Posted on: June 11, 2010 1:23 pm
Edited on: June 11, 2010 1:57 pm

Boise State to the Mountain West

It's a few days late but Boise State will become the 10th member of the Mountain West Conference.

WAC commissioner Karl Benson told CBSSports.com Friday morning that the deal had been consumated. The Mountain West announced the deal a few minutes later. 

Mountain West presidents reportedly were ready to invite Boise at their league meetings on Monday until the possibility of grabbing Colorado became an option. When CU announced it was headed to the Pac-10 on Thursday that opened up the spot for Boise.

The Broncos bring a 26-1 record the past two seasons that will count toward the MWC's fight to become a BCS league. There are two more seasons to run on a four-year evaluation period. All conferences will be evaluated on average finish in the BCS and conference strength among other factors. The MWC believes it is close to what would be temporary BCS automatic qualifier status in 2012 and 2013.

The MWC might not be done. Depending on how expansion shakes out, the league could be interested in taking in Big 12 castoffs that don't make the cut in the Pac-10 or Big Ten. That's good news for the likes of Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Baylor and Missouri.

Posted on: June 11, 2010 8:46 am

Rift in Texas

Your morning expansion line for Friday includes news that Texas and Texas A&M may break apart.

Call it an expansion micro-burst. First it was the Big 12 breaking up. Now the most powerful faction of the Big 12 could be drifting apart. We always thought that Texas and A&M were joined at the hip pads when it came to expansion. But a Thursday meeting produced no consensus between Texas and Texas A&M. I hear that A&M prefers the SEC while the league is a non-starter for Texas.

I also hear that Jim Delany is still trying like heck to get Texas into the Big Ten. But what about that "Tech problem"?

The dominoes figure to officially start tumbling today when Nebraska announces it is joining the Big Ten. I wrote the heck out of this issue this week but it bears repeating: The Big 12 cannot survive if Nebraska leaves. 1) The TV rights go way down; 2) What's to keep Texas, or any other school, leaving in two, three, four or five years? The Big 12 is a bad marriage that cannot go on.

The biggest issues on the table going into Friday:

a) What does Texas do?
b) What does Texas do?
c) What does Texas do?

OK, seriously:

a) Where do Texas and A&M end up and do they go as a unit?
b) Where does the Big Ten strike next (because it will strike next)?
c) Where does the Pac-10 strikes next (please don't believe his stuff about the Pac-10 stopping at 11)?
d) What are you doing at 5 p.m.? Remember when happy hour today was the deadline for Missouri and Nebraska? Nebraska is gone and Missouri has no idea where it stands.

Posted on: June 10, 2010 1:54 pm
Edited on: June 10, 2010 8:46 pm

Say goodbye to the Big 12 -- R.I.P., 1996-2012

Well, if it makes it that far without a knife fight breaking out.

Colorado's departure to the Pac-10 Thursday made it official. It was so official that the Pac-10 itself cut out the middleman -- speculation -- and made the announcement itself.

Form is holding according to what one source told me earlier in the week: Colorado would be taken regardless in an effort to collapse the Big 12 and force Texas, Texas AM, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

The MVP of the expansion process remains Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott.

You'll be hearing a lot about legislatures and regents but it is a smokescreen. There is no Big 12 Conference to go back to.

Nebraska hates Texas which hates Missouri. That was in the best of times. Try keeping together a conference with that kind of animosity swirling around.

What you'll see next is the Pac-10 expanding to 16. The next move? Seeing if the Big 12 stays together even long enough to satisfy its current tv contract which expires in 2012..

The answer, of course, is no. Get out the machetes, boys. May the deserter win.
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: June 8, 2010 11:35 am
Edited on: June 8, 2010 11:50 am

Expand-O-Meter for Tues, June 8

Days college athletics has been held hostage (since Big Ten announced expansion exploration on Dec. 15): 175
Who is having the best day: Colorado. Mountain West presidents decided not to expand Monday, in essence because they thought they could get Colorado. Don't believe the stuff about CU getting an ultimatum from the Big 12. It's a Texas ultimatum to Nebraska. At this moment, it looks like Colorado is going to be taken care of one of three ways: by the Pac-10 in the six-team Big 12 shift, by the Big 12 or by the Mountain West where it can be the big dog in a suddenly BCS-quality league. Not a bad fall back for a cash-strapped athletic department.

Who is having the worst day: Kenneth Starr. Just what the heck was that press conference on Monday? Baylor's president said absolutely nothing. Sure, Baylor is committed to the Big 12 but would leave for the Pac-10 in a heartbeat if its political forces in Austin weasel the Bears in ahead of Colorado. Big Ten. Six days on the job and Starr is already going D.C. suit on us.

Quote of the day: "There hasn't been this much talk of expansion since Oprah stopped using the treadmill." -- reader comment after the first Expand-O-Meter on Monday.
Link of the day: Well, it's almost in our face. Pac-10 invites coming soon according to Orangebloods.com.

What's on tap: Someone please tell E-O-M, does the Big Ten stop at 12 if it gets Notre Dame or does it go to 14 or 16? I don't think even Notre Dame or the Big Ten knows.


Posted on: June 3, 2010 8:33 pm
Edited on: June 4, 2010 10:20 am

Colorado AD: CU on verge of Pac-10 invite

The dominoes are beginning to fall.

The Boulder Daily Camera has reported that Colorado AD Mike Bohn believes this his school will be among six Big 12 schools to get an invitation to the Pac-10 this weekend.

Bohn added that a Thursday report on Orangebloods.com appears to have some "validity" to it. The reported stated that Colorado, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas and Texas A&M would be invited to the Pac-10, essentially ending the Big 12 Conference. The new 16-team Pac-10, the report added, would then start its own network paying members $20 million per year.

I reported earlier that Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott did not deny the report. Pac-10 meetings begin Friday in San Francisco.
Posted on: June 3, 2010 8:33 pm
Edited on: June 4, 2010 10:20 am

Colorado AD: CU on verge of Pac-10 invite

The dominoes are beginning to fall.

The Boulder Daily Camera has reported that Colorado AD Mike Bohn believes this his school will be among six Big 12 schools to get an invitation to the Pac-10 this weekend.

Bohn added that a Thursday report on Orangebloods.com appears to have some "validity" to it. The reported stated that Colorado, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas and Texas A&M would be invited to the Pac-10, essentially ending the Big 12 Conference. The new 16-team Pac-10, the report added, would then start its own network paying members $20 million per year.

I reported earlier that Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott did not deny the report. Pac-10 meetings begin Friday in San Francisco.
Posted on: May 17, 2010 7:16 pm
Edited on: May 17, 2010 9:50 pm

Expansion notes while heading to Chicago

...for the Big Ten spring meetings

Buried in a recent story Chronicle of Higher Education story is the basic reason the Big Ten is expanding. Jim Delany and his BCS commissioner peers don't want to share the equity and brands they've built up over decades with programs that have been good for mere years.

Delany: "Essentially these decisions are local ... The schools are serving stakeholders -- coaches, athletes and fans, in some respects, not stockholders. And so there is always a stakeholder to make a claim on resources. Whether it's to have the best law school or the best medical school, no one questions that kind of competition. No one questions that Harvard or Texas have a [big] endowment and don't share it with Hofstra and South Alabama.

"But intercollegiate athletics is sort of unique in that institutions that have certain advantages -- based on demographics or history or tradition or fan base -- somehow are seen as the source of resources for others that do not [have them].

 "I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon, but there's certainly a lot of gnashing of teeth, like why doesn't the Rose bowl spread its revenue around to Boise State? Well, partially because we developed it. We built it, it's our tradition, and to the extent that it's successful, it's successful for our institutions. So that's essentially a home-rule approach. I think it's an honest approach. I don't think there's anything wrong with money, but life's a lot easier when you have than when you don't."

 Several reports state the Mountain West presidents will consider inviting Boise State from the WAC next month. The presidents will meet in early June with the Boise State issue high on the agenda.

The Mountain West is seeking to bolster its BCS profile and could get a huge boost by adding the Broncos. The conference could earn a temporary, automatic BCS bid in 2012 and 2013. On the other side of that is possible attrition. Boise State could be joining a league that could possibly lose any one or all of the following: Utah, TCU and BYU.

Boise would have to be invited by July 1 for its record to count toward that 2012-2013 BCS goal.

 The Fiesta Bowl and University of Phoenix Stadium are diving into the neutral site pool.

 Here is Big 12 revenue distribution as of 2007. Note that no two schools in the league equal what one Big Ten school per year these days, $22 million.

1. Texas, $10.2 million
2. Oklahoma, $9.8 million
3. Kansas, $9.24 million
4. Texas A&M, $9.22 million
5. Nebraska, $9.1 million
6. Missouri, $8.4 million
7. Texas Tech, $8.23 million
8. Kansas State, $8.21 million
9. Oklahoma State, $8.1 million
10. Colorado, $8 million
11. Iowa State, $7.4 million
12. Baylor, $7.1 million

Source: Omaha World-Herald

 The Chicago Tribune said last week that the $22 million in revenue earned each year by each Big Ten school could double by 2015-16. Also, according to the Trib, look for more weeknight games by the Big Ten.  The league traditionally didn't play weeknight games but recently changed its stance because of the advantage of stand-alone game/commercials promoting the Big Ten. Both Ohio State and Indiana will kick off the season with games on the night of Sept. 2.

Posted on: May 7, 2010 11:14 am
Edited on: May 7, 2010 6:06 pm

Pac-10 and Big 12 talk about future partnership

The next expansion bomb may have dropped as the Kansas City Star is reporting that the Pac-10 and Big 12 have met to discuss, according to the paper, "collaborating in a future sports landscape".

Nine of the Big 12's athletic directors met this week in Phoenix with Pac-10 officials at that conference's regularly scheduled meeting. It might be too early to attach the word "expansion" to the meeting but it's obvious the Big 12 may be taking the first steps toward being proactive in the shifting landscape.

The league knows it could be raided by the Big Ten which, according to many reports, has its eyes on Missouri and/or Nebraska. The Pac-10 is on the record as deeply exploring expansion but might have trouble finding partners that add value.

Utah and Colorado are the most widely mentioned Pac-10 additions but there is doubt whether the schools could add enough revenue to make expansion worthwhile.

"The conventional wisdom is Utah and Colorado doesn't get you enough eyeballs," one Pac-10 AD said referring to a potential television audience. "The home run is obviously Texas-Texas AM. "

There is little talk about Texas and Texas A&M to the Pac-10, for now. There was a standing offer by the Pac-10 to Texas and Colorado in the 1990s before the Big 12 formed. CBSSports.com reported on April 23 that BYU is likely out of Pac-10 expansion discussions for the moment, in part, because of academic issues.

There seem to be, then, further economic reasons for the leagues to get together. With the SEC and Big Ten basically controlling 50 percent of the nation's televisions, the chase is on for conferences to grab a share of the remaining 50 percent. A partnership between the Big 12 (16 percent of the TV sets) and Pac-10 (approxinately 23 percent) could present approximately 40 percent of the nation's TVs to potential rightsholders. The two conferences have cable deals with Fox that both expire in 2012 allowing a deal to be made fairly quickly.

"The main thing was the aggregation of our media rights," said Washington AD Scott Woodward who was at the Phoenix meetings, "whether it's a combined network that we do as a JV (joint venture) or anything in between. There's definite interest to go further instead of it being a one-and-done type thing."

The Pac-10 and Big 12 already play the Hardwood Series in men's basketball, a series of non-conference games. A similar cross-scheduling partnership could be developed in football where league teams play non-conference games against each other. The partnership could go beyond non-conference games if you think of it this way: The Big 12 plays 48 conference games per year. The Pac-10 plays 45. Combined, the two leagues could present an inventory of 93 conference games alone to a potential rights holder.

The schools already have a history of playing each other in football. The last team to beat USC in a non-conference game at home remains Kansas State in 2001. In 2010 alone, there are five games between Pac-10 and Big 12 schools. UCLA plays two Big 12 opponents (Kansas State and Texas). The other games are Colorado-Cal, Nebraska-Washington and Oklahoma State-Washington State. 

"You could have a football series that would provide high level inventory in September," Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said. "It's [partnership with Pac-10] something I've discussed and thought about since I got two months into the job in 2007."

The Big 12 has explored, and the Pac-10 is exploring, the possibility of a conference network similar to the Big Ten Network. There has been talk that the two leagues could even combine on a network (possibly with the ACC as an additional partner).

Former Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg supported the idea of a conference network before he left the league in July 2007. However, he could not find agreement among the conference schools. Scott recently brought in Weiberg recently as a deputy commissioner, in part, because of his expertise while working with the Big Ten to launch that network.

Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott has been in the Pac-10 job for less than a year after leaving the Women's Tennis Association as CEO. As that organization's leader, he helped the WTA sign a record TV contract and a $88 million sponsorship deal with Sony.

"I took this role because I sense it has tremendous potential given our geographic scope and our reach," Scott said. "It's going to require a novel approach. We're not copying anyone's playbook."

How much a cross-scheduling/network partnership between the two leagues would be worth is anyone's guess. Big 12 schools currently make $7 million and $12 million per year. Pac-10 teams reportedly make between $7 million and $11 million.

As mentioned, the Pac-10's current deals with ESPN and Fox run through 2012. Scott has said in the past the league will begin new negotiations early next year. The Big 12 deals are staggered. A deal with Fox has two years to run. The ESPN deal has five years to run.

Scott told CBSSports.com in March that his league was exploring staging a conference championship football game with less than the mandated 12 teams. That would involve the Pac-10 splitting into two five-team divisions. There is support among other Division I-A conferences to change the current NCAA legislation. Scott also said he explored the idea of the championship game being played at a team's home stadium. He also said that expansion for the Pac-10 was not tied to a championship game and/or a network.

While three of the Big 12 ADs missed the Phoenix meeting due to scheduling conflicts, according to the paper, (DeLoss Dodds of Texas, Tom Osborne of Nebraska, Lew Perkins of Kansas), it is significant that Missouri's Mike Alden did attend. Missouri is being mentioned prominently as a candidate for Big Ten expansion.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com