Expandageddon Finally Here?

Although they have yet to put anything up on their website, ESPN has been reporting this morning that Texas A&M will announce on Monday that they are joining the SEC and Missouri, Clemson, and Florida State may be making the move with them, creating the type of Mega-Conference that the Pac-10 narrowly missed out on last year before anticlimactically adding Utah and Colorado.  Should this come to pass, the question then becomes how quickly will the rest of the dominoes fall?

It’s unlikely that Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott will sit back for long and let the SEC steal his thunder.  If A&M and Missouri are gone, the thin ice holding up the Big 12 will almost certainly crack.  Scott would love to get his hands on Oklahoma and Texas and would probably take Texas Tech and Oklahoma State as well, essentially giving him the same conference he almost had last summer.

And then, of course, there’s the Big Ten’s Jim Delany, who walked away the clear winner with Nebraska and a new championship game in last year’s round of expansion.  After finally bringing his old-fashioned conference up to date, how likely is he to let two other leagues render the move immediately obsolete?  Everyone knows that the conference wants Notre Dame.  Some other schools that were reportedly on the table last summber include the ACC’s Maryland and the Big East’s Rutgers and Pittsburgh.  The important thing about those last schools is that they are members of the AAU, which is essentially a requirement for Big Ten membership (Nebraska lost their spot after the move had already been finalized).  Notre Dame would be an exception, but one that the conference has already made clear it would be willing to make.

At that point, it won’t be difficult for the ACC and Big East to see the writing on the wall.  Having lost teams to both the SEC and the Big Ten, the two conferences would eventually settle on what would basically be a merger, as the two conferences will have exactly 16 teams remaining between them.

Perhaps the only true wild card in all of this is Boise State.  A solid performer on the field in recent years, the Broncos still haven’t been able to attract the attention of major conferences.  They arrive in the Mountain West just in time to watch all the good teams bail out.  With no real bargaining chips aside from winning a lot of games (their TV market ranks 113th in CFB markets, below Youngstown State and Massachusetts), this time the BCS might bust them.

Not surprisingly, the Big 12 will end up being the biggest loser here and may even cease to exist entirely.  Their four remaining teams (Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State) may find a home with the Mountain West or another mid-major angling for a power position.  But the moves at this level will be largely irrelevant.

Why?  Perhaps the most important piece in the New CFB Order fell into place yesterday, as the Pac-12 and Big Ten agreed on a Plus-One post-season format that would pit the top four teams (presumably by BCS-style rating system) against each other in a two-round bowl-based playoff.  When you put that together with four 16-team Mega-Conferences, who may seek to alter the NCAA rules and play as four divisions with a two-round conference championship playoff, you’re suddenly looking at a four-round, 16-team national playoff, as it’s unlikely that anyone from outside the Mega Four would be able to get a top 4 ranking.

Comments

  1. What makes all this messy is the competing traditions. Oklahoma, for instance, not only fits in style-wise with the B1G but also would do far better money-wise here as well. Then Boise could be included in the PAC 10.

    A fun thought game is to do the following: If we assume that within the next few years 64 teams will reside in four superconferences, how would those be arranged if we started from scratch? Easy: Pacific, Plains, Great Lakes, and Southeast. I definitely think there’s a way to make four regional-based conferences that are fairly balanced in both strength and TV market size.

    That would probably mean losing Iowa and gaining Rutgers, sure. The SEC would (should) give back Mizzou and take Va. Etc., etc. But it could be done.

  2. I was going to put Oklahoma in the B1G until I checked the AAU list. If the B1G decides that’s not a big deal anymore, then I would bank on OU joining their old foe Nebraska if the whole thing collapses next week. Otherwise, the only school getting a pass on that issue is Notre Dame.

    I would actually prefer 14 to 16. Add OU and ND and stop.

  3. Neb isnt AAU so that shouldnt be an issue…. but Dennis dobbs of CBS is reporting OU and OK St and 2 other Big 12 schools approached Delaney trying to join as a package and were told no…..

    If FSU or Clemson or VT or UNC or any of the combo also join A&M in SEC expansion then the ACC and Big East will prob look to expand or lose more teams. If so I have always wanted Virginia and Maryland in the B1G they are both AAU schools and both are yearly top 10 in the directors cup so they have strong athletic programs and are major state schools and would bring the DC and Baltimore markets.

    Delaney wants to go East so I hope those 2 schools are considered with the Pitts and Rutgers and Syracuses of the worlds.

  4. Nebraska was an AAU member at the time of application and approval. They just lost their spot earlier this year. Delany even mentioned the importance of AAU status when Nebraska was announced and UNL chancellor Harvey Perlman admitted that he didn’t think they would have been approved if not for AAU membership. The B1G has been supportive of UNL since the ouster, but I still have to think it would play a part in future expansion.

    Virginia is so bad at football though, I don’t know if they’d be a serious option. Expansion is all about football from the athletic side. Honestly, outside of Maryland, I don’t know if there’s a great second AAU option from the East unless we said to hell with geography and went after Georgia Tech (I’m down with this).

    However, I’d guess that we’d take a lesser option if it meant bringing in three solid schools, especially if one of them is Notre Dame.

  5. Once JoePa leaves PSU we can go after Pitt…. They are AAU and have a lot of money and a huge Alumni base. It doesnt add a market per se but it would give PSU the rival they so badly want. Plus Pitt would fit the success in Football and Bball we need.

    If the SEC does try to go to 14 or 16 teams it will cause a domino effect and the B1G would for sure go to 16 teams as well. Maybe even go for the 24 team Nuclear Option conference that was bandied about earlier this year.

    No matter what they do though conference expansion is always fun to talk about and argue about.

    I personally dont want Texas or ND but it would be nice if they are in the discussion. Add Texas and ND and Miami Fl and Oklahoma for the dream football pick ups.

    Next tier would be Virginia and Maryland and rutgers and Pitt and Mizzou and Kansas and Syracuse and VT if we go to a 24 team conference.

    Another option is leave the NCAA and form a 64 team B1G conference and not invite the Pac 12 or SEC to be apart of our new governing body and become our own entity hahahaha that would be awesome.

  6. On a side note if Pitt is added since I live in Pittsburgh I could go see 4 or 5 B1G games a year for really cheap lol

  7. I’m fine with Pitt. Not a blockbuster but solid and meets all reasonable criteria.

    I don’t want Texas anywhere near the B1G. I don’t think they could handle being an equal TV partner anyway. If it’s a viable option, they’ll go independent. If not, they’ll probably have to swallow some pride. And hopefully choke on it.

Trackbacks

  1. […] “expert” analysis would be really stupid on our part. Plus, at this point, our friend Jason at Men of the Scarlet and Gray has a really good update that we encourage you to check […]

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