Sunday, June 6, 2010

Who has on their Poker Face?

With all due respects to Lady GaGa, major conference commissioners, university presidents and athletic directors are wearing their poker faces and some are doing it better then others.

There are major and minor players in this game, with some bringing more chips to the table then others. Its looking more and more that we are heading to 4-5 super conferences comprised of 14-16 team each. Let's examine what some of these groups bring to the table.

1. Texas- The Longhorns seem to be holding all the cards right now, as their name has been mentioned with the Pac-10, SEC and even Big-10. The Longhorns bring major media markets to any conference they join, and thanks to politics and the Morril Act of the 1860's that created Land Grant colleges or agricultural schools for each state, they will also bring Texas A & M and possibly Texas Tech and Baylor with them too. The same issues that are holding back Texas now are the same ones that plagued them and prevented them from joing the SEC in the late 80's, they have to bring A & M with them.

2. Notre Dame- A Big East member in every sport except football, the Irish have remained an independent despite the fact that independents died off in the early 90's like the VCR and Walkman. Of course, they get huge TV money from NBC for their home games, so this has caused them to remain in their current status. The Irish have struggled in this age of conference expansion, and have been non-players in big boy football since the early '90's. The Big 10/11 would love to pull them in with 4 other schools, but it remains to be seen if that will happen.

3. Texas A & M, Texas Tech, Baylor- all 3 are little brothers in this equation and where ever Texas goes, the Aggies will follow. Remains to be seen if Tech and Baylor tag along or be left scrambling to remain in the Big 12 or join C-USA/MountainWest

4. Colorado- looks to be headed to the Pac 10 with no other options sitting out there at the moment

5. Okalahoma- The Sooners are an attractive fit for the Pac 10 or SEC, as they bring football power with excellence in many other non revenue sports. But like Texas, they will be forced by there state legislatures to bring little brother Oklahoma State with them.

6. Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Rutgers- any of these 3 could join the Big 10, with Pitt brining a natural rivalry with Penn State to the table. Syracuse might be reluctant to leave the Big East due to basetball, but both them and Rutgers bring the NYC metro market to the equation and lots of tv sets to the Big 10

7. Nebraska and Missouri- Each would add a western presence to the Big 10, with Missouri already having a natural rivalry with Illiois. Nebraska brings a rabid fan base for football, but not much else.

8. The SEC- Mike Slive obviously has the best football conference, but would probably like to upgrade basketball even though that is not driving conference expansion. Should he not be able to add a Texas and Texas A & M, Louisville, Clemson, Ga. Tech a and Florida State could be added.

9. The ACC-The conference is really restricted in what it can do. It was proactive in adding Boston College, Va. Tech and Miami. But being a basketball conference, the ACC is hoping not too lose members to the SEC. Possible additions could be anyone from the leftover Big East, maybe even a South Carolina cause they haven't done anything in the SEC except take up space

10. Temple- If the ACC loses members or is forced to expand to 16 teams, they could be an addition now that the football Owls are respectable and they bring the 6th winningest basketball team in NCAA history to the table, along with the Philly TV market.

11. Kansas-The Jayhawks look like the odd man out, not much is said abouth them in terms to any conference, but again, they must bring K-State with them. The Jayhawks just went to the Orange Bowl a few years ago, but they don't have the population, fan base, tradition or geographical location to really add anything to a super conference, except for a real good college hoops team.

12. Mississippi State, Washinton State, Vanderbilt, Northwestern-All of these teams should thank their lucky stars they're already in a Big Boy Conference, otherwise they would be completely left out of the picture.

Make no mistake, some teams bring more chips to the table then others, but these decisions will be based on football, population and potential tv money. Basketball and the non revenue sports don't matter in this equation.

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