Dissecting the Turtle & Shedding Light on the Knights – What It Means for NU

At first, my reaction to the breaking reports of Maryland and Rutgers joining the Big Ten over the weekend were likely similar to yours. My gut reaction – “yech”.  The Big Ten brand is iconic. Despite its century plus roots, it is also progressive. While Boston College really was the start of all of the conference landscape changes when they bolted the Big East for the ACC, the Big Ten really was there twenty years ago when they added Penn State. The most recent addition of Nebraska, while shocking to Big XII fans for the inconceivable dissolving of long-standing rivalries, seemed to pass the sniff test for B1G fans. Iconic football brand, Midwestern footprint and the bonus of a program chock full of Academic All-American awards. The only downside was the relative puny headcount that would be added to the revenue generating machine known as the Big Ten Network. However, adding Nebraska football made sense economically based on future revenues with ESPN as the Nebraska brand would add tens of millions to the fold.

The addition of Maryland and Rutgers was a money play.  B1G commissioner Jim Delany was relatively clear about the role the television markets, known as DMAs in industry speak, were a major appeal and since the “plate tectonics” had shifted from geographic footprints to “how can we maximize revenue?” Despite the fact Rutgers is irrelevant in the big picture of the Big Apple’s sports landscape, it looks good on the corporate slide show to cable systems and advertisers. Maryland brings the Washington DC AND Baltimore markets in to play which is nearly 6 million eyeballs. You add New Jersey and you get another 9 million. That’s 15 million people (obviously household numbers are less than total population numbers) and while the BTN won’t get every system to take them at a rate they want, the total households will no doubt increase by millions.

I’ve scanned some of the coverage and as it relates to explaining the math, I believe Sports Illustrated did the best job with Pete Thamel leading the way. The big money and brand exposure comes from the B1G’s television packages.  It offers two primary revenue streams – a lucrative contract with ESPN, which is up for renewal in 2017 and perhaps the more influential to college coaches and administrators – the money and exposure BTN offers, particularly for both lower level teams and revenue. Most fans don’t realize the cash cow comes from cable subscriptions.  Your cable or satellite bill is portioned by various companies, each getting a payment per household PER MONTH. ESPN, the most costly fee on the planet to cable companies gets as much as $5 per household per month. They’re in 90 million homes.  They charge this amount because they have the rights to every premium sports fans and their hedge to the cable compaines is that fans would storm Comcast, Time Warner and Cablevision offices if they ever dared pulled NFL, college football etc..Well, the best kept secret is the Big Ten Network (BTN).  Despite every industry pundit telling Jim Delany and network president, Mark Silverman, “it will never work”, the team did what even the almighty NFL Network couldn’t do – they played a massive game of chicken – and won.

The BTN gets a reported high end of $1.10 per household within the “footprint” or geographic area where the schools reside and as low as $.10 per household in what’s known as the “outer” markets. BTN is currently in about 60 million homes,  an accomplishment that ESPN didn’t reach in its first 20 years of existence. You can do the math  modeling yourself , but depending upon the per subscriber rate, the BTN is bringing in of millions of dollars per month and that’s before the first ad revenue comes in the door. When you consider there are only 120 employees, it’s a profit center of epic proportions. To get the then 11 conference schools on board, the B1G promised a 20-year contract with an escalation every year starting with a $6Mish  payment. Jim Phillips and Morty Schapiro now get more than $7M in additional revenue then they did prior to the BTN existing PLUS a huge recruiting advantage for ALL 19 sports. Fitz will tell you the BTN has been the single biggest difference in his ability to increase the level of recruits. He’ll likely tell you our pipelines in Houston are a direct result of our games being on there on Saturday morning. Kids in places like Columbus and East Lansing and Madison get to see Northwestern every week (along with every other team), something that NEVER happened in the days of ESPN Regional TV where the only games seen in Columbus were Ohio State games. For the non-revenue sports, there is no comparison to the exposure these teams get and other conference coaches have been squawking to their conferences how it is killing them in recruiting.

Adding the Rutgers and Maryland markets will no doubt impact the BTN revenue in a way that Pete Thamel reported, will result in Maryland (and presumably every B1G school including Northwestern) getting $32 million in 2014, $33 million in 2015, $34.5 million in 2016 and then $43  million in 2017.  Thamel nails the fact that this is all about the ESPN contract in 2017 as a true cash cow for that $43 million number which compares to the ACC schools getting $24 million.  Remember, that doesn’t put a pricetag on the exposure the BTN will bring.

OK, so what does this mean for Northwestern? Well, there is the obvious immediate ties that will get played up big time as the Northwestern-Maryland Big Ten/ACC Challenge game set for next week, will be getting a heck of a lot of attention.  The ‘Cats former DC from the Gary Barnett title years, Ron Vanderlinden, had a short stint there that essentially was the tail end of Maryland’s Dark Ages. There is the fact that we’ll now become one of two Under Armour schools (Maryland is a UA school as Founder/CEO Under Armour, Kevin Plank is a former walk-on for the Terps). And of course there is the women’s lacrosse connection with legendary NU WLAX coach, Kelly Amonte Hiller, a Maryland grad, potentially playing her alma mater more often should the B1G make women’s lacrosse a sponsored sport.

Those things are tiny, little footnotes. Several reports have Illinois moving to the ‘Cats Legends Division with Rutgers and Maryland populating the Leaders Division. The B1G basketball schedule will be greatly impacted and you can look at the former Big East as a blueprint for the drama surrounding which teams play one another twice and which ones play once. The recruiting footprint for Northwestern will logically improve in the mid atlantic region and New Jersey.  And, in my opinion, Rutgers football stands to benefit the most. It will become Northwestern of the east in terms of percentage of attendees being from the opposing teams’ fans based in NYC, nearly every school’s second biggest alumni base. You can see the marketing packages now “Hey Michigan fans, if you want your 2014 ticket, you must buy a 2013 season ticket to reserve your seat”. Maryland is 65th this season in CFB attendance at 36,023, coincidentally one spot BEHIND Northwestern in national attendance ranking (NU is averaging 36,244). Rutgers is 42nd in attendance with 48,466 per game.  Rutgers, a team usually like Northwestern in terms of flirting with the Top 25, but not consistently in the rankings. Rutgers has been to six bowls in the last seven seasons (missing out in the 2010 season), but unlike NU, they’ve won their past five bowl games. Maryland was better than you’d think during this century as head coach Ralph Friegden led the Terrapins to a bowl game pretty much on an annual basis until he was let go and replaced by current head coach Randy Edsall, which hasn’t gone so well.

Make no mistake about it, Maryland is a basketball school. From Gary Williams to Lefty Driesell to Len Bias, the ups and downs of Terrapins sports history is wrapped around the hardwood.  New Jersey is also a hotbed for basketball and Rutgers struggles mightily for relevance in the saturated hoops corridor.  Commissioner Delany talked about his memories of Maryland from his perspective on the bench as a North Carolina Tarheel. Delany, a New Jersey native, also “gets” the whole NY/NJ/Philly area mindset and the reality of the media mix. But, as Chris Martin said yesterday on the BTN coverage, “while others are playing checkers, Jim Delany is playing chess”.  This move to add these two head-scratchers of a fit, rationalized by the Maryland president on the academic side by being an AAU member and extolling the virtures of the virtually unknown CIC, an academic collaboration beween Big Ten schools (and University of Chicago), had to be part of a bigger plan.

Delany alluded to the fact thatt the conference landscape is one that seems to be trending towards the 16-team superconference model. With 14 teams under its fold, the work is not done. The brilliance of the Maryland add is only partially the revenue generation and recruiting foothold it offers the conference and its members. It also simultaneously erodes the value of the ACC and its future contracts with ESPN.  Obviously the counter move by the ACC is to pluck a UCONN or the like. Then, who pulls whom next?

My father-in-law is a brilliant strategist. The second his business mind heard of this move, he said “this is a foundation for a Notre Dame bluff.” It got me thinking. This is move “b” with move “c” TBD, although I guarantee it is already mapped out in Delany’s mind. So, here’s my best guess. Delany has a 15th school lined up, say University of North Carolina (his alma mater and a school that he is a board member of). The 16th slot stays empty as the BCS, a group of major conference movers and shakers including Jim Delany, decide that membership to the playoff is slanted towards power conferences. Notre Dame, an independent, gets voted in to a ctorner where their only way in to the party is with football conference affiliation. Corner painted, parachute strategy equals the B1G.

OK, you say “no way” to Notre Dame, then that’s find. What about North Carolina and Duke? Delany knows ESPN’s east coast bias as well as anyone. Hell, their announcers continue to portray the conference as three yards and a cloud of dust when two of the nation’s leading rushers are B1G QBs. The SEC has low scoring football games and its painted as beautiful defense. When it comes to Duke-UNC basketball, it is a crowned jewel collegiate relationship, likely favored in the basketball centric hallways of Bristol in higher regard than Michigan-Ohio State football. The two schools are likely the second biggest non-NFL rivalry behind the incessant Yankees-Red Sox rivalry. Delany, a Tarheel grad, is also a true believer in academics and taking his alma mater and their rival under a new umbrella would be a crowning achievement for the collegiate pioneer who has few trails left to blaze.

Yes, there are all sorts of holes with this theory, but its one of the few ways that I can even rationalize the branding misfit that is the two new additions to the club. If you’re Fitz, you’re pretty excited to get Illinois in your division and Maryland on the schedule as a crossover. You’re pretty happy about Rutgers as it’s a program you expect to beat, despite the similarity in records in recent years. If you’re Carmody you are giddy as your home state, home of highly touted recruit Jared Sina, is now going to become covered regularly by the media and you can promise TV exposure to other Garden State recruits. As for Maryland, you gulp a bit as it is a program on the rise and makes it pretty tough, but offset perhaps by Rutgers basketball being a team you expect to beat more than you would lose.

If you’re Jim Phillips you’re looking at the money. You’re projecting operating costs that will increase modestly, especially with increased travel budgets to New Jersey and College Park, Maryland, but you’re looking at nearly doubling your B1G dividend check to $43 million by 2017 – PER YEAR. I’m not privy to the ‘Cats P&L in athletics, but I’m confident those numbers put us in the black and enable Jim to reinvest some of the money in to coaches, facilities and a host of other things, like keeping up with rising tuition costs that you must cover.   You’re building in events for the NU Alumni centers in New York and DC, which will be a big deal for football games in those markets. You’re getting exposure in to new markets which will positively impact recruiting efforts for EVERY sport.

The bottom line is today’s news of Rutgers riding in to the Big Ten in its Scarlet Knights fashion, is only part of a story that is to be continued. We’ll do just that starting NEXT week once we complete the regular season and await the news on December 2 of which bowl we’ll be invading.

Mark, Colter…Get Set

Pat Fitzgerald announced yesterday that after speaking with both Venric Mark and Kain Colter he expects both of them to play this weekend against Illinois. He gushed about Mark’s attitude once he showered up and changed in to street clothes at halftime of the Michigan State game. Fitz described how Mark was an over the top cheerleader firing up his teammates and really stepped up to lead by example for a guy who clearly was crestfallen to have to call it a day in such a big game. Unfortunately, as of now, Fitz doesn’t see Nick VanHoose suiting up for Saturday.

We’ll return to focusing on Illinois tomorrow, but first, Brett Kurland will be posting about the bowl bingo scenarios at midday. Plus, we’ve got a Northwestern hoops game against Delaware State tonight at Welsh-Ryan at 7pm.

  • SteveR

    LTP…Don’t make the mistake of underrating Rutgers football. They have come light years over the past decade and will be very competitive in the Big Ten. I watch their games frequently since my wife is an alum, and I can assure you they would look at NU as a team they should beat, just as you say we would view them the same. Rutgers has put far more players in the NFL in recent years, and they have done a good job of keeping the best Jersey players home…though NU has had some notable recruiting success there as well. All in all, two programs on a similar trajectory…can’t wait for the first NU-Rutgers clash.

    • Steve- I think that’s a fair assessment. I’d put Rutgers in the middle tier of the B1G with NU, Iowa, MSU for most years.

  • Scooter

    I wonder who our protected rivalry will be if Illinois does indeed move to the Legends division? Rutgers perhaps? That could really be a fun one, and seems like the most logical option to me.

    • I’d like it to be Wisconsin. The two states have a built in rivalry already. Especially the northern part of Illinois.

      • David

        Over the last quarter century…this series has been a draw.

    • Al

      I’m hoping Indiana becomes our protected rival, considering they’re the only Big Ten team we have an all-time winning record against.

    • NorCalCal

      I’m with LTP that I’d like Wisco as our protected rival. However, I think Minnesota is their current rival and I don’t see us trumping that rivalry. Second choice is probably Rutgers or maybe Purdue.

    • Make it Maryland! Please.

    • pairofcats88

      Either one works for me, but given the estimated 9-10K fans we brought to Army, I think Rutgers gets a strong look.

  • kinsella316
    • kinsella316

      Sorry I forgot to add some context to this above link – article in Crain’s Chicago Business about successes of NU marketing strategy and a sobering comparison to the pro sports teams in Chicago. How far we’ve come…

      • DT

        Thanks, Kinsella.. I had indeed seen that but easy to get lost in Crains next to “On Dining; Pazzo’s Cuccina Italiana In Expansion Mode”.. Big news there as well..

        • Jbonz

          @bb8bfcc2b089972ef60f21e4992beabd:disqus Too funny.

          • DT

            Jbonz– Seriously, as absurd as it sounds, when I got my Crain’s update yesterday, in the headlines, “On Dining” and the big news about Pazzo’s, was indeed next to the latest top spin about NU Sports Marketing expertise… The kid that writes that Crain’s Sports Column, Danny Ecker I think it is, is a go getter… Today, he informed us of Big Ten Schools “Without bars”, and the day before the latest and greatest from NU Marketing, was helping us understand further why DePaul Basketball is a sleeping giant, at least in terms of The United Center offering them free rent to play there… The video he does is always a wealth of information as well, including his latest interview with the legendary, “Rudy”, who I’m sure is in high demand with Notre Dame shaking down the thunder for the first time seemingly since moved out of the janitorial facility at the stadium..

  • cece

    C.Vivian Stringer will come to Welsh-Ryan on a regular basis. one of the greatest coaches in basketball will lead an amazing team in the B1G. the Rutgers women’s hoops team also currently features Tasha Pointer, a Chicago native star and Rutgers player, as an assistant coach. looking forward to playing them.

    • Henry in CT

      CVS has never won an NC anywhere she has been and Rutgers has really not achieved that much under her tenor considering the talent she has been able to attract. UCONN and lately ND regularly trounce her teams. Many would tell you that WCBB owes her a lot but that the game has passed her by in recent years.

      • cece

        oh, yeah UCONN lower the rims coach. C Viv is a class act and, yes, the game owes her.

        • Henry in CT

          Yes the game owes her and she is a class act but everyone at some point has to go and the rugrats will never win anything even in the B1G until she does. And BTW it probably wont be that much longer at which point RU will return to insignificance.

  • CatAlum06

    It’s hard to see how this isn’t just one more milestone on the road to superconferences, which now seem inevitable. The ACC is on the ropes and Notre Dame will hold out for as long as they can, but the writing is already on the wall.

  • CatFam5

    One other very important aspect of this deal as it relates to Notre Dame: as the payout from BTN gets larger and larger, it starts to approach if not exceed the $$ that ND gets from their contract from NBC. I know in the past one of the main reasons ND has played the “independent” football card was that they didn’t want to share that contract $$ with the league. With this deal Delany addresses that issue. Very well played, indeed.

    • notsoutheastern

      i was always under the impression the big ten paid more, but ND wanted to keep its schedule

  • DT

    @twitter-22980938:disqus– You got it 100% correct… ALL ABOUT THE CASH and bringing in the NYC and DC/Baltimore television markets.. I’d also say given the compromised brand at Penn State, they need additional weight on The East Coast particularly as it applies to post season football the next 4 years…

    • NU68

      Absolutely nothing wrong with it being about the cash … keeps tuition down … and maybe about the conference not being an isolated regional bunch of programs. Also, M & R are two more teams that a program like NU’s can be competitive against each and every year. What is not to like about this expansion?

      • DT

        Fair enough… All I’m sayin’ is that despite the rhetoric about what The Turtle and State University of New Jersey bring to a 12 team conference still called ‘The Ten”, the reason these two are in, is allied to television compatability and upside… Personally, I have no problem with either Rutgers or Maryland as institutions, opponents for NU or athletic departments per se, beyond those awful uniforms at Maryland… We also know now, that when Delany says “no more expansion”, expect expansion in six months to a year… Syracuse wants in no doubt, and have been positioning themselves in Gotham as “New York’s College Team”.. At least to date, The Big Ten folks felt Rutgers had better potential at that honor…

        • maryland cat

          Northwestern remains the only private university in the conference and most of us like it this way. Rather have the Terps and the Scarlet Knights than Syracuse.

      • Chasmo

        Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all this additional TV revenue went to keep tuition down? It won’t.
        All the money will go to continuing the arms race in sports — higher salaries for coaches and administrators (but nothing for players), fancier workout facilities for scholarship athletes (but nothing for students), nicer locker rooms, and nicer stadiums, etc. etc.
        Colleges in the Division 1A super conferences have become a minor league sport franchises which sell the naming right to their stadiums and pay management millions but are able to avoid paying their workers any wages under the guise of being “educational institutions.”
        If coaches went back to being paid like professors, the kids went back to hanging their clothes on a hook in the locker room, and the stadiums looked like they belonged to a school and not a professional franchise, what a wonderful world it would be.
        But those days are gone forever.

    • zeek

      Of course it’s all about the cash. Guess what got announced today on the same day that Rutgers joined the Big Ten?

      FOX bought 49% of YES with an option to go up to 80% ownership (with the Yankees rights owned by YES until 2042).

      FOX also gained the ability to bundle YES and BTN in the TV markets (NYC/Philly/etc.).

      Huge dollar signs everywhere.

      • DT

        You got it… Great point and the synergy on YES… All ties together, albeit, Cablevision is never easy to deal with and drives the NYC television market to a large extent… That will be a challenge… You heard it here…

        • Henry in CT

          I wonder if they will take YES national. Since YES carries all UCONN women’s BB games not on ESPN it would be huge for the UCONN women’s program. What a recruiting advantage not that they need one. No other WCBB program has all of its’ games televised nationally. And I would get to see all the games.

          • DT

            Hey, Henry… YES is a Regional Sports Network, whose core mission is to provide “local” coverage of the Yankees and Nets– both are subject to MLB and/or NBA territorial restrictions limiting cable distribution away from the NYC “regional market”.. As you probably know, outside the New York region, YES Yankees games are available from MLB on a paid basis via Extra Innings. That said, YES and many others RSN’s have been available via DirecTV for many years where they carry programming sans that which has territorial restrictions. I would imagine that would include Women’s Hoops more often than not… Comcast here in Chicago for instance does not carrry YES but does carry SNY as part of its premium sports programming offerings again, sans Mets games per MLB…

            On that basis, YES like all RSN’s will never have true “national” distribution per the restrictions of the pro leagues, and why each ‘Region” has its own RSN or multiple RSN’s in the case of NYC and LA… Amazing, Chicago continues to only have one… Just the way Jerry Reinsdorf likes it…

  • HDB

    Based on the Commissioner’s statements that the conference needs to use expansion to reflect the country’s population shift, look at the electoral college counts and the next targets for BTN expansion are obvious, i.e. Florida and Texas. Florida State is unhappy being in the ACC and likewise Miami is not solidly in place. While Texas is trying to set up their own TV network in the state, there are outliers like Baylor that could be enticed into the BIG. When you expand to 16 teams, you need a big increase in BTN revenue to pay off the 2 new teams and leave enough on the table to result in a significant increase for the other 14 members. The window for ND may be quickly closing in that they may not be able to match the revenues from the Florida and Texas markets.

    • NorCalCat

      Not to mention FL and TX being the two best recruiting areas (along with possibly SoCal)

  • Scott Feeney, Class of 87

    Your idea that Delaney maybe still holding onto the hope of forcing Notre Dame into the Big Ten makes me want to vomit.

    One thing that has always puzzled me is why so many Big Ten teams agree to play Notre Dame every year. Yes I understand the some of the historic rivalries like ND versus Michigan, but it seems to me that the Big Ten schools need to be looking at this more strategically. Notre Dame competes with the Big Ten for top flight recruits in the Midwest. ND continues to thumb its nose at the Big Ten not wanting to share revenue with any other school. Why should the Big Ten continue to prop up this school and hand it high-profile games? Can you imagine if Michigan, Purdue, Michigan State, and Northwestern all boycotted ND. The only schools in the Midwest that Notre Dame would have left to play would be MAC schools. If ND wanted a competitive game every away game would have to be outside the Midwest. I realize that a everyone wants to say they beat ND and play in front of Touchdown Jesus, but there are plenty of other great schools out there to play that are directly competing with us for recruits in the Midwest and constantly thumbing their noses at the Big Ten. Lets start some new rivalries by playing the likes of Oklahoma, Texas, Clemson, LSU, etc. I like the idea of beating ND as much as the next guy, but if you really want to hurt ND, lets stop playing them all together.

    • hdb

      You missed my point re: ND. I want the window to close for them with the addition of schools from Florida & Texas.

      • Scott Feeney, Class of 87

        Perhaps I did. I thought you were suggesting that Delaney would try to paint them into a corner to become the 16th school.

    • DT

      Scott, what would you conjecture the reason is why more Big Ten institutions or more provincially, Northwestern would not like to start series with schools like Oklahoma, Texas, Clemson, LSU, etc? As I remember, Ohio State as our top football performer got ambitious and scheduled home and home against Texas, and for that matter, USC under Coach Pete.. To my recollection, The Buckeyes who pretty much dominated The Ten, went 1-3

      • Scott Feeney, Class of 87

        I wasn’t really making a point about scheduling to get wins. If I was concerned about that, I would suggested that all Big Ten teams pad their non conference schedules. The point I was trying to make, and which I think a lot of the people in the Big Ten forget, is that the Big Ten helps Notre Dame to perpetuate its image as a football powerhouse in the Midwest by scheduling big time games with it all the time. On average, we give them 2-3 games a year on their schedule. For those people who would respond “Well we like having a big time game against a powerhouse program” I would suggest that there are other great schools out there to play … who are not always competing with us from a recruiting standpoint the way Notre Dame is. I leave it to you to pick those schools. If you hate ND, I believe that the way to hurt them most is not to beat them, but to ice them out of games in the Midwest. Also I recall OSU splitting the series with Texas and only playing one game with USC for a 1-2 mark. I am not sure that 1-2 is being “dominated”. But perhaps I missed a second USC game somewhere.

        • DT

          I get it.. For what it’s worth, SC beat Ohio State both home and away… I think what your fail to comprehend is that since the early 90’s, Notre Dame has struggled to be a national power. Really, since Northwestern beat them in 95, they have had issues winning games, keeping coaches, and have been almost as abysmal in post season as NU as fate would have it. Frankly, despite a magical run this year, you give ND too much credit. It has been win-win for Big Ten teams to take a shot with Notre Dame given minimal travel costs for team and fans, and a better than average shot at winning the game.. Moreover, I think Michigan proved why Big Ten teams don’t want games of the ilk you suggest, starting 2012 in Dallas..

          • Scott Feeney, Class of 87

            Yeah I know ND has been a speed bump for Big Ten teams since 95, but can you imagine if they had not been playing UM, MSU, and Purdue every year and had been forced to play MAC teams or Big East teams instead. Would fans really want to watch those games. As far as I am concerned, if ND doesn’t want to be part of the Big Ten, because they don’t want to share their revenue, then the Big Ten should not be helping them out by giving them games in the Midwest. Also, I know this is a magical run for ND, but as much as I hate to admit it, I think they are on the verge of being back and we just may have to deal with a very tough ND team for the next decade. I would rather see us taking on the SEC and PAC12 and possibly losing over playing ND. I think playing those teams will only elevate our play.

          • DT

            Kind of like the world economy I guess.. If The Big Ten does an embargo or restricts trade, China, in the form of The Big 12, ACC (who had or wanted a minimal number of football games for conference members with Notre Dame per entrance to the ACC in other sports…) not to mention, Indendents like BYU, The Service Academies and Western conferences ala the PAC-12, Mountain West, et al would be happy to do biz and play under Touchdown Jesus or have the throngs of rabid Domers visit say, Provo, Eugene or dozens of other locales per a contract stipulation… Speaking of SC, dollars to doughnuts, they would NEVER stop that rivalry… They know what it means…

            Net/net, I understand and respect your point.. That said– being isolationist and thinking the Big Ten props ND up by playing them, does not make sense to me… Moreover, I think the Ten should beat em on the field and make the statement there… Just like Northwestern did in 95… As you suggest, that could be problematic if they continue at the level they are playing… There, is the rub..

          • Scott Feeney, Class of 87

            Well you make some good points. I’ve enjoyed the dialogue.

          • DT

            Right back at ya… Thanks… Happy Holidays…

          • RG


  • NUuva

    I think this is just a reactionary move by Delany, with no real plan for the future. Duke, UNC, Texas? Come on, seriously?? ACC basically got ND, we missed out on Pitt and Syracuse, so we have to do something before we get left in the dust. MD and Rutgers?? I grew up in the DC area, no one cares about MD football. But if its about cable revenue, and being able to pitch this to investors etc…I guess this works out.
    How about that Iowa – MD football game. Yaaaay!!

  • Henry in CT

    I still can’t believe the B1G would not want UCONN. It is a top 20 public university (better than Rutgers) with 10 BB NC’s since 1995 (men and women) more than any other school, at least as much following in the NYC metro area as Rutgers and exposure to all of New England including the Boston metro area which doesn’t really support BC. With members in PA, MD, NJ and New England the B1G would blanket every major metro area in the northeast and control this market. For the BTN the total number of footprint eyeballs would increase by at least 25 percent. And UCONN would be competitive in all sports more so I believe than Maryland or Rutgers. And BTW there were reports that the ACC wanted UCONN over Pitt, Syracuse and Rutgers but honored BC’s objection.

  • DT

    @LTP and/or PRR… What do you guys think The Commish is saying to The Good Doctor on that photo you chose? Maybe, “Jimmy, those empty seats don’t look good on BTN. Remember, you are part of my Super Conference”!

  • AdamDG

    Tedford was just canned

  • Zanycat

    Is there any truth that potential expansion schools have to have a contiguous geographical footprint with the B1G states? I read that in some article, but I don’t know if it’s gospel.

  • Boo to Notre Dame.
    Hello to UNC and UVA. It expand our reach into two more (growing) states, keeps the league contiguous, adds two stellar academic schools, and makes a ton of sense in terms of locking up additional lucrative TV markets. Duke could then go to the remaining basketball-focused ACC/Big East conglomerate, VaTech/NCState could go to the SEC (creating some fun regular season B1G/SEC showdowns between UVA/VaTech and UNC/NCState), Clemson and FSU and GaTech and Miami and Louisville and one other team (Wake?) could join the Big 12, and we’re in superconference land.

  • royko

    Pretty soon we won’t need a BCS. It’ll just be one big Superconference with only Boise State on the outside complaining nobody will play them ;)

  • Maryland Cat

    Well, I grew up in New Brunswick and live in Maryland (not far from College Park) and so now I’ll get to see the Cats locally every couple of years, I guess. Then again, I question why the Big Ten needs any more members. The Washington Post says the Maryland students and fans are very unhappy with this, probably because they like to riot after Duke basketball games, but also because they have been in the ACC forever. Rutgers is a state and land-grant university and fits in well with the league. So, if there had to be an expansion, I’m happy they got these two and in a few years it’ll be old news

  • TK

    I’m not a huge fan of the expansion. If we were going to pick a school or schools, I would want to add a school that brought the academia and brought something a little unique. Perfect world scenario for me would have Notre Dame and Boston College, two schools that are good schools, hold their own in the money sports of football and basketball, and would add to the hockey conference. Then again, we don’t live in a perfect world.

  • ND on cover of Sports Illustrated. Sigh. What a gift of a season for them. Having watched more than half of their games, I just don’t buy them as national championship caliber, although had we played the final few minutes like we did vs MSU against PSU, Neb and Michigan, folks would be saying the same thing about us. The Domers have been so average since we beat them in 1995, they were THIS close to really starting to impact their TV rights deal…then this. I can’t believe I’ll be rooting for USC, which is against my religion, especially considering their clown of a coach in Lane Kiffin, but it just irks me.

  • Lu-O-Meter

    I think the MD/Rutgers moves gives the B1G two different options for going to 16 teams. The first is Notre Dame and UCONN. The second is Virgina (or Virginia Tech) and North Carolina. Either way, the B1G would be (basically) geographically contiguous. The think that coninually amazes me about major conference realingment is that NU is 100% “in.” We do not deserve to be guaranteed a spot in the coming world of superconferences – we don’t have the level of success in revenue sports or the ability to bring in revenue. But we’ve got a guaranteed spot anyway. It’s a windfall, plain and simple.