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June 13, 2013

Last week the ACC put out its match-ups for the next twelve years. Predictably there was some teeth-gnashing by fans of programs in the ACC over the infrequency of many of the opponents from the other division. It’s one thing to know that it would be like that with an 8-game schedule and 14 teams. It’s something else to see it laid out in an official release.

The Virginia Tech blog, The Key Play has a proposal on the scheduling that does away with fixed cross-over games in favor of priority partner scheduling.

A priority partner would be chosen for each team every two years, and result in a home-and-home series. Priority partners would be determined by closely matching teams according to total number of regular season ACC wins in the previous two years, while avoiding permanent crossover pairings. The following example uses 2011 and 2012 ACC wins to set the schedule in 2014-2015 (because 2013 games haven’t happened yet).

It’s an interesting idea because it is a bit like the approach taken in the Big East with basketball scheduling. Unbalanced schedules in Big East basketball set to maximize competition and make TV partners happy with marquee games.

Football tends to schedule a little further out, so there are some chances that good match-ups turn out to be dogs, when based on records from prior years, but on initial review it is an idea worth considering further.

It’s no secret that football is king. Even the worst televised college football game generally beats the best college basketball games in the regular season. But how do individual games do on certain channels? And just as important, which teams draw the ratings?

Big Apple Buckets takes a stab at breaking some of it down. It’s very interesting about the drop-off in viewership from ESPN to ESPN2 or ESPNU. If the game is on CBS or ESPN, it is significantly higher (by at least a factor of 3) than ESPN2 or ESPNU.

Part of me wonders if at least some of that has to do when ESPN and CBS air the bulk of their college basketball games. CBS doesn’t start airing college basketball until at least mid-January. ESPN doesn’t do that much college basketball in November and December — at least compared to January to March, because of college football, NFL and then the college football bowl games. Big Monday, for example, doesn’t launch until January every year.

So the ESPN2 and ESPNU numbers could be depressed from the games they air in November and December that don’t get a lot of attention.

There were 98 teams that played at least five games on one of the networks. (Full list in spreadsheet form.) The most surprising to me is Old Dominion’s eight. The Monarchs took advantage of the CAA’s television deal with NBCSN and some nice non-conference games with VCU and Virginia to make it on a bunch. The only problem? The biggest viewership for any ODU game was 58,000 for the Friday, Dec. 7 game against VCU on NBCSN.

The Mountain West is where NBCSN is really making its money. New Mexico and UNLV were the two highest drawing teams by average viewers. Amongst the 22 teams with at least two appearances on the network Harvard finished eighth and Penn ninth. (On the minus side Hofstra and Columbia were smack dab at the bottom, which could be related to their poor play last season.)

It should be noted that things weren’t all bad for non-BCS conference teams. Temple and Butler both performed well in the ratings. The Bulldogs made 12 appearances and averaged a 0.52 rating. Gonzaga also did okay with a 0.4 rating in 17 appearances. Interestingly enough, Davidson earned a 0.27 rating in seven appearances and beat out BCS teams such as Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Clemson and St. John’s in the ratings.

Amongst BCS teams Cal and Arizona State performed surprisingly poorly. Not so surprising are DePaul and Seton Hall being amongst the laggards. While the new Big East features big draws like Georgetown and Butler, schools like the Blue Demons and Pirates could be the noose around the neck. (Creighton’s ratings last season were on par with St. John’s and Villanova.)

The spreadsheet is definitely worth checking out. Pitt placed 33d on the list. They had a rating of 0.38. Compared to the rest of the ACC (excluding Maryland, but including Louisville) Pitt would be ranked 7th (the Panthers would also be ranked 7th in last year’s Big East) in being watched. Pitt suffered for only having 1 game on CBS and 5 games on ESPN — which also included a weekday (Friday) 2:30pm game in November against Delaware. Most of Pitt’s games last year were on ESPN2 or ESPNU. It can be a bit of a self-fulfilling prophesy for some programs. Get on the prime channels — CBS and ESPN — for college basketball exposure and your ratings are sure to be higher.

Still, while I think Pitt is a bit higher draw than last year’s numbers indicate, Pitt is still ranked in the upper-third of programs.

Want to see some more numbers? These involve dollar signs. Here’s a look at ACC revenue and some of its distribution for the past five years.

ACC television revenue nearly tripled from 2008-12, while the conference’s bowl income increased 50 percent and league basketball tournament receipts declined. This according to the ACC’s five most recent federal tax returns.

The net result for the conference’s 12 member schools during that time: Their average annual share of league revenue increased more than 43 percent, from $11.8 million to $16.9 million.

This placed the ACC in the middle of college football’s five power conferences, behind the Big Ten and Southeastern, and ahead of the Big 12 and Pacific 12. Their average per-school payouts ranged from the Pac-12’s $11.1 million to the Big Ten’s $23.8 million.

Most interesting is seeing the ACC Tournament in Greensboro becoming more of a money loser. You want to see the incentive to get to MSG (or even Barclays)? This is the reason.

The 2011-12 ACC men’s basketball tournament at Atlanta’s NBA arena grossed $5.1 million, a 21.9-percent dip from 2007-08 at Charlotte’s NBA arena. The $13.1 million in 2008-09 reflects the Georgia Dome venue and attendance of more than 30,000 per session.

For those who’ve noticed the empty seats at recent ACC tournaments, the revenue drop is no surprise. Will the additions of Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame for the 2014 event, and Louisville for 2015, goose interest? Or is this further evidence that the league needs to take the tournament to New York?

Take. The. Tournament. To. New York.

New York. Por. Favor.

Also, I apologize for my ignorance, but does L’Ville next year play in MSG for the tourney?

My reason for asking is… well… simply that all L’Ville fans should stay home if that is the case for the tourney to drive the attendance numbers down as much as possible. Also, L’Ville… don’t let the uni buy tickets!

Comment by Benzene 06.13.13 @ 10:58 am

Doesn’t SEC football do that?? Or do they have a permanent cross-over?

Comment by Dan 06.13.13 @ 11:38 am

SEC has a permanent crossover to keep UGA-Auburn and Bama-Tennessee going.

Comment by Pabs 06.13.13 @ 2:02 pm

Big Apple Buckets has a link to a bleak prediction for the Catholic 7+ in the new Big East. The link also identifies what we already know: DePaul & Seton Hall have been dead weight & still are.

Comment by TonyinHouston 06.13.13 @ 2:09 pm

The AAC announced they’ll be playing their conf. tournament at Memphis’s Fed Ex Arena next year.

Even got the blessing of Little Ricky. lol

Comment by EMel 06.13.13 @ 2:45 pm

more bad news, Jeter loses his appeal and Stallings still won’t budge

link to

Comment by wbb 06.13.13 @ 2:52 pm

@Pabs, thanks for the info. I was wondering and maybe you know this. Do all the teams have a perm crossover, or just the two you stated??

Also, expanding on Va. Tech’s idea, and too placate some schools.

How about if two teams are not picked for a “marquee” match up series, they default to their crossover rival?

Comment by Dan 06.13.13 @ 2:53 pm

PITT’s TV ratings would be stronger if we weren’t labeled by all the Sports TV talking heads as:

a defensive minded grinding blue collar team.

Nobody (except us) wants to watch two teams struggle to score points, possession after possession and plod their way thru the game.

How many games did we all game chat thru where the shooting %’s were just dreadful. Or go thru 5-10 minutes or more with no scoring at all.

Get a more exciting product on the floor, we’ll be on CBS & ESPN more and quite naturally our ratings will be higher !

Comment by EMel 06.13.13 @ 3:01 pm

Sam Werner has an article on the PG today. Interview with our newly-extended AD. For those of us hoping for a return to the script…hope no more.

Comment by longsufferingpittfan 06.13.13 @ 3:15 pm

Loved how the PG used SP’s thoughts about transfers against us/him in Fittipaldo’s piece on Vandy denying Sheldon Jeter’s appeal.

Makes SP appear to be a hypocrite somewhat.

So rack up two points today for the PG (Ped State Gazette) in this piece and the other piece of headline attn grabbing garbage.

Comment by EMel 06.13.13 @ 3:27 pm

@longsufferingpittfan, thanks for the heads up.

“Some of that uniform stuff, is fun, which I understand, but doesn’t have a lot to do with how you perform on the field. That’s really what we’ve tried to put our energy into, is how we’re going to perform on the field”. SP 6-12-13

I think SP needs a Red Bull or a 5 Hour Energy!!

Comment by Dan 06.13.13 @ 3:39 pm

@Dan – All SEC teams currently have a Perm crossover opponent. For 2013 They are: South Carolina – Arkansas, Florida – LSU, Georgia – Auburn, Tennessee – Alabama, Texas A&M -Missouri, Kentucky – Ole Miss, Vanderbilt Miss State.

In 2014, South Carolina will have A&M, while Missouri will have Arkansas.

At the recent spring SEC meeting there was a big debate over moving from 8 to 9 SEC games & keeping the perm crossover or staying at 8 and losing the crossover. As usual nothing decided.

Comment by PITT-cocks fan 06.13.13 @ 3:46 pm

@PITT-cocks fan. Thanks for the info.

S.Car and A&M huh?? Those should be some exciting games.

I like the Arkansas-Mizzou also, could develop a nice rivalry.

Comment by Dan 06.13.13 @ 3:59 pm

Just go to a 9-game schedule and get rid of the “rival”. What’s the point of being in a conference with FSU if you play them once a decade?

Comment by Chris 06.13.13 @ 4:16 pm

@Dan, I’m looking forward to A&M. I lived in East Texas before moving to South Carolina. Still have a brother living in Texas & now I’ll be combining my annual trip to see him & catching the game at College Station.

My opinion on scheduling is once a conference goes above 12 is to go to nine games & drop the perm crossover. In the SEC case, the only one that may have a meaningful rivalry is Ga. – Auburn & everyone knows Auburn’s rival is Alabama.

I’m also biased. I believe two years ago, USC lost the East division even though they went 5-0 in division but lost 2 of 3 to a west line up of Arkansas, LSU & Alabama. Georgia who we beat went 3 – 0 against Auburn, Ole Miss & Miss State.

Comment by PITT-cocks fan 06.13.13 @ 4:26 pm

so there is a celebration on July 1 at Stage AE for Pitt’s 1st day in the ACC … Zambelli and everything!

Who’s playing …. Green Day or Dave Mathews?

Comment by wbb 06.13.13 @ 4:51 pm

I think I see a 13 game regular season schedule in my crystal ball in the near future.

It’s gone from 9 games, then 10, then 11, 12.

It will be 13, 9 conf or maybe even 10 as the conf’s get larger and the rest non-con.

Comment by EMel 06.13.13 @ 5:10 pm

I saw an out of the box proposal for scheduling in 14 team conferences. One that would require some help from the NCAA: Do away with Divisions. Play 3 “rival” or regional opponents every year, then play five of the other conference teams. The following year play you 3 permanent opponents plus the other five teams from the conference. You would play all teams in the conference at least once every two years. All teams in the conference would be seeded. At the end of the regular season, one plays two for the conference championship. Of course the NCAA requires “divisions” for a championship game.

Comment by HbgFrank 06.13.13 @ 5:29 pm

Stevie P is puttin his energies into “how we’re going to perform on the field”. There you have it, his quote.

So why in the world the next question from the interviewer wasn’t “so if we continue to suck in football, when can we expect your resignation”? I have no idea!

Comment by Dr. Tom 06.13.13 @ 5:52 pm

Good question, Dr. Tom!

Comment by panther94 06.13.13 @ 6:07 pm

Theoretically, the scheduling proposal from the Va Tech guys should work better in football than in basketball. In basketball, with the smaller rosters, teams are more reliant on 2-3 key players from year to year, and when they graduate or move on to the NBA or what have you, that can have a big impact on your success. With football, guys can’t jump to the NFL as quickly and QB’s aside, teams usually aren’t reliant on 2-3 key players.

The system worked fairly well in the Big East; I would endorse the ACC adopting some variant of it in a heartbeat.

Comment by Jeff 06.13.13 @ 7:21 pm

Wow only 91 posts on the Smiley extension.

Have we all settled for mediocrity ?

Hey, here’s a horrifying thought. If PC needs to be replaced after a couple more years or leaves (for Wisky)because of good success.

Guess who will still be here, to lead the next search committee (lol) for a new football Head Coach.

Sobering thought eh !

Comment by EMel 06.13.13 @ 9:08 pm

EMel when i win the poweball for 400 million
i will have him transferd to pitt johnstown
or have him fired.
now i just like to pretend that he is not there
did you see we have a vist today from the center from rutgers who is transfering derrick randall
we will most likey lose him to wagner or some outher
no were school.

Comment by FRANKCAN 06.13.13 @ 9:47 pm

If PC goes back to Wisky because he was successful that would be a Pederson success, not a strike against him.

SP is right. The script is not a priority. Winning is.

Comment by notrocketscience 06.14.13 @ 6:27 am

If PC averages 9 wins over the next 3 years and there is an opening at Wisc, I’m sure Alvarez will hire him.

It would be nice if we could hold onto a FB coach who averaged 9 wins in a 3 year period.

Comment by wbb 06.14.13 @ 6:35 am

lol notrocketscience.

Yes but my understanding is SP didn’t get the final say so on the hiring of PC. As reported by many on this site.

You see after the SP hiring Baby Daddy & Fraud Graham, someone finally stepped in and said:

“No mas”

Winning is of course the priority, which is why so many of us think….SP should go back to Nebraska and retire.

That is….if they’ll allow him back in Nebraska.

Comment by EMel 06.14.13 @ 6:36 am

2008…..9 wins
2009…..10 wins
2010…..8 wins

Total number of wins = 27 wins
Total number of years = 3

Average number of wins per year = 9

Amazing this guy still has a job, let alone an extension.

Pitt seems to be run like a Gov’t agency.

Comment by EMel 06.14.13 @ 6:40 am

Hey, does anybody know why Pitt isn’t on this list?

link to

Comment by Atlanta Panther 06.14.13 @ 11:52 am

Sorry, I meant THIS list

link to

Comment by Atlanta Panther 06.14.13 @ 11:53 am

@notrocketscience. As a Pitt script fan, I will even agree, I’d rather have a winner than Pitt script if I could only pick one.

My question is, when are we going to start this winning???

He’s been AD for ten or eleven years.

By winning, I mean 10,11,12 win seasons conistently.

When a 9 win season would be considered an “off” year.

Even an occaisional 8 win season, when it’s followed by a couple 10 win seasons in a row would be ok.

I’m not crazy, I don’t believe we can win a NC and be a top 5 team.

How about a conistent top 20 team or top 25 team year in and year out?

When is that going to actually start??

I’ll be waiting. I have been waiting.

Comment by Dan 06.14.13 @ 12:23 pm

Hell, I’d be thrilled to be consistenly ranked 17th, 18th, 25th!!!

Instead of consistenly ranked, theoretically
42nd to 68th??

Guess I’m asking and expecting too much.

Comment by Dan 06.14.13 @ 12:27 pm

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