Published Tuesday, September 20, 2011 AT 12:29 AM / Updated at 1:17 AM
Dirk’s Brunch Bites, Sept. 20
Dirk Chatelain Omaha World-Herald

The Tuesday and Wednesday Bites focus on conference realignment. Dig in… and tell me what you think.

Hypocrisy. It’s rampant in conference realignment. From coaches, presidents, commissioners, even ESPN pundits. Take for example Mike Tranghese, former Big East commissioner, talking Monday on ESPN:

“All of these moves are about football and money and greed. I’m embarrassed about the whole thing. Not just because it’s affected the Big East. It just seems that things such as integrity and loyalty and congeniality are gone.

“And our problem is quite simple. We have no one in charge. You always need someone in charge who can make tough decisions for the so-called greater good of the game. There is no one in charge.

“What we have are little fiefdoms who have conference names and we’re living in a society where it’s almost like it’s Wall Street. Greed is good.”

OK, Mike. I get that you’re upset. You should be. The league to which you gave your professional life is crumbling.

But let me ask you: Was it integrity and loyalty that prompted the Big East to kick Temple out of the league a few years ago? Was it integrity and loyalty that drove the Big East to raid Conference USA, adding Louisville, Cincinnati, Marquette, DePaul and South Florida? Was it integrity and loyalty that moved the Big East to steal TCU from the Mountain West? Gimme a break.

I feel for Big East fans. But don’t give me the integrity and loyalty argument. Each school acts in its own self-interest. It’s always been that way, it will always be that way.

* * *

>> “If conference commissioners were the founding fathers … we would have Guatemala, Uruguay and Argentina in the United States.” That comes from Jim Boeheim, whose school dumped the Big East over the weekend in favor of the ACC. You’ll find the rest of Boeheim’s thoughts here, where he pulls no punches — and obviously disagrees with his school’s move.

>> Oklahoma president David Boren gained the power Monday to move OU to the Pac-12, if he chooses. In remarks to reporters, Boren gave every reason to believe OU would go west. He also included this nugget, regarding the exodus of Nebraska, Colorado and Texas A&M in a 15-month span: “It is not a strong vote of confidence in the conference office that this has happened in such a short period of time.” Ouch.

>> One more quote from Boren: “The Big Eight was kind of, as we go back and think nostalgically, sometimes I yearn for the Big Eight.” See, Husker fans, Oklahoma does miss you… sometimes.

>> The New York Times broke down conference realignment in a different way, showing which teams are most popular (and thus, most attractive). I’m not sold on all the data, but it certainly adds to the conversation.

>> The Times data showed most popular teams in the largest TV markets. In the Omaha TV market, 71 percent of college football fans consider Nebraska their favorite team. That’s 36 percent of the Omaha market total population. Seven percent root for Iowa and 6 percent root for Iowa State. Nebraska, according to the data, has 410,000 fans. Iowa has 41,000 fans.

>> Berry Tramel says the Big 12 is a prison yard. Trust no one.

>> Gregg Doyel says it’s time for Congress to stop the madness.

>> Dennis Dodd hammers the backstabbers, especially the ACC commissioner. Good stuff.

>> If UConn and Rutgers go to the ACC, all eyes are on Notre Dame. Dan Wetzel says Notre Dame should join the ACC, because that area of the country is growing, while the Big Ten states are not. Can’t say I disagree with the demographics, but if Notre Dame is really going to join a league, isn’t it more important to have something in common with conference peers? I say Notre Dame belongs in the Big Ten, if anywhere.

>> After you read that, check out this Wetzel column from last summer about how the Big 12 could’ve saved itself by voting for a college football playoff. It has even greater meaning now than it did last summer.

>> Here’s more of Tranghese, in an interview with WFAN in New York Monday. He had some incredibly compelling quotes:

“It looks like we’re headed to 16-team conferences, which makes me want to throw up just thinking about that.”

“I can say this, because I don’t really give a damn anymore. We kicked the (ACC’s) butt in basketball for a long time over the last 10 years. … We won the battle on the court, we were winning the recruiting battles, with the exception of Duke and Carolina, the only way we could get taken down is by football and money and taking (schools).”

“You know who’s going to be the winner in all this when it’s all said and done if you want to talk about conferences? Big Ten. Big Ten is sitting there, they took Nebraska, they’re on the sidelines, they’re watching all this chaos, everybody’s going to be taking people, and you know who could be standing there all alone at the end? Notre Dame and Texas. And the Big Ten would not be accused of raiding, because they’re just going to be sitting there.”

“Knowing Jim Delany as well as I do … I believe that Rutgers was looked at, and Pittsburgh was looked at, and Syracuse was looked at, and Connecticut was looked at, and a lot of schools were looked at. And I believe that the Big Ten came to the conclusion that the addition of any one of those schools was not going to deliver them the New York market. … That’s what I think ultimately led them to Nebraska.”

“The Big Ten wants to stay at 12, why can’t they stay at 12? In fact, I would argue you’re better at 12 than you are at 16. You have less mouths to feed. Easier to run. You add people when they add value. Just don’t add numbers. That’s what the ACC has done, it appears. That’s what the SEC has done.”

“The Pac-12 added Colorado and Utah and made it sound that they were the reason they got this big television deal. That is the biggest bunch of crap I’ve ever heard. They got their television deal because ESPN and Fox were in competition with one another and they probably would’ve got the same amount of money without Utah and Colorado.”

“Why would ESPN give the ACC more money over the addition of Pitt and Syracuse football? … Why would you give them $25 million more? I just don’t believe that’s going to happen.”

>>  According to the New York Times, the Big East will hold Pittsburgh and Syracuse to their exit contracts, which means a June 2014 exit. Three more seasons?!? No way. By 2014, Jerry Jones will be the college football czar.

>> Thirty years ago, the Big East said no to Penn State. And now the Big East is falling apart because its football brand isn’t strong enough. Oh, irony.

>> Let’s say, hypothetically, the stars had not aligned for Nebraska and the Big Ten. Say Jim Delany would’ve called Syracuse instead. Where would the Huskers be right now? Would they be off to the Pac-12 with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State? Doubt it. How ‘bout the SEC? No way. Chances are they’d be part of the Kansas/Kansas State/Missouri/Iowa State contingent, hoping to merge with the Big East. Tom Osborne’s office would be a nervous place to be right now.

>> Finally, a word from an actual athlete. Husker I-back Aaron Green grew up in Texas, where this summer’s chaos originated. “Man, it’s crazy,” Green told me Monday. “I have (former) teammates that play for A&M. I have friends that play for Texas. … I guess, rest in peace, Big 12.”

>> Check back with the Bites tomorrow. I’ll have much more realignment analysis, including a bold plan that involves Creighton.

About Dirk Chatelain

Dirk Chatelain is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and covers Nebraska football and general assignments. You can follow Dirk on Twitter (@dirkchatelain) or email him at


  1. Bill says:

    Good job Dirk! This is a very nice piece on the hypocrisy that reigns in college sports. Tranghese is one of the biggest example of this. You point out two issues–the special status of Norte Dame within the Big East and the spurning of Penn State by the idiots that ruled the Big East–that defines the hypocrisy and stupidity of the Big East brain trust. This is a mess but spare me the hand ringing and moralizing crap. UCONN sues over the move of BC to the ACC and now is falling over itself to get an invite–just listen to Hartford sports wags or read the Hartford Courant.

    Sorry for the rant Dirk but your good work here really resonant with me.

  2. Butch says:

    Dirk – if Delany had called Syracuse and not Nebraska, Nebraska would still a member of the B12, and none of this other realignment would have happened, the Big 12 would still be in existence.

  3. Tony says:

    Dirk — Your stuff on this is pretty spot on, I think. I really, really wonder why the current Big 12 members don’t just stay in tact and grab Boise State, TCU and BYU? That seems way better to me than going with the cruddy bunch from the Big East. You’ve got right off the bat a hell of a football league. Three programs that would slot right in with the top teams in the league. And, BYU brings some decent basketball caveat to an already great, great basketball league. Boise State and TCU would be the new Nebraska and Colorado as far as hoops goes. What am I missing here?? Wouldn’t Oklahoma and Texas rather be in a league like that calling the shots as opposed to being in the Pac-16??

    1. York1 says:

      You asked why the Big 12 members don’t stay intact.

      I think we all know the answer: Texas.

      Why did Nebraska leave? Why did A&M leave? Why is Oklahoma talking of leaving?


  4. Gene O says:

    What a freakin’ mess! Nebraska should put up another statue of Tom Osborne with him looking ahead through binoculars that have B1G in them. What he did in the last year long-term may well be more important than what he did as a coach.

    1. Adam says:

      Excellent point, Gene.

      Here’s a question to think about from a Michigan fan: Would Nebraska be in a much different position than Missouri or Kansas without Tom Osborne’s 30+ years of turning Nebraska into the powerhouse it is?

      I don’t mean this as a slight to Nebraska at all (and I know a lot of it started with Devaney), but I think they would be in the same boat as Mizzou/KU: Good state schools without a national football brand – and that doesn’t lead to the invite to the Big Ten last summer. Nebraska should think about renaming the Huskers the “Fighting Toms” after he retires (permanently) for all he’s done at the helm ;)

      1. Josh says:

        Adam the same thing could be said about wisconsin along with alot of other schools.

        1. Josh says:

          it doesn’t explain kansas at all. If this issue was based just on football i could see. But it’s not. Nebraska’s move was based on money and academics. Kansas has had a hold on basketball for awhile now, probably somewhere in the top 5 colleges.

  5. Dan says:

    Boo hoo Mike Tranghese! Remember he is the one that raided Conference USA and took Cincinnati, Louisville, DePaul, and Marquette. Mike is the one that got this super conference ball rolling by his own actions. Can you imagine Beebe and Tranghese at the table right now talking merger? Tranghese is whining about the mess he started. Beebe won’t have any idea that he is down to 5 teams and will have to ask Texas for permission to be there. Should be brilliant talks!

  6. Josh the Skeptic says:

    I vehemently disagree with the idea that Nebraska would’ve been left in the cold, we’d have either gotten into the PAC-X or gotten an SEC or ACC invite before we would’ve been left in the cold. Either that or a Nebraska, Mizzou, Kansas, K-State core could’ve easily drafted together a nation wide conference with nation wide appeal. Boise State is an under appreciated national brand now. I think that throughout this whole thing that there was never really any way that Nebraska would’ve been left in the cold, that said, there also wasn’t any option as good as being where we are now.

  7. Dan says:

    I agree with Josh.

    “Would they be off to the Pac-12 with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State? Doubt it.”

    Doubt it why?

    I hate when writers do that.I doubt that Dick even has a tangible reason why NU wouldn’t have gone to the PAC-X when we recruit so heavily and have such a high profile on the Left Coast. The PAC-X actually would have made a lot of sense.
    The B1G was certainly a better option, but hardly the only one.

    “Chances are they’d be part of the Kansas/Kansas State/Missouri/Iowa State contingent, hoping to merge with the Big East.”

    Not even in the Twilight Zone.

  8. Husker Tom in KC says:

    How about this: OK, OK St, MO, and Notre Dame to the Big Ten.

    Oklahoma St

    Notre Dame
    Michigan St
    Ohio St
    Penn St

  9. Skytown J says:

    Businesses need to turn a profit. The more profit, the better. The business of big time college football, is now openly, a big business. The nostalgic days of Mike Corgan running out to buy a case of black t-shirts (with no logo, no less) for the defense at a Lincoln store may as well be taught in Ancient History class. But the Big 12 shouldn’t fret just because a bunch of schools have left or are leaving. Even if its just the Kansas schools and Iowa State, they can still call it the Big 12. The math problem hasn’t been an issue for the Big 10 for quite awhile.