1 April 2010 7 Comments

The Real Story on CFB Expansion

Author: socalspud

After over a decade of relative stability in the world of BCS college football change is in the air.  Rumors abound and speculation of where teams may end up is certainly the game of the day.  The change may vary from a minor shaker to CFB’s version of The Big One.  The extent of those aftershocks are in reality held in the hands of two schools — The University of Texas and Notre Dame University.

So we are just on the same page lets define the perameters here.

MINOR SHAKER — Boise State to the Mountain West is probably the most obvious and expected move on the CFB landscape.

THE BIG ONE — 64to 80  schools who are tired of the wanna-be BCS schools grabbing too much of their pie they break away en toto from the NCAA and form a new organization for collegiate athletics … complete with billion dollar TV contracts, their own championships, no anti-trust exemption but still more money than your favorite Deity.

While on the surface it may appear the appearances of schools like Utah, Boise State, TCU, and Hawaii in the Bowl Championship Series could be a driving force here  the reality is that $9 million or so a year ($13.5 in 2009-10)  is merely a nusiance expense in the overall scheme of things.  No, these battle lines were drawn when the Big Ten launched its little ol’ TV netowrk which now each of the 11 schools holds $30-40 million of equity in depending on the current financial climate of the day; and, the day the SEC inked its 15-year, $3 billion TV deal with CBS and ESPN.

When conferences like the Big Ten and Pac-10 which have collectively seen three schools added in the past 35 years you know there is more to this than mere internet fodder or speculation.  All of a sudden criteria like academics and competitiveness are replaced by the size of the TV markets of the potential movers and shakers.

The trick here is no conference wants to move on second-tier schools and suddenly find out its rival(s) have secured the A-listers.  Truly, only Notre Dame and Texas virtually contol their own desitiny. 

Texas grossed $138 million last year which included a healthy profit given to the Horns’ academic side.  They control the Big XII both athletically AND politically.  THe Pac-10, Big Ten, and probably the SEC would gladly love to lasso televsion footprint that UT brings.  But where is the reason for Texas to change the status quo ???  THEY love it.  It benefits THEM.  Problem is, many of the other schools in the Big XII DONT like it. 

Colorado has gone from a national championship now nearly 20 years ago to a mere afterthought in the world of CFB.  The Pac-10 sees the Denver TV market as the possible lynchpin for virgin territory in the Pac-12 Network coming to a cable or satellite system near you by fall, 2012.  Problem is, the Big XII has a two-year notice clause and a helfty buyout amounting to a full year of revenue from the conference which will be in the $7-10 million range.    With the Big Ten sniffing at fellow Big XII North members Missouri, Nebraska, and Kansas the powers-that-be in Boulder may have come to the conclusion that getting out while the getting is good might be the best move.

I say Colorado and Utah to the Pac-12 IS HAPPENING and WILL HAPPEN within the next three months.  The Pac-10 has few other choices.  The Pac doesnt call themselves the “Conference of Champions” for nothing.  It takes a lot to get a seat at its table.  One can say the Pac-10 wont look that far east but have you ever taken that Tucson to Pullman roadie ???  Some claim BYU and Utah is a better choice but culturally the Cougs just dont mesh with California politics.

Notre Dame has been the object of Big Ten love since … well, probably the Immaculate Conception.  So far the Irish have chosen to remain on a football island … clinging to the past while CFB moves on down the road.    I see the status quo continuing.  The ONLY thing that will get the Irish into the conference game is if there is a complete breakaway from the NCAA of 64 to 80 teams … and I just dont see that happening right away … it may be the end game of this upheaval but it is surely NOT the opening gambit.

So that brings us back to the minor shaker.  Boise State to the MWC.  I also see this happening in the next three months.  If the MWC loses Utah then adding BSU has gone from a good, solid move to an imperative. 

But the folks sitting on the nuclear trigger are in Austin, Texas.  If they BELEIVE the Big XII North is going to disintegrate thanks to the Big Ten then the Longhorns will be forced to act.  And whether they look West, North, or East is still up in the air.  But they won’t be able to stand pat.

7 Responses to “The Real Story on CFB Expansion”

  1. fromolwyoming 1 April 2010 at 1:40 am #

    I don’t know if it is a done deal or not. I say this because the Utah AD (the other main candidate) has claimed not to have been contacted and that the Pac board is looking to have a CCG with only 10 teams.

  2. B-town Buckeye 1 April 2010 at 1:40 pm #

    Good article. Like the site.

  3. socalspud 1 April 2010 at 2:57 pm #

    Thanks for stopping by guys … I appreciate the comments … I still believe both moves are on tap for 2010 … its up to CU … the Pac-10 is NOT going to expand just to expand … the Denver TV market is the key for its new netowrk gaining a larger footprint …

    But for the Oliver Stone ilk joining us today there could be a financial downside to the six BCS conferences if the Pac-10 stands pat this summer.

    A Boise State invite to the MWC without a Utah exit means the records of both Utah and BSU will count in the current 4-yr BCS evaluation period which ends after the 2011 season.

    With BOTH Utah and the Broncos the MWC is a lock to finish in the top 50 percnet of the D-1 CFB leagues … the third category … overall league strength is the rub. WITHOUT BSU the MWC is about 10 places out of the magical 5th out of 11 in overall league strength.

    Right now the hoop is set at about an average of 49 out of 120 schools for the fifth place league … the MWC is about 60 after two years … Boise State alone closes half the gap to about 55 out of 120 … but it doesnt get the MWC to the current promised land.

    To meet the last stated criteria of the BCS head-honchos of Top 50 percent in ALL THREE CATEGORIES to become a BCS league the MWC is going to have to earn it on the field in its OOC games over the next two years.

    What a novel concept … earning something on the field.

    But since the super-secret formula has Manhattan Project type security … who doesnt think if the MWC meets the criteria set out by the BCS the hoops will suddenly move higher quicker than a lion tamer can crack his whip ???

    The NYT can expose deep, dark CIA secrets on a nearly daily basis but the BCS expansion formula is a secret ????

    A game of three-card Monty would seem fairer.

  4. keeper 4 April 2010 at 9:53 pm #

    I can’t help thinking that the current BCS setup isn’t going anywhere and standing pat unless legal action from the MWC or the Feds forces their hand. But waiting for that to happen could leave Utah, Boise, Colorado, the entire BigEast and maybe even Notre Dame way behind. The Pac does not want to
    expand, but their pitiful TV contracts leave them no choice.
    Indeed, the Big12 is on shaky ground, the SEC would take Texas
    and A&M in a heartbeat, and the BigEast may have to bail its football ops. The nellies will certainly be nervous if NCAA doesn’t change bylaw to allow 10 or 11 team championship game. Then the circus will begin for real.

  5. Travis 17 April 2010 at 11:19 pm #

    Who will the Big 12 take if CU leaves?

    • fromolwyoming 21 July 2010 at 11:29 pm #

      From the sounds of it, it looks like they are staying at 10 for awhile.

  6. Steve 27 April 2010 at 1:52 pm #

    The BS (aka: BCS) is just the Mafia of college football. It is so much designed to keep about sixty schools “fat and happy”, at the destruction of all other schools.

    The other FBS schools and FCS and rest of college football schools at every level should take these fat cats to court and collect 100 billion dollars from these jerks.