Posted on 03 November 2011.
Posted on 02 November 2011.
Posted on 13 August 2011.
The Big 12 Conference is looking more like a countdown for a space shuttle launch than it is a football conference these days. The 2011 season will be the first year since the inception that, despite still being called the Big 12, the conference will only have ten teams.
Over the last few days, there are more and more rumblings of Texas A&M moving to the SEC, which would likely be straw to break the dwindling Big 12′s back. But the move to college football’s most powerful conference won’t go through without the Big 12 Conference pulling out all stops to maintain the status quo (if there is one).
Regardless of what the Big 12 officials and the state of Texas choose to do, in the end, A&M would be crazy not to jump at this opportunity. The SEC has long been the best conference in all of college football, and with their recent contract with ESPN, their recent dominance of the BCS National Championships (an SEC team has won the National Championship in each of the last five years), and recent talk of courting Florida State or Virginia Tech to create two, separate 7-team divisions, the SEC shows no signs of looking back.
When the dust settles, we take a quick peak at where the other teams in the conference could end up:
Texas: The Longhorns should be kicking themselves for not jumping at the opportunity to join Colorado when the Pac 10 came calling last year. Instead, Utah jumped at the chance to get out of the BCS purgatory known as the Mountain West. Look for the Pac 12 to become the Pac 14 in an attempt to rival the SEC 2.0 version in 2012 or 2013.
Oklahoma: Like their hated rivals, Texas, there was a lot of talk last year of the Sooners joining the Pac 12, despite the fact that Texas and Oklahoma are nowhere near the Pacific coast, which was the original geographic concept of the conference when they were the Pac 8. You lost yet? Anyway, look for the Sooners and Longhorns to continue their rivalry within the same conference, which will likely be the Pac 14.
Missouri: Like the Huskers, the Big Ten courted the Tigers last season, but Mizzou opted to stay, especially once it was confirmed that Texas was staying. The Big Ten would love to bring on the Tigers and bring a great rivalry with Nebraska inside the conference. This would make the Big Ten’s thirteenth team, and maybe at this point, they really should think about dropping the “Big Ten” name, even though they have retained that name despite having eleven teams since Penn State joined the conference in 1993.
Oklahoma State, Baylor, Texas Tech, Kansas, Kansas State, and Iowa State will have to scramble to find a home. These programs have had flashes, but unlike Mizzou, Oklahoma and Texas, they haven’t quite been able to crack or stay in the Top 25 for more than a year or two at a time. And that will hurt them and possibly leave them with no choice but to join a new version of the Mountain West, but for basketball, Kansas may have to pull a Notre Dame and go independent. Confused yet?
Rumors and scenarios will run rampant in the coming months, but one thing is for sure. The Big 12 was already on life support, and A&M’s likely departure will be the death of the conference.
Posted on 15 September 2010.
Peter Marhoefer- Mr. Touchdown USA
1. Baylor and Quarterback Robert Griffin will go into Ft. Worth and upset TCU on Saturday. This will launch Griffin into Heisman Trophy talk, and vault the Bears into their first bowl game since entering the Big 12.
2. Northwestern will challenge Ohio State for the Big Ten Title. The Wildcats do not play Ohio State or Michigan on this years schedule. The lineup is littered with Junior and Senior talent, and Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald has proven he has the ability to “coach up” his players. Three big tests are on the schedule Nov. 6th at Penn State, Nov. 13th hosting Iowa, and finishing up the season Nov. 27th at Wisconsin. If the Wildcats can pull off two wins in those three games, look for a Big Ten Title tie with a one loss Ohio State.
3. After a 1-1 start, Colorado coach Dan Hawkins can avoid a mid-season firing with a win over Hawaii this weekend. A loss to Hawaii followed up with a home embarassment to Georgia, look for Hawkins to have one foot out the door. Look for Colorado to court former Buff Eric Bieniemy, the current Minnesota Vikings Running Backs Coach.
4. The attendance at Saturday’s Iowa State – Kansas State game in Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City will make both schools re-evaluate the continuation of the neutral-site contest. With five home and four away Big 12 games looming next year, neither school will be interested in playing three home conference games in off years in the future.
5. Boise State will escape Laramie, Wyoming this weekend. Wyoming may not win, but a fired up Cowboy’s team playing in honor of fallen teammate Ruben Narcisse will give the Broncos everything they can handle. Even with two weeks to prepare, Boise State will be looking ahead to next weeks showdown with Oregon State. Cowboys Coach Dave Christensen will have his high powered offense ready, and a team playing it’s second Top Ten opponent in a week will not be fazed by BSU’s number three rating.
Posted on 17 June 2010.
The fate of the Big 12 Conference was in the hands of the Texas Longhorns, and earlier this week, the conference was finally able to exhale. After more guaranteed revenue, the University of Texas agreed to keep the conference intact, and they were soon followed by Oklahoma. And despite the departures of Nebraska next fall and Colorado in 2012, the threat of the mega-conferences is on the back burner. Now the question is how long the current situation will last.
It appears that this is a band-aid on an issue that could require plastic surgery. Had Texas and Oklahoma left for the Pac 10 and Texas A&M bolted for the SEC, it would have had a domino effect in the rest of the college football world. All conferences must learn from what could have happened and they need to prepare themselves for the same situation 3-5 years down the road. College FootBlog takes a look at what might have been had the Longhorns set the mega-conferences into motion and weighs two potential impacts it would have had.
1. The ACC and Big East would have been dead in the water. The ACC thought they were going to challenge the SEC when they on-boarded Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College a few years ago. Instead, Miami and Florida State have struggled to live up to their prestige from the 80′s and 90′s, and with huge losses in out of conference and bowl games, they have been little more than an automatic bid to a BCS Bowl because the BCS has to have a representative from their conference.
The Big East has come a long way since losing their coveted teams to the ACC. But it hasn’t been easy. Despite having three teams finish in the Top 25 last season, the Big East is still trying to prove they belong with the big boys. The emergence of Pitt, Cincinnati and Rutgers has helped give them some respectability, but they are still largely considered a second-tier league. With the depth they had last season, that is somewhat unfair, but that is still the general consensus.
The Big Ten flirted with Pitt when they originally wanted to have 14-16 teams in their league, and much like when the ACC raided them a few years ago, the conference seemed ready to take their lumps and move on. There is talk that if and when the SEC comes calling, they will go after Virginia Tech, but even if the mega-conferences leave the ACC and Big East alone, each conference could easily become a footnote in the BCS title hunt if the big conferences get bigger and deeper. That would result in far less revenue and could effectively make each conference a new-aged mid-major.
If they don’t want that to happen, representatives from each conference need to take advantage of the new three-year window and fight for stability and/or growth. Otherwise, FSU, Miami and Virginia Tech could easily look to jump ship before it goes down.
2. The Mid-Majors would have droppped further into obscurity. Even with Boise State making the move to the Mountain West, they simply will not be able to compete in terms of revenue and overall respectability vs a 16-team Pac 10. Add to it that Utah is likely jumping ship from the MWC to become the Pac 10′s 12th team, and they will continue to fight for some well-deserved attention in college football. Should the Pac 10 increase to a 16-team league in the future, all hope of having a representative in the BCS National Championship will be gone.
The conference already had an uphill battle due to the lack of television coverage and the perception that they, along with the other mid-majors are the little brother of the bigger, more traditional BCS conferences, but one or two mega-conferences would effectively shut the door on their chances for a title.
That would be a shame, considering what Boise State and Utah have more than represented themselves and their conferences on the big stage of a BCS bowl game. A one-loss or even a two-loss team from a mega-conference could easily get the nod from voters to play in a title game over an undefeated mid-major team. Considering the strength of schedule from a 16-team SEC and/or Pac 10, it would be very difficult to keep a conference champion from a dominant conference out of the National Championship.
The other major issue facing the non-BCS Conferences would be their ability to schedule decent out of conference games. Boise State and TCU are already teams that present a no-win situation for a major program. If the larger program wins, they were supposed to win. If they lose, the upset becomes an instant classic. A 16-team conference would provide more than enough competition and national recognition without scheduling a couple tough out of conference games, leaving the cupboard bare for the mid-majors to challenge the big boys.
College FootBlog wants your input. Let us know your thoughts on the Mega-Conferences and the pros and cons if they become a reality.
Posted on 14 May 2010.
By: Brian Mosgaller
Sometime in the relatively near future, the Big Ten Conference will undergo a makeover so dramatic it would make Heidi Montag proud.
But the big question is, how will the procedure affect Spencer and LC and Audrina?
Welcome to college football’s version of The Hills (and apologies for the analogy).
Despite recent noncommittal (and non-denial) statements regarding conference expansion from league commish Jim Delaney, it is practically a foregone conclusion that the Big Ten will be adding teams within anywhere from two to five years. What is not decided, however, is what form this restructuring will take, who the players will end up being, and what kind of ripple effect will be initiated by it.
However it ends up manifesting, though, the Big Ten’s giant steps toward a superconference are going to shake the grounds of college football and give new direction to college sports in general, meaning that it this is a tremendously important and weighty development that deserves further examination.
So let’s breakdown what we know, and attempt to extrapolate what we don’t.
Shocker alert: this transformational rearrangement is being driven by money. Gasp!
But seriously, it is no secret that the Big Ten has found a cash-generating godsend in its Big Ten Network. Once thought to be a misguided and transparent attempt to make schools money, the BTN is now available in up to 75 million homes in the U.S.
The important numbers here are that last year the conference’s deal with ABC/ESPN provided about $9 million to each member school, and the BTN added approximately $7 million to $8 million to that booty. With bowl games and March Madness (among other things) topping off the pot, the estimated figure each Big Ten university ends up with is a staggering $22 million.
And the crazy part is that amount could double (at least) with expansion – expansion that could help the network cast its reach both East and West, as well as create a championship game worth between $15 million and $20 million.
For comparison, the SEC – winner of six BCS championships, as many as the other Big Five conferences (the Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, ACC and Pac-10) combined – pays out around $11 million to its member schools. The other conferences vary in their disbursements but are generally in a similar range (the Big East is the lowest, handing out an estimated $4.5 million).
In short then, the Big Ten Network has proved to be a cash cow for the league, and, naturally, they want to fatten the cow.
So what’s the best way to plump up that dead-president-spewing bovine? By growing the market for the network, of course.
Yet it is not quite that simple – there are prerequisites and mitigating considerations which factor into the expansion equation.
To wit, it is no mystery that the Big Ten, a proud and storied academic conference, wants to add schools that would not diminish the league’s scholastic prestige.
As a qualifying criterion then, it is commonly rumored that whatever schools are to be vetted for potential membership should be part of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization of 61 respected research institutions, as are all the 11 current members.
Moreover, the conference isn’t going to add just to add – it has to make sense (both financially and academically, as was mentioned) but also competitively. Sure, adding Buffalo would tap the New York market and add an AAU member, but it wouldn’t make sense on the field, where this discussion starts and ends.
With all that said, everyone knows the number one target: the elusive Golden Domers. That’s right, good ol’ Notre Dame. For years, the Big Ten has courted the Irish and for good reason. Although Notre Dame is not an AAU card carrier and doesn’t geographically enlarge the conference’s domain, it brings with it arguably the largest and most devoted fan base in the country. While the league wouldn’t be directly cracking the East Coast television market, it would in reality be gaining viewers and Notre Dame graduates from sea to shining sea.
Unfortunately, it is also common knowledge that Notre Dame is quite fine where they are, thank you. Sure, it comes off as a little arrogant considering the school’s recent on-field struggles, but the fact is, Notre Dame still holds an exclusive deal with NBC, and their pocketbook is presumably doing alright.
So, if the leprechauns want to play hard to get, the league must seek elsewhere – namely, the Big East and Big 12. And here is where any number of names can get floated. But the ones that make sense for all parties seem to be, in order of fit, Missouri, Rutgers, Nebraska and Pitt, with Virginia and Texas still in the conversation.
Now mathematically, the Big Ten is going to want an even number after two decades of confounding numerologists who take the conference title literally. Therefore, the expansion must occur by one, three or even five. Basically then, depending on what Mr. Delaney and his university president cohorts decide to do, the enlargement can either add just Missouri (or Rutgers); Missouri, Rutgers and Nebraska; or Mizzou, Rutgers, Nebraska, Pitt and either Notre Dame (if they finally acquiesce), Texas or Virginia.
Missouri seems to be the most logical pick. Even if it isn’t located on the Atlantic coast, it does offer St. Louis, and it is a natural rival of Illinois, an acceptable scholarly fit and willing participant in expansion. Granted, joining the conference of the Midwest may hurt the Tigers recruiting in Texas, but it won’t totally destroy that pipeline, and the pros simply outweigh that con.
Rutgers, too, makes a bunch of sense. Obviously, the Scarlet Knights would attract an audience in the near vicinity of the Big Apple, plus they are a respected school and (newly) competitive football program.
Nebraska is a bit more of a stretch. At first glance, it seems to be a geographic outlier, a bad market, and an imperfect academic match. However, Nebraska’s brand is still a strong one nationally that resonates from Pac-10 country to the ACC. There’s still cachet with the Black Shirts. Plus, NU is likely itching to get out of the Big 12 (like Missouri), a conference increasingly dominated by, and devoted to promoting, the southern powers in Texas and Oklahoma. So, sign the Huskers up.
Pitt isn’t ideal, but they are more than suitable. The Big Ten may already be in Pennsylvania (thanks to the Nittany Lions), but adding the football crazy Pittsburgh market wouldn’t be detrimental for the conference, and the Panthers football tradition jives nicely with the Big Ten.
As for Texas and Virginia, the reality is it will probably never happen. Texas is the Big 12, and they want to remain the big power of America’s Southwest. It’s understandable. Yet, if five or so years from now, the Big Ten has already plucked Nebraska and Missouri from the Big 12, and the Pac-10 has pilfered Colorado in its own expansion, the Big 12 may be in shambles. All of sudden, Texas jumping on the cash boat that is the Big Ten seems a bit more enticing.
And Virginia, who has not been frequently mentioned in this discussion, makes for a nice back-up plan.
The Ripple Effect
If, in the end, Delaney and Co. opt for the minimalist one team expansion (come on Jimmy, think big!), the ramifications on the national football scene will be marginal. Say, for example, the Big Ten tacks on Missouri, creating two six-team divisions, the Big 12 can likely persuade TCU to fill the void, and all would be well. Even if Colorado were to migrate west, the Big 12 could add a Utah or BYU or New Mexico to maintain the status quo.
But if the Big Ten goes for a bigger splash – adding three teams, making two seven-team groupings – the game of musical chairs gets a little more interesting. If those teams are Missouri, Nebraska and Rutgers, and the Pac-10 goes ahead and appends Colorado and Utah, the Big 12 is put in a more precarious situation and the stakes are raised for other conferences (read: the ACC or SEC) to follow suit and grow their own leagues.
The most intriguing possibility, though, is if the Big Ten settles on the cannonball, picking up Missouri, Nebraska, Rutgers, Pitt and Notre Dame. In this scenario, shit will get crazy. For one, the Big Ten would no longer necessarily be producing two divisions, the winners of which would meet in a December championship game, but could instead arrange the schools in four four-team pods and actually have a four-school, in-conference playoff.
Meanwhile, both the Big 12 and the Big East would be scrambling and the ACC and the SEC would definitely be pressured to grow. In order to do so, the ACC could raid the Big East for the likes of West Virginia, Louisville, Connecticut and Cincinnati, leaving the formerly formidable Big East to take from the Conference USA, not exactly renowned for its gridiron greatness.
At the same time, the SEC would set its gaze west to the Big 12 (already on life-support) and come away with Texas, Texas A & M, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. With three conferences at the “super” level of 16 members, the Pac-10 would logically want to keep pace, and would tack on UNLV, Boise State, Fresno State and New Mexico to reach 16 as well. Finally, the scraps of the Big 12 could then join forces with what’s appealing from the Mountain West and WAC, making one large, mid-level conference.
I told you shit would get crazy.
Alas, the bottom line is that all of those things may or may not happen at some point, but it almost certainly won’t be for awhile. Gradualism (and trial-and-error) seems to be the strategy of choice. For now, the Big Ten will add either one or three, leaving the greater football world relatively undisturbed, and the Pac-10 will find two willing additions and launch the West Coast version of BTN.
Notre Dame will keep doing its independent thing (despite existing rivalries with Big Ten schools Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue, and alluring ones with Wisconsin, Illinois and Ohio State), and the Big Six will stay the Big Six.
But although grand, large-scale change isn’t on the visible horizon, it is not unthinkable within as short a time span as a decade. The world is changing at a faster and faster pace, and college football inevitably will, too.
Which is why debating the merits of Big Ten expansion is an exercise in futility. Expansion will happen, and the waves will eventually ripple throughout the college world. All we can do now is wait and see if the dramatic cosmetic overhaul will yield a beauty queen or a cautionary tale of the procedure’s downside…like Heidi Montag.