The Conferences’ Weakest Links
A few weeks ago, we had some discussion regarding relegation and how the NCAA might look with relegation. But what if circumstances were such that the various conferences absolutely had to remove one school without replacing same. Who would they choose?
It has to be Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons have produced some good NBA players, but have not really had extended periods of overall success. Meanwhile, the football team has had some decent seasons of late, yet for the most part seems more likely to be a perpetual bottom tier team. It is one of four North Carolina teams, meaning that it adds very little to the ESPN package value or the value that an ACC Network would have. As a small, private school, its national following is weak at best.
The Pac 12
Once again, this is a fairly easy game. Washington State is quite remote and does not add much in the way of fans/viewership. It has been a punching bag in football and non-existent in basketball. Frankly, it does not add much to the academic side of things either. All in all, is Washington State THAT different from the Boise State that has little or no chance of getting into the Pac 12? Other than much worse football, of course. No.
This one is very tough. On the one hand, Vanderbilt is an academic outlier that contributes slightly in hoops but little more. The football has been weak for the most part, and Tennessee adds most of the market for the state. On the other hand, Vanderbilt is the academic king of a maligned SEC. Mississippi State is duplicative in a small, relatively poor state without much history of success. Missouri is a newcomer that may never really “fit.” It would seem easier to jettison that add than get rid of a historical member like Mississippi State. This one is very tough. What do you think?
The Big XII
The Big XII will never lose a Texas team. While Kansas has terrible football (except for the Mark Mangino years), it has elite basketball. Kansas State, however, is a duplicate team in a small state with good football and good basketball. And that is using “good” negatively. Unfortunately, Iowa State falls short in every measure. It adds little revenue and even less success on the national landscape in the revenue sports. Although West Virginia is more of a geographic outlier, West Virginia also has more of a national reputation historically in both revenue sports. We say Iowa State gets cut.
The Big 10
This is perhaps the toughest of all conferences, not the least of which is the fact that the B1G purports to be “all for one and one for all.” Rutgers, Maryland, and Nebraska are the recent adds, but they add a huge market, an important market, and football Kingdom respectively. Nebraska may be the worst fit in terms of academics. Penn State has had some embarrassing days, but survived that. An eye has to turn towards Purdue. The Boilermakers are located in a state where Notre Dame carries football and Indiana carries hoops. Purdue is likely the weakest link, but who knows? Again, let’s put it to a vote.
What do you think? Did we miss the boat on the other three conferences? Share your comments here or on Twitter.