Survival of the richest, Delany style

Jim Delany has no problem with BCS AQ bids being eliminated as long as the Big Ten’s automatic berth in the Rose Bowl is protected.  And before you question his sincerity – after all, he’s essentially saying he doesn’t care about the potential risk that his conference will be shut out of the title game more often than if there were even a plus-one in the postseason – Andy Staples reminds us that Delany’s attitude has been pretty consistent as to his conference’s fate in the BCS.

You can see why this doesn’t bother Delany.  Reducing the role of the BCS solely to determining the players in a title game that is open to every D-1 team while returning the bowls to their earlier every-man-for-themselves arrangement pretty much neutralizes the antitrust threat lobbed at the BCS.  And it leaves the regular season’s importance as a revenue generator for the Big Ten untouched.

Add that to the mid-major schools which have been picked off by the Big Six in the last couple of years and the pay for play proposal that the NCAA is considering (upon the suggestion of Delany and Slive, of course) and you can tell where this is headed.  Quite simply, we can expect to see the steady emasculation of a significant portion of the programs participating in D-1 football over the next few years.  What’s left of the mid-major conferences won’t have the resources to keep up with the Delanys.  And the Delanys could care less.

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UPDATE:  This is good.

So, here’s what’s brilliant about Delany proposing to revert to an old school bowl format: the non-AQ conferences are now defending the current BCS system.  The debate has been completely changed from providing more spots to non-AQ schools or a playoff to whether the current access to top bowls for non-AQ programs will be maintained.  Delany and the Big Ten presidents may or may not be truly pushing this proposal, but in either event it’s an incredible tactical maneuver to deflect the constant pressure on changes to the BCS overall.  What’s scary to the non-AQ schools is that this is pretty legitimate threat since the bowls, TV networks and AQ conferences (except for maybe the Big East) would all certainly prefer the Delany Proposal.  Therefore, the non-AQs are now having to fight for the status quo as opposed to trying to get anything more.  Delany completed turned the BCS access issue on its head.

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7 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Big Ten Football

7 responses to “Survival of the richest, Delany style

  1. DawgPhan

    They begged for a country club membership and now have to pay the dues.

    Can’t believe they didnt see this one coming.

  2. Dog in Fla

    Now Jim can cross that nuisance item off his list and get back to doing the bang-up job of managing the AAU member rogue programs in his league.

  3. Cojones

    Amen, Dog. And continue to reserve his place in the Rose Bowl in a BCS environment.

  4. Mayor of Dawgtown

    It’s actually the smart play for the Big 10 and for the SEC, too.

  5. This is a pretty transparent move by Delany. His conference keeps the Rose Bowl tie-in, which is tremendously valuable to the Big Ten, and then gets fewer obstacles to placing additional teams in BCS games. In a world with five BCS bowls instead of four and no rules to prevent bowls from making decisions based solely on their self-interest, then the Big Ten is more likely to place additional at-large teams because of the size of its fan bases. Anything that emphasizes economic power over quality on the field will work for the Big Ten.

    Delaney’s proposal would also help the SEC because of the league’s fan bases. If there were no limits on at-large bids, it seems pretty damn certain to me that the Sugar Bowl would be Michigan against South Carolina. The Cocks have a fan base that travels and have never been to a BCS bowl. You think the Sugar Bowl and the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce wouldn’t love a team like that? And with the example of Michigan fans being so excited about the trip (UM has sold out almost its entire allotment already, while VT is 1/3rd of the way through theirs), imagine what Tennessee fans are going to do when they finally come back to prominence.

    Last point: Delany’s moves in the next year are going to be very interesting. He might be losing his last ally in the fight against a Plus-One with the Pac Ten heading in that direction. Does he lay back and enjoy it (to use Bobby Knight’s description) or does he fight?

    I’ll do a full post response on the evolution point.

    • If I’m Delany, I’m quietly telling Scott to wait a few years until attrition weeds out the lower ranks of D-1. The survivors will then be able to have their cake with a plus-one and eat it, too, by not having to share with the mid-majors which by then will be shunted off to another division.

    • Marktheshark

      There won’t be 5 BCS bowls and at-large bids anymore in Delany’s proposal. There would only be one bowl and two BCS bids, for the 1 and 2 teams playing for the National Championship. The rest of the bowls, Sugar, Orange, Fiesta, and Rose, will operate exactly like the rest of the bowls do.