“It’s like taking your family dog and replacing it with a slightly better-trained breed.”

Man, if you’re looking for an eloquent rebuttal to Andy Staples’ flawed analysis of the Big Ten/Maryland/Rutgers arrangement, you need to read this piece by Jonathan Chait.

Start with this point that the whole fiscal theory behind the move is questionable at best:

The core of the financial logic of expanding the Big Ten, and other league expansions, as Derek Thompson has explained, is cable television. The Big Ten has its own network and can charge cable operators to carry it. The more people who live in the Big Ten’s footprint, the more households will be paying their cable operators an extra dollar a month or so to carry the Big Ten network. Hence the logic of adding Rutgers and Maryland. While the athletic traditions of both schools are, respectively, mediocre and terrible, they geographically encompass large, populous regions whose cable television subscribers will, for the most part involuntarily, be paying the Big Ten conference a chunk of their cable television bills.

In other words, as a profit-making mechanism, this is essentially a scam. It relies on an opaque pricing mechanism (bundled cable television) forcing people to pay for a product they don’t want. Right now, it’s a highly lucrative scam. But bundled cable television pricing is not going to last forever, and possibly not very long at all. There is already a revolution in video content under way that is going to render the cable television bundle model obsolete. When that revolution has finished, the Big Ten will realize it pulled apart its entire identity to grab a profit stream that has disappeared.

In other words, if cable subscribers enter an era when they’re allowed to choose one from Column A and one from Column B, are there really enough interested parties in the new markets willing to sign up for Big Ten Network service?  Chait argues that college football’s track record with conference realignment strongly suggests there isn’t.  He makes that point well.

But the ACC, too, has utterly failed to deliver on its expectations (its championship games have been played before mostly empty stadiums), which explains why Maryland so eagerly bolted, and the league has desperately cast about for new recruits. Like the Big 12, the ACC learned that taking a bunch of fan bases that reside in the same general region and declaring that they should start caring passionately about beating each other is not enough to make it happen. And if you can’t gin up fan interest in a manufactured rivalry between real football powers like Virginia Tech and Miami or Nebraska and Texas, what possible hope is there for Maryland, Rutgers, and … anybody? Is there any possible outcome here for the Big Ten other than brand dilution?

“Gin up” and “manufactured” are loaded terms, but they’re accurate.  And that’s where Delany’s gamble gets dicey.  Because not only does he have to deal with the issue of building new customer interest in markets where there previously wasn’t much – and, really, how much is Maryland’s playing in the Big Ten versus the ACC going to ignite the DC viewing market? – he has to worry about turning off the Big Ten’s existing fan base as a result of spreading the conference too thinly.  Ultimately, the real value of the college football product is that we care about it passionately.  Screw with that at your own peril.

The superconference experiments failed because you can’t manufacture tradition, and tradition is the only thing college football has to offer. Without tradition, college football is just an NFL minor league. Big Ten football mainly consists on a week-to-week basis of games like Michigan versus Minnesota and Illinois versus Wisconsin. Those games have meaning to the fans in ways outsiders can’t grasp. The series have gone on for a century. They often have funny old trophies. Every game is lodged into a long historical narrative of cherished (or cursed) memory. Replacing those games with some other equally good (or, as the case may be, not good) program is like snuffing out your family dog and replacing it with some slightly better-trained breed. It is not the same thing. And that deep well of sentiment, not the conferences’ ability to exploit a series of local cable cartels, is its ultimate source of value.

All these guys, the Delanys, the Slives – they’ve all been told for so many years that they’re marketing geniuses that they’ve swallowed the hype completely.  They’re not.  They’re simply people who’ve been sitting in the right place and have taken the obvious steps (so far, anyway) to monetize our passions.  Now we’re at a stage where the limits are being tested with unsettling notions like fourteen-school conference alignments, scheduling contortions and schools that seemingly change conference affiliations on a monthly basis (hey there, TCU!).  Even most conference names are a joke now.  If they’re not careful, at some point they risk their meal ticket saying the hell with it and walking away.

Smarter marketers than our current conference heads have made dumb moves.  Sadly, the lessons from those episodes don’t seem to have registered.

What’s amazing about the college conference expansion fad is that the conferences are not even doing the normal dumb thing that every business does, which is to try to copy success. They are trying to copy failure. Everybody is racing to turn their successful product into the next New Coke.

Among other things, this is why I continue to be amused by people who think that there’s a logical limit to playoff expansion.  To believe that the people making these decisions are guided by rational long-term thinking flies in the face of everything they’ve done for the last, what, 25 years?  Hell, pick your own time frame there.  The reality is that they’re bumblers who’ve been lucky.  As Brian Cook put it the other day, “Jim Delany is a camel farmer who is sitting on a billion gallons of oil.  He knows about camels. That is all.”

Invest with them at your own risk.  As they say in the investment biz, past performance is no guarantee of future results.

About these ads

56 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football, It's Just Bidness

56 responses to ““It’s like taking your family dog and replacing it with a slightly better-trained breed.”

  1. Go Dawgs!

    Chait gets it. Brian Cook gets it. The people in charge of college football don’t understand college football in the slightest. Delany certainly doesn’t. I’m not even sure that Mike Slive does.

    I hate conference realignment. The 1992 realignment worked out, but I can’t stand the 2012 model. A&M isn’t as bad a fit with our league as I was worried they would be, in fact I think I’ll probably be used to the idea of them in a few years. But Missouri? It’s ridiculous. But that’s what you get when you decide you’re more worried about making a ludicrous sum of money rather than just an embarrassingly ridiculous sum of money. You dilute your product. And the SEC East is stuck playing a mandatory out of conference home-and-home every year.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      When Jobs rescued Apple from the ditch they slipped into, one of his main complaints was their product line. Too many products and he cut them all back to three. Jobs is gone and Apple is slowly diluting its product line again. Sometimes people just can’t help but repeat the same mistakes.

    • Biggus Rickus

      Missouri isn’t ideal, but it isn’t terrible. Rutgers and Maryland to the Big 10 is far, far, far, far worse. So far, the SEC has managed to get expansion more right than everyone. Hopefully, they won’t screw up the expansion to 16 that’s coming. My only major gripe so far is the refusal to go to a 9-game schedule, but I figure that will be forced upon them at some point.

      • MGW

        expanding at all was stupid as hell. pointless.

        Yeah, A&M’s a great football program… now how often are we going to play Bama or LSU outside of conference championships?

        Oh real nice, maybe we can move to a nine game schedule to bring two non-permanent cross division teams back into the rotation. But there’s still an extra team in there to get into the rotation so we’re still going to play the traditional SEC teams (you know, those games people actually give a shit about?) less frequently. But we’ll still play Tech every year, right? Good. And good luck convincing coaches to add an 11th BCS team to their schedules while some team like Boise State or BYU will continue to roll over a bunch of nobodies and go undefeated 5 out of 7 years and make it to the 4 team playoffs. Even better luck with that once the playoffs inevitably expand. But hey, maybe it’ll work out and we’ll still get to play Clemson in the playoffs once every 50 years or so.

        • Biggus Rickus

          Alabama, Tennessee and LSU hardly played Georgia prior to the ’92 expansion (well post-’60s in Bama’s case). Georgia did play Ole Miss every single year. Was that preferable? I was fine with 12 teams, but whether leagues should or should not expand is irrelevant. It’s happening, so they might as well try to do as well in adding teams as possible. A&M was a good addition, and Missouri was so-so. I’m somewhat confused by one part of your comment, though. Do you want them to drop Georgia Tech? If so, how does that jibe with your longing for a renewal of the Clemson series?

          • MGW

            No I do not want to cancel the Tech series.

            “It’s happening, so they might as well try to do as well in adding teams as possible.”

            Its happening elsewhere because they think it will help them compete with the SEC. By expanding, the SEC is only helping those other conferences by watering down its own product.

        • Alkaline

          I’m not saying it’s right, but missing major in-conference opponents is part of the scam and it does build fan excitement for this reason: You get a larger number of undefeated/1-loss teams if they don’t all play each other til the postseason. The SEC has the #2 and #3 teams all but set to play next weekend for a title shot, and the #4 team waiting in the wings should something ridiculous happen. That wouldn’t be the case if Alabama played both UGA and UF this year.

        • Dante

          Just to expound on Biggus Rickus’ point, expansion is the reason we played Bama and LSU more often to begin with. Pre-91, we had 10 teams. Each team played 5 opponents regularly and 1 spot rotated for a 6-game conference schedule. Georgia played Ole Miss, Vandy, Kentucky, Florida, and Auburn every year. The 1 spot rotated among Tennessee, Bama, LSU, and Mississippi State.

          Now we play Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vandy, Kentucky, Florida, and Auburn every year and the 1 spot rotates among Bama, A&M, LSU, Miss State, Ole Miss, and Arkansas.

          I don’t really see a difference in the quality of conference schedule. I personally think the two divisions required for having an NCAA-sanctioned SEC Championship Game have done more harm than adding teams has. Our rivalries could be better grouped if we weren’t hamstrung by East and West divisions.

  2. Macallanlover

    Love the vision of Delany as a camel farmer, makes him a Jed Clampett type fellow, only not as smart or likable. Anyone could have made money for conferences in this period but Slive and Delany have done so without an eye on the long term position the conferences will find themselves in. Sure, there are a lot of TV sets along the DC to NYC corridor but the B1G product was weak before you watered it down with Rutgers and Maryland. Fans in that area already turn their backs on CFB, Big Jim has just given them more reasons to not watch. When the money starts to dry up Delany will be left with a real stinker. But for now, the fast dollar is looking good to those wise old academic guys.

  3. The other Doug

    I wonder if we will see teams getting booted from their conference in a few years for not pulling their weight?

  4. Irwin R Fletcher

    New Coke was nothing but a distraction so that Classic Coke could replace sugar with corn syrup without anyone noticing.

    I agree with the premise that you are watering down your product. And I agree that the bundle model should go away b/c of technological improvements. However, you already are playing schools like Miami(OH), UAB, and Toledo…there seems to be a decent argument that instead of paying those schools for playing, you let the league pay Rutgers or Indiana. Add that to the fact that the technology has been there for YEARS to break up the bundling problem but that market forces (i.e. monopolies on delivery and ESPN) have prevented such an event from occurring, and I’m not so sure it is as bad a business decision as the author is painting.

    I’m not saying I don’t follow the logic…but I am saying that you can’t fault the business decision based upon a non-economic argument that the ACC has ‘failed’ on its expectations by measuring the popularity of the game or the rivalries. The reality is that the $3.6B deal they were able to re-negotiate after adding Pitt and Cuse would never have come close to happening if they hadn’t added FSU, Miami, BC, Va Tech, etc. The SEC and the ACC were at the forefront of this…is there anyone here that would argue that South Carolina and Arky haven’t been good for the conference?…anyway, I’m rambling.

    • The issue with the bundle model isn’t that it’s being threatened by technology, at least not directly. It’s that outfits like Netflix are threatening the business model that the cable companies and their content providers have been so tenacious in guarding. At some point in time, if enough people are bled away from the current model, the delivery folks won’t have any choice but to change.

      As for your SEC ’92 example, I would argue that was a rare case of some logical long-term strategic thinking. Kramer saw the value in a 12 team conference with a championship game and made it happen. SC and Arky just happened to be the handy geographic beneficiaries of that move. It’s hard to see what the Big Ten is doing with Maryland and Rutgers in the same light.

      • Irwin R Fletcher

        Two points…first, agree 100% on the comparison b/w Arky/SC (and even FSU to the ACC) and Rutgers/Maryland. Whereas those moves (and even Penn State or Nebraska) seemed to make sense from the perspective of enhancing the brand, the product, the reach, etc of the conference, adding Rutgers and Maryland is a shameless market grab. There is no other explanation. However, it doesn’t mean it will not be profitable.

        On the delivery model…live programming is such a different animal than what is currently available via Hulu, Netflix, etc. However, there is a solid point in there…if at some point, people have the ability to choose their programming ala carte on interest, then who cares if Maryland is in DC…all that would matter is the folks in DC that care about Maryland.

        However, there is a subtle point that seems to be lacking. The Big 10 network, ESPN, and other sports stations are not the ones you are paying for that you don’t want. It’s these other networks that need ESPN and sports programming in the bundle. I would have switched completely to a HD-Roku by now if I could get ESPN, NBA TV, and the NFL Network ala carte…but I would probably be paying almost the same amount as getting all the other crap because those are the engines driving the train.

  5. Sanford222View

    I think Chait is off with his “Cable TV Revolution” theory. People often mistakenly believe it is the Cable TV and Satellite providers pushing the bundle video services model. They aren’t the culprits. It is the programmers (ESPN, HBO, Discovery Networks, etc.) who push that model and have all the power and money to keep it that way. They force providers to purchase channels that aren’t popular in order to carry the channel or few channels the end user wants and that is just the beginning. They have placement rules on where the channels have to appear in the channel lineup that impact pricing as well. If the providers could purchase channels a la carte then they would offer them that way.

    I don’t see this changing anytime soon because I highly doubt there are any politicians willing to take on the power and money of Disney/ESPN or Turner Networks. They have way more power than a Comcast or Direct TV.

    Cord cutting while it is growing is still a very small percentage of viewers and a very niche techie group for the most part. People who enjoy sports, especially live sports, won’t “cut the cord” because you can’t get the most popular games without a pay TV subscription. There are a few “Over the Top” sources for sports programming but you won’t get marquee SEC football games. Any second screen type of marquee sports programming you can get is tied to having some type of paid TV subscription.

    • I agree with you about the politics, but I sense that the options cropping up in the market changing viewing habits will eventually force the cable/satellite folks to adapt or go broke.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      “Cord cutting while it is growing is still a very small percentage of viewers and a very niche techie group for the most part. ” It is not as niche and techie and you might think. Lots of college kids grew up on their parents cable and now don’t have it. As a whole this is a very techno-savvy group. Those x-box’s they played on in HS are now part of their internet/tv/music system. I was surprised by what they streamed through that gear and how they were using smart phones to link to flat screens and watch movies and share homework assignments. I have bright, ambitious sons …. but there is nothing nerdy about them.
      Ok, but what about the trends?

      “Cord-cutting is on the rise; cable is not. That same Neilsen report noted a 22.8 percent increase in cord-cutters over the past year. Cable subscriber growth fell for the first time ever in 2010, but has since leveled off, with 2011 ending in flat subscriber growth, according to Credit Suisse analysts from last fall. Total pay TV industry subscriptions have remained unchanged at 100.8 million. “Over the same period, however, occupied households have grown by 1.25 million,” said Credit Suisse analyst Stefan Anninger. “In turn, pay TV penetration has fallen from 84.1 percent in the third quarter of 2010 to 83.2 percent.”



      http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2012/07/need-help-cutting-the-cord-to-cable-this-e-book-will-guide-you207.html

      • Sanford222View

        I agree the younger generation is very tech savvy and are not “geeks.” I wasn’t trying to suggest that about the cord cutters. It just meant the average consumer isn’t a cord cutter at this point. Yes many have Netflix accounts but they use it as a complimentary service not as an alternative to their pay TV service. Netflix is has a big hurdle to cross with content going forward as well. The Netflix catalog is pretty weak. I think Vudu has a better shot going forward now that Walmart owns it and they offer movies the same day as DVD releases. You pay per title rather than a monthly fee and they have started acquiring and offering TV shows as well now. The problem is it doesn’t take long to run up a bill more than your monthly cable or satellite bill if you or your kids watch a lot of movies.

        I also think you will see pay TV penetration continue to fall but live sports is the programmers ace in the hole so to speak. Sports is appointment TV where as movies and even network shows are no longer in this category. Maybe a show like “American Idol” still is in this status still but most people are willing to time shift any show except in the case of sports where you have a harder time avoiding hearing “what happened” by not seeing a score.. Most people who care about sporting events want to see it live and unless the programmers are dumb enough to give the rights away to sporting events they have spent either millions or billions to obtain I don’t see major live sporting events being available over the top without being tied to some pay TV service for the near future.

        I hope it does change and that programmers move to a different model. There are no margins in video. It is almost a loss leader at this point because programming costs are so high for the providers and continue to increase every year. Land line phones are declining as well leaving data as the last place for providers to earn a profit in the future. You will see consumption based billing for data becoming much more prevalent moving forward as utilization across providers networks continues to grow annually by about 50%.

        • AthensHomerDawg

          That was very insightful. Thanks. I think most posters here would be surprised by the amount of collaboration between students through technology. Shared class notes and test prep by an entire class all able to post to Google Docs and have input. Impressive.

          Bear with me a moment.

          I helped move one of my sons roommates to another apt. While we were moving him in I noticed a young man in the apt. taking pics of the pages of a textbook. He had modified a box to hold the book open and had a pane of glass laid on the page. I asked my son later and he told what was happening there. Digital pics–>run through software to flip pages and put them in proper sequence —> create a PDF. Purpose was to have a digital book of the original textbook.

          My son was over for dinner one Sunday and was watching a movie on his laptop. A movie that had not been released to DVD yet. It was still in the theaters. I asked him how that was possible and he told me it was boot leg that was available and that it was taken by someone holding a camera in the theater. I looked at it and the quality was surprisingly good. He assured me that he was not taking videos of movies while in the theater.

          I read that a well known photographer took pictures of the last hurricane and won some kind of award for them. He did not use his high price cameras to take them. He used his I-phone.

          My point with the 3 above examples are in response to this very important fact you pointed out. “Sports is appointment TV where as movies and even network shows are no longer in this category. ” With the ability to hot link several laptops to the internet via your cell phone: Sooner or later someone will place a smartphone on a stand and live stream a football game to other smart phones that will relay it to their wide screen tv.
          I have skill sets that I don’t use much anymore because they were a hobby for me when I learned them. Every once in in a while I may adjust the carbs on my attorneys old Jaguar. I never owned one but my Dad and his buddies in SAC all had sports cars and by mandate I learned to work on them. Point being is that the above examples are hobbies in a way for these kids. And they are very enthusiastic about it. They are the cord cutters.

    • pantslesspatdye

      I would make the jump if I could somehow keep football in the fall. And I wasn’t married.

      I watch very little on live TV.

    • Connor

      Any reduction in the cash coming from cable would obviously be catastrophic for the conferences, but that isn’t the only thing that will lead them to reckless action in the near future. The geometric growth in revenue they’ve enjoyed over the last 15 years is what they are going to be after going forward. The image of a farmer sitting on oil fortune is apt. The conference commissioners were largely ignorant of how valuable their product could be. They all just made a billion dollars and rather than be happy about it they are wondering where the next billion is coming from.
      We saw the SEC pursue expansion in order to re-negotiate their contract after the one they made 3 years ago fell behind the market. If this move is a short term boon for the B1G, the SEC/PAC 12/Big 12 will feel obligated to try to keep up. God knows what that’ll mean, but it probably won’t be pretty.

    • The other Doug

      12 years ago I was in Athens visiting my 18 year old sister inlaw during her freshman year. We were getting ready to take her and her 3 roommates out to dinner (last resort IIRC), and the girls were planning the rest of their night. They were all sitting in the family room texting and calling friends using their cell phones. Their phones were buzzing and chirping the whole time they were talking or texting. The entire time a cordless house phone sat on the coffee table very quietly.

      About 5 years later I started hearing that someday people would ditch their home phones, and it was going to kill the traditional Ma Bells. 12 years later it is reality.

      This summer I attended the same sister inlaws wedding. My father inlaw and I had been talking about the cut the cord stuff, so I polled 22 “kids” her age about cable. 4 had cable. I thought this would make it obvious to him that change was coming, but alas he was more distressed by how bad the economy must be when kids 8 years out of college can’t afford cable.

      My father inlaw owns 3 houses and pays over $300 a month for cable. That is $3600 a year or $10 a day. When he dies the cable company is going to have a hard time convincing those kids to stop streaming videos on their phones or xbox, and go back to cable.

  6. DawgPhan

    The end of bundling cable channels might be closer to ending than they think. There are already smartTVs, apple is rumored to be releasing a new AppleTV next fall. Each channel as an “app” or tile, like a smart phone, except in 50″ on your wall.

    I think that these university presidents, ADs and boards are swimming with the sharks. The people that run comcast are very smart and very good. They are way better at this than University presidents.

    • Sanford222View

      Smart TVs have been around for several years now and the reason they haven’t taken off is content. The programmers still control that and want to avoid what happened to the music industry. They don’t want to kill pay TV cash cow.

      It will be interesting to see what Apple can do to shake all this up but I suspect the content released will continue to be older titles for some time until the programmers can find a way to make money from both the likes of Apple and Google without killing the revenue stream from cable and satellite TV.

  7. JCB

    Jonathan Chait? Are you friggin kidding me? They guy who doesn’t know dick about politics, but writes about it anyway. And now he is writing about sports? Thanks for wasting all our time. Have a good Thanksgiving.

    • How did that whole gender gap thing work out for you in the last election, anyway? ;)

      • AthensHomerDawg

        When politicians borrow from Peter to pay Paul they will always have Paul’s support. There are more Pauls than Peters. As my Dad says there are more people riding in the wheel barrow than there are pushing it and when it gets to a point it will tip over. Doesn’t really have anything to do with the gender thing and JCB needs some one on one time with Cojones to mellow that harsh a bit. But I had to post. My neighbor still has his Obama election signs in the front yard. I guess he is not through rubbing it in. His giant “T” flag hasn’t been up for a while now. So there is that. ;-)

  8. Will Trane

    Another article from a journalism major housed in the New York and northeast media hub. The intelligence these guys and gals put out is truly legendary. A lot of what is wrong in America is there is too many journalism and news media talking heads who reside and spew out this stuff in the northeast,
    Now Maryland is a traditional top 10 team for decades. That is why that endzone shot of the stands was a strong indicator of who watches football in Maryland. Was that stadium at 20% capacity. Plus those placed red chairs are surely for season tickets holders who did not give a damn about the game, and had other plans that day even though Tech was in the house [playing for ACC title].
    A school’s revenue source is driven by its alums. If they are not watching the games now in Maryland when will they. When they become an annual top 10 team.. If I am an advertiser, I would think long and hard about paying a network to broadcast football for a vew months.
    The old Big 10 teams are Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan State…and now Nebreska. They have a solid alum base, ..going to games, supporting the program, and paying the way…been there for decades. That does not exist in Maryland. GEICO is on the board because of all the civil servants, Federal and state around College Park.
    I recall my first visit to their stadium…my first thought…”this is where you play football”.
    If they want to go, let them go. Think Tech. You can bet those guys who made that decision to leave the SEC years back was a very bad decision. Same for Tulane. Those teams who came into the SEC were not driven by future potential revenue. Those teams came in due to some history in their own program and the history of the SEC.

  9. PTC DAWG

    Tradition is where its at in College Football.

  10. Ralph

    The Big 10 thinks they just gotten into the New York, Baltimore and DC markets. They don’t understand those markets are NFL markets, they don’t give a rat’s ass about NCAA football.

  11. Is there an endgame where the Big Ten, and other conferences have their own networks, put ALL of their content on their own network and simply end their relationships with the networks – ESPN/ABC, etc? That would certainly increase the value of their networks and allow them to charge the cable operators more per subscriber. It would also set them up to eventually ditch the cable companies too and sell subscriptions directly to consumers.

  12. Lrgk9

    Well here is 2 cents on a side note that hasn’t been mentioned. The raiding of the weaker conferences creates a Pez effect for the smaller teams to rise up. The Troys, U La Monroes, Southern Misses, etc. have a place to go and that place is up! This affords the Georgia Southerns and the Jacksonville States a way to bump from FCS (Div II) to FBS (Div 1A.)

    Economically, this will create some more ‘haves’ before the coming split of the Big Boys (Super Conferences) away from the Have Nots (FCS.)

    Not saying its a good thing overall, but there is the pull of some of the other teams up into FBS which is healthy to an extent. Now, based on fan attendance – there eventually may be more people attending an Appalachian State (26.211) Ga Southern (17,701) or Jacksonville State (17,226) home game than a Maryland (39-40,000) game. http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/public/ncaa/pdfs/2012/2011+national+college+football+attendance
    That will introduce a whole new curve – what will be the average attendance at Maryland home games when they get clobbered year over year by the Big 10 elite?

    Arrgh Matey – Are they Falling or Flying?
    Personally think that the Maryland AD folks are weak businessmen who are trying to salve their financial miscues by applying the ‘cureall’
    of Big 10 cash. It will lance the boil of their present financial condition but do nothing about the underlying cause of the affliction – that being incompetent management in the AD’s & President’s offices.

  13. SouthGa Dawg

    Dang, some of you are thinking too deeply about this. I try to waste as few brain cells on the Big 10 as necessary. Just like the 12 ‘o clock ESPN/ESPN2 games on Saturdays. As soon as Gameday picks are made, I bolt over to the SEC network unless I’m looking for a long fall nap.

  14. Cojones

    As well, I am thankful that Delany is going to fall victim of his own prattle to get others to expand before he did. Of course he had his eye on ND and a couple others (Mizzou for one), but that hasn’t worked out as well as his ego dictating to us that he would be victorious. Victimized by his own BS and greed is more like it. Where was the Big-12 importance then?

    On the face of this Delany/Big14 Pome’d Rue, Mizzou looks like a genious at marketing by joining the SEC and getting big payouts to continue to build their program. Kudos for the Tigers!

  15. New Coke was not a failure at all — in fact the complete opposite. The objective was not to introduce an “improved taste” but to remove the dependence on sugar as an ingredient and Coke’s inability to control market prices of sugar (impaired profit predictably). New Coke introduced “Classic Coke” where sugar was replaced by sucrose and the break in time between the “Classic Coke” allowed the customer base to move from sugar to sucrose without effectively knowing the (taste) difference.

    The result was a greatly increased company’s profitability on a global scale.

    EmoryDawg

    • AthensHomerDawg

      New Coke was a response to taste tests that indicated that consumers preferred Pepsi to Coke. In a knee jerk reaction Corporate redesigned the recipe. They pulled the product and it was considered by most to be quite the blunder.
      Sugar is a general term applied to sweeteners. When you think sugar you think table sugar. A disaccharide made from sugar cane and sugar beets. Maltose and lactose are also disaccharides. Coke moved from Sugar (sucrose) to fructose. Fructose a monosaccharide made from corn. Fructose production was easier for Coke to control. Fructose is spread all through the Coke product line. Coke made in Mexico is still made with sugar (sucrose). You can still buy it in the small bottle. The thick glass and small head space maintains the proper carbonation and is closest to the Real Thing in taste.
      GeorgiaDawg

  16. Bryant Denny

    I think we can rest assured that the conference commissioners are a little more versed than we are concerning current and future content delivery models.

      • Bryant Denny

        Because it makes sense.

        ESPN just bought the playoff rights. You think they don’t have an idea how content will be delivered – or how they want it to be delivered – in the future?

        The conference commissioners (SEC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12) may not do rivalries very well, but they’ve been doing a pretty good job of cashing checks.

        • Slive had to expand the conference because it was the only means he had to undo the inept job he did negotiating the current TV contract. (And he hasn’t gotten CBS to cave yet, by the way.)

          Color me unconvinced that he has superpowers to foresee the future.

          As for ESPN, it’s in control of the 800-lb. gorilla block of sports programming. If cable goes a la carte, it’ll be fine. The Big Ten Network, on the other hand…

          • Bryant Denny

            I never said they could see the future and I never said they negotiated a good contract. :)

            What I am saying is that it’s not at all unlikely that your average conference commissioner has a little better grip on content delivery models than the average CFB fan.

    • Hogbody Spradlin

      Well, BD, we’re still talking about human beings here, so mistakes and the unexpected are inevitable.

  17. cube

    The question is…should we complain about expanding the playoff from 2 teams to 4 b/c it puts us closer to going too far, even if we think 4 is better than 2?

    Only serious answers will be considered. Not lies trying to convince everyone that 2 teams is better than 4.

  18. ChilliDawg

    The “Geniuses” at the Star Ledger claim that Rutgers benefits from “larger payouts for television contracts and bowl money, greater exposure on the national stage and INCREASED ACADEMIC PRESTIGE.” While I can agree that with the Big East collapsing, Rutgers is likely to capture more bowl money, but the rest is a pipe dream. Home games until recent times were never a sellout and the NYC crowd doesn’t exactly line up to grab tickets to home games. So with blackouts in effect for the folks that follow Big 10 football in the market, how does this capture a bigger share of a TV audience? RU probably gets as much national exposure as it will ever get now by winning in the Big East (now that WVA is gone). Being a doormat is not exactly a great way to climb into a new conference. RU’s record with its nearest Big 10 rival, PSU is a dismal 2 and 22. And as to “academic” prestige… there’s not a disproportionate amount of Nobel Prize winners coming out of the sports arenas.

    Winning is what makes programs successful and valuable commodities to sell to any fan base. Let’s see how Delany pushes the water of Maryland and Rutgers uphill. Nostalgia is nice, but it doesn’t replace winning and all that comes with it. Just see Notre Dames TV ratings since 1971. No wonder there’s a push to get them to the NCG.

  19. I think the SEC got it right for the most part. Now if they could get SC and UF to sign off on Clemson and Florida State (no need to try to create new rivalries), convince Clemson and FSU to give up a guaranteed spot in a conference championship game, slip them in the eastern division and move Mizzou to the Western where they belong and then go to a 9 game conference schedule…. Well, I think I could live with that. That’s how conference realignment should be done. At least it would make some sense!

    • Hogbody Spradlin

      I’m late here, but if you think Clemson and FSU would be worthwhile although their rivals are already in, how about Tech? Same rationale would seem to hold.