Bernie Machen’s “ace jewel” caper

In today’s SEC, this is what passes for long-term planning.

Apparently there’s only one factor that would trigger expansion in the South, according to the SEC’s chairman of the board of directors.

Florida’s president, Bernie Machen, told CBSSports.com the league will eschew the 16-team superconference model unless “some ace jewel called us and said, ‘Can you help us?’”

“We haven’t had any calls like that,” Machen said. “We haven’t made any calls.”

So, yeah, when Notre Dame comes calling, Mike Slive will probably take the call.  Mighty big of him.

Here’s the curious part:

Machen maintains realignment is more media-driven than conferences hungry for change.

“It’s not that simple to assimilate two more teams into the league,” Machen said.

Is that meant to be blame of the media, or blame of Jim Delany for chasing TV markets to build the Big Ten Network’s viewership?  I can’t tell.  Either way, it hasn’t been that simple for the SEC to assimilate the last two teams into the league, Bernie my man.

21 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

21 responses to “Bernie Machen’s “ace jewel” caper

  1. 69Dawg

    Money talks everything else is just BS.

  2. Hobnail_Boot

    So the obvious follow-up question is, what qualifies as an ace jewel?

    Clemson? FSU? VTech? Texas?

  3. Darrron Rovelll

    Hobnail from your list the only one that qualifies is VaTech but that is probably not the crown jewel the conference is seeking. Texas would be attractive because it would solidify the Texas TV markets but the existence of the Longhorn Network is problematic.

    Clemson and FSU do not bring the allure of new television markets – the SEC already has them covered with UF & USC.

    I think what the SEC hope is that in a season or two, a school or two from the current ACC will be less in love with their travel expenses, mediocre conference football and decide to bolt. Ideally the SEC wants UNC and then either UVA or UM but those schools would have to sell the move hardest to their alumni and academic influencers. The conference might take NC St. and VaTech if those schools really begged and the SEC could still drive a lot of new media rights revenue from it.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      I must respectfully disagree about FSU, DR. The ‘Noles are very popular in Florida particularly in the panhandle and on the West coast. The state of Florida has 18,000,000 people. The SEC would love to have the eyeballs that FU doesn’t bring but FSU would bring. That said, FSU probably won’t be asked because FU is effectively blackballing them for recruiting reasons (which the Gator fans/alums adamantly deny).

      • Darrron Rovelll

        While I agree that not everyone in FL watches UF, you cannot double count populations for television market purposes. UF provides the SEC access to all of the major television markets in Florida. Adding FSU does not open up markets where SEC programming is not currently being broadcast.

  4. AusDawg85

    Assimilating new teams into the conference is a huge problem for the AD’s…Just look at how much longer the buffet line gets, backed-up t-times, costlier bar tabs at the resort…errr…meeting sites. A nightmare I tell ya!

  5. alabamadawg

    Don’t want Notre Dame !!

    • Cojones

      Love to have ND. It would be a crowning audience jewel in the SEC! And we could beat their ass like a drum every year if you just get’um in the East Div.

      Let’s get’um just because we can hate’em from the start, but also because Delany would give his left testicle to have them and he would be apoplectic for the rest of his miserable Big10 life.

    • But if the Big 10 and Big 12 want to keep poaching the ACC, North Carolina would be a nice little gem.

  6. Dog in Fla

    Slive comes to realization that gag orders are easier to enforce on Athletic Directors than they are on Presidents this weekend with Bernie taking Seoul credit for using an out-of-town gang to steal the crown jewels of Touchdown Djesus by replacing them with Onnuriye Donkatsu (pork cutlets)

  7. Mayor of Dawgtown

    16 teams are easier to schedule than 14. The SEC is going to 16, guaranteed.

    • Dog in Fla

      Sometimes I doubt your commitment to sparkle motion but if you’re making guarantees, will N.C. State and Va. Tech be our B1G iteration of Maryland and Rutgers?

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        If you’ll go back a couple of years and look at old posts I predicted that A&M would join the SEC (Go West, Slive) and was also the first on this blog to mention Mizzou as a possibility for SEC expansion. As to your question, I don’t see Va Tech coming unless UVa gets asked, too. I would be fine with that. UVa adds academic cred along with solidifying the VA and DC TV markets for the SEC. I don’t see that happening, though. NC State? They are in that basketball thing with UNC, Duke and Wake Forest. I don’t think they want to leave that. All of the above is just rank speculation on my part and I readily admit that my opinion is no more valid than anyone else’s.

        • Darrron Rovelll

          Congrats on the predictions, but I don’t see the conference adding 2 schools from the same television markets.

          I firmly believe that UNC is the crown jewel that the SEC would accept in fractions of a second. They have an athletic history, academic profile, public school tradition and two Top 25 television markets that add value to the membership. However, they are considered so much of the fabric of the ACC, the only way I can see them abandoning their current conference is if this new-fangled arrangement becomes a toxic.

          One other issue/problem to consider if any of the school are really an option to join is the diversity of these schools sports programs compared to the SEC. The SEC sponsors just 8 men’s championships and 11 women’s championships. The ACC has 11 men’s championships and 12 women’s championships.

          NC State’s athletic program is the one that most closely resembles the SEC. They have a men’s soccer team and a wrestling team, but their women’s program does not have any sport not currently offered by the SEC. They do not have a women’s equestrian team.

          UNC, UVA & Va Tech all have sports, especially the NE/Mid-Atlantic prep school sports popular where they cultivate a huge portion of their student body. UNC, UVA & Va Tech all have Men’s Soccer, Women’s Lacrosse, and Wrestling. UNC & UVA have Men’s Lacrosse, Women’s Field Hockey, and Women’s Rowing. UNC also has Men’s & Women’s Fencing.

          It would probably easiest to take Va Tech over UVA.

      • The other Doug

        I hope Slive & Co. stop searching for teams that can deliver a specific market, and instead go after teams with passionate fans that can generate national interest. What TV market is Bama bringing in? The greater Birmingham area isn’t worth $20+ million a year to ESPN.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Bama has a national following similar to ND. Half of west Georgia is going around wearing Bama tee shirts and hats. Go to any other state in the deep south and you’ll see the same thing. Question: How are they doing in Montana, though?

  8. uglydawg

    While I’m uncomfortable calling ND a “crown jewel”…(I like “costume jewelery” better)…they’re probably who the reference is to. I don’t want them in, but the SEC won’t ask me. If they asked me for ND’s “companion” entry I would suggest UABirmingham.

  9. FCDore

    “Ace Jewel” is probably defined differently by the 14 league presidents than it is by the fans. Academics, prestige, and all-around athletic programs mean a lot, and I suspect there are 3 ace jewels in the ACC that Slive and the Gang would welcome if that league implodes: North Carolina, Duke, and/or Virginia.