Well, after a loss there really is only one choice for this week’s soundtrack… Just be thankful I didn’t go all Broadway on you. I know that there were exciting things on the field to talk about, but the big story brings us to…
This week in EXPAND-A-PALOOZA: Well, well, well- Saturday awoke to the ACC getting their big boy pants on, and Sunday it became official- Pitt and Syracuse would be joining the conference in all sports. This was a surprising move, since the ACC has been relatively quiet throughout this process, although last week the powers that be agreed to raise the conference buyout to $20 million (from $12-$14 mil). While it looks proactive in many ways, it’s got to be influenced by rumors that the SEC was looking to poach several schools (FSU/Clemson) from the conference. The addition of Pitt and Syracuse also effectively block the B1G; these programs were always in the minds of those who believed that B1G Commish Jim Delaney was looking to connect with the NY media market- that ship may have now sailed. As a reminder, the B1G is constrained, in a good way from my perspective, by the belief that the conference’s affiliations should transcend television dollars or “great matchups”, and include schools that are parts of the CIC or AAU to share research revenue opportunities.
Other rumors today are that TBPU, OU, UT, and TTU would head to the PAC-16 and be in a western division with Utah, Colorado, and the two Arizona schools. To solve the problem of “not playing in California” for recruiting purposes, the conference would move to a “pod” system that would have teams playing three other schools every year, and then two schools from the other two pods on a rotating basis. Yeah, it’s that complicated. Be aware, though, that UT folks were just in LA for the UCLA game (more later), and that UT and OU have board of regents meetings called for Monday, with Texas having “Conference Alignment” on the agenda.
Elsewheres, UConn has also been rumored to head to the ACC (holy cow, is that going to be a basketball powerhouse conference), while WVa is rumored to have submitted it’s petition to be the SEC’s #14. Where does that leave the B1G? Notre Dame/Rutgers/Mizzou are supposedly the next targets… although the CIC/AAU thing is still a strong draw for some who are connected to Longhorn Nation.
Oh, and if the insiders at a certain Northwestern message board are to be believed, ESPN is at the heart of this. Anyone else curious how media conglomerates became involved in the actions of institutions of higher education? And you thought the “coverage” of B1G sports by the four letter network had an agenda now… what do you think will happen when three of the four super-conferences have deals with Bristol’s network. Now THAT’s something congress should look into, if you ask me- particularly given the fact that the organization that was created to monitor and guide these matters is pretty much powerless on top of other issues.
This week’s journey back through the world of college sports is a bit more subdued than usual- due, in part, to the lack of “marquee” games, but mostly due to perspective.
There are lots of things in life that are important… and college sports are among them. But today and yesterday and this past week, we’re reminded that the big picture is a lot richer and deeper than just what happens between the sidelines and in athletic departments.
So, with that, we launch into our favorite distraction knowing that we’ll re-visit moments that ground us to reality throughout. Today’s soundtrack is in memory of Zenith… enjoy.
With all the buzz last week about conference realignment, all eyes were in Austin when the Cougars of BYU came to town. The team from Provo had recently launched itself into the world of football independence, yet rumors swirled that they might be one of the teams to come to the Big 12-2-1 upon aTm’s absence and “save” the conference. On the other sidelines were the belle of the realignment ball- a Texas team looking to rebound from one of their worst seasons in recent history… yet one that still commands a place at the table when you discuss power programs. So how’d the game turn out? ‘Bout like you’d expect…
Update: Well… huh. The SEC has stated that they’re not extending an offer to aTm at this time, bringing this whole shebang to a screeching halt.
Sources say that the argument over who might be the 14th team and Aggy counterpart was partially responsible for the decision.
No word yet on whether or not the Big 12-2 will just preemptively break up with aTm in response to their looking around at other suitors.
After last summer’s exciting adventures in conference expansion, it seems as there might be a nice refractory period for at least a couple of years.
Ah, but like an addict jonesing for the next hit, university administration, conference leadership, and sports fans across the nation couldn’t stay away from the possibility of becoming bigger and better, particularly where money and egos are involved.
Yup, I referred to Freud… since much of what is going on seems to also be impacted by a sense of fear and frustration; schools not getting the respect they deserve, so leaving for greener pastures becomes a bright, shiny option.
The major factor, as before, is TV money. Just like the BTN started this gunfight last year with it’s ability to pay programs more than they might have been getting from other conference revenue sharing agreements, network exposure and cash are also at the heart of this wave of rumors.
This isn’t the NCAA violation that the headline makes it sound, however, its very much worth mentioning.
Wooden and Naismith award winner Jimmer Fredette, of BYU fame, has become such a celebrity at the school that his presence is a distraction in class. To that end, the University has requested that he no longer attend classes like a normal student, and instead finish his course work online.
It’s worth pointing out that BYU’s academic year ends earlier than just about any other university in the nation. Next week is finals for them, meaning that Fredette will miss about 4 or 5 days of class at most (assuming the news leaked not much later than the decision was made). That’s not a fatal result for a student in any scenario. It’s also worth noting that they are allowing him to complete his coursework.
Ok, let’s take a look at the much maligned Southeast bracket…I also plead you don’t listen too much to what I have to say, because it may just confuse you more as you try to win tBBC Challenge. I’ve linked to some of our previous impressions as well, so you can make a better guess.
This maybe the most difficult region that I have ever tried to predict in recent memory. On the 1 line is a very solid Pitt Panthers team, but they are a team that can struggle offensively at times. If they face someone that gets hot from deep not sure they can keep up. Then you have a 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 seeds that are so similar that it would be hard to call any win by them an upset. I’m not sure that any team is favored by 8 points or more, with most of them are probably toss up or 3-5 point spreads.
This region also has two teams hurting with lost players. BYU lost 3rd leading scorer, and main big man, Brandon Davies to team rules while St. John’s also lost their 3rd leading scorer in D.J. Kennedy. Both losses make these teams vulnerable to first round upsets to Wofford and Gonzaga respectively. I will speak about Belmont later, and also have Utah State as a team that could pull the 12-5 upset.
At the end of the day I am not sure who to pick. I am making the safe pick and advancing Pitt, but read along and you will see some stars to watch, under the radar players to watch as well as my sleeper pick and elite 8 picks.
As per our tradition, we’ll be giving you a quick rundown on all the bowl games, no matter how ridiculous they may be. This way, we can make new friends and give you important insight that you can disregard as you make your bowl picks.
History: This is the fifth straight year of excellence in Albuquerque, the ballooning capital of the world. Previous match ups include the classics between San Jose State and New Mexico, and the two consecutive losses by Fresno State.
Originally created to bring tourism to New Mexico, this is yet another one of the bowl games that ESPN runs to fill the time in the holidays. Given how important it is to have a distraction from family that may not include alcohol, I raise my glass (OK, bad metaphor) to ESPN and New Mexico for their vision.
Led by Bronco Mendenhall, this year’s Cougar team has been a bit of a disappointment; after upsetting Washington, they fell to Air Force, Nevada, and TCU in addition to dropping the Holy War against Utah. Whatever will they do with that Beehiveboot shaped hole in their trophy case?
You probably have never heard of junior offensive lineman Matt Reynolds, a MWC first team award winner who has only given up one sack in his time with the Cougars. On defense, senior safety Andrew Rich also earned MWC first team honors, in part due to his 106 tackles and 3 interceptions.
Mike Price, who may be in his final year, leads the Miners of the University of Texas, El Paso; a team that did not manage a winning record in their own conference yet gets a bowl bid. With big victories over Memphis and SMU, the Miners have also dropped games to Marshall, Houston, and Buckeye opponent Arkansas. “Act like you’ve been there before”, UTEP, since you defeated New Mexico in this very stadium 38-20. This will be a contest between former WAC foes, who haven’t played since 1998. In addition, Coach Price recruited coach Mendhall out of high school… small world.
On defense, expect the Miners to struggle a bit against BYU’s offense. There are no individual standouts on the UTEP team defense, although Travaun Nixon has three interceptions and Wiston Jeune leads the team with 40 solo tackles.
Offensively, UTEP loves to get the ball in the air and Trevor Vittatoe has over 2500 yards passing on the season. His primary target is Kris Adams, who has 44 receptions leading to 11 TDs and over 900 yards.
UTEP/Buckeye connections: None that I could find on the football field, although the Scarlet and Gray have faced a Mike Price coached team as a part of the 2002 championship run.
Who Are We Picking?
Ultimately, I think this comes down to BYU’s ability to play defense- of the two squadrons, they have proven to be the most proficient in this area.
Here’s the soundtrack for this week’s journey through the recent past. It’s from one of my favorite artists, and the greatest Thanksgiving movie ever ANDIWILLFIGHTYOUIFYOUDISAGREE. Ahem.
Although I usually don’t take requests, I almost made an exception for Coach Rodriguez.
What a great week of football- three days worth of collegiate goodness, interspersed with some NFL stuff, lots of food, and the occasional neighborhood game. Although, this year things ended up being a little messy.
I guess you could say that the mess all started on Thursday, when our friends in burnt orange managed to lose their rivalry game against the Aggies. As you can imagine, the good folks at Shaggy Bevo are taking this well, particularly given that most of the losses happened in Austin.
The Longhorn’s collapse is the first time in recent memory that a team has gone from the BCS championship game to not even being bowl eligible. As a “fun fact”; this BCS season will be without the following names: Pete Carroll, Mack Brown, Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, and Les Miles, with the jury still out on whether Bobby Stoops gets an invite. You know who’s going to be at the BCS Ball? Jim Tressel. Again.
Fridays’ games were just as exciting, with Auburn performing the “Greatest Iron Bowl Comeback Ever To Be Vacated” against ‘Bama after being down 21-0 in the first quarter. Granted, Alabama QB McElroy was injured in the second half, but the Tide followed their protocol and inserted the next person with the same haircut. Read More
Arrr, yesterday’s games fell on the national holiday o’ “Talk Like a Pirate Day“. Should we be surprised, then, that the upset o’ the day happened at a place whar people show up in boats? Ahoy, and it warn’t the team that we expected t’ see success. In Piratey news, East Carolina lost to North Carolina. Great Neptune’s mandibles!!
Ok, that’s enough.
But, like TLAPD, the U$C choke to an unranked conference team should become a national holiday, since it happens more frequently than leap year. And given that 5 of the last 6 of these losses have come on the road in the Northwet, there must be something more significant going on. Perhaps the Curse of DB Cooper or something.
Nevertheless, the Trojan Tragedy has sent ripples throughout the college football world. In Los Angeles, fingers are pointing at Surfer Pete, asking again why the coach is unable to keep his team focused. Granted, the starting QB and safety were banged up, but given U$C’s deep pockets of five star talent you’d think they’d be able to beat a team that was 1-15 in their last sixteen games. A team of young men recruited by Ty Willingham. Hmmm… where have we heard that before?
While a post game let-down is to be expected, it didn’t hamper Ohio State who headed to Cleveland and shut out the #5 team in NCAA offense. Toledo, fresh off of their clown stomping of Colorado, was held to 210 total yards and 13 yards rushing. Ohio State’s rebound included 370 yards of offense from “Lebron in Cleats”. Mich1gAAn fans? That’s how you beat Toledo.
To celebrate the “Mistake by the Lake” and the Ohio State recovery, the AP poll decided to drop USC from 3 to 12, and bump tOSU from 11 to… 13. The Buckeyes were jumped by Chokelahoma, who took care of Tulsa on Saturday. However, the team that handed OU their loss got pummeled at home; BYU lost 54-28 to Free Shoes University. And yet, the Sooners didn’t suffer due to the loss of the team that beat them… This, among other things, is the reason that we need to do away with polls until October. But you knew this already.
Around the mid-west, Mich1gAAn managed to cruise against a directional school after struggling in the first half. Notre Ame was the beneficiary of back to back boneheaded decisions by MAChigan State’s sophomore QB, first overthrowing a wide open receiver in the end zone, then sealing the game with an interception at or near the endzone. Penn State continued their “Hosting Hostess” tour, although they did allow Temple to score on their vaunted defense.
SEC action witnessed Auburn holding off the weather and WVa (rats- a burning couch goes great with rain), Arkansas falling to Georgia in a shootout, Calipari’s scandal defeating Pitino’s scandal, and Florida eventually getting around to beating Tennessee in the “our orange is uglier than yours” festival. MSU beat Vandy (really?), and LSU squashed some other team from Cajunland. Old Miss and Alabama combined for 105 points in their wins.
The Huskers lost a well fought road game against a very good Hokie team in the final minutes. True conversation between my beloved and I: Her- “Wow, it’s such a tough loss when you’re winning the whole game and then it falls apart in the last seconds”. Me- “I wouldn’t know what that was like at all.”
Other Big 12 action: Rice couldn’t stick to TBPU, Kansas State blew their one chance to shine in the Rose Bowl, Colorado won while Baylor fell to UConn, Rock Chalk pounded the Cameron Crazies, and the Pirate Cap’n missed out on an opportunity to do Blackbeard proud.
On the Left Coast, toOSU played football from Ohio with predictable results, Washington State won (I know, right?), and Oregon unveiled yet another hideous ensemble in their upset of the Utes. Cal’s Jahvid Best looked to be just that against a chippy Minnesota Team opening their new stadium. Arizona evened the “Big T1e1n Pac Ten challenge” at one each by falling to Iowa.
Elsewheres- TCU continues to roll, Syracuse beat Northwestern in this week’s “They have football teams?” bowl, and Pepperdine remains undefeated. Oh, and this has to be the worst idea of the week- UCF planned a tribute for the African American members of Buffalo’s 1958 team, who rejected a bid to the Tangerine Bowl because their darker hued teammates weren’t allowed to play. Coincidentally, UCF also scheduled a “White Out” for that date, and asked their fans to come dressed in all white. Good thinking.
Small schools update: Bacone got fried by Howard Payne, 56-7.
This week’s games include an Ohio State/Illinois matchup that will prove how much Ron Zook can screw up his team if given a buy week, and an important Kentucky/Florida clash, if the Gators are healthy enough to show up. Maybe St. Tebow can heal them… although, I’m not sure I’d trust his medical experience. Mich1gAAn hosts Indiana, and Kansas welcomes Bret Favrere’s alma mater. Cal and Oregon square off, Nebraska gets whatever’s left from LSU’s blowout, and the marquee game is Miami and Va Tech in a Big lEast showdown. Texas plays UTEP, TBPU welcomes Eddie Robinson’s school, and TCU travels to Clemson. Washington faces off against Stanford, while the Cougs get to be the rebound team for U$C. Notre Ame has to face a Purdon’t team that just lost to a MAC team… That’s not going to end well.
And now, some inspiration for those underachievers in Block O:
High school students. Just sayin’.