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June 15, 2010

Expansion Wrap Up

Let's say you throw a party for kids in the neighborhood. And let's say that kids who attend the party receive $10 million per year for the next 20 years. While kids that don't attend the party lose $20 million a year for the next 20 years. What do you think will happen?

Of course, parents are going to want their kids there. Not just one kid mind you...but multiple kids. And don't forget cousins, grandchildren and nephews.

That's among the reasons why I said last month, that I didn't see a 16-team league happening.
In the end, I think the Big 10 will expand by 1 team and the Pac 10 will go to 12. And most of the 16 team talk is brilliantly aimed at getting the Big 10 the best possible team to reach out to them for inclusion.

From there, all the leagues will take a deep breath. Because the contractual complexities of moving to 16 teams in one or more conferences are just too great. And University presidents are too risk adverse.
Regardless, Andy Katz's article about the mysterious Trilateral Coalition / Black Hand stopping the Pac 10 expansion is the best read of the entire Bay of Pigskin roller coaster ride.

Two schools who faired better than most think in expansion are:
  • Iowa - The Hawkeyes and Huskers have only played six times since World War II, and only twice since Reagan's first term in office. This despite Lincoln being located only 60 miles from the Iowa state line. Right now, Iowa and Nebraska are on comparable footing in football. This is the perfect time for them to become rivals. More than likely, Iowa vs. Nebraska will become the season ending game for both programs, and that's the sort or big time match-up Iowa needs to raise demand for tickets. There's nothing like a heated border war to ignite the fan passion. Also, Iowa State can't sell area recruits on getting to face Nebraska every year. It's another hit to the Cyclones...which is also a win for Iowa.

  • Colorado - They are taking a lot of heat for leaving the Big XII, but it makes total sense to me. When the Buffs were at their best, they were recruiting heavily out of Los Angeles. The rumors are that the Buffs will be in the same division with UCLA and USC which means a yearly game in LA. They are trading in division games against Nebraska and 4 teams that hardly get anyone in that part of the world excited for USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State and likely Utah. That's a towering home run from a ticket sales and fan interest standpoint. TV money is great, but you have to recruit players and sell tickets to win games, and they are better positioned to do that than ever.
What's your overall thought on Expansion? Bottom line for me...I'm glad we ended up where we did at the BCS level, but I don't think we're done at the mid-major level. See next post for more info.



RC said...

Am I the only one on whom the irony of the WAC's role in this is not lost? I grew up out there, so it's a little more personal to me than most, but I always got a chuckle out of the fact that the WAC was one of the first to try the whole "super conference" thing, when they added teams like TCU, La Tech, and Boise, among others to original WAC teams like U Of U, BYU, CSU, Air Force, Wyoming, Hawaii, etc. It didn't take long for the original members to realize what a cluster they'd made, and most of the original WAC members took their toys and went home, sans the budget-draining trip to Hawaii and your already mentioned thrilling trip to Las Cruces, and form the Mountain West. And now all this.

What is it they say about those who don't study history?

As for Colorado's fit in the PAC-10, you're dead on. Plus, not even including athletes, their student body as a whole has a distinctively California flavor. It has long been known, derisively to some, as the University of California at Boulder. So let them have their cake...

As for The U (don't even get me started with Miami pirating that nickname) heading to the PAC-10 without BYU, color me shocked. I will believe they'll leave without one another when all the ink is dry.

Anonymous said...

I also think Iowa could come out of this as a big winner. They get a new rivalry against one of the historically winningest teams that also has a national fanbase. After ending in the top 10 four of the past 8 years this new rivalry could help further increase Iowa's college football profile.

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