Thursday, June 10, 2010

More conference shake up thoughts

With Colorado officially in the Pac 10 and Nebraska all but certain to join the Big Ten, the national game of musical chairs has begun. Although rarely mentioned, BC is a player in all of this. We have a great (yet not threatening) combination of TV/sports/academics. We have ties to the ACC, the Big East and Notre Dame. BC would be a nice piece to any conference, but where will we land? Here is my speculation and thoughts on some of the players and issues at hand.

BC to the Big Ten?

While this is not a strong rumor like "Rutgers to the Big Ten" or "Mizzou to the Big Ten" there are still some whispers about it. If the Big Ten wants to reach that deep into the northeast and hit up as many TV homes as possible, I could see their interest. But I think the Big Ten will approach at least five other schools before they come to BC. If the Big Ten did approach BC, I think we would have to go. The money alone is reason enough, but the long term security of being in the premiere athletic conference makes sense. However, I wonder if our leadership would be willing to go down that path again...

Father Leahy and Gene D
I don't know if many BC fans understand the personal and professional pain Father Leahy and Gene went through during the ACC expansion. They both bet their careers and legacies on the move. They were vilified in public by supposed friends and former colleagues and were sued personally. We and they are fortunate it all worked out. Now it is time again for more politically jockeying and backroom dealing. Are these two still game? If BC were to do something bold like ditch the ACC for the Big Ten, we would look like the biggest money hungry, disloyal school in the country? And Gene would be called every greed inspired insult in the book. I don't think this will become an issue since I don't think the Big Ten will come calling, but our leadership and their willingness to play ball this time around is a factor.

Where do we want to be?

I think given all that could happen, BC would prefer to stay in the ACC in its present configuration. If the ACC falls apart or starts to seriously lag behind the other conferences in revenue, then things could change.

ESPN, The SEC and The ACC

The only way the ACC falls apart is if the SEC raids the conference. As regular readers know, I feared raid as recently as this week. Now not as much. This is all speculation on my part, but I think the logic holds. SEC Commissioner Mike Slive has admitted that their deal with ESPN does allow for more money if the SEC expands. But I imagine ESPN must have protected itself with a provision regarding who they would be willing to pay more for. You have to assume ESPN is not willing to pay a premium for content it already has. So I could see why they would pay more if the SEC secured Texas or Texas A&M. ESPN doesn't have an all inclusive deal with the Big 12, so those programs would be considered new content. However, the ACC and ESPN are already in bed together. ESPN owns it all. Why would they suddenly be willing to pay more for FSU or Miami? Surely they won't let the SEC hold them up like that. Also, ESPN's new deal with the ACC is indirect incentive for the network to keep the ACC whole. If the ACC is raided, ESPN's ACC inventory would be in jeopardy. The Pac 16 and Big 10 have or will have their own cable networks. They are independent of ESPN. There are no other players out there for ESPN to "partner" with. For better or worse, the SEC, ACC and ESPN are all intertwined. If they SEC expands now, I don't see it being at the ACC and ESPN's expense.

If the ACC is raided

Then we are back looking at a leftover conference filled with the remnants of the Big East, Big 12 and ACC. This would probably still be a BCS conference, but it would lack in geographic, institutional, historic and economic relevancy. This would probably be the worst case scenario, but we would survive. We could potentially be a big fish in this small pond, but the money and marketing lost would hurt the athletic department long term.

What do I think will happen

The situations keep changing, but right now I actually think the ACC will be okay. I think we stay at 12 teams and don't lose any members. I don't know how long that will last, but my guess is another five years. Eventually a playoff will come and things will get reshuffled again.


chicagofire1871 said...

Something that still needs to be explained to me is this:

If the conference television networks have limitless earning potential like the BTN or possible PAC-16 Network, why would Nebraska of all schools be invited to teh Big 10? If TV revenues are fueling expansion, would Rutgers, Maryland, or heck BC be higher on the Big Ten's list than Nebraska? History be damned.

blist said...

What is going on now will certainly bring congress in-- too much money is being made and untaxed & too many institutions getting shafted for it not too (& the only thing it seems congress ever stayson top of is sports.$
BC needs to align itself with schools it wants to be with inthe next round of shuffling when reform pushes schools back to smaller conferences. If we can, we & nd should stick together - the alumni may dislike each other , but really our goals and ethos is the same. As much as I like the ACC, I don't think southern schools will stick with us, given the short history we have together.

Soxx22 said...

I heard a rumor on the radio here in Atlanta yesterday that Oklahoma will join the SEC (which probably means Ok St as well) - seems strange at first but actually makes a ton of sense.

SectionKK said...

blist, I like ND alums. It's their football team I don't like.

I think the Big 10 will take a couple Big East schools, probably some combination of Pitt, West Virginia and Rutgers. I don't see UConn fitting in.

I'd then like to see the ACC take a couple northern schools like UConn or Syracuse. That would really benefit BC because it would help re-balance the league more towards the north. I'm sick of the southern schools in the ACC (mostly the ones in NC) talking about how BC is not a good cultural/geographical fit. And as much as I dislike UConn, it's silly we don't play each other right now.

Erik said...

This is like a middle school popularity contest.

Erik said...

According to Herald, Boston is the likely host of 2014 Frozen Four. Hockey East is the host.

Bravesbill said...

I don't think the Big 12 remnants are a lock to join the Big East and ACC remnants either. The MWC specifically chose not to expand by adding Boise St. to see what happened with the realignment. It would make a ton of sense for the Big 12 remnants esp. the two Kansas teams to join the MWC. The MWC would be a stronger conference in football and would be strong in b-ball as well. The MWC is already looking at getting an automatic BCS berth even without new teams. Plus, its a much better geographical fit for the Big 12 leftovers. If they went to the MWC, BC and the ACC scraps would be even more screwed.

eagleboston said...

If BC has a shot to join the Big Ten (I doubt they will get an invite unless Notre Dame demands it as a condition of joining) they would be fools not to do so. The money and the fit culturally as well as meteorologically is better than the ACC. Also, keep in mind that Leahy is an Iowa boy who grew up in Big 10/Big 8 country.

However, my bet is that Maryland or Georgia Tech get the Big 10 nod and Va Tech or Clemson will get snapped by the SEC. The ACC, looking to get more TV sets, would look to Notre Dame, assuming they do not go to the Big Ten or the best fits (which there are not many) from the Big East.

I also have another vision for the remnants of the Big 12. I see Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and possibly Missouri hooking up with the Big East, not the Mountain West. The travel costs would be less and the Big East TV sets offer more than the Mountain West.

Now, ACC fans need to pray that the SEC expands not be raiding the ACC. but rather by going after Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A and M. That is the best scenario for keeping the ACC mostly intact.

Buckle your seatbelts! This is going to be a heck of a ride!

SaturdaysOnShea said...

After looking at all the scenarios and different ways this could pan out, I really don't think the ACC is going to be affected as much as people think. For starters, like ATL said, the only real threat to the ACC is the SEC and they seem to happy to maintain the status quo at least in their own conference. Really, the SEC is the premier conference in college football right now which, if we're all honest, does dwarf even college basketball where they are still a competitive force. As long as the SEC keeps winning, I think it will stay as is and if it decides to expand I think it would look west to Texas instead of east to FSU or Miami.

Additionally, I don't think any conferences, the Big 12 most importantly, are going to look east to replace Colorado or (potentially) Nebraska. I think if the Big 12 moves to replace any teams it loses its going to be with MWC schools and Boise State.

As long as we stay somewhat relevant in the BCS games (that is getting teams highly ranked, winning our bowls, etc.) as well as being competitive in the tournament (the only time you'll ever hear me say thank god for Duke) then the ACC will be fine.

eagleboston said...

By the way, West Virginia will not get an offer to the Big 10. Their lack of academics are not a good fit and they offer nothing in terms of tv sets. You could argue the same about Nebraska however, Nebraska brings a lot more eyeballs than you would think and they are a research university. No way will WV get a Big Ten nod.

Georgia Tech on the other hand....

BCDisco said...

Most of you already know this, but for the sake of completeness: Boise St to the MWC.

Eagle in Somerville said...

The Big 10 won't take any school that is not in the AAU. BC is not, therefore, BC will not be considered.

Bravesbill said...

That is why the MWC would be better for the Big 12 remnants. I would argue that travel costs would be less (MWC has teams in Wyoming, Texas, 2 in Utah, 2 in Colorado, 1 in Idaho, and 1 in NM and NV; even SD is not that far away). Plus I would also contend that the MWC would have more TV sets. What TV sets would a reject Big East conference have? Cincy? WV? Louisville? South Florida? At least the MWC has San Diego, Denver, Vegas, and even SLC, which are bigger than most Big East reject cities. Plus, the MWC would be more competitive in football, and it would still have good bball.

Bravesbill said...

And if the Big 10 expands purely for financial reasons, how could they not take BC? It would open up the Boston market for the Big 10 network.

BCDisco said...

Official: Nebraska to the Big 10 (soon to be renamed the AAU 12). I think the only non-AAU school the Big 10 would take is ND.

eagleboston said...


Good points about the Mountain West cities.

I believe the Big Ten Network is already in Boston. My brother has it on his cable system, so adding BC would only make sense if there are cable systems in New England that don't already have the Big Ten Network. I guess if the Network had an actual team in Boston they could sell local advertising. That might be the hook.

CT said...

If you were Texas, with the biggest athletic dept. in the country, why go to the SEC and make it harder for yourself to get to a BCS bowl every year? Go to the Pac-10. You're still king of the castle. USC is trending down for the moment. Oregon's QB was kicked off the team. Come in and rule the roost right away and get the recruits as a result. It's a no-brainer. No way I'd go to the SEC and lose 3 or 4 times every year.

The bottom line is this: if the Pac-10 adds Texas, Oklahoma, etc. and the Big 10 adds Nebraska and whomever, the SEC will respond and the ACC will get pushed further down the totem pole, esp. if FSU or Clemson or VTech leaves.

As it stands now, conference expansion sucks for the ACC. Who would replace FSU if they do leave? UConn? Syracuse? Seriously?

You don't want to be the one without a chair when the music stops. But with such small private schools anchoring the conference, we may have no choice but to add another semi-serious program like ECU or SFU.

Do you hear any big-time programs saying, "hey, we should join the ACC?"

Still a basketball conference.

mod34b said...

CT our man with the SEC-is-king and ACC is second rate point of view.

Fear not. The ACC will prosper and the Eagles will still soar

Bravesbill said...

Uh, the SEC is still the king (until the Pac 16 is formed) and the ACC is still a basketball conference. How many BCS games has the ACC won? That's what I thought.

mod34b said...

Very gloomy bbill.