when Congress implements a national playoff. I understand the Senate is voting on it in committee this week? [/sarcasm]
Jo' Pa Wants One More
Today on ESPN.com I read an article discussing Joe Paterno's comments on the expansion of the Big Ten to 12 teams. The winningest coach wants to get more TV time for the conference at the end of the season and reduce the length of time between the end of the season and the Bowl season. He suggests some north east teams like Syracuse, Rutgers, or Pitt. Would this be a possibility? I think that it would do the Big Ten some good to have some later games, as far as exposure and adding to strength of schedule. However, I feel it is really unlikely that it will happen at all, much less bringing in a team like those mentioned. It would more likely be a team from a mid -major and they would be a punching bag for a few years for the other teams in the Big Ten. I do not see any conference willing to give us a team, and geographically any team that would benefit from a conference change wouldn't make sense. It would be nice to bring in the Golden Domers, unfortunately the chance of changing the tradition of the Big ten and Notre Dame is even more improbable than any other suggestions made on this topic.
I do think that this idea has it good points, one being that it is backed by a coach who has been around since before the forward pass.
...too. How ridiculous, can they really enforce this? It seems like they are crossing a boundry here, what's next... making Superbowl Sunday a national holiday?
It isn't one?
There is no chance Notre Dame would accept. Theoretically, Syracuse and Rutgers would bring in tons of interest, new T.V. markets for the BTN Rutgers would access the New York/New Jersey and Syracuse could make the Big Ten the best college basketball conference in the country. Pitt would bring in more excitement (old rivals with PSU) to say the least and football and basketball would be greatly improved in-conference. West Virginia would extend the Big Ten south, and Boston College would tap into the New England market. Mid-majors would just be sad at this point, no revenue added to the conference, and no really perennially good mid-majors in the Midwest.
Frankly the biggest consternation that I have with a 12-team Big Ten is how it would be split into divisions. Would it be like the ACC with random rivalry groupings (which would be the least of the evils) or would it be North and South like the Big 12 or East and West like the SEC? Any way there is, there is not really a logical division t the conference. Or we could abstain from a 2-division conference and have a team not play 3 other Big Ten teams. Or they could eliminate an OOC game (no complaints) but not be able to produce the added revenue. A 13-game schedule would be unrealistic, and the players would be gassed by the end of the year (not sure if there is a rule prohibiting 13 games unless a team is playing Hawai'i.)
It's a good idea up front, but the details would be horrendous, if they can find a way to work all this out without breaking up in-state rivalries (probably not), I'd be happy.
Both sports do not have to move into the conference do they? I know Temple Football moved to the MAC but their b-ball team is in another conference. What are the details of moving conferences, meaning who pays who?
I think you're overcomplicating things. Unlike what another poster suggested, I would think that if we add another school, we would add all their sports, not just football. To me, Pitt makes the most sense. They're stuck in a crappy conference right now (in everything except basketball), so they might possibly want to switch. Unlike Rutgers, BC, or Syracuse, they're geographically situated right in Big Ten territory, about halfway between PSU and OSU. Plus, they already have the aforementioned rivalry with PSU.
I think the simplest solution to the scheduling/rematch problem would be to divide based on rivalries, like the ACC did; besides the historic nature of Big Ten rivalries, there isn't any obvious way to divide the conference by geography. Michigan and OSU should be in the same division. That way they could play every year, and would never meet in a championship rematch. The conference could look something like this:
Division 1: UM, OSU, MSU, Indiana, Purdue, Minnesota
Division 2: PSU, Pitt, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Northwestern
I think this divisional alignment would be as even as possible considering relative strengths both in football and basketball, and would preserve as many rivalries as possible within divisions (e.g. UM-OSU, UM-MSU, UM-Minnesota, Indiana-Purdue, PSU-Pitt, Illinois-Northwestern, Iowa-Wisconsin). Scheduling would work like the SEC: each season, every team would play each team in their own division (5 games) and half of the other division (3 games), then the next year they would have the same schedule with home and away swapped. The next 2 years after that, same thing, except with the other 3 teams in the opposite division.
I think you could divide by rivalries but frnkly there will always be one team left out. In yours, it's Minnesota, they don't play their 2 biggest rivals (Wisconsin and Iowa, Michigan is not a real rival if they kick the crap out of them every year) and 4 closest teams. The axe and the pig would be almost obsolete (and the jug seeing as it's always in AA.) SEC scheduling would ideally work, it's the same in the Big 12 also. Ideally the only way to divide up the conference fairly without splitting up too many rivalries (but can't keep the balance of power think Big Twelve) is to have a team west of Indiana join. It would be:
East - UM, OSU, PSU, MSU, Indy, Purdue
West - Ill, NW, Wisky, Minny, Iowa, ____
Theoretically this would split it up well but frankly there are no teams that would join. You could look at Iowa State, but that really would nopt work either, Missouri and Nebraska would be the ideal others but it is also doubtful that they'd break up historical rivalries and step down a conference. The only ideal teams are Big East teams and that splits up the balance also. Unless:
Division 1 - UM, OSU, MSU, Indy, Purdue, BIG EAST X
Division 2 - PSU, Minny, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, NW
PSU would be out west but it'd balance out the power structure and keep the historic rivalries largely intact.
Granted this is coming from a Minnesota partisan... but you think we treasure our rivalry with Michigan more than Wisconsin and Iowa combined? It's telling that of seven rivalries you define, three of them involve Michigan. If there is something to such an idea, you'd need to paw through a massive set of disparate rivalries to try to please everyone. I don't think it could be done.
Frankly I'd rather kick out a team and go full-round-robin. None of this division nonsense. If it must be done, I think geography is the way to go.
Maybe we can bribe Wisconsin-Milwaukee to throw a bazillion dollars at athletics; the student body is certainly big enough to support such things.
That's not how the SEC does it's conference schedule. The SEC operates under a 5-1-2 method: 5 divisional opponents, 1 permanent opponent from the other division (Bama-UT, UF-LSU, UGA-Auburn, USC-Ark, UK-MSU, Miss-Vandy), and 2 rotating opponents from the other division. It was originally 5-2-1, but changed earlier this decade.
Let's kick PSU out and go back to 10!
I like PSU's addition to the Big Ten. Notre Dame will never join so the Big Ten should stop courting them.
The next best options (in my view anyway) from a proximity and value-add to the Big Ten would be either Pittsburgh or Missouri. Not sure about Rutgers being a good fit.
But the Big Ten should expand by one more team, divide into North and South and then do all it can to preserve conference rivalry games like Mich-OSU, Mich-MSU, Purdue-Indiana, Mich-Minn, etc.
BTW I posted about this subject on my blog.
Why would Missouri want to join, other than its rivalry with Illinois? They're much better situated in the Big 12. Pitt works, though.
They would love to join the academic wing of the conference (the CIC). I suspect that Big Ten membership is more financially lucrative, too, though I'm not certain.
is a Wisconsin guy nearing retirement at Pitt. Would cement his legacy to get Pitt in the Big 10 / CIC.
ND is never going to join unless forced to by the NCAA along with radical changes to the BCS. If a playoff is only open to members of certain conferences, perhaps ND joins us.
If we do add a 12th team, you'll have to have OSU and Mich in opposite sides of the conference so as not to ruin the rivalry game tradition. Then you run the risk, if Michigan returns to traditional levels, that the Big Ten Championship Game will be a repeat of the previous weeks game between the two.
That result would delegitimze the champion somewhat, if the team that wins the latter game lost the first matchup just one week before.
I hope we do it anyway.
In my opinion, you'd have to do UM and OSU in the same side of the conference so that they could play every year without jacking around the divisional schedule. That also solves the problem of championship game rematches.
Definitely. This is the only solution. Having said that, I wish the NCAA would drop conference title games altogether. Have everyone play a 12-game season, and then have an eight-team playoff. The revenue generated from the playoff will more than make up for the lost conference revenue.
Notre Dame is the dream team to add to the Big Ten, but they have no desire to join, at least for now.
I think that Big Ten officials will not offer any one else as long as ND is independent. No one fits the bill as perfectly as Notre Dame in terms of being an ideal candidate.
There's no reason to put an apostrophe after "Jo."
It's just Joe.
Thanks for the contribution.
ND's the only real option here. Sadly they don't seem interested. Pitt wouldn't be a bad second choice--Rutgers and Syracuse seem subpar as they'd spread out the conference even more geographically.
I really don't understand why they don't get into a conference. They are only hurting themselves with not being in one. In basketball they are in the big east, so why aren't they in a football conference? Is it not possible to be an independent in basketball or something? If I was a ND fan I would be pushing for joining a conference. I just don't get it.
I do, however, think that Notre Dame would be an excellent addition to the Big Ten. Solid team and they have good tradition and rivalries set up in the big ten. I don't see how this could be a bad thing.
Being an independent is a tradition that Notre Dame clings to dearly. I think we've seen over the past year how acrimonious fanbases can be to lost traditions.
They would be an independent for every sport if it were economically feasible, but that became impossible in the 90's. If every conference had stuck to their guns then, Notre Dame likely would have been forced to join a conference in all sports. The Big East, though, was willing to let the Irish stay independent in football. Now they get fucked in the ass every year in football (it's hilarious how screwed up the scheduling agreements and bowl tie-ins are for those two entities) for the honor of having Notre Dame attached to the conference for every sport the Irish are irrelevant in (well, not totally irrelevant, but minuscule compared to football).
How are they hurting themselves? They make more money as an independent due to their TV contract with NBC.
Brings something to the conference (hoops) and will get something (a full stadium when PSU, OSU, Michigan) come to town.
It's a sad statement for a team when the only time they sell out of season tickets is the year when Notre Dame comes to town - hell, the Notre Dame Club of Pittsburgh organized to buy SEASON TICKETS for Pitt ($138/seat - no donation) so that ND fans can go to the game and DONATE the rest of their tickets to Tickets for Kids.
55k seat Heinz Field looks like a friggin empty barn when they play. Big East fans don't really seem to travel, the should give Big Ten fans a try - I think Iowa and MSU filled Heinz pretty well recently...
In basketball there are autobids to be had for winning conference championships, plus those tourneys go a long way towards securing at large bids. If ND didn't have a basketball conference, that might affect their playoff hopes negatively.
I wish the NCAA would do this in football, and set up a football playoff such that if you're not a member of a conference, you're severely damaging your chances at participating. That would force ND into a conference. No more bending over backwards to give ND an autobid just for meeting a specific set of criteria.
Pros - already have a rivalry established with Iowa, geographically easy
Cons - ISU is not Big 10 caliber (right now) in football, and the Big 12 wouldn't give them up without a suitable replacement (who?)
Pros - used to have a rivalry with Penn State, geographically easy
Cons - They've just finally rearrived as a Big East contender, they won't give that up, and they wouldn't want to make WVU a non-conference rival.
Pros - lots of history, team on the rise
Cons - no historic ties with any Big 10 teams, geographically a bit of a stretch
Pros - tons of basketball history, has had some very good football years, could more easily and quickly compete with Big 10 teams than the teams above, historic ties with Indiana
Cons - too much SEC history, too many blue teams in the conference, more benefits in football recruting in SEC than Big 10, how important is a historic tie with Indiana?
Pros - its Notre Dame
Cons - its Notre Dame
I just don't see any of these happening. Besides, didn't they just choose to extend Big 10 play a week? Shouldn't this create another week of TV exposure? Is an expansion really necessary?
Take out all of the hype and ESPN buildup, and ND football is no different than Kentucky basketball. They're clinging to tradition, and it's failing.
Living in NJ, I am constantly surrounded by many ND alums (who are great) and the annoying subway alums (they're based here). I can tell you that after last season they were all severely deflated. There was a lot of soul searching after they lost to Syracuse. Losing to Syracuse finally brought some reality back into the rabid fanbase. If you think about it, ND has not been a consistent national power since Holtz left. Far from it, they've been remarkably inconsistent and have performed very poorly against top teams.
What does this all have to do with expansion? Much, really. Subway alums are nice to have until they're gone. If ND continues on their decline, those subway alums, who make up the bulk of the tv audience, will vanish. Even some of the real alums have had enough. Once that happens, ND becomes a shockingly average team, no different than a classier version of Cincinnati when it comes to sports. Therefore, I'm not so sure ND is a lock even if they're interested (and they might be once their NBC contract is inevitably not renewed).
As far as JoePa is concerned, I understand where he's coming from. He doesn't have a true rivalry and he doesn't want Michigan-OSU dominating the discussion every year. He also doesn't want to join the Big East because it's a basketball conference. What better way to achieve your objectives than by ensuring Michigan-OSU is not the last conference game (under any scenario both schools would be in the east half) and add one of your rivalry games (Pitt, Rutgers, not Syracuse). I see what's in it for him, but I don't think it would be in Michigan's interest because I want to preserve the Michigan-Ohio State game as the final conference game.
Therefore, from Michigan's perspective, there would have to be a huge money windfall from the new team. I have argued that it doesn't necessarily have to be ND. It won't be with any other team except maybe Rutgers. Rutgers is solidly in the NY media market (they would also capture part of the Philadelphia market, which is also large). I actually think people here will want to watch college sports. They certainly have with Big East basketball. The potential of the NY media market, combined with shoring up the Philadelphia media market, may be enough to warrant consideration. But it's far too early for Rutgers. The future of football is far from certain (what if Greg Schiano leaves, as he almost did to Michigan and probably will if Penn State wants him). They have a joke of a basketball team. And they're also a declining university. See, people outside of NJ don't understand just how bad of shape Rutgers is in now. They're a total shell of their former self. Alumni are disloyal and state support is low. It's just a really average school at the undergraduate level, and mostly at the graduate level too. That's why it was my "safety" school when I was applying to undergraduate schools and the same was true for my classmates. I'm not sure adding Rutgers to the B10, therefore, would really prop up the conference's academic image. You couple that with their infant sports program, and I think it's far too early to even consider them.
Unless there's some huge financial difficulty with the B10 I'm not aware of, I don't think it's in Michigan's interest to expand the conference.
Brian actually made a post about this a few years back: http://mgoblog.com/content/big-ten-expansion-pros-and-cons
It's a few years old, but pretty interesting and in-depth. At any rate, it's not happening right now.