Posted on: October 24, 2011 12:43 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2011 12:44 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
While Missouri hasn't made it official yet, it's generally accepted knowledge that the school will announce that it's leaving the Big 12 for the SEC at some point in the near future. Which means that the Big 12 is already putting plans together to find a replacement for Missouri should it leave, and rumors have West Virginia as being the favorite to be that tenth school.
Something that one Big 12 school official confirmed to the Austin American Statesman's Kirk Bohls this weekend, and the official also went on to say that the Big 12 would be better off with West Virginia than it would be with Missouri.
“I’d say West Virginia is the leader in the clubhouse," the school official told Bohls. "I think we’ll come out better than before. I’d rather be with someone who wants to be with our conference than anybody who doesn’t.”
“West Virginia has better football than Missouri, better basketball than Missouri, a better budget than Missouri and more passion among its fans than Missouri. They’re better, anyway you turn ‘em. The travel’s not good but that’s it.”
Well that's no way to convince Missouri to stay.
Bohls also talked to another Big 12 administrator who wasn't nearly as rough on Missouri, and also said he's not sure that West Virginia would be the best candidate to replace it.
“The only place where there’s an advantage for West Virginia is better football,” the second official said. “Their academics is not as strong. If there’s any thought about what’s best for the student-athlete, we’ll go with Louisville.”
So the two likely candidates to replace Missouri are still West Virginia and Louisville, and the favorite depends on who you ask. So all we really know at this point is that Missouri is going to leave and that the Big East is squirming.
Posted on: October 20, 2011 12:51 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 1:12 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Thursday is reportedly the day Missouri begins the process of applying for membership in the SEC, an application that virtually no one expects to be rejected--even if the last we heard from the Tigers' conference-of-choice, Mizzou didn't yet have the nine positive votes to join.
The major sticking point for alleged Mizzou-opponent Alabama? The Crimson Tide's cherished "Third Saturday in October" rivalry with Tennessee, which could become a non-annual game if Missouri is added to the (geographically sensible) West division. And with former Alabama athletic staffer Dave Hart now the AD in Knoxville, the Tigers won't get the Volunteers' support, either, if their admission puts the Third Saturday in jeopardy.
Though Hart doesn't spell that out specifically, it doesn't take a lot of reading between the lines in his Thursday interview with the Birmingham News to see that's the case:
By which Hart means returning the game to its rightful place on the calendar on the actual third Saturday in October; the game is currently played on that exact date occasionally (and falls on the fourth Saturday this season).
But first and foremost, the game has to be played at all. If Missouri is added to the West division, one current West team will have to move to the East--and the far-and-away most logical candidate is Auburn, whose president has already stated publicly his Tigers would be happy to make the switch. But that would put Alabama in the position of having both their major annual rivals in the opposite division, with only of those rivalries "protected" as an annual game.
As the News's Jon Solomon points out, the SEC has two options for preserving Vols-Tide: either assign Missouri to the East and keep Auburn in the West (keeping the Vols as the Tide's lone cross-divisional rival), or expand the SEC schedule to nine games and give each team an extra cross-division rival.
Since the latter means unbalanced home-away schedules and a maximum seven home games every other year, don't expect it to get much in the way of support (even if it works for the Pac-12, Big 12, etc.). At this point, the most sensible approach for including Mizzou seems to be to toss the Tigers in with Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, as little geographical sense as that makes.
Because as Hart's comments illustrate, adding the Tigers to the West means push would have to come to shove somewhere--and that somewhere might be Missouri not getting added to the SEC at all.
Posted on: October 20, 2011 12:35 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 12:36 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Notre Dame is and always has been an independent football program. Conferences like the Big Ten have made overtures to the school before, but as long as Notre Dame has its own television deal and BCS status, the odds of the school giving up its independent status in football are essentially non-existent.
That being said, the rest of Notre Dame's sports are affiliated with the Big East, and with all the talk of a possible Big East collapse over the past few months, the ACC has been mentioned as a possible landing spot for Notre Dame's other sports should the Big East actually dissolve.
Talk that ACC commissioner John Swofford seemingly put to rest on Wednesday at the ACC's basketball media days. According to Swofford, if Notre Dame does want to join the ACC one day, it's going to be all or nothing.
“We're an all-in, revenue-equal conference,” Swofford told the Daily Press. “That's very basic to us. That's what works for us. ... I think going forward we will continue to consider equal revenue sharing and full membership or no membership (important) in our conference. I don't see that changing. ”
In other words, the ACC would consider adding Notre Dame to the conference if Notre Dame was bringing its football program with it. If not, well good luck finding a home elsewhere.
Posted on: October 20, 2011 11:50 am
Edited on: October 20, 2011 11:51 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Earlier this week a report in the New York Times called Missouri's potential move to the SEC "inevitable and imminent." Well, while it certainly seems inevitable given all the talk about it in recent weeks, we really don't know how imminent it is. What we do know is that the Missouri Board of Curators met on Wednesday, are meeting on Thursday and will meet again on Friday.
Whether or not conference realignment will be on their agenda, we can't be sure, though the chairman of Missouri's Board of Curators may have dropped a bit of a hint about that. When asked by the Kansas City Star about whether or not the school's conference affiliation would be discussed, Warren Erdman said he didn't have anything to say about that....yet.
“I will probably have nothing to say on that until Friday," Erdman said. “If there is anything to say then.”
Which is a pretty good indication that it is being talked about, even if no decision is reached.
Of course, some reports like the one at PowerMizzou.com say that Missouri's move to the SEC is "as done as done could be without the official vote." Which, when I read it, sounds like a long way to say that it's not done yet.
So I guess Missouri's move is still inevitable and imminent. We just don't know if or when it's going to happen.
Posted on: October 18, 2011 6:48 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
In this edition of the Free Bruce Podcast, CBSSports.com senior writer Bruce Feldman sits down with our Bryan Fischer to talk about some of college football's most pressing topics at midseason: how Oregon shrugs off injury after injury, Stanford's domination, Jacory Harris's stunning improvement, Trent Richardson's jaw-dropping Ole Miss performance, and more.
And all of that is just prelude to this week's podcast guest: Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione, who offers his insight into conference realignment and what the Big 12's future will hold, how you go about hiring a Bob Stoops, and what unique challenges lie ahead for a team ranked No. 1 in the country.
To listen, either click below, download the mp3, or open the podcast's popout player by clicking here.
Make sure you don't miss the next edition of the Free Bruce Podcast--subscribe to the podcast in iTunes by clicking here for the CBSSports.com College Football Podcast page.
Posted on: October 18, 2011 5:45 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Don't look now, but this so-called "New York City" place might be on its way to mattering a bit in the world of college football.
That's the way New York Yankees president Randy Levine sees it, anyway. With Big East commissioner John Marinatto telling reporters that he would like his league to expand to 12 teams, schedule a championship game, and play it in the Big Apple, Levine was asked about his team's interest in hosting that title game.
He response? That he was "very" interested. With Marinatto already openly declaring "how great it would be" to have New York City be the site of the game, it seems the only thing holding the two parties back would be logistical details--and the game itself existing, of course, pending the conference's pursuit of what seems like half the FBS.
Even if still in the highly-speculative phase and years away from actually being held, a Big East championship game --even if just advanced to the concrete planning stage -- would further enhance Yankee Stadiums rapidly growing college football profile. Already home to the annual Pinstripe Bowl, the stadium played host to Army vs. Notre Dame in 2010 and will see the Black Knights take on Rutgers on Nov. 12 this season.
The city's never going to be Atlanta or South Bend or even, say, Miami. But making New York City the destination of choice for a revitalized 12-team Big East would make it something more than a little important for college football fans all the same.
Posted on: October 17, 2011 7:23 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2011 10:05 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
You know, it had just been too long since we heard news about a school leaving or joining the Big 12, so thankfully the New York Times has come along with a report on some new developments.
Pete Thamel is reporting that a move that would see Missouri leave the Big 12 to join Texas A&M in the SEC is "inevitable and imminent."
The person said that Missouri’s decision to apply for membership to the SEC was “inevitable and imminent,” although a specific timeframe has yet to be set. Missouri’s Board of Curators will meet on Thursday and Friday at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, where the process of withdrawing from the Big 12 and applying to the SEC is expected to begin. While expansion is not listed on the agenda, there is an private session scheduled Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.As Thamel also says in the report, interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas said he expected Missouri to be a Big 12 member in 2012 and that the league would consist of ten teams now that TCU has joined. Well, if Mizzou does decide to leave for the SEC, it's possible that, like Texas A&M, it could begin play in the conference next season.
Also like the Texas A&M move, the SEC isn't expected to make any formal move on Missouri until it's assured there will be no legal ramifications. So the nation turns its leery eyes to you, Ken Starr.
As for what this move would mean for the rest of college football, if Missouri does leave then odds are that the Big 12 will move to replace the school in time for next season. Neinas has said that if Missouri did leave that the conference would move back to ten teams, and possibly twelve. Which isn't good news for a Big East conference that is currently scrambling to keep itself together.
After all, Louisville and West Virginia have frequently been mentioned as targets for the Big 12, and considering that Louisville is sitting out a Big East call to discuss raising exit fees, I guess we have a good idea of who the Big 12's first target will be.
Posted on: October 14, 2011 6:19 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2011 9:25 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli and Bryan Fischer
As CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd reported earlier on Friday, the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA are consolidating into one conference. The reasoning behind it is, as CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy reported on Friday, the Big East is set to extend invitations to Boise State and Air Force along with Navy and UCF.
Both conferences released a statement about their partnership on Friday night:
The Mountain West Conference and Conference USA have unanimously come to an agreement in principle to consolidate their member football programs into one large association.
Commissioners of the two leagues formulated this creative and innovative plan with the support of the presidents, chancellors and athletics directors. The 12 members of Conference USA and 10 football-playing members of the Mountain West will join forces for this strategic landmark in college football.
“The role of a conference is to provide its members with the best possible environment in which to conduct their intercollegiate athletics programs,” said Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson. “Rather than await changes in membership due to realignment, it became clear the best way to serve our institutions was to pursue an original concept. The Mountain West and C-USA share a number of similarities, and the creative merger of our football assets firmly positions our respective members for the future.”
The new conference, for football only, features 22 schools in 16 different states across five time zones (including Hawaii). Both leagues will continue to function as is for all other sports but they will work jointly on governance of the football side, though no specifics were given by either commissioner. The presidents of the member schools authorized Thompson and Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky to sign a memorandum of understanding earlier Friday as the first step in the process of consolidating the football programs.
"We really realized that college athletics is changing so fast and at such a rapid pace, if we're not quick to adapt we might lose some positioning," Banowsky said. "This is a structure that creates all kinds of fun, competitive opportunities. Nobody's ever put together a structure like this."
There is no name for the new venture, one of several details about the league that are still being worked out. The aim is for the conference to be operational by 2012 but they are focusing on 2013 as a more likely start date. Over the next 90 days a working group will explore how feasible it is to start next season but, given the already fluid realignment situation, nothing is assured. Banowsky said that there would likely be a two division model for the first year before moving to a mutli-divisional model down the road. There would be a football championship game no matter what the structure.
Both leaders said they have not had any conversations with the BCS about becoming an automatic qualifier conference and made it a point to say that nothing was guaranteed in terms of the BCS going forward and how it operates. The current agreement runs through the 2013-14 season with conferences reevaluated based on their membership as of December 2011.
"I don't think anyone can really predict what the future of the BCS will be or what it will look like," Banowsky said. "The idea that the BCS would simply be rebooted, as it has been in the past, I think is a significant question mark. From my perspective, this doesn't hang on that at all.
"I don't think anyone has a clear idea of what will happen in 2014," Banowsky said. "Will there even be a BCS? If there is, who will be in what conferences and what conferences will have access? Will there even be an automatic qualification?
"Our conferences will stand up together and speak with a stong voice. We will expect to have our champion recognized at the highest level."
In addition to the sheer size of the conference being an issue, the respective conference television contracts present a sticky situation. Both currently have separate deals with CBS Sports; while CUSA has partnered with Fox Sports and ESPN and the MWC has contracts with Comcast/NBC Sports. The MWC also owns and operates their own cable channel, The Mtn.
"It's all about inventory and it's all about programming" Thompson said. ""Better is better and more is better in the television industry."
"The schools that we're talking about have made significant investments in their football programs," Banowsky said of the new conference's appeal to television partners. "They're here and they're not going anywhere. The champion out of a group of schools like this is a worthy champion from my perspective."
The football only association has several models they've looked at, including as many as 24 teams participating. Adding to the already complicated setup is the fact that some of the current MWC and CUSA schools could be targets of other leagues, specifically the Big East. UCF, Boise State and Air Force leaders participated in the board of directors call early Friday morning and were part of the unanimous recommendation to proceed forward with the idea. Thompson said that the latter two had been in contact with the Big East but did not elaborate.
"Right now today, Friday afternoon, the intention is we start with 22," he said. "One of the beauties of this structure is the flexibility to accommodate additional members."
"We won't try to hold any one back if that's what they believe they want to do," Banowsky said. "As long as they're fair to the other members and they follow the rules, that's ok."