Which is why paragraph 3 and 5 are intertwined. If it goes to a 16 team playoff, a lot of the regular season weeks won't matter, or will matter a whole lot less...
Big Ten Expansion: Grid Of Judgment
Schools that have been brought up at one time or another but are not worth a fuller discussion for various reasons.
Schools that would say no
Texas. Blame those Texas newspaper articles describing UT's flirtation with the Big Ten after the SWC exploded, but Texas comes up whenever this topic does. Despite the travel involved the Big Ten would do that in a heartbeat; Texas is a fantastic school that opens up copious television markets and is a national power in both football and basketball.
Texas would not, though. They are the master and commander of an entire conference with weak revenue sharing relative to the Big Ten. They have longstanding rivalries with virtually everyone in the Big 12 South. And their nationally competitive baseball program would be badly hurt by joining what's basically a mid-major conference.
Nebraska. Massive football tradition and geographically somewhat feasible but there's no way the Cornhuskers would give up a 100 years of rivalries for the Big Ten. Have no links to anyone in the conference.
Notre Dame. If the Big Ten is doing this when Notre Dame's NBC contract has six years to run, the Irish are not in the mix.
Schools that don't offer enough
Iowa State. Why on earth would anyone want Iowa State in their conference? No TV market and no success in either major sport. If Iowa doesn't want them, and I'm sure they don't, why would anyone else?
West Virginia. Tier III institution would probably get rejected by the presidents. Good programs in football and basketball but brings zero recruiting base and zero television market. If the only considerations were on-field performance they'd be the obvious #1 choice but all their peripherals are poor.
Cincinnati. Legitimate traditional basketball power (two national titles in the 60s to go with the Huggins era) and nouveau riche football school, but probably destined for a major drop with Brian Kelly out the door. Academically, a non-starter: it's a tier III commuter school.
Louisville. Geographically and athletically plausible but a tier III institution.
Rutgers. Hypothetically brings New Jersey and New York markets into play, except few really care about Rutgers when they're not good and they've rarely been good. Very rarely. Basketball program a nonentity; football was a nationwide punchline until the arrival of Greg Schiano, at which point they've had one standout year and a bunch of middling ones that end in nondescript bowl games.
Missouri. Geographically adjacent and has longstanding, if on-and-off, rivalry with Illinois. Good, not great, state school that would be the worst-ranked school in the league but not by much, especially after a post-CIC bump. Brings a new, large TV market into play. Also brings Don Draper with it.
Negatives: neither football or basketball is the sort of program that brings any wow factor, though the football program is a solid and developing one under Gary Pinkel. And Mizzou has been in the Big 8/12 since its inception. Fevered rivalry with Kansas and the sort of non-rivalry with Nebraska that saw Mizzou on the end of dozens of heinous beatings to the point where if Pinkel hadn't run up the score in the final year of Callahan he would have taken he would have taken heat for it.
Would Mizzou go? I mentioned them on the radio yesterday, at which point someone who grew up in the area called in to cast doubt on the possibility the Tigers would even consider leaving the Big 12. He certainly knows better than I do. On the other hand, some Mizzou folks have started a pro-Big Ten blog and the Rock M Nation thread discussing BHGP's discussion of a potential move is split down the middle. The local paper's Mizzou beatwriter, however, is adamant:
RT @Kevin_Baum What's your take on mizzou's chances of joining the big 10? ... To quote Dean Wormer, Zero Point Zero
I don't know. I expect that Mizzou would at least flirt with the Big Ten in an effort to get the Big 12's revenue sharing increased.
Pitt. Obvious natural rivalry with Penn State that makes the Nittany Lions less of an odd duck in the league both geographically and culturally. Brings another TV market, though Pittsburgh is an area that already gets the BTN. Rich tradition in football and has been intermittently decent over the last decade; basketball program has recently built itself into a national power but has little in the way of history.
Scholastically Pitt would be an average Big Ten team, which is very strong relative to other serious candidates. And there's no question whether they would jump or not: Pitt would kill to get in the Big Ten. They'd get to play Penn State, they'd get a ton more football revenue, the basketball would be fine, and they could play WVU out of conference.
Negatives: they play in a sterile NFL stadium that's usually half-empty, though a Big Ten fan with road-trip inclinations could view that as a positive. And adding Mizzou or Syracuse or whatever puts another state in the BTN footprint; Pittsburgh doesn't. And you could see this hurting Big Ten schools' Pittsburgh-area recruiting. Now players in the area can pick between the Big Ten or staying close to home; in the future they can have both.
Syracuse. Geographically somewhat awkward; football program has totally imploded since Paul Pasqualoni fell off. On the other hand, an excellent school (almost exactly on par with Pitt) with a powerhouse basketball program. Their location is a blessing and a curse: it's far away but also makes the Big Ten considerably more important in New York (state, not City).
Syracuse might like it in the Big East enough to shoot down an overture, though. They're decidedly more eastern than a lot of Big East schools.
Grid! Grid of judgment!
A legend: teams are graded on a 3 point scale, where 0 is
uncatchable a factor so poor it disqualifies the program in question, 1 is is an active detriment, 2 is "meh", and 3 is a positive. The "average" column does not include "willingness," since it's an attempt to judge the attractiveness of the teams only.
"Other sports" rankings derived from Director's Cup standings.
Your winners amongst the even distantly feasible: Pitt and Missouri, and Missouri is only distantly feasible. Both are clearly poor options relative to Notre Dame, but that ain't happening. Your projected 12th Big Ten school: Pitt.
The regular season doesn't even matter now. You have 5 undefeated teams, 3 of which are from major conferences, and everyone knew that if Texas and Florida/Alabama went undefeated, they would be playing for the National Championship. How does that make the regular season relavent? It really only makes it relavent for 2 teams. At least with a playoff system, a team like Cincinatti has a chance.
It remains relevant because almost every year a team like Cincinnati would be playing. It's rare that you have this many teams go undefeated. How many times have there been conference championship games with two undefeated teams? And it happens in the toughest conference?? Not a regular occurrence. And frankly, the other 2 teams don't really matter till they can get in a better conference and up their schedule. There could have been 1 loss teams that probably would have gotten into the championship game before them. (Anyone doubt that if U-C wasn't there, they would have made sure Florida was ranked ahead of TCU and Boise?).
And in any regard, teams still need to be that good to get into a BCS bowl game. Something to shoot for. A 16 team playoff is going to have above average teams in the playoff. You can do so-so, and make the playoff. This year such 9-3 "powers" such as Virginia Tech, LSU, Miami, and West Virginia would make it, as well as two loss PSU, BYU and Iowa (at least Oregon, OSU and GT won their conferences). And why is Pitt at 9-3 also left out....? Some of those teams were at least playing for a big time bowl bid, not a first round drubbing.
ND just won't happen.
Soonest the Big Ten would be able to admit a 12th team would be 2015 when the current BCS contract expires. By that point the ND TV contract is winding down if not extended. Economically, it no longer makes sense for Notre Dame to stay independent. The revenues they will gain from joining the Big Ten are greater than those from remaining independent.
Agreed. I'd go even further and say that I think this whole thing is an ambitious move by Delaney to goad Notre Dame into talking. The Irish can't stay independent forever, and no other conference makes financial or academic sense for Notre Dame (and no, not the Big East; for all their piety, I'm pretty sure the holy men would prefer being the only parochial school in a financial juggernaut conference than surrounded by other Catholic schools in a league that can barely pay its own bills). I don't think Delaney seriously intends to add another school if he can't get Notre Dame; no one else fits.
Also, the Big Ten might be open to allowing Notre Dame to keep its deal with NBC in some form (sort of how the Rose Bowl gets to have its own deal with ABC). After all, NBC only broadcasts 6 of Notre Dame's games a year.
I feel like Notre Dame would go for the Big East before Big Ten. Notre Dame likes money and they like winning. Given Brian Kelly is gone from Cincy, WVU is kind of 'enh' under Stewart (and really has no tradition of football excellence) and say the Big Ten snags Pitt that leaves the Big East as kind of weak under football. Notre Dame can move in, establish itself as king of the castle, al la Texas in the Big 12 with weak revenue sharing and then Notre Dame does its best to get the Big East BCS bid every year and as much of the conference revenue as it can pillage. So they money and wins.
If they come to the Big 10 they get the money, but they also have to play a lot of football schools with long traditions of disliking Notre Dame and a commitment to beating the Irish.
There is way more money to be had in the Big Ten. The Big Ten pools its revenue from bowl games and distributes it evenly amongst the schools in the conference. This is an important point given that the Big Ten has had 2 teams in BCS bowl games in 9 of the 12 years since the BCS inception. Each school also has an equity stake in the 51% of te Big Ten network not owned by News Corp. Notre Dame stands to gain much more in the way of revenues from the Big Ten then the Big East. Big Ten also has media deals with ABC/ESPN as well.
If the Big Ten has a conference championship game, having two teams in BCS bowls would not happen nearly as often as it does now.
By my count much of the discussion about finalizing the team the Big Ten offers, negotiating contracts, structuring divisions, and the real "meat" of the expansion are going to be headed by our new AD (I'm assuming this isn't a University President ordeal -- could be wrong here). This could provide a little additional wrinkle in our AD search as well as giving responsibilities to someone who can drastically shape how our rivalries are played out in the new Big Ten. All the more reason to bring in someone who understands Michigan tradition very, very well.
First off, do we need another "football school" in the sense we need another good team. Or do we just need an other warm body we can thrown in a division, thus creating two six team divisions and a conference championship game at the end of the year. With Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan (hopefully soon), tOSU and PSU we have assurances that we should be able to roll at least two quality ranked football schools into a conference championship and get us some ratings and hype. Our new member could in theory hang out down there with Indiana and help ensure bowl eligibility for our mid tier schools. Ideally of course we'd help the newcomer build up at a least a little.
This leads me to ponder Toronto. As it follows, the goal of the Big Ten right now is to make the BTN a money making machine. So lets review.
1. Football Revenue via BTN: Already Have That
2. Basketball Revenue via BTN: We're pretty solid there, could be better. Adding in a knock out basketball school would be very nice though, but not a must have as we traditionally have some good national powers. Pitt give us that program, but hurts us in football recruiting as noted by Brian. So meh.
3. Next revenue sport in line: Hockey.
Who loves Hockey? Canadians love hockey. Does the Big Ten want a hockey conference? Kind of looks like they do. Where do the best hockey recruits come from? Canada! What large Canadian school with good academics and an insanely large TV market is kind of in our geographic area? Toronto!
This might be a distant shot, but they get us something more than Pitt and Mizz. They give us a warm body in football. If we really feel sorry for them we can dedicate some conference resources to helping them buildup infrastructure. They give us a huge foothold in hockey land, meaning if say our goal is a Big Ten hockey conference, they add in a sixth strong team. Plus Toronto is an insanely huge TV market. NYC is better, but as Brian says we won't be able to really get the NYC market, even if we snag Rutgers. Toronto is a nice second choice.
Kind of crazy but definitely makes business sense if they do indeed want to create a Big Ten hockey conference...
I'm all for it if they get only three downs.
You do realize that only American schools can be members of the NCAA and that most Canadians don't really care about college sports, right?
NCAA has eyed expansion into Canada in the past: A Source. I'm willing to bet of the Big 10 came to the NCAA and said "We want X school in", we'd be able to get them in, as long as the school was of decent caliber.
Canada cares enough about college sports that a number of their hockey teams do decently and they have a Bowl in Toronto. Beside throw the BTN marketing behind it and we could get a decent segment to care I bet.
Toronto is already in the AAU (www.aau.edu) and has the academic chops we need. I'm not sure if AAU membership is required by the Big 10 or not, but all the current schools are in the club. Of course we might be able to buy our expansion team membership to the AAU given our clout, so who knows.
I really like the addition of Pitt as the one that makes the most geographic sense. I'm not so much a fan of expanding the Big Ten "footprint". I view the Big Ten as a Midwest/Northern Midwest football conference, and expanding to the East Coast or our to Mizzouri changes that somewhat.
Pitt-PSU is a natural rivalry. PA is already in Big Ten Country, and that's were it should stay. This only further enforces that.
It also enhances our reputation as a basketball conference, and Pitt's football program is not so bad that they couldn't contend for the Big Ten Title every so often.
Plus, this move would bring the Wannstache into the fold. The importance of this cannot be understated.
Rutgers wouldn't exactly be an awful choice. I wouldn't be disappointed if they joined the Big Ten. One can never have enough Northwesterns to pad the schedule.
with New Year's Day bowl teams?
I think Vanderbilt University is worth being in the discussion, and then dismissed.
Student body size is on the small side...but is comparable Northwestern.
Academics are outstanding.
Athletics are decent, again, I would compare them to a Northwestern. At least for the revenue athletic programs.
Geographically, they are close enough... Nashville to Chicago is only 469 miles, compared to State College (PSU) to Chicago which is 566 miles.
Willingness.... Unknown...they are in the SEC... so, maybe,maybe not.
Unique basketball court... This is not a metric that Brian used. However, Minny has the Barn, IU has AH, Purdue has a slightly raised court. Vandy fits right in, with their awkward hoops court.
I'd imagine Vandy might jump. They'd basically be our Northwestern-South and Northwestern has managed to have some good years in the Big 10. Vandy's academic standards would likely make them feel more at home in the Big 10 and they might join feeling they'd have more chance of competing.
Give us a bit of a southern foothold for B10 exposure and recruiting.
My girlfriend is a Vandy grad associated with the athletic department and seems pretty enthusiastic about being the academically gifted doormat of the SEC. Plus, they were a founding member (they were good at football when Dan McGugin, the brother in law of Fielding Yost, coached there). Probability would be about the same as Northwestern leaving the Big Ten
Vandy coeds are easily more attractive than at any other B10 school. Not sure how this impacts the selection process per se.
Strong public institution and one of the founders of the ACC. It was mentioned it would be dificult to pry away an ACC school because of the lacrosse/soccer strength of that conference and the lack thereof in the big ten. Being in a conference like the big ten would give them more national exposure from a football standpoint. Academically it would look great in the big ten.
The ACC with Virginia, Maryland, BC, or even G Tech has teams which could improve the big ten as a conference to a much larger extent than teams like Pitt. If we could somehow get one of these teams to join it would be a huge asset to the conference.
UVA identifies with southern schools, especially Duke and UNC. It has southern traditions. I doubt they would have interest.
Definitely would not be interested. UVA already lobbied hard for VT to get in the ACC - it's probably the main reason the ACC took VT instead of Syracuse. Not gonna leave after that. As you mentioned, much more of a southern school. Big clash of cultures with the Midwest.
Also - and this is one of the HUGE reasons the Big Ten's not ever gonna get any ACC school at all, including Maryland - is that we'd lose our #1 basketball recruiting chip. Being an ACC program opens more doors in that regard than anything else.
How about Texas Christian?
but Pitt does have a skyscraper that makes them all the more attractive in my epinion.
that thing is bad ass
is a bit of a stretch. more like a "tall, phallic shaped building"
I'm a Michigan alumna, going to Pitt for grad school.
That's my building!!!
For me, the choice among Pitt/Syracuse/Mizzou is not all that appealing. If we are going as far as the great plains and upstate New York, why not consider Virginia Tech, Colorado, and Rice?
Of those, I can see the strongest argument for Colorado. Strong connections with Michigan, going back to McCartney. Would be average academically. College town on par with Madison, Ann Arbor, Iowa City; only Austin is on par in the Big 12.
EDIT: Come to think of it, adding Boulder would give the Big 10 a hands down argument for the conference with the best college towns. I think the Big 10 has that category locked up already, but adding Boulder would make it a conference of college town stand outs. To me, this is clearly paramount to sports.
unless you want to read about sports being cut. Even for revenue sports, a long-distance rival is much more costly than a local one, and not all Big Ten athletic departments have bags of cash lying around (or being invested in infrastructure) ... and if that rival is three time zones west, or more, it's going to be a real pain in the ass for that team to play us. If you're ASU, why would you want to travel east 1-3 time zones 4 times a year in football and who knows how many times in basketball? (With Arizona not on DST, the time thing gets a little weird.)
Travel costs may not seem that significant on the surface, but I guarantee you it's not a coincidence to see Big Ten teams scheduling a lot of non-conference games against MAC schools. And don't forget those costs would be less offset by bowl and tournament revenue being divided 12 ways instead of 11.
For non-revenue sports, well ... either the long-distance team plays most of its matches/games/whatever on the road, or something else is going to give.
While we're refreshing our thoughts on potential expansion candidates, why not consider a few "outside-the-box" candidates:
Va. Tech - Football and basketball? Check. Academics? A solid, though not stellar, public institution. Intangibles? Would expand Big Ten footprint further into the southeast market, fanbase would travel well, game atmosphere is CRAZY. Reasons for VaTech? A more storied conference, better access to TV through BTN.
UVA - Football and basketball? While currently down, UVA football has had some good teams in the past, and folks are hopeful that they'll be on their way again. Basketball is similarly down. Perhaps these elicit a "meh" reaction, on review. Academics? Always among the nation's top public universities. Intangibles? Ditto the footprint bit from above. Reasons for UVA? Revenue and exposure would be the biggest reasons, I suppose.
And the largest outlier:
Auburn - Football and basketball? Football has been a traditional powerhouse, and with the way they're recruiting, is likely on its way again. Basketball has been decent from time-to-time, but is still a program that can attract talent. Academics? Wouldn't be the best in the Big Ten, but still a quality public institution. Intangibles? Woo hoo, we'll be in the deep south, with access to a new fertile recruiting base, and rabid formerly-SEC fans. Reasons for AUB? Getting out of a perennially impossible SEC, being able to retain at least its prime rivalry with Alabama, exposure to new markets, association with the "academic" character of the Big Ten.
Hey, if Texas could be considered though it's not a "border" state, so can these, especially since the VA schools are just barely not border states to the Big Ten.
what is CIC?
The Committee on Institutional Cooperation, the academic analog of the Big Ten. All 11 members plus the University of Chicago.
Syracuse is not geographically awkward compared to PSU, or even Iowa, Minnesota. Other than that, i agree with everything about syracuse with one addition: no one cares about syracuse in NYS.
....the new Big East lacrosse conference, which is another knock against them leaving the Big East (not that they have needed a conference - until this year they were one of the only two non-conference DI lax schools. Anyway, having finally decided to affiliate with a conference for lax, they would not be likely to take a major step down) Lacrosse is a major sport at cuse - they bring the largest average crowds in.
...Syracuse would be an awful, awful choice that would only dilute the Big Ten brand.
I currently live and work in western NY, about one and a half hours west of Syracuse, and to my eye the two most popular college football teams in this market are Notre Dame and Penn State. There are also some Michigan and OSU fans here and there. I have seen one or two Pitt fans.
Actually, there are so many people in this region with PA ties that it feels more like northern PA to me. Syracuse basketball has some following in my town, but it is not rabid by any means.
Also, Syracuse itself is a dying city. It's population is shrinking, it sits on the shores of one of the most polluted inland lakes in America, and their version of the "Mall/Resort of America" has turned into a commerical real estate disaster mired in fraud and corruption.
As for Rutgers, I don't think people in this part of NY state even realize it exists. Not surprising considering they barely register in downstate NY.
The Big 10 Presidents will make a tragic mistake if they pick Rutgers or Syracuse. Those two institutions would only serve to dilute the Big 10 brand.
and since it appears that this announcement was somewhat hastily-arranged, here's a question:
Is this in any way related to a Comcast takeover of NBC? Is there some tv angle, some contractual edge, with Notre Dame, that somebody is seeking to exploit?
Comcast could be more willing than NBC brass to negotiate an 'out' to their current contract, and being a new owner would give them the leverage that old management didn't have. I don't know that NBC benefits a lot by keeping a 6-6 team on national TV every week, so they may be willing to walk. OTOH, if they think Brian Kelly will enact a quick turnaround, they may want to hold on. I'm sure this very thing is being discussed right now, especially at Notre Dame.
Here's my perspective from NJ. There is only one potential advantage, but many more likely pitfalls.
People from outside the region do not realize this, but Rutgers is a mediocre school on the decline. Just because it has a name and it was started a long time ago doesn't mean they're a good school. They only became the state's school after running out of money in the 40s. Since then, there's been a terminal decline. Just look at their rankings. They would be average at best compared to Big Ten schools. The graduate programs at Big Ten schools are markedly better than Rutgers. The school has a disloyal alumni base that does not contribute money. State support has declined and is not going to increase in a meaningful way anytime soon, what with the 8 billion dollar revenue shortfall in the state. Unlike Michigan, which prepared for declining state support starting with the Shapiro administration (they wisely concluded state support would fall as early and adjusted accordingly), and made up the gap with a loyal alumni base contributing money to the school, along with private donations, Rutgers is too middling to get any private support and their alumni base is disloyal. Therefore, there are academic concerns with Rutgers. No one realizes this, but it's a distinct possibility. A lot of midwestern students on campus wonder why there are so many NJ kids on campus. Well, I just explained it to you.
The only possible advantage with Rutgers is the media market. Rutgers is recognized locally and their games are generally available on local networks. Their image has improved after Schiano and more residents are following them. This seems to be permanent judging from all the Rutgers R decals I see on the roads nowadays, the mediocre seasons notwithstanding. However, the presence is not nearly as large or as loyal to really capture the entire NYC media market, though they might capture some of the Philadelphia media market (there's a strange place in Jersey called South Jersey, which comprise of Philadelphia's eastern suburbs and Atlantic City). A switch to the B10 probably would increase interest, if only to see how they do. The NYC market is very pro sports oriented but that could change if Michigan, Penn State, Northwestern and Rutgers, all with large alumni bases in the area, start becoming more common on tv.
One other problem is geography. Can you imagine the Rutgers-Iowa games? Talk about a culture clash!
...and I believe a great deal of it applies to Syracuse. SU is still a good school with a strong reputation, but it is unfortunately situated in a dying disaster of a city.
We don't need Pittsburgh because they don't have their own stadium and their market is already covered by Penn State. The rest of the Midwest is solidly Big 10 territory, so I say push East to Rutgers and lock up the largest media market in the United States. The other option could be a westward expansion to Nebraska since Missouri and Iowa State don't have the name recognition of the black shirts.
The arguments about travel and culture shock are moronic. Tucson is a billion miles, culturally and geographically, from Seattle but that hasn't hurt the Pac-10 one bit.
and have lived in NJ or very near (read: Philly or NYC) for 99% of my life, outside of my time at Michigan.
What I would like are some facts. Your opinion is OK, but facts would be nice.
Being a guy from NJ, I also realize that Rutgers is no Michigan, but it is better than schools like Mizzou/ Syracuse, Cincinnati... That is who the competition is here, not Michigan/ Northwestern.
You can do the comparisons yourself. Even more helpful is past US News issues, which will show a continued decline from the 1980s to the present. I couldn't find a listing online, but if you go to a local library or something, you can find the issues.
You can find the budget numbers here: http://budgetfacts.rutgers.edu/
Here is also an article about changes at Michigan starting with the Shapiro administration: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/01/education/edlife/01public-t.html?%2359...
As for their presence in NJ, there's no way to quantify that other than to say that they're on ESPN more now (along with SNY, though they share that with UConn and Syracuse).
Wow, you're fortunate enough to live in that alternate universe in which laser fusion was perfected in the late 1970s, yielding limitless power for the entire globe. I envy you. In our universe, unfortunately, telling an AD that travel costs are irrelevant will get you a hearty laugh or a cold, WTF-is-wrong-with-you stare.