Category Archives: Big Ten Football

Not the sales pitch you think it is

Dennis Dodd sounds positively giddy about the three-headed alliance of the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12.  Just imagine the possibilities!

While the Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 would improve their nonconference schedules with an alliance, they could take it a step further by refusing to play the top eight teams in the SEC. Hey, TV networks, forget Florida-Florida State, we’ll raise you Ohio State-USC.

Jesus, these people are stupid.

28 Comments

Filed under ACC Football, Big Ten Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Pac-12 Football, SEC Football

The Jed Clampett Alliance

Sooooo… this dropped last night.

The Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC have had preliminary discussions about forming an alliance, likely built around scheduling but possibly other areas, sources told ESPN.

Commissioners George Kliavkoff (Pac-12), Kevin Warren (Big Ten) and Jim Phillips (ACC) have been in regular communication, and have also had some in-person discussions. Kliavkoff and Warren were together this week for Rose Bowl meetings. Pac-12 sources said all three commissioners met last week in Chicago.

“I’ve been in frequent and regular contact with all of the other A5 commissioners the last few weeks about the four or five complex issues that are facing our industry,” Kliavkoff told ESPN on Friday night. “Anything beyond that is just speculation, and I can’t comment on it.”

Needless to say, social media was en fuego over the news.  Plenty of spicy takes and rampant speculation.  Do I have thoughts?  Of course I do!

The underlying motive — “that bastard Sankey… we’ve got to do something to respond!” — is easy to understand.  It’s the end game that’s murky.

Athletic directors in two of the leagues discussing an alliance told ESPN that nonconference scheduling likely would be the focus, but that there aren’t many details yet. The SEC’s addition of Texas and Oklahoma, plus commissioner Greg Sankey’s involvement in proposing a 12-team expanded College Football Playoff model, has been seen as an attempt to consolidate power.

“There is some alignment in us against them a little bit,” a Power 5 athletic director said.

Yeah, that’s a pretty good summary in three sentences.  Now, on to the bullet points:

  • First of all, the hypocrisy is pretty thick here, at least as it pertains to the SEC’s power grab.  Colorado was poached from the Big 12 by the Pac-12.  Maryland was taken from the ACC by the Big Ten.  Hell, the ACC basically destroyed the Big East when it expanded.  So you’ll have to forgive me if I’m not totally moved by the bridge too far attitude on display here.  There isn’t a single one of these three conferences that wouldn’t have welcomed Oklahoma and Texas with open arms, given the opportunity.
  • Second, and this is where the murk starts to seep in, is how this move is seen as some sort of resistance to ESPN’s power, particularly as it relates to the broadcast rights to an expanded CFP.  Skipping past the hilarity of the light bulbs suddenly going off over the heads of the three commissioners after years and years of evidence of Mickey’s power, the way to make that work is to hold the four-team field in place until the current contract expires in 2026.  That’s something the Ohio State-led Big Ten and the Clemson-led ACC can live with, but is the Pac-12 really prepared to remain irrelevant in the postseason for another five years?  That’s quite the sacrifice for the greater good.
  • The scheduling aspect of this had all the usual suspects excited:  a Big Ten-ACC Challenge!  Clemson-Southern Cal, baby!  Eh, the high end matchups are the easy part.  In fact, college football has already shown over the past couple of years that you don’t need an alliance to schedule high profile non-conference games.
  • The tough part of this comes when you have to rearrange many things to get that Georgia Tech-Washington State game that the viewing public so badly craves.  Let’s assume the three conferences agree for each of their teams to play a game against a team in each of the other two.  What existing games are going to be sacrificed?  Does the Pac-12 drop its ninth conference game?  Do the three ACC teams that play state rivalry games against SEC schools ditch those?  How much in buyout fees of guarantee games do these schools pay?
  • The ironic and depressing thing here is that in one breath these three conferences want to resist ESPN’s vision for the sport while in the next reduce their reliance on regionalism in embracing a more national approach for viewership, which is precisely what the network’s approach has been since the four-team CFP has come into being.  It’s as unsurprising as it is shortsighted.
  • Oh, and as if we didn’t already know, the Big 12 is well and truly fucked.  Kliavkoff meeting with Bowlsby while secretly meeting with the other two P5 counterparts is a page out of the same playbook Sankey ran.  If Bowlsby’s schools weren’t already looking for a way off the boat, they’re surely scrambling to find the life rafts now.

Bottom line, I’m not sure why an alliance of sorts is necessary.  If the goal is to thwart ESPN, all you need for that is a voting bloc that is big enough to outvote the SEC in order to control the outcome.  (Though it’s worth considering that there’s nothing about this alliance that’s attractive for Notre Dame or the G5 conferences, both of which have as much to gain from a 12-team CFP as does the Pac-12.)  There’s also nothing about this that’s going to reduce the SEC’s cash flow after it grows to 16.

As far as a scheduling alliance goes, that only works if…

Needless to say, I don’t think Greg Sankey lost any sleep last night.

46 Comments

Filed under ACC Football, BCS/Playoffs, Big 12 Football, Big Ten Football, Pac-12 Football, SEC Football

Big Ten blogger discovers water is wet.

Someone is a wee bit miffed with Greg Sankey.

SUBTWEET OF THE YEAR. I did not know this because I do not generally keep track of cursed dates, but it turns out that yesterday was the anniversary of the Big Ten’s decision to cancel the fall athletic season.

And SEC commissioner Greg Sankey celebrated by subtweeting the hell out of Kevin Warren.

Dude, he’s a conference commissioner.  Asshole comes with the territory.

Also, it doesn’t change the fact that Warren didn’t exactly cover himself in glory with his decision making skills.

8 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football, SEC Football, The Body Is A Temple

Leadership, respect, and a great man in…

… Kevin Warren?

Jim Delany, he ain’t.  And, as Pete Thamel indicates, Warren is going to have some tricky waters to navigate if this Oklahoma/Texas to the SEC deal becomes a reality.

All are new enough to their jobs where they haven’t done a college sports television contract. The Big Ten’s contract runs through 2022-23. The Pac-12’s goes through 2023-24. The ACC is buried by the untenable deal with ESPN that keeps it frozen in what’s already a second-tier deal until 2036.

This impacts all of those leagues in significant ways. ESPN is going all in on the SEC, as it’s expected to pay enough to get Oklahoma and Texas whole with the rest of the SEC, which is north of $60 million annually after 2023. That eats up money, inventory and the best television time slots for the SEC. The SEC wouldn’t be adding this without the extra $120 million a year for OU and Texas, and it’s reasonable to think there’d have to be a bit more sweetener to help the other SEC schools feel good.

“What happens if all of a sudden ESPN isn’t a bidder and Fox has less competition,” said an industry source. “The ripple effects are … PHEW!”

… There has long been a notion in college athletics that the Big Ten and SEC were pulling away from all the other leagues because of the financial success of their networks and the corresponding success on the field. Now, the Big Ten will go to market without the adrenaline jolt that the SEC got in its deal. The only corresponding move the Big Ten could make would be a play for Notre Dame, but that remains unlikely because of how secure Notre Dame’s future is in the new football playoff.

The issue for the Big Ten would be that Ohio State is isolated as the league’s power. Could the Big Ten leverage the potential of its next deal with a move to answer, adding Virginia, Georgia Tech, Florida State, North Carolina and Clemson to cover the league’s Eastern flank and fortify the Interstate 95 corridor? There will be pressure on Warren to be bold. But the ACC is protected by a grant of rights through the length of its TV deal.

What if Warren’s best move is to fight the 12-team playoff expansion proposal and push for something along the lines of the P4 arrangement I posted about yesterday?  That would have two benefits for the Big Ten, minimizing the impact of the SEC’s move and forcing Notre Dame to choose a conference.  And Warren would likely have an ally in that with the Pac-12.

This shit’s about to get seriously Machiavellian.

22 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football

In America, anything’s possible.

How it started:

How it’s going:

In Nebraska’s defense, Trev probably can’t be as bad at the job as Jeff Long’s been.

34 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football

TFW your broadcast partner just isn’t that into you

Shot.

Chaser.

Nebraska probably wouldn’t mind if Fox put the game on at eight in the morning.  What a sad commentary on what was once one of college football’s can’t miss rivalries.

18 Comments

Filed under Big 12 Football, Big Ten Football, Fox Sports Numbs My Brain

“Anyway to go independent?”

So, Ohio State chafed under the Big Ten’s initial decision to shut down last year’s football regular season, enough so that the president asked the athletic director the question that is the post header.

And who could blame her, when the natives are restless like this?

“As an alumni I have slowly been losing my faith in the direction of Ohio State, oh to go back to the days of the leadership we had under Gordon Gee,” one emailer wrote, referring to the former Ohio State president, now at West Virginia University.

I do not think leadership means what he thinks it means, but it’s always good to see confirmation that dumbassery is not a regional characteristic limited to our neck of the woods.

17 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football

What do you get when you cross an Urban Meyer-led program with sex?

Why, a masseuse with standards, of course.

A Cleveland-area massage therapist accused by Ohio State of targeting football players for sexual encounters has denied those allegations in a pair of interviews.

Speaking in a 20-minute radio interview on Cleveland’s FM-WMMS, Robyn Bassani, 41, said that while she did have sexual relationships with two Ohio State football players, she was not “acting for her own sexual gratification” as a report released by the university alleged…

… No NCAA violations occurred, and no crimes were committed. If a sexual relationship began, Bassani said, she would end the client-masseuse relationship.

The “client-masseuse relationship”.  Sounds incredibly classy.

What I’m trying to work out in my head is how getting a tat was a bigger NCAA problem for Ohio State than players getting laid in the course of a client-masseuse relationship.  What a country, eh?

36 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football

A different sort of competitive advantage

It’s 2018.  Urban Meyer is forced to take administrative leave at Ohio State because of Zach Smith.  What about ‘crootin’, man?

Um… interesting coincidence here, since you ask.

A massage therapist has been barred from Ohio State’s campus and from having any interaction with Ohio State athletics members after an independent investigation found she had engaged in inappropriate and exploitative behavior targeting members of the Buckeyes football team.

The university released statements and a full report on the investigation, concluding that the massage therapist had no affiliation with the university or its athletics department and that the school does not believe any NCAA rules were violated. The massage therapist is a 41-year-old woman who lives roughly two hours north of campus and obtained her massage therapy license in 2009 in Ohio…

An investigation began after a complaint filed on March 14, 2020, with the State Medical Board of Ohio that alleged a female licensed massage therapist was offering free therapeutic massages to members of the Ohio State football team. She had been using the massages as a “means to initiate sexual interactions with some of the football student athletes, and then demanding payment,” according to the investigation report.

… The firm found that the massage therapist used two methods to attempt to initiate sexual encounters — isolating the student-athletes to get them in a vulnerable position or sending out “overtly sexual messages and see[ing] if she could engage their interest in a sexual encounter” — according to the report.

The report states that this scheme took place from 2018 to 2021, mainly in off-campus housing or in hotels, but that no current or former staff members for the Ohio State football team were aware of the massage therapist or of her communication with the student-athletes.

Sure, right.  Subject never came up.  For two solid years…

48 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football

Bloggers who post in glass houses…

You know, I wasn’t going to mention the Rush Propst tape that popped up this weekend, in which he claims detailed knowledge about how Alabama and Georgia are paying recruits and players — for one thing, to observe that Propst has monumental credibility issues is almost an understatement, and for another, not being able to pronounce Nick Chubb’s name correctly just adds to that — but I can’t let this bit of unintentional comedy slide without saying something.

WHAT? NO WAY! I know this is going to come as a complete shock to all of you, but it looks like Georgia and Alabama are allegedly (this word was inserted at my lawyer’s request) swinging bags of cash to secure the talents of the nation’s top teens.

Do I believe pretty much every word of that without even blinking? Absolutely. Do I think Georgia and Alabama are the only schools doing that? Absolutely not. But I do know that Georgia is especially egregious.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen some out-of-state kid with absolutely no previous connection Georgia trend towards another school for months with the Bulldogs seemingly not even in the conversation only to suddenly commit to Georgia – sometimes even before stepping foot on campus. It could not be more obvious, and anyone who follows recruiting even a little bit could tell you. It ain’t exactly a secret.

Does my beloved alma mater do this, too? I genuinely don’t know. At the very least, they aren’t doing it in broad daylight and daring anybody to say something like Kirby’s been doing in Athens for years. So they’re either clean or much better at hiding it.

“I genuinely don’t know.”  Dude.  Ohio State hired Urban Meyer with the express purpose of bringing OSU’s recruiting up to SEC standards.  What exactly did y’all think that entailed?  But, sure, your program is as clean as the driven snow.  I’ll try to stop giggling now.

88 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football, Georgia Football, It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant