All That and a Bag of Mail: Facebook’s Billions and Florida State’s Millions

Just as I prepared to hit publish on All That and a Bag of Mail, news broke via CBS Sports Brett McMurphy and Tony Barnhart that the Big 12 and the SEC had entered in to an agreement for the two conference champs to play a bowl game in the event they weren’t included in the playoff. 

Per a release from the SEC that game will be played on January 1st beginning with the 2014 season and lasting for five years.

The site for that game will be bid out, but rest assured that it will take place in either the Sugar or Cotton bowl locations.

Will it be the Sugar or Cotton Bowl?

Not if the leagues want to make as much money as possible.

And that will be fascinating to see. If the Big 12 and the SEC have both put on title games, why can’t they also put on a bowl game and make all the money themselves? We’re probably talking about at least $20 million a year since you could see this to a TV network as well.  

Of course, just twice in the 14 year history of the BCS title game has neither an SEC nor Big 12 champ been included. So that part of the agreement, that the champs will play, is likely ephemeral. The game between conference champs would rarely, if ever, happen in a four team playoff. Instead, the SEC and Big 12’s second best teams would be selected for the game. But what this agreement does do is illustrate something much more important, the Big 12 and the SEC are likely to be allied going forward in how to select the four teams for a playoff. And it also establishes a clear line of demarcation setting off the four top conferences in America — the Pac 12 and the Big Ten have the Rose Bowl — and the SEC and the Big 12 will have their own partnership and their own bowl.  

Judging from my email y’all still want to talk about Florida State to the Big 12 — which I’ll do below — and this agreement would appear to make that more likely.

Our beaver pelt trader of the week is Phil Fulmer. Congrats on his induction in to the college football hall of fame. At least Tennessee didn’t fire a coach who’d gone 152-52 in his career and replace him with a 17-20 WAC coach who has since gone 11-14 in the SEC.

Wait… 

Chris writes:

Clay, break down the dollars on Florida State, why could it make the Seminoles a lot more money to be in the Big 12. I just don’t see the money changing much especially in relation to how much the $20 million buyout will cost. 

Okay, here goes. 

1. The ten team Big 12 is expected to make at least $20 million per school in its next TV deal. Assume that, at minimum, any additions to the conference will get at least $20 million each. That’s at least $3 million a year more than FSU is making from TV in the ACC. But the reality is Florida State — and Miami or Clemson — is worth much more because it creates the second best conference in football. So assume that each school would get something more, probably around $22 million each.

That’s five million more a year from television.  

2. The Big 12 title game is probably worth at least $15 million to the conference, or a bit more than a million per school. 

That’s six million more a year total. 

And that’s being conservative. 

With Jerry Jones bidding who knows what a Big 12 title game in Dallas could be worth. 

3. Regaining its tier three games Florida State could form its own network and probably net around $5 million more a year. 

If the Seminoles aren’t sure whether they have the drawing power for a network on their own, they could combine with Miami and form their own station that covers both teams and carries athletics across the state. 

That could potentially be worth much more than $5 million a year. 

Just from these three steps you’re talking about $11 million more a year.

Again, conservatively. 

But here’s the kicker that no one is talking about:

4. The redistributed playoff share will be much more substantial for Florida State in the Big 12. 

Assume that the ACC would rarely have a team qualify for the playoff. And if it did qualify that money would be split 14 ways. Now assume that the Big 12 with Florida State — and Miami or Clemson — along with Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas would qualify just about every year. Plus, and this is key, that the Big 12 would have a good chance of occasionally getting two teams. 

That money would then be split just 12 ways.

We’re talking about tremendous amounts of playoff money.

At a bare minimum a playoff will sell for $500 million a year.

Right now payouts for teams advancing to a BCS bowl are around $18 million.

Plan on that at least doubling to $36 million per team. (The real battle will be over how much a second team gets. Right now that’s capped at a lower figure. Let’s assume that’s half.)

So advancing two teams to the playoff could end up worth around a bare minimum of $54 million to a conference. Divided twelve ways that’s an additional $3-$5 million a year in playoff money. 

At minimum. 

It could be much higher than that. 

So you’re talking about $15 million more a year for Florida State in the Big 12. (If you think this projection is too optimistic, I don’t, you may, lop off $5 million. That’s still a big increase).

Suddenly that exit fee doesn’t seem like such a big deal, does it?

In light of the SEC — Big 12 alliance today and these numbers above, I really think FSU is headed to the Big 12. 

James writes:

Clay, settle a bar bet, a college kid of average intelligence is sent back in time to 2002. He knows that Facebook is founded in 2004 and he’s used the site and knows how it works. Could he or she launch Facebook in 2003 and become a billionaire? In other words, was the idea so good that anyone could have pounced or was the person who executed the idea the key?

Keep in mind that you’d know what was successful based on using the site over the past seven years. So basically you’d be trying to replicate the site design.

First, I signed up for Facebook in 2004 when it hit Vanderbilt and took the campus by storm. Everyone was instantly on it.

The idea was brilliant. 

And I remember being on there just astounded by how amazing it was and certain that it was going to be a tremendous success.

Everyone who used it saw the same thing. 

But your question is fascinating, could you — or the average college student in 2003 — pull a Biff in “Back to the Future 2” and cash in on the idea if you knew what the site should look like and had a rough idea of how to make the big decisions going forward? That is, you’d know that you’d have to eventually open up Facebook to everyone, not just college students — which was controversial at the time — and you’d have to see the wave of photo sharing, tagging, video, time line, and the like. And you’d have to have the data capabilities to weather the storm from all the time people were spending on your site.  

And your question is whether or not you could become a billionaire, which means you’d have to be about 1/19th as good as Zuckerberg. 

Seriously, this is a great question to be debate. 

My inclination is no, the average college kid would still fail because Zuckerberg is brilliant and worked his ass off.

Your average college kid wouldn’t have the drive to work his ass off.  

Plus, your average college kid has no real computer ability. So how would you attract other brilliant computer people if they didn’t respect you? I think what would have happened is you’d have ended up with a bunch of companies competing to become Facebook because your average college kid wouldn’t have been able to execute his initial idea.

Toss in the fact that your average college kid probably taps out for a couple of hundred million — even Zuckerberg almost sold out to Yahoo for a billion — and there’s no way the average college kid could make a billion.  

Still, a good payday, but not a company that could potentially change the fabric of our world.

Great bar debate question though.

And, hell, you could disagree completely and believe you’d be a billionaire today.  

Greg H. writes:

Has anyone adequately explained how Mr. Belding turned up on Mad Men last week?  Has he been going on auditions for the last 20 years and finally nailed a part on one of the biggest shows on tv? Or is Matthew Weiner just a huge Saved By The Bell fan?  If so, do we dare dream of seeing Kelly Kapowski as the brand manager for Snowball? 

Belding appearing on Mad Men was spectacular. Weiner, like me, has to be a huge “Saved By the Bell” fan.

I’m holding out hope that Kapowski will be the one to break up Don’s new marriage.  

@statefanatic tweets:

Do you think the punishment fits the crime in the Bama teabagger case?

No.

He’s now facing two felonies and years in jail. 

The punishment will be far in excess of the crime committed.

This is where the court system is inadequate to remedy stupidity.

The teabagger should be publicly shamed via retaliation video. Like, maybe he has to drink the guy he teabagged’s urine. Or the guy he teabagged gets to throw feces at him while he’s tied up to a Krystal frying board.

Post the video online, ridicule him too, and they’re square.

Tell me what punishment he should face. I think OKTC commenters could merit more effective justice.  

The Bama teabagger is clearly a dumbass. And at 32 years old he isn’t able to just play the “I’m a stupid, drunk college kid,” defense.

But does he really need to go to jail for this?

Of course not.

Is there some massive cabal of teabaggers that we need to nip in the bud before they take over the country?

No.  

A stupid frat house crime calls out for stupid frat house justice.  

(Update: @skjz on Twitter suggests making teabagger wear an Auburn shirt while teabagging effigy of Bear Bryant. 

Perfect.)

Ellen J. writes:

Hey Clay!

I just read your latest article about Florida State possibly headed to the Big 12 and the domino effect it would have on the rest of the college football landscape.  In all of your “what if” articles, you always mention that Virginia Tech and NC State would be the next to go to the SEC and make it a 16-team conference.  Now (a little history…) I’m a Florida alum, as is my younger sister.  My youngest sister however is the brains of the family and went to UVA.  We are and always will be an SEC family, so having Virginia move to the SEC would obviously serve us well but I really think it would serve the SEC well too!  Why don’t you think they would be an option for the SEC?  In my opinion, you can’t take Virginia Tech without Virginia because both schools would want to preserve the rivalry.  (I get that you could still have a Thanksgiving weekend game if they were in separate conferences but I think this is still a valid argument…)  Also, I really think the academic reputation of UVA would really help the SEC and give it some credibility, especially being a member of the UAA.  This is something the NC State definitely lacks.  Furthermore, ever since Mike London took over for Al Groh the program has been on the up swing.  It’s not “there” yet but making it to the Chick-fil-A Bowl was huge for them and they are only going to get better.  You can’t really argue that Virginia lacks the talent to join the SEC with Mizzou and A&M coming on board, especially in the wake of a weak East for the past couple of years.  Besides living in the shadows of Duke and UNC (two basketball, NOT football powerhouses) I really don’t see why NC State makes sense for the SEC.  Can you give elaborate more on your argument as to why Virginia isn’t being looked at as a possible #16 for our conference?

Hey Ellen!

I like the idea of Virginia to the SEC, but I don’t think Virginia would come because of the academic drop-off. The only way Virginia leaves the ACC is for the Big Ten. Which could happen. 

The only way that Virginia and Virginia Tech split up is if both schools end up in a better situation. (Stop with the this could never happen talk. We heard the same thing about Texas and Texas A&M splitting up and that state cares a ton more about football than Virginia does).

I think long range Virginia and Maryland — and maybe Georgia Tech as well — end up in the Big Ten and Virginia Tech heads to the SEC.

While I don’t think Duke and UNC can be pried away from each other, I do think N.C. State will jump to the SEC as it watches the ACC crumble and has to decide whether it wants to be in a merged Big East/ACC basketball-first conference or the wealthiest conference in America that could finally given it some cachet over Duke and Carolina when it comes to grabbing recruits. 

Voila, a sixteen team SEC is born.

But, first, Florida State has to jump ship to the Big 12. Which I think will happen now.  

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