Big Ten Meetings, Brought To You By Barbasol And Facepalm Comment Count

Ace May 16th, 2012 at 2:33 PM

Total abominations

The Big Ten meetings are currently underway in Chicago, and the big story is the Big Ten bowing to their SEC overlords respecting the sanctity of the Rose Bowl by abandoning the desire for on-campus playoff semifinals. Of course, the stated reason for such a stance can't be "we're hopelessly in the pockets of the bowl system, so we'll sacrifice a competitive advantage for the sake of preserving some bastardized ideal of tradition," so this is now about... fairness?

Sure, USC or UCLA playing in the Rose Bowl, LSU playing in the Sugar Bowl, Florida or Miami in the Orange Bowl, that's all fine. God forbid Big Ten fans actually get to drive to a postseason game while their SEC counterparts don coats (gasp!) and get on an airplane for what amounts to a road game! No, this can't happen because the kids want a nice trip and their bowl swag:

Fair enough, I guess. I'm assuming, if the question was framed differently, the players would be in support of hosting a semifinal—and evening the playing field—instead of playing a "home" semi in Pasadena before a warm neutral-site final, though I could be wrong. Escaping Michigan in January is always high on my list of things to do in Michigan in January. This, however, is not my ideal destination:

I present Yankee Stadium, home of the Pinstripe Bowl, one day before the 2010 game:

What's really remarkable is that the Big Ten is so brazen in its hypocricy that these ideas are presented within mere minutes of each other. The sooner the bowl system dies a fiery (icy?) death, at least when it comes to determining a national champion, the better.



May 16th, 2012 at 2:42 PM ^


Yes, who in the B1G is getting the incentive ($) to say these things? Why would you give away a home field advantage and reward your fans? Why not at least negotiate?

FWIW, I thought it was Brian that wrote this article at first. Well done ACE.


May 16th, 2012 at 2:42 PM ^

Personally, as a Michigan alumn, the prospect of returning to the big house for a cold playoff game in Ann Arbor is far more appealing than a generic warm weather neutral site game. I'd even prefer visiting an opposing stadium.

Outside of sites with tradition (Rose Bowl), the neutral site locations are terrible. I hate Florida, Arizona, Southern California, Texas, etc.



May 16th, 2012 at 2:44 PM ^

Ace, do you think the main reason that the B1G coaches and ADs don't want to lose the Rose Bowl is because of the massive pressure Hollis and others are putting on Delany? For example, the idea that MSU's last Rose Bowl bid being 1988, has to eat at their inner core.


May 16th, 2012 at 2:48 PM ^

I don't know if I'd say that. While the ADs are certainly complicit, Delany fetishizes the Rose Bowl more than anyone I've ever heard, to the point that he actively hurts his conference's competitiveness to preserve the bowls.


May 17th, 2012 at 9:53 AM ^

This is why I'm glad I am a massive pro football fan, too. I imagine the pitch for this idea went something like this:

Delaney: "Let's throw away any shot at home field games so we can save the system that is bankrupting 95% of the athletic departments! That way, the SEC can keep winning titles in front of friendly crowds, fans of your teams will stop paying to go see us play in middling bowls, and everybody keeps losing a fuck ton of money (except, of course, the four SEC teams who get voted into the "playoff bracket" *giggles maniacally*)

Brandon: "Brilliant!!"

Mike Slive (who was obviously invited to join the discussion): "Seems like a pretty reasonable proposition."



May 16th, 2012 at 2:48 PM ^

So earlier this morning I sent Dave Brandon an email about this issue, just to make my loud and irritable voice heard, and this was the meat of his response:


If anyone still believes that the game should be about the student-athletes (And, I do!), then they would quickly learn how much the players look forward to traveling to unique locations where many of them have never been ... being greeted by a host committee who treats them great ... playing in special venues and often in nice weather ... and, having a unique experience to end their season. I understand why most fans like to only think about "the fan experience," but I weigh the student-athlete experience heavily in any of these discussions.


I suppose it would be pretty fantastic to be treated like the players are treated during their bowl games, but as dropping attendance shows, the fans (and their money) are losing interest more each year... I would think that as a student-athlete, playing for a place in the national championship game in front of your home fans in your own stadium wouldn't be so bad. Surely not a bad trade; as a player, you gain home team advantage and play in front of a sellout crowd (instead of tens of thousands of empty seats) in return for the lack of pampering.


May 16th, 2012 at 3:07 PM ^

I get DB's point about the student-athlete perspective. But what about the student body perspective? Very few students are going to be able to make it to a neutral-site location, but if there was a home game, the students would be there, loud, and (hopefully) on time. A better student section increases the enjoyment of all other Michigan fans, and presumably increases the experience for the players too.




May 16th, 2012 at 4:42 PM ^

But that is a completely rational and appropriate response.

These games are generally occuring over winter break for these kids.  They get to play 6 or 7 games at home already.  I'd rather go on a trip to Orlando than hang around Ann Arbor during winter break...and I personally HATE Orlando.

If you're talking about the lower tier bowls (the ones that have tens of thousands of empty seats), I wouldn't at all assume that school like Purdue or Indiana or Rutgers is going to sell out that kind of game in January either.

The problem that most Michigan fans have is that they refuse to recognize that Michigan is not a normal or representative school. It is the outlier and you don't build your system just for outliers.


May 17th, 2012 at 5:52 PM ^

I call bullshit.  We are talking about the national semi-finals here, with a chance to go to the National Championship.  This is a rare occurence for a team.  Of course the players are going to want home field advantage and any other advantge they can get.  It is not a run of the mill end of your season reward bowl game.  The players will still get that any other year.

More Dave BRANDon double-speak.  You know that he did not talk to a single player and ask them straight out:  "For a national semi-final playoff game, would you rather play it at home or on the road at a bowl site?"



May 16th, 2012 at 3:19 PM ^

My friends and I used to discuss having bowl games in the northern areas way back in the '70's so this isn't a new concept nor is the rejection of said idea new either. It will never happen so long as the bowls/money rule college football. Apparently even with a chance to make a change the B10 won't stick to the guns and get a change.


winged wolverine

May 16th, 2012 at 2:51 PM ^

to see these half empty semifinal sites. I'm guessing most fans will be saving their money to see if the team gets into a title game rather than spend money on a semi-final game.  



May 16th, 2012 at 2:52 PM ^

would be vastly preferable to the current setup - it will at least be a true neutral site game and we will finally be able to test the theory of how well SEC teams perform outside of the south


May 16th, 2012 at 2:53 PM ^

The Bears and the Packers play outdoors in winter.  There are domes in Indy, Minny and some town east of Ann Arbor.  While I'm truly sorry the Midwest lacks a Disney facility, the region does have football stadiums that are suitable for playoffs.  They just aren't being used appropriately and responsibility reposes with the suits.  Consider the economic benefits and drive for playoff and marquis games here please, DB.  Sheesh.


May 16th, 2012 at 2:56 PM ^

There's something very familiar about all of this.

What is it I'm thinking of? It's at the tip of my fingers...

Oh, yes. Neville Chamberlain capitulating to you-know-who and declaring "peace for our time" in 1938.

The B1G has a lot of leverage and is throwing it all away for an occasional Rose Bowl trip. Great news! We get to watch B1G teams lose the Rose Bowl instead of occasionally win national championships. Honestly, the overstretched fans of B1G teams are going to start rebelling with their wallets if we get left out in the cold again.

I just deleted a long rant about how ridiculout this is. I think invoking Godwin's Law pretty much sums it up, though.


May 16th, 2012 at 3:10 PM ^

You are of course entirely correct. I think in a football thread rational discussion is possible even if it involves labeling various parties with names of WWII participants.

For the record, I consider the SEC to be putative embodiment of evil discussed earlier. The corrupt bowl system (and I was very conservative on this issue just a couple of years ago) is more like Stalinist Russia: completely devoid of morality and more than willing to play along with the bad guys because they think it gets them what they want. 

We were supposed to be the U.S. by coming in and fighting against the forces of oppression, but instead we're pre-Churchill England. The Big XII is Vichy France, easily divided and conquered.

Naturally, the Big East is Poland. 

Blue boy johnson

May 16th, 2012 at 3:05 PM ^

They are just having a good old time brainstorming and sending out random thoughts over the twitter waves. Life is grand.

I'm all for the Alaska Bowl. Basking in the shadows of Mt. McKinley.

Or how about the Kamchatka Bowl sponsored by the board game Risk


May 16th, 2012 at 3:03 PM ^

but one thing that executives, advertisers, stadium owners, (aka ,the money) like when setting this stuff up is to know months ahead of time where and when the event is. we talk all year long about where the super bowl is or the national title game or the ncaa finals. the way college football works, the big ten would need to organize a game on one of 12 campuses in 3 weeks. while this seems simple to us, it essentially means that every year there would need to be big ten plans in place for 12 games, one at each conference, meaning all sorts of contract issues, since it would be the conference and not the university paying and that gets into all sorts of logistical nightmares.

if not on campus, you are asking the owners of, lets just say, the lucas oil dome in indy to save a date for something that may or may not happen. so, don't have that boat show or monster truck thing, because if michigan can win the championship game and lsu loses their conference game but georgia loses to florida by a wide margin, michigan may host the regional 2-3 game if the voting turns out right and we will need someone there to sell 20,000 t-shirts and pretzels.

the easiest part of stuff like this is not saying how it should work, its actually figuring out how it can work with the infrastructure you have to work with.


May 16th, 2012 at 4:18 PM ^

the on campus thing was never going to work for a lot of reasons, but most of all the conflicts between who gets ticket/sponsorship dollars and disparate facilities. the hypothetical situation of a possible college playoff game saving a spot at an arena is a small thing, but just the tip of the ice berg of complications. nfl teams, generally, have controlling leases of their stadiums in that they get to refuse the owners having events there. so, they actually do reserve hypothetical playoff weekends in advance.

brings to mind another off campus midwest location, is the possible conflict between a college game and a pro game.

this whole thing sucks, i don't like how it is turning out and i certainly don't like the lack of regard for the team's fans and the ability to attend games, but i guess i never really thought it would be any other way, but not for the reason of "delany hatez fans" but more for the reason of "this is really complicated and its too hard to make it special so lets just make it easy for us."


May 16th, 2012 at 3:06 PM ^

That isn't even the most horrifying thing DB said today:

According to Mark Snyder:

Dave Brandon at Big Ten AD meetings on many topics: FB jerseys will have single rollout explaining what will happen game by game for 2012

So, to be clear, we need an actual rollout to know which jersey goes with which game, which means there are at least, at minimum, three jerseys and potentially more.  Ye gods man.

The Brand.  The Brand.  The Brand.


May 16th, 2012 at 3:48 PM ^

Not be overly obsequious but you Mr. King are my favorite "new poster" this year.  I have gotten to the point in a big thread where I simply scan the pictures to see who is commenting and then read accordingly.  I always enjoy your observations, even when I dont necessarily agree with them.

Tulip Time

May 16th, 2012 at 3:08 PM ^

But wouldn't home playoff semis recreate the problem of trying to choose who deserves the number 2 and number 3 seed?  I realize that playing an away playoff game is better than being left out completely, but still, that's a huge competitive advantage being given to a team based off of what has been deemed arbitrary in years past. Can someone explain this to me?


May 16th, 2012 at 3:12 PM ^

everyone had to travel to the most distant part of the states to play in their bowl or championship playoff series. That would take care of the advantage to the sec or left coast or anywhere else. Pick the best locations on the warmest areas of the country. Everybody takes a holiday and see who has the fanbase. Just my idea.


May 16th, 2012 at 3:16 PM ^

I also emailed Brandon with many of the same concerns Ace voiced above.  The jist of Brandon's reply, so you can see where he's coming from, is:

"Frankly, we will never get schools outside the midwest (particularly southern schools) to travel to the mid-west in January to play football. And, the impact on the current bowl system would be very negative - and that is not in the best interest of our student-athletes (who this is all supposed to be about!)"

I think they know, after already having preliminary hearings, that the other conferences aren't going to go for homefield sites.  That being the case, might as well fight for the second-best thing, which is a strong Rose Bowl, I guess. 

I still would prefer that the other conferences have to say publicly that they're too wimpy to come up north to play football.  But, that's not the way it's going to go down, I guess....


May 16th, 2012 at 3:15 PM ^

Why not break the country down into 4 regions, let sites bid for the right to host the playoffs in the region and let the BCS conferences approve the site choice by a vote? That way the southern schools can assure it's done in Indy or Detroit with no weather. Yet local fans could still drive to the games and get the majority of the tickets.

Bidding would create another profit center you'll never get from a bowl which basically just leaches TV money in exchange for use of their stadium.  Trust me, those cities will treat these players like rock stars and it won't cost the schools all the money it does currently for bowl games.

Also trust me, the mere possibility that these stadiums could host these events will cause them to gladly not book any events for that weekend.   

It's funny how otherwise big thinkers from some of these BCS schools suddenly start thinking real small and relying on the most tired of silly arguments to justify the bad outcome they want.  They are playing us for fools.

They'd keep playing us for fools with the current system forever if we weren't turning off their "BCS Bowls" in record numbers. That's the only reason were seeing 4 team playoff. Because ESPN and the like told them they aren't going to pay the big dollars for another 10 years of meaningless games without more meat on the table.

These turkeys only play the student athlete experience card when it suits their ends.


May 16th, 2012 at 3:27 PM ^

i am not really on board with the idea that weather would be much of a determining factor in games played at big ten stadiums. home crowds, yes, weather notsomuch.

what is the impact of bad weather on denard turning the corner or throwing the ball? what is the impact of bad weather on nebraska's pitch happy offense? what is the impact of bad weather on meyer's spread? what is the impact of bad weather on alabama's power running game and agressive defense?

wisconsin and michigan state, at this point, are really the teams whose style of play would benefit from the opponents being in cold weather, since they both play ball control, power running games with sturdy defenses.


May 16th, 2012 at 9:52 PM ^

A mud pit makes everyone slow. But cold temperatures? Something northern teams go shirtless in, but players in the south freak out about because they're not used to it. Someone on here mentioned the Miami-Wisconsin Bowl Game as an example. Conversely, we had to go down to UCLA when it was like 100 in September. And we were dropping like flies. They all hit everybody....but those that are used to it handle it better.


May 16th, 2012 at 3:33 PM ^

Perhaps another unspoken reason the BiG is easing on home bowls is recruiting would suffer.  In the NFL, draft/trades predominantly define a player’s destination, whereas, stating the obvious, it is purely elective for elite talent selecting their college team.  Homer high school talent wouldn’t be impacted, but for that large portion of elite talent that migrates cross country, home bowls would:

Remove one arrow from the BiG’s recruiting quiver – “Aaaah warm January 1 in L.A. with perks and feasts and all that Rose Bowl tradition.”

Move said arrow to the SEC/ACC/Big12’s recruiting quiver – “Dear High School Blue Chip,  why would you want to play for UM or Ohio if at the end of a great season your reward is freezing your ass January 1 in the Big House or the Shoe?  Come our way where you can bask in January warmth, sun and fun.”

Diabeetus’ purported response from DBrandon indicates such a focus not on fans, but on the student-athlete.   Negative impact on national recruiting may also thus be an underlying concern, and I doubt countering with "If you're too pussy to want to play in our tundra in January vs LA or Miami we don't want you" will do much to improve BiG recruiting rankings.


May 16th, 2012 at 3:29 PM ^

I still say that a B1G fan who is facing (for example):

Indianapolis in early December for the B1G Championship game

Pasadena on January 1st for the semifinal

Miami on January 14th for the National Championship

or an SEC fan who is also facing

Atlanta / New Orleans / Miami

Isn't going to make all 3 of those games.  Unless you are retired, a 1%'er, and have an extremely accomodating wife, you aren't going to all 3 of those games.

TV ratings will be through the roof, but come on.  I was at the Sugar Bowl, and I couldn't believe that a 10-2 Michigan team playing in an awesome city after three years of misery couldn't sell out the building.  As much as I loved the experience, there's no way I could justify two of those trips in one year.

These AD's and conference commissioners are crazy.



May 16th, 2012 at 3:42 PM ^

To further your point, I would MUCH rather go to the B1G championship game, in Indy (in the midwest), and skip the national semifinal game.  I would then pray we win that game then attempt to go to the championship game.  I imagine many other people feel the same way.  The B1G champ game is huge b/c, well, we can win the B1G and that's important to us.  If we lose the semi, yes, that sucks, but at least we won the B1G, right?  And if we make it to the finals, yes, sure as hell I'm going.

So what does that leave us with?  A distant location for a semifinal game that I honestly don't care to go to.  If too many others feel the same way, then this idea will totally backfire and they'll have to change it.  I guess that's not a terrible idea if we're willing to deal with the immediate idiocy of it all.