I don't find it probable either, merely more of an interesting notion. I'd like to see M play 10 conference games as opposed to 3 or 4 baby seal u's.
One 14 Team Conference to Rule Them All
First of all, I sincerely doubt am pretty much willing to completely discount the possibility that the Big Ten will expand to 14 teams. However, it is an interesting exercise to consider the possibility, particularly when the alternative would be to do the physics homework I have due tomorrow. Anyway, here we go:
Current conventional wisdom considers adding Maryland, Syracuse, Pitt, Rutgers, Missouri, etc. (i.e. an array of palatable choices) to the Big Ten. No group of three here could even hope to better the Big Ten financially, because these schools cannot generate enough revenue collectively to improve the financial situation of the Big Ten. This is not to say that an individual school wouldn't be able to do so. With the exception of Rutgers, who doesn't produce a lot of revenue, despite their proximity to New York, and would become an instant doormat in every important sport, each school on that list has the potential to benefit the Big Ten financially. Every school would likely add something in television revenue and a Big Ten championship game could be a huge moneymaker. In fact, if the Big Ten does expand, it is possible that they may consider putting the game on the Big Ten Network, which would suck to watch but would either make the network more profitable or allow them to drive up the price that another network (likely ESPN/ABC) would have to pay to televise the game. This means that the addition of one school adds some television revenue and the revenue of a championship game. However, any school in addition to a 12th school would only add television revenue in their market, which would almost certainly cause the Big Ten member schools to lose revenue.
Now, if the Big Ten were to expand to 14 teams, the move would have to include several major schools, not unlike the ACC bringing in Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College. In fact, if the Big Ten were to attempt to expand east, it is likely that at least some (or even all) of those schools would be recruited. However, I think that if the Big Ten were to expand to 14 teams they would most likely move west. This thought is not based on some whimsical geographic notion, but rather because I have three specific teams in mind.
This is where it gets interesting. If the Big Ten were to expand to 14 teams, I believe the best move is to poach Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri. These teams would be more likely to leave the Big 12 as a group, because it would allow them to maintain some rivalries (most notably Kansas and Missouri), increase their revenue, and join a conference that is much more prestigious than being in the Big 12 North. Meanwhile, the Big Ten might be able to increase their TV revenue by adding a larger geographic footprint (Kansas and Nebraska aren't much from a revenue standpoint, but Missouri would be a nice addition*), and the addition of a national football power in Nebraska and a national basketball power in Kansas would allow the Big Ten to sign much larger television contracts. Also, from a competitive standpoint, this move would make the Big Ten stronger in football and much stronger in basketball.
Obviously, this is not remotely likely to happen. The financial uncertainty and legal problems that this type of move would cause would be a huge risk for a conference that doesn't need to take it and universities who stand to potentially lose a lot of money. That said, it is a fun idea to think about, particularly when you consider how much havoc this would cause (bye, bye Big 12...cackle cackle).
Not well thought out fun with divisions in the new 14 team Big Ten (note, I am assuming nine conference games with one game reserved as a permanent inter-divisional rivalry):
Ohio State-Penn State
Note: I considered leaving out permanent rivalries because outside of Northwestern-Illinois (and OSU-PSU to an extent), none seemed that important. However, I decided that it would be worthwhile to do them as an exercise. My methodology to making them was to prioritize current rivalries first (MSU-Indiana, OSU-PSU, and Northwestern-Illinois), then match the remaining teams as best I could. I put Michigan and Nebraska together because of the historical success of both programs, although it also makes a lot of sense to put Iowa and Nebraska together (it could be called the Corn Bowl, a trophy game in which the winner gets a golden corn...).
Playing 10 conference games means that the computers will have very few non-conference games to evaluate the Big Ten with the rest of the country. This would lead to higher variance in the strength of schedule ratings that Michigan would have, which could turn out very well, or screw us over completely come BCS selection time.
Since it's mostly uninformed media members and even more uninformed coaches doing the polls that are taken in by the BCS formula, conference perception (ESS EEE SEE) will help you just as much as a solid OOC win. And the PAC-Ten hasn't been hurt too badly by moving to three OOC games.
My fear is that the computer polls will have big fluctuations with regard to rankings if each team only gets two non-conference games, because the relative lack of data points (non-conference games) could lead the computers to wildly underrate the conference in general, which would harm any BCS contender as they would be rated below other similar teams if they had a poor computer ranking.
There would be three non-conference games, only the divisional champions would play 10 games including the conference title. The rest would play 9 conference.
So as not to rehash... my comments on this very notion were posted "here," currently comment #11: http://mgoblog.com/diaries/12th-big-10-team
One piece worth summarizing is that the addition would solidify the St. Louis market (currently split between Illini and Mizzou) and add the Kansas City market.
"Frank The Tank's" blog makes a detailed argument that teams like Missouri and Kansas don't have enough financial impact to be seriously considered by the conference:
I just finished reading "Frank the Tank's" arguments... great outline of possibilities. I am thinking "burnt orange" all-over-again! Taking "Frank the Tank's" thoughts on Texas, in the context of Mizzou's recent public push for Big-10 consideration, leaves me thinking that the moment is ripe for Texas to make a move before the Big 12 is put into panic-mode. After all, if there is a good chance that the Big 12 will be destabilized by a Big 10 expansion, isn't it better to be the "destabilizer" than the "destabilized?"
Texas leaving the Big 12 for the Big 10 is just ridiculous, despite Frank's convoluted argument that Texas would work and would consider joining. Let's count some reasons why this won't work:
1. Non-revenue sports have to travel many, many miles using very expensive plane tickets. Michigan isn't spending the cash to fly a field hockey team to Austin, and Texas isn't spending that 11 times to fly their field hockey team to Big 10 country. There's more than football to consider.
2. Texas would have to give up its football rivalry with either Oklahoma or Texas A&M. No way would Mack Brown agree to play both in non-conference.
3. Texas's government wouldn't want them to leave and destabilize the Big 12. The reason Baylor is in the Big 12 is because the governor of the largest state in the Big 12 with four teams demanded it happen. Houston and TCU were both better fits when the Big 12 formed. This is pretty well documented. It would hurt every public school in Texas in the Big 12 if Texas left.
4. Unbalanced revenue sharing benefits Texas in the long run, even if it may not now. The next TV deal will likely put them past the Big 10 average.
These are pretty simple reasons. Finally, Frank's metric only bases 5% of the possible points on mutual interest, which he gives a 3. He also specifically ignores demographics and location, which is clearly important. Every conference in the country would probably benefit from Texas's entry, but they wouldn't leave--bottom line.
Responding point by point:
1. With regard to travel costs, Texas would be forced to spend about as much as Hawaii does (if not less). Both Texas and Hawaii have 18 varsity teams and would be required to fly their teams to every away game. If Hawaii can afford the travel costs, then so can Texas.
2. Texas fans seem willing to play Oklahoma and Texas A&M every year non-conference. Furthermore, it is quite possible that the Big Ten would place Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State in the same division, giving Texas an easier conference schedule, making the move more palatable. That said, this is probably the biggest issue with regard to expansion.
3. The Big Ten can destroy the Big 12 at will anyway. Missouri has indicated that they are willing to come to the Big Ten the moment we send an invite. This move would likely destroy the Big 12 because they would lose most of or all of the Missouri television market. The result would be chaos, as Colorado would likely leave for the Pac 10 and the dominoes would fall from there. Texas knows this and is thus open to leaving. Furthermore, the reason that Texas Tech and Baylor were included in the Big 12 was pressure from alumni of the respective schools who occupied key positions in the state government that affected the decision. The interests of both schools are no longer represented particularly well, so the only real concern there will be what to do with Texas A&M. A variety of options for dealing with Texas A&M exist. Among them include adding A&M to the Pac 10 or SEC, or bringing Texas, Texas A&M, and a third school (Missouri or Syracuse?) with a large television market to the Big Ten.
4. The Big 12 lacks the geographic footprint to negotiate a contract at the level of the Big Ten or SEC. The Big Ten has a very large population base between Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan television markets. The Big 12 includes the huge Texas market, the respectable Missouri and Colorado markets (which are collectively matched by Minnesota and Wisconsin) and a number of small states. The lack of population in the Big 12 virtually ensures that the Big 12 can never come close to matching the Big Ten television contract. To give numbers on the gap, every Big Ten school makes $22 million. Texas, with unequal revenue sharing, makes about $12 million (in '07-'08, they made $11.35 million in TV money, which may have increased slightly).
I think that the bigger problems with a Texas move to the Big Ten arise from the differences in culture and tradition. Boosters at Texas are hugely important (Texas receives nearly 30% of their annual revenue from contribution) and a large faction will likely oppose moving to the Big Ten for one reason or another. Numerous fans who have read about the possibility of Texas moving to the Big Ten cite the differing cultures surrounding football as a major sticking point. Others are concerned about traveling to away games. Still others fear that the Big Ten schools will lock out Texas when the conference makes decisions. And many think that Texas should bolt to the Pac 10 instead of the Big Ten, where they think that they will wield more power. In short, there are a number of reasons will lead to opposition to the move from fans, who wield power over Texas because of Texas' reliance on donations for profit.
I wasn't upset about your post, it's just that the Texas argument really gets me going. For example, saying Texas can afford to travel because Hawaii can ignores one important fact--Texas doesn't have to pay those costs, Hawaii does have to. Texas obviously benefits whatever conference they are in financially. It is a fantastic school in a great city with great sports teams. I just don't buy UT administration or Texas government seeing any reason to leave a perfectly good deal that really works well for them.
The Big 10 may be able to poach Mizzou, Kansas or even Nebraska from the Big 12, although I don't really see that much relative benefit to bringing in either of those schools. That style of expansion doesn't bring that many new potential viewers or bring in a great new recruiting area. Plus, I think the ultimate result of that poach would result in the Big 12 adding TCU or Utah and actually being a stronger conference.
I personally expect an eventual expansion to take someone from the Big East. Adding Pitt means the Big 10 has both top schools in Pennsylvania. Adding Rutgers gets the Big 10 into New York. Adding either may eliminate the Big East's auto-bid because they'd be forced to add a pretty crappy team or simply be unable to schedule enough games each season. This makes two BCS games more likely each year, which means more money.
If a 14 team mega-super conference were formed, why wouldn't the SEC try to pick up Miami and Texas? It's a better fit geographically and that conference would really be phenomenal.
First of all, I don't see Texas remaining in the Big 12 because the Big 12 is inherently unstable. While the conference is definitely competitive from an athletic standpoint, it does not cater to a large population base relative to the three most financially successful conferences: the Big Ten, the SEC, and the ACC (note: the Pac 10 is anomaly for a variety of factors, which I will discuss later if you like).
Here's a very rough look at the percentage of the country's populations that are included in each BCS conference's immediate geographic footprint (which I will tentatively define as the states with a school in the said conference, e.g. Ohio is included in the Big Ten for OSU and the Big East for Cincinnati):
Big 12: 15%
Big East (football): 20%*
Big Ten: 23%
Pac 10: 17%
*The Big East is bolstered by the inclusion of Ohio and Pennsylvania, both of which do not fully feed into the pool of Big East viewers.
Clearly, the Big 12 starts at a disadvantage. Furthermore, the states that orbit the Big 12 (with the exception of Illinois, which doesn't really feed into the pool of regular Big 12 school viewers) are not particularly populous, unlike the Big Ten and SEC. This is then compounded by the fact that the Big 12 has to split television revenue between 12 teams (as opposed to 10 for the next smallest geographic footprint, the Pac 10). The overall result is that the Big 12 is at a major disadvantage in the realm of television contracts, relative to other conferences.
Currently, the Big 12 faces almost certain death if the Big Ten expands westward. Should the Big Ten decide to take Missouri (knocking out the second largest state in the Big 12), the Big 12 will probably not survive. The resulting loss in revenue would probably lead Colorado to defect to the Pac 10 (which has been an ongoing possibility for a long time) which would likely lead to the complete destabilization of the conference, which would have lost almost 30% of its population base, which would take away a lot of revenue.
Texas is more than aware of this possibility. They know that in all likelihood, they will need to find a new conference relatively soon. Furthermore, they are unwilling to join the SEC for academic reasons (this is a consistent mantra of the Texas administration, sorry but I can't find a link). That leaves the Big Ten and Pac 10, both of which have numerous pros and cons for Texas in terms of culture, finances, and various other factors, of which I do not have sufficient awareness to provide a good analysis.
Also, with regard to your comments on expanding east, I doubt that we will take Pitt or Rutgers. Pitt, I think, would be the best choice athletically (good football and basketball, plus the PSU rivalry), but would add little in the way of added revenue (note: I'm assuming that the Big Ten will make $15 million with a championship game, meaning that for the conference to profit via expansion, any target school will have to bring in more than $7 million), Rutgers, meanwhile does cover a large population base, but is not necessarily competitive enough athletically to deliver the New York City area, which by and large is relatively apathetic to Rutgers football. If the Big Ten were to expand east, I think Syracuse is the most likely choice because they can bring in the New York market (theoretically) and has a much stronger athletic history.
I am in favor of anything that brings a "CORN BOWL" to life.
Nebraska is the only b12 team I would invite into our conference. It would even out the conference and I would stick them in the b10 western division with IA, MN, WI, IL, NW. The remainder of the teams would go into the eastern division. NE can work out a non-conference agreement to play their rival OU much the way we do with ND.
so we are giving up the best and most storied rivalry in college football? how isn't OSU-Mich a permanant?
They would play in the samne division so they would play each other every year anyways. Permanent rivalries are for playing a team out of your division every year.
What about Rutgers? They have one of the, if not the biggest television market in the US. They have 35,000 students and a 52,000 seat newly renovated stadium. Their academics are on a par with the big ten and would bring in revenue. After all, this is all about money!!!
1) No one cares about Rutgers. Why do you think so many students at Michigan and other Big Ten schools are from NJ.
2) They don't bring in the NY TV market. Thats B.S. No one in NYC cares about college football save the people who moved there (or back there) from colleges that had big football programs like us, PSU, etc.
3) Rutgers doesn't bring us anything. Their basketball is nonexistent, football has had how many winning seasons since WWII??? Makes no sense. Far better options.
I'm still of the opinion that the announcement a few weeks back was a fishing trip to see if Notre Dame or its "spokespeople" would respond or make the appropriate noises indicating some interest. Since they sent out their no thanks, its gone quiet again.