No matter what happens Chuck Neinas, the acting Big 12 commissioner, has done a compete 180 for that conference. Just a few months ago the Big 12 was about to explode now they have a seat at the big boys table and are rumored to thinking about poaching FSU. That guy has sure earned his paychecks.
Dallas Morning News: Big 12 Source said "We Might Be Moving Toward 4 Superconferences"
but I think it has more to do with Texas than Neinas. Once Texas recommitted to the Big 12, the conference was essentially safe. Texas had nowhere else to go as the Pac 12 would not give in to their demands, and the SEC would be way too competitive for them.
The strange thing is if this conference realighment had happened 10 years ago, the ACC would be holding a lot more power than they do now. The downturn in FSU and Miami football has given the ACC no leverage at all. And 10 years ago, Texas was nowhere near the superpower it is today. Timing is everything.
Texas recommitting to the Big 12 has nothing to do with the Big 12 commissioner?
Texas was looking out for themselves, and the Big 12 ended up being their only option. The Big 12 pretty much caved to all their demands to make them happy.
The only other move I see that Neinas made was the grant of rights to force all the teams to stay in the conference for the foreseeable future, but I saw that as the only option for the teams other than Texas left in the conference as they had just hemorrhaged 4 teams in the last year and had no other landing place, and Texas couldn't risk letting the Big 12 fall apart as it didn't find other conference options palatable.
Neinas couldn't keep Texas A&M and Missouri in conference after Nebraska & Colorado left, and I think people are overlooking the depth the conference has lost. I don't see the Big 12 as the superpower that other people are making it out to be. It is essentially Texas, Oklahoma, and a lot of mediocre football. The Big 12 lost 3 of its 5 most valuable properties when Nebraska, Colorado, & Texas A&M left. They almost need FSU & Miami as much as FSU & Miami need them.
If he wouldn't have agreed to all of Texas' conditions, they might have left.
There was nowhere for Texas to go if they wanted to keep the Longhorn Network. The Pac-12, SEC, and Big Ten would never have allowed that to happen (all 3 share revenue equally). Texas overplayed their hand. If anything, the Big 12 didn't need to cave completely (which they did).
He wasn't able to keep Texas A&M or MIssouri after Nebraska and Colorado left. I think that shows that he had very little power over where these schools were going. Texas was going to do what they wanted to do.
If the Big 12 doesn't cave to their demands, they join the Pac-12 or Big Ten and get the same situation as the Big 12 but way more money. If you're giving Neinas credit for stabilizing the league after they caved, then fine.
Neinas has done a great job but let's not kid ourselves; Texas is still running the show.
Also, Beebe was still commish when those teams left. I don't blame either team for leaving. The Big 12 is a legend in it's own mind
10 years ago Miami was a part of the Big East. I still agree with what you said about timing being a key for the most part, but that needed to be fact checked
Miami was invited to the ACC in early 2003.
2002 Miami was a member of the Big East
It was obvious that his point was that Miami and FSU were major players a decade ago, where Texas was just starting to transition out of years of mediocrity.
9 years is close to 10. My point was about a decade ago the roles were reversed, and the ACC looked like the new superpower. FSU, VT, and Miami had together accounted for a total of 6 appearances in BCS Championship games from 1999-2003 (winning 2 titles), and at that point in 2003, all those teams were going to be in the ACC.
Well, they are a recruiting and TV superpower
I'd like to see how this 4 team playoff turns out before forming like Voltron and moving to 4 super conferences. Dave Brandon’s head will explode if that does come to fruition.
If you cut through Brandon's rhetoric, the bottom line is the BCS is too big. His argument is that you can't have a meaningful champion when you start with more than 120 teams and play only 12 games.
So I think he would be in favor of a reorganization of Division I that would result in a top division with 64 teams or whatever.
but none of the other divisions seem to think they don't have a meaningful champion at the end of their playoff. And it's hard to explain the results in D3 if your assumption is that the playoff is a crapshoot.
Meh, I really like where the Big 10 is now. 12 teams is perfect, I wouldn't want to add 4 shit teams that have no business being in the Big 10 just because we are going to super conferences. That would also mean we go years without playing traditional Big 10 teams. Just keep it how it is.
Assuming each conference goes to 14-16 teams, you would have to play about 6-7 games in your division with only room for 1-2 crossover games. Actually going to 16 teams would be better for the B1G than 14 teams because it may be easier to keep more of the original B1G together. It would almost be like reforming the old Big Ten minus 2 members, and then putting PSU, Nebraska, and the new additions in the new division.
Assuming the B1G absorbed some East coast schools like UVa, Maryland, and UNC:
OSU, MIchigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Purdue, Indiana, Northwestern
PSU, Nebraska, MSU, Iowa, UVa, Maryland, UNC, Georgia Tech
The only problem is 2 old school B1G teams would get screwed though. I think PSU and Nebraska are new enough that they would adapt (PSU would welcome more East Coast schools like Maryland and UVa actually).
i doubt the schoos, would agree to it. I would think that the conference and schools would want to see a blend of new and old B1G schools (or whatever it would be called). Maryland would want to be able to host Michigan or Ohio more than once every 6 years or whatever it would be. Also, i doubt Michigan would want to travel to Maryland every 6 years.
I agree with everything everyone else is saying, this would just be a bad idea to have 4 superconferences. I like the idea of the B1G being 12 teams, it is just the right size.
4 pods of 4 so you play every team within 3 years
I don't see Nebraska or Iowa agreeing to those divisions; they aren't going to travel to the East Coast 2 or three times a year when no team in the other division has to travel more than a couple hundred miles. Switch Wisconsin, Illinois, Northwestern and Minnesota with Maryland, UNC, Georgia Tech and UVA.
I agree and love the conference as it is currently but if we had to go to 16 teams I wouldn't mind seeing Virginia Tech, Virginia, Notre Dame and one of Pitt, UNC, Duke or Georgia Tech added. Then we could split into 2 divisions with one being Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan State, Purdue, Indiana and Minnesota and the other being Notre Dame, Penn State, Virginia Tech, Nebraska, Virginia, Northwestern, Illinois and Georgia Tech. We could have a 9 game conference schedule and play 2 crossover games per year + a very interesting B1G Championship game. An added bonus is that Michigan and Ohio State would be able to play once a year basically for the "old" Big ten title and the winner would play the winner of the other division, probably a very good ND, PSU or VT team.
Would prefer to stick to the way things are but I wouldnt hate seeing something along those lines.
You could just split up the schools into pods and have them rotate every other year or so. Or just mix up the divisions every couple of years. I really fail to see why adding more teams has to kill that close feel. We have some of the smartest people in the world working at these institutions, I'm sure they can figure something out.
I would be okay going to 16 team conferences if it meant overhauling the schedule & playing 10 or 11 conference games (and all 7 other teams in your division).
Schools need to maintain model with 7-8 home games a year for revenue. 10-11 game conference schedule will force teams to play 5-6 road games a year. Unless the TV deals make up for it, I don't see it happening.
Realistically with 16 team conferences, you are probably looking at 4 4-team divisions.
3 games within your division
6 games across division (2 per division)
best team from each division goes to the conference play off. 4 team seeded playoff with semis hosted at high ranked and final in indy or chicago.
Total conference games: 9-11
Plus 2-3 non-conference games: 12-14
Plus 0-2 post conference games: 12-16
With 4 16 team conferences, the conference playoff + interconference playoff effectively becomes a 16 team play off.
This would, effectively, create our 8 team playoff. Four conferences holding their championship game, winners advance to Rose for the B1G and PAC 16 and B12, SEC champ game (Sugar). Winners of the Rose and Sugar play in National Championship game. Now speculation on what schools go where begins.
I see the B1G making a play for UVA, VT, ND (their hand would be forced), and some random 4th (Syracuse? Pitt? Rutgers?)
B12 will look at FSU, Clemson, Louisville, and. a 4th (Duke, UNC, NCST?)
SEC only needing two, Miami and a 2nd (GT?)
PAC would seem to be the most obvious fit for Kansas, Kstate (if they would go, opening 2 more slots for the B12 (Duke and UNC?). Then they need to add two more...Boise? BYU?
My suggestions would leave some quite interesting teams high and dry...BC, Wake, Md, Uconn among others. Do they become the default basketball conference and are they relegated to never having a chance at the national championship in football??
I need a beer...
How is the Pac 12 the "most obvious fit for Kansas, KState?" Why would they leave the Big 12? Why wouldn't it make more sense for Boise and BYU to go to the Pac 12? You lost me...
I'm just drinking and forgetting about their B12 status. I was just thinking geography, which like, if they Pac 12 has to go to 16, where are they finding 4 more quality schools on the west coast? It just seems Kansas and Kstate would be the best prepared B12 schools to more for some semblance of geography continuity.
BYU to the Pac 12 would likely be a no go for the same reason Baylor to the Pac 12
Baylor to the Pac 12 was a political thing with the Texas state legislature...how is it the same as if it were BYU? Am I missing something?
I think this has been the trajectory of college football since the BCS started, so nothing new here. It will be interesting to see how the Big 12-SEC matchup works the first couple of times. We always presume that these two conferences will produce elite squads, but outside of Texas and Oklahoma in the Big 12 and Alabama, LSU, Florida, and sometimes Auburn, I don't see where the diversity will come in. And how is this any different than the current situation? All the super-conferences will do is eliminate WVa and Clemson from meaningless bowl games after NYD; we've had a four-league college football for 5+ years.
I could definitely see a situation where the ACC and Big East and independents, for starters, feel compelled to think about their status as coherent entities if the traditional bowls rework their arrangements in a new playoff system to host runner-ups for the conferences in a given year's playoff field.
That would definitely knock the perennial "middling" conferences, if you will, down another peg or two,and given other articles that have come out recently, I don't think any of them want to be out of the revenue picture if they can help it.
If it came to bowls that weren't hosting playoff games being the consolation prizes for the second (or third even) place teams in a conference, then I see merger pressures if revenue is going to be an issue.
That being said, it would be amusing for all the conferences to eventually collapse into InterFirstSouthWestNorthConference, leaving Notre Dame to schedule home-and-home series with the high schools in Walkerton, Mishakawa and Lakeville.
...The punchline is, none of the four will be the Big 12.
Forget geography and Notre Dame. (Neither position may be reasonable ... just run with it for a second.) I say we take UVA, UNC, Duke, and Georgia Tech. Leave the weaker academic schools to the SEC. None of those four would be logical additions to the Big 12.
Yes, because academics is the sector of the university system which is driving all this change...
I am being sarcastic if you cannot tell from the italicized text above.
COULD go another route. Lose the football teams: Miami, V. Tech, Clemson, FSU. Keep the core of the original ACC and a few Big East castoffs: G. Tech, Duke, UNC, Wake Forest, Maryland, Virginia, Syracuse, BC--maybe NC State, Pitt, Rutgers. Commit to being a great conference in everything BUT football. Still eligible to go to a 4-team football playoff, but probably stuck in Citrus Bowl or something like it champion isn't top 4.
In other words, the ACC could go back to being what it was some 20, 30, and 40 years ago minus Clemson.
I'm not sure it's monetarily feasible--is it worth it to get $10 million less a year than an SEC school?--but it's probably worth exploring.
I actually did a report on whether ND should stay independent or join a big conference for football for a Sports Management class in college. I think they will stay independent as long as it is possible for them to do so at a profit. It comes down to simple numbers. They make WAY more money as an independent. TV contract, no revenue sharing, media exposure, etc. The profit margin isn't even close if you compare what they make at independent status with what they would make if they joined a BCS conference. Unless it comes down to competitive advantage, I think they will stay indepedent. But a four super-conference format will probably eventually force them into a conference. Which is good for the B10 because it will probably be us and that makes our conference even stronger. As for the four super-conference format I wasn't intially in favor. But as I thought about it more I started to think that maybe for football that will make the best teams each year more clear to everyone. Think about it. Less BS games against weak compeition with more conference games on the schedule each year. New rivalry games. And even better compeition for teams in the four super-conferences. Obviously, it won't make a lot of traditional fans happy but its a progressive world. And I think all and all it will help us determine who the best teams are year by year. And who really has the elite programs. At least in football.
In terms of money from football broadcasts? I thought Michigan got the ESPN and the BigTen money and that is more than what ND gets. I belive that is correct.
ND would latch on to the BigXII before they would stick with the BIG. Had the ACC not, apparently, imploded they would be heading there. If pushed to do so.
Sticking in the BIG means that ND has folded and is happy to be a regional team. By going BigXII, they'll be able to recruit almost coast to coast while playing in all those venues.
ND to the BIG makes a ton of sense, simply for the money it would bring with it. BIG teams make on average $21mill per team right now? Imagine adding ND, I could see that bumping closer to $30 per team. There is no doubt that the BIG did it up right with their network etc etc. The ACC tripped over its stupidity and the BigXII looks to cash in big time.
This of course hinges on the rules of the game. There are 2 ways ND is hurt. #1 is the most important, that is scheduling. If these super conference teams don't have much room to manouvre then ND gets frozen out because they won't be able to schedule the super conference teams. #2 is if the playoff only includes the 4 conference champions, I could see an addendum here, if ND is top4 they are auto-bidded. Of course they could be frozen out here as well.
I wish they would just pull the trigger and get it done with. For any of the tradionalists, the bus left the station long ago, never to return. Tradition is dead, get over it. 4 conferences of 16 teams. And get rid of the divisions in the conferences as well, top2 teams are in the championship.
Everyone wants expanded playoffs, more than 4 teams. But consider the ACC, BIG, PAC and SEC play championship games, you are already starting at 8.
“@GSwaim: #ND to #Big12 has more teeth today than I ever thought it could just a few weeks ago. The Irish are already going through proper channels.”
“@GSwaim: With #FSU & #ND quite possibly to the #Big12, and their precedent setting deal with the #SEC, the #B1G won't want to sit around long either.”
“@GSwaim: I'm told that #ND will jump in #Big12 very soon with Olympic sports, and then football joins after TV contract expires. #BlowsMyMind”
“@GSwaim: The #ND deal apparently was a catalyst for getting #FSU aboard all along. This thing is happening fast now for the #Big12...”
“@GSwaim:I don't know exactly how fast, but am told in the #ND athletic department that today things were "all go" for the move. #Surreal”
“@GSwaim: The time frame for #ND phasing in football could allow them to phase out contracts with #Purdue, #MSU, #GoBlue, #USC, #Stanford or #Navy.”
“@GSwaim: Virtually insure two more teams, in addition to #FSU & #ND. With #VaTech possibly #SEC bound, #Clemson is top #Big12 choice. Who's next?”
RuhRoh, gonna miss you guys.
I work in college athletics and this seems inevitable. During our senior staff meeting last week our AD said that for at least football...there will be super conferences within the next 5-7 years.
Everyone else would basically stay, but becoming D-1AA (or whatever they want to call it) and the 1-AA/FCS would becoming 1-AAA (or whatever they want to call it).
What a lot of people don't realize is that a lot of the top FCS schools are pushing for this.
They know they're not going to compete with the big boys, so if you take 48-64 teams out of FBS and let them create their own league...the thought is some of those spots will be filled with your App St., Richmond, Eastern Washington and Deleware's.
App St. now finds itself in the same conference as the bottom of the Big East or Sun Belt teams. And TV will broadcast these games waaay more than they'd broadcast a regular season FCS game today. And if it's 48 teams, App St. may find itself playing league games with schools like Duke, Wake Forest and Rutgers.
.....my personal preference is (4) conferences of (16) teams...then each conference has (2) divisions of (8) teams.
Play everyone in your division once (7 games), plus (2) conference games outside of your division. (9 total)
Schedule (3) non-conference games...(1) per conference.
So that's (12) regular season games + (1) conference championship game + an 8-team BCS Tournament ((4) conf. championship game winners and (4) at-large). The Quarterfinals would be at the site of the high-seeded team. The semifinals sites would predetermined like basketball, but they would always be split east/west or north/south and the highest remaining seed would get to pick where they wanted to play (ala #1 Michigan in Indianapolis or Detroit or #1 USC in St. Louis or Pasadena). The national championship would bounce around like the Super Bowl.
This would also help eliminate "home sites." Because let's say you did East/West and your semifinal sites were Miami and Phoenix. #1 Michigan is playing #4 Florida...Michigan may want to play that game in Phoenix rather than Miami, make both teams travel.
Yes, it's 16 games, but you can build in plenty of rest...you'd play you last regular season game the week of Thanksgiving. Conference Championship would be the week after. Same as it is now...
Then bye, quarterfinals, bye, semifinals, bye championship...you'd still finish up by the 2nd weekend in January like we do now, you just wouldn't get that 40+ day lay off in the middle.
Everyone else would play in a bowl, no matter the record.
Everyone would play 13-16 games, with only (2) teams having a chance to play 16 (you could miss your conference championship game, get an At-Large and get to the championship game with 15 games). The majority of the league wouldn't play more than 14 games...which is what teams play now even before the playoff.
There would be flaws in every idea, but this is what I like most. The revenue it would generate would absolutely be worth an 8-team tournament rather than a 4. It would also cover the cost of some of the shitty bowls teams would be in. But I like having everyone go to a bowl because it allows everyone to continue practicing in December. I think it's dumb now that so many schools can't practice, meanwhile the elite teams in bowls get better all winter.
Mock Schedule (* = division game):
Sept 1. vs. Washington
Sept 8. vs. Virginia
Sept 15. @ Oklahoma
Sept 22 vs. Notre Dame*
Sept 29 @ Syracuse
Oct 6 @ MSU*
Oct 20 vs. Wisconsin*
Oct 27 vs. Cincinnati*
Nov 3 @ Illinois*
Nov 10 vs. Indiana*
Nov 17 @ Louisville*
Nov 24 vs. Ohio
*Conference Championship Game*
Dec 1 vs. Maryland (@ Ford Field - Detroit, MI)
Dec 15 vs. #8 Missouri (@ Michigan Stadium - Ann Arbor, MI)
Jan 1 vs. #4 Texas (@ Georgia Dome - Atlanta, GA)
*BCS National Championship Game*
Jan 14 vs. #2 Florida (@ Cowboys Stadium - Dallas, TX)
I can't see 16 games happening. Unless the whole long term safety of the game issues are somehow solved there is going to be growing pressure to limit the number of games. This will continue to be a major factor limiting the size if any playoff system. Though I would like to see a big playoff at some point we do have to ask what we are putting our players through for the equivalent of 30,000 a year in compensation.
probably why all those no-name FCS schools are jumping to FBS lately
I don't want to seem like a conspiracy theorist, but I'm willing to bet that the news about the SEC-Big12 deal was hardly a surprise to our conference's wily pro, Jim Delaney.
After the PAC 12 realized that they had no business getting into bed with Texas and Oklahoma, it must have been abundantly clear to them that there were no expansion candidates for their conference that made sense.
The Big Ten certainly reached the same conclusion, and this was demonstrated when it passed on Mizzou (and very probably other Big 12 schools that inquired at the time the Big 12 seemed to be melting down).
So for these two conferences, the idea of a strategic partnership was a clear solution to any need for growth, better TV deals, etc.
I'm sure that Delaney knew that the SEC and Big 12 had to have reached similar conclusions. And it wouldn't surprise me if the B1G withdrew its "playoffs on home sites" thing because Delaney was well aware that the Big12-SEC Bowl would make the bowl model for a playoff that much easier to digest.
But I don't think we're in for superconferences at this point. There's no reason the ACC and Big East can't do the same thing, have their own bowl, and then it's just a matter of designating which two out of the three big bowls are going to be the playoff bowls based on polls or some combination of bowls and a committee, etc.
It's brilliant, really, because it makes everything so much simpler.
The problem will come for the independents like Notre Dame, because if the ACC and Big East do an annual bowl, ND will be stuck forever in second tier bowls. In the case of Notre Dame, I wouldn't mind seeing that, as I basically don't like Notre Dame, but they'll eventually join the ACC and put that issue to rest. Now that Nebraska has upped the ante in the Big Ten, ND knows that it isn't going to beat UM, OSU, MSU, Nebraska and Wiscy on a regular basis, and I'm sure they'd rather not try.
Good chance they beg into a big conference, but no doubt they are in trouble. Their decision to stay outside and maintain their independence to this point, I feel leaves them vulnerable... It would be weird to have a national championship without ND included. But I dont feel that its impossible...
Hello, Notre Dame.
This is what I have really wanted all along. An elite division which consists of four superconferences would produce a de facto eight-team playoff, counting conference championship games. I would be quite excited to see it actually come to fruition.
It's obvious that the Big 12 is leaking a lot of stuff and trying to leverage themselves ahead of the Big East and ACC to be the "fourth superconference." It's also obvious who the other three are going to be.
The BCS has long stated that the bowls aren't there to determine a champion, so let the bowls be exactly what they claim to be when it's convenient for them to do so: exhibition games staged as "rewards" to the parcipating teams for "good" regular seasons.
I find it interesting that the big 12 was minutes away from not existing a few years ago. To now being considered one of the super conference potentials. I interned at a conference hq and remember them talking to big 12 employees, and you could hear a nervousness in their voices those few days when Texas was deciding if it would go to the pac 10 or not.
4 Super Conferences
Notre Dame West
Penn State East
Virginia Tech East
Florida State East
Iowa State East
Kansas State West
North Carolina East
North Carolina State East
Oklahoma State West
Texas Tech West
West Virginia East
Georgia Tech East
Mississippi State West
South Carolina East
Texas A&M West
Arizona State South
Boise State North
Fresno State South
Oregon State North
San Diego State South
Washington State North
I live in North Carolina and have often wodered about NCSU moving to the SEC. It gets them out from under the shadow of UNC and Duke in basketball. It also gives the SEC inroads to a Top 10 state in terms of population. GA Tech and Miami don't bring much to the table for the SEC because they don't have great fan bases....and the SEC is already in Florida and Georgia.
I wonder what happens to schools like Duke in this scenario? Do they play football in Conference USA. What about basketball? I guess that Memphis competes at a high level in basketball without having a strong conference. Maybe Duke could do the same.
I don't like it, and the reason is good luck seeing Penn State and Illinois more than once a decade.
...for some form of promotion/relegation if we go this route. We're going to draw a hard, divisional line at 64, and the struggle over who makes the cut is going to be brutal, and if successful is going to cause instability down the line if there's no pressure valve built in.
Look at your list: we're going to include SDSU and Texas Tech, or even Vanderbilt and Kentucky, and leave out an historical power like Pitt, who's been a traditional rival of two schools (West Virginia, Penn St.) that make the cut without question? I know the Big East football experience hasn't been great for Pitt and it's not a national championship contender any more, but to force Pitt (or anyone else on this list in their place) into a lower division without hope of parole seems harsh. Were Dorsett and Marino and Fitzgerald really that long ago?
And it's not just Pitt. Why is Louisville in and Cincinnati out, to take two schools that are traditional rivals with similar histories and, for that matter, current status?
As things stand, schools decide for themselves which division they want to compete in. If you think the BCS has had antitrust problems, wait until D1 sets a hard 64-team limit and schools like Cincinnati are told to take a hike. They've put a lot of resources into building up their programs so they can compete at a high level; they've won their conference championship three of the last four years. You do this, they'll put together a coalition of teams in the same boat and go to litigation.
If there's no clear and objective criteria for selection this will be hard to get off the ground; if there's no procedure for redistributing the teams as fortunes change the pressure will build until it blows up.
And I was thinking the same thing yesterday...
How does anyone justify the bottom of the 64?
How do you pick N'Western or Indiana or Boston College and UConn?
Do you take Fresno St. and SDSU over UCF and USF just because you need west coast schools?
What happens to service academies?
Do Duke or Wake Forest get preference over the Louisville's or Syracuse's of the world?
It is for this reason (and the one mentioned) above, that I'm not positive you go to 64 teams. I think it could be a lot more exclusive. Or I think they could go the other route and make it more INclusive and go with 8 directional conferences of 12. If you do that, you've got 96 teams and you're really just eliminating Sun Belt, WAC and MAC schools. Not BCS schools.
1. Establish an objective criterion, like SOS-weighted records over the last 30 years with progressively greater weighting given to recent seasons. Any reasonable criterion will do, it's just important that one be chosen and that it be chosen before it's certain which teams it will select. It needs to be set up at least a couple of years in advance so schools have a chance to improve their standing and play their way in.
2. Set up a second tier of schools mirroring the four major groupings. Winner of each group in the second tier each year moves up, last place in the first tier groups moves down. This is not just a European solution--the Chicago Public League has been doing this for years in basketball.
I disagree, I believe this is going to get old very fast.
we should just merge with the Pac-12 and let the SEC and Big 12 merge. Play out the seasons just like now only meet up in the Rose/Cotton Bowls for a real conference title game afterward. And the ACC/Big East can do the same, right along with the MWC/CUSA.
That's your 4-team playoff, America.
This is exactly what I thought would happen a long time ago. It would be the equivalent of a 4 team playoff after the traditional New Years Day bowl games. A blend of the best of old (traditional New Year's Day bowls) and new (4 team playoff).
No one we could potentially add (save Notre Dame) seems to be able to bring the academic and athletic clout that we're looking for while also being in the same general geographic area. It seems like if we add another team, they should add a great deal to the conference in exchange for us letting them swim in our money vault with all of us and the BTN. I don't see that in any of the ISU's, Syracuse's, Pittsburgh's, UVA's/VT's, etc. All of those get 4 'meh's out of 5
Nebraska was a slam-dunk and I think we should be good with that
Why is Nebraska better than any of those schools?
Academics are not much to brag about for B1G.
I love how people are ready to carve up the ACC again (despite the fact that it did not die all the other times it was supposed to) based on the incoherent ramblings of "a source" who may or may not be the shoeshine boy, and who certainly isn't inside the negotiations for the new BCS, because if he were, the paper would have said so.
There are people talking about the future of college football who are not discussing it with the outside world except to leak just enough of the information to stir the pot. So the media runs with a half-assed, totally incomplete story and you have idiots like Schlabach gleefully sounding the bell for the ACC for the fifth time - pay no attention to all the times we were wrong about the dominoes last time, this time for real! And everybody nods their heads and says, gee, that makes sense.
Essentially, this is exactly what's going on right now:
If anything about a decade ago, everyone expected it to be what the SEC is now. I agree that some of the speculation of superconferences is a bit much with the details of the new playoff still to be determined, but the issue still remains that the ACC is in some danger of becoming the new Big East. I think the stories coming out of FSU are warning signs not to be ignored (this is exactly how the Mizzou saga started). If FSU leaves the ACC, that conference is in serious trouble similar to when Miami decided to bolt the Big East.
The ACC as a conference may not die if FSU leaves, but it may cease to be a real player in competing for national championships like the Big East.
When was the ACC ever in danger of dying before?
Truthfully, never. But remember when it was going to be carved up by the B1G and SEC so the B1G could get to 16 teams? And then it was going to be carved up by the SEC to add to its Big 12 collection. And now it's supposedly the Big 12's turn. We've seen this play before and nothing happens.
FSU is not going anywhere. Here is why. It's nothing like Mizzou - they left the Big 12 for the same reason A&M, Nebraska, and Colorado did: to get the hell away from Texas. FSU - or specifically, their ninny-headed ignoramus of a trustee - is complaining about third-tier media rights. The important part:
Haggard is lobbying for the Noles to ditch the ACC in favor of the Big 12 where one football game is kept by the schools as part of their third-tier rights. ... If FSU left the ACC for the Big 12 the only additional athletic inventory it would have to offer a TV network is its worst football game and three or four additional men’s basketball games. How much money do you think the Seminoles stand to gain from the ability to sell their football game vs. Savannah State and men’s basketball games against Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Georgia Southwestern, Jacksonville, and UNC-Greensboro?
Yes, I'm just sure they can recoup the $20 million exit fee by selling the rights to their Savannah State game. The whole FSU thing will blow over. In fact, it probably already has, with the statement that their president came out with. FSU's head of the board of trustees is nothing more than the highest-ranking speculator so far, and all of these speculators from Andy Haggard to Mark Schlabach to message-board denizens are flapping their gums based on incomplete info.
FSU AD operating in the red is the red flag here. Potential revenue from a new Big 12 would dwarf the new ACC TV deal. If FSU bolted for the Big 12, the Big 12 would be able to repoen TV negotiations for a bigger deal and add a conference championship game. FSU would make more money in a new Big 12 than staying in the ACC (the reverse is true as well--the ACC would make more money if Texas joined). I don't think a $20 million exit fee is huge roadblock. The ACC has no grant of rights like the Big 12.
The biggest mistake the ACC made was adding Pittsburgh & Syracuse. It did not add much to their TV deal and diluted the pot even more. The initial reports from their new TV deal are underwhelming ($17 mil per school and that is at the backend), and I think that is the central problem. Their new TV deal puts it below the Big 10, SEC, Pac-12, and Big 12.
All of which are based on rumors and speculation. "Potential" revenue. "Initial reports." Just a couple of the many, many "ifs" involved in this. All of which would have to point the same direction for FSU to leave. One or two pointing the wrong way, and FSU stays. FSU would have to sort out the travel costs - they would have to get on a plane for everything - and you can't brush aside the $20 million that easily.
Their president is very much opposed to the move. That's all you really need to know.
Fact: FSU AD is running in the red. This is supposed to be the flagship football school of the ACC. This is a major red flag.
Fact: The details that have been leaked from the new ACC TV deal puts it fifth behind the B1G, SEC, Pac-12, and Big 12. FSU will make more revenue from a TV deal in the Big 12. I don't know how a move would affect expenses, but FSU has to pretty much fly everywhere in the ACC (they are in the same division as Boston College & Syracuse--both longer road trips than any would be in the Big 12.) BC, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Maryland, UVa, and VT are equivalent to road trips would be in the Big 12. The closest school to FSU is GT (about 300 miles), and the others are not at all (even Miami is 500 miles away).
Fact: ACC has no grant of rights. This makes it extremely susceptible to be raided. The Big 12 has now overcome this by adding it for 13 years in its new TV deal. The ACC has not which raises the question: Why hasn't the ACC added grant of rights to create stability? There is only one logical explanation: some schools are not completely sold on staying long term.
Fact: $20 million buyout is not a roadblock to move. West Virginia just had to pay that exact sum to get out of the Big East early. A conference can loan you money which the school can pay back over time.
And again, fact: The FSU prez is opposed to the move.
Also fact: They bus their teams (as noted by the president himself) to a lot of places in the ACC. They do bus many of their teams to Miami, GT, Clemson. They probably bus some lower-budget teams to the schools in North Carolina. They couldn't do any of this in the Big 12. Some ACC teams are far away - all Big 12 teams are.
Well, all I can say is never has a sig been more apropos to a post than just now. If this does come to fruition, I hope FSU falls into a pit and is never heard from again. If the ACC can't get a decent TV contract, it's FSU's fault to begin with - they were supposed to be the marquee program, the ACC bent over backwards in the 2004/5 round of expansion to accommodate them, and we were repaid with cheating scandals and mediocrity. So if they go to the Big 12, fuck them, I hope they get bent over a pole by Texas and Oklahoma and finish every year 4-8, I hope they sink further into the red thanks to travel costs and have to cut programs and then I hope the spurned athletes form an angry mob and torch their football stadium.
That article was really good by the way. I highly encourage everyone to read it.
There are two other issues however. One is power. There seems to be a belief, and I have no idea if it's true or not, that the North Carolina schools run the conference (particularly UNC). I can imagine that other teams, particularly the football powers, would have an issue with that. It seems to have come out in the media deal the ACC just signed.
The other thing is the new Big XII / SEC bowl game. The ACC needs to find a post-BCS home bowl game. Does the Orange really want to re-up with the ACC? It hasn't exactly worked out well for them the past 10 or so years. The ACC NEVER had a major bowl agreement until the Bowl Alliance / Coalition in 1992. Before that, their champion was locked into the Citrus Bowl. Now they have football powers in the conference that they didn't have in 1990, but they HAVE to get themselves a major bowl for their champion with big-time money.
Well, if you're worried about someone else running the show and you being their second fiddle, you don't join a conference with Texas. I suppose the difference is that Tobacco Road is hoops and Texas and FSU are football, but Texas is still Texas and not likely to brook any challengers to their hegemony.
You're absolutely right about the bowl. But if the conference plays its cards right, they can hook up their champion in the Orange Bowl with the SEC. Just because it's not their champion, doesn't really mean much. Better deal for everyone, really, I'm sure the Orange Bowl is tired of matching up the ACC with the Big East and not remotely interested in San Diego State or Rutgers.
I don't think it's happening as soon and as conveniently as everyone is thinking. There are no strong forces pushing for 16-team conferences, at least not strong enough to overcome the obvious and severe disadvantages:
Super-conferences absolutely destroy the importance of the regular season and the dear rivalries of each school. If you just need to get into your conference playoff in order to qualify for the national playoff, having a great regular season is even more meaningless. A 9-3 team can win their conference and advance into the national championship the same way a 12-0 team can. Also, the do-or-die nature of rivalries like the Game are also devalued because it will never decide anything like who will go to the Rose Bowl, only maybe who gets into the national playoff structure. There will probably be no more games like 1969, 1995, 1996, and 2006 in a super-conference world.
Second, 16 team conferences are barely even a conference any more. With 12 teams, it's possible to go 4 years without playing a conference-mate. With 14, the SEC will have an even longer time between games. All the expansion erodes the important ties between schools that holds a conference together. Freshman last season will never get a chance to visit Madison to play, and will only play Wisconsin if they happen to meet in the B1GCG. That's terrible for a conference--the idea is that the schools are close-knit and similar. Super-conferences destroy that concept. Also, if schools are added in big blocks (the B1G suddenly taking 4 ACC schools, for instance), there is little chance for socialization and introduction. Nebraska was famous, obvious, and we had a whole year to get to know them. If all of a sudden UMD, UVa, VT, and Syracuse were invited to the B1G, I think there would be issues in terms of the harmonious relationship between members. When the 4 Texas schools joined the Big 8 (XII), it clearly didn't work, and the conference almsot asploded because of it.
Finally, it's easy to assign different schools to new conferences from here, but in real life, it would be much more difficult for each conference to get to 16. There are territory, academic, and TV money issues, among many others. Conferences want to expand outside the footprint: it doesn't do SEC much good to add Miami, or the Pac-12 to add more California schools. Also, the B1G and Pac-12 have some academic arrogance--they don't want bad schools just for the sake of football. To pick on Wolverine Devotee's set-up above, there is no chance that Boise State will ever join the Pac-??. Ever. Also, if you think the existing schools in the conferences are going to want to share their piles of cash with the SDSUs, Louisvilles, and VaTechs of the world, I think you're wrong. Almost all expansion past what has happened so far probably decreases each school's share of the money, which means it won't happen. The B1G and Pac-12 seem happy at 12, and I see no reason for that to change any time soon.
If all of a sudden UMD, UVa, VT, and Syracuse were invited to the B1G, I think there would be issues in terms of the harmonious relationship between members. When the 4 Texas schools joined the Big 8 (XII), it clearly didn't work, and the conference almsot asploded because of it.
A very underrated point IMO. People have visions of 4 16-team superconferences because it's neat, clean, and tidy. Very orderly. But in order to bring that kind of grand project to fruition, you need dictatorial oversight of the whole thing. You need a central organizing agency, otherwise everyone will look out for #1. The NCAA is not that central organizing agency. It's not going to dictate to the conferences what they should do, nor will it dictate to the schools who they'll associate with. The conferences will continue to negotiate their own media rights and rules and so on, and the more voices at the table, the more disagreement there'll be.
People think the neat and clean 4x16 model is so inevitable, failing to ask themselves how sustainable it is.
to the University of Texas. It's what they want, isn't it?
First off, the Michigan-Ohio State game has already been devalued in terms of winning the conference championship or going to the Rose Bowl. It's not the Big 2/Little 8 anymore--a number of other teams have gotten better and made the UM-OSU game a non-factor in the title. In recent history, we've seen Michigan beat Ohio State and end up in the Orange Bowl or the Sugar Bowl and also lose to OSU and still end up in the Rose Bowl.
Secondly, if a 16-team conference uses a pod system and constructs it in such a way to make sure that rivalry or regional teams are in the same 4-team pod, then all the relationships that you'd like to see regarding trophy game, etc. can still be kept intact.
Third, you completely discount the importance of a team having a strong regular season in terms of seeding for a post-season game. Yes, a program could go 9-3 in the regular season, win the conference championship game and end up with a 10-3 record as the Big Ten champion. But that program would likely be the last seed playing at an unfriendly site against the top seeded team in the country.
Fourth, you also discount the strength of schedule component in making your assessment. If the hypothetical 9-3 team had a top five SOS and a 12-0 or 11-1 team had a SOS in the thirties, which team is better? You can figure it out a couple of ways using a computer or a poll or a committee. I have a better solution--let's see them in a playoff if they both won their conferences and decide it on the field.
I actually do agree with you that getting each of the conferences to an equal number would be difficult. They all act out of their own interest and their membership does fluctuate. The Pac 12 is going to have an exceptionally difficult time getting four more members as long as the Big XII remains intact.
But the trend as of late has been for larger conferences and barring any major changes, we'll see the five major ones having 64 teams in them (SEC & ACC with 14, Big Ten and Pac with 12 and Big XII with ten). Add in two independents (BYU and ND) and that's 66 teams. If Division 1-A/FBS were to downsize to 80 teams, we might see five 16-team conferences or four 20-team conferences that have two 10-team divisions.
In the latter case, those divisions would be the same size as the current Big XII or the pre-1993 Big Ten or the old Pac 10. Play a round robin of nine division games plus three non-conference, then put together a conference championship game that would act as a de facto eight-team playoff quarter final.
The idea the conferences will expand in their own regions isn't a reality. The conferences, with their own networks, will be looking to expand their footprint. Why do you think the Big 12 loked at WVU? To get into the East Coast of course. The Big 12, being the weakest of the four being looked at in this report, needs to bring in teams outside Texas and the Great Plains. If this super expansion happens, and it is the Big 12 that gets in, look for them to expand solely into the East. If they do get FSU and Clemson, watch them go after schools like NC State, VTU, and maybe even Miami. Will they get all of those schools? No, but they will get some and push their influence to a wider market while giving WVU and, assuming they pull South Carolina and FSU, more regional teams.
Think how each conference could go about expanding and keep in mind that there are many ways for schools to fit. As far as the Big 10 goes, they potentially will take from many different areas. Just taking 4 ACC schools isn't in the cards, IMO. They want markets, mainly the NY market, the DC market, and a Southern market. I think they look at wanting to take ND, Rutgers, Maryland, and Geargia Tech. I think that the NY market is ripe for the B1G network, but need a local team to solidify it. Adding ND with Rutgers solidifies it, I think. Maryland, along with PSU, brings the DC market. With all of the Northern transplants, I think all they need a big school to bring the Atlanta market. All of the above schools are good academic schools with the potential to bring in other markets.
Again, this only fits if a team is willing to leave their conferences. I think that traditional ACC teams like UNC, UVA, NCST, and Duke will never leave. They value the academic closeness and the basketball rivalries to much to break free. If the superconferences do come to fruition, I believe ND will be forced to join one. Rutgers is the new Nebraska in Maize and Brews College Football High School post. They are just waiting for their invite. A report out earlier in the year stated that Rutgers was telling recruits that they will be in the B1G shortly. Maryland and GTU are the stretches. They both fit what the B1G wants, but do they want to leave. Who knows, but if they can solidify their standing with one of the conferences, than they may jump.
Remember, the Big 12 wasn't expansion, it was a merger and one of need. The Bis XIII and the SWC were falling apart. They joined to make themselves stronger by puttingNebraska, UT and Oklahoma together. The superconfeences can pick and choose the best fits for them.
This is idiots talking to themselves. The Big 12 was falling apart 12 months ago.
Something they put in the plains is full of stupid. Don't get me wrong, I'd be OK with that so long as we add the right teams, but no - I don't believe a damn thing coming out of the Texas news.
Jim Delany is a smart guy and I believe him when he says it's better to play in our 12-team league when we can play teams with regularity. SEC fans are pissed about the new schedule at 14 teams; imagine the schedule at 16.
This thread has ignited the whole playoff/how to organize the season debate again. It has got me thinking, “are we asking too much of football players?”
Between the schools, the networks and the fans there seems to be a desire for the following:
- 12 games for all teams to generate the required revenue.
- 3 or 4 of those 12 are non conference games with at least two ideally not against baby seal U so it is fun to watch.
- A conference championship game
- A minimum of a 4 team playoff but a real desire for a 16 team playoff, which would be really cool to watch I will admit
- If everybody gets what they want the champion is playing 17 games.
- Don’t pay players (they get a free education). We must also look at the economics of the typical program and realize that the money is not really there to pay them anyway.
- Players go to real classes and get a real degree
I think back to the section of three and out that talked about Denard’s day. These guys work hard and get the hell beat out of them for 4 months per year already. They also do a lot in the off season. In the end they are just 18 to 22 year old college students who play a game and get a free education for it. A small percentage will go on to the NFL and make millions. Most won’t. A free education is a very nice benefit but don’t they do enough already?
From a pure fan perspective I would like to see all of the above elements of a college football season occur. It would be very fun to watch. I am beginning to feel that we need to make some choices that don’t involve more games. I love college football but we may have to accept that it is not the NFL and will not have as clear a way to determine a champion. There is also the risk that at some point things like super conferences and large playoffs are going to ruin what makes college football great.
If the NCAA went from 85 to 95 scholarships per team, it might spread out the attrition that you mention taking place. It doesn't set aside the commitment these players have to the sport, but it does at least allow teams to not have to play guys who are injured because there's really no good suitable substitute on the bench waiting to take his place.
I'll also add that I don't know if there's a really strong appetite for a 16-team playoff. I suspect the logical cutoff most people will see is eight teams because going beyond that number means the bowl system is going to have a hard time surviving in its current form (although with a seven win requirement and now a four-team playoff on the horizon, we know the bowl system is going to change).
Given the current structure of college football, it's inevitable that some of the teams that participate in an eight-team playoff won't be conference champions. There might be autobids for the top five conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big XII, Pac 12, SEC) plus three at large bids that may or may not be in a conference championship game.
Let's assume that an eight-team playoff. That means four of those teams may play up to 14 games that season--twelve in the regular season, one possible conference championship game plus the quarter-final game. There would be up to three weeks of so between the conference championship game and the quarter-finals.
That leaves four teams left, two of which will play one more additional game (#15 of the season) and two that will participate in the final (Game #16). Depending on when those games are played, the season could extend into early or mid-January for two teams.
Is that asking too much of these guys? When you're looking at four teams playing one or two more games than they normally would, then I'm hard pressed to say yes. Now if we went to a 16-team playoff, then yes, we might be getting to the tipping point where we're asking too much.
One of the happy circumstances of an eight-team playoff is that it will provide college football additional revenue from the television networks. I've seen estimates of perhaps $700M per annum.
If college football contracted to 64 teams that had 95 scholarships and paid an additional $3K per year additional to the players, then the price tag would be $18.24M. If there were 80 teams, then the amount goes to $22.8M for the football teams alone. That leaves another $680M or so to be given to the other scholarship athletes at these schools as stipends or cost of living scholarships.
I LOVE my scenario of the B1G. I think MaizeAndBlueWahoo does too.
I would love to see virginia tech come to The Big House or go to lane stadium.
Can you imagine the basketball? You would have Michigan, wisconsin, indiana, state, ohio, purdue, syracuse and virginia.
Not to mention illinois who is gonna be back eventually since they have a good program. ND has an average program, who makes the tournament consistently. Hell, even northwestern is a dangerous, dangerous team who I do not like to see Michigan play. But I pull for them every year to make the NCAA tournament.
Plus you would add some GOOD lacrosse schools in ND, virginia (who are facing off as I type this) and syracuse who has the most national titles. Put them with Michigan, penn state and ohio you could form a B1G Lacrosse Conference which would do wonders to the sport.
I LOVE my scenario of the B1G. I think MaizeAndBlueWahoo does too.
I would hate it. Absolutely despise it. There's a reason I didn't apply to any Big Ten schools except as a last resort. I like when UVA and Michigan play occasionally, not as yearly rivals. Not interested in having to choose between them on a regular basis.
Plus, you are looking at it from the standpoint of "what can UVA do for the Big Ten?" I look at it from the standpoint of "what can the Big Ten do for UVA?" Your answer would be "duh, more money, silly" but what good is the money when everyone else has the same cash stream? UVA athletics is already highly profitable. In comparison to our ACC conferencemates, we're in great shape. In the Big Ten, we would lose that advantage.
UVA is a mid-Atlantic/southern school in a mid-Atlantic/southern conference. The Big Ten is a midwestern conference. There's no fit. In what world are Virginia and Wisconsin cultural matches?
Plus, in the past I've detailed why I think UVA athletics would die on the vine in the Big Ten. The last thing we need is Michigan and Ohio State getting their recruiting hooks into the state of Virginia. The last thing we need is to lose the name "ACC" in basketball recruiting. Big Ten lacrosse? Again, you speak of "what UVA could do for the Big Ten" but what can the Big Ten do for our lacrosse team when we're not with our usual rivals any more? You come to UVA to play lacrosse against Hopkins, UNC, Duke, Maryland, not Ohio State and Penn State.
Taking us away from two of our three biggest rivals and putting us in a conference where we'd be mediocre at everything and only there to give the conference academic cred is not my idea of a good thing. It sucks.
You are absolutley correct in that UVA wouldn't leave, nor should they. UVA, UNC, NC State, and Duke are the mainstays of the ACC. They set the tone of what the ACC is about. My question is how the other ACC schools fit the culture of those 4? What does Pitt, Srycuse, BC and Miami have in common with UVA, UNC, NCST, and Duke? Why are they acceptable in the ACC and Maryland, UVA, GTU or UNC not acceptable in the Big 10?
I didn't exactly ask for BC and Miami and the like to join. I liked things fine as they were. The moneygrab changed things. But however tenuous the cultural ties between BC and Cuse and Pitt and the rest of the ACC, you have to honestly admit to yourself that the "core" ACC schools are a much better cultural match to them than to the Big Ten. UVA/Syracuse or UVA/BC still makes more sense than UVA/Illinois or UVA/Nebraska.
At any rate, my primary argument is this: UVA in the Big Ten would be doomed to mediocrity. I don't see even one reason to like the idea. Not one.
When the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) had 16 teams, it utilized the pod setup in order to ensure that at least every team played the other in the conference home and away over a four-year period.
The Big Ten or any other conference could have the same sort of setup. If you go by basic geography and add four teams (Maryland, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Notre Dame for this example), then the B10 pods could go like this:
Pod A - Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin
Pod B - Illinois, Indiana, Northwestern, Purdue
Pod C - Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State
Pod D - Maryland, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers
With a nine-game conference schedule, Michigan would play MSU, ND and OSU each year (which is what happens now) plus two teams from each of Pod A, B and D in Years 1 and 2. In Years 3 and 4, UM plays the other two teams from those three pods.
Since this structure doesn't have divisions, a conference championship game could be set up between the top two teams record wise in the B10.
If you want to have a division structure in place, then put Pods A and B together for two years in one division, with Pods C and D in another. Play seven games within your division plus two teams from one of the other pods. In two years, Pods B and C become a division and Pods A and D become the second division with teams play two games from one of the other pods.
For example, if Pods C & D were put together for two years, Michigan would play Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Maryland, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and two teams from Pod A--let's say Iowa and Wisconsin.
In the next two years, Pods B & C would be put together and Michigan would continue to play MSU, ND and OSU, but the other teams would come from Pod B (Illinois, Indiana, Northwestern, Purdue) and Pod A (Nebraska and Minnesota).
That allows Michigan to play each team in the conference at least two times over a four year period, but sets up temporary divisions so that you can have a conference championship game between the two division winners.
The WAC had three problems in its adoption of the pod system. The first is that their system broke up the conference rivalries, but this set up here actually ensures that most of the rivalry and/or trophy games are intact (although the Little Brown Jug game with Minnesota is now played two years out of every four).
The second problem the WAC had was geography because that conference was really spread out. The expanded Big Ten I have above has the pods within a more confined goegraphical footprint and PSU is happy because of its eastern presence.
The third problem people had with the WAC was keepin track of the divisions because they changed every couple of years. To be frank, there's not much you can do about that with a pod system. But if B10 fans have managed to master the Legends and Leaders Division titles, I suppose they can figure out the pod system.
A college friend of mine is a blog writer for Clemson and he said things could get very interesting around July. His feeling is either join B12 or stay ACC. They would prefer SEC but that won't happen with South Carolina.
Texas has what Notre Dame wants: a financial sweetheart deal in a conference it is basically a lock to dominate on the field.
As much as this goes against my B1G sensibilities, if Notre Dame were smart, at this point, they should lobby HARD to be allowed to "save" the ACC by joining, and get asymmetric revenue like Texas in return.
ND should simply visit the ACC offices, point to the Big12's Texas deal, and say, "I'll have what they're having."
If FSU or Miami protests, simply offer them the same opportunity to make their OWN revenue streams. Either way, it'll be at WORST the same (if not better) deal than they'd be getting if they joined th "BigTXII."
Hey, I think I just coined a new thing: "BigTXII."
Better TM it.
we would add ND of course and texas!
this thead is filled with TL;DR.