Patrick Hruby is doing God's work.
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|1 day 22 hours ago||Sorry...right conclusion, flawed premise||
I'm afraid a lot of this just isn't true:
A rule I have seen with expansion so far is that schools central to the existence of a conference do not leave for other conferences.
The Southwest Conference blew up because the schools central to its existence left. So did the Big East (not the newly-formed all-Catholic version, but the other one). There are plenty of other examples among lesser lights, such as the WAC, and if you go way back, the Southern Conference.
What IS true, is that schools like North Carolina and Texas are willing to make a bit less money, in exchange for being in a league where they're top dog. But if the money differential is big enough, eventually they jump ship. This has happened often enough in history, to convince you that it'll probably happen again. The only question is exactly when.
The only real question is how big the income disparity will be, the next time these leagues' grants-of-rights are up for renewal. If it's just a few million a year, North Carolina will choose to make less money, so that it can be in a league it largely controls. But if it's tens of millions per year, North Carolina will jump ship.
However, you are correct that major expansion is over for now, simply because all of the desirable schools are locked up in grants of rights, except in the SEC, and no one is going to leave the SEC.
Ultimately, expansion is about money, and the only schools available (i.e., not locked up) are financially dilutive to the major conferences.
|13 weeks 2 days ago||Re: Syracuse, Nebraska, and Florida State||
"I list Nebraska and Syracuse as they are schools that only recently lost AAU membership, and may very well regain it. I also list Florida State since it is a school that has potential to obtain it, and is located in a congressionally rich state."
Nebraska was booted out of the AAU because they were WAY below the average, in various metrics the Association uses to determine fitness for membership. They were pretty close to the bottom, and in fact, were below quite a few schools that are not members.
Syracuse realized that they were likely to be booted. Rather than put themselves through an embarrassing vote, they elected to resign. Florida State's metrics are somewhat comparable to those of Nebraska and Syracuse, or perhaps a bit below.
Unless the AAU changes its standards, those schools would have a looooong way to go, before they'd be candidates for membership. Bear in mind that the existing members aren't standing still, and plenty of others trying to get in. To become an AAU members, it's not enough for a school like FSU to improve. They have to improve at a faster rate than their competitors, and that's hard to do.
|13 weeks 6 days ago||It's minor, because....||
...because of the very rare circumstances in which it would occur. How many games a year have an extra play, because someone managed to spike the ball with 2 seconds left? The only Michigan game in memory where the outcome would have changed was the famous Michigan State game, and that was only possible because of a very friendly clock operator in East Lansing. They've sinced replaced homer clock operators in the Big Ten, so even without this new rule, that probably wouldn't happen again.
In the 1997 Rose Bowl, Washington State's Ryan Leaf tried to spike the ball with 2 seconds left, and couldn't get it done. That is the normal outcome. All this rule is doing, is to codify what should happen anyway, given a competent clock operator.
|16 weeks 20 hours ago||I'll tell you why they didn't do Inner/Outer||
1) They want the eastern teams to see a heavy diet of Michigan and Ohio State, because of the comparatively large number of alumni those schools have in that region.
2) Travel: fewer games that fans of the eastern and western teams can drive to
3) They were burned by the generally negative reaction to Leaders/Legends, and they want something with simple, non-gimmicky names: East/West, not Inner/Outer or "Eye of Sauron"
|16 weeks 21 hours ago||A few reasons||
Most Michigan fans get a kick out of beating State. Or, to put it the opposite way, aside from Ohio, there is no more annoying loss—which, by the way, has happened four years of the last five. Empirically, the game does well on TV, and fans in the stadium consider it a premium game the years it's played in Ann Arbor.
Moreover, the Big Ten is an "all for one, one for all" league. Whatever you may think of them, Michigan is the #1 rivalry on State's schedule. The Big Ten is not going to roll out a system that screws any team out of the #1 game they want to play. They might not get their second or third choice, but every team will at least get their first.
A similar example is the Illibuck trophy (Illinois/Ohio State). Illinois fans would like to preserve that game annually, but they're not going to get their wish. But there's no way they'd do away with the Illinois-Northwestern game. No. Way.
|16 weeks 3 days ago||Stalking Horse||
I think the 10-game idea is just a scheme to make 9 games more palatable to the ADs who now oppose it. The drawbacks are just too apparent. I can't see them adopting it.
For what it's worth, I don't favor 9 games either. I'd rather have more games under the schools' control. Those who want to schedule tough, can schedule tough. Those who want cupcakes can have them.
But 10 games would really put a crimp in the OOC schedule. If you ever want to play a real OOC opponent (the kind that demands a return game), you'd only have six home games half the time. The schools with a locked OOC rival (Purdue, Iowa) would have no flexibility at all.
|19 weeks 6 days ago||I also prefer Inner/Outer, but....||
I also prefer Inner/Outer, but unfortunately I don't think it'll happen, for three reasons:
1) As a number of people have noted, I think the league will want to maximize the exposure of Michigan and Ohio State on the East Coast, and Inner/Outer fails to do that.
2) I think they'll worry about creating the perception that the Outer division is the "ghetto" for Big Ten arrivistes (i.e., all the teams that weren't in Bo & Woody's Big Ten).
3) I think they'll be skittish about names other than "East/West," given that "Leaders/Legends" didn't exactly take the world by storm.
|19 weeks 6 days ago||You've asked the wrong question||
The real question is travel time, not miles. Beyond a certain distance, teams and their fans are (mainly) going to be flying, not driving.
Now, airplane trips are much shorter in the air, but you've got to get to and from an airport, get through security, board/disembark, check and claim luggage, and so forth. For most Big Ten trips that require flying, travel time is dominated by these other factors, and it almost doesn't matter where you're going.
So the real issue for the Big Ten is not the average distance, but maximizing the drivable games. Once you're beyond driving distance, it doesn't matter who's in your division, and other factors will take over (rivalries, competitive balance, marketing).
|22 weeks 2 days ago||Could you measure "good" attrition and "bad" attrition?||
Some attrition is better than others. When a mediocre or non-contributor leaves, it might actually be a good thing. That player is no longer taking up a scholarship, and it can be offered to someone else.
Jerald Robinson was good attrition. There was ample evidence that he wasn't going to make a big contribution. It's better to have the scholarship available for someone else.
Darryl Stonum was really, really bad attrition. He was a star player at a position of need, and because of a stupid mistake off the football field, he was unavailable when Michigan could have used him.
I haven't worked out how to "score" these cases, but a crude measurement of how much value was lost seems to me more important than just counting people who left.
|22 weeks 6 days ago||Eye of Sauron FTW||
The "Eye of Sauron" (which I call burger 'n' buns) configuration really is the best:
1) It gets Michigan and Ohio State back in the same division.
2) It puts the PSU/Maryland/Rutgers trio in the same division, which makes sense because PSU used to have annual rivalries with those schools.
3) It puts the four western schools in the same division, which those schools are known to prefer.
4) It is competitively balanced.
5) Travel is reasonable. (Rutgers & Maryland will have to fly west twice a year, but they would have flown to any game, besides each other and Penn State. Minnesota pretty much has to fly to almost everybody. Etc.)
6) All of the "must-have" rivalries are in the same division. This eliminates the need for protected cross-division rivalries, and means that teams in opposite divisions can play each other more often.
|23 weeks 1 day ago||Not so sure about Boise and SDSU||
Most FBS squads play seven home and five road games a year. The Big East will put Boise and SDSU in the same division, so those two schools will have only 4-5 long road trips a year. In contrast, basketball would require 10 or more such trips, often for weeknight games. It would be even worse for their non-revenue sports.
So that's why Boise and SDSU joined in football only. The travel isn't tenable for any other sport.
|24 weeks 2 days ago||Eliminate the protected rivalries||
First, you don't want to introduce competitive imbalance. That's one of the problems with the current alignment: Michigan has Ohio State every year (in addition to its divsion schedule); Michigan State has Indiana.
Second, most of the potential cross-division rivalries lack serious pedigree, except for Michigan-Minnesota. All the others would be just arbitrary annual games, which would diminish the frequency of playing everyone else in the opposite division.
Third, I think the Big Ten will want to maximize its blue-chip games, which are the ones in which Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska, and Penn State play each other. Without protected rivalries, those teams can meet in the regular season more often.
Furthermore, everyone in the conference wants to face Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska, and Penn State, as often as they can. Those are the games that get on basic cable and sell out stadiums. With nine conference games and no protected rivalries, every team will face almost every other team over a four-year period.
|24 weeks 3 days ago||No, Michigan would not've made it to the BCS||
The BCS bowls would have chosen Oklahoma (10-2) and/or Oregon (11-1) over Michigan. Of course, if Northern Illinois winds up with an auto-bid, then it would have been even less likely.
|25 weeks 1 day ago||The Big East already lost its BCS status||
They have one more season in the BCS. In the new deal, which begins in 2014, they have the same status as the MAC, C-USA, Sun Belt, and Mountain West.
|25 weeks 1 day ago||Great post, but a few misconceptions||
There isn't some inexorable gravitational command to reach 16 teams. Every add needs to be revenue positive, as well as meeting the Big Ten's geographical and academic standards.
As you note, UConn and Cincinnati fail on academic grounds. Pitt fails on revenue grounds: it doesn't add much, given that the Big Ten already has Pennsylvania's major football school. (Even with crippling sanctions, Penn State had a better football season this year than Pitt, as it practically always does.)
You are right that UVA and UNC will have a lot of trouble splitting up from their in-state sister schools, even assuming they'd want the Big Ten (and that the Big Ten would want them) if that issue evaporated. But I don't think Missouri had any choice. No one passes up the chance to join the SEC. Sure, they coveted a Big Ten invite, but when Kate Upton has the hots for you, you don't hold out for Jennifer Aniston.
|25 weeks 3 days ago||The Time-Out before 4th & 3 bothered me||
It wound up not mattering, but . . . .
The go/punt decision ought to be like the 2-point conversion decision. The coach should have a chart, and 95 percent of the time it ought to be automatic, rather than burning a time-out to think it over.
It did NOT bother me that they failed to convert. These "smart football" decisions are a matter of playing the odds. Hoke's decisions have paid off most of the time. You're not going to get them all.
But the play-call, especially coming out of a time-out, was awfully pedestrian. If ever there was a time to try and fake-out the defense, wasn't this it?
|26 weeks 1 day ago||Because everyone wants 7 home games||
Every Big Ten team wants at least 7 home games every year. In addition, two Big Ten teams have standing home-and-home rivalries outside the conference that are probably not going away: Purdue with Notre Dame, Iowa with Iowa State.
If you have nine conference games, then Iowa will play five on the road the years they have Iowa State at home, and vice versa. The remaining two games need to be one-and-done body bag opponents, to get Iowa up to seven games at home every year.
Teams like Michigan and Ohio State that lack a standing non-conference rivalry would have the flexibility to schedule a high-profile non-conference opponent every year (i.e., the kind of opponent that would demand a return game).
If you go to ten conference games, then nobody could ever schedule a high-profile non-conference opponent again.
|26 weeks 1 day ago||It could happen, but it's really hard to do||
There is no real logic to which schools are football powerhouses, and which are not. Decades ago, Minnesota had a long run of sustained success. Now they're terrible. There is no logical reason for Kentucky to excel at basketball and suck at football, rather than the other way around. It just IS.
But once you have a powerhouse program, there are enormous structural advantages that allow it to stay that way. That's why schools like Michigan, Alabama, and USC are never down for long, and why Penn State will be a premier program again, eventually.
Building that sort of program is rarely accomplished. Paterno did it at Penn State. Bowden did it at Florida State. Somewhat uniquely, Miami did it not with one great coach, but rather a sequence of them. Still, it takes many years to build up the kind of success where it becomes self-sustaining.
South Carolina is still at around .500 all-time, with a 5-12 record all-time in bowl games. They've never been to a BCS bowl and have finished in the top 10 just once in their history. They've never won an SEC title, and their only division championship, in 2010, came in an unusually weak year, when their conference record was just 5-3. South Carolina still has a LONG way to go.
|26 weeks 1 day ago||Even your way, I'm not sure you're correct||
Pre-realignment, the Big Ten had a total of 25 BCS appearances; 19 for the Big 12. The Big Ten had six teams who'd been to the BCS at least twice; the Big 12 had only three (Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska). The Big Ten has placed an at-large team in the BCS eleven times, and every year since 2004. The Big 12 has done so once (Kansas in 2008).
It is true that the Big 12 was killed mostly by its revenue-sharing deal, but that deal came directly out of the fact that so many of its members were weak. In the years the Big 12 had a conference championship game, the "Big Three" (TX, OK, Neb) won 12 out of 15. The Big Ten didn't have a championship game in those years, but during the comparable period, nine of its eleven members won or shared the title at least once.
There are obviously many stats you can use, but at the time Nebraska made the switch, you'd have had trouble finding very many people who thought they were moving to a weaker league by any definition. This year it's definitely true, but these moves are made with a 20+ year horizon.
|26 weeks 1 day ago||Not sure what we are actually disagreeing about||
I'm curious about your comment regarding the conference championship game. The B1G already has one of those, so how could it make "multiples of what we make today" by adding two additional teams?
The only financial benefit from expanding that anyone has touted, is getting the Big Ten Network into more households. That has nothing to do with the conference championship game, which is on Fox. Teams like Rutgers and Maryland, who'll hardly ever play in that game, do not make it more valuable.
|26 weeks 1 day ago||There's definitely an adequate sample size||
If all conference moves over the last 20 years are considered, there are a lot of them: certainly enough to draw conclusions. If you run through them one by one, but you'll see the four axioms are practically always true.
There is no plausible argument that the Big 12 was a stronger conference than the B1G at the time Nebraska switched. Texas A&M and Missouri were publicly and conspicuously looking at other options. Four schools at least listened to an offer from the Pac-12. After that fell through, it took Colorado about 15 minutes to make a switch. Did you see any Big Ten school even sniffing elsewhere? Of course not.
In my statement of the axioms, you'll note the word voluntarily. I didn't explicate what that meant...but yeah, when your back is against the wall (usually because you've lost members), the necessary actions to survive are not voluntary. When the axioms are violated, it's usually because someone's back is against the wall.
|26 weeks 2 days ago||You haven't considered the money angle||
Sixteen-team conferences aren't an inexorable law. Every move has to make money. A lot of your scenarios are just "moves for their own sake."
According to the latest estimates, the Big Ten media payout will likely reach $45 million per school by 2019, compared with $25 million today. Simply put, the next pair of schools need to bring in $90 million just to break even. And Jim Delany doesn't do deals just to break even.
It gets harder and harder to find schools that are accretive, while also fitting the Big Ten's academic and geographic profile. As it is, some people feel that Maryland and Rutgers are a cut below the rest of the conference. How much deeper in the bargain barrel do you dig, and somehow come up with around $45 or $50 million a school?
|27 weeks 22 min ago||Query: are timeouts in the database||
This may be just a nit, but I'd think the lack of time-outs depresses the win percentage even further, since a sack ends the game, and you need to have at least 3 extra seconds after a completed first-down pass inbounds to spike the ball.
|27 weeks 1 hour ago||9% doesn't sound right||
First of all, in the write-up you said the nadir was 5%, not 9%.
Beyond that, Michigan had 1st & Goal from its own 38 with 18 seconds left and no time-outs. They needed around 30 yards to get into field goal range, and basically only one play to do it. (Clearly, if the long past to Roundtree had been incomplete, there wasn't enough time to throw another pass of that length and spike the ball.)
And even if you complete the pass, the FG isn't a sure thing, and OT is basically a toss-up, with perhaps a narrow edge for the home team.
You're saying that almost 1 out of 10 teams in that situation go on to win? I can't imagine it's that high.
|28 weeks 2 days ago||Sure, with practice, but....||
Denard has four games left in his career. Vincent has been blocking for four years.
Blocking is not something that small guys do naturally. Maybe Denard would have developed that skill if he'd worked on it his whole career. But that's not where we are.
|28 weeks 2 days ago||Bizarre all around||
First of all, look up Denard's career catches. I believe it's approximately zero. So you can forget about him playing slot receiver.
Next, look up how often Denard has blocked anybody. There's no stat for that, but he hasn't done it often. Even Gardner, who's bigger and stronger than Denard, admits that he has had trouble learning to block. And he has practiced at receiver for months.
So on any play Denard doesn't take the handoff, he'd be basically useless out there. When he does get the handoff, he'd be getting the ball later than if he just took the snap himself.
On top of that, he has never practiced as a running back, and with 4 games left in his career it's awfully late to start.
Frankly, I don't think much of your plan.
|29 weeks 2 days ago||Regarding fifth years||
Most college football players, even very good ones with NFL potential, do stick around for the fifth year. Andrew Luck is a recent example. Obviously, there are no sure things in sports, but it's not like basketball, where the great ones hardly ever last four years, much less five.
Of the following scenarios, which is the more common in football:
(A) Player burns his redshirt and is not very effective as a freshman; he's a star by his senior year, and would have stayed a fifth year, if he could.
(B) Player redshirts; he's a star by his redshirt junior year, and foregoes his fifth year for the NFL.
I think (A) is more common, and therefore it's better to hold onto the redshirt -- unless, of course, the player actually beats out the older guys ahead of him.
|31 weeks 2 days ago||Some Thoughts on Legends Jerseys||
It appears that Hoke's de facto strategy is to assign them either to: A) Young players with a high ceiling (Ryan, Morgan); or B) "Good-guy" seniors with a low ceiling (Roundtree, Miller).
What he has not done, is take a star player's number away, late in his career (Kovacs, Denard). This solves the problem Brian was worried about, where after 3 1/2 years of seeing Kovacs roaming the secondary as #32, suddenly he's #11 for a handful of games.
Of course, after they've put Denard on the cover of their media guide and sold thousands of #16 jerseys, there was no way his number was going to change.
I suspect that Hoke will be leery of giving out legends jerseys to true freshmen. Hoke seems to believe that there's a "good citizenship" requirement, more than just being good at sports, and it would be tough for a true freshman to demonstrate that.
So a likely pattern is that they'll usually be given to younger players of starter caliber (but not true frosh), who'll then have the chance to wear the jersey for several years. In cases where there is no obvious candidate in the younger ranks, he'll give it to a "good guy" senior for a year, and then re-evaluate it the following season.
Michigan hasn't retired a lot of jerseys. There are pretty low odds that a second guy would have a "retire-the-jersey" type of career with the same number. In the event that happens, it strikes me as a good problem to have.
If you look at the accomplishments that get your jersey retired, they're pretty rare. I love Jake Ryan, but being a 3-time All-American and wining a Butkus award would probably not suffice.
|32 weeks 5 days ago||As one of those 12 zillion East Coast alums....||
I would personally be happy with it. But these decisions are made years in advance. The fact that Rutgers is on the fringe of the top 25 at the moment is irrelevant. Based on Rutgers' history, you can make a pretty good guess as to the probability they'd be ranked in a game played 3 or 4 years from now.
Although East Coast alumni would enjoy the road game, is Rutgers the kind of opponent that would set pulses racing in Ann Arbor? In terms of the quality of football that they usually play, Rutgers is practically the equivalent of a MAC school. Brandon can get a MAC school any day of the week, without having to give back a return game.
I think Brandon's main priority is to improve the quality of the home slate, and I'm not sure Rutgers does that. A pretty good SEC team, like Arkansas, is quite a bit different than Rutgers.
|32 weeks 5 days ago||Sounds like 8 ACC conference games...||
...was an accommodation for Florida State, Clemson, and Georgia Tech. In years they play Notre Dame in South Bend, they would be looking at 6 road games, which (in general) no BCS team ever does. I know that Michigan played at Jerryworld this year, but that was a one-off, not a game built into the schedule on a recurring basis.