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Big Bang Theories: The Countdown To Super-Conferences (Part 4)

BIG BANG THEORIES MRSEC BESTSince the Big Ten uncorked the bottle holding the conference realignment genie back in November, rumors of more massive changes to come have been spreading across the country.  Fans enjoy the “fantasy league” nature of the discussion.  People in industries connected to college sports (television, athletic equipment suppliers, agencies holding media rights) simply accept that their world is in for more change.  While several of the folks we’ve spoken to in various SEC athletic departments seem to dread the next round of shuffling.

Count us among those who’d like to see the biggest conferences pause, reflect, and observe how the last batch of changes turn out… before changing things once more.  Unfortunately it looks as though further changes are unavoidable.

Schools want to make more money and conference swaps can help them do that.  Conferences want to either stabilize themselves, guarantee themselves more money, or both.  And television networks want more and more content — that means games — with which to fill their program schedules.  Add it all up and it certainly appears that the era of the super-conferences is almost here.

Last month, we began a series of breakdowns on realignment and expansion.  In Part One we looked at which schools might be looking to switch conferences in order to bolster their bank accounts.  In Part Two we examined those 25 “up for grabs” schools to see which ones would probably be on power conferences’ wish lists.  In Part Three we looked at the five remaining power conferences and their various options moving forward.

In this, the final part of our series, we try to tie everything together for you.  It’s not been easy because many different people are saying many different things these days.  That’s the nature of these things, of course.  Everyone from an old buddy who works for a major television network to a contact/source who works inside an SEC athletic department wants us to believe he’s got his finger on the pulse of this stuff.  We’ve tried to cut through the clutter and deliver what we believe to be some pretty accurate recon of the shifting conference landscape, but it’s far from definitive.  This a chess game amongst world class players with billions of dollars at stake.  It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that sources — especially those at schools — might be willing to float misinformation to cause panic elsewhere.

So what you’re about to see should be taken as our view on this early-January day of where the conferences might move in the coming days, weeks, months and years.  It should not be taken as  gospel.  With the television dollars, threats of litigation, and pure politics involved in these realignment decisions, what’s true at breakfast could be false by dinner.

All that said, we’ve been doing this site for five years.  We’ve been seen or heard in just about every state in the union thanks to television and radio outlets turning to us for SEC news and opinion.  We’re not interested in throwing all that away just for the sake of a day’s worth of pageviews.  If that were our modus operandi, we’d have just tossed out every new rumor we’ve heard when we heard it.  We’d get pageviews alright, but we wouldn’t be accurate.  And we’d rather be accurate.

Go back through our archives and you’ll find that long before Texas A&M started angling toward the SEC, we made the clear statement that the Aggies would be as good a pull for the league as Texas.  On the day A&M announced it would stay in the Big XII back in 2010, we wrote that the Aggies and the SEC were still destined to partner with one another.  We were also the first site to mention Missouri as a possible SEC expansion partner way back in 2010 (and we took a lot of guff for throwing out such a “nonsensical” idea, too).

We try to maintain a healthy amount of skepticism when we speak to sources about expansion and realignment.  That’s worked out well for us so far.  We’ll see if it does this time around.

 

ACC

Why the league would expand:  To protect itself from outside raids and guarantee itself a position in the new super-division we see on the horizon.  (For those who haven’t been keeping up, we believe it’s only a matter of time before 65-80 FBS schools form a new division within the NCAA football world that plays by its own rules and hands out full-cost-of-tuition scholarships.  The schools in the super-division would also make a heckuva lot more money off of television and playoff rights.)

Strongest chatter at the moment:  Most sources we’ve spoken to believe the ACC’s days are numbered.  The Big Ten, Big XII and SEC are all reportedly lusting after different schools in John Swofford’s league.  One founding member (Maryland) left in November.  The league’s television dollars aren’t on par with the remaining power conferences.  So if the league doesn’t want to go the way of the Big East, ACC presidents had better do one of two things… maybe both.

Who makes sense and why:  The ACC needs to land Notre Dame as a full football member.  The Irish don’t want to surrender their football independence and they would have other options (Big Ten or Big XII most likely), but if their eyes are on southern recruits and a growing southern population then the ACC would make the most sense.  Also, one television executive told us Swofford should try to force a grant of rights agreement on his schools.  But the universities hold the ultimate power and there appears to be no interest in signing such a binding pact.

What the ACC should do:  The ACC is fighting for its existence.  Maryland’s departure was a warning sign.  With that in mind, Swofford has to find some way to convince Notre Dame to climb aboard his listing ship.  Even it meant allowing Notre Dame to keep their own football deal in place with NBC.  Would the current ACC schools be okay with ending the league’s share-and-share-alike revenue distribution policy?  For a school like Florida State or Clemson that is rumored to have some interest in the Big XII, would it be more palatable to stay in the ACC and play little brother to Notre Dame… or move to the Big XII and play little brother to Texas?  If Notre Dame can’t be had, then a grant of rights agreement becomes much more important.  Different lawyers have different views on how ironclad those types of accords really are, but most believe they are at least strong early on when there are more years — and more money — on the table.  Such a deal could at least by the ACC more time to save itself.  But again, there seems to be no push toward a grant of rights deal.

What we believe will happen:  When you see a to-do list as lengthy as the ACC’s it’s cause for concern.  Swofford is having to solve a multi-million dollar Rubik’s Cube.  If he gets this turn right, it could undo a previous twist he’s already made.  For that reason — and because so many of our sources believe Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, NC State, Virginia and Virginia Tech have other options — we believe the ACC will wind up as slightly nicer version of the new Big East.  If it earns a spot in the new super-division it will do so by a whisker and an eyelash.

 

Big Ten

Why the league would expand:  Television money and a shrinking Midwest population.  In recent years Jim Delany has grabbed a mega-brand in Nebraska as well as two schools that provide access to gobs of cable households in Rutgers and Maryland.  If the Big Ten could push farther into the South, nab more cable households, and needle the SEC, well, we believe it would… and it will.

Strongest chatter at the moment:  As we’ve written since last month, there’s a strong belief that Georgia Tech and Virginia are just waiting to see what Maryland has to pay as an exit fee before they follow the Terps northward.  People in the business of media rights deals believe Virginia and Tech are going to move.  Sources tell us some ACC coaches are worried those two will leave.  And two people we’ve spoken to inside SEC athletic departments have told us they’ve heard and believe those rumors as well.  But there’s also a feeling among some that Virginia and North Carolina are the real targets… or that Delany might grab UVA, Tech, UNC and Duke on his way to 18.

Who makes sense and why:  Pittsburgh would make perfect sense if the Big Ten believed it needed another metro area for TV purposes (Penn State might not have the juice to block such a move these days).  But Delany himself noted in 2010 that population shifts are a part of his league’s thinking.  That suggests Virginia, North Carolina, Duke and Georgia Tech are realistic targets for future Big Ten growth.  All are AAU institutions, which is so important to that league’s presidents.  Finally, while anything’s possible, we’re not buying the chatter that Florida State is on the Big Ten’s wish list.  Not one of our sources has suggested that and FSU doesn’t seem to have the academic clout Delany’s league typically desires.  That’s doesn’t mean it can’t happen, but you could color us shocked if it did.

What the Big Ten should do:  Take a deep breath and wait.  As we stated above, the Big Ten is in a position of power.  That’s not going to change.  Even if the Big XII or the SEC raided the ACC (the SEC would never make the first strike), there would still be some fine southeastern schools left for Delany to grab.  The Big Ten should hit the pause button and see how its new roster plays before making further additions.

What we believe will happen:  The soon-to-be 14-school Big Ten will eventually become the first super-conference to move past the mythical 16-school barrier.  Delany understands the television game as well as anyone and he’ll realize that the bigger his league’s footprint and the more content he has for his Big Ten Network and his other television partners the better.  The next move might simply be for two schools, but eventually, we’re guessing the Big Ten jumps beyond 16.

 

Big XII

Why the league would expand:  Necessity.  Bob Bowlsby’s league is going to be making some major bank in the coming years from twin deals with FOX and ESPN.  Even better for the schools in the Big XII is the fact that there will only be 10 schools sharing all that loot.  But if other leagues start expanding, the Big XII schools might be forced into action.  Being a 10-team league in the current universe is fine.  Being a 10-team league surrounded by 14-, 16-, or 18-team leagues is not.

Strongest chatter at the moment:  The Big XII’s geographic placement is both a positive and a negative.  It’s a positive because Bowlsby and crew can grab teams from the North, East, South or West.  It’s a negative because no major conference to date has been able to thrive and survive as a continental conference.  That said, there’s talk that Brigham Young might be a fit to the West (the Cougars have their own network a la Texas).  Florida State and Clemson have been discussed for a long while with several FSU boosters and even trustees saying publicly that they’d be interested in hearing what Bowlsby’s league has to offer.  “Florida State and Clemson to the Big XII” gets almost as much talk among people in the college sports industry as “Virginia and Georgia Tech to the Big Ten.”  That’s saying something.  A source inside an SEC athletic department told us not to rule out Miami as a possibility if the Big XII decides it really wants to open up the state of Florida for recruiting.  Other possibilities are out there as well.  Cincinnati and Pittsburgh have been mentioned as potential Big XII targets.  Memphis would kill for a bid.  Boise State, too.  Louisville battled West Virginia for a bid last year and the big-budgeted Cardinals might be back in play should the ACC collapse.  And don’t forget that Texas AD DeLoss Dodds would still like to add Notre Dame in some form or fashion, even as a part-timer.

Who makes sense and why:  This is a very tough question for three reasons.  First, the Big XII doesn’t have to move unless other leagues move first.  (Or unless league leaders believe the Big XII’s lack of a conference title game will hurt it in new college football playoff.)  Second, Bowlsby’s league won’t be grabbing schools for the purpose of driving up numbers for a conference-owned television network.  To make more cash, the Big XII will need to add brand names that will cause ESPN and FOX to re-work their existing deals with the league.  Third, no one but Bowlsby and the network execs know what the cut-off line is regarding return on investment.  The Big XII could simply go to 12 teams, add a conference title game and stand pat.  Or the conference could go to 14.  Or 15 (if Notre Dame joined in all sports but football).  Or 16 (though we don’t see how a league without its own network could make enough money back to cover the addition of six new schools).

What the Big XII should do:  Add two full-time members with major name recognition and try like hell to swipe Notre Dame from the ACC.  Eventually, some other conference is going to move and that will force the Big XII into action.  If Bowlsby could destabilize the Atlantic Coast Conference by striking first and grabbing a pair of name programs — like Florida State and Clemson — that might be enough to start a full ACC collapse which might put the Irish in play for a part-time membership.  If Bowlsby could pull that off the Big 12 would be a 12-school league in football and a 13-school league in all other sports.

What we believe will happen:  At some point the Big XII will grow to at least 12 schools.  And if other leagues start collecting schools like trading cards, Bowlsby will have to keep up (even though he won’t see the same financial benefit of those other leagues without his own network).  If/when the Big Bang comes, here’s guessing the Big XII becomes a 14-school league and then holds (15 if Notre Dame jumps).  One other caveat to throw into Big XII’s expansion plans — most of the people we’ve spoken to believe the conference’s grant of rights agreement will indeed prevent schools like Texas or Oklahoma from leaving anytime soon.  But would the league tear up the current deal and cut a new one when the new schools joined?  Or would those new schools just be rolled into the current agreement?  Ask 10 attorneys and you’ll get 10 different answers.

 

Pac-12

Why the league would expand:  To keep up with the Joneses.  If other leagues move, the Pac-12 will have to do likewise.

Strongest chatter at the moment:  None at the moment.  There’s very little gossip out there regarding the Pac-12.  We’ve reported already what we’ve heard from a source in the athletic equipment business (think of reps from Nike, Easton, or Under Armour rather than Joe from Foot Locker) — one Pac-12 AD has already met with all of his coaches and told them that the day of the super-conferences is at hand.  So don’t expect a commissioner like Larry Scott to be caught napping.  If Pac-12 ADs are saying the shift is on, they’ve gotten that word from Scott.

Who makes sense and why:  The Pac-12 is trapped in a region that lacks high-profile football powers and high-profile football powers are what drive television contracts.  Boise State would provide good football, but little else in terms of “wow” factor.  BYU has a solid brand but the school’s television network wouldn’t seem to jive with the Pac-12′s own TV networks.  UNLV doesn’t have the academic clout Pac-12 presidents would want, but Arizona State and Washington State aren’t exactly Harvard or Yale, either.  Again, the conference’s geographic limitations might force the league to make choices other conferences wouldn’t.

What the Pac-12 should do:  Land-locked to the West and rarely on the minds of east o’ the Mississippi media types, Scott will have to roll the dice on some up-and-coming programs.  Where better to roll the dice than in Las Vegas?  UNLV — as we’ve shown in previous parts of this series — brought in big dollars in athletic revenue in 2011-12.  Forget the mobster stereotypes, Vegas is a good-size television market with real potential in athletics.  Next, Scott should run back to Texas.  He couldn’t snag Texas, Texas Tech, and Texas A&M three years ago, but SMU and Houston would ditch the dying Big East in a nanosecond.  Those programs have the capacity for growth, they would stretch the league much farther east, they would open up the Dallas and Houston television markets, and they would allow Pac-12 schools to recruit the Lone Star State.  Sexy names?  Well, no.  But one source inside an SEC athletic department made it clear to us that Houston is a school that’s seen as having big, big potential.  Boise State would provide another football name but there’s a risk that the Broncos will take a step back when facing better competition (as Utah has done since joining the Pac-12 two years ago).  BYU is likely not a fit due to its TV network and San Diego State probably wouldn’t offer much to a conference that’s already home to four California schools.  If we were Scott, Boise State would get a long look for the final spot along with… Hawaii.  Yep, a school we didn’t even list among the 25 schools conferences would consider.  That’s because travel is a pain, especially for non-revenue sports.  But Scott has already targeted Asian markets with the Pac-12 brand and moving closer toward those markets might up the league’s visibility.  Hawaii is also a flagship state university.  Again, we’d lean toward Boise State, but Scott’s such an outside-the-box thinker that he might spot value in Hawaii.  Heck, if not for a 3,500-seat stadium, we wouldn’t be shocked to learn that Scott’s been scouting the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.

What we believe will happen:  We suspect the Pac-12 will eventually go to 16.  Scott tried it once before because he thought he could get incredible value with brands like Oklahoma, Texas and A&M.  Now he’ll probably have to make the leap to 16 just to keep his league on somewhat of a level playing field with the power conferences to his east.

 

SEC

Why the league would expand:  Television money.  The SEC is the biggest brand in college football today and being the biggest brand in college football means — in this day and age — that you’re also the biggest brand in all of college sports.  Mike Slive wouldn’t want to ruin that with risky moves.  He can be patient.  He can be finicky.  And he can let the game come to him.  As usual.

Strongest chatter at the moment:  Talk to people around the SEC and you’ll hear that Slive would love to snag either North Carolina and Duke or North Carolina and Virginia.  One move would bring two massive sports brands into the SEC and improve the league’s basketball reputation immediately.  The other move would allow the SEC to put down markers in two more states.  Virginia Tech always gets a mention when SEC expansion is kicked around and we’ve had multiple people tell us that they believe the Hokies will one day land in the Southeastern Conference.

Who makes sense and why:  We’ve already named them.  North Carolina and Duke are major names and the SEC already has one private school in Vanderbilt, so adding Duke would not be a problem.  That pair of schools would allow the SEC to claim every cable household in the state.  Virginia and Virginia Tech would do the same in their state, plus they’d push the league into the major media market of Washington, DC.  Tech’s culture would be a perfect fit for the Southeastern Conference.  NC State is often mentioned by fans as a potential partner, but the Wolfpack — according to a media rights expert — can’t bring to the table what the Tar Heels and Blue Devils do.  Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville and Clemson make sense in terms of proximity.  FSU is also a top-natch brand (despite what Florida fans will tell you).  But none of those four schools add television value for the in-development SEC Network.  If the league gets defensive about other leagues trying to put down roots in the South then, sure, those schools might get a look.  But when was the last time Slive made a defensive move?

What the SEC should do:  Absolutely nothing.  The league is well-positioned.  Slive should smoke a cigar and sip his Blanton’s bourbon until another move becomes necessary.  In a perfect world, everyone would tap the brakes on this expansion-mania and see how 2013, 2014, and 2015 play out before rushing into any more major decisions.  Sadly, we don’t believe the relative peace we’ve enjoyed since November — hey, a whole month! — will last.  Not one person we’ve spoken to in any sports-related field believes this respite is anything other than the quiet before the storm.

What we believe will happen:  Whatever the Big Ten does, the SEC will likely also do.  If that means going past 16 schools in order to provide as much television content as possible, we bet Slive would do it.  Now, we’ve been told since A&M and Missouri joined the league that conference leaders aren’t eager to rush another round of expansion.  But Slive always has a plan.  And an ACC source told Matt Hayes of The Sporting News that the SEC has been wooing UNC and Duke for “the last three years.”  If locked into a duel with the Big Ten for UNC and Duke, would the SEC be willing to take NC State to make the move more appealing to Duke and UNC?  Yes, we believe so.  The SEC would own the state of North Carolina and it would grab two national brands in the process.  According to a network executive, if a Virginia school could be hooked as well, the overall revenue boom might make up for the seemingly wasted addition of a third Carolina school.  But we believe this much to be true — if the Big Ten stands pat, the SEC will likely stand pat, too.  If the Big Ten moves to 16 schools, the SEC will likely follow.  If the Big Ten balloons to 18, well, then we’re not so sure.  It’s hard to picture Slive allowing Delany’s league to make more cash than the SEC, but just as the Big Ten has an AAU requirement, the SEC has a bit of cultural requirement.  With the exception of Vanderbilt, most SEC schools are large, public universities located in rural settings or small cities where the schools’ athletics rule the local scene.  Finding four such schools that also provide television value might not be easy.

 


449 comments
mowens75
mowens75

It's almost here...... @JRsec @AllTideUp @Roggespierre 

http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/blog/eye-on-college-football/21687617/big-ten-to-expand-conference-schedule

Once we start going to 10 game conference schedules then the little guys are out. This is the beginning of the end of the NCAA football as we know it. Only 3-4 Super Conferences with 16-20 teams in each. SEC will announce soon after the B1G agrees to 10 conference games. I think that's part of the hold up with the SEC because the networks want more games.

Best guess....

4 Super conference with 16 teams each and in the end I think Big 12 goes away before ACC. I just think Texas does what it wants and Notre Dame keeps ACC together by joining in football (only because it has too in the end). I do think B1G goes after an ACC school or a few. SEC maybe grabs a couple ACC and a couple Big 12 schools. 4 Big 12 schools go to the PAC 12.

Should be fun. Really Wish we could have 4 Super Conferences of 16 and everyone else out. Keep 2 divisions (8 teams) in each conference and play 10 conference games (7 and 3 w/1 team being perm and rotating yearly the other 2 or maybe no perm. Not needed with new divisions). Also in the end have 2 from each division make the playoffs. So SEC would have......

1st place West vs 2nd place West or East (games played at home of 1st place team)

1st place East vs 2nd place West or East

Then winners play for final 4 birth. (game played in ATL)

This is a lot like NFL, but in the end works best.

SEC East - Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, USC and one of the following in this order (Carolina School, V Tech, Vandy or Florida St)

SEC West - LSU, A&M, Arkansas, Mississippi, Miss. St, Missouri, Vandy and one or two of the following in this order (Kansas, Oklahoma or Kansas St).

Dream scenario would be add UNC and Kansas. Not likely...but I can dream. Would love to add to Bball and really think UNC could be great in football if in the SEC one day (becuase good recruiting area).

So basically if you could have16 teams per 4 conferences this would work. Right now with the 5 big conferences you have 64 teams (which equals 16x4), but that's not including Notre Dame, BYU, Connecticut, Cincinnatti, Boise St, Memphis and maybe USF.So I think some of the 64 teams might be replaced with the ones mentioned above. I would say maybe 4-5 with Notre Dame and BYU being definite.

What should happen in my opinion is ACC would lose 2 Duke and Wake (could join Big East 7/Catholic 7 in B'ball conference. Big 12 lose TCU and Baylor and don't scream, but SEC lose Miss. St. ( not a lot of revenue and Mississippi really only needs one big football school). That opens 5 spots that would go to Irish, BYU, UConn, Cinnci and ......So maybe you just need to lose 4, but maybe Memphis.

So now you have....

SEC

1 ALABAMA 2 AUBURN 3 TENNESSEE 4 KENTUCKY 5 FLORIDA 6 GEORGIA 7 SOUTH CAROLINA 8 NORTH CAROLINA

9 LSU 10 VANDERBILT 11 MISSISSIPPI 12 ARKANSAS 13 TEXAS A&M 14 MISSOURI 15 OKLAHOMA 16 KANSAS

B1G

1 MICHIGAN 2 MICHIGAN ST 3 ILLINOIS 4 NORTHWESTERN 5 NEBRASKA 6 WISCONSIN 7 MINNESOTA 8 IOWA

9 INDIANA 10 PURDUE 11 PENN ST 12 RUTGERS 13 MARYLAND 14 OHIO ST 15 VIRGINIA 16 GEORGIA TECH

PAC 16

1 USC 2 UCLA 3 ARIZONA 4 ARIZONA ST 5 COLORADO 6 TEXAS 7 OKLAHOMA ST 8 TEXAS TECH

9 STANFORD 10 CALIFORNIA 11 UTAH 12 BYU 13 OREGON 14 OREGON ST 15 WASHINGTON 16 WASHINGTON ST

ACC

1 MIAMI 2 FLORIDA ST 3 CLEMSON 4 NC STATE 5 VIRGINIA TECH 6 WEST VIRGINIA 7 LOUSIVILLE 8 MEMPHIS (Maybe replace w/Duke)

9 PITT 10 CONNECTICUT 11 BOSTON COLLEGE 12 SYRACUSE 13 NOTRE DAME 14 CINCINNATI 15 KANSAS ST 16 IOWA ST

 

Maybe replace Oklahoma back with MSU and move Oklahome to PAC 16 to replace BYU.

Then we have a playoff of 16 teams and one of each confence making the final 4. Each plays 10 conference games and 2 more games against others conference. Each team will have 6 home games and more revenue because they no longer have to share with the smaller schools. Then the max games you play would be 16. 

YES...I'm a nerd about this stuff, but it would work. 

Thanks!

 

Holtbru
Holtbru

I still think that the SEC will be at 14 when this next football season begins...  I do not see anymore changes this new year for 2013.....  I THINK PAUSE MODE will be the norm for 2013 !!

 

BRUCE

edelswick
edelswick

ESPN vs Fox vs Comcast/NBC will be interesting. 

 

As a businesss consultant, it has always been hard to get people to change from what they have been doing. If things are going well, you hear "why should I change?".  If things are going bad, there are fears "you'll only make it worse." 

 

ESPN has been successful at what they do.  ESPN wants to preserve what they have and to defend themselves from attacks (Fox, and Comcast/NBC Sports).  

 

Both Fox and Comcast/NBC wants a bigger piece of the market - and today, that means taking conferences from ESPN.

 

Fox has a  more aggressive mind-set and may be willing to pay more (either to a conference as it currently exists or if that conference add new members.  Especially if adding that school will weaken a conference that is aligned with ESPN.)

 

Does anoyone know if the network contracts being offered now are for longer terms (10 years?) than contracts in the past?

edelswick
edelswick

 @mowens75  @JRsec  @AllTideUp  @Roggespierre

 Last time the Big1G expanded and took Maryland and Rutgers - yes they were AAU schools etc.  But they both were the largest public institution in their state (with no close competitors), were located in a state that borders the Big1G's current footprint, and had a high number of tv sets in-state.

 

Taking UNC and UVA makes a lot of sense for the Big1G.  Except both schools share their state with other large universities.  UVA with Virginia Tech (no ESPN, not with West Virginia).  And the state of North Carolina has UNC, Duke, NCState, little Wake Forest - and East Carolina.

 

At the same time, since UNC and Duke focuses on basketball, I wonder if they would consider joining the Catholic 7?  Probably not, but it would make a GREAT BASKETBALL conference.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @mowens75  @JRsec  @AllTideUp Maybe, but it's impossible to know.  I assume that the Big Ten and the SEC have had conversations with North Carolina.  Likewise, I believe that the Big Ten has been talking to Virginia and Georgia Tech for months.  The fact that a source that has proven to be credible now says it's happening is not a surprise.

 

The question is one of timing.  If the moves are going to happen, then when?  I see two possibilities.  The obvious one is when the Maryland case is fully resolved, but it might happen sooner than that.  If the court rules that the ACC can not legally withhold conference revenue distributions in anticipation of Maryland's defection, then that might get the ball rolling.  Making a lump sump payment, regardless of the amount, once the B1G money starts rolling in is one thing.  Not getting revenue that you're currently earning is another matter entirely.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @mowens75  @JRsec  @Roggespierre

I'm ready to move to 20 in all this business and be done with it.

 

Florida State, Clemson, UNC, Duke, Virginia Tech, Pitt

 

Let's get it over with.

JRsec
JRsec

 @mowens75  @AllTideUp  @Roggespierre The money says 3 x 20, or Big 10 (20), PAC (20), SEC (24)

Big 10

Atlantic:  Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, Penn State, Virginia

New England:  Boston College, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Rutgers, Syracuse

Great Lakes: Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Purdue

Plains:  Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Northwestern, Wisconsin

 

PAC

East:  iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State

South:  Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Texas, Texas Tech

West:  California, U.C.L.A., U.S.C., Stanford, Nevada

North:  Oregon, Oregon State, Utah, Washington, Washington State

 

SEC

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

East:  Auburn, Florida, Georgia, N.C. State, South Carolina, Vanderbilt

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

West:  Arkansas, Baylor, Louisiana State, Mississippi, Missouri, Texas A&M

 

I'm not saying these will be the teams, just that the organization and make up of the three conferences will look something like this.

By going to 3 conferences each team present will net close to 2 million more per year. 

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @mowens75  @JRsec  @AllTideUp Incidentally, thanks for the link.  I also think you might be on to something regarding the holdup of the SEC and the networks wanting more games.  I would revise that only to say that the networks want more high-quality games.

 

Remember a couple years ago when Florida/Miami of Ohio was telecast nationally on opening weekend?  Did anybody outside of die-hard Gator fans want to see that game?  I watched a little bit of it - it was, after all, college football - but I would much rather have watched Florida play a name opponent.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @mowens75  @JRsec  @AllTideUp This makes perfect sense from the Big Ten perspective.  It'll make sense for the SEC, too, just as soon as the SEC Network is up and running.

 

There is no reason to pay millions in guarantees to the likes of Eastern Michigan and Louisiana-Lafayette when you can play each other, pack the house, and add high quality content to your network lineup.

 

I'm skeptical about the claim that Big Ten coaches want more night games.  I think it's the BTN that wants more night games.  Right now, the 3rd tier games compete with each other on Saturday afternoons on the various BTN sub-channels that are telecast within the conference footprint.  For people like me who live outside that footprint, it's a frustrating situation.  For example, I really wanted to see the IU/Purdue Old Oaken Bucket game on the final weekend of the season.  But the main BTN channel that I get here in Maryland carried Illinois-Northwestern.

 

The day will soon come, I think, when the BTN will have Thursday night games, as well.  If the alternative on ESPN is a watered down ACC tilt, then the Big Ten would do well to step up with some competition.  The SEC might consider doing the same thing, although it will be more difficult given its ESPN relationship.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @edelswick 

One thing is for sure, ESPN is going to have to do a better job of defending their properties in the long run.  Fox has already expanded their coverage with Big 12 and Pac 12 games.  They've also made inroads with the Big Ten starting with the conference network.  The rumors are that they are offering bigger money to the Catholic 7 as well for their new basketball-focused league.  The question is where will they stop?

 

I don't know what NBC/Comcast's future plans are, but the big push from Fox started with the BTN.  NBC/Comcast is now the part owner of the Pac 12 Networks while they only recently launched their NBC Sports Network.  The latter isn't very impressive right now and I think they have a deal with the MWC for some content, but is that only the beginning?  Are they planning additional forays into the college sports market?  What will they do with Notre Dame's contract when it's up in a couple of years?

DanHogan
DanHogan

 @edelswick  @mowens75  @JRsec  @AllTideUp  @Roggespierre With the research partnerships that come from conference affiliation, I'd think the C7 would be out for both Duke and UNC.  And, as bad as Duke has been in the past in football, they still do have football and need to get what they can from that investment. And I'd think that Duke couldn't survive as any kind of independent at all.  In a really weird world, maybe they could join the Big East in football only but that's seriously crazy talk.  Like, really nutty, even for conference realignment.

 

If anything, I'd think Notre Dame to the C7 is an interesting thought.  They'd be trading a football requirement that might be little more than they might want with potential trouble scheduling games in November.  I'd imagine even that won't happen before they'd join the Big 12 on a partial basis, but it isn't serious crazy talk.

JRsec
JRsec

 @AllTideUp  @mowens75  @Roggespierre The longer they drag it out now, the more casual and adoptive fans will fall by the wayside.  People are tired of "change".  The conference leadership for all concerned would be wise to realize the zeitgeist and be quick and considerate in finishing.

 

By the way, the SEC is in unique position to eliminate a lot of angst by going to 24.  The Big 10 can't push the non-AAU thing too far and the PAC is simply too remote to accommodate West Virginia, Louisville, Cincinnati, or N.C. State should they find themselves hanging.  I figure 64 kills any organized counter suit because of the demarcation of expenditures by those schools involved have definite cut offs at 60, 64, and 71.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @AllTideUp  @mowens75  @JRsec Yes.  Let's just hit the fast-forward button, shall we?

 

Anybody know how long we have to wait for the next step in the Maryland case?  I haven't seen anything that provides any kind of prediction regarding a timeline.

larryphelps20
larryphelps20

 @JRsec  Disagree w/ you as to who the B1G invites. I see no situation in which they add Syracuse or Boston College. If they are gonna add non-AAU members like you suggest why wouldn't they go for the non-AAU's that are actually relevant? Specifically FSU.

mowens75
mowens75

 @JRsec  @AllTideUp  @Roggespierre So TCU and Wake Forest don't make the cut from the Big Conferences. Which I agree with, but still think BYU would possibly make it somehow. The issue is the PAC will probably not take them even if they can bring more money than most might think. 

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @Roggespierre  @mowens75  @JRsec 

There have been some rumblings about ESPN featuring SEC games on their standard Thursday night broadcast.  I would hate that actually because the idea of my school playing on Thur instead of Sat is an annoying one.  I know others feel the same.  I wouldn't mind that sort of thing to kick the season off or occasionally for schools that need additional exposure, but it would be a hassle for schools accustomed to playing marquee games on Sat.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @Roggespierre  @mowens75  @JRsec 

I would love 10 conference games myself.  Even with an expanded conference there are many more opportunities for preserving rivalries and scheduling big games.  I'd even be in favor of inviting the 'in-state' rivals from the ACC just to help preserve some great games as well as bringing additional strong Southern programs into the fold.

 

If realignment can give us more quality games then I think it's a overall win for the fans even if a few things get shaken up.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @AllTideUp  @edelswick NBC/Comcast seems as if it's very much lost in all of this.  The top rated programs on NBCSN are pre-recorded hunting shows that harken back to the channel's Outdoor Life Network days.  It attempted to gain traction as Versus with IndyCar racing and Tour De France, but neither property performed.  Comcast is notoriously cheap and it shows, as NBCSN has declined in popularity since the takeover.

 

ESPN and Fox appear to be the only players that are serious.  The exception is CBS, which appears to have a different strategy insofar as it's the only one that still puts its premium sports programming on the over-the-air network.  The CBS Sports cable channel is a non-factor just like NBCSN.

DanHogan
DanHogan

 @Roggespierre  @edelswick  @mowens75  @JRsec  @AllTideUp And... to come full circle..  I could see ND doing some very small football-only scheduling arrangement with the Big East for November games.  That might help the Big East keep Navy and maybe get another service academy on board (if they are still interested).  It would be a great fit with the NBC deal they are working on.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @DanHogan  @edelswick  @mowens75  @JRsec  @AllTideUp The ND C7 talk is indeed not seriously crazy.  Notre Dame needs, what? - two home football dates every November?  BYU, an on-again-off-again rival, is independent and ready to play.  In fact, they have a home game scheduled this November.  The service academies present additional options.

 

I think it could be done.

JRsec
JRsec

 @mowens75  @AllTideUp  @Roggespierre The PAC is very anti religious, but takes its share of Federal funds which comes from Christians, Mormons, Jews, Muslims and a growing number of Sikhs, Buddhists, and Hindus.  B.Y.U. is too remote to the Big 10 geographically to be considered there, and is not AAU.  They would be a stretch for the SEC as well, but they would add many viewers to any network that carried them.  But then there is the B.Y.U. channel which is a problem as well.

JRsec
JRsec

 @Roggespierre  @mowens75  @AllTideUp Tell him "War Eagle" for me.  I admired a beautiful young lady from Iowa who was attending Auburn when I was there.  She was a math major.  Your friend has a lot of which to be proud.  They don't exactly hand out Summa Cum Laude honors to just any organic chemistry major at Auburn.  

JRsec
JRsec

 @Roggespierre  @AllTideUp  @mowens75 I'm partial to the hills in South central Tennessee and the people are great there too, but the farmland in Iowa is pretty too.  I guess you have to like to grow things to appreciate that.  And of course those Iowa farm girls aren't bad either.  Dinah Shore was from Winchester, Tennessee and I believe Donna Reed was an Iowa girl.  I kind of miss the greatness of those days and the constant of the goodness of small town America.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @JRsec  @mowens75  @AllTideUp Agreed.  The rusting has been tough.  I lived in Muncie, Indiana for several years.  It was the home of Borg Warner transmission... before BW moved its entire operation to Mexico.  I wouldn't drive today in the neighborhood where I worked in 1993.  But most of the people are much like you find in the South.

 

A guy I work with is a building engineer - a real blue collar guy from a long line of blue collar guys.  His dad was a union electrician.  His daughter just graduated summa cum laude from Auburn in organic chemistry.  My buddy reports that the South has been very good to him and his family.  He even brought me some Auburn gear from her commencement.

JRsec
JRsec

 @Roggespierre  @mowens75  @AllTideUp I lived up there years ago, and it was a bit different in the 60's before the Belt started rusting.  Hard to believe that was 50 years ago.  The people were great.  Good solid people like in the South (where I am native).  The accents were different, and they didn't want to know what your daddy and granddaddy did for a living but otherwise the values were about the same.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @JRsec  @mowens75  @AllTideUp I doubt it.  The high school football scene up there is not what many would expect.  Lots of the top players are from the impoverished Rust Belt cities near Detroit.  High school sports don't really register.  Ohio is unusual in the Midwest in terms of both the quality of and passion for high school football.

 

The Michigan situation is a lot like Indiana high school basketball in the northwestern part of the state (East Chicago and Gary).  It's not the stuff of Hoosiers (which does in fact exist elsewhere).  In those locales, there's a ton of hoops talent - urban, poor, raw, and likely often ineligible talent - that nobody goes to see.

JRsec
JRsec

 @AllTideUp  @Roggespierre  @mowens75 It's part of that culture that Urban Meyer is trying to bring to the Northern climbs.  He stated its appeal in recruiting in an article I read yesterday.  Southerners aren't going to want to give up any Saturdays in the South.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @AllTideUp  @JRsec  @mowens75 It varies school by school.  The norm in the SEC sounds a lot like what I've witnessed at Iowa.  I did attend a game at Neyland Stadium once.  It reminded me quite a bit of Iowa City, only prettier.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @Roggespierre  @JRsec  @mowens75 

We like buying stuff on football weekends down here ;)  Seriously though, local economies are helped significantly by the tens of thousands of people flowing into town.  Whether it's all the hotels being full(at premium prices mind you), all the increased restaurant and bar traffic, or the vendors getting a boost in the immediate area of the stadium; game days are big business for a lot of people.  I'm not sure how it works in B1G country, maybe there are more fans from the immediate locale up there, but most of the fans are driving in from other areas into the relatively small cities that are common in the SEC.  They're often driving in for night games as well which means it's easier to stay the night in a hotel or advantageous to stock up on tailgating supplies and hang around on campus all day.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @JRsec  @mowens75  @AllTideUp I know better than to expect Friday night football from the southern colleges.  I don't even think the Big Ten would go there.  Few would care in some B1G states, but Ohio would never put up with it.

JRsec
JRsec

 @Roggespierre  @mowens75  @AllTideUp Also do not expect the SEC to play Friday night games.  High School football is still very well respected and protected as a Friday night commodity in the Southeast and Southwest.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @JRsec  @mowens75  @AllTideUp I overlooked this point, likely because I'm a northern guy.  I have only heard about - and not actually seen - the support that local merchants provide to SEC schools.  Perhaps I'm wrong, but it doesn't seem to be such a significant consideration in the Big Ten.  It certainly isn't at the University of Maryland.  Nobody comes do the games, so on site sales, hotels and the like aren't a consideration at all.

mowens75
mowens75

 @JRsec  @edelswick  @AllTideUp Maybe FCS goes to Friday nights. Well if they do go to Tuesday then you just have the 3 or 4 conference alternate for 2 Thursday night games or just compete with each other. 

JRsec
JRsec

 @edelswick  @mowens75  @AllTideUp  @Roggespierre Remember Fox will likely carry PAC and Big 10 games, ESPN will have the SEC games.  They will go head to head on Thursday and Friday.  Tuesday will be reserved for FCS.

mowens75
mowens75

 @JRsec  @Roggespierre  @AllTideUp i can see that all being true, but maybe they just do one SEC game on Thursday nights and one B1G game on Tuesday nights. Also maybe add the other 2 conferences on the same nights. 

JRsec
JRsec

 @mowens75  @Roggespierre  @AllTideUp Week night games are not going to appease the merchants who significantly back these schools with local advertising and promotions and athletic contributions.  As we move to only upper tier games, and until Spring games are replaced with an FCS opponent for a true preseason game, these merchants will be giving up 1/7th of their Fall income with the loss of that 7th home game to a 6 home 6 away all upper tier schedule.  Neutral site games are a loss as well.  The data proves that Thursday night games don't yield as much in restaurant, hotel, and souvenirs sales.

edelswick
edelswick

 @mowens75  @AllTideUp  @Roggespierre  @JRsec

 After the 1st ACC raided the Big East back in 2002 timeframe, the Big East agreed to do a Friday night game with ESPN.  Yes - at that time, having a night game during the week was bad for the teams - but in terms of media exposure it was great..

 

This time around, would expect ESPN to go about this one conference for each night.  Say Big1G on Monday night, SEC on Tuesday night...

 

 

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @AllTideUp  @mowens75  @JRsec I don't think you need to worry about the Tide playing on Thursday nights any time soon.  Florida, LSU and Georgia are likely in the same boat.

 

But a Thursday night game could do some nice things for Missouri, Kentucky, and the Mississippi schools.  Heck, State used to play all the time on Thursday nights back in the Jackie Sherrill days.  Joe Lee Dunn's big mug was on my TV as often as Jerry Seinfeld.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @DanHogan  @AllTideUp  @Roggespierre  @mowens75  @JRsec I'll keep an open mind.  As a Purdue fan, it pains me to see schools like Virginia Tech, Rutgers and Louisville rising in the national consciousness even as my Boilermakers lapse further into mediocrity.  Those schools improved their fortunes largely by playing on Thursday nights.  One of them is about to become a Big Ten school and the others typically recruit on par with everybody in the conference except for OSU and Michigan.

 

If we're going to compete, then let's compete.  The Spartans are going to lose a national game when Notre Dame drops them.  Purdue will likely suffer the same fate some day.  It's high time that we stop depending on the Irish and instead take matters into our own hands.  For schools that aren't Michigan and OSU, Thursday nights could provide significant benefits.

DanHogan
DanHogan

@AllTideUp @Roggespierre @mowens75 @JRsec As a Michigan State grad, the games on the Friday night of Labor Day weekend has been really cool.  But, Thursday eve of other weeks?  Nah.  That's Big East territory right there. 

mowens75
mowens75

 @AllTideUp  @Roggespierre  @JRsec I actually don't think I would mind the occasional Thursday night game. Maybe they set it as you can only play one a year. I know if I was tailgating I wouldn't like it, but for TV I don't mind it. 

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