Posted on: March 10, 2010 4:56 pm
I'm very happy today to have a whole new avenue of speculation. Notre Dame says yes, and the Big Ten tells everyone else, "Thank you for playing. We have the lovely home version of Big Ten Football you can watch on your own TV." After all, Notre Dame is who the Big Ten wanted all along right? No calculations of TV market, or arguing with cable providers about cable tiers, that's it.
Much of the college football world could breathe a sigh of relief. Not the Big East. With Notre Dame's departure, the balance of power in the BE is once again askew. Eight football teams, Seven basketball only teams. The carefully crafted 16 team behemoth was made solely to keep the basketball only schools from getting outvoted. Well ND, a basketball only school (funny to think of them that way) leaves. Who replaces them? Or does the fight over the answer to this question blow up the Big East?
Providence, Seton Hall, Villanova, Georgetown, DePaul, Marquette, and St. Johns will obviously want another basketball only buddy to keep them from getting outvoted by West Virginia, Rutgers, Syracuse, Pitt, USF, Cincy, Louisville and UConn. At the same time, Big East football cries out for a ninth team to allow a balanced conference schedule of 4 home and 4 away every year. Finding three out of conference games will be tough enough if this expansion craze catches on. Do you really want to try and find 4 every other year? I would expect the football crowd to demand another football school. If Big East football has any chance of surviving, it needs to start getting bigger and fast. Do you really think the other BCS conferences are going to tolerate a BCS bid for an eight team league if all the other BCS conferences have gone to 12? Fat chance.
Is this the straw that breaks the camel's back? Does it finally split the Big East into basketball only and all-sports confereces? I don't see any way around it. There's no more room for a Tranghese-like maneuver of adding one football school and two basketball schools. An eighteen team Big East? No way. Even if the Big East brings in a Memphis, a school with a good basketball program, they still have D1 football. Eventually that will be the way their votes are cast. So if the basketball schools allow another football school to join, they're moving to the back seat. Something that won't sit well with the Providence hierarchy of the BE.
So if Notre Dame joins the Big Ten, the Big East could turn from the hunted to the hunter. An eight team football conference looking for new members. And a seven team basketball-only conference looking as well. I'll leave basketball to their own devices. Here's my choice for an expanded all-sports Big East (which we'll have to call something else because the basketball schools will probably get that name.)
Memphis brings basketball credibility and potential rivalries with Louisville and Cincy, UCF a potentially large TV market and a rivalry with USF, and Temple good basketball, a football program that looks like it's on the way back to respectability along with a potential rivalry for Rutgers. East Carolina/Buffalo is a tougher call. East Carolina has a very good football program and had it long before Skip Holtz. So while the coaching change hurts, I expect them to maintain their level of play. Buffalo lost Turner Gill, and doesn't have the steady history of ECU. Geographically they're a good fit and provide a geographical rival for Syracuse as well as Pitt.
Or maybe the Big East will just ask Texas to join.
Posted on: September 7, 2008 9:26 pm
Here they are. The monkeys aim and throw for Week #2.
1. USC - The class of the nation. OSU will not fare well.
2. Georgia - Beat a decent Central Michigan squad.
3. Missouri - First cupcake.
4. Ohio State - Second cupcake, and didn't look good.
5. Texas - Second cupcake.
6. Florida - Miami?
7. Wisconsin - Second cupcake.
8. Louisiana St. - Nothing new.
9. Auburn - A win against a legit team. How refreshing!
10. Penn St. - Buried Oregon St. Impressive.
11. Oklahoma - Not much trouble with Cincy.
12. Alabama - Tulane? Hmmm.
13. East Carolina - Are they for real now?
14. Fresno St. - Wiscy will be the test
15. Oregon - 66 points? Yeah, that'll do it.
16. South Florida - A rare Big East winner. And here comes Kansas.
17. Texas Tech - Beat Nevada, yawn. Wake me up when they play Kansas and Texas.
18. Kansas - Jayhawks play their first and only decent team since Missouri in USF. Will they be Oregon or Auburn?
19. Arizona St. - Smacked Stanford around. Not bad.
20. Wake Forest - Almost lost to Ole Miss. Just what we need , another SEC contender.
21. Illinois - After Week 2, their loss to Missouri doesn't look so bad.
22. Virginia Tech - After what East Carolina did to West Virginia, Virginia Tech doesn't look so bad.
23. UCLA - Nothing new.
24. Utah - UNLV hung around for a little while anyway.
25. BYU - Lucky to beat a poor Washington team.
Posted on: September 3, 2008 7:08 pm
Discarding stealth in all forms, Barbarian tribes (aka non-BCS schools) began their all-out attack on the Holy BCS Empire by burning and pillaging their way to four huge victories in week one.
East Carolina Plunders Virginia Tech 27-22. This had to be sweet for the Pirates, living just over the border from "civilized" ACC land. They just stormed the mountain passes and took it to Virginia Tech. ECU befuddled Tech's anemic offense and scratched out enough points on their own to seal the win. The deciding play? ECU ripped the Beamerball sword from V Tech and thrust it through their heart with a blocked punt for a TD with less than two minutes remaining. The game was close throughout. No fluke here folks. The Pirates bested the Hokies in rushing and passing yardage and time of posession. They even threw away two fumbles, gave up 60 more yards in penalties and messed up an extra point that Tech returned for 2 points. Next up for the marauding Pirates? The Kingdom of West Virginia invades the Pirates' Greenville hideout this weekend. Better bring more than muskets Mountaineers. It'll take some heavy guns to dislodge the scourge of North Carolina.
Utah Tomahawks Michigan 25-23. Sweeping down out of the Mountain West Conference like the Mongol tribes of old, the Utes blazed to a 25-10 lead and then hung on for the win. Michigan's new offense had teething problems as expected. But the Wolverines defense also succumbed to the Utes' air attack, led by QB Brian Johnson who was 21-34-1 for 305 yards. Both teams treated the ground as if it was teeming with rattlesnakes and gained only 36 yards apiece. Kicker Louie Sakoda added to the number of airborne footballs with field goals of 28, 41, 43, and 53 yards. Sakoda also showed that barbarians can be eloquent on occasion by stating, "Non-BCS teams should get a shot at a championship every year." Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham noted, "It shouldn't have been as close as it was." Next up for the Utes? UNLV. Start running now Rebels. You'll need all the head start you can get.
Bowling Green Ambushes Pitt 27-17. ambush n.: a trap in which concealed persons lie in wait to attack by suprise. Pitt was 24-0 against MAC teams at home. Surprise! Not any more. The Falcons held Panther RB LeSean McCoy to 71 yards rushing and used some razzle-dazzle such as WR Freddie Barnes hitting Jimmy Scheidler with a 5 yd. TD pass. Pitt was also a generous host, serving up three fumbles and an interception. So despite dominating statistically, Pitt came up short on the scoreboard. Falcons coach Gregg Brandon showed that barbarians can be honest as well. "We're not supposed to beat those people." said Brandon. Well Gregg, the times they are a-changing!
Fresno State Goes Transcontinental on Rutgers 24-7. Fresno flew from California on a charter plane so small, it had to stop in Kansas to refuel. All seats were taken, and they arrived in New Jersey the Sunday before the Monday 4:00 pm game. So the fact that Rutgers stuffed their offense the first half makes sense. Apparently a fire and brimstone speech Coach Pat Hill in the locker room woke up the Bulldogs who outscored Rutgers by 17 after halftime. Solid run defense and rushing offense got the job done for Fresno who converted a 3rd and 23 inside the Rutgers 5 to keep a drive going after Rutgers closed to 10-7 in the fourth quarter. Two missed field goals and Rutgers' decision to go for it on 4th and goal at the 3 yard line also loomed large in the result. RB Ryan Matthews ran for 163 yards, mostly after the half. It's no fun having barbarians come into your house and rip out your heart. Trust me, I know. Next target for this barbarian pack of wolves? The Badgers of Wisconsin make the trip to Fresno on September 13th. Beware Wisconsin. I know badgers are vicious but these dogs attack in packs.
Posted on: September 3, 2008 5:26 pm
Ok, in the interest of full disclosure, here are my votes.
1. USC - Trojans don't need a 1AA tuneup. Ask Virginia.
2. Georgia - Georgia beats cupcake #1
3. Missouri - Tigers move up with big win over Illinois
4. West Virginia - See Georgia
5. Ohio St. - See Georgia
6. Texas - See Georgia
7. Florida - Memo to Hawaii. Never visit the SEC again.
8. Wisconsin - See Georgia
9. LSU - Appy State learned LSU is not Michigan
10. Oklahoma - See Georgia
11. Auburn - Ok, so it's not a state-wide thing with Louisiana-Monroe
12. Alabama - Alright Saban, you impressed me.
13. Fresno St. - Damn Bulldogs!
14. Oregon - Ducks roll. Or should I say waddle?
15. Penn St. - Big win over Coma Carolina
16. USF - See Georgia
17. Texas Tech - Yeah, you shoulda been here in my preseason poll
18. Kansas - See Georgia
19. Cincinatti - See Georgia
20. Arizona St. - See Georgia
21. UCLA - Not completely convinced but beating TN has to be worth something
22. East Carolina - Note to Big East. Scoop up the Pirates. NOW!
23. BYU - Missed you in preseason poll. Sorry Cougs.
24. Utah - Yeah, Michigan's O is new but the Utes beat up their D too.
25. Wake Forest - A rare ACC winner last week.
Barbarian Report on the big week by Utah, East Carolina, and Fresno State on the way!
Posted on: July 13, 2008 2:08 pm
Well the preseason edition of The Best Damn Poll in the Land has hit the Internet. Without sounding overly self-congratulatory for the small part I played in it, I thought it was pretty good. Kudos to the Greek as the driving force and poll-master. I was especially pleased that two barbarians were listed. If you didn't know, barbarians are those non-BCS schools that have the audacity to appear in polls and upset the pre-ordained order of the Bowl Championship Series. My positition has always been that these teams get short shrift from the media and coaches and are openly conspired against by the BCS schools to be kept out of the end of the year bowl money give-aways. But IMHO, just like the original barbarians storming and eventually sacking Rome, these non-BCS schools will eventually win out and get a playoff so they have a fair shot at a true national championship.
So in addition to my obvious Rutgers/Big East bias which I will try to keep under control, I plan on doing my best to see that these "non-tradtional" schools get a fair shot in the poll. So here's a brief overview of this year's Huns, Vandals, Visigoths, and Franks. I'll try to do updates on the teams that appear in the TBDPITL or on the "Receiving Votes" list.
1. Fresno State - Frankly I didn't know a lot about them until Kansas St. turned yellow and dropped them from their schedule. Apparently the Wildcats don't like getting stomped by a WAC team. So Rutgers got them for their opener on Labor Day this year. After doing a little research on the Bulldogs, I am scared, big time. Veteran quarterback, solid running game, and a defense that has been described as "chippy." What that translates to in my book, is a defense that causes problems and beats people. Coach Pat Hill's motto is any team, any place. After Rutgers, they play Wisconsin at home. I'm calling an upset here Badger Ballers, be ready. Dangerous, dangerous, dangerous team. If they beat Rutgers, Wiscy, and UCLA this year, expect to see them in the top 10, maybe top 5.
2. BYU - Really happy to see them at #16. They just missed in my poll. Two straight 11-1 seasons but you hear nothing about them from the media. Well you're hear about them from me. QB Max Hall almost hit 4,000 yards last year with 26 TD's. Freshman of the year RB Harvey Unga ran for 1,227 yards and 44 catches for 655 yards. 17 total TD's. Defense hurt by graduation. Games against Washington and UCLA could put them on the radar. My pick for the Mountain West this year.
3. Utah - A major obstacle on BYU's path. The Moutain West crown will be decided by BYU at Utah this year. Solid O-line, if senior QB Brian Johnson cuts down on ints, he's a force, and offense has a 1,200 yard rusher in Darrell Mack. Defense was 18th in the nation and has a veteran secondary. The Utes will be looking to upset Rich Rod and Michigan in the opener, and could do it.
4. East Carolina - I've been politicking to get them into the Big East. Love this team and their football tradition. Last year beat barbarian hero Boise State in the Humanitarian Bowl. UCF may be the trendy pick for Conference USA. I like the Pirates. Skip Holtz' two QB rotation causes problems. Defense needs to improve over last year.
5. Boise State - Everyone's non-BCS hero due to their monumental victory over Oklahoma two years ago. Ian Johnson's still there and is a force at RB. QB controversy needs to be resolved, and replacing he who blocks out the sun, Ryan Clady will be difficult. Defense looks solid. If Fresno State wants to be the big dog in the WAC, this is the team who presently carries around the big bone. Expect Hawaii to fall off the radar this year.
6. Troy - The real Trojans. Sorry USC but you really should be the Southern Californians. How do you like this OOC schedule: LSU, Ohio St., and Oklahoma St. Why do our pollsters like them? Well they stayed within 10 of Georgia last year for one. Good receivers but breaking in new QB and RB.
So there they are, this year's favorite Barbarians according The Best Damn Poll in the Land. Rape, Pilllage, and Plunder boys. Every time you knock off a BCS team, you get us that much closer to a national playoff.