June 4, 2010

Armageddon From the West

Filed under: Conference,Money — Chas @ 10:19 am

Still trying to digest everything from yesterday. And everyone else is too. Here are a couple other blog-boy round-ups and speculations.

If this goes down, the logical conclusion is that it accelerates the possibility and speed with which it happens of 4 16-team conferences. It would also produce the scenario where those 64 teams break away from the NCAA.

The SEC perspective is somewhat flummoxed. Texas A&M wouldn’t be a bad addition, but the role Texas politics plays in all of this remains to be seen.

Let’s face it. Texas has become the big fish in this. Bigger than ND since the Pac-10, SEC and Big 11 all want and are willing to pursue Texas. ND only has a suitor in the Big 11. If anything, I think ND has to be getting nervous. They had counted on the Pac-1o to remain in their very conservative ways, and the suddenly that assumption no longer holds true.

Still, the speculation begins. If somehow the Pac-10 goes to 16 by adding Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Colorado, Oklahoma and Oklahoma St. Then the SEC will have to act as well, and go towards locking down the Southeast with Clemson, Florida St., Georgia Tech and Miami. That would have the ACC scrambling to fill in 4 teams from the Big East — but they would have to wait on the Big 11 for a couple choices.

Suddenly the Big 11 would have no choice but to go all the way to 16, because the options would be dwindling. They are no longer driving the expansion bus. They may have started things, but control is dwindling. Mizzou and Nebraska seem like no-brainers and would be begging — though an intriguing notion would be Kansas fighting like hell to try and get in as well or even over Mizzou. Missouri, by the way, is still ready to go.

Chancellor Brady Deaton said Missouri remained a proud member of the Big 12, but “we’re going to do what’s best for our institution.”

“We’re not shutting our ears to anything,” Deaton said as he walked into a meeting of Big 12 presidents. “I’m sure every school here has a responsibility to its own institution as primary responsibility. Conference realignment is something we do for our athletic programs. That’s what we’re working on right now.”

Yeah, and suddenly Nebraska has to hope the Big 11 goes forward or they could end up on the outside. If anything, the Pac-10 rumors put an end to some wistful thinking that nothing too radical would be happening.

As much as anything, ND would almost be boxed in. That prized independence would be the millstone on their neck that they would either have to shed or let drag them down. The Big 11 could no longer wait and see. That, of course, would effect how many invites go to the Big East. Is it Rutgers, Pitt and Syracuse or just two of the three?

If one gets left out, obviously the ACC would take them along with UConn. But then who? The ACC likes its academic reputation as well, and they would be looking at two from the pile of Cinci, Louisville, WVU and USF.

But back to the present.

I love that the Big 12 commish canceled a press conference and then had to get past the reporters.

A few hours after a media report introduced a new threat to the league’s future, Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe canceled a scheduled news conference, skipped past a crowd of reporters at the InterContinental hotel and stepped into an elevator, inexplicably exiting with countless questions left unanswered.

“There will be no further comments until the conclusion of tomorrow’s meetings,” said Beebe, who was expected to end Thursday’s session with a news conference alongside Texas President Bill Powers before he inexplicably left the hotel.

As reporters continued to lob questions at Beebe, the commissioner smiled and said, “I used to be an investigator, so I know how to ask all the good questions.”

And with that, the elevator doors closed and the college sports world froze for at least another day.

Roughly translated, “How do you keep a room full of assholes in suspense? [pause for someone to ask how]  I’ll tell you tomorrow.”

Should be a very interesting day. The SEC has their final day of their meetings. Guess what is expected to be discussed?

The Big 12 has to say something tomorrow on their last day. Will it be a eulogy? Good luck on getting anything out of SEC Commish Mike Slive.

What does seem strange in all of this is why Texas Tech among the Pac-10 invites?

One person with knowledge of the college football landscape offered an interesting explanation. The Texas political scene might make it difficult for Texas and Texas A&M to exit, leaving Tech in a husk of a conference. Rather than risk losing the Longhorns and Aggies, the Pac-10 opted for Tech, which has been extremely competitive in football and has added capacity to Jones AT&T Stadium. Three members in Texas is not necessarily a bad thing.

Kansas has great basketball tradition and some name value, along with bringing the Kansas City market. But the Pac-10 would have probably have to take Kansas State along with KU.

Not sure if Kansas would have had to take K-State. But the politics of Texas may have played a role.

An e-mail sent by the president of Ohio State University hints at a focus on the University of Texas as part of an expanded Big Ten.

Ohio State President Gordon Gee told Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney in an April 20 e-mail that Gee had spoken with University of Texas president Bill Powers.

The e-mail was obtained by The Columbus Dispatch through a request of university correspondence related to Big Ten expansion proposals.

Gee writes in the e-mail that Powers would welcome a call to say they have a “Tech” problem.

No explanation for the ” ‘Tech’ problem,” however, is forthcoming. Though, Texas Tech hardly seems enamored. At least at the moment. Given TTU seemed to be likely to face a scramble for a home, they should be thrilled not to be left behind. Then again, like many of us in the Big East, it just seems more of a preference to remain in the present league without any expansion losses.

Kansas knows they are in great danger. That would explain why they are praying that somehow, someway Texas just wants to stay in the Big 12. (In some ways, this reminds me of the way people reacted when Miami had one foot out the door of the Big East.)

Still, only interest on the part of Texas, mighty Texas, makes the whole thing fly. Texas and only Texas can save the Big 12 by staying put. That would be the same Texas that inspired jealousy from other Big 12 members for earning a bigger TV revenue share than the other schools.

It’s funny how quickly one potential move from another conference can or at least should make all the Big 12 schools rethink the need for equal revenue sharing.

The story breaking right before the conclusion of the Big 12 meetings and the beginning of the Pac-10 meetings certainly didn’t do anything to damage UT’s already massive bargaining power.

Oklahoma is in an interesting spot. They have been big on supporting the Big 12, but they might have to back away from that. The Sooners are lucky. Like Nebraska, they have the history and fanbase that makes them attractive to other conferences even without a huge base TV market.

Confused? Head spinning? Mine is. Given the growing number of loose ends and increasing number of players in this story — from the schools themselves, to the conference commissioners, to the ADs to the school chancellors and presidents — it is getting harder to keep it straight.

Back later ( I hope) with a more Pitt-centric view on the whole mess.

This is all a giant load of horse shit. The NCAA needs to gain some control. These re-alignments and conference raids effect schools, communities, students, and of course athletes. I am tired of reading about this garbage while the money grubbers all rush around to see how they can make an extra buck with no regard for education or the best interest of the students and athletes involved. College football and its bowl system are quickly becoming a joke.

Comment by Coach Ditka 06.04.10 @ 11:20 am

The chances of me getting fired today for doing nothing but reading expansion stuff has just increased 4,000%. Thanks, Chas.

So if I understand all of this correctly, the SEC could act as a stop-gap to expansion-palooza IF the Big10 only adds Big12 corpses. If the Pac10 really adds six from the Big12, the SEC doesn’t technically “have to” expand. They’re still sitting pretty on a pile of cash (although from what I understand, they could re-open their TV contract with expansion).

So if the SEC decides to stay put, AND the Big10 goes for Mizzou, Nebraska and/or ND, the BE could be safe. But if the SEC goes super-conference, they likely raid the ACC – which in turn, raids the BE.

Would being in a picked apart ACC really be that much better than the current Big East?

Comment by PittScript 06.04.10 @ 11:39 am

actually big time college football is anything but a joke as evidenced by all the attention the expansion is bringing and, of course, all the BIG BUCKS involved. Football pays much of the bills of most colleges for their non-revenue sports.

What happens in the next few months can have a dramatic effect on the athletic programs at Pitt .. and for that matter, the popularity of ‘Pitt Blather’

Comment by wbb 06.04.10 @ 11:48 am

great roundup, Thanks Chas

Comment by Jamie H 06.04.10 @ 11:49 am

I can’t believe they’re just going to grab the Big 12 South pretty much whole sale. I’m guessing the MWC would gobble up KU and KSU along with Boise St. and end up with a very solid conference.

Comment by Chris 06.04.10 @ 12:35 pm

I completely disagree with Ditka. I hope the NCAA has no control over this. The NCAA is HORRENDOUS, and the quicker we move away from that horseshit entity controlling anything, the better.

There are currently sixty-five teams in power conferences, plus Notre Dame. That’s sixty-six teams. To me, Boise State, Utah, BYU and TCU are all in the argument to get in as well. So there are 70 teams looking for invites. Let’s pretend for a minute that those four teams will NOT get invited. Then you still have to find two teams to leave out if we’re going to four mega conferences. It’s pretty easy to see Baylor being one of them. The other? I would submit it could be Texas Tech (who could then team with Baylor, TCU, UTEP, BYU, Utah, and Boise State for the makings of a new conference of their own, possibly with Nevada, UNLV, the New Mexicos, Tulsa and Memphis…though that spans a lot of territory).

Now you have 64 teams. Needing four 16 team conferences, and pretending to care at all about geography for travel purposes, here is the most reasonable breakdown:

French and Indian War Conference:
Boston College
Penn State
West Virginia
Ohio State
Virginia Tech
North Carolina
North Carolina State
Wake Forest

Bible Belt Conference:
Florida State
Georgia Tech
Mississippi State
South Carolina
South Florida

Heartland Conference:
Michigan State
Notre Dame
Iowa State
Kansas State

Oregon Trail Conference:
Oregon St
Washington State
Arizona State
Texas A & M
Oklahoma State

Of course, it will never happen because people want conferences with “National Appeal” but consider this:

My plan gives the French/Indian War conference 15 of the top 50 media markets, at an average of 24.2 (1, 4, 7, 9, 18, 23, 24, 26, 27, 30, 33, 34, 39, 43, 46).

The Oregon Trail conference gets 13 of the top 50 media markets, at an average of 20.3 (2, 5, 6, 10, 12, 13, 16, 20, 22, 28, 37, 45, 48).

The Heartland gets 9 of the top media markets at an average of 25.8 (3, 11, 15, 21, 25, 32, 35, 41, 49) but gets Notre Dame, the highest appeal of any team in the nation.

The Bible Belt gets 10 of the top media markets at an average of 29.8 (8, 14, 17, 19, 29, 36, 38, 40, 47, 50) but gets the teams that have had the highest national appeal as a group (Florida, Miami, Florida State, LSU, Alabama) over the last twenty five years.

Three top fifty media markets are excluded: Salt Lake City (31), Las Vegas (42) and Albuquerque-Santa Fe (44). They all fit geographically with the Oregon Trail, but none of their “home teams” are in that conference.

Okay, fire away…

Comment by maz. 06.04.10 @ 12:41 pm

The only thing more unrealistic than your alignment is what you’ve called the conferences. But A++ for effort and thinking out of the box.

Comment by SilverPanther in NYC 06.04.10 @ 1:05 pm

slow day at work Maz?

Comment by Coach Ditka 06.04.10 @ 1:22 pm

By the way I didnt say college football is a joke, but it is turning into one. You cant have this type of instability year after year with the colleges and universities just running around making their own rules. The entire BCS system is ridiculous. Plus, maybe someone might want to eventually look into the gigantic machine of corruption that is college recruiting….

Comment by Coach Ditka 06.04.10 @ 1:27 pm

I only spent about 25 minutes on it, believe it or not. I was just trying to see if something logical could be put together. Obviously I ignored certain rivalries and stuff to put it together. You’re right about one thing: the names of the conferences would have to inevitably include sponsors.

I agree with the comments about instability and the BCS, obviously. I guess that’s part of why I’d blow the whole thing up and start over.

Comment by maz. 06.04.10 @ 1:50 pm

Maz, Switch OSU/Cinn with Louisville and Kentucky…never going to happen of course, but interesting. Also the F&I group would be a heck of a BB conference.

Comment by milo bloom 06.04.10 @ 1:59 pm

So, wbb, are you saying Pitt Blather is in play like everything else? If so, Chas, can I buy shares?

Comment by Steve 06.04.10 @ 2:37 pm

What a great day to speculate for me. I’m off on Friday’s so now I have something to do. A bit overwhelming to think of the possibilities though.

The NCAA has to come up with a plan and take control before we have an NIT in football. Maybe even an NBA/ABA thing which gives me an excuse to watch Semi-Pro again. Universities could very well be scrambling to perform out of their minds just to have someone with a powdered wig turn his head to watch the dancing monkey. I smell sanctions galore coming. Nostradamus predicted this but decided to omit it since it was his most blasphemous prediction of all.

I am enjoying the waiting game. If this kills the BCS then this is a glorious time for me. To have outlived that joke of a system is glory sewn on a blanket. We are going to have to wait and see if all this talk is for real though. Time to upgrade to high def so I can see the tears come at me like a flood. Fun!

Comment by Panthoor 06.04.10 @ 3:23 pm

Great stuff Maz, I’m assuming you were an American History undergrad…as for leaving the NCAA governing body for football purposes….what happens with the Basketball? Do these 64-65 schools form a new tournament that rivals the NCAA final 64?….or can they leave the NCAA’s for football only and remain in all other sports?

Comment by Marco 06.04.10 @ 3:57 pm

not so fast, Steve … there is still a chance that Pitt football can fall off greatly if Pitt doens’t get a B10 or Acc invite and fellow members do … which means Pitt Blather may become eventually become a basketball only site.

If anyone is still debating the power and influence of college football, just consider that Kansas, which has one of the top 5 basketball programs of all time, has to be sweating bullets right now.

Comment by wbb 06.04.10 @ 4:26 pm

The only way for the Super Conference model to work is to expand the amount of teams that have equal access to the National Championship/BCS/potential playoff games pie than is currently the case. Right now 65 teams plus ND are guaranteed a BCS slot with certain performance requirements (win your conference, or in ND’s case loose 2 or less games). Four 16 team Super Conferences reduces that number to 64. I would bet on 5, 16 team, conferences, or even someday 4, 20 team conferences. Otherwise, these four super conferences will find themselves facing Congress, antitrust lawsuits, and a host of other bad press that they don’t need. When this is all said and done, there is no way that Pitt or Kansas are not part of a major conference.

Comment by HbgFrank 06.04.10 @ 4:59 pm

I disagree with HbgFrank for one pretty clear reason: there is no federal law requiring access to a given championship trophy. It isn’t a violation of anti-trust laws to say: “We’re having a league, and you can’t be a part of it.” If it were, why wouldn’t we have sued the ACC for taking Boston College, but not the rest of us? Similarly, D-II teams could sue and say: “The D-I teams aren’t letting us in, that’s illegal!”

There is simply no argument that creating an exclusive league or group of leagues is violative of anti-trust law. Nothing would prevent the remaining schools from continuing to play football, have bowl games, award trophies, et cetera.

You can’t have more than the 70 teams I mention for the same reason we’re talking about this at all: money. How do you make five 16 team conferences make any sense at all? How will you sell to Texas that it is splitting revenue with North Texas, when one of those teams is a top-5 most marketable college brand, and the other is barely D-I?? You can’t. That’s why I said there would have to be a conference of “mid-majors”. It’s all about community of interest. There is a clear community of interest among the Big Ten schools. Add in Notre Dame, community of interest survives. Missou? Maybe. Texas? Definitely. But University of Maine? No. UNLV? No. Indiana State? No. Butler? No. Do those schools have decent athletic programs in certain sports or else fit into the Big Ten’s geographic model? Sure. But they don’t have nearly the revenue-generating potential of the “elite 70”. And within that elite 70, there are still further sub-categories that probably make four 16 team conferences a tough sell right now. But it is probably the most likely long-term solution.

As for 20-team conferences, at that point, why have a conference? You’re not going to play everybody every year (like the BE now), you’re not going to play everybody every TWO years, and you couldn’t even play everyone in your division every year.

What the NCAA really needs to do is change the rules to allow conference championship games for 10 team leagues, and require that all leagues are 10-12 teams. The fact that you can be a league with any number of teams is pretty stupid.

Pitt being included “when all is said and done” requires that to come to pass. There’s a very real chance that SOME but not ALL of this will happen, and the hierarchy will change dramatically. There’s no rule that requires there to be six or even four power conferences. There could well be three power, and three high/mid majors. And many people feel there already are! In that scenario, it’s VERY easy to see Pitt left out, because Penn State and Ohio State already bring all the media markets Pitt would bring, but with better brand recognition, marketability, and fan dollars spent.

Comment by maz. 06.04.10 @ 5:57 pm

Hey all…off topic but I need to vent about my new piece of shit Iphone 3GS….any suggestions…thanks

I purchased my Iphone 3 months ago, it just crashed, so I brought it to At&t (where I bought it) and they told me to go to the Apple store…30 wasted minutes later I’m at the Apple store surrounded by pretentious pricks who tell me my Iphone needs to be replaced. Great, except they are only willing to replace it with a refurbished model! …….What a scam, buy a new iphone 3GS for $500.00 and in three months time Apple will replace it with a formerly defective replacement phone, which I could have bought initially for half the price, and in turn it voids my original warranty since it’s not a “new retail phone”…..what should I do other than take it from Apple and At&t?

Pissed off in Pittsburgh

Comment by Pissed off in Pittsburgh 06.04.10 @ 8:04 pm

Maybe the Big 10 would be willing to take a look at Kansas and Iowa St too – they are also part of the AAU (even though I realize that that is waaay down on the criteria – but maybe Mizzou and Nebraska could try to bring them along). That would leave Baylor and Kansas St. Combine with Boise St to make the MWC a 12 team conference.

Comment by ChetMasterson 06.04.10 @ 8:10 pm

LOL………. I still say the Big East should make peace with the ACC and merger into a mega-conference with 2 divisions. That’ll create TV revenue and blanket the east coast……..

Comment by mtoolmn 06.05.10 @ 7:44 am

mtoolmn, I believe that the optimal situation would be an ACC North division of BC, Cuse, UConn, Pitt, WVU, MD, UVA & Va Tech .. with the rest of the ACC in the South division. When you look at it, you’ll see a good balance of football and basketball in both divisions while being in every major TV market except in Philly up and down the East Coast.

However, what if the SEC goes after Miami and FSU as rumored?

Comment by wbb 06.05.10 @ 8:33 am

Where things could really get interesting is if the PAC-10 gets the 6 teams it wants, and then SEC takes 4 ACC teams to get to 16 teams. That would leave the ACC with 8 teams and it would need to find 8 more to get to that 16 team level. If a couple of Big East teams are gone to the Big Ten there wouldn’t even be enough good geographical candidates.

Comment by Twink 06.05.10 @ 9:38 am

Thank you wbb!! I’ve been saying this on here for months, people told me, don’t be nervous, there is nothing you can do. They are right, but, my point has been how huge this is for Pitt!! I’ve heard some people sing the praises of the Big East, hoops, yes, of course. Football, it has been a joke. Even when Miami was in, the news media and other fans always said, Miami and those “other” teams. The Big East football has always been a league, not a conference. There has never been comaraderie (sp?), never a sense of “belonging” to something. The geography has stunk, teams coming and going. I have been a proponent of getting an invite to the Big 10 or ACC. If there are any jealousy’s wiht PSU or BC,MIA,VA.Tech, or should I say, hard feelings, I said, “put them aside”, this is bigger than that. I hope Pederson and Nordenberg have a “back room deal”, but, I fear they don’t. Really, what could they do??? Which would you rather have…….

Pitt Conference Schedule

I even put a few stinkers in, to be fair

Michigan N.C. St. Temple
Northwestern Miami Louisville
Michigan St Ga. Tech Cincinnati
Iowa Clemson Syracuse
Ohio St. Wake Forest E.Carolina
Purdue Virginia Memphis
Illinois Fla. St. UCONN
Penn St. Va. Tech WVU

Maybe I’m missing something, but, good grief, I’m hoping we’re not clinging to a fractured Big East football league when this is all said and done. Maybe we can Villanove to go to Div 1 and get Central Florida?? If someone from the Big 10 or ACC calls, please, get the hell out of Dodge!!!

Comment by Dan 06.05.10 @ 9:45 am

Wow, I am so sorry, guess I didn’t put spaces in or something, the schedule thing combined. I think you would all get the point. Do you want to be with MICH OSU PSU NORTHW ILL,,,,,Clemson GA Tech VA Tech Mia Duke or Louisville and Cincy. Sorry about that mess!!!

Comment by Dan 06.05.10 @ 9:49 am

I can’t let that mess stand!!!!!!!!!

Which conference schedule would you rather have??

Michigan…………NC STATE……….Temple
Michigan State……Georgia Tech……Cincinnate
Ohio State……….Wake Forest…….E.Carolina
Penn St………….Va.Tech………..WVU

I realize these are theorhetical, and if the Big 12 south goes to the pac 10, the sec might grab some ACC teams, please, someone tell me E.Carolina, C.Florida and Temple aren’t on my home season tix package in a couple years!!!!!

Comment by Dan 06.05.10 @ 9:58 am

I really cannot see PITT getting left behind if the BE is broken up and distributed into the various mega-conferences that are being discussed.

I think the ACC line-up proposed by wbb would be terrific. Some people are complaining about the Big PAC XVI and SEC being the top dogs in FB, with the Big 10 + 6 third, and the Big ACC 4th. If we land in the Big ACC, the argument goes, we will lose out in FB (though BB will be great). However, I would suggest that Pitt in a Big ACC would have an easier path to a BCS FB berth than it would in any of the other conferences.

It is going to be pretty nerve-wracking over the next 6 – 10 months, but I’m confident (if we wind up with 4 mega-conferences) that PITT will do just fine.

Comment by hollowpanther 06.05.10 @ 10:15 am

On another note, what is the fascination with RU? Their fans are incredibly arrogant about “knowing” they are going to the Big 10 (although now they are suggesting accepting an ACC offer if extended, and then bailing to the Big 10 if a better offer comes along). The majority of their fans seem certain that RU is Big 10 – bound, and that Pitt is not.

Aside from having some proximity to NYC, they are mediocre in FB, and dreadful in everything else. Nor are they an academic powerhouse, exactly. On all fronts other than proximity to NYC, they lag behind Pitt. I just don’t get it …

Comment by hollowpanther 06.05.10 @ 10:23 am

The reason there is so much anxiety and confusion is because there is no controlling authority capable of bringing all parties together. This is political theatre and poker rolled into one big mess. Every institution in play (meaning the ones like Pitt who are not dealing from a position of strength) is fending for themselves trying to garner allies and make the best deal. The key will be whenever the first domino falls. Then all hell will break loose because many will fear being left behind. Some will ready, shoot aim. Some will get lucky. Some will make the right move either by design or accident. Some will get hurt, deservedly or otherwise.

The inability of the NCAA to control, or even influence for that matter, what is going on is the crux of the problem. All we can do is have faith that Norenburg will be one of the best poker players at the table and gets some luck (if he is even at the table).

No reason to get the blood pressure up because what will be will be.

Comment by wally 06.05.10 @ 11:13 am

I guess the fascination is with the NYC market and the money. I don’t claim to know any in or outs of cable television. Truly, taking feelings out of this, which is hard to do sometimes, but, really, I think the Big 10 may be shaking there head in a few years on Rutgers. Don’t need any calculations, no wisdom, just as a college football fan, Rutgers just sticks out like a sore thumb in the Big 10. I know money talks, I’m just saying. Pitt, Nebraska and Missouri could slide in, and they just look like, “hey, they fit”.
As for the ACC football being weak, sure, I agree, but, still a step above the Big East, definitely has a geographical and conference feel, and, frankly, I’d rather be playing Maryland, Virginia, Va Tech and the Carolina schools than UCONN, Temple and Louisville. Just my opinion.
As for the hoops, the ACC would be fantastic.

No blood pressure up, not at all, just throwing some opinions back and forth, on an interesting topic, that will have a big impact on Pitt!!

Hail to Pitt!!

Comment by Dan 06.05.10 @ 11:42 am

finally some non-espansion Pitt news, and both are positive .. a new recruit and a new flagship for FB/BB radio

Comment by wbb 06.05.10 @ 1:04 pm

To me this is the time for the Big East (football) to get aggressive. Assume Rutgers is gone. Start talks with the remaining 4 or 5 teams of the Big 12, TCU and Houston. Talk about a Great America Conference in the West K-State, Kansas, Iowa State, TCU, Baylor and Houston (then take Mizzou of Memphis depending who is available). In the East Pitt, WVU, Louisville, Cincinnati, UCONN, Syracuse and USF.

This Conference can remain in the BCS (or whatever follows) it is a decent football and Basketball conference. Buy up the rights to the Pre-Season NIT and then take 6 of this conferences strongest B-Ball teams to MSG vs. invites like UCLA, DUKE, NC, ND etc.

Otherwise we (the remnants of Big East football) wait to see what happens and hope we don’t end up in the MAC, WAC or Conference USA.

Comment by James Manfred 06.05.10 @ 1:25 pm

Maz, I think that you went straight past my “Congress” reference to antitrust issues. The two are linked, as can be seen in recent history (See: link to I would not underestimate the influence that politics will have on this process. It altered the desires of the ACC. They wanted Syracuse, they got Vatech, because the Gov of VA made it happen. Politics are also involved in the Big 10 expansion desires. Go read the emails between OSU Pres Gee and Texas Pres Powers. Powers told Gee they are receptive but they have a “Tech” problem. Could be he meant his PC was not functioning. Could be he meant that the Texas politicians are telling him where you go, so goes A&M and Tech, but Tech is not an AAU member. Thats a problem for the Big 10 and Texas. One thing I know for sure is that Texas is not attaching itself to A&M or Tech, someone is doing that for them. If 4 new super conferences emerge, break away from the NCAA, and completely exclude all other teams from participating in a “National Championship” and all the money that goes with that, the political heat will approach the surface of the sun. That is particularly true if you are talking about exluding the likes of Pittsburgh and Kansas…The BE did sue the ACC and did win a settlement that cost the ACC and its member schools millions of dollars. Similar lawsuits could follow this latest round of conference expansions…As for a 20 team conference working, you have to change the construct of how you think about a conference, to seeing them as a “league”. Each league has 2, 10 team, conferences (sound familar, it should, as in NFL). For example, the Big 10 could merge with the BE, bring in ND, and trade SoFla for BC. One 10 team conference in your league could be the original Big 10, the other would be the current BE, less SoFla, plus ND, BC, and PSU. You could even still call it the Big 10, with the Big 10 West and East or something like that. The Big 10 West could have its own bowl affiliations (like, say the Rose Bowl). The BTN would lock up every TV set from Chicago to Boston. As for scheduling, you play eight teams a year from your league conference, and 2 from the other conference in your league. The two conference champions have a playoff game to determine the league champion. The four champions from each 20 team league go to playoff for the National Championship. Its not perfect, but at least it allows for more inclusion in the process than we currently have….One other thing, are we also going to take our 64 super conference FB teams and break their BB from the NCAA tournament? Yea…we should, who wants to see another lousy Duke vs. Butler matchup in the NCAA Championship game? There is nothing stopping Butler and the other 260+ schools that play D1 BB from starting their own tournament and crowning their own champion….I just don’t see this happening. Every school that currently has a seat at the table is highly likey to have a seat when all is said and done. In fact, I think more schools will be at the table because the politicians the represent Boise St, Utah, Tulane, Fresno State and others will see this as an opportunity to get in the game. It’s long over due. College BB has not sufferd one bit by being inclusive when it comes to crowing a National Champion. College FB needs to be more inclusive not less when determining its champion.

Comment by HbgFrank 06.05.10 @ 1:43 pm

Now I’m Confused.

How does this PAC 10 thing affect Pitt’s chances of joining the Big 10 or another conference?
Is this good or it makes our situation worse?

Comment by Pedro Salgado 06.05.10 @ 3:18 pm


I still think you’re overestimating the reach of the legal process. Also, I really like the idea of mandating 9-team conferences. Everyone plays everyone every year. But that’s not going to happen either.

Bigger conferences, to me, makes eeven less sense, because broadening the reach on the geographic map is so much less efficient.

Comment by maz. 06.05.10 @ 4:09 pm

Pedro, I would think it improve’s Pitt chances of joining either the B10 or ACC. The worst thing that could happen is that if the B10 goes to 14 with 2 BE teams (not Pitt) and everyone else stays still. With the PAC10 being proactive, this may well start a chain reaction that wll result in 4 super conferences which should increase Pitt’s chances of being included .. but no guarantee of course.

Comment by wbb 06.05.10 @ 4:17 pm

@ Pedro

well, if the big 12 south (-baylor, +colorado) decides to join the pac-10 as advertised, that would close off all of the western expansion options for the SEC. Which means they’d have to look east for expansion: ACC schools or possibly WVU. If/when the ACC is looking to replace members or expand, then Pitt has to be high on their list for market, academic, and athletic reasons. I would say Pitt is still on the Big Ten’s list, though somewhere around the margin because we don’t bring new tv territory.

If the ACC loses some southern members to the SEC, and the Big East loses, say Syracuse, Rutgers, and Notre Dame to the Big Ten, there might be some sort of merger between the ACC and Big East. I imagine the basketball-only Big East schools would be forced to split off into their own conference.

Comment by slingstone 06.05.10 @ 4:40 pm

I like your thinking James. If you read my posts, I’m onboard for the Big 10 or ACC. If we fall between the cracks, I hope the Big East, commish, AD’s have some ideas!! Some ideas with excitement!!! They have no leverage now, I understand they have to wait and see. However, and I’m just throwing these out there, because you can’t just sit as a 7 or 8 team football league. This has gone on long enough anyhow, and with the landscape seeming to be changing. I mean, just as a fan, it has been horrible just to look in the paper with all of the conferences and there we sit with 8. It just doesn’t even look right. These are high power, intelligen, well paid people, have something ready to put together and be exciting. I’m just a working man, but I can rattle off a few. If your gonna have to add some teams, add E.Car, Memphis, and C.Fla if you have too. See if Villanova would want to jump up to Div 1, how bout adding Army and Navy, even just as football members, get to a twelve team conference. Have a Championship game at Yankee Stadium!! Big East Championship first week of Dec., Christmastime in New York??? How bout a dual league with the Mountain West, possibly each team playing two teams from the other conference, similar to what the Big 10 has with the MAC, some sort of scheduling deal. Have a championship game with them. Now, with the Big 12 thing a possibility if that happens, yes, your idea is excellent!!! There’s some ideas right there, from a blog, tell me these guys have some plan other than bringing Temple back, please, someone tell me this!!! I know all about money and logistics, figure it out, that’s what you’re all paid to do. Maybe I’m venting for no reason, maybe they have a plan and are just waiting for the shake out. If their plan is Temple and or Buffalo, shame on them for 20 years!!!

Comment by Dan 06.05.10 @ 9:42 pm

From the very beginning of all the speculation involving changes in conferences the one possibility that makes the most sense for PITT is the ACC. Excluding Penn State and Ohio State the Big 11+ makes no sense for PITT. The rivalry between PITT and Indiana, Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Michigan State is simply not existant. Michigan is a powerhouse and a PITT/Michigan game would be a big draw in the Burgh.
Jamie Dixon would not be very happy to be playing in a conference that is a big step down from the Big East. O.K. football is king, so look at the ACC.
It is obviously difficult to predict what is going to happen to a Miami, FSU or Ga Tech, however, if they stay in the ACC and PITT, Syracuse and UConn are added ….WOW!!
Great geographical positioning covering the entire East Coast. Solid academics, colleges with great football tradition (not UConn) and a BASKETBALL LEAGUE that would ring cash registers for TV advertisers throughout the cold weather months. This would be a conference that TV media
moguls could easily understand and support.
Let Rutgers go to play Minnesota and Indiana in football. Let Rutgers go to get destroyed in basketball in another league. The RU/Penn State Basketball game will draw zilch in TV.
The basic fact that is being overlooked is that the NYC Metro Area is NOT oriented toward college sports. If you listen to WFAN, “The Fan” the most important sports voice in The Big Apple (and the # 1 sports radio station in THE U.S.) there is very, very little discussion about college sports. TV ratings for college football are lousy in Noo Yawk, so let Rutgers go the Big 11…..I want PITT in the ACC. Jamie Dixon are you ready? Wanny get your recruiting team together because you are going to have a field day in New Jersey keeping the talented high school kids of The Garden State closer to home in the regular season. THE ACC IS IT FOR PITT!!

Comment by Isnore 06.05.10 @ 10:46 pm

P.S. to my previous post….no I did not forget WVU. Obviously it would be a very positive development to have “The Mountaineers” in the ACC, however, something tells me that if the conference earthquakes actually come to pass, WVU could end up in the SEC.

Comment by Isnore 06.05.10 @ 10:52 pm

Here is how I see this whole thing playing out. College Football currently has 120 Division 1-A programs. I think we will end up with 6 (16) Team leagues and 2 (12) team leagues. All with conference championships. The Pac 10 will add the six Big 12 schools that have been mentioned. The Big 11 will assume Notre Dame, Missouri, Nebraska, Rutgers and Syracuse. The SEC will gain Florida State, Miami, Clemson & Georgia Tech. The rest of the Big East and ACC will merge and then add Central Florida and East Carolina. The MAC will bring back Marshall and add Army and Navy. The Mountain West will steal Boise St from the WAC, add the remaining four Big 12 teams as well as Memphis and Houston from Conf USA. The rest of Conf USA will move to the WAC (Tulsa, UTEP, Rice & SMU) or the Sun Belt (UAB, Southern Miss & Tulane). From here it is easy to see the development of the 8 team playoff. The winners of the four dominant conferences will be automatics. The 16 team MAC champion will play the 16 team MWC champion for the fifth spot while the Sun Belt champion plays the WAC champion for the sixth spot. Two wildcards will be selected based on polls or computers or other BCS like formulaic junk. The seven playoff games required to determine a champion in an 8 team playoff format will be rotated among the major bowls (Orange, Rose, Fiesta, Sugar, Cotton, Gator and Holiday). … and if this were to come to pass it would be a vast improvement over where things stand today. As for the Panthers, they would reside in a very strong Basketball and Football conference…. next we would have to work on pushing the state to force the annual Pitt – Penn State game to start the season, although I would miss the Notre Dame game.

Comment by Pittman 06.06.10 @ 1:06 am

… and then again, (A) Texas will realize that it is the top revenue producing program right now and decide to stay put, (B) ND will go with the B10 which gives them enough for a conference championship game, and (C) the SEC and ACC opts for the status quo and their present TV contracts.

Comment by wbb 06.06.10 @ 9:39 am

…I just heard on the radio that the B12 is giving Nebraska and Missouri an ultimatum that by June 11 they must decide whether they want to stay or leave. Texas cannot be too dissatisfied with the status quo plus I’m sure its fans would appreciate the shorter, leass costly road trips .. thus, my post immediately above may not be all that far-fetched.

Comment by wbb 06.06.10 @ 11:18 am

This is all about TV and $. Ergo, we’re toast.

Comment by Steve 06.06.10 @ 12:42 pm

wbb – is also reporting the ultimatum given to Nebraska and Missouri, although they say it may be a few days longer.

link to

What they don’t report are the possible consequences if Nebraska and Missouri do not affirmatively state their allegiance to the Big 12. Reading a little between the lines, it sounds like the Pac 10 has issued invites to the Big 12 south schools, and they may accept unless Nebraska and Missouri agree to stay. I can’t see the other schools kicking Nebraska and Missouri out, but if the threat is that the other 6 schools will leave, that would effectively blow up the league.

Interesting maneuvering…

Comment by Pantherman13 06.06.10 @ 1:21 pm

Yes, it could end up being status quo, I still hope the Big East does something. Being at 8 teams reeks!! Sorry, just as a fan, it stinks.
And yes, it’s all about money, and, we could be toast. Taking myself away from the picture, what a shame it would be for Pitt, WVU, Kansas and Kansas St. A shame for some other schools, but, really, those four stand out as top schools with no where to go, would really be sad! A lot of people say, “we’ll end up somewhere”, ya, well, what if the Big 10 take Rutgers and Syracuse, ACC fends off a takeover, with their new TV contract Miami, FSU, G Tech and Clemson might not be so hot on the SEC, and the ACC stands put, ya, I can see us being toast also. Hopefully there is a diabolical plan from the Big East Commish and Prez’s and AD’s we don’t know about. Can’t wait to see it!!!

Comment by Dan 06.06.10 @ 1:52 pm

One other point, yes the 5 conference of 16 or 4 of 16 and 2 of twelve sound great, everyone is in, but, remember, there is no rule that says, “well, someone has to take Pitt”, or “someone has to take WVU” “Kansas”, “Kansa St” etc. etc.

Comment by Dan 06.06.10 @ 1:54 pm

…And here come the politicians:

link to

This is a story about the Texas legislature seeking to force Baylor on the Pac 10 (in lieu of the Pac 10 inviting Colorado).

Comment by HbgFrank 06.06.10 @ 2:38 pm

Damn, this is all lifted from Cold War theory, remember Poli Sci 80?

Threats (PAC 10), counterthreats (Big 12) and then the Domino Theory kicks in.

Unfortunately, we’re sorta like Cuba in all of this.

Comment by Steve 06.06.10 @ 2:57 pm

A new conference of rejects could spring up from all of this. 12 disgruntled colleges could break away and tough it out but the sacrifice might be too great. It would be sad to think that Pitt would be among these institutions floating away from conformity. This theory of course is best left for books.

Once the first invite is accepted we will know just how fat we are in this game of dodgeball. Our days in The Big Beast Conference seem to be over but I hope that something will happen in the end that keeps the band together.

If Rutgers is the only one to go then all is well. We can always wait and see who is left out there after everything finishes exploding. Could Kansas end up joining The BE? Probably not, but who knows. The rumor is that the basketball only Big East schools are meeting at The Vatican to discuss their possible future conference. The Onion reports that St. John’s University is currently building a mote around their school to fend off any A-10 plans of expansion. More at 11.

It could be worse, we could be talking about expanding into Canada. Maybe The Big Ten thinks they can make money in the lucrative Montreal market? The Ohio State University vs McGill University would shame us all. I can see the headlines now: Jean “Le Nightmare” Laurent passes for 450 yards but OSU wins 63-24″.

We will have to wait and see what happens. We are in the same boat as The NCAA. We have both lost control of the situation.

Comment by Panthoor 06.06.10 @ 3:04 pm

LOL, Panthoor. I was thinking UK’s Premier League. Maybe the BE needs a paying sponsor. Howsabout the Tastykake Big East?

Comment by Steve 06.06.10 @ 3:13 pm

I think that BE and ACC have some schools that should be together. Personally (fantasy yes) I would like to see the BE get Miami and BC back, plus get Maryland and GA Tech, bringing in 4 large markets and largely similar large city schools, which a lot of the BE already is. I also think that it wouldn’t be bad to get Northwestern since that would add Chicago to the fold…

Whatever happens there is no going down to get schools. That would be ridiculous. The BE must be strategic, smart and aggressive for once. Adding these schools in total is better than the current ACC and would make sense overall.

Comment by JoeP 06.06.10 @ 3:55 pm

Steve, as an Everton fan I totally agree with your sponsor idea. I was thinking more along the lines of “The Little Debbie’s Big East Conference”. The trophy would look like one big Zebra Cake.

Comment by Panthoor 06.06.10 @ 4:44 pm

Better than the Cincy-Pitt thingamajig trophy. And a whole lot tastier to boot.

Done. I’m on my way to RI to convince the powers to be if I can find them. Rumor is they’ve “departed” to Boston to shake down foreign-born grocery store owners.

Comment by Steve 06.06.10 @ 6:55 pm

For anyone who is interested… the Big Ten invite isn’t a sure thing apparently.

“Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said Sunday expanding the Big Ten Network’s presence in Pennsylvania is not a factor as the conference explores expansion.

That could mean Pitt, long considered a candidate for Big Ten expansion, might not receive an invitation.”

Read more: link to

Comment by Reed 06.07.10 @ 4:47 am

What a hoot. The NY Times reports this AM that Kansas and KSU might end up in the BE after all is said and done.

If so, I change my vote for league sponsorship to…
The Arthur Bryant’s BBQ Big East

Comment by Steve 06.07.10 @ 7:06 am

Wow, Pitt to the Big 10 isn’t a sure thing? There’s a shocker. Great investigative work by Michael Sanserino to tell us what everyone already knew when this whole thing started. Way to

Comment by maguro 06.07.10 @ 9:56 am

Way to go, Post-Gazette.

Comment by maguro 06.07.10 @ 9:56 am

Pitt was never a prime candidate for the Big 11+ because PSU rules the roost in The Keystone State.
As much as it pains me to say this I am very much afraid of Pitt being left out of the reorginization conference picture.
The ACC is really our best hope and unless Miami, FSU, Clemson and Ga Tech get picked off by the SEC
we are in a mess. The Big East is a BASKETBALL LEAGUE…MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT!!!
The Big East will exist as a basketball league with our leadership in Providence///Jamie Dixon will be happy because he will not be in The Big 11+.
What options do we have if we are not invited in to the ACC?
The MAC? Conference USA? The Big Least with UCF, East Carolina and no BCS bid or whatever system is used to determine national championships (The Big East will be left out).
Focus on the ACC folks because Rutgers is the ONLY Eastern team that is a lock to be chosen if the Big 11+ expands.

Comment by Isnore 06.07.10 @ 10:40 am

Isnore,PSU already gives the W.Pa televison market to the Big 11. That is why the Big 11 is probably not interested in Pitt. PSU doesn’t rule any roost!

Comment by Auggiefromlatrobe 06.08.10 @ 10:32 pm

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