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.
The madness continues here at the Buckeye Battle Cry! This has to be one of our favorite times of the year (really, who doesn’t feel that way?) and we love to celebrate by talking about as many teams, games, and players as we can! Joe Dexter was kind enough to get the whole thing kicked off this morning with a preview of the West Region. Now it’s my turn to take a look at the home-favorite East Region. Tomorrow, WVaBuckeye and MaliBuckeye will take a look at the two remaining regions, so that you can have plenty of time to read and peruse your way to what is hopefully a winning bracket!
Make sure you join the BBN’s Bracket Challenge this year! Bragging rights abound!
Favorites: The East region is graced with a few powerful teams that could be poised to make a deep run. The Syracuse Orange obviously stand in the best position of everyone in the region. The Orange hold a 32-2 season record, including non-conference wins over fellow tournament teams Florida and NC State. Seven-footer Fab Melo, a Sophomore out of Brazil, anchors Syracuse in the paint and is assisted by senior forward Kris Joseph, who leads the team in scoring at just under 14 per game, and senior guard Scoop Jardine, who seems to have been at Syracuse for 50 years. The ‘Cuse lost in the semi-finals of the Big East tournament to fellow East Region member Cincinnati, but looks to bounce back in the Big Dance.
History: Originally known as the Blockbuster Bowl, CarQuest Bowl, and MicronPC Bowl, the Champs Sports Bowl has been a regular feature in late December in Orlando Florida for the last 10 years. The Big Ten last participated in this game two years ago when Wisconsin defeated Miami (FL).
Florida State: While the Seminoles have ended up in a relatively low level bowl, it belies the quality of their season. Their four losses were by a grand total of 21 points, with ten of those coming at the hands of then #1 Oklahoma. This FSU team might be one of the toughest teams you’ll see play this December. They lean on the strength of quarterback EJ Manuel and his 2417 yards and 16 touchdowns on the season.
Notre Dame: The list of teams that has defeated the Irish this year is a who’s who of good football teams: Michigan, USC, Stanford, and….South Florida? Ok, maybe not all of the games were, but the South Florida game occurred at the very beginning of the season. It’s tough to hold that against them. The Golden Domers will be up for the task of taking on the Seminoles. Expect a high flying passing act through the entire game as ND quarterback Tommy Rees attempts to keep up with Manuel.
Fun Fact: Ohio State has never participated in this bowl game. However, exactly half of the current Big Ten members have – Penn State, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, and Purdue. Penn State, however, last participated on the last game they were an independent: January 1, 1993. The following year, the Nittany Lions were playing in the Big Ten.
Who we got?
We continue our look at the NCAA tournament field with our third of three regions. Jay and Joe already did a fantastic job with the West and Southeast regions yesterday. The Southwest region seems a lot easier to predict than the Southeast with a lot fewer chances for upsets in the first round. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some teams to look out for, though!
Favorites: There is no question about the top favorite for this bracket. Kansas, last year’s overall #1 seed, is in no danger of facing the same fate as last year. This year’s team is a dangerously deep and talented group, not dependent on any one player to get the job done. The Morris brothers, Markieff and Marcus, lead the team in points per game and rebounds per game as well as leading a trio of fantastic frontcourt players. Overall, Kansas plays with an incredibly fast pace, and runs with a significant height advantage that could give their opponents trouble.
Keep an eye on Purdue as well. While the Boilermakers ended the season in pathetic fashion (losses to Iowa and Michigan State), they are still a spectacularly dangerous team when they’re on their game. Expect Matt Painter to lead his team deep into the tournament as he’ll be more than capable of refocusing his troops on the importance of March.