Unverified Voracity Keeps A Straight Face Comment Count

Brian May 1st, 2013 at 12:33 PM

In retrospect, I bet this is false. But if it's not... A tweet claiming that the six Big Ten hockey programs will receive a two million dollar bonus from the BTN made the rounds, spurring many questions—including mine—about whether this would make a Nebraska or Iowa jump on the sport. Corn Nation has a take from Lincoln assuming that's true, but it also includes a couple facts that make me think the initial tweet is bollocks:

If this number is to be believed, it's a game changer for the rest of the schools in the Big Ten as well as the rest of college hockey. In 2010, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan were the top three schools in revenue generated by hockey with numbers ranging from $4.1 million for Michigan to $6.6 million for Minnesota. In comparison, Nebraska-Omaha ranked eighth with $2.8 million in total revenue.

Minnesota has a relatively lucrative deal with Fox Sports in which all their games are televised and is at the maximum end of college hockey TV revenues, and they're still at 6.6 total revenue. It doesn't seem realistic that the BTN is going to fork over that much to the hockey schools. That tweet has gone unconfirmed by anyone else, meanwhile.

The best argument in favor of it is that it's a sop to the pissed-off Gophers, but Minnesota's been a net drain in football for 50 years. What are they going to do, leave?

If it is true, that does help expansion quite a bit. According to Kristi Dosh, Michigan State spent 1.7 million on their hockey program in 2009-2010. If anyone's significantly above that it's probably not by much. Title IX means a hockey program has to come with an equivalent womens' sport, so a hypothetical BTN stipend doesn't quite make hockey break-even annually, but add in a reasonable amount of other revenue and it might. Startup costs are still an issue, but if that's a one-time hump to get over I could see certain athletic directors go for it.

#onlyincompetentgermans. Adidas is in hot water with various colleges for an Indonesian labor dispute that has already caused various universities to terminate their (much smaller, likely nonexclusive, not athletic apparel) contracts with the place Germans stash their dim bulbs. Mary Sue Coleman comes in to rattle a saber or two:

Not all of these schools have their athletics apparel contract with adidas. Some only have licensing agreements for merchandise sold in campus bookstores and through other retailers. However, a growing number of universities who have exclusive all-sport contracts with adidas, such as Wisconsin and Michigan, began to give ultimatums and threaten contract termination over the past month.

Not coincidentally, that’s when things took a turn for the better for the former PT Kizone workers. Last week, just days after adidas participated in a conference call with Michigan and neared the end of Michigan’s 45-day cure period, adidas announced a settlement. The agreement is confidential, but a press release from the former PT Kizone workers states, “the former workers will receive a substantial sum from adidas.”

All of this is over a little over two million dollars in severance pay, so this is both possibly unethical (Adidas claims they were clear of this factory six months before it shut) and bogglingly dumb. When Michigan's contract expires, things will be fascinating.

The straight face test. Dave Brandon was against a playoff and then he was okay with the playoff because he didn't consider it a playoff—the naming of the thing must have been a dark day on 1000SSS—and now he's making his paleo arguments again. He's hanging out with BFF Follow Ur Heart Hollis again:

"(Hollis is) right, we’re not going to end any controversy (with the new playoff format), we’re going to create more.

"It’s not going to settle anything (more) about who’s the national champion. There’s going to be a lot of judgment involved with four teams involved."

This is straight false. Taking thing to their logical extreme, the number of people who talk about NCAA tourney snubs the day after the brackets are announced is zero. That won't be the case here because of the restricted field, but abominations like giving an undefeated SEC champ no shot at a title are a thing of the past. When CRex took an extensive look at this last January, in the 14-year BCS sample he came up with "2" as the right number four time. The vast majority of the time the BCS is arbitrarily picking between equal-ish teams we have no data on. Four teams puts another layer of games between random guessing and the title, and cannot be more controversial.

Brandon does have some points about how he doesn't believe four will stick—though it will for at least a decade—and that asking college players to play more and more football is not so ethical. I've got a solution for that, mmm.

The straight face test part 2. Gerry DiNardo is putting on his tinfoil hat, and saying not smart things. I know, different day, same stuff.

"The other thing that concerns me is how much of the Ohio State-Michigan game motivated this, so they could continue to play at the end of the year, and (so) they have to be in the same division,'' DiNardo said. "Because it's possible, by way of example, this year, you'd have to say both of those are two of the favorites in their respective divisions, which means they could play back-to-back weeks (regular season, and Big Ten championship game), which isn't good for the Big Ten or college football.''

DiNardo had suggestions for other ways the Big Ten could have worked around the issues.

"You could see yourself dividing it North and South, still have a geographical boundary, and separate Ohio State and Michigan and play that game early in the year,'' DiNardo said. "As I often say, when I say play Ohio State and Michigan, I think divisional games should be played in the second or third week, when I say that, I run the risk of losing my job. There's other possibilities."

DiNardo is actively campaigning for the Big Ten to make the same mistake the ACC did with Miami and FSU, and his "solution" doesn't even work. Go ahead, divide this North-South:


Assuming M, MSU, Wisconsin, and Minnesota are in the North and that Iowa goes with the triangle of hate, your options are splitting Nebraska from its natural hate partners and putting them in a division with Rutgers, Maryland, and Penn State half a continent away, or making the "South" OSU, PSU, and hot garbage. When the team that is the biggest threat to OSU is under crippling NCAA sanctions for the next decade, your divisional alignment sucks.

I'm arguing with a guy who failed spectacularly despite being surrounded by piles of talent and is arguing against the greatest rivalry in college sports. Next up, I talk to a rock about why it shouldn't bother with gravity.

Silver lining. Michigan State is an ESPN poll's pick for biggest loser in the realignment:

Michigan State: Placing the Spartans in the East kept the Big Ten from needing a protected crossover for their annual game with Michigan, but it also greatly increases the number of obstacles between Michigan State and the Rose Bowl. The Spartans now have to deal with Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State in their own division every year, whereas the West would have presented a clearer path to Indianapolis and kept a budding rivalry with Wisconsin going.

Mwahaha. Also a candidate were the Jug and Illibuck trophies. Yes, the Jug is cool, but the series between those two teams is so lopsided losing that as annual event is no big deal. Meanwhile that is the worst road trip in the Big Ten for local M fans: either drive around the lake or suck up the exorbitant flight between Delta hubs. Rutgers is farther away as the crow flies but flights to New York are always dirt cheap. I'll take fewer games with Minnesota.

Etc.: Kevon Looney is tall, good at basketball. So Lewan could have gone #1 this year but will go #12 next year, SI? Er?



May 1st, 2013 at 12:50 PM ^

He seems like a nice guy.  That's the most I can say about his ideas for divisions and his understanding of the conference. 

As for Kevon Looney, can you imagine that kid playing the four in Coach Beilein's offense?  I'm going to have to work hard not to think too much about it, as I don't want my hopes dashed if he goes elsewhere. 

Swang on These

May 1st, 2013 at 12:57 PM ^

The argument that the playoff will create more controversy is beyond dumb. Why not have people argue over who the 4th/5th ranked teams are rather than 1 and 2? As long as the playoff isn't large enough where teams that did not have a championship-worthy season are included it's the best option.

Seattle Maize

May 1st, 2013 at 1:06 PM ^

I really hope we get rid of Adidas ASAP. These factory issues are bad and on top of that they have just been terrible at supplying the program with quality uniforms. Every time we take the field we look second rate

Monocle Smile

May 1st, 2013 at 2:45 PM ^

But there are alternatives to the big names in apparel. American Apparel is heavily US-centric, and there's companies that don't (yet) do American football stuff, like Diadora. We could plausibly open up a new market to those companies.

Again, these options run the risk of burning all our retinas out, but no sweatshop labor, right?

I Bleed Maize N Blue

May 1st, 2013 at 4:00 PM ^

And by "not sexy," you mean not paying us top dollar, right?  Many people love to rag on Adidas, but don't we get the most megabux from them?  We wouldn't get as much money from Nike as Oregon does, would we?  And if we don't have as big an endorsement deal from our next supplier, then doesn't that mean higher ticket prices?

The FannMan

May 1st, 2013 at 1:08 PM ^

If the BTN wants to be taken seriously as anything other than a ATM for the conference, it needs to spend some money and hire some real people to do their analysis.  I mean, step-up and pay the big $$$$ to hire away Desmond and Herbstreit from ABC/ESPN and I will think about turning to the BTN for analysis. 

/checks weather forcast in Hell, notes that it is not freezing over.


May 1st, 2013 at 1:31 PM ^

I agree that the BTN needs to hire some higher-level talent if it wants to be taken seriously.  But, there is simply no wat that they could ever land Herbie and Desmond.  ESPN has unlimited $$ and can easily match whatever the BTN offers.  Also, being the osts of GameDay is the pantheon of a college football analyst's career.  I don't think that there is even a comparable job, so why would either of these guys jump to a regional-type network?

That said, perhaps there are some other candidates out there that could add to the network's credibility.  You would need big name B10 alums, but I am struggling to think of options.

Monocle Smile

May 1st, 2013 at 2:38 PM ^

Brian Griese isn't the best, but he's certainly better than most of the current talking heads. Go after Big Ten guys like him who had brief stints on the headlining networks. Or people who are stuck on ESPNU.

Maybe there are folks on CBS who want to do more football stuff or have Big Ten roots. Is Ron Zook a better analyst than coach?

Ali G Bomaye

May 1st, 2013 at 1:53 PM ^

I don't care if the BTN has Miss South Carolina as an analyst.  Who watches BTN shows for their analysis anyway?  The purpose of the network is to televise every B1G sporting event of any importance whatsoever, and it does that well enough.  I'd even say that its in-game announcers are better than Pam Ward or whoever the lower-tier ESPN announcers are.

For that matter, do Herbie or Desmond really provide any insightful analysis?  Every time I watch Gameday, which admittedly isn't that often in recent years, it seems to be a mix of puff pieces about a random player's difficult background, interviews with people who say how psyched up Team X is for today's game, and Lee Corso shouting unintelligible things and/or killing birds.

The FannMan

May 1st, 2013 at 2:40 PM ^

I don't watch BTN for analysis either because their people suck at it. I disagree with your assessment of Game Day, but no problem. That was just an example. My point is that I would watch BTN's in-studio programming if they got better talent. I really don't care if its Desmond and Herbie, but Big Ten and all.

I was also making my comment in the context of the dumb their lead football analysis said.


May 1st, 2013 at 2:10 PM ^

with a pronounced east-west geographic axis into a north-south arrangement.

I don't mind Dinardo as an analyst (I don't have high expectations), but that's just stupid.

Section 1

May 1st, 2013 at 2:23 PM ^

If Brian was suggesting that DiNardo is dumb I would not agree; and I like DiNardo paired with Howard Griffith on the BTN.  Brian's right, however, that DiNardo did himself no favors with those comments.  It would have been better for DiNardo to have been more plain-spoken.  Yes, the year-ending UM-OSU game was a priority.  You better believe it.  People would have hell to pay if they tried to mess with it.  What would be a more interesting story is how, if they really needed to, Michigan and Ohio state might have enforced their will.  That part isn't so clear to me.

And yes, we understand that long-time alumni supporters of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Purdue, Illinois, Iowa and oooh Northwestern are going to be pissed about being in a subconference that has neither Michigan nor Ohio State.  I can just imagine how pissed they will be in Evanston.  All of that is what DiNardo should have said.  That and the other stuff (time zone uniformity does make sense) that Brian rightly suggested. 

I am just glad that Gerry DiNardo can feel empowered to express any criticism at all of the conference.  I'll happily take "dumb" and/or "misguided" over "corporate stooge" in terms of the BTN Commentariat.

Section 1

May 2nd, 2013 at 12:00 AM ^

I had made a suggestion that I couldn't get anyone to help me with.

I suggested that the B1G expand to 20 teams.  Then set up a ten-team division with Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin.  We could call that division "The Big Ten."  All historical rivalries are preserved.  There are no weird, long-distance road trips.  The ten teams in the division we call "The Big Ten would play all nine other teams.  Michigan and Ohio State would face each other in the last weekend in November.  The divisional winner (usually Michigan or Ohio State, I am forced to admit) would be guranteed a trip to the Rose Bowl, to face the winner of the eight-team division out west that we will call "The Pac 8."  If they decided to include Arizona and Arizona State, we could call it the "Pac 10."  I like it.  Whaddaya think?  Should I run it up the flagpole and see who salutes?


May 1st, 2013 at 2:13 PM ^

I've never quite understood aguments like DiNardos' where he argues that "splitting the conference up based on competitive balance" means only having Michigan and Ohio State in different divisions (because that's the only thing mentioned in his alternate split suggestion). First of all, there are multiple good teams in the Big Ten.  The teams that appeared opposite each other in the 2011 B10 championship games could still appear opposite each other with the new divisions, and the two that appeared in the 2012 version will both be in the presumably "weak" West.  Further, DiNardo's argument that he is "concerned" about "how much of the Ohio State-Michigan game motivated this, so they could continue to play at the end of the year, and (so) they have to be in the same division" makes no sense to me.  Why would this be a "concern?"  Of course michigan and OSU want to be in the same division, so that neither suffers from having to play the toughest crossover schedule in their division, and of course they want to play their premier game in the same weekend as all the other premier games, just as they traditionally have done.

I can understand MSU's unhappiness with the new divisions, but why is DiNardo "concerned?"  He doesn't have a horse in the race, does he?


May 1st, 2013 at 3:57 PM ^

But then thinks it's ok for division contenders to have protected rivalries with Ohio State and another with Indiana. (Or if you want to flip it, one has to play Michigan, where another has to play Minnesota). Unless you're calling for the end of Michigan and Ohio State playing every year. In which case Jerry looks like a great football coach compared to how good a marketer he is.


May 1st, 2013 at 2:16 PM ^

unrelated to this post but relevant to michigan in general...


This article has Derrick Walton as #1 on their sleeper list. 

I'm a little confused by this list though because they define sleeper as "players outside our top 25 who could outperform their final recruiting ranking at the next level."


I don't see why they don't just rank the players higher, who they beleive to be sleepers. Regardless, nice to see a michigan recruit on the list. 

Anyone care to post the others?


Yinka Double Dare

May 1st, 2013 at 2:46 PM ^

Even goofier, they said Lewan could have potentially gone number 1, and then rank him behind the guy who was aTm's right tackle last year because Joeckel was apparently better.


May 1st, 2013 at 3:41 PM ^

this year's draft lacked playmakers.  hence three tackles in the first four picks.  Next year's draft has some playmakers available. 

As for A&M player, time will tell who is better... but the people here going 'OMG how can you go from 1 to 12'  while at the same time bathing in appreciative butter for Lewan staying and forgoing all that evil NFL money are both somewhat hypocritical and at least a little bit ignorant about how different drafts break different ways...

love you,



Moonlight Graham

May 1st, 2013 at 2:57 PM ^

North: Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Nothwestern. 

South: Illinois, Purdue, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Maryland, Rutgers. 

Really not that complicated ... but makes Ohio State's life easier and ours more difficult, so good thing they didn't go this route. 


May 2nd, 2013 at 3:25 AM ^

Nebraska's regional rivals like, Minnesota and Iowa, they don't really care for (think MSU as Iowa). Iowa fans love it, but Nebraskan's are not so thrilled they would like something bigger. They need a strong rival like before sactioned PSU(eventhough I don't think it's hurting them much). The way the divisions are aligned I don't see a great in conference rivalry sparking up for them, which is a shame for how historic their program is. 


May 2nd, 2013 at 5:44 PM ^

Being a Husker sympathizer here though, If The Rivalry was no longer played on a yearly basis it would effect the competitiveness between Michigan and Ohio too.. There is already some bad blood between PSU and Neb because of the 1986 championship. A lot of Huskers were really liking the idea of that cross rivalry sparking up. I don't know about you, but when two historically top ten teams play, I always feel something special is in the air.