Unverified Voracity Puts It On The Moon

Submitted by Brian on February 7th, 2012 at 12:52 PM


Hockeybear searches for the best place for a Big Ten tournament

I guess it's college hockey so I shouldn't be surprised. Apparently the ludicrous worst-case scenario for a Big Ten playoff is maybe possibly happening:

Andy Baggott is reporting that a majority of athletic directors from the future Big Ten hockey schools are in favor of moving their postseason tournament to a neutral location, rather than having home sites host tournament games. The tournament would take place over three days, with all six teams from the league involved, meaning the top two seeds would receive byes into the semifinal round. Baggott also reports that the league is close to finalizing a deal with the XCel Center in St. Paul, Minnesota to host the tournament.

Why on earth anyone other than UW and Minnesota would agree to this, let alone have it at the X, escapes me. Before you, Minnesota fan, go "durr durr money" consider three weeks of home series: 10-15 games averaging between 6 and 15 thousand people sold at full price. This alternative is five games, only two or three of them anywhere near a sellout because they'll feature Minnesota. It would be marginally worse at the Joe (fewer fans per local attraction but more of them plus more OSU/PSU fans).

This setup is throwing away tens of thousands of dollars, cheapening the regular season, and giving Minnesota an unearned home-field advantage because a couple schools want to use their buildings for high schools. It's almost as ridiculous as not having a regional closer to the CCHA than Green Bay this year and St. Louis(!) last year.

Red isn't having it, at least, and at least provides the hope the dumb single-weekend system won't necessarily be the worst possible one:

Berenson: I'd prefer to see early rounds of Big Ten tournament played at teams who earn home ice, semis and finals at a neutral site. … Berenson also said he hasn't heard Minneapolis as the front runner, but certainly in consideration. Thinks Detroit should be as well.

It never made sense that Michigan, MSU, Penn State would ever agree to the XCel bit. All have (or will have, in PSU's case) dedicated hockey facilities. Even if OSU wants a one-weekend system that's still 3 vs 3 and it appears that we're talking a rotation between the XCel and the Joe.

Neutral sites… guh. Why does college hockey hate atmosphere and money?

Speaking of atmosphere. Hey, this sounds cool:

The Big Ten is not only ready to listen to proposals regarding a national four-team football playoff, league and school officials are kicking around an intriguing idea.

Sources told the Tribune that a Big Ten plan would remove the top four teams from the BCS bowl pool and have semifinal games played on the college campus of the higher seed. That would do away with the facade of “neutral” sites such as New Orleans, Miami and Pasadena, Calif., and ease travel concern for fans.

The championship game then could be bid out, like the Super Bowl.

Two more games and making the Rose Bowl the permanent location for the title game and we're talkin' MGoPlayoff. I'll take an 80% solution. Everyone and their uncle has cannily pointed out that Jim Delany's suggestion benefits the Big Ten(!) since it wouldn't require two rounds of distant travel for teams that are remote from bowl games. This is true. It also helps cut out the thieving middlemen, raises the importance of the regular season, and would be awesome. In this instance, naked self-interest benefits everyone not wearing a yellow jacket.

More importantly: that's it, there's going to be a four-team playoff. Delany is publicly negotiating terms of surrender. He knows he's lost the war and is trying to get the best deal possible for the Big Ten. Since it's the thing that actually makes the most competitive and financial sense, let's hope he wins out.

Alabama game setup: banned on the West Coast. Interesting change to the Pac-12's bylaws:

No member institution shall enter into an agreement to play a neutral-site football game (except in circumstances where such neutral-site game is the away leg of a home-and-home series) unless such agreement provides the Conference with the exclusive broadcast rights and digital rights in all media, and copyright to such neutral-site game.

IE, no more Washington State-Notre Dame in Texas. Previously the Pac-10 banned these sort of things within their footprint; now it's everywhere. This is a clear shot at Jerryworld-type games.

Q: Why are Jerryworld-type games becoming vogue? A:

  1. The Big Ten shares all television revenue*, even that acquired from nonconference games. Michigan makes no profit relative to the rest of the league for playing Notre Dame instead of East Nowhere State, because all that money goes into the kitty that's distributed evenly at the end of the year.
  2. Independent skylarker in Texas figures out he's not a part of the Big Ten footprint and can make an end-around on this agreement by paying two teams to show up and selling the television rights himself.
  3. Teams get home game money—possibly more than home-game money—plus big national attention and sign up.
  4. Conference loses revenue from big team home game.
  5. Conference bans these sorts of things.

I would not be surprised to see the Big Ten follow suit shortly.

I have mixed feelings about this. While Jerryworld-type games are a trend I'm not a fan of, I'm even less of a fan of meaningless cupcakery and this is a move clearly designed to keep the Indianas and Purdues of the world hooked into a revenue stream they have nothing to do with. That wouldn't be a disaster except for the fact that removing 11/12ths of the financial incentive to schedule a real opponent has seen college football nonconference scheduling devolve significantly. If teams were free to cut their own deals on nonconference games we'd see a lot more competitive matchups.

At least the BTN gives the conference at large a similar incentive: the desire to improve nonconference inventory is the impetus behind the Big Ten-Pac 12 scheduling agreement that will at least slightly increase the number of real games going on in September.

*[This was true as of a few years ago at least. I was having a discussion with someone in the AD about the sorry state of college football scheduling and this was brought up as a major reason.]

This is never going to happen, but if it does… If College Hockey Inc can actually pull this off, Paul Kelly is a genius:

College Hockey Inc., is working to enact legislation — either with the oversight of the NHL or through the transfer agreement between USA Hockey and Hockey Canada — to bar Canadian major junior teams from stealing a player who has signed a letter of intent until after the player’s freshman year.

IE, Michigan has John Gibson and a letter of intent actually means there is a 100% chance that player shows up on campus for a whole year.

The only problem is there is no incentive for the CHL to go for this. USA Hockey does have a potential saber to rattle: right now USA kids can go play in major junior at any age. As we learned during the Max Domi head fake, Canadians who want to play in the USHL must have their families move to the United States. That's a clear double standard, one that USA hockey could threaten to go both ways. That would get the CHL's attention.

UND's Dave Hakstol also wants to give CHL players NCAA eligibility, which sounds good in theory but would not work in practice. A kid who has spent his junior and senior years of high school in the CHL would have a zero percent chance of being academically eligible for NCAA play—major junior franchises will see to that. Hypothetically opening the door back to the NCAA will just give the CHL a marketing bullet point with little basis in reality.

And now the glidepath. If you're wondering just how tough basketball's last stretch was, they currently sit #1 nationally in Kenpom's Pythagorean strength of schedule($):

Kenpom Team Conf Pyth Rk OppO Rk OppD Rk
30 Michigan B10 0.7257 1 106.6 1 96.9 10
15 Duke ACC 0.7247 2 105.7 3 96.2 6
3 Kansas B12 0.7244 3 105.3 5 95.8 2
100 Oklahoma St. B12 0.7039 4 104.8 14 96.3 7
127 Nebraska B10 0.7019 5 104.9 11 96.5 8
80 Villanova BE 0.6994 6 105.4 4 97 12
9 Indiana B10 0.6962 7 104 28 95.9 3
71 Northwestern B10 0.6958 8 103.3 46 95.3 1
32 West Virginia BE 0.6899 9 104.9 8 97.1 13
130 Penn St. B10 0.6863 10 104.9 10 97.2 17

They've faced the most imposing opponent offenses and the tenth-most imposing defenses. It eases significantly from here.

Geediot. Stop talking!

"We hired the best coach and we went out and got the best kids so get a life," Gee said of Bielema's criticisms.

Stop dressing like a five-year-old, as well. Actually continue these things.

Etc.: The Daily successfully trolled me with this Jon Merrill article. Yeah, Denard is everywhere. So is Roundtree. Can we get some Roundtree love? Michigan's RPI is 15. I looked up their nitty gritty stats on ESPN and, man: 3-3 against the RPI top 25. They've really been playing some tough opponents. Yesman breaks down Michigan's special teams goals against Miami.


los barcos

February 7th, 2012 at 1:34 PM ^

I don’t understand the angst and trepidation after the state game.  take a look at who the mens bball team has played versus who they have left.  Their remaining schedule looks like this:


At Nebraska

Home vs illini

Home vs ohio

At northwestern

Home vrs purdue

At Illinois

At penn state


At worst, I think, they will finish 5-2, with a slim chance to go 7-0 (more likely 6-1 with that one loss being ohio).  That’s anywhere from 22 wins – 24 wins overall, before the big ten tourney, and maybe a top three finish in the big 10.


February 7th, 2012 at 2:19 PM ^

I think the worst case is considerably worse, given the team's struggles on the road and the way home courts have proved generally tough in the Big 10, ie, Nebraska beating Indiana, Northwestern beating MSU (and being squarely on the bubble). Illinois might be the most unpredictable team in the nation, capable of beating or losing to any team in the league depending on Brandon Paul's accuracy on any given night.

I'd say the worst case is 3-4 or even 2-5. Even that has us squarely in the tourney, though 2-5 would have us sweating and would put the team down in the 10-11 seed range that you don't want to be in.


Edit: that said, there's not much of a reason for the state game to be a particular concern, other than what it may do to Hardaway's confidence.

Heinous Wagner

February 7th, 2012 at 1:42 PM ^

The bow tie has roared back at Bielema.

What we have now at Ohio is an artless college president, a clueless athletic director and a beady-eyed head coach who cloaks his willingness to win at all costs with a thin Christian veneer.

Sound familiar?

With these elements in place, I'm betting Ohio will be involved in something worse than Tatgate in three to five years. 


February 7th, 2012 at 1:50 PM ^

I prefer meaningless cupcakery to neutral-site Jerryworld games.  Meaningless cupcakery means home games, with pregaming, parties, tailgating, tradition, and above all else, student participation.**  You go to a football game, at home where it belongs, you drink, you enjoy watching the team beat up on some shitty team, you have a raucous good time.  Meaningless cupcakery has its place.  Neutral-site games do not.  Neutral-site games are bullshit.  Fuck them, in fact.  College football should be played in college stadiums on college campuses, except for bowl games and (somewhat reluctantly) conference CG's.

**Don't start on the state of the student section at 12:00 games.....it's still 2/3 to 3/4 full.


February 7th, 2012 at 3:34 PM ^

meaningless cupcake games can be traded for home and home games.

I'd rather have 7 home games one year with one being a big name opponent and 6 home games the next with that game being at said big name opponent's own stadium than Jerryworld.

In fact, I'd rather go down to the SEC, ACC, or PAC 12 and make a weekend out of visiting Tuscaloosa or Baton Rouge and experience the college atmosphere down there than in some sterile corporate stadium like Jerryworld.

Everyone Murders

February 7th, 2012 at 2:02 PM ^

The Lantern's Gee article has some other choice tidbits, including his reflections on the previously unknown transformative powers of semester scheduling:


"We have been totally out of sync with every major university in this country … We're a 1980s university in 21st century clothing," Gee said. Students will also gain a competitive edge on the semester system, Gee said. "Our students will now be competitive in the job market … and in grad school," Gee said.

So it will work just like it did for MSU when they went to semesters round about 1992.  Remember that sea change in MSU's academic reputation?  Neither do I. 

(I understand that semester scheduling may incrementally help with job recruiting - it's just the unintentional "now be competitive" that tickles my funny bone.)

Blue in Yarmouth

February 7th, 2012 at 2:14 PM ^

but I also know a lot of guys I went through the CHL with. The idea that the CHL will destroy young mens minds and leave them with nothing unless they make the pros is a drastic misconception. 

Again, I may be the exception but I am now a cardiologist and played Canadian college hockey for four years after playing in the Q. Many of my team mates and friends of similar age did the same. 

It just really bothers me when I hear this ridiculous sentiment on this blog. I'm not saying you don't have reason to be upset that the CHL keeps poaching the best junior age players in your country. I'm just saying you shouldn't be so wild with your punches. 


February 7th, 2012 at 2:52 PM ^

It's not hard to be missing core class A or core class B and have to jump through a lot of clearinghouse hoops. You pretty much have to have a plan if you're going to be a recruitable athlete, and that sort of plan is not one that CHL teams are going to encourage.

With the USHL in place there's no reason for college to open itself up to former junior players. You want to be Jack Campbell, be Jack Campbell. Don't come crying back to us after you get traded to the Soo.

I Bleed Maize N Blue

February 7th, 2012 at 3:59 PM ^

I think it's a safe bet to say that as a cardiologist, you are an exception.

I tried to find out what percentage of CHL players get to the NHL, what percentage graduates college, what percentage of NCAA players get to the NHL, and what percentage graduate.

I googled instead of working backwards from all NHL rosters, so I found a dated Hockey News article on ESPN  that looked at the 1988-9 rosters of major junior and NCAA teams to see how many made the NHL.  It says 8.3% came from major junior, 4.6% from NCAA.

Nowadays the % from NCAA may be a little higher, as, per wikipedia, 30% of the 2010-1 players had NCAA experience.

From this USHL post, which appears to be a few years old,

Recently, the NCAA announced that 84% of all NCAA hockey players graduated with their university/college degrees. The CHL's college graduation rate is under 20%...


So it seems that more NHL players come from the CHL than the NCAA, more CHL & NCAA players graduate college than play in the NHL, and more NCAA players graduate college than CHL.


February 7th, 2012 at 3:10 PM ^

and always will be. As are every team included conference tournaments. Geez. Too bad for B10 hockey fans.

Also regarding football, home game playoff scenarios do not benefit the B1G any more than anyone else. It is a huge benefit to the home team no matter who it is--and that's exactly as it should be to reward a better regular season in a playoff scenario. Don't want to play up north in January? Be better.