Sports What Ifs.

Honestly, as an MSU alumna I might write this timeline...
Write it! Big East Football is a great 'what if'. You might throw Temple in that Big East football as well. But you had programs like Pittsburgh and Rutgers too enamored with Big East Basketball shooting the whole idea down. Maybe if Louisville and/or UConn could be persuaded...

Big East Football would preclude Paterno's conversation with Iowa's coach over not allowing red-shirt freshman to play and forestall Penn State going to the Big 10....

My thoughts,
 
WE discussed Jerry Reinsdorf moving the White Sox, but he also owns the Bulls of the nBA. Does it impact the Bulls any if he pulls the White SoX out? Is he forced by public pressure to sell the Bulls? DOes he sell the Sox? Or is he able to be a snowbird a(well, the opposite really) and have one winter and one summer sport?

Remember that if the White Sox move, it's because of such declining attendance and dilapidated stadum they can't compete, and the government wouldn't build them a new one. So, it's not like he pulled an Irsay or an O'Malley.
 
WE discussed Jerry Reinsdorf moving the White Sox, but he also owns the Bulls of the nBA. Does it impact the Bulls any if he pulls the White SoX out? Is he forced by public pressure to sell the Bulls? DOes he sell the Sox? Or is he able to be a snowbird a(well, the opposite really) and have one winter and one summer sport?

Remember that if the White Sox move, it's because of such declining attendance and dilapidated stadum they can't compete, and the government wouldn't build them a new one. So, it's not like he pulled an Irsay or an O'Malley.
When or why he will move the bulls? it would be brutal if he move the bulls just before the dynasty begins....
 
When or why he will move the bulls? it would be brutal if he move the bulls just before the dynasty begins....
I didn't even think of him moving the Bulls. He got a new arena for them, and would be more likely to anyway if he has to move the White Sox. I wouldn't think he would move them.
 
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Sorry to reply twice in a row but this might not be seen if I just edit my original.

Reinsdorf was one of the top hardliners among the major league owners. He would probably be even more so if he moves the White Sox. If he was really having financial trouble he might eventually sell them only to prove his point. Bud selig probably still becomes acting commissioner oh, but Reinsdorf would just be part of getting owners like them to be the power Brokers over Steinbrenner and Ted Turner and then step down.

This would allow him to devote his full attention to the Bulls.
 
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This would allow him to devote his full attention to the Bulls.
1. If he doesn't own the Sox, does MJ still play baseball in 1994? He wouldn't be playing for the Sox if Reinsdorf doesn't own them.

2. If he can just focus on the Bulls, you may see Reinsdorf giving MJ and Co. at least one more year to try to get a seventh ring, but after that, it's hard to say. Jerry said that he didn't want the team to hang around as long as the 57-69 Celtics did (11 Titles in 13 years).
 
WI the Boston Braves sign Mickey Mantle?

IMO, the Braves probably win a few more World Series and NL pennants--does this affect their moving from Milwaukee ITTL?

The Yankees probably still win several World Series titles in the 1950s and 1960s--they were still a good team, even without Mantle...
 
More on Plunkett: I am looking at the November 10, 1973 issue of The Sporting News (on Newspaper Archive). There were two rumored trades involving teams that Plunkett would eventually end up with in OTL:

1. Plunkett to the 49ers for QB Steve Spurrier, CB Bruce Taylor, a DL, and a 1974 first rounder (the one that NE gave SF for TE Bob Windsor that turned out to be ninth overall).

2. Plunkett to the Raiders for either Daryle Lamonica or Ken Stabler, MLB Dan Conners, DL Tony Cline, and a draft choice.

In this first message, I will address the first option. If Plunkett goes to the 49ers, they may have won the division in 1974. They lost four games by six points or less, and were in the game with the Raiders in the fourth quarter (before losing 35-24). Then, in the playoffs, the Niners would have faced the Redskins (like the Rams did in OTL). I see them defeating them at home before losing to the Vikings in the NFC Title Game.

Then, in 75, the 49ers are picking 20th in the draft instead of 10th (they got DT Jimmy Webb with that pick in OTL). LT Len Rohde retired, and CB Jimmy Johnson was 37 (Bruce Taylor, the other CB, is gone to NE in this world). Doug France and Mike Williams are the prime targets, but I think the Rams (who pick earlier in this world) still take France. So, Mike Willams is their first-round pick, and I think they take Pitt DT Gary Burley in Round 2 since they did take DT's Webb and Cleveland Elam that year (they still take Elam as well).

The 75 49ers probably take some steps back (they are still in transition, as guys from their 70-72 teams like Len Rohde, Dave Wilcox, Bruce Taylor, and Ted Kwalick are gone), but they have two first-rounders the next year (those are picks they traded to NE for Plunkett in OTL, but in this world, they already have Jim) . Let's say they go 7-7, and they have the 17th and 21st picks. I can see LT, S, and LB being big needs. So, in Round 1, they draft CB Mario Clark with the 17th pick (Jimmy Johnson's replacement) and LT Mark Koncar with the 21st pick.

In reality, they were 8-6 in 76. However, with Plunkett being more comfortable with the 49ers, I could see them winning two more games and maybe getting back to the playoffs. However, they would have an ownership change, and Joe Thomas would be coming in. In OTL, he tore the team apart, but if Plunkett has led them to the playoffs two of the last three years, maybe he is less likely to do that, especially because they would have had more youth since they don't make that 76 Plunkett trade, which cost them three first rounders (one in 77) and a 77 second-rounder). If Thomas was smart, he would continue adding more youth, not getting rid of everyone. That may have butterflied away the Walsh-Montana era.
 
In this message, I want to address the second trade above. With Stabler on the Patriots, I don't see Steve Grogan ever really being a thing there. However, without the Plunkett trade in 76, they don't end up with three extra first-round picks in 1976 and 77, so maybe it takes them a little longer to get good.

Also, I could see the Raiders winning a SB with Plunkett, but do they trade him to Houston in 1980 for Pastorini? I'm not sure. I think that some people with the Raiders were becoming less enamored with Stabler, and that may not have happened with Plunkett.

Speaking of QB's, here's another WI: What if Danny White plays baseball at Arizona State, and not football?

With White not on the Cowboys in 1979, there is a good chance that they take Joe Montana in the third round when he was the #1 player on their board.
 
Expanding above 10 doesn't seem warranted until conference expansion is driven by television contracts - assuming the CFA falls apart and similar NCAA rules changes permit a 12-team conference to stage an exempt championship game... I'd also be curious of the effect Chicago remaining would have on other more academically inclined private schools that had a strong football heritage prior to the Second World War - e.g. many of the members of the University Athletic Association of which the Chicago Maroons are current members.

Regarding Michigan State - Munn/Dougherty have already had a relatively good run by the time Michigan State would have joined the Big Ten, so being a first-class independent seems to be in the cards. There simply aren't any other options of a similar caliber - the MAC/MVFC wouldn't be good enough by half. The Big 7 is a bit too far away...

I would expect Michigan State to slot in nicely in a Paterno-built Eastern Conference in the late 70s or 80s that probably expands south in later decades:
  • Michigan State
  • Pittsburgh
  • Penn State
  • West Virginia
  • Syracuse
  • Rutgers
  • Maryland
  • Boston College
Perhaps this league would be Catholic-friendly enough to lure Notre Dame out of its redolent independence, since that seems to have been a recurring issue with Big Ten membership. And when the Big Ten does go looking for new members... they would likely look to the Big 12 region.

Honestly, as an MSU alumna I might write this timeline...
Sounds kind of cool. I could see that league being pretty awesome in football and basketball. Would Maryland leave the ACC though? I'd swap them for Miami (or have the Canes join in the late 80's) and instead you could have Temple (bad football so maybe a nonstartner) or even Army or Navy if they are interested. Or maybe if Maryland leaves South Carolina come back, which might affect the SEC and their jump to 12. Maybe instead of SC and Arkansas you get Arkansas and maybe Florida State (if Florida lets them in which I doubt, plus Bobby Bowden didn't want to go through the SEC meat grinder) or maybe Clemson leaves for greener football pastures. Plus who might the Big Ten add in the 90's? If Penn State is happy in Joe Pa's eastern sports league (how would this affect big east basketball?) then do they try to raid the Big 8 or head south? Or are they stuck and are more or less a kind of Ivy League lite with a few public schools?
 
Write it! Big East Football is a great 'what if'. You might throw Temple in that Big East football as well. But you had programs like Pittsburgh and Rutgers too enamored with Big East Basketball shooting the whole idea down. Maybe if Louisville and/or UConn could be persuaded...

Big East Football would preclude Paterno's conversation with Iowa's coach over not allowing red-shirt freshman to play and forestall Penn State going to the Big 10....

My thoughts,
Louisville didn't get good in football until the 90's. In my experience, if Michigan State had never joined the Big Ten due to Chicago hanging around (as I said they'd be a 2nd Northwestern more than likely) then I see a league forming like with Michigan State, Penn State, West Virginia, Pitt, Syracuse, Rutgers, Boston College and Temple. Later on Miami and Virginia Tech could be added (say by 1990) and maybe if they want to go further they could add Louisville and Cincinnati. Howard Schellenberger kind of used the Miami blueprints to build up Louisville and it worked. So maybe you have a 12 team Eastern Conference with good football and basketball to boot.

As for the rest of the Big East? I wonder if maybe you'd see something like today's Big East. Maybe start with Georgetown, St John's, Seton Hall, Providence, and Villanova, and then add Xavier, Notre Dame, De Paul, Marquette and St. Louis and you'd have quite a league. Eventually you could have Dayton, Creighton, Butler and maybe even Richmond or another private school (can't think of other decent b-ball schools in the midwest or upper south that would fit the bill) where you'd have a 14 team league.
 
Sounds kind of cool. I could see that league being pretty awesome in football and basketball. Would Maryland leave the ACC though? I'd swap them for Miami (or have the Canes join in the late 80's) and instead you could have Temple (bad football so maybe a nonstartner) or even Army or Navy if they are interested. Or maybe if Maryland leaves South Carolina come back, which might affect the SEC and their jump to 12. Maybe instead of SC and Arkansas you get Arkansas and maybe Florida State (if Florida lets them in which I doubt, plus Bobby Bowden didn't want to go through the SEC meat grinder) or maybe Clemson leaves for greener football pastures. Plus who might the Big Ten add in the 90's? If Penn State is happy in Joe Pa's eastern sports league (how would this affect big east basketball?) then do they try to raid the Big 8 or head south? Or are they stuck and are more or less a kind of Ivy League lite with a few public schools?
You're right about Maryland.

As for the Big Ten... They pride themselves in being a "Public Ivy League" with everyone a member of the AAU. Kansas + Missouri to make 12? If they're expanding beyond that and can't poach anyone from this *Big East or ACC to get the BosWash tv markets... they'd have to reach to Texas. Big TV markets and prime recruiting ground. Texas and A&M, or Texas & Colorado if they're feeling frisky?

Conversely, I do like the idea of the Big Ten staying at ten, the rust belt step child of the *Power Five.

As for the rest of the Big East? I wonder if maybe you'd see something like today's Big East. Maybe start with Georgetown, St John's, Seton Hall, Providence, and Villanova, and then add Xavier, Notre Dame, De Paul, Marquette and St. Louis and you'd have quite a league. Eventually you could have Dayton, Creighton, Butler and maybe even Richmond or another private school (can't think of other decent b-ball schools in the midwest or upper south that would fit the bill) where you'd have a 14 team league.
I'd say the impetus is still there to build a northeast power bball conference by the mid-80s.

My thoughts after pondering this on and off for the last week:
- Syracuse/Notre Dame[1]/Pitt/Penn State/Michigan State schedule each other pretty often in the 50s/60s as the biggest independent programs in the Northeast, with match ups helping to determine a national champion several times (e.g. Game of the Century, '66).
- West Virginia leaves the Southern Conference per OTL in '67 and schedules them more.
- The "Big Six" considers forming a conference starting in the late-60s. To make eight, they reach out to the service academies (Army/Navy). However, the Pentagon vetoes this proposal, in part because of rampant student activism on several campuses.
- Around 1975, when the NCAA basketball tournament expands, they successfully form a conference. They're all blue chip football programs with half of them claiming a National Championship since the War (Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Syracuse). Shoring up the basketball side would be the focus. A silver lining would be picking some weaker football sides to make conference play less of a gauntlet[2] - Temple and Cincinnati seem probable choices here. Both are within the footprint of the league while bringing basketball chops to the table. Add Louisville and you'd have the losing 3/4ths of the '59 Final Four[3]. On the other hand, Rutgers hasn't made a final four yet and their football team is still mostly scheduling arch-rivals Lehigh/Lafayette and the Ivy League - I'd say they make more sense in the 90s when this *Big East is looking more closely at media markets. Ditto Boston College - oddly enough Notre Dame only first played them in 1975.

As to what it is called... "Big East" seems the most obvious choice, even if Michigan State and Notre Dame are technically in the Midwest, since "Big Eight" is already taken.

[1] It doesn't seem like Notre Dame was destined to remain independent until they penned their gravy train contract with NBC in 1991. The Big Ten was pretty anti-Catholic as well which didn't help, whereas this league would seemingly be less so. It helps that John A. Hannah and Father Hesburgh served together on the US Civil Rights Commission throughout the 60s.
[2] Of the major conferences, only the Big Eight, Pac-8, and Southwest Conference were playing full round robin schedules at the time.
[3] Assuming an electrified butterfly net, of course...
 
1987 NFL post-merger
AFC East
Baltimore Stars
Buffalo Bills
Jacksonville Bulls
Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots
New York Jets
AFC Central
Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns
Houston Oilers
Indianapolis Colts
Pittsburgh Steelers
Tampa Bay Bandits
AFC West
Arizona Outlaws
Denver Broncos
Kansas City Chiefs
Los Angeles Raiders
San Diego Chargers
Seattle Seahawks
NFC East
Dallas Cowboys
New Jersey Generals
New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles
St. Louis Cardinals
Washington Redskins
NFC Central
Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings
Orlando Renegades
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFC West
Atlanta Falcons
Birmingham Stallions
Los Angeles Rams
Memphis Showboats
New Orleans Saints
San Francisco 49ers
 
1995 NFL
AFC East
Baltimore Stars
Buffalo Bills
Jacksonville Bulls
Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots
New York Jets
AFC Central
Carolina Bandits (relocated from Tampa Bay 1991, played at North Carolina State University in Raleigh until 1995)
Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns
Houston Oilers
Indianapolis Colts
Pittsburgh Steelers
AFC West
Arizona Outlaws
Denver Broncos
Kansas City Chiefs
Oakland Raiders (moved back from Los Angeles 1995)
San Diego Chargers
Seattle Seahawks
NFC East
Dallas Cowboys
New Jersey Generals
New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles
Tennessee Cardinals (moved to Nashville for 1995 season)
Washington Redskins
NFC Central
Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings
Orlando Renegades
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFC West
Atlanta Falcons
Birmingham Stallions
Memphis Showboats
New Orleans Saints
San Francisco 49ers
St. Louis Rams (moved from Los Angeles for 1995 season)
 
2020 NFL
Expansion/relocation timeline post 1995
2010
League expands to Mexico City (Diablos) and Toronto (Huskies); Toronto placed in NFC, Mexico City in AFC; New Jersey and Seattle switch conferences
AFC East: Buffalo, Miami, New England, New Jersey, NY Jets
AFC North: Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh
AFC South: Arizona, Carolina, Houston, Jacksonville
AFC West: Denver, Kansas City, Mexico City, Oakland, San Diego
NFC East: Dallas, NY Giants, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Washington
NFC North: Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Minnesota, Toronto
NFC South: Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Orlando, Tennessee
NFC West: New Orleans, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis

2016
League expands with two teams in London, U.K.; Bulldogs placed in AFC, Monarchs in NFC; Arizona, Tennessee switch conferences; St. Louis Rams relocate back to Los Angeles
AFC East: London Bulldogs, Miami, New England, New Jersey, NY Jets
AFC North: Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh
AFC South: Carolina, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Tennessee
AFC West: Denver, Houston, Mexico City, Oakland, San Diego
NFC East: Dallas, London Monarchs, NY Giants, Philadelphia, Washington
NFC North: Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Minnesota, Toronto
NFC South: Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Orlando, Tampa Bay
NFC West: Arizona, Los Angeles, New Orleans, San Francisco, Seattle

2018
San Diego Chargers relocate back to Los Angeles, remain in AFC West

2020
Oakland Raiders relocate to Las Vegas, remain in AFC West
Notes: no coronavirus; massive social unrest in U.S. beginning in May leads to suspension of professional and amateur sports in July; NFL season delayed two weeks to final weekend of September (no preseason), 16 games played in 16 weeks, playoffs delayed one week, Pro Bowl cancelled, Super Bowl played on time
* London Bulldogs play at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
* New Jersey Generals play at MetLife Stadium along with the New York Giants
* New York Jets moved to Manhattan in 2012 to play in the new West Side Stadium (stadium was renamed Goldman Sachs Stadium in 2016)
* Baltimore Stars play at M&T Bank Stadium
* Carolina Bandits play at Bank of America Stadium
* Jacksonville Bulls play at TIAA Stadium
* Tennessee Cardinals play at Nissan Stadium
* Houston Oilers play at Reliant Astrodome
* Mexico City Diablos play at Azteca Stadium
* Los Angeles Chargers play at SoFi Stadium
* Las Vegas Raiders play at Allegiant Stadium
* London Monarchs play at Wembley Stadium
* Washington Redskins play at Sinclair Field, Landover, MD
* Toronto Huskies play at RBC Field (capacity: 80,000, hosts the Huskies, international soccer including 2026 World Cup matches, concerts and one leg of the Toronto FC/Blizzard derby each fall)
* Birmingham Stallions (owned by Robert Johnson) play at BET Field, downtown Birmingham
* Memphis Showboats play at FedEx Stadium, on the site of the former Liberty Bowl
* Orlando Renegades play at Camping World Stadium
* Los Angeles Rams play at SoFi Stadium
* Arizona Outlaws play at State Farm Stadium in Glendale
 
NFC East: Dallas, London Monarchs, NY Giants, Philadelphia, Washington
NFC North: Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Minnesota, Toronto
NFC South: Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Orlando, Tampa Bay
NFC West: Arizona, Los Angeles, New Orleans, San Francisco, Seattle
What about having New Orleans in the NFC South, either Memphis or Atlanta in the NFC East, and Dallas in the NFC South? That would make more sense geographically.
 
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