"Barking Carnival" post that proposes that Big Ten expansion is not driven primarily by athletics, but rather to expand political support for the billions of dollars in federally funded research done by the CIC universities:
Alternative Reasoning For Big Ten Expansion
I don't think anybody who isn't Joe Football Fan thinks expansion is driven primarily by athletics. You'd have to be a darned fool to believe that. The Big Ten is the nations #1 moneymaking conference, and by far the lead academic outfit. Texas fits in snugly on both counts, falling right in the middle of the pack academically in the Big Ten - but it's real value is expanding the Big Ten brand by tens of millions of dollars. FrankTheTank has a great blog up that has been chronicling all of this. On every count except politics, Texas to the Big Ten is a gimme. Sans Notre Dame, nobody can leave a big enough footprint on local cable networks for the Big Ten to consider them.
The above link gets a little bonkers with the mega expansion as well. The Big Ten isn't adding more than one team, unless those next teams also make a mark as big Texas or ND - like Miami. I don't think A&M is the Adrian Witty to UT's Denard Robinson. Texas pretty much loathes everyone in the Big 12 and stands to gain much more as a member of the Big Ten, and I'm willing to bet they consider us pretty hard. I'm sure all the higher-ups at UT are on board with it, the Big Ten certainly is, it's just a matter of detaching the Texas legislature from their nuts.
The problem is that the political establishment in Texas would not want Texas A&M being "left behind" so they probably would have to come along with Texas. We have our ski-mask wearing little brother and Texas does as well.
Remember when your parents wouldn't let you go hang out with your friends unless you brought your unpopular little brother? That's Texas with Texas A&M. If we get those two we'd still need another team at which point either Missouri or Nebraska would fit. Nebraska would fit better athletically, but academically both would be fine as they are AAU members.
would not care about Texas A&M IMO.
I agree, Michigan-Mike. If I had to call it today (although nothing will probably happen for a while) I would venture that the expansion schools would be Missouri, Texas A&M, and Texas. That seems like the logical choices once it is clear to the Big Ten that the Texas legislature won't let Texas leave without Texas A&M.
is arguably better than the Big 10 academically from top to bottom and it's pretty clearly better at the top.
Especially when you consider that the Big Ten academic unit (the CIC) includes Chicago.
Northwestern=Virginia (interchangeable with Michigan)
...and so on
Chicago plays in the University Athletic Association at the Division III level, I don't consider them a Big Ten team.
Hence, I included Chicago, as they are part of the reason that the Big Ten is attractive to academically strong schools. However, even if you don't include Chicago, the Big Ten still compares rather favorably to the ACC. The worst schools in the Big Ten are MSU and Iowa, which are far superior to NC State and FSU. The rest of the conference is slightly stronger than the Big Ten on a team by team basis, but the bottom of the ACC is well bellow the Big Ten's cellar.
Michigan and UNC are about as equal as it gets. And even if you generously allow Chicago to be included, "and so on" is where the ACC beats hell out of the Big Ten. You've got Wake, GT, and BC all topping the next best Big Ten schools (Illinois and Wisconsin, according the USN&WR rankings.) Miami's actually a very good school, as is Clemson. The Big Ten is only stronger at the very bottom (FSU and VT are kinda crappy.)
Michigan is probably below UNC in the liberal arts, but we have far superior programs in pretty much everything else. Furthermore, once again the Big Ten has an academic unit and that unit includes Chicago (hence I include Chicago). Partnering with Chicago via the CIC is a major reason why a lot of academic departments want to join the Big Ten.
Anyway, by that standard, the top 3 of the Big Ten is a shade better than the top of the ACC, the middle six of the ACC is better than the middle six of the Big Ten, and the bottom three of the Big Ten blow the bottom three of the ACC out of the water and then some. Hence I give the overall advantage to the Big Ten.
That said, it definitely should be noted that for the most part, the Big Ten schools are major research institutions with very strong engineering and science departments, while the ACCs liberal arts programs are definitely superior to the Big Ten's on a comprehensive basis (discounting Georgia Tech (which holds its own with Big Ten engineering) and Virginia Tech (which doesn't touch the major Big Ten engineering programs). So perhaps comparing the conferences academically isn't really a viable suggestion, considering the differing priorities of most of the schools in each conference.
I don't think you're giving the middle of the ACC enough credit. Georgia Tech doesn't "hold its own" with Big Ten engineering, it beats them all. U-M isn't "far superior" to UNC in hardly anything - they are very close, and where one school is better than the other, it's not by much - and liberal arts (where UNC makes its money) are such a huge range of disciplines that you can't just brush them aside.
You're definitely right about the differing priorities. The ACC is very heavily tilted toward liberal arts. UNC, Wake, BC, Miami, the undergrad side of Duke.....all liberal arts schools first and foremost. I don't think there's a single school in the Big Ten you'd call a liberal arts school. The ACC just kills in that department. UVA is the only really superior liberal arts + professional disciplines (business, engineering, etc.) school in the ACC.
I was mainly thinking about engineering (which is partially due to the homework that I was doing at the time...I hate circuits...never mind), but it should be noted that UNC has excellent schools of medicine, business, journalism, etc. That said, overall, they still aren't really Michigan's equal in research (not to say that UNC is a weak research school; but Michigan is better).
As to Georgia Tech, their engineering department is in the same tier as the top Big Ten engineering departments, namely they rank among the best in the country. That is what I meant when I said they hold their own with the Big Ten. That said, I wouldn't go so far as to say they are superior to all Big Ten engineering departments.
Finally, I would say that you could call Northwestern the superior liberal arts school of the Big Ten (along with Chicago).
I'm not a big believer in school rankings. It's altogether too subjective and of dubious usefulness. However, if you're going to argue about relative academic strengths, how about some outside opinions:
The US News regards Georgia Tech at about the same level as Illinois as an engineering school. It's regarded slightly more highly than Michigan. Depending on the specific engineering discipline, the rankings vary, but all three are well represented.
The ACC might be equivalent if you're talking undergrad education, but the CiC is about doctoral level and above research, something that Wake and BC don't really emphasize and which FSU, NCSU, Clemson, and Miami don't measure up to the Big 10 standards.
Of course, the Big 10 doesn't measure up to the Ivies in terms of advanced research, so it's really the 2nd best "academic conference."
What exactly are you basing this on? Here's a list of schools ranked by research expenditures (excerpted for the lazy)
11. Ohio State
13. Penn State
41. Michigan State
32. Ga Tech.
51. NC State
54. Va Tech.
90. Fla. State
91. Wake Forest
The Big Ten looks a hell of a lot better than the ACC to me.
become the sole determination of college excellence. Are you telling me Wisconsin is the 2nd best school in the country?
I'm not claiming research expenditures are the sole determinant of school excellence, but it's not completely unrelated either. Crappy schools don't get a lot of money to do research. Thus, the data I presented is at least a decent first cut at determining the quality of schools, and the ACC doesn't look great by comparison.
Bucknell is number 377 on that list any they are probably more selective than M. Not all schools want to be major research institutions.
But that's the standard of academic excellence that the Big 10 presidents care about.
Of course B11 presidents think their conference is the best. Ask the ACC and I'm sure they'd make a case based on their strengths, too.
fact "crappy schools don't get a lot of money to do research" doesn't mean that ALL good schools DO get a lot of money to do research.
Wake Forest and Miami are good schools. They just don't focus on research that much.
I was surprised to see Georgia Tech so low though.
Ga Tech. has no medical school, and medicine is where the big money is.
Obviously I'm not going to argue with that. I was just trying to throw some statistics out there that begin to refute your unjustified claim that the top of the ACC is "clearly better" (which I don't think is true). So while research expenditures are not the be-all end-all statistic, I've yet to see any evidence that the ACC is better at anything.
And for what it's worth, if the Big Ten expansion committee cares about academics, research expenditures is probably what they really care about, not test scores or acceptance rate or anything like that.
I think Duke, Virginia, UNC, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, and BC are clearly better than Northwestern, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and whatever you feel are the next best two Big Ten schools. That's what I meant by better at the top.
And if you're looking for some evidence, USN&WR college rankings back me up.
USN&WR ratings are similar to a Letterman top ten list.
The guy lists BYU as a shoo-in for the Pac-10 in his hypothetical super conference extravaganza. Ha. You need to a unanimous vote for admittance into the Pac 10(Big Ten just needs 8-3). You really think the presidents at the most liberal, hippy schools in the country(Cal, UCLA, etc) would EVER cast a vote for BYU?
Yes, He's way off on that point. It'd be UConn to the Pac-10 before it would be BYU.
I've heard Utah and Colorado as possible Pac 10 expansion members.
You think cash-strapped presidents in the most struggling public school system in the country would turn down the instant money of having more conference members because of the religious affiliation of the school?
Also, liberal hippies don't tend to climb the hyper-political academic ladder up to university president. Those folks tend to be more on the cold and calculating side of the populace.
I'd say that there's a much more attractive option in Colorado. If they don't get Colorado, Utah would still be a better fit than BYU.
Hence Stanford is a threat to veto, even if UC Berkeley doesn't. After all, Stanford is the reason that Texas isn't in the Pac 10 today (and thus responsible for the Big 12's existence), as they vetoed them when the SWC collapsed. The quirks of any school can sink virtually any deal regarding conference expansion.
I've heard that Big 10 Bylaws state that members must be from a state adjacent to a state with a Big 10 school. Is that the case? I'd sure like to know because such a clause in the Bylaws would have a noticeable effect on who (if anyone) is picked as an expansion team.
If such a clause exists, then without a Bylaw Revision, no Texas, no Texas A&M.
This has been brought up before. There is no such thing. It's bunk.
Between tuition and research expenditures the schools in The Big Ten bring in significantly more money than any other conference (even more than the Ivy League). And with higher ed becoming a key component of keeping up with our advancing world it is important to be on the forefront of one of the country's most important industries.
That was a really great, thought provoking article. Thanks for posting.
And it makes perfect sense. We may be seeing the perfect mix, finally, of athletics, academics, politics, and hot chicks.
is a huge deal. Wisconsin's grad school standing is on par with the Usual Suspects we all like to brag about. The ACC is not the Big Ten's equal academically. Who gives a fuck about undergraduate rankings. It's not about that. The Big Ten is the nations premier academic conference thanks to their schools overall strength, and the CIC. But that's really all I'm going to say about the subject, because conferences like the ACC are irrelevant when talking about expansion. If any big kahuna is looking to find a new home, the Big Ten has to be #1 on their list. Mother Fucking Indiana pulled in 10 million more revenue dollars than Texas did - and Texas can't make much more despite being at an advantage in the Big 12's uneven revenue sharing. That 10 million difference Indiana makes, mind you, is more than what ND gets from their "vaunted" NBC contract on a yearly basis.
If we really didn't give any credence to undergrad, then we wouldn't want Notre Dame.
Undergrad is definitely not the most important thing in the Big Ten, but it does carry some weight.
In this discussion of conference expansion. The CIC is a major selling point, and it has nothing to do with your undergraduate standing.
I'll let FranktheTank's blog do the talking:
"This is a zero-sum category: either a school meets the academic requirements and receives the full 25 points or it doesn’t. Casual sports fans tend to ignore this component since they just see conferences for how they perform on the field or hardwood. However, academics are heavily weighted in this analysis because membership in the Big Ten also means membership in the Committee for Institutional Cooperation (CIC). That’s not a small consideration as the Big Ten universities plus former conference member University of Chicago share research and resources among each other for academic purposes. Therefore, any expansion candidate needs to fit in with academic discussions among U of C and Northwestern faculty just as much as they need to bring prowess to the football field against Ohio State and Michigan. Membership in the American Association of Universities is preferred but not required if a school is in the upper echelon of the U.S. News & World Report rankings. Tier 3 schools, however, are going to be eliminated right off the bat no matter how much they might bring to the athletic side of the equation."
But I think this is starting to veer into a pointless ACC/Big Ten pissing contest, when I'm trying to make the point that the Big Ten is THE conference to gain membership to, monetarily AND academically thanks to the academic resources openly shared. Notre Dame's faculty are so on board with joining the Big Ten because of this.
Notre Dame, to my understanding, doesn't have much to offer the CIC, as they are not much for research, but does have a lot to offer the Big Ten athletically. The Big Ten is willing to waive their CIC concerns should Notre Dame ever decide to join because they are a great fit athletically and their academics (which are focused on undergrads) are top-notch. So the point here is that the Big Ten won't necessarily deny a team that can't contribute mightily to the CIC so long as their academics are on par. Of course, this only really applies to Notre Dame anyway when thinking about teams that have any shot of joining the Big Ten (unless you think BC might, in which case you're rather deluded), so this is all rather pointless.
Also, I'm not trying to be a dick, but it probably isn't a good idea to claim that the Big Ten is the superior academic conference and then bash the ACC if you want to avoid a Big Ten-ACC pissing contest. Furthermore, a fair argument could be made for the Pac 10 being superior to the Big Ten academically as well, although the weakness at the bottom of the Pac 10 should kill that discussion.
Is Mother Fucking Indiana an offshoot of West Fuckin Virginia?
My brother the Boilermaker probably thinks so.
Well, you're forgetting the Ivies in terms of academic standing, (and I think if the CiC gets to count U of C, the Ivies get to count MIT, which has a similar organizational affiliation), that's clearly the premier academic consortium in most fields, but the CiC is probably 2d.
We're talking about the influence of academics on schools with big time sports. I'm sure if Harvard played Alabama in the BCS title game this year we'd do everything we could to get them to join.
After Michigan, Chicago, and Northwestern, there is not a single Big Ten school that is comparable with an Ivy League School. For instance Dartmouth v. OSU or Michigan State v. Brown are clear distinctions.
The Pac-10 on the top academically is outstanding (USC, UCLA, Cal, Stanford and Washington). The other five are decent but I know at least one of those is a Tier 3 school. All members of the Big Ten are in the AAU and are ranked no lower than 71st in the US News. Of the 65 BCS schools the 11 Big Ten Schools account for almost a third of the research of all those institutions.
I don't mean to bash any school out there but there is clearly an identity to the Big Ten and that is academic excellence at all it's schools.
In the words of Rich Eisen: "I'm not saying, I'm just saying"