1. Mike discussed the whole "Where should Nebraska/B1G be going for bowl games" on Thursday, but what conferences would be ideal for the B1G to be playing? Should any non-BCS conferences be involved with any of this?
David McGee: I don’t think Delany wants to put up one of his marquee names up vs. a non-BCS team in a bowl game. Once you get down past the fifth or sixth selection, it probably would be ok, but I think you want Ohio St. or Wisconsin or Nebraska or Michigan to face as high profile of an opponent as possible and not put your conference in a position to fall on its face vs. a team like that. Now, if they qualify for the playoff and are matched up with a Playoff buster, then there’s nothing you can do about that except beat them. When you can control the matchup somewhat, you want to be playing the Pac-12 in the rose bowl and I think I’d like to see a mix of SEC, Big XII, Pac-12 and ACC teams matched up with Big Ten schools. There are too many B1G/SEC matchups right now and that hasn’t really gone well of late. Let’s mix it up bit.
Brandon Cavanaugh: Let’s be real here, the SEC’s been laying out the B1G consistently over the past several years. It doesn’t benefit the B1G to be involved in so many of these contests. That we all know. Personally, I like David’s idea, but I’d slant more towards the Big 12 and ACC.
There’s so much history between the B1G and Pac-12, the Rose Bowl being the pinnacle of that, of course. Keep that at the tippity top and work down to see the B1G face TCU, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Kansas State, some of Nebraska’s old running buddies.
Pair Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, etc. up with the brutish B1G and see what comes of it. This is exciting football and as much love as the Capital One Bowl bunch knows I have for them, the status quo’s pretty bland.
Mike: Personally, I’d prefer a couple more matchups with the Big XII, but frankly, as long as we’re avoiding bowl matchups with the MAC, I’m good with whatever.
Andy: Start lining up the Sun Belt for the lower level match-ups ASAP. The SEC has been treating us like goat-horned headdress-wearing pagan priests treat virgins on a stone altar and we need a break. Since Nebraska has played just about the entire conference over the last 5 years, as well as experienced their quality refereeing in NU/Michigan Alamo Bowl, we will be best prepared for those groundbreaking offenses that have terrorized a nation.
Brian: Honestly, I’m down for one team from each major conference, including the Mountain West or whatever they call it these days. After that, we can figure out what fits well. If that means the 5th-6th place team in the league plays a MAC team, so be it.
2. The SEC Network’s structure was announced on Thursday. Obviously, it’s going to get Mike Slive’s schools much more money, but how much more is this going to get for the Big Ten’s contract with BTN and ESPN?
Jon J: I hope zero. I hope the whole structure collapses and the schools make less. We act like this is just another competition, "Hooray! The B1G makes more money than the SEC!" but in the end we’re being played for fools as our provider bills rise as we end up paying more to get more unwanted channels that feature more reality shows glorifying the most fucked up people in America. Forget ala carte. It isn’t going to happen.
This endless pursuit of money will ultimately destroy collegiate sports as more money will attract more unemployed lawyers than ever in pursuit of whatever lawsuits they can file while the concept of "amateur athletics" reaches a point of hypocrisy that the public can no longer withstand and the whole thing falls in upon itself while my two favorite groups of people, lawyers and bureaucrats ,laugh all the way to the bank, unscathed by it all. (This was my perky answer.)
Brandon Cavanaugh: Well damn, Jon. The thing is, I can’t disagree with what he’s saying. It’s a money grab by conferences, lawyers, etc. It’s business, but this is a piss poor business model. Of course, we’re talking about the NCAA, so who expects competency?
I’d really like to see some manner of sane policy be put in place to level the playing field somewhat, but my pockets aren’t being lined with hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars...as far as you know.
Mike: The whole cable model is starting to collapse. More and more people are forgoing cable or satellite TV, and a few are even eschewing the television set entirely. Networks and providers are going to need to adapt to this changing model at some point. I’d like to think that this market won’t implode before the Big Ten’s existing deal with ESPN/ABC implodes, but I’m not so sure at this point.
As for the SEC’s deal with ESPN, the lack of disclosure of the finances suggest that this network might be more about getting the SEC more visibility (as if they lacked that) than revenue generation.
Andy: Hopefully, I will no longer miss Georgia - UT-Chattanooga tilts.
Brian: While I love as much CFB as possible on the TV every Saturday, the fact that even though the SEC is getting their own ESPN channel, that they need PPV still? That says it all to me. At least the B1G is getting in everyone’s TV in the conference footprint w/o any other hidden costs. Tell me you miss that from the B12.
But, Mike is correct. Not hard to think in 5 years your "cable" will be basically a VOD box that lets you watch whatever whenever with some live events like sports sprinkled in.
3. To go along with question #2, when do you think all B1G football (and possibly basketball) is only on Fox Sports channels, like Fox Sports 1 and such? Or, is the Disney money from ESPN/ABC going to still be needed?
Jon: Wishing that sports events were expanded to more channels will only result in fans paying more to see the events they want, so I hope that doesn’t happen. Some might think "more channels, more competition, prices go down!". HAHAHAHAHA! Fools!
Brandon Cavanaugh: Yup. The marketing will be great, too. "Bundles" and "packs" that you can save $40 if you order a month before the season starts! That’s what happens when you have the most popular sport in the country. Supply and demand at its finest.
Mike: Considering the only thing Fox Sports has working is Charles Davis, I hope something else emerges. Personally, I’d like to see NBC Universal take a shot at the B1G. But I also agree with Jon: in the end, we’re paying the bill.
Andy: Hopefully never. From lower quality broadcasts to coma-inducing announcers, here’s to hoping Fox college football fizzles away like a bad workplace fart.
Brian: I don’t mind more Fox and NBCSN getting their nose wet. But, less Ed Cunningham, the better off we all are right?
4. How many more wins, in your estimation, would Nebraska baseball have if Kyle Kubat would have been healthy at the start of the year? Is it fair to say that his absence could possibly be the difference between making the NCAA tourney or not?
DM: I’m not ready to say a healthy Kubat from the beginning of the season puts them into the tournament, but it likely would have made things a lot more interesting. He probably missed out on 8-9 starts and on a team that’s three games under .500, they’d likely be on the right side of that had he been able go from the beginning. It also would have provided a more defined role for nearly everyone in that rotation from the weekend through the mid-week, there’s no way to calculate that trickle down. It’s very possible they could have won more early in the season, but let’s not forget all the struggles this team had putting runs on the board the first month of the season. Does having Kubat there take some of the pressure off that lineup to produce runs? Who knows.
What should be really exciting for Husker fans is, with the emergence of Aaron Bummer in the weekend rotation, both he and Kubat are sophomores, so that’s a solid start to your weekend rotation for next year and if DeLeon comes back for his senior season, there won’t be many teams in the Big Ten that will be able to match that for a weekend slate. Perhaps we’re starting to see the fruits of Ted Silva’s labor come to the surface. That said, I think there’s still a great possibility this team will go deep into the Big Ten tournament. If then can avoid an early loss, they should be very, very tough to beat. The Huskers can remove all the conversation about an at large berth by winning in Minneapolis.
Jon: At least one more win per weekend series, so total that up and we’d be over .500 and probably in good shape for an at-large bid. Hey, that’s basically what David said, isn’t it? Okay, what David said. He covered it.
Brandon Cavanaugh: Yeah, David pretty much nailed it. We may have seen Cal State Fullerton and Texas drop one game per series, but there were issues across the board early in the season. I think by the time this one’s done, there’ll be plenty of reasons to be optimistic going into Darin Erstad’s third season as the Huskers’ skipper, especially if DeLeon’s back.
I feel like I haven’t really contributed much this week, so here’s this:
(Authors note: WAT)
Mike: A healthy Kubat also decreases the strain on the pitching staff, and sends the Sunday starter to midweek. So there’s a multiplier effect there.
Andy: They win 5 more games, but spending more time around the team, Kubat teaches most of them kendo stick fighting and tai chi. They use their newfound talents to rob liquor stores and harass the local citizenry. Multiple arrests are eventually made on many different counts and the two are sentenced to watch a six episodes of Star Wars while strapped into Clockwork Orange chairs. So in the end, it DID work out for the best.
Brian: I think it would have helped a bit, as I think if Kubat starts the Friday of the Texas series, it’s a completely different result from that weekend instead of a Longhorn sweep (and wouldn't be crushing UNL’s BB RPI as UT is DFL in the B12).