Monday’s menagerie of thoughts and wonderings on Saturday’s shenanigans comes with music. It was an “ugly” weekend, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t make a silk purse out of it all.
Before we dive into the scores, it’s important to remember how trivial college athletics is in the big picture of things. Unfortunately, this is only brought home when we remember the frailty of life, and there were three chances for reflection this weekend.
Ohio State started with a tribute to Columbus Newscaster Dom Tiberi’s daughter Maria, who lost her life in a traffic accident this week.
UCLA followed suit later on Saturday with a 10 man play from scrimmage to honor wide receiver Nick Pasquale, who was killed in a traffic event last week.
And sadly, we found out on Sunday that Cincinnati freshman Ben Flick died after yet another motor vehicle incident.
Again, football is fun… but it ain’t life.
Let’s stay in the Buckeye State with a reminder of the awesomeness that Ohio State unleashed on Saturday. Sure, it was an undermatched opponent, but that doesn’t mean that the game was insignificant for those that played in it. And, while this was the best block of the week by FAR, the game was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Ohio State did allow ten runs and have two errors in the victory.
PS- I didn’t know that Pam Oliver was a Cal grad. At least TBDBITL seems to think so and responded to criticism in a different way than Charles did earlier.
Ken will be by later to respond to those pundits who seem to have issues with Ohio State’s 76 point victory, but I’ll add only this- I sure don’t hear any bitching about Baylor or Louisville or Miami doing the same on Saturday, and when Oregon did it earlier in the year against an FCS program, they jumped Ohio State in the polls.
You know who doesn’t have a problem with playing until the final gun? The Pirate Cap’n… that’s who.
As you can see up there in the right corner, Coach Kelly and the Irish are celebrating another win in the very friendly confines of South Bend. And by “very friendly”, I mean the kind of affectionate that allows a receiver to climb over the back of a defender and still benefit from the pass interference call. The “Sparty NO!” moment might have happened as soon as Michigan State left the locker room; it’s certainly an uphill battle when you’re playing 11 on 16. Read More
Time for the hump day look around the world of college sports, with a soundtrack from a reunited legend. We look at playoffs, SEC controversy, NCAA hypocrisy, and other items this week.
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.
Note: As I was typing this, news broke of the Japanese earthquake. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people in the entire Pacific rim… give a bit of perspective about what might be important in life.
Can’t blame Buckeye fans for being a little out of the loop regarding other news in the world of college sports… here’s a quick recap:
Elsewhere in the NCAA- Hey! Guess What! There were other stories about NCAA institutions that might be outside of the realm of “okee-dokee-ness”.
Tressel, Another Perspective- With the media barrage that’s out there, it might be good to hear at least a couple of voices that support The Vest.
The Texas and UConn basketball teams squared off in a highly touted matchup this past Saturday afternoon. UConn came in as a team that had started the season unranked, picked up two big wins in early games against Michigan State and Kentucky to leap into the top 10, and had more recently dropped back slightly with losses to Big East rivals Pitt and Notre Dame. In contrast, Texas began the season in the top 25, gave up their own loss to Pitt and a subsequent loss to USC, but then hit a hot streak to win six straight, including games against UNC and Michigan State. Texas could also lay claim to an impressive win over Illinois early in the season.
Anyone who is following college basketball this season has heard about Kemba Walker, the country’s leading scorer. Walker got hot early in the season and has not really dropped off the pace at all, so a primary challenge for Texas was to figure out how to best neutralize Walker, who came in averaging over 26 points per game. For Texas’ part, Jordan Hamilton has risen as the team’s star, if such a label is appropriate to use, but they have a more balanced scoring attack. While Hamilton is certainly a top player, he is not the exclusive focus of the team. He is effective without overshadowing the rest of the team. With Michigan State dropping like a rock, thus taking away from the significance of the victories over MSU for both UConn and Texas, this game promised to shed some light on the true strength of these two teams.
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.
From the “He started it!” files- This week, we join our friends at 11W in celebrating Oktoberfest and all it’s splendor. So, break out the lederhosen, get your sauerkraut all warmed up, and find grandma’s recipe for schnitzel…
This weekend looked to be the best thus far in terms of quality matchups, but only a few actually lived up to those expectations. Let’s start in the SEC, shall we?
Alabama, man… Another “can’t they both lose?” as the Crimson Tide invited the Gators to their place. As we were reminded over and over and over again by unbiased network analysts, when these two team play, the winner usually heads on to a national championship. As much as I hated to see Urban’s squadron be held without a touchdown (sarcasm alert), it was interesting that Alabama seems to be perfecting the tenets of Tresselball- No mistakes on offense, aggressive defense, solid special teams. Granted, they’ve got a Heisman Trophy running back to hand it to, but it’s important for Buckeye fans to remember these successes when they start screaming for offensive coordinators. I was also more than pleased to see that sometimes the Gators can get too cute for their own good.
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.