Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Texas A&M Is Adamant On Leaving The Big 12

Texas announced today it is adamant on leaving the Big 12 and hopes to do so by July 2012. It will agree to pay the penalties associated with leaving the conference. The Aggies are still hoping to get in with the SEC, but it sounds like they may be open to joining any conference. The other viable options would probably be the Big 10 or the Pac-12.

If the Big 12 looks to survive as a conference, it will have to find a replacement. Current independant BYU would be a good fit. The Cougars would be able to compete in the conference and would now have better access to playing in a BCS bowl game. Southern Methodist has publicly expressed interest in joining the Big 12, but the addtion of the Mustangs would not add a new television market like the addition of BYU would in Salt Lake City, Provo, and Ogden. It is also debatable whether the 'Stangs could compete with the large state schools. Houston and Texas Christian would be able to hold their own with the current Big 12 members, but again no new television markets would be added, so taking another Texas team is not as sexy as taking a team from outside areas with Big 12 schools.

The moral of the story here is do not allow one school in a conference favoritism over the others. Profit sharing in the Big 12 is not equal like it is in the Big 10 or SEC. The Longhorn Network destroyed the Big 12 conference. If the playing field is not equal for all schools, why stick around?

Monday, August 15, 2011

The SEC Saved College Football, For Now

The Southeastern Conference came to the decision to not offer membership to Texas A&M. The conference is happy with the 12 teams it currently has, but will not rule out expansion in the future. By the SEC showing restraint and avoiding the temptation to become a superconference, college football is spared, at least for now, a big shake-up like we saw last summer and fall.

It looks like Texas A&M is going to be stuck in the Big 12 for the forseeable future. The university kind of looks bad now, making a big deal to leave the Big 12 for the SEC, and the SEC won't even offer them a spot. They will have to sit around and be relegated to Texas's bitch for the short term. Texas and its Longhorn Network look to be in command of the marketing and finances for the entire Big 12, at least for now.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

All Hell Could Break Loose This Week

If Texas A&M heads to the Southeastern Conference next week, the conference shuffle will start all over again.

Likely, the SEC would want to get a fourteenth team for the sake of balance. It will likely go after Florida State or Clemson from the ACC, or Missouri from the Big 12. Right now, Mizzou says it is committed to staying in the Big 12. Other sexy additions could be Louisville, Georgia Tech, or Virginia Tech. Any of these teams would geographically be a good fit for the SEC.

To replace the Aggies, the Big 12 would likely go after Houston, Texas Christian, Southern Methodist, or BYU. As long as Texas and Oklahoma stick together, the conference could probably survive in some form.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 could expand as well, but that won't likely happen unless it becomes apparent alot of dominoes start falling and these conferences need to go on the defense to stay competitive with a superconference consisting of either fourteen or sixteen teams.

The Big East and ACC sit in a precarious position. Both could get poached from. They are both seen as more of basketball conferences rather than football conferences. Keep in mind that college football generates more money than college basketball. The Big East needs to get on with expanding to ten teams if it wants to ensure its survival. Moving Villanova's football program up from the FCS to the FBS would require a much larger stadium than Villanova Stadium, and it looks like the Wildcats either don't have the space and/or money to expand their miniscule 12,500-seat stadium. Using Lincoln Financial Field, where the Philadelphia Eagles play, for home games is not an option; Temple uses this stadium as its home field.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Texas A&M Is Moving To The SEC

It looks almost official that Texas A&M will be moving to the SEC. We will know for sure Monday. A ten-team Big 12 looked pretty stable until Texas decided to launch the Longhorn Sports Network this fall. A year ago, Texas saved the Big 12 by deciding to stay in the Big 12. Now, it has destroyed the Big 12 with its elevated status in the conference, as seen by its need to have its own television network rather than to be a part of the rest of the conference's television dealings. Can you blame the Aggies for not wanting to stick around and let its rival run the conference? The Aggies have a strong athletic program and can easily go where they want. The same can not be said for a number of other schools left in the Big 12. These other programs have no choice but to stick by the University of Texas. The Longhorn-Aggies rivalry has become even more bitter at the moment, but if the two powers are in separate conferences, the rivalry may cease to exist as a football game every Thanksgiving.

Big questions will need to be answered in the coming days:
-Will the SEC look for a fourteenth team if the Aggies do join the SEC?
-What will become of the nine-team Big 12 if the Aggies do leave the conference?
-Will other dominoes fall as other conferences fight to remain relevant and competitive?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Howard Schnellenberger

Howard Schnellenberger announced late Thursday that he will be retiring from coaching at the end of the 2011 football season. College football will lose another coaching legend.

Coach Schnellenberger sparked the string of success at Miami upon winning the 1983 national title, revived the Louisville football program from going under, and created an FBS football program at Florida Atlantic. The Owls will finally have an on-campus stadium to play in this fall thanks to Coach Schnellenberger's constant pushing since 2001.

Florida Atlantic's first home game in the 30,000-seat FAU Stadium will be on October 15 against Western Kentucky.

Athlon Sports's preseason rankings predict Florida Atlantic to be the worst team in the FBS this season, ranking the Owls #120. Hopefully, the Owls can put together a good season and send their coach out in style.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Nine-Game Conference Schedules

The Pac-12 (formerly Pac-10) has played a nine-game conference schedule since 2006. The Big 12 will start playing a nine-game conference schedule during the 2011 season due to the conference shrinking to ten teams. Just a couple days ago, the Big 10 announced it will move to a nine-game schedule in the 2017 season.

With 3 of arguably the top 4 college football conferences playing 75% of their schedule in conference, will the SEC make the transition to match any time soon?

Coaches in the Big 10 are opposed to the 2017 shift. The three nonconference games will still probably be filled with cupcake teams to ensure bowl eligibility. Where the downsizing will have its effect is on the sexy nonconference match-ups between BCS conference programs. Teams will be less likely to undertake these marquee matchup when there are less nonconference games available to make up for possible L's incurred in big match-ups.

The nine-game schedule has been criticized in the Pac-12. Take for example last season: only 4 teams out of 10 were able to go to bowls. Three Pac-12 bowl tie-ins were given to teams from other conferences to fill the void. The extra conference game ensures six more losses will be assigned to teams within the conference, instead to teams outside of the conference.

With only three nonconference games, scheduling for traditional rivalries will be very tight and in some cases, these games may have to be abandoned. Strength of schedule is less important in college football than it is in college basketball. Generally, the number of W's is looked at before who those W's came at the expense of. Interesting games pitting foes of different leagues and styles will become rarer. A four-home, four-away conference schedule will now become an unbalanced four-home, five-away league schedule one year and a five-home, four-away league schedule the subsequent season. The only advantage I see in a nine-game conference schedule is it may give a slight boost to teams' attendance figures.