Tag:Big East
Posted on: May 25, 2010 11:05 pm

Big Ten Expansion: The Three Likely Winners

What the hell, time to stick your neck out.  No, I have no inside information other than what I read from readily available news sources.  And no, I have no connections with CBS so don't link to this and say "CBS reporting that  .  .  "  Just good old reading newspapers and reading between the lines.  With that the winners are:  <>

Nebraska, Missouri and Rutgers
Posted on: April 19, 2010 10:36 pm

Big Ten Expansion: Rounding the Clubhouse Turn

Well that's what Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune thinks anyway.  With more Big Ten meetings this week, expansion will definitely be on a "front burner."  My picks for the expansion?  The Big Ten takes the big plunge and goes to 16.  Here are the teams:
and at long last, Notre Dame finally climbs on board as #16.
Here's the reasoning:
Posted on: April 13, 2010 8:59 pm

Confused Fan's Guide to Big Ten Expansion

For some reason, I thought it would be worthwhile to summarize what's happened on the Big Ten expansion front since they opened this can of worms back in December.  Included are quotes from the Big Ten AD's and commissioners that people seem to forget with time.  
Guide to B10 Expansion
Posted on: April 8, 2010 2:18 pm

Big Ten Expansion Choices: 11, 12 or 16???

Yes according to Tony Barnhardt.  It still all revolves around Notre Dame.

Is the Big Ten Expansion Expanding?
Posted on: March 23, 2010 3:35 pm

Expansion-Pac 10 Wondering If It Needs It

CBS'  Dennis Dodd reported today that the commissioner of the Pac-10 has had conversations with the Big 10 and Big East about holding a championshp game with less than the NCAA-mandated twelve teams.

The article notes that there's not a lot of value for the Pac-10 adding teams.  Unlike the Big Ten, it does not have a cable network that is driving the expansion issue.   (Although, there reportedly have been talks about the Pac-10 and/or Big 12 joining forces to form one.)
Dodd's article leaves the impression though that the Pac-10 might be interested in staying at ten teams but having a championship game.  What stands in the way are NCAA bylaws that require a conference to have 12 teams to hold a conference championship.

So I'm reading this article and I'm thinking, well good luck with that Pac-10.  If I remember correctly the ACC wanted to do the same thing but was told they needed twelve teams.  That set them on the path to expansion and the Big East raid.   So why is the Pac-10 commissioner bothering to talk to the Big East and Big Ten about this?  Well they're the only BCS conferences that don't have a conference championship.  Maybe he's trying to cobble together some support to get the twelve team rule overturned?

Here's another thought.  What if the Pac-10 decided to set up a championship game that involved not one but two or more conferences?   Suppose the Pac-10 approaches the Big East and says, "Hey let's soak up some of this post regular-season, pre bowl time TV time  and maximize our TV revenue by staging a Pac-10/Big East championship?"  Now I'd include the Big Ten in this idea because it, or at least Joe Paterno and Barry Alvarez are concerned about the Big Ten disappearing from the public eye after conclusion of the Big Ten season.  Expansion, however, makes more sense for the Big Ten because of the potential for further profits from their Big Ten Network cash cow.

The Big East and the Pac-10 don't have that option.  If Dodd reports that the Pac-10 is having trouble finding schools "valuable" enough to support expansion, how do you think the Big East feels?  The Pac-10 targets could be Utah, BYU, and Colorado.  The Big East gets to look at UCF, Memphis, and East Carolina.  Now don't get me wrong, I think any of these schools could become valuable members of the Big East, just as USF, Cincinnati, and Louisville did.  "Become" is the operative word though.  They're not going to come in and immediately increase the pie.

But a Pac-10/Big East championship would increase the TV revenues of both conferences.  Some hungry network would be happy to pick it up during the week of the other conference championships.  You don't have to expand to do it.   Finally, it gets you back in the public eye during conference championship week.  Alternate the site between the Pac 10/BE champ for the first few years so you don't have the embarrassment of an empty Gator Bowl like the ACC had.  If you get a really prime matchup like a highly ranked West Virginia and USC you can always move it to a larger pro stadium nearby if deamand warrants it.  In fact most of the teams in these conferences line up pretty well with nearby pro stadiums.  Just look at the BE:  WV and Pitt- Heinz Field in Pittsburgh,  Cincy and Louisville-Paul Brown Stadium, Rutgers, UConn, Syracuse-The new Meadowlands, USF- Raymond James Stadium.  The Pac 10 already has USC, UCLA, in the LA Coliseum and Rose Bowl, Cal's Memorial Stadium seats 75,000, Stanford can play at Candlestick, Husky Stadium holds 72,500,  (Sorry Oregon, Oregon State and Washington State, you get to schlep to Seattle), and Arizona State at Sun Devil Stadium and Arizona at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Now, I'm sure the bowl interests would fight this tooth and nail.  The Big Ten wouldn't like it.  But, hey, with the Big Ten's potential expansion, it' a bold new world in college football right?

Now, will this stave off expansion for both of these conferences forever?  No.  But not a bad interim step to make some money.

Posted on: March 14, 2010 12:21 pm

Expansion - Time for the ACC to Enter the Fray?

And the plot thickens even further.  So is the Big Ten plan to cherry pick one or more Big East teams if Notre Dame doesn't come around?  Well don't wait to long Jim Delany.  You may have competition soon.  It's called the Atlantic Coast Conference.  Hold it, the ACC already has 12 teams.  Expansion for the ACC has been a money-maker by some reports, but hasn't put the ACC in a position to challenge the SEC.  Miami is still trying to return to a dominant team.  Virginia Tech and Boston College have both made the ACC championship the past few years.  With embarrassing results attendance wise.  So you'd think the ACC would have had enough expansion for a while.

Well think again.  According to an article in Sports Business Journal, the ACC's television negotiations with ESPN aren't really going that well.  Seems the ACC thinks they should get a 60 to 70% increase.  ESPN apparently has told them, "Sorry, you're not the Big Ten or SEC."  The reason?  According to unnamed media executives, the "weakness of the ACC's football teams."

Can't you just see the ACC honchos, scratching their heads and saying, "Hmmm, I wonder where we can get some good football teams that will make the TV networks give us more money?  Well we certainly don't want to geographically expand our footprint.  Going to Boston College is far enough already.  If we could only find some decent teams a little closer than Boston College.  We could revamp divisions, save some travel costs by going to geographical divisions with only a few out of division games.   We could come up with a rival for BC.  And of course, we could get some more money out of those TV devils.  If only there were some teams that could do that.  Are there any teams like that close to Boston College?  Or if not,  how about Maryland, who's the next farthest north.  Aren't there some schools around there that have strong football teams?"

Nah forget it.  The ACC wouldn't know how to go about getting teams from other conferences to join.  Just not something they'd do.  Never mind.

Posted on: March 12, 2010 7:51 pm

Abandon Ship? Is WV heading for the lifeboats?

How can you not like Bill Stewart?  He comes across a genuine, straight-shooter.   And crazy like a fox.  Stewart in his folksy way today basically said that he sees a future without the Big East.   He's not worried, because West Virginia will probably land in the SEC or the ACC.  Yep, he said it.  Here it is.

So kindly, straight-talking Bill Stewart just served notice:  If the Big Ten is going to start poaching Big East teams, don't expect West Virginia to hang around.  The purpose of this announcement?  Dunno.  Maybe to shock the Big East leadership into some kind of action?  Maybe to assure 'Eer fans that the Old Gold and Blue isn't going to be left out in the cold?  Could be either, or, both or more that we can't even fathom at this point.

The most important recipient of the message is a party for whom it is not actually intended.  That's Jack Swarbrick and pals at Notre Dame.   Jack's still monitoring the situation as he said he would.  Here's what he's hearing.  Big East teams that might not be considered for Big Ten membership are openly saying they wont remain in the rump of the Big East after it's been picked over by the Big Ten.  So Notre Dame's desire to stay independent in football and a Big East member for all other sports?  Well Jack the Big East you might be a member of could be a lot smaller real soon. 

West Virginia has been a loyal member of the Big East and has been the flag-bearer for the conference during some pretty bleak post ACC raid days.  It was West Virginia that knocked off Georgia in a BCS bowl.  Yes that it is an SEC team.  It was West Virginia that knocked off Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl even after Rich Rodriguez bailed on the 'Eers to head for Michigan.  Yup, a Big 12 team.  And it was West Virginia that also knocked off Georgia Tech and North Carolina in the Gator and Meineke Bowls.  Sorry bout that ACC.

For a Big East stalwart like West Virgina to say that it's looking forward to a future without the Big East means one of two things.    Either the Big East better get it's act together and do something proactive to ensure the survival of its football conference, or it won't have one. 

What could the Big East do?  A helluva lot more than what Commissioner John Marinatto was quoted as saying on Tuesday.  John was happy to tell the Times what he thinks his job is.  Here it is:

"My job is to keep everyone grounded and to improve the conference and insulate it from changing.”  

 Insulate it from changing.  Fabulous.  So basically, just make sure the basketball only schools don't get outvoted in the 16 team conference.  Reactionary strategy like this is  not going to save Big East football.  It's a way to guarantee it's death.  What could the BE do?   Well John, have you figured out yet that if the Big Ten and Pac 10 expand, the Big East will be the only BCS conference without 12 teams?  I'd start expanding John, and fast, because if you don't have the magic number of 12, you're not going to be in the BCS for long.  Apparently that's not important to the BE brain trust in Providence.  Just make sure the basketball teams don't get outvoted.

Hell here's an idea.  BE football schools, all eight of you, call up the Big 12.  Tell them, hey we hear you're being targeted for extinction as well.  Waddaya say we join forces to keep these piranhas at bay.  Take 6 or 7 of the BE football schools and make an eastern conference of the Big 12.  It's now the Big 18.  Hey if  you lose Colorado to the Pac 10, just move Louisville to the western conference.  If you lose Nebraska too, take all eight BE teams and move Cincy to the west.  Radical?  Sure.  Drastic?  You bet.  Aren't we talking about the actual survival of two BCS conferences here?  Do you really think the BCS would mess with this powerhouse?  Makes a pretty good basketball conference too.  Travel?  Not a problem.  Five division games, four conference games.  So you have to make two long trips a year.

A helluva lot better than "insulating against change."

Posted on: March 10, 2010 4:56 pm

Say It's Notre Dame. What Now Big East?

I'm very happy today to have a whole new avenue of speculation.  Notre Dame says yes, and the Big Ten tells everyone else, "Thank you for playing.  We have the lovely home version of Big Ten Football you can watch on your own TV."  After all, Notre Dame is who the Big Ten wanted all along right?  No calculations of TV market, or arguing with cable providers about cable tiers, that's it.

Much of the college football world could breathe a sigh of relief.  Not the Big East.  With Notre Dame's departure, the balance of power in the BE is once again askew.  Eight football teams, Seven basketball only teams.  The carefully crafted 16 team behemoth was made solely to keep the basketball only schools from getting outvoted.  Well ND, a basketball only school (funny to think of them that way) leaves.  Who replaces them?  Or does the fight over the answer to this question blow up the Big East?

Providence, Seton Hall, Villanova, Georgetown, DePaul, Marquette, and St. Johns will obviously want another basketball only buddy to keep them from getting outvoted by West Virginia, Rutgers, Syracuse, Pitt, USF, Cincy, Louisville and UConn.  At the same time, Big East football cries out for a ninth team to allow a balanced conference schedule of 4 home and 4 away every year.  Finding three out of conference games will be tough enough if this expansion craze catches on.  Do you really want to try and find 4 every other year?  I would expect the football crowd to demand another football school.  If Big East football has any chance of surviving, it needs to start getting bigger and fast.  Do you really think the other BCS conferences are going to tolerate a BCS bid for an eight team league if all the other BCS conferences have gone to 12?  Fat chance.

Is this the straw that breaks the camel's back?  Does it finally split the Big East into basketball only and all-sports confereces?  I don't see any way around it.  There's no more room for a Tranghese-like maneuver of adding one football school and two basketball schools.  An eighteen team Big East?  No way.  Even if the Big East brings in a Memphis, a school with a good basketball program, they still have D1 football.  Eventually that will be the way their votes are cast.  So if the basketball schools allow another football school to join, they're moving to the back seat.  Something that won't sit well with the Providence hierarchy of the BE.

So if Notre Dame joins the Big Ten, the Big East could turn from the hunted to the hunter.  An eight team football conference looking for new members.  And a seven team basketball-only conference looking as well.   I'll leave basketball to their own devices.  Here's my choice for an expanded all-sports Big East (which we'll have to call something else because the basketball schools will probably get that name.)


West Virginia
East Carolina?

Memphis brings basketball credibility and potential rivalries with Louisville and Cincy, UCF a potentially large TV market and a rivalry with USF,  and Temple good basketball, a football program that looks like it's on the way back to respectability along with a potential rivalry for Rutgers.  East Carolina/Buffalo is a tougher call.  East Carolina has a very good football program and had it long before Skip Holtz.  So while the coaching change hurts, I expect them to maintain their level of play.  Buffalo lost Turner Gill, and doesn't have the steady history of ECU.  Geographically they're a good fit and provide a  geographical rival for Syracuse as well as Pitt.

Or maybe the Big East will just ask Texas to join. 

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