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Thread: Another thought on the Big East/MWC saga?

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    Another thought on the Big East/MWC saga?

    I'm really starting to read some tea leaves regarding this poker game between MWC and Big East over Boise State...

    IF the MWC wins them back, could it be the death spiral that terminates the Big East as a football conference?

    There has been a lot of public chatter about the Big East TV deal... while the numbers are certainly on the high end relative to the other gang of five members, there seems to be some significant challenges on projecting anything past 3-5 years or so. There is a moderate chance that they won't get a viable long-term television deal offer whatsoever at this point.

    This truly might become a "bird in the hand" type of deal for Boise et al... take the bigger $$ from the Big East knowing that the juice might only last for 3-5 years, OR take a 30% cut by staying MWC knowing the $$ is stable and for the long-term. And BTW, have MBB in the MWC instead of the Big West. And have the exact same chance of getting into an access bowl.

    I am starting to have a few doubts of the premise that the Big East is in the "catbird" seat in all this as we've all been assuming.

    So, the western wing of Big East: Boise State, SDSU, Houston, and SMU join the MWC. This allows Houston and SMU to save face and not crawl back to C-USA, and further, SMU has a history in western-based conferences anyway.

    Then the remaining Big East: USF, UCF, ECU, Tulane, Memphis re-join C-USA. Temple as well. This creates a 20-team league for C-USA. ECU hadn't even figured out where to send MBB. After all said and done, CUSA lost 2 (Houston, SMU) and added 10 (La Tech, FIU, UNT, UTSA, Temple, FAU, MTSU, USF, ODU, Charlotte).

    Cincinnati and UConn are still actively whoring themselves out for an ACC bid. In their elite arrogance, they hold their nose and join either C-USA or MAC for a couple of years as a placeholder until their bid comes calling. Perhaps they join the MAC in football and throw-in with the Catholic schools for MBB? Politically, they very well might champion the idea of dissolving the Big East as a mechanism to grease the wheels for further realignment scenarios. They've already floated their little idea about starting up their own conference.



    I really am starting to wonder about how all this shakes out. Who knows, it might just work out for us after all!
    Last edited by domangue; 12-27-2012 at 09:50 AM.

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    Re: Another thought on the Big East/MWC saga?

    Hopefully the others won't allow Boise to lead them.

    Read '06's most recent post on CBS (MWC) vs ESPN (BE) for the markets involved. Boise just happens to be sitting right, but I believe the others like SDSU, SMU, and Houston have the voice.
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    Re: Another thought on the Big East/MWC saga?

    Quote Originally Posted by maddawg View Post
    Hopefully the others won't allow Boise to lead them.

    Read '06's most recent post on CBS (MWC) vs ESPN (BE) for the markets involved. Boise just happens to be sitting right, but I believe the others like SDSU, SMU, and Houston have the voice.
    So... you're saying that a Big East contract sans Boise State [and possibly sans UConn/Cincy very soon] is still going to be a de facto more attractive option than the MWC for SDSU, SMU, and Houston?

    I'm not arguing that its certainly possible, but its not a foregone conclusion. It could end up like '06's pessimistic doomsday; or maybe not. That's my point of this thread.

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    Re: Another thought on the Big East/MWC saga?

    I think the MWC and CBS are playing with a short stick vs. ESPN and the BE.

    I think Paralex is a good example of what Houston and SMU fans feel about the situation. I'm not sure what SDSU fans think, but I can't imagine them still wanting the BE. Memphis and Tulane will be happy to get whatever they can as long as it doesn't involve LaTech or Middle.
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    Re: Another thought on the Big East/MWC saga?

    Quote Originally Posted by maddawg View Post
    I think the MWC and CBS are playing with a short stick vs. ESPN and the BE.

    I think Paralex is a good example of what Houston and SMU fans feel about the situation. I'm not sure what SDSU fans think, but I can't imagine them still wanting the BE. Memphis and Tulane will be happy to get whatever they can as long as it doesn't involve LaTech or Middle.
    Of course, the Big East and MWC are having a stick measuring contest. And as we speak, the Big East no doubt has the bigger stick; it might be considered a coup for the MWC to hang onto Boise.

    But at some point in all this, I believe there is an equilibrium achieved where the MWC and Big East close in on each other...

    So...

    A. Boise stays MWC... advantage MWC

    B. BYU maybe rejoins MWC... advantage MWC

    C. Cincinnati and UConn go ACC... advantage MWC

    D. Big East "brand" follows Catholic schools... advantage MWC


    While the MWC has a degree of solidarity and stability (their stick isn't really growing or shrinking), each passing event shortens the Big East stick... to the point that some motley assembly of crappy schools that just so happen to be located in metro areas are not going to have a very good "brand" of football. In 5 years, all is forgotten how this conference corpse used to be a BCS AQ.

    I think about the analogy about media markets and how they relate to the Sun Belt. With FIU, UNT, MTSU, they claimed the Miami, Dallas, and Nashville markets. But yet somehow, Belch was basically paying ESPN begging them to please televise their games. So... they join CUSA and somehow these schools magically transform the television deal? But wait, they were worthless six months ago? The moral of the story... a component of the equation is conference "brand" and the moves of the Big East have all but ignored this... and it will bite them in the long-run. Can't wait for the Tulane-Temple championship game!
    Last edited by domangue; 12-27-2012 at 02:06 PM.

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    Re: Another thought on the Big East/MWC saga?

    Three things are pretty certain to me regarding the Big East, MW, and C-USA:

    1. Big East football will not die. ESPN will not allow it.

    2. None of the C-USA schools that have declared that they are leaving (Houston, SMU, Memphis, UCF, Tulane, East Carolina) will come back to C-USA.

    3. BYU will not join the MW or Big East for football.

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    Re: Another thought on the Big East/MWC saga?

    I think the basis of this speculation, that the MWC has an upper hand is possibly true. I think the relative lack of pull the Big East has vis-a-vis the MWC is most likely true. Even if Boise State stays with the BE, it's starting to appear unlikely that UNLV and Fresno would accept even full membership. Here are some other factors I could consider worthy of mention:

    1) If Boise State wants, I am relatively certain they have the option of full membership. So they have two options there, though neither are as good as MWC-for-basketball.

    2) I am somewhat conflicted as to whether I would want UH to go with Boise State to the MWC or not. It depends on who else the MWC extends invitations to and who else the Big East might lose (it would take more than UConn and Cincy for it to be a slam dunk for the MWC), among other things. I may elaborate on the factors, if anyone is interested in (or if I get bored). My sense, though, is that UH's admin is not very conflicted and will not make the jump unless the BE gets dissolved.

    3) If I'm wrong and we do go west, and SMU goes with us, there is a really good chance that we bring a couple Conference USA schools with us (Tulsa, UTEP, UTSA). At least, I hope so.

    4) The only way for the Big East to actually fall apart is for impending departures to vote to dissolve the conference. If Cincy and UConn get invited tomorrow, I'm not sure how everything would shake out, but they might be able to turn the lights out before they leave. That alone wouldn't necessarily do the conference in, but it would be a necessary component.

    5) The school to watch wouldn't be BSU, nor would it be UH/SMU. It would be ECU. If BSU, UH, and SMU all headed west, many of the remaining schools would probably still seek to soldier on. ECU got a lot of good treatment from Conference USA (in terms of eastward expansion) and bad treatment from the Big East (FBO membership, which is *still* all they have). They don't have a lot of in common with the other BE schools and there aren't any schools in the C*USA that they have a real problem with. And if they go back to Conference USA, it makes expansion for the BE much tougher. I wouldn't rate this as "likely" but would rank it as "possible."

    6) I agree with Dawg06 about BYU. I'm not sure why ESPN would disallow the breakup of the BE. It's not actually clear that the BE will be in their stable going forward. Relations between the two aren't great. (That being said, Dawg06 is one of the most astute commentators that this site has when it comes to the rationales of the moving parts.)

    7) Cincinnati finding even a temporary home in the MAC is exceptionally unlikely. Less likely, in fact, than their finding a temporary home in Conference USA. The MAC has six schools in Ohio and I simply cannot imagine Cincy would accept being #7.

    8) CBS's situation is quite interested. They have rights on both C*USA and the MWC. If they help the MWC avoid defections, then they probably lose more C*USA schools. Yet they've put themselves out there for MWC on renegotiating the contract. Probably having more to do with staving off lawsuits over MTN than anything else, though.

    9) For the Big East schools, the main question is when things are going to settle down and they can start actual TV contract negotiations. The uncertainty surrounding it is one of the biggest two vulnerabilities in the conference. The MWC is "a bird in the hand" at this point.

    10) Boise State's announcement of staying in the MWC was supposed to be imminent (before their bowl game, even) and yet it still hasn't happened. Why not? What is going on behind the scenes?

    11) Talk has been about Boise State going back, but very little about SDSU. There is talk that the MWC is targeting UH, but less mention of SMU. In the former case, it probably means nothing. SDSU gets a complete "out" if Boise bolts (no exit fees). So it's in everybody's interest that they secure Boise first. In the latter case... it probably also means nothing but I can't think of a reason for this to be the case. Maybe using us to try to roll SMU? Maybe they think we're more likely to be interested? It seems unlikely that we would make the move without them.

    12) One thing I am curious about is the extent to which the BE would consider Rice an adequate replacement for us and UNT an adequate replacement for SMU. Or UTSA for either. It would give us some insights into how important markets are in comparison to other factors. It could also make a difference if UH can bring UNT west with us and if SMU could replace us with Rice. If Rice and UNT (and UTSA) are considered suitable subtitutes.

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    Re: Another thought on the Big East/MWC saga?

    Quote Originally Posted by parialex View Post
    I think the basis of this speculation, that the MWC has an upper hand is possibly true. I think the relative lack of pull the Big East has vis-a-vis the MWC is most likely true. Even if Boise State stays with the BE, it's starting to appear unlikely that UNLV and Fresno would accept even full membership. Here are some other factors I could consider worthy of mention:

    1) If Boise State wants, I am relatively certain they have the option of full membership. So they have two options there, though neither are as good as MWC-for-basketball.

    2) I am somewhat conflicted as to whether I would want UH to go with Boise State to the MWC or not. It depends on who else the MWC extends invitations to and who else the Big East might lose (it would take more than UConn and Cincy for it to be a slam dunk for the MWC), among other things. I may elaborate on the factors, if anyone is interested in (or if I get bored). My sense, though, is that UH's admin is not very conflicted and will not make the jump unless the BE gets dissolved.

    3) If I'm wrong and we do go west, and SMU goes with us, there is a really good chance that we bring a couple Conference USA schools with us (Tulsa, UTEP, UTSA). At least, I hope so.

    4) The only way for the Big East to actually fall apart is for impending departures to vote to dissolve the conference. If Cincy and UConn get invited tomorrow, I'm not sure how everything would shake out, but they might be able to turn the lights out before they leave. That alone wouldn't necessarily do the conference in, but it would be a necessary component.

    5) The school to watch wouldn't be BSU, nor would it be UH/SMU. It would be ECU. If BSU, UH, and SMU all headed west, many of the remaining schools would probably still seek to soldier on. ECU got a lot of good treatment from Conference USA (in terms of eastward expansion) and bad treatment from the Big East (FBO membership, which is *still* all they have). They don't have a lot of in common with the other BE schools and there aren't any schools in the C*USA that they have a real problem with. And if they go back to Conference USA, it makes expansion for the BE much tougher. I wouldn't rate this as "likely" but would rank it as "possible."

    6) I agree with Dawg06 about BYU. I'm not sure why ESPN would disallow the breakup of the BE. It's not actually clear that the BE will be in their stable going forward. Relations between the two aren't great. (That being said, Dawg06 is one of the most astute commentators that this site has when it comes to the rationales of the moving parts.)

    7) Cincinnati finding even a temporary home in the MAC is exceptionally unlikely. Less likely, in fact, than their finding a temporary home in Conference USA. The MAC has six schools in Ohio and I simply cannot imagine Cincy would accept being #7.

    8) CBS's situation is quite interested. They have rights on both C*USA and the MWC. If they help the MWC avoid defections, then they probably lose more C*USA schools. Yet they've put themselves out there for MWC on renegotiating the contract. Probably having more to do with staving off lawsuits over MTN than anything else, though.

    9) For the Big East schools, the main question is when things are going to settle down and they can start actual TV contract negotiations. The uncertainty surrounding it is one of the biggest two vulnerabilities in the conference. The MWC is "a bird in the hand" at this point.

    10) Boise State's announcement of staying in the MWC was supposed to be imminent (before their bowl game, even) and yet it still hasn't happened. Why not? What is going on behind the scenes?

    11) Talk has been about Boise State going back, but very little about SDSU. There is talk that the MWC is targeting UH, but less mention of SMU. In the former case, it probably means nothing. SDSU gets a complete "out" if Boise bolts (no exit fees). So it's in everybody's interest that they secure Boise first. In the latter case... it probably also means nothing but I can't think of a reason for this to be the case. Maybe using us to try to roll SMU? Maybe they think we're more likely to be interested? It seems unlikely that we would make the move without them.

    12) One thing I am curious about is the extent to which the BE would consider Rice an adequate replacement for us and UNT an adequate replacement for SMU. Or UTSA for either. It would give us some insights into how important markets are in comparison to other factors. It could also make a difference if UH can bring UNT west with us and if SMU could replace us with Rice. If Rice and UNT (and UTSA) are considered suitable subtitutes.
    Nice summary; even though you basically backhand slap TECH again by leaving us out of every possible scenario, as usual, even though your on a TECH board. Nice.

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    Re: Another thought on the Big East/MWC saga?

    No slight intended. I've said before that I am more bullish on LaTech's odds on getting into the Big East than Dawg06 is. I wouldn't mind LaTech being a part of the group going to the MWC, but I suspect that with the exception of Boise, any expansion by the MWC will be generally market-oriented (and probably not east of Texas). What I am less sure about is the Big East. If it's market-oriented, then I would expect them to look at UNT, Rice, and UTSA (maybe ODU or Charlotte). If it's not, I would expect it to be USM or LaTech (the incredibly stupid addition of Tulane doesn't help, unfortunately). If the BE loses UConn and Cincy (much less if they lose UH and SMU), they have some rather serious competitive issues. I'd be pretty angry if the response was to extend invitations to Charlotte and ODU. It would probably tilt me to hoping we bolt and join the MWC.

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    Re: Another thought on the Big East/MWC saga?

    Quote Originally Posted by parialex View Post
    No slight intended. I've said before that I am more bullish on LaTech's odds on getting into the Big East than Dawg06 is. I wouldn't mind LaTech being a part of the group going to the MWC, but I suspect that with the exception of Boise, any expansion by the MWC will be generally market-oriented (and probably not east of Texas). What I am less sure about is the Big East. If it's market-oriented, then I would expect them to look at UNT, Rice, and UTSA (maybe ODU or Charlotte). If it's not, I would expect it to be USM or LaTech (the incredibly stupid addition of Tulane doesn't help, unfortunately). If the BE loses UConn and Cincy (much less if they lose UH and SMU), they have some rather serious competitive issues. I'd be pretty angry if the response was to extend invitations to Charlotte and ODU. It would probably tilt me to hoping we bolt and join the MWC.
    Thanks!

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    Re: Another thought on the Big East/MWC saga?

    Quote Originally Posted by TYLERTECHSAS View Post
    Nice summary; even though you basically backhand slap TECH again by leaving us out of every possible scenario, as usual, even though your on a TECH board. Nice.
    What he posted was not a slap in our face. It was his honest assessment. I think he's too kind about our chances.

    We simply don't offer what the Big East, MW, or any other major conference is looking for:
    - Big, untapped media market
    - Perennial BCS buster contender
    - Men's basketball program that makes noise in March
    - Big fan base
    - Commitment to building and improving athletic facilities
    - Big athletic budget

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    Re: Another thought on the Big East/MWC saga?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dawg06 View Post
    What he posted was not a slap in our face. It was his honest assessment. I think he's too kind about our chances.

    We simply don't offer what the Big East, MW, or any other major conference is looking for:
    - Big, untapped media market
    - Perennial BCS buster contender
    - Men's basketball program that makes noise in March
    - Big fan base
    - Commitment to building and improving athletic facilities
    - Big athletic budget
    And Tulane fits that mold? I don't think so.

    Untapped media market? New Orleans? Sorry, it's all tapped out....by LSU. Nothing left to share with anyone else.

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    Re: Another thought on the Big East/MWC saga?

    Quote Originally Posted by dawg80 View Post
    And Tulane fits that mold? I don't think so.

    Untapped media market? New Orleans? Sorry, it's all tapped out....by LSU. Nothing left to share with anyone else.
    This brings us full circle again on the first CUSA saga. Until we hire a real professional to show the REAL stats on market penetration and not how big the market potential is, we will be going in this circle. Louisiana Tech has a greater upside than any CUSA school and most Big East schools on market penetration. REAL stats are needed in a simple and clear format.

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    Re: Another thought on the Big East/MWC saga?

    Quote Originally Posted by parialex View Post
    I think the basis of this speculation, that the MWC has an upper hand is possibly true. I think the relative lack of pull the Big East has vis-a-vis the MWC is most likely true. Even if Boise State stays with the BE, it's starting to appear unlikely that UNLV and Fresno would accept even full membership. Here are some other factors I could consider worthy of mention:

    4) The only way for the Big East to actually fall apart is for impending departures to vote to dissolve the conference. If Cincy and UConn get invited tomorrow, I'm not sure how everything would shake out, but they might be able to turn the lights out before they leave. That alone wouldn't necessarily do the conference in, but it would be a necessary component.
    Parialex:

    I don't think Cincy and UConn would join the Catholic 7 in turning the lights off on the Big East when they depart. ESPN controls the ACC. They would not allow the ACC to invite the two schools if it meant ESPN would lose the Big East because it went away. ESPN may not control all of the Big East's content in the future, but I suspect they badly want a portion of it. For those reasons and many others, I agree with those who believe the Big East will survive.

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    Re: Another thought on the Big East/MWC saga?

    Quote Originally Posted by dawg80 View Post
    And Tulane fits that mold? I don't think so.

    Untapped media market? New Orleans? Sorry, it's all tapped out....by LSU. Nothing left to share with anyone else.
    Yes, Tulane does fit the mold. Tulane's invitation did not surprise me like it did everybody else. Until you can try to put yourself in the shoes of each conference commissioner instead of looking at it from a fan's perspective, you won't understand it.

    The New Orleans market is untapped by the Big East. They now get to claim all the households in the greater New Orleans area for their tv contract negotiations.

    Tulane has invested heavily in their facilities.

    - Tulane announced their new $60 million football stadium well after we announced Q4E, and they will have it completed well before we complete our $16 million value engineered end zone project.

    - Tulane has completely renovated their basketball fieldhouse with a second phase to be completed before next school year (I'm still looking for a price tag), and we've yet to replace the original TAC scoreboard that we were told would be replaced 2 years ago ($1 million?).

    - Tulane constructed a brand new basketball and volleyball practice facility, and we just replaced the floor in Memorial Gym.

    - Tulane built a brand new $10.5 million baseball stadium in 2008, and we just now doing a $450,000 renovation to our baseball stadium (and we're still $100,000 short).

    - Tulane plans to build an Olympic-style village to house their track and field, cross country, tennis, and sand volleyball programs in addition to football practice fields. Our track doesn't even have permanent seating, and our track and field, cross country, and tennis programs don't even have locker rooms. Our plan is to stick those locker rooms and coaching officies in the south end zone of the football field along with our softball and soccer teams.

    Tulane has a lot of money. How much? I don't know because they are a private institution, but I do know they have a lot more money than we do.

    Since the creation of C-USA in 1995, Tulane has been conference mates with Cincinnati, South Florida, Memphis, Houston, SMU, and UCF. That's everybody except UConn and Temple. We only shared a conference with SMU for a few years.

    Also, Tulane boasts AAU membership, which blows all of our academic accomplishments out of the water. No comparison.

    So yes, Tulane fits the mold. Remember, Tulane also had conversations with the Big 12.
    Last edited by Dawg06; 12-29-2012 at 02:14 PM.

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