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Clemson Mentioned In Connection With SEC

Yesterday afternoon, The Boston Globe’s college football writer, Mark Blaudschun, tossed a new log onto the SEC expansion fire when he wrote the following on his blog:


“But if Missouri leaves — and as of this morning the prevailing theory was that the Tigers were still focused on joining Texas A&M as the 13th and 14th members o the SEC — the Big 12 would make a move to go from 9 to 12 teams with Big East members Louisville and West Virginia as the prime schools on their wish list.  Such a move might also happen even if Missouri remains.

The SEC might have one back up place if Missouri decides to stay.  Word is spreading through the SEC that Clemson may come into play as team No. 14.

The Tigers are more of an SEC fit than ACC fit in many ways.”


An SEC fit?  Absolutely.  As we broke down in our 10-part “Expansion By The Numbers” series, Clemson is athletically, academically, geographically and culturally a fit with the Southeastern Conference.  There’s a reason some call the school “Auburn with a lake.”

But from a business perspective — and that’s what expansion/realignment is all about — Clemson is a poor fit.  They add no television markets that the SEC can’t already claim.  They offer no new recruiting ground, no new population base to reach. 

While Clemson would have been a great choice back in 1992, the reasons for expanding have changed since then.  Clemson doesn’t bring enough to the table in 2011.

Unless…

Unless the SEC is a) desperate to avoid a 13-team season in 2012 and beyond and/or b) so certain that Texas A&M brings enough new TV eyeballs to the mix that it can afford to take Clemson anyway.

But if that’s the case, the SEC would actually add a few more television households and expand its reach by selecting West Virginia, a school that’s already expressed an interest to Mike Slive’s league.

We have heard nothing solid regarding Clemson from any of our sources within the league.  And it should be noted that Blaudschun — despite saying that “word is spreading through the SEC” — is a Boston-based writer.  Boston College just happens to be in the same division of the ACC with Clemson.  It’s possible the talk he’s hearing is coming from inside that league and not from inside Slive’s league.

There are many possible explanations for why Clemson might be getting some play right now.  Perhaps the SEC is trying to give Missouri a reason to speed up its decision-making process.  Perhaps South Carolina — seeing Clemson skate through an easy ACC — really does want to bring the Tigers into the SEC in order to make them run the same gauntlet USC faces each fall.  (Harris Pastides and Steve Spurrier have both publicly stated that they would have no reservations to Clemson entering the SEC… if you believe them.)

But if expansion/realignment is about television dollars first and foremost, would Clemson add to the SEC’s loot?  Or would it simply be another mouth to feed?  A look at the numbers suggests the latter.

 


46 comments
moreno
moreno

They should add WV for #14. I heard Saban's for it. Maybe Bobby Bowden could put in a good word as well.

andshar
andshar

To papatiger:

I agree that research dollars are a consideration but I don't think it's as big a deal as you make it out to be for the schools mentioned( FSU, Clemson). Most NIH money goes to medical schools. As a doctor who's done research, I can tell you that I've never heard that conference affiliation is a consideration in the medical research grant process. Neither FSU or Clemson are ranked by US News in the top 91 medical research schools. On the other hand, Cincinnati is #42. If research money is so important, why isn't the SEC courting Cincinnati?

papatiger
papatiger

If you are talking money, research revenue is a better and bigger factor than TV revenue from football. Every year, the NIH hands out $25 billion in research funding to universities. That exceeds all of the revenue from all of the football TV revenue for all conferences. The two conferences on the top of the NIH list: the Big 10 and ACC. The main offices for the NIH that hand out that money: Research Triangle, NC and Baltimore, MD. If I'm an ACC school, I'm in a far better position to get my cut of those billions each year if I'm associated with ACC universities. The research funding that ACC schools get each year is close to a billion more than the SEC gets. Kind of makes the TV money for football look like a joke. They don't think the extra $5M or 10M in TV revenue for football is worth any risk to the hundreds of millions Clemson and FSU get from the NIH. And their position in the ACC partially helps with that.

WVfan
WVfan

If Missouri's BOC was serious about a move it would have happened already. __

andshar
andshar

I disagree with papatiger that an ACC school, such as Florida St. or Clemson, wouldn't leave for the SEC or Big "12". The reason the SEC is expanding is to renegotiate their TV deals. Once they do, the money will be much better in the SEC than the ACC. The Big 12 already has a better deal than the ACC, they just have to add credible schools so they can keep it. Furthermore, would you rather be in a conference where the money is guaranteed no matter how you perform (SEC, Big 12) or a conference where you have to be in 1st place and get to a BCS bowl? Basketball money is minescule compared to football.

papatiger
papatiger

If you are talking money, research revenue is a better and bigger factor than TV revenue from football. Every year, the NIH hands out $25 billion in research funding to universities. That exceeds all of the revenue from all of the football TV revenue for all conferences. The two conferences on the top of the NIH list: the Big 10 and ACC. The main offices for the NIH that hand out that money: Research Triangle, NC and Baltimore, MD. If I'm an ACC school, I'm in a far better position to get my cut of those billions each year if I'm associated with those universities. There is a reason the Big 10 has had discussion with Maryland to enter it's conference, and it's not about their football progam. The collective research funding the ACC schools get each year is a billion more than the SEC gets. Kind of makes all the TV money for football look like a joke. They don't think the extra $5M or 10M in TV revenue for football is worth the risk the hundreds of millions they get from the NIH, - -and their position in the ACC partially helps with that.

tradeassociation
tradeassociation

"Every year, the NIH hands out $25 billion in research funding to universities. That exceeds all of the revenue from all of the football TV revenue for all conferences. The two conferences on the top of the NIH list: the Big 10 and ACC."

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

Someone needs to post that in response to all the folks who say "hey, we need to go get an ACC school."

And incidentally, this is EXACTLY why the SEC can't consider WVU. They need more AAU schools so they can get more NIH and other research money. Well, I say add Missouri, AAU Tulane, and USF (for the football side) and be done with it.

Lance Lyons
Lance Lyons

SEC should be looking at Louisville. The Big 12 considers them their primary choice for expansion (even before TCU).

Louisville would improve the SEC in terms of basketball and would bring in a big rivalry with UK in both Hoops and Football.

Louisville football on the up swing and the 'Other' sports are way above average for the SEC.

SEC would be smart to poach Louisville before its to late.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

I wouldn't mind having Louisville in the SEC, but they don't bring anything the SEC doesn't already have. I will say though that the Big 12 looking to get Louisville would be a good move for them. I think the Big 12 has a better shot at this point to survive in the long term and Louisville is a quality program in a new market for them.

papatiger
papatiger

It just doesn't make sense for any ACC team to want to jump to the SEC. The ACC provides a much better chance for Clemson, VT or FSU to get to the BCS bowls. The tv money will not be substantially better, especially if we're not adding new markets. Additionally, the ACC will now be considered the best bball conference over the big east. I know that doesn't mean much now, but it will be a big deal to in a few months when bball starts to heat up. It's all we'll hear about. I think the ACC is just too solid now for any of them to want to leave for the SEC or anyone else.

Chris
Chris

Why didn't South Carolina "skate" by Auburn like Clemson did? And although South Carolina has beaten Clemson back to back for the first time since 1969-1970 (no joke), my sister was born in 1970 and she was 41 years old before South Carolina accomplished that feat. Meanwhile Clemson has beaten them 4 iin a row many times 1980,81,82,83 and 1988,89,90,91 and 1997,98,99,2000 and 2002,03,04,05, not to mention three-pears in 1976,77,78 and back to back in 1971,72 and 2006, 07. Clemson has won 10 of the last 14 against the Gamecocks. And South Carolina is 6-12 vs Clemson since joining the SEC. Why doesn't South Carolina "skate" through Clemson in more years than just the years in which Spurrier has them winning the SEC East division, while under serious cloud of NCAA notice of allegations?

2002ClemsonTiger
2002ClemsonTiger

Clemson has the exact same number of SEC titles as South Carolina.

Guest
Guest

Remember this quote from the Ole Miss AD:

“The SEC has to be very mindful of any institution that would seek to come in. A lot of it has to do with location. So much of it has to do with culture. Texas A&M has a rich culture and history, not just with its agriculture and military but also in athletics and academics.”

This is MOSTLY about the $$$-but not totally. This isn't a one night stand with a hottie....this is adding a school for the far foreseeable future....it needs to be a good fit all-around. Problem is the ACC will be a much tougher conference to break up than say the Big 12 or the Big East. Although I think going to the SEC would be a no-brainer for most schools, the academics at these ACC schools (the decision-makers) have different points of view than most fans.

Guest
Guest

John: I think you are underplaying CLEM just a bit on the business side. Yes, CLEM doesn't give you a totally new market, but don't understate its market (Greenville/Ashville-#36 in the country) usce doesn't have all of that market or even half of it-CLEM does. All you need to look at a schools' fan following/TV draw for the sport of football. Stadium size will tell you everything you need to know. CLEM draws many more fans for a smaller school in a more remote location than say a Raleigh. Aso, look at potential matchups. Which is more appealing and which will draw higher TV ratings: NCSU vs UF/UGA/AUB or CLEM vs. those teams? Consequently, which matchups will bring in more advertising revenue? Yes, Raleigh brings you a totally new market-a very important point-but college football there is not near as important as it is with CLEM. With the less than ideal choices (ala Texas A&M) left in the east for teams 15-16 (or 14-16 if Mizz doesn't come) I don't think the SEC is going to hit similar Texas A&M-type homeruns with the remaining schools.

MikeTheTiger
MikeTheTiger

John, I have been trying to follow this site and others on SEC expansion as much as I can, but I don't recall a post by you suggesting that the hold-up on adding Missouri was on their end. Your suggestion that the Clemson thing might be a ploy to get Missouri to make a decision is the first hint I've seen of that. Did I miss something in another post? Do you have sources that suggest to you that that is the case? All the other media reports seem to indicate that the hold-up is in getting enough votes to accept Missouri.

MIZ_SEC
MIZ_SEC

Does every single addition have to add new markets or eyeballs? If the SEC added A&M, Mizzou, and WVU as 13, 14, and 15, couldn't those new areas be enough combined to make a Clemson addition worthwhile?

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

Assuming Mizzou comes on board if the SEC was going to move to 16 then I think the first place you look is FSU and not Clemson. FSU brings a lot more revenue from a national standpoint and their leaders have actually left the door open with regard to moving to the SEC. At that point I think you would go for WVU to fill out the 16th slot, but that is assuming they haven't gone to the Big 12 by that point.

John Bragg
John Bragg

"Does every single addition have to add new markets or eyeballs?"

Yes, one or the other. Texas A&M, Missouri, Pitt and Syracuse add new markets. Florida State and Nebraska add new eyeballs across the country. Clemson doesn't do either for the SEC.

Leagues only expand their membership without expanding their TV profile if they're desperate, like the Big XII taking TCU and the Big East.

deltaboy
deltaboy

I agree. We have just added plenty of [potential] eyeballs in Texas. Why not base the next addition on the quality & competitiveness of the athletic program & the "cultural fit"? Don't you "enhance the product" by having more highly competitive games between high level programs with passionate fans?

deltaboy
deltaboy

I was trying to agree [up to a point] with MIZ_SEC. It seems to me that TV contracts would be enhanced more by compelling match-ups in intense settings than by TV sets in new markets that are probably going to be tuned to something besides college football.

andshar
andshar

It doesn't make sense to me that the SEC would go beyond 14. The only reason they're expanding at all is to renegotiate their TV deals. They are certainly trying to find the best 14th school to maximize TV money but there are no plausible additional schools that would add TV dollars beyond that (Notre Dame and Texas would but they won't join). Any plausible schools beyond 14 would just dilute the TV revenue so why would the SEC do it? They don't need to "keep up". The PAC-12 and Big 10 are probably not expanding further for the same reason. They've got their deals and any further expansion just dilutes the money. I don't see any superconferences among the major football conferences with the possible exception of the ACC.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

MIZ_SEC...

You've hit on something we've mentioned before. Let's say Texas A&M and Missouri join the SEC. That's a LOT of television households added and two AAU schools for presidents to celebrate. Now, just for conversation, let's say Florida State comes knocking next year as part of another national shakeup. Schools are moving and the SEC feels it's got to go to 16 to keep up. So it adds FSU, a major national brand.

Well, if the SEC has added millions of television households, fertile new recruiting ground, two AAU-quality academic schools, and a national brand like FSU that will drive up ratings across the country when it plays the LSUs, Alabamas and Georgias of the world... the SEC has covered its bases. Then if a West Virginia or a Clemson were needed to round things out at 16, the move might be more palatable.

It all depends on the TV dollars. When talking about School 14, the SEC would likely need another provider rather than another mouth to feed.

For that reason, WVU or Clemson might be more attractive for a 16th slot -- if the SEC is ever forced to go there -- than they would be for a 14th slot.

Thanks as always,
John

mith242
mith242

I see what you're saying. But as this website has been pointing out. If you're going to go ahead and add teams I think the SEC wants a bigger tv footprint. There's nothing wrong with West Virginia or Clemson. But they don't really add anything that will make renegotiating the current tv deal either. Whether we like it or not, that is one of the major factors driving college football right now.

AtlJS
AtlJS

Ok John -

I know you don't suffer nitpickers kindly, but sometimes one little letter or word does make a difference, and this time i think it it does. At the beginning of the piece, it says, "we" wrote in Blaudschun's blog, where i'm almost positive you meant that *he* wrote.

The irony here is that you've forgotten more about college football than Mark Blaudschun will ever know, and a MrSEC appearance on his blog would be not only a coup for him, but a welcome infusion of actual college football insight and perspective. I know you're too classy to join me in the pile-on, but let's just say the only way i'd expect to ever read his stuff again is if accidentally linked to it, and sure enough, i got just what i expected when i got there!

MrSEC will continue to lead the way on expansion/realignment, and the six or seven college football fans in the Boston area will continue to get their crumbs of info 3rd-hand, and after everyone else around the country is already informed.

Cheers,
-js

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

AtlJS...

Good catch. Hey, I make mistakes. When someone catches one and points it out in a nice way, I say "thanks" and I correct the error. As I've done here.

The only thing that chaps me is when someone points out an error in an ugly way. I don't go around to other people's sites correcting the spelling errors and syntax snafus that naturally occur when someone's writing tons o' words a day. So I don't understand the motivation for those folks who come here to do that to our site.

Of coure, I've been told I'm a tool for responding to comments at all... so what do I know?

Thanks again for the catch,
John

AtlJS
AtlJS

Ha ha - go around the sportsweb finding all the spelling and syntax errors? You've already *got* a full-time job! I enjoyed your quip on the ATL Talkin Football show....it IS quite a life you've carved out! ;-)

And you're absolutely right - it's all in how you point things out. I'm not always the best at that, but it was clear there was no confusion that perhaps you thought it was your own self (maybe in your sleep?) who posted on MB's blog, rather just a simple little letter making a difference.

The fact that you do acknowledge your commenters with responses and answered questions is yet another one of the things i like about this site.

Cheers,
-js

Glenn
Glenn

I see . I was under the impression WVU was turned down by the SEC and ACC .

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

Glenn...

According to published reports they were. WVU officials denied those reports. Before the denial, we had reported that the SEC did not officially decline anything... they simply let the school know they would get back to them if things change. So WVU is not a top priority for the SEC.

And since the ACC chose Pitt and Syracuse from the Big East rather than WVU -- and the fact they're rumored to be looking at Notre Dame, UConn and Rutgers from the Big East -- it's pretty clear the ACC didn't have the Mountaineers on the top of their list either.

Thanks for reading,
John

tradeassociation
tradeassociation

Not buying what Blaudschun is selling.

This reminds me of the "Missouri should wait on the Big 10 instead of going to the SEC" guy, whose primary goal was keeping Mizzou in a midwestern conference - be it Big 10 or Big 12 - and out of the SEC, and practically begged the SEC to consider somebody - anybody - else, and he was basically demanding that the SEC and Missouri act according to HIS interests and not their own. So, keep that into context. Mark Blaudschun is a longtime Big East fan and backer, and a lot of his sources are Big East people. (Note the angry BC fans commenting on his blog/column, saying "We are an ACC school now, why are you still reporting on the Big East?") So, Blaudschun has a personal and professional interest in promoting the "Clemson to the SEC" angle. 1. Neinas has basically stated that if Mizzou leaves, the Big 12 will have to take 3 teams to get back to 12. At least 2 - and possibly 3 - of those teams will be from the Big East, meaning that Blaudschun's league will be dead, and the sources that he uses as fodder for his sports writing will be dead. And if West Virginia leaves for the SEC? Ditto. So that gives Blaudschun reason to claim that the SEC is - or should be - interested in Clemson, which he "helpfully" aids by pointing out "Clemson is more like an SEC team anyway." I mean the "word is spreading through the SEC" ... from who? How plausible is it? How does it help Clemson to play in a stronger league, or the SEC to add a team that is already in their footprint? Blaudschun doesn't care ... he just doesn't want the SEC to take a Big East team (not only WVU but USF) or take a team that could lead to the Big 12 taking Big East teams (Missouri). Just an example of a "journalist" trying to create news to suit his own agenda, which is preserving the existence of the league that he likes and the relevance of the sources for his stories. The sad part is that Blaudschun refuses to see the writing on the wall: the basketball schools in the Big East oppose adding any new football schools, and they only care about themselves ... they could care less about those schools losing billions in TV revenue when they are no longer an AQ conference. The football schools have long known this, yet they refused to leave, despite Miami letting everyone know that they were unhappy and threatening to leave years before they actually did. That article also is pointing out that even if the basketball schools weren't holding stuff up, the mid-majors are unwilling to pay exit fees in order to join a conference that may not exist in a few years anyway. So, even Blaudschun's "take Clemson so it won't kill off the Big East!" advocacy likely isn't going to work anyway. Sorry, Blaudschun, but had the football schools in the Big East left like they should have, they wouldn't be in this mess. It is their fault that a couple of years from now you won't have a league to cover, not Missouri, the SEC or even the ACC.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

Yeah, if Clemson were being talked about within the SEC then you can bet that a Boston reporter would not have heard about it first.

AtlJS
AtlJS

+1! Very well-said, and summed up.

I used to read Blaudschun three times a week when i lived in Boston in the early 90s and had the Globe home-delivered, only because it was literally all we had for CFB. Three times a week, i'd eagerly tear into the only CFB piece in town, and three times a week i'd find myself shaking my head and wondering how this guy stays employed.
Once the internet blew up, i dropped the subscription and i hadn't been subjected to any of his puffery until now. Same old same-old. And you're absolutely right - he should see the writing on the wall. Hey, it was a pretty cushy little run while it lasted...

-js

Guest
Guest

@cnast777......."3 wins over top 25 opponets"...??? Who???

-FSU is no longer ranked. They lost to Wake Forrest..........FSU is starting to down-right stink now.
-Auburn is not ranked in the USA Today Coaches Poll (the one that figures into the BCS), they are ranked in the AP. (not figured into the BCS.)
-With the exception of Clemson, Virginia Tech has not played anyone so far. They are 5-1, but you don't know what they have. They beat Miami (who stinks) by 3, and beat East Carolina in the last seconds of the game by 7. Their other 3 remaining wins were against Appalachian State, Arkansas State and Marshall.
-Clemson beat Wofford (a Div I-AA school) by 8 points at home and was tied with them at halftime. Clemson also looked like a whole different team when Tajh Boyd went out against BC last week.

.....So, yes, they are and have "skated" through the ACC and their consistent yearly weak schedule. By default of FSU, Miami and VT sucking and Clemson being 6-0 is the only reason they are where they are. This smoke-screen will be cleared at some point and time before the season is over, most likely by Georgia Tech and South Carolina, and maybe North Carolina.

2002ClemsonTiger
2002ClemsonTiger

Clemson plays Wake later this season. The FSU/Wake game is a wash for Clemson's SOS.
Agreed about the Hokies.
Wofford is one of the top FCS programs and they run an unusual triple option offense. An ugly W is still better than a pretty L.

Clemson's schedule is no weaker than South Carolina's. The Gamecocks miss both Alabama and LSU this year. Clemson, OTOH, gets the three top teams in the Coastal Division (GT, VT, UNC). The SEC has good teams, but they have a lot of mediocre teams as well.

Georgia Tech will be the real test for Clemson and they will probably play them twice.

Chris
Chris

So why didn't South Carolina "skate" through Auburn like Clemson did?

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

South Carolina isn't as good as Clemson, but USC hasn't faced the toughest teams in the SEC yet by contrast.

Glenn
Glenn

Clemson doesn't add TV dollars unless they have more access to the North Carolina TV market than I'm aware of . Just not seeing it . The only reason I could see is that the SEC needs a school to go to the east instead of moving Auburn and/or a 8 games SEC schedule is a must . Mizzou once again just makes more sense . WVU is out of play right ? There application was denied .

2002ClemsonTiger
2002ClemsonTiger

Clemson doesn't shake the apple cart and they don't dilute the brand. Mizzou does both. Plus the SEC is Mizzou's second choice (after the B1G). No new TV markets, but Clemson does bring ratings. South Carolina is not as opposed as people think and UGA has been wanting the Tigers back on the schedule.

Other reasons to add Clemson:

Clemson doesn't require divisional realignment. Mizzou does.
Clemson can hold its own against the SEC. They would be consistently middle of the pack in the SEC East.
They are in better shape in football than Texas A&M is now or Arkansas and South Carolina were in 1990.
Clemson/Texas A&M would work well as a cross-division game.
Clemson brings in 75,000+ per game--to Clemson, SC, a town that makes Starkville, MS look like a booming metropolis.
Clemson is a plus in basketball and baseball.

The big reason not to add Clemson is that Clemson has made no moves to leave the ACC. The SEC does not want to invite a lawsuit and does not want to be rejected.

Another question is whether Clemson WANTS to join the SEC. The fans and alumni would jump in a heartbeat, the administration (who actually make the decision) not so much. Clemson's administration chose to reign in the football program when they fired Danny Ford back in 1989. They don't want an out of control program again.

Plus, Clemson is a charter member of the ACC. That's over 57 years of rivalry with the other six original teams plus an even longer rivalry with Georgia Tech and what has become an intense rivalry with FSU.

Hillbillydelux
Hillbillydelux

As MrSEC has pointed out before, there was no "application"--it just doesn't work that way. The back-channel discussions between Oliver Luck and Mr. Slive no doubt ended with the statement, "we'll keep you in mind, but don't call us we'll call you."

HoustonVol
HoustonVol

There was no firm denial of the WVU application. It was more of you are not the direction we wish to go right now.

cnast777
cnast777

Three straight wins over top 25 teams isn't exactly skating.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

cnast777...

Actually, wins would be skating. But I get your drift that their schedule has been rough. But I don't think anyone could argue that if Clemson were in the SEC right now, there chances of finishing undefeated would be a lot smaller than they currently are in the ACC.

Thanks for reading,
John

HoustonVol
HoustonVol

Right AJW, why add to Clemson's attraction to recruits.

AJW
AJW

Clemson already recruits against usc and uga and does very well against them

atl14dat
atl14dat

Agree, It should be Missouri by almost any standard. Even if some rivalries are disrupted. That said if Missouri is not coming then it can't be Clemson. They add nothing. One of the few Schools that could make West Virginia appealing.

HoustonVol
HoustonVol

I would think that WVU would be a better back up school than Clemson. I would think that USC, UT and UGA would not want Clemson in the league because of the amount of recruiting wars it would start.

John Martin
John Martin

hey john (Mrsec) is is at all possible that Mike slive and the ADs are looking at possibly getting MU in the west and two other teams in the east and jumping directly to 16 instead of just going to 14. ie. picking up MU in the west and say Clemson and WVU in the east. or some such configuration there of. just a thought....

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