Sunday, April 29, 2007

Bigger Ten 2007 Games of the Week

Gerald Ford

The Big Ten symbolizes the ultimate in old money of college football. They are still very relevant to the national discussion but do not have the status of the upstart SEC. Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany made the mistake of bring his frustration into the open and diminished the perception of being the viable #1 conference. One of the axioms of marketing is to never compare yourself to #2. It is alright for Powerade to claim better taste than Gatorade but Gatorade must never acknowledge that the other stuff exists. Unfortunately the two conferences do not meet on the field during the regular season to continue the discussion.

These may not be the marquee games but are the most interesting for each week.

Sep 1 Illinois v. Missouri at St. Louis
How does the recruiting of Ron Zook compare against a Missouri team that looks to contend in the Big 12 North? The location on the border of these two state early in the season is a nice touch.

Sep 8 Oregon v. Michigan
How does the Pac 10 stack up to the Big 10? Oregon will most likely lose this game but the margin will act as a inter-conference measuring stick.

Sep. 15 Duke v. Northwestern University
The bottom of the ACC v. near bottom of the Big 10? Come on ESPN throw us a bone and broadcast this one; look for that angle to create a real soap opera with this game.

Sep. 22 Michigan State at Notre Dame
NBC will not show this at night but a repeat of last year’s game would be great (including the rain). Mark Dantonio did a great job the Bearcat with nothing and would be whining about the lack of facilities. The Golden Domers will be replacing Brady Quinn so this might be an interesting one.

Sep 29 Notre Dame v. Purdue
The Boilermakers usually make these games interesting. This is the most interesting game of the week in the Big 10.

Oct 6 Iowa at Penn State
The Penn State Trilogy(1): The road to the Big 10 crown runs through State College. This is not to say that the Nittany Lions are contender but that three of the four leaders for the crow need to pay Happy Valley a visit. In 2004 this was a thrilling game ending in a 6 to 4 for the Hawkeyes.

Oct 13 Wisconsin at Penn State
The Penn State Trilogy(2): If the Badgers want respect it begins here. Yes, they played Iowa three weeks before at home but this is the first big road game. This is spoiler time for PSU and put up or shut up time for Bret Bielema.

Oct 20 Northwestern v. Eastern Michigan at Ford Field
This is an interesting location for a MAC/Big Ten game. Will Northwestern bring in more fans from Evanston? Or Eastern Michigan attract more locals? More in attendance then at the MAC Championship game.

Oct 27 Ohio State v. Penn State
The Penn State Trilogy(2): On paper the Buckeyes should roll but they are not playing in Columbus and the weather could be sunny and pleasant or windy and cold.

Nov 3 Indiana v. Ball State
Will the Hoosiers make a bowl game? By the looks of their schedule the could have five wins at this point in the season and Ball State could be the ticket to the post season for the first time since 1993.

Nov 10 Michigan v. Wisconsin
The Wolverines (just big weasels according to Animal Planet) may be looking ahead to Ohio State next week.

Nov 17 Wisconsin v. Minnesota and/or Ohio State v. Michigan three of these four will be playing for the conference title here. The poor Gophers will not be one of them.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007


The Baltimore Sun reported today on the renovation and expansion plans for Byrd Stadium (brought to you by Chevy Chase Bank). Most important to the plan are: the addition of 64 luxury suites and 500 mezzanine seats in Phase 1, improving the view of fans in the first ten row by lowering the field in Phase 2 and finally adding 8,000 endzone seats in Phase 3.

The key quotes here:

"The first phase of expansion - scheduled to be completed by August 2010 - includes 64 swanky suites with flat-screen televisions, food services, and indoor and outdoor seating. Maryland can't move forward with its other plans, though, until at least 50 of the luxury suites have been sold...Ten suites have already been sold..."

"The cost for phase one of the project is $50.8 million, to be paid entirely by the athletic department. Maryland sold the naming rights of the field to Chevy Chase Bank for $20 million last year, and borrowed $35 million from the University System of Maryland."

The 64 boxes will generate about $3 million per year paying off the $35 million. On the positive side the Terps are located near one of the wealthiest counties in the nation on the down side football at UM is second fiddle to basketball and the recent fall to a mediocre team in a slumping BCS conference will not get the alumni pumped up. Yet given the prices for boxes with the Redskins $40,000 is a real bargain.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Saving Face

"The estimated annual economic impact the game has on the area is $20 million, and once the Cotton Bowl's capacity is increased that number is estimated to reach about $25 million, McCoy said..."

"We just have too keep this game it just brings in too much money."

Let's do the math. $20 million/76,000 = $263.17 spending per fan which seems a bit on the high side. A group of four would be living very well in spending $1052 in Dallas over a two day period. Further this assumes that the game generate purely incremental dollars without costing a dime in extra services form the local government is voodo economics. And the city of Dallas will be putting up $30 million in improvements to the aging facilitiy.

To the people of Texas the State Fair would not be the same without the Longhorns and Sooners play but don't hold this up as a victory.

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Getting WAC'ed by ESPN

It is too familar a story that ESPN looks on your football teams game as inventory that fills holes in their schedule. Scott D. Pierce of points out that the Mountain West may find itself better off in a life that is not run by the executives in Bristol. What is the number that Disney Sports is look for on a Sunday Night game? What are they offering?

Sun., Oct. 7 New Mexico State at Boise State 8 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 14 Nevada at Boise State 8 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 21 Southern Miss at Marshall 8 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 28 Central Florida at Southern Miss 8 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 4 SMU at Houston 8 p.m.

So what the best that could be expected? A .3 share or so?

Poor BSU, theyve done far more than expected but get all the respect that any team would feel as a place filler. To be fair after the Simpsons/Family Guy on Sumday Night the picks are slim and the secong half of any college football game is better that the No Fun League's Magically Mechanical Game on NBC or watching the MLB playoffs (or whatever they have renamed it ALCS/NLCS).

2007 ESPN Broadcast Schedule **Warning to Opera fan you may have problems with viewing this page.

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