Hey Quinn, I love your grid, but I'd like to make some suggestions for updates.
I think Rutgers has as good of a shot at big 10 membership as Syracuse if not better as it has the only legit hold on football attention in the #1 TV amrket in America and has a better shot than Pittsburg. Acedemically all 3 schools are at a similar level. At minimum, all 3 shools should be listed the same, but personally, I'd rank Rutgers as the Big 10's third pick behind big 10 pipedreams ND and Texas.
I think you are being a little blind about Baylor and the big 12. UT & A&M have a general distaste for private schools from the last days of the SWC when all the private schools were sucking their football teats. The ONLY reason Baylor and Tech are in the Big 12 is because AT THE TIME, two very loyal alumni served in positions of power in the state legislature and they made a pact to get this done. Dumping Baylor is the key to UT & A&M getting a divorce from this marriage of convenience. Baylor is non-competitive. That doesn't sell in Texas. If there was a movement to dump them from the conference, there would not be support from Tech to block it. More to the point the alumni of other private schools would probably bless it. And don't think that means TCU gets in. TCU cut their throats joining the MWC. They are rarely on TV and recruiting is suffering. They are a small enrollment private which means on their own they aren't forcing their way in. Arkansas has more alumni in the metroplex and if UT & A&M wanted to keep the Big 12 alive, they would probably try to steal Arkansas --- but even that has problems. Although Arkansas alumni would probably prefer being in a conference with UT vs. the SEC, the SEC probably pays more per team than the Big 12.
Anyhow, freedom starts with dumping Baylor.
Buried in the bloat of the big 12 is the conference UT really wants to be in --- a conglomerate of public flagships who (with Arkansas) would be exceeded only by the Big 10 as a IA conference. Getting to that point starts by dumping Baylor.
There was a published report that UT & Oklahoma ADs?, presidents? had a secret meeting to discuss starting a new conference a few years ago. I have no doubt this meeting occurred. OU and UT want to drive the conference. Nebraska and the Northern schools do not accept that. The reality is there would have to be a lot of work to make this happen. If Nebraska is resurgent and tries to drive the conference again, I see the chances of a break increasing.
Since Arkansas left UT has coveted being in a top tier conference. At the time of the fall of the SWC the easiest course to that was to quickly jump to the PAC 10 or Big 10 before the legislature stopped them. Today, A&M would block UT going anywhere without them. UT understands that and frankly would be foolish not to take A&M with them. Any way you slice it, the Big 12 is a second tier conference. Iowa St. is not a Big 10 candidate. That clearly defines it. This is a marriage of convenience and while it is reasonably profitable, UT & A&M could probably generate about a 30-40% larger TV share per school in a smaller conference of flagships of their making that didn't have any techs or states in it. That tension has always been bubbling under the surface of the Big 12's venier of success.
I think the scholars not athletes didn't save rice in the SWC and won't save Baylor in the Big 12. I think at minimum the grid should acknowledge they are non-competitive and competing at the whim of the rest of the conference.
I think UT & OU should be listed as "Stable, but in an ongoing power struggle with Nebraska and the northern school for the direction of the conference. Rumored to have had discussions of starting their own conference."
I think A&M, OU, and probably Colorado should be listed as "will be in the same conference as UT."
I think Missou should be listed as "barring a defection to the Big 10, will be in the same conference as UT."
Kansas and Nebraska I would list as "Very Happy with the Big 12, but if UT & OU started a scaled down conference, would join."
For now, dumping Baylor should be the goal #1 for any UT Alumni who thinks UT should be in a tier 1 conference and beleives they are not. I think it is for a number of higher up alumni.
If Nebraska starts winning, the stability of the Big 12 will be questionable. UT thinks it should be an aristocracy. Nebraska thinks it should be a democracy with them the elected president. That is trouble long term.
The big 12 will not expand to 14 because conference finances do not make that a reasonable course of action unless you are adding a powerhouse. The best the big 12 could do would be BYU or Utah, and travel costs alone make that iffy. NM and Memphis aren't bad candidates, but their academics would be shuned by UT. Bottom line is that neither scenario is going to add to the coffers. I think you can eliminate those scenarios.
CUSA - I think the Magnolia Conference, not a SWC will come into being as soon as Baylor is kicked out of the Big 12. but I can understand both possibilities being listed. The MWC won't chase the Waco market meaning that the bears will be looked at by CUSA. CUSA is at 12 and won't go to 14. The eastern schools don't like the travel expenses of the current CUSA, aren't thrilled about the private schools anyway, and aren't going to vote to split the pie further. At this point the privates will bolt and join Baylor to create the long thought about Magnolia conference. I think TCU at that point will be amenable to rejoining after years of dwindling success and mounting expenses in the MWC when it becomes clear their is no institutional, legislative, or public support for the frogs to join the Big 12.
Anyway, I'd list the 4 privates in CUSA as possiblities to start their own conference of privates.
I think the CUSA is very bipolar right now and could easily split into CUSA and SWC (today) or CUSA, Magnolia, and SWC in 10 years if Texas State and UTSA go to IA.
I had read that ECU might bolt on CUSA to be an Indy. I read they were unhappy with travel to Texas and think admission to the big East is possible with a good showing as an indy. I don't see that at all, but apparently some people out there do. If that happens, TCU might return. The MWC has not become a BCS conference. Their football momentum is lost. They are not profiting from the move to the MWC. TCU would probably have the votes edge for readmission at that point with 6 texas schools.
Troy would be another possible replacement for ECU as would UNT, App. State, FIU, and FAU.
I think Ohio University and Miami University should be mentioned as possiblilities in a new Big East. They both have good long term prospects and are top acedemic schools. I think Buffalo should be listed as a longshot, but another potential target for the same reason and the fact that the pro Bills may move.
I doubt the same group that ran off Temple will rerecruit them for the new Big East. I think they should be listed as a longshot.
I think you are far too generous to the MWC schools. No way is Air Force getting an invite to the PAC 10 ever if a reeling Big East didn't offer a slot to Army or Navy. Same for UNM. I think if the state legislature brought pressure on the Pac 10 to admit a school, it would be a UC system university like UC-Davis as they are much better academically and as such have more powerful alumni.
I'd list BYU as a long shot with Utah only, CSU with Colorado only, UNLV with Reno only, and Utah having the best shot at getting in if the Pac 10 expands with either BYU or Colorado.
The MWC is not a BCS conference. There are no candidates out there you could add to the hodgepodge of media markets that comprise the MWC to make it a BCS conference. If TCU joining didn't do it, it won't happen. That reality has to be sitting in at TCU. I'd list TCU as a possible mutineer who may escape back to CUSA if a slot opens.
Wyoming's attendance is in the 18-20k range now. The NCAA is slowly ranmping up the minimum attendance to 17K last I looked, but removing Wyoming from IA would hurt the MWC's Denver viewership which is a big part of their financial success. It could destablize the top non-BCS conference, so I am going to say Wyoming is safe and stable.
Do you really think ASU and Arizona might leave the Pac 10 for the Big 12? I have a hard time buying that. I know you just stay they would listen, but that in itself is probably overstating.
I could also see CUSA without the texas schools considering adding teams in a football/basket league ala old CUSA. Likely targets would be ULR, UNO, S. Alabama, Old Dominion, UNF, Georgia State, VCU, George Mason.
La Tech would be a possible SWC school as would ULL.
Boise might actually get in as a replacement #9 in the MWC if TCU bolts. That is another possibilty. Nevada as well.
Last edited by finiteman on Wed Nov 28, 2007 4:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.