Hot Reads: What a Difference a Year Makes
Photo Credit: Aaron Babcock

Hot Reads: Another .500 Prediction

April 07, 2017

If you thought ESPN’s FPI was somewhat opaque, here are some totally
context-free numbers. They, too, have the Huskers as a .500 team in

Here’s an explanation for some of those numbers below. The coaching grades are potentially interesting. Bob Diaco’s sterling grade is based on his previous time as a defensive coordinator. Danny Langsdorf’s rating took a predictable hit after the offense’s struggles a year ago (though not a big one). And Mike Riley . . . well . . . he got a little bit of a bump last year but has plenty of room for growth. I guess that’s the diplomatic way to put it.

you want the full top-40 countdown you’ll have to scroll through a
Twitter feed, but Nebraska national
ranking puts it behind six Big Ten teams, including Wisconsin and Iowa in the West.

Into the Black (Maybe)

The Lafayette Journal & Courier is rolling out its annual review of athletic-department finances in the Big Ten. This is mostly public information but the Journal & Courier has sort of made this Big Ten review its thing and, judging from the shares on this story, that’s a wise decision.

Here are the nuts and bolts on where these numbers come from:

Figures are from the NCAA Revenue and Expense Summary for the 2015-16 fiscal year but don’t include Northwestern, other than total revenue and expenses and other information taken from the Equity in Athletics Report. Since it’s a private school, Northwestern isn’t required to comply with open records requests.

Ohio State led the Big Ten in revenue and expenses. Nebraska ranked eighth on both lists with a revenue of $112 million and expenses of $104 million. That left Nebraska $8 million in the black (without a full share of the Big Ten TV money yet), so huzzah for fiscal responsibility?

You have to be little careful with these numbers. (Good read on that here.) While I’m far from an economics expert, I get a strong sense that departments can sort of be whatever they want on these sheets and that’s just based on common sense.

For example: Maryland, a cash-strapped department when it left the ACC (mostly because it paid a $31 million penalty to leave the ACC), reported revenue of $94,101,697 for 2015-16. It also reported that it spent every last dollar of that amount. No more, no less. Dollar in, dollar out. That’s pretty convenient. Northwestern and Rutgers showed the same.

Not saying there’s anything nefarious going on here, just that I think it’s fair to consider what the motivations might be for any of these amounts. Hypothetically speaking, it might be advantageous for a department that was running in the red in its old conference — a conference that most of its fans grew up with and, presumably, remain somewhat loyal to — to show that in its new conference it’s no longer taking a loss.

This is just the first story in a series on Big Ten finances from the Journal & Courier, so if you like this sort of stuff look for more in the weeks to come.

The Grab Bag

Today’s Song of Today

  • Never miss the latest news from Hail Varsity!

    Join our free email list by signing up below.