Unverified Voracity Bats Its Eyelashes

Submitted by Brian on December 21st, 2009 at 11:25 AM

Programming note: I am headed out of town for the annual approximately week-long Christmas vacation. I'll check in periodically but posts are not likely unless there is major news. I return on the 30th. Update: Tim will be around until Wednesday.

Adios. Donovan Warren is out:

Michigan cornerback Donovan Warren has declared for the NFL draft.

Warren told The Associated Press on Sunday he believes it’s the right time to take his game to the next level.

“I’m confident in my ability,” he said. “I’m ready for the next chapter in my life.”

There was a brief window in which it seemed that Warren would come back because Warren said words to the effect of "I'll probably come back," but at the Bust he said he was "heavily" favoring the NFL and after that it seemed like a matter of time. It was.

While Michigan fans aren't quite as attached to Warren as Tiger fans were to Curtis Granderson


…the vast seeping hole full of pus and regret he leaves in the secondary has elicited a similar reaction. Justin Turner, now is the time to pupate.

About 14. The thing about 14 teams is at that point it's hardly a conference, it's two conferences with a scheduling agreement and a weird playoff at the end. Two divisions of seven have you face everyone in your division and then just two teams from the other division. We'd go from playing Penn State and everyone else in the other division 75% of the time (there are eight teams in the league that aren't protected rivals and we miss two of them every year) to playing them 29% of the time, and there's no way you can protect a rivalry game in the opposite division without making the situation even worse.

Unless you go to nine or even ten games there's just no way that makes any sense. So then you're trying to coordinate three new schools and take away at least one precious nonconference cupcake and argue which team goes in which division and trying to get eight of eleven votes to approve all this.

There is zero percent chance of this happening.

Syracuse thinks the Big Ten is great… for Boeheim to poop on. Jim Boeheim's opinion of the Big Ten was not glowing 20 years ago:

I guarantee, and you can write a story, Penn State basketball will never be successful in the Big Ten. I will give you my heart if they are. I’m talking ever. Just not going to happen.


The whole discussion came from talking about Miami coming to the Big East and how that saved us [Syracuse] from maybe having to go to the Big Ten. What I said was, there is no way Syracuse [football] could win in the Big Ten or the ACC. And I’m talking Syracuse. And now that Penn State is going, they would have an even lesser chance.

Wonk suggests that Boeheim won't be heading up the "Let's Join The Big Ten" committee any time soon, and that would just about preclude their entry into the conference. Playing Villanova and UConn and all those other schools in the Big East in basketball is more important than anything else. We can scratch them off the list of programs to assimilate.

Missouri, on the other hand, is ready to flirt. First, Missouri's governor—pictured with Willie Nelson—is all like "yeah, we should seriously look at it" about the Big Ten. Second, via The Sports Economist comes a fascinating, candid interview with Missouri's athletic director with some insight into just how much money the Big Ten is raking in:

Mizzou may get approximately $9 million in television revenue, all things being equal, and Texas would be about $12 million. Then Baylor would be around $7.5 million.

That gap is there, but more importantly, let’s take a look at Illinois. We’re not only competing against our league, we’re competing against Illinois. The question is, what is the difference between what Illinois is getting in revenue distribution from the league — that’s television, basically — and what Mizzou is getting? Ours is $9 million. Illinois’ is $21 million.

And maybe we should be giving Jim Delany more credit for the aspects of his job that do not involve speaking to the media. I'd like to cut this answer but it's all interesting so here you go:

Q: What was the sticking point for the Big 12 [creating its own network]?

A: It had to do with revenue distribution and fear of the unknown. The unknown being that a network had never been done with college athletics before. We had heard rumors about the Big Ten getting ready to do it. So various voices in the room were concerned that we were going into uncharted waters. We have this pretty good contract with ABC, ESPN and Fox, and why would we want to give up a sure thing for a speculative deal? By us backing away from that, the Big Ten went forward with that. It was fear of the unknown. We had the same presentation at the same time by CSTV. CSTV had talked to us at the same set of meetings about starting our own network based upon the theory of ESPN Classic. When ESPN Classic was started, everybody said, “Who’s going to watch this? Old video of teams that used to play, 24-7? How is this going to be successful?”

The same people that started ESPN Classic came to us as a league and wanted us to use a similar model to start our own network, based upon this pro forma that had been shown. And we couldn’t come to a consensus. It was pretty frustrating. So we stayed the course and continued the same direction we were, and what we found is we found today that the SEC contract is worth $205 million per year, the Big Ten contract is worth $190 million per year — and both of those leagues share equally — and the Big 12 Conference contract is worth $80 million per year and we don’t share equally. That is a significant gap.

Back to the topic at hand. Missouri prefers to stay where it is:

We need to keep making Mizzou stronger and stronger and making the Big 12 stronger and stronger. We need to keep saying — and we are — proud members of the Big 12 Conference. We’re fortunate to be associated. If you’re asking me personally, my preference would be to do everything you can to strengthen the Big 12. That’s what you’ve got to do.

But given the whole "freakin' Illinois gets more than double what we do from the conference" thing, they'll listen. Given that and the Big Ten's academic attractiveness, which is something certain folk might not be taking totally seriously…

[Former Big 12 commissioner] Kevin Weiberg was quoted as saying this a few days ago in USA Today — he was commenting on the Big Ten — he said, “Rest assured, this will not be about athletics.” Everybody in our world thinks this is about athletics, but it’s not. Conference realignments are always based primarily on academics.

…but that doesn't mean people suggesting schools that have nothing to offer except academics haven't swung too far the other direction.

Anyway, read the whole thing if you're interested in the subject since it's one of the best interviews I've read recently.

Digression about those numbers above. Why isn't the Big Ten picking off successful Big 12 coaches? IE: why is Gary Pinkel still at Mizzou? Though I basically dismissed Braves & Birds' SEC fixation relative to expansion, he does have a point about Big Ten schools' hiring decisions. Minnesota fired its coach and hired a TE coach. Not even a real position coach! Illinois hired Ron Zook. Michigan State hired a .500 Big East coach with two years of head coaching experience. Purdue brought in Danny Hope, coach of Eastern Kentucky. EKU made the playoffs once in his five-year tenure, losing in the first round. There are a couple of coaches in the league who were elevated in trying circumstances—Fitzgerald and Lynch, but the guys before that were elevated internal hires or MAC coaches.

The one actual A-level hire* in the league the last decade or so was Rich Rodriguez—not exactly setting the world on fire—and the transitions that seemed like the best decisions other than that were Wisconsin grabbing Bret Bielema, who had been a superb defensive coordinator at Kansas State for almost a decade, as a coach in waiting, and Jim Tressel's hiring at Ohio State. (Tressel may have been a I-AA coach but he was a guy who'd won multiple national titles.) The overall picture is of the exact opposite sort of thing going on in the SEC.

Evidence: an Outside the Lines bit from Mike Fish detailing the absurd lengths SEC teams have gone to with their coaching hires. Some of them border on the insane, most prominently the huge outlay Tennessee has made to hire an idiot:

Tennessee was so hot to rid itself of Phillip Fulmer after a 5-7 record in 2008 that it paid a $6 million buyout. This came a year after a 10-win season for which Fulmer had received a contract extension. Then, UT hustled to sign a deal with his successor, guaranteeing Kiffin $14.25 million through the 2014 season. Kiffin will be due $7.5 million if he is fired without cause.

That's actually not quite as outrageous as it's framed, as Fish loves to give overall numbers instead of yearly ones so they seem crazier. But at almost $3 million a year for a guy that definitely wasn't going to get that much from anywhere else—IIRC, Washington was the only other school interested—is an unnecessary outlay before you get to the unprecedented money given to the assistants:

The elder Kiffin is the highest-paid assistant in college sports, guaranteed $1.5 million this year. His $300,000 retention bonus alone, due after the season, isn't far from the interim president's annual salary.

Two other Tennessee football assistants, Ed Orgeron ($1.95 million) and Jim Chaney ($1.17 million), are guaranteed more than $3 million between them for the next three seasons.

Again this guy doesn't do us the service of dividing, but Orgeron is making over 600k per year. And yet if you look at the revenue numbers, Big Ten schools aren't far off the SEC folk.

There's a gap here. I'm not saying I'd like Big Ten teams to blow as much money on questionable hires as the SEC does, but surely they can make better stabs at winning coaches that Tim Brewster. Why is Brian Kelly at Notre Dame? Because half of the Big Ten passed him up.

*(Conventionally defined as a guy who's built a top ten-ish program himself, right?)

Bler recession bler. The Wiz digs up an article noting that schools are actually spending money to lobby congress in favor of the freaking BCS:

Politico reports that Purdue and Michigan have spent $515,000 and $415,000 respectively, to lobby this year against a bill that aims to cut federal money for colleges that participate in a Division I-A season without a playoff.

I tend to blame whichever congressman no doubt from Texas or Utah decided that screwing with federal funding for universities because of sports is a great idea more than either university; obviously a bill like that would be a disaster. It's one thing to goof around with an annoyance bill; this is on another level.

Delicious. If you're like me and still harbor bitterness towards former ESPN exec Mark Shapiro for things like "I'd Do Anything," Sports Media Watch's list of the ten worst sports shows of the decade is fantastic. Most of the shows on it were his idea, and most include brilliant quotes from Shapiro like so:

"Stephen A. is ringing a bell. People like him and dislike him, but they still watch him. These days, it’s hard to find a talent who strikes a chord that way" (SBD, 8/1/05). (On a related note, Shapiro reminisced about lobbying for Smith's hiring in '03: "There were 28 people in the room, and they were all vehement: ‘No way, never, never!’ I said, ‘We’ve gotta get this guy in here.'"

In fact, no one wanted to watch a shouty dwarf and Quite Frankly was an epic bomb.

Etc.: Despite rumors about seemingly every viable Michigan assistant coach out there (Corwin Brown, Vance Beford, and Scot Loeffler), Buffalo goes with Cincinnati offensive coordinator and presumptive future ND OC Jeff Quinn to replace Turner Gill. Quinn had been with Kelly forever, so this is good. Van Damme anger fairy. Vada Murray's latest update is excellent.


Blue Durham

December 21st, 2009 at 11:50 AM ^

When the Big Ten was trying to lure Notre Dame to join the Big Ten, there were no other viable options that were out there/publicized. Notre Dame could chose not to join, knowing full well that the Big Ten options would be available to them in the future.

I wonder what the reaction at Notre Dame will be if things get serious with Missouri (I think Notre Dame will have to give joining the conference much more serious thought), and I wonder how much of the Big Ten trying (and publicizing) other options is an attempt to force Notre Dame's hand to commit to the conference.


December 21st, 2009 at 2:13 PM ^

Yeah, this is looking like one giant game of chicken to me. The Big Ten wants the additional revenue and exposure from a championship game, but knows Notre Dame would bring in much more money than any of the other candidates. Notre Dame likes their sense of importance by staying independent, but knows the Big Ten is the best option if the revenues ever force them to join a conference. Who blinks first?

Blue Durham

December 21st, 2009 at 2:51 PM ^

Notre Dame is independent in football, but not in many other sports. And scheduling as an independent, if the Big Ten gets a different 12th team, just became a lot tougher. And scheduling - when Penn State was an independent, they played Notre Dame on occasion. A 12 team not Notre Dame, with added pressure to play an added conference game, jeopardizes some of ND's schedule.

With regards to money, it used to be that Notre Dame's NBC contract precluded any thoughts on joining a conference, but with the Big Ten Network, that may not be the case anymore. Throw in their struggles in football, not not having the opportunity to earn $ via a conference championship game (since independent), the disparity may not exist anymore.

Being independent used to be the path do great records, bowl games and championships. But now (particularly with SEC power-conference fever) I don't know.

Notre Dame would rather stay independent - but that is not really the question. The question is would Notre Dame rather be independent and lose the 12th slot in the Big Ten that has been reserved for them; or be that 12th team themselves.

And that has never been the issue before.

Steve in PA

December 21st, 2009 at 11:52 AM ^

Double the revenues and better academic reputation, this is a done deal as long as everyone plays nice. I think the other comments were fishing to see if the B12 was going to do something about the revenue sharing before the ball gets rolling.

As a side note, maybe we should refer to the current B12 as cB12 since I'm reading lots of comments on here that the b10 (with 11 teams) may be a B12. Just a thought.


December 21st, 2009 at 12:02 PM ^

the B12 and coming to the B10, and still pretty much am. However, that revenue gap between Mizzou and Illinois is hard to ignore.

I don't believe that there would be any particular desire on their part to leave otherwise; the academics are important, but if they were the primary factor, Mizzou would have been agitating to join the conference years ago.

The onus is really on the Big 12 as a conference: do they care about the revenue issues that bother the smaller schools, or do Texas and Oklahoma and to a lesser extent Nebraska feel that they don't need to share? If their attitude is the latter, then the odds of Missouri leaving go up dramatically.


December 21st, 2009 at 12:22 PM ^

Missouri, already being part of a BCS conference and one of its more successful members would almost always stay within the conference rather than take a chance and leave.

If the Big Ten is going to target Missouri, we need to be prepared to not get them as they will undoubtedly use our offer to join to negotiate a better deal with the Big 12. At that point, the Big 12, or Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas, will either give Missouri a better deal or say "C YA!" Given the arrogance of those three, I can see them saying goodbye and bringing in a TCU which they will be able to give a lesser share, thereby giving OK, NEB and TX a bigger piece of the pie.

Simi Maquoketa

December 21st, 2009 at 2:42 PM ^

How can they negotiate a better deal with the Big 12? Don't conferences slice up their pie evenly between all the member schools? What would Missouri's sales pitch be? I don't think they can say something like, "Hey, give us more revenue share than Iowa State."

And Nebraska hates what they consider to be the Big 12's love affair with all things Oklahoma and Texas.

Then there's the arms (money) race. All Big 12 North schools are in weaker positions than the B12 South. If Nebraska had any pull, the rivalry with Oklahoma would not have been killed.

There isn't a Big 12 North school with in any position to threaten the Big 12, and the Big 12 wouldn't exactly feel jilted if any Big 12 North school left.


December 21st, 2009 at 2:52 PM ^

How can they negotiate a better deal with the Big 12? Don't conferences slice up their pie evenly between all the member schools? What would Missouri's sales pitch be? I don't think they can say something like, "Hey, give us more revenue share than Iowa State."

The Big Ten splits revenue evenly, but not every conference does, specifically the Big XII. As explained in *the post you are commenting on*, Texas gets a bigger piece of the pie thanother schools. This is probably the main reason behind the considered love affair with Texas that you mention, and what Missouri would want to fix.


December 21st, 2009 at 4:36 PM ^

That's not the only reason. When the conference was first formed Texas basically got their way on a lot of issues, mainly at the expense of Nebraska (location of conference HQ's, recruitment of partial qualifiers, a conference title game--NU didn't want one, etc.).

I don't know what goes on in the backrooms of the Big Ten or SEC, but I don't sense the resentment towards certain member schools (outside of actual competition) that the Big XII has for some of it's institutions, Texas in particular.


December 21st, 2009 at 3:00 PM ^

I think the point Brian made above was that the Big 12 doesn't share revenue evenly. Missouri's doing exactly what they should be doing by using the Big 10's interest to improve their negotiating position with the Big 12.

Simi Maquoketa

December 21st, 2009 at 2:02 PM ^

Quinn and Gill were done before 1984. Nebraska won its NC's well after that. WOW. Get to know your future Big Ten Brethren's history.

I like this: Syracuse still has Jim Boeheim and his schnozz to hate the Big Ten, and on MGoboard there is a thread that says the Pitt Bball coach doesn't want to join.

OH HAPPY DAY! Two more mediocre shits who no one cares about have no desire to farther water down the conference? SEE YA.

It's looking better and better for my Huskers.

Oh shit: Rutgers wants to join. They and the 14 people in the powerful New York Media Market who care about Rutgers.

Simi Maquoketa

December 21st, 2009 at 3:26 PM ^

OK, but the 1984 Orange Bowl capped off the 1983 season, and Gill was gone after that game.

I'm not arguing the run the Huskers had in the early '80s--but that run was usually capped off with a disappointing end to the season. The 90's were the true "Glory Years," as they played for the title in 1993 (missing a last-second field goal to lose to FSU), and won it in '94,'95 and '97--all undefeated seasons.

EDIT: Adding to the '90s (I had to do some quick FactChecking via the intranets), Nebraska went 12-1 in '99, finishing #2 in the rankings.


December 21st, 2009 at 12:48 PM ^

I get that Missouri might be interested, which would allow the Big 12 to poach Houston and yaddayaddayadda. So what. Who is Missouri's chief rival? Honestly. You'll have to wait for it. It's....Kansas! That's right. It's Kansas. Other than a boring gridiron rivalry with the not so fighting anymore Illini, a land border with the Hawkeye state, and an improbable upset of Woody Hayes' Ohio State Buckeyes back in 1976 (thanks to QB Pete Woods), Missouri has no connectivity with the Big Ten at all.

Pittsburgh is the best option at this point hands down to get the Big 10 to 10+2 and a 13th playoff game at Soldier Field in Chicago. The only reason the WVU is a hot rival for Pitt is because Penn State was removed from the annual menu. That of course would probably change.

Big10+2 North
Michigan State

Big10+2 South
Ohio State
Penn State

If Notre Dame will never join, then bollocks to them.

Pitt is it.


December 21st, 2009 at 1:29 PM ^

"The only reason the WVU is a hot rival for Pitt is because Penn State was removed from the annual menu."

That's not borne out by facts. Ever heard of the "Backyard Brawl?" It's the 14th oldest in college football. Pitt and WVU have played 102 times, starting in 1895. Since the WWII years, they've played every year. Pitt and PSU have played 96 times.

In truth, both the PSU and WVU rivalries are very important to Pitt, in the way that both MSU and OSU are important to us.

One thing to keep in mind is that Morgantown is only 70 miles south of Pittsburgh, which is closer than Columbus is to us.

If Pitt moved to the B10, it's extremely unlikely they'd give up their annual game with WVU, any more than Mizzou would give up Kansas.

witless chum

December 23rd, 2009 at 9:38 AM ^

That's a pretty good yardstick for breaking your ties among rivalries.

Mine are:
1. Michigan
2. Notre Dame, surprisingly close second. But my mom was at MSU during the 60s and used complain vaguely about Ara Parseghian. Then there's the constantly overrated thing.

It has to be a team you're already rivals with. Like the Lewin QB projection system from Football Outsiders, it only works by using the scouts input on who's a top prospect, or you end up with Colt Brennan being the best NFL prospect ev-ah, or Montana State being Michigan State's biggest rival.

Blue in Seattle

December 21st, 2009 at 12:55 PM ^

from the statement,

"And maybe we should be giving Jim Delany more credit for the aspects of his job that do not involve speaking to the media. I'd like to cut this answer but it's all interesting so here you go:"

I just love seeing this statement made, since I think it points out that a lot of people with much less capability, and certainly much less information about the situation, are able to comment on what should be done.

I am glad MGoBlog is following this issue, and the way it is following it, primarily finding the best and worst commentators and either mocking or supporting each as appropriate. This at least makes a boring issue entertaining to read.

This issue will be decided in the best interest of the Big Ten conference, because many smart and successful people hired other smart and successful people to make the decision. I'm not one of those people, and a lot of other people commenting aren't those people.

Now that doesn't mean it isn't fun to watch the media flirtation and manipulation going on, and in a way I admire all these administrators using the media to further their goals. One thing I've noted is that Penn State and Wisconsin are the two sound bytes in favor of this latest review on "will the Big Ten make more money or less money, and more broadly be better or worse, by adding a school to the conference"

The timing is good for Coach Paterno to speak out, OSU and PSU made "The Rivalry" completely irrelevant this year by having the championship game occur a week earlier. Wisconsin is also appropriately jealous, and I understand their jealousy. But they are Wisconsin for god sakes! Other than Alumni, who really wants to watch them when they aren't playing OSU or Michigan?

While there are a lot of things that have made the Rivalry "The Rivalry", for me the continuing reason is that Michigan and Ohio have the largest population of people turning on their TV's to watch that game every year regardless of what transpired in the season.

Is there anyone with the research time/capability to compare this year's Michigan-Ohio State game to ANY other Big Ten game in the year for audience/TV revenue? How did it stack up to Alabama-Florida? How about Texas and whoever Texas played in the Big 12 Championship? (I don't know because I don't care to even look it up, but clearly it wasn't written up enough to force me to read about it)

Notre Dame Football is the only thing that could possibly improve the present situation for the Big Ten, but I doubt it's really that much better than just moving The Rivalry back a week.


December 21st, 2009 at 12:58 PM ^

Whoa, whoa, whoa. MGoTim has not been here long enough. Dont you usually need like 2 years before you get holiday time or something.

I demand content, at least out of him, in your absence.

Seriously, Merry Christmas. Enjoy your well deserved holiday break. Here's hoping next year's coincides with an MGoFieldTrip to a bowl game.


December 21st, 2009 at 12:58 PM ^

Important points on the bill the University of Michigan is lobbying against:

"An institution of higher education shall not be eligible to receive any Federal funds for any fiscal year during which the institution has a football team that participates in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, unless the national championship game of such Subdivision is the culmination of a playoff system."

"PLAYOFF SYSTEM- The term ‘playoff system’ means a system by which the national championship game of the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision is the final game of a single elimination post-season playoff system for which all NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision conferences and unaffiliated NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision teams are eligible."



December 21st, 2009 at 3:23 PM ^

The mere suggestion that all educational federal funding could be withheld from a university in violation for participating in an inter-collegiate sport (in which some Universities do not even fund or have any control) is absurd.

The hilarious irony here is this: This bill is completely an empty threat and would change nothing - no Division 1 school currently would be violating this wording, as they all currently do participate in the "playoff system" defined...

The BCS is essentially a one game, single elimination playoff for which all Division 1 teams are eligible to be voted #1 or #2.

It arguably may not be the greatest playoff format, but a playoff it is, nonetheless.


December 21st, 2009 at 2:41 PM ^

Good to see that this issue is being taken up by the highest levels of representative government in all the land. Screw a struggling economy, strained military forces on multiple fronts, growing national debt, potential reforms/changes to health care, and a myriad of other major issues - I want to know that TCU will have a chance to play against Alabama for a crystal trophy shaped like a football.

But seriously, I'm a little surprised people are even wasting time lobbying against this measure - I doubt this bill will even be debated on the floor. Of course, this also happened, so maybe it is a good that schools are keeping an eye on Congress:


December 21st, 2009 at 1:00 PM ^

I'm not sure that lobbying number is accurate. I think it might include all lobbying by the university. U of M lobbies on a lot of issues, most of them related to federal funding of research. They did the same thing with the NewsCorp number. They gave the total figure for all NewsCorp lobbying. Who knows how much was spent on the BCS.


December 21st, 2009 at 1:21 PM ^

I have been very curious about this all day, and sure enough, you are right...

I did some searching for the lobbying disclosures, because many articles today have noted that Michigan has "registered" to lobby against H.R. 599.

The $415,000 total is the overall money spent this year by University of Michigan lobbyists. Apparently U of M has five official lobbyists, and they lobby for many issues.

The house disclosures website shows three such disclosures from the University of Michigan in 2009 of $125K, $130K, and $160K - adding up to $415,000.

Those documents range from 14-19 pages, and the H.R. 599 is addressed by only one of our lobbyists on one page of each document.

You can browse through them here...


December 21st, 2009 at 2:46 PM ^

That is a bit misleading - all of those outlays were made by individuals associated with the University, not the University itself. It is a fine distinction, but one that should be noted. Individuals at UM gave money to a variety of candidates and causes one both sides of the aisle and across the political spectrum, but only as individuals, not representatives of the University.


December 21st, 2009 at 1:17 PM ^

wasn't hired because of his time at Eastern Kentucky. He was hired because Tiller said "this is who will be replacing me" and Morgan Burke said yes, Coach Tiller, sir.

Well, partly due to Hope's familiarity with Tiller. Then again, that "familiarity" came from six years as OL coach under Tiller (1 at Wyoming, 5 at Purdue, including the Rose Bowl season) and one more as OL/associate HC/HC-in-waiting.

Hope has about 20 years of experience as an OL coach, but frankly I've no way of rating him well. He's had an occasional OL prospect, but honestly Purdue's defense has turned out a few more NFL players if that is the sort of thing you like to count.

Understanding that the subject is a bit touchy around here given the whole Hope-Rodriguez thing ... honestly I don't think this was really that different than hiring an EKU coach on his own merit. At least Tiller had success at Wyoming prior to arriving at Purdue.

I would not be surprised if Hope becomes a Colletto/Akers-type coach.


December 21st, 2009 at 1:49 PM ^

Since this is Michigan- The New Era, a combination of injuries and expulsions* will result in Michgian starting a secondary of four walk-ons against UConn. I am absolutely sure of this.

*not because I think any of these kids are trouble, but rather because this is just how things go for Michigan- The New Era.


December 21st, 2009 at 3:35 PM ^

There does appear to be some discontent with the disparity of the Big 12. One of my best friends is a Nebraska alum who follows things closely. He says that the Big Red Boards have a couple of themes:

- Missouri is going if asked. Also to back it up, my brother lives in St. Louis and he says that Illinois is, by far, Missouri's biggest rival.

- A big chunk of Nebraska fans want out of the B-12 if possible. They really think it is way too Texas dominated/skewed. In fact, if they jump to the Big 10, they could renew the Oklahoma/Nebraska rivalry annually as a non-con game. They hate what the Big 12 did to the Ok - Neb game. It is interesting that the Texas-centric "Red River Shootout" has become much more prominent since the Big 12 was created.

Don't think a Nebraska jump is really possible, but Nebraska fans are certainly not opposed to it.


December 21st, 2009 at 3:08 PM ^

You're right that Nebraska won 3 outright titles 1993-1994-1995, going 7-0 in conf. play each year and national titles. Quinn was QB between 1977-1980. Gill was QB 1980-1983.

However, Osborne's Huskers 1981-1982-1983 never lost a conf. game (33 wins and only 5 losses) and almost won the title game vs. Miami(FL) in 1983 season(Jan '84).

I would also point out that Nebraska typically led the nation in rushing during this period by a wide margin thanks to a behemoth OL, a peerless option I offense, and I-backs with ridiculously cool names like I.M. Hipp, Jarvis Redwine Roger Craig and Mike Rozier. I'm probably a lot older than you, so whenever people bring up "glory years", it sort of depends when you sat down and started watching the movie.


December 22nd, 2009 at 2:25 AM ^

(1) Deciding Syracuse is not going to happen because of a 20-year old quote by Jim Boeheim is silly. The college football landscape has changed so much since 1990 -- fragility of Big East football, rise of 12-team conferences with championship games, massive TV contracts due to explosion of cable networks, decline of Syracuse football with a corresponding hit to its athletic department revenues -- even Boeheim might not feel the same way once all of the current facts are laid out before him. As you point out in your discussion of Missouri, the B10 and SEC have leapfrogged way ahead of the other conferences in TV revenues due to the success of the B10 Network and the SEC's new contract with ESPN. If Syracuse could bring in an additional $10+ million per year by joining the B10, I guarantee they would take a hard look at it (their entire athletic department budget was $42.5 million in 2006/2007). I also guarantee that, with this much money at stake, Boeheim will not be driving this decision.

(2) Yes, a 14 team conference is somewhat unwieldy and does result in less cross-division games, but if ND does not agree to join the B10, the B10 will be looking for an alternative "big splash" idea. Delaney has made a point of saying that increasing the B10s geographic footprint is a major goal. Adding one throw-away team that is sort of in the NE is not going to do much, but adding a block of three teams in the NE would (e.g., Syracuse, Rutgers and UCONN). Moreover, if the B10 does manage to pick off even one Big East team, the survivability of the Big East football conference becomes dicey making it likely other teams will be more receptive to moving too. As an alternative to one of the three teams above, Boston College also could be part of a three-team NE block added to the B10. Word is that BC is not all that enamored with how their move to the ACC has worked out thus far. As a side benefit, adding BC to the B10 would result in four B10 teams having longstanding rivalries with ND, further cementing the perception of ND as a quasi-B10 team. The B10 actually would be picking up another of NDs 12 games each year without having to share any revenues with ND. Kinda sweet.


December 22nd, 2009 at 3:06 AM ^

I'd take either NE or MO over Pitt as our 12th big 10 team. Actually, a friend at work who is a big NE fan told me he would love it NE would leave the b12 for the b10. I think a lot of NE fans are sick of the b12 south and would like a change. If NE declines, then I would welcome MO into the conference.

Better balance! We would be guaranteed to play OSU, MSU and PSU every year.
b10 east division:
b10 west division:

witless chum

December 23rd, 2009 at 10:19 AM ^

....this is the alignment I generally like. It also makes much more sense with the presumed aim of getting BTN on more cable systems than Pitt would.

Keeps M and OSU in one division. Repeat games are lame and breaking traditions is lamer, so you guys still have to play OSU at the end of the year. No OSU/M literal championship games, assuming, you know.

Keeps MSU and M together and keeps Minn, WI and Iowa together. These are really less of a big deal, because you could take care of them by guaranteeing one out of division rivalry for each team. I'd take Wisconsin for MSU, they just bother me for some reason. I think they're crowding their side of the lake. Just play the interdivisional games early to make championship game repeats less pernicious.

Continues the fond hopes of George Perles that MSU/PSU will become a real rivalry and hotly contest the glued-together stuff from a closet trophy with championship implications.

I don't buy PSU/OSU/M in one division as a problem (assuming, you know) because things change and you can't base your divisions on that. In the short term, Iowa has as good a claim to pretender to the crown as PSU does. Nebraska would alleviate all the football balance concerns.


December 22nd, 2009 at 10:31 AM ^

With all due respect to your brother, the notion that Illinois is Missouri's biggest rival would be hotly contested by plenty of people in both states. Both my parents and my sister went to Mizzou and I've got craploads of relatives in Missouri, and none of them—some now dead—would have ever agreed with your brother.

But let's leave our relatives out of the discussion.

In football, Missouri has played Illinois a grand total of 23 times, leading the series 16-7. Missouri has played Kansas 116 times, which makes that rivalry the second-longest in college football, and the series stands 55-54-9 in favor of Missouri. So for Illinois to have become Missouri's biggest rival—"by far"—something really momentous must have happened in recent years for a 23-game series to outweigh a 116-game series. Surely that hot new rivalry would attract the attention of sportswriters and Missouri players, right?
For some odd reason, Illinois seems strangely absent in these two articles: