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Saturday, June 12, 2010

CILA Summer League Sponsor - Clark Physical Therapy

Clark Physical Therapy was the first company to offer sponsorship dollars for the Central Iowa Lacrosse Association's 2010 Summer Lacrosse League. Doing so positioned the league to put a down payment on the initial jersey order. The near term effects of their sponsorship include securing more game balls and replacement nets, as well as training equipment for the planned youth program.*
Clark Physical Therapy is associated with Adel Physical Therapy. Their shared website can be found here. The following text comes directly from their website:
Our treatment philosophy is unique as we provide one to one contact with the patient and never utilize support personnel to provide care to our patients.

Our philosophy is to treat the whole patient rather than just treating their pain. We do not believe physical therapy should be used to only treat the place that hurts; rather our therapists find the problem that leads to the pain in the first place. This philosophy leads to a longer term solution to the patient’s pain. Our physical therapists utilize a manual approach to physical therapy with therapeutic exercises to facilitate the treatments in the clinic. Our clinics specialize in manual techniques including myofascial release, craniosacral therapy, muscle energy, joint mobilization/manipulation, and also the utilization of traditional physical therapy procedures.

We feel that our patients deserve enough time to give us a full history and to also get a comprehensive treatment, therefore we schedule a full 45 minutes with each patient. Patients pay to see a physical therapist, not assistive personnel, so we use licensed physical therapists to provide treatments. This provides better continuity to the patient’s physical therapy program.

Clark Physical Therapy
2001 Westown Parkway
West Des Moines, Iowa 50265
Phone: 515-440-3439

Adel Physical Therapy
102 South 7th St.
Adel, Iowa 50003
Phone: 515-993-5599

On behalf of every laxer in the Des Moines metro area, I would like to thank Clark Physical Therapy for sponsoring a team in this summer's league. Their generous act helps to ensure that lacrosse will continue to grow in the capital city.

*More information will be posted as it develops. There are currently plans for a clinic in late July, and we are still working out the details for a youth league program.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Super Conferences - The New Landscape 4+

As I was scouring the internet looking for more early expansion leaks, I stumbled across something that I felt supported my thoughts on the future of the WAC. Rather than include this as another update, I wanted to make it an addendum to the earlier post.
The whole article is more or less worthwhile, but this is the real gem:
Benson said there wasn't any bitterness toward Boise
State officials at the meeting, the relationship remaining quite cordial.
WAC is keeping its options open, too, scouring for schools. Benson said there
are five or six candidates from the Football Championship
the conference is keeping an eye on.
However, Benson wouldn't
elaborate on which schools might potentially be in the mix.
"Regardless of
what the Mountain West might do, or Boise State might do, the WAC is going to
continue to be a credible and recognizable conference," Benson

That's right, the president of the WAC said they are looking at five or six FCS schools to make the jump to the higher division. From what we used to call 1AA to 1A. If you recall from my previous post, I added two of them to the WAC in my projections: 1. Montana and 2. Portland State.
The other FCS schools on the radar? I would venture that they are all in the Big Sky conference, which dominates the region. The Big Sky previously churned out Idaho, Nevada, and Boise State. There is no reason to suspect that the WAC is looking elsewhere.
Here is my list:
3. Montana State Bobcats - This team will probably follow its bigger brother to the next level to keep the rivalry in tact. With just over half the endowment dollars but a similar student population, the Bobcats should be able to continue running behind the Grizzlies.
4. Northern Arizona Lumberjacks - NA boats a significantly larger student population than either Montana school as well as a sizable endowment. Being in Flagstaff, the Jacks provide access to the Phoenix area, which is an important consideration in light of the power of TV dollars.
5. Northern Colorado Bears - The Bears bring a portion of the Denver market to the table. Their endowment is second only to Montana's in the conference and their student population is nearly identical to Montana State's. If the Griz and Bobcats move up, these Bears will too.

Super Conferences - Update #2

Looks like I got one right. Boise State has accepted the expansion bid from the Mountain West Conference. The MWC now moves to ten teams. It is very likely that they could still add up to six more - seven it Utah bolts to the Pac 10, which is the hottest rumor now.
The immediate question is whether or Boise State is enough to warrant an automatic BCS bid to the conference. With its current line up, the MWC looks significantly stronger than the Big East. Considering the Big East gets an automatic bid, then the MWC with Utah, BYU, Texas Christian, and now Boise State definitely should.
Oh, and here's a little bonus for you: Nebraska is going to the Big Ten!! This should come as a shock to nobody, especially in light of Colorado's move yesterday. Just like the Buffaloes, the Huskers' new affiliation is expected to start in 2012; some sources are reporting that Nebraska wants to join the conference as early as next fall. Looks like I was right again!
It remains to be seen whether the Big Ten continues to grow. Missouri is still in the air, though it appears they are backpedaling with the Big 12 in a weak attempt to remain is BCS conference. Although those moves are most likely in vain as it appears Texas & its posse will mosey along as well.
Don't forget that Rutgers, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame are still being talked about. Now reports are surfacing of Maryland possibly moving to the Big Ten. While I think the Terps are a bad fit geographically, they bring an extremely strong television market (DC). Not to mention that would be yet another NCAA lax team...
Fun side note, a bunch of politicians are up in arms about the movements. Sorry fellas, but your political posturing has no place here. This is about entertainment dollars benefiting academics. Forcing teams to stay in the Big 12 helps nobody. At the end of the day, these teams wanted out for a reason. Attempting to fix it now is too little too late.
This is so excitin'!

Has the MCLA Gone Mad?!?!

Another head coach has been fired from a major MCLA program. Last year BYU fired longtime visionary coach Jason Lamb. Now Chapman University has let go of Mike Wood.
Under Wood, the Panthers have reached the late stages in the last three national championship tournament. They reached the championship game in 2008 and 2009. This year they lost in the semifinals. Michigan was Chapman's opponent is all three games. Under Wood, the Panthers had a record of 50-7 in MCLA play, including an undefeated season in 2008.
This firing no doubt comes as a shock. Chapman is merely the latest MCLA power to lose its head coach in the last year following in the footsteps of BYU, Minnesota, and Colorado. It will be interesting to see how quickly the Panthers recuperate and who they hire as the new head coach.
For the record, my money is on former Johns Hopkins Bluejay Kyle Harrison. The former LA Riptide player currently resides in the area and served as an assistant coach this season. If this comes to fruition, Harrison would join Alex Smith and Joe Cinosky in the ranks of Major League Lacrosse players turned MCLA head coach. This might be the start of a trend...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Major League Lacrosse Reminder - Sat 6/12

This is just a friendly reminder that ESPN2 will be showing a Major League Lacrosse game on Saturday, June 12 at 2pm. The Boston Cannons will host the Denver Outlaws. Boston features the mighty Paul Rabil. Denver just drafted MCLA standout Conner Martin from Chapman University. The Cannons come into the weekend with a 2-2 record. The Outlaws are 3-1.
It should be a fairly good game.


CILA Summer League - Week 2 Results

After a successful first week, everybody seemed excited for last night. Once again we had gorgeous weather and a couple of volunteers mowed the field that WDMPS forgot. Over the weekend I invested in a horn and attempted to secure a scoreboard (with no luck).
Okay, enough with the chit chat. Let's get down to business.

Game 1 - Wellspring Parable 7, Clark Physical Therapy 1
In the battle between the Young Guns and Clark, I thought the field would be fairly even. A zero hour pullout by Elliott left Clark short handed. Lightning player Sam Arends stepped in to fill the void, but ultimately got injured (sick?) and left before half time. Lightning player Boyd offered to play in his stead (and has now been moved to Clark permanently).
The difference in the game was the ability to maintain offensive possession. Once again Wellspring demonstrated their ability to possess the ball which narrowed Clark's ability to generate any offense. The smaller bodies seemed to worm their way through Clark's talented d-poles and find the back of the net. Crites was on fire and Gardner put a nice side arm past Clark goalie Fitch.
It was a noble effort by Clark, but ultimately their more direct and rushed play led to their downfall.

Game 2 - Mi Casa Rustic Furniture 0, Lightning Wear 13
After practicing on Sunday, Mi Casa had a solid plan for pregame warm ups. Unfortunately due to the mowing, the games were behind schedule and the warm ups were cut short. Making matters worse, after reffing the first game my legs were shot so I did not feel up to taking face offs and running midfield. By moving to attack, I was stuck with the league's biggest d-pole, Patrick "Mechelle" Shelton, covering me like a lead blanket all night. I could not shake the big man.
The Bolts came out as strong as ever. Their aggressive play on both sides of the field ensured very few turnovers and even fewer attempts by our offense. Not only did they score early and often, but they improved their passing game as well. Their movement - both off and on the ball - was quite impressive. They never let up on their game plan and deserved the win.
Before the first quarter ended, Boyd left Lightning bench to play for Mi Casa. This eventually led to his move to the understaffed Clark team. The Bolts won this game without Arends, Symons, and Boyd.

Although I picked the winners, the score differentials were way off. It's still early in the season and there too many unknowns. Yeah, we'll go with that...

Super Conferences - Update #1

Well, I am not afraid to admit that I made a mistake. One of my Super Conference predictions went awry: The Pac 10 has formally welcomed the University of Colorado as its newest member. Colorado was one of the schools that the Pac 10 originally suggested, only to have the Texas behemoth counter offer Baylor. Looks like common sense and Colorado's superior academics won out.
In light of this move, I am switching Baylor to the Mountain West in Colorado's stead. Everything else remains the same as originally predicted.
The chips are starting to fall. Rumor has it that the Nebraska move to the Big Ten could be announced as early as tomorrow. This will be an exciting summer for college football fans everywhere.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

CILA Summer League Predictions - Week 2

Tonight marks the second night of the CILA Summer League at Indian Hills Jr High in Clive. Last week the two teams comprised mainly of Valley players were victorious with Wellspring Parable handily beating Mi Casa Rustic Furniture 13-2 and Lightning Wear defeating Clark Physical Therapy 7-4. Tonight the opponents are swapped. Will the results be similar?
Game 1 - 5:45 - Wellspring Parable vs Clark Physical Therapy
With Valley coaches Zielonko and Nielsen leading the charge, the Young Guns of the league racked up an impressive talley last week against a deep Mi Casa team. However, Wellspring had the advantage of a season of working together and pre-game line drills. Tonight they will be missing two d-poles, Kurt Sundermann and Dirk Arends. Can the Tornberg brothers shore up the back line? Or can the offense maintain possession and eat clock in the offensive zone?
Clark boasts several Drake players, which is a mixed bag. Although many have spent the spring working together, there are a significant number of newbies on the roster. Valley alum Jacobs is joined by fellow alums Elliot and Lozada this week. Will the new players be enough to push Clark to a win?
Both teams will stick the their game plans from last week. The addition of Elliot will give Clark's midfield some much needed legs. But Nielsen's nose for the net will not be contained.Prediction: Wellspring Parable by 1
Game 2 - 6:45 - Mi Casa Rustic Furniture vs Lightning Wear
Last week, Mi Casa spent the pregame period introducing ourselves to each other. Our coordination - or lack thereof - on the field showed our unfamiliarity with each other. The offense lacked structure, the defense failed to slide, passes were missed, too few shots were taken, and our midfield units were run ragged. Despite the scoreline, Burk was confident in ent; he will only improve as the season goes on. We attempted a practice to rectify this, but spotty weather on Saturday postponed it to Sunday, resulting in smaller numbers. With absence of d-pole Cafferata we will be rotating players into the back line, but will we be able to prevent last week's gaffes? Will our offense click and possess the ball? Will we take more shots - and more quality shots?
As good as Wellspring looked last week, Lightning Wear looked better. With Bostwick, Ben Couch, and the Brothers Griess, the offense is stacked. The defense is anchored by Shelton with Blay, Mundus, and Boyd as options; this is no doubt the biggest and most physically intimidating back line in the league. Saying McDougal is solid at LSM is a grand understatement; he owns the position. Hunter Couch is the most clutch goalie in the league. The only questions about this team concern their ability to move the ball around and work as a team. The defense has figured it out, but the offense still looks for the individual plays. Can they pass the ball and set up an offense? Can anyone on Mi Casa stop runs by Couch, Bostwick, and the Brothers Griess?
Mi Casa will be remarkably better than last week, but still not up to snuff. The defense will fix mistakes made a week ago and limit the movement by the fast middies. But Lightning's head start on team chemistry will give them the edge.Prediction: Lightning Wear by 2

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Super Conferences - The New Landscape 4

Once the top choice teams get divided up between the five Super Conferences - Big Teen, Pac 16, Mountain West, Southeastern, and Atlantic Coast - the remaining teams would scramble to find or build new homes.
Devastated Conferences:
  1. Big 12 - Iowa State
  2. Big East* - Louisville, Cincinnati
  3. Conference USA - Rice, Tulane, Tulsa, Alabama-Birmingham, East Carolina
  4. WAC - Fresno State, Hawaii, Louisiana Tech, Nevada, New Mexico, San Jose State, Utah State
  5. The MAC and Sun Belt seem to be unaffected by the expansion process.
In response to the Super Conference alignments, the leftover teams could reform into regional conferences. The regional conferences would save some costs and still allow the teams to be competitive. At the same time, a few FCS schools would likely move up to fill in gaps and take advantage of the higher dollars at the BCS level.**

Mid America Conference
Retained Teams: Ball State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Western Michigan
New Teams: Cincinnati, Louisville, Iowa State, Tulane, Southern Miss, Louisiana Lafayette, Louisiana Monroe, Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky, Louisiana Tech, Northern Iowa
-North: Cincinnati, Iowa State, Northern Iowa, Ball State, Northern Illinois, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan
-South: Tulane, Southern Miss, Louisiana Lafayette, Louisiana Monroe, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky, Louisville
Conference USA
Retained Teams: Alabama-Birmingham, East Carolina
New Teams: Army, Navy, Akron, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Miami Ohio, Ohio, Toledo, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, South Alabama, Troy, Appalachian State, Kent State
-North: Akron, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Miami Ohio, Ohio, Toledo, Kent State, Army
-South: UAB, East Carolina, Navy, FAU, FIU, South Alabama, Troy, Appalachian
Western Athletic Conference
Retained Teams: Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico State, San Jose State, Utah State
New Teams: Rice, Tulsa, Arkansas State, North Texas, Montana, Portland State
-East: Rice, Tulsa, Arkansas State, North Texas, New Mexico State, Utah State
-West: Fresno State, Hawaii, San Jose State, Portland State, Montana, Nevada

--Biggest Winner: Mountain West Conference - Becomes a major player; gains a BCS berth--
--Biggest Loser: Iowa State, Cincinnati, and Louisville - All three lose their place in a BCS conference as the Big 12 and Big East dissolve--

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*This is only considering the football schools. Non-football schools could continue the Big East as a basketball-based conference.
**Whereas I am fairly confident in my previous conference speculations, these are a complete shot in the dark based on logic. We all know how well logic and college football work together... The biggest monkey wrench here is Hawaii. Travelling to the Aloha State is quite expensive and the new WAC schools may have some issues with it.

Super Conferences - The New Landscape 3

Current Members: Arkansas, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Alabama, Auburn, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida
Targets: South Florida, Central Florida, Houston, Rice, Tulane, Memphis, Louisville, East Carolina, Marshall, Florida State, Miami, Virginia Tech, Louisiana Lafayette, North Texas, Troy, Florida Atlantic, Florida International
Overview: No doubt the predecessor to the Super Conference, the SEC expanded to 12 teams in 1991. In 1992 they were the first Division 1 football conference to be given permission by the NCAA to hold a conference championship game. This lucrative endeavor ultimately led to the expansion of the ACC and Super Conference expansion currently under way. The conference holds one of the strongest network deals in the NCAA and has not made any mention of creating its own network. The SEC is generally considered to be the strongest BCS conference with six wins in all six appearances since the inception of the BCS in 1998.
Because of its strength, the conference does not want to expand. It will only do so in response to the formation of other Super Conferences. Since all signs indicated that the Big Teen, Pac 16 and super MWC will be a reality soon, the SEC has little choice. This leads to the question of who will be selected. With Atlanta as its biggest home market, the SEC has a strong national presence on network TV. Their goal would be increasing the strength of the conference to ensure dominance on the field rather than securing markets for a conference owned network.
Result: In their quest to build the ultimate football conference, the SEC swipes Florida State and Miami from the ACC. Both are added to the East division while rising Conference USA programs Houston and Memphis are added to the West. While neither program is a major player at the moment, their addition forces both programs to adapt to stronger regional opponents and increases their recruiting ability. The top-to-bottom competitiveness of the conference remains nearly the same with an increased number of teams with BCS Championship Game experience.
-East: Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Miami, Florida State
-West: Arkansas, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Alabama, Auburn, Houston, Memphis
Effects: This is another step in the dismantling of C-USA, which is often a target during expansion periods. The larger effect is on the health of ACC after losing both of its Florida programs.
Current Members: Boston College, Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Miami
Targets: Connecticut, Syracuse, West Virginia, South Florida, Central Florida, East Carolina, Marshall, Temple, Troy, Florida Atlantic, Florida International
Overview: Only two members of the ACC have ever played in a BCS Championship Game - Florida State and Miami (while a Big East member). Both are likely to be poached by the SEC. The ACC should be familiar with dismantling a conference - acquiring Boston College, Virginia Tech, and Miami from the Big East devastated that conference a few years back.
Now that it has lost two of its marquee programs, the ACC needs to rebuild. Being in the heart of the Big East, many of those schools make the most sense. Without its own network, the ACC relies on a grand footprint. Recouping the Florida market will be vital, as will adding other strong markets like New York. Cutting costs and building rivalries will help the conference survive, and possibly thrive, in the new era.
Result: To keep its Florida presence, the ACC adds South Florida and Central Florida. Although not as strong as the lost teams, South Florida is growing popularity and reputation; Central Florida is not far behind.
New markets and northern rivals are brought in via UConn and Syracuse. Both give some access to the New York market and provide closer travel for Boston College.
The heart of the conference is strengthened by the addition of a powerful West Virgina program. WV has been the dominant team in the Big East since losing Miami and Virginia Tech. Along with them comes Marshall, who has been on the rise. Both will be competitive out of the gate.
The Atlantic and Coastal divisions are no more. In light of their expansion and new geographic make up, the ACC is now divided into a north/south structure.
-North: Boston College, Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Connecticut, Syracuse, West Virginia, Marshall
-South: Wake Forest, Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, South Florida, Central Florida
Effects: This move (combined with the Big Teen's actions) leaves Louisville and Cincinnati as the only remaining football schools in the Big East; a condition that will not last.
Syracuse adds a fifth lacrosse program to the conference. Like the current four, Syracuse is a perennial powerhouse. Although it is the smallest conference in NCAA lacrosse, the expanded ACC would hold five of the eight teams to win a national championship since its inception in 1971.

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Super Conferences - The New Landscape 2

Current Members: Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, California (Berkley) , Standford, UCLA, Southern California
Targets: Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Colorado, Colorado State
Overview: The Pac 10 wants two things - its own network and Texas. It sees the latter as a means of creating the former. Texas brings the mega-market that is Dallas and the countless millions in TV money that comes with it. Unfortunately, Texas also comes with Tech and A&M (and possibly Baylor). Bringing along another strong team and rivalry in the form of Oklahoma just makes sense. The Pac 10 also covets the Denver market, which Colorado delivers. Oklahoma State and Colorado State are in this discussion because the Pac 10 prides itself on its Noah-esque habit of bringing teams in two-by-two to create natural rivalries.
Result: After Missouri and Nebraska bolt from the Big 12, the conference successfully adds all six teams from the Big 12 South to create the second Super Conference. Countless scenarios are worked out in an attempt to bring Colorado in, but political pressure prevents Oklahoma State and Baylor from being dropped in favor of the Buffaloes and Rams. The result is a two division conference consisting of the old guard and new guard arranged geographically.
-Pacific: Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, California (Berkley) , Standford, UCLA, Southern California
-Southwest: Arizona, Arizona State,Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor
Effects: The Pac 16 would be recognized as one of the most powerful football conferences in history with three perennial national championship contenders - Oklahoma, Texas, USC - and a host of strong programs behind them. Its cream puffs - Baylor, Washington, and Arizona State - are still stronger than the middle weights in most conferences. The Pac 16 Network would rival the BTN from day one.
As a result of the entire Big 12 South leaving, the Big 12 conference ceases to exist.
Current Members: Air Force, BYU, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, Texas Christian, UNLV, Utah, Wyoming
Targets: Boise State, Colorado, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Fresno State, Idaho, Nevada, Southern Methodist, Houston, Rice, UTEP, Tulsa, Montana
Overview: This is the conference nobody is really talking about. Most people forget that the nine team MWC already has its own network and would undoubtedly like to see its presence grow. They also boast some very tough teams - teams that have cracked the BCS games despite not having an automatic berth. They are currently on the verge of gaining that berth; many feel that simply adding Boise State (another highly successful non-BCS team) could give them the needed push.
Boise State may be the key to the BCS, but its television market does not add much to the MWN. The Broncos are likely to bring Idaho along for the ride, which will provide an immediate rival but not much in terms of football prowess.
With the demise of the Big 12, Colorado is the big prize. Not only does the MWC get a natural rival for Air Force and Colorado State, but they completely control the Denver market. The Buffaloes are an up and down team, but should find more success within their geographic region.
Kansas and Kansas State help bring in a chunk of the KC market. They may find some success on the football field, but will ultimately benefit on the hardwood where their prowess will make them the class of the league.
Fresno State, Houston, Rice, and SMU all bring the promise of strong TV markets. Nevada, UTEP, and Tulsa bring natural geographic rivalries; Iowa State has familiarity with Boise State after playing a few bowl games in their blue turf stadium. All four bring in relatively small markets and iffy teams. Montana is a dark horse that fits geographically but boasts a strong program - although it is at the lower FCS level.
Result: The time is right for the MWC to follow the examples of the Pac 16 and Big Teen by expanding into a Super Conference with a guaranteed BCS berth. The new teams strengthen the network by securing Denver, grabbing Kansas City, and doubling the conference's presence in Dallas. The two divisions are primarily based on geography with an emphasis placed on rivalries. The East is definitely more far flung with TCU and SMU (Dallas) in the south and Wyoming in the north. Overall, the conference is fairly balanced in terms of football prowess.
-East: Kansas, Kansas State, Southern Methodist, Texas Christian, Air Force, Colorado State, Wyoming, Colorado,
-West: BYU, San Diego State, UNLV, Utah, UTEP, New Mexico, Boise State, Idaho
Effects: The new MWC effectively replaces the Big 12 and assumes its spot on the BCS ladder. While its teams are not yet at the level of the Pac 16 or Big Teen, they will continue to be contenders. The potential revenue created by the stronger MWN will help the conference develop increasingly powerful programs in the near future.
This effectively kills the WAC by taking away several key teams and the conference's juggernaut.

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Super Conferences - The New Landscape 1

In the past I have speculated about reshaping the college football landscape. I planned on writing a blog series about it, but never got around to it. Now that the Big 10 and Pac 10 are making noise about expanding to 16 teams each* and making the first "Super Conferences," I figured I would briefly address what those conferences will look like.
Current Members: Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Indiana, Purdue, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State
Targets: Notre Dame, Nebraska, Missouri, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Syracuse
Overview: The Big Ten has wanted Notre Dame since time began. The Irish have fought to remain a football independent, but those days are nearly finished. ND is a member of the Big East in every sport but football (including lax). Make no mistake, this is the ultimate prize. The Irish bring a national following, geographic sense, and established rivalries. A membership acceptance could stop all of the expansion talk around the country and create a 12-member conference - enough for the coveted championship game.
Missouri and Nebraska are likely a package deal. Each brings something different to the table - Missouri brings the St Louis and Kansas City TV markets and Nebraska brings another strong football program. Both would create new and strong rivalries with Iowa; the Hawkeyes essentially replace the Cyclones with those teams, but are much more formidable.
Rutgers and Syracuse both have the potential to bring the coveted New York television market, which increases the value of the Big Ten Network. At the end of the day, the expansion talks seem to be about increasing cash flow and the BTN has proved to be a money-making machine.
Pittsburgh brings another strong football program and a natural rivalry with Penn State. It also shores up the local TV market.
Result: The "Big Teen" Conference ends up super sized with 16 teams, the new standard in college football. Of the expansion candidates, ND finally decides the time is right and Syracuse is left in the cold. The end result sees two geographically based divisions.
-East: Rutgers, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Indiana
-West: Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, Northwestern, Illinois, Wisconsin, Purdue
Effects: The first Super Conference will redefine the college sports landscape. Aside from the obvious BCS implications, the Big Teen will essentially be two powerful conferences competing under a single banner for a championship and automatic berth in several sports. This could also result in the addition of at least two new sports in the conference - lacrosse and ice hockey - for both men and women.
The ACC has demonstrated that the NCAA will allow a conference to field a sport with as few as four teams. Penn State and Ohio State already have NCAA lax teams. With Notre Dame and Rutgers in the fold, the conference will have four teams. From there it is not difficult to see additional growth - Michigan has long been rumored to make the jump from MCLA to NCAA. Michigan State previously fielded a team and Northwestern currently fields one of the most successful women's teams in the nation. The remaining members currently field programs of varying strength in the MCLA.
While the realignment only brings in one new ice hockey program (ND), the BTN provides the incentive to make this the first BCS conference to sponsor the sport. Taking Minnesota and Wisconsin from the WCHA and combining them with CCHA members Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Notre Dame creates a six team conference with an exclusive network already available. The potential financial benefits of Big Teen hockey on the BTN could inspire other programs - particularly Penn State, and Pitt - to add the sport. While this would significantly damage the WCHA and CCHA, the Big Teen could set a precedent for integrating ice hockey with the traditional sports conferences.
All the while the BTN gains strength through new markets and the national audience for Notre Dame. Already handing out hefty revenue checks, the BTN's value will skyrocket.


*If you know nothing about this, I suggest you move from under your rock. This news is everywhere. Do a quick Google search and catch up.

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