Big Ten Expansion (part 3): The Contenders

12 04 2010

After discussing some of the  outside contenders for the 12th spot in the Big Ten, lots of noise has been made to cut to the chase and get to the real teams (already). This installment will cover the teams with good chances, but not the front-runners. The top two teams for expansion will follow soon.

Some bloggers and so-called experts have been casting doubt on the “East Coast Media Theory” for Big 10 expansion. The problem is, it is too logical not to apply. The conference wants to send a serious statement to the college football community that it is THE top conference in football by adding a conference championship game as well as gain exposure in the ESPN (Eastern Sports Publicity Network) dominated media market on the East Coast.

Two major teams accomplish this feat; the Syracuse Orange and Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

Syracuse has an established football program that has had very strong times, and very weak times – a perfect fit for the Big 10. Other than Ohio State, the Big 10 standings can be highly volatile on a yearly basis. And the basketball team has also had established success. Plus Syracuse is about as close to New York itself as the Big 10 can get.

About the only university closer is Rutgers, another likely option. The Scarlet Knights have had a solid football program over the last decade joined with an increase in credibility as a quality opponent. Joining the Big 10 offers Rutgers a larger stage than the Big East and gives the Big 10 a 12th team that will not be a threat to upset the apple cart immediately in the conference.

Again, major prospects like Texas,  Nebraska and Notre Dame would not consider a move t the Big 10 because they want to be conference championship contenders from the start. The truth is, the conference would not want a drastic shake-up immediately – the individual athletic directors within the conference would not allow it. The team needs to ease itself into conference contention.

Two other very unlikely names to also consider at this point would be the University of Connecticut and the Naval Academy. With recent success for both programs, their presence on the East Coast at least puts them on the Big 10 radar.

Coming up next: The Semi-finalist. Who will take second place in the chase for the 12th spot in the Big 10?

Mr Pressbox Out!!

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Big Ten expansion (part 2): Outside looking in

23 02 2010

Nebraska or Notre Dame to the Big 10?Since the last installment, Big 10 commissioner Jim Delaney repeated the conference has not yet begun to contact other schools and conferences about potential additions to the Big 10 lineup. While I am sure that is true, especially due to a roll of legal red tape, I am also sure conversations have been had over golf games at Torrey Pines, beers at Hooters on West Higgins Road in Chicago and other back-slapping events for college big-wigs gauging the interest of potential teams.

But before we get to the A-list teams the Big 10 is most likely looking at, lets look at the fringe teams that have a shot at joining the next super conference. In no particular order …

NOTRE DAME

Notre Dame is like the hot chick at the dance. Everybody wants her on their arm, but once you’re dating her, you realize her breath stinks, she farts and calls you every time she gets confused about which way to put the CD in the player. Yes, the national fan base of the Golden Domers and its storied history (Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!) is very attractive. But working around its NBC contract and the special treatment the Irish will expect as incentive for joining the Big 10 will make them unattractive. Sure they are located in the center of Big 10 country, but there aren’t really any rivalries to latch on to. Notre Dame’s rivals are more like USC, Navy, Florida State, Miami, and maybe Michigan. There is definitely an up-side to bringing Notre Dame into the fold, but the Fathers declined the invite several times before, and will undoubtedly pass again.

NEBRASKA

Imagine the 1980s with classic match-ups pitting Tom Osborne and Hayden Fry. The border rivalry between Nebraska and Iowa is as strong as any other in the nation. However, the Bugeaters and Hawkeyes rarely face each other on the gridiron. This only fuels the buffalo chip tossing over barbed-wire fences. Adding Nebraska would not only give resolution to generational battles of Iowa versus Nebraska, but would also land another historic program to the Big 10. The conference would increase its overall strength of schedule significantly with an addition like Nebraska. The Cornhuskers play traditional Big 10 football with superior defenses and conventional offensive attacks. They would fit in nicely, however it is up to the Cornhuskers to accept the challenge. History would suggest they prefer to take the easy Big 12 North schedule  as they prepare for their post-season bowl. Plus the Big 12 will fight kicking and screaming about letting go of their only threat out of the North. Like Notre Dame, it would be a great addition, but the school and conference are standing in their own way.

CINCINNATI

Surprise! Didn’t see that coming, did ya? They are a rising star in the BCS division, despite getting whacked by (that guy with the initials T.T. and) Florida in the Sugar Bowl. They would definitely shake things up in the Big 10, as well as create an in-state conference rival with Ohio State. To date, the OSU and Cincy hasn’t been much of a rival, but throwing them both in the Big 10 East would make an instant rivalry. They also contribute something Notre Dame and Nebraska can’t; a basketball improvement for the conference as well. Sure the Cornhuskers and Irish have had good teams occasionally, but between the three, the Bearcats program would improve the basketball conference more than the others. Look for their stock to rise in the Big 10 Sweepstakes especially if they have another BCS-level season in 2010.

As much as either of these schools would improve the Big 10 conference, Notre Dame have any real incentive to join the Big 10, Nebraska doesn’t have the leather to join the conference, and Cincinnati might be too green to be considered a quality addition to the Big 10.

Next time, we will break down the finalists.

Mr Pressbox Out!!

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86 the 96 idea – NCAA tournament expansion idea gets Major #Fail grade

4 02 2010

On the biggest college football day between the National Championship and Spring practices (the NFL draft doesn’t count), let’s talk some college basketball.

Some knuckleheads got the great idea to expand the college basketball tournament – one of the greatest sports inventions since the forward pass – from its 64-team format to a 96-team mega-format.

What idiot on what planet thought that was a good idea? I know who; some moron who thought adding 32 more teams would generate millions of dollars in added revenue for college basketball.

WRONG! And here’s why.

The 64 teams (ok, Mr Technical, 65) already scrape the barrel of the mid-majors with borderline competition for the major conference champions. Yes it is exciting to see a #2 seed upset by a #15 seed. But that #15 seed is usually a good team from a small college and small conference. They deserve their shot in the spotlight, but no one takes them seriously for a chance to win the whole tournament. That’s why they are seeded against the top seeds – to lose early and go home.

The NIT is filled with all the bubble teams that had a shot at making it, and that tournament is horrible. People don’t watch it on TV or at the venues. What once used to be the pinnacle of college basketball, was replaced by the current tournament (and its subsequent revisions) and is now relegated to a “feel good” for some of the mediocre teams who managed to break .500.

If you add 32 more teams to the NCAA tournament, it’s like adding the NIT and the NCAA Tournament together, and then can you imagine the horrible talent featured in the NIT? And don’t for one second think that the NIT is going anywhere. It’s tradition will keep it alive.

And the only way for a field of 96 to work, and STILL keeping the Sweet 16, Elite 8, and Final Four rounds in tact is to incorporate an extensive series of byes or simply separating the top 32 from the bottom 64 until the 64 worked its way down to 32, which would then be merged and re-seeded with the top 32 and formatted like the current tournament. This would extend the series at least by one more unwatchable week of horrible college basketball. And here’s a news flash; no one would watch the tournament until the group was reduced down to the final 32 or even Sweet 16.

So technically, expanding the field would actually hurt the NCAA tournament’s pocketbook because you have to pay for the travel and venues of those extra games somehow, and minimal attendance numbers will not put the ledgers in the black.

So why mess with it? There is no good reason at all to mess with the current SUCCESSFUL formula.

I am totally OK with adding an extra “Bubble Buster Night” adding four more teams to the tournament, making four “play-in” games (one for each bracket) vice the current single “play-in” game. At least people would watch that. People would even attend the game, especially if you held all four games in one venue.

My suggestion is, if the NCAA wants to tinker with a postseason playoff tournament, spend the time and resources wisely and figure out a playoff system for the college football BCS series. Now that is what fans want. Listen!

Mr Pressbox Out!!

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community.foxsports.com/mrpressbox
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Related posts:
http://www.yardbarker.com/all_sports/article_external/Sources_96_Team_March_Madness_Is_8220Done_Deal_8221/2013949

blogs.dailyherald.com/node/3379

espn.go.com/blog/collegebasketballnation/post/_/id/3162/donovan-wouldnt-mind-tourney-expansion

espn.go.com/blog/collegebasketballnation/post/_/id/3111/ncaa-tournament-expanding





86 the 96 idea – NCAA tournament expansion idea gets Major #Fail grade

3 02 2010

On the biggest college football day between the National Championship and Spring practices (the NFL draft doesn’t count), let’s talk some college basketball.

Some knuckleheads got the great idea to expand the college basketball tournament – one of the greatest sports inventions since the forward pass – from its 64-team format to a 96-team mega-format.

What idiot on what planet thought that was a good idea? I know who; some moron who thought adding 32 more teams would generate millions of dollars in added revenue for college basketball.

WRONG! And here’s why.

The 64 teams (ok, Mr Technical, 65) already scrape the barrel of the mid-majors with borderline competition for the major conference champions. Yes it is exciting to see a #2 seed upset by a #15 seed. But that #15 seed is usually a good team from a small college and small conference. They deserve their shot in the spotlight, but no one takes them seriously for a chance to win the whole tournament. That’s why they are seeded against the top seeds – to lose early and go home.

The NIT is filled with all the bubble teams that had a shot at making it, and that tournament is horrible. People don’t watch it on TV or at the venues. What once used to be the pinnacle of college basketball, was replaced by the current tournament (and its subsequent revisions) and is now relegated to a “feel good” for some of the mediocre teams who managed to break .500.

If you add 32 more teams to the NCAA tournament, it’s like adding the NIT and the NCAA Tournament together, and then can you imagine the horrible talent featured in the NIT? And don’t for one second think that the NIT is going anywhere. It’s tradition will keep it alive.

And the only way for a field of 96 to work, and STILL keeping the Sweet 16, Elite 8, and Final Four rounds in tact is to incorporate an extensive series of byes or simply separating the top 32 from the bottom 64 until the 64 worked its way down to 32, which would then be merged and re-seeded with the top 32 and formatted like the current tournament. This would extend the series at least by one more unwatchable week of horrible college basketball. And here’s a news flash; no one would watch the tournament until the group was reduced down to the final 32 or even Sweet 16.

So technically, expanding the field would actually hurt the NCAA tournament’s pocketbook because you have to pay for the travel and venues of those extra games somehow, and minimal attendance numbers will not put the ledgers in the black.

So why mess with it? There is no good reason at all to mess with the current SUCCESSFUL formula.

I am totally OK with adding an extra “Bubble Buster Night” adding four more teams to the tournament, making four “play-in” games (one for each bracket) vice the current single “play-in” game. At least people would watch that. People would even attend the game, especially if you held all four games in one venue.

My suggestion is, if the NCAA wants to tinker with a postseason playoff tournament, spend the time and resources wisely and figure out a playoff system for the college football BCS series. Now that is what fans want. Listen!

Mr Pressbox Out!!

mrpressbox.wordpress.com
community.foxsports.com/mrpressbox
www.twitter.com/mrpressbox
pressbox.yardbarker.com

Related posts:
http://www.yardbarker.com/all_sports/article_external/Sources_96_Team_March_Madness_Is_8220Done_Deal_8221/2013949

blogs.dailyherald.com/node/3379

espn.go.com/blog/collegebasketballnation/post/_/id/3162/donovan-wouldnt-mind-tourney-expansion

espn.go.com/blog/collegebasketballnation/post/_/id/3111/ncaa-tournament-expanding





BCS Playoff Better for Everyone, Not Just Fans

9 01 2010

After the conclusion of a Bowl Championship Series that did not resolve anything as far as Boise State was concerned, gave us a mismatch for the ages by pitting the Florida juggernaut against the fledgling Cincinnati Bearcats, and provided a mediocre championship game, the need for a playoff system could not be greater.

Of course the fat cats who run the BCS and the major conferences will not allow it because they think they know what is better for the sport and the fans. They could not be more wrong. Here are the biggest reasons to institute a playoff system to decide the champion.

1. MORE BOWLS = MORE MONEY FOR COLLEGE FOOTBALL: By adding a few extra bowls to accomodate an 10-team playoff in the Bowl Championship Series, more bowls are involved in the BCS. Not only are more bowls involved, but those bowls are more important, will draw more people and of course make more money. Then by instituting a revenue sharing program where the schools that did not make it to a bowl get a small piece of the bowl pie, even the smaller or less competitive schools make some money.

People will watch. It is football, and more competitive football. TV revenue alone would make conferences and schools happy to participate in a playoff system. And the smaller bowls not in the BCS would benefit with better teams, more fans and more viewers. Which leads me to the next point;

2. MORE COMPETITION = BETTER BOWL GAMES: By adding a few more games to the BCS, bumping up such games as the Cotton Bowl, Capitol One Bowl, Outback Bowl or even Gator Bowl to the BCS, the domino affect would then increase the importance of the bowls the follow behind. Take for instance if the Capitol One Bowl and Cotton Bowl moved to the BCS playoff system, the Champs Sports, Outback, Independence, Alamo, Sun, and Holiday bowls would all benefit by hosting better Big 10, Big 12, and SEC teams than in the past. This would also eliminate the 6-6 teams, which no one really wants to watch anyway – not even their fans. This would spur more intensity to break the .500 mark to become bowl eligible and make regular season action even more intense. Who doesn’t want that?

This would also require the bowl schedule to start earlier, which would reduce the “rust” some teams suffer in the month-long break between the end of the regular season and the bowl season.

3. AN UNDISPUTED CHAMPION: By making teams play 2-3 post season games would reduce the “Boise State Affect.” Non-BCS conference selectees would like Boise State would end up facing 2 or more Tier 1 BCS conference schools on their way to an eventual championship game. One of two results follow; either Boise State (or its equivalent) is elimated by a more deserving team, or it fights its way to the championship game showing it deserves to be considered a top college team. This eliminates the debate, or BSA, at the end of the season whether or not Boise State should be considered in the title conversation. The two teams in the championship game would have proven themselves worthy by fighting through a gauntlet of the best teams in college football, not just winning a few key games during the regular season while wading through a soft conference schedule (yes, I’m talking to you Cincinnati, TCU and Texas).

There sure are more reasons to change the BCS to a playoff format, and only one main reason against it: INJURIES. Of course adding a few more games to the schedule increases the possibility of injuries. And of course the cash cows looking for their payday in the NFL may not care for another few games, but oh well. It’s football. Man up. The other divisions in college football have playoffs and everything works just fine. There is no reason the FCS can’t adopt one as well.

The system, the schools, and especially the fans deserve an undisputed national champion and college football playoff system. It is high time we appeal to the fat cats and convince them the playoff is good for the one thing they care about most, their wallets.

Mr Pressbox Out!

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