Winners and Losers in Expansionfest 2010

<Law Buckeye - Bumped.>

Big XII Commissioner Dan Beebe holds up 'Projected Big XII Revenue' data that ultimately kept the conference from going the way of the British Empire.

The dust appears to be settling...appears to be...and as I type this, the Texas rebellion within the Big XII has been averted, for the time being.  As it stands now, the Big XII South will remain in a 10 team Big XII, Utah will move to the Pac-10 to round out to twelve teams, and Texas A&M will not go to the SEC.  I know what happens when one assumes, but let's assume the above conditions are what the final lay of the land will be.  Let's see who comes out on top, and who ends up looking around and asking what happened?


The Big Ten and Commissioner Jim Delany:  All Jim Delany had to do was mention that his conference was 'exploring' expansion, and the rest of the college football world lost...their...mind.  The Big XII almost imploded, the Pac-10 tried to bite off more than they could chew, the SEC went rummaging through garage sales to see if they could pick up a bargain, and the Big Ten?  They picked up the fourth winningest program in college history, increased the revenue for each of the Big Ten teams (who already make more than all the other conferences), instantly created some of the most exciting new rivalries in college football, and will grab all the end of the regular season oxygen in 2011 with the Inagural Big Ten Conference Championship Game, live from Lambeau Field (see some idiots rambling post about that idea).  And there's a good chance the Big XII champion for 2010 will be a member of the Big Ten conference.  Heh heh heh.  If there's anything above 'win' that's where the Big Ten is in this.

Nebraska:  They go from disrespected minor partner in a very unstable conference with 'possibly maybe hopefully projected' revenue in a ten team conference to 'real' money, over $20 million a year and growing, and an equal partnership among 11 other like-minded institutions of higher learning.  The Big XII hasn't solved their problems but only delayed them, which I'll talk about in a bit.  They leave a conference that still has long term issues going forward, and they join the oldest, most profitable, and most stable conference in America with great teams, money pouring in to the point that they can almost print it, and some budding rivalries with other traditional powers. 

Colorado:  They saw the writing on the wall and bolted for greener pastures, avoiding this when it comes around again.  Like Nebraska, they move to a stable conference, will end up with more money annually than they would have if they had stayed in the Big XII to Make Ten, and don't have to grovel for the Texas table scraps.  With a strong Missouri and Nebraska in the Big XII North, they might be better able to compete for a division title and Conference championship in the Pac-10, depending on how the divisions break out. 

Texas:  If reports about projected increased revenue regarding Commissioner Beebe's Fanciful plan are accurate, Texas will generate over $20 million/year in revenue once they factor in their own network, a number that approaches Big Ten figures and is decidedly more than the remaing conference schools.  They are definitely the Big Fish in the Little Pond, and will be able to dictate to remaining nine conference teams what they want to happen, and when they want it to happen.  Next on the agenda for Texas:  Sudentland and Austria annexation.

Utah:  Utah has been trying to get a seat at the adult table for years, and now they have one, which is all they ever asked for.  They slapped Alabama up and down the Superdome during the Sugar Bowl a few years back, and they are a legitimate program.  That legitimacy has been cemented by an invitation to a BCS conference.  Congratulations to the Utes and their fans, it's well deserved.

Kansas:  Ever been to a dance and no one wanted to dance with you, even though you were pretty good looking, cleaned up fairly well, and didn't do anything to make people turn their nose up at you?  Well, other than maybe some ticket scalping and tax evasion on the side, but hey, everyone has skeletons.  Kansas was looking at something close to irrelevant (What's that?  Football at Kansas is irrelevant?  Yeah, you're right about that--my bad) overnight.  I knock their football program, but their basketball program is one of the best in the country...and not one of the power conferences wanted them.  Not one.  If I'm a Kansas fan, I'd rather play in a tenuous Big XII with Texas and Oklahoma than a stable Mountain West without them.  Oh, and I'm glad to now know that basketball doesn't matter when compared to football, so when this musical chair expansion stuff comes around again, I'll make sure I have a seat when the music stops.


The Pac-10:  I couldn't decide what to do with the Pac-10.  First I had them categorized as a loser, then as a winner; in the end, I pulled a Tressel and punted.  I say win because they added two teams to just one for the Big Ten, and will also add a Conference Championship Game.  On the heels of the USC penalties, anything that distracts from that and promotes the conference as a whole is a good thing, and if you're a Pac-10 fan, you have to look at  Commissioner Larry Scott and admire his aggressiveness and forward thinking.  I do.  But still...

I wanted to call this a net loss.  Early on it looked like Scott had one-upped Jim Delany with a bold, almost insane move to get six teams to join his conference, simultaneously adding two mega teams in Texas and Oklahoma, super rivalries between Texas, Oklahoma, and USC, and a Conference Championship game that would be every bit as talked about as the Big Ten's.  But Dan Beebe threw a hail mary, and it worked, ending Scotts dream for Germania in the Pacific.  At least for now.  Instead of Texas and Oklahoma, you get Colorado and Utah.  That's what we call falling short of your goal.

When you want everyone to think you have a royal flush, but your bluff gets called by the overweight pimply faced kid (Beebe), and all you turn over is a pair of 4's, it's tough to categorize that as a win. 

And I'd still rather have Nebraska alone than Colorado and Utah together.


The Big XII:  In the short term, they kept their conference together, but they made a bad deal, based on very optimistic projections, to do so.  So if the money projections don't pan out, we'll all be right back here in a few years.  But at the end of the day, they still have a net loss of two teams and a Conference Championship Game.  To keep the conference viable, they have agreed to essentially let Texas call the shots in terms of who gets what long as Texas makes the most, and it's as much as teams in other conferences like the Big Ten and SEC.  And the revenue projections that Commissioner Neville Chamberlain Dan Beebe put on the table pan out.  And the Longhorn Network makes as much money as the University of Texas thinks it will.  And no other team gets disenchanted with the arrangement and looks to greener pastures...coughcough Missouri coughcough. 

Oh yeah, things couldn't be better in the Big XII to make Ten.  Peace for Our Time!  Yes! 

Missouri:  I preface this analogy by saying I spent 10 of my 22 years in the military in the Army, and one of those I spent in the Republic of South Korea.  South Korea is one of the four worst places in the world, following Green Bay, Ann Arbor, and any men's room at the Metrodome.  In Korea, at least when I was there, there were Korean women who would try to catch the eye of GI Joe, let GI Joe know they're interested, make it known that they could have their way with them, and hopefully, if she played her cards right, would get a one way ticket to the Land of the Big BX, (which was slang for the US) as the newly minted Mrs. GI Joe.  But once she got to the US, her bad traits emerged--heavy drinker, gambler, she stops speaking English, and god DAMN does kimchee smell HORRID. 

Yeah, Missouri is the Korean opportunist in all of this.  Got all dolled up, pretty much knocked on the Big Ten's door wearing nothing but a smile and said 'Take Me', and then tried to convince all of her friends that she was going to the Land of the Big BX.  When that didn't happen, she had to go crawling back to her Korean boyfriend, and accept whatever terms he demands.  But she'll be back, and will have learned from this experience.  Maybe, in the long run, this will be a good thing for her.  She'll quit gambling, learn to cook chicken and hamburger, and take some English lessons, so when the next GI Joe comes around, she will get the Golden Wonka Ticket.

SEC:  And this is a minor point, at best.  Look, the SEC is our mortal enemy as stable as the Big Ten.  They've got a generally over rated great product, a highly anticipated and watched Conference Championship game that determines a National Championship participant on almost a yearly basis, and their results on the field are damn impressive over the last seven or eight years.  The football field, that is.  The battlefield, not so much.  But when the SEC comes calling, and it comes down to a choice between a stable, well run organization compared to something that resembles FEMA during the Katrina aftermath...and you pick FEMA...well, that's not a good thing.  Does it harm the SEC long term?  No, not at all.  But still, it was kind of nice to see the SEC brought down a peg or two.

As for Notre Dame, the ACC, and the Big East, they stayed status quo, so I can't say that they won or lost.  Eventually, something will happen to start the expansion ocean roiling again, and the Big East and Notre Dame will find out that they are in an untenable position.  Once the super conferences emerge, it seems apparent that Notre Dame will have to align with a conference, be it the Big Ten or someone else, and the Big East will struggle to survive.

Hasn't this been fun? 

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