First and foremost, conference expansion is the hot topic. Here is where we are today. If you wait five minutes to read this then it might change.
The Big Ten
- · Nebraska has made the jump to the Big Ten.
- · The primary reason boils down to money, but Nebraska always felt they were playing second fiddle to the conference members in Texas.
- · After one more season in the Big XII the Huskers will start play in the Big Ten in 2011.
- · There is no final word if the Big Ten will play a conference championship game, but it is hard to imagine they won’t. Expansion is about money, and championship games mean more of it.
- · Notre Dame seemed to be leaning toward remaining independent even as the Big XII seemed about to implode, so it is hard to think they will look to join the Big Ten now.
- · Will any other teams look to become part of the Big Ten in the short term? It does not seem likely at this point, but if Notre Dame makes an overture then they will look to the Big East(probably Pitt or Syracuse) to even things out.
The Big XII
- The conference lost two members, Colorado and Nebraska.
- Nebraska will play one more season in the conference, and Colorado is currently set for two. Look for Colorado to leave after just one though.
- The Pac-10 offer would have increased the pay out to the schools they invited into the seventeen million dollar range. The new Big XII deal will be in this ballpark for most teams.
- The last minute deal to save the Big XII will increase the payouts for conference members, but the Texas schools will still receive more than the rest of the conference.
- The key factor keeping Texas in the conference was their ability to create a network of their own for Texas sports. This venture will come with Texas Tech and Texas A&M joining in. Baylor is still a question mark to be a participant, but the smart money says they go in as well.
- The Big XII will not be able to hold a conference championship game with only ten teams. Under NCAA rules it takes twelve teams to get the extra game.
- The deal to save the conference was brokered by an assortment of television executives, league officials, politicians, business people and leaders from other conferences.
- The reason so many people stepped in was to prevent the awkward geographical alignments the Pac-10 deal would have created and end the expansion madness.
- Will the Big XII look to add two more teams? Yes. When? Unsettled. Why? If the purpose of so many individuals involved in the deal was to bring order back to the conference expansion efforts, then it is unlikely they would expect the Big XII to become a poacher of other conferences.
- Who are the potential expansion candidates when it happens? Arkansas becomes a possibility with the money being paid out comparable to the SEC. Other candidates would include TCU, Boise State, Utah and BYU. Arkansas and TCU would be real plums.
- The lingering question: Will the unequal distribution of income still be a thorn in the flesh of conference members not named Texas?
- The conference of boring tried to step out in a big way.
- Inviting the Big XII members was seen as a way to increase the national exposure of the conference and generate more cash.
- Colorado did make the leap to the conference. Like Nebraska, the big issue was the unequal distribution of income among Big XII schools.
- Colorado is set to begin play in 2012, but look for that to change to 2011.
- USC’s probation will impact the conference financially, but the greater impact will be on the recruiting trail as member schools look to mine California gold the Trojans won’t be able to sign.
- Utah is still a strong candidate for the Pac-10, and they would gladly make the jump.
- You might not have noticed, but Boise State has accepted an invitation to the Mountain West. If TCU heads to the Big XII and Utah jumps to the Pac-10, then Boise State should have just stayed in the WAC.
- The Trojans were given four years probation by the NCAA.
- These sanctions relate to Reggie Bush’s association with agents while still enrolled at USC and the recruitment of basketball player O.J. Mayo.
- Other penalties for USC football are: The loss of thirty scholarships over three years and no post season play for two years.
- USC must also disassociate from Bush and Mayo.
- Under NCAA rules USC’s junior and senior players are free to transfer to any institution without penalty.
- USC athletic director Mike Garrett has become a bit of a sideshow with his proclamations about the penalties from the NCAA being all about jealousy over the success USC has experienced.
- USC is going to appeal the penalties, but recent changes to the appeal process make any success unlikely.
- The NCAA did learn something from their experience with Alabama. The Tide took advantage of a rule that allows teams an extra game if the play Hawaii, and while waiting out their postseason ban wrapped up their season for two years with a trip to the islands. USC will not have this option as their probation clearly spells it out.
- It also puts an already scheduled season opener USC had set with Hawaii in question.
Other news you may have missed
- Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, who was suspended for a year by coach chip Kelly for a robbery he committed, has been completely kicked off the team after a recent incident where he was pulled over with marijuana. This completes a long fall for what would have been one of the Heisman front runners at the end of last season.
- Alabama will face six SEC opponents who have an open week before facing the Tide. The SEC has acknowledged the schedule is out of whack, and efforts were made to change the schedule around, but no accommodations were able to be made. Alabama fans believe this will have a significant impact on Bama’s pursuit of back-to-back SEC titles.