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Applying Game Theory to B10 Expansion


Game Theory is a science created by masochists because it is a set of scientific principles that don't have an application in hard science.  When Faraday did his work, he was studying EM for the sake of learning how it worked because it had real life applications in chemistry and physics; he made motors and all sorts of other cool little doohickies.  People who study GT get no such satisfaction, because they're studying social situations and evaluating them with scientific principles.  The stock market is a good example, and so is this little situation we have with the B10 expansion.

I haven't formally studied GT but like any engineer I'll pretend I know what I'm talking about anyway.

First I'll model a simple solutions based on the Prisoner's Dilemma and on the article by Frank the Tank and some points made in the BHGP podcast

The premise of this exercise is to evaluate the risk and reward for each of the teams in the B12 to determine if there is a rational course of action for each.  Let's summarize how this plays out; the number represents the payoff:

 

  CU Leaves CU Stays
Texas Leaves Texas makes more money +2
CU makes more money +2
Rest of the B12 makes less money -2
Texas makes more money +2
CU makes less money -1
Rest of the B12 makes less money -1
Texas Stays Texas makes less money -1
CU makes more money +2
Rest of the B12 makes less money -1
Texas makes the same money 0
CU makes the same money 0
Rest of the B12 makes same money 0

 

If CU leaves first, Texas almost has to leave too.  If CU stays, it gets interesting.

You can also replace CU's name with any mid-level B12 team, because based on my understanding Texas and Oklahoma (and maybe Nebraska) make all the money and the rest of the teams get the left overs.

So here's how this looks to me:  In order for Texas to take a risk the B12 is going to lose a team first, and Texas has the ability to wait until that happens.  The instability created by any other team leaving will make Texas trigger happy b/c at that point they have to take the bird in the hand (B10 offer) over the two in the bush (B12 replaces CU with a better team).

Number is the payoff to the B10

  B10 gets 1 team B10 gets 3 teams
B10 gets Texas Ultimately the best solution for the B10, b/c you're adding value and not giving up anything in return.  The home run scenario. +4 B10 offers another B12 first.  If they get Texas first, they'll stop there.  Therefore they'll scoop up Nebraska or Mizzou first, then the resulting instability gives us Texas too.  +3
B10 doesn't get Texas 2 scenarios result in this:  Good or Bad
Good:  B10 gets ND or another homerun type of program +4
Bad:  B10 gets Mizzou in a failed attempt to lure Texas, or settles for a BE team +1
B10 gets 3 teams, unpredictable as to who.  +2

 

So the B10 has a pretty interesting position:  Wait for CU to make a move, or make a move for another B12 team.  The key is any instability in the B12 is a catalyst for Texas to the B10.  The risk is getting stuck with Mizzou and not getting Texas in which case it only makes sense to go after 2 more b/c there's no value in just 1 bad team.

So the B10 will wait for CU to make a move, b/c they stand to benefit the most by getting Texas and just Texas.  If CU stays, the B10 may have to stir up trouble to motivate Texas.  Then this would be the logical conclusion: offering either an easy team to get (Mizzou for example) or a team that's more coveted like Nebraska.

 

  B10 offers Mizzou B10 offers Nebraska
Team accepts B10 goes with the safe bet, wins +1 B10 goes with a gamble and wins, +2
Team rejects Who are we kidding, this isn't going to happen; if it does the B10 looks like punks.  -3 B10 loses the gamble, they take a PR ding -2

 

So that at least frames the situation for the B10, assuming the things in the Frank the Tank article are accurate.

1.  The B10's best move now, is to wait for CU to make a move

2.  If CU bolts, the B10's best move is to take Texas and only Texas, unless Texas demands otherwise.

3.  If CU stays, the B10 is faced with a difficult set of choices, ultimately is it worth taking Mizzou to eventually get Texas, and then move to 14 teams.  Or can they still get Texas w/out CU leaving?

Give me your thoughts and I'll continue to change this post to reflect more ideas and thoughts.

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