chance of bowl: 13.6%
One of the big sticking points in the conference expansion talks is “Think of the poor students, and how far the women's field hockey team will need to travel.” I intend to evaluate that statement, and examine what difference, if any the proposed expansion scenarios have on it, as well as examine the effects of previous expansion (a.k.a Penn State).
|Colorado||Boulder, CO||920||880||1250||1240||1260||1300||1040||820||1360||1140||950||0||overall average|
As it stands now, the average distance between schools is 695 miles. Adding Texas and CU makes the max distance 2100 miles. Texas and Colorado are at least 800 miles away from every existing school, and already 950 miles from Boulder. And, it goes without saying, about 1200 miles from the Pacific. Adding CU and UT makes the new average 900 miles. On the surface, that’s a ton, but, by doing so, it allows the creation of an East and West conference, with the dividing line in Arizona or thereabouts. That should actually reduce the travel distance between in-conference schools. So what we could wind up with is some sort of Pac-8, and a South Western conference that has nothing to do with the Pacific. Or, given what’s going on today, anything and everything else.
The Big 10 is the conference we all know and love, and has a reasonable shape, making for much more manageable distances between schools. As it stands now, there is an average of 370 miles between schools, with Minnesota – Penn State the longest trip at about 900 miles. Note that Google maps is either aware of the Car Ferry, or assumes a Dukes-of-Hazzard-ish jump of Lake Michigan at Muskegon to get to Minneapolis and Madison. As always, chart:
|Champaign||Bloomington||Iowa City||Ann Arbor||East Lansing||Minneapolis||Evanston||Columbus||State College||West Lafayette||Madison||Lincoln||Columbia||South Bend|
|Michigan State||Ann Arbor||350||330||450||0||70||650||260||190||410||260||390||750||660||170|
|Penn State||State College||620||550||800||410||470||990||600||320||0||560||730||1100||860||500|
|Notre Dame||South Bend||200||200||300||170||150||500||110||280||500||150||240||600||450||0||overall average|
|pre minus PSU||262.2222||308.8889||345.5556||327.7778||301.1111||512.2222||217.7778||373.3333||248.8889||296.6667||319.4444|
It seems Missouri is less a given than it was yesterday, but I’ll leave it because it would make too much work to take it out. Adding those three makes the new average distance 400 miles, and Nebraska – Penn State is the long haul at 1100 miles. Once again, there would probably be East and West divisions in the conference to reduce the mileage even further, but a distance difference of 30 miles is pretty negligible.
Big-10 pre-Penn State
For those of you who have stuck with me this long, here’s the payoff. What effect would removing Penn State have on the distances? Or, how much effect did adding Penn State have originally? You can see that without Penn State, the average distance drops to 320 miles between teams, or a difference of about 50 miles.
What all this shows is that the net mileage difference from adding Nebraska, Missouri and Notre Dame would be less that the difference was just by adding Penn State, even without factoring in the divisional separation. The Pac-10, on the other hand, is already crazy, and adding anything east of Arizona is even more crazy. To put this in perspective, the CCHA has an exemption for any team that plays an Alaska team. Google maps says that it’s a 3800 mile drive from Ann Arbor to Fairbanks. The trip from Austin to Seattle is 2100 miles. Perhaps they will have exemptions for anyone making that trip.
According to the Dallas News, which has accumulated reports from other newspapers and sources, Oklahoma State, as first reported by TMX (eyeroll), will be announcing its departure to the Pac 10 shortly. This is fueled by a separate report involving crossed wires at OK St
Oklahoma State's athletic department informed ksbitv.com that there will be some sort of statement out of the president's office later Thursday. However, the university released a statement saying, "The report circulating about an immediate announcement today concerning Oklahoma State University and conference realignment is without merit. There are no announcements planned by Oklahoma State University. We remain committed to the Big 12 Conference. If there are additional defections, we will have to evaluate our options."
As such, it appears OK St officials might be forcing Nebraska to formally act out its departure before making the call. What's more, the reports acknowledges and advances the idea the three Texas' schools (A&M, Tech and UT) will be a package deal.
OK State bolting would be the final straw of the Big 12 recovering from the departure of Nebraska and Colorado - two schools with limited rivalries/in-state matchups - and likely create a free for all that would finally balance out where the Big Ten is headed, what the Big East is going to make ND do and IF there will be an SEC expansion/shakeup included in this mess.
When I consider Missouri in these expansion scenarios, desperate for B10 acceptance, but not really getting their calls taken as the cool kids parcel out the invites to their new leagues, all I can think of is Flounder from Animal House, as the guys were playing poker at the rush party, standing behind them saying "Hey, you guys playing cards?"
I know the Big Ten was the 'pioneer' conference as far as big time expansion goes, as they were in the talks about it last year, but it looks as if the Pac-10 has taken quite a few of the biggest programs in the running while the Big Ten is merely on the cusp of bringing in Missouri.
According to all the main sources on the topic, "Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Colorado" are all expected to join the Pac-10, leaving.. who exactly for the Big Ten?
It's looking like Missouri is a done deal, maybe Nebraska (but the Big Ten hasn't yet extended them an offer) (EDIT- Swap those teams), maybe Notre Dame, but no big name schools outside of South Bend look like they're heading our way in the near future. I suppose we could snag a team or two from the Big East, but the Big Ten will be nothing like the Pac-10 if the current predictions hold true.
Pac-10 has the traditional powerhouses of the West, and now adds Texas and Oklahoma?! Not to mention Tech and A&M and Oklahoma State.
I guess what I'm asking is, assuming what the sources say holds true, and the Pac-10 gets the better half of the Big 12.. what's the best possible outcome for the Big Ten?
Please don't tell me it's Notre Dame..
Notre Dame, Syracuse, Rutgers, and Maryland to the Big Ten.
WFNI report also cited on Syracusefan.com.
(Title edited to not be such a cock-tease.)