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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 5:51 am 
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The 2006 Rutgers juggernaut suddenly becomes a potential target for Big Ten expansion. Some years ago a Big Ten study identified Rutgers as a university with Big Ten bona fides - except for its athletic program of course. Suddenly the athletic program looks a lot more desirable.

Let's assume that the Big Ten decided some years ago after adding Penn State to sit back & not rush into further expansion. Let's assume that they decided just to wait to see if a quality candidate would emerge or if Notre Dame would change their mind. After all, they've been doing this for over a century, so what's the hurry? Well, that time may just have come.

The Rutgers location across the river from NYC's media capitol makes it highly desirable. It is AAU, academically prestigious, & the only major BCS school in a state of 8.6 million people. It is a fertile recruiting bed of great high school talent. Rutgers' alums tend to stay in the are, but there is also a large population of transplants who could also adopt the school & become willing fans. Although there are already 2 pro teams in New Jersey, this is a region with the country's largest population - about 20 million people. Incredibly larege population. Giants & Jets tickets are impossible to get. There are plenty of fans left. In fact, Rutgers tickets have become impossible to get this year as well.

The Big Ten is equally attractive to any potential candidate. CIC, TV network, enormous fan base, the biggest regional population in the country, prestige, & tradition. It would be a no brainer for any invitee to accept without a second thought. It would be especially attractive for Rutgers because it would reunite them with Penn State, something they've dreamed of for 30 years.

Assuming a split in 2010, is there anything the football schools can do to make continued Big East membership more attractive to Rutgers than a potential Big Ten invitation? This is the time for them to be proactive & fend off another defection. It would not be wise for them to wait to react to such a move as they did with Miami, etc.

In many ways, Rutgers is the most valuable franchise in the Big East. Its state population & university size are unmatched in the conference. As a flagship, it has the identity to attract both alums & adopted fans. Its location in the NYC suburbs is critical for a Big East Football. Only UConn & WVU are flagships in the conference, but both are in small states. Among the rest, only Syracuse plays without other major collegiate competition in its backyard.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 7:23 am 
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Well, one way that I can see would be for the Big East to add some more local rivals (without cannibalizing Rutgers' markets.)

I could see any of the following:

SUNY Stony Brook

SUNY Albany

One of the CUNY Campuses (Baruch and City College are the best candidates, as those play football)

Delaware

New Jersey Tech (Potential Excellent In-State Rivalry)

Possibly Rhode Island or Rhode Island College


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 8:21 am 
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Assuming a split in 2010, is there anything the football schools can do to make continued Big East membership more attractive to Rutgers than a potential Big Ten invitation? This is the time for them to be proactive & fend off another defection. It would not be wise for them to wait to react to such a move as they did with Miami, etc.

In many ways, Rutgers is the most valuable franchise in the Big East. Its state population & university size are unmatched in the conference. As a flagship, it has the identity to attract both alums & adopted fans. Its location in the NYC suburbs is critical for a Big East Football. Only UConn & WVU are flagships in the conference, but both are in small states. Among the rest, only Syracuse plays without other major collegiate competition in its backyard.


I honestly don't think there is anything the BE can do - realistically - that can keep ANY team from leaving and that includes the pipedream 14 team SEC or ACC. The reason is that the Big10, ACC, and SEC offer more exposure, money, and academic advantages (with the Big10 and ACC anyway) that the BE doesn't have and will probalby never have compared to those other conferences.

The only scenerio I can see to prevent anyone from leaving is the formation of a NE based all sports conference with AT LEAST PSU at the core of the conference. I know - not happening.

I have read that some proponents want the BE to expand to 9 or 10 in case of another raid. Why? Do you think adding an ECU, UCF, or Memphis will suddently stop a team from leaving? I don't.

The one caveat I have for Rutgers is that they can be a big fish in a small pond in the BE. If they move to the Big10 they will be a small fish in a big pond. Their athletic budget is dwarfed by the budgets of Michigan, OSU, and PSU. Just something else to think about.

All the things you mention Friar would make any team think twice about staying in the BE if invited to the Big10. The NE is one of only two regions where the number of college FB fans can increase (the other is the Mountain West). PSU and ND have the lion's share of these fans in the NE. Another challenger to those two is good for college FB and the NE in general.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 1:49 pm 
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It was late December, 2002. I was driving down the highway, doing some traveling for the holidays & listening to ESPN. The Host-du-jour, a holiday fill-in, was raving about the Big East. Five teams went to bowls that year. Four of them had already been played & the Big East was 3-1. The host was anticipating a Miami win in the national championship game. He talked about Miami's speed, saying that OSU had never seen players this fast on both sides of the ball. He expected a rout. Anticipating that the conference would have the national champion & winner of 4 of 5 bowls, he called it the best conference in the country. Even Temple had shown improvement, winning 4 games that year.

We all know what happened. Miami lost to Ohio State by 2 TDs & despite all that speed was shut out. A few months later came the announcement that the Big East was losing Miami . . . plus BC & Sracuse.

The current euphoria about unprecedented success by Big East football schools feels a little like that to me. As Yogi Berra once siad: "Deja vu all over again." Everyone lambasted the Big East administration for not anticipating this & for not getting out ahead of the crisis. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. They may be able to get a pass for being asleep at the switch once, but not a second time.

My proposal is that the Big East football schools take bold action. Not the commissioner's office. Their job is to serve the interests of the conference - all the interests, not just one segment.

1. The football schools should meet ASAP to decide if they want to split or want to stay in the conference. I recommend that they only stay in the conference as pasrt of a federation - an autonomous part of a federation - the original Gavitt plan, not the current hodge podge. The football schools need their own identity one way or another.

2. In this meeting(s), they should have a frank discussion with Rutgers, Syracuse, & anyone else about what it would take for a long term commitment. They should then implement whatever it is.

3 They should appoint a leader. They need a Gavitt like figure who will lead them out of the woods. Someone whoo will speak for football interests only.

4 They should boldly announce their football intentions to the world. They should proclaim that their goal is to be the dominant
football conference for the 21st century.

5. I believe that Rutgers is less likely to leave if the conference adds worthy members in the Northeast, which will offer less travel than the Big Ten & which will offer greater opportunity for significant rivalries. So, as part of their announcement, the football leadership should announce that Bg East Football is actively soliciting new members & that they will guarantee admission to any members in this region that meet a clear set of criteria, i.e. winning I-A record, stadium of a certain size (30K minimum?), budget, facilities, attendance. Call it a want-ad.

Note that UMass conducted an internal study in 2003 to assess the possibility of upgrading to I-A. The study listed all the advantages of I-A. However, in its recommendations, it indicated that the deal breaker was the lack of conference affiliation. The Big East can offer conference affiliation but only for a worthy program headed in the right direction. Such a public solicitation can create the necessary momentum for interested parties with a university community to garner the needed support & funds. It worked at UConn. It would be no-risk for UConn because membership would only be guaranteed if contingencies were met. Rather than wiating for the next Louisville to emerge, they should attempt to create the next Louisville(s). The goal should be to put Rutgers at the heart of the conference rather than to have it sit on the periphery.

6. I would simultaneously initiate back channel conversations with BC & any other BCS conference members that can be identified as possibly receptive to being recruited. I would let them know that the animosities of the past are in fact a thing of the past. I would determine if BC has become disillusioned with ACC travel, disillusioned with their ill advised partnership with the thugs from Miami.

7. I would politely inform Notre Dame that there would be no partial memberships, that a reconstituted Big East football is very interested in their participation as full members only.

The addition of Central Florida, Memphis, &/or East Carolina gives Rutgers all of the inconveniences of the Big Ten without any of the benefits. I'd like to see Big east football create a situation that Rutgers feels is too good to walk away from.



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 7:23 pm 
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Im sorry but if Rutgers is offered by the big ten the will accept.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 8:44 pm 
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You're probably right. If I were a Big East AD at a football school, however, I'd like to ask them & see what they say. I'd like to know if it's a no brainer for them or if they have mixed feelings. I'd like to know what it would take them to stay - if anything.

Isn't it funny that we could now be talking about how the best way to save the Big East would be for Notre Dame to go to the Big Ten so that the rest of the members are secure.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 3:49 am 
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While your ideas are interseting, as I said before, I just don't think it would prevent ANY team from leaving. None of those 1AA teams upgrading would do much. There is just too much to offer from the Big10 to turn down an invite.

Rutgers would not only look good to the Big10 but if they can keep going on the upward track they might look good to the ACC (even if it is a dream). Again, the NE is still in play in terms of vierwers and BC is on and island. I can see RU and SU being invited (if ND and/or PSU turning them down) to a 14 team ACC. This would connect the ACC to Boston and give them more control over the Mid Atlantic States. It would also kill the BE FB in NE markets for good.

It still wouldn't give them complete TV coverage in NYC because of PSU and ND but would certainly give them much more control over it. Just some thoughts.....


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 8:44 am 
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The ACC will not expand beyond 12.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 11:38 am 
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I'd agree with that.

I think RU to the B10 is the only possible play with them staying in the BE as probably the most like for now.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 2:30 pm 
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Quote:
The ACC will not expand beyond 12.


I wouldn't rule it out if the metrics work out. They did feel out notre Dame as a 13th. Why? Because they made sense. If the ACC knew it would have a significant increase in TV revenues by adding more schools, then they certianly would expand beyond 12.

TV markets might come into play for a +12 scenario. Figure that UConn, Syracuse, Penn St, Pitt, Rutgers would be on that list but I would see UConn and their basketball program topping the list.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 12:00 pm 
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Quote:

Quote:
The ACC will not expand beyond 12.


I wouldn't rule it out if the metrics work out. They did feel out notre Dame as a 13th. Why? Because they made sense. If the ACC knew it would have a significant increase in TV revenues by adding more schools, then they certianly would expand beyond 12.

TV markets might come into play for a +12 scenario. Figure that UConn, Syracuse, Penn St, Pitt, Rutgers would be on that list but I would see UConn and their basketball program topping the list.


However, consider this. Football has a mximum of two conference members that go to a BCS bowl. So here's the percent of the various conferences that can go to a BCS bowl:

Big East - 25%
Pac Ten - 20%
Big Ten - 18.2 %
Others - 16.7%

Thirteen members reduce the percent even further to 15.4%. Adding Notre Dame is particlularly dicey when it gets to at-large seclections. Notre Dame is so attrative to the bowls that if they are a BCS-bowl-eligible #3 team in a conference, they could be taken over a conference's own #2. So conference members have to consider that a vote for Notre Dame membership is against their own interests.

The Big East may have gotten it just right - minimum number of members for football where the number of BCS invitations is fixed at a maximum of two but 16 members in basketball where there is no limit to number of tournament invitations.

Quinn, what do you think are the chances that UMass & their boosters could get it together to upgrade to IA IF the Big East guranteed them a spot once they met certain benchmarks like budget, facilities, stadium, attendance AND produced a bowl-eligible team?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 12:50 pm 
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As a Big Ten guy, I still wouldn't put Rutgers very high on the expansion target list. Notre Dame is the obvious fit and the conference is 95% likely to wait for the Irish until the end of time. Other than ND, I've said it before and will say it again that Syracuse (see http://frankthetank.wordpress.com/2006/03/05/big-ten-from-eleven-to-twelve/) is by far the most attractive potential 12th member out there. Pitt and Rutgers are certainly possibilities, but extremely unlikely compared to ND and Syracuse. One good season (with an admitted ugly pasting of my Illini) isn't going to make the Big Ten salivate over Rutgers all of the sudden. There's no other conference that takes the long term view more seriously and abhors brash decisions than the Big Ten. However, if Rutgers is able to put together, at a minimum, a decade of success with multiple BCS bowl appearances, then it might be a different story.


Last edited by illinibluedemon on Thu Nov 02, 2006 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 12:59 pm 
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Quote:

Quote:
The ACC will not expand beyond 12.


I wouldn't rule it out if the metrics work out. They did feel out notre Dame as a 13th. Why? Because they made sense. If the ACC knew it would have a significant increase in TV revenues by adding more schools, then they certianly would expand beyond 12.

TV markets might come into play for a +12 scenario. Figure that UConn, Syracuse, Penn St, Pitt, Rutgers would be on that list but I would see UConn and their basketball program topping the list.


I believe any conference would be willing to add Notre Dame since the extra revenue and attention that they would bring to the table would more than compensate for splitting the pot further. The Irish would be the only exception to this, though. There's no other school that would provide an incentive for a BCS conference to grow larger than 12 teams.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 3:35 pm 
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Other than ND, I've said it before and will say it again that Syracuse is by far the most attractive potential 12th member out there.


The study on expansion that the Big Ten conducted about 7 years ago doesn't agree with you. It liked Rutgers.


Last edited by friarfan on Thu Nov 02, 2006 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 3:38 pm 
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Quote:

Quote:


I wouldn't rule it out if the metrics work out. They did feel out notre Dame as a 13th. Why? Because they made sense. If the ACC knew it would have a significant increase in TV revenues by adding more schools, then they certianly would expand beyond 12.

TV markets might come into play for a +12 scenario. Figure that UConn, Syracuse, Penn St, Pitt, Rutgers would be on that list but I would see UConn and their basketball program topping the list.


I believe any conference would be willing to add Notre Dame since the extra revenue and attention that they would bring to the table would more than compensate for splitting the pot further. The Irish would be the only exception to this, though. There's no other school that would provide an incentive for a BCS conference to grow larger than 12 teams.


The point that you seem to be missing is not about money. The point is that by adding Notre Dame, a conference is diminishing the opportunities for its current membership to go to a BCS bowl. Why would the membership vote against their own self-interest?


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