Unverified Voracity Latches On

Submitted by Brian on December 7th, 2011 at 3:38 PM

UFR will go up tomorrow. FYI.

It's raining wallpaper. As per usual. This one is from jonvalk:

Sugar-bowl[1]

This week in bowl parasitism. Bowl games are parasites on college football designed to bleed as much money from the system as they can get away with. Thanks to the interest levels provided by the teams—not the stadiums or locations—some of them do actually pump money into the system (although far less money than an NCAA controlled playoff would). The latest example of this:

The Fiesta Bowl has a deal with the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau that pays the bowl hundreds of thousands of tax dollars a year in return for requiring participating teams to stay in Scottsdale and Paradise Valley resorts.

The bowl says the agreement is strictly legal and good business for all parties involved.

But it may increase the cost for schools playing in the Fiesta Bowl and BCS Championship Game, because they are required to stay a certain number of nights at high-end hotels.

The bowl, according to records obtained by The Arizona Republic, received $491,340 from the Scottsdale CVB this past college-bowl season when the Connecticut, Oklahoma, Oregon and Auburn football programs stayed in Scottsdale-area resorts for the Fiesta Bowl and Bowl Championship Series title game, respectively.

Legal or not, that's a half-million dollars of overhead from the payment alone and however much more from the monopoly lock in the payment provides. We can ballpark how much this is from UConn's trip to the Fiesta last year:

UConn also has a hotel obligation — a total of 550 rooms at three different hotels ranging in price from $125-225 a night, not including tax, with blocks reserved for either three or seven nights.

Without the lock-in teams could put the band in six rooms at the Super Eight and save themselves a bucket of money. The Sugar does this as well. Their defense is "this is legal," which is true but beside the point.

If bowls are going to exist they should be worthwhile businesses without heaping unnecessary expenses on the participating teams. This is a relatively piddly expense relative to ticket guarantees that erase payouts and leave cash-strapped programs with a net deficit, but it just shows how much of a racket bowls are. Not that you needed to be told that when the Michigan-OSU game featured Rose Bowl reps when the combined chance of either team making it to Pasadena was zero percent.

Crose enough*! Andy Staples has an article about the Big 12's sudden, unsurprising opinion flip in re: an expanded playoff field. It promises change:

Monday, Big 12 athletic directors voted in a straw poll to get behind the idea of a plus-one format that would allow four teams to compete for the national title. Such a format would have allowed USC to play for the national title in 2003, Auburn to play for it in 2004, Texas to play for it in 2008 and Oklahoma State -- which finished behind No. 2 Alabama by the slimmest of margins in the BCS standings -- to play for the title this season. If the league's presidents choose to agree with their athletic directors, the Big 12's support would be a huge step forward. The Big 12 was one of several leagues that blocked SEC commissioner Mike Slive's 2008 proposal for a four-team, seeded tournament. The ACC was the only conference that supported the plan.

With Larry Scott now creating the future in earnest in the Pac-12, the major remaining obstacle to a playoff is one of these two men.

jim-delany12823_109298[1]

Left: Lando Mollari. Right: Jim Delany

Jim Delany still hates the Narn with all his heart.

“Our view is we’d like to stay where we are,” Delany told the Tribune. “We do believe in the slippery slope theory.”

You should have thought of that before you joined the BCS, dude. As soon as the dumbest playoff in history was instituted, outrage started piling up. As soon as the sanctity of the Rose Bowl was undermined, erosion got busy. The levees are about to break.

Staples is on board with big chunks of the MGoPlayoff, not quite arriving at six teams but still proposing something I'd love:

If conference leaders are smart, they'll design a plan that allows for the two semifinal games to be played on the home fields of the No. 1- and No. 2-seeded teams. If they wanted to appease the must-win-your-league crowd, they could require that a team must win its conference to host a semifinal. Home-site semifinals would eliminate concerns about fan bases traveling twice -- a non-starter -- and would help reinforce the importance of the regular season. Teams would go into the final week fighting for a home game in a sport where home-field advantage means a lot. Just imagine an LSU-Stanford semifinal at Tiger Stadium or an Alabama-Oklahoma State semifinal in Stillwater (using the must-win-conference rule). Also, to remove the negative consequences of a semifinal loss, the two losing teams would be placed into premium bowls, where they could take a well-deserved victory lap for a great season. This would appease bowl executives, who for some unknown reason strike fear into the hearts of the people who run the sport.

One day people will wake up and realize that doofs in yellow jackets getting paid is not in the best interests of the sport. Think Of The Children.

*[This.]

Not fair. UMHoops has David Merritt breaking down some of Michigan's pick and rolls from Maui.

Hard Hedge
As Witherspoon jumps out to hedge, Trey Burke puts on the brakes and changes direction with a between the legs dribble. All within a split of a second. This makes the play right here. The change of direction gives him another screen but also has his defender back up and lose attachment.

Memphis1-11

All Trey has to do now is get to the outside of Barton’s left leg and he will get in the lane.

It's Picture Pages for basketball. All we've got now is a superior use of the crop tool.

So exactly right. There was a point a few years ago when I railed almost weekly against the relentless stenography that mainstream coverage had degenerated into. It was the bubble screen of 2007. I dropped six months after that hobby-horse expired, but when an ESPN vet like Tim Keown lays into the modern press conference I cannot resist a very long blockquote:

The death of the interview has spawned a generation raised on generalities and clichés. Caution is a lesson [Titans QB Matt] Hasselbeck has learned many times, most recently after the Titans beat the Colts on Oct. 30, when he was asked -- or told, he can't remember the phrasing -- to compare current teammate Chris Johnson with former Seahawks teammate Shaun Alexander. In Hasselbeck's view, it was a question with "a negative vibe" -- his pet peeve.

What followed was an instructive look into the void left in the interview's wake. Hasselbeck, attempting to answer the question honestly, said he did see similarities: two great running backs who followed MVP-caliber seasons with "normal" years. He was attempting to make the point that both players were victims of unfair expectations, because nobody can be expected to perform at an MVP level every season. "It's hard to be elite every year," he said.

Predictably, he was seen as "ripping" Johnson and "throwing him under the bus." … The question was legitimate. Johnson, a former offensive player of the year and recent signee of a huge contract, had been booed at home in much the same way former MVP Alexander was when his production dropped off after he signed a huge contract. The answer, as far as it went, was legitimate as well. What was missing was context, and before Hasselbeck could massage his message, he was hit with a new question and the group conversation -- such as it was -- moved on.

"If I were Chris Johnson, I would have wondered, 'Why is my quarterback saying this about me?'" Hasselbeck says. "Everyone knows how the Shaun Alexander story ended in Seattle, so it looked like I was ripping Chris Johnson." The subsequent coverage centered on Hasselbeck's "unflattering" comparison between the two running backs. "I was asked a negative question, and instead of being a jerk I gave an honest answer," he says.

His solution? Be boring. "It's a headline-driven world, and what I said provided a headline," he says. "That's why I'm guarded, cautious. I don't want to accidentally give bulletin-board material. If someone asks me about a player, I say, 'He's a great player.' If they ask me about a coach, I say, 'He's a great coach.' "

The problem is finding which section to blockquote since all of it is deadly accurate. It starts "BEHOLD THE DECOMPOSED REMAINS of the sports interview" and is probably 3000 words long. It's worth the read.

The local spin comes in two parts. Part one: boy is it nice to have a coach with his banalities down pat. Rich Rodriguez may have gotten unfairly pilloried for his "get a life" statement, which was ripped out of context like Hasselbeck's statement was, but he was a magnet for that kind of stuff. Hoke hasn't had a misstep yet; he's settled into a comfort zone where the media is his lapdog, and that won't change. If things start going poorly the media will be defending Hoke and scorning fans until it's over.

Part two: Michigan's suddenly better about this than most schools with their coordinator pressers and the relatively straight answers given in there, especially from Mattison.

Etc.: Gobbler Country profiles Michigan, which is us. More on this later, but Chris Brown's long-ago profile of the Hokie D is remarkably useful since it's about how they've adapted to the spread. UMHoops talks Oakland with a Summit League blogger.

Comments

wolverine1987

December 7th, 2011 at 3:55 PM ^

I get that the bowls have flaws, yep--this story too, just as others, sounds bad. But despite that, I just can't get worked up into an anti-Bowl (major or minor) fervor as Brian does. I'm going to the Sugar Bowl, will have a great time, and am happy it exists in the format it does. In fact, if we used the four major bowls and had a plus one after that, as far as I'm concerned I'd have no further issue with how we select the NC. There is almost never in any year, (IMO) more than a couple teams with legit claims to play in the final game-after the bowls have been played. 

zlionsfan

December 7th, 2011 at 4:20 PM ^

so on the surface, there's no reason for you to notice that anything's amiss. You get to go to New Orleans, watch a bowl game, and have an excellent time. The athletic programs are the ones driving truckloads of money into parking lots to be picked up by men in blazers with garish logos on them.

But of course athletic programs are not going to eat that cost, oh no, and by the time you actually see how the costs are being passed on to you (higher ticket prices, PSLs or some shell game similar to them, waiting list crap and the like), there's not much to connect a portion of those extra costs with the bowl game you enjoyed. If it appeared as a line item on your invoice for bowl tickets:

**Mandatory team hotel fee: $20
**Pass-through cost to support six-figure salaries of guys who watch football for free: $20
...

you'd probably be a little more upset about it.
 

psychomatt

December 8th, 2011 at 8:03 AM ^

I have no problem with Brian or anyone else pointing out the flaws in the bowl system, but at the end of the day, no one is forcing conferences or schools to participate. And no one is forcing the major conferences, as a group, from getting together and deciding to run their own bowls or at least demanding reforms to the current system.

Like it or not, what we have here is the free market system at work. Schools are tripping all over themselves to get invited to these bowls for a reason. Even teams like MSU, who whine and complain about the bowl they are going to, do not turn down the invites. That tells you something very important. Specifically, it tells you there is a lot of value to the schools in the bowls. Whether it is PR value or recruiting value or extra practices or even just the net dollars received by the schools, the bowls clearly provide the schools with substantial value.

And, again, if the point of complaining is to encourage reforms that will reduce or eliminate the flaws in the bowl system, fine. That's great. But no system is perfect. And the NCAA and major conferences are smart enough and have plenty of fancy lawyers to negotiate the best possible deals with the bowls. The idea that Jim Delany and Mike Slive are incompetent or ingorant buffoons who easily could demand a better deal from the bowls but simply don't is a simplistic view of the world that is divorced from reality. They don't do that with the other aspects of their jobs (see rapidly increasing new TV deals), so there's no reason to believe they approach the bowls that way. They are negotiating the best deals with the bowls that they can.

champswest

December 7th, 2011 at 3:58 PM ^

People keep saying that home site semi-final playoff games would ELIMINATE the concern of the fan base having to travel twice.  That is only true if the home team wins.  If the visiting team wins, wouldn't the fans have to travel twice if they want to also attend the Championship Game? 

wile_e8

December 7th, 2011 at 4:33 PM ^

Well, then the visiting team should have played better and earned a home game. The fans that don't want to make both trips can still go to the consolation bowl. Home semifinals assure at least one local fan base that will fill the stadium, which is not the case if teams need to travel to two BCS bowl locations in a week/month/whatever time the playoff takes.

psychomatt

December 8th, 2011 at 8:13 AM ^

Tickets would be allocated largely the way they are for a normal home game. That is one of the things that makes the home field advantage so valuable, and it virtually guarantees a sell-out because all of the season ticketholders and local fans would quickly snap up tickets to another big home game.

tenerson

December 7th, 2011 at 4:13 PM ^

I have issues with a plus one. Sure, on the years listed, it gives a fair shot. However, in a year like last year, should Auburn have had to play another game? I would be in favor of some sort of flexible system. I know that is incredibly unrealistic but say, for instance, you put in a qualifer like the third team has to be within so many ranking points of the second team for the plus one to kick in. Also, what you likely do here is remove a BCS bowl and two at large births. Do we want to do that? The other issue would come with 3 undefeateds and a one loss in the top 4 which would be like the scenarios Plus one propoenents would use as the perfect case. What if the one loss wins? Why should a team who won their first 13 or 14 games have to play a team that had already lost and what if that team is a team they have beaten? Then, essentially all we have done is reduce the value of losing no games relative to  1 game. That is by far the biggest value. A playoff fixes very little unless you have the perfect year with 4 one loss teams or 4 undefeateds. You are simply moving your controversy down the rankings. I'm not even going to go into the problem with determining the 4th and 5th teams but it's pretty obvious that owuld be far from cut and dried as well. 

funkywolve

December 7th, 2011 at 5:27 PM ^

Another is example is what if you have two undefeated teams who most feel are clearly the best teams that year (ala Texas vs USC a few years ago).

However, if the +1 is one more step closer to a regular playoff I'm all for it.  I don't think a 6 or 8 team playoff is going to magically appear from the current system.  We're probably going to need to take baby steps to get there and a +1 would be the first of those baby steps.

jmdblue

December 7th, 2011 at 4:30 PM ^

All right...go ahead and neg the hell out of me, but getting the media to be your lap dog is part of doing the damn job. they are the (piss poor) filter and contolling them keeps the fans content...helps recruiting...helps with donations..and helps pump up DB's (shamefully purposed) waitlist for season tix. 

I agree that RR got a raw deal when he stepped into the job.  Maybe he could have fixed it with more support, better advice, or just a more skillful approach.  Maybe he was a dead man walking while watching LC beat Florida from the sidelines.  I don't know, but he never came close to handling the non-football aspects of the job in a strong manner. 

Look...I'm pretty sure Wangler and many others wanted Miles to be coach.  I'm pretty sure the vast majorty of our ilk (including me) wanted Harbaugh.  But Hoke came in and owned, absulutely freaking dominated, the position and the media from Day 1.  He makes the ravings of Drew Sharp seem even more ridiculous than they were 5 years ago.  He makes the existence of Rosenberg seem more pathetic than maddening.  Yes he's in a comfort zone.  He created it.  It's the same comfort zone Bo created, lived in, and shared with us for 20 years. 

The point is that we don't need to constantly compare RR's treatment to BH's.  RR got less than he deserved and less than he needed.  BH didn't wait to be treated in any manner.  He immediately put to rest any short-term questions as to his legitimacy; then (along with his non-gerg staff) put the long term questions to rest through pure on-field competence.

TrppWlbrnID

December 7th, 2011 at 4:36 PM ^

this time of year, you hear every single talking head on TV, radio, internet whatever talking about the bowl situation and how it is emblematic of today's society, "a place that rewards mediocrity, even 6-7 teams are rewarded, everyone gets a trophy!"

i agree that the bowl situation is emblematic of today's society, but happen to take the opposite side of the "today's society" view. in a time that rewards "events" and "marketing" and "branding," 35 bowls are not created to reward teams but to promote things and make the host city money, the teams and their general success is irrelevant, for the most part.  the legal obligations and small print and the large BANNER ADS are the true importance of these games, not to give UCLA $750,000, which is less than nothing, not to give kids an interesting experience.

M-Wolverine

December 7th, 2011 at 4:38 PM ^

For the band? Bandies speak up, and while it may be there are room in a list of hotels given by the bowl, the band rooms are almost never as swanky as the team/VIP hotel. Often not as centrally located, and not as nice, as well as more packed per room.  This may have changed over the years, but I remember the fancy hotel being for team, coaches (and families), AD and U VIPS, and some support staff.  Cheerleaders and band etc. were often off the main placement.

RefriedVitamins

December 7th, 2011 at 4:56 PM ^

I played snare my frosh year and got to go to swanky mobile, alabama on a bus while the football team flew.  we stayed in the worst hotel I've ever been in  (the last building on the the site still was busted up from the hurricane and was taped off).  we had no pool, all rooms were outward facing (no hallways), one room had to be broken into by the hotel staff because it wouldn't unlock, and the place was crawling with prostitutes the whole time we were there.  the football team got to stay in a nice hotel across the interstate.  they actually ran out of room in the football hotel and half the cheerleaders had to stay with the band, when they were gettin to their room for the first time, there was a naked dude wait for a prostitute when they unlocked the door.  the place was infested with ants, and it was the worst looking place on the road.  there was a darts and billiards bar nearby, but many of us were under 21 and couldn't go in.  to go the mall you had to cross an interstate overpass.  it was probably the crappiest bowl trip you could have endured, but it was my freshman year and I got to go a bowl game for free, so it was certainly bearable. 

Not to gripe about the quality of the GMAC bowl in comparison to the bcs bowls, but the band and cheerleaders definitely got the short end of the stick.

EDIT: talking with the UTEP band, they only brought 1/3 of their band because of the cost, while toledo brought all 200

Bando Calrissian

December 7th, 2011 at 4:59 PM ^

Luckily this never happened with the MMB, even on a lower budget bowl game like the Alamo Bowl was.  Although this jarred a memory for me, during that string of years when OSU was going to Arizona just about every year, their band stayed in the same hotel every single year, and were pumped every year they got to go back because there was a pool and a liquor store across the street.  

MMB alums, "remember the contract you signed..."

Feat of Clay

December 7th, 2011 at 5:40 PM ^

You know, I can't think about the MMB and bowls without thinking about Gerald Ford, and how some portion of the band cut their trip short, getting up in the middle of the night after their bowl performance in CA (or did they even go to bed at all?) to fly back to Michigan to be there on the tarmac when the plane carrying Ford's casket arrived at the airport.  I never get tired of hearing that story.  

You guys are the awesomest anyway, but that tale gets me every time.

When I win the lottery I am going to give some embarrassing amount of money to the MMB.  And I will enjoy my FREE TICKETS TO THE DECEMBER CONCERT EVERY YEAR yes I will.

Bando Calrissian

December 7th, 2011 at 5:57 PM ^

We never went to sleep until we got to the plane.  Got back to the hotel from the game, had enough time to basically go upstairs and shower, pack up whatever we were allowed to take with us (I think it was just instrument cases and uniforms), and got on a bus no more than a couple hours later.  I can't remember the exact timeline, but as I recall, it was really tight to get our stuff packed up and on a bus to the airport.  

Those couple days were pretty amazing to say the least.

RefriedVitamins

December 7th, 2011 at 5:59 PM ^

but the people there were really friendly and were happy that mardi gras was going to be celebrated mainly in their that year. It is every year, but they feel that NOLA "stole it" from them so it was like going back to the good ol' days for them. they're realy proud of their city, but what can you expect from an impoverished city on the gulf. 

Bando Calrissian

December 7th, 2011 at 4:56 PM ^

I went to three bowl games with the MMB.  As far as I know, the hotels are arranged by the bowl committee/Athletics, and are previewed by the band administration on a trip to the bowl site around this time every year.

At the Alamo Bowl, we stayed at a fairly nice hotel on the Riverwalk, but not the team hotel.  At the Rose Bowl, we stayed a bit out of town, but again, in a nice place.  At the Capital One Bowl, we stayed in a hotel attached to a mall, again, a bit out of town.  But it was more than adequate.  Two to a bed, four to a room.  Not terrible, we're college kids.  And you really don't spend a whole hell of a lot of time in your room anyway.  You just hope the food doesn't suck, and most of the time, it didn't.  I think I gained like five pounds in San Antonio.

M-Wolverine

December 7th, 2011 at 5:10 PM ^

For the band. You know, unless, apparently, you go with Toledo.

But I do recall that they're not around the team, and usually tales like yours.  I imagine most of the places on the Riverwalk are pretty nice, as they're all kinda part of the same strip.  And man, I miss the Alamo....the bowl sucked, the refs are always awful, and the stadium stinks...but it has everything you could want on a bowl trip.

So, while the rooms are included, it's not like when the team goes out to the Rose Bowl and stays in the same hotel as Pretty Woman was filmed at.  Or the Citrus, where the perfectly located to go to Universal, Sea World, etc./street with great food and bars/outdoor mall/and did I mention the ducks? Big Ten team hotel. (Those are always fun if you go the year after OSU is there...and you hear the staff complain about them and say how much better the Michigan team/fans are).

It varies bowl to bowl. I think in Tampa they were just on the end of the street of the peninsula the team hotel was at.  So around the corner, basically. So they're not always in the hinterlands. I was just thinking that while the team gets put up in some ungodly expensive place, the rooms the band are required to stay in aren't always $300-400 a night places.

Bando Calrissian

December 7th, 2011 at 5:21 PM ^

Exactly.  The Alamo Bowl was legitimately one of the most fun times I had in the MMB, even with the game entirely excised from memory.

Now, for other athletic band trips, the band stayed at the same hotel as the teams, which was arranged by the NCAA.  This normally meant a pretty swanky place, aside from Grand Forks, North Dakota.  In which case, we all got a crappy one-story Holiday Inn next to the railroad tracks surrounded by huge banks of dirt-blackened snow.  

DefenseWins

December 7th, 2011 at 5:14 PM ^

All I saw was UFR.  I couldn't continue reading due to the excitement of a UFR actually being done for the Ohio game.  That means the Ohio game was actually palatable!  Of course, this year, it was way more than that.

dragonchild

December 7th, 2011 at 5:23 PM ^

From TFA:

Before the interview ossified into its current state -- pith-helmeted archeologists pinpoint the approximate time of death to 2005 -- the baseball clubhouse was a great place to have a conversation. After games, writers would sit in the manager's office, wait for the radio guys to ask their questions and then just talk. You got to know something about the man: what he liked to drink after a win, what he liked to drink after a loss, whether he was exasperated or resigned. At some point a clubbie would arrive with a plate of food, and you got to know whether he was on a diet or whether the game had made the very idea of eating intolerable.

Oh FFS. The reporter who got all chummy with the athletes over a sammich was just as retarded as the reporters looking for "gotcha" quotes now; neither does anything remotely close to a public service.  The civility is gone but to the fan it wasn't worth crap to begin with the way it was used.  What this guy is pining for isn't quality journalism; it's a monopoly on player access.  This guy wants to hang out with celebrities like the sycophant he is.

What fans want is insightKnowing what a player likes to drink after a loss gets us no closer to understanding the game or the players than trying to create drama by taking quotes out of context.  What we really need are reporters who know what the fark they're talking about and can then communicate that to the masses, but this takes a lot of working knowledge and skill.  Heiko's work* is way more valuable than an entire room full of reporters asking Hoke again if he ever utters the words "Ohio State" (look, if you're asking because you've heard it before, it's not news), and he doesn't have to watch Greg Mattison eat a damned sammich to do it.  Instead the world of journalism  -- in any field, for that matter -- is a trench full of entertainers run by a Borg-like committee with no sense of what they're doing.  Unaccountable, sterile, and devoid of insight.  This is what it looks like from the outside, at least, and whatever excuses might come from within has to account for that.  Whatever the hell people are doing, the result is unacceptable.

*This is still half the battle though.  Heiko asks meaningful questions, but MGoBlog is rather raw for a n00b.  That's fine within the blog's scope, but for journalism in general, the other half of the battle is conveying information simply and concisely.  This takes terrific writing skills, though, so the modus operandi these days is to ask stupid questions and publish the answers.  No thought required at any level, but no insight whatsoever.

cutter

December 7th, 2011 at 6:32 PM ^

Per Michigan's FY 2012 budget, the athletic department is expecting to receive $2.47M in FY 2012 from the Big Ten in conference distributions from net bowl revenue.  If you multiply that by eleven teams, then the total amount the B10 programs received was about $27.17M.

The total amount that the bowls paid out to the B10 Conference in that same time frame was a little over $37M in gross revenue.  That means roughly $10M didn't make it into the the B10's programs or about 27%.

All the bowls paid around $270M gross last year to the different conferences in Division 1-A.  Take 27% off of that and the amount the schools received was probably around $200M net.

Jim Delany and other conference commissions have said that a college football playoff would pay more than the BCS system.  Delany is even on record saying that it'd pay "three or four times more" than the BCS.  For sake of this discussion, I'll use the $200M figure, multiply it by three and we're perhaps on firm footing here to think that the schools would get $600M net from a playoff system (although it's likely more).  This also doesn't count what the bowls would pay in addition outside the playoff system--let's add $100M to that amount net and say the schools would get around $700M.

Under the BCS system, the Big Ten received roughly 10% in net revenue to the schools of the gross revenue of the BCS.  Now I don't know how the money would be divided in a bowl system between the conferences, but let's say that 10% or the $700M or $70M net would go to the (now twelve) Big Ten programs.

The means Michigan would receive something like $5.83M from the Big Ten in conference distributions instead of the $2.47M I mentioned above--about $3.36M more. 

Now keep in mind that this is back of the envelope numbers, but I think they're roughly in the ballpark and they're certainly in line with guys like Dan Wetzel and Mark Cuban have said.  So why doesn't Jim Delany endorse this cause of action?

One reason is fairly clear--he (with the endorsement of the conference presidents) don't want to cede control of the college football post season to the NCAA.  It's just way too valuable a commodity to them in terms of free publicity for the schools that translates into great admissions, forums to entertain donors, etc., to give up for and additional $3.4M per team.  There's also no knowing how much of a "cut" the NCAA would take--that means it might not appear to be as lucrative as the figures I wrote about above would imply.

The second reason is that Delany wants to protect the conference and the market it serves.  He doesn't want to give any potential competitors (the future Boise States, TCUs and Utahs of the world) the resources or the forum (in terms of higher profile bowl games or a playoff) to promote themselves.  In sum, he wants to keep them "poor" in terms of money and exposure so that the Big Ten brand can maintain all its competitive advantages.  Now I don't know if Dan Wetzel's tweet about Delany telling the Sugar Bowl officials that he didn't want to see Michigan playing Boise State is true or not, but it would certainly be consistent with his past actions.

We'll see what happens in future years, but I get the impression that the tide is turning against Delany on this issue--and it has been for years.  When college football went to 85 scholarships in 1993, that meant the smaller teams could get better players overall.  As cable television expanded and more teams were being shown, that gave them greater publicity then ever before--just think about what Boise State was in 1991 and compare it to today.

Now we have the BCS which the fans and media don't like and which more conference commissioners are rethinking in terms of either changing how the bowls pick teams to even considering a Plus One system.  We'll eventually get a playoff and I suspect it'll settle in on eight teams when it's all said and done.

 

Asgardian

December 7th, 2011 at 7:58 PM ^

Agree with what you said about Delany caring about keeping "the rich" rich.

Post BCS (2013 or 2015 w/ extension?), I wouldn't be surprised at all to see a 4 team playoff that only includes the Conference Champs of:

SEC, BIG10, PAC12, BIG12  (maybe include ACC and use rankings to drop #5)

Also for non-winners in these conferences, I'll bet you could drum up better ratings for bad bowl games if your post season "bowl" was a SEC vs BIG10 and PAC12 vs BIG 12 "challenge" basketball style (rotate the match ups each year).  That way, more college football fanatics tune in to watch Northwestern v Texas A&M.  They could even make this post season "interleague play" home & homes.

If they don't do something like the above, I guarantee similar proposals will be raised behind closed doors by conference commissioners, if only to intimidate all the "middlemen" that can potentially be cut out (NCAA, neutral site bowls, non-AQ conferences).

I mean look at the Longhorn Network fergodsakes, this is all about identifying what everybody is getting right now $$$, and figuring out who you can take it away from to have even more for yourself.

dragonchild

December 8th, 2011 at 8:48 AM ^

That's a valid argument, but unfortunately it's too often abused as a cop-out.  It's not just ESPN, it also applies to your Enrons and BPs where everyone claims no one knew anything -- after the lone whistleblower is pushed out, of course.  It's a rather shameful side of our culture.

treetown

December 7th, 2011 at 9:10 PM ^

Thanks for the B5 reference. Still the only show to come close to real physics in outer space.

The 24/7 coverage of nearly all sports and the complete lack of distinction between reportage and opinion makes this sort of headline hunting gotcha coverage happen. Too many so-called reporters hoping to become a personality and too few really interested in getting the facts - they jump right to "their take."

MGoblog is sort of a hybrid. It clearly has a distinct point of view (pro-Wolverines) but so far Brian and others have managed to keep to the notion that we should to find out what the facts are. We can argue about why the game was won or lost, but let's be sure we got the stats and play-by-play right.

sebastokrator

December 8th, 2011 at 3:42 AM ^

This has got to be the only credentialed sporting related anything that can work a Babylon 5 reference into a daily article. For that I say kudos, to you sir! On behalf of nerds who love sports, thanks for proving that football and Europa Universalis are not incompatible.

rfkmichman

December 8th, 2011 at 9:29 AM ^

Man, you beat me to it.  I was going to say something about uniting sci-fi and fantasy nerdom with football.  In fairness, Brian has long ago proved this by doing UFRs; what fan breaks down football plays with such detail without a little arm-chair tactician in him?  This post made me want to revisit Babylon 5 on Netflix.  And the creepy thing?  Delany does look like a plausible Centauri.