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Everything posted by joechicago

  1. JCP is a mess of a company. They were dying as their mainstay customer went to Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon, etc., and so they hired an Apple guy to rebrand. Apple and JC Penney could not be more different, either in customer base or industry. (The guy actually did away with sales and mark-downs because he thought customers would buy more with upfront pricing). Christmas 2012 was a disaster for them, and they're spinning into Borders territory pretty quickly. The "come back and see us" is the smartest approach they've taken: try to get back your reliable customer base. The hip consumer is never coming to JC Penney. That's not how clothing retail works.
  2. The MLS is not a failure. It's made some head-scratching decisions both early on and of late, but it's now a mainstay, stable league and it's gained headway against the entrenched Big 4. The AFL poster reminded me of the Iowa Barnstormers. God, I love that name.
  3. Just chiming in to say New Orleans might be favorite in the entire set. Wow.
  4. Really solid thread and work! I love the Carolina and Emerald City jerseys. The only ones that I've seen where I would have any sort of criticisms would be the Chicago sets and the Denver set. Denver the colors just don't work, and the way the mountains are cut reminds me of "twin peaks" and hoping that there's a women's team that wears those. The Chicago sets, well, I hate the fact that one jersey reminds me of one of the most corrupt local governments in the nation and a horribly-indebted place run into the ground by machine politics and the other reminds me of the Mexican national team. It's a scenario where I would've rather seen one of the two teams just adopt the Bears or Blackhawks color schemes. But overall this is amazing stuff. Look forward to more!
  5. It's actually pretty easy to schedule and have a playoff with an odd number of teams. Consider this (preferable to current model) 25-team league with 5 divisions of 5: Northeast: Toronto, Ottawa, Buffalo, Boston, Montreal Atlantic: NY Rangers, NY Islanders, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh Central: Chicago, St. Louis, Winnipeg, Minnesota, Detroit Frontier: Washington, Tampa Bay, Dallas, Nashville, Colorado West: Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton, San Jose, Los Angeles Home-Away v. everyone not in division = 40 games 4 Home/4 Away v. everyone in division = 32 games 5 add'l home games v. 1 other division = 5 games 5 add'l road games v. 1 other division = 5 games = 82 games. 16-team playoff. Divide the playoffs into East-West and seed to avoid divisional matchups. Thus, if the teams finished as I listed them above, the playoff might look like this: Calgary (W2) v. Winnipeg (W7) Toronto (W3) v. Dallas (W6) Chicago (W1) v. Edmonton (W8) St. Louis (W4) v. Vancouver (W5) NY Rangers (E1) v. Boston (E8) NY Islanders (E4) v. Tampa Bay (E5) Washington (E2) v. Buffalo (E7) Ottawa (E3) v. New Jersey (E6)
  6. Kansas doesn't have that research lab and less football success than that, so the Wildcats at least would be better for the Big Ten than the Jayhawks. Almost literally no one in Kansas (incl. most K State fans) and the Big Ten believes that. The KS Board of Regents would be burned at the stake for even suggesting it.
  7. So...the case for KSU joining the B1G is a research lab and a football team that's been good under exactly one (1) coach? Do I hear that right?
  8. You keep shifting criteria, and I'm not even clear what matters to whom (when you talk about culture, do you mean the other school having a problem, or the B1G having a problem with the school?!). "Mandates?!" I have never, in a decade of attending multiple B1G schools and following the expansion debates, heard of anyone complaining that Georgia Tech would be an outlier because 9/12 schools in the B1G have "liberal arts mandates." And for that matter, you just described Georgia Tech as a superior version of Purdue. And the B1G has previously welcomed elite private schools that emphasize lib arts, so I'm not seeing the issue with Virginia. Those are non-issues on both sides. Nebraska being a flagship land grant helped, but the sticking point there was academic quality. The academians want to add schools that enhance the academic profile, not drop it down, and that's far more important than a school structurally resembling Iowa or Illinois. Kansas State has a terrible academic profile and is the no. 2 school is a low-population state. Georgia Tech, Virginia, and UNC would undoubtedly raise the academic profile. The KS legislature hasn't formally acted (why would they?), it's the KS Board of Regents, whose president basically said it's their preference to keep the two schools together. There are still rumblings that the KS legislature would formally block a move for Kansas (and note that the Big Ten wants KU and not KSU), and given what happened in Texas when the B12 was formed, it's fair speculation that the K State supporters would use the state legislature to protect both schools' interests, which would mean that the B1G never comes to Kansas at all. Would you like more proof that the B1G wants KU and not K State, if it comes to Kansas? Here is a writer in Wichita. Here is one from Omaha. Here an SB Nation guy says KU to B1G and no K State. I cannot find anyone suggesting Kansas State would be a better candidate, or that the B1G would take both. It's one of those self-evident truths for anyone who is at all familiar with Kansas or the Kansas City area that KU - lousy football aside - is THE game in the state and will be the first choice by any conference looking to add members.
  9. You're out of your element if you think Michigan is primarily a liberal arts school (do you know anyone who went to Michigan?) and Georgia Tech is a "ridiculously hard sciences school and engineering school." Michigan, Illinois, Purdue, and the Big Ten are known for engineering, and the first two are tough to get into. It's the top program at those three schools and a significant program at Wisconsin, Northwestern, Penn State, etc. Yes, they all operate under the land grant model and offer solid liberal arts programs, but if you want to talk about the history of the land grants, the entire point of a land grant was to offer practical education, i.e., science and engineering. The schools that emphasize engineering (basically everyone except Indiana) would gladly welcome Georgia Tech, and likely the reciprocal. Clemson is a land grant and shares a similar institutional role as Purdue. Virginia has a well-regarded engineering program and offers an academic/research role that would appeal to the entire Big Ten. The differences that you're seeing just aren't there. But again, if academic culture meant anything, Nebraska would have been DOA. Sure, they're similar to Iowa, but no one wanted them academically. No one. You're the one who raised the argument of a cultural issue. I'm telling you, it's just not there. As to Kansas State, they will never be in the B1G. I'm sorry if you believe they are bigger than KU or a desirable candidate for B1G membership. It's not happening. KU has 4x the endowment, significantly more political pull, and dwarfs KSU in interest in the Kansas City area. IF (big if) the Big Ten wants to go into Kansas, they will take KU over K State 100 times out of 100. And there is no reason for them to take both. During previous expansion discussions, Kansas State was actually viewed as a problem because there were concerns the Kansas legislature would block the B1G taking Kansas unless it also took K State, and no one wanted to take K State.
  10. Nebraska does do research. It just doesn't do the correct research for the AAU (Ag and bio sciences are apparently no good.) FWIW the Nebraska endowment is higher than Iowa's. Also it's not a cultural mishmash; Nebraska is a Midwestern Land Grant that cares strongly about football and even plays what could be stereotyped as "Big Ten football", They also spent much of the first half of the 20th Century trying to get into the Big Ten. Nebraska IS NOT where everything went off the rails with expansion. Hell, it was probably the best move of this entire cycle. And Michigan State is also not a place where things went off the rails either; there was a conscious plan in place to build up Michigan State into a research institution. KSU has more green on the research dollar front. Culturally, there is more difference between Penn State and Nebraska that there is between Penn State and Virginia or North Carolina. I'm sorry if you think Nebraska and Michigan have any more in common than Michigan and Georgia Tech. You would be wrong. In every previous expansion discussion, the fact that a school has research money has been de minimus. AAU membership and general academic prestige have been the driving points when it comes to a school being academically acceptable. On the sports side, it's all about TV sets. K State has neither the academics or the TV sets. It's that simple. They're regarded even worse than UN-L and taking UN-L was a stretch. If the B1G wants to go to Kansas, they're taking KU and that's it, end of discussion.
  11. We agree that expanding for the sake of cable is stupid, and will likely blow up in a few years, but it's the reality that's driving the Big Ten's plans recently. We also agree that culturally/research-wise, you're correct on Miami/Clemson/FSU/etc. The problem is that the Big Ten already threw academics aside for one school (UNL), and arguably for a second a long time ago (MSU), and I have no doubt that they'll discard research/academics for new blood. They already became a cultural mish-mash when they added Nebraska and followed it up with Rutgers. Cultural identity is so far gone at that point, you might as well just say screw it. And if UNC/Clemson/FSU/Virginia/Georgia Tech join together, you've got a solid block of southeastern schools. They don't care about beating the SEC, just getting on the TV packages (they don't care that NYC generally doesn't care about Rutgers, why would they worry about FSU?) Culture is the reason why I would have advocated taking either the choice B12 schools OR the choice ACC schools, but not both. It's obvious they don't care about that, especially if they turn around and go after Missouri (which, frankly, is as southern as Virginia or UNC in its own way). And as far as research/academics, KSU isn't even in the AAU. It's more likely they'd add Iowa State. Actually, I completely forgot the AAU was a huge issue in the last expansion. That adds bonus points to Duke, Iowa State, Virginia, Duke, UNC, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Texas AM, Colorado (why not?), and Pitt (this is one reason why Pitt is always mentioned in these). Personally, I hope they stop at 16, but the reality is that they're looking to dominate media and put the ACC out of its misery.
  12. You're winding up the Blues to put teams in Saskatoon and Halifax?
  13. And we have gone through the looking glass. Clemson and Florida State are more viable candidates than Kansas State, and will certainly be on the offer list. Florida State has actively sought a new conference in the past and has limited history in the ACC (and is likely barred from the SEC), and neither school will have much incentive to stick around after the ACC implodes with key members departing. KSU is NOT coming to the Big Ten, not now, not ever. Kansas is a long-shot, and only even possible if Missouri re-enters as an option or Texas comes on board. The B1G had a chance to bring in Missouri and look at Kansas when Nebraska joined, and the B1G rejected them. Ever since BTN, I've been pushing that the B1G look to 16 or 20 teams and look to consume the best schools from the Big 12 or ACC. IMO, taking Nebraska was a mistake without moving on the then-Big 12 schools worth something (Missouri, KU, OU, OSU, Texas, and A&M), but what's done is done, and by now the Missouri ship has likely sailed. At 14 with MD and Rutgers, the next move is that they're going to be looking to get into new markets in the south. Georgia Tech, North Carolina, and Virginia are the no-doubt next 3 to be offered. At that point, you're at 17, the ACC is dead, and you're competing with the SEC directly. From there, I would list preferences as follows: 1. Notre Dame - past aside, take them if they want to come 2. Texas - take them if they want to come, and if they do, take Oklahoma and Kansas (or Oklahoma State). 3. Florida State 4. Boston College 5. Miami 6. Clemson 7. Syracuse 8. Pitt 9. NC State 10. Missouri 11. Oklahoma 12. Kansas/Oklahoma State 13. Louisville 14. West Virginia This whole thing is controlled by expanding/dominating TV networks and cable/satellite subscription packages. That's why in realignment schools like Kansas State and Iowa State and Baylor are garbage leftovers no one wants.
  14. My guess is that he wants to force STL to invest heavily in a new stadium, and that he really wants to stay, but he has to threaten seriously to leave.
  15. I'm not sure what point (a) has to do with people adopting relegation. The analysis should be on whether fans in city x will still support a team in the 2nd tier. My point was that fairly big teams occasionally drop to Tier 2 in the English structure and they survive. And in those essential metro areas, the promotion/relegation structure allows multiple teams in those areas as teams compete at different levels. On point (, AAA baseball is a terrible analogy. Those teams don't exist to develop their own product, they exist to develop someone else's. So the owners have no incentive to develop their own assets and no tools with which to market a media-friendly product. Additionally, the existence of AAA status comes from the grants/contracts of Major League teams, which prevents entry into a lot of markets, including the most lucrative ones. Plus, something tells me that if Oklahoma City had an elite core of prospects that would push them into the upper league, people would pay attention and TV contracts would arise. Let's say hypothetically that the NBA expands to three tiers, eradicates the NBA draft, eradicates market exclusivity, and allows for a way for new franchises to play their way into the pyramid. The first challenger franchises wouldn't be in El Paso, they'd be in NYC and Chicago, followed closely by teams in Pittsburgh, KC, St. Louis, San Diego, and other completely unrepresented cities at the top level. And because they would have wide placement in major media markets, they would wind up with much more favorable TV positions than AAA baseball or the NDBL.
  16. Here's my crazy version: NORTH Toronto Montreal Quebec (exp.) Toronto 2 (exp.) Ottawa Boston Buffalo Halifax (reloc. Florida) EAST Pittsburgh Philadelphia NY Rangers NY Islanders New Jersey Washington Carolina Tampa Bay CENTRAL Detroit Chicago St. Louis Minnesota Nashville Dallas Winnipeg Columbus WEST Edmonton Calgary Las Vegas (reloc. Anaheim) Vancouver Seattle (reloc. Phoenix) Los Angeles San Jose Colorado This league is terrible for geography.
  17. Dallas is more southern than Western, so I think it makes sense putting it with Nashville, Carolina, Tampa Bay, etc. Also, I forgot I wrote in this thread early - Rams80 you make some excellent points, but I think the crux of our disagreements would be on the stadiums issue. Taxpayers who fund stadiums don't care if the team is playing in the top division, they care if the team is selling seats and generating a return on investment. Last place MLB teams don't sell well unless it's the Cubs. You're correct on those English cities' size, but doesn't that help my point? Sheffield is the size of Milwaukee or Portland, yet it has a Tier 2 team averaging 23k in attendance and a Tier 3 team averaging 18k in attendance. You mention Portsmouth. They still fill their stadium to 60% capacity even after dropping down two flights. That's about what the bottom third of the MLB gets with much larger metro areas, and those stadiums are more expensive and less practical. If we created 2nd-division NFL, I have no doubt established teams would still be drawing at 70+% capacity. Many teams, like the Bears and Steelers and Giants, would likely be above that. Same with the NBA with slightly lower figures and slightly more useful stadiums. The bonds would still get paid, even if it's a prohibiting factor in future bonds being issued.
  18. Looking at rebrands that failed, I would nominate Oldsmobile: Oldsmobile had very strong brand identity and brand loyalty in the 80s, with the streamlined straight-line rocket logo, having a market place of being more luxurious than Pontiac or Chevy and more performance-oriented than Buick or Cadillac. In the mid-90s, GM sought to refresh the brand against foreign imports by dumping the Cutlass and the 98, moving to the logo on the right, and muddying the identity by downplaying the rocket/V-8 performance history (did you know that logo on the right is supposed to conjure images of rocket-fast speed?) as they emphasized Pontiac as a performance model and downplayed the luxury elements in comparison to how they kept marketing Buick. They were gone for good in 2004. They even made good cars and still had lingering brand loyalty, but rebranding to make yourself more generic seems like a recipe for failure. It's kind-of what happened to Pontiac later on when they decided to make Pontiac the producer of the Aztec and the Vibe.
  19. I have to disagree that relegation/promotion would never work in North America. The reason Europe has it and we don't is that European soccer leagues were formed as large associations of dozens/hundreds of teams under one umbrella, where most of the teams formed organically and entry into the association is fairly open. Leagues are not seen as profit-maximizing units where all the teams are dependent upon each other; the profit-maximizing unit is the team itself. Very early, America's major sports formed exclusive small leagues, and it was the leagues themselves that competed against each other. The NL v. the AL v. the Federal League. The NFL v. the AFL. The NBA v. the ABA. So on and so forth. Because these leagues took off when their sports were in their infancy instead of being post-hoc reactions to an already popular sport with hundreds of existing teams, owners essentially colluded together and centrally planned leagues, dividing market shares and all that, to maximize the spread of the game's popularity. In England, a multi-millionaire could have founded a brand new team and worked their way from the ground up into the top flight in a decade. In America, that same entrepreneur could never just start a baseball team in Chicago and have them play at the highest level. In a weird quirk of sports economic history, America's model is either quasi-socialist or flagrantly antitrust, whereas the European model is a much closer embodiment to the American ideals of capitalism and meritocracy. If you're a businessman and you can start a team in Las Vegas that can be a better NFL team than the Lions or the Chiefs, why shouldn't you get to start that team and compete? It's only the anti-competitive conduct by the remainder of the league that prevents that from happening. Same with putting a 3rd team in New York, a 2nd NFL team in Chicago, etc. In Europe, if the market demands a soccer team, there's an opportunity for investment and for the team to grow. In America, you have to buy out a franchise and get your competitors to approve. If it weren't for the antitrust law exceptions, we might have already broken the league v. league mindset. As it is, there's really no reason for it to continue in the major sports. And if there's one idea you can sell in American culture, it's that freedom and capitalism and open markets always triumph over socialist planning and market restrictions. Plus, the pyramid model allows for much stronger development in middle markets. No one cares about the minor leagues in America because the players are all contracted elsewhere. Britain has probably 40 or so clubs that are supported better than the bottom third of the MLB. Right now, the 4th largest urban area in Britain has its flagship team in the 2nd tier. Same with the 8th largest urban area. Same with the 12th. The primary team for the 2nd largest city plays there. Bournemouth is the 16th largest metro area and their flagship team is in the 3rd tier. Yes, they make less money in those leagues, but they still have vibrant fan support and the world didn't end. Nor would it if the Royals had to go to the next tier down for a year. In short, I think the American public would absolutely welcome the concept if they were exposed to it and saw the benefits. However, the current ownership groups in the major sports have no incentive to give up their monopolies, even if it advanced the greater good of the game.
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