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How An SEC-Big XII Scheduling Alliance Could Doom The ACC

yaltaOn Monday, a two-day meeting of the Big XII’s athletic directors got under way.  At the time, there was much discussion of a potential Big XII-ACC scheduling alliance.  Such a deal could conceivably delay further conference realignment for the short-term.  Bob Bowlsby had said leading up to the meetings that his league had already held exploratory conversations with three different conferences.  He mentioned the ACC specifically.

As for the other two leagues with which the Big XII had chatted, the vast majority of national pundits assumed the Pac-12 and the Big Ten were the other potential partners.  We thought otherwise:

 

“We suspect, however, that Bowlsby and (Mike) Slive might have had some chats.  The SEC takes a beating for its nonconference scheduling and when we move from the current BCS system to a playoff selection committee — complete with regional biases — any perceived soft scheduling could hurt the league’s chances of getting multiple teams into a four-team playoff.

Bowlsby and Slive captain the two most successful ships of the BCS era.  They’ve just worked out a groundbreaking deal to partner up and split the cash from a new Sugar Bowl that’s basically owned by the leagues and run by the folks in New Orleans.  What better way to further consolidate power than to reach a scheduling agreement, especially in football?”

 

One day into the Big XII’s meetings, the media began to focus even more closely on the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 as potential partners due to a Monday afternoon tweet put out by Kirk Bohls of The Austin-American Statesman.  It stated that Slive had said that the SEC “is not involved in those (Big XII) alliance discussions at all.”

We remained a bit skeptical as that didn’t sound very much like Slive’s MO.  Perhaps wires were crossed somewhere.   So we wrote on Tuesday morning:

 

“Mike Slive has said the SEC has had no alliance discussions with the Big XII ‘at all,’ which is surprising considering he almost always keeps his options open.”

 

Yesterday afternoon, the story changed.  Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News called across town to the SEC office and was told by SEC associate commissioner Mark Womack that the league “has engaged in limited dialogue” (Solomon’s words) with the Big XII.

Thought so.

Further, Womack said: “That’s a situation we would keep an open mind on, but we haven’t had a lot of significant discussions at this point.  There’s a lot of different ways that could work.  At this point, we’re continuing to move forward with scheduling the conference we’ve planned.”  Womack pointed out that any scheduling arrangement with another league would face its share of hurdles, namely most schools’ desire to play seven home games each season.

(Sidenote — Womach also told The News that there is no timetable to finish the 2014 football schedule, that the possibility of expanding to nine league games “is probably something that will always be out there to look at,” and that it’s likely the league will only schedule the next four-to-six years rather than the usual 10-to-12-year cycle.  “Given the state of everything, we’d probably look at a shorter term.”)

As we stated Monday and quoted above, it would only make sense for the SEC to consider some form of partnership with the Big XII.  Those two conferences have been the lead dogs in college football for the past decade and together they control the fertile recruiting zone from the Carolinas to Texas and on up into Oklahoma.

The ACC is looking for survival.  The Pac-12 wants some way to promote its product east of the Rocky Mountains.  The Big Ten is looking to reach into the growing Southern states for athletes, future students, and future donors.  In other words, all of those leagues want something that a partnership with the Big XII or SEC could provide.  The Big XII, being the smallest of the power conferences, is the most likely to strike a deal because Bowlsby’s group doesn’t want to end up being the runt of the power conference litter.

But if you were running the Big XII or SEC, why would you aid one of those other leagues?  The Big Ten and Pac-12 have their own Rose Bowl relationship.  They tried to work out a scheduling agreement but failed.  Let them deal with the slow growth of the Midwest and the three-hour difference between Pacific time and Eastern time.

Meanwhile, the ACC is working feverishly to protect itself from further raids.  You can be certain John Swofford is putting in more calls to Bowlsby than vice versa.  But if you’re the SEC or Big XII, why throw his conference a life vest?  Especially if the Big XII has its eyes on Florida State and Notre Dame (it does) and if the SEC has been wooing North Carolina and Duke for years (an ACC source told The Sporting News that it has).

Our SEC sources have told us since the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M that the league does not want to expand further.  But if the league feels it must expand further, well, that change things.  If the Big XII feels it must grow, too, then that’s two leagues with one goal.  Might they work in concert — and we’re talking about more than a scheduling alliance here — to topple a rival conference and then pick its bones clean?

First, it’s hard to imagine Slive and the SEC’s presidents taking part in such a nefarious plot.  Second, even if the SEC did engage in such a plan, the Big XII would have to sign on as well.

So let’s be clear, we’re stating that an SEC-Big XII alliance makes sense for both leagues in terms of improving their current schedules and consolidating their power.

We’re suggesting that it’s theoretically possible an SEC-Big XII alliance could bring down the Atlantic Coast Conference altogether.

See the difference there?  If so, put on your tin foil hat and allow us to toss a conspiracy theory at you (one we don’t subscribe to, but one we have thought about).

 

We’ll call our scenario “Operation Yalta.”  For the non-history buffs out there, in February of 1945, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin met in Yalta to discuss the final stages of World War II and to plan the post-war reorganization of Europe.

Fast forward to the current day and the ACC is in trouble.  The Big Ten has just raided it for Maryland and our sources suggest Virginia and Georgia Tech are simply waiting to learn the cost of the Terrapins’ exit fee before joining Jim Delany’s league as well.  (Other reports state that North Carolina is a Big Ten target, rather than Georgia Tech.  If that’s true, we don’t believe it has anything to do with a “contiguous states” clause that can be easily ripped from the Big Ten’s bylaws.)

With the Big Ten already gnawing away at Swofford’s league, it’s highly doubtful he will turn to Delany in hopes of salvation.  The Pac-12 could form a scheduling alliance with the ACC but the distance between the two leagues probably makes such a deal impractical.  If the ACC wants stability, it can really only get it through a partnership with the Big XII, a partnership with the SEC, or the entry of Notre Dame into the conference as a full-time — football, too — member.  Notre Dame, however, has made it very clear they have no problem playing chicken and the world will have to pry football independence from their cold, dead, Leprechaun hand.

With the Big Ten and Pac-12 likely non-starters and a full-fledged entry by Notre Dame is just as doubtful, it leaves the SEC and Big XII as the ACC’s only options.  And if the SEC and Big XII decide to work together, the ACC is likely doomed.  Swofford’s conference doesn’t make as much cash as the other power leagues.  It’s strength is basketball in a time when football is worth much more money.  Worse, its best remaining football brand is one of two members that recently voted not to raise the league’s exit fees.  (Maryland was the other, if that tells you anything.)

The ACC is shaky.  Notre Dame knows it.  Irish AD Jack Swarbrick has recently struck up a friendship over cigars and bourbon with Slive of the SEC.  Swarbrick is also on good terms with Texas AD DeLoss Dodds, a man who’s tried and tried to lure Notre Dame into the Big XII.  And Bowlsby of the Big XII just last year cut a deal with Slive and the SEC on a groundbreaking new bowl idea that will see the two conferences keep most of the revenue from their new and improved Sugar Bowl agreement.

Now let’s say Bowlsby, Slive and Swarbrick gather on someone’s back porch for a Cuban and a glass of Blanton’s.  Scheming ensues.  A plan is hatched.

The SEC and Big XII announce a scheduling partnership, thus leaving the ACC without options and finished.  The Big XII has 10 football teams.  Currently the SEC has 14 teams, but four of those programs have rivalry games with schools already in or moving to the ACC (Florida-Florida State, South Carolina-Clemson, Georgia-Georgia Tech, Kentucky-Louisville).  Adding another home-and-home series with a Big XII school might make it impossible for those teams to play seven home games per season.  (Ah, but what if those four rival schools weren’t in the ACC?)

Knowing the ACC is dead, Notre Dame announces that it will join the Big XII as a part-time member.  The Irish will play five football games per year against Big XII teams — which was the plan for its ACC membership — while getting the benefit of tapping into Texas for recruiting and keeping its beloved independence.  It’s not as strong a push southward as Notre Dame had been hoping for, but moving into Texas and Oklahoma beats sitting in the cold Midwest watching the population around you shrink in comparison to the faster-growing South.  Notre Dame’s NBC contract would be an easier fit into the Big XII than any other share-and-share-alike league, too.

Realizing there are no paths to growth for their current league, those ACC schools who’ve been playing footsie with other conferences decide to go ahead and hit the eject button.

Now that the SEC and Big XII have effectively destabilized the ACC — simply by not agreeing to stabilize it with a scheduling alliance — all that’s left to do is divvy up the teams.  The post-war reorganization, if you will.

There’s no doubt the Big XII wants Florida State if the Seminoles leave the ACC.  With the ACC crumbling, the Noles would indeed leave.  Especially if the Big Ten grabbed Virginia first.  The Big Ten will not invite a non-AAU Florida State into its ranks.  We would have to see that to believe that.  So if the SEC isn’t interested, that leaves only the Big XII as an option.

As we wrote a few weeks ago during our Big Bang series on expansion/realignment, we believe Miami is in play for the Big XII as well, especially if Florida State moves.  Clemson has long been discussed as a potential Big XII member.  Louisville almost fought its way into the league past West Virginia during the last spin of the realignment wheel.  But what about Georgia Tech?  Would Tech officials choose to join the Big Ten along with Maryland and Virginia?  Or would Tech move to the Big XII along with Florida State, Miami, Clemson and Notre Dame (with Louisville in tow)?  All the while knowing that a new Big XII-SEC scheduling alliance would keep the Yellow Jackets’ end-of-the-year game with Georgia alive and kicking?  Pencil Tech into the Big XII.

But if the Big XII has jumped to 15 full-time members (with part-timer Notre Dame as the 16th school), why not snap up AAU school Pittsburgh, its major television market, and its natural rivalry with West Virginia as well?

All that leaves the SEC to gobble up any two of the remaining ACC schools it desires without ever firing a shot to sink Swofford’s league.  Would that mean North Carolina and Duke?  Would it mean Carolina and Virginia Tech?  Would the SEC be able to win a head-to-head battle with the Big Ten for any of those schools?  For the sake of argument, let’s say the SEC would win such a tug-of-war with Delany’s league by taking both Carolina and Duke.

Add it up and groups of ACC schools would be able to move together.  Old rivalries  could be kickstarted (Texas-Texas A&M, Missouri-Kansas, West Virginia-Pittsburgh) and preserved (Kentucky-Louisville, South Carolina-Clemson, Florida-Florida State, Georgia-Georgia Tech).  Notre Dame could maintain its independence in football.  The Big XII could expand to the point of being in same ballpark sizewise with the remaining three power leagues (SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12).  The SEC could land the two schools most believe people believe Slive covets most without appearing to submarine another conference.  All of those things would be wins… or at least as close as one can come to “wins” in this expansion-crazed age.

 

Obviously, this is a far-fetched scenario.  For all this to fall into place, dozens of tumblers would have to click in just the right way at just the right moment.  It’s kookery at its finest.  Pure fiction.  A flight of fancy.

But, technically, it could happen.  And we simply wanted to show you that while an SEC-Big XII scheduling alliance would make definite sense in terms of improving schedules and consolidating Southern power, such a deal could also have more far-reaching effects.  Devastating effects, in fact, if things spun too far for the ACC, the league most in need of an alliance-style lifeline.

Ohio State president Gordon Gee has said he believes there will wind up being three or four power conferences of 16 to 20 schools each when all this realignment nonsense finally winds down.  If the folks in the Big XII and SEC offices agree with that conclusion, then this type of massive growth — regardless of per-school payouts — could come to pass due to nothing more than pure fear.  “I know we don’t need School X, but we can’t afford to let that other conference grab them.”  That isn’t the wisest way to do business, but that hasn’t stopped other leagues from hurriedly, recklessly adding schools.

Again, we’re not suggesting this will happen… only that it could.  And that should scare the Hell out of the ACC.  If the Big XII and SEC don’t partner up with Swofford’s league, the chances of that league surviving as we know it are awfully slim.  Whether there’s a pre-planned raiding party or not.

 

The Operation Yalta scenario

  Membership   SEC   Big XII
  Full   Alabama   Baylor
  Full   Arkansas   Clemson
  Full   Auburn   Florida State
  Full   Duke   Georgia Tech
  Full   Florida   Iowa State
  Full   Georgia   Kansas
  Full   Kentucky   Kansas State
  Full   LSU   Louisville
  Full   Miss. State   Miami
  Full   Missouri   Oklahoma
  Full   N. Carolina   Oklahoma State
  Full   Ole Miss   Pittsburgh
  Full   S. Carolina   TCU
  Full   Tennessee   Texas
  Full   Texas A&M   Texas Tech
  Full   Vanderbilt   W. Virginia
  Partial   Notre Dame

 

 

 

 


222 comments
AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @Roggespierre 

The ACC is a sinking ship.  In this sort of climate, its weaknesses are glaring.  It's been run poorly for some time now and there is just no way to recover under the current circumstances.  Any league that starts losing schools to other conferences in this day and age is in trouble.  Maryland's bailing on the ACC has busted the door wide open.

 

I'm interested in following the lawsuit to see what happens next.

JRsec
JRsec

 @Roggespierre Is it "buyers remorse" or something else?  It begs the question of what N.D. knows and who they learned it from?  Whether information has been gathered from backdoor channels to the Big 10, direct channels to Virginia, or backdoor info garnered through Swarbrick's latest visit to Birmingham, it makes me wonder if N.D. plans on parking all sports in the C7 while freeing a football association (not membership) with the Big 12.  It may be nothing, or it could be a telling sign of things to come in the ACC.

BruceMcF
BruceMcF

 @Roggespierre Makes sense ~ its been looking like the C7 would play the 2013/2014 season in the Big East before heading out, and Louisville will play the 2013/2014 season before heading out, so the Big East will be an attractive basketball conference until the end of next season, when the wheels fall off as they add a bunch of mid-major football schools and only one decent basketball program.

 

I'm wondering whether the "buyer remorse" comment reflects on the pressure that the ACC was reportedly putting on Notre Dame to up their football commitment to 6 games annually.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @JRsec Right.  At the very least, it was an interesting choice of words.  The C7 actually would make a lot of sense for Notre Dame.  The basketball contract that is being negotiated with Fox will reportedly pay more than the schools would have made had they remained in the Big East.  Even better for ND, there is no football commitment.   That's important when you consider that the whole point is for ND football to remain independent.

 

Had the C7 broken away prior to ND announcing its move, would ND have made the move in the first place?  My guess is probably not.

DanHogan
DanHogan

 @BruceMcF  @Roggespierre Yeah, this isn't a surprise.  (And, by the way, if BruceMcF and I agree on something, it MUST be true!)  The expectation when this was announced last years was that the move would be for 2014.  The only reason they would be screwed into going sooner would be if the Big East really imploded for next year.   The faster loss of the C7 and the total lack of a tv contract would do that.  Otherwise, it would not have been a debate.

 

That "buyer's remorse" comment is really odd.  One has to assume the ACC is a better landing spot than the BE.  The question is whether or not they jump a year early or not.  Neither article gives the context or that comment so we can only guess.  Maybe the ND exec wants another year for the folks throughout the school to get used to the change.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @BruceMcF Could be, but it also could be that Notre Dame thought it was leaving the unstable Big East for greater stability in the ACC.  Instead, it's out of the frying pan and into the fire.

 

ND has to be feeling the squeeze.  The whole point from the Irish perspective is to maintain football independence.  It gave up 5/12 of that with the ACC deal, likely because that's the best it could do.  Asking ND to give up another game makes it tougher to maintain the national presence that Notre Dame clearly desires.  Throw in the fact that the B1G is talking about moving to a 10-game conference schedule at some point in the future, and the situation begins to look very bleak for independents.  Notre Dame wants to dictate the terms - yes, it might value its games with USC, Stanford and Navy more than its games with Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue, but that doesn't mean it doesn't want to play those latter three games.

BruceMcF
BruceMcF

 @JRsec  @Roggespierre  @AllTideUp Now, there's times I could go with a description of Notre Dame as a Big Dick.

 

Given their "national profile", that two of the schools they want to play are in the Pac-12 and the Pac-12 is geographically constrained, there's a certain sense to Notre Dame to the Pac-12, but the Pac-12 would be unlikely to take a religious school.

BruceMcF
BruceMcF

 @JRsec  @Roggespierre What academics care about are grad school programs, and I think that FSU's top 25 grad school program is their professional Public Policy school. They'd have to be looking like they were seriously moving up the rankings for their Law School to get people to start saying, "Oh, they're better in some things than you think".

 

FSU is at least a large public university, so would be a good institutional fit if they could raise their academic rankings. Miami is a much worse institutional fit, I can't see Delany even putting them on his long list.

 

The prospect of getting GTech into the CIC has apparently got the Big Ten engineering departments watering at the mouth, and at least on USNWR's grad school rankings, there are top-25 engineering departments at the Illini, that school in Ann Arbor, Purdue, WIsconsin, Northwestern and Penn State ~ and two more in the top 30. On the academic side, it would be very popular.

 

GTech might not be an "odd" add like UVA or UNC, but  whether or not it would raise the average media value, it would at least be a net increase in media value, so it would be a more appealing "even" add than Pitt.

JRsec
JRsec

 @BruceMcF  @Roggespierre I think Slive would spew his Bourbon if he thought he could pick up U.N.C. and Texas.  But I don't think we will get either.  It would really upset the balance the networks are trying to manipulate in this whole matter.  But I like your idea.  

 

If the Big 10 truly wanted into Florida I think they would take Miami.  They have a lot more Big 10 retirees in the Broward/Dade area to boost attendance (like they plan with Maryland), Donna Shalala is a former Big 10 president at Wisconsin and would be easy for them to work with, and while private they are ranked in the high 30's academically.

 

F.S.U. would look like a zit on the nose of the Big 10 and I just don't think they will ultimately go there.  I think the threat of going there and Atlanta are just designed to make the SEC back off a touch on U.N.C. and Duke.

BruceMcF
BruceMcF

 @Roggespierre  @JRsec I reckon if the SEC head office had its way, it would take UNC and Texas and be done with it. And there's a pair where NEITHER move is on the table as an individual move ~ UNC needs to see that NC State has a soft landing somewhere, and Texas refused to go to the Pac-10 without Texas Tech. When A&M balked, the Pac-10 refused to take Texas Tech without both Texas and A&M, and the whole deal came unraveled, with the Pac-10 ending up with Colorado, the Big12 school that had been the closest institutional fit all along.

 

I think there is a touch of CDO in the 4x16 layouts (its a lot like OCD but better, because its in alphabetical order). With the population distribution of the country, there's nothing to FORCE the Pac-12 to expand just because the SEC and Big Ten are expanding ~ because expanding with schools that reduce the per-school market value does not help in terms of "keeping up with" the SEC and Big Ten.

 

And there's climate. Even if the Big Ten could sort out a way to make Big Ten academic snobs OK with FSU ... and FSU academics would be gleeful at joining the Big Ten and CIC ... would FSU want to be playing away to cold weather schools in November?  In order to promise they wouldn't, the Big Ten would have to sort out how the playing divisions are going to work, which is a big can of worms in a conference with decades of playing a conference round robin and having rivalries emerge organically rather than along divisional lines.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @JRsec  @BruceMcF I agree.  These are organic and contingent maneuverings in which the means will dictate the ends and not the other way around.  For example, if the Big Ten were to have its way, then it would grab North Carolina, Notre Dame, Texas and Florida... and be done with it.  Of course, that's not going to happen.  The league will be fortunate to get one of those schools and very fortunate to get two.  The other two are non-starters.

 

If the SEC had its way, then it would probably stop right now.  But the market forces embodied in the SEC Network will probably not allow it to do that.

 

That's why I scoff at those who think that we're going to get a nice, neat package of four 16-team conferences.  No way.

BruceMcF
BruceMcF

 @JRsec  @Roggespierre "I understand your rationale but it is built on the notion of equal growth which will ultimately prove to be a myth.  Expansion for the Big 10 and SEC is about markets and profitability."

 

No, its built on the notion that expansion for the Big 10 and SEC is about markets and profitability. A pair of adds that takes the conference from 14 to 16 has to add over 1/7th to the profitability of the conference to be a net gain for current members. A pair of adds that takes the conference from 16 to 18 has to add 1/8th the profitability ~ after the first pair already pushed up the average profitability.

 

You start to run out of schools that do that. For example, Pitt only does that for the SEC if its the "even" add that is making a much stronger "odd" add possible.l

BruceMcF
BruceMcF

 @Roggespierre  @JRsec Its quite distinct from an exit fee, since an exit fee is only owed by an exiting school, while the Grant of Rights is something obtained from all members of the conference, and something that all schools agreeing to it have already gained financial benefit from, in the conference payouts from the tier 1 and tier 2 broadcast rights.

 

And a fair market value buyout at this stage would be worth far more than the ACC exit fee, since while it would only apply to the school's share of conference media revenue, it would apply for a much longer period.

 

More broadly, if a voluntary association cannot impose three times the annual revenue it provides its members as an exit fee, it could well be that collegiate football is the biggest business affected by that. However, increase the ability of a copyright holder to renege on a long term rights deal because it has received a better offer from someone else, and you are affecting a whole truckload of Hollywood deals worth substantially more in total than collegiate football is worth. So there are a lot more stakeholders well beyond football itself on the side of defending the GOR than there are on the side of defending the exorbitant ACC exit fee.

 

JRsec
JRsec

 @Roggespierre  @BruceMcF I totally agree, and those who have claimed to have read the G.O.R. claim that there are indeed contingencies.

JRsec
JRsec

 @BruceMcF  @Roggespierre I understand your rationale but it is built on the notion of equal growth which will ultimately prove to be a myth.  Expansion for the Big 10 and SEC is about markets and profitability.  If the Big 10 takes Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, and possibly Georgia Tech who's to say the SEC doesn't respond with Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, North Carolina State, and Florida State.  If the SEC decides to block Big 10 expansion into Georgia the may even move to 20 with Georgia Tech and Clemson added to those above.

 

They don't have to worry about Louisville or Cincinnati going to the Big 10 and if the Big 10 wants into the South they are headed to 20 teams as a conference and there will be little doubt about that.  If they take Virginia and another New England school and stop then your scenario becomes possible.  The SEC would go after Virginia Tech and shoot for a N. Carolina school.  But also remember this, if the Big 10 and SEC still value some of the Big 12 properties then by swallowing as much as the ACC as possible the leave the Big 12 no new market to expand into outside of those that don't really pay their way:  B.Y.U., Louisville, & Cincinnati.  The Big 12 is now just hanging around in a position that fails to compete with Big 10 and SEC income.

 

By Denying them those markets both the Big 10 and SEC expand to 20 and even if they desire no further expansion they have so hobbled the future of the Big 12 that earning that extra playoff share of $40 million is virtually assured if the PAC picks up the pieces.  

 

Texas is betting on an antiquated system that will become more alien to the emerging market forces.  I think that past their GOR the Big 12 is doomed.  The question is whether the ACC survives.

 

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @BruceMcF  @JRsec I wish that we could know the details of the Big 12 GOR.  For example, might there be a clause that allows the schools to buy back their rights at fair market value?  If so, then the GOR might not be such a big deal.

 

The FMV is based largely on the distribution model.  Maryland sports, for example, present much greater value as a member of the Big Ten than they do as a member of the ACC.

 

Incidentally, if there is no buyback provision, then it would seem as if the GOR is indeed little more than a veiled exit fee that could be subject to the precedent that is set in the Maryland litigation.

BruceMcF
BruceMcF

 @JRsec  @Roggespierre But if the ACC is knocked out, then the Big12 is going to inherit a big chunk of that market that the ACC presently supplies ~ the Big12 that you are projecting eventually collapsing in that scenario is a far different beast than today's Big12.

 

Obviously as the clock ticks down on the Big12 GOR, then the question becomes what Texas wants ... but if in the meantime the Big12 has added a four or six east coast schools, then East Coast Exposure plus being the big dog of the Big12 West, then there could be a strong pull on UTx toward standing pat rather than joining the Pac-12. And there's no obvious Pac-12 expansion that does not run through Texas.

 

 

JRsec
JRsec

 @Roggespierre  @BruceMcF I was projecting the direction.  And I do feel that if the ACC survives we will have 4 conferences of 16 to 18 schools and will keep some version of the present agreement.

 

But I feel even more strongly that if we lose the ACC we will lose the Big 12 eventually and will have three regional conferences:  PAC, Big 10, SEC.  In that scenario the champions and will be in with an at large, or eventually as many as 5 at large.

 

The reasoning is simple.  Divide the total projected playoff payout by 3 and it nets the larger conferences 40 million more to eliminate the Big 12.  Since the Big 12 does not have the market footprint that would support an effective network then in the long run they can't compete with the Big 10 and SEC.  So they will either merge with, or be cherry picked by the PAC.  A surviving ACC with a scheduling alliance with the SEC and Notre Dame as a partial would not succumb as easily because they have a great market to supply.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @JRsec  @BruceMcF Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't think conference champions have an automatic bid to the playoff.  They do have an automatic bid to "contract" bowls.  If you're projecting a change due to future conference consolidation - thus the reference to the top 3 conferences - then I get it.

 

Then again, if the conferences consolidate down to 3 major leagues, then that alone would likely force Notre Dame to give up independence or risk being left out.

JRsec
JRsec

 @Roggespierre  @BruceMcF It's been said by more than 1 AD and 1 Head Coach that in a new upper tier, only upper tier teams will be scheduled.  With champions having an automatic in to the playoff from the top 3 conferences it will free a lot of people to play more in conference games without the fear of being left out.  That alone will provide more content.  9 or 10 conference games will be the norm and all other games will be against the other conferences.  Maybe N.D. can get a hybrid deal in that model, but I don't think they would want to be absent the guarantees if that is what it boils down to in essence. 

BruceMcF
BruceMcF

 @JRsec  @Roggespierre The challenge there is not the season lineup but the season scheduling. Getting the home games in late October and November requires not just the schools agreeing, but the conferences playing along ~ in that lineup that you gave, particularly the Big12 scheduling those school's conference schedules so that Notre Dame can play late season home and away schedules.

 

Notre Dame has a wide open field in scheduling Home and Home series in September ~ they are a good OOC marquee matchup at home and get you on nationwide TV when you play away. Scheduling home and away series that can be guaranteed to be playable in November, however, is much harder.

 

Two Major conferences have been willing to commit to cooperate with the scheduling of late season home and home series of their members with Notre Dame. For both, the ACC and the Big 12, the rest of the deal was Notre Dame committing to play five of their schools annually and joining their conference for Olympic sports.

BruceMcF
BruceMcF

@Roggespierre@JRsec If Notre Dame plays Navy, USC, Stanford and Purdue annually, and starting in 2014 five ACC schools, that gives them the equivalent of a 9 game conference schedule. The NuBigEast desperately wants Navy to follow through on their commitment to join, so  if Notre Dame needs flexibility in placing Navy when the Major conferences are in their conference schedule, it seems highly likely it will be granted. That gives Notre Dame six games and a bye to fit into the last seven weeks of the regular season, when OOC conference games with Majors are hard to schedule.

 

Obviously, their biggest schedule risk would be if the Pac-12 went to 10, but if the Big Ten, SEC and Big12 all went to 10 games, that would be a serious threat to their strength of schedule.

 

However, that is all far enough in the future to be in "cross that bridge if they come to it" territory.

BruceMcF
BruceMcF

 @Roggespierre  @JRsec  @AllTideUp Given how much clout the alumni have at Notre Dame, it could indeed involve some measure of long-nurtured grudge against the Big Ten for turning Notre Dame down ... but primarily, Notre Dame's alumni have adopted football independence as an end in itself. Unless and until that changes, that is going to drive Notre Dame to fight to retain football independence if at all possible.

 

Even if the objective situation changes so that remaining independent is not really viable, it could take a while for that change to settle into the mindset of Notre Dame alumni.

 

They are still viable as an independent (even if they went to the NCG a year early on their current cycle, because of Oregon / Kansas State implosion week), so any conference realignment speculation ought to pencil Notre Dame in as doing something to maintain their independence.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @JRsec  @AllTideUp  @BruceMcF Well, it's turned down the Big Ten twice, so that's probably true.  I am curious as to what ND has against the league.  Is it simply a matter of unfortunate geography, or might it be something else.  It is true that anti-Catholic sentiment kept Notre Dame out of the Big Ten many years ago when it actually wanted to join the conference.  Maybe they're still smarting from that.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @JRsec  @BruceMcF In the here and now, that is true.  The fact is that every school that plays big time football would value a home-and-home series with Notre Dame.  Programs such as Alabama and Texas have more leverage to negotiate the specific terms, but nobody is going to turn away the Irish.

 

The question is - how long will this be true?  I think the Big Ten is seriously considering a ten game conference schedule in part because ND has said that the Michigan and Michigan State games aren't all that important.  I doubt that the Purdue game would still be on the annual schedule if not for the fact that Notre Dame can more or less count on winning it every year.  The Big Ten has to know that.

 

If the annual tilts with Notre Dame are going away, then why not play more B1G conference games and keep all of the money, both at the gate and via the BTN?  As the SEC develops its network, it, too, might decide that its teams are better off playing each other more often.  I, for one, would very much have liked to have seen an Alabama-Florida game last season.  There is big value to be unlocked from having premiere teams play each other more frequently.  The Pac-12 has already gone to nine conference games.  As its network gains more traction, a 10-game schedule might become more appealing, as well.

 

If - and it's a big if - the top conferences move to more conference games, then Notre Dame might find it even more difficult to maintain its independence.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @JRsec  @BruceMcF  @Roggespierre 

It would be funny if ND were slated for an 18 or 20 team SEC.  I would have to see it to believe it, but it would certainly give ND their Southern exposure in addition to some schools on the East Coast.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @JRsec  @BruceMcF  @Roggespierre 

Notre Dame could just join the ACC or another conference in full and never have to worry about these things ever again.  Eventually, I think that's what they'll have to do.  It probably won't be soon, but one of these days the leagues are going to be too large and too protective to give ND what they want.  ND will be relegated to playing 2nd and 3rd tier schools with little media exposure if they don't commit to a conference full time.  I think the biggest question is: which one will it be?

JRsec
JRsec

 @BruceMcF  @Roggespierre If a Big 12 had Georgia Tech, F.S.U., or Miami then you have one home and one away with two of those giving N.D. Southern recruiting exposure each year.  Stanford and U.S.C. do the same for them with California.  Texas and Oklahoma do the same for the Big 12 West and that would account for all 4 games in their commitment to the Big 12.  They now have three home games.  Syracuse, B.C., Pitt, and Navy form the rest of home and homes for the Irish and they have their required 5 home games.  So operating from the C7 wouldn't be that difficult.  Notre Dame could even increase their presence in Texas and Florida by scheduling A&M and the Gators.  They have a lot of possibilities to make this work. 

BruceMcF
BruceMcF

 @Roggespierre  @JRsec No football schools in the C7 means they can't do anything to guarantee Notre Dame home games at the back end of the season, which becomes increasingly important for Notre Dame maintaining its independence as the conferences move toward fewer OOC games.

 

To take one example, the Big Ten might be persuaded after much haggling to make a concession to let Purdue play Notre Dame on a home and home basis in second half of the season, but only because Purdue would put it as their number one priority (its their only guaranteed national TV game). Michigan and Michigan State have other priorities to pursue and can't put maintaining meeting Notre Dame's needs as a number one priority ~ as we've already seen with Notre Dame's scheduling. But if the Big Ten every moves to ten conference games, Purdue could be in a bind as far as keeping the Notre Dame game on its schedule.

 

Take the ACC as it stands now, and the C7 breaking away from the Big East, and it just reinforces Notre Dame's decision to enter into its deal with the ACC. The problem is the risk that the ACC that Notre Dame schedules five games with in 2014 and going ahead won't be anything like the same conference by 2016.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @JRsec I still think what I've been thinking - that nothing will happen until the Maryland exit fee case is resolved.  I don't think it's a stretch to suspect that Notre Dame is taking its time so that it can see what happens at that point.  Why move to the ACC in 2013 - and pay the Big East an exit fee, albeit a small one - so that you can join a league in which multiple members might leave after the Maryland case is complete?

 

That said, coaches like Mike Brey are not politicians.  He might have simply chosen his words poorly.  Still, not speaking prudently and not speaking accurately are too very different things.  "Buyer's remorse" is narrowly defined in the modern lexicon, and it sure doesn't sound good for the ACC.

JRsec
JRsec

 @Roggespierre Recently I have been inclined to think that no further big moves were coming.  This could significantly shift the thinking of those football first schools in the ACC.  Without their earning potential then I could easily see Virginia, North Carolina, and Duke moving to the Big 10 where the CIC provides similar benefits to what their research sharing in the ACC has been among those few, where basketball is still respected, and where their football product benefits from the BTN.

 

That would then open the door for SEC expansion and consolidation.  I think that would pave the way for N.C. State and Virginia Tech at the least and maybe even for Pittsburgh and Florida State.  Georgia Tech could be in play for any of the other three conferences.  They certainly bring more to the Big 10, but the SEC may wish to shut the door at Georgia, or the Big 12 might keep Clemson, F.S.U., Georgia Tech and Miami together.

 

But no matter what, just as N.D. seemed to offer the ACC stability, there reticence lends an air of vulnerability yet again.

SouthernBoiSB
SouthernBoiSB

 @JRsec  @BruceMcF  @AllTideUp  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan 

 

Does anybody think that Maryland & FSU NOT voting for the ACC's exit fee was a sign that they're ready to jump ship & Maryland was the 1st of them to do such?  Possibly Maryland already having a foot out the ACC door?

BruceMcF
BruceMcF

 @AllTideUp  @JRsec  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan You can still do a two division round robin schedule and have number one in each division host number two in the other. The semi-finals gets rid of the situation of the CCG loser being knocked out of the National Playoff by a division runner-up ~ under that lineup, the National Playoff semi-finals would be the SEC champion hosting a #1 or #2 semi-final bowl, and in most years the CCG loser being hosted as the #3 or #4 team.

JRsec
JRsec

 @AllTideUp  @BruceMcF  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan We could certainly use them from Basketball and Baseball tournaments.  You could hold two separate baseball tournaments in two different cities and have the top two in each advance to the conference finals.  Basketball could be played down to the final four as well.  I just see a lot of ways to put those kinds of sports in venues closer to the fans and spread them around.  I thought football might work well that way, but there is merit to having a home game.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @JRsec  @BruceMcF  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan 

I don't really like the idea of neutral sites for all the semi-final games.  It would be tough on fans traveling so much week after week especially into the bowl season.  I think hosting the first round at the respective home stadiums would be better then have the title game in Atlanta.  Or you could rotate the title game around to various cities.

 

There would probably still be a 4 team national playoff some conglomeration of the Pac 12 and B1G vying for the other spot.

JRsec
JRsec

 @AllTideUp  @BruceMcF  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan No you wouldn't have to ask for a rule change, but one sure would be in order.  Can you imagine playing the first round in Dallas, Nashville, Kansas City, Charlotte, Jacksonville, or New Orleans.  Then the finals in Atlanta.  The SOS would be through the roof.  And the content would make up the game of week for most of the season.  Game Day would have to make Birmingham their headquarters.  And I wasn't kidding when I said that our championship game would be a play in to the NCG.  The revenue from that extra round of CCGs would enhance the bottom line nicely as well.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @JRsec  @BruceMcF  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan 

I like a lot of the possibilities of 24.  Break everyone up into 4 different 6-team divisions with regional groupings.

 

West: Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Missouri

South: LSU, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Alabama, Auburn(same as old West division)

East: Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina(same as old East division)

Atlantic: West Virginia, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Duke, Clemson, Florida State

 

Play the other 5 in your own division then rotate the other divisions in and out.  You could play everyone once in 3 years or twice every 6 if you wanted to exchange a home and home before switching the alignments.

 

That's 11 games.  Take the top 2 teams from each pair of divisions and you've got a 4 team playoff within the conference and you don't even have to play any more games than you play right now.  That's 13 games to get a conference champion.  Also, with the round robin nature of switching divisions in and out you don't even have to change NCAA rules to expand to 4 teams in a conference playoff.

JRsec
JRsec

 @AllTideUp You know if we ever did do anything like what we are speculating on tonight our conference championship would be in essence a play in to the NCG.  I can also see the all of the conferences pushing for two rounds of CCGs to keep all of that playoff money in house and to move those first round sites around for exposure to their major cities.  That's just good for business.

JRsec
JRsec

 @BruceMcF  @AllTideUp  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan Two Divisions of 12 can play 11 game round robin until the rules get changed.  Rotate the 1/2 divisions of Six each year and you still play everybody in 3 years.

BruceMcF
BruceMcF

 @JRsec  @AllTideUp  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan Under current rules you can have two divisions but each division has to play a full round robin. So 20 would be two groups of 10 under those rules, which is why people talk about a group system ~ Year 1: West+Central, East+South, Year2: West+South, East+Central, Year3: West+East, South+Central.

 

If you can have a two round playoff, you can have three eight team divisions and a wild card or four six team divisions and a semi-final, final conference championship playoff, and 24 would fit.

 

So definitely have to get the NCAA rules changed before you do that.

 

Obviously the threat of the SEC doing that is one reason why some other Major conferences might be against that particular rule change.

JRsec
JRsec

 @BruceMcF  @AllTideUp I figure if you are going this big you might just wind up with 12 conference games so more than one non-divisional is impossible, but 1 is very doable.

BruceMcF
BruceMcF

 @AllTideUp  @JRsec Don't have too much to complain about, and unable to complain too much are not the same at all. I have full confidence in the ability of LSU fans to find lots to complain about, come hell or high water.

BruceMcF
BruceMcF

 @AllTideUp  @JRsec East: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and FSU would be even more fun.

 

That South is OK, but if a locked cross division game with Florida was possible for the Vols, it would be even better. Would it make sense to lock West/Central and South/East pairwise, as in Bama-Georgia, Auburn-South Carolina, Kentucky-UNC, Vandy-Duke?

 

JRsec
JRsec

 @AllTideUp  @BruceMcF  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan I agree that Virginia Tech and F.S.U. could enter together.  But just for the sake of argument let's say the Texa-homa plus U.N.C. and Duke thing happened.  Heck, why not just go ahead to 24.  Add Clemson, Florida State, Virginia Tech and West Virginia and stop fat and happy.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @JRsec 

They wouldn't have near as much to complain about if we hadn't stolen their coach ;)

JRsec
JRsec

 @AllTideUp Are you going to tell those Cajuns what they can't complain about?

JRsec
JRsec

 @BruceMcF  @AllTideUp  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan Excellent points.  Unless a complete wreck of the ACC occurs I imagine most of them will wait.  They'll all work behind the scenes to finalize moves and synchronize announcements and such, but the news won't likely come until August.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @JRsec 

LOL.  In all honesty, I like Bama to have the best competition year in and year out.  I don't know what the future holds with the next round of divisions, but I mostly hope for the maintenance of traditional rivals.

 

Also, my layout above doesn't give LSU a terribly tough path overall.  They couldn't complain too much.

JRsec
JRsec

 @AllTideUp Kentucky and Vanderbilt in same division as Alabama, shameless (but nice) grouping.  Had a good laugh when I saw it, because all I could hear were L.S.U., Florida, and Georgia fans raising Cain.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @BruceMcF  @JRsec  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan 

I would agree with that.  The end of the Maryland/ACC dispute will tell us where this all is headed.  If UVA and GT announce within a fairly short period of time that they are leaving then we know where things stand.  If not then FSU is likely the next domino to fall as they also voted against the most recent exit fee increase.  I still think more movement is to come either way, but the latter will be less consequential.  If UVA moves then we can assume VT will start looking for an exit as well.  They won't want to be on the outside looking in or be disadvantaged compared to their instate rival.  They'll also have options.  It wouldn't totally shock me to see VT and FSU head for the SEC, but VT and NC State is one of the more likely scenarios.

 

Personally, I think UVA and GT are headed out because the B1G represents everything they want in the new landscape.

BruceMcF
BruceMcF

 @AllTideUp  @JRsec  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan But suppose UVA was willing to stick with this version of the ACC, but wanted an exit path in place in case there was further destabilization. the actions it would take to sort out that exit path would easily generate exactly the same rumors as if it was in fact just waiting for the Maryland exit fee court case in order to know how much to budget for its exit.

 

The current rumors are certainly COMPATIBLE with UVA heading out the door, but they are also compatible with UVA staying. They'd be doing much the same one way or the other ~ the difference is the announcement that UVA would be making shortly after the Maryland case is decided ~ or exit fee negotiated.

 

Remember that there is a 15 August 2013 deadline to give notice for an exit on July 1 2014. Given the way that the ACC has been sitting on Maryland's conference payout, UVA has no strong incentive to announce early.

BruceMcF
BruceMcF

 @SouthernBoiSB  @JRsec  @AllTideUp  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan Florida could, indeed, support FSU's entry, which would make any "gentleman's agreement" a moot point. As already noted, they did before. There is an old saying, after all, "keep your friends close and your enemies closer". A Florida State lording it over a Big 12 East could grease its path to the twelve Access Bowl spots, and often put it an impressive NCG win away from the National Championship playoff spot. Maybe Florida reckons that if they have to play through the SEC, so should FSU.

 

 

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @JRsec  

It would be fairly easy to group that sort of conference into 4 divisions:

 

West: Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State

Central: LSU, Arkansas, Missouri, Ole Miss, Mississippi State

South: Alabama, Auburn, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Kentucky

East: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Duke

 

It could make an awfully fun league to watch.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @JRsec  @SouthernBoiSB  @BruceMcF  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan 

I think you'll see those states make sure their programs have a good home much like VA did a few years ago.  So I guess there's still a chance all those schools could end up in the SEC before it's all said and done...depends on what happens to the Big 12 I think.

 

I think GT is going to the B1G so they'll be fine either way, but the others I'm not so sure of.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @JRsec  @BruceMcF  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan 

Maybe Dodds has been trying to carve out a legacy with his power plays the last few years ...who knows.  I remember a couple of years ago when the rumor was Texas, Texas A&M, OU, and OK State to the SEC to form 16.  It would have been a nice move if it had been made.

 

If Texas is willing to drop their kingly way of looking at things then they would make a nice addition as well although I don't know how the SEC would feel about adding those 4 schools now that A&M is already in the fold.  What sort of sentiment does their Board of Trustees have?  If they like the PAC 12 better then it may not matter what the new President wants.

JRsec
JRsec

 @SouthernBoiSB  @BruceMcF  @AllTideUp  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan Remember this.  1.  Florida sponsored Florida State for membership in the SEC in 1992.  2.  Florida will do what their state representatives tell them to do with regards to F.S.U. because Florida depends upon the appropriations of the Florida House of Representatives to function.  And that as they say is the end of the story.  Ditto for South Carolina, Georgia, and Texas A&M.

JRsec
JRsec

 @AllTideUp  @BruceMcF  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan I was reading a Texas site last night and was shocked to see some conversation that indicated a number of their alumni are disgusted with the new Big 12 in which they see themselves as having only one peer, OU and expressing their concern over any kind of move to the PAC.  What they were suggesting was Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, North Carolina and Duke to the SEC to make 20.  Now I took that with a grain of salt, but they went on to point out how Dodds will be gone by 2014 likely due to retirement, that the current president will leave in two years, and that Mack Brown may not be around past next season and the alumni are pushing for an SEC friendly administration.  I thought that was interesting.  All of that said, I still don't want Duke.  They'll be nothing without Coach K and he's no Spring Chicken either.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @JRsec  @BruceMcF  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan 

I actually think UVA is about ready to make the leap to the B1G and Georgia Tech with them.  I know people say UVA is as entrenched in the ACC as UNC, but it's a matter of economics.  UVA is going to be better off academically and athletically in the B1G and that jives with all the rumors of UVA being "this close" to moving. 

 

Maryland was in the same boat albeit with a little tougher situation with their athletic budget.  UMD had to leave first though without an ACC partner to test the waters on the exit fee.  There was just no reason for the exit fee to ever be that high if there was not already a breach in the hull, if you will.  The fact that the league can't sign a GOR agreement of their own is telling.  The money for that sort of agreement to be profitable just isn't there right now.  With that said, it should work much like it did with the Big 12 a couple of years ago...the schools that CAN leave WILL leave.  There will be no reason to stick around.

 

UVA and UNC's first choice may be for the ACC to stay together, but that ship has sailed.  Even if the league sticks together it will be an inferior conference.  The money is better elsewhere so these schools will start bailing sooner than later. 

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @JRsec  @BruceMcF  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan 

Regarding FSU, the SEC taking them may be seen as a defensive move, but it depends on what the future plans are.  NC and VA are top priorities right now, but if the SEC is interested in destabilizing the Big 12 long term(not saying they are) then taking FSU effectively turns that league back into a ticking time bomb.

 

The Big 12 needs a major brand like FSU in order to expansion profitable and stabilize their league beyond the length of the GOR agreement.  If the Big 12 can't get them then we'll see even more movement in about a decade.  That means the Oklahoma and Kansas markets could come open for the SEC.  Taking FSU in this environment is not really the defensive move it has been made out to be.  It would hamstring any real growth plans that the Big 12 needs to survive in the long haul.

 

I'm already on the record saying FSU should be a target given their elite status and this scenario just puts more meat on those bones.

SouthernBoiSB
SouthernBoiSB

 @JRsec  @BruceMcF  @AllTideUp  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan 

You seriously think FL will stand by & accept FSU?  I'm not too sure how the "Gentleman's Agreement" will factor out.

 

However, it would be interesting to see if that actually is true or a well historied SEC rumor.

BruceMcF
BruceMcF

 @JRsec Sure, the model had potential, but it requires winning a fight, and so it requires convincing the conferences in question that its worthwhile having the fight. If they have higher priorities, such as a higher share of NCAA tourney revenue for participating teams ~ paying 1/3 of GROSS revenues as unit income would be millions more per team for some conferences ~ they may want to keep their powder dry for that fight.

JRsec
JRsec

 @BruceMcF It will really be that easy.  If the Big 10 and SEC make the move the NCAA isn't going to stand in our way, I can assure you.  All their income depends on keeping the most prosperous schools happy which is another reason they need a complete overhaul.  By the way Cincinnati would be fun to build up just to see what they could do in Ohio with SEC money.

 

But seriously, there are many other 18 team scenarios for the SEC in which Pitt could be replaced with a Clemson, or Georgia Tech, or perhaps a western team that work just fine too.  It doesn't have to be Pitt, but having a piece of Pennsylvania is quid pro quo if the B1G wants into the South.

BruceMcF
BruceMcF

 @JRsec And, BTW, on the lineup there with the Vols being in a division with Bama, Florida, Georgia, with Vandy as the division mascot, I'm fine with that. No real strong feelings about Auburn either way but its certainly worth it to have Bama in the division.

 

You just get the rule change sorted out for reals instead of just on the chalkboard, and we're good to go.

BruceMcF
BruceMcF

 @JRsec  Yes, when I say that, I am indeed refraining from casually assuming away the current rules. Waving the current rules away is easier said than done, otherwise they'd already be gone. If the changes in the rules are presumed in resolving the problem of maintaining rivalries, then the change in the rules will come about first, and the increase to 18 schools after, so time enough to look at how the changes in rules affect things when the changes are actually enacted.

 

As far as the Penn State sanctions ~ Penn State having a down decade is not going to deliver Philadelphia for Pitt. It might allow Pitt to improve on its standing in Western PA, but even then you've still got a contested stake in the less populous part of the state.

 

JRsec
JRsec

 @Roggespierre  @BruceMcF  @AllTideUp  @DanHogan It's more about how money is like nectar and superfluous attorneys are like scout bees.  The kids won't get that much but the lawyers sure will.  We should put $100 bills inside large glass chambers with easy access entry holes that discourage exit by the same means.  Then each Spring we could reduce the swarm of lawyers back to healthier limits.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @JRsec  @BruceMcF  @AllTideUp  @DanHogan Yes it does, but we should be careful about what we wish.  If O'Bannon wins, then the whole idea of amateurism will need to be reworked.  Ironically, it's the increased television money that seems to be driving the plaintiff's argument.  If much of that money is deemed to belong to the "student-athletes", and if Title IX isn't reformed, then we might be looking at a post-scholarship world.

 

I truly can't imagine.

JRsec
JRsec

 @BruceMcF  @AllTideUp  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan In the above scenario N.D. would have a hybrid deal with the Big 12.  They would have annual East games against B.C. and Syracuse, West games against Oklahoma and / or B.Y.U., and South games against Texas and Georgia Tech and or Miami.  That leaves them room on their schedule for two California schools and it covers their bases in all major recruiting grounds in spades.

JRsec
JRsec

 @BruceMcF  @AllTideUp  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan 

Big 10 at 18

South:  Duke, Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina, Penn State, Virginia

North:  Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue, Rutgers

West:  Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Wisconsin  (sub O.S.U. for Wisconsin if you like)

 

Big 12 at 18

East:  Boston College, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Syracuse, West Virginia

West:  Colorado State/B.Y.U., Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State

South:  Baylor, Clemson, Miami, Texas, T.C.U., Texas Tech

 

That's a much better geographical grouping with most rivalries accounted for and the addition of 1 permanent rival taking care of most lingering issues.  Everyone plays two schools from each other division every year and in three years everyone has played everyone else.

 

Bigger is better when it groups more efficiently and schedules can be accommodated with greater ease. 

JRsec
JRsec

 @BruceMcF  @AllTideUp  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan Bruce, three divisions of six is actually going to preserve rivalries.  

North:  Florida State, Kentucky, N.C. State, Pittsburgh, S. Carolina, Virginia Tech

South:  Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Vanderbilt

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

 

Alabama's permanent rival is Tennessee (done)  Auburn's permanent rival is Georgia (done)  Tennessee vs Vanderbilt (done)  Alabama vs Auburn (done)  L.S.U. vs Ole Miss (done)  L.S.U. vs A&M (done)  Missouri vs A&M (done)  Miss vs Miss St. (done)  Georgia vs Florida (done)  Arkansas vs Missouri (done)  Arkansas vs L.S.U. (done)  F.S.U. vs Va Tech (done)  Va Tech vs Pitt (done)  S.Car. vs N.C.State (done)  so with one permanent cross over all bases are covered.  There is an extra round of CCG playoffs to be held at regional sites like Nashville, Kansas City, Dallas, New Orleans, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, and Jacksonville with the championship game in Atlanta.  The exposure and interest generated would be massive.  Pitt will deliver more of Pennsylvania than you might think especially when the sanctions bite Penn St. in the butt, and they will.  The money and recruiting advantages to Pitt would help them make up the distance a bit while the Lions are down.

 

The NCAA won't stand in the way or the breakaway will be even more likely.  The one wild card team will hold fan interest longer in the season and help to balance stronger divisions against weaker ones.  The situation would be imminently better than today.  You play two each from the other divisions every year plus your 5 division games annually and 1 permanent rival and you have 10 games.

 

BruceMcF
BruceMcF

 @JRsec  @AllTideUp  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan But its not clearcut that Pitt would be profitable in the sense of raising the average profit per school. After all, it wouldn't give any boost to either cable carriage or carriage rates in Philadelphia or elsewhere in eastern Pennsylvania, and eastern PA is where the larger part of the PA population lives. And which SEC school is going to be thrilled with the prospect of playing in Pittsburgh in November?

 

And 18 has even bigger pushback to face than 16 when it comes to breaking up long standing SEC rivalries.

 

If the SEC decides that its OK to take FSU, I can see it going to either 16 or 18. If it decides to pass on FSU (whether or not in deference to the purported gentleman's agreement among the single-school states to defer to the decision of the in-state school), there are fewer pairs that raise the average profit per school once the SEC has hit 16.

JRsec
JRsec

 @BruceMcF  @AllTideUp  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan The SEC isn't going to leave a profitable market on the table at this juncture of realignment.  If they get U.N.C. and Duke (which I don't want) they might well take Pitt and Va Tech too.  If they get Va Tech and N.C. State I think they will still take Pitt and then possibly F.S.U..  All of those pay their own way.  Three are profitable new markets and one a national brand for the content that CBS wants.  When it is over with I look for 10 to be taken if the ACC is breached.  3 or 4 to the Big 10, 4 to the SEC, and 2 or 3 to the Big 12.  The Big 10 will hold at 18 to await N.D.'s decision.  The SEC will hold at 18 to see if anything shakes loose in the Big 12.  Either way both conferences can make 18 work if they never have reason to expand to 20.

BruceMcF
BruceMcF

 @JRsec  @AllTideUp  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan I think VTech is more footloose, and would go to the SEC in a heartbeat. FSU could well be prepared to go as well, at least once they are done their current preliminary investigation of realignment options.

 

I don't think that losing VTech rattles UNC at all, and I'm not sure that losing FSU does either. If it rattles UVA enough to say yes to going to the Big Ten with GTech, that could well rattle UNC. As far as a fourth for the Big Ten, with FSU gone, there's no reason not to take Duke ~ neither Pitt nor Duke anything of value to football, but Duke adds some value to basketball, which is likely to be enough to act as a tie breaker.

 

Here's the thing, though: now the Big12 can offer to Miami and Clemson as a pair, and they will almost certainly take it. So the need to take more than two is substantially diminished.

 

And that's the "FSU to SEC" ACC loses eight scenario ~ there's no hurry for the Big12 to look at any other schools, because the ACC becomes like a holding pond for the Big12, to pick from at its leisure.

 

Another ACC loses eight scenarios follow from the SEC gives up on UNC and looking to an SEC network when the current subsidiary rights deals expire it offers to VTech and NC State. NC State looks ahead and gets the OK from UNC to look out for itself. That's not enough to unstick UNC. UVA and GTech jump to the Big Ten. After FSU hearing from the Big Ten that they can't overcome the snobbery, that is enough to unstick FSU and Clemson for the Big12. That is finally enough to shake UNC, and UNC and Duke head off to the Big Ten. The Big12 again has the FREEDOM to expand further, but is well positioned to put that off until the expiration of the GOR is coming closer.

 

JRsec
JRsec

 @BruceMcF  @AllTideUp  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan Now if the Big 12 can pull six it will help them to survive.  But, two won't do it.  And you are right the SEC has to move first.  But the SEC is facing the same problem as the Big 10 they want a North Carolina and Virginia school and those aren't moving until they have to do so.  The only solution left is the one that everyone says can't happen.  To crack the ACC the SEC has to take the one or both of the schools that would love to be in the SEC, Florida State and Clemson.  Without the football chops that those two leaders of the ACC bring to the table the ACC will lose its status as a football power conference and Virginia Tech and Miami and Georgia Tech, and N.C. State (although impinged by its system) will all be wanting to leave.  Without an Orange Bowl guarantee the remaining ACC schools would lose too much money and access to remain.

 

The Big 10 would then look ever so more appealing to Virginia, Duke, and North Carolina and the SEC could take Virginia Tech and N.C. State.

 

The Big 12 could go for Syracuse and Pittsburgh to round out a northern pod for W.V.U. and Louisville and they could make a play for Miami and Georgia Tech to be paired with Texas and T.C.U. in the South, make a play for Colorado State and B.Y.U. to put with Texas Tech and Baylor in the West and keep the Oklahoma's and Kansas's together in the final pod.  That's sixteen that expands into significant markets with which a network becomes very viable.  Boston College, Connecticut, would be left for the Big 10 to grab as #18.  

 

The SEC has 18, the Big 10 has 18, the Big 12 has 16 (18 if they want Cincinnati and the remainder of B.C./UConn) and the Pac has 12.  That's 64 or 66 teams.  Not too far from where we are now.  Notre Dame would likely seek a hybrid deal with the Big 12 which would make B.C. more attractive and you are in business.

BruceMcF
BruceMcF

 @JRsec  @AllTideUp  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan If it looks like the ACC is falling apart now and the Big12 is stable for the balance of the decade, they may well be willing to make that move.

 

In many ways, expanding by 6 east coast teams makes more sense than expanding by 2 ~ for one, it means only one incumbent has to go into the Eastern division against its preference (possibly TCU), since the Mountaineers would obviously be delighted to be in the "Big16 East". Expand by two, and if its Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State, the Mountaineers, Newbie#1 and Newbie#2, that's awfully unattractive for the Newbies and something that Kansas and Kansas State would not like either.

 

But despite that outside-in view, it seems that for the immediate future, the first preference of the Big12 is to expand by 2, which seems to imply they have to wait for someone else to destabilize the ACC to the point that there are two schools that they would like to add that would be willing to make the move in order to secure a more stable position ~ obviously their preference would be either FSU/Miami or FSU/Clemson, while at present they seem to be 4th on the list for FSU, behind the ACC as it now stands, the Big Ten, and the SEC (but in which order probably depends on which FSU stakeholder you ask).

 

And both of the Big Ten's first preferences, UVA and UNC, seem likely to prefer the ACC as it is to moving.

 

Which leaves everybody waiting on the SEC to make a move that breaks the deadlock. And many in the ACC hoping that the SEC doesn't end up doing a damn thing.

 

JRsec
JRsec

 @BruceMcF  @AllTideUp  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan That is entirely plausible with one exception.  Just two schools will not fix the Big 12's market problems, or the chasm that will grow with their revenues versus the Big 10 and SEC.  Texas will be fine as long as the LHN nets them 15 million a year, but even Oklahoma would start to feel the gap in income.  The rest of the Big 12 will be looking to get out once the GOR is up, unless it's T.C.U. or Iowa State who may not have better options.  I can't imagine that F.S.U., Clemson, or Miami want to be a part of that.

BruceMcF
BruceMcF

 @AllTideUp  @JRsec  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan Yes, while the West Virginia bloggers love scenarios of ACC collapse, two each to the SEC, Big Ten, and Big12 spread out over the next four years features in several entirely reasonable scenarios, and the ACC reloading with Cinci, UConn, FB-only Navy and one other in that period is just as reasonable. If Navy comes in, the pressure on Notre Dame to leave its five game football scheduling agreement is substantially lessened, even if Miami is one of the teams heading out the door. If the ACC ended up with BC, Navy and Miami, there would be basically no pressure on Notre Dame to back out of its five game scheduling agreement, as the ACC would have three teams that Notre Dame would be happy to play annually in any event.

 

I don't know that I'd pick those scenarios as the MOST likely scenarios, but they are quite plausible.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @BruceMcF  @JRsec  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan 

It would make sense that the next round of moves are more subdued as opposed to the massive movement that is sometimes predicted.  The B1G is prepared to take 2 schools and some think UNC and Duke will make 18, but I'm not convinced the B1G is willing to double-up on any markets.  The SEC will take 2 and the Big 12 will get some combo of FSU, Miami, and Clemson.  We do have a modern precedent of a league going after 6 schools in one fell swoop with what the Pac 12 tried to do a couple of years ago.  As we saw though, the politics of larger moves are more complicated.  Not sure it can be done in one off-season. 

 

ND will still have a decent position in all this as the ACC won't take on large numbers if the aftermath of losing so many...they'll have no motivation to get to anything above 12.  Even with a weakened ACC, ND will still have 4 more games they haven't committed to in order to schedule Big 12, SEC, or B1G foes.  Throw in a regular series with BYU and it's only 3 games.  It's pretty doable.

 

Stanford, USC, Navy

BYU(regularly)

5 games with the ACC that will include Miami or Clemson, Wake, NC State, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Pitt, Syracuse, BC, UConn, Cincinnati, South Florida, and a 12th.

3 more games to spread across the other 3 big leagues

 

How long this reality lasts is up for debate, but theoretically ND can get out of the ACC as easily as their counterparts can if things are indeed about to fall apart.

BruceMcF
BruceMcF

 @JRsec  @Roggespierre  @DanHogan While ACC-collapse fans from West Virginia spin dreams of a "Big 16" with six teams raided from the ACC ~ it seems like many Big12 schools are more inclined to a 12 team conference than a 14 or 16 team conference. If they keep their 9 game conference schedule, with two six-team divisions that's your in-division games and 4 out of 6 cross division games, so it would be possible to promise everyone in the East two games with Texas and two games with Oklahoma every three years.

 

If the ACC is raided and wounded but not to the point of collapse, and one of the schools they reload with from the NuBigEast is Navy, all of a sudden a 5 games ACC commitment is only a net 4 game commitment, since the Navy game is a bedrock commitment game in the ND schedule. BC is not going anywhere, and that's a game Notre Dame wants on their schedule anyway. Its easy to see the ACC retaining four other schools that Notre Dame would like to play half the time, which would make a 5 game commitment a net sacrifice of a single game when all is said and done.

 

But there's just no telling how things will land. If they had done the deal with the Big12, they would have two good games and three "meh" games on their schedule, but they would at least have certainty going ahead.

 

 

 

JRsec
JRsec

 @Roggespierre  @BruceMcF  @DanHogan But, if the Big 12 has accessed Georgia Tech, Florida State, Miami, and Clemson then the Irish have a few Southern exposure schools (2 in the Sunshine state) to rotate around one of those slots.  Who's to say that they can work out a similar arrangement with one SEC powerhouse and Vanderbilt to take the place of Wake.  Texas and Oklahoma have to be attractive from the Big 12 standpoint and they still have room on the schedule for Stanford and USC.   Should Syracuse and Pitt find their way into either the Big 12 (Syracuse) or SEC (Pitt) they can schedule them as well.  They should be able to accomplish what they want without having to renew with the Big 10 schools.  Plus the exposure South can only improve N.D.'s recruiting.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @BruceMcF  @DanHogan That could well explain it.  The problem with the Big 12 is that there are so few schools and markets that would appeal to Notre Dame.  Obviously, Texas and Oklahoma are prime match-ups.  But why would ND want to play anyone else in that conference on a regular basis.

 

The ACC as it is currently constituted makes a lot more sense.  BC, Syracuse and Pitt and Miami have history with Notre Dame.  So, too, does Georgia Tech.  And ND has always been willing to play topflight academic institutions (Rice and Northwestern in addition to Navy) that aren't football heavyweights.  In that regard, the ACC brings Duke and Wake to the table.  The Big 12 offers nothing.

 

Knowing what it knew then, Notre Dame probably made the right decision.  But that was before the C7 split, the Big Ten nabbed Maryland and Rutgers, and the ACC added Louisville.  Notre Dame is not interested in playing Louisville, just as it's not interested in playing Cincinnati and South Florida.  There is nothing to be gained in terms of football, academic prestige, or market reach.  If those schools and UConn end up replacing ACC heavyweights that head elsewhere, then the calculus changes significantly.

BruceMcF
BruceMcF

 @DanHogan  @Roggespierre I've heard it had the same deal on the table (Olympic sports member, 5 conference games, guaranteed Notre Dame home games in November) from the Big12. The Buyers Remorse would have to be regarding taking the deal from the ACC instead of the Big 12.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @DanHogan  @BruceMcF I don't think Notre Dame regrets leaving the Big East.  I do think that it might be lamenting its decision to join the ACC, particularly if it believes that the major players in the conference will be gone before it gets there.

BruceMcF
BruceMcF

 @DanHogan  @Roggespierre Compared to the 3-game football tie-in with the Big East, and FOR THE CURRENT ACC, it really only sacrificed a game of flexibility with the ACC deal ~ it wants to play on the East Coast too, and between BC, Miami, FSU, Syracuse, the Hokies and Pitt, with an occasional series with UVA and the Tarheels, going from three with the Big East to Five with the ACC is no big sacrifice ~ especially since it guarantees home games in November which is a major part of Notre Dame retaining its prized independence.

 

The buyers remorse seems most likely to be the worry that Miami, FSU, the Hokies and/or Pitt might be heading out the door ~ especially if they had been sold on the relative stability of the ACC compared to the instability of the Big East.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @DanHogan  @BruceMcF There is no question about that.  The larger point is that Notre Dame wants to all twelve weeks of its schedule.  In the past, it has always been able to do that.  There is no other reason to remain independent - not even money, now that the power conferences have their own networks.  The ACC deal eliminates almost half of Notre Dame's flexibility.  I guarantee that ND was excited about playing what would effectively have been home games inside the DC beltway at Maryland.  That's gone now.  So, too, is the opportunity to greet the Subway Alumni at Rutgers.

 

I'm not saying that the situation is desperate.  It isn't, not yet.  But I can't believe that ND is enjoying the trend.

DanHogan
DanHogan

 @Roggespierre  @BruceMcF ND has made explicit comments that it values its games on the west coast more than the midwest games.  In fact, ND has already canceled its series with Mich.  The series with MSU takes a break for a year or two after the 2013 game and I'd expect a cancellation note shortly before or after that game. 

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