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I know you believe (and I agree with you) that we are eventually headed to towards a new football super-division where the Big 4 conferences will play.


Under that scenario, how do you see the playoffs evolving ?


I believe we'll see the Rose and Sugar become semi-finals for the super-division, with the CCGs acting as a round of 8.


The money for the Rose and Sugar as semis would be astronomical, and CCGs would spike in value if they were the first round of a win or go home playoff.


Also- with only four conferences in the super-division, there will be a huge amount of pressure for each conference winner being in the playoffs.  That way, every team in the super-division has a direct and legitimate shot at getting into the playoff by winning their conference, with no polls or politics to keep a team out.  


"Win you conference and you're in" is something most non-SEC fans' want to see, and I'd think tv excs would also like to see that setup, as it would maximize ratings. 


Combine that with the huge money and the New Year's Day tradition and it seems the most likely outcome to me.


What are your thoughts ?



Keep up the great work on realignment.  You've been on a roll for quite a while now.








PS- Slive does know how to deliver a good jab.  I got a chuckle out of the "Rose Bowl as a lead-in" comment.   No matter which game is seen as more important in a particular year, though, the Rose and Sugar back to back on NYD is going to be great.  And if the the Rose and Sugar are semis, then NYD will be up there with Super Bowl Sunday.

2 years, 2 months ago on Slive Chats About Realignment, TV, Playoffs And More


 @Quidam65  @John at MrSEC Adding Duke and UNC together is hugely valuable for either the BIG or the SEC, since both have conference networks and need quality programming.  B-ball is going to be a big part of the programming, and besides marquee matchups like Duke-UNC, Duke-IU or Duke-UK (all of which will enhance Tier 1 value), Duke-Vandy, Duke-Wiscy, etc are all valuable for the BTN or SEC net.


Duke is the exception to most realignment rules.  Their hoops brand, academic standing and relationship with UNC make them very valuable even with weak (although improving) football and duplicating the NC market with UNC.

2 years, 4 months ago on Big Bang Theories: The Countdown To Super-Conferences (Part 2)


 @ChrisWynes If you think the ACC is going to outlast the B12 you should re-read John's articles on realignment because you are missing the main point.


Schools making less money in less secure conferences are being pulled towards conferences where they can make more money and not have to worry about long-term security.


Take a step back and look at the big picture. There were 6 power conferences containing 60-some teams at the start of the BCS era. 


There are now 5 conferences (with the ACC on shaky ground) splitting the money five ways instead of six.  Next stop is four power conferences.


Money, stability and to some extent prestige has been driving this consolidation ever since Miami went to the ACC. 

Things have accelerated lately because of the BTN, PAC Net and SEC net needing more markets, the upcoming playoffs and because of the big Tier 1 and 2 deals the Big 4 have signed.



The ACC is in trouble because it's on the wrong end of the equation.

ACC schools make fewer $$$ than the rest of the BIG 4 and they are the only ones without a GOR. 


On top of that, the BIG and SEC need more markets for their networks and are both at 14- an awkward number for scheduling. 16 is much better.


Add all of those factors work together in a way that is very bad news for the ACC. It's a matter of when, not if IMO.



The ACC football schools make too few $$$ in comparison to their in-state SEC rivals (and nearby SEC teams like Bama). That $$$ difference is going to show up on the field eventually. (In GT's case, it already has.)


FSU might have the B12 as their 3rd choice, and will thoroughly exhaust every means to try to get into the BIG and SEC, but at some point they will leave.

There's a reason they voted (along with MD) against the ACC exit fee being raised. 


None of this will happen as fast as people want to believe, but the death of the ACC as a viable football conference will happen. 


With the $$$ difference involved, no GOR in place and motivated predators (Delaney, Slive, Bowlsby), it's just a matter of time.


2 years, 4 months ago on Big Bang Theories: The Countdown To Super-Conferences (Part 2)


Great stuff John.


Keep it coming.

2 years, 4 months ago on Big Bang Theories: The Countdown To Super-Conferences (Part 2)


Great stuff John.  Well done.


This will open a lot of people's eyes who still think the ACC is solid.



2 years, 4 months ago on Big Bang Theories: The Countdown To Super-Conferences (Part 1)



ND would join in order to not get locked out of a superconference playoff that consisted of the Big 4 conference champs.


The other schools would do it to not get left out of the big $$$ and exposure of being in one of the Big 4.


All would want to keep their olympic sports local.


ND has been doing this alreaady, with football independent and Olympic sports in a conference.

2 years, 4 months ago on With Seven Schools Exiting The Big East, Get Ready For The Big Bang



Pod system.  9 game schedule.


The Eastern teams would play the other three eastern teams plus two teams from each of the other pods (NW, CA, AZ/CO/UT).


One road game and one home game against the other pods..  So Eastern teams make two trips to CA, one to NW, one to AZ/CO/UT.


As for the other sports, read the original post again.  Two options covered in the the op.

2 years, 4 months ago on With Seven Schools Exiting The Big East, Get Ready For The Big Bang



If it was ND and friends, the PAC would jump on that in a heartbeat.


ND adds the biggest theoretically available brand, which would help the PAC's tier 1 value, as well as help them get the PAC Net carried in places they are currently having trouble.


Adding Miami, Pitt and BC would give the PAC Net high carriage rates in two big states and one medium size state.  That's a lot of $$$.


The PAC teams would only fly east once a year.  The Eastern pod would fly to the West coast twice a season and to the Rockies/AZ once a year.


It would be either a football-only pod, or they'd form an alliance to bring in the Big East b-ball schools as non-football members so that everyone made more money through the PAC net.


Either way, everyone would make too much money to pass it up if the dominoes fell that way.  Long way from that happening though.


2 years, 4 months ago on With Seven Schools Exiting The Big East, Get Ready For The Big Bang


As far as the PAC goes, they will most likely do one of two things:


1. Stay at 12.  They don't need to do anything, just because other conferences are going to 16 or 20.  The PAC dominates two time zones and a fast-growing area of the country.  As John pointed out, there are advantages to 12 if the schools needed to go to 16 don't make sense.  The PAC Presidents are very happy with their TV deal and the big $$$ that came with it.  (The PAC's media deals lagged the other conferences for years, so the new tv deal is a huge increase for the PAC schools.)  If there's no good available programs, they'll be happy to stay at 12.  


They won't add teams like Boise, UNLV etc just to go to 16 at this time.  


The PAC would rather stay at 12 for 13 years and see what the landscape looks like in 2025, when the B12's Grant of Rights expires.  

At that time, the PAC will certainly talk again with Texas, OU and friends.  

If the B!2 is stable and no one is leaving in 2025, and the PAC wants to up their TV $$$ at that time (which they probably will), they might look at schools like SMU and UH (if they've made enough academic progress by then) to get into DFW and Houston on basic cable, and perhaps New Mexico and a Nevada school to round it out, but all of that is a long way away and the $$$ would have to make sense to make those additions.  The PAC could very well simply stay at 12 long, long term.


A superconference world where a PAC12-BIG20 Rose Bowl winner played the SEC (16-20)/ B12(12-16) Sugar Bowl winner for the National Championship would make a lot of sense.




2.  As far as the current round of expansion, the only way I could see the PAC expanding is with an Eastern pod based around ND if all the dominoes fell the right way.


Let's say GT is the first domino to fall, going BIG.

FSU announces it's going B12.

ACC disintegrates.

UNC + Duke go SEC, leaving SEC at 16.

UVA joins GT in BIG, leaving BIG at 16.

Clemson, VT and NCState join FSU in the B12.  


The B12 then waits at 14 on a decision by ND, as well as Miami, who, due to their admin, is hesitant about B12.


ND and Miami say no to B12 due to academics, and instead form an Eastern pod in the PAC with Pitt and BC (both of whom ND wants to play).


If Miami joins the B12, Syracuse would be the 4th team in the PAC Eastern pod.


8-12 Eastern basketball schools (basically, the original Big East schools (Gtown, Nova, St Johns ) + some newcomers) join PAC for all sports besides football. 


PAC-Atlantic operates basically as two separate conferences, but PAC gets network carried at home state rates throughout the Northeast and in FL because of the Eastern additions, who receive a b-ball only cut of tv $$$.  B-ball schools get more money by having non-Tier 1 gams on PAC Net.


Or the four teams in the Eastern pod could join the PAC as football only members and put their Olympic sports with the old Big East schools in a separate conference.


All of that would require a lot of things to fall exactly the right way, but after what we've seen the last couple of years, it's certainly not out of the question.

2 years, 4 months ago on With Seven Schools Exiting The Big East, Get Ready For The Big Bang




Great article. 


I completely agree that there is a very good chance the BIG and/or SEC go to 20 teams.  


16 is an arbitrary number that has gotten tossed around so much that some folks are acting like it's set in stone.


With the BIG and SEC network models, having more states in the footprint gives them not only more carriage $$$, but also higher advertising revenues.  


It also gives those conferences more top level brands for future Tier 1 negotiations and for content to fill up their networks.


I personally think the BIG's best move to have a shot at UNC (and even an outside shot at ND) would be to go to 20 now by taking FSU to start shaking things loose, then adding GT and UVA, with offers to UNC and Duke to come in as a package. Leave a last slot for ND, and if they're out, add Miami (or Syracuse) and be done. 


By doing it all at roughly the same time, they could get the reluctant-to-leave schools in the ACC to all join together. Even without ND, that would help the BIG's football product by giving them most of the best brands and the best recruiting territory out of the ACC, and would add a lot of $$$ for the BTN in carriage and advertising.



Similarly, it would probably be worth it for Mike Slive to go to 20 by adding UNC, Duke and VT along with FSU, GT and Clemson.  The SEC would completely lock down the South and keep the other conferences out, while adding great b-ball product for the SEC Network and adding new states in the footprint.  


I think there's just as good of a chance that we end up with two 12 team conferences and one or two 20 team conferences as there is we end up with 4x16.




On a side note, John.  One of the things I enjoy about reading your site (especially regarding expansion), is that you are level-headed and not prone to hype, but you're also not one of the people who have their heads stuck in the sand refusing to acknowledge the circumstances changing around them.  



Back in May, you and I had the following exchange:


"USCTraveler 7 pts




the FSU and Clemson talk is being driven by the apparent disparity in the tv deals between the B12's new deal ($20m per school per year for Tier 1 and 2, with Tier 3 left for the schools) vs the ACC's new deal (supposedly only going to be around $13m for all 3 Tiers).


FSU, Clemson and Miami are all losing the monetary and facilities arms race to their in-state SEC rivals (as well as to Bama and UGA), and all are hurting for money.  FSU ran a $2.4m loss in their athletic department last year.  They're talking about having to cut back their recruiting budget by 10% as one example of how that plays out.


If the new tv deals come in as rumored, the money difference between the B12 and ACC is going to be too big for those schools not to seriously consider jumping.  After all, FSU and Miami are not old-line ACC schools, and Clemson, like the other two, has always been a football-first fish out of water in the basketball culture of the ACC.


Don't be surprised if there's fire underneath this smoke.  


After all, this time a year ago, Texas A&M to the SEC was nothing but messageboard chatter.



John at MrSEC 86 pts moderator



I'm aware that the TV talk is creating this buzz.  I still don't buy it.  But as I said, never say never."



I wasn't one of the people saying "FSU + Clemson to the B12 is a done deal", but I thought the dynamics were in place for ACC defections.


I understand why you were skeptical back then, because that's what your SEC and ACC sources were telling you, but your opinion has obviously evolved as the landscape has changed.


There are a lot of folks in the media, though, who would have held onto their previous position no matter how much the facts around them have changed.  A lot of ACC media types fall into this category.


Kudos to you, John,  for keeping an open mind about things, and keep up the good work.  Once again- great article.






2 years, 4 months ago on With Seven Schools Exiting The Big East, Get Ready For The Big Bang


I think we'll see a real scheduling divide open up over the next few years as teams separate into two tiers based on what the state of  the program is.


1. "We're going for a NC tier"- teams with tough OOC games to boost SOS for a playoff


2. "We're just happy to get to a bowl game" tier- teams with cupcakes galore on their schedule



Personally, I love going to USC-Notre Dame games, as ND is USC's biggest rival.  Can't wait to get A+M, Texas and the BIG teams in upcoming years.  I love the big OOC games.


USC's games in Auburn and Fayetteville a few years back were some of the most memorable of the last 20 years.  I miss the OOC games vs the SEC.



But if the MSU fans commenting here are representative of the fanbase, it sounds like they're happy with the way they are doing things, so I guess it makes sense for the program to feast on some cupcakes for a while to consistently go to bowl games and build some momentum that will allow them to get to the next level.



What will be interesting is if there is an RPI-type of calculation used to determine SOS (as there should be), where the opponents' winning % is factored in, as well as the opponents' opponents' winning % is factored in.  There might also be a deduction for playing FCS teams.  If those type of factors are in place, a team like MSU's SOS is going to hurt teams like Bama and LSU, as it will bring down their SOS.

2 years, 10 months ago on MSU A.D. Stricklin Defends Pastry-Filled Football Schedule




Great article.  


The fact that the BCS commissioners today are now talking about giving multiple options to the Presidents instead of one model and that they need the Presidents' involvement tells me that the two sides have dug in hard on Champs vs Top 4 and there is no progress towards consensus on a four team model. 


It looks like there's no agreement and that they think the June 20th meeting isn't going to produce any progress either.


Kicking it to the Presidents greatly increases the chance of a Plus 1, as the Presidents are the group that is least in favor of change.


A Plus 1 is a step forward, so they all get to say they did something big and moved CFB forward, but it keeps everything else as it is- minimal change, which is what a lot of the Presidents want. 


Some of the guys on the Presidential oversight group don't even want a playoff at all, so if they are being asked for input as opposed to rubber-stamping a deal, I think a Plus 1 becomes the most likely outcome.


Given the conflicts that are already in place between champs vs top 4, and whether to use a committee or not, a Plus 1 may be the fallback that everyone could agree to, as it would preserve the bowl system with minimal change while still being seen as a better system than the BCS.


It would make the PAC and BIG happy by protecting the Rose bowl better than any other model, and would place importance on winning your conference, as that's how you end up in the bowl in the first place.


The SEC-B12 bowl and the Rose would become even more valuable as de-facto semis, and if the Plus 1 payout was structured to give most of the the money to the participating conferences, it would essentially be a death blow for the ACC, as they wouldn't get a team in very often and wouldn't see much money. 


On the surface, a Plus 1 allows everyone access, but in reality, it would be a Rose winner vs B12-SEC winner in most years. 


In the short run, Slive and Bowlsby might not love it, as they'd feel the Rose winner had an easier path and it would prevent anyone from having a second team in the NC game in most years, but the long run benefits would be huge for the SEC and B12- huge increase in value for the SEC-B12 bowl game, destruction of the ACC, with the SEC and B12 picking up the good teams, huge $$$ for the Big 4, and an increase in the value and importance of each of the Big 4's CCGs.


In the long run, the round of 8 would be viewed as the Big 4 CCGs. Although not ideal, a Plus 1 would benefit the B12 and SEC so much in the long run that I could see them agreeing to it as a compromise if there is no consensus on a 4 team model, as the PAC and Big may fight to the death for a Plus 1 because of the Rose Bowl and the fact that it would make it a de facto "Champs Only" playoff.


With the SEC-B12 bowl lining up as the counterpart for the Rose, I don't think there would be a massive fan outcry if it's a Plus 1, as those two games will be must-see tv, with the winners usually meeting for the NC, and the NC being mostly settled on the field. There will still be the occasional Boise St or ACC outlier, but in most years, the winner of the NC game will be considered a true and undisputed NC. 


There might be some initial grumbling from B12 + SEC fans saying they have the harder road to the NC game, but it is a clear path that only involves winning- win your conference, win the bowl game and you are in the NC game if you are a B12 or SEC team, as the SEC-B12 winner would go to the NC every year.  


It won't take long for the Rose winner vs B12/SEC winner to become an accepted routine that people look forward to.  If this all goes down with a Plus 1, I think we'll see teams from the ACC doing anything and everything they can to get into the SEC, B12 or BIG. It will bring on superconferences once and for all.



2 years, 10 months ago on And The Beat Goes On... Drive Toward A Playoff Gets Stuck In The Mud


 @Bocktean I would think not having OOC losses being a factor in getting a playoff slot would increase quality OOC games because if you lost one, it wouldn't keep you from getting into a playoff.


But I was honestly thinking about early season OOC matchups like LSU-Oregon or Bama-Michigan.  


I am assuming the reason that Saban likes scheduling those games are the same reasons USC has historically tried to schedule some tough OOC games like Bama, OU, Arky, Auburn and tOSU.  It doesn't line up every year, but when it does, the high profile, high pressure atmosphere of those games is a great way to get a team (especially a young team) ready for big games against conference opponents and bowl games, while also giving the team great exposure for recruiting.


I actually hadn't thought about late season OOC games like USC-ND, Clemson vs Gamecocks or UGA-GT.


I guess if it was the last game of the year like USC-ND is when it's at the Coliseum, there might be some temptation to rest your stars, but I really can't see it happening, as those games all mean so much to the schools, players and the fans.  Seems like injuries can happen any time and you can't control them, but I see your point and it is a valid one.


 I just think a coach who rested his starters and lost to his rivals would get roasted by the boosters and alums, as those games (at least in the case of USC-ND) are the games we care about more than any other.  So yes, it would increase the injury risk vs not playing your stars, but I don't think many coaches would rest their stars against their rivals.


Of course, if someone did get hurt, talk radio would go crazy about what an idiot the coach was. LOL


For me, I still think you'd get so many better OOC matchups if they didn't hinder your chances of getting in a playoff that it would outweigh the occasional game where someone rested their players.


It's a good debate though.




On another note- what do you think of just having a Plus 1 as the playoff, with the Rose winner  (usually) meeting the SEC/B12 bowl winner (almost always) for the NC ?


It would make for quite a New Year's day, knowing the Rose and the SEC/B12 bowls were not only battles of the best 4 conference champions, but also that the winners would be meeting in the NC game 9 times out of 10.  Unless it was an unusual year like last year where Bama would have gone over the Rose winner if Bama had won their bowl game, it would make for a very clean and clear playoff system where the polls wouldn't matter.  


I like the idea of simply competing against the other Big 4 conference winners and see who comes out on top.  No polls or computers needed.


And with the PAC's history with the BIG adding an extra level of intensity to the Rose, I'm sure it wouldn't take long for the SEC-B12 rivalry to really take off- especially if you guys do a regular season scheduling agreement, and that would add a similar extra layer of intensity to the SEC/B12 bowl.  It makes it more fun knowing all season that if you win your conference, you're going to meet the champ of the other conference in your bowl so you keep a close eye on that conference all year.  I love the tradition of the Rose and the Sugar and would love to see them function as the semis in the playoffs.  They're two of the traditions worth keeping in CFB.



2 years, 11 months ago on Push Begins For Regular-Season Big 12-SEC Games, But SEC-ACC Games May Make More Sense


 @AllTideUp  @Quantrillionaire 


I like that format but think Bama-Texas and LSU-OU are better matchups in the long-term.


Bama and Texas are the two dominant teams in their conferences and just met in the NC game a few years back.  That's must-see tv.


Texas isn't going to want to play A+M anyway.

2 years, 11 months ago on Push Begins For Regular-Season Big 12-SEC Games, But SEC-ACC Games May Make More Sense




3 teams in the top 25 ?


How about 3 teams in the top 7 last year ?


I agree that at one time the PAC was by far the weakest conference, which is one of the reasons USC was always looking to schedule tough OOC games.


But the differences between the conferences are not as great as they are made out to be.  That's one of the reasons I want to see a champions only playoff, so we can really see who the best teams re, since most don't play each other.



The bottom feeders of the conferences are pretty much interchangeable.  If OSU and WSU were switched with UK and Ole Miss I doubt it would make much of a difference either way ?


The SEC has got more depth in the middle, but is it as great as advertised ?  UGA lost to Boise last year in Atlanta.


South Carolina's big accomplishments were beating UGA and UF (who was terrible last year).


ASU beat Mizzou last year.



The strength of the SEC isn't so overwhelming that they should need to play multiple directional schools every year.


I'd love to see a 9-game SEC schedule and an SEC-B12 agreement because it would mean a lot more great games to watch.



Hopefully we eventually have a superconference playoff where OOC losses won't matter in getting to the playoffs and we can see everyone playing great OOC games again.  I miss the games between USC and SEC teams.

2 years, 11 months ago on Push Begins For Regular-Season Big 12-SEC Games, But SEC-ACC Games May Make More Sense




The flip side would be if the SEC doesn't want to slow down realignment.  Remember when the SEC wasn't looking to expand but Texas A+M was "too good to pass up" ?


If FSU, Clemson and GT go to the B12, then VT would certainly become available and "too good to pass up".  And with those schools gone, NC State might be able to get away from UNC.


Then an SEC=B12 scheduling agreement becomes a no-brainer, as you'd have multiple SEC-B12 games already on the schedule every year.



And as far as non-conference schedules go regarding USC-  not only does USC play Notre Dame every year,  USC has actually never played an FCS school.  Neither has UCLA or Notre Dame.  Every year USC plays all its games against BCS teams.



I'm excited for USC's OOC schedule in 2017 and 2018 after the BIG agreement kicks in- Notre Dame, Texas and a BIG team (most likely Michigan or OSU).


And if USC can get a BIG school to agree (I think they're talking to Michigan now) they'll have Notre Dame, Texas A + M, and Michigan (or whoever) in 2015 and 2016.



A lot of people want to see their team play a soft OOC schedule because  they're worried about losing, but USC has always played strong OOC teams, and I love seeing those matchups. I figure if USC is good enough to beat all those teams, they'll be a lock to be # 1 or #2 and playing for the NC and if they can't beat them, then they weren't good enough to win a title that year anyway, but I got to see a bunch of great games.


I'd much prefer that than the type of weak OOC schedules that a lot of BIG and SEC teams have.


You don't need to load up on FCS schools to be successful.  In fact, I think a big factor in USC's success over the years has been a willingness to play anyone anywhere, and to seek out tough OOC matchups.  


Playing at Bama and Oklahoma back in the old days was amazing.  


And in the last decade, we saw that opening the season in Columbus, Auburn or Fayettenam is a great way to test your team and get them used to high-pressure games in front of hostile crowds.  I think this translates into success in bowl games, as the players are ready for the pressure, and USC's bowl record and National Championships speak for themselves.



I give Bama credit for playing teams like VT, PSU and Michigan, but I'd love to see Bama-Texas every year as part of an SEC-B12 agreement.  


LSU-OU would also be amazing, and on down the line.  




PS- the fact that UF hasn't left the state of FL for an OOC game in 25 years or whatever is a complete embarrassment.  It would be nice to see them playing OSU or WVU.


Keep up the good work John.


2 years, 11 months ago on Push Begins For Regular-Season Big 12-SEC Games, But SEC-ACC Games May Make More Sense


It will be more like 54-64 teams.  The programs that are worthwhile as football schools, who have invested in their programs and shown a commitment to winning (or who are located in a great market but and are decent in football, aka Georgia Tech) will all be par of the superconference structure if it plays out.


GT and UNC will be included if they want to be.  Pitt might because of the relationship with Notre Dame.  MD and Syracuse-  are you kidding with those two ?



2 years, 11 months ago on SEC And Big 12 Agree To New Bowl, But What Else Does It Mean? And For Whom?




Very well done.  You nailed a lot of points in a very short time and put your counterparts at the Big Media outlets to shame on this one.

A couple of questions that I'd love to hear your thoughts on in a comment response or a follow-up article after you talk to some of your SEC sources.


1.- How do you think this ties in to the "Anchor Bowl" proposal for the playoffs ?


I think the Anchor Bowl concept is the best idea as far as location goes for the playoffs.  Do you think this leads us to an anchor bowl setup where if the PAC, BIG, SEC and B14/16 champs are all in the Final four, we see the Rose and the B14/SEC bowl host their tied-in teams no matter the ranking ?


Or do you think Slive and the B12 want to keep this out of the playoff rotation and essentially use it as another high-profile matchup/ money generator ? If it's the latter, maybe Slive started seeing the writing on the wall about conference champs in the playoff, in which case a high-profile B12-SEC matchup of 2nd place teams would be the next best thing to having two teams in the playoffs, as the money and exposure would be huge.



2- Related to the first question, the BCS commissioners were talking about "taking back New Year's Day." If the Rose and B14/SEC bowl are out of the playoff rotation and are taking up the two best time slots, how would they wedge a playoff game in ?


By planting their flag on New Year's Day in primetime, it seems like Slive and the B12 want this bowl in the playoff even though it's not mentioned in the press release. I can't see both playoff games on New Year's Eve, and playing them after New Year's make no sense.


Seems much more that the thought process is to make the Rose and this bowl the two semifinal sites.  Conflicting signals/thoughts on this aspect.



3- Is the next step a B14/SEC scheduling agreement similar to the PAC and BIG setup ? Looks like it to me. 


4- This feels like the road to the four superconferences just took a giant leap forward. We know Clemson's already on the roof of that hotel in Saigon waiting for the chopper to pick them up before it's too late, but FSU better be packing their bags (if they weren't already) and VT, GT, NCS, etc need to get serious, as the ACC is clearly going to be permanently relegated to 2nd tier status. 


I heard recently that the BCS deal would again be for 4 years instead of 10, as was getting reported previously.  If that happens, can you imagine the money for the four conferences if they break away from the NCAA for football and stage a Rose bowl winner vs the B14/SEC winner for the NC every year ? 


Instead of having to share the BCS money with the other conferences every year, the 54-64 teams in a superconference setup would be rolling in $$$$$ above and beyond anything else we've previously seen. ND would have to jump on board once it became apparent that things were moving that way, and the PAC might be forced to take in some teams they don't want to (in return for some kind of financial incentive) to eliminate any issues of credibility if a team like Boise is not included and goes undefeated.



All in all, these are incredibly exiting times, as I think all of these changes are going to be for the better.  I really like where this is heading.


Thanks John.  Keep up the good work.



2 years, 11 months ago on SEC And Big 12 Agree To New Bowl, But What Else Does It Mean? And For Whom?


 @John at MrSEC Thanks for the response, John.


The Delaney idea is far from perfect, because it does rely on the BCS rankings, but the unfortunate reality is we're stuck with some kind of ranking system or committee for the forseeable future.  Delaney's plan minimizes the polls and computers as much as possible in a four team playoff, outside of going with a strict Champs Only format, which would minimize the polls even more, but would leave a team like Alabama out last year.


We know Mike Slive is never going for a strict Champs Only model, and with the other conferences lining up, it seems something either like Delaney's plan or a Top 3 Conference Champs + 1 Wildcard model will be the likely compromise.  And that's fine with me, as there should be a way for a team like Bama last year to be in a playoff.


Unless CFB goes to a 16 team playoff where every conference winner and 5 wildcards get in, the polls and computers (or a committee) will unfortunately always be with us.


But using Conference Champs in the Top 6  or a 3 Champs + 1 Wildcard model minimizes the influence of the polls and computers to a much greater extent than simply saying "Just take the Top 4" because you are making it harder for voters to stack the deck and maintain credibility.


If I had my choice, it would be an 8 team playoff with four auto-bids for the SEC, PAC, B12 and BIG, the next two highest-ranked conference champions would get in and two non-champs would get the final two slots.  At that point, there wouldn't be any deserving teams left out.  There might be one or two weak teams let in, but that's better than one or two strong teams being left out.  Auto-bids for the power conferences and using an 8 team format would reduce the influence of the polls and computers even more, but that's not happening this time around.


So for now, I would get the coaches/SIDs out of the BCS formula and beg the AP to come back.  Let the AP vote for whoever they want to vote for at the end of the year, but allow the BCS to incorporate their poll.  Their poll still has problems, but it's better than the coaches and the Harris poll.


Make the computer programs open to the public and include SOS and scoring margin (limited to maybe 21 or 28 points or something similar) in the programming.  


The concept of Conference Champs in the Top 6 isn't hard to understand.  Top 3 Champs + 1 Wildcard is even easier to understand.  People will figure it out very quickly either way.


It's a lot better than what we have now, and would have given us of a better field than a "Just the Top 4" model last year, when we would have seen Stanford in the playoff instead of Oregon.


Winning you conference should mean something, and both the Conference Champs in the Top 6 and the Top 3 Conference Champs plus a wildcard models would minimize the influence of the polls and computers more than "Just take the Top 4".


What do you think of a Top 3 Conference Champs and Top Wildcard model, John ?


Do you like it better than the Delaney plan ?  It is simpler to explain.


And you do there will have to be some sort of compromise, right ?


Keep up the good work.





2 years, 11 months ago on Flip-Flop: Swofford Now Says ACC Prefers Conference Champ Model For Playoff


 @one90 I like Top 6 better because it gives you more room to overcome human bias in the polls and computer programs if you've won your conference.


I'd also be fine with Top 3 Conference Champs (not dependent on ranking, but historically, they would almost always be Top 5 teams) plus 1 Wildcard (whoever is the next highest ranked team: non-champ, indy team or the next highest ranked conference champ).  Wildcard could either be based on rankings or chosen by committee, but the only thing that sounds worse than the BCS system is a committee.  

2 years, 11 months ago on Flip-Flop: Swofford Now Says ACC Prefers Conference Champ Model For Playoff


 @ChrisWynes Agreed.


If FSU and Clemson go to the B12 and the playoff format is Delaney's plan, I think ND goes to the B12.


They'd still play USC and Navy OOC and have recruiting exposure in CA, TX and Florida, as well as a ton of high profile matchups on their schedule that would generate a ton of national interest.  Plus, they'd keep their 3rd tier rights, which would not be possible in the BIG. 

2 years, 11 months ago on Flip-Flop: Swofford Now Says ACC Prefers Conference Champ Model For Playoff


John-   You keep talking about "taking the best four teams, period".   Best four teams according to who ?  


A corrupt coaches poll that's filled out by SIDs who don't have time to watch all the games and just vote for their conference ?  

Computers programmed with secret formulas that no one knows ?  

A system that promotes scheduling cupcakes instead of strong out of conference opponents ?


Why do people want to use the rankings ?  Aren't the rankings what everyone hates about the BCS in the first place ?  The polls and the computers ?



The problem with having a Top 4 BCS model last year is not that Alabama would have gotten in.  Bama deserved to be in.


The problem last year would have been that Stanford (ranked 4th)  would have gotten in over Oregon (ranked 5th).  The same Oregon that beat Stanford in Palo Alto by 3 touchdowns.


Oregon lost to LSU and to USC (a team Stanford needed help from the refs to beat in 3OT).  Oregon beat Stanford badly head to head, and won the PAC12, but because they played LSU out of conference while Stanford played Duke, the geniuses voting in the polls and programming the computers ranked Stanford higher, even though Oregon had proved ON THE FIELD that they were better than Stanford.


Winning your conference should mean something.  It protects the regular season, and makes CCG games more meaningful.  Delaney's plan is a good one because it minimizes the polls and computers, and puts the emphasis on proving it on the field.  


If the BCS rankings are so great, why does the SEC bother to play a championship game ?  By the logic of "just take the Top 4 teams", the SEC should cancel their CCG and award the SEC Championship to whichever SEC team is ranked highest in the polls, because the BCS Rankings tell us who the best teams are.  Sounds ridiculous, right ?  


But that's the same logic being used when Slive argues for "just take the Top 4 teams" for a playoff.  


The SEC determines their conference champion on the field because they want to see the Champion prove it on the field.  That's the way it should be for a playoff as well.


There's not enough OOC games between top teams during the regular season to really know who the top teams are, so unless you see Conference Champions playing each other, there's no way to truly prove who the best team is.  


Delaney's plan is a good compromise between "Conference Champions Only no matter what their ranking" and "just use the Top Four".  We know MIke Slive is never going to agree to Champs Only, and it looks like the Champs Only side is gaining momentum, so the two sides are going to need to make a deal.


With only four playoff slots, in many years there will be enough strong conference champions to fill all four slots, but in the year's that there aren't, the unfilled slots will go to strong teams that didn't win their conference.  Delaney's plan guarantees that they will all have to be Top 6 teams, so the matchups are always going to feature strong teams, and we will get a truly "National" Champion by seeing the best teams from 3 or 4 different conferences playing each other.


If there were 8 teams in the playoffs, which would be a much better system, I could see doing the top 6 conference champs and two wildcards, but with only four playoff teams, there's not enough slots to put in teams that didn't win their conference if you have four strong conference champions.


Put more emphasis on what happens on the field.  Use Delaney's plan or say Top 3 Conference Champs + Top Wildcard.   If the fourth team is a conference champ- great.  If it's a team like Alabama last year, that's fine too.  


Either one of those compromises would be a huge improvement over what we have, as it would minimize the influence of polls and computers as much as it can be done under a four team format.  

2 years, 11 months ago on Flip-Flop: Swofford Now Says ACC Prefers Conference Champ Model For Playoff


David-  If you mean VT, I agree that along with FSU, they would be the SEC's best target.


If you mean UVA- no way.  They're all about academics first, bball second and football a distant third.  The SEC wouldn't want them and they wouldn't want the SEC.  They're not leaving their partners in UNC and Duke.  The only other conference they would ever go to is the BIG if the ACC imploded and those three went to the BIG along with GT.


UNC isn't coming to the SEC either, and the only way NCS would be able to would be if there was an absolute ACC meltdown, as the UNC BOR controls the NCS board as well.  The UNC people oversee both schools because they are all in the same system.

2 years, 11 months ago on FSU’s Outgoing Top Trustee Makes FSU’s AD, The ACC, Media Everywhere, And Yours Truly Look Bad


 @RussH  @USCTraveler 


Russ- those are the numbers that have been leaked as to the ACC and  B12 deals.  Originally, they were internet leaks, but now the mainstream media has confirmed that those are the actual numbers for the ACC, and that the B!2 deal will be at $20m/ per school with the B12's current compostition.


The ACC deal is even worse than it looks, though.  It is back-loaded, so they're not getting up to $17m for 8-10 years.  They'll be much closer to $13m for the next few years.  FSU could feasibly make $20m more PER YEAR in the B12.


No one has confirmed the B12 deal's escalator clauses, and they might not even be in the actual contract- there might be a side agreement.  But it doesn't take a math genius to figure that adding FSU, Clemson, Miami and, let's say, VT would make the B12's tv value jump substantially.  Great brands and great markets are what drive tv value, and that combination of schools delivers both.  Plus, the B12 would have a CCG, with the additional schools, so that's even more money.


The Tier 3 value for FSU is an estimate based on other programs that have Tier 3 inventory and are of similar stature.


None of this was anything more than internet chatter a week ago, but that doesn't mean it's not happening.  Remember where the Aggy and Mizzou rumors started ?


This has been out there for a couple of months.  The people negotiating the tv deals started leaking small bits of info in March.  Most of the media dismissed it as nonsense, but the underlying dynamic that is driving this is very real-  FSU, Clemson and the other ACC schools are going to lose the facilities and coaching arms race to the SEC if they can't keep up with them in terms of revenue.  


And that kind of money is not to be found in the ACC.


PS-  I don't have a dog in this fight, I just find it all interesting from a football and business perspective.  So I don't have any emotional investment.  I'm just looking at things logically.


2 years, 11 months ago on FSU’s Outgoing Top Trustee Makes FSU’s AD, The ACC, Media Everywhere, And Yours Truly Look Bad


And John- 


I completely agree that FSU would be the best addition the SEC could make because the Nole's brand strength is the best that is realistically available. 


I think that was part of the reason for Hazzard's blast today- to let the SEC know that FSU is looking to move.  


But even though you and I agree that the SEC should take FSU, I think the SEC's recent run of success has probably got a lot of folks feeling pretty good about themselves, and that will prevent them from seeing FSU in the B12 for the long-term threat that it is.  FSU in the ACC is no real threat.


FSU in a Big 14 or Big 16 with Texas, OU, OSU, WVU and some combo of FSU, Clemson, Miami, maybe VT and maybe even....Notre Dame would be a whole different animal.

Even if they can't get ND into the mix, the current B12 schools plus a foursome of ACC football schools would put FSU in much bette shape financially, and give them much better exposure nationally.


And it would be a conference that people would automatically start comparing to the SEC.


The long-term downside to this for the SEC starts with recruiting (FSU, Clemson, Miami in a stronger conference means more competition for recruits), and if the Big14/16 wins a National Title or two, the media will start putting them toe to toe with the SEC in prestige. Who gets the second team into the playoffs ?  Who gets higher ranked ?    


It will take a few title games where the SEC loses (or doesn't make it) but we all know CFB is cyclical, and those losses will eventually come.  Maybe starting this year.



I've got to believe Mike Slive would see the defensive value in locking up the FSU brand, strengthening the SEC's tv package and making the state of Florida a total SEC stronghold and killing off a powerhouse BIg 14/16 before it ever starts.  


The question is, will he see that, or is he thinking about new markets and not worried about being defensive ?

Or if he does see the value in grabbing FSU, will he be able to get his guys on board to bring in FSU over UF"s objections, and possibly over UGA and the Cocks' objections ?


I would be very curious to know what your sources have to say about any FSU-SEC possibilities, and I bet a lot of your other readers are too, now that the cat has been let out of the bag.

2 years, 11 months ago on FSU’s Outgoing Top Trustee Makes FSU’s AD, The ACC, Media Everywhere, And Yours Truly Look Bad




You were so far ahead of the curve on SEC realignment that I couldn't understand last week why you were so dismissive of the FSU-B12 scenario.  All the factors that you know so well were in plain sight- FSU brand, FSU cash crunch, ACC tv deal coming in low, B12 tv deal coming in high.


Props to you for a late-night article that was well-written, thoughtful and where you owned up to not seeing this coming and for being dismissive of it.


But you're still not educating your readers on the key factor in this whole drama- at least not in detail.


I tried to tell you last week that there were a lot of good reasons to believe there was fire under all the smoke.  $10m-17m worth of reasons per year for FSU.

You acknowledged it in your comment back to me, and yet, in this long article you wrote tonight, you still ignored the one key factor that is driving all of this.



FSU is in an arms race with their direct in-state competitor (UF) and their biggest regional recruiting threats (Bama, UGA), who are all making much more money than FSU already, and who will soon be making even more money once the SEC tv deal is finalized.  FSU has got to keep up or risks losing the long-term facilities and coaching arms race against these schools and sliding into permanent second-teir status.


ACC: $17m/yr all 3 tiers total.


B12: $28m/yr for tier 1 and 2 if at 14 teams including FSU and Clemson with a CCG.  $5-7m for tier 3 for a team like FSU.  $35m total.


$35m is double the money FSU is making now, and is the kind of $$$ they are going to need to compete long-term with their SEC competitors.


Even if the escalator clauses in the new B12 deal are fictional, at the bare minimum, adding FSU and Clemson would be worth at least $4m/ school over the existing deal based on the ACC's new deal.


But FSU, Clemson and 2 others (especially if one is Miami) adding $8m/ school to the deal seems very realistic, given the kind of must-see tv matchups that you pointed out. FSU-Texas, FSU-OU, FSU- OSU, FSU-WVU. Ditto for Clemson and Miami vs those schools.


Add it up, and on the extremely conservative end of estimates, even if the B12 deal stayed at $20m/ school, the ACC schools would be looking at a $10m/ year difference.

On the higher end, and in my view, a more realistic range, FSU would be doubling their money from $17M to $34M-$35M/yr.


And that's not even getting into how the new playoff system money is going to be divided up.  

FSU would be carrying the ACC, which probably won't put a team in a playoff very often unless it's FSU. In a Big 14, someone would be in the playoff almost every year.

The difference between getting big playoff money every year vs the smaller amount every year will really add up over the long run,


I don't see how FSU and the other football schools in the ACC could pass all of this up, so I'll be shocked if they don't leave.



But in the meantime, John, it feels like you would do your readers a service to lay out in detail this key aspect to the story.  It's not just about money for money's sake. The tier 3 rights in the ACC don't matter.  What does matter is the big money difference between the ACC deal and the B12 deal, and how that difference in revenue over the long term is going to affect the Noles ability to field a National Championship contending team via facilities and coaching salaries.


 The Noles are in a unique, and uniquely vulnerable, position among the top programs in the nation because they are surrounded by three of the biggest, most successful programs in the country in UF, UGA and Bama.  Texas and USC don't have to deal with anything like that.  FSU needs to keep on pace with the SEC in terms of revenue, because they compete directly against so many SEC schools for recruits, and if they don't keep up with an SEC revenue level, they will cease to be relevant in the long run.



PS- I like the way you interact with your readers and hope you enjoy my comments as much as I enjoy reading your columns.



2 years, 11 months ago on FSU’s Outgoing Top Trustee Makes FSU’s AD, The ACC, Media Everywhere, And Yours Truly Look Bad


"Just take the Top 4."


Top 4 according to who ?  A corrupt coaches poll and computers with secret formulas that don't take SOS into account ?


The BCS frequently gets it wrong.  That's why people have been so unhappy about the whole system.


Last year, if it was the Top 4, Stanford, whom Oregon thrashed in Palo Alto would have gone over # 5 Oregon, who won the PAC.


Why ?  Because Oregon lost to LSU.  Stanford would have been rewarded for a weak schedule, while the head to head matchup was ignored.  Do you really think Stanford was a better team than Oregon because the BCS rankings told you they were ?


Winning your conference should mean something.  It means a team proved itself on the field- not in a beauty contest.


Take the 3 highest ranked conference champs and whoever the highest-ranked team outside of those 3 is- could be a non-conference winner, indy, or a 4th conference winner.  


Last year, that would have been Bama, and Stanford would have been left out in favor of Oregon, the PAC champ.


This system would leave room for the 2nd place team in a very strong conference in the playoff (like Bama last year) while minimizing the effects of the polls and computers as much as possible in a 4 team playoff.  Less beauty contest and more on-field results oriented.



2 years, 11 months ago on Commissioners Concerned With Self-Interests, Not Best Interests Of College Football With New Playoff Proposal


 @John at MrSEC 




the FSU and Clemson talk is being driven by the apparent disparity in the tv deals between the B12's new deal ($20m per school per year for Tier 1 and 2, with Tier 3 left for the schools) vs the ACC's new deal (supposedly only going to be around $13m for all 3 Tiers).


FSU, Clemson and Miami are all losing the monetary and facilities arms race to their in-state SEC rivals (as well as to Bama and UGA), and all are hurting for money.  FSU ran a $2.4m loss in their athletic department last year.  They're talking about having to cut back their recruiting budget by 10% as one example of how that plays out.


If the new tv deals come in as rumored, the money difference between the B12 and ACC is going to be too big for those schools not to seriously consider jumping.  After all, FSU and Miami are not old-line ACC schools, and Clemson, like the other two, has always been a football-first fish out of water in the basketball culture of the ACC.


Don't be surprised if there's fire underneath this smoke.  


After all, this time a year ago, Texas A&M to the SEC was nothing but messageboard chatter.

2 years, 11 months ago on Stanford AD To Take Over As Big 12 Commish; What's He Gonna Do?


Last year would have looked like this under a 6 conference champs + 2 wildcards format:  


(First two rounds are on campus, wildcards can't host any games, and two teams from same conference can't play in first round.)




Stanford at Wisconsin


Clemson at OSU 

Bama at Oregon 



Winners of the top two games play each other in the next round. Same for best the winners of the bottom two.


Teams that don't win their conference are penalized by having to win on the road.  

If they're good enough, as Bama was vs LSU in New Orleans, that won't be a problem.


Most importantly, this would match up the best teams from the best conferences from around the country, while still allowing for the fact that a team like Alabama last year should have a place in a playoff.


Who doesn't want to watch those games ?

3 years ago on 10 Reasons Why 4 Is Better Than 8 When It Comes To A Football Playoff




I am a fan of the site, but I think you're missing the mark on this.


8 is the ideal number to determine a National Champion.  On the field. Where it should be determined.


Not through a poll or computer system. Let the best team be the one that beats the other top teams on the field.



The problem with CFB is that no one really knows who the best teams are because not enough of them play each other in any given year.  



Putting the top 6 conference winners and two highest ranked wildcards would be a good compromise between the "conference champs only" side and the "determine by ranking" side and maybe that is where this momentum is coming from.


The champs of the B12, PAC, BIG, and ACC would pretty much be guaranteed a spot in the playoffs every year, so they'd vote for it.


At least one conference champ slot would be realistically available each year though for a team like Boise or whomever, so that eliminates the antitrust issue and gets the small conferences on board.


Having the two highest-ranked wildcards in the playoff gets the SEC (who would frequently get two teams in) and Notre Dame on board, and would also be favored by the PAC, B12 and BIG as part of a 6+2 set-up, as all of those conferences would have a realistic shot at getting two teams into the playoff in many years.



Seed the teams 1-8.


First two rounds are on campus.  Wildcards can't host any games, and two teams from same conference can't play in first round. 


The whole point is to match the conferences against each other and see which team is truly the best. 


NC game takes place a few days after New Years and either rotates between a different major bowl each year or is bid out to highest bidding city each year.


Result- an actual National Champion who earned their title by beating the best teams from around the nation on the field- not in a poll.

3 years ago on 10 Reasons Why 4 Is Better Than 8 When It Comes To A Football Playoff


Eight team playoff, but incorporate the bowls, make New Year's day great again, and give every playoff team and their fans a bowl experience.

Five conference winners would get automatic bids: The SEC, PAC 12, BIG 12, BIG 10 and ACC

The next highest-ranked conference winner would also get in. (Big East, CUSA, etc- whoever ranked highest )

The two highest-ranked teams that didn't win their conference would make the playoff as wildcards.

Teams are seeded 1-8, but wildcards cannot play at home.

The PAC 12 + BIG 10 winners play in Rose Bowl no matter what their seeds, so that takes care of the Rose Bowl/PAC/BIG issue.

The SEC, BIG 12 and ACC host the Sugar, Cotton and Orange Bowls, respectively.

Those teams would play the other (non-power) conference winner and the two wildcards according to seeds, except that two teams from same conference can't play in first round.

That would spice things up and settle a lot of arguments.

This year's first round would have consisted of:

Rose- Oregon vs Wisconsin

Sugar- LSU vs Boise

Cotton- OK State vs Stanford

Orange- Clemson vs Alabama

Who doesn't want to spend New Years watching those games as part of the road to the national championship ?

The second round would be two weeks later on campus to reduce travel issues and reward the two highest ranked conference winners who survived the first round.

Limit practice to only the week before the game to alleviate academic concerns- plus, we're only talking about four teams at this point.

The Championship game would be played two weeks later- the weekend before the Superbowl. The spotlight for the entire weekend would be on the Championship game.

Again, limit practice to the week before the game to reduce academic concerns.

The Championship game would be on a five year rotation amongst the Rose, Sugar, Cotton, Orange and Fiesta.

A different bowl would host each year, with the Fiesta being played on New Year's Day to replace whatever bowl is hosting the title game that year.

(For example, in years where the Rose Bowl hosts the title game, the PAC 12 and BIG 10 winners would play in the Fiesta on New Year's.)

It seems like everyone would get what they want.

The major bowls stay relevant.

The SEC would get two teams in during most years, and would sometimes have a shot at placing three teams into the playoff.

The PAC 12/ BIG 10/ Rose Bowl tie stays intact.

The PAC, BIG, B12 and ACC would all be guaranteed a slot, and the BIG 10 might even get to host a home game in the second round sometimes.

Only a few teams would be playing past New Year's, and practice could be limited to blunt academic concerns.

The money and ratings would be through the roof.

The regular season would remain important. You must win your conference to be assured a slot, and with only two wildcards, interest would stay high for the entire year.

Traditionalist get to keep the bowl atmosphere.

The fans who want a playoff finally get one. A real one.

Everybody wins.

3 years, 2 months ago on A College Football Playoff: 4-Teams Or 8-Teams