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First BCS Standings Have Bama, Florida 1-2… But Also Reveal How The SEC Could Lose Out In New Playoff

The 2012 BCS standings were unveiled for the first time yesterday evening and the more things change… the more they stay the same.  All that talk from computer gurus last week that Alabama might be ranked 5th?  Uh, way off.

Alabama is #1 again.  And jumping all the way to #2 is Florida.  What is this, 2009?  But you know the drill:

 

* An SEC team on top

* Two SEC teams back-to-back on top

* Four teams in the top seven of the rankings

* Six teams in the top 12

* Seven teams ranked in the 25-team standings

 

For college football fans across the country, 2014′s new playoff can’t get here fast enough.  Some writers are already saying the first rankings of the new season reveal the flaws in the BCS system.

Meanwhile those in SEC country should be asking “Why exactly did we want to change a system we s0 dominate?”  Sure Mike Slive’s league will have a good shot at winning a playoff, too.  But the human polls — much like a selection committee, perhaps — currently have Oregon ranked second, not Florida.

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Internal FSU Battle Playing Out Externally; More Proof That The Tail’s Been Wagging The Dog

By now you’ve certainly seen the memo/email that Florida State president Eric Barron sent out yesterday during the ACC’s spring meetings.  In it, he gave serious counterpoints to the arguments first made on social media… that were then picked up and shouted by the chairman of FSU’s board of trustees, Andy Haggard… and that are now being supported by more and more Seminole fans each day.

It was a stunning response to Haggard’s statements on Saturday.  Aside from Texas officials in years past, I can’t recall many university presidents referring to other conferences as being “weaker” academically.  Especially not when their school was supposedly angling for an invite into that very league.

Before we look at what Barron said, let’s tackle some obvious points:

 

1.  Barron is having to convince his own board that any move to the Big 12 would be rash and imprudent.  Ditto the fanbase.  His email reads like a private communication rather than as something he knew would hit the press.  It wasn’t given the once-over and twice-over and proof-reading polish that these types of statements usually receive.  (Hey, Barron could fit in as a writer here at MrSEC.)  There is emotion in his words.

2.  The fact that he sent the email at all tells you that there’s suddenly a movement growing to get FSU out of the ACC and into the Big 12.  Haggard on Saturday claimed he could speak “unanimously” for his board.  Was he going rogue? Does he really have everyone’s backing?  Barron’s email suggests that if he didn’t have strong support before his statement he certainly has it now (unanimous or not).

3.  Before Haggard gave credence to the incorrect info regarding the ACC’s contract with ESPN, Seminole fans seemed split on a move.  Since Haggard spread his incorrect info, the FSU messageboards and other social media outlets show a strong, strong fan push toward exiting the ACC.  ”Give us Iowa State!”

4.  This move is being driven by the internet.  We noted on Saturday that the tail could be wagging the dog a bit in this whole FSU-to-Big 12 situation.  First, bloggers and messageboarders say FSU and Clemson are moving to the Big 12 for more money and because they’re tired of everything favoring the North Carolina schools.  Then the chair of FSU’s trustees takes that misinformation and spreads it.  That makes national news (everywhere but at ESPN, the ACC’s television partner).  After it makes national news, public opinion spins even further in the direction of a move.  Tail… wagging… dog.

5.  Further, the two Rivals.com sites covering Texas and Florida State are working together to drum up support for the move and to goad more FSU fans into supporting the move.  Orangebloods.com wrote a response to Barron’s email yesterday arguing against all of his points.  All that was missing was a “please come to the Big 12, FSU” at the end.  Soon, Warchant.com posted Chip Brown’s story on its own site and today that site has posted its own response shooting down Barron’s email.  It’s pretty clear how the Rivals sites want things to culminate.

6.  Ironically, Orangebloods.com — viewed by many as a PR arm for Texas’ athletic director — is actually breaking ranks with DeLoss Dodds on this issue.  Dodds wants the Big 12 to remain a 10-school league.  Why not split the new TV contract among fewer schools, have an easier path to the national title without a league championship game, and give yourself a 1-in-10 chance of winning the league rather than a 1-in-12 or -14 or -16 chance by expanding?  He told Kirk Bohls of The Austin American-Stateman yesterday that FSU is “a long ways away” both in terms of distance and of joining the Big 12.  ”There’s no traction.  There’ve been no conversations between Florida State and the Big 12… I’m for 10.  I think Oklahoma wants to alk about it.  If the rest of the league wants more than 10, we’ll be good partners (and accept that).”  So yet again Big 12 schools are apparently all over the map on this with Texas claiming they’ll be a good partner when even new commissioner Bob Bowlsby referred to the Longhorns as the league’s “800-pound gorilla” just a wee ago.  Seeing if  Texas will acquiesce to Kansas State’s wishes will show us just how happy and friendly the Big 12 schools really are these day.  (Using KSU only as an example of a school that might favor adding FSU.)

7.  All the above — Barron’s email, Dodd’s comments, etc — appear to further prove our “Wag the Dog” theory.  Reports of a done deal were the nonsense everyone in the traditional media said they were.  But those very reports have led some to start thinking more and more about a move and now those against a move are having to make their cases against an FSU-Big 12 marriage.  Regarding the traditional media in all of this, isn’t it likely that at least one — one! — reporter working the rumors would have found someone to fess up before Haggard’s rant?  No one from The Topeka Capital-Journal to The Tallahassee Democrat to The Dallas Morning News to Yahoo! Sports to ESPN could get a single source to confirm any of this.  Then it blew up Saturday thanks to Haggard’s reaction.

8.  Despite Barron and Dodds making it clear they’re against a move, neither said specifically that a union wouldn’t occur.  Barron’s long email made no such definitive statement.  (Mainly because he couldn’t.  The board of trustees is his boss.  They’ll make the call… just as the board did at Missouri a few months ago.)  And Dodds said he’d be a good soldier if that’s what’s required.  So, no, Barron’s email and Dodd’s public stance of being pro-10 schools don’t nix the chatter or the possibility of a move one bit.

 

Now, take a look at Barron’s email.  It’s startlingly strong:

 

I want to assure you that any decision made about FSU athletics will be reasoned and thoughtful and based on athletics, finances and academics.  Allow me to provide you with some of the issues we are facing:

In support of a move are four basic factors argued by many alumni:

1. The ACC is more basketball than it is football, and many of our alumni view us as more football oriented than the ACC
2. The ACC is too North Carolina centric and the contract advantages basketball and hence advantages the North Carolina schools
3. The Big 12 has some big football schools that match up with FSU
4. The Big 12 contract (which actually isn’t signed yet) is rumored to be
$2.9M more per year than the ACC contract. We need this money to be competitive.

But, in contrast:

1. The information presented about the ACC contract that initiated the blogosphere discussion was not correct. The ACC is an equal share conference and this applies to football and to basketball – there is no preferential treatment of any university with the exception of 3rd tier
rights for women’s basketball and Olympic sports. FSU is advantaged by that aspect of the contract over the majority of other ACC schools.

2. Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Texas A&M left the Big 12, at least in part because the Big 12 is not an equal share conference. Texas has considerably more resource avenues and gains a larger share (and I say this as a former dean of the University of Texas at Austin – I watched the Big 12 disintegration with interest). So, when fans realize that Texas would get more dollars than FSU, always having a competitive advantage, it would be interesting to see the fan reaction.

3. Much is being made of the extra $2.9M that the Big 12 contract (which hasn’t been inked yet) gets over the ACC contract. Given that the Texas schools are expected to play each other (the Big 12 is at least as Texas centered than the ACC is North Carolina centered), the most likely
scenario has FSU playing Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, and West Virginia on a recurring basis and the other teams sporadically (and one more unnamed team has to join to allow the Big 12 to regain a championship game), we realize that our sports teams can no longer travel by bus to most games – the estimate is that the travel by plane required by FSU to be in the Big 12 appears to exceed the $2.9M difference in the contract – actually giving us fewer dollars than we have now to be competitive with the Big 12 teams, who obviously do not have to travel as far. Any
renegotiated amount depends not just on FSU but the caliber of any other new team to the Big 12.

4. Few believe that the above teams will fill our stadium with fans of these teams and so our lack of sales and ticket revenue would continue.

5. We would lose the rivalry with University of Miami that does fill our stadium

6. It will cost between $20M and $25M to leave the ACC – we have no idea where that money would come from. It would have to come from the Boosters which currently are unable to support our current University athletic budget, hence the 2% cut in that budget.

7. The faculty are adamantly opposed to joining a league that is academically weaker – and in fact, many of them resent the fact that a 2% ($2.4M) deficit in the athletics budget receives so much attention from concerned Seminoles, but the loss of 25% of the academic budget (105M) gets none when it is the most critical concern of this University in terms of its successful future.

I present these issues to you so that you realize that this is not so simple (not to mention that negotiations aren’t even taking place). One of the few wise comments made in the blogosphere is that no one negotiates their future in the media. We can’t afford to have conference affiliation
be governed by emotion – it has to be based on a careful assessment of athletics, finances and academics. I assure you that every aspect of conference affiliation will be looked at by this institution, but it must be a reasoned decision.

Eric Barron
President

 

Wow.  Barron is obviously trying to calm down his trustees and a fanbase that’s increasingly feeling the urge to move.  But some of his comments suggest he might be trying to scuttle any chances of an FSU-Big 12 merger from the inside, too.

In Point 2 he makes the Big 12 appear weaker without those four schools that have left it.  He says that Texas — where he was a former dean of the geosciences school — rules the conference.  He’s basically saying what we wrote yesterday: If Seminole fans think there’s a Carolina bias in the ACC, just wait’ll you land in the Big 12 with Texas.

In Point 7 he states that the FSU faculty are “adamantly opposed to joining a league that is academically weaker.”  Holy crap, he just flat called the Big 12 “academically weaker.”  We’ve written time and again that schools don’t move to academically weaker leagues — especially schools from the ACC, Pac-12 and Big Ten.  Some Big 12′ers have emailed to ask about Mizzou and Texas A&M moving to the SEC?  First, neither the Big 12 — a league formed in the mid-90s — nor the SEC were viewed on par academically with the other three leagues I specifically referenced.  Second, when A&M and Mizzou moved to the SEC, they made it the stronger conference than the Big 12 in terms of the number of AAU schools.  (Again, rant against the AAU if you wish, but that’s a measure used and pushed by academicians across the country.)  More importantly, neither MU or A&M publicly dissed the SEC as being academically inferior even during the non-denial/denial stage of their courtships.

Think Big 12 presidents will enjoy reading Points 2 and 7?  Think Barron didn’t know they’d be ticked at reading them?

Barron has walked so far out on a ledge that there’s almost no room left for backtracking.  At least not for him.  If the board of trustees ignores the points he’s put forth and decides to push for a Big 12 move it’s hard to imagine Barron being the the Florida State president if/when the school entered that league.

This is all looking more and more like Barron and his pointy heads versus Haggard and his hot heads.  Meanwhile, it also appears that there might be yet another Texas versus Everybody fight brewing in the Big 12.

Welcome to Dysfunction Junction… where the Big 12 and Florida State meet.

Again we ask the following question: When’s the last time the Big Ten or SEC had any kind of public battles like this?  The Pac-12 under Larry Scott’s leadership has also learned to keep its fights and arguments in-house, behind locked doors.

That’s not the case in the ACC or Big 12 yet.  That’s why those leagues still aren’t as stable as the Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12, television dollars be damned.

For now, we at MrSEC.com await the next round of the internal fight in Tallahassee that’s being waged externally for all to see.  What happens between FSU and the Big 12 could destabilize an already shaking college football landscape further.  So watch with care, SEC fans.  The moves at Florida State could set off a chain of events that might just impact your league in the long run.

We didn’t see that one coming.  Probably because it wasn’t actually coming until Haggard believed what he read on the internet and kickstarted a Seminole Summer, rather than an Arab Spring.

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Martin Impacting Carolina Recruiting Already

South Carolina AD Eric Hyman said one of the main reasons he hired Frank Martin this spring was because of the coach’s proven ability to recruit nationally.  With holes to fill across next season’s roster, Martin is already making an impact on that very front.

Yesterday USC got commitments from Thaddeus Hall (from New York) and Minda Kacinas (from Lithuania by way of Kansas).  Martin had recruited the duo while still at Kansas State.

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Martin To South Carolina Is Official

Frank Martin has confirmed to ESPN that he will leave Kansas State to become South Carolina’s basketball coach.

Martin told ESPN his communication with South Carolina officials began on Saturday. He agreed to become South Carolina’s coach after meeting with school officials on Monday.

South Carolina is reviewing a potential $2.05 million offer to hire Martin, according to ESPN. His contract at Kansas State paid him $1.45 million annually.

Martin arrives at South Carolina after compiling a 117-54 record in five seasons as Kansas State’s coach. He helped Kansas State reach the NCAA tournament four times and won at least one game in each appearance.

That success makes it even more surprising that Kansas State athletic director John Currie made minimal effort to keep Martin from leaving, according to multiple reports. That’s why Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com predicts a return to mediocrity for Kansas State.

And South Carolina fans will be more than happy to welcome a proven coach to Columbia.

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If Carolina Lands Martin, MSU Fans Will Want A Big Name Too

Mississippi State is a better basketball program — traditionally speaking — than South Carolina.  By a wide margin.

Yet it’s Carolina that appears to be on the verge of landing a “name” coach in Kansas State’s well-established Frank Martin.  Granted it seems that if Martin moves he will do so partly out of spite for his current boss, but that won’t matter to MSU fans who will most assuredly ask, “Why not us?”

Scott Stricklin hired Parker Executive Search out of Atlanta to help drum up candidates to replace Rick Stansbury.  They kicked the tires on first-year Murray State coach Steve Prohm, but talk’s gone quiet on that front since Prohm’s boss said he thought there was a good chance his coach would stay put with a new contract. 

Other than Prohm, some assistants (Kentucky’s Kenny Payne is a Mississippi native) and a few other connect-the-dots type candidates (MTSU’s Kermit Davis played at MSU for his father), State’s search has been — to quote “LA Confidential” — off the record, on the QT and very hush-hush.

For comparison’s sake, Martin served as a Bob Huggins assistant at Cincinnati and Kansas State for three years before being promoted to replace his old boss in 2006.  Since then he’s had five 20-win seasons in five years, has made the NCAA Tournament four times, and has reached one Elite Eight.

Even if MSU lands Prohm or one of the nation’s fastest-rising assistants, that new coach won’t be able to equal Martin’s short, but proven track record.

That’s not to say an assistant hired by State wouldn’t have as much or even more success than Martin if he winds up at South Carolina.  There’s no way of knowing how any college football or basketball coach will do (save a very few — Nick Saban, John Calipari, Roy Williams, etc).

But what we do know is that State fans who just ran off the school’s all-time winningest coach will want to land a bigger name coach than whoever is hired by Carolina.  If they don’t, Stricklin will have some ‘splainin’ to do.

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Martin-To-Carolina Talk Keeps Getting Hotter; USC Board Calls Special Meeting

Over the weekend, it was reported that South Carolina AD Eric Hyman formally asked Kansas State for permission to talk to basketball coach Frank Martin about the vacancy in Columbia.  Given a chance to kill the talk on CBS during its NCAA Tournament coverage, Martin danced:


“In the age of social media that we live in right now, it’s crazy.  I was scheduled to be at a press conference today in South Carolina and I was sitting watching a show in New York City last night.  And obviously I’m sitting here with you guys today, so it’s… The stuff that gets out these days, I look at it as a compliment that we’re doing our job the right way at Kansas State that these sort of things get out.”


That statement from Saturday was not a denial of his interest in the USC job.  It was not a denial of anything, in fact.  The day before he did tweet the following: “I have not talked 2 anyone.”

Well, if a report from GamecockCentral.com is to be believed — that’s the Rivals site covering Carolina — then Martin’s agent sure must be doing some talking.  On the same day Martin was tap dancing around the subject on CBS, GamecockCentral wrote the following:


“A source close to Kansas State coach Frank Martin told GamecockCentral.com on Friday that a deal to bring the coach to Columbia to replace Darrin Horn was 90 percent done.  On Saturday morning, the same source said that the deal remains 90 percent complete, but is not finalized.”


The site also claims a contract was sent to Martin on Friday night.  And the student newspaper for USC — The Daily Gamecock — reported late last night that “Frank Martin interviewed in Columbia” according to “a source.”

Could all the Carolina talk simply be leverage for the coach?  It’s possible as he’s scheduled to open negotiations on a new deal with K-State on April 1st.

It’s also possible according to The Kansas City Star — and as we suggested last week — that Martin is ticked over his school’s decision to suspend a key player right before his team’s second-round NCAA tourney game with Syracuse. 

PowerCat.com — the Rivals site covering Kansas State — reported yesterday that “a source close to Martin” said “It’s not about money anymore.”  Meaning Martin’s relationship with KSU AD John Currie might be beyond repair after the suspension of Jamar Samuels.  That site also suggests that if Martin leaves, “dirty laundry will be tossed everywhere” by the talkative, hot-headed coach.  (Wonder what Hyman thinks about that?)

Meanwhile, Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall — a South Carolina native and the man most-often mentioned in connection to USC’s search as it got underway — has announced that he’s staying put in Kansas. 

So the previous favorite isn’t in the running (and apparently never really was).  Sources are reporting that Carolina has met with Martin, hammered out 90% of a deal, and sent him and his agent a contract.  All just one week before the coach is set to negotiate a new deal with Kansas State.

Unfortunately for Cock fans, the only news this morning on Martin does not concern a signed document.  Instead, ESPN is running a story with this headline as of 10:35 this morning: “Frank Martin paid his former players.”

Yikes.  But it’s not exactly what you think. 

In the story, Martin is quoted — from his CBS stint on Sunday — as saying that he sent money “to kids that played for me in high school when they were in college because I knew where they came from.  I knew they didn’t have a father figure.”

“I’m not going to tell you who they were,” Martin said during the broadcast.  “But I sent them a lot of money over the years to make sure they could take their girlfriend out to the movies, make sure they could wash their clothes and do all the things that scholarship money doesn’t cover.”

Martin was making the case for his own suspended player — who was given $200 by an AAU coach who had been a father figure to the young man growing up. 

While Martin’s statement shows that he has a heart, it might also cause the NCAA to start asking some questions.  No, Martin did not admit to paying his own players — a clear NCAA violation.  But he did admit to sending money to other schools’ players.  And that’s exactly the kind of action that led to one of his own players being suspended for fear of an NCAA violation.

That admission might throw a wrench into Hyman’s plans.  You can bet he would have preferred the coach had never mentioned anything about his payouts to other schools’ players.

So, is Martin angry enough to bolt a traditional basketball school for a football-first school in a football-first conference?  Is he simply using Carolina for leverage to get more money and more control in Manhattan?

And is Hyman ready to pull the trigger on a guy who can be a bit of hair-trigger himself and who’s just admitted on national television that he’s sent cash to college players?  From Carolina’s side of things it looks like things are still all-systems-go.  GamecockCentral.com is reporting today that USC’s board of trustees will hold a special meeting tomorrow morning to discuss “contractual matters.”

In other words, it looks like Martin may fly (to) the coop a few days before that scheduled negotiation with Currie and KSU is scheduled to begin.

Stay tuned.

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Rumor/Report: K-State’s Martin Interested In Carolina Job

GamecockCentral.com — the Rivals site covering South Carolina — is reporting that Kansas State head coach Frank Martin “has been confirmed as a candidate with ‘heavy’ interest in USC, according to a source close to the situation.”  (That’s paywall stuff, folks, so you’ll need to buy a subscription for more.)

If true, it seems that Carolina AD Eric Hyman could book one flight to Kansas City and knock out a pair of interviews — one with Martin and one with believed-to-be-top-candidate Gregg Marshall of Wichita State.

Martin — a Miami native — is known for his drill-sergeant style (hell, in a movie R. Lee Ermey would play him… NSFW, by the way.).  He is also known for taking Kansas State to four NCAA tournaments in his five years in Manhattan.  The 45-year-old has never won fewer than 21 games in a season and has a .684 winning percentage. 

But he currently makes $1.5 million in a basketball-loving state.  Would he really have “heavy” interest in moving to a football-first league and a program that’s seen the downfalls of George Felton, Eddie Fogler, Dave Odom and Darrin Horn in the past 20 years?

If so — and if Carolina could offer him enough cash to make the move — he’d be the second ex-Bob Huggins assistant to coach in the league along with old colleague Andy Kennedy.  Hmmm.  Seems all those Huggins guys have tempers when you think about it.

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Lineman Gill Commits To Missouri

Missouri has received a commitment from offensive lineman Harneet Gill from Francis Howell School in St. Charles, Mo.

Missouri was the first school to offer Gill, who recently visited Kansas State and was scheduled to take a trip to Illinois. Gill isn’t expected to entertain other offers, according to Francis Howell coach Bryan Koch.

He’s very rare as an athlete,” Koch said of Gill. “You don’t see a lot of 6-7 1/2 guys that can move like he can.”

Missouri has six commitments for the class of 2013. Gill is the second offensive lineman, joining Alec Abeln from St. Louis.

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SEC Headlines – 1/7/2012

1. Arkansas tied a school record by winning its 11th game in the Cotton Bowl 29-16 over Kansas State.

2.
Quarterback Tyler Wilson and defensive end Jake Bequette took home MVP honors last night.

3. Joe Adams and Co. gave Kansas State a dose of its own medicine.


4. Two big reasons LSU is undefeated playing in the BCS Championship Game: corners Mo Claiborne and Tyrann Mathieu.


5. Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron is focused on playing his game heading into the Tide’s rematch with LSU.


6. Alabama running back Trent Richardson has revenge on his mind heading into Monday’s game.


7. Could LSU be the greatest team in the BCS era if it beats Alabama on Monday?

8. Speaking of the BCS, Michael Rosenberg believes the old bowl system is better than the current setup.


9. Brett McMurphy’s poll at
CBSSports.com shows players would prefer to see a playoff in college football.

10. Florida’s basketball team hopes to remain balanced as it begins SEC play.


11. Florida’s first SEC opponent, Tennessee, could miss Bruce Pearl’s success against Florida.


12. The SEC will beat up on itself in league play, writes Mike Strange of the Knoxville News Sentinel.


13. Tennessee wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers had successful surgery on Friday to repair an injured finger.


14. Former Tennessee lineman Reggie McKenzie is the new general manager of the Oakland Raiders.


15. LSU and Ole Miss will both be shorthanded heading into today’s basketball game in Baton Rouge.

16. Vanderbilt will open SEC play against Auburn and Commodores coach Kevin Stallings wants to see improved defense.

17. Guess what? So does Auburn coach Tony Barbee, who said his team “isn’t guarding.”


18. Wins and losses aren’t John Calipari’s biggest concerns heading into SEC play.

19. And basketball scheduling shouldn’t be a concern for Kentucky lawmakers, according to Calipari.

20. South Carolina will have its hands full as it opens SEC play against Kentucky.

21. Georgia has a 9-5 record and faces a real test against Alabama tonight in Athens.

22. Alabama coach Anthony Grant hopes his team has gained confidence during non-conference play.

23. Mississippi State is preparing for plenty of pressure from Arkansas in Fayetteville.

24. Are the Razorbacks’ young players ready for SEC play? We’ll find out soon.

25. Mississippi State has plenty of confidence – and probably should – as it enters SEC play with a 13-2 record.

26. Daniel Shirley of the Macon Telegraph takes a look at how SEC teams have performed in non-conference play.

27. Back to football. Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News writes that Alabama and LSU have gone “old school” at quarterback.
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Expansion By The Numbers 3: Total State Population

In Part 3 of our SEC expansion series, we wanted to look total population.  In addition to television households — which we looked at in Part 2 — leagues are hoping to increase their overall influence.  You do that by reaching more people, total.

There’s also a financial side to expanding a league’s population base.  First, there’s the obvious opportunity to convert new fans and sell more tickets, more caps and more t-shirts.  All that’s well and good, but there’s a greater reason than merchandise sales.  Let’s take Texas A&M, for example.  Now that the SEC has a Texas-based school with a huge alumni base in its ranks, viewership for SEC games in the Lone Star State should rise.  That’s added exposure for every SEC school that A&M plays.

Do a little research and you’ll find that schools like George Mason and Boise State actually see a jump in student applications (and alumni donations) after reaching a Final Four or BCS bowl game.  So being seen by a percentage of the 25 million Texas residents could lead to more applications for the SEC’s schools.  More students (or better students) equals more money long-term.  Applicants become students become graduates become donors.  That’s how you keep money flowing into a school decade-in and decade-out.

Just last summer, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany mentioned as one reason for expansion the continued population shift from the Rust Belt and Midwest toward the South.  His league eyed ways to get into the South, but it didn’t pan out for them last year.  Still, the fact that they were looking shows the importance of total population when it comes to conference expansion.

This Category:  Total State Population

Why:  Is it fair to suggest that a school in one corner of a state will reach and influence residents across that entire state?  No.  But it’s just about the best shorthand method we have.  It’s impossible to measure a school’s true sphere of dominant influence.  So we’ll just look at the each school’s home state and tally up the population base that the school could theoretically add to the league.  One last note — schools currently located in SEC states obviously bring no new population to the league.

 

Rank School Total Population In Home State (Millions)
1t Baylor 25.1
1t Texas 25.1
1t Texas A&M 25.1
1t Texas Tech 25.1
1t TCU 25.1
6 Syracuse 19.3
7t Penn State 12.7
7t Pittsburgh 12.7
9 Cincinnati 11.5
10t Duke 9.5
10t E. Carolina 9.5
10t N. Carolina 9.5
10t NC State 9.5
10t Wake Forest 9.5
15 Rutgers 8.7
16t Virginia 8.0
16t Virginia Tech 8.0
18 Boston College 6.5
19 Notre Dame 6.4
20 Missouri 5.9
21t Maryland 5.7
21t Navy 5.7
23t Oklahoma 3.7
23t Oklahoma State 3.7
25 Connecticut 3.5
26 Iowa State 3.0
27t Kansas 2.8
27t Kansas State 2.8
29 W. Virginia 1.8
30t Clemson 0.0
30t Florida State 0.0
30t Georgia Tech 0.0
30t Louisville 0.0
30t Miami 0.0
30t S. Florida 0.0

 

* Now, do Baylor or TCU truly influence as many Texans as Texas or Texas A&M?  Of course not.  But the potential is there.

* It’s clear why West Virginia, Kansas, Kansas State, and Iowa State are considered to be BCS schools that might have to fight to finding a landing spot in a realigned world.  Grab one of those schools and the league doing the grabbing isn’t reaching many new folks.

For comparison, here is how the SEC stacks up:

 

Rank School Total Population in Home State (Millions)
1 Florida 18.8
2 Georgia 9.6
3t Tennessee 6.3
3t Vanderbilt 6.3
5t Alabama 4.7
5t Auburn 4.7
7 S. Carolina 4.6
8 LSU 4.5
9 Kentucky 4.3
10t Miss. State 2.9
10t Ole Miss 2.9
12 Arkansas 2.8

 

* After looking at television households in Part 2 and total population in Part 3, it’s a good thing the Mississippi schools and Arkansas are already in the SEC.  If they were on the outside looking in at this point, the business of expansion might leave them searching for a home just like West Virginia and the Kansas schools.

* The average population of an SEC state is 6.5 million people.

Up next in Part 4, we’ll actually take location into consideration.

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