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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2003 8:25 pm 
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I thought I would start this thread by copying a post that was originally on an Iowa site, then copied to a Rutgers site. It is no longer available in the original. Its a pretty good summary of the current state of affairs.

Handicapping Big Ten Expansion
By Barry Crist
Date: Jun 2, 2003

Due to all the media hype about the expansion goals of the ACC and the corresponding destruction of the Big East, it's time to revisit the possibility of adding a team to the Big Ten. The goals of sports fans may not be the same goals as those of the Presidents of the Big Ten memeber institutions.


First, realize that university presidents, not athletic directors, rule the Big Ten Conference. This is not the SEC! Academics come before athletics. The criteria for admission to the Big Ten would be the following:

1. Academics - Ideally, a large, state, research oriented university with a high academic rating.

2. Television Market - The number of TV sets that could be tuned to their games.

3. Natural Rival - Do they have a natural rival in the conference now?

4. Athletically - Prowess in football and basketball, the revenue sports.

Let’s examine the candidates:

Contenders

1. Notre Dame - The clear leader in spite of not meeting all the requirements in #1. Although ND has a good academic reputation, it does not have the large graduate schools in medicine and the sciences favored by the Big Ten presidents. The Irish have the other three in spades, however.

2. Rutgers - The Scarlet Knights are the dark horse to get the Big Ten nod. Iowa Athletic Director, Bob Bowlsby, told me that "Rutgers kept showing up high in the ratings when the Big Ten was considering expansion two years ago. Rutgers enjoys a great academic reputation, delivers 6% of the TV households in the nation, and would be the natural rival that Penn State does not have now." After all, the Penn State-Michigan State rivalry is as phony as a Larry Eustachy speech on temperance. This State University of New Jersey has an enrollment of over 50,000 students and has the many graduate colleges that Big Ten presidents admire. Obviously, the athletic prowess needs some work. However, many great athletes are native to the New Jersey area. Bob added "Do you think that there could be a stadium in New Jersey too big for a game with Michigan, Ohio State or Penn State?"

3. Missouri - Bob noted that "Illinois already has part of the St. Louis TV Market."

4. Texas - Former governor Ann Richards forced Texas to join the Big 12. It is a huge university with great graduate schools. In addition, the athletic tradition would rival Notre Dame and Texas has the finest athletic facilities in the nation. Bowlsby said "Although the TV market is huge, it pales in comparison to the New Jersey/New York mega-market." The Longhorns would have no natural rival unless the Big Ten added several schools, including Texas A & M. "The travel expenses would be prohibitive for the minor sports" added Bowlsby.

5. Iowa State - A definite qualifier on academics and they have a natural rival in Iowa. However, the TV market is miniscule compared to the above.

Pretenders All of the following have too many flaws:

1. Pittsburgh - Academics are quality but it is not a state university and has a small TV market. As Kirk Ferentz recently noted, there are more Penn State fans in Pittsburgh than there are Pitt fans. It loses to Rutgers in every consideration except athletic prowess.

2. Nebraska - Academics and TV market husk the Bugeaters. Does the 'N' on the helmet really stand for Knowledge?

3. Kansas - From a selfish viewpoint, I personally like the Jayhawks because I love Kansas City, just 20 miles away from Allen Field house. Fortunately, the Big Ten presidents don’t listen to me. Many Iowa high school graduates that aren’t accepted at Iowa end up at K.U.

There is no reason to list any more as it is an exercise in academic futility. Conference USA members need not apply.

While Miami President, Donna Shalala, may hold the future of the Big East in her hands, it appears that the Big Ten presidents may play a pat hand. They see no immediate reason to extend an invitation to anyone to join the biggest, richest conference in the nation.







Last edited by javaman on Wed Oct 08, 2003 7:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 6:49 am 
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Thanks, Javaman. Excellent post! :) I couldn't agree with the Rutgers choice more. They have enormous potential -greater than Penn State, IMHO. They could be the equal of Penn State in football & in basketball, it's no contest. City kids just don't want to play in Happy Valley. Never have. As a Big East fan, I hope Rutgers doesn't go. Realistically, if the Big Ten doen't take them, the ACC will.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 7:03 am 
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And here's a current article accurately summarizing the state of affairs this July.

Big Ten unlikely to expand in wake of ACC's acquisitions

07/03/03

Bruce Hooley
Plain Dealer Reporter

Columbus - The Big Ten triggered the last round of widespread conference expansion in the 1990s, but it is apparently content to observe what transpires nationally in the wake of Miami's and Virginia Tech's departure from the Big East.

The explanation for both plans of attack - the Big Ten standing pat and the Big East's top football schools abdicating for the Atlantic Coast Conference - is what increasingly drives every decision in collegiate sports: Money.

The ACC is counting on its move to 11 schools, and an almost-certain future jump to 12, to pad its members' pockets. The Big Ten believes it can make more for each of its institution by remaining at 11.

The only qualifier to the Big Ten's philosophy would involve a change of heart by Notre Dame, which turned down the Big Ten's expansion offer in 1999. Should the Irish suddenly want to come aboard, then the Big Ten might expand to 12 schools, although a con ference championship game in football still wouldn't be a lock.

That's what the ACC is counting on to make its expansion economically feasible. With Miami and Virginia Tech aboard, and with perhaps Louisville next to join, look for the ACC to soon add a conference championship game in football and hopefully pull down an additional $7-$10 million to divide among its members.

The Big Ten has no interest in such a title game, since it flirts too overtly with the move toward a national championship playoff. The conference has staunchly opposed a playoff every time it's proposed, standing behind the argument that it unfairly com promises players' academics and cheapens the regular season.

"I don't want to do anything to take away from the Ohio State- Michigan game," Ohio State Athletic Director Andy Geiger said. "If we have a conference championship game in the Big Ten, then that game becomes secondary to what comes after it." Likewise, Geiger isn't convinced the income from a title game would offset the division of profits that would occur should the Big Ten expand to 12 teams. Schools currently split all bowl revenue with the conference of fice.

Adding a 12th team brings another hungry mouth to the money table and could cut into the revenues schools currently share. "We don't have a reason to ex pand," Geiger said. "We're not in terested in a conference champi onship game, so economically, it doesn't make sense to expand. Why divide everything by 12 when you can divide by 11?"

The Big Ten's ideal expansion candidate would therefore have to add more revenue than it would subtract by reducing each member's share through the divi sion of profits.

Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Mis souri - teams most frequently mentioned as likely expansion candidates - would not accom plish that, since the Big Ten already intrudes into those television markets.

ESPN and ABC, the Big Ten's current television partners, would have no reason to increase their royalties to the conference unless a 12th member would turn on more TV sets and thereby increase ratings.

Only Notre Dame would accomplish that, and the Irish have no incentive to take a piece of the Big Ten's TV money as long as the Fighting Irish can keep all of their own football television rev enue through an exclusive home- game agreement with NBC.

Wounds still run deep in the Big Ten over Notre Dame's public jilting of the conference's ex pansion offer four years ago. So, it's every bit as doubtful the Big Ten would risk further national embarrassment by courting the Irish again.

Penn State announced in 1990 that it would make that jump to the Big Ten in 1993, triggering a wave of movement in leagues around the country. The Southeastern Conference lured South Carolina and Arkan sas later in 1990 and instituted the first post-season football championship game. The Big Eight became the Big 12 in 1996 when it pulled Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Bay lor from the Southwest Confer ence, assuring its demise.

"Every three or four years, we've looked at it," Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said of ex pansion in the Chicago Tribune. "We looked at it immediately after the Penn State situation. We looked at it again in the mid dle '90s and the later '90s. "The only time we really moved off center was when we approached Notre Dame on sort of an all-sports basis, and they decided not to [join the Big Ten]. I don't expect that we would do that again."

Things could change if NBC doesn't renew its contract with Notre Dame after the 2005 sea son, although that's unlikely with the Irish on the upswing under head coach Tyrone Willingham. Even if NBC dumped Notre Dame, there's no guarantee an other network wouldn't step in to make staying independent viable for the Fighting Irish.

The Bowl Championship Series contract also expires following the 2005 season, so there's a chance the playoff issue will be revisited for the 2006 season. Should one be instituted, that would further reduce the Big Ten's reasons for adding Notre Dame or any other school, be cause the league would certainly command an automatic berth in a playoff even as small as eight teams.

"I think the overriding opinion is that we don't need expansion, and I feel the same way," OSU football coach Jim Tressel told the Detroit News. "We have a great product. No one has more people at their games. No one has more TV sets on. The Big Ten is healthy and feels very good about the academic institutions that make up the league and just everything about it."

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:
bhooley@plaind.com, 216-999-4748
© 2003 The Plain Dealer. Used with permission.


Last edited by javaman on Thu Jul 03, 2003 7:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 7:20 am 
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1. Pittsburgh - Academics are quality but it is not a state university and has a small TV market. As Kirk Ferentz recently noted, there are more Penn State fans in Pittsburgh than there are Pitt fans. It loses to Rutgers in every consideration except athletic prowess.

************

Pitt actually is a state university and has been for some time. Temple is, too. Years ago, they were private.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 7:52 am 
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Javaman, thanks for another interesting post. I enjoyed reading it. :)

I did get a chuckle out of a couple of the author's points.

1. Louisville to the ACC? Never happen. ;D

2. "The Big Ten has staunchly opposed a play-off every time it's been proposed." Oh, yeah? Then what are they doing in the BCS? While they did oppose it for a long time, they eventually gave up the Rose Bowl for a shot at the national title when it became obvious that this was the only way to get a national title.

3. "standing behind the argument that it (play-off) unfairly compromises academics" Who are they kidding. Football is one sport where they can hold a play-off & NOT compromise academics since it would be held during the January intersession when students are not in class. If they really didn't want to compromise academics, they'd pull out of the NCAA basketball tournament because that does compromise academics. What horsebleep!

4. Conference championship game cheapens the regular season? That's the same thing they said about a post-season conference basketball tournament. To their credit, they held out on this point & stuck to their guns for a long time. However, last time I looked, the Big Ten has one of these tournaments like everyone else except the Ivy League - the ONLY league that truly does not compromise academics.

These guys really get me. They speak so pompously . . . holier than thou about college traditions . . . but in the end, their actions speak louder.

These points aside, however, this was a good article to read & I enjoyed getting a few laughs out of the points I mentioned. Thanks again for posting it, Javaman.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 8:39 am 
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FriarFan, you left one point out; How can the Big 10 think a title game cheapens the value of their regular season when they can't even declare an official champion because schools can't play everyone else in the conference! Was it Iowa or Ohio State last year?!! Seriously, wouldn't Ohio State and Michigan be even more compelling if it was for the right to go to a title game?!!

And according to the article they're telling us that they would consider adding a 12th but then not have a championship game?!! That would make the Big 10 system for identifying a champion even more ludicrous, and it would be financially stupid seeing as the money to be made from that game, arguably the best match-up of all title games, would completely offset the costs of adding another school AND THEN SOME!!!! Gee, I can watch Georgia and Arkansas, or ND and Michigan. Hmmmmmmm...

For such a highly regarded conference, the Big 10 should have some more intelligent representatives.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 9:08 am 
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FriarFan, you left one point out; How can the Big 10 think a title game cheapens the value of their regular season when they can't even declare an official champion because schools can't play everyone else in the conference! Was it Iowa or Ohio State last year?!! Seriously, wouldn't Ohio State and Michigan be even more compelling if it was for the right to go to a title game?!!

*******************

Keep in mind, GunnerFan, there would be not Michigan-Ohio State conference championship even if the Big Ten expanded to 12 and broke into divisions: OSU and U-M would definitely be in the same division.

No question that the lack of a Hawkeye-Buckeye game was a detriment to the conference last year. But where is the equity in the SEC/XXII two divisional set up?

• In an eight game conference schedule, only 5 opponents are in common. The divisional winner could be weaker than another divisional foe on that basis

• A team with a 5-3 conference record could beat a team with an 8-0 one, just because it won its lousy division.....that would hardly be helpful to a league if its standard bearer got knocked off in such a situation

I realize that it could be a scheduling nightmere, but with some schools already playing 13 game schedules, I see nothing wrong with a 12 team league, no divisons, 11 game round robin scheduling and 2 non-conf games. It would sure be a lot of fun for the fans and really put the meaning back into the regular season...WHERE IT BEONGS!


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 9:24 am 
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These guys really get me. They speak so pompously . . . holier than thou about college traditions . . . but in the end, their actions speak louder.

*************

FriarFan, I understand your skepticism and given the current nature of college sports, it is warranted. All conferences will act in their own best interests, financially and in all other ways.

That's why I think the remaining major conferences (Big Ten, Pac Ten, B12, SEC) will not follow the route of the ACC/BE mess. Why? These are all well-established football and basketball conferences. They are in a position to be very selective in selecting new members. The XXII and SEC probably maxed out at 12. The Pac Ten will be selective if it adds two more members and will make sure they are a good fit. The Big Ten is prepared to stay at 11 unless the right school comes along. These schools realize how they could be hurt by spreading out too much or taking in the wrong new candidates.

College sports can shoot itself in the foot if it's not careful. Putting together a conference with schools that are too geographically diverse could literally kill fan interest. Too much commercialism could do the same. Remember: there is still the NFL out there, where the quality of football is much better. If college sports becomes more and more concerned with profits and commercialism, where is the attraction to the fans? Isn't a good part of the fun of college football that special campus atmosphere on game day and all the traditions that go with it?

That's one reason I think there will never be a "Super Conference" of the college football elites: it would literally kill off interest in the sport in all locations that were not a part of it.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 10:13 am 
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bgdz, I disagreeumption was OSU and Michigan in the same division. Hence, they could be playing against each other for the right to go to the Big 10 title game, adding even more drama to their rivalry. Perhaps you thought I meant national title game?

Further, I agree that the regular season is, in effect, the play-off we're all longing for. The fact that every game means something is one no-one wants to lose. This is where, in effect, the conference title games become valuable. In lieu of a round robin schedule, the assumption is the cream will rise to the top, and invariably this system will produce the best champion 99% of the time. Along the way it allows other sports to take on bigger and better airs as part of a super conference, it frees up more out of conference games for key match-ups and the fact that the title game brings in much moola doesn't hurt. Not every conference can rely on an OSU/ Michigan game.

And I don't see a future with 13 regular season games. Preseason classics are already gone. 12 is possible, but 11 games plus conf. championships and bowls seems the norm. This lower number heightens the value of each game and is a compromise that the presidents and educators are most more willing to accept.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 11:39 am 
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I think the position of the Big10 vis-a-vis expansion is pretty clear from all of this and the other media reports I see in the Midwest, namely:

1. The Big10 will not expand unless it happens to be NotreDame in an all-sports configuration. I suspect that even if NotreDame were to join the BE or ACC in all sports, the Big10 would not seek a 12th member unless the financial incentive from a divisional playoff game became too tempting.

2. So, all eyes are on NotreDame as far as any Big10 expansion is concerned. If NotreDame does nothing, the Big10 does nothing. It can afford to wait, since even after eveything is done, it could still invite a school from the BE or BigXII, and be virtually assured of acceptance. Waiting is to the Big10's advantage.

3. But, and this is an important but, as bgdz has carefully pointed out in his several fine comments on NotreDame in other threads, NotreDame's position is not nearly as secure as it was in 1999 when it turned the Big10 down in an awkward sort of dance. This dialogue left a bit of bitterness on both sides, and is one of the reasons the Big10 will not again make the first move in the courting ritual.

As soon as I next have a moment, I'll try to add a post on precisely what happened in 1999, as I remember it, to create the current residue of "standoffishness"


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 12:52 pm 
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Quote:
FriarFan, you left one point out; How can the Big 10 think a title game cheapens the value of their regular season when they can't even declare an official champion because schools can't play everyone else in the conference! Was it Iowa or Ohio State last year?!! Seriously, wouldn't Ohio State and Michigan be even more compelling if it was for the right to go to a title game?!!

And according to the article they're telling us that they would consider adding a 12th but then not have a championship game?!! That would make the Big 10 system for identifying a champion even more ludicrous, and it would be financially stupid seeing as the money to be made from that game, arguably the best match-up of all title games, would completely offset the costs of adding another school AND THEN SOME!!!! Gee, I can watch Georgia and Arkansas, or ND and Michigan. Hmmmmmmm...

For such a highly regarded conference, the Big 10 should have some more intelligent representatives.


Great point, Gunnerfan! 8-) In fact, that's exactly what I thought last year at the end of the season when the tie occurred. You're right, I had forgotten that.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 12:55 pm 
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Quote:


Handicapping Big Ten Expansion

Contenders:
1. Notre Dame
2. Rutgers
3. Missouri
4. Texas
5. Iowa State

Pretenders:
1. Pittsburgh
2. Nebraska
3. Kansas

Notre Dame - obvious

Rutgers - No hope. A team that adds absolutely zero to athletics will not be considered.


Missouri - Probably on this list

Texas - He is so far off on that that one it's truly bizarre. Texas 100% wanted the Big 12 because it put them with Oklahoma. It was Baylor that was aided by the then-governor. No one who ever went to a Big Ten school is interested in the Longhorns. They are 980 miles away from the nearest Big 10 school. Crazy.

Iowa State - Probably too small a fan base

Pittsburgh - better location than Rutgers. TV market is moot given east coast TVs watch lots of PA ST, OH ST & MI. State school issue is overrated.

Nebraska - If academics aren't an issue for Missouri and Iowa State, then they aren't here either. Given they have a national draw at least as big as that of Texas, the TV market issue is immaterial. Would be considered if they called the league.

Kansas - The Big 10 will probably expand for FB, not BB. It's the lifeblood of the league. The name value would give the league pause though.

Contenders:
1. Notre Dame
2. Nebraska
3. Kansas
4A. Pittsburgh
4B. Missouri
6. Iowa State


Last edited by earthx on Thu Jul 03, 2003 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 1:05 pm 
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EarthX, I sure agree with you on the Texas thing, but you do have to remember there were media reports just before Big8 expansion, which indicated there had been contacts between the Big10 and Texas and Colorado. I think there were vain visions of becoming some kind of "national" conference or such, but I'm glad the whole thing fell through--I couldn't believe it myself at the time!

In any case, here is my promised recollection of the Big10/NotreDame song-and-dance of 1999, acounting for some of the strange emotions currently between the Conference and ND :

In early 1999, reports started surfacing in the media about dialogue and meetings that were taking place between Big10 and NotreDame representatives. It was clear from the media reports that these meetings had been going on for about six months or so, and out of politeness no indication was ever given as to who initiated the first contact. I suspect it was probably the Big10, because since PennState joined the conference, there was always a lot of discussion about how awkward scheduling was, and how much easier it would be with two divisions, and a number of the athletic directors were known to favor a 12-team alignment.

Several things became apparent from all the polite remarks. Big10 folks were serious—there were numerous very deferential and polite quotes in the media of the various Big10 schools, especially Michigan, Penn, and Ohio. And it seemed apparent that “insiders” at Notre Dame were serious as well from the various polite and deferential quotes coming from there as well.

A further affirmative indication came from the Notre Dame faculty, who voted enthusiastically to become a member of the Big10 Academic Consortium, which has been discussed in other posts on this board. This was as much as a very powerful faculty endorsement, since membership in the Consortium is not possible without athletic affiliation. Everything looked good. If any serious dialogue was to take place, or an invitation offered, the trustees would have to approve further discussion.

But no-one had reckoned with two very influential power groups at Notre Dame: the alumni and the students. Various critical views were expressed in alumni sources. They viewed Notre Dame as having an independent heritage and tradition which should never be changed, and that the patterns of the past should be honored. Through various bulletin boards, alumni magazines, etc. they organized opposition, and it was clear the alumni trustees would be opposed and would lobby against it. Not much later, the student senate voted against Big10 membership as well. Both groups gave the strange rationale that somehow Notre Dame would lose its national focus or standing, national recruiting base, and other such folderol. It was clear Notre Dame alumni and students didn’t much understand the overwhelming national and international prestige of many of the Big10 schools (perhaps because Notre Dame does not have extensive graduate studies, a circumstance the faculty wanted to remedy through Consortium membership), and the fact that the student body at each of the other Big10 schools is also national and international in character. At Michigan, for example, only one-third of the students come from Michigan.

The upshot of all this was that in mid-February the Notre Dame trustees voted to discontinue discussions with the Big10. I suspect Notre Dame insiders had not reckoned with the power of the alumni base, and prominent Big10 officials, especially Delaney, had egg on their face.

Polite comments of mutual respect tried to put the best face on things, but it was clear to Big10 folks throughout the conference that Notre Dame folks had mishandled the whole thing, and had failed to educate their constituencies on the advantages of Big10 affiliation.

The whole affair reaffirmed my own opinion that there are knowledgeable insiders at Notre Dame that wish to move to the Big10, but that they are trying to move a mountain of die-hard alumni that are not privy to true reality. They think the world will always be the way it was when they were rooting for the Irish in 1963. Will the alumni begin to see reality? Only time will tell..

There have been no further contacts since that time, at least in public view


Last edited by javaman on Thu Jul 03, 2003 1:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 1:05 pm 
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NotreDame's position is not nearly as secure as it was in 1999 when it turned the Big10 down in an awkward sort of dance. This dialogue left a bit of bitterness on both sides, and is one of the reasons the Big10 will not again make the first move in the courting ritual.

****************************

In all fairness (but not a lot of fairness) to Notre Dame, the Big Ten did the original spurning. But that was ancient history. ND tried to join the conference in the late 1920's. At that time a strong anti-Catholic bias existed and ND did not gain membership because of it.

At that time, ND was a relatively small and unknown school. It wanted to do what a lot of private schools did, namely use football as a way of gaining academic exposure through athletic exposure. Cut out of a regional alliance, the Irish decided to make their mark with a truly national schedule, something other schools did not do.

The rest, as they say, is history.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 1:13 pm 
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Bgdz, fine points on both of your posts. 8-)

In particular, we all saw the debacle in the Big XII a few years ago when even with a post season-championship game, a tie between Colorado & Oklahoma had to be broken by a "tie-breaker rule." Then, even after a post-season champion was declared, Oklahoma was picked by the BCS formula to go to the national championship game! You're right, the post-season game won't solve all disputes.

While I agree in general with your comment about the stability of the older football conferences, there are other factors at play. One of these has been made by Gunnerfan - regional domination. The Big Ten gains its stability at least partly from the fact that it is the only game in town in the Great Lakes region - unlike the Southeast where the ACC & SEC overlap & compete in 3 of the same states. The Pac 10 Conference also benefits from regional domination even though it is a younger conference than the ACC. (The Pac 8 didn't emerge until the '60s after its predecessors went through considerable reorganization.)

The fact that the Southwest Conference was a very old football conference with great tradition & prestige attached to it didn't help it survive once expansion came knocking at the door. And once it did, the politicians got involved there too, helping to determine the final membership.


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