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Tag:Big Ten
Posted on: November 18, 2011 1:48 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2011 9:46 am
 

Delany makes postseason proposal

The source of one college football postseason idea pitched this week shouldn’t be surprising.

According to a person in the room at Monday’s BCS meeting, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany pitched a model whereby only the No. 1 and No. 2 teams would be matched in the postseason. That would basically eliminate the other BCS bowl tie-ins in the 14-year-old system.

The proposal essentially is a roll back to the old Bowl Alliance that was in effect from 1995-97. On its face, the proposal seemingly benefits the Big Ten, SEC, Big 12 and Pac-12 the most.

The Big Ten could not immediately confirm Delany as the source of the idea since the commissioner was traveling on Friday. However, another source in the room at the San Francisco meeting said the idea stood out among several that day because it was “new.” The source would not confirm the model came from Delany.

Using Delany’s idea, the relationship with the current BCS bowls – Orange, Fiesta, Sugar and Rose – would end. At the beginning of the season all schools would have an equal chance to get into the championship game. Supposedly, some kind of rating system would be used to rank teams.

Below that championship game, schools and bowls would be free to arrange their own deals. In the old Bowl Alliance, the champions of the ACC, Big East, Big Eight, SEC and Southwest conferences, along with an at-large team, were matched in the Fiesta, Sugar and Orange bowls. The Rose, Big Ten and Pac-10 did not participate at the time.  The uniqueness of the Alliance was that there were no conference tie-ins to particular bowls.

BCS commissioners began saying in December that they might go back to the old bowl system if pushed by non-BCS schools.  

There were other ideas Monday during what was termed a preliminary meeting meant for informal proposals. Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson weighed in. Thompson was already on record with his 16-team playoff proposal. CBSSports.com reported last week there was growing support to get rid of automatic qualifiers in the BCS. One result of that could be a top 10, 12, or 14 ranking that would have to be attained to get into a BCS bowl.

Delany’s idea would reflect the elimination of automatic qualifiers. The so-called “AQs” are the champions of the Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, SEC, Pac-12 and SEC. Notre Dame and champions of lesser conferences can currently qualifier for BCS bowls if they meet a set of benchmarks.

Delany’s particular model doesn’t address an age-old BCS problem: What about No. 3 and below, the teams that get left out? The commissioners discussed legal concerns that could emerge from that situation according to a source.

Also, if automatic qualifiers are eliminated, it would seem there would have to be some kind of access for non-AQs. Teams from non-BCS leagues – MAC, WAC, Conference USA, Sun Belt, Mountain West – have enjoyed improved access to BCS bowls since 2003. During that time the success of schools such as Boise State, Utah and TCU developed into David-vs.-Goliath stories that captured the nation’s attention.

There is also the significant issue of revenue distribution. 

It’s a good bet that under Delany’s plan, the Rose Bowl would be “protected”. In other words, the bowl would have access to the champions of the Big Ten and Pac-12 each year unless one or both schools were involved in the championship game.

Because the ACC and Big East have struggled to be nationally relevant in recent years, Delany’s proposal would directly benefit the Pac-12, SEC, Big Ten and Big 12. Teams from those four conferences have played in some combination in the last eight BCS title games.

It can’t be stressed enough the preliminary nature of Monday’s meeting. After discussing various models at the 1 ½-hour meeting, commissioners were to go back to their conferences to present them with their schools.  One source called it “process and procedure.”

The commissioners meet again in person Jan. 10 in New Orleans, the day after the BCS title game. It is at that meeting and subsequent ones that a clearer view of college football’s postseason going forward will begin to emerge. The commissioners must develop a postseason model to present to ESPN during its exclusive negotiating window that begins in October. If ESPN passes during those negotiations, then the model would go out to bid.

The current BCS model is in effect through the 2014 bowls. 

Posted on: November 14, 2011 1:27 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 1:29 pm
 

BCS chair Spanier won't immediately be replaced

BCS officials will not pick an interim replacement for former Penn State president Graham Spanier when they meet Monday in San Francisco.

Spanier was BCS Big Ten rep and chairman of the BCS presidential oversight committee but lost that position last week when he was fired at Penn State. One conference commissioner speculated that replacing Spanier might be the first order of business Monday. But BCS executive director Bill Hancock told CBSSports.com that it could be “a few weeks” before a replacement is found.

Spanier had been one of the most respected college CEOs both in academic and athletic circles. He was relieved of duties on Wednesday by the Penn State board of trustees, the same day Joe Paterno was fired.

The oversight committee consists of a presidential representative from each FBS league, plus Notre Dame (12 in all). They consider information from the BCS commissioners, AD advisory group and television partners throughout the year. Monday’s meeting is not expected to be all that newsworthy, although rudimentary discussions are expected to begin on how college football’s postseason will look at the end of the current BCS deal that expires after the 2014 bowls.

More significant meetings will be conducted in January at the site of the BCS title game in New Orleans and in April at the annual BCS meeting.

 

The 11 current members of the BCS presidential oversight committee and conference they represent:

Scott Cowen - president, Tulane University (Conference USA)
Rev. John Jenkins - president, University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame)
Max Nikias - president, University of Southern California (Pac-12)
Duane Nellis - president, University of Idaho (WAC)
Mark Nordenberg - chancellor, University of Pittsburgh (Big East)
John Peters - president, Northern Illinois University (MAC)
Bill Powers - president, University of Texas (Big 12)
Gary Ransdell - president, Western Kentucky University (Sun Belt)
David Schmidly - president, University of New Mexico (Mountain West)
Charles Steger – president, Virginia Tech (ACC)
Robert Witt - president, University of Alabama (SEC)


 

 

Posted on: November 9, 2011 10:08 am
Edited on: November 9, 2011 12:52 pm
 

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

There is growing support toward eliminating automatic qualifier status in the next evolution of college football’s postseason according to Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas.

The concept has been discussed informally among the game’s power brokers and would represent a fundamental shift in the way the sport’s postseason is administrated. Neinas supports the change because he said eliminating the so-called “AQ” status would slow or stop conference realignment.

“I think there is growing sentiment to eliminate the automatic qualification part of the BCS,” Neinas told CBSSports.com this week. “You can see what’s happening. They [conferences] are gerrymandering all over the place under the intent to maintain an automatic qualification. History has shown you don’t need that if you are qualified.”

Removing AQ status would, in part, continue to benefit the power conferences who are currently bound by a two-team limit in the BCS. But it would also allow so-called non-AQs a more consistent, fair entry into the BCS. No changes would take effect until the 2014 season.

There are currently 10 slots among the five BCS bowls. One discussed configuration would allow the top 10 teams in the final BCS standings at the end of the season to play in BCS bowls no matter what conference affiliation. For example, if the Big Ten or SEC had three or more teams in the top 10, all those schools would get BCS bowls.

It’s not clear what the Rose Bowl’s stance is on the issue. It is known the Rose wants to keep its Pac-12-Big Ten game as often as possible. Eliminating AQ status may be the interim step between the BCS and a playoff. Various officials from four of the six BCS leagues have been in favor of at least a plus-one model at one time or another in the last three years.

The changes supported by Neinas wouldn’t occur until after the 2014 bowls when the current BCS deal expires with ESPN. Commissioners and ADs will discuss the changes as part of their next BCS meeting Monday in San Francisco.

“I imagine it will be one of many things they will be talking about," said Bill Hancock, BCS executive director. "It’s really premature to speculate about what the group might do."

The game’s administrators will have to have a new model going forward when ESPN reaches its exclusive negotiating window in October.

It’s not clear how much support there among commissioners. It would seem that at least the ACC and Big East would be against change. The ACC champion has finished out of the top 10 three of the last four seasons. Both leagues failed to have a team in the top 10 team at the end of last season.

It’s also not clear how money would be divided. Currently, 85 percent of the BCS bowl take is divided among the six power conferences. Last year approximately $200 million was made off the BCS bowls. If one of the six major conferences is not guaranteed a BCS bowl that could change the distribution model and potentially be a deal breaker.

Those six power conference champions – SEC, ACC, Big East, Big 12, Pac-12, Big Ten – are guaranteed a BCS bowl. The champions of the five non-AQ leagues – MAC, WAC, Conference USA, Sun Belt, Mountain West – are not. The best schools in those leagues must meet a set of benchmarks to get in.

Using the final 2010 standings as example going forward, the Big East (UConn, out of the BCS top 25) and ACC (Virginia Tech, No. 13) would not have had a BCS team because those conferences champions finished out of the top 10. The Big Ten would have had three teams – Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State.

In that configuration schools like Missouri (2007), Texas Tech (2008), Boise State (2008, 2010), Iowa (2009), Georgia Tech (2009) and Michigan State (2010) would have made BCS bowls simply by finishing in the top 10.

To date the Big Ten has played in the most BCS bowls, 23. The SEC is second with 21.

Neinas said he senses support for the change among his peers. The scramble for automatic qualification has affected three of the six BCS leagues just in the last couple of months. TCU and West Virginia joined the Big 12, in part fearing instability in the Big East. Syracuse and Pittsburgh joined the ACC for the same reason. Meanwhile, the Big East is trying to reconstitute itself to be a BCS league going forward.

Commissioners will have to decide if the Big East even merits AQ status if the system remains the same. It currently has that status because of a waiver granted by BCS commissioners in 2008.

“You can make it on your merit without having to be in an automatic qualifying situation,” Neinas said. “That would solve some problems here with people just scrambling because they think they have to take in certain institutions. Let’s eliminate automatic qualification. If you merit it, you’re in …

“The point is, then you wouldn’t have this effort to cobble together a conference for the purpose of automatic qualification.”

Neinas also said he senses “strong sentiment” for conferences to remain with current membership until 2013. That would mean Syracuse and Pittsburgh would remain in the ACC, Missouri and Texas A&M would remain in the Big 12 and West Virginia and TCU would remain in the Big East.

The Big 12 is in a state flux with its television partners (ESPN, Fox) because it needs at least 10 members in 2012 for its payout not to be affected, Neinas said.

“We have to provide inventory to our TV partners and also we have some bowl partners,” he said. “Of course the major problem is scheduling.”

West Virginia has been sued by the Big East to fulfill its obligation to give 27 months notice before leaving the league. Big 12 sources are upset that Missouri intends to leave by July 1, 2012. Neinas remarked that it was “awful short notice” by the school.

Both Texas A&M and Missouri are still haggling with the Big 12 over exit fees owed to the conference. Those fees could range from $15 million-$30 million per school according to reports.

If both Missouri and West Virginia aren’t in the league in 2012, that would leave only nine members. With only nine members, each Big 12 team would have to find another non-conference game on short notice for 2012.

Asked if he expected Missouri to be in the league next year, Neinas said, “That would be nice, sure. Is that possible? I don’t know.”

He was then asked if there is any sentiment within the league for legal action against Missouri, Neinas said, “I don’t’ think I’ll comment on that.”

Posted on: October 30, 2011 1:40 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2011 6:10 pm
 

Thoughts On A Football Saturday: West Virginia

This is on Don Nehlen. Major Harris too. Don’t forget Bobby Bowden. Rich Rodriguez gets credit. Even Bill Stewart.

West Virginia joined Big 12 on Friday (beginning in 2012) because of all those folks. Nehlen, the gritty, veteran coach who put the school on the map. Major Harris, the dual threat sensation before there were dual threat sensations leading the Mountaineers to the brink of a national championship. Rich Rod, the homeboy, and his basketball-on-grass offense. And all Coach Stew did was beat Oklahoma and average nine wins a year.

You can thank Gordon Gee too. Gee was West Virginia’s president during a key time (1981-85) in the school’s history. If not for the school’s admission into the old College Football Association, it might not be here today. West Virginia was among a group of about 15 independents in that initial CFA group of 63 schools.

The CFA gained power out of the Supreme Court’s de-regulation of college football in 1984. It was the television negotiating arm for those top 63 football-playing schools.

“They [West Virginia] met all the criteria,” said former CFA executive director Chuck Neinas. “They routinely get 60,000, their stadium size, strength of schedule, certain academic commitments.”

The qualifications for the old CFA have faded into history. But they are essentially why West Virginia is in a BCS league going forward and the Big East is in trouble. West Virginia has been selected to move on as a big-time football program.

That, and cold, hard numbers. You want to know why West Virginia is in the Big 12 and Louisville isn’t? 500,000 homes. That’s the difference in the half-rating point for television that separates the two schools.     

It comes down to West Virginia’s average 2.6 television rating over the past five years as opposed to 2.1 for Louisville. That half-rating point equals half a million television homes. That’s according to an industry source who had the numbers in front of him for all 120 FBS schools.

The FBS average rating is 2.2 In other words, Louisville is an average TV draw. West Virginia is an above average draw.

Big 12 inventory becomes more valuable because of  West Virginia-Texas and West Virginia-Oklahoma Louisville doesn’t move the needle as much. According the industry source, that 2.1 Louisville rating was boosted significantly by a pair of two five-year-old results – games in 2006 against West Virginia and Rutgers.

Neinas, currently interim Big 12 commissioner, was CFA executive director for the 20 years of existence. It disbanded in 1997. The Mountaineers move to the Big 12 can be traced back to Neinas’ time when he guided college football through a treacherous period. West Virginia made the cut Friday because of all those things – Nehlen’s leadership, that national championship run, ratings points. But it goes back to West Virginia being leading Eastern independent when the CFA was formed.

The CFA was a precursor the current BCS (membership: 66).

So West Virginia has its nose under the tent and the Big East moves on with uncertainty. Even if it does reconstitute itself and expand to 12 teams, there is no guarantee the Big East will retain its BCS status. That issue will at least be discussed when the BCS holds its next scheduled meeting Nov. 14 in San Francisco.

For 2012 at least, the Big 12 is a 10-team conference but don’t hold your breath.

“The only thing constant in this world is change,” Neinas said. “Right now we’ve got our house in order. We’re looking forward to a very aggressive conference.”

 

National notage …

 

A closer look at how Wisconsin has blown its last two games to Michigan State and Ohio State:

In the final eight minutes of both those games the teams’ combined score has been even, 21-21. In those fourth quarters, Wisconsin’s pass defense allowed 10 completions on 17 attempts for 155 yards. Take away the two game-winning plays – Michigan State at the gun and Ohio State with 20 seconds left – and the opposition completed only eight of 15 in that span for 74 yards, 4.93 yards per attempt.

But you can’t leave out those two plays. Keith Nichol caught the winner for Michigan State from 44 yards out. Ohio State’s Devin Smith caught that 40-yard touchdown from Braxton Miller with 20 seconds left.

Essentially, Wisconsin hasn’t responded when playing tougher competition. It won its first six games by at least 31 points. Two plays have killed the Badgers. They will likely be the difference in a BCS bowl (Rose?) and perhaps a Big Ten title.

 


Case Keenum has to be the season’s most valuable player to this point.

Houston is in the running for a Big East berth (maybe) and BCS bowl (barely) primarily because of its quarterback’s right arm. The nation’s leading passer has the Cougars ranked and on the periphery of BCS contention. The memory may have faded by now but Houston beat Rice 73-34 Thursday with Keenum throwing nine touchdown passes.  Someday soon he will be the all-time leader in passing yardage.

Yes, a sixth year of eligibility has helped but look at what it has wrought: In conference realignment where your worth can be judged by what you did yesterday, the Cougars are a hot commodity – at least to the Big East. Houston could be included in a batch of teams that would stretch from BYU to Texas and back East just to keep the conference viable.

Basically, Keenum is all Houston has. That’s no disgrace considering what’s at stake. While the defense is improved over last season (from 103<sup>rd</sup> to 86<sup>th</sup>), the Cougars have won games this season allowing 34 (twice) and 42 points. It all comes back to Keenum, already the NCAA’s career total offense leader, having thrown a nation-leading 32 touchdowns.

Without him, Houston is a commuter school in media market where it is the fourth or fifth option. With him, Houston may someday be able to thank Keenum for a berth in a BCS bowl.

That brings us to this week’s top Heisman contenders ...

1. Keenum – 139 career touchdown passes. 
2. Kellen Moore, Boise State – forget his measurables. Should end up in a pro camp somewhere.
3. Andrew Luck, Stanford – Completion percentage, touchdown-to-interception and passer rating all up over last season.
4. Trent Richardson, Alabama – We’ll know more after Saturday.
5. Russell Wilson, Wisconsin – Don’t blame the nation’s most efficient passer for the Ohio State loss.

 


While we’re speculating on coaching turnover, let’s not forget North Carolina State’s Tom O’Brien.

 

After being shut out by Florida State, 34-0, the Wolfpack is 4-4 having beaten only one BCS conference program this season (Virginia). N.C. State was shut out on the road an ACC game for the first time since 1990, not to mention Wilson’s decision to let Russell Wilson become a free agent.

O’Brien is 29-29 in his fifth season, having never finished better than a tie for second in the ACC Atlantic Division.

 

 
This from the Boulder Daily CameraIt seems like it’s already time to question why Colorado was included in the Pac-12’s expansion plans.

So why was CU No. 1 on Larry Scott's expansion list?

"CU just checked all the boxes for us," the forward-thinking Pac-12 commissioner said. "CU was a fit in terms of academic compatibility, being a good geographic fit and sharing a similar philosophy and culture in terms of the role of athletics within the broader mission. And Denver is a very important market."

Colorado dropped to 1-8, 0-6 in the Pac-12 South after a 48-14 loss at Arizona State. Pac-12 newbies CU and Utah are a combined 5-12 overall, 1-10 in the league.

 


Penn State may be the worst 8-1 team you ever saw, but it has a plucky defense and, more importantly, an inside track to the Big Ten title game.

After beating Illinois Saturday, the Nittany Lions have a 2 ½-game lead over Wisconsin, Purdue and Ohio State in the Leaders Division with three games to go. Hold onto your Coke bottle glasses. Those final three games are at home against Nebraska, at Ohio State and at Wisconsin. If JoePa somehow grabs another Big Ten title at age 84 he will have earned it.

 

Posted on: October 16, 2011 9:25 pm
 

Ignore top four teams in BCS; drama starts lower

Let's cut through the BCS standings commercials, teases and the wild guesses you saw on TV Sunday night.

Ignore the top four teams. Doesn't matter. That's not the news. LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are going to play each other. They all control their own destiny.

The story of Week 1 of the BCS standings are in spots 6 through 8. That's where three potential undefeated major-conference champions reside: Wisconsin, Clemson and Stanford. That is significant because only two undefeated major-conference champions have been shut out of the title game in the BCS' 13-year history. That would be Auburn in 2004 and Cincinnati in 2009.

We're looking at three just this season.  

Yeah, there's half a season to go, but it's easy to bet on those top four right now. Two of those emerging to play for the title seems to be a lock. The drama comes if one or more undefeated champions emerge from the Big Ten/ACC/Pac-12. It won't get us to a playoff in the near future but it will get those commissioners thinking about it, especially if any combination of the Big Ten/ACC/Pac-12 are shut out and the SEC wins a sixth consecutive national championship.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: ACC, BCS, Big Ten, Pac-12
 
Posted on: September 25, 2011 8:55 pm
Edited on: September 26, 2011 7:58 pm
 

On A Football Saturday: UNM considering Leach?

So, would New Mexico consider Mike Leach?

The answer seems to be a resounding yes. Within minutes of releasing the statement that announced the firing of Mike Locksley, New Mexico AD Paul Krebs texted his qualifications for the new coach.

Head coaching experience is strongly preferred. Ability to recruit in Texas is a virtual must. Also, ties to the Albuquerque area will be considered.

Leach qualifies for all three. He spent a decade at Texas Tech recruiting Texas. Lubbock qualifies as having area ties. It is 320 miles from Albuquerque.

Don't sleep on this situation. New Mexico's interested. Is Leach?



--A quarter of the way through the regular season these are surprising undefeated teams:

Baylor: Robert Griffin III has more touchdown passes, 13, than incompletions, 12.

"A young man like Robert Griffin, it's like you're playing with 13 people," said Rice coach David Bailiff after Saturday' 56-31 loss to the Bears.

Houston: In his sixth year of eligibility, Case Keenum is now the third-leading passer of all time

Illinois: The Illini are 4-0 for the first time since 1951, the year they won a national championship in something called the Boand System.

Clemson: Give Dabo Swinney a microphone, he'll scream into it. Tigers have early advantage in the ACC Atlantic after beating Florida State.

Georgia Tech: Another Paul Johnson classic. A route of Kansas, followed by a late win over North Carolina. Can we just go ahead and call that offense the hardest to play against in the country?

South Florida: While the Big East agonizes over membership in the future, the Bulls are the league's only undefeated team right now.

Florida: Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps are finally becoming a fearsome <>combination<> under Charlie Weis.

Kansas State: Bill Snyder still has some magic left. The same Wildcats who almost to Eastern Kentucky at home, stopped Miami at the 1 to go 3-0 for the 16th time in Snyder's 20 seasons.



--That "Big 12, Big 12" chant by Oklahoma State fans Saturday at Texas A&M. It was as much a taunt as pride. Okie State probably didn't know that one A&M fan was waving a giant SEC flag at Friday's midnight yell practice ...



--Don't know what this means: The top six rushers in the country are from six different conferences ... The top two rushers in the Big Ten are quarterbacks: Denard Robinson (168.67 yards per game), Nebraska's Taylor Martinez (105.25) ... Anyone notice conference play is beginning? ...

Blowing by you on the bayou: This just in at LSU. The Tigers are incredibly fast ... Also, Oklahoma State is incredibly resilient: "What this comes down to is I thought our team was in better physical condition by a long shot," said coach Mike Gundy. Game time temperature was 91 degrees accompanied by bright sunshine. Pokes gave guts and character. Can't wait until the Bedlam game Dec. 3 in Stillwater ... Oklahoma hadn't trailed in 20 consecutive home games until falling behind Missouri 14-3 in the first quarter ... Clemson has gained at least 455 yards in all four games. Quarterback Tajh Boyd has consecutive 300-yard passing games ... The Big Ten went 8-2 on Saturday but the two losses were embarrassing. North Dakota State beat Minnesota for the second straight season. North Texas got by Indiana ... West Virginia gave up its most points in six years in LSU's 47-21 rout ...

Who says you can't win committing seven turnovers? East Carolina did it, beating Alabama-Birmingham 28-23 ... Southern Miss has beaten Virginia in consecutive meetings ... SMU and South Carolina have the best conference records in FBS, 2-0 ... Toledo had a 22-play drive against Syracuse and settled for a field goal. Sure, it got screwed on that extra point that Big East on-field and replay officials ruled good (it wasn't.). But the Rockets would have done themselves some good by punching it in the first quarter.


--This week's Heisman ballot: 1. Robert Griffin III, Baylor; 2, Marcus Lattimore; South Carolina; 3, Kellen Moore, Boise State; 4. Denard Robinson, Michigan; 5. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State.


If Steve Spurrier ever gets a big head -- how could that happen? -- all he has to do is watch this 45-year old tape from the Ed Sullivan Show. Ed obviously didn't know who Spurrier was or his school. Miami? 
Posted on: September 25, 2011 5:08 pm
Edited on: September 25, 2011 7:39 pm
 

UNM's Locksley first casualty of the season

New Mexico coach Mike Locksley has become the first coaching casualty of the season. The Lobos' third-year coach was fired Sunday, a source told CBSSports.com. The firing comes less than a day after a youth was arrested for DWI while driving what was reportedly a car registered to Locksley.

Locksley was 2-26 in less than 2 1/2 seasons, his latest loss coming in overtime Saturday to FCS Sam Houston State. When AD Paul Krebs hired him in December 2008, Locksley was a hot coaching prospect having helped lead Illinois to the Rose Bowl. Locksley was known as an ace recruiter. Prior to his first season, he went to directly to a familiar area attempting to stock the New Mexico roster -- Washington, D.C.

In 2007, D.C. native Arrelious Benn was the Big Ten freshman of the year for Illinois. Benn was among at least nine players Locksley landed from the D.C. area from 2005-2008.

Things quickly went South in Albuquerque. Before his first season, Locksley was hit with a sex and age discrimination lawsuit by an administrative assistant. In September 2009, he was reprimanded after an altercation with an assistant. Locksley was suspended for 10 days.

On Saturday, recruit Joshua Butts was arrested for aggravated DWI, a minor in possession of alcohol and driving without a license.New Mexico does not believe Butts is a recruitable athlete which could complicate matters with the NCAA.

One final piece of fallout from Locksley's regime: The losing may be a huge contributing factor in keeping the Mountain West from an automatic BCS berth in 2012 and 2013. The league is currently at the end of a four-year BCS evaluation period. The league reportedly meets two of the three benchmarks needed for automatic qualification status and may have to ask the BCS for a waiver going forward.

The Mountain West is one of five conferences without an automatic BCS bid.

Posted on: August 11, 2011 11:57 pm
 

Texas to the Pac-12 makes sense

Don't look at this Texas A&M thing as conference realignment. Look at it through the stakeholders' eyes.

The stakeholders being ESPN, Oklahoma, A&M and Texas. It's likely that ESPN CEO John Skipper is evaluating at this moment how to maximize his profits through Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Texas if there is another round of conference shuffling.

Where those schools end up is less important than how the three current Big 12 schools can be profitable for ESPN (and Fox).

Whether or not A&M ends up in the SEC, watch for the Pac-12 to sooner or later take another run at Texas. The Big 12's instability dictates it. Commissioner Larry Scott told the Austin American-Statesman last month after the formation of the Pac-12 network one could "imply" that the Longhorn Network would be a "huge impediment" to Texas joining his league.

How quickly things change -- or possibly change. In a strange way, the Pac-12 could now make it more likely that Texas make the jump if it deems the Big 12 not worth the effort.

"At this point I don't think Larry does anything," one source close to the situation said, "He's got to let it come to him. He's the one who is sitting there with all the firepower. There is no one in a better position to monetize expansion than Larry Scott is. Not the SEC, not the Big East, not the ACC, not the Big 12. He's sitting in the catbird seat."

Why? Because he can. Remember, Scott was the guy who had invited six Big 12 teams, including Texas, last year. Consider it a still-open invitation. One that Texas would have to seriously consider.

One source painted it this way: The new Pac-12 Network is made up of six regional networks. Why couldn't the Longhorn Network be folded into the Pac-12 as a seventh regional network?

The source emphasized that ESPN is desperate to make TLN profitable. It has sunk hundreds of millions into the venture and there is no certainty whether it will work. To date, only the Big Ten Network has been profitable among collegiate networks.

It didn't help Thursday that the NCAA ruled against the televising of high school games on school/conference networks.

There are a few hurdles. Texas supposedly would have to surrender its third-party rights (re: archival, historic properties). But if Texas shows interest, that's nothing more that details. The new Pac-12 shares revenue more or less equally. Again, that can be worked out because it's, well, Texas.

Pac-12 schools would have consider working around those barriers to get the No. 1 revenue-producing athletic department into its conference.

That takes care of Texas. Oklahoma? If A&M bolts, it is seemingly a swing team between the Pac-12 and SEC.

Here's why ESPN would like A&M in the SEC: The Aggies would make ESPN's (and CBS') 15-year, $3 billion deal with the league more profitable. Some at A&M obviously see it as a more stable home.

If the Big 12 crumbles, the Longhorns most likely aren't going to the SEC or Big Ten. Texas has always looked down its nose at the SEC. Texas AD DeLoss Dodds is on record as saying he is against independence.

The Pac-12 makes the most sense for Texas almost because of TLN. It would increase the value of Pac-12 Network as well as increase the value of TLN.

"Something is wrong with your conference," a source said. "when Washington State is getting more from its conference than the University of Texas."

The source was referring to the fact that some Pac-12 projections have the league making $30 million per school once its network gets up and running. Even when the Big 12 renegotiates its primary rights in a couple of years, it is expected to top out at $20 million per year. That was with A&M.

So where does that leave us? Scott and SEC commissioner Mike Slive declined to comment through spokesmen. Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe did not return phone and text messages.

But I learned last year during the conference merry-go-round to start with the stakeholders. Last year, it was Texas and Notre Dame. Both stayed in place, minimizing conference realignment.

This year the main players are Oklahoma, Texas and A&M. The question seems to be whether the Big 12 will hold together (with nine schools, or more with new expansion) if A&M leaves. That decision is up to Texas and ESPN (and Fox).

That combination kept the Big 12 together last year. Is the negativity such that the league couldn't go on after the loss of A&M? Is an enhanced SEC and Pac-12 worth more to ESPN than a damaged or non-existent Big 12?

The answers, seemingly, are coming soon. Despite reports that A&M-to-the-SEC was a done deal, it's likely that nothing will be officially decided until the Aug. 22 A&M regents meeting.

While Nebraska was a slam dunk to go to the Big Ten last spring, it wasn't official until AD Tom Osborne and chancellor Harvey Perlman made their official presentation to the regents.

Through an A&M spokesman I was able to determine this much about the process:

--A conference call among the regents is scheduled for Aug. 22. The fiscal year budgets for the entire A&M system will be discussed.

--An agenda has not been published beyond the budget discussions. An official agenda for the meeting will be available 72 hours prior.

--The spokesman would say whether conference membership would be discussed.
Category: NCAAF
 
 
 
 
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