As we get closer and closer to kickoff, we’ll be looking across the nation at other (read ‘inferior’) conferences. This way, you’ll have just enough information to justify watching every single game that comes across the telly. First up- the fellers on the Left Coast.
Where does the conference fall in the national rankings- how likely are they to have a team in the Title game?
This is a tough one to assess… the conference is pretty top-heavy, but that top looks really really good. Feel free to make a “Los Angeles plastic surgery” joke right about here.
In terms of conference strength, I’d say that the PAC is about average: Overall not better than the SEC, certainly better than the Big lEast and ACC. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if their best team this season, the Southern Cal Trojans, didn’t lock down one of the slots in the national title game. Pending, that is, an all too familiar letdown against Oregon State or something.
Who’s the best team in the conference? Who will play for in the conference title game (if there is one)?
Well, I’ve already tipped my hand on this one- the Trojans are back. I have no idea how they managed to come through sanctions AND are starting their tenure of reduced scholarships and still remaining national contenders, but that’s certainly the case. Having Matt Barkley return did wonders, to be sure… although it’s yet to be seen if his return will be similar to Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow in effectiveness.
Oh, wait- I do know how they’re back… They are the only program of note in one of the most talent laded areas of the country. Right.
Representing the North Division will be the Oregon Ducks, in my opinion; and this will be a heck of a championship game. The North will be significantly more competitive than the South, as Washington is on the rise and Stanford will be looking to maintain excellence without much Luck (see what I did there?).
Who’s the worst team(s) in the conference? Read More
Once the B1G had added Nebraska as their twelth member in the Summer of 2010, the conference expansion discussion found itself quietly simmering in the other room – out of sight, but not entirely out of mind. Every once in a while, not surprisingly, someone has to get up and stir the pot a little.
We’ve watched the Big East scramble to find partners, seeing their own demise written on the wall with the loss of Syracuse and Pitt to the ACC. We’ve seen the SEC poach Missouri and Texas A&M off the Big 12. And we’ve seen the Big 12 pick up WVU and TCU to boost their flagging numbers.
In the last two weeks that simmering pot just had to go and boil over onto the floor and force us to really pay attention to it again. This time though, the B1G fans and bloggers get to sit back and watch someone else clean up the mess.
Word passed down this weekend, reportedly from very high up sources at FSU, that the Seminoles will indeed be leaving the ACC for the Big 12. With this move Clemson will very likely follow right along behind, as has been speculated for the last week or so.
This is a major shift in the nature of conference powers. A conference that many of us wrote off as dead a little over a year ago, having lost 33% of their composition to the SEC, B1G, and Pac-12, is now potentially a surging power in College Football again. With the inclusion of WVU and TCU the Big 12 will again be at 12 member institutions.
And there’s always the chance this could grow into something bigger.
Lots of holiday options for this week’s soundtrack, but I’m that guy that thinks Christmas music should be banned until at least December. So, given all of the rumors of this past week and the results from yesterday’s Ohio State game, the R&B genius of Sam And Dave make a return as we give thanks and look to the future.
Ah, Thanksgiving weekend. When thoughts turn to leftover turkey and pie and… football. While the NFL takes front stage on Thursday, and even with the “exciting news” that the NBA is “back, baby!!!”, this weekend was all about the college game. It’s the weekend that puts the best of both worlds together- family and friends gathering together to break bread and then scream at each other because someone had to go to that school just to be different.
And we got three days of amazing games, starting with the end of an era. Because of future schedule issues between the SEC bound aTm and the Big Integer anchor Texas Longhorns, the Turkey Day Tradition saw its last episode end in a classic fashion. This was supposed to be THE year for the Aggies, but failure after failure on their farewell tour led to a mentality where the UT game was a must win to maintain dignity before heading to the 4-8 seasons that SEC play was sure to bring.
Texas’ struggles are also well known (and well documented), and there was a contingent of Longhorn faithful who were as tired of their staff’s decisions regarding offensive and defensive play as some Ohio State faithful have been as of late. For this to end the way that it did highlights the beauty of the rivalry and the reason that college football is the heart of the lives of so many:
Notes from the Fickell presser, and other happenings around the world of college football, including updated NCAA investigation information (it’s not just us) and the latest on conference expansion.
I know Joe hurts every bit as bad as I do. Just like me up here, I smile and I show that I’m happy and everything’s going great when my stomach down inside is sometimes in a knot.
No, that’s not something you want to see. Whether he was disguising or masking how his gut felt, I have confidence that Joe hurts every bit as much as I hurt. We try and tell those guys, nothing goes unnoticed whether it’s on the sidelines of a game, whether it’s in a classroom, wherever you are having something to eat. Just make sure you understand that.
But I haven’t noticed anything that would tell me that Joe isn’t 100% with us
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.
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.