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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.





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 post-gazette.com

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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