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Stewy Mandel Stands Athwart Conference Expansion, Crying, "Stop!"

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Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

Here's to Stew Mandel, who boldly wrote what... well, it's not exactly what no man has written before, but it's a concise case against mega-conferences in college football. And therefore it's a pointed critique of the Big 10+1+1+2's latest land-grab.

Here's a taste. (Read the whole thing.)

One by one over the years, these commissioners have gone behind a podium and told fans how they should feel about something. ... trust me, Big Ten fans, says Delany. Just because Maryland and Rutgers fans barely care about their own teams doesn't mean you won't care about playing them.

It makes me wonder whether they'll eventually go too far in testing fan loyalty.

The mad cash grab that's occurred within the past two to three years feels very much like the late '90s dotcom bubble or the mid-2000s housing bubble. Three years ago it was considered a really big deal that the SEC could distribute $17 million, primarily in television revenue, to its schools. ... Now, according to a document attained by SI's Pete Thamel, the Big Ten is projecting $43 million payouts come 2017.

I'm no economist -- but those figures can't keep rising forever.

... What happens if fans wake up one Saturday, flip on the TV and say, "Why am I watching a Northwestern-Rutgers game?" And what happens to all those subscriber fees when people inevitably stop watching conventional television? What if fans are watching the Iowa-Maryland game on their tablets, get bored, and start playing Angry Birds instead? At a time when attention spans are growing shorter and shorter, conferences are asking for a longer and longer leash.