Big Ten expansion is all about television
BY HERB GOULD email@example.com November 18, 2012 8:28PM
Rutgers and sophomore quarterback Gary Nova could have a new home soon in the Big Ten. | Al Behrman~AP
SUN-TIMES BIG TEN POWER RANKINGS
Nebraska needs to beat Iowa to wrap up title-game berth. Michigan needs to beat Ohio State in case the Huskers stumble. Michigan State (at Minnesota) and Purdue (vs. Indiana) need to win to go bowling.
1. Ohio State (11-0) 1
2. Nebraska (9-2) 2
3. Michigan (8-3) 3
4. Northwestern (8-3) 5
5. Wisconsin (7-4) 4
6. Penn State (7-4) 6
7. Michigan State (5-6) 7
8. Minnesota (6-5) 8
9. Purdue (5-6) 9
10. Indiana (4-7) 10
11. Iowa (4-7) 11
12. Illinois (2-9) 12
Updated: December 20, 2012 6:28AM
With Black Friday just around the corner, the Walmart-ization of college athletics is stepping into high gear.
In another example of why public universities owning sports-television networks creates a slippery slope, the Big Ten reportedly is poised to announce that Maryland and Rutgers will be joining the conference.
That would bring the league to 14 schools — and allow the Big Ten Network to annex Lefty Driesell as one of the Big Ten’s greatest coaches.
Remember, this is all about television sets. Even if Maryland and Rutgers aren’t likely to turn Washington and New York into Big Ten hotbeds, they will turn on a lot of television sets and bring in cable-system subscriber fees. If Nebraska added value with its Great Plains demographics, imagine what the Terrapins and Scarlet Knights would mean on the densely populated East Coast.
Viewer numbers will come into play as the Big Ten negotiates a new media-rights package for its most attractive games in 2017, when its current ABC/ESPN deal expires.
The expansion announcement reportedly could come Monday, after an early-morning session in which the Maryland board of regents is expected to take up the matter, ESPN.com reported.
Although the ACC raised its exit fee to $50 million, Maryland might not have to pay that much, a source told the Sun-Times. The documents haven’t been signed for that recent change, so the exit fee would be negotiable.
If the Big Ten expands to 14 schools, a jump to 16 might not be far behind. The future of college athletics seems to lie in four super-conferences, with most speculation centering on the Big Ten, SEC, ACC and Pac-12 as the survivors.
Get your Irish up
When the Duck mascot’s head blew off as he attempted to sky-dive Friday, we should have known that Oregon might be in for a fall.
This is why college football is so unique. And so dramatic.
On one crisp November evening, the whole championship picture was turned on its head.
Kansas State, which hardly had trailed all season, got punched in the mouth at Baylor in a 52-24 loss. Oregon, averaging 54 points per game, left 40 on the table in a 21-14 overtime loss to Stanford.
What it means is that, until the next time they tee it up, Notre Dame and Alabama are on a collision course for the national championship game Jan. 7 in Miami.
How the Irish compare stacked up against those teams, how they would have fared if they played in the SEC or Pac-12 doesn’t matter.
Notre Dame has played its hand perfectly to this point. With USC quarterback Matt Barkley (shoulder) out and the Trojans looking vulnerable after their loss to UCLA, ND’s trip to Los Angeles doesn’t look nearly as imposing as it once did.
But this is college football, where strange things can happen. Just ask Kansas State and Oregon.
Vols fire Dooley
Derek Dooley, who was 15-21 in three seasons, was fired Sunday by Tennessee. The Vols (4-7, 0-7 SEC) need to beat Kentucky on Saturday to avoid their first winless season in SEC play. Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney will coach the finale.
BCS: Notre Dame vs. Alabama
Rose: Nebraska vs. Stanford
Fiesta: Kansas State vs. Oregon
Sugar: Florida vs. Oklahoma
Orange: Florida State vs. Louisville
Big Ten bowl
Capital One: Michigan vs. Georgia
Outback: Wisconsin vs. LSU
Gator: Northwestern vs. South Carolina
Buffalo Wild Wings: Michigan State vs. Oklahoma State
Meineke Car Care: Minnesota vs. Iowa State
Heart of Dallas: Purdue vs. Baylor