I was recently asked to do a conference preview of the Big East for the upcoming season. Go ahead and laugh. We drew straws, and I got the shortest one, so here I am, writing about the Big East, a conference that only has eight teams competing in football. I know this conference’s football doesn’t inspire a lot of excitement, but hey, you never know, Louisville could come out and win a national title for all we know (doubt it). So now, with all jokes aside, I give you our Big East football preview.
Where does the conference fall in the national rankings – how likely are they to have a team in the Title game?
With the departure of West Virginia, Louisville is the cream of the crop in this conference. They are currently the only team ranked in the AP Top 25, and the conference has no ranked teams in the USA Today Poll. The Cardinals are coming off a 2011 campaign where they went 7-6. Yes, the strongest team in the conference was 7-6 last year, so that should tell you a lot about how the conference compares to others nationally.
Behind Louisville, the next best team is likely Cincinnati, a team that went 10-3 last year, but the Bearcats lost some key players on offense, including quarterback Zach Collaros and running back Isaiah Pead. Past those two teams, it’s Pittsburgh and everybody else. Expect Louisville to get the at-large automatic BCS Bowl bid come bowl season.
In terms of conference strength, I’m going to be blunt. It’s the weakest BCS conference. Put these teams up against any of the other power conferences, and it makes for an ugly comparison… there just isn’t any other way to put it.
Who is the best team in the conference? Who will play for the conference title game (if there is one)? Read More
A couple of quick news stories from the OSU Athletic Department today we wanted to bring to your attention. Think of it as “Silver BBs”.
First, APR Scores are out, and OSU football is number three in the country, behind only Northwestern and Duke/SISU. The 988 score is better than Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, and Vandy.
As for “The Harvard Of The West”- tied for next to last in the B1G (thank you, Minnesota!) with their “little brother” in East Lansing.
Second, there’s a possibility that the 2013 Spring Game might be played in Cincinnati. From the press release:
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State Department of Athletics officials and those from the Cincinnati Bengals and Hamilton County are in discussions regarding the 2013 Ohio State LiFE Sports Spring Game, presented by Nationwide, being played at 65,535-seat Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. Ohio Stadium will be under renovation next year, prompting the move to another location.
“We are very appreciative to be in discussions with the Cincinnati Bengals,” Director of Athletics Gene Smith said. “We look forward to continuing our discussions and look forward to an opportunity to bring the Buckeyes into Cincinnati and closer to our Southern Ohio fans.”
The work on Ohio Stadium includes stripping and replacing 1922-era coating and concrete off portions of A and C decks. These are areas that were not restored as part of the Ohio Stadium upgrades project between 1998-2001. Sand and water blasting will commence this December with the resurfacing portion of the project scheduled for the warmer spring and summer months next year.
While this is certainly a move due to the logistics of renovation, it should be remembered that the 2oo1 Spring Game stayed in Columbus, and was in Crew Stadium. This possible relocation to Cincinnati may be the start of a larger outreach to that area; I wouldn’t be surprised if future Spring Games would also include Cleveland as a locale, to connect deeper with the state’s fan and recruiting bases.
Rumors- Things to be watching for in the coming days… Huge camp weekend in Columbus; we’ll keep you up to date on that as the events warrant. Also, there’s some buzz regarding B12 Expansion news being released this weekend, including Florida State and Clemson heading to the conference in all sports, with Notre Dame (!) joining for their Olympic events (similar to the agreement they had previously with the Big lEast).
For two straight seasons in 1961 and 1962 the Buckeyes and Bearcats squared off in the National Title game following Ohio State’s first and only National Championship. Both years the Bearcats got the better of the Buckeyes, winning their only two basketball national titles in the NCAA Tournament Era. This game marks the first time these two teams have met in the NCAA tournament since that game in 1962, a historical clash of titans occurring far earlier in the tournament than their lofty history would prefer.
The Cincinnati Bearcats have had a successful season this year, earning their second tournament bid in two years and working their way to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2001. During the season the Bearcats have notched impressive victories over: Syracuse in the Big East Tournament, twice against Georgetown – once away, once in the Big East Tournament – and Marquette at home. While they have not been a particularly consistent team during the season, they performed well enough to catch the eye of the selection committee.
Cinci has not had a particularly easy path to the Sweet 16. While their first opponent was a very young 11th-seeded Texas squad, the Longhorns surged and nearly caught the overconfident Bearcats after scoring a pathetic 2 points in the first 10 minutes and 15 seconds of the game. Cincinnati found themselves in a dog fight over the last ten minutes of the game, after watching Texas slowly and inexorably climb back into the game, but were able to pull out the 65-59 victory to advance.
In the Round of 32 the Bearcats were paired up with a hot Florida State Seminoles team fresh off an ACC Tournament Championship win over UNC the week before. The Seminoles were clearly favored in the game, but the Bearcats were much better than many expected. Both teams clawed for the advantage throughout the game, never achieving more than a 5 point lead before the end of the game. In the end, the Bearcats had succeeded at gaining the upper-hand and earned the opportunity to face the second-seeded Buckeyes in Boston.
Time for the wrap up of college football news, updates from Coach Fickell’s Tuesday press conference and other notes from college football
I wasn’t sure if it was my heart that was pounding or the screams from the crowd, but it was an unbelievable atmosphere, unbelievable experience, just to be a part of something obviously a game like that. But that’s what Ohio State football’s all about.
And I just want to say thank you to all the fans, the students, everybody that made that such a special night.
Quick look at Tuesday’s press conference, Nebraska prep, and other news from the world of college sports:
Probably we went ahead and went with our three points of wisdom from John Wooden that said: Don’t whine, don’t complain and don’t make excuses. And I think that’s what we have got to be able to do, and it starts from the top down with all of us as coaches.
How many times have we said, we are going to focus on what we have, not what we don’t have and focus on moving forward. So that’s what we have to do. We are not going to make excuses for guys. We are not going to allow them to be down and we are not going to allow them to do that; as coaches we are not going to do that as a team, and we believe everybody will follow suit.
There’s no way that we can start this week’s post without wishing Happy Birthday to Coach Jim Tressel. Ironically, it’s also the day of the ninja; although I can’t imagine the silent assassins being as polite or methodical as Senior Sweatervest- how would you write “Dave” in kanji?
While there were several significant games on the old telly this week, there were also off field doin’s that should not be left undiscussed. First, in this year’s addition of the River City Rivalry/Snow Bowl, Pittsburgh easily handled Ohio’s BCS team. That didn’t, however, keep the Bearcat mascot from getting arrested and escorted out of the stadium. Video and such, for those of you who are into that kind of thing, can be found here.
The Big lEast ended as it started, with a three way tie at the top of the conference. Pitt’s victory, along with West Virginia’s win over Rutgers that seemed to make their fans filled with glee, meant that UConn was still in the driver’s seat should they hold off South Florida. A late, long field goal meant that the 8-4 Huskies have earned themselves a bid to a BCS game.
As we mentioned earlier, this means that a team that only managed 10 points against the Wolverines will get to face off against, most likely, the Oklahoma Sooners. While we’ve given the Big lEast grief here in the past, it should be noted that the conference only has two teams that don’t have the requisite 6 wins necessary to go to a bowl game, a much better experience than our west coast stalwarts in the Pac-10. At this juncture, only four teams from that conference will be headed to the post season, since Southern Cal is on probation (sorry, that’s still awesome to write) and Arizona State’s 6-6 record includes too many victories over FCS schools. So, with two teams going to the BCS, this means that there’ll be four bowls looking for help with the automatic tie ins.
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
Of course, to get the full effect of the day, you’ll need to use the Pirate Translator for this webpage. Avast!
Speaking of Pirates, in the first half East Carolina looked to be adding their name to the list of teams to beat Virginia Tech. Hey, Broncos- that “big win against Virginia Tech” sure is helping your national championship hopes, isn’t it? Well, there’s always that game against powerhouse Oregon State coming up.
Since we’re talking about “out of conference games”- We suspected that UConn had lost quite a bit of their fastball from last year (their DB coach is now in Georgia), and had those suspicions reinforced in Ann Arbor a couple of weeks ago. The game this Saturday against the Cosby Chaneys of Temple proved it… you can stop calling the Huskies a “Big East Contender”, unless it’s immediately followed by derisive snickering.