Posts Tagged “Colorado”

Notes from throughout the day yesterday and today via emails to friends:

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6/10/10 @ 10:31am PT:
http://www.ralphiereport.com/2010/6/7/1506750/attention-buddy-jones-baylor-fans — I found this funny :)

If Nebraska jumps to Big Ten (90% likely), then there’s several scenarios:

1) Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M go to Pac-10 (60% likely)
2) Pac-10 only invites Utah (34% likely) and stops at 12 teams
3) All five Big 12 teams stay, and the Big 12 picks up two teams to replace Nebraska and Colorado (TCU for sure, Houston is likely – don’t think they’ll take SMU again because SMU was the reason the SWC dissolved in the first place) (3% likely)
4) Pac-10 invites Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Utah (2% likely).
5) Pac-10 invites ONLY Texas, Texas Tech, and Utah to stop at 14 teams (1% likely)
6) Pac-10 does something else entirely (San Diego State, Utah, and Colorado State?) (0.0000001% likely)

Texas A&M would prefer to actually join the SEC due to travel times and would only go to the Pac-10 if #1 scenario happens. The PAc-10 would prefer NOT to take A&M but might have to.
Scenario #4 actually would be the most ideal situation for the Pac-10, covering the biggest markets in four new states (Salt Lake City, Denver plus all of Oklahoma and Texas), but it is also the second least likely to happen.

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6/10/10 @ 3:08pm PT:
The latest statement from Oklahoma State University:

“The report circulating about an immediate announcement today concerning Oklahoma State University and conference realignment is without merit. There are no announcements planned by Oklahoma State University. We remain committed to the Big 12 Conference. If there are additional defections, we will have to evaluate our options.”

(But we already know that Nebraska is going to go to the Big Ten – it doesn’t want to be dealing with Texas anymore anyway. This gives OK State the way “out”.)

In a contingency move, if Nebraska actually DOES stay put, Missouri will be moving on to the Big Ten, with BYU and Air Force getting the Big 12 invites to replace Mizzou and CU.

Oklahoma also just stated that wherever Texas goes, it goes. “I think it would be a horrendous decision for OU and Texas to break up,” Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione said. “We’re going to stick together if it’s at all possible.”

MWC is looking to swoop in and pick up three teams at minimum (Boise State, Kansas, Kansas State) if the Big 12 goes belly-up to bring themselves to 12 teams. Or it could also pick up the remaining leftovers (Iowa State, Missouri) to get to 14 teams.

On the outside looking in: Missouri (who woulda thought?!?), Iowa State, Baylor. Missouri wants the Big Ten to come calling, but a Nebraska expansion really means that the Big Ten will be looking at staying at 12 or expanding in the future to New York/Jersey (Syracuse and Rutgers).

SEC isn’t looking to expand further unless the Big Ten takes Syracuse and Rutgers, creating a domino effect – the Big East would collapse and the ACC would scoop up some of those members, with the MAC or CUSA probably picking up one or two teams (Iowa State, Baylor).

If the Big East collapses, Notre Dame will move to the Big Ten because they no longer would have any conference to align with for non-football sports.

If the Big East and Big 12 collapse, there will be five superconferences: Pac-16, Big Ten (or whatever it will be named), SEC, ACC, and MWC. The WAC, MAC, Sun Belt, and CUSA will be staring at the impossible – getting high enough on the food chain to access the BCS bowls. If the Pac-10 is smart, they invite Utah now (get themselves to 12), then see what shakes from the Big 12. Best scenario would be then to take Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and OK State and leave A&M and Baylor to fend for themselves or beg for an invite to the SEC (which is geographically better for both schools anyway).

Texas Tech reports that all options for them are “positive for the university” (meaning that no matter what happens, they win since they will be going wherever Texas goes).

Lastly, reports have ALL 5 remaining Big 12 South teams (except Baylor) have already received invites to the Pac and are simply waiting for the Nebraska announcement (due tomorrow!) before acting. However – according to the reports: It takes 9 members to disolve the [Big 12] conference without paying exit fees. It looks like only 7, maybe 8, have a home and want out. (CU, OK, OSU, TX, TXT, TXAM, NEB, maybe MIZZ). The exit fees are $10 million a pop. The four remaining teams could end up splitting $80 million in exit fees before finding a new pasture (MWC?)

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6/10/10 @ 4:05pm PT:
Two tidbits, one from today’s teleconference between Pac-10 commish, CU Prez Bruce Benson and Philip DiStefano (CU-Boulder chancellor):

Question: Kyle Ringo, Boulder Daily Camera – Did Pac-10 ask Colorado to add new sports?
Scott – No requirement to add any sports but we have had discussions about the profile of sports that seem to fit well, including baseball and softball.

Looks like baseball and softball might be back on the table for CU. Can’t see why it wouldn’t work, given the imminent TV revenue to be gained – plus Title 9 wouldn’t really be affected since a women’s and men’s sport would be coming in at the same time, so long as the number of scholarships for both is (relatively) the same.

The other tidbit is the proposed divisional/scheduling setup:

Divisional – Pac-8 division (Cal, Stanford, OSU, UO, UW, WSU, UCLA, USC), and Southwest division (UA, ASU, CU, TX, TX Tech, TX A&M, OK, OKST). Round robin rules then apply:
7 games against divisional opponents, 2 games against intra-divisional opponents, 3 games vs non-conference.

Divisional Pod – Four team pods within a two divisional setup:
Pac-8 One: UW, WSU, UO, OSU
Pac-8 Two: Cal, Stan, UCLA, USC
SW One: UA, ASU, CU, TTU
SW Two: TX, TAMU, OK, OKST

Divisional – Only adding Utah to conference splits conference into two six-team divisions. Round robin rules then apply:
5 games against divisional opponents, 4 games against intra-divisional opponents, 3 games vs. non-conference.
Hard to gauge a divisional setup that everyone likes in this scenario, though the best school of thought is to split the divisions evenly by splitting the rival pairs and then forcing them to play each other in an intra-divisional game every year. Thus:
One: USC, Stanford, WSU, ASU, Utah, OSU
Two: UCLA, Cal, UW, UA, CU, UO

While the thinking is that the 8-team divisionals are generally accepted, the reality is that the Pac-10 has actually been studying the pod system for a while. The scheduling would thus be:
Play all members in their own pods (3 games), plus 2 teams from the other three pods (6 games total) for a total of 9 conference games, leaving three non-conference games available.
Arizona, ASU, and CU would like this since they wouldn’t have to play Texas and/or Oklahoma every single season.

CU Nation, however, seems to only want the Pac-10 to expand to 12 teams by taking Utah and then being done. Apparently, they’re tired of spending half their seasons in Texas. :)

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6/11/10 @ 1:23pm PT:
Boise State officially accepts invite to Mountain West Conference, according to the MWC press release. Also, Nebraska officially joined the Big Ten today, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

The reports now have the Pac-10 expanding to include the following FOUR teams – Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and OK State.

This is shaking out to be the 2% chance scenario I mentioned yesterday…

4) Pac-10 invites Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Utah (2% likely).

Texas A&M is seriously courting the SEC and has a decent shot, given that the TAMU President is none other than Gene Stallings, who won a national title at Alabama.

Missouri, Iowa State, Kansas, K State, Texas A&M and Baylor remain – only the first five have a shot at getting into a major conference, with the MWC ready to grab Mizzou, ISU, KU and KSU.

Baylor here is the big loser if they can’t tag along with TAMU – it’s either Conference USA (as the 13th member, where they would play against other Texas teams such as Rice, Houston, UTEP and SMU) or the Sun Belt Conference (as the 11th football member where they can play other Texas teams such as … North Texas), because I seriously doubt that the MWC will want to take them. And given that the SEC wants TAMU and Va Tech, I doubt Baylor is getting an invite to that conference either.

There is a small chance now that the remainder of the Big 12 (all six of them) could conceivably raid another conference (MWC? WAC? CUSA?) and grab two of BYU, Air Force, Colorado State, Louisana Tech, Houston, or TCU and once again become the Big 8. (Or take four and still be the Big 12.) Geographically, TCU and either Houston or LaTech would be the best fit for the new Big 8. One writer in Des Moines actually has a “new” Big 12 with five of the remaining current members (Mizzou, ISU, KU, KSU, Baylor) plus Cincinnati (HUH??), Louisville, Rice, SMU, TCU, UTEP, and Houston. Basically, this writer would turn the Big 12 into the Texas division and the Everywhere-Else division.

Now, I get the Louisville thing because that’s Kentucky which is right next to Missouri state-wise. But Cincinnati? Really? They should instead be pilfering someone closer, like Arkansas State, or Western Kentucky. Not that there’s a ton out there to begin with anyway once the Big Ten and Pac-16 are done gobbling up all the big names.

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Up at the Pac-10 meetings, the topic of expansion will once again be revisited.

I’ve talked about this several times before, but now the latest rumor has the Pac-10 inviting 6 teams from the Big 12: Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Colorado.

Of those, Colorado is probably the only one with a realistic probability of making a jump. And of those, Texas is the LEAST likely to make a jump. Here’s why:

1. Texas: $10.2 million
2. Oklahoma: $9.8 million
3. Kansas: $9.24 million
4. Texas A&M: $9.22 million
5. Nebraska: $9.1 million
6. Missouri: $8.4 million
7. Texas Tech: $8.23 million
8. Kansas State: $8.21 million
9. Oklahoma State: $8.1 million
10. Colorado: $8.0 million
11. Iowa State: $7.4 million
12. Baylor: $7.1 million

That is the revenue gained in 2007 from the conference sharing deal the Big 12 has in place. The Big 12 rewards teams based on a formula, while the Pac-10 doles out shares equally (10% to everyone). Don’t think for a moment that Texas is looking at a Pac-16 formula that would essentially give the Longhorns only 6.25%, when currently they get 9.9% of the Big-12 revenue. And don’t think for a moment that the current members of the Pac-10 would vote to give Texas a larger share of the pie at their expense.

That said, Texas isn’t really looking at the Big Ten either – they are balking at being the far southern border of that conference, with the idea of having to play Rutgers or Minnesota every season not exactly tempting. (Who could blame them?)

From a monetary breakdown, Colorado got 7.76% of the Big 12 revenue in ’07. A 1/12 split for Colorado actually nets them 8.33%, so that’s something Colorado has to consider. Oklahoma State is in the same boat (7.86%) as is Texas Tech (7.99%). Two of those three moving to a Pac-12 would benefit themselves well financially. That said, a drop from 7-8% to 6.25% isn’t a large drop either, and the difference could be made up in a TV deal.

A Pac-16 super conference would have a huge TV deal and be in three time zones – that’s something that Texas, as well as the others, MUST consider because of the exposure and recruiting for all their sports. A TV deal could make up the difference in lost conference revenue.

Now Texas A&M is considering joining the SEC – a move that would probably benefit them more than a jump to the Pac-10. Texas A&M is not enamored with playing anyone in the Pacific Time Zone, mostly because of the travel times and detriment to the student-athletes for getting back home at 6:30am and having to go straight to an 8am class – which has happened before with games against Oregon and Washington. Also, Texas A&M needs money. While Texas is easily one of the top 5 programs in the nation in terms of bringing in money (USC, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Michigan are the others), Texas A&M really depends on its Big 12 revenue, and a drop from 8.95% to 6.25% is probably too much. Finally, Texas A&M is the farthest SE of the entire Big 12 conference. If they played in the Pac-10/12/16, they would be the Eastern-most team of the conference. Playing in the SEC is more convenient travel-wise for them.

Oklahoma is reportedly leaning toward the SEC for some of the same reasons (outside of the financial), but that stance could change depending on who jumps where.

However, the remaining schools (Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Colorado, Texas) are of the belief that academia of the SEC is not on par with their current standards – and none of the NCAA FBS conferences really are on par academically with the Pac-10 anyway.

Really, if the Pac-10 would going to expand, they are going to either do it in two ways:

1. Only add two teams to make a Pac-12 conference. More and more likely is the addition of Colorado. The other team would happily be (in preferred order) Utah, Texas Tech, San Diego State, Colorado State, Air Force, or New Mexico.

2. Add six teams to make a Pac-16 super conference. Again, Colorado, along with Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech from the Big 12. Then Utah plus one other (Texas? San Diego State?) to create a Pacific division (Washington, WSU, Oregon, OSU, Cal, Stanford, USC, UCLA) and a Southwest division (Arizona, Tempe Normal, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Texas/SDSU).

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Yesterday I talked about the possibilities for expansion of the Pac-10.

Today, it was brought to my attention that there is a possible political obstacle to Utah joining the Pac-10: namely the Utah Board of Regents.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe the Pac-10 would love to have Utah join – the 31st biggest TV market in the country isn’t something to sneeze at.

However, the UBOR (the U Bore?) or the Governor of Utah might try to force a conference to take Utah AND BYU together, or at least force two Utah schools to move if one is offered (Utah/Utah State?).

If that happens, Utah will probably be off the table for expansion talks. And I wouldn’t blame the Pac-10 one bit – after all, what university president IN ANOTHER STATE wants to be told what to do by an ultra-conservative Utah Board of Regents?

Since expansion is driven by money, the next five biggest markets are:

  • Denver (Colorado) #16
  • San Diego (San Diego State) #28
  • Las Vegas (UNLV) #42
  • Albuquerque (New Mexico) #44
  • Fresno (Fresno State) #55

Note that the numbers don’t count the suburbs of those areas. If you add Denver suburbs and San Diego suburbs, the numbers would increase dramatically.

Some media pundits are thinking that Missouri, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Houston, or SMU would be considered for the Pac-10. Think again, people. In no way will the rest of the Pac-10 allow Texas or Oklahoma to be added, and the travel costs – already high for Pullman, WA – will not decrease for a trip to St. Louis or Houston.

That means then the next two under consideration, aside from Colorado, would be SDSU and UNLV.

I’ve said many times already, SDSU is probably going to sneak in if a Utah/Colorado pairing doesn’t take place. You don’t just ignore the 28th largest market in the country, especially in your own bleepin’ backyard. A SDSU/UNLV pairing would net an estimated minimum 2 million extra households, so that’s nothing to sneeze at – and realistically, with all the San Diego suburbs, you’re really looking at an increase of around 4 million households, easily. That’s huge.

One last tidbit – what about Air Force to the Pac-10 with Utah? Academics are sound, you know they have a VERY good following, and they are pretty competitive in most sports. And they already play Utah every season as a member of the MWC. Interesting thinking that.

The best comment I’ve read today comes from hansbroughs_motor:

Oh, and there’s zero chance that the Pac-10 takes Boise State. It’s basically Fresno State North-if the Pac-10 wanted that kind of company, it could just add Fresno State and Cal State Fullerton.

D’oh!

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I touched on this last year here, where I laid out six reasons why the Pac-10 would not expand just willy nilly and grab Boise State and Utah.

Apparently, the new Pac-10 commish is seriously considering expanding, which is fine, but people need to understand that the Pac-10 is HEAVILY research-oriented and they are a major competitor in most sports, so several things must be factored into any school to be considered for expansion.

  1. Academics/research – Almost every school has either a major medical facility or research facility, and every school ranks in the top 100 in the world for academics. In the latest World University Rankings, Stanford is #3, California-Berkeley is #4, Washington is #6, UCLA is #17, Arizona is #28, USC is #32, ASU is #60, Oregon State is #72, Oregon is #82, and Washington State is #88.
  2. Presence – Every school is a major presence in their geographical area. There are no “tiny” schools in the Pac-10.
  3. Competition – The Pac-10 is the “Conference of Champions” for a reason: the number of championships won by the members of this conference FAR outnumber the total by any other conference. As such, members must have a tradition of competing hard and winning.
  4. Rivalries – Every school has a natural rival that also happens to be geographically “close” to each other. The farthest “rival” schools from each other are Washington (Seattle) and Washington State (Pullman), which are 5 hrs away by car.

So, knowing these are major criteria for any school to join the Pac-10, let’s go through some of the schools being touted by members of the media. The World University Rankings provides good insight on where these schools are ranked in relation to the rest of the world – more than 15000 universities across the globe are ranked in this research. Hence, the schools are sorted by World University Ranking.

  • University of Colorado (Boulder, CO) – Good research school, biggest presence in Colorado, however somewhat irrelevant lately in the Big 12 conference. Ranked #45 in WUR. Enrollment is over 30,000 students.
  • University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT) – Major medical facility, major presence only overshadowed by BYU, major competitor in the Mountain West Conference. Location in large market. Ranked #48 in the World University Rankings. Enrollment is over 26,700 students.
  • University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, NM) – Plays in MWC, but is inconsistent in its competitiveness in men’s sports – the women, however, are rolling over their competition. Located in largest city in NM, also a known travel destination. Ranked #69 in WUR. Enrollment is over 24,000 students.
  • BYU (Provo, UT) – Biggest presence in Utah, major competitor in MWC. Location in smaller market. Ranked #84 in the World University Rankings (just ahead of Washington State). However, does not play any sports on Sundays, which is a major drawback to Pac-10 competition, and it has a dearth of graduate programs, also a turn-off for the Pac-10. Enrollment is over 34,000 students.
  • Colorado State University (Ft. Collins, CO) – Second biggest presence in Colorado behind UC, competitive member of MWC. Academia is still decent (#113 in WUR). Enrollment is over 26,000 students.
  • Utah State University (Logan, UT) – Plays in the WAC, but lately has been irrelevant. Located in very small market. Academics are better than half of the other schools being considered (#162 in WUR). Enrollment is just shy of 24,000 students.
  • San Diego State (San Diego, CA) – Competitor in MWC in many sports outside of football. Located in large market and travel destination. Ranked #233 in WUR. Enrollment is over 34,500 students.
  • New Mexico State University (Las Cruces, NM) – Competitor in the WAC. Located in small market. Academics are just ok (#276 in WUR). Enrollment is over 17,000 students. Second smallest school in consideration.
  • San Jose State (San Jose, CA) – Competitor in the WAC. Located in close proximity to Stanford, making it easy to reach. Part of the Cal State University system. Ranked #304 in WUR. Enrollment is over 32,000 students.
  • University of Wyoming (Laramie, WY) – Lately become more of a competitor in the MWC. Located in very small market. Academia is lacking (#374 in WUR). Enrollment is just under 14,000 students, making it the smallest school in consideration.
  • UNLV (Las Vegas, NV) – Competitor in MWC in many sports outside of football. Biggest presence in Nevada, location is well-known. Academics are not up to Pac-10 standards (#388 in WUR). Enrollment is over 31,000 students.
  • Boise State University (Boise, ID) – Lately has owned the WAC in football, but that’s pretty much it. Biggest presence in Idaho, however that’s not saying much. Academics are not up to Pac-10 standards (#491 in WUR). Enrollment is just under 20,000 students.
  • Fresno State University (Fresno, CA) – Competitor in the WAC. Part of the Cal State University system. Located in small market. Academics are not up to Pac-10 standards (#801 in WUR). Enrollment is over 22,000 students.
  • University of Hawaii at Manoa (Honolulu, HI) – Competitor in WAC. Located in supremely desired location – imagine what that does for Pac-10 recruiting (“hey, you can play for us AND you’ll get to go to Hawaii twice in your four years here”). Academics lag behind all other schools in consideration (#824 in WUR). Enrollment is over 20,000 students.

Now, just for grins I’m throwing in two schools:

  • Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff, AZ) – Small market, currently does not play Division IA in football, but does in everything else. Member of Big Sky conference. Academics are ok (#302 in WUR). Enrollment is just under 19,000 students.
  • University of San Diego (San Diego, CA) – Large market, competes in Division I for all sports except football. Member of Pioneer Football League for Division IAA. Academics are behind most other schools listed above (#747 in WUR), and enrollment is just a tad above 7,500 students – but that’s because it’s a private school.

Based on the information above, if I went solely on academia, then obviously my choices should be two of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, BYU, or Colorado State. However, something else to consider is how the schools fare in athletics other than football. San Diego State is already an associate member of the Pac-10, so they automatically should be considered for expansion.

Hence, a Utah and San Diego State pairing would not be out of the question, though having those two play on rivalry weekend would be stretching a bit.

Geographically, SDSU and San Diego would make a perfect pair, except that USD doesn’t compete in Division IA football (stadium size is too small – 6000 seats), and USD’s research ranking is troubling.

SDSU and UNLV would make another “good” pair, as they are 5hr away by car – the same distance as Washington and WSU – but UNLV’s academic ranking is a 300 point drop from the rest of the Pac-10.

Utah and BYU would seem to be a marriage made in heaven, except BYU doesn’t play on Sundays, which becomes a problem for the other members of the Pac-10 who DO play on Sundays. And BYU isn’t all that competitive outside of football and maybe basketball or softball. And let’s not forget that BYU is distinctly lacking graduate programs, a big no-no when dealing with research universities.

Colorado/CSU would also seem to be a good match, but would Colorado want to leave the Big 12? Perhaps if they could guarantee one non-conference game a year against Nebraska. And I’m sure that CSU would jump from the MWC for the Pac-10 in a heartbeat – however, CSU probably wouldn’t get an invite without Colorado.

Utah/Colorado would be really good – 8hr drives not withstanding. This is probably the best pairing period.

Utah/Utah State is also not out of the question as they fit the presence and geographic criteria, and USU’s academia still is in the top 200 in the world. However, Utah State’s small market is very concerning, and like CSU, they probably wouldn’t get an invite on their own.

New Mexico/NMSU would be good geographically, but that also means the Pac-10 would have to take on a small school and weak academia (NMSU) and a low-key competitive-wise school (UNM). Granted, Stanford is also a small school (enrollment just under 15,000), but there’s a huge difference between Stanford and NMSU.

New Mexico/Colorado would be a good fit academically, and it’s actually a slightly shorter drive at 7.5 hrs, but again the inconsistent competitiveness of UNM is troubling.

New Mexico/NAU would be a surprise, though the distance between the schools isn’t all that far. But NAU’s small stadium and school size becomes an issue.

We know that the Pac-10 will not just add one school if it finally does choose to expand. And having an expansion helps other schools in the Pac-10 so they can round out football schedules (read: ASU) with Division IA teams.

I’m pretty sure that a BYU/UNLV pairing would probably not be highly thought of – complete polar opposite agendas there :)

As it is, BYU joining the Pac-10 is already under assault from Cal and Stanford – both far left-wing schools to begin with. Since any expansion requires an unanimous vote on schools to join, I believe that Cal’s opposition (Stanford notwithstanding) effectively kills any hope for BYU to join the Pac-10.

I think the biggest knock on one of the other teams, Colorado, is that they pretty much are a football school and really nothing else – there’s nothing really to gain from moving from the Big 12 (a BCS conference) to the Pac-10 (another BCS conference). Also, Colorado does not compete in several other sports that the rest of the Pac-10 does (swimming, baseball). However, there’s an outside chance that a CU-CSU pairing in the Pac-10 might pique their interest.

Thus, the best scenarios range from competitiveness in athletics to high academia to geographic location to just plain ol’ TV markets (in no particular order):

  • Utah / San Diego State
  • San Diego State / UNLV
  • Utah / UNLV
  • Utah / Utah State
  • Colorado / Colorado State
  • San Diego State / University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • New Mexico / UNLV
  • San Jose State / Fresno State

[2/11 UPDATE: The Big Ten has opened discussions with Texas to jump from the Big 12 to the Big Ten. If that happens, a Colorado jump from the Big 12 to the Pac-10 suddenly becomes a LOT more likely. If that is the case, look for a Utah/Colorado pairing to take place.]

The appeal of any scenario involving Utah is probably first and foremost in the new commish’s mind. And also the lure of the San Diego market is also very appealing. Like I mentioned above, a Utah/SDSU pairing would be very appealing for most everything except a geographic rivalry game – then again, all those Utah fans would probably jump at the chance to fly to San Diego every other year in late November.

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