Realignment math

Kyle King makes a cogent argument as to why the Big Ten is reportedly inviting Nebraska to join the conference ahead of Missouri, despite the latter’s access to a larger media market.

… Given its location, enrollment, surrounding population, league affiliation, and lack of an in-state intercollegiate rival, the University of Missouri ought to boast a much better program than it historically has, but the Tigers are who they are. Nebraska is more attractive than Mizzou because the Cornhuskers command every TV set in their state. “We’ve got more people” is an argument that comes up short against the retort, “We’ve got more people who’ll watch.” All Missouri offers the Big Ten Network is more would-be subscribers who won’t subscribe.

There’s certainly something to that, but I think Kyle is missing one key factor here that makes it easier for Jim Delany to ignore the bigger media market – Nebraska’s entry makes the Big Ten a twelve-school league.  That makes a conference championship game, with all its attendant extra revenue, a reality.

I only point this out to highlight the fact that the calculations for conferences now without championship games, at least the two that are driving radical realignment currently, are different from those with such a game.  That’s really why I’m not surprised that the Big Ten may stop and catch its breath after landing Nebraska and not continue on and try to annex a goodly chunk of the Big East to force Notre Dame into the fold.  It’s relatively easy to calculate what that twelfth school brings to the table;  that’s not so for numbers thirteen through sixteen.

And it’s something that Texas has to factor in to its decision making about whether to stay or go.  If it elects to keep the Big XII going, it’s going to have to find two warm bodies to make up for the loss of Colorado and Nebraska, Dan Beebe’s ineptness notwithstanding.  Even for a school doing as well as Texas, you can’t ditch those championship game dollars.

It’s also something to keep in mind as we try to figure out what Mike Slive is up to.  His conference is already raking in the championship game bucks, so he’s motivated by different factors than his Big Ten and Pac-10 counterparts.


UPDATE: David Hale elaborates further.


Filed under Big 12 Football, Big Ten Football, It's Just Bidness, SEC Football

15 responses to “Realignment math

  1. FLDawg

    File under – Its Just Bidness.

    Lets all take a deep breath here.

    Bill Curry is not happy with the rush to expansion:

    On ESPN June11, Mike and Mike interview with Georgia State Head Coach Bill Curry (in the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, and was also a member of the American Football Coaches Association Ethics Committee.)

    Coach Curry is quoted :
    “…the new conference expansions might have been good if it was approached in a sensible way.”
    “…the new conference expansion is…about greed.”
    “…it hurts college football.”


    • I’ve got news for Coach Curry – the old conference expansion was… about greed.

      It’s worked out pretty well for the SEC.


      • FLDawg

        You are correct sir,

        But its about more than money.

        The SEC has finally proven academic excellence, per recent news. And, the SEC has proven its domination by virtue of competition on the field.

        The rush to expansion may sound glitzy, but the pandora’s box is now cracked open. Lets wait a while to see the true byproducts, the unintended consequences of these earthquakes, before we rush to praise and glorify the new world order.


        • Don’t get me wrong, I’m as puzzled about the rush to 16 as you are. But I can see why the Big Ten and Pac-10 want to go to twelve.


        • FJ

          I completely agree. Let some league that NEEDS to make drastic changes (Big-10) dive into the 16 team pool.

          There is no guarantee that the it will ultimately create more revenue. And it just means the league would have to to divide its spoils among 16 teams instead of twelve.


  2. Gen. Stoopnagle

    I’m not sure Mizzou brings the eyes that Nebraska does…

    …in the markets MU could reasonably claim. If you took a tour of Kansas, for example, you would see more NU stickers in car windows than just about any other out-of state school. And depending where you are, there might be more support of NU football than, say, K-State.


  3. hassan

    This could shake things up some more…

    Is it too “sooner” to run with this story? I am feeling verklempt. Have some coffee…discuss.


    • That report has been widely discredited.

      I’d put more trust in Chip Brown’s latest take.


      • hassan

        I’d say it’s BS too, but I am hearing everything from OU to Duke at this point going to the SEC. All of this is utter ridiculousness.

        I think that after the Big10/PAC10 feeding frenzy calms down, the remainder of the Big12 will merge with the Mid-American to form the Big Mac conference. The winner of that conference will get an automatic berth to the Happy Meal Bowl in San Bernardino, CA.


        • FLDawg

          File Under “utter ridiculousness”.


          We see the hysteria of Big Money, Big Marketing, and Big Media.

          The horses have bolted out of the gate, they are halfway around the track, before we have even wagered our trifecta’s or called our bookies.


  4. Dog in Fla

    After the spectacular failure of his plan in place to see who is committed, Dan Bebee, practices for his press conference today at which he will not only not announce his surrender but also give a debriefing to those who remain in the incredibly shrinking Big XI (Big X if Nebraska goes today) including but not limited to Lew Perkins whose publicist could not have planned the conference blowup any better…

    In the meantime, the two who control The SEC, Mike Slive and Jimmy Sexton, each have their receptionists trying to contact Mack Brown before he secedes when the levy breaks. Mack’s receptionist tells the other two receptionists that the levy has already broken and that the University of Texas now equals Stanford at least for the number of days of sunny weather each year…


  5. JC in Powder Springs

    I’m glad to see the pac 11 and big 10+2 finally moving toward conference championship games. First, it’s extra college football in early December. Second, the ‘champions’ of these conferences have been backing in to the mnc games for years, while SEC (and big 12) division champs have had to slug it out. One question I have is whether these new conference championship games will be on the level of the SEC (fighting for a spot in the mnc with the nation watching) or the ACC (nobody cares or attends).


  6. Cojones

    Jeez! I’m getting a headache. None of you mention the new names: The Big 12 Upheah; The Smaller 10; The PAC’em IN,etc. Blutarsky is missing another Lexicon.

    You guys/girls are missing some fun and humor with this serious pom de rue talk. Think of the Aggie jokes that we can be privy to. Since Colorado has left, you won’t hear the one about the Aggie who got drunk and humped a Buffalo.

    Or the Aggie driving home at Thanksgiving and ran over a cat. He knocks on a nearby house and says, ” I’m a Texas Aggie and we are responsible people. I just ran over a cat and wanted to know if it was yours.” The lady who answered the door says, ” I don’t know. What did he look like?” The Aggie says, “Red, greyish and flat!” Exasperated, she says,” No. I meant before you hit it!” Whereupon the Aggie opens his eyes very wide and put his hands to his chest and extends his fingers like claws.


  7. I think the instability of the Big ? arose from the revenue sharing within the conference.
    The SEC has equal sharing and is therefore stable and prosperous. Alabama and Vanderbilt get equal shares of the dividable bowl revenues.
    In The Big ?, that is decidedly not the case which is why Texas liked its position. Baylor got appreciably less money from the pie than did Texas. Why would Texas want to leave that?
    Greed is always the factor that is treated like the 800 pound gorilla in the room when big business is involved. It’s always there and largely ignored. It has crumbled many a business model from the inside out.
    Good businesses understand that, in a loose confederation scenario such as athletic conferences, the association is always only as strong as its weakest link. It is in Alabama’s best interests to keep Vanderbilt competitive. Think of them as departments within a business. If one department is great and gets all the money, other departments wither because they are allowed no resources with which to prosper, however slightly. After the other departments dry up, the prosperous one dies on the vine, too, because the support system is gone.


    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Good insight CDTT. Vandy earns its share by competing hard, winning some and when they lose, losing like men. Every team in the conference cannot win all the time. Every now and then Vandy has a particularly (for Vandy) good season and goes to a bowl. UK has actually pulled that off several years in a row. Are Vandy and UK worth less to the conference than Bama and Florida? Somebody has to be the opponent. If a conference is made up of only the very TOP teams, somebody is going to lose. You have to have opponents for the top teams, too. I have wondered for years why Vandy did not jump ship to someplace like the MAC (where they would win the conference every year) or the ACC where they would be pretty competitive. The answer is that they get a full share of the conference’s loot. The Big-12 is finding out the hard way what happens when a conference’s members are all equal only some are more equal than others.