QUOTE(ROCK1 @ Feb 24 2012, 09:51 AM)
Wouldn't you think that Toledo would have a better chance to make a conference move than Akron? A long history of winning, bowl games, second longest win streak in DI history, a very nice expandable stadium, MAC attendance records. Yes, the basketball hasn't been good lately, but Toledo did win a regular season championship as recent as 2007. The basketball facility had a $30 million renovation a few years ago and is very nice. Seats 7,300, but the north wall could easily be knocked out to continue the upper deck and get to 10,000+.
If you're just basing it off of past football results, then yes, Toledo has a better chance of joining the Alliance (not even considering the Big East since it's out of the question for anybody right now). However, when comparing the two schools moving forward, Akron has just as good of a case (if not better).
Toledo vs. Akron head-to-head:Enrollment:
Akron (29,000), Toledo (23,000) ... Plus does Toledo have any branch campuses? Akron now has Wayne (Orrville/Wooster), Medina and Lakewood (Cleveland) locations.Academics:
A wash. Both are open enrollment. Both have similar endowments (Toledo slightly higher). Both are identical in research spending (though Akron has produced more results ... http://www.medcitynews.com/2009/01/technol...h-institutions/
). Toledo has an advantage in having a med and pharmacy school, but Akron at least has NEOCOM and partnerships with the Cleveland Clinic. Akron also has programs/degrees that Toledo doesn't offer.TV market:
Akron (17), Toledo (73) ... Though even if you take Cleveland out of Akron's number, it would still rank higher than Toledo... just the Akron-Canton area alone puts UA in almost the same size market as Buffalo (which is ranked No. 51). And since, technically, Cleveland is part of Akron's market, it's not factual to separate the two.Overall athletics:
Akron (102), Toledo (185), according to Director's Cup standings .... http://thedirectorscup.com/wp-content/uplo...nfstandings.pdfFootball program:
Toledo by a mile. However, both play in the two nicest facilities in the MAC. It's wait-and-see with Akron, but with Terry Bowden in the fold, Akron has as much potential as anybody in the current MAC.Basketball program:
Akron by a mile. However, Toledo plays in a better facility and seems to be on the upswing. At the same time, Akron, led by Jim Tressel, is fundraising to build a new arena.Recruiting potential:
Akron by a mile. There is no comparison to the amount of football recruits produced in the Cleveland-Akron-Canton area to the Toledo area. ... probably a generous 4-1 ratio advantage on Akron's part. On the basketball side, it's closer, though Cleveland-Akron-Canton is still likely ahead by a 2-to-1 ratio (if not more).
With that said, if the Alliance expands up to 24, both Toledo and Akron would probably get an invite. Having two Ohio schools, located in two separate markets, makes sense for both the Alliance and UA and UT. It puts the league in the heavily populated Northern Ohio markets, plus gives UA and UT travel partners. And the schools could build a nice rivalry. I know some may not receive that well on here (due to the Can't rivalry) and some on Toledo boards will say the same thing (due to BG). But lets face it, both the Cleveland-Akron and Toledo TV markets (especially with UT's football success) will be coveted. Both markets have two schools located within each. Neither market is big enough to take on two. I think it will be up to the universities of Akron and Toledo to decide if making more money (and enhancing their brands) is worth giving up their traditional rivalries.
For me, it's a no-brainer, and from what I know about the University of Akron leadership, it's a no-brainer to them. You make the move and don't look back. Even if the Alliance loses members, worst case is you begin to start plucking more MAC schools, then you're back to square-one, but now with a head start money-wise.
Just from gauging information on what it appears conferences are targeting, the most attractive MAC schools are, IMO:
1. Akron - Can't could be here if not for the sub-par football facilities with no immediate plans to replace Dix. (A "Cleveland" school would be highly coveted since it's the largest market in the country without a BCS team).
2. Toledo - BG could be here ... actually it would be way behind Buffalo ... but regardless, it has neither the football or basketball facility to compete with UT. Plus, UT is the Toledo school while BG just happens to be in the Toledo market.
3. Buffalo - Good market, decent athletics. Buffalo's best selling point, though, is on the academic side, especially its huge endowment. However, I'm not sure if Buffalo's academics outweighs Toledo's football program. Though you can make a case for Buffalo at No. 2 (larger market than Toledo, better academics). It's close.
4. Northern Illinois - Of course NIU fans will say they should rank No. 1 due to the Chicago market. But while, technically being in the Chicago market, NIU is 65 miles west of Chicago (you know, the Iowa way) and surrounded by cornfields. In fact, it's just as close to Rockford (35 or so miles) as it is Aurora (the far west fringe of the Chicagoland area). One of the things people use against Akron is that it can't capture the Cleveland market being that it is located 35 miles from Cleveland. Let's use the same logic with NIU. How can NIU capture Chicago when it's such a remote place within the (albeit larger Chicago market)? For example, the geographic mid-point of the Cleveland-Akron market (population wise) would lie somewhere around Twinsburg (19 miles from Akron ... and Twinsburg, like Akron, are both in Summit County.) In the Chicago TV market, the geographic mid-point would be somewhere near downtown Chicago (since, unlike Cleveland-Akron-Canton, the Chicago market is highly concentrated around Chicago itself). NIU is 65 miles from that mid-point. That's not even considering Chicago already has Northwestern 13 miles to the north, Notre Dame 96 miles to the east (not much further than NIU. plus Chicago's population is more eastern/southern based rather than western based to begin with), and Chicago also happens to be the hub for Big Ten alumni.
Also, like I've already stated, you can take "Cleveland" out of Akron's equation and it's still a borderline top 50 market. If you take "Chicago" out of NIU, Dekalb might as well be Sheboygan, Wisc.
5. Ball State - While technically in the No. 25 Indianapolis market, Muncie, like NIU to Chicago, is a fringe location, being about 60 miles from Indy. And Indiana is a state that doesn't care that much (outside of ND) about college football.
6. Western Michigan - Being in the No. 39 Kalamazoo-Grand Rapids-Battle Creek market sounds nice. But considering the largest of those places is Grand Rapids, and its 50 miles away from WMU, have fun selling that.
Nobody else (if you already count Can't and BG) has a chance. Ohio, and I kind of feel bad for the Bobcats if not for the pompous fan base, has built a solid football and basketball program, and has a large fan base. However, it has no market to speak of. If anybody wants to see the current MAC stay in place, it's OU. If it had any true market presence (not "we have alumni all over the state" ... like other MAC schools don't), it would be right up there in the mix.
Miami technically has the Cincinnati TV market, but already got beat to the punch by Cincinnati. Like Cleveland-Akron, or Toledo, none of those markets are big enough to support a second team higher than MAC level. Again, feel bad for Miami due to its rich history, but it is what it is.
Eastern Michigan is in the Detroit market, but it also has Ann Arbor 11 miles to the northwest. Yeah, good luck with that.
CMU may be even more screwed. Mount Pleasant may as well be the UP. Even OU fans think Mount Pleasant is remote.