

    While there’s much $ to be had, it takes time for conferences to crunch numbers and absorb expansion impacts. The Big XII and PAC-12 schools are the only ones in play, and none of these move the needle for the SEC.

    However the constant travel between LA and the East Coast for non-football athletes is not sustainable for the Big 10. The Big 10 will not sit idle for long. Look for:

    West Pod: USC, UCLA, Washington, Oregon, and Arizona (already in for hockey)

    Mid-West Pod: WI, NE, MN, IA, and KS

    Central Pod: MI, MSU, NW, Purdue, IL

    East Pod: OSU, PSU, Indiana, UMD, Rutgers

    Like

  80. Andy

    This is the best article I’ve seen yet to understand this:

    https://www.johncanzano.com/p/canzano-pac-12-gut-punch-comes-with?sd=pf

    “Thompson said the Big Ten’s decision to add two Los Angeles-based universities was rooted in a simple math equation. The 14 existing conference members know they’ll receive approximately $71.4 million per university under the new Fox deal. Adding two more partners only made sense if they could generate a minimum of $143 million in additional distributable revenue.”

    So that’s where we’re at. A school needs to be worth $70M+ Per year in tv revenue to be worth adding.

    There are only a handful of schools out there that can do that at this point.

    Hardly any really.

    The Big Ten and SEC may add a few more each but there simply aren’t enough valuable schools out there for either of them to get to 20.

    There are a variety of possibilities, but my best guess is

    Big Ten adds USC, UCLA, Stanford, Notre Dame, Oregon, Washington

    SEC adds Texas, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Florida State, Miami, Clemson

    We’ll see.

    Like

    1. Little8

      Based on the article’s numbers it is now $75M after USC/UCLA ($1B + $200M)/16. Almost all of the schools being mentioned other than ND will not be worth that much.

      Like

      1. Kevin

        I am not sure those numbers are accurate anymore. When you eliminate the competition you will increase the value of the rights that are available. If a media company wants CFB tv rights it’s really now or in another decade.

        I also think you can’t look at incremental value by school. The more schools the more inventory and that opens up opportunities for additional media companies and TV windows.

        There is so much value in consolidating rights holders. Additionally, there is more money to go around to the top schools since the the reduced brands will not have much leverage and will see lower payouts collectively.

        Like

  81. bullet

    I think the question now is what is the over/under on how long before Notre Dame joins the Big 10. I’ve never seen such a flip as the diehard pro independence and anti-Big 10 ND fans to being, at the very least, accepting of joining the Big 10.

    I don’t think it will happen next week, but I don’t expect that the Big 10 will have to wait until December for their Irish Christmas gift.

    Like

    1. Marc

      You are now seeing prominent ND alumni saying they should join the Big Ten. It might not be a majority of them yet, but it used to be zero.

      Like

      1. For me the question is this. Will Notre Dame leadership wait to see what amateurism looks like after the next cases and incoming Division I restructure.

        I struggle with the idea that schools like Notre Dame and Stanford would ever have employees who play football.

        Like

    2. Bullet: “I’ve never seen such a flip as the diehard pro independence and anti-Big 10 ND fans to being, at the very least, accepting of joining the Big 10.”

      I agree. It’s a sea change from 1999. Back then there were “NO BIG TEN” banners on the ND campus and the Irish were SCREAMING about staying independent at all costs. Seems like if the answer was “No thanks” again that they would have said it by now.

      Like

      1. Brian

        How long did the 1999 ND overture last, maybe a month? Seems like this one could last another month unless the talks have already been ongoing with the LA talks.

        Like

    3. z33k

      Agreed, the number of Notre Dame alums/fans making the argument that: “independent was a means to an end” and

      ‘If the “end of independence” means joining a national conference that offers games across the country, then it’s very different from joining the 11 team Big Ten in 1999 which ND rejected a regional conference that only covered Pennsylvania to Iowa.’

      I have no idea if that means anything, but ND decision makers are probably seriously considering what a 20-24 team Big Ten looks like with ND in it.

      Like

  82. Peter Griffin

    There are several comments here about the ACC Grant of Rights. IMO, there is an overarching misunderstanding — not just here, but in sports media in general — about the purpose of the GOR. The GOR is not intended to make sure that the remaining ACC members get penalty money from departing members. Rather, it is insurance in favor of ESPN, the party with whom the ACC has contracted. ESPN needed assurance when it agreed to pay the ACC hundreds of millions a year what exactly ESPN was going to be paying for. So the interested party in the GOR isn’t the fellow members of the ACC, it’s ESPN. If you read the GOR, it makes this purpose very clear.

    So the bottom line is that the GOR will be enforced exactly as long as ESPN wants it enforced, but no further. When ESPN decides that it makes sense for them to have, inter alia, Clemson/FSU/Miami, go to the SEC and/or facilitate a CFP expansion, then it will happen. And ESPN will likely buy off the remaining ACC schools, either consistent with whatever the ESPN/ACC media rights agreement allows or by a negotiated settlement.

    Like

    1. Arkstfan

      The TLDR explanation I give for Grant of Rights is it exists to try to insure the conference is paid it’s guaranteed sum from TV through the end of the contract.

      The average school in a conference might be worth $50 million per year but Enormous State University may be worth $80 million in a different conference.

      The TV rights holder still gets to show the home games of the school for life of the contract which protects ESPN if an ACC goes B1G and protects ACC.

      Not sure how the message board crowd concluded it was like garlic and holy water staving off vampires.

      Like

      1. Marc

        Not sure how the message board crowd concluded it was like garlic and holy water staving off vampires.

        Not sure which message board said that, but the fact is no conference Grant of Rights has ever been broken yet, despite message board participants insisting (for years) it was sure to happen.

        A Grant of Rights is like any deal—breakable at the right price. But so far that price has been so high that nobody has done it.

        Like

  83. Peter Griffin

    Has Kevin Warren contacted the University of Texas yet? If not, why not? I understand that they are looking for a conference home beginning in the 2025 season. It seems that they have had talks with the SEC, but of course they are still members of the Big XII at present and for the next three years. . . .

    Like

    1. z33k

      Texas made their decision.

      I don’t see how or why they change it.

      Their fans/alums lean SEC. There’d probably be riots if they changed their minds now.

      ND and Texas are different. Texas culturally was always a better fit in the SEC.

      ND wants the national schedule and their rivals are mostly going to be in the Big Ten.

      Texas fits with A&M, Oklahoma, Arkansas, LSU etc.

      Like

      1. Peter Griffin

        As a Texas resident, I’ll respectfully disagree with your characterization of Texas. I agree that A&M is a much better cultural fit, a great fit in fact, for the SEC. But UT-Austin is way, way different. Believe me, in their heart of hearts UT-Austin thinks it is much too good for the SEC, and is a far better cultural fit in the B1G. I don’t think the UT ship has sailed, because it never got out of the harbor. There was NO way the B1G would have taken OU, and I’m guessing that there was no thought of taking UT as a one-off in either direction. Well, now circumstances have changed.

        Finally, an added bonus is that Stanford and UT-Austin would absolutely lock in ND. I think ND will come with just Stanford, but UT-Austin would be significant additional comfort. Bottom line is that I can think of a single reason why Warren wouldn’t run this option to ground.

        Like

        1. z33k

          Yeah but tell me about the older alums/old money at Texas.

          Those people want SEC.

          They feel they have to be in the SEC for Texas to stay ahead of A&M as well.

          Like

          1. Andy

            I don’t think the Big Ten is as desirable to southern schools as many on here seem to think. With Missouri, for instance, there’s a contingent that would be up for the Big Ten, but the majority are strongly in favor of the SEC. I suspect Texas is the same way, and I also suspect it’s true for most if not all of the southern ACC schools. The SEC has a lot of pull in the south.

            Like

          2. z33k

            I tend to agree, and I don’t think Clemson/FSU are that realistic for the Big Ten because of that.

            I mean, I’d love to have FSU as a Big Ten school, but it’s just not that realistic given their fans/alums want to be in the SEC.

            Ditto Clemson.

            I think UNC is probably the most interesting case; I’d venture some contingent of fans leans Big Ten, some contingent leans SEC.

            UNC maybe the most mixed on a decision like this.

            Like

          3. Andy

            UNC is probably like Missouri, with a mix. They would be persuadable. But probably a large chunk of them would prefer SEC just like Mizzou. With Mizzou some in St. Louis and Columbia preferred Big Ten but most of the rest of the state were pro-SEC, and that’s only grown over time. Now it’s probably 80 to 90% pro SEC.

            Like

        2. EndeavorWMEdani

          So true. If the B1G scores ND and Stanford to go along with USC, the UT President/faculty, if not those who pull the strings down there, are going to be beside themselves. They view those schools as their academic peers and I have no doubt more than a few have wondered “Is it too late?” Unfortunately, the old guard and student body are full steam ahead with the SEC. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to make the call.

          Like

        3. Marc

          Stanford and UT-Austin would absolutely lock in ND.

          If I had a dollar for every time someone said X would lock in ND, I could take my family out to a very nice dinner.

          I can’t think of a single reason why Warren wouldn’t run this option to ground.

          Since talk is cheap, I see no reason not to ask. I expect a hard no.

          Like

          1. Peter Griffin

            Full disclosure, I’m a 2x ND alum and have been for a few decades now, so I think I have a decent feel for the ND zeitgeist. I think we’ve reached capitulation on the independence issue. IMO, here are the 3 critical motivations concerning whether to join a conference: 1) Academic fit, which is why I’m convinced Stanford is a critical piece. Like it or not (and some of my fellow alumni don’t), ND’s true aspirational peer (again, IMO) is Stanford. Fr. Hesburgh used to talk about the Ivy League — Princeton in particular — but I think those days are gone. Jack Swarbrick’s law degree is from Stanford. As goes Stanford, so will go ND. 2) National schedule. The West Coast expansion obviously helps this a lot. Picking up a school in Texas would IMO seal it, but probably isn’t necessary. 3) Ability to influence the direction of college football. I do not believe ND will participate in an employee/non-student model of athletics, but they obviously very much want to keep playing football. So they will do whatever they think is the best course of action to influence that outcome, and I think belonging to the B1G is much more useful to that end than continuing to be a voice of 1. That’s another reason why I think the Stanford piece is vital, because Stanford is even moreso of the same mindset.

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          2. Peter Griffin

            One other smaller point — Kevin Warren is an ND Law grad and was an adjunct at the Law School when I was a student. Candidly, I will be interested one day to read the unabridged story of how he fell into becoming the Big Ten commissioner, because that came as something of a shock to me, which I’ll just leave right there. But the point is, he’s got legitimate ties to ND.

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        4. EndeavorWMEdani

          The growing consensus on the largest ND forums seems to be ‘Get in now and have influence over the process”. Whereas holding onto Independence until they are forced to relinquish it (when they can no longer field a traditional 12 game ND schedule) was the worst strategy. Anecdotal, but fascinating to watch the seismic change in attitude concerning joining the B1G. I also believe Stanford’s admission is a major consideration and justification (in their minds) for joining sooner rather than later.

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          1. EndeavorWMEdani

            That depends on whether they want their sports to have national media exposure and continue to compete for national titles. They are the Michael Jordan of Olympic sports, and despite what some people think, they is a very important part of their legacy. Do they need the money? No. Is it a burden on their athletes? Yes. Clearly the preferred scenario is to have the B1G invite a West Coast pod of five or six teams. Even with the incredible value of a Stanford education, their recruiting of national caliber athletes will suffer if they have no media exposure. I believe, despite some serious misgivings, they will leap at the chance to go to B1G with ND as their partner. We’ll see.

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          2. EndeavorWMEdani

            *THAT is a very important part of their identity/legacy. -Yikes, some typos are more jarring than others!

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          3. Marc

            The growing consensus on the largest ND forums seems to be ‘Get in now and have influence over the process”.

            That’s highly significant, because the forums tend to be dominated by the most emotional and least rational of a team’s supporters. If even they are ready to join the Big Ten, it tells you how much the world has changed.

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          4. Brian

            Is there any anecdotal evidence the B10 wants Stanford or that Stanford is a take? The Olympic sports package is top notch, too academics, big research, etc. what do they deliver on media, market share, alumni size, etc?

            Like

    2. frug

      It’s funny, I was thinking about this same thing earlier this evening and was about to pose the same question.

      I’d be shocked if UT actually accepted, but the Big Ten is suddenly more appealing than it was a year ago and the worst thing the Longhorns could say is no.

      Personally, I think the Big Ten should call UT and Oklahoma. I know OU’s academics are not exactly up to Big Ten standards, but that academics have been steadily declining in importance in realignment decisions (otherwise Louisville never would have gotten an ACC invite over UConn and Texas would not have dropped their 30 aversion to joining the SEC).

      The travel for UT and OU wouldn’t be that much worse (especially if the Big Ten indicated they would be willing to add Kansas and Colorado if necessary), it would be an significant academic upgrade (to the extent it matters) and offer an easier path to the nation championship most years (not to mention the recruiting is not as ruthless). Toss in the chance to play a more “national” conference schedule (again for what it is worth) and you have a decent sales pitch.

      Like

    3. My initial reaction to the idea that the B1G should reach out to Texas was, “Go on to hell, honey, I’m headed home.” [Turnpike Troubadours…admittedly, from the wrong side of the Red River (Tahlequah, Oklahoma)] Upon reflection, Kevin Warren isn’t doing his job if he doesn’t reach out to UT and ask if they’d rather join a coast-to-coast conference, along with Notre Dame and USC, or slink behind A&M, to a regional confederacy, with lesser academics. Then, call Swarbick immediately thereafter, and ask if he’d be interested in joining an 18-team B1G, if Texas is Notre Dame’s “plus-one.” Heck, let ’em both bring a partner of their choosing, even if it’s Oklahoma and Stanford.

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  84. Arkstfan

    Newsflash or probably a blip.

    Arizona 247Sports site says Arizona is meeting this week with Big XII. Doesn’t name names but says four schools are looking at joining Big XII. My assumption is Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, and Colorado because article says Arizona doesn’t think Washington and Oregon departure is imminent but probably an eventuality.

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    1. Andy

      A USC insider is saying Stanford and Notre Dame to the Big Ten this week. If Washington and Oregon are inevitable, and Arizona, ASU, Colorado, and Utah join the Big 12, then that would just leave Cal, Washington State and Oregon State. I wonder where they would go?

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      1. Arkstfan

        You start inviting MWC schools. You see if someone somewhat respectable like Cal Davis wants to move up. You debate whether you want to make a run at Texas AAC schools.

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          1. Marc

            The Big XII just expanded with schools it previously rejected. Losing your two most valuable members changes your perspective.

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        1. Brian

          P10 expansion is either unreasonable or a front to buy time for members find a new home. Hard to imagine Ducks, UA, UW, even Utah staying in a P12 with SDSU & Boise St when there is so much $ in the B2 or at least a tier 2 ACC or B12.

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          1. Little8

            The PAC can look at candidates, but someone is going to say “show me the money.” Will SDSU or any other candidate increase the per school payout of the 10 remaining PAC members? The PAC payout will not offset the exit fees from either the B12 or ACC (even if GoR was not an issue).so raiding those conferences is not a viable strategy.

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          2. Arkstfan

            If there are 10 remaining members then waiting is perfectly good strategy.

            If Stanford thing is real? Nine isn’t as easy of a call because in addition to being a vulnerable number, it means everyone needs another non-conference game soon.

            If Oregon Washington has legs then 8 is an awful number but survivable.

            If the Big XII raid is real and happens, six sucks it makes a MWC or FCS raid unavoidable.

            Starting adding combos of those and it’s really bad.

            Let’s say all the disasters befall PAC. If I’m president at SDSU or UNLV or Nevada etc., do I want Washington State, Oregon State and Cal to join MWC or do I want to join PAC and rebrand as a member of the new PAC-10 or PAC-12?

            If I do so programs I’ve felt weren’t pulling their weight in MWC can be discarded.

            I expect PAC will live. If they can retain what they have for a few years they can be snugly in that third tier with Big XII. If not they will be in that fourth tier of AAC and Sun Belt and we will be talking about that key Boise SDSU PAC-12 matchup.

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      2. vp0819

        WSU and OrSU go to a now 18-member Big 12.
        Cal becomes the B1G’s 20th or 21st member (depending on what Notre Dame does), with the conference filling out to 24 when ACC members become available.

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        1. Brian

          I’m not convinced the B12 would want WSU and OrSU. They might have to go to the MWC. They are small markets with no brands, and WSU is hard to travel to. What’s the upside? UA, ASU, UU and CU make a lot more sense for the B12.

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          1. Little8

            The fact that OrSt and WSU are not having discussions with the B12 (like CU, UU, ASU, UA) is a tell on their prospect of getting a B12 invite (none). They will land in the MWC if the PAC implodes.

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    2. z33k

      Feels as if Big Ten has told Oregon/Washington to just stay silent/patient and not do anything until ND tells the Big Ten what they’re doing.

      Especially if Oregon/Washington aren’t looking around at all.

      Like

      1. Marc

        Loose lips sink ships. According to reports, the only thing they were told was, “We are not expanding any further at this time.” Why would you tell them a jot more?

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        1. z33k

          Because you have to basically be negotiating these things in the background for months before signing the contract.

          Maybe only the President and AD at the university know what’s going on… rest of the people are being told that.

          The Big Ten needs to finalize its TV deal in the next 2-3 months. It has to know its membership in the next few weeks to do so.

          I think they already know whether Washington/Oregon will be a part of the Big Ten (I think they will be for inventory/markets/brand reasons and to secure the West coast).

          Washington/Oregon are likely to have scaled buy ins (i.e. ramp up to full payouts like MD/Rutgers/etc.), that stuff has to be negotiated in advance.

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          1. Marc

            Because you have to basically be negotiating these things in the background for months before signing the contract.

            No you don’t. Washington and Oregon have no good options. When and if the Big Ten calls, they will take what is offered.

            Similarly, the Big Ten negotiated with Maryland for months—but not with Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights were simply informed what they would be getting, because any imaginable deal was going to be far better than what they had.

            Washington and Oregon are not quite as hapless as Rutgers was, or is, but they were already way behind financially even before last week’s news, and it will only be worse if they don’t get a lifeline.

            The Big Ten needs to finalize its TV deal in the next 2-3 months. It has to know its membership in the next few weeks to do so.

            That is not true either. These deals always have look-in clauses that allow them to be renegotiated if conference composition changes.

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          2. z33k

            They do, but the Big Ten is basically trying to figure out who’s going to be involved and whether to give portions to others.

            You have to know inventory numbers to do that.

            Big Ten is not likely to finalize TV deals (especially if they include 3 or 4 partners) until the number is set.

            I mean yeah there’s always the possibility of another short 6 year deal I guess, but I’d imagine the next deal is around 8 years.

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          3. billinmidwest

            With regard to your second paragraph, it’s doubtful that ADs are in on the discussions since conference realignment typically involves Presidents making decisions and then telling ADs “Here make it work”

            Like

    3. Marc

      Arizona 247Sports site says Arizona is meeting this week with Big XII.

      Over the years, for every 10 such rumors published, maybe one is true. However, if you are a Pac-12 school why wouldn’t you have this conversation? It makes complete sense.

      If the Big XII adds Arizona, ASU, Colorado, and Utah, it is likely a more valuable property than the rump Pac-10. Plus, in the Pac-10 you would always be wondering when the next schools will leave.

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      1. Brian

        Not one of the P10 schools has refuted any of the “contacting other schools” rumors. Typically they don’t comment on rumors yet this is so momentous, comments would be appropriate. Both the B10, USC, UCLA never commented until after the schools were accepted. So it seems highly likely there are intense discussions going on this week.

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      2. m (Ag)

        “If the Big XII adds Arizona, ASU, Colorado, and Utah, it is likely a more valuable property than the rump Pac-10. ”

        If the remaining 10 schools stayed together, I think they would be worth more per school than the 16 member Big 12. But they would all be on edge that Washington and Oregon could leave at a moments notice. The Big 12 seems like it will be stable long term (even if it eventually loses some members after the ACC inevitably gets some schools picked off). There are also natural and historic rivalries for each school (BYU for Utah, TT for the Arizona Schools, original Big 8 schools for Colorado), and high-level basketball.

        So it makes seems inevitable.

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  85. jog267

    Given that 1) ND is obligated to play an average of 5 ACC opponents per year; 2) ND wants to play both Stanford and USC every year while concluding every (regular) season in California; 3) they generally play 1 or 2 B1G teams each year.

    This works out to 8.5 games per year; functionally little different from a 9 game B1G schedule (were Stanford also admitted as a member).

    Consider: Pittsburgh excepted all ACC schools are located outside the (current) B1G footprint. By joining the B1G 2 or 3 games per year in the NE/SW would (essentially) be replaced by games in the Midwest. Certainly games against Illinois/Iowa/Wisconsin will garner substantially better ratings than games against Wake Forest/Duke/Virginia.

    Perhaps trading visits to/from Wake Forest, Duke, NC State and the like with Iowa, Rutgers, Maryland et all more than compensates for the loss of games in Florida/Boston/North Carolina? Perhaps a change in ND’s discretionary scheduling could help compensate for fewer (regularly scheduled) games in Florida and the NE?

    I know independence is about more than just football and scheduling… Given the payout and guaranteed access to any future national championship arrangement with the SEC perhaps there calculus has changed… maybe an end to independence becomes at least palatable (to most ND constituencies) even if not generally preferred?

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    1. Marc

      Yes, this is basically correct. Contingent on Stanford joining and the Big Ten remaining at 9 games, ND could keep its annual series with Navy and have two games left over to play whomever they want.

      Now, in most years ND has two “buy games” on their schedule. If they stick to that, they would sacrifice some flexibility by joining a conference. Still, I can think of somewhere between 80 and 100 million reasons per year why they might do that.

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  86. SideshowBob

    Do we know how the ACC GOR impacts Notre Dame? I mean, surely they would have less of a penalty to pay to return those rights since they do not include football. I know there has been comments about how the GOR locks in schools to the ACC for years, but does that realistically apply to ND as well?

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    1. Marc

      There was an article about this within the last few days. Consensus seems to be that the penalty is manageable, since the grant includes only the Olympic sports. The article said ND would make it back within two years. It did not cite a school source, so you don’t know how accurate it is.

      No source has suggested that there is any severe financial obstacle to ND joining the B10, so I suspect that article is at least directionally correct.

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  87. Scott in Canada

    Mike Berardino of the South Bend Sentinel writes that the ESPN contract with the ACC includes a clause that if Notre Dame were to join any conference in football before 2036, it is contractually obligated to join the ACC. The exit fee to get out of that contract is substantial.

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  88. HooBurns

    RE: ACC/Grant of Rights (GoR), Andy Staples’ July 1 article in The Athletic covers it well (note, there’s a pay wall). BLUF: There’s a reason why schools are timing their departures at the end of their GoR.

    Breaking the contract with a conference is one thing and clearly can be negotiated. The exit fee for ACC is 3x ACC’s annual operating expenses. For UMD in 2014, that was $51M; ACC/UMD settled at $31M. Eight years later with ACC Network operating expenses now included, that amount figures to be much higher.

    The real jeopardy lies in the GoR that has never been challenged in court. UMD had no GoR to contend with. TX, OK, USC, and UCLA are avoiding it like Typhoid Mary.

    “So if a school wanted to challenge a grant of rights, it likely would assume considerable financial risk… For an ACC school that tried and failed, the forfeited TV revenue would run into the hundreds of millions…”

    Further, “lawyers will spend months arguing about what court you’re going to be in and — even when you’re in the court — what law applies.” Can a GoR be challenged? Sure, but it’ll cost ya… bigly. That reality seems to be (dare I say) cavalierly dismissed by most folks predicting the end of the ACC.

    So to revisit an analogy mentioned above, it’s not that the GoR acts as holy water and garlic to keep the vampires away (LOL). It’s the reverse: Challenging the GoR unleashes the vampires themselves – hordes of lawyers (on both sides) who will suck the finances and living energy away from any desired conference exit… indefinitely.

    ACC schools making googly eyes to the Big 10 or SEC (and vice versus) have no ability to say when they’re free to enter that conference, nor how much it will cost. University presidents worry about the bottom line as well as reputations. So they’ll wait. Until the ACC is dissolved (which won’t happen), ND or other schools join, or until the 2030s, nothing changes for the ACC membership.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marc

      Thanks. That is an excellent summary and tracks other well-informed articles I have seen in the past. Probably the biggest tell is that Texas and Oklahoma have delayed their Big XII exit until after the GoR expires. If those enormous programs cannot stomach the cost of leaving earlier, then why would one think UNC and Duke can?

      Someone commented above, “So the interested party in the GOR isn’t the fellow members of the ACC, it’s ESPN. If you read the GOR, it makes this purpose very clear.” This seems to me spectacularly ill-informed. If ESPN could just buy out a GOR anytime it wants, why has it not bought out Texas and Oklahoma?

      I mean…sure, there is some imaginable price where they could do it, but we are talking about such a huge (and uncertain) number that no one seems to be even considering it.

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        1. Marc

          The protected parties are both ESPN and the member schools. Since you obviously “get” why ESPN would want this deal, let me explain the other half.

          Clemson relinquishes its right to jump to the SEC whenever it wants. But in exchange, it gets the assurance that UNC can’t jump to the Big Ten either—or if it does, the costs to UNC or any other school would be in the stratosphere. Thus, for the term of the agreement every school knows it will be in a stable conference that can grow but cannot shrink.

          I mean…if the schools were not getting something good out of it, then why did they sign?

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          1. Peter Griffin

            The “good” they are getting is the money from ESPN. Let me explain it a different way, which perhaps you’ll understand. Neither Clemson nor UNC cares if the other jumps to the SEC so long as the non-jumping party gets paid by ESPN in full for the duration of the ACC’s agreement with ESPN. That is the entirety of what each school has bargained for. Anything beyond that is simply a gratuitous “penalty,” which the law typically will not enforce. In turn, ESPN very much cares if either school jumps because then it can’t get what it bargained for, the rights to broadcast the jumping school’s games, hence the GOR. Ergo, the GOR is only as enforceable as ESPN chooses for it to be; and so long as ESPN is willing to pay to the ACC what it owes, then the other schools have no claim against one another.

            What we don’t know (at least what I don’t know) is what the agreement between ESPN and the ACC itself says in terms of breach, etc. In any event, though, the bottom line is that ESPN holds the cards here, and when it’s ready to broker a break-up of the ACC, it will happen.