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 Post subject: Big 12 realignment
PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2003 2:16 am 
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To respond to someone's question, TCU has only around 7,000 students. Baylor has around 14,000. And Baylor outdraws in fb and bb the 4 former SWC schools, UNT, UTEP and CSU. Despite its bad fb teams, it still has averaged over 31,000 a game over the last 7 years. It has vastly better programs with the exception of the two revenue sports. In fact, it has vastly better overall programs than KSU or TT. Baylor's not going anywhere. And if they were replaced, Arkansas is the only school that would be considered. And Arkansas isn't going to leave the SEC $ behind...


TCU has around 8,200 students. Baylor has around 14,000. UTEPs enrollment is over 17,200. All figures are from each university's websites.

Athletically, Baylor is a second rate Vanderbilt.

But I will give props where props are due. They were the largest SWC private school and IMO the most competitive of the private schools. I personally felt they deserved to be invited if only one could come. They have drawn well for a small private school, but that's about as far as I'd go. Their revenue sports stink. They actually hurt the conference's strength of schedule in the sports that generate money. To me, that's a simple equation.

Concerning Arkansas, Texas does have a large number of Arkansas alums living in the DFW metroplex, so I can't deny that it would a possibility and one that might be accepted in Texas. I personally hate Arkansas. I hope they never get a shot to be in the same conference as Texas again and I wish Texas schools wouldn't play them. The money is apparently better in the SEC. I think I read that Frank Broyles was quite happy with Arkansas in the SEC and now that they are playing UT again, they should be able to recruit Texas again effectively. I don't see motivation on their part.

As I said in the initial post I do agree UTEP is not likely, but I think they would be a suprisingly good choice. UTEP would be a better media market long term (although Neilsen has WACO/Bryan/Temple rated 92 ahead of El Paso's US side's 100), is a larger metro area, and over the last 5 years has drawn better (even in a toilet conference with a bad team). (Again, props when due, this year Baylor has drawn much better though.) I would suspect UTEP would be a lot more competitive than Baylor is if their athletic program had that Big 12 check.

UTEP awards more hispanics degrees than all but one other university in the US. It shares a border with Mexico. With our swelling hispanic population in south Texas, it seems likely that UTEP's best days in terms of enrollment and media pull are ahead.

I think a time is coming where the Big 12 may not be big time enough for UT & A&M. (Not enough TV money.) When that day comes, IMO Baylor (small private school with average athletics at best which cannot deliver its own unique significant media market) will have to content itself with playing SMU and Rice in Conference USA (or wherever they are at that point).


Last edited by finiteman on Sat Nov 22, 2003 3:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Big 12 realignment
PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 2:06 pm 
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Bouncing an idea round here fellas, and looking for comments. And "Yes, I know the Big 12 is not actively looking to dump schools, add, etc." This is all a "What if" based on the concept that the Big 12 may someday realign for either a) TV/$ reasons or b) loss of a member(s) to another league or other reason.

Past discussions have focused on three angles: 1) Expansion further west as far as Utah (BYU), 2) replacing a Texas school with another Texas school (TCU for Baylor), or 3) the more far-fetched eastern reach for Arkansas or LSU. #3 ain't happenin' because those schools are doing quite well financially where they are, thank you. #1 has complications in that CSU wouldn't bring much to the table while BYU and Utah would likely only come as a pair and bring political baggage. #2 is more plausible, but doesn't address the idea that the Big 12 stands to lose ground in the "collegiate sports arms race." They won't die off, but they have little means for increasing revenue because of market restrictions.

My point? How about Memphis and/or Tulane?

Tulane (to replace Baylor)
- Could respond with BCS money, modeled after TCU.
- Texas would appreciate the acamdemics
- Not too distant, great expansion for TV market
- No threat to established powers

Memphis (to replace Missouri or Texas Tech)
- Decent stand in for Arkansas
- Can we say basketball?
- Solid market, good school support
- Possible Liberty Bowl tie-in
- Nice expansion of geography without being too far

I realize Memphis doesn't match the profile of the State Universities within the Big 12, but IMO this makes sense from an athletic affiliation standpoint. Should the Big 12 ever need to review possible additions, I think these schools deserve serious consideration. Comments?


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 Post subject: Big 12 realignment
PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 2:30 pm 
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Never thought about Memphis before. That's definitely an intriguing idea! :o Tulane's name has been tossed around before, but I don't think the Big12 really wants to go down that route.


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 Post subject: Big 12 realignment
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2004 12:16 am 
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Tulane and Memphis were considered in the 90s as expansion members of the SWC, but 4 of the schools went another route. Neither adds that much. While Memphis is good in bb, they aren't a consistent top 25 team.

Utah and BYU sticking together? How long would it take one of them to accept a bid to the B12 or Pac 10? Two minutes?

As you mentioned, most of the talk is west and Texas. I don't see the B12 replacing anyone with a Texas team. They add zero to TV. And there aren't many people in the west. Why would you pick a team from a lightly populated state far away who either; 1) has never done anything in fb or; 2) doesn't play on Sundays in a TV friendly league?

Should someone leave the B12 (and IMO Colorado will eventually join the Pac 10-their alumni seemed to be overwhelmingly in favor of it 7 or 8 years ago when they had the invitation), BYU probably does have a good chance because fb is such a big factor. But they might also do what I think is logical and look in the Central Time Zone. Noone mentions the best candidate IMO. And noone even thinks of who would be only my list as the best gamble. Hint: Think Red.

The Louisville Cardinals are a lot closer to most of the B12 schools than BYU or Utah. The BE was thinking about them even before they lost Miami as they have one of the strongest non-BCS programs, rivalled only by BYU.

My best gamble would be the Redbirds of Illinois State. Louisville doesn't add a lot of TV sets, although KY has twice as many people as Utah. ISU is a typical B12 type school and offers the potential of a piece of the Chicago market. The only thing the B12 lacks is TV sets in their territory. While there would be a big loss from CU to ISU in football, skiing and cross-country, most other sports would be a big plus, most importantly basketball. Its a gamble since they are I-AA, but they are a good I-AA program and just fit the profile of a school that could be successful in I-A, a large state school with a big alumni base not actually in a pro sports town. It would take some time to bring their fb program up to speed, but with Kansas St., Nebraska, Texas, OU and Texas A&M and Missouri possibly on the way up, the B12 could afford to be patient.


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 Post subject: Big 12 realignment
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2004 10:37 am 
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Thanks for the comments, guys. I realize Tulane may be a stretch, but I fgured the market and proximity would be appealing to the Texas schools, especially if you're simply talking about replacing a Baylor.

Bullett, your comments re: Louisville mirror my thinking with Memphis. News from Graceland-territory is that the school is now marching along the same path Louisville started years ago, hoping to become the best non-BCS school in hopes of wooing a bigger conference or at least garner more national publicity. And while neither the Cardinals nor the Tigers carry Notre Dame sized clout, they are solid TV draws for basketball with large home crowds (19k and 16k, respectively) and good traveling support. With their football teams bowl-run last season, Memphis pulled in 38k per game and showed signs of progress. At the least, it seems Memphis is the best non-BCS school waiting to be had, from a pure athletic program standpoint.

Illinois State? Not a bad reach, actually. I'd originally thought something along that same direction with Northern Illinois. The FB could translate easier here as the Huskies are already 1-A, but Illinois St. does turn out better for basketball (6k to 3k). Interesting approach, though. Suffice to say tapping into the Chicago market would help the Big 12.


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 Post subject: Big 12 realignment
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2004 12:18 pm 
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I don't know how much of a safe gamble that would be. Could having Illinois State on board interrupt decades of Big Ten/Notre Dame domination of the market?

To me, a westward expansion would make sense. BYU, despite its drawbacks, has a massive following. Grabbing New Mexico wouldn't be disastrous either, IMO.

One point I find interesting is the thought of reaching down to I-AA for a replacement. In a lot of ways, some I-AA schools are more desirable than some I-A schools. Personally, I wouldn't have minded the ACC taking a good look at Delaware for #12. I think the Terrapins and the Blue Hens could have quickly established a good rivalry. :)


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 Post subject: Big 12 realignment
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2004 1:53 pm 
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I don't know how much of a safe gamble that would be. Could having Illinois State on board interrupt decades of Big Ten/Notre Dame domination of the market?

Not entirely, but it would be interesting to see Nebraksa, Oklahoma and Texas playing just outside Chicago, in Big 10 territory. Sort of like telling the Big 10, "Okay, game on!"


Quote:
To me, a westward expansion would make sense. BYU, despite its drawbacks, has a massive following. Grabbing New Mexico wouldn't be disastrous either, IMO.

One thing in which I'm a believer is easing fan travel, particularly to tourny and championship sites. The Big 12 is not so spread out right now that most average fans can drive to Kansas City, St. Louis or Dallas with relative ease. Colorado may be in another time zone, but it's on the eastern side of the Rockies and allows for road trips. The PAC 10 incurs more flying requirements, but at least has the paired destinations to make this efficient. But I see the Big 12 looking to the SEC and Big 10 more as road models, hoping to foster gameday atmosphere and enocuraging more student travel.

As such BYU feels, to me, too far west. I'm sure it could work, as the sports fans would fully embrace the step up to BCS level. But I don't know that they would buy into the Big 12 mentality the way Colorado has. And while CSU may fit the bill, the concept of added value suggests the other schools might work better.

But that's just me and this is all hypothetical stuff to keep us from real work anyway! :D


Quote:
One point I find interesting is the thought of reaching down to I-AA for a replacement. Personally, I wouldn't have minded the ACC taking a good look at Delaware for #12. I think the Terrapins and the Blue Hens could have quickly established a good rivalry. :)
This was bantied about (very briefly) during the search for #12. Villanova was also thrown out. Delaware lost out on the academic side and basketball support; basically everything that they brought to the table would have been better provided through Temple, which was already 1-A, carried more bball clout and bigger fan base. I would not be surprised, however, to hear that some of those schools may have been shot down as too close to Maryland recruiting territory.


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 Post subject: Big 12 realignment
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2004 2:14 pm 
What these conferences sometimes struggle with in expansion is finding "fits" that bring an added dimension or broaden their footprint, but make it look feasible and reasonable. They will certainly want to include the "big names" already within their territory, provided there is room and the team wants in enough. The reality is, all the "big names" are placed with the exception of Notre Dame. TCU going to the MWC impacts, but is not a headline for long. Major conference changes do happen (Arkansas, Miami, etc.). Such movements in the future may be few and far between with barriers such as exit costs and potential litigation. Could be wrong though.


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 Post subject: Big 12 realignment
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2004 6:35 pm 
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I wasn't aware that Delaware was even briefly considered. I understand the points about basketball support (I know their facility is small), but I'm a bit confused about academic questions. I thought the university measured up comparably to many other state institutions in the conference. On the other hand, I know that they don't swing quite the stick that Boston College does.

And BYU is a bit west, but they have definitely been considered by the schools in the former Big 8 before. I remember reading that one of the possible expansion scenarios of the Big 8 involved a mixture of Southwest Conference and then-WAC schools. I can only assume that BYU was one of those schools. In addition, before the Big 8/SWC expansion/merger, I know that the Big Eight, the Southwest Conference, and BYU proposed a television alliance. If not for the Sunday issue and a few others, I imagine the Cougars would have found a BCS home by now. They're one of a very, very short list of athletic programs with a BCS-level commitment not in a BCS conference.


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 Post subject: Big 12 realignment
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2004 11:22 pm 
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There's a school with great academics, great fan support, great football and pretty good basketball, and it's a school that would instantly get the Big XII a lot of respect. And it's in Colorado Springs...and they love airplanes (no more hints!).


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 Post subject: Big 12 realignment
PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 12:05 am 
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Interesting info about NIU.

I dismiss them because their sports other than fb aren't very good, they have too much of a commuter base and they are just a little too close to Chicago.

The academic issue will serve as a detriment to UT and A&M joining the SEC. But should CU AND Missouri leave, I don't see UT and A&M staying. Perhaps an SEC West with Ole Miss, MSU, LSU, Arkansas, UT, A&M, OU and Ok. St.


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 Post subject: Big 12 realignment
PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 10:29 am 
In the end the Big 12 woud be better off financially dropping to ten members, but it's fun to speculate. Mephisto, I should clarify that the idea of Delaware was discussed on these boards. No idea if the thought even got through the doors in Greensboro.

'Twould be funny. Big 12 and SEC both contract to 10 then turn to the ACC and say "Fooled ya!"


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 Post subject: Big 12 realignment
PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 3:35 pm 
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GFan,
Thanks for clarifying the Delaware discussion for me. I was about to jump in quickly on that one. The reality is that even though 1-AA programs are great fits geographically and maybe academically, the fact is that they spend millions of dollars less for football. This makes the likelihood of a 1-AA ever moving to a BCS conference virtually impossible. The extra 22 scholarships are one thing, but stadium expansion, travel costs, extra staff, it is just way too much of a commitment and a gamble. Look at UConn, it takes a few years and then you have to find a stable conference home. UMass quickly put the brakes on the whole idea. No 1-AA was ever considered for the ACC because they needed 12 teams ASAP for the championship. To return to the Big 12 topic, every major conference has a Baylor, Vandy, Duke/Wake, Cal (sorry), Northwestern, to beat up on. Every few years they go 7-4 and make two-three upsets and then it's back to bottom-third. It is the nature of football that requires large numbers of large bodies. Three great players can't beat 11. The Big 12 needs a Baylor or two or else everyone ends up 6-5 or 8-3 and there is no separation IMO.


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 Post subject: Big 12 realignment
PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 3:39 pm 

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The academic issue will serve as a detriment to UT and A&M joining the SEC. But should CU AND Missouri leave, I don't see UT and A&M staying. Perhaps an SEC West with Ole Miss, MSU, LSU, Arkansas, UT, A&M, OU and Ok. St.


Texas and Texas A&M are the academic class of the Big XII. You take them out of the conference and the rest of the conference is at best on equal footing with the SEC academically. If you put them in the SEC, then the SEC becomes a more respected academic conference with Texas and A&M strong in the West and Georgia, Florida and Vanderbilt (if they're kept) in the East. The other schools are run-of-the-mill state flagship or land grant universities, which is still better than your average non-BCS conference school.


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