Conference Realignment

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#776      
I'm a bit confused. Doesn't this fall pretty well in line with what you were hoping for?
I'm not following, either. How different is this from
Fair points, I guess here's what I'd say. In broad strokes my hopes would be:

1. Above all else kill the concept of the expanded playoff. That is the cancer at the heart of all of this.

2. Make some meaningful attempt to preserve the Shrunken VIII's status as major conference programs

3. Pool TV resources in some way, with the idea of enticing other broadcast entities to battle ESPN hegemony over the sport

4. Think innovatively about how this moment of change (especially NIL) could be leveraged to bring marketable player talent into this alliance beyond football, to compete on terrain that isn't the SEC's core competency.

What I have a sense of what's to come is

1. Strike a fundamentally cosmetic bargaining position in order to gain negotiating leverage in the development of the expanded playoff

2. Cement the death of the Big XII by consolidating the remaining "major conference" contenders into a structure that excludes the Shrunken VIII.

3. Conspicuously leave out anything to do with TV money, preserving the fundamental structure of the game as these mini-gangs of schools in a total war for TV dollars, to the exclusion of any other consideration. Again, that's at the core of the existing problem, and no alliance means anything as long as that structure dictates where money goes.

4. A ton of hot air about student athletes and preserving the cuddly purity of the non-revenue sports and how horrific it is that this gauche SEC has played to win the game that is explicitly and almost solely Jim Delany's personal legacy and a framework imposed on the sport almost entirely by the Big Ten.

I may be completely wrong, but that's my sense. We'll see.
 
#777      

I gotta toot my own horn on this one a little bit, this is like word-for-word what I predicted.

The Big 12 stuff is absolutely hilarious though, a window into how pathologically self-justifying you have to be to reach power.
 
#778      
Anyway, the scheduling stuff is an area where this alliance could throw the Big 12 a pretty cheap lifeline if they saw the value in maintaining big-time college football in that swath of the country.

Any teams the Shrunken VIII add will dilute the pool and make them weaker. And as an 8 that only provides 7 football games. But if they wanted, say, 10 major conference games on their schedule, the extra 3x8 is just 24 games. 8 per allied conference as home-and-homes to make the TV inventory look pretty.

You can see they won't be doing that though. And to live up to their namesake and retain the opportunity to have a conference title game, they'll probably expand to 12. One of them will absolutely be UCF even though it shouldn't be just because of the amount of money they're willing to spend on football.

It will probably be UCF, Houston, Cincinnati, and maybe BYU? Boise State still seems like a stretch for this sort of thing.

It should be Houston, SMU, Memphis, and Cincinnati, creating a more geographically and culturally coherent league than it is now (not to mention conjuring some of that old SWC spirit), and one that's even better than currently from a basketball perspective and certainly superior to the SEC or Pac 12 in that regard. Betting everything on basketball wouldn't be the craziest move in the world.
 
#779      
Peoria via Denver via Ann Arbor via Albuquerque vi
Fair points, I guess here's what I'd say. In broad strokes my hopes would be:

1. Above all else kill the concept of the expanded playoff. That is the cancer at the heart of all of this.

2. Make some meaningful attempt to preserve the Shrunken VIII's status as major conference programs

3. Pool TV resources in some way, with the idea of enticing other broadcast entities to battle ESPN hegemony over the sport

4. Think innovatively about how this moment of change (especially NIL) could be leveraged to bring marketable player talent into this alliance beyond football, to compete on terrain that isn't the SEC's core competency.

What I have a sense of what's to come is

1. Strike a fundamentally cosmetic bargaining position in order to gain negotiating leverage in the development of the expanded playoff

2. Cement the death of the Big XII by consolidating the remaining "major conference" contenders into a structure that excludes the Shrunken VIII.

3. Conspicuously leave out anything to do with TV money, preserving the fundamental structure of the game as these mini-gangs of schools in a total war for TV dollars, to the exclusion of any other consideration. Again, that's at the core of the existing problem, and no alliance means anything as long as that structure dictates where money goes.

4. A ton of hot air about student athletes and preserving the cuddly purity of the non-revenue sports and how horrific it is that this gauche SEC has played to win the game that is explicitly and almost solely Jim Delany's personal legacy and a framework imposed on the sport almost entirely by the Big Ten.

I may be completely wrong, but that's my sense. We'll see.
I suppose, at the end of the day, I struggle to see what first step these conferences might have taken that provides a better opportunity to achieve your goals than what occurred.

1) as far as the 4 vs. 8 vs. 12 vs. 64 team playoff scenario goes, that cat is out of the bag. There is seemingly no route here that would have logically occurred to change that. This alliance, at best, slows the pace this evolves and at worst continues it on its merry way. Given that every conference and the vast majority of fans (look at the response to the very question you posed here) are in favor of it, it's going to happen. Ultimately, the alliance does nothing to worsen that situation, but very likely creates a greater likelihood that the ultimate structure is more balanced for all (including the "Shrunken 8").

2) I see no path where the Pac-12, Big 10 or ACC as individual entities would have any power or interest in saving the Big 12. At a minimum, as a collective they will bolster the Big 12 through scheduling opportunities, balanced playoff considerations and a general protectiveness of the ecosystem within college athletics.

3) I fail to see how this does anything but support the possibility of a more evolved perspective with regard to media rights. We know that the conferences aren't pleased with how in bed with the SEC ESPN has been. The ACC is pretty openly disgruntled with their deal, the PAC-12 has handled their media rights poorly and the BIG10 is primarily aligned with Fox. At best, this is a monster opportunity to move in the exact direction you desire, at worst we get status quo. But to assume this doesn't at the very least provide a very possible route to improve upon the current situation seems very pessimistic.

4) honestly, sincerely... I don't follow the logic that this in any way lessens the longer term ability for these conferences to promote and grow additional sports. I genuinely struggle to follow the logic presented as a negative here.

Ultimately, the situation stemming from the SEC's latest expansion has so many potential implications it's hard to see them all today. As fans, we can be left with anywhere from 0% satisfaction to 100% satisfaction when the dust settles. This doesn't get us to 100% (I dunno, something like universal cohesiveness with competitively, regionally balanced conferences operating together to create a sports content package that is easily accessible and affordable across a large number of collegiate sports). But what this does absolutely provide, is an avoidance of the 0% scenario (thinking a 30 team league of superstar programs from around the country freezing out every other program, including Illinois). It's a borderline relief to see this as a first step, as opposed to an announcement that the Big 10 is adding Colorado and Boston College, leaving the Pac-12 and ACC fighting to shore up their borders. I dunno what this alliance ultimately means for the ceiling of fan satisfaction, but I am extremely confident it raises the floor of fan satisfaction substantially.
 
#780      
I'm not sure how a three conference alliance materially adds to the bottom lines of existing BIG teams. I think that if the BIG can poach a team that will add lots of eyeballs in a major media market -- like USC, Tex A&M, maybe Stanford, or of course ND -- then do it. I don't see Colorado, Oregon or any of the remaining Big XII really doing that. In terms of the "alliance", do we really want to make the non-conf schedules more difficult by trading Sun Belt cupcakes for P5 teams?
This is right. The alliance can be an interim phase before more structural realignment, because I can’t see it sustainably competing with the SEC on revenue per school. The 41 member alliance has too many lower valued football programs compared to all the heavy weight brands in the 16 team SEC. I don’t like it, but the reality is that some of the 41 teams will ultimately get trimmed from the Power football conferences just like the remaining 8 teams from the BIG 12. What makes Wake Forest or Washington State football any better than Oklahoma State ? The long run economic and financial market forces are too strong. It’s been heading this way for decades so it’s just a matter of time.

I kinda like Oregon. I think Nike has really helped build their brand and they seem to have a national following. Washington for sure with the Seattle market.
 
#781      
Peoria via Denver via Ann Arbor via Albuquerque vi
Ultimately, I agree with most of what @ChiefGritty aspires college athletics to be. As a grad of New Mexico (in addition to Illinois), I hate what happened to the Mountain West in the last round of re-alignment. What a cool conference it was! UNM to Wyoming, TCU to Utah. Really interesting, geographically, philosophically aligned schools. Trading Utah, TCU and BYU for Fresno State, Utah State and San Jose State... blech. But even that conference came about as a result the same backroom dealing as we have today. I don't want to see a decimated Big East or Big 12 as a positive for college sports (although the Big East basketball conference is straight fire to watch). These changes aren't improving college sports overall.

I also hate the current television structure. How on earth is it possible in 2021 that I have no avenue to watch west coast college sports late at night. I can't get half of UNM's football games. The influence of tv networks in the evolution of all this is gross... genuinely makes me feel dirty.

That said, an expanded playoff has to happen. Would no playoff at all be better? I dunno, but it doesn't matter so no reason to even consider it. It's similar to considering whether the world would be better without the internet. There is no going back to that world, so how do we make the most of it? If I never see another playoff consisting solely of a round-robin involving Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Clemson again, it will be too soon. Does this mean that some combo of those 4 won't be in the semis most years anyway? No, but at least I'll get to see a G5 team take their best shot at them each year.

The alliance gives me some sort of hope that I can squint and see what I remember of college sports. That's as close to a best case scenario as we will get right now.
 
#782      
1) as far as the 4 vs. 8 vs. 12 vs. 64 team playoff scenario goes, that cat is out of the bag. There is seemingly no route here that would have logically occurred to change that. This alliance, at best, slows the pace this evolves and at worst continues it on its merry way. Given that every conference and the vast majority of fans (look at the response to the very question you posed here) are in favor of it, it's going to happen.
You may very well be right. But so long as that's the case, don't expect me to be happy. That's everything, that's the whole enchilada.

2) I see no path where the Pac-12, Big 10 or ACC as individual entities would have any power or interest in saving the Big 12.
a general protectiveness of the ecosystem within college athletics.
Answered your own question there.

3) I fail to see how this does anything but support the possibility of a more evolved perspective with regard to media rights. We know that the conferences aren't pleased with how in bed with the SEC ESPN has been. The ACC is pretty openly disgruntled with their deal
I don't know how disgruntled they are, but the ACC Network is owned by ESPN, not the ACC, and the remainder of ACC media rights are with ESPN until 2033. Jim Phillips is the new ACC commissioner remember, and so we know he will be desperate to express the sort of "philosophical alignment" with the B1G and Pac 12 discussed in that article, but just on a practical level the ACC is not in a position to do anything about it.

4) honestly, sincerely... I don't follow the logic that this in any way lessens the longer term ability for these conferences to promote and grow additional sports. I genuinely struggle to follow the logic presented as a negative here.
Oh they *could* absolutely still do it. And should. But in a world where everything is a knife fight to the death over football TV revenue, there is no space in which to consider the kinds of changes of emphasis and investment for the future that doing that would entail.

The alliance should just pay Illinois to start a hockey program, for instance. Big Ten hockey needs the extra team and it needs the Chicago presence in order to take the next step, and the costs involved are meaningful to Illinois but a pittance in the grand scheme of things. Just bribe us to go through with it. But you have to really believe in that as a future growth market to act in that way, and these guys don't.

But what this does absolutely provide, is an avoidance of the 0% scenario (thinking a 30 team league of superstar programs from around the country freezing out every other program, including Illinois).
On this we completely disagree. That outcome becomes more and more inevitable with every day that passes with "conferences" just being a euphemism for collections of football TV inventory and a playoff system that's devouring the competitive relevance of the sport.

Playoff expansion and College Football Super League are not two different ideas, they're the same idea, the same trend. Just the lobotomized zombie-like pursuit of higher TV dollars per school with no other objective considered whatsoever and a dead-eyed willingness to burn everything that is college sports to the ground to move the line on the graph an inch higher.

If they go to 8 or 10 or 12, college football will be a dramatically less popular sport within our lifetimes.
 
#783      
4. A ton of hot air about student athletes and preserving the cuddly purity of the non-revenue sports and how horrific it is that this gauche SEC has played to win the game that is explicitly and almost solely Jim Delany's personal legacy and a framework imposed on the sport almost entirely by the Big Ten.

I may be completely wrong, but that's my sense. We'll see.

How is this Jim Delaney's fault? The Big Ten added the independent Penn State and stayed at 11 for many years. Before adding Nebraska, the ACC raided the Big East (Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College), and the PAC-10 raided the Big 12 (Colorado).

If any conference is most to blame for where we are at now, I would say it's the ACC for stealing Miami and Virginia Tech and beginning the destruction of the the Big East as a power conference.
 
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#784      
How is this Jim Delaney's fault? The Big Ten added the independent Penn State and stayed at 11 for many years. Before adding Nebraska, the ACC raided the Big East (Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College), and the PAC-10 raided the Big 12 (Colorado).

If any conference is most to blame for where we are at now, I would say it's the ACC for stealing Miami and Virginia Tech and beginning the destruction of the the Big East as a power conference.
Yeah, ‘can’t pin this on any one person. And for any commissioner involved with realignment there are many financially powerful stakeholders pulling the strings. Delaney was doing his job.
 
#785      
Yeah, ‘can’t pin this on any one person. And for any commissioner involved with realignment there are many financially powerful stakeholders pulling the strings. Delaney was doing his job.

Plus, people are blaming the power of ESPN for a lot of this mess, but Delaney creating the Big Ten Network was actually one of the few moves that gave ESPN less power and control over NCAA sports
 
#786      
Peoria via Denver via Ann Arbor via Albuquerque vi
You may very well be right. But so long as that's the case, don't expect me to be happy. That's everything, that's the whole enchilada.



Answered your own question there.


I don't know how disgruntled they are, but the ACC Network is owned by ESPN, not the ACC, and the remainder of ACC media rights are with ESPN until 2033. Jim Phillips is the new ACC commissioner remember, and so we know he will be desperate to express the sort of "philosophical alignment" with the B1G and Pac 12 discussed in that article, but just on a practical level the ACC is not in a position to do anything about it.


Oh they *could* absolutely still do it. And should. But in a world where everything is a knife fight to the death over football TV revenue, there is no space in which to consider the kinds of changes of emphasis and investment for the future that doing that would entail.

The alliance should just pay Illinois to start a hockey program, for instance. Big Ten hockey needs the extra team and it needs the Chicago presence in order to take the next step, and the costs involved are meaningful to Illinois but a pittance in the grand scheme of things. Just bribe us to go through with it. But you have to really believe in that as a future growth market to act in that way, and these guys don't.


On this we completely disagree. That outcome becomes more and more inevitable with every day that passes with "conferences" just being a euphemism for collections of football TV inventory and a playoff system that's devouring the competitive relevance of the sport.

Playoff expansion and College Football Super League are not two different ideas, they're the same idea, the same trend. Just the lobotomized zombie-like pursuit of higher TV dollars per school with no other objective considered whatsoever and a dead-eyed willingness to burn everything that is college sports to the ground to move the line on the graph an inch higher.

If they go to 8 or 10 or 12, college football will be a dramatically less popular sport within our lifetimes.
So I read through all this and remain just as confused by how an alliance does anything but provide the opportunity to improve these various areas. Like, at every step of this, you primarily just spotlight how it could ultimately not turn into a positive (they won't consider the broader landscape outside the 3 conferences, they won't work toward a more equitable TV contract structure, they won't aim to grow sports outside football, they won't stave off the creation of one conference to rule them all). Even if none of those things happen, then we are left with... status quo? But the far likelier scenario is that they aren't doing this for nothing, and that tangible benefits in the exact areas you discuss may be seen. I'm not here predicting that will or won't happen, but as far as viable options that create the possibility, this feels toward the top of the pile.

I struggle to conceive a feasible first step that provides this possibility better than what we are seeing right now...
 
#787      
Pittsburgh, PA
love the B1G/PAC/ACC alliance. Lots of great academic AND athletic universities involved. Could put some pressure on ND to either commit or GTFO (or join the SEC) if the alliance prohibits scheduling non-alliance teams

Since the 4-team CFP started in 2014-2015, the SEC has had
14-15: 1/4 (25% of teams)
15-16: 1/4 (25%)
16-17: 1/4 (25%)
17-18: 2/4 (50%) + future member Oklahoma (75%)
18-19: 1/4 (25%) + future member Oklahoma (50%)
19-20: 1/4 (25%) + future member Oklahoma (50%)
20-21: 1/4 (25%)

Since the CFP was started, only once has the committee selected 50% of teams from the same conference. An easy solution to the playoff that i think even the SEC would be on board with: max 3-4 teams from any one conference in 8 team format (38-50%), max 4-6 teams in 12 team format (33-50%). do I want to see 6 SEC teams in a 12 team playoff? no, but any expansion of the playoff will likely set a maximum number of teams from any one conference, so that number will need to be discussed.

the entire point of this alliance is to have the sway to minimize the number of teams from any one conference (SEC) that can be selected
 
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#788      
love the B1G/PAC/ACC alliance. Lots of great academic AND athletic universities involved. Could put some pressure on ND to either commit or GTFO (or join the SEC) if the alliance prohibits scheduling non-alliance teams

Since the 4-team CFP started in 2014-2015, the SEC has had
14-15: 1/4 (25% of teams)
15-16: 1/4 (25%)
16-17: 1/4 (25%)
17-18: 2/4 (50%) + future member Oklahoma (75%)
18-19: 1/4 (25%) + future member Oklahoma (50%)
19-20: 1/4 (25%) + future member Oklahoma (50%)
20-21: 1/4 (25%)

Since the CFP was started, only once has the committee selected 50% of teams from the same conference. An easy solution to the playoff that i think even the SEC would be on board with: max 3-4 teams from any one conference in 8 team format (38-50%), max 4-6 teams in 12 team format (33-50%). do I want to see 6 SEC teams in a 12 team playoff? no, but any expansion of the playoff will likely set a maximum number of teams from any one conference, so that number will need to be discussed.

the entire point of this alliance is to have the sway to minimize the number of teams from any one conference (SEC) that can be selected
As bits unfold there is a lot to like about the alliance. I just hope that if the day comes when USC and North Carolina want more money the BIG is their choice.
 
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