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Tag:Conference Realignment
Posted on: August 12, 2011 4:53 pm
 

Texas A&M moves Regents meeting to Monday

Posted by Adam Jacobi

In what's likely the most ominous sign for Texas A&M's future with the Big 12, a Texas A&M Regents meeting originally scheduled for August 22 has been rescheduled -- to next Monday, the next possible business day.

Here's the link to the official meeting notice. There are 15 items, and the first 14 aren't related to athletics. Oh, but Item 15:

15) Authorization for the President to Take All Actions Relating to Texas A&M University's Athletic Conference Alignment, The Texas A&M University System

That is not a discussion. That is not a consideration. That is allowing school president R. Bowen Loftin to send A&M to the SEC, something that wouldn't be authorized for the heck of it.

This doesn't appear to be a major concern to Dan Beebe or the rest of the Big 12 anymore, however. Texas A&M RapidReporter Brent Zwerneman posted that the conference is ready to move on without the Aggies:

There appears to be no turning back for the Aggies to the SEC. Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe has told Texas A&M the Big 12 will survive without the Aggies, and that Texas holds the key to the conference’s future, according to an A&M official. The Big 12 also said Houston will be a viable replacement for the Aggies, according to the A&M official.

In other words, the split is basically done, and neither side is interested in stopping it. Now the only question is who else the SEC takes -- and whether any any other Big 12 teams are on the way out as well. According to RedRaiderSports.com's Chris Level, a "high ranking Texas Tech official" (and for the record, TTU athletic director Kirby Hocutt was previously Miami's AD) says the SEC is "in talks with Texas A&M and an ACC school," but once the SEC acquisitions begin, what's to stop SEC head honcho Mike Slive from going past 14 teams?

Posted on: August 11, 2011 8:27 pm
Edited on: August 11, 2011 10:01 pm
 

Report: Texas A&M to join the SEC - UPDATE

Posted by Tom Fornelli

UPDATE: The Sporting News is reporting that a "high-ranking SEC" source says the report of Texas A&M accepting an invitation to the SEC is "just not true." So there goes that. For now. Prepare yourselves for a new report on Friday saying that A&M is going to the SEC.

There has been a lot of talk about the possibility of Texas A&M leaving the Big 12 to join the SEC in recent days. However, that's all it has been: talk. Rumors spreading throughout the internet like wild fire with some saying that it's going to happen and other saying they believe Texas A&M is bluffing.

Well, now there's at least one site reporting that it's a done deal and Texas A&M will be leaving the Big 12 for what it sees as the greener pastures of the SEC.

According to AggieYell.com -- a subscription site -- Texas A&M has already decided that it will join the SEC, but it can't officially announce the move until August 22nd. As you'd expect, this report has generated a lot of response online with some people buying it completely, and others expressing serious doubts.

Personally, I fall on the side of the line filled with doubt. As Aubrey Bloom of Gigem247 tweeted, this is the same website that reported A&M to the SEC was a done deal last year, and said as recently as a month ago that there was no chance that the Aggies would leave the Big 12. I'm also bothered by the fact that this story is behind a subscription wall and has only one source.

If you were that confident in the information, wouldn't you want to put the story somewhere the entire world could see it, and not just on a message board for subscribers?

Now this does not mean that I don't think Texas A&M is going to leave for the SEC at some point, nor does this mean I'm saying the AggieYell.com report is false. All I'm saying is that I'd approach this story with caution. Until Texas A&M comes out and makes an official statement about its intentions, then everything else is just hearsay.
Posted on: August 10, 2011 1:27 pm
 

A&M official: Big 12 members 'tired of Texas'

Posted by Tom Fornelli

There has been a lot of attention paid to Texas A&M over the last few months. Some of that attention has to do with the way the Aggies finished the 2010 season and whether or not Mike Sherman's program is ready to take that next jump to becoming one of the elite programs in the country. Still, even the preseason hype about A&M in 2011 pales in comparison to all the rumors and speculation about the school in 2012 and beyond.

Specifically, where will the Aggies be playing football? Will they still be a member of the Big 12, or will they be joining the SEC? The rumors ran rampant on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon that Texas A&M is considering a move, but according to Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle, that's not exactly the case.

Of course, just because the move isn't imminent, that doesn't mean Texas A&M is ruling it out either, and one school official said that Texas A&M isn't the only member of the Big 12 conference that is annoyed with that big burnt orange program in Austin.
But a high-ranking A&M official said Tuesday there were no "precipitating events that led to (Tuesday's) rumors and speculations," adding that there would be "no imminent announcement or anything of that matter" concerning the SEC.

The official, however, did cite A&M's general unhappiness with the Big 12 - thanks primarily to the ESPN-backed Longhorn Network of rival Texas - but stayed mum on whether a shift to the SEC might occur at some point. Another A&M official recently described the Aggies and other Big 12 members as simply being "tired of Texas" - primarily the Longhorn Network's pushing to air key high school games.
The Big 12 recently made the decision to table the decision of whether or not the Longhorn Network can broadcast high school games for a year. A decision that won't do anything to help put out the fires that many people seem to believe are burning within the Big 12 conference. Simply choosing to not talk about a problem for a year doesn't mean it isn't there, and if you ignore the elephant in the room long enough, eventually he's going to defecate all over the place.

Will the Big 12 survive all of this? I honestly couldn't tell you. The conference seemed to be at death's door last year before recovering and getting a new television deal. Still, that hasn't seemed to do anything to change how the nine remaining schools in the conference feel about the preferential treatment Texas seems to get.
Posted on: July 5, 2011 12:00 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 4:48 pm
 

Temple recruits: Move to Big East coming soon

Posted by Chip Patterson

July 1 marked the first day in the house for recent conference jumpers like Utah and Nebraska. As the conferences continue to realign, eyes continue to turn to the 8-team Big East. With TCU arriving in 2012 and the negotiation of a new media deal on the horizon, it is assumed that the conference will be making more moves in the near future to increase membership. Jason Brewer, of SB Nation Philly, pulled together some interesting quotes from Temple recruits that suggest the Owls rumored move back into the Big East could come as soon as after this season.

First came quotes earlier from Temple Football Forever, which included TE Tanner Kearns sharing his excitement for the potential to play in Lincoln Financial Field and "knows" the Owls "plan on moving to the Big East soon." The father of Temple commit CB Tavon Young took it a step further, stating his son will be close to home and "in the Big East in 2012." Add those quotes to the recent statements from LB Michael Kalaman and TE Jameson McShea and you've got to assume that there there is something going on behind the scenes in Philadelphia.

Temple spent 14 years in the Big East before their departure in the exodus of 2003-2004. Since then current Miami head coach Al Golden worked to rebuild the program from within the MAC, bringing the Owls their first postseason appearance in 30 years in 2009. After his departure to the Hurricanes, the hiring of Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio has helped continue the momentum that Golden started in Philadelphia.

But Temple is not the only team that has been discussed in possible Big East expansion. The conference nearly gave one bid away to Villanova before discussions took a turn in another direction, many believe that UCF is a football powerhouse in the making that could benefit the conference geographic balance, and recently the addition of Army and Navy has been discussed. I doubt that Temple's staff would be outright lying to recruits, so they at least have some reason to believe that Temple's invitation to the BCS ranks could be coming in time to join along with TCU.

Big East commissioner John Marinatto told CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy that there is no "best model" for Big East expansion, but there is certainly an end date. By September 2012, the conference needs to be set in their membership in order to capitalize on the negotiation of a new media deal when their current one with ESPN expires. ESPN has already made moves to try and begin those talks, but the conference still has some moves to make before they are comfortable presenting their future product. Temple's potential addition would bring the conference to ten teams heading into the 2012 season, but what would that mean for their Philadelphia brethren Villanova? The Wildcats, already a member of the conference in every sport but football and women's lacrosse, would be one of the easier additions logistically. If the Big East brings in both schools to the football conference, that leaves only one spot left to finish with the magical 12-team count needed to hold a conference championship game. With UCF, Army, Navy, Houston, and East Carolina all likely interested in making the jump, someone is going to get left out. Again.

With all of the other five conferences securing new media deals in the last couple years, the Big East gets to be the prettiest girl at the dance for the next several months. Sure, the schools left aren't exactly the lighting up the BCS standings (only UCF and Houston have ever been ranked); but there is still a lot of potential value for a conference looking to make a statement on the national scene.


Posted on: July 1, 2011 1:49 pm
 

Don't forget what's lost in Nebraska switch

Posted by Jerry Hinnen



There's no doubting that these are exciting times for Nebraska football. Today's the day they officially join the Big Ten, the day they officially (as our own Dennis Dodd writes) start new rivalries with the likes of Ohio State, Penn State and -- most substantially -- their Great Plains brethren at Iowa. Today's the day they start drawing checks from the Big Ten Network money machine. It's the day that will, in short, define the future of their football program.

But amidst all that excitement, it's also a day which ought to be an occasion to remember the Huskers' past. Because in making the move to the Big Ten, Nebraska is cutting ties with years, decades, even centuries of their gridiron tradition.

Start with the rivalries. Nebraska vs. Kansas was only the longest uninterrupted series in the nation, having been played every year since 1906. The Huskers' and Jayhawks' started their annual grudge match so long ago, Oklahoma didn't even exist--and we're not talking about the Sooners, we're talking about the state.

But even that's not the oldest Nebraska rivalry that will end this season. The Huskers and the Missouri Tigers first met all the way back in 1892 and went on to play each other 102 more times, making it the third-oldest football rivalry west of the Mississippi River.

Because of Nebraska's dominance over both foes -- the Huskers defeated Kansas 36 straight times between 1969 and 2004, and Mizzou 24 straight times from 1979 through 2002 -- neither rivalry ever quite ascended to "classic" status, despite each's longetivity. But that doesn't mean each didn't give us classic moments, like this one you knew was coming:



And even if those series didn't carry as much weight on the gridiron as some others, the same can't be said for the Huskers' showdowns with Oklahoma. The move from the old Big 8 into the Big 12 had already (shortsightedly) brought a halt to the teams' annual meeting after 70-plus years of uninterrupted battles, but the rivalry that gave us the "Game of the Century" still survived as part of the Big 12 scheduling rotation and in the occasional Big 12 championship game. Now? The two schools might meet again in 2020 and 2021, if we're lucky.

Go beyond just rivalries and scheduling, though, and the conference switch also represents a complete cultural realignment for Husker football. Since the very beginning, Nebraska football has associated itself first-and-foremost with other heartland schools; their first conference affiliation came in the Missouri Valley Conference with Iowa-based schools like Drake and Grinnell. When they moved to the Big 8, they did so alongside not just the Jayhawks, Tigers and Sooners but schools like Kansas State and Iowa State as well.

From their location to their "Cornhuskers" nickname to the undying, overwhelming support of the Big Red faithful to their regional and national dominance, Nebraska wasn't just an important part of Great Plains college football; in many ways, the Huskers were Great Plains football.

That's not going away entirely, of course. And the annual matchup with Iowa promises to be a particularly important game from a regional standpoint. But with a schedule dominated by trips to Midwestern-to-the-bone locations like Minneapolis and Chicago, in a conference long identified first-and-foremost with the Rust Belt pillars at Michigan and Ohio State, there's no way Nebraska's identification as the heartland football program won't erode. Those days are done.

That's not to say Nebraska should have turned the Big Ten down, of course. Money talks. Academics talks. The Big 12's Texas obsession most definitely talks. From the Nebraska perspective, there's no way to spin the jump to a more stable, more lucrative conference as anything other than progress.

But progress almost always comes with a price, whether it's Colorado ditching its decades of old Big 8 rivalries to head west, Boise State's leap to the Mountain West finally finishing off the WAC as a meaningful football conference for good, TCU and Utah going their separate ways just when things between them were getting good, or all that Nebraska is giving up in their move to the Big Ten.

Today deserves to be a celebration for the Huskers' future, and for the future of all the teams and conferences who have been officially realigned today. But this is college football, the sport where tradition and history and all those things that are not money matter more than any other. There should be time enough, even today, to mourn the things the great realignment of 2010 has lost us.

Posted on: November 30, 2010 7:26 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2010 7:32 pm
 

Self: Big East was set to take Kansas, others

Posted by Adam Jacobi

At the height of conference realignment talks last year, there was real concern that Texas (and most of the other Big XII South schools) would flee the conference for -- pardon the pun -- greener pastures, leaving the schools up north wondering what their next move would be. Six conference members doth not a viable conference make, after all, and there was real concern that schools like Iowa State or Kansas State would have to suffer the indignity of joining a non-AQ conference.

Fortunately, as Kansas basketball coach Bill Self told listeners on his weekly radio show yesterday, his Jayhawks' AQ status was never in doubt -- and nor was that of Missouri, KSU, and ISU. When asked about TCU and its move to the Big East, Self said that if the Big 12 folded, those schools would have been offered a spot in the Big East. And further, Self thinks the Big East was smart to make those offers, because it was the only way to ensure the Big Ten doesn't kill the Big East's football program.

Audio, courtesy of the IMG Jayhawk Network, is below. Those interested in the full show may listen through Jayhawks All-Access ($$).

If you can't listen, here's the full text of Self's statement, with minor alterations for clarity's sake:

To be honest with you, Kansas could have been making the same announcement today that TCU made. And Kansas State could have been in there too, because the feeling that we got -- or we had, when the conference realignment was going on, that if by chance, Texas would have gone to the Pac-10 and we would have stayed buddies with Kansas State and not separated and done all that stuff, then the Big East would have came and gotten us, and KSU, and Iowa State, and Missouri. Which, in theory, you say, 'Oh god, the Big East, bad travel.' They would have gone to divisions, so we would have had divisions with probably the teams that are close, and maybe Louisville and Cincinnati or whatever.

And I think that's smart on the Big East's part, because the Big Ten's still going to go poach somebody, and when they poach somebody it's going to be a football-playing school, and if that number goes beneath eight, then I believe -- I could be wrong -- but I believe then they're not eligible for the BCS bid. So they're covering themselves to make sure that whenever the Big Ten does whatever they do, they'll still have enough football-playing schools to make sure that they keep their BCS football bid alive. So I think it's a smart move, and probably great for TCU, so I see no problems with it.

Although there had been rumors to this extent back in the spring and summer, this is the first time that a school official has not only addressed the rumor that the Big East was set to invite the wayward Big 12 North schools, but out-and-out confirmed it. And as Self mentioned, with the Big Ten purportedly sniffing around for expansion targets out east, the Big East needed to either go into buyer mode or prepare to get out of the business of football altogether. While some college football fans might have preferred the latter, the Big East would have lost an automatic qualifier bid and all the money it entails, so that was never really going to happen.

And above all else, this should at least reassure fans of those four schools that even if the Big 12 had folded, the day that ISU or Missouri would have had to share a conference with Wyoming or Middle Tennessee State was never really going to happen; there had always been another BCS conference waiting, and there probably still will be if this latest iteration of the Big 12 doesn't work over the next few years. The arms race probably isn't over yet.



Posted on: September 1, 2010 7:26 pm
 

Big Ten confirms new divisions

Posted by Adam Jacobi


On a scheduled special broadcast on the Big Ten Network tonight, Jim Delany announced his conference's plans for two new divisions. They are as follows:


A: Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Purdue, Illinois, Indiana

B: Michigan, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Northwestern, Michigan State


Each team is guaranteed a crossover rivalry with the team opposite in the list: OSU-Michigan, Penn State-Nebraska, etc.


Moreover, Michigan-Ohio State will remain the regular season finale for both schools. Delany said that despite rumors, the only other destination discussed for The Game was a mid-November date instead--nothing as early as October. Whether that's any consolation to Michigan and Ohio State fans is something you'll have to ask them.


All in all, most teams have little if anything to complain about; the vast majority of rivalries are now protected, and as Delany noted, each conference member now has six protected games instead of two. Certainly, Iowa probably won't be pleased to see Purdue as a protected rival (and vice versa), and Indiana-Michigan State makes little more sense, but these aren't deal-breaking problems.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com