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.
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>> “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.