Sport in Australia: A Primer for Americans

Sport is a big deal in Australia (and it is usually Sport, not Sports)*. In schools, there is both a PE class and a Sport class.*

In this country of 25 million people, there are many sport leagues and franchises, maybe more per capita than minor league sports in the US, and thus more similar to college or even high school sports.

This weekend alone are the world championships for the AFL (The Australian Football League Grand Final) and the NRL (National Rugby League  [Telephone Company sponsored] Premiership Grand Final).*

AFL is popular in Melbourne and the western parts of Australia, NRL in New South Wales and Queensland. The maps of professional teams are shown below, and are visible examples of the process of spatial diffusion of competing ideas (in this case, competing footy codes).

AFL Teams (via Wikipedia)
AFL Teams (via Wikipedia)
NRL Teams (via Wikipedia)
NRL Teams (via Wikipedia)

The rules are too complex to explain here, but feel confident that they have a family resemblance to American-rules football, but all have evolved from the proto-ball sport in different directions. AFL is more soccer like (but players can touch the ball and punch it, but kicking remains important, serving the role of the forward pass and punt) and played on a cricket oval.

In contrast NRL is more like American football without a forward pass, and played on a rectangle. NRL has downs, but no such things a first down, the team scores or turns over the ball. AFL players are leaner and taller, NRL players are stockier. Neither use helmets. AFL is probably safer. I believe the expression is: the NRL is a ruffian’s game played by gentlemen, the AFL is a gentlemen’s game played by ruffians.*[update in the footnote]  The balls themselves are similar.

In the NRL, the most important event during the season is the State of Origin series, which is an all-star like event where the best players from Queensland play against the best players from New South Wales. This is a 3-game series. AFL once had a similar event.

The AFL Championship (broadcast on the Seven network) this year is the Collingwood Magpies vs. the West Coast Eagles, played at the southern hemisphere’s largest stadium, the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), where the championship has been played almost every year since 1902.

Where the hell is Collingwood? It’s a neighbourhood of Melbourne. Where is the West Coast? Somewhere on the Indian Ocean I suppose. Why does a Melbourne neighborhood get a team in the national championship, while an entire coast of the only known inhabited planet’s third largest ocean get another? Something looks gerrymandered. The AFL used to be (in living memory) the Victoria Football League (VFL) and it grew out of club sport serving highly localized fanbases, much like Baseball (the Brooklyn Dodgers), Basketball (the Fort Wayne Pistons), and Football (the Camden Bulldogs) in the US. The NFL still has a team in Green Bay, recalling its roots. The whole system is more reminiscent of Premier League with its many teams in London.

Collingwood’s uniform resembles that of a US referee, or prisoners in old-timey striped outfits. Much worse than the Yankees pinstripes. The Eagles are much more modern, with the distraction of a Hungry Jack logo in the corner.*  In the event the Eagles won this year 79 – 74 in an exciting match that saw them come-from-behind in the last few minutes.

The key thing about Australians is that they love the idea of being in love with sport more than they actually love sport. This is not to say there are not Australian sport fans, there obviously are, and ABC Radio reports more on sport than America’s NPR, but the reality of sport fandom is not so different than/from/to the US.

Sport faces the same pressures as in the US, the coverage, the TV shows about the wives of ballers, the advertising, the concern about the player whose sister who loved playing herself died tragically two weeks earlier, it’s the same but relabeled.

I have heard some promote the terrible idea that Australian unis should have college sport the way US schools do to promote something (school loyalty, alumni donations, more corruption). While US college sports does promote those things (relative to Australia’s relative indifference), it’s an historical anachronism due to their arrival before professional sport. Australia is nothing if not oversaturated in sport. So even if such clubs could be established, I am not clear they would get anything resembling American college fanbases. However today, sport at the uni level is basically at the intramural level, and on the level of Middle School sport in the US.

So these championship games don’t necessarily sell out the arena in which they are paid. Regular season games seldom sell out. Part of this is hurt by teams playing in large metropolitan stadia. NRL teams in Sydney often play in Sydney’s large Olympic Stadium named after a financial company with the letters A and N and Z in its name, or a different stadium in Moore Park named after a different financial company with  A and N and Z in its name. Nevertheless there are plans to remodel the first and replace the second stadium. This is of course unnecessary.

These final games are nevertheless Superbowl-like spectacles; the Black Eyed Peas (sans Fergie) were one of the opening acts for the AFL game, they have previously done a SuperBowl (in 2011).

The NRL Premiership (on the Nine Network’s Wide World of Sports) is the following day (Sunday). There is also a women’s game, and a junior game, earlier in the day, but the stands are mostly empty for these matches.

In 2018 it’s the long awaited match between The Sydney Roosters vs. The Melbourne Storm. As you can tell, the Roosters, by their nickname, are an old club, and the Storm are much newer, when abstract nicknames gained popularity. The Storm are appearing in their third consecutive Grand Final.

The pre-game show has much guitar and fireworks and smoke, but its mostly cleared by game time. The athletes are standing for Advance Australia Fair, but of course Australian police officers don’t kill nearly as many Australians as US officers. Sport is probably the most racially integrated sector of Australia, now struggling with appropriate recognition of First Australians, well behind Canada and New Zealand in this regard, but arguably ahead of the US at this point.

The Roosters are sponsored by Steggles — which due to the cursive font at first I thought was Steagles, like the World War II mashup of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers. Steggles sells frozen chicken. So it’s a bit auto-phagic or cannibalistic to be sponsored by a company that will eat you and your kind. The Storm are sponsored by Crown Casino. The Refs are sponsored by Youi, which is an insurance company.

Most NRL teams were historically in greater Sydney, and the Roosters were based in the wealthy Eastern Suburbs (think Bondi), but the league has expanded to have teams in other Oceania cities (including one in New Zealand and 3 in Queensland (costing Sydney some franchises, but in this 16 team league there remain 9 Sydney area teams.

A quick guide for Americans. NRL is basically like American-rules football except: Scoring in NRL: Field Goal = drop goal = 1 point, a touchdown = a try = 4 points.  The extra point conversion kick is worth 2 points, and is kicked from the edge of the field, and there are no blockers. This is also a 2 point penalty kick. When you score the other team kicks off to you. There is one set of 5 downs. There are a lot of punts on the 5th down, though teams seem more likely to go for it, and turn the ball over if they don’t score a try, sometimes they just go for a 2 point kick (but there are no special teams for this, this is in continuous play, unlike the 2 point conversion and penalty kicks). Punts are a combination of punt and forward pass (in that a team can recover its own punt, but there is no actual forward pass, all passes are lateral and backwards (like the end-of-game play the American-rules football team behind sometimes does). The offensive and defensive players are the same. There is no quarterback or other specialist players, though some players are of course more significant than others. There are no helmets, but there are similar concussion issues. There are no huddles or timeouts (except official timeouts and instant replay reviews). There are nevertheless fumbles and interceptions and other kinds of turnovers. It’s a continuous flow game, and lasts 80 minutes of actual activity. The players wear shorts and short sleeve shirts. There are scrums when control of the ball is disputed somehow. The penalty box is called the Sin Bin.

In short, it’s a superior game that could become popular in the US, except for the lack of the forward pass, but I don’t know how it could be elegantly incorporated.

In the event the Sydney Roosters defeated the Melbourne Storm 21-6, a game the Roosters dominated from the beginning.

After this weekend’s sportgasm, Monday is a holiday, Labour Day in NSW, ACT (Canberra), and South Australia, but Queens Birthday in Queensland*, and the beginning of the two week Spring Break for schools in NSW. Holidays are not standardised across Australia, the states are much more nation-like.

This survey would be incomplete without mentioning that there is also Cricket (in a few distinct formats as people are less keen on 5 day matches than they once were), basketball (the NBL), netball, A-League soccer (which is growing, but not yet dominant), and the ponies.


Notes

  • While it is “Sport” not “Sports”, note that it is “Maths”, not “Math”. Why? Because.
  •  In addition to  Sport and PE, public primary schools also have  two lunch/recess periods, and an opt-out religion indoctrination course, so the curriculum is perhaps not as academically rigorous as it might be.
  • Rugby League is not to be confused with Rugby Union.
  • I have been informed by an Australian that “In fact it applies to the difference between Rugby Union and Rugby League, the latter being a break way from Rugby Union which occurred in the north of England in 1895. The differentiation was that Rugby teams in the north comprised more working class men – coalminers etc – whereas in the south it was played by amateurs who had probably gone to one of the rugby football playing Public (read private) Schools. That tradition continues in Sydney with the so called Great Public Schools being strictly rugby union playing and historically Rugby league being played more by, for example the poorer Catholic schools. Certainly League is still more associated with the so called working classes if there is such a class any more.In fact the first rugby union club to be established in Australia was Sydney University’s in 1864 and the first match was in 1869 against my other alma mater Newington College.

    So in fact it is Rugby Union that is the ruffians game played by gentlemen – and that fact was certainly undeniable –  and Rugby league is, well, a ruffian’s game played by, well, ruffians! It was Football or Soccer that was termed a Gentleman’s Game played by ruffians (or thugs).

    AFL started as winter game to keep cricket players fit and is a complete mystery to anyone who grew up north of the Murrumbidgee River! It is unclear whether it is played by ruffians or gentlemen – possibly both! Certainly it is incredibly tribal in Melbourne – if you work down there you have to have a team or face being an outcast from any water cooler conversations, maybe any conversations, from about April to October.”

  • Hungry Jacks is Australia’s Burger King, though it tastes slightly better for some reason. In general Australian burgers are adulterated with items that are not ground beef, but the chains (like Macca’s and HJ) seems to avoid that problem. It is also also worth noting that a ‘burger’ is any kind of sandwich with cooked meat (so chickenburgers (chicken fillets) and lambburgers are common.
  • The Queen’s Birthday Holiday is not actually the Queen’s Birthday, and is celebrated on different days in different states.
  • I should also note somewhere that the  Herald Sun  (in Melbourne, owned by Newscorp) where the Grand Final of the AFL is front page news, is not the same as the Sun Herald (in Sydney, owned by Fairfax) where the NRL Premiership garners headlines, if things weren’t confusing enough.

Question: When will a robot car win a car race against human drivers?

One of the classic questions in Artificial Intelligence is when will a computer beat a master human in some game (Chess, Jeopardy). Well, the next test is not a simple board game, but something involving control of a physical device at high speeds. So the next test is when will a self-driving autonomous vehicle without a human in the drivers seat (at all or via remote control) beat the humans in a NASCAR, Indy, or Formula One car race?

My best guess is 2025, though I am fairly confident before 2029 (the bicentennial of the Rainhill Trials and a year before the bicentennial of the Tom Thumb on the B&O), but this is without a lot of basis. We don’t have enough data points of cars vs. humans in a race. The automakers are not going to be too keen on this, since it sends the wrong message perhaps, and their is a great deal of risk, so it will be after robo-cars are already somewhat widely deployed.

Obviously if you took the safeties off, and didn’t worry about crashing, a robo-car could drive faster than humans now on an empty track. But with other drivers, this would affect the computer, how would/should it respond?

World-class sports cities

While sports must be important for economic development, we think too small in this Twin Cities region.

World class sports city host more than one team in a league. London has countless Football clubs (Premier League clubs include: Chelsea, Fulham, Arsenal, Tottenham, West Ham, Crystal Palace). Evan smaller cities like Manchester and Liverpool have United and City versions.

Back in the States, the NBA shares markets: Los Angeles hosts the San Diego Clippers and Minnesota Lakers, New York has the Knicks and the Knets.

Similarly Major League Baseball gives us Yankees and the Mets, Chicago has the Cubs and White Sox, the Bay Area has the New York Giants and Philadelphia A’s. In baseball, the American and National Leagues long competed over cities, although many teams have since moved (the Boston Braves, the St. Louis Browns, the Philadelphia Athletics, and New York City’s Giants and Dodgers come immediately to mind.)

In the NFL New York/New Jersey has the Jets and the Giants, and once world-class Los Angeles had the Raiders and Rams, and Chicago had the Cardinals and the Bears,

To meet this standard, Greater MSP needs a team to complement and compete with the Vikings, having merely one team halves our chances for a Super Bowl title, halves the number of Super Bowls we could host, halves the number of times Minnesota appears on Monday Night Football, and so on.

Fortunately, we have multiple football stadia, so can easily temporarily accommodate the second team for 8 games a year in either the new stadium or the much older more mature TCF bank stadium while a new Domed stadium is built to accommodate the expansion franchise (or perhaps a team will relocate from a market half our size). We have two core cities, we should have two teams in each professional league, starting with the NFL, since it is the most popular. A new team in the AFC would be ideal.

Just like the Packers and Steelers are named after a local industry, the new football team should be as well. I suggest the Minnesota Implanters, for our vibrant bio-medical devices sector.

Imagine it’s 2025, and a Superbowl, played in February at the new domed stadium, between the NFC Vikings and AFC Implanters. (We know the Implanters would win.) Fortune 500 companies would relocate to the city just to enjoy the party. If one team is good, two teams are better.

The price of anarchy – on the roads and in football

Colleagues at the University of Minnesota write:

Skinner, B and Carlin, B (2013) The price of anarchy – on the roads and in football Significance 10(3) pp. 25-30:

“City traffic can sometimes move faster when a road is closed. A football team can sometimes play better without its best player. The two are linked. Anarchy, say Brian Skinner and Brad Carlin, is freedom to be counterproductive.”

[I am not sure I would interpret I-35W as a Braess’s paradox example, strictly speaking it fails the test, but its advantages were a lot less than might have been thought, and certainly many people were worse off after it opened, if not overall. The general analogy to sports is interesting though.]

College Football Conference Realignment

Updated Nov 28, 2012 (Louisville to ACC, New 4 Conf Scenario)

I have long been more interested in NCAA sports conference realignment than with NCAA sports, though when younger I followed hoops and some college football. With the B1G 10 admitting Maryland and Rutgers, this stuff just got personal. I grew up a Maryland fan, and as such, an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) superioritarian. That is, if the Terps did not win the Conference, it was just because the ACC competition was superior. This of course really only applied in basketball. I taste the bitterness of Maryland with Albert King and Buck Williams facing off against Ralph Sampson, Jr. (not III) of Virginia, or Duke.

Now Maryland has been raptured into the B1G 10 Conference, so as a Minnesotan I might actually see them more often, but it is wrong somehow.

It is not especially wrong from a geographic perspective. The distance from Nebraska to Rutgers is 1292 miles. The driving distance from Boston to Miami is 1505 miles, so the ACC is not more compact than the Big 10, though this move makes the Big 10 less compact, and increases the moment of inertia of the ACC. But the issue is more than miles, it is also time zones. Until the Notre Dame addition, all members of the ACC were in states that were entirely Eastern Time Zone. The Big 10 was split between Eastern and Central time zones. With the late addition of Nebraska, they now contain a state in the Mountain Time Zone. Of course from television product, and start times, having a multiple timezone spanning conference could be profitable, since it staggers the games.

It is wrong from an historical perspective. The Big 10 was the Western Conference (in contrast with the Ivy League’s Eastern Conference). But now it is East (in terms of Rutgers) from several Ivies (Penn, Princeton, Cornell).

As has been widely noted, it is wrong mathematically (the Big 10 has 14 members, the Big 12 has 10 members).

It is wrong from a tradition-preservation perspective. Even if the Maryland-Virginia football game is not as bitter-fought as the Georgia-Georgia Tech game, the Terps against Duke in basketball was notable. While realignment is not new (Where is the University of Chicago now? Just a husk of its former self now that it no longer competes in the Big 10, an unimportant school of little import.), it ought not be encouraged if you want to preserve my youth and allow me to relive it for a few weekends every Fall.

Everyone says televised football is the driver here, and no one cares about televised college basketball, but I don’t think that’s true, not in the northeast, where college football sucks and college basketball does not.

Most importantly it is wrong, or at best short-sighted, from a long-term economic perspective.

Everyone seems to believe that the current model of Cable TV channels paying big bucks to conferences, which depends on the current model of Cable TV surviving, will sustain. What happens with Internet Television, a la carte programming, etc. Will ESPN (as a live programming “channel”) even be around in 15 years? This feels a lot like when the Dodgers and Giants left New York to go to California for Pay Television, among other reasons, in the 1950s (Pay Television wasn’t viable until the late 1970s). Having a “channel” in a “market” makes little sense in a world where anyone can watch anything live (for a fee or for commercials).

Who should be concerned about whether the Big 10 Network will be carried in a particular state or metro area? Anyone will access the programs from anywhere. There needs to be some gatekeeper for funding the coverage, but that can be done without TV networks, and that will change the economics enormously, which makes worrying about these networks at best transient.

There is no stability here. This is what “Gales of Creative Destruction” are all about.

The most stability you could achieve is if the teams in a conference are all roughly equal, so no one is free-riding off the others, and no one is feeling like they are supporting the others. But that assumes that a club of 9, 10, 12, 14, or 16 schools can somehow maintain that level of no cross-subsidies for an extended period. The number of colleges may be roughly fixed (and this of course assumes colleges and universities are stable in a decade or two, and that is doubtful too), the number of permutations and combinations of those colleges is enormous.

Carriage of the Big 10 Television Network (BTN) on the right tier of local cable systems, which is supposedly the source of the push behind the eastward thrust of the Big 10 will soon seem as irrelevant as Betamax vs VHS. Carriage is not going to be a scarce commodity in 10 years, much less the 20 or 40 years conferences should care about (since that is the timeframe when Alumni of my age might think about donating to their alma mater, and tradition breaking does not make one fonder).

Not only is television changing, it is highly likely sports will change. Football is not likely to be with us in its current format in a few decades.

Nothing is permanent, everything changes. The past is gone. Get over it.

I previously fixed the college football playoff system. I still believe this is close to the end state once college football moves from a 4 team to an 8 team playoff (though apparently the Sugar Bowl will get dibs instead of the Orange Bowl for the Semi-Finals). This is why there 6 bowls in the current arrangement, 4 for quarter-finals, 2 for semi-finals, and then 1 for the finals, which will be new.

Below are my schemas for what used to be called Division I conferences (and now FBS) assuming irreversibility (Humpty Dumpty will not be reassembled) and the crack-up of the Big East (the BB schools expel the remaining football schools and build a new elite BB conference) and the WAC. (With all thanks to Matt Peloquin and his website for background.) That is, this is the best that can be done assuming 5 major conferences. If we go to 4, see below, assuming we pass through the 5 conference scenario first. While these are not the conferences I want, I think this maximizes stability going forward, across the dimensions of historical stability, geographic sanity, and approximate similarity in quality of football play.

Comments on the 5 conference scenario. This is roughly where we are, with UCONN Louisville going to the ACC, the Big 12 going to 14 with Cincinnati, Air Force, Boise State, and BYU (perhaps football only), and the Pac 12 adding Hawaii and UNLV, the next best Western state schools. I know the Pac 12 would consider raiding the Big XII (for OK, TX, TT, OSU, or Kansas), but I think that is not worth doing in the end, for all the reasons it failed last time. I also assume CUSA and the Mountain West have a friendly realignment, perhaps going to a 2 game playoff sequence. The MAC gets overly large picking up the rest of the Big East football teams and the academies.

Comments on the 4 conference scenario. This is roughly 16×4+2 that would make nice symmetry. Here the ACC cracks up. (The alternative is the Big XII cracks, but given current money flows, it looks like the ACC will break first). I just think there are at least 66 schools in the system that will need to be in the majors for a playoff system. One could promote some of the other MINORS schools (maybe from the ACC or Big East), but none of them are strong enough to force their way in for football (the best are Syracuse, Pitt, or Connecticut, but they are weaker than the weakest team in the MAJORS except for Vanderbilt, Baylor, or Northwestern, which all already in). The Big 10 goes for east coast markets with TV carriage and for elite land grant schools (NC, UVA, GT). The Big 12 goes for second schools in SEC states, + Notre Dame. The Pac-16 bites the bullet and admits Boise State and BYU. The SEC picks up the rest of the ACC football schools (second tier state land grants, NC State and Virginia Tech) in states they don’t already have schools.

The champions of the 4 conferences, plus 4 top-ranked wild cards will be in the playoffs. Big 10 will align with Fox, Big 12 with NBC, SEC with CBS, and PAC 12 with ABC/ESPN for a few years before football is abolished and the networks disemboweled.

5 Conference Scenario

MAJORS
ACC BIG 10 BIG 12 PAC 12 SEC
Clemson ACC Illinois Big Ten Baylor Big XII Arizona PAC 10 Alabama SEC
Duke ACC Indiana Big Ten Iowa State Big XII Arizona State PAC 10 Arkansas SEC
Florida State ACC Iowa Big Ten Kansas Big XII California PAC 10 Auburn SEC
Georgia Tech ACC Michigan Big Ten Kansas State Big XII Oregon PAC 10 Florida SEC
NC State ACC Michigan State Big Ten Oklahoma Big XII Oregon St PAC 10 Georgia SEC
North Carolina ACC Minnesota Big Ten Oklahoma St. Big XII Stanford PAC 10 Kentucky SEC
Virginia ACC Northwestern Big Ten Texas Tech Big XII UCLA PAC 10 LSU SEC
Wake Forest ACC Ohio State Big Ten Texas Big XII USC PAC 10 Mississippi SEC
Virginia Tech ACC Penn State Big Ten West Virginia Big East Washington PAC 10 Mississippi St. SEC
Miami ACC Purdue Big Ten TCU MWC Washington St PAC 10 South Carolina SEC
Boston College ACC Wisconsin Big Ten Cincinnati Big East Utah MWC Tennessee SEC
Syracuse Big East Nebraska Big XII Air Force MWC Colorado Big XII Vanderbilt SEC
Pittsburgh Big East Maryland ACC Boise State Big East Hawaii WAC Texas A&M Big XII
Notre Dame Ind Rutgers Big East BYU MWC UNLV MWC Missouri Big XII
Louisville Big East
MINORS
BIG EAST FOOTBALL MAC CONFERENCE USA MOUNTAIN WEST Sunbelt
No more Akron MAC Central Florida Big East Air Force MWC Georgia State Sunbelt
Ball State MAC Charlotte Colorado St MWC Florida Atlantic Sunbelt
Bowling Green MAC East Carolina CUSA Fresno State WAC Arkansas State Sunbelt
Buffalo MAC Louisiana Tech WAC Nevada WAC Louisiana Lafayette Sunbelt
Central Michigan MAC Marshall CUSA New Mexico MWC Troy Sunbelt
Eastern Michigan MAC Memphis Big East San Diego State Big East Middle Tennessee State Sunbelt
Kent State MAC Old Dominion San Jose State MWC Louisian Monroe Sunbelt
Miami (Ohio) MAC South Florida Big East Utah State WAC Western Kentucky Sunbelt
Northern Illinois MAC Southern Miss CUSA Wyoming MWC South Alabama Sunbelt
Ohio University MAC Tulane CUSA Texas State Sunbelt
Toledo MAC UAB CUSA UTEP CUSA Texas Arlington Sunbelt
Western Michigan MAC Florida International UTSA CUSA New Mexico St. WAC
Temple Big East North Texas CUSA Idaho WAC
U Mass MAC SMU Big East
Navy Big East Houston Big East
Army Ind./Patriot Rice CUSA
 UCONN  Big East Villanova Big East Tulsa CUSA

4 Conference Scenario: Big XII Survives, ACC Destroyed

MAJORS
BIG 10 BIG XII PAC 12 SEC
Illinois Big Ten Baylor Big XII Arizona PAC 10 Alabama SEC
Indiana Big Ten Iowa State Big XII Arizona State PAC 10 Arkansas SEC
Iowa Big Ten Kansas Big XII California PAC 10 Auburn SEC
Michigan Big Ten Kansas State Big XII Oregon PAC 10 Florida SEC
Michigan State Big Ten Oklahoma Big XII Oregon St PAC 10 Georgia SEC
Minnesota Big Ten Oklahoma St. Big XII Stanford PAC 10 Kentucky SEC
Northwestern Big Ten Texas Tech Big XII UCLA PAC 10 LSU SEC
Ohio State Big Ten Texas Big XII USC PAC 10 Mississippi SEC
Penn State Big Ten West Virginia Big East Washington PAC 10 Mississippi St. SEC
Purdue Big Ten TCU MWC Washington St PAC 10 South Carolina SEC
Wisconsin Big Ten Cincinnati Big East Utah MWC Tennessee SEC
Nebraska Big XII Louisville Big East Colorado Big XII Vanderbilt SEC
Maryland ACC Florida State ACC Hawaii WAC Texas A&M Big XII
Rutgers Big East Clemson ACC UNLV MWC Missouri Big XII
Georgia Tech ACC Miami ACC Boise State Big East NC State ACC
North Carolina ACC Boston College ACC BYU MWC Virginia Tech ACC
Virginia ACC Notre Dame Ind
MINORS
“Big Atlantic” MAC CONFERENCE USA MOUNTAIN WEST
Duke ACC Akron MAC Central Florida Big East Air Force MWC
Wake Forest ACC Ball State MAC Charlotte Colorado St MWC
Syracuse Big East Bowling Green MAC Fresno State WAC
Pittsburgh Big East Buffalo MAC Louisiana Tech WAC Nevada WAC
Connecticut Big East Central Michigan MAC Marshall CUSA New Mexico MWC
Temple Big East Eastern Michigan MAC Memphis Big East San Diego State Big East
U Mass MAC Kent State MAC Old Dominion San Jose State MWC
Navy Big East Miami (Ohio) MAC South Florida Big East Utah State WAC
Army Ind./Patriot Northern Illinois MAC Southern Miss CUSA Wyoming MWC
Villanova Big East Ohio University MAC Tulane CUSA
 East Carolina  CUSA Toledo MAC UAB CUSA
 Tulane  CUSA Western Michigan MAC Florida International NEW SOUTHWEST DIVISION
UTEP CUSA
SUNBELT UTSA CUSA
Georgia State Sunbelt North Texas CUSA
Florida Atlantic Sunbelt SMU Big East
Arkansas State Sunbelt Houston Big East
Louisiana Lafayette Sunbelt Rice CUSA
Troy Sunbelt Tulsa CUSA
Middle Tennessee State Sunbelt
Louisian Monroe Sunbelt
Western Kentucky Sunbelt
South Alabama Sunbelt
Texas State Sunbelt
Texas Arlington Sunbelt
New Mexico St. WAC
Idaho WAC

4 Conference Scenario ACC Survives, Big 12 demolished

MAJORS
BIG 10 ACC PAC 12 SEC
Illinois Big Ten Duke ACC Arizona PAC 10 Alabama SEC
Indiana Big Ten Wake Forest ACC Arizona State PAC 10 Arkansas SEC
Iowa Big Ten Syracuse Big East California PAC 10 Auburn SEC
Michigan Big Ten Pittsburgh Big East Oregon PAC 10 Florida SEC
Michigan State Big Ten Connecticut Big East Oregon St PAC 10 Georgia SEC
Minnesota Big Ten Georgia Tech ACC Stanford PAC 10 Kentucky SEC
Northwestern Big Ten North Carolina ACC UCLA PAC 10 LSU SEC
Ohio State Big Ten Virginia ACC USC PAC 10 Mississippi SEC
Penn State Big Ten NC State ACC Washington PAC 10 Mississippi St. SEC
Purdue Big Ten Virginia Tech ACC Washington St PAC 10 South Carolina SEC
Wisconsin Big Ten Cincinnati Big East Utah MWC Tennessee SEC
Nebraska Big XII Louisville Big East Colorado Big XII Vanderbilt SEC
Maryland ACC Florida State ACC Hawaii WAC Texas A&M Big XII
Rutgers Big East Clemson ACC UNLV MWC Missouri Big XII
Kansas Big XII Miami ACC Oklahoma Big XII Oklahoma State Big XII
Iowa State Big XII Boston College ACC Texas Big XII Kansas State Big XII
Notre Dame Ind West Virginia  Big XII
MINORS
Little East MAC CONFERENCE USA MOUNTAIN WEST
Akron MAC Air Force MWC
Memphis Big East Ball State MAC Charlotte Colorado St MWC
Central Florida Big East Bowling Green MAC Old Dominion Fresno State WAC
South Florida Big East Buffalo MAC Louisiana Tech WAC Nevada WAC
East Carolina CUSA Central Michigan MAC Marshall CUSA New Mexico MWC
Temple Big East Eastern Michigan MAC Florida International San Diego State Big East
U Mass MAC Kent State MAC UAB San Jose State MWC
Navy Big East Miami (Ohio) MAC Southern Miss Utah State WAC
Army Ind./Patriot Northern Illinois MAC Wyoming MWC
Villanova Big East Ohio University MAC  BYU  MWC
 Tulane  CUSA Toledo MAC  Boise State  Big East
Western Michigan MAC
SOUTHWEST
SUNBELT UTSA CUSA
Georgia State Sunbelt North Texas CUSA
Florida Atlantic Sunbelt SMU Big East
Arkansas State Sunbelt Houston Big East
Louisiana Lafayette Sunbelt Rice CUSA
Troy Sunbelt Tulsa CUSA
Middle Tennessee State Sunbelt  Baylor  Big XII
Louisian Monroe Sunbelt  Texas Tech  Big XII
Western Kentucky Sunbelt  TCU  MWC
South Alabama Sunbelt  UTEP  CUSA
Texas State Sunbelt
Texas Arlington Sunbelt
New Mexico St. WAC
Idaho WAC

How Do You Put a Price Tag on a Brand New City? #wilfare

How Do You Put a Price Tag on a Brand New City? – Jobs & Economy – The Atlantic Cities: “The infant nation of South Sudan has a big construction project in mind. Officials are hoping to build a brand new city to act as its capital. The cost of the project was recently estimated at $940 million.”

OK, cost of 1 stadium in Minneapolis to serve 8 games a year to replace existing stadium > cost of capital of entire country.

Vikings congestion charging zone #wilfare

How to pay for the Vikings stadium is the topic of the hour here in GreaterMSP. I have another solution that has not been broached to recover part of the $77 per ticket subsidy.
Let us establish a Congestion Zone around the proposed Minnesota Sports Complex, which is in effect on game days only (and could be extended for other special events). Drive into this zone on game days and pay $100 $150 (assuming an auto occupancy of about 2, and most fans drive) as a congestion charge. As with the London Congestion Zone, on which it is loosely modeled, residents would get a discount. This would ensure people driving to the game, regardless of where they park, would have to pay.
The funds earned would pay for administering the zone and the new stadium. Wilf would have no say in the matter. I have put a first draft of the zone boundaries on the Google map below, but obviously this could be discussed (should it extend to Cedar-Riverside or to St. Anthony Main? I am counting on the inherent laziness of Vikings fans being unwilling to walk to counter-act their inherent frugality. Every entrance to the zone would be cordoned, starting say 10 am on game days, and running until say the end of the first quarter, and people would have to pay to enter the area or produce evidence of residence.
Fans coming by transit, foot, or bicycle would be exempted.
Obviously there would need to be some new legal framework established for this.

Deconstructing the Minnesota Sports Complex #Wilfare

MNSportsComplex640
The Minnesota Sports Complex, like an inferiority complex, plagues the state. If we in Greater>>MSP lack one pro sports team in the Big Four, we are inferior to big cities who have all four teams, like Los Angeles, or New York (er. New Jersey).
But I am not here to talk about psychology, I am here to talk of urban form. The image above, apparently from the Vikings, looking eastward towards the sadly named Minnesota Sports Complex because naming rights have yet to be sold, makes some very significant proposals about urban form.
(1) The LRT will run on a car-free mall with new pavers. This is unlike today. 5th Street will join the Washington Avenue Mall on campus and Nicollet Mall as pedestrian/transit mall. I am cool with that.
(2) The two blocks just north of 5th street will have surface parking lots. Seriously? After this level of investment, the Vikings don’t believe that there will be demand for structures, even structured parking? What kind of redevelopment is this? I am not cool with that.
(3) There will be meandering sidewalks south of the parking but north of fifth, despite the straight pedestrian mall. Why? Is this because it resembles the edge of a football?
(4) I see some open-air transit-like vehicles (lollies in Century Village East retirement community terms). This is for the oldsters who can’t walk a couple of blocks? Why can’t this run on the transit mall? What becomes of the paths the other 357 days a year?

The end of football #wilfare

Tyler Cowan and Kevin Grier @ Grantland: CTE, the concussion crisis, and an economic look at the end of football: “The NFL is done for the year, but it is not pure fantasy to suggest that it may be done for good in the not-too-distant future. How might such a doomsday scenario play out and what would be the economic and social consequences?”

The end of football (like the functional end of Boxing we have seen in the past decade) makes a new Vikings stadium look less worthwhile.