Friday, May 28, 2010

Will The Detroit Free Press Admit it was Wrong?

Jonathan Chait writes a great article about the Detroit Free Press coverage of the University of Michigan practice scandal.

Is this the same Jonathan Chait from the New Republic? If it is, I not only love this guys politics, but I love that he has U of M's back.

Here is some of the article.

The reality, of course, is that Free Press is highly unlikely to apologize for its bungling report. Indeed, criticisms of the paper's journalistic failures seem to have created a bunker mentality at the newspaper. Ray Donovan, a Reagan-era Secretary of Labor, was indicted of a high-profile crime that commanded media attention. When he was acquitted, he famously asked, "Which office do I go to get my reputation back?"
The University's report shows that, whatever small rules violations occurred, there's no evidence that Rich Rodriguez had any knowledge of, or gained any substantial benefit from them. The charge that he has operated a football sweatshop has been totally debunked. Where does he go to get his reputation back? Not the Detroit Free Press.

Give the rest of the article a read, you will not regret it.

click here for entire article.

Chris Rock is a Wolverine!

DE/TE Chris Rock
Go Blue Wolverine is reporting that Chris Rock DE/TE from Ohio is their 5th Commitment for the 2011 season.

According to Rock is 6 foot 5 inches tall and weighs about 240 lbs, (should be over to 250 by season start) while running a 4.9 40 yard dash. Rock in addition, recorder 15 sacks as a junior for his St. Francis DeSales HS in Columbus Ohio.

Looks like he was plucked out of Brutus the Buckeye's backyard.

Go Blue!

Dee Hart v. Noel Devine, and The Message Board Mafia.

Don't Mess with the Message Board Mafia.
Hail To The Victors Blog wrote a short piece for, about the prospect of 4 star high school running back Dee Hart possibly joining the University of Michigan's class of 2011. Hart is an extraordinary talent that appears to be a perfect fit for Rich Rodriquez's spread offense. Hart can play multiple positions on the field, and is a very dangerous punt and kick returner.

As I made perfectly clear in the article, message board rumblings from reliable sources have Dee close to making a decision. This of course is an exciting turn of events for the University of Michigan, because they have been dealing with nothing but adverse press for sometime now, leading some to question if it will hurt recruiting.

Enter "The Message Board Mafia"

In the article I compared Dee Hart to another Florida standout running back Noel Devine. Apparently such comparisons are so far fetched, that the entire article is garbage. Which is probably true. Yet, the entire article was formulated because of a message by one of the two most reliable sources on the site. We will call him TB.

Now that article was written at Hail To The Victors Blog to inform my many 3 readers of what is going on with University of Michigan recruiting, and as every blogger on the planet does, they report what is being said and usually have a take.

My take was that Dee Hart and Noel Devine share many of the same football qualities, and those similarities make for a fair comparison.

First judge for yourself. I have put video up of both. Just click on there name.

Now lets look at the vitals.

Dee Hart is 5 Foot 9 inches and is about 190 lbs and runs a 4.5. Noel is 5 foot 8 inches and is 180 lbs and runs a sub 4.4.

So if your entire judgement is on speed, than I stand corrected. But any real evaluator of talent would not make such an harsh criticism, on just one attribute would they? But, as we all know the Message Board can be an unforgiving place. But that seems a little "out-there" even for a message poster. no matter how competent or incompetent he or she may be.

Bottom Line, Dee Hart and Noel Devine were and are two multi talented individuals who can not only play running back, but can play the slot, and both are dangerous return men. They both can take a two yard loss and turn it into a 70 yard touchdown. They both are highly touted recruits although Devine was more of a standout, receiving 5 stars by high school evaluators, while the book hasn't closed on Hart as of yet.

But most importantly in my opinion is who they played for, or will possibly play for, and who recruited them. Rich Rodriquez is the x factor when comparing the two in my opinion, and for that reason alone, makes the comparison legit. You may not agree with it, and that is perfectly fine, but an utter dismissing of the similarities of the two individuals is cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Devine has the speed and ridiculous ability, but many pro evaluators worry about his durability. While Dee will likely be an every down back, as he matures, because of his ability to carry more weight. Devine is a proven commodity and Hart will have to prove himself, hopefully in a Michigan Jersey, but I would bet you a Ham Sandwich, the words Noel Devine came up in Dee Hart's recruitment.

Hail To The Victors Blog would love to hear some of the players that remind you of Dee Hart.

D-Day in His Own Words.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I Still Believe!

Big Year for Rich Rod.
I am in agreement with Brian at mgoblog, about RR's tenure and what we should do.

Many won't like it, but patience is a virtue.

Here is a taste.

Progress is mandatory, but firing a guy because he's not healing lepers is unwise.  This is a team that deserved to go 3-9 in 2008 and had four non-freshman defensive backs on the roster last year. Rebuilding from that is not a short-term operation. We've been through why this happened many times before; suffice it to say Rodriguez's margin of error to prevent a wholesale cratering was infinitesimal.
Later in Feldman's piece he says Rodriguez is an "excellent coach" and "proven winner" who "knows how to develop talent and motivate players." If this is the case—and everything in his coaching tenure before Michigan suggests so—why shouldn't Michigan give him the benefit of the doubt? They are not going to hire a coach with two BCS wins to his name next offseason. Patience is warranted. One year now (to be clear: 2011) has the potential to pay off with a 20-year stretch of success. While recruiting has suffered Michigan's classes are well within the range where Michigan can expect to compete for Big Ten championships when it is not operating with literally half the upperclassmen of its primary rivals.

Give the entire article a read it is well worth it.

We Are Number 71?

No Respect, I Tell Ya, No Respect.
The University of Michigan Football Team is officially the Rodney Dangerfield of College Sports.

The Sporting News ranks U of M #71 out of 100 college teams.

click here for the entire list.

Luckily we get to play many of those teams ranked in front of us this year, and the proof will be on the field.

I would gladly bet The Sporting News writers a Ham Sandwich, that this prediction will not come true.

Apparently the SN writers didn't see this piece of film.

D-Day Makes The Hall.

Adam Rittenberg reports that Desmond Howard has been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Congrats D. Howard!
Should make for some good talk on College Gameday with Herbie!

Rittenberg writes.

DESMOND HOWARD, wide receiver, Michigan, 1989-91
  • Won Heisman Trophy in 1991 after leading the nation in both scoring (11.5 ppg) and kickoff returns (27.5 ypr)
  • Became the first wide receiver to the lead the Big Ten in scoring
  • Earned 640 first-place votes (85 percent) in the Heisman race and won by the second-largest margin in the award's history
  • Also won the Walter Camp Award and the Maxwell Award in 1991
  • Set or tied five NCAA records and 12 Michigan records. Still holds Michigan marks for single-season points (138) and single-season touchdowns (23)
  • Helped Michigan to three Big Ten championships and two Rose Bowl appearances

Remember "The Catch"

Will Dee Hart Become U of M's Next Football Commitment?

Could Dee be in Maize and Blue Soon?
Now that much of the smoke has cleared around the University of Michigan, and the truth about this story continues to surface.

Recruits are again setting their sights on Ann Arbor.

Dee Hart's name is continuing to surface on the Michigan Message boards. It appears that Dee will not be making his trip to Auburn this weekend, and signs are pointing toward a possible commitment to the University of Michigan.

Dee Hart is a stand out running back for his Orlando Dr. Phillips High School football team, he stands 5 foot 9 inches tall and packs a brutal punch with a 194 pound frame. But don't mistake Hart as a bruiser, this kid can fly, and is often touted as the State of Florida's best running back.

Personally I see a lot of Noel Divine in this kid. Minus the baggage that made RR think twice before bringing him to WV. By all accounts Hart is a fine student with a real respect for the game, and an affinity for the Michigan Wolverines. Ricardo Miller, a big time recruit from the Orlando area last year, was good friends with Hart, before he moved to Ann Arbor to finish his High School career. In some circles it has been said that Ricardo's mom carries a lot of weight with the Hart family, and is a trusted family friend.

All of this buzz, and the natural family connections have Michigan in the drivers seat in my opinion. Of course I am not the only one who feels this way. also has Dee leaning toward the Wolverines.

A Dee Hart commitment would not only be big for the University's future at running back, but it could also be a big commitment, showing the rest of the nation, that this highly touted four star recruit from Florida no less, is not phased a bit by the current situation in Ann Arbor.

Check back tomorrow to see if we have any movement on the Dee Hart situation.

Dee Hart in action.

ESPN's Bruce Feldman Weighs in on U of M, USC, and College Football.

Although the interview doesn't concentrate on U of M. It is definitely worth a listen.

Scott Van Pelt from the Scott Van Pelt Show, interviews Bruce Feldman here.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Coaching "Hot Seat Ranking"

You might have guessed where RR ranks.

See it for yourself.

I still believe!

mgoblog Calls for Heads to Roll..

Labadie and Draper

What you are about to read is going to piss you off,  especially if you are a U of M fan.

mgoblog has gone through tons of pages of emails and correspondence and what they have found is truly amazing.

What a great story.

CARA Forms are Countable Athletically Related Activities.

Here is a taste from mgoblog.

March 2008
Reminder ping. Strassner now sending emails with the subject line "Compliance Documents – STILL MISSING". The November 18th week that has been outstanding for months is still outstanding, as are contact logs and telephone logs. Questions about possible overages have not been answered.
A week later, Strassner sends an email to Michael Parrish, cc-ing Labadie and asking for CARA forms for January and February, February telephone logs, and February contact logs. Vollano replies to this, noting the university's auditor will be in on Thursday and "Auditors like to find things missing so they can put them in their reports." A week later, both Vollano and Strassner request the missing logs again. A week later, the email mentions the auditor "is in the process of reviewing football's records"; it does appear that the rogue November CARA form has been submitted along with most of the missing Carr-era documentation and the contact/eval logs from the first couple months of the Rodriguez regime.
April 2008
Ping. Strassner now trying "Compliance Forms Missing – DELINQUENT." We have our first Labadie sighting as he emails that Carr and Rodriguez didn't make calls in certain months and that the CARA forms are "being completed." Quiet month after this.
May 2008
Ping. Apparently everything except the CARA forms has been submitted because Strassner's gone down to DEFCON 3: "CARA Forms – Delinquent" and all the telephone/contact log mentions have been dropped. Unfortunately, as time passes the CARA forms keep building up. Labadie has not submitted CARA forms since January 6th. At the end of the month Strassner asks again. Also, CSO still needs Fred Jackson's telephone log from December.
June 2008
Draper is now getting CCed on "Football CARA forms MISSING"; Strassner has taken the desperate, futile step of using the little doohickey that makes your emails "high" importance. CARA forms and the rogue Jackson telephone log have not been submitted. Getting slightly snippy: "Please let me know when I can expect these."

For the rest of this unbelievable story click here.

Frank The Tank's Slant, Points to the Dirty South.

Texas, Texas A&M, Vandy, Virginia, and Maryland

The Tank is keeping it below the Mason-Dixon line.
These are the teams "The Tank" has been hearing most about as of late.  He makes his case here.

Hail to The Victors Blog has a different take and we make our pitch here.

In addition, we support a Semi-Final game here.

Michigan vs. UCONN to be Televised on ABC.

Who is it going to be, D. Rob or Tate?
ESPN's Big East Blog Reports here.

Michigan kick off times

ESPN's entire football schedule

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Big Ten Expansion, Why Stop at a Championship Game.

The Fielding Yost Division
Here at Hail To The Victors Blog, we are all about the future. No matter how far fetched our theories may be, they are based with a modest amount of reality. Take a moment and review my 16 team Big Ten Expansion scenario. In it I attempted not only to maximize the Big Ten footprint, which helps the BTN, but also try to limit the expansion opportunities of a major conference competitor, the SEC.

Of course many things would have to fall in place for such an expansion example to come to fruition, but it seems plausible. So with that said, lets say it happened. poof!

The Big Ten now contains 16 Teams, and the new members are. TEXAS, TEXAS A&M, MISSOURI, NEBRASKA, NOTRE DAME.

Now what do we do with this 16 team league? I propose the following.

#1. 4 leagues of 4 teams.

The Darrell Royal Division:

The Dr. Tom Osborne Division:

The Fielding Yost Division:

The Joe Paterno Division:

#2 Each team will play 8 league games. 3 in division games and 5 cross-division games. All possible rivalries will be kept.

#3 The Team with the best overall record in each division wins that division. Tie break being head to head, if still a tie, than best division record carries the day.

The Big Ten is out to make some money right? Well lets not just add a Championship Game, lets add a semi-final weekend as well.

The Semi-Final every single year will be held at the New Dallas Cowboy Arena. Both games will be played on the same day. The Big Ten Final Four will be a party to remember.

The First game will be between the winner of the Darrell Royal Division vs. the winner of the Fielding Yost Division. Can you imagine a Michigan v. Texas semi-final? or Notre Dame v. Texas A&M?

The Second Game will be between the winner of the Dr. Tom Osborne Division vs. the winner of the Joe Paterno Division. What about Ohio State v. Nebraska or Penn State v. Iowa in a rival game that has been heating up.

You want to talk about extra income, and a big stage for Big Ten sports. Say no more than a Big Ten Semi-Final in the JERRA Dome. Big Stage-Big Life-Big Party in Dallas.

Followed the next week by the Big Ten Championship Game, switching between the cities of Indy and Detroit. The Midwest getting to crown the Big Ten Champion every year.

Of course Big Ten Expansion is still just a theory, and who knows what will actually happen. But if your going to change the face of College Football you might as well go ALL IN!

Hail To The Victors Blog would like to here your take on our expansion example, and our league championship plan. What would you do different? What do you see as a possible problem? or just your ideas?

Go Blue

New Michigan AD David Brandon is Providing Much Needed Stability.

U of M AD David Brandon
Adam Rittenberg of ESPN's Big Ten Blog writes about how New Michigan AD David Brandon has handled the pressure of Michigan's current football situation.

Here is a taste;

Asked earlier today who is ultimately to blame for the violations, Brandon replied, "I am. The reality is we had failures across the athletic department and I take full responsibility." 

It's pretty hard to blame the guy who wasn't on the job when this stuff happened, but Brandon doesn't leave you with other choices. He's in total control. 

Brandon's decision to be transparent with the NCAA situation is refreshing and, quite frankly, very un-Michigan-like. If you want to know how the school or its coach responded to the NCAA, it's all right there for you

This won't be Brandon's only test as Michigan's AD. Heck, the NCAA could deem Tuesday's response too light and a little arrogant, and drop the hammer on Big Blue in August. And if the football team continues to struggle on the field this fall, Brandon will face constant questions about Rodriguez's job security. 

Click here for the entire post.

ESPN on University of Michigan Football's Self Imposed Sanctions

The Sky Isn't Falling, But a Major Milestone Has.

The University of Michigan's Football Program has admitted to Major NCAA violations for the first time in its 130 year existence. This in itself is a major story that taints U of M's extraordinary history of compliance. Yes, I know there have been some extra-ordinary circumstances surrounding these events. The unusual reporting style of The Detroit Free Press comes to mind, and their Bill O'Rielly journalism on freshman athletes after last years spring game, and their obvious axe to grind with Rich Rodriquez. To name a few.

Fast forward to today. This is the opening statement sent to the NCAA yesterday.

The University of Michigan ("the University"), which fielded its first football team in 1878, has won more football games than any institution, all without a major infractions case. After more than 130 years, the University's football program is before the Committee on Infractions for the first time. The University admits the violations in fact occurred. The University is disappointed that its history of no major infractions cases in its football program has ended.

Adam Rittenberg of The Big Ten Blog is absolutely right when he says.

It can't be easy for Michigan fans or anyone associated with the football program to read those words.

The truth hurts no matter the circumstances, and a major milestone has fallen today. Like anyone who has fought with addiction, you must hit rock bottom first. I officially call this RR's rock bottom, not that I'm blaming him for the entire situation, because I'm not, but he has been in charge of a University of Michigan football program that has seen to many firsts in the wrong direction, and as a coach he will holster some of that blame, and RR has faced the music like a man. As he has acknowledged in his statement to the NCAA.

“Every activity that resulted in a violation in this case was done openly, transparently and under the watch of not only Rodriguez, but also other Michigan coaches and administrators. Violations went undetected because several Michigan staff members, including Rodriguez, were not paying close enough attention. In short, there was a collective failure that resulted in the violations in this case. That is not to deflect blame away from Rodriguez, it is simply stating a fact and putting Rodriguez’s culpability in the proper context.”

We had a systemic failure of compliance at the University. This ultimately falls on the coach, and Athletic Department in my opinion. But lets call a spade a spade here. Every University that plays major college football could have been slapped with this infraction. Non-Mandatory (wink..wink) workouts are part of the culture. Hell I played Div III basketball, and I still have nightmares about running "the hill" every other damn night. So U of M thought stretching was an exercise that was not part of practice time. Wow! and that is a major violation? I know it is, because it went on for so long, but I'm sorry I don't think the sky is falling.

Here are the self imposed sanctions, and quite honestly, admitting we have committed a major infraction is harder to swallow than what we will lose when the NCAA accepts the Universities sanctions.

  • Michigan reduced its quality staff by 40 percent -- from five to three -- and will prohibit it from attending practices, games or meetings for the rest of 2010. Despite a new NCAA rule that allows quality control staff to attend meetings, Michigan won't allow this to happen until 2011.

  • The football program will forfeit 130 hours of practice time during the next two years. The university found that the football program exceeded limits on football activities by a total of 65 hours in 2008 and 2009, so it simply doubled the total for its self-imposed penalty.

  • Michigan will issue letters of reprimand to seven people it deems responsible for the violations: Mike Barwis, Scott Draper, Brad Labadie, Joe Parker, Rich Rodriguez, Judy Van Horn and Ann Vollano.

  • The university also acknowledges the dismissal of former graduate assistant Alex Herron, named in one of the NCAA's allegations for "providing false and misleading information" to both NCAA and Michigan investigators. Herron was fired after Michigan received the NCAA's Notice of Allegations in February.

  • By admitting to major violations, Michigan knows it will go on NCAA probation for two years, which doesn't mean much unless more violations are committed.

I am confident the NCAA will take U of M's response to their allegations seriously, and understand that the University does not take this sort of thing lightly, which must be true because it has been over 130 years since anything like this has happened. U of M hired Gene Marsh the former chairman of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions to handle this response, and I'm sure he knows what the NCAA will and won't accept.

I would also like to address the issue U of M declined as a violation in its response.

U-M disagrees with the NCAA enforcement staff that Rodriguez failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the football program.

If anyone needs a vote of confidence at this time it is Rich Rodriquez, and U of M's response sent a message in my opinion, and that message is, We still believe!

Now if we could get the other half of the fan base to do the same, we might be in business.

Something tells me Denard Robinson will have something to do with that other half of the fan base jumping back on the band-wagon, although it will be RR making the calls.

Go Blue!

U of M's response PDF
RR response PDF

Monday, May 24, 2010

Chart of the Day.

I have stumbled upon a website that has shined a damning light not only on SEC recruiting, but National Champion Alabama in particular.

I knew there was a numbers game being played by many Universities in terms of recruiting, but I didn't know it was so localized in the SEC, and I didn't know the numbers were this out of whack. has done something the rest of College Football has not been unable to do, and that is, take Alabama to the wood shed.

Here is an example from the site.

Since it appears that Alabama fans are slightly pissed at for documenting the March to 85, we thought we would ask the Alabama fan base to take on a homework assignment and put all the energy they spend sending us hate mail containing personal threats to good use.
Here's the assignment. It's actually quite simple. Find us another program from a BCS conference that currently, right at this moment, still has to shed more than 6 scholarships commitments in order to stay under the 85 limit this fall.
Alabama had 66 players returning on scholarship when they signed 29 new recruits. 11 of those 29 enrolled early, putting the roster at 77, and leaving 18 more still coming in the Fall. 4 from the roster of 66 have already left (this includes Star Jackson), so that puts the roster at 73. 73 + 18 = 91. 91 is 6 more than 85.
You find us that program and we will go at them like a pit bull and won't let go. But you have to bring us concrete numbers and bear in mind that Alabama has already shed 4 scholarship players with eligibility.
There it is, let's see what you are made are really made of. Let's see if you are willing to put the time and effort into truly investigating the numbers for other schools and let's see if you can find another school that needs to shed as many scholarships as you do between now and fall.
We'll save you a little bit of time and help you narrow down your search - you can go ahead and scratch the following programs off of your list. Vanderbilt and Georgia, as they refuse to oversign players. 3/4 of the ACC refuses to do it as well, so scratch them from the list. You might want to look at FSU and Miami though. Texas and USC - scratch them from the list. Tennessee, scratch them from the list. All of the Big 10 schools, you can scratch all of them from the list, ND and Texas too.
There, that should help narrow it down a little for you.
Best of luck!


For more articles and interesting information from click here.

Check this chart showing the large discrepancy in numbers between the Big 10 and the SEC in terms of number of players signed. This is outrageous. How many kids are basically cut from the team because of numbers? I never knew it was this bad.

Tate v. 1st Team Defense.

Phill Steele's 2010 Preseason All-Big Ten Team.


2nd Team: OG Stephen Schilling
2nd Team: KR Darryl Stonum

3rd Team: OC David Molk

4th Team: PR Junior Hemingway


3rd Team: DL Mike Martin

4th Team: LB Jonas Mouton
4th Team: LB Craig Roh
4th Team: SS Jordan Kovacs

Click here for the entire Big Ten List.

Michigan Formally Responds To The NCAA Today, and will Reveal Findings and Self Imposed Sanctions on Tuesday.

Adam Rittenberg writes about David Brandon's crash course in NCAA practices and policies, while outlining the process from which Michigan will address the allegations.

The issue:
Rich Rod and UofM prepare to move on.

The NCAA alleges that Michigan exceeded limits for both time and number of coaches/staff members, allowed to monitor both in-season and out-of-season team activities. Head coach Rich Rodriguez is alleged to have "failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the football program," and Michigan is alleged to have "failed to adequately monitor its football program to assure compliance."

Michigan sent its self imposed sanctions today to the NCAA, and will make public their findings tomorrow.

As soon as I hear or read anything I will put it up.

I'll Take Pitt if Big Ten Expansion Goes East.

Give Me Pitt or Give Me Death.
Everyone and there mother has a take on Big Ten Expansion, and I am no different.  I make my case for a 16 team expansion here.  I have been a strong proponent of leaving the Big East intact.  In short I believe the Big East is a good football conference and a great basketball conference, which doesn't pose a threat to how the Big Ten does business, but either will it dramatically help the conference in terms of competition vs the SEC or Big 12 for that matter.  So why break them up?  Of course the answer is TV sets and potential money for the BTN.  But expansion must be more complicated than just adding a potential viewing populous that has been virtually dormant for years now.

With that said, if the Big Ten does decide to go East, I hope they decide to add The Pitt Panthers.  Not because Pitt brings X amount of TV sets or because they are popular with viewers between the ages of 18 and 45.  But because Pitt is an academically sound research university with a damn fine football team and a national basketball powerhouse, not to mention a natural rival with Penn State.  I'm sick of all the analysis of team value being about how many TV viewers a program brings.  How about the value of wins and losses.  Pitt basketball under Jamie Dixon is 264-79 in the past ten years, while the Pitt Panther Football team is 74-49 during the same time period.  That is a two sport winning percentage of .725.  Hell Texas has a .763 two sport winning percentage.

Does Rutgers blow your skirt up, because of the potential 19 million viewers the NYC market could add to the BTN?  Well where are those viewers for Rutgers now? I love the Big Ten but I'm skeptical that just adding some games vs U of M, OSU, and Penn State, will automatically turn NYC into Big Ten country.  It just seems like a stretch.

Lets take a look what is under that skirt.  Rosie O'Donnell comes to mind.  Rutgers has had 2, 10 win seasons in the last 100 years.  In the last ten years, Rutgers Football is 58-62, and this is considered the glory days of their football program.  Rutgers Basketball is 137-158 over the same ten year period.  Now extrapolate Rutgers success in the Big Ten?   Tell me why the East Coast is suddenly going to fall in love with Big Ten football, when their East Coast Team is fighting for 6th or 8th place most years?  I do not buy the benefits of Rutgers.

But the writing may be on the wall.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sadly explains why Pitt may be on the outside looking in.

They write.

Pitt might again be left off the Big Ten's invite list -- not because of its academic profile but because of its location. The Big Ten is looking to grow -- in size and geographic footprint -- so that it becomes a more marketable conference to TV executives.
That could work against Pitt, said Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economist at Smith College in Massachusetts, because Penn State already brings the Big Ten to Pennsylvania.
"I'm not saying they wouldn't go for Pittsburgh," Zimbalist said. "There's just a smaller inducement to go into Pittsburgh as there would be New Jersey."

This sounds like a bad dream in terms of competition, but easily could become reality if Delany rules that market is more important than product.

HBO's New Hit show about the plight after Katrina, Treme, Quotes Hearn's "Inventing New Orleans"

Goodman in HBO's Treme
While watching Treme last night John Goodman's character quoted "Inventing New Orleans"  That guy was ahead of his time.

"Times are not good here (in New Orleans). The city is crumbling into ashes. It has been buried under taxes and frauds and maladministraions so that it has become a study for archaeologists...but it is better to live here in sackcloth and ashes than to own the whole state of Ohio."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Don't Bet Against Shoelace!

How Big Ten Expansion Could Destroy The Big 12.

With Big Ten Expansion being the topic of the day I would like to put my two cents in. I have been a Big Ten Expansion junky as of late. Hitting the message boards and reading the numerous articles broaching the subject.

I would recommend Frank The Tank's Slant blog and Adam Rittenberg's Big Ten Blog at In addition I enjoy following GoBlue Wolverine for the local U of M discussions.

It seems that the mainstream is pointing to an expansion that entails mostly of Big East schools with maybe ND, Missouri, and Nebraska, joining in as well.

I have been looking at the many different examples of expansion but until now none of them have really met the criteria that I would think Jim Delany would be after.

With that said let me begin.

Jim Delany must consider, additional households for the BTN, existing TV contracts, A Championship Game, AAU membership academically, migration demographics, team travel, schedule, The SEC counter expansion, etc.

No small task right?

Assuming a 16 team league and that is still a big if. Here is what I believe Delany should do.

In my opinion the Big East is not a threat, if I were running the Big Ten I would want them to stay intact. They have some very good football programs and some great basketball universities, but why would I want to break them up?

It is not like The Northeast is a College Football hotbed, it is a area dominated by pro sports. Especially in the NYC area. WV and Pitt are very good programs but WV is not a member of the AAU, and the market share Pitt could bring is mostly held by Penn State. The only thing going for that area is TV sets, but nothing that really drives the needle, Rutgers really? I believe Delany should only threaten the demise of the Big East to force ND into the fold.

With that said, my driving force as commissioner if I were going to a 16 team league would be to have a cohesive unit of teams that dominate a region, and fit our economic profile. A region that has much in common with Big Ten values, and can bring additional revenue to the BTN, while making the on the field product better, to better compete with the SEC.

The answer in my opinion is the Big 12. TEXAS, A&M, MISSOURI, NEBRASKA, KANSAS OR ND. This expansion does a number of things.

First it doesn't just annex a team, it brings along tradition that can meld with the Big Ten pretty easily, since the region shares many of the same values, while continuing many of the Big 12 traditional match ups. Which I believe is an important selling point for team like Texas to leave their current situation, also bringing in these like members makes it easier for travel requirements to be worked out, because there is a familiarity with those added members.

These teams are all research AAU members, academically they fit perfect. ND may be an AAU exception, but it is a stand alone example of a fine University. ND doesn't pose any academic difficulty.

Another interesting aspect of expansion focused on the Big 12 is that it virtually controls the counter move of the SEC. If Delany could bring in the teams previously discussed the SEC would almost immediately pick up OU, OSU, Tex Tech, and Kansas (if ND goes to Big Ten) if not they could bring on Kansas St. but likely would bring someone like Louisville on board.

While the PAC 10 brings on CU.

That is how the Big 12 could become extinct.

For those of you who do not believe the SEC would be so easily manipulated and suggest they could raid the ACC of GA TECH, FLA ST, MIAMI, and CLEMSON. Think again. why would the SEC destroy the ACC in markets they are already the dominate league? SC, GA, FLA are already SEC footholds, in terms of recruits and market share. Silve would not only look like a prick, he would likely piss off some of his members. I can't see Florida wanting Miami or Fla State in the SEC. It simply makes more sense for the SEC to pick up the Big 12 pieces and expand its recruiting and national footprint. With some damn fine schools I would add.

Can you see how Delany could literally mold the two conferences?

But that is not all.

This expansion would hurt the huge SEC, ESPN TV deal. Now the SEC would have to share that deal with four more teams. No way ESPN is going to renegotiate a 15 year deal. In addition, the SEC can't form it's own network without breaking that deal. Again Delany comes out smelling like a rose. The Big Ten would add five teams, and ESPN would not renegotiate their deal either. But the BTN would easily fill in the revenue holes with the new Big 12 markets, and a new conference championship game, furthering the revenue divide between the conferences.

Hubris just may play a role with Big Ten Expansion, Delany and the Big Ten has been falling behind the Big 12 and SEC in recent Football performance. But if Delany can work a deal simlar to the one I propose, he could not only eliminate a conference foe, but shape another.

In my opinion Silve was courting Texas over the radio for a reason this week. Do you think he may see the writing on the wall? Who knows?

Just when you thought the Red River Rivalry could not get any nastier. Now put an SEC, OU vs. a Big Ten, Texas.

Note to Big 12, be nice to Texas this week, if that pin falls the league could be doomed.

U of M and ND to meet under the lights in 2011

University of Michigan and Notre Dame will meet under the lights in Ann Arbor in 2011.

Adam Rittenberg has the story here.