It still seems like too great a coincidence to be fact: after five years of perfect conference stability at the BCS level and after four years of NCAA investigation into USC athletics, not one but two Big 12 teams take off for greener pastures the exact same day that the NCAA breaks out the sledgehammer on the Trojans in epic fashion. Today is officially nuclear. Happy Nuclear Day.
Column coming tomorrow, but for now, a few scattered thoughts, first on one issue, then the other:
— Because it’s the Auburn angle, we’ll start here: as I said a little while back, the vacation of USC’s wins, including the 2004 Orange Bowl victory over Oklahoma, doesn’t mean anything more for Auburn than that they were the only undefeated team that season that mattered. It’s not an occasion to start rewriting our (perfect) history. Auburn earned a national championship that season. They deserved a national championship that season. But they weren’t awarded one, and that’s OK. It’s OK for no one to have one when one of the teams involved was cheating. As for Auburn, as commenter AubOrange said: “It was better than a national championship. It was 2004.”
More to the point, as Will Collier said at Rivals today: “I don’t care.” When it comes to that Orange Bowl, I don’t, and if you do–if you feel the AP and BCS need to bend over backwards to retroactively anoint Auburn the true champion or that something, anything is missing from that 2004 season–I’ll remind you that we wear orange-and-blue around here, and not crimson.
— Like everyone else, I feel terrible for the USC players that are now going to be deprived of two bowl games for something that had nothing to do with them (though transfer opportunities surely beckon in many cases), and even worse for the freshmen who signed their LOIs last spring while under the illusion the NCAA was going to play nice.
But it’s nice to see the NCAA bare its fangs when it has to. (Not as nice as the startlingly vindictive Tide fans believe it to be, but nice.) The old joke here is the one from Jerry Tarkanian, the old UNLV coach, who once said that the NCAA got so mad at his crooked Runnin’ Rebels they put Cleveland State on probation. It’s a clever line, but when it comes to college football, it’s just not true. The only two programs this past decade to receive sanctions like these are the Trojans and, of course, Alabama. You can’t really get any more blueblooded in college football than those two programs. When it comes to the NCAA and football, there really is no such thing as too big a target, apparently.
— It’s going to be a long road back to respectability for USC under the yoke of these kinds of restrictions, so it’s natural that when they looked for a coach with a long history of steady, patient program-building, a coach with a clean record and respect for the NCAA rulebook, a coach who’ll be comfortable ducking below the media feeding frenzy, putting his head down, and quietly going to work. Which is why they hired Lane Kiffin.
— Well, it’s happening. But even after the reports that Mike Slive was chatting up Texas A&M, I still don’t expect the SEC to join in the “party,” at least not this summer. Until we hear otherwise, the assumption is that Texas, A&M, and Texas Tech are coming or going as one block, and I haven’t seen any indication that the SEC is so desperate to take on the Longhorns they’ll welcome the Red Raiders. Besides, all the rumors regarding Texas have involved either the PacTexas-Sixteen or–new for this afternoon–the Big Tenwelven. The only whispers we have about how Texas feels about the SEC is the rumor Mack Brown doesn’t want to bother having to play ‘Bama, Florida, LSU, etc. And if the SEC doesn’t land Texas or A&M, what’s the point?
But the Staples report is a game-changer. Sure, as I said earlier this week, Slive doesn’t have to do a damn thing right now. But apparently he’s not taking my advice; he’s doing some damn things, right now, as we speak. At the very least, we can say this: the SEC is having its say in what’s happening. If this is Slive just taking the temperature out there, cool. If he’s bound-and-determined to invite the SEC up to as many teams as the Big Tenwelven or Pac-X, that’s rash. Patience, patience, patience, please.
— You probably also can’t rule out the SEC biting on the Texas block now that Baylor seems to have been cast adrift. Add those three for the West, add ACC School X in the East, and there’s a 16-team SEC that sort of, kind of, works. Your potential SEC West in this scenario: Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Arkansas, LSU, Ole Miss, Miss. St., Alabama. In the East: Auburn, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, and then either Ga. Tech, Florida St., or Clemson. (Tech, please.)
Yeah, I know this scenario splits up the Iron Bowl, but Auburn’s got way more history with the Eastern schools than the Western and the Tide wouldn’t miss anyone other than Tennessee. And, uh, Auburn. It could work. Maybe.
— Rumors out there about Oklahoma joining the SEC, which, please. As in the case of Texas and its two coattail schools, no way the Sooners and Okie St. get split up, and now way the SEC–or any conference that’s not the PacTexas-16–finds room for both.
— Again, more on this tomorrow.
1.) Lane Kiffin deserves every second of that probation. I believe the term I’m looking for here is “LMAO”.
2.) Reggie Bush should have his contract voided and be kicked to the curb by the NFL. Because, apparently, he doesn’t have any respect for the collegiate football system, nor the millions of guys, including his teammates, who went through it the right way. Reggie, I don’t care how talented west coasties might think you are, that doesn’t make you any better than all those other players — and, by the way, you should respect all those other players, because without them, your highlight film would’ve sucked.
Also, you’re a slot receiver. You suck.
3.) Am I the only one that DOESN’T think this “four 16 team super conferences” is the ultimate sooner-or-later scenario? Seriously, in practice, this thing just isn’t going to work. 8 teams in each division would mean that you would have to have 7 divisional games, which leaves just one inter-divisional game a year. And if you do it the home-and-home way, that means each team is going to have the exact same schedule for two straight years in off years. And that means that we’ll see a USC vs Texas home-and-home once every 14 years. It’ll be more like two completely different conferences who have a bowl game between the two called a “conference championship” in early December.
And as far as the money goes — I don’t see why having 16 teams makes it any easier to make a TV network than having 12 teams. Just seems like less to go around to me. There’s got to be a threshold somewhere where everything hits a cap and teams stop being able to carry their own weight around.
Agree with your sentiments on Kiffin and Bush. Absolutely.
As for the network with 16 versus 12 teams, I’ve heard the draw is that you get into more unique TV markets- which means more opportunity to charge higher advertising rates.
The notion I don’t understand is that if there are 4 super conferences, then they can more easily do a playoff system. They are still under the NCAA right? And I always heard that if they went to a playoff, then the NCAA would take it over and make all the $$$ (which is why the college presidents are against it). Oh well.
I think you are right that SEC isn’t going to expand. But if it does it won’t go for those three ACC schools because those TV markets are already covered. There is no benefit to that.
To quote Marvin the Paranoid Android:
“This will all end in tears, I just know it.”
“7 divisional games, which leaves just one inter-divisional game a year.”
Unless the league drops some of the four non-conference games, which is what the result will likely be. While this may push the NCAA to establish a clear “BCS playoff” scenario that most people seem to want, it will probably kill college football for any team outside of those super conferences. One of the reasons Conference USA, Sunbelt and Mid American conferences exist at all is due to collecting a fat paycheck for padding the ‘big boys’ schedules. This is the drawback to expansion of the current 12-member conferences.
While the focus is now on the Big 12, I think the other casualty of the race to expand will likely be the ACC. Too many teams seem to fit nicely into other conferences for that organization to sleep comfortably. There is already talk of FSU, Miami, Clemson and Ga Tech sliding over to the SEC (even though that won’t add much in terms of TV audience). Another possibility is to add a couple of North Carolina Schools along with Ga. Tech and FSU which would add the Raleigh-Durham, Wilmington and the Charlotte markets to the TV pie. That’s a lot of paying customers for the TV product, and would boost the TV market for SEC Basketball as well.
The end result? Football fans may get their playoff system, but there will be many, many casualties along the way and the gulf between the haves and the have-nots will only widen.
Let me just say this:”How sweet would it have been to see Rosegreen deliver another ‘BONE-RATTLER’ to Bush…a la Reggie Brown in the UGA game?” Sorry Jerry…I know it sound bitter for me to say that, but we got jobbed – and nothing can fix that. I’m not convinced it won’t happen again…especially with this Super-Conference B.S. (Imagine: Auburn, Texas, and Nebraska all go undefeated – who do think is getting left out? You don’t need a Howard Schnellinburger mustache to figure that one out). GOD – is it September yet? Excuse me – thank God the world cup will keep my mind off meaningless B.S. like this. How sweet
Joe Blow says
“thank God the world cup will keep my mind off meaningless B.S. like this. How sweet”
Anyone else have a big stupid grin on their face this morning? 😀
Me. Duh. Terrific opening match, marred only by 1. a professional British soccer announcer who’s somehow managed to never learn the offsides rule 2. as Shaun Bartlett accurately put it post-game the extremely African defensive breakdown that gift-wrapped Mexico the equalizer. A draw’s a fair result, but dammit, don’t let MEXICO off the hook, guys.
Here’s a solution….
Add 2 games to the regular season, and get rid of the month break during December!
Joe Blow says
Great game! And to the announcer’s defense, offsides in soccer is probably one of the most confusing rules in all of sports. I even had to explain why the call was right to one of my good buddies who played through college on scholarship! Play like that doesn’t come often behind a keeper, so the confusion a lot of people are having is understandable.
As much as I can’t stand Mexico (the soccer team, that is), I’m pulling for them. I’d like to see CONCACAF do well.
I used to be able to root for Mexico in the Cup. They played a phenomenal match against Germany in the ’98 second round and really should have won; I was seriously disappointed when they didn’t.
But their team are just such jerks and their fans, by and large, couldn’t possibly be more disrespectful towards our players or even our country. I will root against them and root against them HARD as long as they’re around. To have SA just have hand them the equalizer on a platter and then waste two separate gilt-edged opportunities in the 2nd half hurt. Hurt badly.
I don’t blame your average fan–even your average soccer fan–for not knowing that wasn’t offsides. But for the announcer to not be clear on it is totally shocking.
Super conferences blah blah blah, bad for the game. The SEC can prove it’s better than the rest by not jumping in.
World cup world cup world cup! Headed over in less than a week, as total US Soccer fanatic I equate Mexico to Bama, may they lose at everything, SA deserved the 3 points.
Those gripping 1-1 and 0-0 draws today had me on the edge of my seat!
Joe Blow says
I root for them only to make it out of the group stage.