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. Keep the conversation going.
The Big Ten
- Nebraska has made the jump to the Big Ten.
- The primary reason boils down to money, but Nebraska always felt it was 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 on whether or not the Big Ten will have a conference championship game, but it is hard to imagine it won’t. Expansion is about money, and championship games mean more of it.
- Notre Dame seemed to be leaning toward remaining independent even when the Big XII appeared ready to implode, so it is hard to think it 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 the conference will look to a Big East team (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 payout to the schools they invited into the $17 million 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 all conference members, but the Texas schools will still receive more than the other teams in the conference.
- The key factor keeping Texas in the conference was its ability to create a network of its own for Texas sports. This venture will come with Texas Tech and Texas A&M joining in. It is still unclear whether or not Baylor will become a participant, but the smart money says it will go in as well.
- The Big XII will not be able to hold a conference championship game with only 10 teams. Under NCAA rules it takes 12 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.
- These people wanted to prevent the awkward geographical alignments the Pac-10 deal would have created and wanted to end the expansion madness.
- Will the Big XII look to add two more teams? Yes. When? Unsettled. Why? If the many individuals involved wanted to bring order back to the conference expansion efforts, then it is unlikely that they would expect the Big XII to become a poacher of the 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 side 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 currently set to begin Pac-10 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 will look to mine California gold the Trojans won’t be able to sign.
- Utah is still a strong candidate for the Pac-10, and it 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 being enrolled at USC and the recruitment of basketball player O.J. Mayo.
- Other penalties for USC football are: The loss of 30 scholarships over three years and no postseason 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 that the penalties from the NCAA are 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 its experience with Alabama. The Tide, who faced a two-year postseason ban in 2002 and 2003, took advantage of a rule that allows teams an extra game if they play Hawaii. So Alabama wrapped up the 2002 and 2003 seasons with trips to the islands. USC will not have this option as its probation clearly spells it out.
- It also puts into question a season opener USC already had scheduled with Hawaii.
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 downfall for a player who would have been one of the Heisman front runners last season.
- Next season, Alabama will face six SEC opponents who will have an open week right 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.