Monday, August 01, 2011

Conference Shuffle 2011: Where is BC's best home?

With Texas and Texas A&M fighting over the new Longhorn Network, it looks like another conference reshuffle might happen soon. Add in the Pac 12's bold new TV plan and it makes sense for the SEC, Big Ten and Pac 12 to all expand to 16 teams. The question then becomes which 16 and how can BC position itself for the future. I foresee three scenarios. None are great, but let me know what you think.

1. Current ACC + 4 new members
This is my ideal setup. It keeps BC with enough like-minded schools. We wouldn't be overwhelmed by the competition and would probably result in a new ACC TV network. The downside is we would probably have to add schools we don't care for like UConn, Rutgers or West Virginia. But this future would provide the most continuity, stability and keep us where we belong academically and geographically.

2. BC joins the Big Ten
This might be the most far fetched, but I think it is much more realistic than people suspect. As I've said before the Big Ten would want TV markets, respectable sports and academics. BC provides all three. We would also add a boost to the fledgling Big Ten Hockey Conference. This would take a lot of political maneuvering and we would really have to sell the Big Ten on why BC makes more sense than some of their other candidates. But if the Big Ten added Notre Dame, Rutgers and Syracuse, BC would fit in well. That combination would also assure the Big Ten of the northeast TV markets.

3. BC joins the ACC and Big East leftovers.
This is my fear. In this scenario a few of the ACC's top football programs defect to the SEC and we are left to backfill with the Big East. Although if these dominoes fall, I think the Big East backfill could be teams like USF and UConn as opposed to Pitt or even a Rutgers. It would probably be a good basketball conference, but I don't think it would get much respect from the football media or our fanbase.

There are plenty of ifs in all of this. My focus is always on what is best for BC. Ultimately, I think the status quo. Unfortunately the status quo never lasts in college sports. We need a conference where we can compete, keep up with top revenue producers and stay relevant. I think aligning ourselves with Big Ten is the best bet. But will they want us?


mod34b said...

BC is such a mismatch with Big Ten teams (much more so that with the ACC as a whole), I just can't see it happening.

BC v Nebraska? OSU? Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois etc. not too appealing. but a few appealing teams: PSU, Michigan, and maybe NU and MSU.

Big Jack Krack said...

I haven’t been following this very much, but I note the following: Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott reiterated last week what he told in May. " ... It's my view there will be further expansion down the road," Scott said during the Pac-12 media days.

Texas A&M appears to have leverage with a potential move to the SEC. That could lead to a tsunami of conference realignment if other conferences are forced to react within the marketplace.

Why wait for the dominoes to fall? I think that Swofford should be proactive. If some leagues can go to 16, why not be bold and go for 24? Wrap up the entire East (I’ll never understand TCU).

Big East and ACC merge and form “The Big ACC”

West Virginia
Add 3 teams such as ECU, Navy, and UCF and re-align. Notre Dame will have to pledge its commitment or join. The greatest coup would be to entice Penn State back into the East and the Big ACC.


The realignment wouldn't have to be North Division and South Division, but each division could draw on teams from both areas. This could lead to strengthening all of the programs that need it.

What the heck - we're just killing time until practice begins and we amp up for Northwestern! :-)

WI_Eagle said...

mod34b -

BC has 1,068 undergraduates from Big Ten states (12% of total undergrads). (Pennsylvania - 317, Ohio - 140, Indiana - 19, Illinois - 275, Michigan - 57, Wisconsin - 72, Minnesota - 151, Iowa - 12, and Nebraska - 25).

And only 716 from ACC states (8% of total undergrads. (Maryland - 217, Virginia - 109, North Carolina - 36, South Carolina - 9, Georgia - 55, Florida - 290).

I think the Big Ten is much more of a cultural match for BC than Dixieland (note that I am partial having grown up in Wisconsin....but I hate the Badgers). Much larger Catholic population, lots of Irish heritage, similar weather, etc.

I really like our ACC set-up right now, but if if things get reshuffled I think we would be a great fit in the Big Ten.

On a side note, I can see why BC wanted to use the move to the ACC to start drawing more students from Dixieland. Only 36 from North Carolina and 55 from Georgia?!?! Those are big states, especially compared to Minnesota (151 students). I know they hate Catholics, yankees, the Battle of Bull Run, and snow, but wow, those numbers surprise me.

mod34b said...

Catholic hating? I know Bob Jones University (aka BJ U) from S.C. is a big Catholic hating place, but is that true or even semi-true throughout the south?

if so, maybe the move to the ACC really was a page out of the old Jesuit crusade book of proslytzing to the heathens!

BCDoubleEagle said...

Interesting point, but note that there are nine states in Big Ten country vs. only six in ACC country, so that's why there are so many more students at BC from Big Ten land -- it's just bigger. On a per-state basis, there are almost exactly the same number of students from the two regions. 1068 / 9 = 118.6 and
716 / 6 = 119.3

BCDoubleEagle said...
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Big Jack Krack said...

WI_Eagle - where did you get those numbers of graduates? They seem awfully low to me, although they may be highly accurate.

It seems to me that I have a CD from several years ago sent to me by the school that lists a lot more graduates in each state highlighted here.

Scott said...

If the big 10 expanded again, they would start with Missouri and Notre Dame., and probably stop there. 14?works justbas good as 16.

There is no need to act fast on any big east schools, because they are not in play, newsworthy, or accretive to any conference. The only way the big 10 poaches is if they must destroy the big east to pry away Notre dame. Pitt is the next bet match, but PSU is opposed.

If the ACC expands, it should target vandy, Pitt, and Syracuse. The SEC would gladly shed vandy or another big 12 school. The ACC will never talk to uconn after the law suit.

My main fear with sec expansion is they would target Clemson and va tech, though ESPN would probably force the SEC to poach from another network's conference .... So it's good that the big 12 is under duress.

Scott said...

WI eagle, while I agree the big 10 is a better regional fit, the ACC is the better cultural fit for a smaller, private university that places a huge focus on academics and undergraduates. Our peers are Duke, UVA, Wake, Ga Tech, Miami, UNC. The big 10 are massive land grant graduate research institutes, which is the problem with Notre dame.

Also, your alumni geography stats are focusing on the wrong number ... Ignore static numbers, and focus on developing trends. The rustbelt is a decaying region, with a fast shrinking economy, income base and population. The long term health of BC as a national university requires a presence in the mid-Atlantic and south, which is where all the growth and prosperity lies. BC's admissions and admins have said this many times.

WI_Eagle said...

The statistics I used are for current undergrad students (academic year 2010-2011). Again, I like our place in the ACC and agree with Scott that we need a good presence there b/c that is where the economic growth is. I'm just saying that I don't think it would be awkward at all if we "had" to join the Big Ten due to conference reshuffling. It would be a natural fit in a lot of ways.

Plus, it is debatable if the ACC is better academically than the Big Ten (I can't believe I'm saying this because I always take the other side of this argument with friends from home, but anyway....). Each conference has one school in the USNWR top 20 (Duke is 9th, Northwestern is 12th). The ACC then has six more in the top 50 -- UVA (25th tie), Wake (25th tie), UNC (30th), BC (31st), Georgia Tech (35th), and Miami (47th) in the top 50. The Big Ten has four more in the top 50 -- Michigan (29th), Wisconsin (45th), Penn State (47th), and Illinois (47th). So clearly the ACC wins the upper half of the conference. But, the Big Ten's worst ranking is Michigan State at 79th. The ACC has the pathetic FSU at 104th and NC State at 111th. That's worse than the esteemed institutions of Alabama (79th), Vermont (94th), and UMass (99th). So you could argue that the bottom of the ACC is considerably worse than the Big Ten and therefore the Big Ten is better overall. I don't put much weight into the USNWR rankings, but it provides for good argument fodder.

Anyway, let's go Eagles.

John said...


Scott said...
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Scott said...

I agree with you. If conference maneuvering forced BC's hand, the Big 10 is a awesome 1B option for BC (particularly if done in tandem with ND). Those are good schools & a great conference. I just think the ACC is a better peer group.

In fact, I would view the Big 10 as a superior option to a 16 team ACC watered down by 4 Big East schools .... particularly if it included Rutgers & UCONN. I'd be okay with Syracuse & Pitt

As for the US news rankings, the weakness of them is that the rankings for "National Universities" are not pure measures of the undergraduate education, they also take into account facets of the graduate programs & overall university. (such as dollars spent per student & student/faculty ratio includes dollars & chairs largely dedicated to research).

eagleboston said...

Big Ten without a question. 1) They have a hockey league now (does anyone else in the ACC field a hockey team?) 2) Big Ten Network carried nation-wide. 3) Big Ten Network 4) Big Ten Network 5) Opportunity to play traditional powerhouses Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Penn State. 6) Opportunity to play our twin team, the Iowa Hawkeyes. 7) Opportunity to play a fellow academic school, Northwestern 8) We would play schools that don't think in terms of Yankees and Confederates. 9) Big Ten schools in the Midwest would travel well bringing tourism dollars to Boston.

On the other hand, I love the ACC and truly hope realignment does not occur.

Coast said...

What would conferences think about Miami, VT, and BC jumping ship twice in a decade? Keep in mind the three schools were in an automatic-qualifying conference to begin with (it's not like TCU jumping from the WAC to MWC to Big East). How willing would conferences (in this case, the Big Ten) be to take a chance on BC? Who can say BC won't leave the next time a sexy conference has an opening?

chicagofire1871 said...

Typically when BC people talk about 2 Big East teams to pair us with it's almost always PITT and 'Cuse. I wonder if fans of those schools look at it the same way. Do Pitt and Cuse consider themselves to be linked in future expansion?

Teej said...

What also never gets talked about is that the bigger the conferences, the worse off for BC. Now we'd have to compete with 15 other teams to win a conference crown. Since we'd never get a BCS at large, this just hurts us more...

DougBushBC said...

The scariness of the 3rd option is almost enough to say that either 1 or 2 should be actively pursued at a university level. Either works to be honest, although the "conference jumper" tag isn't really something I love to think about.

My greatest fear would be as follows:

1) TA&M leaves B12 and joins SEC, forcing SEC to go from 12 to 16. Their next 3 logical picks would likely include: Clemson (almost certainly their #1 as it just fits), FSU, VaTech, Miami and GaTech. The odd one out there is Miami, but it is a market that SEC would gain a ton in. GaTech used to be in the SEC, and FSU has natural rivalries with UF and some relationships to the SEC.

If they take any 3 of those schools, and the B10 stays put, we are left with a half-cocked ACC that could suck up a few BE schools to make an even weaker conference.

If they take the 3 ACC schools and the P12 and B10 decide they have to take 16 if SEC takes 16, then all shit breaks loose. I think BC is left on the outside looking in of a 16 team B10 if SEC moves first.

So the long and short is that if B10 is a realistic opportunity, and ACC ISN'T going to try for 16, we have to push the move before everything else goes down.

Thats my .02c

BCMike said...

"Only 36 from North Carolina and 55 from Georgia?!?!

Prior to the ACC expansion, we generally had 5-10. It keeps on increasing every year.

BCDoubleEagle said...

In 2004, there were 42 students from NC and 49 from Georgia, so that's pretty much the same as now. The last time BC only had 5-10 students from NC and Georgia was the early 1980's. You can find all this info at

NEDofSavinHill said...

If demographics are destiny, why not think big? Delaney has fequently mused about the Sun Belt re: expansion. Swafford and Delaney should discuss a merger of the ACC and the Big Ten. It worked for Exxon-Mobil; it could be a home run for the ACC and Big 10. You could then force N.D. to join forming the Big 25. The Big 25 would be the best conference:
1. academically, 2. financially,
3. in football, 4. in basketball, and 5. in hockey. The BIG 10 tv network could be expanded and have a national reach. If you look at the NFL top 100 the Big 25 would have produced 38 players (22 ACC and 15 Big 10 (with Nebraska) and 1 from Notre Dame) dwarfing the SEC's 13,the PAC 10's 9 and the Big 12's and Big East's 7. No other conference combination could rival it.

BarraCuda said...

WI_Eagle - The southerners don't have a problem with either battle of Bull Run, as they won both, unless you're referring to a problem of it being called such; the Confederates called them 1st and 2nd Manassas.

As a hockey fan I would HATE a move to Big 10 hockey, as I enjoy going to local away games. Football and basketball would be slight positives: the former because of an increase in the number of attractive teams and the latter because we'd probably do a little better. I suppose both of those points are debatable.

BCDoubleEagle said...

Anyone else following the 100 Yards to Glory feature on No. 80 is still painful to think about. No. 82 isn't much fun, either.

Alex L. said...

I can't believe we're talking about this again. It hasn't even been 10 years since the last change.

mmason said...

I'm with you, Alex. Is all this conference expansion talk a sign of the massive degree of terminal boredom everyone currently suffers collectively due to the lack of real college football in our lives? Well, Hell, yes! Go Eagles! Save us from the Doldrums of Meaningless B.S.! What's next? More jabber about the Debt Ceiling? Michelle Bachman's Opinions of the ACC? It's 102 degrees in SoCal and I'm headin' to the Beach before our heads explode! (Ever to Excel, BC Nation!)

BCMike said...

In 2004, there were 42 students from NC and 49 from Georgia, so that's pretty much the same as now. The last time BC only had 5-10 students from NC and Georgia was the early 1980's. You can find all this info at

My apologies. My info source was anectdotal from BC folks here in Atlanta who said this was the case. I guess they were mistaken, and I in turn.

Scott said...

For Dougbush, I shared your concerns for a while. The SEC will want to grab a few schools to force a renegotiation of their TV deal and "keep up with the Joneses (i.e. Pac 10)". But that's exactly what will force the SEC to pillage only the Big 12, and not the ACC.

ESPN has almost $4Billion invested in the SEC & ACC for the next 10 years. So ESPN already owns those regions and slots. Moving Clemson/FSU from the ACC to SEC doesn't create new value for ESPN, and it probably hurts ESPN *by forcing the ACC to pillage crappy Big East School."

Bottom line, the SEC will have to point its Snipper gun at the Big 12, starting with Texas A&M, Oklahoma. But why not stop at 14? There is no magic to 16.

chicagofire1871 said...

BC DE, you're right #80 is hard to watch. Even after seeing the replay I still can't figure out how that happened.

eagleboston said...

Yards to Glory - Yes #82 and #80 were embarrassing. But, don't worry, help is on the way. The cavalry will come in the form of Sir Doug Flutie, Duke of Natick and his miracle pass in Miami which I predict will be in the Top 5.

WI_Eagle said...

#80 is haunting....two observations: (I tortured myself by watching it about 50 times just now)...I think it was much more Ryan Read's fault than St. Pierre's....Read gets knocked off his route by the Miami CB, the timing gets all thrown off, and then he makes a half-assed attempt to at least knock the ball down. Second, that may have been pass interference. It is hard to tell if the pass has been released before or after the Miami DB shoves Read...its basically at the same moment.

NEDofSavinHill said...

The Pac 12 just got a 3 billion dollar tv deal over 12 years from espn and fox: over 20 mil per team per year. I assume this doesn't include the march madness money. If you could form the Big 25 you could exit all current deals which seem to substantially under-value the product. Remember content is king. In the eighties many lamented the Japanese taking over the tv and vcr manufacturing business. The authur George Gilder said not to worry, that they only controlled the hardware and that the software was the important ingredient and the U.S. still had that. The networks are only the platforms for delivering the product and are in reality a secondary cocern in today's technology.The Big 10-ACC expanded network could generate a significant increase for the league thus rendering the networks irrelevant. The speculation for the new NFL tv deal is that it will exceed 5 billion per year. The NFL is king, but there are about 35% to 40% as many college football tv fans as pro fans. College football tv deals should generate 1.5 to 1.8 billion yearly. The Big 25 should gross 500 to 600 mil yearly just for football. Add in b-ball,hockey etc. and with the cbs ncaa tourney money, you'd get up to 30 mil per team per year. An additional benefit of the merger would be to create a powerful entity that would dictate to the BCS and the NCAA. Imagine if the Pac 12 followed suit and merged withe the Big 12 plus BYU and Boise and formed the Pac 24. A national championship game could be played annually in the Rose Bowl pitting the Big 25 champ against the Pac 24 champ. The Nation could celebrate two champions, or have a playoff between the BIg 25 and PAC 24 champs. Let the SEC, Big East and Conference USA play for a lesser title, analagous to the wbc or wba boxing title.

BCDoubleEagle said...

Today's edition of 100 Yards to Glory is a vast improvement. See nos. 53 and 48. (I expected 48, of course, but not 53).

eagleboston said...

Yeah, #53 was a surprise. My wife was at that game as a BC Flag Waver (I used to call them "flag girls" but I'm sure that is not pc).

That makes BC involved in 4 of the first 60 yards to glory. Pretty cool. Anyone think Matt Ryan's toss at Va Tech will make the list? I think that was from somewhere between the 28 and 35 yard line.