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Big Ten Reaction Linkorama

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Scheduling All the talk in the aftermath of the announcement has been about a scheduling agreement between our new Big Ten overlords and the Left Behind, and rightfully so. Unfortunately, Todd Milewski, who has done a great job covering this story, dropped this into one of his stories:

Big programs like Wisconsin and Minnesota need to have 20 home games per season to make the financials work. So, with 14 non-conference games to work with, 10 of them are going to have to be at home.

If I'm not the first to call BS, then allow me to be the loudest. There's a big difference between "need to" and "want to". If those schools can't turn a profit selling 10,000 tickets to 16-18 home games--at $50 a pop for Minnesota season tickets, once "donation" costs are added in--not to mention all the extra TV money they're supposed to bring in because of this, then they are doing something seriously, seriously wrong.

Theoretically a scheduling agreement would address this, but the Big Ten teams are in a position to dictate terms on any deal, which means things are likely to be in their favor.

CHN's Adam Wodon is a bit disappointed this was announced before a scheduling agreement was in place, and is concerned about one every getting done.

Conference Tournament Apparently the feeling is that Michigan fans won't travel to Minneapolis/St. Paul for a conference tournament, and Minnesota fans won't travel to Detroit for a conference tournament, so the top idea as of now seems to be to hold the Big Ten conference tournament in Chicago, where fans of neither team will travel. That seems smart. I just can't see that being a huge attraction when those teams would likely have to travel the following weekend for the NCAA tournament, but I could be off. It would obviously be a huge advantage for Wisconsin, whose fans would likely outnumber opposing fans by about 200 to 1(perhaps literally). A better solution would be to let the league champion host. The big advantage of a power conference like this is that everyone would have a pretty acceptable building to host, and you'd actually have some atmosphere.

Realignment Alabama-Huntsville has already seen this as their opportunity at getting into the CCHA. I've never subscribed to the theory that the CCHA would reach out to UAH if they lost the Big Ten schools. The problem people had with UAH before is probably only exacerbated by the loss of the big CCHA schools by putting everyone else on even shakier financial footing. I still think keeping Huntsville out is the wrong decision, but I don't think this will be the push the rest of the league needs to let them in. There were Big Ten schools against letting UAH in, but I don't think they were the only thing keeping them from being in.

On the other hand, between UNO and the Big Ten schools, the CCHA will have lost the top four schools in average home attendance in a very short amount of time. UAH used to be in the middle of the pack in terms of CCHA attendance, and now they'd be fairly close to the top.

MGoBlog brings up the idea of bringing Niagara and Robert Morris into the CCHA. The problem with going east is that the CCHA is losing some of their more eastern members in Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State. Niagara and Robert Morris are closer to most of the CCHA than Huntsville, though the difference between a 7-hour bus ride and 10-hour bus ride is pretty irrelevant--and even moreso when you consider most of the league would have to cross the border to bus to Niagara. Any difference in travel is probably canceled out by the fact that UAH is much stronger in terms of attendance than either of those two schools.

The really big thing those schools would have in their favor that UAH doesn't is that the CCHA would love to have a presence in the Buffalo and Pittsburgh hockey markets. Personally, I've always thought that was overrated. Ohio State's closeness to Pittsburgh has helped Ohio State, but how much has it helped Northern Michigan or Ferris State?

Sticking Around Bowling Green remains committed to keeping their program. Minnesota State's athletic director is optimistic this can work out, which , not coincidentally, makes me all the less optimistic this can work out. Both commissioners made statements on the matter. We'll what those little guys have to say when the Big Ten schools explain to them that they just can't make ends meet without playing over 70% of their non-conference games at home.