Unverified Voracity Likes The Great Eye

Submitted by Brian on December 13th, 2012 at 4:12 PM

Volleyball final four tonight. 7 PM, ESPN 2.

Probably not important but for God's sake we have to at least try. Go here and vote for anything but "Existing Divisions plus one." I like what I'll be calling the Eye Of Sauron Configuration:


Ace with the quick photoshop for the win:


You have the two triangles of hate plus Nebraska's desire to make one of them a parallelogram of hate plus everyone else in the other division. The balance is as fair as possible: M-OSU versus everybody. The straight East-West split is a lot less drivable and places the three teams with the most recruiting muscle in the same division.

They will release results for this on Monday at 6:30, FWIW, and then ignore everything so they can create the JUSTICE and BEATIFIC TOLERANCE divisions while introducing the league's new logo, which is a stained glass window of Jim Delany with a halo.

BONUS: "*Actual Division Names TBD"

Line of the week.  From the MZone:

Thankfully, our pal Surrounded in Columbus is always good for a nugget or four from deep behind enemy lines.  Today he sent the picture below with the following email:

Most people would be disappointed to be 12-0 & staying home.  They're not most people.

No word yet on when Tressel Boned Us But We Still Hoisted Him on Our Shoulders Like Morons Lane is going up.

Ohio State hosts a "celebration of perfection against reason" Tuesday during which Galileo will be burned at the stake and the sun declared to revolve around the earth.

Tell me something I don't know. Maurice Clarett:

He was a hard worker in practice and in games. But off the field, he was living a completely different life. "I took golf, fishing, and softball as classes," Clarett says. "Away from class, anything you can think of I did in my 13 months at Ohio State." Drugs and women were two of the things. Cars were another—he owned three of them at a time, including a brand-new Cadillac and Lexus. "I was living the NFL life in college," he says. "I got paid more in college than I do now in the UFL.

Hey, guys who were interested in Marawatch: now is a high-leverage time for some private investigations of OSU.

Scorched-earth bombing of the week. From Patrick Hruby on the insane levels of subsidy thrown out to nonprofit entities like… the NFL.

In the eyes of the IRS, the National Football League is considered a nonprofit outfit. Just like the United Way. Read that again. The NFL -- a league that makes roughly $9 billion in revenue per season and will collected a guaranteed $27 billion in television money over the next decade -- enjoys the same tax breaks as, say, your local chamber of commerce, because both are classified as 501(c)6 organizations. Under federal law, 501(c)6 organizations -- essentially, business leagues -- are defined as associations of persons having some common business interest, the purpose of which is to promote such common interest and not to engage in a regular business of a kind ordinarily carried on for profit. Does that sound like the NFL to you?

It's been said before but the contrast between socialist NFL and the largely capitalist, competition-driven way European leagues are set up is kind of amazing. I envy soccer fans their league structure in which teams at the bottom are punished, not rewarded, and poor performers drop out of existence. Imagine a world in which the Lions are a fourth-division team and some other Michigan outfit is competing in the NFL. Mmmm. Justice.

Instead, William Clay Ford has been allowed to ruin pro football in Detroit for 50 years. Down with antitrust exemptions for sports.

Speaking of, OH MY GOD. This is from Bylaw Blog proprietor John Infante is… bizarre. Probably unworkable. It has a zero point zero percent chance of actually happening. And it was posted in February, at which point I missed it. But it's kind of amazing to think about:

The College Basketball Champions League (CBBCL) would be the premier college basketball competition. It would consist of the following stages:

  • A qualifying stage of up to three rounds;
  • A group stage over six weeks;
  • A knockout stage of four rounds.

The CBBCL as currently configured would consist of 56–58 teams. All bids to the CBBCL would be automatic bids based on winning or finishing high in your conference. A rating or coefficient system would be used on the conference level, and would be based solely on a conference’s performance in the CBBCL.

Basically, throw over the current model in favor of a Euro soccer model, cups and all. Again, never never happen but thinking about it is pretty cool. No more Binghamton games for top teams as they compete in their conference and the Champions League, just wall-to-wall killer games.

Again, never happen in a million years but it's always fun to think of ways to make revenue by increasing the excitement level of the sport instead of just making fans more and more resentful. One way to do that is to add more silverware. Right now most American sports are structured so that there is one thing to strive for and that thing is determined by fairly random playoff at the end of a regular season.

The February NBA game is the quintessential example of the disease this leads to, and while I find complaints that no one cares about college basketball until the tournament to be unconvincing, people are thinking about goosing the rest of the year:

“Once the reforms to the college football postseason are complete, we have a responsibility to think long and hard about how we can improve the basketball regular season,” said Larry Scott, the commissioner of the Pacific-12 Conference. “The game deserves it.”

Here's an idea: play every nonconference game at the same time on the same court. Yeah! /markhollis'd.

Here's a better idea: expand the preseason tourney exemption to move away from one-weekend events played on neutral courts to a mini-me version of a cup competition in which regular season champions from the previous year square off on randomly-drawn home courts until you get to a final four, which is at MSG or bid out. There are 33, so one play-in game, three weeks of Friday night games, and then a Final Four. Silverware that means something and packs out home floors. HOME FLOORS, people.

Consider your travel plans today. Not those travel plans. Joe Lunardi threw out an updated bracket because ten games into the season's as good a time as any. The bracket has Michigan a one seend(!), bringing forth a question and a statement.

The question: what does Joe Lunardi do nine months out of the year?

The statement: for the first time it looks like the NCAA tournament's decision to break everything into pods and try to get as many top seeds close to home will benefit Michigan, as they're slotted into Auburn Hills in this and any other bracket that bothers to list where people will be.

It will be hard for them to exit that territory since top four seeds usually get priority close to home and there aren't many teams projected to make the top four who would prefer to go to the Palace: MSU, obviously, and then Cincinnati, Notre Dame, and maybe Illinois. With Dayton as another outlet for any of those teams, three or four of them would have to pass Michigan to get that Palace spot. So, yeah.

If Michigan makes the Sweet 16, they'd probably get bumped out of Indianapolis unless they finish above the Hoosiers on the S-Curve. That might not be so bad since they're not playing the regional finals at the basketball arena, but rather the Colts' Stadium. While it will be funny to see Indiana basketball outdraw the Big Ten Championship game significantly, most of those seats are going to be terrible.

Aw man, the other travel plans make you feel baaaad. After hemming and hawing about going to the bowl game I finally did get a flight, and now I feel like a jerk for doing so:

8:54PM EST December 11. 2012 - No bowl game in college football pays more money to one person than the Outback Bowl in Tampa Bay.

His name is Jim McVay, the game's president and chief executive officer.

According to tax forms, the bowl paid McVay $753,946 in fiscal year 2010, $693,212 in 2009 and $808,032 in 2008. His pay has nearly doubled since 2002, when he earned $404,253. This year, his game matches Michigan (8-4) and South Carolina (10-2) on Jan. 1.

"He's done a fabulous job," says Mike Schulze, a spokesman for the game. "It's about being fairly compensated based on what the market dictates."

Dammit. This is why I don't go to bowl games.  McVay made more than the CEO of the American Red Cross, which has revenues of $3.5 billion. The Outback Bowl brought in 10 million, of which they are paying this joker 7.5%. Also:

The median salary for the 15 bosses at the non-profit bowls reviewed by USA TODAY Sports is about three times higher than the $132,739 median for a nonprofit chief executive, according to a study of 3,786 mid-to-large charities in 2010 by Charity Navigator, a charity watchdog.

I mean seriously I feel bad for supporting this in any way.

Q for a non-Rose Bowl rookie: should I just scalp in Tampa? I assume that face value is for suckers, right?

Rutgers lollercoaster. The Big Ten is going to threaten cable companies in the newly expanded Big Ten footprint unless they cut the league the same deal the Midwest does, except this time this is their leverage:

The fact that Maryland and Rutgers are joining the Big Ten Conference doesn’t guarantee that their games will be on the Big Ten Network. In fact, several of their games may not be available locally at all — TV or broadband — when they kick off their Big Ten seasons in 2014.

Maryland and Rutgers face the possibility of having at least two football games and at least 15 basketball games go untelevised locally when they join the conference in a year and a half.

That’s because the Big Ten Conference is looking into a strategy that could keep all Maryland and Rutgers games — encompassing all sports — off of the Big Ten Network unless local distributors place the channel on an expanded basic tier. The Big Ten used that strategy successfully in Nebraska last year when the Cornhuskers joined the conference, and the conference is expected to use it again in 2014 when Maryland and Rutgers join.

I think that'll probably work in DC thanks to Maryland's lacrosse and basketball outfits but if it doesn't it is going to be delightful to see Comcast get into a fight because of the team that plays in the Comcast Center. I cannot wait for that standoff to go down.

I find it difficult to believe many—if any—New York area cable companies are going to look at the threat of not getting two Rutgers football games a year and cave; not having Rutgers basketball is probably a selling point. Here's to a decades-long ban on Rutgers content on the BTN.

Etc.: Get out while you can, Catholic schools! form a sensible 10-12 conference from Milwaukee to DC and watch people like it! Maryland gets money up front to leave the ACC. Chesson and Darboh called out as impressive players early in bowl practice, which yes please. Burke declares M elite. Hardaway's recent shooting is the closest thing Michigan has to a concern right now. Surprise Michigan still doesn't run zone.


Mr. Yost

December 13th, 2012 at 10:25 PM ^

I went ALL CAPS because I'm hoping you actually read this and reply.

Did you get the "eye" conference alignment idea from someone before posting it here?

If not, that's AWESOME that MGoBlog aka Brian's idea is even under consideration. If it wins, the B1G should donate money to this site and Dave Brandon should let MGoBlog run a commercial during a football game.


December 13th, 2012 at 4:46 PM ^

Well I like the balance of football powers without chancing annual back to back games against Ohio. You've got the top 3 competitors in both divisions (Mighigan-Ohio-Sparty, and Wisconsin-Nebraska-PSU) the occasional challengers (Northwestern-Illinois, and Iowa-Rutgers) and the football tag-alongs (Indiana-Purdue, and Maryland-Minnesota) Seems pretty even. 


December 13th, 2012 at 5:15 PM ^

 From a UM Football purist point of view, I like it also. I’d love this to be the final divisions. Also preserves many rivalries and trophies.

 Politically, however, I can’t see this flying. Schools in the “outer” would complain that they have far greater travel expenses and fans having to travel greater distances.


December 13th, 2012 at 6:22 PM ^

I disagree.  Most people only travel to the relatively close games, and any team in that "outer" group would have their pod of close teams in their division that they can travel to.  Maryland will always have PSU and Rutgers to travel to, and Iowa will always have Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa.  And for most of the outer teams, they'll always have an "inner" division team that is a decent distance if they want to travel more. 


December 14th, 2012 at 2:26 AM ^

I'm wondering is a stacked Eastern division is better.  Recruits know they are guaranteed a number of big games each year.  Also, playing at Maryland and Rutgers every other year probalbly helps recruiting.

I think the odds of winning the division are a bit lower in the East/West format, but it also makes for a great number of big games and might help recruiting in some hotbed areas.  I'm going east-west.

Yinka Double Dare

December 13th, 2012 at 4:34 PM ^

My wife is a Butler alum and we went to the Final Four they were in that was in Indy and sat up in the rafters (as they beat State -- easiest game not involving Michigan for me to have a rooting interest pretty much ever).  Football stadium basketball is definitely suboptimal, but I think of all of the football stadiums the Indy one is the least terrible.  They did supposedly keep basketball in mind when building the thing.  I was actually able to watch the game on the court instead of trying to look at screens the entire time, and that was using the entire stadium rather than half the stadium as they'll do for the regionals.

An actual arena would almost certainly be superior, but only the DC regional offers an arena that isn't super far.  I'm not flying to LA on short notice.


December 13th, 2012 at 4:40 PM ^

The "Eye of Sauron" (which I call burger 'n' buns) configuration really is the best:

1) It gets Michigan and Ohio State back in the same division.

2) It puts the PSU/Maryland/Rutgers trio in the same division, which makes sense because PSU used to have annual rivalries with those schools.

3) It puts the four western schools in the same division, which those schools are known to prefer.

4) It is competitively balanced.

5) Travel is reasonable. (Rutgers & Maryland will have to fly west twice a year, but they would have flown to any game, besides each other and Penn State. Minnesota pretty much has to fly to almost everybody. Etc.)

6) All of the "must-have" rivalries are in the same division. This eliminates the need for protected cross-division rivalries, and means that teams in opposite divisions can play each other more often.


December 13th, 2012 at 4:50 PM ^

I think that'll probably work in DC thanks to Maryland's lacrosse and basketball outfits but if it doesn't it is going to be delightful to see Comcast get into a fight because of the team that plays in the Comcast Center.

People are used to not seeing every lacrosse game on TV, because TV hasn't caught up to the entire lacrosse season yet. There is no local outfit that broadcasts games that aren't picked up by ESPN.

Michael Scarn

December 13th, 2012 at 4:53 PM ^

I would say yes, scalp.  Dudes were standing outside the Superdome with 3 inch stacks of tickets an hour before Sugar Bowl gametime.  Think I paid $35 on stubhub about a week before and regretted paying that much...for a BCS game.  


December 13th, 2012 at 4:56 PM ^

Who I want to see us play:

Michigan, OSU, PSU, MSU, NEB, Wisco, +1 (Doesn't matter, let's say Iowa)

Other Division aka Everybody Else:

Minnesota, NW, Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Maryland, Rutgers


As long as OSU isn't in a cakewalk division that also doesn't include us, I couldn't care less if the other side has an easier "road to the rose bowl".  If they beat the winner of the "tougher" division in the Big10 Championship game, so be it.


December 13th, 2012 at 5:03 PM ^

I would support you if the +1 team is Northwestern, because that's my favorite road game (though I am admittedly intrigued by the prospect of crabcakes & football).

I would support you even more if the B1G championship game featured the top two finishers in the "tough" division, while the top finisher in the "weak" division played the worst finisher in the "tough" division for a chance at promotion.


December 13th, 2012 at 4:58 PM ^

The real leverage in the NY market is that Fox, 49% owner of BTN, is now the 49% owner of YES Network, which shows the majority of Yankees games (the "Y" in YES), and also carries Nets basketball.

Fox has had no problem going to the mattresses with the cable companies to get what they want, and I'd be surprised if they didn't leverage their interest in the YES network into basic cable tier status for BTN in NY markets.


December 13th, 2012 at 6:17 PM ^

How can they do that?  What the Big Ten is saying, is Rutgers games won't be on the BTN at all unless this gets put on a basic cable tier, not just NYC.  If you did that with Michigan-Minnesota like in your example, you'd also be punishing all the people in Michigan and Minnesota who want to watch that game.  In your example, the BTN just wouldn't exist until NYC caved, which BTN would never do. 


December 13th, 2012 at 8:33 PM ^

Maybe I'm misunderstanding the situation but from what I understood the poster above is claiming that the Michigan fans missing the Michigan/Rutgers game will be outraged leading to the cable companies caving and bringing in BTN.  My argument is that if you're really going for outrage of Michigan fans (or any other big ten team fans really) you could do this without adding Rutgers.  All you need is a Michigan game not being shown because BTN isn't being carried by the NY markets to create outrage.  BTN can air the game, NY markets can't see it, outrage ensues, BTN is carried locally.

This all makes sense in my head at least, wouldn't be the first time it didn't translate to the post :).


December 13th, 2012 at 5:09 PM ^

With no local interest, thus no sellout, I can't imagine there not being plenty of great tickets outside the stadium for lower prices.  I went a few years ago, and tickets were as low as $20 on the street.  

It seems like there is always at least one panicky scalper with a handful of tickets who realizes he is about to take a loss on the day.  You can also find desperate sellers on CL a day or two before the game who realize that they aren't getting face value for their tickets.  

There really aren't a lot of "townies" who think that a bowl game between two teams they don't follow is worth $81 a ticket when USF has set the value of a college football game as less than $30.  They would rather dump their money on the Bucs.

I have a lot less to lose, becuase I live 20 miles from the stadium, but I won't be paying full price unless some seats between the 40's on the Michigan side open up on Ticketmaster.


December 13th, 2012 at 5:10 PM ^

I signed up just to respond to Brian about the Outback bowl. The reason Jim is paid so much is because he negotiates every single contract that the Outback bowl is a part of. The conferences, the sponsor, the stadium, the concessions, the various stuff that the teams do during the week, everything. He's actually kind of under-paid.


December 13th, 2012 at 9:03 PM ^

So he does a good job and deserves a good pay day.  But what does he really, do?!  Deal with the people?  Does he deal with the goddamn people!?  Tom Smykowski got fired from Initech for just dealing with the people.  Being a Bowl put-together-er, is just not something/someone that deserves that amount of money.  I hate to delve into politics and will not but that's much of this county's problem is people making that much money for....doing silly sht*t.


December 13th, 2012 at 5:16 PM ^

I'm going to the game too and driving down from Cleveland so it's 15 hours on MapQuest - 17 hours on Googlemaps (why is that I wonder -same route) with my wife and son.  We'll be there Friday through Wednesday and so far I've got Busch Gardens, deep sea fishing and celebrating my wedding anniversary on New Year's Eve on the agenda.

Hopefully some nice Tampa-based MgoBlogger will post a bunch of where to go and what to do suggestions like our New Orlean's brothers did last year.  That made the trip a lot of fun and it would be nice to run into a bunch of guys from the board like we did then.  This will be my 5th bowl game and first one in Florida (three Rose - one Sugar) and they've all been a blast.  In the words of the great Ferris Buehler......"I highly reccomend it if you have the means"


December 13th, 2012 at 5:18 PM ^

I bought Outback Bowl tickets through the university once and definitely wished I hadn't.  I'm keeping my eyes on StubHub for particularly desirable tickets, but if you're just looking to get in the door, especially for a single, scalping will definitely be your best bet.

The year before, at the Citrus Bowl, I scalped -- and the guy opened by asking me to make an offer.  Protip: if that happens, offer about $10 and take it from there. :-)


December 13th, 2012 at 5:46 PM ^

is saying that the BTN would keep the rights to those Rutgers/Maryland games and choose to not broadcast them.. so that, in practice, nobody has the rights.

Alums/fans of other Big ten schools in those markets wouldn't mind missing Rutgers/Maryland games too much, with the exception of when they are playing their team.

So Michigan fans in NYC would likely be pretty pissed about missing a Michigan/Rutgers bball or football game, I would think.

So while, cable carriers might not get too much grief about consumers not getting 2-3 football games and 10-15 bball games from Rutgers or Maryland fans, they may get a lot of pressure because of fans of the rest of the big ten being unable to see their team play MD/RUT.  So I think the pressure tactic might be a little more influential than is presumed.

I could be wrong though


December 13th, 2012 at 6:08 PM ^

I disagree with your premise that adding divisions to the Conference should be avoided. I favor 3 (if not 4) division conferences. My reasoning is I can see what the major conferences are attempting to do: legitimize interest in each conference as if they were stand-alone mini leagues. Honestly, I think it's a desirable outcome.

If each conference is going to to have its own TV network, then there has to be ensured a legitimate interest in each conference as a product. By adopting a professional league model as to each (with 3 - 4 divisions apiece), you create divisional rivalries, ensure competitive fairness in the playoffs (league champs based on conference records per division, 1-2 wild card teams based on total records), and ensure the end "Conference Champ" is deserving of the title.

This in turn is the best approach to ensure interest at the Bowl level, which is moving toward becoming a final tournament of champions (at least the BCS Bowls).

Maintaining two divisions in ever expanding conferences reduces competitive balance and interest. Think about the NFL, if the AFC and NFC were not further reduced into divisions. Or the MLB. NBA. NHL. It's a good idea.


December 13th, 2012 at 6:21 PM ^

How many games would you be asking these guys to play?  A regular season, then multi-round conference playoffs and then national playoffs?  

I have the opposite attitude.  I think the NCAA needs to ban the conference title games, which add an unnecessary week to the season.  That week should be the opening round of NCAA playoffs (to be hosted on campus).  


December 13th, 2012 at 7:00 PM ^

Honestly, I think maintaining the same 8-9 conference games would work. Intra-conference divisions are pretty arbitrary. They simply ensure a set number of division champions, based on nothing but who has the best conference record per division. If you add one or 2 wild cards (teams with best records outside the champs), you can ensure legitimacy with respect to the ultimate goal of a valid conference "champion". The best way to accomplish that, in my opinion, is to adopt a professional playoff model. The net cost is adding one to two playoff games prior to the championship.

Doesn't the end result justify two extra games? Right now we have two arbitrary and boring divisions. Divide by 3 or 4 instead of 2 and maybe it's establishes a competitive balance.

I'll concede 4 divisions may be too much. Let's discuss 3 divisions with a wild card (best record outside division champs). That adds a single game prior to the championship. You add better competitive balance per division. It makes the intra-divisional rivalries more "personal".

I have to think it's the way to go.

EDIT: Admittedly, I misunderstood the current divisons +1 concept to mean adding additional divisions. Like Brian, I would oppose maintaining the same arbitrary divisions only to add rutgers or maryland in each. The problem with the competitive balance, IMHO, is continuing to define it among two large arbitrary divisions.