June 10, 2010

This Will Be a Journey

Filed under: Conference,Money — Chas @ 2:24 pm

You know, I think I have a vague notion of how this conference expansion, realignment and overall sanity will eventually end. It’s just that the trip there is going to involve a lot of missed exits, detours, mistakes and probably take a lot longer than expected.

As we all know, Nebraska is heading to the Big 11/12. I think the question that most people want answered is: How are they going to tweak their “ten” logo now?

Colorado has not made any hesitation about its intents to leave the sinking Big 12 for the Pac-10/12/14/16 (I’ll get to the numbers in a moment).

The Pacific-10 Conference announced today that the University of Colorado at Boulder has accepted an invitation to join the Conference as its 11th member, the first new member since July 1, 1978.

And brace yourselves because number 12 could come soon as…

OKLAHOMA STATE. At least, according to, um,  TMZ. TMZ claims this based on a source in OSU’s athletic department. To which it has to be asked, why/how does TMZ have a source in OSU’s athletic department?

Looks like that confab for between Texas and Texas A&M about trying to keep the Big 12 together is going swimmingly. But Big 12 Commish Dan Beebe swears they are still plugging away.

Speaking of Texas A&M. That interest in the SEC by the Aggies doesn’t seem to be waning

Schools such as Miami, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Clemson have been tossed out as possible SEC targets. Those schools don’t make sense, because the SEC already has a stranglehold on the markets they would deliver.

Texas is an untapped television market for the league, which already enjoys national distribution, but could make more money by guaranteeing more viewers. Though the Aggies wouldn’t bring as many eyeballs as the Longhorns, significant chunks of viewers in Dallas (the nation’s fifth largest television market), Houston (No. 10) and San Antonio (No. 37) would tune in to watch them. How many top-37 markets are currently in the SEC footprint? Just six. If the SEC does decide to expand, the change in membership number would trigger a clause that would allow the league to renegotiate its TV deals. Adding those markets, plus the markets of any other new member, would allow the league to command a higher price.

Obviously that would be the biggest shocker to me in expansion if Texas and Texas A&M split up in conference expansion. The next question would be who has to take custody of Texas Tech? And does that allow Baylor a chance to slide in with one of the two?

The Pac-10 whether by design or luck has had this play out extremely well for them. Even if the rest of the Big 12 somehow holds together, the odds are they at least grab Utah for 12 and still have a conference championship.

Missouri is, well, who knows for sure.

The University of Missouri board of curators began its two-day meeting at 9 a.m. today by immediately going into closed session, the first of three such breakouts scheduled as the future of Mizzou athletics essentially hovers in the balance.

And in the meantime

Mizzou is circulating an email to campus officials reminding them to tell media: “We are proud members of Big 12 Conference.”

You just bet that they are. Right now, there is no certainty over what is next for the Tigers. Will the SEC bail them out? Will the Big 11/12 eventually claim them off waivers?

The SEC has been very quiet. They may be rumored to be active, but nothing is out there with any certainty. There is still the conviction that they can sit back and wait on things.

Not if they want some of the bigger pieces of expansion rather than leftovers.

I’m stopping here, because things keep changing. I’m sure I’ll end up posting some more stuff later tonight.

If you’re a Pitt or Big East fan, I think you have to hope that, either way, this is the Big East’s final move. Otherwise, there will always be suspicion that the Big East demise is right around the corner.

I would like to see this scenario. The Big East is currently at 8 football members. I think they need to get to 16. I think you need to break the Basketball only schools into their own conference, but maintain some kind of a relationship to preserve rivalries.

If the Big 12 breaks up and Missouri is not brought into the Big 10, I think you immediately offer them and Kansas membership in the Big East. Which would you choose? A conference that already has an automatic BCS bid or the MWC? I think you hope that the SEC raids the southern ACC to get to 16, leaving a weakened ACC. I think the Big East then tries to kill off the ACC by poaching a handful of their schools, and getting to 16.

The Big East has a geographical advantage if it can add Missouri and Kansas, and a number of the ACC schools. The remaining ACC schools and Big 12 schools will not be able to form a conference together because of the sheer distance between them. However, if the Big 10 poaches more Big East schools, there will still be desirable schools both to the west and to the east.

I’m tired of worrying every year that the Big East will lose their BCS bid. Tired of worrying that we won’t wind up in a conference with long term stability. End it already, Big East. Either get in the game, or get out.

Comment by DanR 06.10.10 @ 2:56 pm

I think Pitt needs to get out of the Big East by any means possible. The Big East as currently constructed is a joke. The basketball only schools have way too much power. And most of these schools like Seton Hall, St. John’s, Providence and DePaul belong in the A10. Pitt has to scramble for football opponents every year because the basketball only schools prevent adding an additional football program. And what benefit does Pitt get from keeping DePaul in the Big East? An easy win against a below average basketball program.

Comment by InRodWeTrust 06.10.10 @ 3:02 pm

I think the predictions of the Big 12s demise are quite overblown. It seems quite possible, likely even, that they simply add a few big name schools from mid-majors – TCU, Utah, Utah St. et. Sure the conference’s profile may dim a bit, but there could be a bright side to this for not only the Big 12 but college sport fans generally. Think about Utah St or BYU finally being able to play in a BCS conference and getting a chance at Nat’l titles. To me all this shake up may simply result in larger BCS conferences across the board, alowing more schools to be in the spotlight, able to share in the big money and compete for nat’l titles. And by the way, as a Pitt basketball fan, I think it would absolutely terrible for Pitt to leave the Big East. So long as it stay in a BCS conference for football, which the Big East is, this is the best place for Pitt.

Comment by PantherP 06.10.10 @ 3:49 pm

As a Pitt alum living in Manhattan, Kansas I’d sure hope any construct which includes Kansas also includes Kansas State which offers more football cache. The BE is already the biggest and baddest in hoops. K-State offers a better football program and hoops is back to a top notch program.

Comment by Dan 06.10.10 @ 4:16 pm

PantherP – the Big 12’s fate is in Texas’ hands. If Texas decides it is better off in the Pac X or the SEC, the Big 12 will cease to exist. My guess is we know within a week.

If I were a betting man, I wouldn’t lay money on the Big 12s survival…

Comment by Pantherman13 06.10.10 @ 4:47 pm

Izzo possibly leaving to coach the Cavs would leave Big 10 hoops second rate. Jamie’s right to have dissed it and even more right now.

I like the ACC North South configuration for both fb and bkb. Can anyone here make it happen?

Comment by Steve 06.10.10 @ 4:57 pm

It is interesting. The B10 might be seriously overplaying its hand. If they would have left Nebraska alone, the B12 would be in no danger of folding, and thus the PAC 10 expansion would be limited to 2 teams. If they take Mizzou now, and with Colorado gone, I think the B12 is in some trouble, and the Pac 10 with the added Texas teams could be formidable.

Comment by DanR 06.10.10 @ 5:33 pm

Colorado just jumped to the PAC 10. The musical chairs are moving quickly. The other Big 12 jumpers are likely to vote today or tomorrow so more news to come!

Comment by dish 06.10.10 @ 5:39 pm

I’ll see what I can do, Steve.

Comment by Jeff 06.10.10 @ 5:42 pm

Notre Dame has discussed coming to the Big East for football replacing Rutgers when it leaves for the B10 provided no other football schools are invited. ND will keep its NBC TV money , play all the BE football teams and still have room for 5 to 6 non conf games. Only one BE school objects to the proposed arrangement – that being Pitt. Pitt’s position is ND can keep the NBC contract but gets no cut of the BE TV money (double dip). Obviously if Pitt is the only opposition it can pass without Pitt’s vote.The BE would be a better football conference with ND replacing Rutgers.

Comment by Marty 06.10.10 @ 5:49 pm

I just want Pitt to get the hell out of the Big East before it goes up in flames.

In a college football world where we’re about to have 16 team superconferences (possibly 2 or more), our programs can’t survive in an 8 team football league (especially when maybe just 2 of those teams are respected nationally at any given time).

I love Big East hoops, but survival’s survival, and I hate the fact that I hear less-and-less “Pitt to the Big 10” rumors these days.

My hope is that ND turns down the Big 10 to maintain independence, and the B10 goes to 16 teams, thus picking up Rutgers, ‘cuse, Mizzou, and us.

It would kill the Big East, and I’d be worried about WVU’s football program, but they’d be pretty attractive to the SEC or ACC. They’re a good program that does bring in some of the Western PA and Eastern Ohio market.

But if we get stuck in an even more watered down Big East that either has more C-USA teams, or Big 12 football rejects (or even worse, WE’RE in C-USA), I’m not going to be happy.

Comment by Jimbo Covert's my Dad 06.10.10 @ 6:22 pm

I could live with joining the ACC as an alternative to the Big 10, as long as FSU and Miami don’t go anywhere.

Comment by Jimbo Covert's my Dad 06.10.10 @ 6:24 pm

I think if the apocalypse comes, and the two superconferences form, the FB schools in the BE may have no choice but to look for greener pastures, or be left behind. I’ve heard of some “rumored” moves in the last few days by the BE, but if true, I don’t think anyone took them as anything more than desperation.

Someone made the point that Miami and FSU really don’t add much to the SEC TV market, and there may be some animosity there, anyway. OTOH, VT would be a prize for the SEC, and as we all know, VT runs like a wh*re toward the best offer.

Someone should tell VT that if the SEC does make an offer, VT probably shouldn’t try and sue them.

Comment by Spanky 06.10.10 @ 7:34 pm

Pantherman, agreed. U of Texas is the foundation for Big 12. Political pressure appears to be to keep the the Texas state schools together, and if that wins out, seems like the Texas schools package is to big for any other conference to bite off. The larger issue i guess is that there could, or should, be some sort of larger vision (from the NCAA) so that the result of the shake up is a national landscape that makes sense. As big as the Pac and Big 10 are, there’s gotta be more pull in aggregate from those not in those conferences so that they’re schools/conferences remain relevant and profitable. Its better for collegiate sports, generally. I still don’t see the Big 12 or the Big East as sinking ships, yet.

Comment by PantherP 06.10.10 @ 7:37 pm

I totally agree with you InRodWeTrust. I think the Big East, in order to work needs to cut these basketball only schools, with the exception of Nova, or Georgetown. I think we (Pitt) need to leave the big east of several reason in which I could go on forever. You cant simple survive with a 8 football team league, and play basically Atlantic 10 teams half the season in basketball. I hope Steve Peterson, and Chancellor Nuremberg are working right now behind closed doors to either join the Big 10, or ACC. You got to think Pitt just has too much tradition, academics, and a top 20 media market to go along with it.

Comment by Lou 06.10.10 @ 7:41 pm

The more I think about it, the more I think the ACC leadership is asleep at the wheel! All this realignment is about money, TV money, conference championship money. How much money would an ACC Network make if they cherry picked the Big East and essentially cornered the market on the east coast of the US?

Seriously, I would pay Armstrong Cable $5 more a month for ACC TV/HD if Pitt, Syracuse, Uconn and WVU joined. I’m sure there are millions more like me from Morgantown to Stohrs. Come on ACC get on it!!! This makes too much sense not to happen.

Comment by Boubacar AW 06.10.10 @ 7:47 pm

Chancellor Nuremberg….funny stuff Lou..He presides over the trial of the Nazis…The Big Ten Conference.

Comment by Pat 06.10.10 @ 7:57 pm

FWIW, I expect ND to join the B10 since, for whatever reason, one of their criterions for joing was the incusion of Nebraska .. which is why they were the frist to be asked.

I also believe the optimal place for Pitt is in the north division of the ACC hopefully aling with Cuse, WVU snf Uconn

Comment by wbb 06.10.10 @ 8:05 pm

Pitt to the ACC could be a good move. It works well for football and it keeps Jamie and the basketball team in the limelight in their recruiting areas. It allows the many Pitt fans here in ACC country to feel more invested in the teams nad the university. (More alumni donations?)

Comment by JW in Raleigh 06.10.10 @ 8:49 pm

I think the odds of getting invited to the B10 for Pitt are very low. I think we’re just below the cut line.

Yeah, no sh*t ND would join the BE if they could keep their NBC TV contract AND take part of the revenue that the BE makes from theirs AND ensure that there are no other schools that they’ll have top split the pie with. F*** those domers. They want to have their cake, and yours too. Do they also want the BE’s automatic BCS bid if they finish in the top four of the conference? Long term, this makes no sense for the Big East.

I want this DONE. I don’t think Pitt will compete for the NC in the next 5 years, so if this is going to prolong the BE for another 5 years and then we’re going to go through this exercise again, let’s just get it over with. If the Big East is going to fold, I’d prefer it be now, while there are still potential landing options. I’d hate to see the ACC have to expand now, with the likes of East Carolina and Buffalo, only to see ND bolt for the B10 when it’s contract with NBC runs out, and nowhere for the Big East teams to go. This is the time to get organized for the long term. We can’t be comfortable with 8 teams. We need some buffer so that 1 defection doesn’t cause us to lose our BCS bid.

Comment by DanR 06.10.10 @ 9:28 pm

[…] was an actual point to my earlier post and the preamble. You know, I think I have a vague notion of how this conference expansion, […]

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