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Over the next few months, I will be tuning-up my other blog, South Beach Hoosier,
It's my expectation that by the time the college football preview magazines are starting to crowd bookstore periodical shelves and Dolphins pre-season football is looming, South Beach Hoosier will not only be updated and have a more attractive look, but will also have features, stories and anecdotes that you won't find elsewhere in South Florida.
Truth be told, I literally have dozens and dozens of sports-related blog posts that I have just sat on over the past year that I never posted here, about all manner of sports and personalities and issues, not least of all conference expansion, contraction and extinction.
Today, Nebraska formally asks for admission to the Big Ten Conference, Colorado leaves the Big 12 in the dust and heads for the Pac-10, and Texas and Texas A&M fans and alumni wait to see what they do next week, with Aggie fans afraid they will be left in the dust with Kansas and Missouri if the Longhorns head west for greener pastures.
As usual, The Dallas Morning News is all over the story, as they have among the best college football reporters in the country: http://collegesportsblog.dallasnews.com/
Texas Regents will hold teleconference on Tuesday and make decision then on conference choice http://www.dallasnews.com/
Sources: Texas, Texas A&M may head in different directions
12:40 PM CDT on Friday, June 11, 2010
By CHUCK CARLTON / The Dallas Morning News
I agree that A&M is a better fit for SEC, and if that happens, Utah would be a good fit to move to the Pac-10 also, which fits given their recent football, basketball and gymnastics success.
Columnist Tim Cowlishaw gives his take here:
Cowlishaw: 16 things to ponder about life with the Pac-16, without the Big 12
10:38 PM CDT on Thursday, June 10, 2010
Not surprisingly, one of the constants of those particular posts I never posted here are what I believe to be the rather low-caliber of South Florida sports reporting and writing, and its increasing turn towards corporate sycophancy, leaving real sports fans the losers.
The multiple golly-gee stories last year about Dolphin owner Stephen Ross' dim-witted marketing ideas were the most egregious.
I know, I know. This hardly represents a surprising admission from me, given my previous negative comments here over the years, especially about local sports radio and the Miami Herald's very erratic and myopic sports section.
With all the changes afoot for the conferences, with TV money and TV markets the principal driving force on this issue, how difficult must it be for the Herald to report on this story given their consistently dreadful coverage of The BigTenNetwork since it started with a bang and Appalachian State's victory over Michigan at Ann Arbor?
A game that didn't appear in the sports section's TV schedule.
Though they've existed for a few years now, despite the particular demographics of South Florida, the Herald has completely ignored it, not even bothering to run their TV schedule in the Sports Today graphic, even when they have Top 10 teams playing each other in football or basketball.
For instance, the first time the Herald ever mentioned the BigTenNetwork, they got a very basic fact WRONG:
The FIU offensive line could have a new look when the Golden Panthers visit Iowa on Saturday.
Coach Mario Cristobal said redshirt freshman right guard Chris Cawthon has "caught up to" junior starting right guard Joe Alajajian, and both players are now co-starters, with the decision on the starter expected to be made before kickoff.
* Starting left guard Mario Caraballo, who missed camp and the opener at Kansas with a foot injury, began jogging, and Cristobal said he "will definitely" be ready for the Golden Panthers' first home game Sept. 20 against South Florida.
A TV HIT OR MISS
Depending on the type of cable package they have, FIU fans might be able to see Saturday's game against the Hawkeyes on the Big Ten Network. The game is being transmitted among the local Big Ten affiliates, meaning only in Iowa and Florida. However, most sports bars use DirecTV and not local cable boxes. DirecTV boxes get the Big Ten national signal, not the local one, so they will show Marshall vs. Wisconsin instead. Fans who have the Big Ten Network with local cable companies will be able to watch the game at home.
Actually, fans like me who have the package can watch any of the games they want, which is why they have the overflow channels, and not just Channel 610. Real sports fans know that, but not the very people writing about it.
Par for the course at the Herald.
Then, the BigTenNetwork doesn't get mentioned again in the Herald for another 17 months, despite all the stories last year about conference expansion and Notre Dame or Rutgers or Pittsburgh.
WTF kind of self-respecting newspaper Sports Dept. completely ignores the largest college conference TV network in the country for YEARS?
Talk of Big Ten expansion doesn't have everyone's support
Big Ten university presidents and athletic directors said a handful of factors will determine whether the conference expands. Listen closely, though, and it sounds like one outweighs them all: Money.
The Big Ten generates more money than any other conference, thanks in part to its one-of-a-kind Big Ten Network. And no one in the conference, not even enthusiastic expansion advocates such as Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez, wants to sacrifice a dime of the roughly $22 million each school gets a year.
"You just don't jump into the league and get a full share of what everyone else in this league has established over time," Alvarez said. "I think someone has to buy their way into the league."
Alvarez sees expansion as a path toward the kind of football title game that keeps the SEC and other conferences on national TV and fans' radar after Thanksgiving, when the Big Ten typically begins a multiweek break before the bowls.
"You take a look at the championship week in December and we're non-players," said Alvarez, the former coach who led Wisconsin to football prominence. "We're irrelevant."
Texas, Missouri, Rutgers, Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame have all been mentioned as possible targets since the Big Ten announced in December that it was evaluating the possibility of expanding the 11-team conference.
"If you look at the college landscape across the country, look at television contracts that are coming up over the next 5-8 years, this is probably the right time for us to see if there is any value in trying to add a team or teams," Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said at the time. The three big factors Big Ten presidents and ADs said any new member would have to bring to the discussion are academic credentials, a strong geographic fit and money.
Stanley Ikenberry was the president at Illinois the last time the Big Ten expanded, adding Penn State in 1990. He said the decision to admit Penn State was driven less by money than by academics.
Despite all the fervent emotions expressed on ESPN and on sports talk radio as well as well-known national sports blogs, the Herald's most recent story on college athletic conference expansion is this one -from last Thursday! Guess they're stuck in a time warp, which seems to be a real problem over at One Herald Plaza, as you will soon see me demonstrate here to a rather convincing and embarrassing degree.
SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE SPRING MEETING: SEC playing waiting game on decision whether to expand - Like the other major football conferences, the SEC is watching the Big Ten closely before deciding on possible realignment.
June 3, 2010
Now the waiting game begins for the SEC, one of college football's most powerful leagues -- its teams have won the past four BCS national championships.
SEC officials, athletic directors and football coaches met Wednesday during the annual spring meeting at the Sandestin Hilton to discuss league rules and current contracts with ESPN, CBS Sports and Sirius/XM Satellite Radio.
Also on the day's agenda: the hot topic of expansion. Although the possibility of adding new members was discussed by league officials, talks were preliminary, according to Alabama athletic director Mal Moore.
The outcome of any expansion or contraction among the NCAA's major conferences, including the SEC, hinges upon the Big Ten.
The 11-member Big Ten, which owns the Big Ten Network and would like to increase TV revenue and add a conference championship game, announced in December that it would study the possibility of expansion.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany has said his league might consider expanding to 12, 14 or 16 teams. Since then, speculation has been rife and multiple scenarios have been bandied about, including Notre Dame joining the Big Ten; the Big Ten dismantling the Big East; or the Big Ten and Pacific-10 cherry-picking teams from the Big 12.
According to commissioner Mike Slive, the SEC will act proactively if the Big Ten attempts to increase its size, power and revenue.
''If there's a significant shift in the conference paradigm, we will be thoughtful,'' Slive said. ''We'll be strategic, and our goal is for us to maintain our position as one of the most successful conferences in the country.''
In other words, if the Big Ten grows into a mega-conference of 16 members, then the SEC will not sit idly by while a rival attempts to become the most powerful conference in college football.
The SEC would not reveal its preliminary plan for conference expansion if the dominoes actually begin falling, but a source familiar with the SEC's vision said the league might consider ''expanding its nine-state footprint.''
Notre Dame is considered the wild card in conference-realignment speculation. If the Big Ten adds Notre Dame and two or four other major football powers, bringing its league total to 14 or 16 teams, then the SEC might follow suit in a revenue-driven chess match of major college football.
Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick has stated his university would like to remain independent.
Alabama coach Nick Saban, who coached at Big Ten member Michigan State from 1995 to '99, said Tuesday that he believes most of the conference-expansion chatter is being driven by the possibility of Notre Dame joining the Big Ten.
''Even when I was back in the Big Ten, and I really think that's the key to all this stuff, it was always about Notre Dame then,'' Saban said. ''Each year, there was a big discussion about trying to get Notre Dame to join the Big Ten, and I think that's a lot of what it's about now.''
In the event of a realignment, the SEC would prefer to add major programs from states with universities currently not aligned with SEC, according to a source, but the source emphasized that ''it's all speculation at this point.''
For their part, most SEC college football coaches prefer the status quo, a 12-team SEC divided into two competitive six-team divisions.
Florida coach Urban Meyer indicated Tuesday that he would not be in favor of conference expansion. Georgia coach Mark Richt said he isn't necessarily against conference expansion, but does not like the idea of adding another conference game.
For the latest move in the conference chess match, see the New York Times College Football webpage: http://www.nytimes.com/pages/sports/ncaafootball/index.html
IU Hoosiers Video & Highlights from The Big Ten Network: http://www.bigtennetwork.com/videos/indiana.asp