Big 12 Expansion Prediction

On January 28th and the 29th the Big XII will meet and on the agenda is expansion. This weekend the latest news is a potential alliance of games among the Big XII and the ACC, along with two other conferences (Pac 12? and?). Among the benefit of an alliance is interconference stability and thus some believe this will preclude expansion. I believe this interpretation is incorrect because any alliance will be easier to arrange when the participating conferences have the same number of teams. The Big XII currently has only 10 members to the ACC 14. Lets look at other potential alliance conferences like the Pac 12, which will likely remain at 12 for a long time. It seems unlikely the 4th conference is any of the other major 5 (B1G or SEC, both of which are at 14). That leaves the MAC (at 13), CUSA (at 12 - 14) and the Sun Belt (at 8). Numerically the Big XII will fit into the alliance schedule better with 12-14 teams.

The Big XII has been reluctant to expand. They do not really want to split the current money pie among more members than 10. The TV revenue contract was signed last year and will run through the 2024-25 season so changes to renegotiate and increase revenue may not be easy. However the Big XII is clearly interested in staging a championship game. The new BCS arrangement may also favor conferences with a championship game. However, the NCAA mandate at least 12 teams for a conference to stage a championship game. This alliance talk really suggests the Big XII will expand.

There are two likely potential scenarios for Big XII expansion: one is for the Big XII to go to XIV but this is the less likely scenario unless the additional teams can cause a renegotiation of the TV contracts. As previously stated this scenario will include teams from the ACC such as FSU, Miami and Clemson as there aren't any other available teams out there of significant stature to cause renegotiation. I cannot imaging the Big XII employing a two handed, forked tongue negotiation for an alliance with the ACC and then raiding the ACC for teams.  I guess a deal can be arranged with the ACC to transfer two teams to the Big XII to leave both at 12. Going from 14 to 12 may mean more money for the remaining 12 ACC teams. In the backdrop of an alliance allows them to remain in the play schedule with the ACC still. Teams up for transfer might be FSU, Clemson, Miami and Louisville, all expressed some interests in joining the Big XII. These teams are also valuable football members of the ACC and thus seem unlikely to be "transferred." I understand if these teams are invited and choose to leave the ACC the ACC may not be able to do anything about it. However, the reason for these teams to leave would also be lessened with an alliance; they will be able to regularly play against a more football competitive Big XII and strengthen their game schedule and thus their tier 3 revenues. But given the underlying threat of B1G and SEC raiding the ACC I seriously doubt any serious consideration for the ACC to transfer any teams out. We will know more when the court decide where the Maryland exit suit will be fielded, in Maryland or in North Carolina.

While other teams like BYU, USF, Air Force, Navy, Cincinnati and Louisville (slated for the ACC) are available, no four will be sufficiently worthwhile to trigger TV contract renegotiation. Twelve it will be and no more for the Big XII. I hold with previous prediction of the Big XII will expand with BYU and USF. If so lets look at the new Big XII divisions:

  • West: BYU, Kansas State, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and TCU
  • East: Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma State, South Florida, Texas, and West Virginia

The two divisions are roughly equivalent in 60 years football competitiveness by mcubed rating with West at 52.0 and East at 48.2 (lower is better) and 7 years football competitiveness by F+ score with West at 9 and East at 7.2 (higher is better). These divisions also allow all teams equivalent exposure geographically to the heart of the Big XII: Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. This arrangement will necessitate at least one annual protect rivalry across division, possibly two annual protect rivalries. Keeping a nine game conference schedule will mean 5 in-division games and 4 cross-division games (2 annual protected and the remaining 2 split among the remaining 4 cross division teams every other year).

  • Team: protected rival 1 & protect rival 2
  • Baylor: TCU & BYU
  • BYU: West Virginia & Baylor
  • Iowa State: South Florida & Kansas
  • Kansas: Kansas State & Iowa State
  • Kansas State: Kansas & South Florida
  • Oklahoma: Oklahoma State & Texas
  • Oklahoma State: Oklahoma & Texas Tech
  • South Florida: Iowa State & Kansas State
  • Texas: Texas Tech & Oklahoma
  • TCU: Baylor & West Virginia
  • Texas Tech: Texas & Oklahoma State
  • West Virginia: BYU & TCU

Note the following:

  1. All three religious schools play each other every year.
  2. The mountain states play each other (BYU & WVU).
  3. Iowa State plays their nearest geographic neighbors (Kansas and Kansas State) as well has access to Florida for recruitment (in addition to Texas).
  4. Up comer Kansas State also have access to Florida for recruitment (in addition to Texas).
  5. New members BYU and USF have cross division rivalry with current members rather than each other (BYU with WVU and Baylor, USF with Iowa State and Kansas State). 
  6. Recent newcomer TCU and WVU are protect rivals.
  7. Former MWC members are in the same division: BYU and TCU
  8. Former Big East members are in the same division: WVU & USF
  9. The following historical Big XII rivalries are thus affected:
  • Baylor & TCU rivaly since 1899: Baylor and TCU (every year)
  • Bedlam Series since 1904: Oklahoma and Oklahoma State (yearly)
  • Chancellor's Spurs since 1928: Texas and Texas Tech (yearly)
  • Chisholm Trail since 1913: Kansas State and Texas (every other year)
  • Farmageddon since 1917: Iowa State and Kansas State (yearly)
  • Red River Rivalry since 1900: Oklahoma and Texas (yearly)
  • Sunflower Showdown since 1902: Kansas and Kansas State (yearly)
  • Texas Farm Bureau Shootout since 1929: Baylor and Texas Tech (every other year)

              Update: A good argument for expansion to host a conference championship game:
              There's an argument that a conference championship game, which would necessitate 12 teams, would have elevated 2011 Oklahoma State and 2012 Kansas State -- both with one loss – closer to the top of the standings in a playoff format.
              I hadn't thought of how a CCG may actually help land the conference champion in the national championship game rather than hurt the conference champion.


              Big 12 Expansion Candidates 2

              In a previous post I analyzed potential candidates for Big XII expansion using stadium attendance and mcubed program ranking. But since mcubed ranking was program lifetime ranking, it might be more pertinent to look at the programs more recent record. So I went to Football Outsider and average their F/+ rating (higher is better) for the year 2005-2012. This a computed team performance rating and does not take anything else into account other than on field performance.

              For reference I will restate the Big XII mcubed rating (lower is better), and the potential candidates.
              • Baylor = 63.2
              • Iowa St = 68.7
              • Kansas = 63
              • Kansas St  = 67.1
              • Oklahoma = 21.7
              • Oklahoma St = 51.6
              • TCU = 63.7
              • Texas = 22.4
              • Texas Tech = 48.4
              • West Virginia = 40
              • Big XII average = 50.98
              • Expansion Candidates
              1. Florida State = 27.6
              2. Miami = 33.8
              3. BYU = 42.6
              4. Clemson = 44.3
              5. Virginia Tech = 46.1
              6. Pittsburgh = 48.5
              7. Syracuse = 49.5
              8. South Florida = 50.1
              9. Big XII average = 50.98
              10. NC State = 52.8
              11. Air Force = 57.1
              12. Louisville = 63.4
              13. Cincinnati = 66.4
              14. Navy = 68.9
              15. Connecticut = 71
              16. Northern Illinois = 78.5
              Now lets look at F/+ rating.
              • Baylor = -2.3
              • Iowa St = -5.4
              • Kansas = -4.3
              • Kansas St = 2.8
              • Oklahoma = 21.2
              • Oklahoma St = 12.1
              • TCU = 17.9
              • Texas = 18.1
              • Texas Tech = 7.6
              • West Virginia = 14.6
              • Big XII average = 8.23
              Once again the expansion candidates
              1. Virginia Tech = 18
              2. Florida State = 14.3
              3. Clemson = 13.6
              4. BYU = 10.2
              5. Miami = 8.9
              6. Big XII average = 8.23
              7. Pittsburgh = 7.8
              8. Cincinnati = 7
              9. Louisville = 6.3
              10. South Florida = 5.4
              11. Connecticut = 1.9
              12. NC State = 1
              13. Northern Illinois = -0.7
              14. Navy = -1.8
              15. Air Force = -3
              16. Syracuse = -5.7
              So looking at competitiveness alone, 5 teams are above the Big XII average: BYU, Clemson, FSU, Miami and Virginia Tech. Of these I believe Virginia Tech is least likely, being wedded to UVA and likely the ACC. Except for BYU, Clemson, FSU and Miami are all in the ACC as well and with a exit penalty of $50 millions, they may not be able to leave. It is estimated that the ACC pays each team $24.4 millions while the Big XII pays $26.2 millions (source). As is the difference is not enough, coupled with the fact that each team in the Big XII will likely make less with more members. That leaves BYU. So if somehow the ACC teams are available, then it might make sense for the Big XII to go to 14 with BYU, Clemson, FSU, and Miami. Wow what a conference that will be, but it seems unlikely.

              The following six programs are below the Big XII on both lists: Air Force, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Navy, and Northern Illinois and are thus unlikely candidates for Big XII expansion. Programs that are on either list are Pittsburgh, South Florida, and Syracuse. If the Big XII expands to 12, then BYU will be the 11th and a 12th will come from this group. Of these three, when ranked by the program's worth:
              1. BYU = $136.1 millions
              2. USF = $101.2 millions
              3. Syracuse = $91.4 millions
              4. Pittsburgh = $59.6 millions
              When ranked by 2012 stadium attendance:
              1. BYU = 61,161 (+1%)
              2. USF = 44,130 (-1%)
              3. Pittsburgh = 41,494 (-10%)
              4. Syracuse = 37,953 (-6%)
              When ranked by NYT fan base:
              1. Pittsburgh = 831,496
              2. Syracuse = 769,624
              3. BYU = 709,864
              4. USF = 520,627
              When ranked by states with population changes (standardized to gains or losses of congressional seats) as a metric for the media market potential: 
              1. USF (Florida) = +2 (also one of the top three states for football recruits)
              2. BYU (Utah) = +1
              3. Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) = -1
              4. Syracuse (New York) = -2
              By most metrics, but not all, the best available teams outside of the ACC are BYU and USF.


              Big 12 Expansion

              While attending the NCAA Convention here, Bowlsby was asked if his conference would have to be reactive in whatever next form conference realignment takes. In each of the last two offseasons, the Big 12 has had to replace two teams. While no one expects the conference to lose teams -- it has a rock-solid, 13-year grant-of-rights -- the league may have a big decision to make about adding teams.
              For 2013, the Big 12 and Big East will be FBS' smallest conferences (10 teams).
              “We could be proactive [in conference alignment], I think,” Bowlsby said.
              Again as I previously stated expansion will be dependent on
              1. How not having a conference championship help or hurt the Big XII for the BCS.
              At the moment, Big 12 schools cash TV rights revenue checks for approximately $20 million per year. One industry source said the league could be making as much as $30 million per school in 2014, the first year of the playoff.
              2. How much more money having a championship game will bring in.
              CBSSports.com also reported that a 12-team Big 12 that played a conference championship game would get only $700,000-$1 million more per school per year. Bowlsby reiterated Wednesday that he supports doing away with an NCAA bylaw that requires conferences to have 12 teams to stage a league championship game.
              3. What teams are available for consideration and whether they will add value to the conference. We all know programs like FSU, Clemson, and Miami will bring value but their exit fee with the ACC may not make them available.
              The dominoes could start tumbling again if the Big Ten once again raided the ACC. That would create instability that could lead to this scenario: Clemson and Florida State calling the Big 12. At that point the Big 12 would have that decision to make. Stay at 10 or expand to further flyover states for potentially more conference revenue.
              But could the Big 12 make a move before it has to make a move? Florida State certainly has seemed willing to listen in the past. Along with Maryland, is the other ACC team that didn't vote for the $50 million exit fee. As of last month the hottest buzz in the industry had the Big Ten targeting Georgia Tech and Virginia.
              But this particular bit is interesting.
              “That's exactly one of the questions we'll be asking ourselves,” Bowlsby said Wednesday. “Look at Maryland and Rutgers. They don't bring programs that are of the ilk of the others in the Big Ten. The philosophy clearly is: ‘As members of the Big Ten we can grow them.' “
              This seems to leave the door open for lesser teams than FSU, Clemson, and Miami to be considered if they could prosper and grow once a member. In many ways both TCU and WVU fit this mold and will be better as members of the Big XII than before. Never the less both teams entered the Big XII with a history of being competitive already. That is why I think USF should be considered. USF has a good mcubed rating of 50.1, which is slightly better than the Big XII average of 51. (BYU is 42.5) More importantly in favor of USF is in one of the top three states for recruitment of college football players (the other being Texas and California).


              FBS Program Proposed Value, Validated

              In a previous post I sought to analyze the available FBS teams value for realignment considerations.  I used two resources. Firstly is mcubed which take a team's football record from 1960 through 2012 analyzed and ranked; lower is thus better. This gives me an understanding how competitive a team is, along with its competitive reputation. Second is the team's popularity and I use the actual averaged stadium attendance for 2012, with a percentage change from 2011. I then took the attendance figure divided by the mcubed rank to get one number, and this time the bigger the figure the higher the value, at least as by my method.

              I will now attempt to validate this method of analysis and valuation through internal comparison of the value of the Big XII teams with each other, then with a WSJ estimation of the major FBS teams dollar worth. So here is the Big 12 ranked.
              • Program: attendance / mcubed = value 
              1. Texas: 100,884 / 22.4 = 4,503
              2. Oklahoma: 85,243 21.7 = 3,928
              3. West Virginia: 55,916 / 40 = 1397
              4. Texas Tech: 57,209 / 48.4 = 1,182
              5. Oklahoma St: 56,557 / 51.6 = 1,096
              6. Iowa St: 55,274 / 68.7 = 804
              7. Kansas St: 50,278 / 67.1 = 749
              8. TCU: 46,047 / 63.7 = 722
              9. Kansas: 41,329 / 63 = 656
              10. Baylor: 41,194 / 63.2 = 651
              • Average: 58,993.1 / 50.98 = 1157
              The top two programs Texas and Oklahoma appears correct. West Virginia, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State are also correctly placed in the top half of the conference. West Virginia rank may be higher because their competitiveness is based largely against Big East programs, typically seen and less competitive than the Big XII. But Kansas State appears inappropriately low bunched in the bottom half of the conference. Lets look at the WSJ worth ranking.
              • Program: Value (in million $)
              1. Texas: 761.7
              2. Oklahoma: 454.7
              3. Texas Tech: 211
              4. Oklahoma State: 209.1
              5. Kansas State: 207.1
              6. West Virginia: 159.4
              7. Iowa State: 140.3
              8. Kansas: 103.4
              9. Texas Christian: 76.6
              10. Baylor: 71.3

              So again the top 2 teams are similar to my valuation calculation, as is the bottom Baylor. Texas Tech and Oklahoma State are also very close together. Kansas State rates higher per the WSJ than West Virginia did, likely because West Virginia only just join from the Big East, a lower value conference. While not directly correlative, the analyzed value appears approximately reasonable. Lets look at the programs under consideration again, and compare them against the Big XII average.
              • Program: attendance / mcubed = value (value in millions)
              1. Florida State: 75,601 / 27.6 = 2,739 ($159)
              2. Clemson: 79,429 / 44.3 = 1,792 ($201.8)
              3. BYU: 61,161 / 42.6 = 1,435 ($136.1)
              4. Miami: 47,719 / 33.8 = 1,411 ($157.7)
              • Big XII Average: 58,993.1 / 50.98 = 1157
              1. South Florida: 44,130 / 50.1 = 880 ($101.2)
              2. Pittsburgh: 41494 / 48.5 = 855 ($59.6)
              3. Louisville: 49,991 / 63.4 = 788 ($75.4)
              4. Syracuse: 37,953 / 49.5 = 766 ($91.4)
              5. Air Force: 32,015 / 57.1 = 560 (?)
              6. Connecticut: 34,672 / 71 = 488 ($101.8)
              7. Navy: 32,363 / 68.9 = 469 (?)
              8. Cincinnati: 29,138 / 66.4 = 438 ($48.9)

              Again Florida State and Clemson show themselves to be top of the list and well above the Big XII average. BYU and Miami also show themselves to be above the Big XII average. The Big XII should be cautious in taking program below Big XII average. Likely the Big XII will only take lower value program to go to 12 and I continue to believe South Florida is the best candidate of the rest. The value of Air Force and Navy remain unknown economically, but their perceived value appear high.


              FBS Conferences Realignment Options Analyzed

              There is an order to realignment picks, the major five (ACC, B1G, Big XII, Pac 12, SEC) picks before the minor conferences (Big East, CUSA, MAC, MWC, and Sun Belt). The Big East has been relegated  to minor status. Of the major five, the B1G, the Pac 12, and the SEC are the top three. These top three have very defined geography and will likely stay geographically based. Of these the Pac 12 have very limited options and at this point, they are not likely to expand. The expansion candidates for both the B1G and the SEC expansion candidates all reside in the ACC. The B1G candidates are Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia Tech. The SEC candidates are Virginia Tech and North Carolina State. My sense remains that the two Virginia schools and all four North Carolina schools will remain in the ACC. If this is true, then there will be no expansion for the B1G or the SEC in the near future. Thus of the major conferences, expansion will depend on the ACC and the Big XII.

              The ACC just lost one (Maryland) while taking three (Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse) to go to 14. The Big XII has recently lost 4 (Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Texas A&M) while taking only two (Texas Christian and West Virginia). Despite being smaller than before, the media grants of rights contract agreement appear to make the Big XII more stable than the ACC. I believe the ACC is unlikely to expand further at this point, but if they do Cincinnati and Connecticut are the likely options. The ACC is not in the position to take from the Big XII.

              Whether the Big XII expands will depend on whether a conference championship game will offset the cost of the additional members, whether the BCS 4+1 format for 2014 will benefits conferences with the championship more, and finally how easy or how hard Maryland's exit from the ACC's with the $50 million charge will be. However, unlike the ACC, the Big XII should they expand, could take from the ACC but if so, it should happen sooner rather than later. Allow me to explain. If Maryland's exit is arduous, thus making it difficult for the Big XII to take from the ACC, then they may want to have the option to take Louisville, Pittsburgh and Syracuse before they become full ACC members. If Maryland's exit is easy, the ACC will likely take steps to make exit more arduous, such as a media grants of rights like the B1G, Pac 12 and the Big XII have and thus the window to take from the ACC may close fairly quickly. We should know this year whether the Big 12 will expand or not and if they do, a cascade of reaction will follows.

              To analyze the available teams, I used two resources. Firstly is mcubed which take a team's football record from 1960 through 2012 analyzed and ranked; lower is thus better. This gives me an understanding how competitive a team is, along with its competitive reputation. Second is the team's popularity and I use the actual averaged stadium attendance for 2012, with a percentage change from 2011. I then took the attendance figure divided by the mcubed rank to get one number, and this time the bigger the figure the higher the value, at least as by my method.

              For the Big XII candidate I have assumed the Virginia and North Carolina ACC schools are not available. Thus the candidates are, in order;
              • Program: attendance / mcubed = value (trend from 2011 - 2012)
              1. Florida State: 75,601 / 27.6 = 2,739 (-)
              2. Clemson: 79,429 / 44.3 = 1,792 (+)
              3. BYU: 61,161 / 42.6 = 1,435 (+)
              4. Miami: 47,719 / 33.8 = 1,411 (+)
              5. South Florida: 44,130 / 50.1 = 880 (-)
              6. Pittsburgh: 41494 / 48.5 = 855 (-)
              7. Louisville: 49,991 / 63.4 = 788 (+)
              8. Syracuse: 37,953 / 49.5 = 766 (-)
              9. Air Force: 32,015 / 57.1 = 560 (-)
              10. Connecticut: 34,672 / 71 = 488 (-)
              11. Navy: 32,363 / 68.9 = 469 (-)
              12. Cincinnati: 29,138 / 66.4 = 438 (-)
              I just don't see any other program for consideration. Programs in italics would not be available if the ACC holds as is. For the Big XII the top four would change to BYU, South Florida, Pittsburgh, and Louisville. BYU is a top for regardless. Florida State, Clemson, and Miami speak for themselves and the Big XII would do well to consider going to the Big XIV.  My gut says no Florida State, Clemson, or Miami. Without the ACC teams, South Florida makes sense to provide the Big XII with a presence in Florida. I am uncertain whether teams like Pittsburgh, Louisville, Syracuse or Air Force would be worth going to the Big XIV for, especially if it would be difficult to any team from the ACC. I think this is most likely. Though the Big XII and BYU failed to reach an agreement previously, the new BCS arrangement will make it very difficult for any independent team other than Notre Dame. BYU will be more flexible, and the Big XII will have no problem with a religious school as they already have Baylor and Texas Christian. South Florida will jump at the chance of joining the Big XII. Air Force declined previously due to the level and schedule of competition in the Big XII seems unlikely unless the Big XII expand to include Navy. Thus the Big XII should take BYU, South Florida, possible Air Force and Navy as well. This looks like a pretty good conference as the new Big XIV. These changes will leave the ACC intact.

              The Big East will lose one to two programs (Navy and South Florida). If the Big East wish to have twelve teams for a championship game, two to four additional teams (assuming San Diego State returns to the MWC) will be needed. The candidates for the Big East are:
              • Program: attendance / mcubed = value (trend)
              1. Southern Mississippi: 25,751 / 53.4 = 482 (-)
              2. Army: 32,205 / 81 = 397 (-)
              3. Tulsa: 20,020 / 53.5 = 374 (-)
              4. Arkansas St: 26,398 / 90.1 = 292 (+)
              5. Buffalo: 13,242 / 97.6 = 135 (-)
              6. Massachusetts: ?
              Massachusetts is transitioning from FCS to FBS thus I have no data for them. They have been mentioned as a local candidate for Connecticut. As have been Tulsa. Southern Mississippi should really be considered as a regional presence, and it is a bridge between Tulane and Central Florida. I could see the following divisions:
              • East: Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, East Carolina, Navy (or Massachusetts), and Temple
              • South: Houston, Memphis, SMU, Southern Mississippi, Tulane, and Tulsa
              The next conference to be affected by realignment would be the MWC. But this would only occur if the Big XII take Air Force. I am skeptical BYU would join the MWC until the Big XII moves to 12 teams. UTEP would be a clear replacement for Air Force to revive old WAC rivalries and give the MWC a foothold in Texas. The MWC would likely stay at 12 but team 13 and 14 would have to be Idaho and New Mexico State. They should stay at 12.
              • Program: attendance / mcubed = value (trend)
              1. UTEP: 29,374 / 87.6 = 335 (+)
              2. New Mexico St: 14,247 / 93.4 = 152 (-)
              3. Idaho: 12,582 / 100 = 125 (+)
              Should Conference USA lose both Southern Mississippi and Tulsa, they would still have 12 teams and a conference championship game. But if they also lose UTEP then Army or Arkansas State should be taken.
              • Program: attendance / mcubed = value (trend)
              1. Army: 32,205 / 81 = 397 (-)
              2. Arkansas St: 26,398 / 90.1 = 292 (+)
              The MAC would need replacement only if they lose Massachusetts and Buffalo, but all they need is one replacement to be at 12 as they have 13 now. Army, Marshall, and Western Kentucky should be considered. Army is the best option.
              • Program: attendance / mcubed = value (trend)
              1. Army: 32,205 / 81 = 397 (-)
              2. Marshall: 24,896 / 82.7 = 301 (-)
              3. Western Kentucky: 17,415 / 105.8 = 164 (+)
              The Sun Belt belt could escape unscathed if they don't lose Arkansas State. But even if they take New Mexico State and Idaho, they would only be at 10 football schools. In addition to just FBS South Alabama and Georgia State following suit, two more FCS teams will be needed. It seems unlikely Arkansas Little Rock or Texas Arlington, already members of the Sun Belt, would start FBS football. I have no data for FCS so I have only guesses taken from recent FCS champions.
              • North Dakota State
              • Sam Houston State (Texas)
              • Eastern Washington
              • Delaware
              • Villanova (Pennsylvania)
              • Montana 
              • Richmond (Virginia)
              • Appalachian State (North Carolina)


              Fiscal Cliff & Debt Ceiling

              I understand that the GOP may not wanted a public backlash of raising taxes on the middle class. But the increased revenue raising without any significant spending reduction will be harmful to the US economy in the long run. And I still believe that raising taxes on those who employ is a bad idea as well. Fine.

              But come the debt ceiling the GOP should starting to manage and frame the conversation in terms of a bloated government with out of control spending and that the debt limit is there to limit too much borrowing by the government and thus should not be tampered with. They don't even have to bring anything to the floor for a vote. Just let the debt limit be applied.


              Houston & SMU, where to?

              Where should SMU & Houston go to? Big East? MWC? CUSA? Things to consider:

              1. Money. Payout from the Big East is uncertain. Payout from the MWC will be about $1-2M. Payout for CUSA will be about $2M.

              2. Competition. I am using mcubed analysis of the team's entire team's competitive history. Lower is better.

              Big East
              Cincinnati = 66.4
              UConn = 71
              USF  = 50.1
              Temple = 75.7
              Navy = 68.9
              Memphis = 69.8
              ECU = 61.5
              Tulane = 82
              Central Florida  = 60.2
              Big East average = 67.2888888888889

              Air Force  = 57
              Boise St. = 34
              Colorado St. = 71
              Fresno St. = 67
              Hawaii = 64
              Nevada = 65
              New Mexico = 76
              San Diego St. = 54
              San Jose St. = 77
              UNLV = 81
              Utah St. = 69
              Wyoming  = 61
              MWC average = 64.6666666666667

              Southern Mississippi = 53.4
              Louisiana Tech = 66.6
              Rice = 82.7
              UAB = 89.6
              UTSA = ?
              Marshall = 82.7
              Tulsa = 63.5
              UN Charlotte = ? 
              UTEP = 87.6
              Old Dominion = ?
              Middle Tennessee = 86.5
              North Texas = 81.9
              Florida International = 94.5
              Florida Atlantic = 88.9
              CUSA average = 79.8090909090909

              3. Fan Base. For this I am using Nate Silver's analysis in the NYT from 2011.

              Big East
              Cincinnati = 322757
              UConn = 618724
              USF 5 = 520627
              Temple = 226483
              Navy = 237222
              Memphis = 235656
              ECU = 348391
              Tulane = 101701
              Central Florida 6 = 506679
              Big East total = 3,118,240

              Air Force  = 213946
              Boise St.  = 483489
              Colorado St. = 199506
              Fresno St. = 251472
              Hawaii = 295024
              Nevada = 187221
              New Mexico = 171154
              San Diego St. = 242126
              San Jose St. = 60292
              UNLV = 136687
              Utah St. = 65129
              Wyoming  = 302935
              MWC total = 2,608,981

              Southern Mississippi = 361613
              Louisiana Tech = 179991
              Rice = 126901
              UAB = 236825
              UTSA  = ?
              Marshall = 225810
              Tulsa = 119686
              UN Charlotte = ?
              UTEP = 114592
              Old Dominion = ?
              Middle Tennessee = 169621
              North Texas = 202188
              Florida International = 178669
              Florida Atlantic = 145469
              CUSA total = 2,061,365

              4. Regional Population growth. All of the above are based on the past. Now I want to factor in regional population growth to suggest future movement. To simplify things I will just look at the states within the conference congressional seats gains and losses.

              Big East = net -2 (+2 for Florida, -2 for Ohio, -1 for Louisiana, and -1 for Pennsylvania)
              MWC = net +2 (+1 for Nevada and +1 for Utah)
              CUSA = net +1 (+2 for Florida and -1 for Louisiana; Texas was not included as this is the native state for SMU and Houston)

              Thus far the Big East has the edge in fan numbers (#3), the MWC has the edge in competition (#2) and regional population growth (#4), and CUSA has the tentative edge in payout (#1).

              5. Unqualifiable. Food for thought.

              Big East: instability.
              MWC: access to the Pac12 by playing in Pac12 states of Colorado, Utah, and California. There is no way the B1G, Big XII or the SEC will consider either SMU or Houston. The ACC is just too far away, and the AAU North Carolina schools along with UVA will be too snobby to invite either programs. The Pac12 is hemmed in with limited options for expansion and should they want Texas, SMU and Houston could both be considered. In addition, the Bowl payout deal from the MWC gives the competing team a 50% share.
              CUSA: ego of having to swallow their pride and go back to CUSA could be a factor. However, there are some good rivalry in CUSA like Tulsa, Southern Mississippi and Louisiana Tech that could be a draw.

              Overall I think the MWC has a slight edge of appeal for SMU and Houston over the Big East and CUSA.


              FBS Realignment 2

              As a follow up to my previous post on what could happen with FBS conferences realignment, I thought to put forth my preference.

              My preference would be for the Big XII to go to Big XIV in 2014 with the addition of Pittsburgh, Florida State, Miami and Northern Illinois. Once the Big XII go to 12, divisions will have to be set up, in which case might as well go to XIV. The Big XII already owns the rights to Big XIV. Regarding divisional alignment, I would set up a zipper through Texas (2 teams each), Oklahoma, Kansas, Florida, ISU v NIU, and Pittsburgh v WVU. Fourteen teams means divisions of 7 for 6 in-division games, 1 annual cross-division rivalry game, and 2 rotating cross-division games (one away and one home game) among the remaining 6 cross-division teams.

              Division A & Division B, listed as annual cross division games.

              Baylor & Texas Christian
              Texas & Texas Tech (Chancellor's Spurs since 1928)
              Oklahoma & Oklahoma State (Bedlam Series since 1904)
              Kansas & Kansas State (Sunflower Showdown since 1902)
              Northern Illinois & Iowa State
              West Virginia & Pittsburgh (Backyard Brawl)
              Miami & Florida State (Battle of Sunshine State)

              As a result of this the ACC will need three teams: UConn, USF, and Cincinnati.

              Atlantic Division & Coastal Division, listed as annual cross division games.
              Boston College & Southern Florida
              Clemson & Georgia Tech
              Virginia Tech & Virginia
              North Carolina State & North Carolina
              Wake Forest & Duke
              Syracuse & UConn
              Louisville & Cincinnati

              The MAC can hold at 12 or approach Temple, Navy, Army, Marshall, and or Western Kentucky for 14 teams.

              West Division: Bowling Green, Toledo, Miami Ohio, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, and Ball State
              East Division: Kent State, Akron, Ohio, Massachusetts, Buffalo, Navy, and Army

              Alternative MAC with zippered divisions, listed as annual cross rivalry games:
              Division A & Division B
              Ohio & Miami (Battle of the Bricks for 89 games)
              Central Michigan & Western Michigan (the Victory Cannon for 83 games)Bowling Green & Toledo (Peace Pipe for 76 games)
              Kent State & Akron (Wagon Wheel for 54 games)
              Massachusetts & Buffalo
              Eastern Michigan & Ball State
              Navy & Army

              The MWC can take San Diego State, SMU and Houston to go to 14.

              Mountain Division & West Division, listed as annual cross division games.
              Colorado St. & Air Force
              Nevada Las Vegas & Nevada
              San Jose St. & Fresno St.
              Wyoming  & Boise St.
              San Diego St. & Hawaii
              New Mexico & Utah St.
              Southern Methodist & Houston

              The remnant of the new Big East, Tulane, Memphis, ECU, UCF, will be unable to form a new conference and will return to the CUSA, leaving them with 18 unless a few schools (such as Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Middle Tennessee, and North Texas) decides to return to the Sun Belt. In that case the CUSA will remain at 14 (Houston and SMU will be replaces with North Carolina Charlotte, Old Dominion, UT San Antonio, and Louisiana Tech).

              West Division: Tulsa, Rice, UTEP, UTSA, Memphis, Louisiana Tech, and Tulane
              East Division: Marshall, ECU, UCF, UAB, Old Dominion, UNC Charlotte

              Alternative CUSA zippered, listed as annual cross division games.
              Division A & Division B
              Southern Mississippi & Memphis
              Louisiana Tech & Tulane
              Rice & Tulsa
              Alabama Birmingham & Central Florida
              Eastern Carolina & North Carolina Charlotte 
              Texas San Antonio & Texas El Paso
              Marshall & Old Dominion

              The Sun Belt will have 12 with the current 10 and the addition of Texas State and Georgia State.

              West Division: Arkansas State, Louisiana Lafayette, Louisiana Monroe, North Texas, Texas State, and South Alabama
              East Division: Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee, Troy, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Georgia State
              (Texas Arlington & Arkansas Little Rock)

              Alternatively Sun Belt can also move to a zippered conference format with an annual cross division rival:
              Division A & Division B
              Louisiana Lafayette & Louisiana Monroe (Battle of the Bayou)
              Georgia State & Arkansas State
              South Alabama & Troy
              Middle Tennessee & Western Kentucky
              North Texas & Texas State
              Florida International & Florida Atlantic(Shula Bowl)

              Left unaligned are Notre Dame, Temple, BYU, Idaho, and New Mexico State.