South Carolina was pretty similar to Maryland or Rutgers. A flagship public school with good in-state talent. Decent some years, bad others, but usually just mediocre and irrelevant. Whatever tradition they had in football, it was nothing special. Most of their good recruits went to Florida or Alabama.
But then, with the SEC money really kicking in around the early 2000's they upgraded their facilities and hired the ol ball coach. Now they're able to retain some in-state recruits and are ranked #12. Some of their key players, like Marcus Lattimore and Jadaveon Clowney, are from South Carolina.
So given the resources of the B1G and the in-state talent of New Jersey and Maryland, isn't it possible for them to copy South Carolina? Just look at the talent from those states the past 2 years. Henri Poggi, Steffon Diggs, Kendall Fuller, Eli Woodard, Yuri Wright, Darius Hamilton, Devin Fuller, Ronald Darby, Cyrus Kouandjio, Blake Countess.
Sure we have absolutely no tradition with them but I'm pretty sure ranked teams are ranked teams and always fun to play. I don't see why they can't be ranked consistantly 15~30 if they can keep some of their talent, upgrade their facilities, and hire a decent coach. They'll be earning 2x or 3x the amount of money of their ACC recruiting rivals.
There have been many, many posts concerning the financial wisdom, or lack thereof, in adding Maryland and Rutgers to the conference. There have also been many posts concerning the moves from the standpoint of, you know, being a fan (spoiler: this is unequivocally bad, unless you are a big lacrosse fan.)
But regardless of who is right or wrong in their largely ass- or thin air-derived predicitions concerning TV rights and media markets, there's one question that's not been discussed much: Why should we, as Michigan fans, care about the added revenue? Does it really make a lot of people feel better to know that our conference's revenues are big, throbbing revenues that make other conference revenues feel insecure?
Can someone explain to me the precise mechanism through which having some kind of edge in terms of revenue with relation to other conferences improves the fortunes of the conference as a whole? Has the BTN largesse made a significant impact on the quality of the texisting eams in the conference?
The Michigan athletic department doesn't need any more revenue than it already has. We are, eventually, going to run out of new facilities to build, as Brian has pointed out. What then, will we do with the hypothetical money that expansion is supposed to add?
Again, why should we care, at all, about the financial implications?
1. Geography does not matter anymore.
2. The coasts have all the power. The midwest is a shrinking demographic and as the industrial base eventually erodes, the B1G is chasing the engines of the current economy - NY/NJ (and all of the money that trickles down from Wall Street) and DC (and all of the largesse of the federal government). [Note: I live in the NYC metro area and there are lots of Michigan alums here (with disposable income) chomping at the bit to see Michigan games w/in 2-3 hours travel time.]
3. B1G is NOT an elite academic conference. With all due respect to Michigan, Northwestern and Indiana (limited only to the Kelley School of Business), the rest of the B1G is a mediocre academic conference. Maryland and Rutgers fit right in - i.e., they are mediocre state schools (or slightly worse, since they are in states that only respect private universities).
[EDIT ON 3: I think all I really meant to say here was that Maryland and Rutgers are really no worse than the bulk of the B1G (excluding, Michigan, Northwestern and Indiana (which, in my humble opinion, are much better academic schools than the average B1G school)).]
4. CONSOLIDATION. Just like in any other industry, consolidation brings strength and economies of scale via creative destruction. TV networks want to sign deals with a few powerhouse conference "brands". If you're in one of these new "brands", you are relevant; if not, then you might as well be DII or DIII.
5. The future is nothing like the past. Those who can cherish the past, but accept the future are the happiest folks of all. This applies to any change, whether it be changes to athletic conferences, job changes or national/international changes.
[PERSONAL NOTE: I just got power back a few days ago!!! Hurricane Sandy was awful(I will post pictures when I have some time). I missed a few football/basketball games w/o tv, but I'm thankful for MGoBlog because I was able to check in from time to time to watch highlights of the games. Thanks all!]
Great read on what actually happened between the time the Big Ten announced their expansions plans and the day Nebraksa joined. Sorry if already posted.
My appologizes if someone already posted this -
OSU AD Smith felt compelled to put out a video on the web because he is getting so much pressure on moving the game. It sounds like there is some hope the powers that be may cave if the fan bases keep up the pressure.
So, MVictors has a good post about conference realignment and The Game: http://mvictors.com/?p=7960#idc-container
Craig Ross talks about the divisional title conditions as well. My 2 cents (AKA, everyone else is NUTs b/c the following is the most logical avenue of reasoning):
1) A simple question: Why is Michigan-Ohio St the greatest rivalry in sports? No really, think about specific reasons.....
OK, now is it really b/c it's played on Nov 22nd? Or in November? Or the end of the year? Can a date on the calendar define the importance of this game? Not really. The reason the Game is so big is simply b/c when the teams play, the BIG TEN TITLE always seems to be on the line. This is the crux of the rest of this post: Overwhelmingly often, the M-OSU winner definitively determined the BIG TEN CHAMPION. That is what made The Game, well.... THE GAME. Nothing more, nothing less. Not the weather or the date on calendar.
Based on the above, if both M and OSU were in the same division, THEY WOULD NEVER DEFINITIVELY PLAY FOR THE B10 TITLE. They would only play for the division. Hence, the game loses it's significance. The Game went from 'determining the B10 Champion' to 'determining the division winner.' By definition, this would be less important.
I therefore submit that, if you truly want to protect the importance of The Game, you MUST support M and OSU being placed in different divisions. Therefore, unlike the alternative, the opportunity to play for the B10 Title will still be available thus maintaining the sustainability of the importance of The Game. It will sustain it's own importance if it deserves to: if M and OSU are good enough to meet in the B10 title game on a regular basis. If they aren't good enough to do this, nothing can sustain The Game's importance.
Obvious point: We must play every year to avoid the Neb-OU situation of the recent past. Hence, the protected rivalry game.
Obvious point: playing a 2nd time in the Title game WOULD BE AWESOME!!!
Not-so-obvious point: Would it not benefit (from an on the field competitive viewpoint) both OSU and M to move The Game a week or two earlier to avoid having to play the 2 biggest games of the year in consecutive weeks? In addition, this may reduce the number of times when the divisions have already been determined prior to the last week of the season (thus diminishing the stake of The Game some years).
Finally, the MVictors post linked at the top discusses the inherent disadvantage M and OSU would have simply by virtue of having to play each other EVERY year in the cross divisional protected game. Craig Ross suggests a complicated point system to mitigate this disadvantage. I submit a simpler strategy for determining the divisional champions:
-- intra-divisional record determines the division champion.
-- overall B10 record is the 1st tiebreaker.
-- head to head in the 2nd tie breaker
moving head to head to the 1st tie breaker may be fine, but then makes overall record moot and essentially makes the cross divisional games worthless.
The End...... ?