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With Expansion Talk Heating Up, Here Are Four “Best-Case” Scenarios For The SEC

best-caseGet ready.  They’re coming.  From one side of the continent to the other.

With the Big XII conference holding a get-together of its athletic directors today and tomorrow, conference expansion/realignment rumors will be back on the menu and they’ll be served up fast and furious all week long.

Big XII commissioner Bob Bowlsby said last week that he was “not convinced based on my conversations with (two other conference commissioners) that the move to 16 is in any way imminent.”  Yet he has admitted that the pluses and minuses of expansion will be a main topic at this week’s meeting:

 

“It is very much an academic and philosophical discussion.  We have no plans in the immediate future for any change in composition, but we think it’s wise and prudent to consider all the positive aspects of our current formation as well as whatever negative effects there may be.  It also is a good time to talk about the positives of adding a new member or two members of six members.

We don’t have any plans to expand, but on the other hand, we don’t want to be caught off guard either.  I think there’s a proactive approach we can undertake and also a reactive and responsive approach.  We’re going to flesh out both of those.”

 

Days earlier, even Texas AD DeLoss Dodds — an anti-expansion hardliner — admitted “there may be some talk of 12″ inside the 10-school Big XII.

Twelve, schmelve seems to be the message of Ohio State president Gordon Gee.  He piped up late last week to say that the Big Ten is still talking expansion and that he “believes there is movement towards three or four super-conferences that are made up of 16 to 20 teams.”

We’ve written for a while that we believe the push for a new super-division of the biggest, richest football schools in the country will come to a head soon.  Very soon.  As in the next three or four years soon.  We suspect four or five conferences will survive in the Big Boy Zone and we’ve not been shy about stating that there’s no reason for anyone to believe that we’ll be left with four nice, neat 16-team power conferences.  Expansion/realignment is 95% about television revenue and that means content to sell.  Some league(s) will realize that having more schools means having more games to sell which in turn will mean more cash.  Gee’s “16 to 20″ comment didn’t catch us off guard (and if you read this, this, this, and this it didn’t catch you off guard either).

So what’s all this hubbub mean for the SEC?  Here are some best-case scenarios:

 

1.  Everyone takes a deep breath, taps the brakes on the Expansion Express, and waits to see how things play out in the new playoff world.

Uh, yeah, that ain’t happening.  It should happen because no one knows how all these rushed decisions will play out long-term, but there’s money on the floor and several league commissioners will be diving on the ground to grab every last nickle of it.

Unfortunate.

Unwise.

 

2.  Several leagues strike up out-of-conference scheduling deals and delay further expansion.

We wrote months ago that if the SEC wanted to help save the ACC and keep the status quo intact for just a bit longer, Mike Slive and company could line-up an annual “SEC vs. ACC Football Challenge.”  That idea still makes sense.  In fact, Bowlsby admitted last week that he’s had conversations with the ACC’s John Swofford and two other conference commissioners regarding just such a scheduling arrangement, though he suggested a broader marketing push, a basketball deal, and even a television agreement could be part of those talks.  “It’s purely exploratory” he said, adding that a two-league deal “would provide some of the benefits of larger membership without actually adding members.”

If multiple conferences could partner up, reach scheduling agreements, and fend off further expansion that’d be swell.  But we don’t see that happening either.

We’d bet good money that the ACC’s Swofford is the one pushing hardest for some type of scheduling deal with someone, anyone.  His league has the smallest media contract of the five remaining power conferences and his it just saw a founding member (Maryland) opt for a spot in the Big Ten.  But will Bowlsby or Slive be interested in saving the ACC if they want Florida State (Big XII) or North Carolina and Duke (an ACC source told The Sporting News last year that the SEC had been angling for those two schools for several years)?  Probably not.

Most feel the Big XII has also talked about a scheduling alliance with the Pac-12 (Larry Scott’s expansion options are limited by geography and time zones) and the Big Ten.  We suspect, however, that Bowlsby and 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?

We might just have a bit more on this a little later…

 

3.  If the dominoes start to fall, then the SEC can hopefully grab two appealing schools and stop at 16.

If the league’s going to grow — and if fans want to see more than a handful of the SEC’s longtime rivalries sustained — then a jump to 16 should be the hope.  There’s no question that the SEC would like to put down roots in Virginia and North Carolina.  They’re big states with good recruiting.  They open doors to the Raleigh, Charlotte and DC television markets.  Landing in those states would also balance out the league’s last two additions (Missouri and Texas A&M).  Plus their are the obligatory millions of cable households to benefit the new SEC Network.

We’ve heard — and multiple sources back it up — that Slive would love to get his hands on North Carolina and Duke both for basketball purposes and for academic prestige.  Virginia makes sense as well and would certainly please SEC presidents.  Virginia Tech is probably the best fit of the bunch in terms of having an SEC-like culture.  So pair ‘em up — UNC and Virginia, UNC and Virginia Tech, UNC and Duke — and you have the best hope for an expanded but not completely rejiggered SEC.

 

4.  If everyone else veers off the realignment cliff and the SEC gets grabby, then hopefully the league can pull four schools that meet the presidents’ goals and hold at 18.

If its last-dance time and everyone starts fighting for partners, then here’s hoping the SEC doesn’t wind up as a 20-school behemoth.  Granted, such a league would be the equivalent of pairing up a pair of 1980s-sized conferences under one roof (with each league in its own division), but that’s a helluva lot of teams.  To reiterate, we think one or more leagues will reach that size just because more content equals more money, but it’s still a helluva lot of teams.  There’s what we believe is coming and there’s what we want to see come.  In this case, they’re not the same and that needs to be clear.

Supposing this next round of expansion becomes a full-on landgrab, all bets are off in terms of who lands where.  Seriously, the politics involved make cat-wrangling easier than figuring our who’d end up where in 20-team conferences.  Still, we suspect Virginia will head to Big Ten eventually as we’ve heard tell of UVA-Jim Delany discussion from SEC sources, industry sources, and even an ACC source.  So we should probably scratch the Cavaliers.

If the SEC refuses to yield on any unwritten rule it might have preventing league expansion into a current SEC state, then the league’s options will be limited.  If Virginia and North Carolina are the key states, that means catching Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Duke and any other school that might make those other three schools look more favorably upon an SEC marriage.  Best guess?  NC State, as we’ve written previously.

Yes, yes, it makes no sense to take three schools from one state.  Why not just add Florida State or Clemson at that point?  Good questions.  But there’s been no sign of FSU or Clemson entering the SEC.  So we’re calling those options dead for now.  And if the SEC felt NC State could help it lure UNC, Duke and Virginia Tech (giving the league new television markets, millions of new cable subscribers for its soon-to-launch network, and new recruiting ground), then we think the SEC would move on the Wolfpack.  That’s just our little four-school theory.  Hopefully the ACC will survive, the SEC and everyone else will be patient, and we’ll never know who would have been schools 15, 16, 17 and 18.  But things seem to be moving in the bigger-is-better direction and we believe the league — if faced with a four versus one scenario — would take all four of the above schools including three from one state if it made everyone happier.

 

In case you haven’t figured it out, we don’t believe there are too many good scenarios for the Southeastern Conference or college sports moving forward.  The intelligent plan for one and all would be to calm down and do a little research before getting froggy again.  Ribbit, ribbit, that won’t happen.  And that means the SEC’s best and most realistic options are schools to the east, sandwiched between West Virginia and South Carolina.  North Carolina, Duke, Virginia (if not in the Big Ten), Virginia Tech and NC State are the schools that make the most sense (if the SEC won’t reconsider mega-brand Florida State).

Of course, the more expansion/realignment we see… the less sense it all seems to make.

 


80 comments
Southern_DC_Gent
Southern_DC_Gent

Contrary to popular opinion, UNC and UVA are still very much Southern schools that are proud of their heritage.  While some of the faculty might prefer to be associated with "academic heavyweights" of the B1G, the vast majority of people associated with these schools would prefer SEC membership should the ACC implode.

 

The UVA rivalry is just as important to UNC as Duke, at least historically.  If those three were offered together, I think they might join the SEC party.  If the B12 were to fracture, the remaining 3 to get to 20 could be UT, OU, and KU.

 

NCSU would most likely end up in some combination of surviving ACC, Big East, B12 teams as the fourth conference.

 

If the goal, on the other hand, is to lock down the South, you could take  UVA, FSU, UNC, Clemson, Duke, and Georgia Tech.  For rivalry week, every Eastern state would have an in-state rival, except UVA, who would get UK.

 

Another out of the box idea is to steal Maryland from the B1G.  Take UNC, UVA, Duke, and Maryland to get to 18, with two spots left for, i.e. FSU and tbd.  

 

I know this is all getting out of hand, but I could see the SEC and B1G at 20 teams, with the PAC and a reconfigured ACC surviving as 12-16 team conferences.

The regular guy
The regular guy

And another thing . . . UNC, Duke and Virginia will NOT be coming to the SEC.  Too much pride and unfounded belief in academic superiority.  VA Tech and NC State both pull SEC academic standing up.  Currently, only FL, UGA, Mizzou, Tex A&M and Bama are near the top of middle of the coveted US News Top 50 Public Universities.  Auburn and TN are tied for last.  The rest, not there at all.  Va Tech and UNC -- both near the top to middle. 

The regular guy
The regular guy

 A lot of interest in this topic . . . and why not?  The perfect marriage of CFB and business.  I think a lot of people are over thinking this whole genre of sports speculation.  It's pretty simple:  TV eyeballs and monied markets. Example: WV not monied (relatively speaking) and not many TVA eyeball.  Northerrn VA/DC/central Maryland equals LOTS of monied TV eyeballs (too bad it's mostly fed by our tax money --a story for another day).

 

Anyway, when the SEC expands, either because it has to or wants to, it will look for monied TV eyeballs.  My guess, the path of least resistence is Virginia Tech and NC State, looking East, of course.  Looking west, I'd guess slim pickins', if you know what I mean. Tex A&M already has a nice lock on Texas monied eyeballs (and, yes, along with those other schools, like [little ut] texas and TCU).  Okie & Okie State?  Hmmm, maybe, but not as rich as the two in the east.

 

I see FSU and Clemson and maybe Miami headed to the Big 12.  A nice fit for them, if you ask me. They can have a little eastern enclave and will spend a lot of weekends whipping up on ut and the rest.

JepH
JepH

Here's something to consider about an 18-team sec with unc, duke, ncsu, and va tech, the football divisions wouldn't be very appealing for the eastern teams in terms of rivalries or matchup excitement from fans assuming they keep the same east/west allingment.  In the east, you would have vatech, the four carolina schools, uga, uf, uk, and either tenn or vandy (I assume tenn).  That means that tenn woud be split from every one of its major historic rivals (Since Florida only really became a rival in the 1990's).  So that would mean that either tenn's annual rivalry with vandy or alabama woud go away, just like the one with Ole Miss did.  And if Bama/UT was no longer an annual game anyway I expect permanent crossover games would be eliminated entirely, the only permananent rivalry that people would care about saving would be UGA Auburn, and I doubt there would be enough support among AD's for leaguewide (and increasingly non-sensical) permanent crossover opponents to protect a single game.  Otherwise there would be really stupid permanent games like NCSU and Missouri (as a random example).  It might actually make more sense to move both vandy and ut to the west and auburn to the east, leaving the Iron Bowl as the ONLY permanent crossover rivalry (which would only increase the "specialness" of that game, but I don't know how feasible that would be.  The biggest scheduling victim would be Florida in either case.  Florida would trade annual games with lsu (a personal favorite of mine), possibly tennessee,  vandy (an academic school, in a major media market, traditional opponent, and improving in football dramatically) and missouri (at least it has some reputation for football and is another major media market) for north carolina, va tech, possibly auburn, duke (an academic school with none of the benefits of vandy), and NCSU (which would be equal to mizzou except for the fact that two other NC schools were already on the schedule)  You know what happens when you put three North Carolina schools on a Florida school's schedule every year?  You get Florida State's half empy stadium.   Forget about going to road games either.  North Carolina is so far from most of UF's alumni base that i might as well be Califormia.  (which actually might be easier for someone Florida  to get to than Chapel Hill, and almost certainly Blacksburg) I know that Florida fans don't travel well anyway, but some at least try.  I know that fan support isn't really taken into consideration here, but it would be nice if it was.  In a dream scenario, I'd want the SEC to go to 18 with Fla State, Miami, Clemson and GaTech, but would sadly be too awesome to exit in a world where it's all about the short term money rather than the long term common sense.  

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

I think Slive and the SEC are reluctant to go past 16 right now and don't want to hit 20, but it's the uncertainty factor of what life will be like without higher numbers that concerns me.  If the Big Ten is just trying to get as many schools as they can then eventually the SEC has to curb their appetite for them or risk being relegated to 2nd place permanently.  Any school that goes to the Big Ten will almost certainly always be in that league forever.  Fear is a poor decision maker, but it's better than letting terms be dictated to you.

 

So the question is what is the SEC more afraid of...a 20 team league that at the very least rivals whatever the Big Ten can put together or a smaller league that can't expand in the future because every strong product is already off the table?  I'm a fan of Slive being more proactive than reactive in all this.  The endgame should be the target, not the afterthought.

 

I like what was said below; UNC, Duke, Virginia Tech, and Florida State should be the top 4.  The more congruent and market revolutionizing number is 20 though.  Clemson, Pittsburgh, NC State, Louisville...they shouldn't be off the table for the SEC.  If the SEC is prepared to take the first 4 and 2 of the latter then the Big Ten can't match that move even if they land Notre Dame.  I wonder if there is a game of chicken going on behind the scenes?

Seanbo
Seanbo

I believe that Virginia and Georgia Tech are gone to the B1G (UVa's president is from the B1G by the way, just like Maryland').  The battleground state is North Carolina, to get the Heels, you have to invite Duke.  I believe the B1G will do that, I also believe the SEC will do the same and win.  If I'm the SEC, I offer UNC, Duke and Virginia Tech and see if that would get Virginia to spurn the B1G. If Virginia still goes B1G then there is really only one true option for the SEC and that's FSU. 

 

Most people believe FSU will go to the Big 12 but I do not.  I think the B1G will invite them despite not being AAU.  Why, the Big Ten Network, Florida has 5.5 million cable subscribers.  If the BTN charges $1 a month to the cable companies, then FSU is worth $66 million pr year to the B1G.  Just on that alone, FSU could pay it's own way and there would still be 36 million left over to split with the other schools, about 2 million more a piece.  Plus by being in Florida, FSU will give the B1G more exposure to Florida recruting not by just playing here but by people watching FSU on the BTN.  FSU would also make a good travel partner with Georgia Tech.

 

Florida, I think should be protected by the SEC. Every SEC school fills in their recruit class with Florida recruits, Ole Miss has 16 Florida kids, Alabama has 10, etc.etc.....  

 

The SEC could look like this:

 

East- Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Norh Carolina, Duke, Virginia Tech

Central- Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, Vandebilt, Kentucky, FSU

West- LSU, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Missouri 

 

If this was to happen then the SEC would not have to expand again until the Big 12's Grant of Rights expire.  That's when the SEC can go to 20, by adding Texas and either Oklahoma or West Virginia.

SouthernBoiSB
SouthernBoiSB

I don't like 18 just like I don't like 14.  It just seems like 4 pods are right around the corner & each will have the same #.

 

If you reread all the Big Bang #4's messages....I think it was JRsec that pointed out that basically every SEC rivalry would be protected with a 20 team conference.  To me, that's what I don't want to see tossed to the side & not played annually.

TheN8tureBoy
TheN8tureBoy

What are the odds that the Third Saturday in October stays put?

BonzaiB
BonzaiB

My head hurts, please make it stop.... My concern, and it WILL be the new reality, is that super conferences will bring the politicians and federal bureaucrats into this with a vengence, and that will make everything very unpleasant. ASuper conferences have the potential to radically alter how rivalries are carried forward. States with favorite son schools denied a sweet spot are going to (correctly or incorrectly) point out that super conferences constitute some sort of disportionate allocation of monies to the haves. That means the "m" word (monopoly) will come into play (correctly or incorrectly, in one form or another). Politicians and bureaucrats love to regulate things, and when the money starts to concentrate in 4 super conferences, with dollar totals that will make your head spin, then college sports will look more and more like the NFL and NBA, and the feds will have a target lock on our beloved multi million dollar cash cows.

 

It is not beyond the possible to see an attempt to regulate membership, or to force realignment. If you think that is not possible or likely, just look at what is now regulated in our everyday life that 10 - 20 years ago we were pretty sure would never be.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

The conference alliances won't work because the conferences don't control the individual institutions.  That's what killed the B1G/Pac-12 alliance - Larry Scott couldn't convince all of his schools to jump on board.  For example, what if a conference alliance were to include home-and-home dates for football games.  Is Georgia really going to play a game at, say, TCU to fulfill the conference alliance requirements?  I don't think so.  It's a good idea that can't be executed.

 

That's one reason why continued expansion is going to happen.  It might very well be the case that Virginia would like to remain in the ACC, all else being equal.  The problem is that all else is in fact not equal.  Virginia, being more interested in Virginia than it is in the ACC, will ultimately do what is in the best interest of Virginia.  The same is true of all schools.  I get the sense that the members of the ACC like the conference and would prefer that it stay together.  But if there is a perceived run on the bank, then they'll all sell out as quickly as they can.

JRsec
JRsec

Thanks John, considering the positioning of the SEC taking four if needed to get to 18 would be fine.  If the Big 12 chooses to grow F.S.U. and Clemson are available to Florida and South Carolina as cross conference rivals and maybe we can settle out.  If the Big 12 is recalcitrant to grow then it is only a matter of time for them as well and then the SEC can complete a twenty team scenario with two more from a dissolving Big 12 when the time comes, or we could look again at Florida State and Clemson as two teams that enhance our brand and consolidate our footprint.

Catfish
Catfish

I don't understand how adding more television markets equals more money because you still have to add school to split the money with. You'd think it would just break even

mowens75
mowens75

Those 4 would be perfect. I would like to see Kansas if the the Big 12 blew up, but I feel them along with UNC could be destined for the B1G.

larryphelps20
larryphelps20

I still don't understand how you can rationalize the SEC taking 2 teams or even 3 teams from N. Carolina. If the SEC is going to break the unwritten rule of "multiple schools from the same state" then they're most likely to break that rule w/  Florida St. and not the trio of UNC/Duke/NC State. The issue I keep coming back to (and one that would be in agreement to your multiple N. Carolina schools to the SEC) is that the SEC cannot take UNC w/out also taking NC State.

 

I see no circumstance where lawmakers in the Tarheel state allow NC State to go to an inferior conference. Both UNC/NC State must have upper echelon homes. The B12 is decidely not that. So, if the ACC gets picked apart the only viable home for the Wolfpack is the SEC. Because there is no way the B10 is inviting them.

 

Only plausible combinations for the 3 NC schools if the ACC disintegrates:

 

1. UNC/Duke/NC State to the SEC (Really difficult for me to see Duke going to the SEC though)

2. UNC/Duke to the B10 and NC State to the SEC

3. UNC/NC State to the SEC and Duke to the B10

 

 

One thing is certain IMO....none of these schools will ever end up in the B12.

BonzaiB
BonzaiB

 @The regular guy Academic standings are based on a number of criteria that actually do not have anything to do with academics, and they favor private institutions, always have. One of the key measures is graduation rates, and private institutions have it all over public institutions there. It is no secret that the more affluent's families have a much better chance of keeping their kids in school (at least three guys in my freshman calc class left for the Air Force to get the GI Bill, so they could finish up later. Two came back an graduated, don't know what happened to the third. Those guys counted against the graduation rates at my public university. So, my guess is, if you examine graduation rates of those 50, you are going to find that is a significant chunk of the difference between who is #1 and who is #50. Also, the ability to attract grant money for research is also a biggie.

JRsec
JRsec

 @AllTideUp The only reason I can think of to stop short of 20 would be in the event we were serious about taking two from the Big 12 should they dissolve as well.  If the Big 10 moves to 20 and we move to 20 (and we should) then the future will be 3 conferences of 20 or at most 24, but most likely 20.  If there is a move to 3 conferences of 20 each conferences annual payout automatically increases by $40 million in playoff money no longer split 4 ways, and by the total payouts of the 4 teams that are eliminated by the 3 x 20 format.  That's going to be about another 80 to 100 million depending of tier 1 & 2 payouts to the conferences for what would have been a 4 x 16 model.

 

Now, here is why we need to move to 20 from the start.  First, each league will wind up playing a 10 game conference schedule.  There will be little room to protect rivals who wind up in different conferences.  Other obligations may eliminate games like Clemson and South Carolina, Georgia Tech and Georgia, and Florida and Florida State if we don't find a way to guarantee those annual games.

 

CBS would pay more to have those games to choose from annually.  Auburn versus Alabama is one of the most viewed games nationally every year (last year was a dud though).  The aforementioned games need to be the annual property of the conference for the sake of viewers, crowds, and fans and alumni.  It would be a crime if any of them should fall prey to realignment.  Our brand is the Southeast.  Our style is tough defensive and varied offensive approaches to the game.  Our drawing card is week to week tough games.

That doesn't need to be watered down.  If Virginia and North Carolina are our goals then nail them down.  

 

Let's at least pick up North Carolina, N.C. State and Virginia Tech.  If Duke is a requirement then do it.  But let's consolidate, defend our brand (the Southeast) and protect our style by adding Florida State and Clemson and stopping with a very solid South.

 

If the Big 10 wants into the South let them take Virginia, Georgia Tech, and Miami if they want into Florida.  That only leaves them 3 slots left for consolidating New England and expanding in the Midwest.  Kansas, Boston College, and Syracuse, or perhaps Connecticut.  

 

The PAC can take their 8 from the Big 12 or the West to get to 20 and we'll all be done.

 

There will be losers: Cincinnati, Louisville, T.C.U., Wake Forest, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, the remainder of B.C./Syracuse/Connecticut, South Florida and Baylor.  But what the heck just wait and see Notre Dame will organize them into a non-conference conference and will get a boon of a playoff spot at the expense of someone else when they have a great year.  That will be 70 teams in the upper tier.

BonzaiB
BonzaiB

 @Seanbo After this year, it would be a crime to seperate A&M and Bama. Gotta tell you, I think those two are headed for a few years of epic slug fests. I watched that game and was impressed by a couple of things. 1. Bama fans were as fired up as I have seen them in the 3rd and 4th quarter, and 2. the Aggies I know are already stocking up on throat losengers to show them that Kyle can rock too. I know this is a little off topic, but this match up has potential for the long term. No offense Auburn, but I think the Ags and the Tide are going to make some headlines as a match up for a few years.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @Seanbo 

 

Good, rational thinking.  Disagree on a couple of points, but I see where you're coming from.

 

I did want to correct one misconception though.  Each signing day for the past few years we've looked at where SEC schools get their talent... and more SEC signees come out of Georgia than Florida.  That might seem surprising, but there's a reason.  There are two FBS schools in the Peach State (three with Georgia State moving up).  Florida has UF, Florida State, Miami, UCF, USF, FAU, FIU.  Florida has more overall FBS signees each year than Georgia, but Georgia produces enough that two (or even three) in-state schools can't come close to inking them all.  Sunshine State recruits can still stay in state and play FBS football even if the BCS schools turn them down.  Georgia kids don't have nearly as many in-state options.

 

Just clearing up a myth that we also believe... until running the numbers.  

 

Thanks for reading the site,

John

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @TheN8tureBoy 

 

I think those two schools will fight for it tooth and nail and I think the SEC has been better than most leagues about protecting its biggest games.  But the more schools get added, the more votes get cast.  And them thar interlopers might not see the value of Alabama-Tennessee or Auburn-Georgia.  At MrSEC, we also see value in Ole Miss-Vanderbilt as those two schools have one of the oldest rivalries in the league.  Newbies won't get that and won't care.  And the more folks who come in voting for themselves and not the greater good, the less chance of "greater good" games like the old rivalries surviving. 

 

That's actually a bigger concern overall that we'll touch on later in the week, too.  Don't want to give it away just yet.

 

As always, thanks for reading the site,

John

Jesm
Jesm

@BonzaiB

yerboyfloyd
yerboyfloyd

 @FCDore Agreed.  With UNC being the real plum, being proactive seems wiser than reactive.

The best case is to slam the breaks and prop up the ACC if at all possible.

I4Bama
I4Bama

 @Roggespierre

 But if faced with the prospect of GA playing at TCU as a stopgap measure, or GA being forced to play at TCU because they are now in the SEC (just carrying your analogy through - it could be any pair of schools), would GA be more amenable when it is a choice and not a requirement?

mowens75
mowens75

 @Catfish

 not neccassarily. Adding N Carolina, Virgina and DC market will add more $'s to everyone. All three areas add a lot more TV's then would any other market that we are already in (other than Florida and Texas - adding another in that area wouldn't help that much).

buddha22
buddha22

@mowens75 Not sure why...even if you count chickenhawks, there just are not enough cable households to offer them a split.

JRsec
JRsec

 @larryphelps20 I like your option #3.  Will Duke even be viable past coach K's tenure?  That's a gamble.  The other issue is that 20 will be easier to manage routinely than 18.  So if you stand at 18 why not pick up two content adds that strengthen your brand and consolidate your footprint.  But if it's option 3 who's #20?  Miami to own Florida, Georgia Tech for academics (AAU), Cincinnati or Louisville for a Northeast corner, Pittsburgh for a new market, or West Virginia to help the Big 12 transition into a new strategy or plan a move West?  Virginia Tech, North Carolina, N.C. State, Florida State, Clemson, and ? would be an extremely solid brand and profile fit for the SEC.  I just don't grasp a reason not to consolidate our brand when the best football is played in our region.

mowens75
mowens75

 @larryphelps20

 agreed for the most part, but getting into NC market is important. So if it takes go after all 3 then do it. Also would love to add such big time bball schools and high academic universities (UNC and Duke). Also would love to add UVA, but not happening either. Looks like when it is all over our best shot will be NC State and Vtech (because I don't believe B1G would take either unless something big went down). After that we can only hope B1G goes after UVA and Notre Dame and stops. Then maybe UNC would consider SEC, but then possibly they would stay with the ACC to keep it together. If that's the case then NC state would be hard to pull.

larryphelps20
larryphelps20

 @JRsec  @AllTideUp If the B10 thought that BC, Syracuse or UConn made sense they would have added them by now. As it is the B10 is not at risk of "losing" either of the 3 to the B12 or the SEC. And the only way either of those 3 get a spot is if the conference is stuck on 19 and needs another school AND ND desires BC's inclusion. I see no situation in which UConn and Syracuse will ever be in the B10. The B10 has done their due diligence on both and have deemed them lacking.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @I4Bama  @Roggespierre Good question.  My answer is that GA has eight conference football games on the schedule each year that it doesn't control.  It's going to have four at home and four on the road.  It also has its annual rivalry with GT.  That's another road game every other year.  The GA athletic department typically fills the remaining three games with home games.  It will occasionally add a nearby road game in years that it plays GT at home.

 

IF TCU were to become a conference game, then that would be included in the eight SEC games that Georgia can't control.  GA would still have its full slate of non-conference games for highly profitable contests that would almost certainly be relatively easy wins.  If it is forced by a conference agreement to play TCU or some other Big 12 team on the road every other year, then it loses one of seven possible home dates over any given two-year span.  It also might hurt its chances of getting into football's new Final Four.

 

Similarly, South Carolina (Clemson) and Florida (FSU) are locked into home-and-home series with strong foes from big football conferences.  They, too, have fewer home dates that they can control.  Are they going to be willing to give up one of their seven free dates every two years in order to go on the road and play Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, or Texas?  Why would they?  They would likely lose money and they might lose the games.  For that matter, why would they be willing to give up a home non-conference game in order to play at Iowa State or Kansas?  The SEC schools would likely win those games pretty easily, but what advantage would they gain?   And how much money would they lose?

BonzaiB
BonzaiB

 @I4Bama  @Roggespierre And what if that forced stopgap measure damaged GA's chance to play for a national title? Conference realignment brings problems for the schools, say GA, that draws TCU in a weak year (and its more likely than not) and FL draws Texas in an up year. If both teams beat their forced association with a Big XII school, FL is in a better spot to play for a national title, through no fault of GA's. The AD's it would seem to me, lose their ability to make the choice on how to manage their schedules to compete for a title.

buddha22
buddha22

@Mike007 @larryphelps20 Yeah, they are just mortified...

mowens75
mowens75

 @JRsec  @larryphelps20

 If it gets to Superconferences of 20 then I agree. We should start looking at those rival teams. The downfall to that is the B1G will expand to new markets and that means more money for them. If we go to 20 then look for them to add UVA, UNC, GTech, Syracuse, Duke and Notre Dame (or Kansas). That leaves us with 2 new markets NC and Virginia (NC State and Vtech). Then we add FSU, Clemson, and who knows the other 2. Maybe 2 more markets Pitt and W. Virginia (if Big 12 goes away). Not so sure we want to add more great football programs to the best conference if we are going to a Super Conference playoff deal.

larryphelps20
larryphelps20

 @mowens75 Agree that the NC is important, but adding all 3 would seem to be financially dilutive for the SEC.

JRsec
JRsec

 @larryphelps20  @AllTideUp Yep, we've had very similar discussions down here on what it would take to crack the ACC.  Since the SEC wants into the same two states (Virginia and North Carolina) and their first choices would be the same as those of the Big 10 with a fall back of N.C. State and Virginia Tech the same logic applies.  It was known to us that Florida State wanted the SEC, but not the Big 12.  Many of us felt that ultimately we might have to take Florida State to get the ball rolling.  That alone would mean that we would have to move to 18. to get into the states we wanted.  I believe Slive was hoping that Delany's move for Maryland would prompt the movement we all desired.  However it just cracked the dam but didn't break it, yet.  While we weren't looking at Georgia Tech the logic was that if Clemson went with F.S.U. that the ACC would be finished as a power football conference and that Miami, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech would have to move to protect their programs.  Then somewhere in the discussion it became clear that the SEC's best shot at U.N.C. would only come if we took Duke and possibly even N.C. State as well.  Since we would still need 1 slot to get into Virginia no spot could be spared for F.S.U. to get it started.  In that kind of move we are taking 3 that don't add markets to get two that do.  Even the Big 12 that would like to have F.S.U. can't lure them unless other's move.  So we have a standoff.  I' still think it takes F.S.U. moving anywhere to get it started.

larryphelps20
larryphelps20

 @JRsec  @AllTideUp 1st the B10 has  to get to 16. And I think that that is a bit problematic for them. I think it's obvious to most that the B10 wants UVA and UNC. Problem is those schools will only leave the ACC if the ship is completely sinking. How and if we reach that point is the answer. If I had to guess I'd say the B10 tries to get GT and FSU. FSU will be a tough sell for Delany to the pipes that head up the B10. If those two came on board the ACC as a viable heavyweight conference would be kneecapped. At that point Clemson and Miami have to think about their football program's long-term viability in an ACC that is clearly a distant 5th from a football standpoint. If they decide to jump (and to me Clemson's only option is the B12....Miami as well w/ an outside, outside shot at the B10) then that would spell the complete death of the ACC.

 

So to answer your question about who would be 17 and 18....I'd say UVA and UNC. The ACC has to be irrevocably damaged for those two to leave. As for 19 and 20 if the B10 ever thought to go that high. You're looking at IMO Notre Dame and either Duke, Miami, Pitt, Kansas or if ND dictates they need a certain schoool like BC to be #20 in order for them to join.

JRsec
JRsec

 @larryphelps20  @AllTideUp You would know more about that than I would so who do you think the Big 10 would take to get to 18 or 20?

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @Seanbo 

 

No big deal.  As I said, it's a common misconception.  Because Florida pumps out more signees, it's natural to think SEC schools always sign more from Florida.  But the last few years Georgia has led the way.

 

All the best,

John

Seanbo
Seanbo

 @John at MrSEC

 Florida produces more recruits but more Georgia recruits sign with SEC schools.

JRsec
JRsec

 @Roggespierre  @BonzaiB  @I4Bama Well since they are spending our tax dollars and contributions and claiming to position our schools strategically for the future, I would hope so.  But, having worked with a vast spectrum of leaders from family heads to mayors and council persons, to state leaders and military leaders I concede your point.  All one has to do is to look at the household debt levels, the failing cities, the short-funded state programs, and the lobby led purchases of boondoggle military hardware and systems to prove your point.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @JRsec  @BonzaiB  @I4Bama Do you believe that they're thinking on such a macro level?  I know that we fans often do that, but I'm not sure that the conferences and institutions go much beyond asking what is the best thing for us right now.

JRsec
JRsec

 @Roggespierre  @BonzaiB  @I4Bama That indicates they are thinking of 20.  There have been many prominent voice among athletic departments and coaches who have stated that if there is a breakaway upper division that all games on everyone's schedule will be only upper tier.  20 teams with 10 conference games leaves 1 cross over for each of the other 20 team conferences in a 60 team upper tier.

BonzaiB
BonzaiB

 @Roggespierre  @I4Bama Bingo. And as much as we like to ride our AD's, up to now the 4 non conference games were almost immaterial, but now they become very significant. So, who wants to be the first school to have the effect of hamstringing the AD out of a scheduling play for the NT? I would be FRIED if it happened to UF. (and I'd still probably end up blaming it on him anyway, I'm so shallow...)

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @BonzaiB  @I4Bama We definitely agree.  Although the formatting doesn't show it, I was actually responding to IBama.  You made the point more succinctly than I did.  Losing 25% of controllable inventory is not going to interest most athletic directors.  Even if you disregard the possibility of missing out on a national title, the amount of money that at SEC school would lose by trading a home game with Louisiana-Lafayette for a road game with Kansas State is very significant.

 

And we haven't even discussed the whole conference network vs. no conference network angle.  When the SEC Network gets going, only home games for SEC schools will be included in the inventory.  If the league were to play ten total games with the Big 12 every year and split them evenly home-and-home, then the SEC Network would lose five games of inventory.

BonzaiB
BonzaiB

 @Roggespierre  @I4Bama Agree,  but my point was the AD currently has 4 games he CAN control. Conference alignment takes at least one of those games out of his pervue. AND one game is the minimum in this scenario he loses control of. That is a whopping 25% of his discresionary authority in managing a schedule for a run at a national title. Not an insignificant percentage.

Mike007
Mike007

 @buddha22  @Mike007  @larryphelps20

 Yea...I can tell; it shows in the standings.  There is another positive; those Big 12 rejects in Columbia don't have to play them anymore

JWF
JWF

 @larryphelps20  @JRsec  @mowens75   This is ridiculous.  There are more than 3 top teams in the SEC.  Auburn just won a NC a few years ago, the last SEC team not named Alabama to do so.  Tennessee, followed by Georgia has more SEC championships than any other school not named Alabama.  And some of us remember who represented the east in the Championship game for the last two years in a row.  It wasn't Florida.

JRsec
JRsec

 @buddha22  @JRsec  @mowens75  @larryphelps20 Everybody is so hungry for cash this will change.  Besides absence makes the heart grow fonder, alumni too.  They'll pony up for premium tickets at neutral sites when those rivalries are rekindled.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @Roggespierre  @JRsec  @larryphelps20 

I'm not sure the cable TV days are on their way out just yet.  Part of the reason for the peaking in subscription rates is that satellite TV is easier and more affordable to get than ever before(sorry for the commercial).  U-verse is also making a mark on the market.  I don't think TV networks as we know them will go away anytime soon, but the way in which they are delivered will change in the coming decades.

 

For example, the internet has changed the way we communicate and watch shows and while it is almost mundane for many people we forget that a lot of Americans still don't have internet access at home.  Some in fact, still rely on traditional antenna broadcasting if they want to watch TV.  That number is ever smaller, but the point remains.  The total switch from cable broadcasting to internet broadcasting isn't totally feasible yet, but that is probably what we will see next.  It would be too easy of a transition and the technology already exists. Watching shows on demand is a growing trend, but sports are a little different in how we consume them.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

 @Roggespierre  @JRsec  @larryphelps20  

I've never had NFL Sunday Ticket so I don't really know how it works, but I think the sort of system we may see in the future would be more along the "Netflix" model than a PPV model.  It would be conferences or individual networks offering internet channels with which they will stream their content in exchange for a monthly subscription rate.  I could see 2 or 3 tiers of subscriptions being offered, one for casual fans who like to watch big games, a premium tier for dedicated fans, and a top level for the diehards just looking for whatever content is out there.

 

I agree that pro and college leagues benefit from bundling their product and so I think we will see that conventional way of delivering games continue.  While I do believe more people will use the internet and various devices to watch their favorite team's games, I don't see most fans really breaking away from watching games on a nice big screen TV with friends over...that sort of thing.  Sports are a little different from scripted shows in how people have traditionally invested their time in them.  Football is as much a social event as a spectator sport although other sports may have more of an iPad following if you will.  It will probably depend on the individual.  The great thing about the "Netflix" model is certain devices will let us watch what we want on normal TV screens rather than just relying on portable computers.

buddha22
buddha22

@JRsec @mowens75 @larryphelps20 Only problem is that sorry sisters Ut and kU are pouting and will NOT play A&M or MU.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @JRsec  @larryphelps20  @mowens75 That doggone bowl record just won't go away!  When it comes to a la carte programming, I'm not sure that anyone in the entire world of sports would benefit.  To some degree, all leagues both college and pro rely on bundled pricing to augment revenues.  I can't believe that the SEC would move into the arena if it believed that the model is on its death bed.  Note, also, that video distributors count on marking-up sports programming to fuel their own profits.  Fios just announced a "sports-free" sub package, but it's only 15% cheaper than the regular bundle because it requires an HD up-sell.  It seems that margins must be maintained one way or another.

 

Most Big Ten schools have fans statewide that are not necessarily affiliated with the school.  I still remember covering the firing of Bob Knight back in my days as a local TV reporter.  Talk about irate people!  They were pulling up in their cars at Assembly Hall, throwing out IU merchandise, and flipping the bird to the building and whomever happened to be in it.  Upon interviewing many of these people, I discovered that almost none of them had attended a single class at Indiana University or any other college.  They were fans, just as they might be fans of the Indianapolis Colts.

 

My guess is that schools like Alabama and Georgia have plenty of those, too.  Then again, the population shift is lending even further competitive advantage to southern schools.  That said, I'm not a fan of the Big Ten expanding for the primary purpose of making recruiting inroads.  It isn't as if Purdue and Minnesota will become more attractive to Florida kids if FSU is in the conference.

JRsec
JRsec

 @Roggespierre  @mowens75  @larryphelps20 Totally agree here.  That's why the Big 10 and SEC would be wise to look for new markets that fit their existing footprint if possible and so far both have done that, and look for brands that are strong, and the SEC scored the only one of those so far with A&M, and look also to consolidate their footprint with strong brands.  Eventually the economy is going to hit us much harder than people realize.  During the rebuilding years for the economy close games will bring in more revenue than those that require extensive travel, and rivalries will do the same.  Cut travel expenses and you make more by saving more.  

 

As long as the fit is right it's time to hedge bets by doing a little of all of the above.

JRsec
JRsec

 @larryphelps20  @mowens75 Tennesse and Auburn won crystal footballs as well.  Considering your overall bowl record I'd be careful of calling the rest of the SEC filler.  And as far as alumni bases go nobody has enough to carry cable networks on an a la carte model.  It requires compelling play to gain the others who have no connection to your school..

 

I've got nothing against the Big 10.  I spent my early years decades ago in the great white North and loved the people there.  In basketball you have no problems, I believe top to bottom you are the best basketball conference in the nation.

 

But, what I pointed out will not change.  In my opinion if you were to go to 20 you would be wise to drop the AAU requirement and go after Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Clemson.  That would add meat and recruiting to your conference.

larryphelps20
larryphelps20

 @JRsec  @mowens75 I agree content matters and you'd be correct if (and this is a monstrous if) the B10 added BC, UCONN, Syracuse and/or Kansas. None of those would be smart additions IMO. That's why if the B10 is adding some combination of: UVA, UNC, Duke, GT, FSU, ND it would be a no brainer for them. One other thing...yes, the SEC is the dominant conference as of right now, but it's because 3 programs are carrying all the load: Alabama, LSU and Florida. Sure Georgia is solid, but it's not a world beater. The rest of the schools are just filler for those 3 to feast on.

 

The issue w/ the B10 not being able to compete w/ the SEC for national titles is that during this 7 year run by the SEC only Ohio St. is putting up much of a fight nationally speaking. The other "king" programs in the B10 (specifically Michigan and Penn St.) need to start pulling their weight for the conference to become competitive nationally.

 

One other thing in regards to markets/matchups. The other reason the B10 is so successful from a media rights $ perspective is the sheer number of B10 alumni that want that content. I'm an IU fan and our football team is dreadful. Arguably one of the worst BCS programs, but I'll still watch and root for them wherever and whenever they're on tv. Take the avg. B10 school's enrollment...say 35k-40K and you start racking up staggering alumni figures pretty quickly.

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @JRsec  @mowens75  @larryphelps20 The issue of quality content is definitely one that is worthy of dispassionate debate.  Like most topics here, it is multifaceted.

 

I'll use myself as an example.  I'm primarily a Big Ten fan, but I'm also a college football fan.  In recent years, I have often opted to watch the top SEC game on CBS rather than a Big Ten game on ESPN because, quite simply, the quality of the SEC game was clearly better.

 

However, if I were to have to pay for each individual game, then I suspect that my viewing habits would change significantly.  I'll watch SEC games if they're on a cable package that I'm already paying for, but I'm not going to pay to watch them a-la-cart.  I am, after all, a Big Ten fan.  If I have to pay a-la-cart, then it's going to be for the teams that I really want to see.

 

Perhaps the NFL serves as the model.  I've often wondered why the NFL chooses to sell the Sunday Ticket to DirecTV.  Why doesn't it offer every game a-la-cart on all cable systems.  I can't believe that Comcast, TW, Cox, Fios and Dish wouldn't be interested.  The answer must be that the NFL has figured out that it maximizes collective profits via its exclusive DirecTV deal.  In other words, it can make more money selling all games as a package through one distributor than it could if it were to sell each game individually via multiple distributors.  This is of course an assumption, but I think it's a safe one given the NFL's history of profit maximization.

 

The Big Ten has an advantage with regards to a-la-cart programming, namely its alumni.  A Michigan fan might be a college football fan, too.  But what will he pay to see?  Michigan.  Will he pay to watch LSU/Alabama?  Maybe.

 

Without getting into it too deeply, there are reasons that conferences continue to put their 1st tier games on broadcast networks and established base tier cable channels like ESPN.  If they could forward integrate into distribution 100% without losing viewership, then I would think they would do so.  That's true regardless of whether or not bundled pricing goes away.

 

The potential ramifications of a major shift in the profitability model of televised sports are virtually limitless.

JRsec
JRsec

 @Seanbo  @larryphelps20  @mowens75 My point is a simple one.  If the carriage fee model of cable networks changes to an on demand model either because of a la carte legislation or internet streaming then the Big 10's network gets severely hamstrung.  Obviously the Big 10 has some outstanding brands:  Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Penn State, Nebraska and to a lesser extent Michigan State.  Of all of the possible targets you or others have mentioned only Florida State could successfully transition from a carriage fee model to an on demand model.  Since you already own the other 6 brands in the Big 10 that would successfully make that transition my point stands.  Who other than F.S.U. that you may or may not acquire moves the needle enough on football content to successfully make that change?  You may wind up with very large markets, and a number of them, but how many people in Virginia, North Carolina, Atlanta (because it won't apply in most of Georgia), New Jersey, and Maryland are going to pay to watch Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Penn State, Nebraska, or Michigan State other than alums?  You will have large markets and no compelling product with which to deliver them.  Admittedly Florida would be different if the Seminoles were your brand.

 

By the way cable subscriptions are down.  That trend has peaked and is seeking its new trough.  The economy is partially to blame, but internet streaming is beginning to take away points and that's a trend that technology will increase.  The paradigm is already shifting and the carriage fee model is not even in place.  I sure don't call that security!

Seanbo
Seanbo

 @JRsec  @larryphelps20  @mowens75

 

How valuable would the BTN be with Virginia (2 million cable subscribers), North Carolina and Duke (2.2 million), Georgia Tech (not sure how mch weight they carry), FSU (5,5 million) and Boston College (3.1 million).  That 12.8 plus million subscribers at $1 dollar per month. 153.8 million plus on top of what they are making now

JRsec
JRsec

 @larryphelps20  @mowens75 Without content strengthening, yes.  With Maryland, Rutgers, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Georgia Tech, and maybe Boston College, Connecticut, Syracuse, or Kansas to round out to 20, yes I believe if carriage fees are dropped in favor of a la carte, or should (more likelly) internet streaming replace cable networks .....yes I do believe that.  That's why lobbying efforts in Wisconsin and Illinois have already begun to persuade teacher's unions to vote against a la carte.  Larryphelps20 success in broadcasting is an equation.  Quality of product plus markets equals success.  A conference can get by on strength of product but can't maximize their profits with markets.  A conference can get by on captive markets without great quality of product but can't maximize their profits.  Take away a captive audience and the BTN is in big trouble.  That's why Delany wants to expand southward down the Atlantic coast.  It adds great new markets, but more importantly it puts the Big 10 in the best position to improve its product.  That's why as a competitor a move to block that access is worth a couple of slots.  The SEC has never had to deal with a cash heavy competitor in Florida, just cash strapped ones.  Therein is the difference between the Big 10's potential and that of the ACC.

larryphelps20
larryphelps20

 @JRsec  @mowens75 @JRSEC---you honestly believe that the B10/News Corp. is unaware/unprepared for how college sports content is going to be delivered in the future to their consumers? Really? The 2nd largest media entity on the globe doesn't in fact know it's own business? The oldest and in a myriad of metrics most successful conference is all of a sudden going to falter by expanding it's membership to such a degree so as to render that expansion moot because they were caught unaware of media deliverablity? That all seems a touch implausible to me.

 

In the end no matter how this all shakes out I'm certain of 2 things and 2 things only. The SEC and the B10 will both be sitting pretty.

JRsec
JRsec

 @mowens75  @larryphelps20 Mowens75, you make some good points, but remember the SEC doesn't have the great markets now and we are economically competitive with the Big 10.  It won't take many new markets beyond North Carolina and Virginia to make us the most successful in the long term.  What we have that the Big 10 can't buy is a quality product to watch.  If we want to keep that edge then we limit their expansion into the South.  If they expand no further South than Atlanta and they only take Virginia, U.N.C., Duke, and Ga Tech to do it then what have they ultimately gained?  True they will have the markets, but where is the product?  It's the state of Florida we have to keep away from them.  That's the only place where they could start to build a viable product.  Right now the SEC is the most watched conference in the nation.  Technology is going to render the network concept moot within a few years and when it does the Big 10 will have expanded for nothing.  The SEC on the other hand with a compelling product will profit even more under a choice motivated payout system.  The internet is likely to make the latter come to fruition.  That's why strengthening our hold on the teams that represent the best product in the nation is a smart long term move.  The present networks don't wish to reward this because they don't want that kind of leverage residing in one conference.  If the split our footprint they don't have to pay as much for the product in the future.  And they think that will bring more national balance.

 

Let's add the states of North Carolina and Virginia with the best product possible in the process, let's spend at least two spots on consolidating excellent product, and then let's look as you say for two more markets with quality adds.  Whether that is Oklahoma and West Virginia, or Texas and Kansas, or Oklahoma and Kansas doesn't matter then as much as the increased exposure.

 

Auburn versus Alabama is annually a ratings bonanza (not so much this past year), so could Florida State versus Florida and Clemson versus South Carolina, or Texas versus Texas A&M, or Missouri versus Kansas in basketball.  CBS will pay a good deal more to know that they solely own those games every year as opposed to having a shot at them every other year.

 

We get one shot at this.  We need to think long term and get it right.  There won't be any do overs for this for a long long time.

BonzaiB
BonzaiB

 @John at MrSEC  @LifeLongGarnetGold Excellent point. A year ago I would have said no way to FSU (Gator here). Still don't like the implications of FSU and UF in the SEC, BUT:

 

Now that the expansion fuse has been lit, FSU has to be considered (there are better first pick options out there) if the expansion of other conferences leaves the SEC with an unfilled chair to fill out the conference. FSU is a good cultural fit for the SEC, and as much as I hate to admit it, over the years they will produce very, very good competition. Better to pick a school that has demonstrated the ability to not only fit in, but to win.

 

And I like the quartet descriptor. Just like Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Arkansas formed sort of a Western quartet over the last few years. Now maybe it A&M, Alabama, LSU and Arkansas vs the Auburn, FSU, Georgia, Florida quartet. 

 

I like that. Of course, in that scenario, Auburn actually could lay claim to either the West or the East with their rivalry with Bama. But I like that Quartet concept. USC, UT, Vandy...... 

LifeLongGarnetGold
LifeLongGarnetGold

Thanks, John.  Good points all.  Would love the Noles to be in that "quartet'!  Not giving up hope.  Maybe Slive will "use" FSU to block the B1G from infiltrating the great state of Florida ;-)

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @LifeLongGarnetGold 

 

FSU would have been so much better off financially.  But their reasons at the time made sense: Easier to dominate in football, better for the school's academic reputation, carve out its own niche, etc.

 

And Florida has reasons today for not signing off on FSU like they did two decades ago.  The SEC is the hottest league going.  Why give that recruiting tool to a rival?  The SEC makes filthy money (which wasn't even the driving factor behind 80s-90s expansion).  Why provide that kind of cash to a rival?

 

It's a shame though.  FSU would have been -- and still would be -- a perfect fit for the SEC.  Florida, Georgia, FSU and Auburn would form one rough-and-tumble little quartet, you be sure of that.

 

All the best to your Seminoles.

 

Thanks for reading the site,

John

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @Roggespierre  @BonzaiB  @larryphelps20  @mowens75 

 

That's a perfect example.  A + B = C... unless there's some hidden part of the equation that we don't know about.  In UConn's case, the hidden part of the equation was Boston College.  BC has fought hard to keep UConn out of the ACC in order to remain the league's only New England team.  

 

Now there are rumors that the Big Ten and Boston College are talking.  Personally, I don't believe those rumors.  And if the two parties have talked, I'm guessing it was the small, Catholic, non-AAU school that was the party doing the dialing.  Can't see BC filling the Big Ten's needs even with the Boston TV market.  

 

So watch Jim Delany announce BC to the Big Ten tomorrow.

 

Thanks for reading the site,

John

Roggespierre
Roggespierre

 @John at MrSEC  @BonzaiB  @larryphelps20  @mowens75 Thanks to you for providing this forum and for spurring the discussion with your outstanding four part series.

 

And you're right - we know nothing.  I still can't believe the ACC took Louisville.  I thought that UConn was a lock.  The only thing that mitigates my embarrassment is the fact that UConn apparently thought so, too.

LifeLongGarnetGold
LifeLongGarnetGold

Speaking of when we joined the financial big dog at the time some "20 years ago", I guess the shirt I had that said "Hey SEC, Kiss my ACC" has kinda backfired :-)   Sure hope we get a second chance. 

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @BonzaiB  @larryphelps20  @mowens75 

 

Kind comments.  Many thanks.  

 

Guess it depends on what "knows" means.  We do all know there are possibilities and that some of those appear more possible than others.  But how it will all play out?  Tough to predict.  

 

Example: How close did Louisville come to swiping West Virginia's spot in the Big XII simply because a current senator from Kentucky once worked with the University of Oklahoma's president?  Depends on who you talk to at Louisville, WVU and inside the Big XII.  Still, a phone call from one guy to another threw an extra speedbump into the Big XII's expansion project.  Little relationships that like that can throw curves at everyone.

 

While our guesses are a bit more educated than some -- at least we hope so -- they're still guesses.  We realize that things change and that there are unknown, behind-the-scenes factors at play.  But we try to take a logical, dispassionate view of these expansion stories and realignment possibilities (aside from saying we're not for more expansion anywhere).  For that reason, it's always amusing to see folks write things like "We KNOW that School X won't do this."  Well, being technical, we might think School X won't do something... but none of us know for sure.

 

Thanks again.  And thanks for reading the site,

John

BonzaiB
BonzaiB

 @John at MrSEC  @larryphelps20  @mowens75 I was just saying, after reading all of your realignment big bang pieces, and the comments of everyone on the threads on all of them, I thing your statement that we don't know anything is not correct. It is clear, at least to me, that you do know quite a lot (hence the number of very intelligent posts here).

 

In short, while we do not know for sure what will happen, the guys on this site have a pretty darn good idea of what could happen. And, while we are guessing at how it all will ACTUALLY wind up, we KNOW what the possibilities are. And that is a lot more than not knowing anything.

 

Sorry my admiration tone font was not on, but I think this is the best set of articles on what is going on out there. In the Army, in tactics we are responsible for covering 1) what the threat is CAPABLE of doing, 2) What the most DANGEROUS thing the threat could do, and 3) the most LIKELY thing they could do.

 

You have pretty much put forward enough information to cover all three.

 

Good job.

 

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @BonzaiB  @larryphelps20  @mowens75 

 

Not sure if I grasp your tone, but I would say that none of us know exactly which schools will be partnering with which leagues when more moves come.  

 

I believe Virginia and Georgia Tech are closest to landing in the Big Ten based on multiple sources in the SEC, ACC and the college athletics industry.  But I don't know it.  I believe FSU (and Notre Dame as a part-time member) are the Big XII's targets and that the SEC wants into North Carolina and Virginia.. again, because I've heard that from good sources.  But I don't know it.

 

Things change.  What's true to today might not be true tomorrow.

 

Thanks for reading,

John

 

BonzaiB
BonzaiB

 @John at MrSEC  @larryphelps20  @mowens75 While no one knows anything, we can operate with a degree of rectitude that the ground work is being laid by the Big XII and other conferences to create an environment in which almost any of what is being discussed here, or combinations of the possibilities, can or will happen.

 

And that sort of amounts to, "We actually know a lot."

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @larryphelps20  @mowens75 

 

Gentlemen, please keep in mind that as we move down this expansion road the reasons for expansion change.  Twenty years ago, it was about adding good schools that were in the neighborhood.  Now it's about cable households.  We suspect when we get to the point of leagues having 16, 18 or 20 schools it's going to shift once more and be tied to content -- as we've stated time and again.  More schools equals more games to sell equals more money.  

 

Also, if this turns into a kind of "school draft" -- and it looks like it just might just become that nonsensical -- conferences may start grabbing teams to protect themselves for the future.  To keep with the draft analogy, a team may not want any of the remaining linebackers on the board... but if they need a linebacker, they're still going to take one of the leftovers and hope for the best.

 

Look at it another way.  Let's say the 14 schools in Conference X each make $20 million per year from their league.  Adding a 15th school makes that jump to $22 million per year.  Adding a 16th school jumps it to $24 million.  Now let's say adding a 17th school -- a really good school -- would jump that payout all the way to $30 million.  But to get that 17th school, Conference X would need to use an 18th school as bait, as a throw-in to make the 17th school more likely to move.  So let's say the per school payout drops by going to 18... all the way down to $26 million per school.

 

So Conference X could either add two teams and pay out $24 million... or it could add four teams and get to $26 million.  Getting 17 alone would be worth more money, but it would still be good business to take the tag-along school.  And the 17th school -- in this scenario -- wouldn't move without the 18th school anyway.

 

These are ballpark numbers so anyone trying to apply actual values here is wasting their time and missing the point, by the way.

 

But here's another example.  Let's say -- specifically -- that the SEC could add Virginia Tech, UNC, Duke and NCSU.  The overall pie might drop by adding that fourth North Carolina team... but how much would the league stand to gain in terms of competitive balance, brand awareness, academic reputation, and more by adding in NC State? That would be up to Slive and company to decide.

 

We've stated for a long, long time that of the schools currently in the  SEC footprint, Florida State is the biggest brand available.  Florida fans argue it, but the Seminoles are a traditional national power and like all traditional national powers they will rise and fall over time... but they'll most often be up and they'll most often be a good TV draw.  If there were any reason to believe the SEC might take FSU, then we'd say "Grab 'em!"  In fact, when the SEC was looking at adding schools this last time, we said Texas A&M and FSU (followed by Virginia Tech) were the best cultural fits.

 

But we've had people in multiple SEC athletic departments tell us that FSU had its chance 20 years ago and passed.  Some people around the league haven't forgotten or forgiven.  That may change -- and we think it should -- but for now, we believe they're off the table (if/when all this stuff starts shaking again).

 

That leaves the five big Virginia and North Carolina schools as potential partners and if the SEC feels it has to be an 18-school league to remain competitive with other 18- or 20-school leagues then we say all of those five will get consideration.  If UVA lands in the Big Ten, that leaves four schools, three from North Caroilna.

 

Is that a dumb way to do business -- "Well, we've gotta add somebody." -- Hell, yes.  We said as much above.  But if everyone else is running, you'll eventually have to start running too or else you'll be run over.  That's why we think all of these leagues should calm down.

 

Now, that's all our opinion and we've tried to lay it out point by point, time and again.  If you have a differing opinion, that's fine.  But while everyone else deals in "I know thises" and "I know thats," we know that NO ONE "knows" anything.  We're all, in the end, guessing.  Now our guessing at MrSEC.com has been awfully accurate in the past because we talk to a wide range of smart people from the SEC to IMG to old friends at major television networks.  That's no guarantee moving forward... but it's our belief that if push came to shove and the SEC could be a 15-school league with Virginia Tech or an 18-school league with Tech, UNC, Duke and NCSU... they'd go to 18.

 

Thanks for reading the site,

John

larryphelps20
larryphelps20

 @mowens75 I agree adding 2 basketball bluebloods is enticing and would make for a nice slate of conference teams for the SEC: UK, UNC, Duke, Florida......sadly basketball is just a small moon that orbits the much larger football planet.

 

Oh, and I have to say you forgot one basketball blueblood on your list....IU. My Hoosiers' 5 national titles easily garner a seat at that table too.

mowens75
mowens75

 @larryphelps20

 I think with UNC/Duke Bball $'s can only add and plus they are national teams in Bball. Only really 3 other teams that are similiar (UK, UCLA and Kansas). I do realize football money is where it all is, but if you can get any of the 5 bball powerhouses they can bring some huge cash too (just think if you had 3 or 4 of them).

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