Posts Tagged “expansion”

To those Fresno State fans who keep searching on the internet for news about the Bulldogs changing conferences, you can stop. Fresno State isn’t going anywhere. Y’all can’t seriously believe that Fresno State had any shot at being picked up by the Pac-12, right? Or moving on to the MWC?

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… which of course makes for readership in his column.

Here’s the link to his column on why BYU isn’t in consideration for Pac-12 expansion. There’s a portion in there that is interesting:

[The Pac-10] has said it was looking for universities that are a good fit, academically and athletically, yet it never considered BYU. The reason most often cited: BYU wasn’t a “research institution.”

That all sounded logical until this week when the conference tried to woo six Big 12 schools and got just one. Yes, Colorado does well in research, as does Texas. But Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, to name two, aren’t on any list I’ve seen of best research schools in America.

Mr. Rock, the Pac-10 wanted Texas but couldn’t get them without the rest of the hangers-on (Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech – and Texas A&M originally). It was a package deal, and quite honestly, the Pac-10 was willing to take the whole package in order to get what it wanted.

But of course you play the religious bigot card again, like so many BYU sympathizers do.

Really, call it what it is – BYU is not a research institution, period. The top 25 overall research institutions include 6 Pac-10 schools (Stanford, Cal, UCLA, USC, Washington, Arizona). And also in that list? Texas and Texas A&M. BYU? Not on the list. The next 25? Includes Colorado, Utah, and Tempe Normal (ASU). BYU? Not on that list either. Hmm… that’s 8 current Pac-10 schools, plus three schools that were or are under consideration for expansion.

Looking at just Private research institutions, in the top 25 are Stanford and USC – the only two private schools in the Pac-10. And looking at just Public institutions, in the top 25 are Cal, UCLA, Washington, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and Tempe Normal. The next 25 Public include Oregon, Washington State, and Oregon State.

In other words, in the top 50 Public Research Institutions, all 9 Public Pac-10 schools are there (along with the potential 12th school in Utah). In addition, Texas and Texas A&M were listed. And in the top 25 Private Research Institutions, both private Pac-10 schools are there. In addition, Baylor was listed.

Ok, so Baylor does more research than BYU. Heck, the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology is ahead of BYU.

It’s not a religious thing. It’s not even a Sunday-scheduling thing. It’s a simple fact that BYU is not Pac-10 material academically. Yeah, the Pac-10 was willing to take on three schools (Oklahoma, OK State, Texas Tech) that were sub-par research-wise in order to get three schools that excel academically and research-wise (Texas, Texas A&M, Colorado), because that was the package deal for the Texas/Oklahoma schools. That’s just business. BYU does not make good business sense from that standpoint either. If that were the case, the Pac-10 would take Air Force too.

So stop pandering to the whiners and do some real journalism – which includes researching ALL the facts, not just what will get sympathizers to read your blog post.

As for “workinglate”, who commented on Mr. Rock’s post:

it’s not that BYU is not strong academically, it’s that it has very few PhD programs (most schools at BYU stop at a masters degree). PAC10 likes to have PhD programs. Comprared, BYU’s endowment is larger (by over $300M) so they have money for research, but UofU has a well recognized medical program. To say that the U is academically better than BYU is simply not true – no published report or ranking has BYU behind the U of U.

To that, and all those who agree with him, I submit to you this link to the World University Rankings where Utah is ranked 44th best University in the USA and Canada, while BYU is 67th.

Comparatively, other Pac-10 school ranks:
#3 Stanford
#4 California-Berkeley
#6 Washington
#17 UCLA
#27 Arizona
#31 USC
#41 Colorado
#49 Tempe Normal (ASU)
#57 Oregon State
#65 Oregon
#70 Washington State

(Yeah, we knew WSU was bringing up the rear, but that was already a given. BYU would be second to last here.)

And the other schools under consideration from the Big 12 in the top 100:
#12 Texas
#20 Texas A&M
#87 Oklahoma

So, yeah, picking up the 6 defectors from the Big 12 would have netted four schools in the top 100 Universities in the USA/Canada, three of which are in the top 25 of all research universities. I don’t think that’s too shabby at all for a “package deal”.

Colin Cowherd always says that the surest way to make money is to bet against a homer supporting his team. In this case, BYU supporters have a hard time separating their support for their school with the objective facts.

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So, it’s a forgone conclusion that the consolation prize for the Pac-10/11 is now the Utah Utes.
It’s official – the Pac-10 will be a 12-member conference (and probably called the Pac-12) as Utah will accept the invite from the conference.

Actually, I’m happy about it. I wasn’t really thrilled with the prospect of having to play Texas and Oklahoma in football every year – any thoughts of a Rose Bowl could just be kissed goodbye.

But now, with Utah and Colorado in the fold, a Rose Bowl is still possible, depending on which division USC gets placed in – and even then, we’ve got a good shot anyway for the next two years as USC is banned from the postseason.

All this conference expansion discussion is now moving toward finding out who the next BCS Automatic Qualifier (AQ) will be, if there even will be one.

According to the BCS, the rules for gaining an AQ are simple:

Under the terms of the agreements with the bowls and television rightsholder, the ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC will have annual automatic qualification for their champions for the 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.

Results from the 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 regular seasons will be evaluated to determine whether a seventh conference earns automatic qualification for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 bowl games.

This means that after the 2011 season, there might be a 7th AQ. How will they determine the next AQ?

Actually, it’s based on three criteria over the four-year review period:

  1. The final BCS ranking of the conference’s highest-ranked team
  2. The final regular-season rankings of every team in the conference by the six BCS computers
  3. The number of teams the conference has in the Top 25 of the final BCS standings

Criterion number 3 is based on points: a rank of 1-6 = 4pts, 7-12 = 3 pts, 13-18 = 2pts, and 19-25 = 1pt. There are adjustments to account for conferences that have a disparate number of teams:

  • 12+ members = no adjustments
  • 10-11 members = additional +12.5% of total
  • 9 or fewer members = additional +25% of total

A conference will become the seventh automatic qualifier if it finishes among the top six conferences in both [Criterion] No. 1 and No. 2 and if its ranking in No. 3 is equal to or greater than 50 percent of the conference with the highest ranking in No. 3.

This will all make sense in a moment. The first one is easy to figure out – the highest ranked team for each conference. Since the review period began in 2008, we only have two seasons to work with, making it very simple. Remember, this is an average of the highest final BCS rankings (pre-bowls) from 2008-09. It also takes into account the latest movements by Nebraska, Colorado, Boise State, and Utah:

  1. SEC: 1.5
  2. Big 12: 1.5 (yes, I know it’s a tie)
  3. Pac-10: 6
  4. MWC: 6.5
  5. Big East: 7.5
  6. Big Ten: 8
  7. ACC: 11.5
  8. MAC: 25.5
  9. C-USA: 38
  10. WAC: 50.5
  11. Sun Belt: 52

Really, all we care about at this point is the non-BCS conferences: Mountain West, WAC, MAC, Conference USA, and Sun Belt. And based on this listing for the past two years, it looks like the MWC is headed toward AQ status since it’s firmly entrenched in the top 6 (at number 4) for the first criterion.

The second part is trickier. I’ve seen a couple of blogs out there that attempted to calculate the final rankings by dropping high and low scores like the actual BCS formula does. However, the qualifications quoted above actually say “six”, not “four”, computer rankings will be calculated. That said, here’s the list for the second criterion:

  1. SEC: 38.7
  2. ACC: 40.4
  3. Big East: 43.4
  4. Big 12: 45.53
  5. Pac-10: 48.06
  6. Big Ten: 48.88
  7. MWC: 58.42
  8. WAC: 80.97
  9. MAC: 86.6
  10. CUSA: 81.06
  11. SBC: 95.94

MWC comes in 7th here. And while it _looks_ like they should catch the Big Ten, the reality is that the MWC as a whole really is three teams and a bunch of nobodies. You have Boise State, BYU, and TCU. The next best team after them? Air Force (averaging a rank of 50). And that’s not to mention New Mexico and Colorado State who are dragging everybody down with them (100 and 82, respectively).

What happens if they can’t reach that magic 6th spot? Well, there’s a provision for that:

… a conference will be eligible to apply to the Presidential Oversight Committee for an exemption if it finishes among the top six in both No. 1 and No. 2 and if its ranking in No. 3 is equal to or greater than 33.3 percent of the conference with the highest ranking in No. 3, OR

If it finishes among the top seven in either No. 1 or No. 2 and among the top five in the other and if its ranking in No. 3 is equal to or greater than 33.3 percent of the conference with the highest ranking in No. 3.

So, right now, the MWC needs to hit at least 33.3% of the conference with the highest ranking’s points.

Criterion number three requires a bit of research to find the final BCS rankings for the teams in the MWC. Note that this criterion pretty much puts the conference at the mercy of its best team.

To calculate the points, you check each conference’s members’ final rankings for 2008 and 2009 and see if any of them were in the top 25. If so, you assign points. For example, in the Big 12 in 2008, 5 teams finished in the top 25 – Missouri #21, Oklahoma #1, Oklahoma State #13, Texas #3, and Texas Tech #7. That’s worth 14 points. And in 2009, only Oklahoma State (#19) and Texas (#2) were Top 25 finishers. That’s another 5 points. That gives the Big 12 19 points. But since they only have 10 members (NOW), there is an added adjustment of 12.5% of the total. 12.5% of 19 = 2.375, so the Big 12′s total is 21.375.

Here’s the full list:

  1. MWC: 22.5 (–)
  2. SEC: 22 (97.8% of leader)
  3. Big 12: 21.375 (95.0%)
  4. Big Ten: 19 (84.4%)
  5. Pac-10: 19 (84.4%)
  6. Big East: 15 (66.7%)
  7. ACC: 12 (53.3%)
  8. MAC: 1 (4.4%)

CUSA, WAC, and Sun Belt Conference all have 0.

MWC definitely hits the jackpot here. The addition of Boise State raises their standing in the last criterion from 3rd place to leading the pack.

What does this tell us? Actually a lot. The reason why MWC is leading the pack is because of the bonus adjustment of +25% due to the fact that the MWC has nine teams. If the MWC expands to a 10th team (rumors are leaning toward the University of Houston) then the score for this criterion becomes 20.25, due to the adjustment being cut in half. Great, they still qualify, right?

Well, yes, if the AQ was determined now. But there’s still two years to go, and you have to believe that the trending for the MWC isn’t getting better for its teams – remember the exception process REQUIRES a 7th place score at worst – and several teams in the MWC got worse in ’09 than ’08. Air Force dropped from 39 to 59. Colorado State went from 62 to 101. New Mexico went from 86 to 115. UNLV went from 79 to 82. Outside of the big three (TCU, BYU, BSU) only Wyoming and San Diego State improved, but SDSU’s improvement isn’t saying much (110 to 95).

No, if trends hold true, MWC has no hope of climbing to 6th place in the 2nd criterion, and instead will have to apply for an exception… assuming that BYU and TCU continue to stay in top-25 form, because realistically, the rest of the MWC doesn’t have a chance to do that.

As for Boise State? Well, they were the big fish in the tiny, tiny pond of the WAC, now they’re a medium-sized fish in a bigger pond called the MWC, and they will have to play BYU and TCU every season instead of at the end of the season at a bowl game. In-season games make a huge difference on BCS rankings, and BSU just found it harder to get those undefeated seasons churned out.

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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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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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