With Texas A&M’s move to the SEC surely to happen next week, a lot of questions are being raised concerning the value of being in a strong league. Obviously, the Big 12 is crumbling and won’t exist in another few years in its present form. It will probably lose its automatic bowl qualifier status and most of the rest of the marquee teams will leave, mainly Oklahoma and Missouri. The league will likely pull in SMU, Pittsburg, and Houston to replace the Aggies, Buffaloes, and Huskers. If Mizzouri, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech leave, the Big 12 may add Louisville, and if Dan Beebe and Deloss Dodds decide they need a championship game, they will try to add BYU and Boise. There is no guarantee any of these schools will see the Big 12 as an upgrade over their present situation.
Why is the Big 12 so weak? Dan Beebe is one of the problems. In the business world, companies with inept CEO’s usually don’t perform well and replace that CEO. Yet Dan Beebe has watched three of his five largest assets leave to go to three different leagues. This fact alone means that the Big 12 is no better than the fourth best conference out there. Obviously, there are three better choices out there right now. In fact, it looks like the Big 12 may replace the three big boys that have left with a team that they scorned years ago. How the mighty have fallen.
But we all know that. We know that at some point there will probably be collection of four so-called superconferences and that the Big 12 won’t be one of them. The SEC will be one. The Big 10 will be one. The Pac 12 will be one. The other will probably be some kind of ACC and Big East stew. That one will be ugly to sort out. Meanwhile, the teams that are stuck in the Big 12 will be left out of the party. They probably have a few years left of big time football before this thing comes crashing completely to the ground.
What makes a football team valuable? Why would the SEC want Texas A&M and not Texas or Baylor? Well, we at HSJ wondered the same thing, so we decided to put this in quantitive terms. We chose six key categories and gave them each a numerical value from one to five. We rated each school in these five categories and added up the scores to give every school in the Big 12 and SEC a numerical value which we’ll refer to as the Attractiveness Quotient.
This has a lot to do with football, so it is football intensive, but we did give other sports some weight just for balance purposes. In other words, if a school is good in football but completely worthless in all other sports, that school is not as attractive.
These were the categories:
Football Stadium Size – Obviously to play big time football you need a large stadium. 80K+=5, 72K+=4, 65K+=3, 60K+=2, 55K+=1, less than 55K=0
Current Enrollment – Obviously, large numbers of students at games creates a better college atmosphere. 40K+=5, 35K-40K=4, 30K-35K=3, 25K-30K=2, 20-25K=1, less than 20K=0
2011 AP Ranking – The value of a program is fluid. Programs are more valuable when they are winning, so the preseason AP poll was used to assign this value. 1-8=5, 9-15=4, 15-20=3, 21-25=2, receiving votes=1, not ranked and not receiving votes=0.
Number of wins last year – To offset the potential for bias in the previous category, the number of wins last year is given its own category. 10+=5, 9=4, 8=3, 7=2, 6=1, less than 6=0.
Conference Stability – As we do these analyses nation wide, every team in the SEC, Big 10, and Pac 10 are awarded five points for conference stability. Teams in the Big East that play football and teams in the ACC are awarded 3 points. Notre Dame is awarded 2 points, down from 3 points last year and five points as recently as 2001. All other schools without viable conferences are given zero points. For example, if Mizzou were to join the Big 10 in 2013, and Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech were to go to the PAC 12, Kansas State, Baylor, and Texas might be left without a viable conference option. Those teams would them be left out of the national championship picture from the beginning, and their programs would crumble.
2011 Director’s Cup Standings – This measures the overall strength of the athletic department at the member schools. While having a strong football team is important, basketball and baseball and wrestling have their places in college athletics and should not be overlooked. 1-10=5, 11-20=4, 21-30=3, 31-40=2, 41-50=1, worse than that = 0.
After putting all this data in the computer, we come up with the value of the Big 12 and SEC teams, ranked from most valuable to least valuable.
1. Texas A&M 29
2 LSU 26
2. Alabama 26
4. Florida 25
5. South Carolina 22
5. Georgia 22
5. Arkansas 22
5. Oklahoma 22
9. Auburn 21
10. Tennessee 17
11. Texas 15
12. Oklahoma State 14
12. Missouri 14
14. Kentucky 13
14. Mississippi State 12
16. Texas Tech 9
17. Mississippi 7
18. Vanderbilt 5
19. Baylor 4
20. Iowa State 3
20. Kansas State 3
20. Kansas 3
These results help validate the dominance of the SEC in the conference landscape. Nine of the top ten teams reside in the SEC while the bottom four are mired in the Big 12. Once you crunch the numbers like this, it is easy to see why the Big 12 is a dying conference.