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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 10:49 am 
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12-team conferences are a dumb idea. What's the point in having a conference if you don't play everyone else in the darn thing? 9 or 10 team conferences are ideal precisely because you do play everyone else. So, I ask myself, what would the world of college sports look like if 12-team conferences had never happened?

For national realingment to have turned out differently, 2 things would have had to happen:

1. Joe Paterno would have had to be successful in his efforts to organize an Easter all-sports league.
2. Roy Kramer would never have begun the move to 12-team conferences.

I'll begin with Paterno because that was first in chronology. When Bryce Harlow arrived at Penn State as its president in 1983, the handwriting was on the wall that Penn State would go to the Big Ten if that conference would have them. As it turns out, the love was reciprocated & the rest is history.

But what if Paterno had been successful during Penn Sate's hiatus from the Eastern 8/Atlantic 10 (1979-82). Harlow would have arrived amidst the enthusiasm for a new conference that was formed under the leadership of Penn State itself. It would have been difficult for him to lead the university away from it although not impossible. Only 6 members would have been necessary, so here's what the conference would have looked like:

Penn State
Pitt
West Virginia
Syracuse
Rutgers
Boston College
Temple (?)

Would the conference have included Temple? I don't know. Temple was pretty good back then, so probably. Had Temple been included, one thing is for certain. It certainly would have been as a full member & not with the "associate" status that allowed the Big East to eventually dump them. Had they been included from the beginning, they would have been a permanent member. I'm going to assume that they would have been included.

I believe that Virginia Tech would eventually been added as #8. With Penn State as the anchor there would have been no need to add Miami for the conference to have credibility & I don't believe that they ever would have been added. To get to an ideal 9 members, the most likely candidate is UConn as they eventually demonstrated themselves ready to grow their program. So, a Big East today might then look like this:

Penn State
Pitt
West Vrginia
Virginia Tech
Syracuse
Temple
Rutgers
Connecticut
Boston College

In all likelihood the ACC would eventually have added Florida State when it did because they needed them for football credibility. The result would have been an ACC that stayed at 9 members.

If there were no 12-member conferences, the SEC would have stayed at 10. So, what would the Texas schools have done when there dissatisfaction with the membership in the Southwest Conference pushed them into action?

First, they would still have had Arkansas with them becasue the Razorbacks would not have left for the SEC so the number of members wishing to stay together would have been 5 instead of 4. I think that they would have looked east instead of north & they could well have formed an alliance with Miami & South Carolina. The result would have been a southern conference that looked like this:

Texas
Texas Tech
Texas A&M
Baylor
Arkansas
South Carolina
Miami

But that's only 7 & they would inevitably have gotten bigger. Looking at things today, the 2 schols that would have been a natural fit are South Florida & TCU. But that wouldn't have been the case back then. USF wasn't at that level & TCU wasn't any good. They were one of the schools the Texas state schools were looking to get away from. The team that presented the strongest profile back in the '90's with complementary geography would have been Louisville. Eight members would have been sufficient & the conference may eventually have added USF &/or TCU as those programs developed. So, such a southern conference could today look like this:

Texas
Texas Tech
Texas A&M
Baylor
TCU
Arkansas
Louisville
South Carolina
South Florida
Miami

The next question is the Big Eight. I believe that they would have looked west to expand rather than south.There have been repeated comments from those more knowledgable than I that the Utah schools would only join a conference as a package, so Big 8 expansion would likely not have gone as far west as Nevada & an expanded Big 8 would probably have looked like this:

Oklahoma
Oklahoma State
Kansas
Kansas State
Missouri
Iowa State
Nebraska
Colorado
Utah
BYU

The beauty of this would have been 7 BCS conferences instead of 6 with the inclusion of 4 more BCS schools (Utah, BYU, TCU, & Temple) for a total of 70, which to my mind is a good thing. Conferences would have been more meaningful with all members playing each others & the lack of a conference championship game would have been one less argument against a national championship playoff.

A national championship playoff could have included the 7 conference champions + one Wild Card. It would take 3 weeks during January intersession & would be done. Ah, for what might have been.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 10:59 am 
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The Southwest Conference was at 9 before Arkansas left.

Arkansas
Texas
Texas A&M
Texas Tech
Texas Christian (TCU)
Southern Methodist (SMU)
Baylor
Rice
Houston


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 12:39 pm 
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tute79 wrote:
The Southwest Conference was at 9 before Arkansas left.

Arkansas
Texas
Texas A&M
Texas Tech
Texas Christian (TCU)
Southern Methodist (SMU)
Baylor
Rice
Houston


I think you missed my point.

Texas, Texas Tech, & Texas A&M were disillusioned with the Southwest Conference. They wanted to move to greener pastures. Political pressure within the state of Texas made them include Baylor in their plans. This is the group of 4 that joned the Big 8 to form the Big 12.

Had Arkansas remained in the SWC instead of moving to the SEC, they would have been part of the Texas group because there would have been no dissatisfaction with what they brought to the competition. Hence, there would have been a group of 5 looking to form a new conference. That's what I was referring to.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:37 am 
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Friar,

Glad to see you are around again! If you assume that conference still would not go past 10 (the big 10 has been at 11 since 1990(?) - PSU was admitted in 1989 and olympic sports competed in the Big 10 in 1990 but FB only in 1993 - IIRC) then your scenerio is interesting.

The BE would have been the one you mentioned but IMO definetely also included Temple

Penn State
Pitt
West Virginia
Syracuse
Rutgers
Boston College
Temple

Do you still think UConn would have the drive to upgrade to 1A? They would have been in the BE for a long time and they upgraded because they new they had a spot in the BE.

Hard to predict about what the BE does with Miami simply because Miami was an eastern indy like the rest of them, had a strong alumni base in the NE, played the Eastern Indys a lot, and would also add significant value to the BE in terms of TV. Maybe they pass because of their 'rogue' image.

If you assume that the BE doesn't offer Miami, I think you are correct that VT would have been #8 but what do they do for #9? They could consider adding UL which was already 1A (unlike UConn) and had a great BB program to complement the BE. While it would stretch the footprint away from the NE/Mid Atlantic, Kentucky is still contiguous with WVu and VA.

UL is interesting because they can join just about any conference because Kentucky is contiguous with just about all conferences.

I think that Miami and South Carolina would be part of a Metro Conference and that while both would potentially join a Texas based conference - IMO it would only be temporary. They wouldn't share anything in common with the Texas schools and would be really far away from them. I think that Miami begs to the ACC to be #10 at some point. Maybe SCar does too but no way the ACC takes them back after they left. Maybe SCar is permanent stuck in a Metro conference with Tulane, UCinn, USM, etc.

An obvious choice for the 'SWC-6' (with TCU) is Memphis. To keep it contiguous, do they then look at New Mexico and/or UL if the BE doesn't take them? I don't know enough about UNM FB back in they other than UNM BB and the Pit. Do they try and grab BYU and Utah first with CSU as a possibility? The toughest to predict is where the Mountain Region schools end up.

BE:
Temple
PSU
Pitt
SUNJ
SU
BC
WVu
VT
UConn/UL

ACC
UMaryland
UVa
NC4
Clemson
GT
FSU
Miami

SEC:
As is prior to SEC expansion

Big 10:
As is minus PSU

Pac 10:
As is

SWC:
UT
TA&M
TTech
Baylor
TCU
Memphis
UNM
CSU
Utah
BYU

Big 8:
As is prior to expansion + UL

Metro (non-BCS):
SCar
USM
Tulane
UCinn
Rice
Houston
Tulsa
UTEP

Alternatively, I can also see the SWC be:
UT
TA&M
TTech
Baylor
TCU
Memphis
UNM
UL
CSU (?)

Big 8 = Big 9/10 with additions of Utah and BYU or just BYU


Last edited by panthersc97 on Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:24 am 
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friarfan wrote:
tute79 wrote:
The Southwest Conference was at 9 before Arkansas left.

Arkansas
Texas
Texas A&M
Texas Tech
Texas Christian (TCU)
Southern Methodist (SMU)
Baylor
Rice
Houston


I think you missed my point.

Texas, Texas Tech, & Texas A&M were disillusioned with the Southwest Conference. They wanted to move to greener pastures. Political pressure within the state of Texas made them include Baylor in their plans. This is the group of 4 that joned the Big 8 to form the Big 12.

Had Arkansas remained in the SWC instead of moving to the SEC, they would have been part of the Texas group because there would have been no dissatisfaction with what they brought to the competition. Hence, there would have been a group of 5 looking to form a new conference. That's what I was referring to.


All great stuff, Friar, until you reach the SWC (IMO). I attended UT during the last days. UT was despirately unhappy in the SWC, but did not have the cover to leave until Arkansas left. I suspect there were many at UT pushing an Arkansas defection to open the door to UT moving to the PAC 10. It was widely speculated at the time. Once Arkansas left UT began spinning that the conference was irrevocably broken and that forcing UT & A&M to stay in would drag down their programs.

IMO:
Despirately unhappy
UT

Moderately unhappy
Arkansas
Texas A&M

Considered it an acceptable home, but believed they had options
Houston

Mostly happy with the conference, with minor complaints
Texas Tech

Thrilled to death with the SWC and with average to lousy programs
Texas Christian (TCU)
Southern Methodist (SMU)
Baylor
Rice

UT had a 5/4 public to private voting block when push came to shove with Arkansas in. UT was able to push through some reforms like KEEPING home revenue and stuff with Arkansas in (a big deal when UT was drawing 2-3 times more than Rice or most of the privates), but Tech and UH weren't exactly packing them in either and the UT block was very tenuous on those types of revenue sharing issues. When Arkansas left, I think BYU was mentioned, but largely blown off over travel. The privates started pushing for Tulane as the new 9th member, creating a potential 5/4 voting block in their favor. UT was successfully able to put out that Tulane was such a weak replacement that the SWC would be permanently relegated to a lesser conference status if it went down that route and in that manner to curry public support to let the SWC die.

If there were no 12 school conference models would UT still have had PAC 10 fever? Would people at UT still have encouraged Arkansas to leave? Would Arkansas have bolted for the Big 8 instead? Were there enough TVs in Big 8 country?

Here is an interesting scenario. With no SEC offer the Razorbacks remain in the SWC for maybe 2 more years. The privates would continue to infurate UT power brokers. UT again pushes Arkansas to leave. Basketball power Arkansas bolts to the Big 8 or Metro SPECIFICALLY to destablize the SWC.

With no PAC 10 offer for UT and no SEC offer for A&M, UT and A&M might have gone with something closer to the original backup plan with the Big 8 --- a breakaway merger/takeover that left ALL of the other SWC teams behind (Tech was also a legislature forced inclusion).

OU & OSU were on board. Arkansas obviously would be. Bordering schools Missou & Kansas would be. UT,Arkansas, and OU were good football schools at the time; They would have had some leveage inspite fo the fact Nebraska and Colorado were football powers at the time. Conferences were taking a look at TV revenue. N/C had the Denver market, but that's not worth as much if your conference mates are the MWC schools. Additionally, both schools were pretty average at basketball if I recall. The Nebraska/Colorado block could be presented an ultimatium at that point --- join or be left behind in favor of KSU (and possibly CSU or ISU or Louisville).

New Big 9
UT
A&M
OU
OSU
ARK
MISSOU
KANSAS
NEBRASKA
COLORADO

What a mess that would have left...


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:45 pm 
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friarfan wrote:
tute79 wrote:
The Southwest Conference was at 9 before Arkansas left.

Arkansas
Texas
Texas A&M
Texas Tech
Texas Christian (TCU)
Southern Methodist (SMU)
Baylor
Rice
Houston


I think you missed my point.

Texas, Texas Tech, & Texas A&M were disillusioned with the Southwest Conference. They wanted to move to greener pastures. Political pressure within the state of Texas made them include Baylor in their plans. This is the group of 4 that joned the Big 8 to form the Big 12.

Had Arkansas remained in the SWC instead of moving to the SEC, they would have been part of the Texas group because there would have been no dissatisfaction with what they brought to the competition. Hence, there would have been a group of 5 looking to form a new conference. That's what I was referring to.



Exactly. BYU was slated for the #12 spot but when Gov. Richards put the pressure to include Baylor, the league caved and BYU was dropped from the Big 12 creation. Similar to Syracuse to the ACC in 2003.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:06 pm 
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Great thread and initial points about Paterno.

It all started there. Had the Eastern 8 Five of Penn St, Temple, WVU, Rutgers and Pitt pushed for a football conference (all-sports), they would have had enough to start. Miami would likely have been invited as would Virginia Tech. But with some room to move as a conference, both could have been invited for all-sports. Syracuse and Boston College would have likely made the switch since they were without a football home and both wanted one (hence the formation of Big East football).

So your lineup would have looked quite familiar...

Penn St. (joined E8 in 1976)
Pitt (joined E8 in 1976)
WVU (joined E8 in 1976)
Rutgers (joined E8 in 1976)
Syracuse
Boston College
Miami
Virginia Tech (joined E8 in 1995)
Temple (joined E8 in 1982)

Essentially, it would be the Big East we once knew, plus Penn St.


And it's likely that HAD the E8 made the football move, all the future expansion candidates would not have been invited as virtually all were smaller private schools. Founders Duquesne and GW would have likely left on their own (Duquesne did leave for some time).

UMass was one of the original 1976 Eastern 8 members and likely would have been given the same opportunity to upgrade it's football program to join as well. With such a strong northeast presence, it's likely UMass would have upgradesd.


Which would have given us the all-sports conference, the...

ATLANTIC 10:
Penn St.
Miami
Boston College
UMass
Syracuse
WVU
Pitt
Rutgers
Temple
Virginia Tech

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:46 pm 
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And some clarification on the Paterno vs syracuse saga:

http://comment-blog.advance.net/cgi-bin ... Blogs=2893

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 9:02 pm 
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An interesting question: Does anyone know EXACTLY the schools that Paterno was talking to for a new conference?

Do we know for a fact that they were:
Penn St.
Boston College
Syracuse
WVU
Pitt
Rutgers
Temple
Virginia Tech

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 5:38 pm 
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Quinn wrote:
An interesting question: Does anyone know EXACTLY the schools that Paterno was talking to for a new conference?

Do we know for a fact that they were:
Penn St.
Boston College
Syracuse
WVU
Pitt
Rutgers
Temple
Virginia Tech


Everyone except VT (those 7 other schools). I have also heard JoePa mention Maryland but nothing I have ever read or heard from anyone else said Maryland.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 5:39 pm 
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Quinn wrote:
An interesting question: Does anyone know EXACTLY the schools that Paterno was talking to for a new conference?

Do we know for a fact that they were:
Penn St.
Boston College
Syracuse
WVU
Pitt
Rutgers
Temple
Virginia Tech


Everyone except VT (those 7 other schools). I have also heard JoePa mention Maryland but nothing I have ever read or heard from anyone else said Maryland.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 8:56 pm 
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Quinn wrote:
Great thread and initial points about Paterno.

It all started there. Had the Eastern 8 Five of Penn St, Temple, WVU, Rutgers and Pitt pushed for a football conference (all-sports), they would have had enough to start. Miami would likely have been invited as would Virginia Tech. But with some room to move as a conference, both could have been invited for all-sports. Syracuse and Boston College would have likely made the switch since they were without a football home and both wanted one (hence the formation of Big East football).

So your lineup would have looked quite familiar...

Penn St. (joined E8 in 1976)
Pitt (joined E8 in 1976)
WVU (joined E8 in 1976)
Rutgers (joined E8 in 1976)
Syracuse
Boston College
Miami
Virginia Tech (joined E8 in 1995)
Temple (joined E8 in 1982)

Essentially, it would be the Big East we once knew, plus Penn St.


And it's likely that HAD the E8 made the football move, all the future expansion candidates would not have been invited as virtually all were smaller private schools. Founders Duquesne and GW would have likely left on their own (Duquesne did leave for some time).

UMass was one of the original 1976 Eastern 8 members and likely would have been given the same opportunity to upgrade it's football program to join as well. With such a strong northeast presence, it's likely UMass would have upgradesd.


Which would have given us the all-sports conference, the...

ATLANTIC 10:
Penn St.
Miami
Boston College
UMass
Syracuse
WVU
Pitt
Rutgers
Temple
Virginia Tech


Couldn't help but notice the irony of UMass being the I-A/FBS Football team rather than UConn. JMHO as a fan of a school that played UConn and UMass in football since my freshman year of 1968-69 until UConn went I-A, UMass was the better football school. They had better teams, a better stadium, more fans, etc., but they didn't have the support like Husky Nation nor did they have the support in the state legislature that UConn did.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:52 pm 
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UNH...

It's just a case of opportunity.

UConn was already in the Big East and was given the opportunity to upgrade and join the Big East. If UMass was in the Big east and had that option, they would have taken it. Same holds true today: if the Big East extended an invite, they'd upgrade.

UConn also had the benefit of the Patriots potential move to Hartford. The state OKd a new stadium for the Patriots. When it fell through, it became the future home for UConn football.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 10:55 am 
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Quinn wrote:
UNH...

It's just a case of opportunity.

UConn was already in the Big East and was given the opportunity to upgrade and join the Big East. If UMass was in the Big east and had that option, they would have taken it. Same holds true today: if the Big East extended an invite, they'd upgrade.

UConn also had the benefit of the Patriots potential move to Hartford. The state OKd a new stadium for the Patriots. When it fell through, it became the future home for UConn football.


It's a lot more than just opportunity. You really think UMass could have got a $93,000,000 type package from the MA State Legislature that UConn did from CT? And if not, you think they could raise the money needed to enlarge McGuirk and fund the 44 additional scholarships from private sources? Yeah, the Big East offer was a huge factor, but so was their ability to raise money (as well as getting the land for Rentschler Field donated by United Technologies). BTW, the stadium approved for the Patriots was in Downtown Hartford not Rentschler Field. The legislature had to approve a completely different package when it was UConn only. And a good chunk of that money went to an on campus, indoor practice facility.

For the record, I am not a closet UConn fan despite growing up in CT and living most of my life in CT. As a fan I ceased being a Sled Dog fan the day I walked onto the UNH campus in Sept. 1968 and they became a Yankee Conference rival. As a taxpayer I was against the funding given to UConn because I didn't feel they would develop a fan base to fill the Rent. Today, I have to admit I was wrong. I sure saw no sign of it during the thirty years I usually couldn't get any local friends or UConn Alum co-workers to attend the UNH-UConn game at old Memorial Stadium in Storrs.

JMHO, but opportunities are going to surface in the next few years. We'll see if UMass can muster what it takes to take advantage of the opportunity. For Minutemen fans, I hope they can!


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