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Big Bang Theories: The Countdown To Super-Conferences (Part 2)

Last month, what looked to be a quiet holiday season went boom when the Big Ten surprisingly swiped Maryland from the ACC and Rutgers from the Big East.  The Big East responded by inviting Tulane into the family.  At that point most of the Big East’s biggest basketball schools said, “That’s enough,” and announced just days ago that they would be breaking away from their football-playin’ brothers to create a new hoops-first conference of their own.

Instead of a season of peace, presidents, commissioners, coaches and fans are back to nervously holding their breath as they wait for the next big move.  Silent nights will be replaced with anxious nights for many.

With expansion and realignment in the air once more, we’re taking a numbers-based look at how things might shake out.  Yesterday, we showed you the total revenue numbers — gross not net — for each school currently scheduled to be playing FBS football by 2015.  Follow the money and it becomes clear that about 76 FBS schools — those not in the Big Ten, Big XII, Pac-12 and SEC — might be willing to flip-flop conferences if it meant more cash in their coffers.

Meanwhile, the biggest conferences are keeping their eyes on the ACC, the Big East, Notre Dame, and a select number of schools that might actually be worth nabbing.  That’s what we’ll examine today:

 

1.  Which schools would be appealing to the biggest leagues thanks to the number of cable households they can influence/provide?  With several leagues launching their own networks, the more cable households gained, the higher the subscriber fees those conferences can try to charge.

2.  Which schools have “big brand” appeal?  Location isn’t everything.  East Carolina — for example — might be located in the Tarheel State, but ECU doesn’t draw North Carolina-type ratings on television.  Just grabbing San Diego State in California wouldn’t allow a league to claim it has drawing power across the entire Golden State.  Stealing a Southern Cal or a California, on the other hand…

3.  Which schools have the best academic reputations?  As we noted yesterday, academics are playing a smaller and smaller role in expansion and realignment (see: Louisville to the ACC) as dollars and survival instinct become the real drivers behind many leagues’ decisions.  The Big Ten and SEC, however, are in the most powerful positions moving forward.  Their schools currently bring in the most revenue.  If push came to shove, there would be few schools willing to turn down an invite from either conference.  The Big Ten has always been very picky about trying to add AAU member institutions with big research budgets.  The SEC can be choosy, too, at this point.  The league’s presidents are tired of having the pointy-heads from Up North making inferences about the “dumb jocks” in the league Down South.  In addition to growing it’s geographic and media footprint, the SEC’s last round of expansion allowed it to add two AAU schools to its roster.  If forced to expand further, expect Mike Slive to try and land more big name brands with reputations for being solid research-based universities.

 

So let’s start by looking at the 25 schools we identified yesterday as having at least some hope of landing in a bigger conference:  Boise State, Boston College, BYU, Cincinnati, Clemson, Connecticut, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Miami (FL), North Carolina, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, San Diego State, SMU, South Florida, Syracuse, UCF, UNLV, Virginia and Virginia Tech.

How many cable households are in each school’s state?  How big of a brand name does each school have?  And — mainly in the case of the Big Ten and SEC — which schools offer the most academic clout?

 

 

Boise State

Cable Households in Idaho*:  161,850

Top 100 in Research Expenditures**:  No

AAU Member Institution:  No

Summary:  The Broncos have a national name when it comes to football, but they’d better hope the Pac-12 or Big XII get froggy over other leagues’ moves.  Idaho would add little value to a conference’s own television network.  The school also brought in just $31 million in total revenue in fiscal year 2011-12.  That only reinforces the idea that BSU’s other programs lag behind Chris Petersen’s football program.  Boise State might look good on a cocktail napkin while you and your buddies draw up a universe with four 16-team conferences, but the reality is that Boise State will need some help if it’s to land in a super-conference.

 

Boston College

Cable Households in Massachusetts:  2,230,240

Top 100 in Research Expenditures:  No

AAU Member Institution:  No

Summary:  Location hurts the Eagles.  The Big Ten probably won’t make a run at a non-AAU school unless there’s a huge upside (more on that below).  For a league looking to stretch farther South, BC’s also out of luck on that front.  Of the remaining big boy leagues, the SEC, Big XII and Pac-12 are unlikely to branch off into Massachusetts, no matter how big the Boston TV market is.  The Eagles best bet is for the ACC to survive in some way.  Tip: It might be time to drop the UConn hang-up and allow the Huskies into the Atlantic Coast Conference.  Fighting against a Connecticut entry at this point risks cutting off the ol’ nose to spite the face.

 

BYU

Cable Households in Utah:  395,430

Top 100 in Research Expenditures:  No

AAU Member Insitution:  No

Summary:  In addition to the usual culture questions — can you picture the Mormons of Provo fitting in with the farmers of Kansas, the nouveau hippies of Berkeley, or the cowboys of the Lone Star State? — BYU also has to deal with its location in a state that provides little in the way of cable households.  Like Boise State, Brigham Young must hope that either the Pac-12 or the Big XII sees a hard, fast reason to expand.  If so, the Cougars could benefit from the fact that they’re one of the few recognizable brand names in the western US.  If not, BYU will likely be excluded from the super-conferences to come.

 

Cincinnati

Cable Households in Ohio:  2,978,860

Top 100 in Research Expenditures:  Yes (#49)

AAU Member Institution:  No

Summary:  Keep an eye on UC, folks.  The school boasts a quality TV market — though the state of Ohio will always be owned by Ohio State — and it’s located in a very fertile recruiting zone.  Travel in and out is obviously easy.  And the school’s academic reputation is improving, aided by the university’s heavy push toward academic research.  The Big XII would seem to be a natural fit should that league decide to grow.  If the ACC can keep itself upright, the Bearcats might make a nice expansion partner there as well.

 

Clemson

Cable Households in South Carolina:  996,950

Top 100 in Research Expenditures:  Yes (#99)

AAU Member Institution:  No

Summary:  It’s been rumored for more than a year now that CU has been in contact with the Big XII, but to date nothing’s come of the internet chatter.  If the Big Ten decides to look further south, it won’t be for Clemson.  As for the SEC, at what point must a league protect its own region?  Expansion is about gobbling up new cable households and new land, but would the SEC at some point feel better served to just grab a school within its existing footprint in order to keep other league’s out?  We don’t believe so.  If the Big XII, for example, were to grab Clemson it would add to that conference’s bottom line, but it likely wouldn’t hurt the SEC one iota.  The Southeastern Conference already has the state university in the Palmetto State.  The SEC’s goal should be to grow its own wealth, regardless of what the competition does.  Thereofore, we believe it’s Big XII or ACC for Clemson moving forward.

 

Connecticut

Cable Households in Connecticut:  1,146,780

Top 100 in Research Expenditures:  No

AAU Member Institution:  No

Summary:  Much like Boston College, UConn is hurt by its location in the far reaches of the Northeast.  The Big Ten has already chosen to abscond with Rutgers rather than Connecticut and that’s telling.  Entry into a trying-to-strengthen itself ACC would appear to be the Huskies’ best hope for landing in a power conference in the future… should the ACC be a power conference in the future.

 

Duke

Cable Households in North Carolina:  2,084,400

Top 100 in Research Expenditures:  Yes (#7)

AAU Member Institution:  Yes

Summary:  The name brand turns television dials in basketball, but not football.  Still that name is so powerful in basketball that leagues might overlook the Blue Devils’ gridiron shortcomings.  Whoever lands Duke will be adding one of the nation’s premier universities.  If the ACC begins to crumble, Duke and North Carolina will likely move together.  Their options appear to be twofold according to folks we’ve spoken to — either Big Ten or SEC.  An ACC source recently told a national publication that the SEC has been wooing those two schools for years.  Our SEC sources all seem to believe that the Big Ten is eager to land the Blue Devils and Tarheels, too.  These are two of the crown jewels in the super-conference race.  If the ACC survives, they stay put.  If not, Duke and UNC will have to choose between either academic reputation (Big Ten) or natural rivalries and travel costs (SEC).  Cash-wise, the SEC and Big Ten are probably going to rank 1-2 among conferences long-term, so there likely won’t be much edge one way or the other on that front.

 

Florida State

Cable Households in Florida:  5,186,900

Top 100 in Research Expenditures:  Yes (#93)

AAU Member Institution:  No

Summary:  FSU is a major national brand.  Put Florida State on television against almost anyone and you’ll draw some viewers.  The ‘Noles are also one of just two schools in the Sunshine State that can allow a conference to claim ownership of the state’s five million cable households.  The SEC made an unofficial offer to Florida State back in the early ’90s, but the Seminoles chose to jump to the ACC instead.  (Obviously, not a wise move.)  With television dollars the most important aspect of expansion these days, would the SEC’s presidents believe FSU could put money in their pockets?  Would Florida be willing to allow an arch-rival to catch up financially via entry into the Gators’ own conference?  The game has changed in 20 years and we think it’s doubtful that the SEC — unless it gets very, very defensive — would extend an offer to the Seminoles.  Like Clemson, it appears that Florida State will either stay in the ACC or head to the Big XII (should Bob Bowlsby’s conference decide to expand).  FSU’s lack of AAU cred would most likely scuttle any chance of a Big Ten marriage.

 

Georgia Tech

Cable Households in Georgia:  2,025,600

Top 100 in Research Expenditures:  Yes (#26)

AAU Member Institution:  Yes

Summary:  An old member of the Southeastern Conference, Tech has everything a league not named the SEC would look for — AAU membership, a great academic reputation, a location in one of the nation’s true talent hotbeds.  But like Clemson and Florida State, the only way Tech could grab an invite from the conference it once left would be for said conference to go on the defensive.  And that’s not the SEC’s style.  It’s been rumored that Tech has had discussions in some form or fashion with the Big XII.  School officials have denied that.  We at MrSEC.com have been told by numerous sources inside the SEC and on the business side of college athletics that Tech and the Big Ten have been communicating and that Tech is preparing for a leap in that direction (depending on the exit fees Maryland will have to pay to the ACC office).  Tech officials will deny this, too.  We won’t believe them.  If the Big Ten expands further, expect Tech to join Maryland and another southern school on Jim Delany’s target list.

 

Houston

Cable Households in Texas:  4,543,410

Top 100 in Research Expenditures:  No

AAU Member Institution:  No

Summary:  A good TV market, improving facilities, and a location saturated with recruits all make Houston more desirable than one might initially think.  Going back a quarter of a century, the SEC actually had some preliminary talks with Cougar brass about entering the league along with Texas A&M.  That said, who might make a run at Houston now?  Not the Big Ten due to academics.  Not the ACC as it tries to hold itself together.  Not the SEC as it has already landed Texas A&M (and the reasons for conference growth have changed since the late-80s, making Houston nothing more than surplus for the SEC at this point).  The Big XII probably won’t call either since that league already claims the state of Texas.  Tally it up and Houston fans wanting to land in a major conference should be praying that Larry Scott decides to expand to 16 schools and that he still wants to gain entry into the state of Texas.  Houston might not be the biggest television draw in the state, but coupled with SMU, for example, the Pac-12 might be able to claim quite a few of those cable households in both the Dallas and Houston areas.  Otherwise, it’s likely the Cougars will be left without a chair when the music stops in this round of expansion.

 

Louisville

Cable Households in Kentucky:  981,360

Top 100 in Research Expenditures:  No

AAU Member Institution:  No

Summary:  Forget the academic issues, Louisville jumped Cincinnati and UConn on the ACC’s invite list thanks to its name brand in basketball and it’s profitability.  As we showed yesterday, thanks to Papa John’s Stadium and the new KFC Yum! Center, the ‘Ville is raking in the cash.  For fiscal year 2011-12, the Cardinals ranked among the nation’s 20 biggest revenue producers.  If the ACC goes bye-bye, expect the Big XII to take a long look at adding Louisville (if, again, that conference decides it must expand).  U of L almost got an invite over West Virginia a year ago through political maneuvering.  Next time around, the Cards might get an invitation solely on merit.

 

Memphis

Cable Households in Tennessee:  1,456,310

Top 100 in Research Expenditures:  No

AAU Member Institution:  No

Summary:  Surprisingly, Memphis is one of six just six schools outside the Big Five (ACC, Big Ten, Big XII, Pac-12, SEC) to have made more than $42.9 million in athletic department revenue last year.  The number of cable households in Tennessee is decent, but the Tigers aren’t the biggest draw in the state… especially when it comes to football.  That said, if the Big XII wanted to expand to reach the 16-school mark, Memphis might be a good fit in terms of growing that league’s geographic footprint, basketball reputation, its lineup of Top 50 television markets.  But Memphis will probably be on the outside looking in barring a massive growth spurt by the Big XII.

 

Miami (FL)

Cable Households in Florida:  5,186,900

Top 100 in Research Expenditures:  Yes (#76)

AAU Member Institution:  No

Summary:  Miami is a national brand.  In fact, it’s probably more of a national football brand than it is a local brand.  Flip on a Hurricane football game and more often than not you’re going to see a whole lot of empty seats.  That’s why we believe Florida and Florida State are really the only schools that would allow a conference to claim the Sunshine State’s more than five million cable households.  To gain entry into a super-conference, Miami will also have to overcome its reputation for cheating and skullduggery.  The U’s academic reputation is strong, but we still believe Cane fans should be hoping that either a) the ACC survives or b) the Big XII decides to expand in a big way by grabbing both Florida State and Miami.  We just finished talking about Memphis… if it came down to it, would the Big XII grab the Hurricanes or the Tigers.  Yeah, we think Miami, too.  ACC or super-Big XII seem to be the most realistic options.

 

North Carolina

Cable Households in North Carolina:  2,084,400

Top 100 in Research Expenditures:  Yes (#17)

AAU Member Institution:  Yes

Summary:  See Duke’s summary, though Carolina plays better football.

 

North Carolina State

Cable Households in North Carolina:  2,084,400

Top 100 in Research Expenditures:  Yes (#44)

AAU Member Institution:  No

Summary:  NCSU is the third wheel in terms of expansion into the state of North Carolina.  UNC and Duke are the top options.  Should those two land in one conference, it’s possible that State could serve as a fallback for the other league.  NC State boasts solid academics — though not the AAU membership that Big Ten presidents crave — and the school would offer the Raleigh television market as well as some claim on the state’s two million cable households.  Still, State should be hoping for ACC survival or a Research Triangle power play that would land UNC, Duke and NCSU in one league, be it the SEC or the Big Ten.

 

Notre Dame

Cable Households in Indiana:  1,362,930

Top 100 in Research Expenditures:  No

AAU Member Institution:  No

Summary:  This is probably the only non-AAU school that the Big Ten would chase (hoping that it could help the Irish grab an invite from that esteemed grouping).  Notre Dame recently announced a partnership with the ACC for all sports but football, though it will schedule five ACC teams per year while maintaining its independence.  But the Big East’s rapid crumble will force Notre Dame to move its non-football sports quicker than it would have liked.  Will the ACC welcome the Irish ahead of schedule?  Will it use Notre Dame’s all-sports worries as leverage to force Brian Kelly’s program into the league on a full-scale basis?  Will the Big XII rush in and woo the Irish with an immediate welcome sans football?  Everything is on the table when it comes to the top national brand in collegiate football.

 

Pittsburgh

Cable Households in Pennsylvania:  3,473,150

Top 100 in Research Expenditures:  Yes (#20)

AAU Member Institution:  Yes

Summary:  Pittburgh is a good fit for the ACC if that league survives.  Pitt would be a great fit for the Big Ten, if Penn State wouldn’t put up a squawk.  Already boasting West Virginia, the Big XII would have to be considered a potential landing spot for the Panthers as well.  And don’t cross off the SEC just yet either.  If the league had opened its doors to WVU its teams would already have to travel through the Pittsburgh airport en route to Morgantown.  Getting an SEC Network on Pennsylvania cable systems would be a plus at the bank and on the recruiting trail.  The school’s academic rep would also please SEC presidents.  The problem is the “fit.”  Aside from Vanderbilt, not one other league school is based in large city featuring competition from professional athletics.  SEC passion has grown in part thanks to the fact that before 1960, the only game in the South was college ball.  Pitt doesn’t fit that mold.  But just look those cable households and there are only two big programs in the Keystone State.

 

San Diego State

Cable Households in California:  6,963,130

Top 100 in Research Expenditures:  No

AAU Member Institution:  No

Summary:  Clearly, SDSU does not have the statewide pull of big brands like USC, UCLA and Cal.  It’s location leaves the Aztec administration with just one real hope — a Pac-12 invitation.  Would the Pac-12 add a fifth school within the Golden State?  Why would it when it could expand into new territories like Las Vegas, Dallas or Houston?

 

SMU

Cable Households in Texas:  4,543,410

Top 100 in Research Expenditures:  No

AAU Member Institution:  No

Summary:  There’s only a slim chance of Southern Methodist landing in a super-conference.  As we discussed while breaking down Houston’s chances, SMU would probably need the Pac-12 to offer up a pair of invites to both of those big city Texas schools.  The odds of that happening seem long, though.

 

South Florida

Cable Households in Florida:  5,186,900

Top 100 in Research Expenditures:  Yes (#62)

AAU Member Institution:  No

Summary:  Who knew that USF boasted such a large research budget?  The school is also located in easy-to-reach Tampa.  And there sure are plenty of television sets in the Sunshine State.  But the Bulls aren’t as big a draw as Florida, Florida State or even Miami in terms of name recognition.  The ACC could attempt to strengthen itself by adding USF, but FSU would probably put up a fight.  For any other league, South Florida would probably look like Option #3 at best behind Florida State and Miami.

 

Syracuse

Cable Households in New York:  5,684,780

Top 100 in Research Expenditures:  No

AAU Member Institution:  No

Summary:  Like UConn and Boston College, Syracuse is in trouble.  The chools lacks the AAU status to get much interest from the Big Ten.  No other league is likely to make a play for a school that far north and east.  Orange fans had better hope the ACC can protect itself from invaders.

 

UCF

Cable Households in Florida:  5,186,900

Top 100 in Research Expenditures:  No

AAU Member Institution:  No

Summary:  See USF.  Replace Tampa with Orlando.  And remove the Top 100 research budget.  Other than that, the Knights’ will face the exact same obstacles as South Florida.

 

UNLV

Cable Households in Nevada:  559,790

Top 100 in Research Expenditures:  No

AAU Member Institution:  No

Summary:  As we showed you yesterday, UNLV make some nice revenue for a school not currently based in a power conference.  The Las Vegas television market is a good size.  The city itself is a national attraction.  The days of mob-owned casinos are a thing of the past.  But the school lacks a prime academic reputation.  Would a league like the Pac-12 or Big XII give the Runnin’ Rebels the big promotion they’ve always wanted?  It would be a risky move.  Especially considering the economic and environmental worries facing the city these days.  If all hell breaks loose and leagues start scrambling to just add schools and television content, then Nevada-Las Vegas could indeed be kissed by Lady Luck.

 

Virginia

Cable Households in Virginia:  1,903,900

Top 100 in Research Expenditures:  Yes (#72)

AAU Member Institution:  Yes

Summary:  The next Maryland.  At least that’s what a lot of people connected to the world of college athletics have told us.  Virginia has everything that the Big Ten could possibly desire.  Reportedly, the two parties have already had conversations — and from what we’ve been told — UVA and Georgia Tech could be the next “surprise” move by the Big Ten.  The SEC would probably have an interest in Virginia as well, but a marriage between those two parties would seem to be unlikely at this point.  Of course, there’s always the possibility of the ACC somehow holding itself together.

 

Virginia Tech

Cable Households in Virginia:  1,903,900

Top 100 in Research Expenditures:  Yes (#41)

AAU Member Institution:  No

Summary:  For the past few years there’s been talk of Virginia Tech possibly heading to the SEC, though school officials have shot that chatter down on many occasions.  Last summer, rumors spread that Tech might look to the Big XII along with Georgia Tech, Florida State and Clemson, but nothing came of those whispers.  According to a source with a major equipment supplier, at least one ACC baseball coach believes Virginia and Virginia Tech are angling together for a move to the Big Ten.  Tech doesn’t have an AAU membership card, but with its research budget, Big Ten presidents might feel they could sneak the Hokies into the club.  For decades, VPI fought to gain entrance into the ACC.  We believe it will take an ACC collapse to drive them from the home they’ve enjoyed for a little less than a decade.

 

(* Cable household estimates provided by The Nielsen Company, May 2011.

** 2009 research spending numbers provided by The Center for Measuring University Performance, 2011 Annual Report)

 

To understand why academics still play a role for those leagues in power positions, consider that the biggest spender in college sports is the University of Texas and its athletic spending hovers around the $130 million mark.  Texas’ spending on academic research is usually in the $500 million range.  Re-read those numbers.  As panic sets in, leagues like the ACC are more likely to overlook AAU membership, research spending, and academic reputation.

But as we stated above, the Big Ten and SEC can afford to be choosy.  The Big XII and Pac-12 — if they feel they must expand to keep up with the league’s captained by Jim Delany and Mike Slive — might not be quite as picky considering the number of big brand schools west of the Mississippi.

The Big Ten is on pace to have 14 schools in the not-so-distant future and 13 of them will be AAU institutions.  Nebraska is the outlier, but NU was in the AAU when the Big Ten snatched it from the Big XII.  We’re fairly certain that if one of the 25 schools listed above isn’t an AAU school — or at least a Top 100 research university that the Big Ten feels it could work into the AAU — it won’t be getting a call from Delany.  In fact, 13 of the Big Ten’s member schools rank among the top 100 in total research expenditures and School #14 (Indiana) ranks 104th.

Fitting the profile means something in most cases.  Eleven Pac-12 and ACC schools rank in the top 100 for research spending.  Nine SEC schools (Texas A&M, Florida, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Georgia, LSU, Missouri, Mississippi State, Tennessee and South Carolina in that order) are top 100 spenders.  The Big XII, which has seen the defections of Nebraska, Colorado, Texas A&M and Missouri in recent years has only two schools on the top 100 list left: Texas and Iowa State.

Academics mean more to some leagues than others, clearly.  But while cash and television are driving the current expansion/realignment bus, academic reputation can still be a hair-splitter for leagues deciding between inviting School X or School Y.  Which is why we included the academic numbers in today’s piece.

 

Up next, we’ll look at the most likely courses of action for each of the five power conferences.  And, yes, there will be plenty of guessing involved.

 


98 comments
slance66
slance66

John,

 

Really like the articles.  But where do you get the research numbers?  For Example, UConn is #77 in the NSF survey, so clearly in the top 100. http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/profiles/ranking.cfm#U

 

Also, what value to give to cultural fits.  You mention BYU fitting with say, Kansas (which isn't asking much) but I think Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin fitting with Georgia, NC or VA is asking quite a lot.  I think there is a Mason-Dixon line effect that is still in play. 

SECExpansionYeah
SECExpansionYeah

Big Ten has no interest in the South.  Setting up shop down there is a losing battle they know they can never win.  Midwest and Northeast locked down is their goal.

 

Big Ten To 20 w/ UConn, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, BC, Cuse, Kansas.

 

SEC picks up: FSU, VA, VT, UNC, NC State, Clemson

 

GT, Duke, Wake... and remaining private schools form the once talked-about Marigold conference as the "Southern Ivies"

 

GT, Duke, Wake, Miami, Tulane, Rice, Baylor, ect.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

ESPN is floating the rumor that the Big Ten is going after Georgia Tech and UNC...at least they say that is what officials from UConn and Cincinnati believe.  And they're floating that idea in a story about Boise State.  Interesting.

 

Anyway, if it's true that UNC/Duke can be separated then that would change the dynamics of the discussion.

JansonRoberts
JansonRoberts

How about a little out of the box thinking to end this realignment fiasco. Getting to 4 superconferences with the majic number of 16 teams per conference is almost impossible in the current landscape as I have read here on Mr.SEC.com. Especially for the PAC 12 and the Big12 for that matter. The SEC is not going to be able to get the 2 most perfect schools (in the ACC) to just send in an application for membership any time soon. I also don't think the SEC will ever "settle" for plan B or plan C. The B1G is not going to be able to go to the 2 most perfect schools (in the ACC) that the B1G really want and get those 2 schools to leave today in this current landscape. The B1G is also not going to "settle" for plan B or Plan C. Forget about it. *Side Note...The B1G is not going to go after non AAU schols unless it is a last gasp effort to save itself.......in other words, non AAU schools are completely off the table unless yourUniversity intials are "ND". So knowing that 16 is not a real number, could 20 be the real focus? What if the B1G and the SEC were a tandem match together for this next round? It is quite possible after the SEC renegotiation contract numbers come out that the B1G with it's Billions in payout projections and the SEC with its Billions in payout projections could work a deal that could allow both conferences gain the markets and Universities that meet both Conference's requirements and needs. Six to the B1G and 6 to the SEC. The PIE would go to 4 slices instead of 5 for the most part. Now for the really crazy part. The PAC 12 last year supposedly came within a few signatures of adding 4 schools from the BIG12. Alas it did not happen. Well today the PAC is a virtual island as far as having any real options off adding 2 more schools much less any higher number unless.....take 8 schools from the BIG. $ was not really the right number to begin with. Take 8 schools from the Big 12 and their GOR. There is no Big 12 at that point, and there is no GOR at that point. Now the PIE is cut in thirds, not quarters or fifths. BIG BANG and at that point why don't the 3 Supers break off to form the now Super Duper Division. All the remaining schools not taken in the Big Bang could revamp the current Division 1 FBS league and can run it along the same lines as it is running now with the exception of forming it to have revenue sharing and a real playoff format.

As for the newly formed Super Conference Division, it now holds more leverage across the board. Scheduling could be reformed for the OOC games that might actually bring the fnas back to the stadiums. How would all the OOC schedules look if all the Super Schools could only have 1 OOC game outside the Super Conferences? I say 1 because there could be legislation that forces a school within the SUPER to play an in state rival that is not in a SUPER Conference. No more crazy matchups in the Bowls. No more FCS scheduling. No more expansion dread. Premium Payout to Premium Performance. Maybe 60 total leaaves too many power schools out? make it 22  per conference or 24. Surely 72 teams would get everyone that really can perform into the equation. BUT then there is the LHN. Well, there is always a number. 15 million per year? well, the NEW TV contract for the PAC at 20 or 22 or whatever number of schools would just happen to call  that 15 million that LHN is getting from ESPN and raises it by another 10 million. But what about ND? Well, there is always a number. 15 million per year? Well it just so happens that the B1G payout will that 15 million for the ND TV contract and raises it another 10 or 20 million. Nah, it would never work.

JRsec
JRsec

If I'm Swafford, I would speak with Virginia Tech and North Carolina State about waiving the exit fee if they wished to leave for the SEC.  Now I have 4-6 slots with which to expand my conference.  I offer (ESPN property) Texas the same deal that Notre Dame received.  Then I offer Baylor, Rice, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa State, and Tulane invitations to the ACC.  Now I have a conference that has improved athletically, expanded my footprint significantly, clipped the wings of Jim Delany for future expansion, and re-invigorated the academics of the ACC leaving Louisville as the only questionable academic addition.   If the SEC desired further expansion beyond 16 they could determine if there was enough value in adding two of Oklahoma State, Kansas State, West Virginia, Texas Tech, or Cincinnati.

 

Delany's options would be Connecticut and either Colorado State or Brigham Young, in other words a non starter.  The BTN is then hamstrung and their conference is stuck at 14 with those two powerhouse market favorites of Rutgers and Maryland.

 

The PAC could choose to pick up the remainder of Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Texas Tech, and Cincinnati and add them to two of Nevada, San Diego State, Houston, Brigham Young, Boise State and S.M.U. if they truly wanted sixteen. 

 

The SEC and ACC could then partner in the Champs Bowl and for the sake of protecting rivalries agree to a competition weekend during the season..  ESPN would pony up to keep their properties competitively in the ACC and to keep their best stock out of Fox's hands.  

 

After all, conference realignment is going to morph into network wars before this is over with and that is likely to change the direction of what has been assumed heretofore.  But we will see shortly how this plays out. 

JansonRoberts
JansonRoberts

Reading into all this realignment, I can't see the B1G or the SEC being able stay at 16 teams. I know it is the magical number that most articles refer to time and time again in the "Superconference" ideal. But neither are going to be able add just 2 teams from the ACC of their choosing given the current landscape of that conference. UVA is not leaving as long as VT and UNC remain in the ACC. VT ditto. UNC ditto on UVA, Duke and NCST. 5 teams there in the block that are really a package deal. Not a package together per say. But a package deal in that all 5 are going to have a new home in one of the 2 money maker conferences. I have seen a few perdictions of VT or NCST going to the Big 12. Aint going to happen. Too far and not enough stability. Yes, there is the GOR yadda yadda yadda. Still not a great place to be from these particular school's view point. If the Virginia schools and the North Carolina schools leave the ACC, it will probably be collectively, not all to 1 conference, but all to one of the two power conferences.

buddha22
buddha22

John, excellent articles, I don't agree 100% but very thorough and well reasoned, imho. Thank you!

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @John at MrSEC  Considering the market issue and if the SEC brass really doesn't want to go after FSU and Clemson, what combo of teams would you consider the ideal target for the SEC?  And if that combo isn't realistic then what is doable in this climate?  Are we looking at the possibility of Pitt and Cincinnati being targets along with some combo of VA and NC schools?

Dnayew
Dnayew

Part 3 can't come soon enough :)

ynotgoal
ynotgoal

From the summaries of those 25 teams, there are only 8 that would seem to enhance the Big 10/SEC profile .. Duke, North Carolina, NC St, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Florida St.  Say the ACC breaks apart and those schools get split up between the Big 10 and SEC.  The Big 12 is then looking at two 18 team power conferences and they have 10 teams and would likely think they need to expand.  The schools left would be Clemson, Miami, Louisville, Syracuse, Pitt.  Those are fine schools but probably wouldn't increase Big 12 per school revenue, not to mention the travel times.  At that point, the Big 12 either needs to add schools just to be bigger or look at other options.  One of those options might be to revisit the Pac 12.  Might Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, Kansas and Kansas St decide to dissolve the Big 12 (avoiding the grant of rights issue and the LHN hasn't taken off as hoped anyway) and join the Pac 12 to have a third 18 team power conference?

Quidam65
Quidam65

I just don't see either Delany or Slive "doubling down" on any state, so any UVA/VT or UNC/Duke deal is probably a non-starter.

 

I still think that UVA and UNC will move together and Big Ten is the likely landing spot.  VT and NC State would be solid pickups for the SEC; they get you some cable eyeballs in the states you want in, and their research #'s you quoted are both top 50 and puts them ahead of everyone in the SEC other than A&M (#18), Florida (#21), and Vandy (#37) (and for NC State, just one spot below #43 Kentucky).

JRsec
JRsec

 @AllTideUp It it's true that Virginia Tech and Virginia are trying to get into the Big 10 as a pair that could mean that Delany is trying to land U.N.C., Ga.Tech, U.Va, and Va Tech to get to 18.  That means the SEC may go for Duke and/or N.C. State, and Pitt but who for #18, Cincinnati or F.S.U.?  I'm not sure I believe this rumor.  I would be more likely to believe Duke, U.N.C., UVa, & Ga Tech to the Big 10.  Then we could go with N.C. State, Va Tech, Pitt and either Cincy or Florida State and wait to see what happens with the Big 12.

JRsec
JRsec

 @JansonRoberts There are cutoff points at 60, 66, and 71 for the amount of revenue invested into sports programs by universities.  This is one reason, symmetry being the other, as to why the number 64 was actually kicked around so much.  Your calculations and ideas are in the general direction I believe this to be headed.  If the Big 10 and SEC who both have more targets that add profitability beyond the number 16 perhaps even to as many as 24, decide on 18 or even 20 schools each for additions then the Big 12 is left with no pool of viable candidates for expansion, and with such a disproportionately small part of the total revenue pie that attracting any (if there were some available) would be difficult.  The PAC would find its position closely akin to the Big 12's position per their share of the revenue versus the SEC & Big 10.  At that point balance could only be maintained by a merger.  In such an action members of the Big 12 who were outliers would be permitted to make other arrangements as necessary.  Iowa State and West Virginia are who I have in mind.

 

At 60 teams there are actually 8 that could find themselves on the outside looking in.  These may include B.Y.U., Nevada, Boise State, Colorado State, Louisville, Cincinnati, Connecticut, T.C.U., Baylor, Iowa State, Clemson, Miami, Wake Forest, and West Virginia.  I believe that ultimately there will be either two conferences of 20 and one of 24, or one conference of 20 and two of 24.  The absorption of 68 teams leaves precious few with grounds for restraint of trade lawsuits.  Since the next logical cut off point for schools that actually invest in their athletic program is at the number 66, 68 satisfies most reasonable contingencies.  The question then becomes who to break them up.  The SEC has the most regionally profitable possibilities out of this group because Baylor or T.C.U. would deliver part of the D/FW market, West Virginia would add both a brand and a small new market, Cincinnati would add a market, and Miami/Clemson/Louisville are all strong brands and Miami is strong academically while Clemson and Louisville are profitable.

 

Iowa State, Wake Forest, and Miami may not bring enough to the table to be considered by the Big 10.  But, if the Big 10 has not already taken Connecticut they could form a foursome that would help tie their new footprint together a bit better.

 

To stay at 60 will be the inclination as it is more for those included, but 64, or 68, may be safer with less acrimony.   

JansonRoberts
JansonRoberts

Sorry I wrote the above at the airport and did not proof it. Just can't get my head around the number 16. It won't work.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @John at MrSEC This may be your topic for Part 3, but just wanted to get the question out there.

Quidam65
Quidam65

That's the one thing about these scenarios about which I'm not convinced--the relative stability of the Big 12.

 

As the first article pointed out, no other conference has such a huge gap between its top earner (Texas) and its bottom one (Iowa State).  And in football, though from time to time a K-State or an Oklahoma State can rise up, over the long haul the powers are Texas and Oklahoma, followed by everyone else.  Kansas brings its historic basketball franchise but its football is even worse than Duke.

 

And no conference is more dysfunctional.  How many conferences can claim that a member institution left the conference because of the actions of another member?  It's well known that A&M left because of Texas and its actions surrounding the Longhorn Network, but it's quite rumored that Nebraska also left because of Texas calling the shots (eliminating partial qualifiers, moving the conference HQ to DFW).

 

I'm just not certain that even if the ACC folded first and the Big 12 picked up Florida State, Clemson, etc., that ultimately the PAC-12 wouldn't try again to pick up Texas and OU (and probably Kansas) and that whole mess collapses.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @Quidam65 

 

Sorry, but if Slive or Delany had the option of taking Virginia Tech/NC State or Duke/North Carolina, they'd both take the latter duo over the former.  In the end, Duke and UNC are bigger national brands as schools and as athletic programs.

 

We may never know what options are out there, but I can assure you Duke/UNC would be the first pick of both leagues' presidents.

 

Thanks for reading the site,

John

BostonGeorge
BostonGeorge

 @Quidam65 UNC and Duke are joined at the hip. If you want UNC you have to take Duke. That is something the SEC and B1G would agree to because UNC is the jewel of all the schools in the south that is not in the SEC. Duke in the SEC also gives Vandy another small private school to compete against while they dont threaten the football powers.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @JRsec Speaking of Florida State, I really believe it would be smart for the SEC to pursue them.  Additional cable households or not, they are a top 10 brand in this game and those sorts of quality schools aren't available very often.  Branding, quality of content, and immediate ratings bonus despite whatever competition they are up against...FSU is top notch.  I'm concerned about the Big 12 nabbing them or maybe even the Big Ten.  And my biggest fear there is not that FSU would become some unstoppable superpower on the field in another conference that would wreak havoc on SEC teams, it's that the long term value of a school like that can't be measured.  Any conference is better off with them than without them.  Any other league grabbing them, especially the ones with GOR agreements, gain an immediate financial advantage whether they have a competitive one or not. 

 

I'm becoming convinced that conference realignment is more a game of survival than simply the money-grab that everyone says it is.  There will be more money, sure, but you've written on many occasions about funds drying up in an ever-shrinking economy.  That could become increasingly true in coming years and either way, markets will fluctuate within the current dynamics.  In times of uncertainty, what do you need?  Answer: commodities.  FSU is a commodity in college sports.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @JRsec Yeah, I think ESPN often floats misinformation out there at times like this...they did much the same thing back when A&M and Mizzou were working on coming to the SEC.  ESPN is no longer an unbiased news source and quite frankly pales in comparison to Mr SEC when it comes to putting out valid info on realignment.

 

I could buy the idea of GT and UNC being targets as I believe UNC is a more profitable commodity than UVA, but all the talk has been of UVA and GT being very close to bolting for the Big Ten.  And it's hard to imagine that at least 2 of the 3 NC schools would not be heading for the same league under these circumstances.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @JRsec  @JansonRoberts  Some sort of merger between the PAC 12 and the Big 12 might be in the best interest of both leagues assuming enough parties from both leagues would be interested in moving forward.  WVU would be better suited in the SEC and I even thought last year that WVU would have been a good addition, but especially in this climate where content could be so valuable.  Iowa State, not sure.  They would fit in the Big Ten and they would fit in with with any new conglomeration as well.  They aren't really much further East or North of the Kansas schools where most schools from the West coast would have to fly into KC anyway.  The difference in air time from KC to Des Moines wouldn't be that great and the Big 12 schools are already used to playing each other.  Plus, ISU is an AAU school and those schools are in short supply.  You could trade UNLV or New Mexico for WVU and that league would be complete I think.  Instead of a PAC 12 or 20, you could call it the Pacific Western Conference or something like that...I plan on taking royalties for that name if it is used.  ;)

 

If that league grew to 24 then I'm not sure there would be enough quality schools for the Big Ten and the SEC to both reach 24 in any congruent fashion, but it would be interesting.

Sooner_Stampede
Sooner_Stampede

Texas A&M hated being the little brother to Texas. Texas approached the conference about a conference wide network years ago and was turned down. Then 3 years ago Texas approached A&M about partnering together for a Lonestar network and again Texas was rebuffed. A&M left the conference because they never were relevant in anything except for the Lonestar Showdown and even then Texas got all the glory for it so they joined the SEC so they would be special and the only Texas school in the conference. A&M wants their butts kissed and have someone tell them they are special.

 

Nebraska left because of paranoia and fear of being left behind when it seemed like a group was going to the PAC. Nebraska voted for unequal revenue sharing the same a Texas, Nebraska voted along with Texas on most issues. Colorado left because their alumni is centered on the westcoast and Mizzou left because they made a fool of themselves for year trying to get into the B1G and were constantly told no and then when NU got the nod over them they said they wanted a list of demands met by the conference and when every single one of those demands were met they still left for the SEC because they felt like they were not appreciated. Oh, boo hoo.

 

Reminder, the Big 12 voted unanimously for a GOR, Texas was the biggest supporter of it and was one of the first to sign, and there is a whole group in the ACC who will not even consider a GOR. So who is the more stable of the two?

Quidam65
Quidam65

 @John at MrSECI know the Big Ten has no interest in VT or NC State; neither are AAU members which essentially DQ's them.

 

I just don't see what Duke brings to the table in the long run and why UNC wants to tie itself to them.

 

People forget that until Coach K showed up, Duke was not that good in basketball.  Except for a stretch between 1963-1966 where they made three Final Fours, they only had ONE other Final Four appearance (1978) and had NEVER won a national title (by the time Duke got its first title, NC State already had two).  They didn't even make the postseason until 1955 (by then Kentucky already had four titles).  When Coach K finally retires, any conference that picks up Duke most likely end up with an albatross.

SpencerMoore
SpencerMoore

 @BostonGeorge  @Quidam65  Prove that UNC and Duke  are "joined at he hip" in anything but the dated minds of Dick Vitale and other ACC basketball lovers.  One is private one is public.  Their are no ties that can't be broken.  If anything, UNC and NC State departing from one another would get politicos in Carolina all bothered.

Quidam65
Quidam65

Then is 18 the end number and not 16?

JRsec
JRsec

 @AllTideUp The Big 12 requires 8 teams leaving for better pastures to dissolve their grant of rights and the conference.  Taking 8 of those schools to merge with the SEC and the Southern ACC members is ideal for a move to 32 which in my opinion would be as big as it ever gets.  The PAC/Big 10 would do the same and we would be set and with a lot more leverage for TV negotiations.

 

I believe 75% is required to dissolve the ACC as well.  But in reality if the Virginia and Carolina schools leave the conference is dead.

 

You are right about the value of the ACC teams.  I'm sure they want to preserve rivalries as well.  It seems to me to be the best way to accomplish this mess.

 

I understand the reasoning behind the footprint models and wanting new markets but you cant sell Cincinnati and Pittsburgh to the average SEC fan and that's one reason the ACC is in the shape it is.  They forgot their roots and wound up with an incongruous mess.  The weakness of the Big 12 has always been too many Texas teams, the same dysfunction that killed the old SWC.  That's why going big is perfect.  It gives the entire Southeast to the identity of the ACC and it provides the necessary dilution for the Texas teams.  

 

We know our 14 teams.  If the 10 you pick up from the ACC are: Virginia, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Duke, N.C. State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Miami, and Louisville (as you suggested).  Then add these 8 from the Big 12 and you own the valuable commodity in college football in content, markets, and talent:  Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Kansas State, and West Virginia.  And while I don't love Lubbock the reason you take Texas Tech is because they complete the trio that receive Oil endowment money from the Lone Star state (Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech).  And for those who require academics that gives us a block of 10 AAU schools to compete with the Big 10.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @JRsec I would agree with that.  This GOR agreement that the Big 12 would seem to have those schools locked up together though.  Not that I'm a legal expert, but I would think unless that league merges with another then I don't really see them breaking up anytime soon.  I would even be accepting of an SEC/Big 12 merger liked I've talked about in the past, but I would be surprised by that.  I'd be surprised by any sort of merger or mass movement actually, but it does make sense that that trend would develop eventually.

 

I don't know how many members it would take to dissolve the ACC, but if that number were to abandon ship and come to the SEC as long as the lower-tier products are left behind then that might be optimal.  The ACC schools actually have much higher ratings overall than one might expect and that's the current makeup minus any new additions.  It would be the ultimate power conference.

JRsec
JRsec

 @AllTideUp You are right about the markets, but personally I would like to see the groupings stay below the Mason Dixon line and extend into the Southwest if we move to 32.  The quality of football in the Big 12 is the greater reason to move to 32 in that direction than in picking up B.C., Pitt, Syracuse & UConn.

 

Think about it, Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Kansas State, West Virginia and either Louisville, Baylor, or TCU would be better for our Western-most teams.  The satisfaction level alone for fans of the SEC, Big 12, and Southern ACC teams would be off the charts.  We'd have our 32.  We could settle in and work on schedules and rotations while the Big 10 and PAC tried to piece together 32 of their own.  Together they stand at 26 now so it shouldn't take them too long to solve the puzzle.

 

Two conferences of 32 with two regions each of 16 with two divisions each made up of 4 rotating half divisions should solve the play off scenario as well.  

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @JRsec  If some sort of merger were in the works then taking all 14 current ACC schools might not be bad.  The additional content and markets would be strong overall with 28 teams.  At that point you're really getting to a point where the capabilities of an SEC Network would rival one of the partner networks of ESPN.  Some of the best football schools combined with many of the best basketball programs would be a force one way or the other.

 

Throw in potential additions of Cincinnati, UConn(which I don't think the Big Ten is interested in), SMU, and maybe one other...and there's a very solid 32.

JRsec
JRsec

 @AllTideUp Not much with the system per se, but the politicians of the State have been used to having all four taken care of in the ACC.  There will be some pressure for Wake within the state which may exert influence on their university system.  But I like your suggestion of Louisville.  They would be much better on so many levels.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @JRsec  What influence does Wake carry within the UNC system?  I wouldn't think it would be very much as they are a small private school, but I honestly don't know.

JRsec
JRsec

 @LifeLongGarnetGold  @AllTideUp I understand what you are saying about Wake, I just thought it might speed things along with the University of North Carolina System and their politics.  It really is the only scenario that makes any sense.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @JRsec The way things are lining up, it's not as much about academics as some have said although that's a factor, it's not as much about money as some have said although that's a factor certainly, but it seems to be more about stability and long term security.  Those are the things you really can't measure in dollars or fan attendance, but you know the bottom line(academically and athletically) is better off in the long term if you have them.  The SEC, Big Ten, Pac 12, and at least for now the Big 12 are the most stable and secure entities out there right now.  Consequently, the weight of those leagues is drawing others in.

 

I can't complain about the idea of absorbing the Southern ACC schools at this point with one exception.  Now that Louisville is a part of the ACC(I'm still getting used to that idea) I would take them in place of Wake.  I don't think WF is going anywhere in this realignment business as they don't spend a lot of money and don't deliver the NC market.  And it would be overkill if the other 3 NC schools are already on board.  Plus, I believe they lost their AAU status.

JRsec
JRsec

 @AllTideUp I don't think we could agree any more than we do on this subject.  The Southeastern United States is the game of college football today.  To let Jim Delany or any other conference into the old footprint of the ACC is a huge financial mistake.  It's not popular among the chat boards but I thought long ago that the SEC should accept all of the ACC schools from Virginia South.  That would be 24 of the most viable states for the watching of football in the nation, especially with the new found rivalries and old re-untied rivalries hitting the TV screen.  People forget but the longest running rivalry in the Southeast until the mid 1970's was Auburn vs Georgia Tech.

 

We would only grow stronger and there would be a great chance that eventually a few more of the Texas and Oklahoma schools would be drawn to that strength as opposed to moving to an also ran conference to wither and die.  Aggie has opened their eyes on this.  Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas, & Kansas State, West Virginia and Louisville would complete a very nice 32 team super conference of all the most relevant programs in college football.  All the other conferences combined would have only Notre Dame, Ohio State, Michigan, U.S.C., Oregon, Wisconsin, and maybe in a few years Penn State to rally around.

 

The scheduling would just be 2 x 16 with some crossover play.  

 

Anyway I totally agree about F.S.U. and think the merger should still be considered.

Virginia, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Duke, N.C. State, Wake Forest, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami, F.S.U.

That's a few top potential adds, 5 mid level adds, and 2 new Vanderbilt / Kentucky type adds.  There is balance there.  They improve our Basketball, we given them football credentials, they give us academic status, and we give them more sports revenue.  And the rest of the starving conferences will just have to a find or build a new talent pool.  I just don't want the *&*% Big 10 in my back yard!

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @JRsec For Pitt, if the ACC is falling apart then I would think they would be interested in any lifeline they are offered.  It's similar to their situation in the Big East, if the league becomes non-viable then an out of the box option becomes better than no options essentially.  They would be a good fit for the Big Ten, but would double down on a market already covered by them.  In a sense, they could be the GT of the SEC.  The SEC is less inclined towards a school like GT because of the market factors.  Pitt fits that mold from the other side of things.

 

I imagine they would take the Big 12 or the Pac 12, but the Pac 12 would need to put together an Eastern division for that sort of thing to be viable.  Also, I would think Pitt would prefer the SEC over the Big 12 despite any connections to WVU.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @JRsec  @JansonRoberts If it's a matter of one league or the other providing the best options for an entire state's worth of schools then that would seem to indicate the SEC would have the inside track.  I can't see the Big Ten taking non-AAU schools right now unless they were desperate perhaps to hold onto their grip of that organization.  NC State and Virginia Tech would fit just fine in the SEC whereas they don't fit in the BIg Ten at all and I'm not even sure that those schools would be interested in the Big Ten.

JRsec
JRsec

 @JansonRoberts  @AllTideUp With Duke, Virginia, & U.N.C. to the B1G, the alternates would be N.C. State and stop at 18 and wait to see what happens with the Big 12.

 

Without a Duke or U.N.C. I don't think Cincinnati would be as appealing.  Cincinnati would have appeal in a scenario where 64 or 68 schools were being taken and the strong brands were already off the table.  Pitt would be appealing but would only really have any kind of tie to the SEC if Cincinnati and West Virginia were in the mix.  I don't know if just Virginia Tech would be enough to pull them in.  And if the SEC has Virginia Tech there is really no need to look at West Virginia in a move to 20.  Va Tech gives you essentially the same market only enhanced.

 

The point I made in another post on this thread is that if the Big 10 and SEC move to 18 or more there aren't enough viable programs for the Big 12 to expand profitably and that eventually a merger or something like it will have to take place with the PAC.  At that time the GOR and other legal concerns will be nil.  So depending upon the SEC's desires for new markets a Baylor, or OU, or OK St. may be something the conference could look at.

 

As per the potential additions of Clemson and F.S.U. should that ever become a point for consolidation, Florida sponsored F.S.U. in 1992 for SEC membership.  South Carolina's legislature has already indicated their preference for having the Gamecocks & Clemson to play annual games.  Spurrier has indicated no resistance to adding Clemson and he doesn't speak off of the party line too frequently.  I believe at 20 team conferences that in state rivals will be considered for both content additions and to preserve rivalries that would be lost to scheduling conflicts if the two wind up in different conferences.  And if the Big 12 and PAC do merge at some point and the Big 10 is not interested in Clemson then their legislature will bring political pressure for the SEC to take their Tigers.

 

Finally with money being essentially equal between the Big 10 and SEC, as far as sports broadcasting is concerned, the decisions of Duke, Virginia, and U.N.C. will come down to which conference offers the best package for inclusion of N.C. State and Virginia Tech.  The second consideration will be pleasing their largest donors.  The third will be for the best recruiting, and the last will be for research dollars as those institutions are quite well endowed.  But as you say we'll see.

 

 

 

 

JansonRoberts
JansonRoberts

 @AllTideUp  @JRsec

 Thanks for your input. I know WVA has awesome fan support there at the stadium, but looking at the numbers that John posted above, wouldn't Pitt have a much greater value to the SEC than WVA? I don't know the numbers of WVA, but there were not alot of positives last year when WVA was being brought up as a possible invite before Mizzou came on board. AAU, market and cable TV sets in the state by far favor Pitt. Top 20 in research expenditure in Pitt.Then look strictly at the recruiting potential and I can't see WVA having near the value as Pitt would bring. The only thing that hits me though about PITT is that they are not Southern ( but neither is WVA ) And I can still remember Dorsett and Dan Marino coming out of that University, I believe. It is alot to consider and it is very interesting

JansonRoberts
JansonRoberts

 @JRsec  @AllTideUp

 Appreciate your input. I like your wish list. Aim High. Slive is good but maybe our wish list is a bit much for even him to pull off. But what a conference if it could be done. My doubts would come from UVA. There has been alot of smoke in regards to UVA and GT having one foot out the door just wating to see how Maryland maks out with the exit penalty before they step on out to the B1G. I have spoken to a few Tar Heel friends and they seem to think UNC and Duke would lean to the B1G also from strictly an academic standing. But who can know anything for sure. If the North division didn't include UVA, Duke and UNC what is your next best wishes in place of those three? After reading John's posting above and looking strictly at markets and revenue numbers, there are 2 schools that I would like to take a very strong look at. Pitt jumping out the most, while Cincinnati also quite appealing. The con is neither are Southern and neither are considered powerhouses, but as told time and again this realignment round is not about on the field product as much as it is about new markets with enlarging the footprint. I would like to see the the numbers as shown above for WVA. NCST would also be a possibility if UVA, Duke and UNC are off the table so to speak.I really want to stop with FSU as far as the State of Florida is concerned. Miami has had quite a history, but not really feeling or seeing adding them if we already have FSU on the list. After the problems the SEC had with finally getting the official announcement of adding A&M because of the threats made by Baylor and a few others in the Big12 last year, A&M and some other presidents in the SEC would be hard pressed to ever get any peace of mind in adding any of those schools to the SEC. Of course if OU or tu called, I imagine there would be a quick conference meeting to seriously discuss those 2 schools. But I don't see either of those 2 schools calling the SEC. SO we are back to your original wish list, which I am totally on board with, and possibly having 3 alternates or UVA, UNC and Duke.

JRsec
JRsec

 @AllTideUp  @JansonRoberts I think we would take West Virginia if Virginia Tech is off of the table.  They essentially bring the same market, only Tech brings more.  Cincinnati is a real sleeper for a new market with potential to grow.  Pittsburgh is also very viable from an economic standpoint.  It just really depends on the order in which teams are taken for the SEC to have potential to find profit in 24.  Baylor for instance may not be welcome in the PAC, but they would bring the SEC a larger share of Dallas / Ft. Worth and with better academics and a more complete sports package than T.C.U.  So there would be options out there and if those options would be a net positive then they would be considered.  My personal wish list for the SEC would be:

North:  Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech

East:  Auburn, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Vanderbilt

South:  Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Mississippi State, Tennessee

West:  Arkansas, L.S.U., Mississippi, Missouri, Texas A&M

 

I don't think that is what we will get, but I can't imagine a more solid brand oriented balanced conference than that one.

SpencerMoore
SpencerMoore

 @Quidam65  @Sooner_Stampede You don't "know" Mizzou wanted in the Big 10.  Prove it. The governor made a comment. Media and bloggers speculated. Nothing else.  And it was OUs presidents' desperate plea to get into the Pac12 that actually made Mizzou leave.

buddha22
buddha22

@Sooner_Stampede Oh Sooner, you have swallowed bevo crap whole or simply are still out trying to run PR for the Big 2 comference. 1) Texas did NOT try to get a conference wide network. Indeed, they killed it before it could be brought to a vote by letting Beebe know that it was a non-starter. Still have koolaid stains from burnt orange BS? Do a little research. The Commish before Beebe was gung-ho for the network, UT and OU both back door stopped it (NU, too) because all 3 felt they could do better on their own. They were so much for themselves that the commish resigned, he realized that the B12 was not long for this world w/o drastic changes that Dodds simply would not consider. Don't know where the fiction of this "Texas" wanted the a conf network started, but sure it was a disinformation campaign by big bevo. That other commish? Oh, he took the idea and with Fox and Delany helped create the Big Ten Network. That's right, ol' DeLoss and his synchophants in their greed overlooked the Golden Goose! Where is he now, why assoc commish in P12...stay tuned. 2) Yes, MU had enough of all bevo all the time and was ready to bolt when after heading the search committee for expansion Chancellor Deaton headed a meeting where UT and OU pledged 6 years grant of rights (this after the news was out of UT and OU's discussions with B10, ACC, and most recently P12) and promises all around about how their wandering eye was no more, let bygones be bygones, don't worry about LHN...see, no high school games, need I go on? Yes, they pledged to finally make conference income equal (joining B10 and SEC) after landing LHN (which is why they killed a B12 network in the womb) but no, wouldn't commit to 13 year grant of rights, just 6. Before Deaton could give his press conference at 6:30 the good old OU President just couldn't kelp himself and had one at 6:00 pm (despite Deaton heading this group) and announced OU wouldn't be a wallflower and would continue to seek out offers...just 2 hours after meeting broke up with their PLEDGE!!! A few days later MU decided enough was enough and well, you know the rest of the story. Quite different from the cowpie you offered up.

Quidam65
Quidam65

 @Sooner_Stampede

 It wasn't simply the LHN that was the problem for A&M.  It was that Texas (who already controls the University Interscholastic League, which governs high school sports in the state) also wanted to broadcast high school games (and only those featuring its recruits, such as Aledo games with Johnathan Gray).

 

"Commit to Texas, and we'll show your games across the country.  Commit someplace else (A&M, OU), and no dice."

 

I know Colorado wanted out west and Mizzou wanted in the Big Ten; I didn't list them for that reason.  But Nebraska was heading to the Big Ten BEFORE the planned Big 12 South relocation to the PAC.

 

I'm not dissing Oklahoma; though I'm from Texas I root for you over the Horns any day.

USCTraveler
USCTraveler

 @Quidam65  @John at MrSEC Adding Duke and UNC together is hugely valuable for either the BIG or the SEC, since both have conference networks and need quality programming.  B-ball is going to be a big part of the programming, and besides marquee matchups like Duke-UNC, Duke-IU or Duke-UK (all of which will enhance Tier 1 value), Duke-Vandy, Duke-Wiscy, etc are all valuable for the BTN or SEC net.

 

Duke is the exception to most realignment rules.  Their hoops brand, academic standing and relationship with UNC make them very valuable even with weak (although improving) football and duplicating the NC market with UNC.

JRsec
JRsec

 @DanHogan  @John at MrSEC Other bloggers processed the math long ago and came up with the conclusion that 4 x 16 wouldn't work long before traditional sites got on board.  The chess pieces as you call them have value just as they do in chess.  They count for new markets, academic fit, cultural fit, attendance, away crowd attendance, profitability, and multiple sports draws.  Geography and the above factors were what made the theory of 4 x 16 impractical a year ago when some were already talking in terms of 18 and 20.  Chess involves thinking 3 moves in advance to rate at an intermediate level, 5 moves ahead for competition, and even more progressions to be successful.  It follow strategies and understands outcomes based upon moves made.  It's goal is to checkmate the opposition.  I grew weary of those who just reported the standard fare issued by the conference press releases a year ago.  John here has done an admirable job of keeping abreast of the variables in consideration.  But as will all things you have to have a variety of information to gain a clearer understanding of the process.  The greatest factor in this realignment movement is outside of the sports world.  It is the shrinking revenue bases of State governments across the country in this false recovery.  As Federal and State monies shrink these schools are scrambling to find new relatively long term guaranteed revenue streams.

 

 Enter the networks.  When you are doing your additions for the Big 10 and SEC you need to check the vantage point of which Networks currently own which rights to which teams.  ESPN isn't going to want to lose Duke and North Carolina to Fox who through YES now owns 51% of the BTN..  They probably don't care that much about Virginia.  They are not going to want to lose Texas and Oklahoma to Comcast (PAC) either.  This last variable may prove to be the most influential before this plays out.  It could result in the survival of the ACC and the destruction of the Big 12 thereby reversing all of these strategies.

 

 You can also bet the farm that if ESPN thinks there is any chance to land Notre Dame for a few games a year via the ACC they will move to shore up that investment.  Both the states of Texas and North Carolina had too many schools in one conference to make their cable marketability viable.  Moving a few Texas schools to the SEC, PAC and ACC relieve that problem.  Permitting Virginia Tech and N.C. State to find another home opens up new slots for marketability in the ACC.  Should U.N.C. or Duke (not both) make a move to the Big 10 without Virginia and with the addition of either Connecticut or Boston College then the ESPN interest in moving the Texa-homa group to the ACC where they are the sole property of ESPN becomes a viable counter move to deplete Fox inventory.  Add the other valuable Big 12 properties to either the ACC or SEC and ESPN retains most of their rights to these teams. 

 

If the ACC loses Duke & B.C. to the Big 10 and Va Tech & N.C. State to the SEC they can take Texas under the same terms as Notre Dame, add Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma, Ok. State, West Virginia, & K State and retire to 16 full members and two hybrids.  If they don't like the academics of Ok State, KState and WVU they have S.M.U., Iowa State, Tulane and Rice to bolster those numbers.  I just think they are past that way of thinking now that they've added Louisville and realized in doing so that sports ability is at least as important to the survival of their conference as academics.

 

So keep thinking outside of the box, but be cognizant that the final say in some of these moves will come from those who are paying for the product.  The plans of conference commissioners and college presidents will take a back seat to the money.

 

DanHogan
DanHogan

 @John at MrSEC     My concern, among many, is the long-term stability.  If these conferences get really bloated, are we going to see a 20-member league split into two?  I'd feel better at 16 reasonably geographic leagues with pods/divisions that are as geographic as can be.

 

I'd definitely push you to draw out that point a bit more in your future posts.  (I push you on this and not other bloggers because, well, I'm not sure they are doing anything more than just moving around chess pieces.)  I'd be particularly interesting in what your sources say university presidents, regents, and AD's think about that 16 number 

DanHogan
DanHogan

 @AllTideUp  @MoKelly1 The other key in taking all three might be the idea that they are forced to by the politics at those three schools.  And, we may assume, NC is worth using three spots to get into.    My uninformed gut reaction is that we're more likely to see a more delayed rumor-mill period with the outcome being a state being split between the SEC and B1G.  ie. UVa to B1G/VT to SEC or UNC/Duke to B1G / NCState to SEC.  Whoever get's the private invite first has to wait for the other in-state schools to line up their exit before any of it is public.  Remember Baylor when the Pac was close to expanding?  Could be a similar routine with that school getting left out being a reasonable target for the other big-boy conference.

JRsec
JRsec

 @John at MrSEC  @buddha22  @John  @Quidam65  @RonnyMexico That is exactly why Florida State, Clemson, Louisville, Miami, and Georgia Tech should not be dismissed out of hand for the SEC.  It's very true that we seek new markets first.  If the Big 10 and SEC move to 18 a piece, or more, the eventual outcome of the economic math will necessitate further movement.  In order to reestablish a balance it is conceivable that the PAC and Big 12 could come to some kind of agreement for either a partial or complete merger.

 

Cincinnati then becomes a market to be developed, West Virginia a market to be acquired, and the paradigm shifts once again to one of market saturation as opposed to just market addition. 

 

The SEC and Big 10 would then only add value by taking content additions within their existing footprints, but not only to add to the 1st and 2nd tier revenue stream, but to gain leverage as you so aptly pointed out.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @buddha22  @John  @Quidam65  @RonnyMexico 

 

Well, it's not just those two states.  There are three parts to the TV revenue equation:

 

1.  Brand value -- This would mean grabbing big name schools that cause national viewers to tune into their games... which would please network partners.

 

2.  Reach -- This means cable households on a state-by-state or region-to-region basis and big television markets... the latter of which would also please network partners.

 

3.  Content -- This is why some leagues might fly right past the imaginary 16-school barrier.  Think of it this way.  There are only about 60-70 power conference teams out there to drive numbers.  If Conference X owns 20 of those schools, it stands to reason that Conference X will make about 30% of the total TV revenue simply by owning all those schools and their games.  If, for example, the Big Ten had 22 schools while the SEC had 16, the Pac-12, the Big 12 grew to 14 and the ACC became a second-class league as has happened to the Big East... the Big Ten would own 35% of the power conference teams in America.  In that imaginary scenario, think the networks wouldn't be fighting to grab all the Big Ten content?  With one contract they could grab the right to more than a third of the high-end college football content available.

 

At MrSEC, we're not in favor of further expansion anywhere and we're not stating that leagues will or should go to 18, 20 or 100 schools.  We're simply pointing out the fact that it's a myth to think the landscape will eventually feature only four 16-school leagues.  If there's money on the table, some league will zip past 16 to grab it.

 

Thanks for reading the site,

John

JansonRoberts
JansonRoberts

 @BamaWahoo  @buddha22  @John  @Quidam65  

Maybe you're right, but I see it completely opposite. I think that whole block is tied together, UVA, VT, UNC, Duke and NCST. Not tied together in the sense that they all have to go to the same conference, but rather tied together in any exodus from the ACC. All 5 of these schools will have to be secure in a new home within the B1G and SEC collectively.  Virginia legislators aren't going to allow UVA to leave the ACC without VT having the same level of security within a premium conference. Maybe I am wrong in my thinking. While the B1G and SEC are looking at new markets with big cable tv numbers, those NC schools, have a strong slant for more than just football dollars.

BamaWahoo
BamaWahoo

 @buddha22  @John  @Quidam65  @RonnyMexico You'd also have to figure in the effect that the ACC being eliminated as a competitor would have. If major conferences go from 5 to 4 then the 4 have more leverage in tv deals because they control more inventory, and get larger shares of the playoff/bowl pie too. In addition to access to two large states and the Charlotte and DC markets. That said, I'm really hoping against hope that somehow we end up w/ UVA and UNC in the SEC. I don't see why Duke would have to be tied to UNC and don't believe it's the case. Two weeks ago people were certain that UVA and UNC were joined at the hip (the oldest rivalry in the South and 4th most played in the country in football). It makes more sense to me that the SEC would go after the 2 flagship schools in the 2 remaining states of the south that the SEC doesn't have. I hope.

 

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @MoKelly1 I think the key here is that NC is new territory.  Every expanded team in the current footprint is needless for cable subscriptions.  They could be valuable for content, but that changes the criteria.  I think FSU could be valuable simply because the state of Florida is very large and so the market share is somewhat low with only the Gators being in the fold.  GT is basically worthless as UGA dominates the state and even other SEC clubs are more popular collectively than GT in Atlanta.  Clemson could add value, but the market is a good bit smaller than NC.  I would say Clemson and FSU are more valuable to the Big 12 than the SEC, but I don't know what will happen.

buddha22
buddha22

@John at MrSEC @Quidam65 @RonnyMexico Hard to imagine there would be enough $$$ to be a plus per member of the SEC at 18 by adding 4 more slices to the pie, but maybe I am not understanding value of those 2 states?

MoKelly1
MoKelly1

This is a fantastically interesting subject. What I am struggling with is why the SEC would want 3 schools in North Carolina rather than take Florida State (2 schools in Florida), Clemson (2 schools in South Carolina) and Georgia Tech (2 schools in Georgia)? Would they make more money per school with 3 in North Carolina vs. expand in Florida, South Carolina and Georgia? Plus, they would be protecting their recruiting turf in what you have already shown is the best in the country (at least Florida and Georgia).

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @Quidam65  @RonnyMexico 

 

I've written this before -- and might just do it again in Part 3 of this series -- but if Virginia and Georgia Tech jumped to the Big Ten and the SEC had research showing that it could make more money via television by adding UNC, Duke, NC State and Virginia Tech, I believe it would do so.

 

Everyone keeps thinking there's a magic cut-off point at 16 teams, but this is all coming down to money and television.  The more schools you own, the more cable households you can claim, the more you can make from national networks, and the more content you'll have to spread around CBS, ESPN, a league-owned network, etc.

 

I'm not for that, I'd like to point out, but I think someone will push the boundaries past 16 at some point... IF research shows there's more money in it.

 

Many thanks for reading the site,

John

Quidam65
Quidam65

 @RonnyMexico For the Big Ten that is plausible.  But who would be #18 if the SEC grabbed all three?   Pitt (another AAU member)?  Cincy?  Try to talk Georgia into not opposing Georgia Tech's return to the conference (say, in exchange for sponsoring Georgia's admission into the AAU?)

 

Or is a UVA/UNC/Duke grouping only logical for the Big Ten with Georgia Tech the fallback if Notre Dame says no?

 

Then does the SEC have to get to 18?  Or would they hold at 16 (taking VT and NC State), then wait to see if the Big 12 crumbles?

 

RonnyMexico
RonnyMexico

 @Quidam65 If you get UNC, Duke, and UVA then I think so. At that point the ACC is a mess and you take one more run at Notre Dame for 18

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