Posted on: March 20, 2010 4:24 pm
Just when Big Ten expansion rumours were starting to quiet down, whistling in from the heartland of the nation comes this gem:
Radio host Steve Daece in Des Moines, Iowa quotes "sources in the Michigan athletic department" believing that Notre Dame, Rutgers, and Boston College are likely to be announced as winners of the Big Ten Beauty Pageant in 2-3 months. Posters in Iowa have on the one hand alleged that Daece's source is the guy who drives the Little Debby Snacks truck to cafeteria and on the other hand lauded Daece as an accurate prognosticator. So anyone's guess on the validity of this one is, well, valid.
So let's look at this premise. 1. Notre Dame. Duh! Yes the Big Ten will be happy to open its doors to the Golden Domers despite being spurned in the past. Rumours from the Big Ten indicate that ND will have to do the courting this time. This is like that hot chick that shot you down has to give you a sign that she's interested now. So if ND looks coyly at the Big Ten and smiles, they're in.
2. Rutgers. Yes I can hear the wailing and gnashing of elitist teeth already. No Texas? Uh, no. But the Big Ten deserves better. Yes and I deserve to retire right now to a life of playing golf, drinking good bourbon, and doing whatever the hell I feel like. Ain't gonna happen. Let me spell it out. The Big Ten Network wants to make more money. They want the NY/NJ television sets. A lot of them. Sorry Michigan, Penn State and whatever other Big Ten school that has at least one alumnus in NYC, you're just not getting it done. Furthermore, the duo of Rutgers and Notre Dame on the BTN is a pretty good argument to get it on the basic tier. And maybe, just maybe the BTN can get a bump in Philadelphia rates (4th largest DMA) with Rutgers in the fold as well. So despite many Big Ten fans' belief that Rutgers isn't worthy of the Big Ten, the fact remains that the Big Ten Network isn't worthy of getting on the basic tier in the NY/NJ area without them. Deal with it.
3. Boston College. Now this one to me is a stretch. Yes, you traditionophiles, BC has it, they have a rivalry with ND, they've had success in football having made it to the ACC championship twice. But if you talk to the ACC, you kinda get the impression that they're not that happy with new member Boston College. Well at least their bowl partners anyway, that try to shun the Eagles every year because of their poor fan support. The fact is, even the ACC Championship draws poorly when BC's in it. BC wasn't in the original "5 team report" bandied about in the Chicago Tribune. Add in that BC's 44,500 seat Alumi Stadium would be the smallest in the Big Ten and BC looks like a questionable choice. How about Boston TV sets? Boston has the 6th largest DMA, better than any Big Ten home city with the exception of Chicago (Northwestern). The TV argument is there along with adding another state to the Big Ten footprint. Will BC really increase the pie of the Big Ten Network enough to justify its addition? I don't have the answer but from what I read, BC has been somewhat of a disappointment in the ACC TV wise. Could it change if they're playing Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State instead of Virginia Tech, Clemson, and Georgia Tech? My guess would be yes.
How about Notre Dame's coattails? Suppose ND says we'll only join if we can bring BC with us. Now why Notre Dame would do this other than that they're both private Catholic schools is beyond my comprehension. In fact Notre Dame apparently got rather tired of being beaten by Boston College on the football field and has not renewed the series. Notre Dame doesn't need to bring rivals to the Big Ten, it already has plenty.
If Notre Dame is campaigning for BC's admission, it would explain why the Eagles are being mentioned now while being omitted from the "Report of Five." The idea of the Big Ten's two eastern outposts located in the DMA of over 10% of the nations total number of TV sets does have some allure to it. You would think that the Fighting Irish would have a few fans in New York and Boston as well. If the trend is toward superconferences, the Big Ten would pluck some prime real estate in the NYC, Philadelphia, and Boston areas if it does pull this off. Who knows, maybe the ACC would be happy to swap out BC and swap in a West Virginia, that actually has rivalries with Maryland and Virginia Tech? Well it passes the giggle test anyway.
Posted on: December 14, 2008 8:33 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2008 9:56 am
Usually when it comes to state university football teams and state politicos, the boys in the state capital are very supportive. Look at Virginia during the ACC/Big East raid. The University of Virginia had no interest in letting the western boys of Virginia Tech into their little club. Until the governor of Virginia weighed in and told them of dire consequences unless they voted the Hokies in. Look at West Virginia during the Rich Rod soap opera. Whether you agreed with it or not, the governor was squarely on West Virginia's side.
BUT NOT IN NEW JERSEY. This week Rutgers President Dick McCormick fired AD Bob Mulcahy. Mulcahy turned Rutgers football from a national laughingstock into a Big East contender by hiring Greg Schiano. He also expanded Rutgers Stadium to include club seating for 1,000, an additional stadium capacity of 12,500, and upgraded the Athletic Center to one of the best. Rutgers football team academically is second only to Navy in APR thanks in no small part to the academic programs Mulcahy set up for the athletes. Recruiting classes have improved yearly, this year's a possible top 25 class. Rutgers will be attending its fourth bowl game in a row despite having gone to just one in its first 135 years. And miracle of miracles, football turned a profit last year for the first time in history. Lest you think Mulcahy is a football only guy, he has supported C. Vivian Stringer who has made the women's basketball team one of the best in the country, and hired Fred Hill who is still at work trying to revive Rutgers basketball team to the glory of Sellers, Dabney, Bailey, and Jordan. So all in all, let's say Rutgers is headed in the right direction.
Not according to Dick McCormick. According to the Prez (who was run out of U of Washington on a rail from the same position) Mulcahy did a great job. In fact he told him at Thanksgiving that he had nothing to worry about. But this week, with no warning whatsoever, Mulcahy was called on the carpet and dismissed. Why? Even Mulcahy doesn't know. All McCormick told him was that he wanted to go in "another direction." What other direction? Down?
Well according to NJ Governor Corzine there were "transparency issues." Supposedly, according to a muckraking campaign by the Newark Star Ledger, there were secret deals in Greg Schiano's contract. The first there was a supposed clause in the contract that allowed Schiano to walk if the stadium expansion wasn't completed. Um, Wrong! Schiano and Mulcahy both confirmed that no such clause was ever executed. Schiano said he could have had one if he wanted but he had faith that Bob Mulcahy would get the addition completed. He was right, the club seats are in and last week the Rutgers' Board of Governors voted to complete the additional 12,500 seats by next September (Despite Governor Corzine first renegging on a promise of a $30 million loan from the state, and then a subsequent boast to lead a private fundraising effort to obtain the $30 million. So far the Gov has raised only about $1M.) Someone must have had knowledge of the details of contract negotiations and leaked them to the Star Ledger, since this clause never was executed.
Well ok, said the Star Ledger there was also a secret deal to pay Schiano $250,000 a year from Nelligan Sports which was not made public. But a funny thing happened. Rutgers fans found a Star Ledger article from 2006, discussing the exact same clause. Funny how the Star Ledger had deleted this article from their archives too. Oh, and a guy named George Zoffinger was quoted as saying this wasn't a bad idea. So the question remains, why was Bob Mulcahy fired?
Rewind back to when Bob Mulcahy got the job in the late 90's. There was another candidate named George Zoffinger who obviously didn't get the job. New Jersey Senate President Cody has described Zoffinger as one of the most dishonest people in politics. Cody says Zoffinger has a habit of leaking confidential info to his buddies in the press. Mulcahy was Zoffinger's predecessor as the boss of the New Jersey Meadowlands complex. Grateful employees erected a plaque in Mulcahy's honor when he left. Zoffinger took over the post after Mulcahy went to Rutgers. The plaque mysteriously disappeared. Oh and Zoffinger was later forced out of that job by Governor Corzine because of a conflict of interest.
So what's this have to do with Rutgers? Well guess who got appointed to the Rutgers Board of Governors during the time period between former Governor McGreevey's announced resignation in disgrace and actual departure? George Zoffinger. Guess who was the only negative vote against Mulcahy's stadium expansion plan? George Zoffinger. Guess who was the only BOG member who railed against Mulchahy's decision to cut six varsity sports after drastic funding cuts by the state? (Never mind that Rutgers still has 24 varsity sports, more than any other school in the Big East). George Zoffinger. Guess who moved out of New Jersey because he has stated that he refuses to pay NJ taxes, is a benefactor of Penn State and publicly stated that Greg Schiano, of course, will go to Penn State when Joe Paterno retires. Yeah, you know who. George Zoffinger.
What changed McCormick's mind about Mulcahy? Who knows? But there have been reports that he went to a meeting with 2-3 Board of Governors members shortly before the announcement. I wonder who was there? After Mulcahy was told, McCormick asked him not to say anything to the press for 24 hours. By the time he got back to his office, the Star-Ledger was on the phone, asking for confirmation that he had been fired. Yep, another news leak. McCormick told Mulcahy that he had not told anyone. Who could have leaked this information?
So why was Bob Mulcahy fired? We still don't know. So much for "transparency" Governor Corzine. Rumors that McCormick was sent a letter by two state senators also may have some bearing on his change of heart. Whatever the reason, it stinks. Rutgers football this year was four points away from a BCS bowl, despite a 1-5 start. Now instead of celebrating their courageous comeback to 7-5, we're stuck with this pile of horse manure. Thank you Bob Mulcahy. Rutgers fans and alumni will neither forget, nor roll back the things you have accomplished. As for the Rutgers Board of Governors, President and politicos who treated you so shabbily? New Jersey is the butt of a lot of jokes. One of these is that New Jersey , in much coarser words, is the sphincter of the United States. Well gentlemen, if this is true, from your actions you have proven that you all are just passin' through!
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.