Monday, June 7, 2010

College Football Dominoes

Change is a comin' in College Football, and Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany may well be the smartest person in the room.

Delany has long scuttled any attempt at creating an NCAA Football Tournament. While he's admitted in the past a tournament is probably in the best interest of the NCAA, he always points out he doesn't work for the NCAA, and a tournament isn't in the best interest of the Big Ten.

Here's a very interesting article by Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel:

Big 12 blew it by eschewing playoff

Because Delany's prevented any tournament from forming (and stopped the surge of money it would generate), he's made TV revenue the only growth area in college football, with his Big Ten Network leading the charge. Now the Big Ten wants to expand and their added TV revenue looks mighty attractive to cash strapped programs. The Pac-10 has now accelerated its expansion program, leaving the Big Ten and Pac-10 (the two staunches opponents of any playoff system) poised to carve up the Big 12 between them.


How will it all break down? No one knows. The changes could be minor, with the Pac-10 picking up two teams (Colorado and Utah) and the Big Ten just one (Notre Dame). And don't laugh about Notre Dame. Apparently the Big Ten is focusing all of its energy on ND right now with the school's governors split down the middle. The Big Ten would eschew all other teams and stop its expansion at one if that one was the Irish.

Or the changes could be major. The Big Ten is also interested in Texas, as is the Pac-10. Supposedly Colorado won't leave the Big 12 for the Pac-10 unless Texas comes too. Meanwhile all twelve Big 12 schools want to stay in the Big 12 if all twelve schools stay. But if Texas goes, Nebraska doesn't want to stay and vice versa. The Big 12 has told Nebraska and Missouri they have until June 15 to tell them if they're committed to staying. If they can't commit, half the Big 12 will likely join the Pac-10 (Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Colorado) and play in a conference with the two Arizona teams.

But the Big Ten has made no guarantees that they'll make any offers to any teams before November.

So if you're Nebraska, do you not commit in hopes that when November rolls around you get an invite into the Big Ten and risk getting left out of a major conference? Or do you commit to staying in the Big 12 for less money? If they commit then all the dominoes probably stand back up and Big 12 stays as it is. But if the Big Ten decides to up its timetable and make offers to Nebraska and Missouri now, then the dominoes will all start falling.


UPDATE: Monday's Latest: The Pac-10 Makes a Move

The Big Ten has supposedly offered a spot to Notre Dame and given them a deadline to accept. If Notre Dame accepts, the Big Ten has agreed not to add any more teams. If Notre Dame declines, the Big Ten has told Notre Dame they will definitely expand to 16 teams. Those 5 extra teams would likely include Nebraska and Missouri. Meanwhile the Pac-10 is likely to start inviting six Big 12 teams this week. They would likely only accept if Nebraska leaves for the Big Ten.

Why would Notre Dame accept? Because they fear a world with four 16-team super-conferences with ND left out, which is what would almost certainly happen if they decline and Nebraska accepts and offer from the Big Ten.

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