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.


Posted on: May 3, 2010 11:35 am

Nebraska and the Big Ten

Good column here from the Omaha World-Herald on Nebraska's interest in the Big Ten.

Pay particular attention to Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman's answer when asked if contact has been made with the Big Ten. "I'm not going to answer that," Perlman said. Wow, interpret that as you wish. I know how I read it.

Nebraska and Missouri to the Big Ten if the Large 11 goes to at least 14. Don't ask me who the other teams would be.
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: April 26, 2010 12:10 pm

NFL draft, expansion and bowls

It's pretty simple.

You’re an SEC assistant (or head coach). You go into a home. You tell select recruit that your best chance to play for a national championship and NFL football is in the SE of C!

End of argument.  No negative recruiting. No money under the table (well, maybe not). This is the not-so-secret of the SEC winning four consecutive championships. Forget all the other analysis, the NFL draft reflects why the SEC has it rolling. It has tied or led in number of NFL draftees 11 of the last 13.

The Strength Everywhere Conference had 49 players drafted last week. Think if it adds any combination of Miami, Florida State or Texas, the SEC gets stronger?

 Interesting piece in the Omaha-World Herald regarding Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman. He's more than a power broker considering he's also on the Big 12 board of directors and chairman of the BCS presidential oversight committee.

Perhaps most telling is Perlman's super conference assessment, " ... 24 teams [in a league] has been floated, though not publicly ..."


 Thirty-five bowls? Really. That's not the most shocking aspect of the NCAA certifying a record number of bowls for the next four-year cycle.

The shock is that the NCAA reportedly has a "contingency plan" in case there aren't 70 bowl-eligible teams. Bruce Binkowski, executive director of the Holiday Bowl, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that all the slots will be filled no matter what.

"They don't have a formula yet," Binkowski was quoted as saying, "but the NCAA has told all the bowls that if there aren't enough  bowl-eligible teams, all the bowls will still be played."

That can only mean one thing: 5-7 teams in bowl games.

And just to put more fear in the bowls' hearts consider the Hawaii angle. Teams are allowed a 13th game if they play a non-conference game in the islands. Because they are playing 13-game schedules, UNLV and USC will have to win at least seven to qualify for a bowl. Unless, of course, the NCAA needs to fill those 70 slots.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Hawaii, Nebraska, SEC, UNLV, USC
Posted on: March 8, 2010 9:37 pm

Big 12 schedule analysis

(This is next installment of a continuing series analyzing the 2010 schedules of the BCS conferences)

You thought the Big 12 has been good lately? Year 15 of the conference kicks off with three familiar names at the top. At least two of the three are familiar.

Even with the loss of Colt McCoy, Texas never rebuilds (or is never allowed to). Oklahoma is over the loss of Sam Bradford as Landry Jones begins his first full season as starter. Nebraska is a fallen power making the long, slow slog back to the top. It hopes. But the Huskers are all the buzz coming off a 10-win season and sporting one of the nation's defenses -- even without a boy named Suh.

Elsewhere, there is depth throughout the Big 12. Missouri has established itself as a top 25 team every year. Texas Tech can only get better under Tommy Tuberville after Mike Leach's conduct going out the door almost ripped the program apart. Oklahoma State isn't going away with the Boone Pickens pipeline still running and Texas A&M is making strides, at least offensively. Baylor gets Robert Griffin back trying to end that pesky 15-year bowl-less streak.

Expect another national championship run, by some league team or another. A Big 12 team has been in five of the last seven BCS title games.

Game of the year: (non-conference) Florida State at Oklahoma, Sept. 11. In a sense, the suspense has been building for a decade. These teams last met in the 2000 BCS title game. Florida State is a shell of itself. Oklahoma not quite as strong as in the past. Watch for a rare Stoops vs. Stoops matchup. This time it's Oklahoma's Bob against FSU's Mark, the Seminoles new defensive coordinator. But there's so much more at stake here. This is essentially Jimbo Fisher's first real test (the opener is against Samford). It comes on the road in one of the game's most revered temples. We know FSU can score with Christian Ponder and other significant weapons. But for the Seminoles to get back to the top, it must start stopping people. God bless Mickey Andrews, but his final defense stunk. It's up to you, Mark.

Game of the year: (conference) Oklahoma vs. Texas, Oct. 16. As goes the Red River Shootout, so goes the Big 12. Or so it seems. The winner of this game usually has the inside track to the Big 12 South and national championship contention. Texas is a roll having won four of the last five. Included in that streak is two Big 12 titles, two national championship berths, one national championship. Or as they call it in Austin, "Doing pretty good lately."

Team on the spot: Nebraska. After a 10-win, Holiday Bowl-winning season in Bo Pelini's second year, we're all wondering if the Huskers are truly back. The Flying Pelinis will go into 2010 as favorites to win the North. At least. The next step is to win the Big 12 for the first time since 1999. Nebraska was one playmaker on offense -- one -- away from beating Texas last season. Armed with a fearsome defense, the only question for Pelini is whether his offense can score enough to make 10-2 a reality. Nebraska almost pulled off the upset last year. The toughest games (Texas, Missouri) are at home. Oklahoma is off the regular-season schedule.

Toughest non-conference schedule: Colorado. No surprise here. The Buffs haven't backed off in the non-con since the Bill McCartney days. Good for building a program, not good for keeping your job. Dan Hawkins starts a win-or-else season with Colorado State, Cal, Hawaii and Georgia outside of the Big 12. That's a blood rival, a Pac-10 team that tied USC for third in the Pac-10 and a Georgia team on the rebound. The only game you'd feel confident of putting in the win column is Hawaii and even that might be a stretch. CSU has split the last four meetings. CU has split the last four against the Pac-10 on the road but hasn't won in a Pac-10 stadium since 2004. Georgia is an SEC powerhouse coming off a down year but will be favored in Boulder. A 3-1 start is recommended. A 2-2 beginning might not be enough for Hawkins who has to play Missouri, Oklahoma and Nebraska on the road.

Easiest non-conference schedule: Missouri. The Tigers have beaten Illinois five consecutive times. McNeese State has never beaten a team from a current BCS conference. San Diego State last beat a team from a current BCS conference in 1999. Miami (Ohio) has lost 23 of its last 26. Throw in a home game against Colorado after that and the Tigers don't have to leave the state of Missouri to start 5-0.



Posted on: February 10, 2010 10:30 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2010 2:02 pm

More expansion: A proposed new look

The Mountain West is on notice.

The Big East too.

Don’t forget the Big 12 which could be ripped asunder.

One or all of those conferences are going to be impacted if, as expected, the Pac-10 and Big Ten expand in the near future.

After writing about the big picture on Wednesday, we’re here to speculate freely about how other conferences might be impacted.

Mountain West: After leading his league to the brink of BCS automatic qualifying status, commissioner Craig Thompson has to be concerned.

A BYU-Utah defection to the Pac-10 makes a lot of sense. In basketball, the league has travel partners (Washington-Washington State, Arizona-Arizona State). The Utes and Cougars are bitter rivals but would be make ideal additions due to the far-flung nature of the league.

I still don’t know how the Pac-10 views the academic aspect of expansion, so I’m not sure how it views the combination of a state school (Utah) and what amounts to a private school (BYU). If there is a fallback, it could be San Diego State.

If the Big Ten were to take Missouri, that’s a potential three teams ripped from the Mountain West and could mean the end of the league.  The three most likely replacements would be Boise State, Fresno State and Texas-El Paso.

The best non-BCS league could find itself teetering on the edge of existence, or at least relevance.

Big 12: The biggest hit comes if both Colorado (Pac-10) and Missouri (Big Ten) leave.

If Missouri or Colorado leave, the Big 12 would go get TCU from the Mountain West. While that would wound the MWC, the league would most likely then invite Boise State.

If both Colorado and Missouri left, the Big 12 would get TCU and, maybe, Houston? Either way, the Big 12’s TV stature would shrink.

Big East: The league was almost wiped out when the ACC expanded five years ago. What happens if Pittsburgh, Syracuse or Rutgers is taken by the Big Ten?

Most likely the Big East would raid Conference USA for Central Florida. That would get the league further into Florida. UCF is third-largest school in the country (53,000) behind Ohio State and Arizona State. There's got to be some football players in there somewhere. Plus, the school has made a huge commitment to facilities.

Sooner or later doesn’t Big East football and basketball have to split? The unwieldy existence between the two sides (16 teams in basketball, only eight of which play football).

After the wounds caused by the ACC, another hit could cause the end of the Big East in football.

My latest look on how the Big Ten, Pac-10, Big 12 and MWC might look in the future.

Schembechler Division

Michigan State

Grange Division
Ohio State
Penn State

BIG 12
North Division
Kansas State
Iowa State

South Division
Texas Tech
Texas A&M
Oklahoma State


North Division
Oregon State
Washington State

South Division
Arizona State

Fresno State
Boise State
Texas-El Paso
Air Force
San Diego State
New Mexico
Colorado State



Posted on: December 9, 2009 5:39 pm

Scripps-Howard Heisman poll

Another major Heisman indicator. Mark Ingram is the winner of the final Scripps-Howard News Service Heisman poll, by a point over Ndamukong Suh. Yours truly voted in this poll all season.

This is shaping up to be the closest Heisman vote in history. Scripps-Howard is a further indicator with Ingram getting 33 points to Suh's 32. Third-place Toby Gerhart actually had the most first-place votes, four. There were 10 voters nationwide. Here is the breakdown:

1. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama, 33 points (two first-place votes).

2. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska, 32 (2).

3. Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford, 29 (4).

4. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas, 16 (1).

5 (tie). Tim Tebow, QB, Florida, 7 (1); C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson, 7.

Others receiving votes: Houston QB Case Keenum 5, TCU DE Jerry Hughes, 1.


Posted on: December 6, 2009 6:54 am
Edited on: December 6, 2009 8:05 am

Inside look at Nebraska's frustration

Here is an excellent look at the confusion and anger following Nebraska's 13-12 loss to Texas in the Big 12 title game. Nebraska defensive coordinator Carl Pelini yells to Texas, "You should be ashamed to accept that trophy!"
Category: NCAAF
Tags: Nebraska, Texas
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com