Doom, Doom, Beat Drums In The Big 12 Deep

Submitted by Brian on June 7th, 2010 at 5:00 PM

Death_star1 Blogs With Balls picked a surprisingly inconvenient time to happen. A weekend in early June should be the most boring, torpid time of the year for a college football (/basketball/hockey/baseball) blog, but over the weekend Michigan dealt with a scary injury to one of their players, an assistant coach departing, and all hell breaking loose when it comes to college football expansion.

I dumped about a thousand words worth of up-to-date speculation, opinion, and head-shaking at The Sporting Blog, but here's an addendum directed at Michigan's place in all this:

Is this good or bad?

Probably good? I owe Frank The Tank an apology for considering his Texas Death Star scenarios a law-addled fever dream: guy was on the money. Now that the fate of the Big 12 is seriously in play, Texas can shake loose and the Big Ten can swoop in and claim the Longhorns and associated Big 12 teams to create a superconference worthy of the name. I still think 16 team conferences are stupid pretty much without exception, but a 16 team superconference formed by adding a few Big East schools and Big 12 North refugees goes beyond that into the realm of depressing.

The Pac-10's main advantage when it comes to wooing Austin is also its main disadvantage: the Pac-10 does not have a CIC-type organization and is (evidently) not as hung up on the possibility of admitting the Oklahoma teams. In short, they do not have a "Tech problem." The Big Ten has a Tech problem because the wide-ranging institutional cooperation on the academic side has seen Penn State and Texas go from approximately equal centers of research to Penn State peering down at Texas from atop a $200 million dollar pile of Big Ten money.

Is Notre Dame seriously in play?

Eh… probably not. Big 12 disintegration leaves the Big East intact and removes much of ND's motivation to join a conference.

Do you have a wild guess to how this works out?

Absolutely not, but I think Texas prefers the Big 10 to the Pac 10 and it will be a fight between UT and the Texas legislature's insistence on tying Baylor and Tech around the Longhorns' necks. If Texas wins that fight the end result is probably the addition of Nebraska, Missouri, Texas, A&M, and then a wildcard team the league would prefer was Notre Dame but probably won't be.

I wonder how the triumvirate of hate schools (Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota) look at this. They'd probably be put in the Big 12 division (otherwise you have to break them up) and would have their worlds more rearranged than anyone else.



June 7th, 2010 at 9:17 PM ^

Because I can't see Iowa-Texas, -Nebraska or even A&M or Missou really being any less covered than vs. OSU or MI. I don't really count Penn St. when it's not THAT traditional a rivalry, and only one team really considers it so...even if PSU has lost to Iowa almost as much as us. Frankly, the same with Michigan/Ohio St. Not to be mean, but Iowa is pretty far down their rival lists too. Frankly, the OP even stated Nebraska at least has some built in rivalry. More than the teams lost will. It comes down to if Iowa is good, and they play any of the National powers, they'll get on tv. If not, they won't. Sure, Nebraska isn't what it once was; but at the moment, neither is Michigan. And 10-15 years ago, Texas that everyone is fighting over was pretty darn average too. Back when they were hiring mediocre Illinois coaches. It's all cyclical.


June 7th, 2010 at 7:58 PM ^

It certainly will be interesting what happens, I just hope something happens soon so I stop thinking of all the possibilities and just know what's going to happen.


June 7th, 2010 at 8:50 PM ^

My guess is that ND would join the Big Ten if the Big Ten would let them dictate a few terms.  What these terms are?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Perhaps they would like to keep their NBC money.  Maybe they would like to be in the Big East and the Big Ten.  Maybe they would like veto power.  I don't know.  It just seems that Delaney wants them to join, but he is not about to give them any special exemptions.  They would have to be just like every other school in the Big Ten. 

So...ND stalls in the hope they can finagle some kind of sweetheart deal.  Delaney recognizes that he is playing from a position of power and does not need to bend even one iota.  Delaney demonstrates his power to shift the entire landscape of BCS alignment.  He does not even have to send out formal invitations.  He merely needs to "talk" about expansion and lend credence to the inevitability of a super-conference being formed.  The PacTen takes the bait and tries to pre-empt the Big Ten by raiding the best schools from the Big12.  Now, suddenly, without the BigTen having done anything except speculate about possible expansion, everyone is running around like it's a Chinese fire drill.  Now the possibility of being left out of the BCS money is very real.  But not for the Big Ten.  No matter what happens the Big Ten has only to select one more top end school and they will be BCS qualified.  On top of that the Big Ten already has its own very profitable network.  The Big Ten will prosper.  No matter what.

ND on the other hand...would need to join a confernce. period.  If they do not find themselves in one of the four superconferences then they become second teir.  irrelevant. The question for them is...If you are going to join a conference, which one do you want to belong to? 

Delaney thinks the answer would be the conference that offers the most money, the most prestige, (overall imo) and the most sense geographically.  He is merely making it clear that ND needs to quit being such a stuck up bitch and join the Big Ten without qualification.  Accept the fact that every member of the Big Ten would have equal votes, equal power, equal revenue sharing.  They need to get over themselves and join with the Big Ten to become the greatest conference in all the land or wither and die.

Delaney is playing this like Eastwood.

Blondie once said "You see, in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig."

Delaney has a loaded gun and he knows it


June 7th, 2010 at 8:53 PM ^

Nebraska, Mizzou, and Notre Dame.  Then possibly Texas and A&M from the Big12 wreckage to get to 16.  I'm pretty sure that's the best conference ever.


June 7th, 2010 at 9:16 PM ^

I can hear those hay seeds from the SEC now ....

"Y'all can't say the Big Ten is better, 'cause the SEC has won more championships than y'all in the last five years."

Question I have is what this means for the BCS and other bowl agreements? Most of the bowl agreements (for the "better" bowls, anyway) cover the first 4-5 teams in the B10 rankings. Conceivably, we could have more teams with better records, but go to crappier bowl games, than other conferences.


June 7th, 2010 at 9:41 PM ^

... it's like a gigantic game of Risk!

For all the talk about how school X brings something in other sports, everything I hear says it's:

1. Football.

2. Football.

3. Football.

And I suppose academics and demographics (cable TV markets).

And the best post above is how the Big Ten is in the driver's seat. Because of the BTN, the Big Ten already has what the other conferences covet.





June 7th, 2010 at 9:46 PM ^

Because of their ridiculous legislature. If these guys have enough pull to bump Colorado for Baylor, I think UT is a kiss of death.

In the Big Ten, there would only be two Texas schools, UT and A&M. Any other conference has 3-4 incoming, which immediately shifts the balance of power HEAVILY in favor of the newcomers. We saw it happen in the Big 8, which is eventually having its demise at the hands of a greedy Texas legislature causing imbalance within the conference. I feel like if the Pac 10 picks up 6 schools, especially if one of those 6 is Baylor, we'll be talking about the Pac-8 and the 20 team SEC in twenty years. Or something equally ridiculous.

Michigan Arrogance

June 7th, 2010 at 9:53 PM ^

if the tex legislature would let UT do what's best for UT (instaed of what's best for TTU, Baylor, et al) then this thing falls in place nicely:

UT, TAMU, Mizzou, Neb, ND fall to B10.

if ND keeps being short sighted and stubborn, then replace them with any one out of Cuse, Rutgers or Pitt.

If the tex legislature does have enough say in the matter, then the B10 swipes Mizzou, Neb, ND and stops at 14. they could take 2 out of pitt, cuse and rutgers if inclined. if no ND then the B10 looks east for Pitt, Cuse and rutgers.

If ND is scared shitless of being left out of the BCS, i could see them jumping at the offer 1st and the B10 stops at 12 with the addition of ND.

either way, i don't see the B10 looking east unless one of UT and ND won't join. the B10 is really in a good position b/c they have lots of leverage:

*the B10 is clearly the best option for UT (CIC and BTN $$$)
*the B10 doesn't need ND: they can look to UT or look east or look east w/ Mizzou and Neb
*Mizzou and Neb would eat a shit sandwich to go from the B12 to B10.

the one thing that confuses me is, why is Neb such a better academic fit than OU, Pitt, Cuse?


June 7th, 2010 at 10:19 PM ^

Oklahoma is not. As for Cuse and Pitt, I think that it's more about their athletic department. But it also could be that Nebraska is large and public, whereas Cuse and Pitt are not.

I may be the last person on this blog to still think the Big Ten is more likely to end up with 12 teams than 14 or 16, no matter what somebody else does. That said, I think we're more likely to end up with 16 than 11.

I also think it may be in UT's best interest to go independent, so I may be crazy.

Icehole Woody

June 8th, 2010 at 8:23 AM ^

How about a rule that only one team from the expanded Big Ten can go to a non BCS bowl game.  I'm for anything that reduces the number of meaningless bowl games.


June 8th, 2010 at 9:20 AM ^

Many of those "meaningless" bowls have large pay-outs, which help fund the athletic department. Those "meaningless bowls" are also critical for team development, as the coaches get 15 extra practices to prepare for them. They also help with recruiting: coveted players want to attend schools that go to bowls.

Perhaps you're not old enough to remember when only one Big Ten team was allowed to go bowling. Bo Schembechler had three squads with just one loss, and even an undefeated team, that couldn't go to a bowl. While an undefeated team today would clearly get a BCS invite, there are certainly scenarios under your proposal where a team with 10 or even 11 wins would not.

I can see the argument, where you have bowls that could be inviting 5-7 football teams, but ultimately the situation will sort itself out. If people are willing to pay to watch them, and if TV networks are willing to pay to broadcast them, then they are not meaningless.