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Conference Realignment Will Come Again... and Soon

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  • Geezer
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    Re: Conference Realignment Will Come Again... and Soon

    One of the problems with the Super 64 talk is the idea that the "biggies" won't discard the current weak teams that are in. The Washington States and Mississippi States of the world need to be rearranged.
    In the Big Ten, they all are pretty solid but you have to think about how many programs the state of Indiana can support.
    The SEC needs to drop Miss. St. and Vanderbilt. The PacTen needs to drop Wazzou and the Beavers.
    From the Big XII, obviously Oklahoma and Texas are big time. OSU has great non major sports and KU has Hoop.
    I have no idea how it will all turn out but somebody will get their feelings hurt.
    If the NCAA steps up and develops a football playoff that they get the revenue from, things will be a lot different.

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    Conference Realignment Will Come Again... and Soon

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    While some may feel that Conference Realignment is now behind us, I am afraid to say you are sadly mistaken. While many things were learned during the last round of negotiations and conference shifting, there are still many unanswered questions. As KU fans we are not out of the woods, not by a long shot.

    With the largest players still looking to make moves, some interesting pairings may come to light. The rumor is that the Big 10 was very close to nabbing Notre Dame and Texas together. Notre Dame wanted a game with Texas every year (big media market, lots of Catholics and it makes for a more national schedule) and a seven game conference schedule (which would allow for more out of conference games). However, things fell apart when it became apparent that Texas wasn't going anywhere without a home for Texas Tech.

    It seems logical that hitching your wagon to a much more powerful school is one of the leading ways to make sure in the next shuffle your school isn’t left holding the bag. T-Boone Pickens has already started to do this with Texas. He is one of UT’s largest donors, and that isn’t a coincidence. He has publicly made mention that he plans on strengthening the Texas – Oklahoma State ties with his donations. What does this mean for KU? With four slots remaining in a future Pac 16, OSU would get the nod over us.

    Here's the conferences I see remaining:

    SEC 16
    Big 10 (16)
    Pac 16
    ACC 16
    AQ Conference with the remaining scattered properties (like a decent C-USA)

    Kansas isn’t getting into the Big 10, Pac 16 or the SEC. We're small potatoes for the Big 10, the Pac 10 won't extend an invite unless they whiff on Texas and are hurting for teams and the SEC won't touch a non-football property.

    In my opinion, the ACC is going to be raided by the SEC and potentially the Big 10 for some top programs. I can see VT, Clemson and Florida State considering the jump to the SEC. I could see Maryland and Virginia being Big 10 targets. At the same time the Big East could lose West Virginia (SEC), Rutgers (Big 10), Syracuse (Big 10) or Pitt (Big 10).

    If the Big East loses 3 schools, they aren't an AQ conference any more. They'd have 5 football teams-- you need 6 teams together for 5 years to be considered for AQ status. Therefore, the ACC (with it's North Carolina nucleus, academic prowess and 12 teams) will weather the storm. I could see the ACC cannibalizing the Big East further to prevent them from becoming an East Coast conference substitute/rival.

    Depending on how hard the SEC and the Big 10 hit these two East coast conferences, KU's chances of a power conference increase or decrease. If the ACC has to look outside the East Coast to get to 16 teams, KU has a better shot of getting an invite. If the ACC doesn't lose anything and can add Pitt, Syracuse, UConn and Rutgers, KU is pretty much left holding the bag.

    This is assuming the ACC wants to hold up its academic standards. They could pull a Pac 10 and start inviting teams like West Virginia because of their football programs.

    The Big Ten's decision isn't based on athletics alone. The CIC (the academic consortium that all Big 10 Universities and the University of Chicago belong to) does billions in research dollars annually. The right addition to the CIC is worth hundreds of millions annually, while the right addition in football may only sweeten the pot by $10-15mm.

    Rutgers is a great school. It is the flagship University of New Jersey-- a state with excellent football recruiting, a large audience (the 11th largest state population) and a ton of political influence (think research dollars). The high enrollment, endowment and research dollars at Rutgers make it fit the Big 10 profile.

    As for the voodoo math involved in the NYC market-- I agree that it isn't going to EVER make New Yorkers think about college football like they do professional football. Here's the thing though; there are enough Penn State, Michigan, and Rutgers grads in the area to make some cable companies consider putting it on a special package as we speak. The real money is in putting it on basic cable, which I think will require years of market penetration and negotiating, but the point is you have a foot in the largest market in the US. Part of the largest market + New Jersey is like adding 10-12mm tv sets (Missouri adds 6mm).

    Think of what 10-15 years of having a Penn State-Rutgers or a Michigan-Rutgers game in Jersey might do. Worst case scenario they fill Rutgers stadium, most likely they could fill an NFL stadium and best case they start to get enough interest in a quality product (even if it isn't Rutgers football) to make it part of a basic cable bundle in parts of New York.

    The point is that no other college football conference can try to get in-- the ACC and the Big East don't have premier football brands to throw at the market like the Big 10 can. Names like Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan and Nebraska are quality brands that neither East Coast conference can match.

    With all of that said, where does Kansas stand? Your guess is as good as mine!
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