The Big 10 hasn't even decided yet on whether to expand to twelve (or maybe even 14 teams) and Notre Dame is already turning the conference down. Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick has already put the kibosh on the notion. His reasoning: tradition."Our strong preference is to remain the way we are," Swarbrick told the Tribune. "Independence is a big part of the tradition of the program and our identity. We'd sure like to try to maintain it."Translation: Notre Dame likes living in the past, and believes it can continue to do so."All of this has a lot more to do with our priorities than it does with business issues," he said. "Our independence is tied up in a lot of the rivalries we have. We play Navy every year and have the tradition of USC weekends. Frankly, it works pretty well to play USC in October at home and in November at their place."Being in the Big 10 would stop Notre Dame from playing USC. Bull hockey. Being in the SEC doesn't stop Florida from playing rival Florida State (an ACC school) every year. The same goes for SEC school Georgia playing rival ACC school Georgia Tech. Besides, being a Pac-10 school hasn't stopped USC from playing Notre Dame, has it now?There's enough room in a twelve game schedule for Notre Dame to play USC and Navy. If the Big 10 split the conference into two divisions, ND would face five teams in its division, and at most three or four teams from the opposite division. That's at most eight or nine Big 10 opponents every year. There's enough space left for USC, Navy, and one or two additional schools on the schedule.Putting ND in the theoretical SWRT Big-10 East a possible Notre Dame schedule might look like this:Michigan Michigan St. Ohio St. Penn St. IndianaWisconsin Purdue NorthwesternUSCNavynon-division opponent xnon-division opponent y(theoretical east in bold, theoretical west in italic, non Big 10 normal)So it is possible for Notre Dame to maintain it's traditional USC and Navy rivalries in the Big 10, and still have room for a couple of snuff games. Congrats, Swarbrick. You've been pwned.(via The Chicago Tribune)
So you're the Big 10, you've got to decide between Rutgers, Missouri, and Pittsburgh as the possible twelfth school in you're conference. Which one to ask?How about all three?The Big 10 is actually considering adding as many as three to five schools to the conference, if you believe and article posted on The Chicago Tribune's website. The Tribune quotes an unnamed source that "Anything is possible," when it came to the subject of expansion.Fourteen teams sounds like a lot. But with two divisions of seven, its feasible. There would still be room for a non-division game or two. Sixteen teams may be too many, unless the NCAA adds a game or two to the schedule.The other question this brings up is the possibility of other conferences joining in expansion. If the Big 10 added three teams how soon before the SEC and Big 12 followed? And would smaller conferences like the Big East and Mountain West survive the feeding frenzy? The landscape of college football might be considerably different from where it is now if the Big 10 goes beyond twelve teams.(via The Chicago Tribune)
The website al.com Mal Moore, the athletics director at Alabama, has asked the SEC to look into the number of teams the Crimson Tide are scheduled to meet in in the future that will be coming off of buy weeks. Six of the eight SEC on Alabama's 2010 schedule have a bye week before facing the Tide.Moore is now amused by this situation. Two of Alabama's closest games this season came against Tennessee and Auburn, who were each coming off a but week. 'Bama sees the teams on the 2010 schedule as having an unfair advantage. The SEC has agreed to look into the situation., and could make alterations to the 2010 schedule.(via al.com)
Dan Shanoff of The Sporting Blog gives his suggestion of which school should join the Big 10: Navy. Some of his arguements are serious ("Academic credentials are impeccable. Football program is solid."), some are less so ("Feds could use the BCS bowl revenue"). One arguement he doesn't make: Players at Navy aren't as likely to attack other students on campus.Plus, Navy has a national following, unlike a school like Rutgers. Though arguably Rutgers has a better shot because of it's proximity to the New York market (even if its in New Jersey).Shanoff says "If the Big Ten hates America, it will dismiss Navy's value to the conference. If it loves America, it will see Navy's obvious value and bring them in" Well we already know the Big 10 hates America. The conference is one of the biggest opponents to a playoff system.(via The Sporting Blog)
In a sad, admitted excuse t0 get plastered, Rick Reilly sat in a bar looking for closed captioning flubs on the TV. This isn't an lame excuse to put adult beverages on Reilly's ESPN expense account, this is a cry for help,* if only for a problem with writer's block.Even sadder is some of the things on the closed-captioning he came up with. Ndamukong Suh was transformed into "INCOME CONGRESS SUE." And Mike Tomlin's (via Gladiator) now infamous "Unleash Hell in December" quote became "UNLEASH HOWL IN DECEMBER."Reilly tries to give the people writing the captions some slack. But on some level you expect them to try to do better. Closed captioning was created to help those who were hearing impaired, as opposed to giving joy to inebriated sports journalists. They really need to try a little harder to get it right the first time.(*And no, I am not seriously accusing Rick Reilly of having a problem with alcoholism. Living off the fumes of past glories? Well that's another question.)(via ESPN)
Don't be fooled by that man in the red suit. It is none other than the Mets' Jeff Francoeur handing out presents at the Mets' Christmas party for area school children in New York. He bringing lots of toys and goodies for the kids in the same way he that he was one of the few things to bring tidings of comfort and joy to Mets' fans this year. Which is in sharp contrast to his former team, the Braves, who deserve nothing but lumps of coal and switches for trading him for that worthless excuse of a carbon based life form, R**n Church. (Yeah, I guess that would make R**n Church a lump of coal on some level).The bad news, apparently previous Mets' playing Santa have run into bad luck in the following season . Hopefully Frenchie can prevent that from happening next season, and continue to prove that Terry Pendleton's incompetence as hitting coach was/is the problem.(via Can't Stop the Bleeding, New York Times )
It's been a(nother) long December for the Dallas Cowboys. And there's no reason to believe that maybe this season will end better than the last.* In other words, Wade Phillips is probably going to be updating his resume pretty soon. He's might not be the only one if Tim Cowlishaw has his way.It long been figured that Cowboys' offense coordinator Jason Garrett was heir apparent for the job Cowboys' head coach. He was hired by Jerry Jones even before he hired Wade Phillips, for cryin' out loud. Cowlishaw argues that Garrett's poor handling of the Cowboys' offense this year should be the main reason he shouldn't get the job. "Just getting rid of Phillips in order to raise Garrett's status to match his $3 million salary makes about as much sense as watching Nick Folk miss field goals on a weekly basis and deciding that the problem is the holder," Cowlishaw writes. "And the Cowboys already tried that, with costly results in a 3-point loss to San Diego." Ouch. Nice little back handed cheap shot at Tony Romo there.The good news for Cowboys' fans is that it does look like the Wade Phillips era is almost over in Dallas. The bad news is that the Jerry Jones Reign of Terror will continue for the near future. If Cowlishaw's lucky, he'll get his wish and Jason Garrett won't be head coach next year. On the other hand, he might end up with Charlie Weis or something more ludicrous than that. I hear Willie Martinez is available.*(Apologies to Counting Crows)(via Dallas Morning News)
Forget the Y2K drill. Forget the Manning family's tour of the ESPN campus. Forget the rookie out of high school that went pro too soon. This, ladies and gentlemen is the most awesome "This is Sportscenter" commercial ever.Arnold Palmer making an Arnold Palmer. 'Nuff said.
Oh snap! Mr. Irrelevant reports that the Washington Redskins are looking at hiring ex-Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis to an unknown role in the organization. If that doesn't bring visions of schadenfreude through your mind nothing will. You don't need an unnamed robot to tell this has "Warning! Danger Will Robinson!" written all over it.The article mentions the Broncos' interest in Weis also, but they're probably looking to hire Weis as Josh McDaniel's offense coordinator. Or geisha boy. Or some other job with no real decision making power.Speaking of refuges of The Golddomedammerung, , the Redskins are looking at drafting Jimmy Clausen. Clausen and Weis, together again. Wonderful, more schadenfreude! There's plenty to go around with the Redskins. Its like a buffet of schadenfreude! And Daniel Snyder is picking up the tab for us all. What joy!(via Mr. Irrelevant)
Turner Gill hasn't been on the job at Kansas' head football coach a full day yet and there's already a Fire Turner Gill site up.Who would this site rather have as coach?"JIM HARBAUGH, Tommy Tuberville, JIM HARBAUGH, Randy Edsall, JIM HARBAUGH, Skip Holtz. Did I mention JIM HARBAUGH?Uh, did anybody mention that JIM HARBAUGH signed an extension with Stanford yesterday?Yeah, like he was going to give up being a constant thorn in Pete Caroll's side in sunny California to be Bob Stoops and Mack Brown's whipping boy? Yeah, didn't think so.Okay, Gill's win/loss record as a coach isn't quite as stellar as Mark Mangino's. But right now that's beside the point. The Kansas football program's on the ropes because of Mangino's antics. Gill's hire is as much about saving face.Besides Gill's not chopped liver. As quarterback coach, he helped Nebraska win three "National Championships" in the 90's. So he has a pretty good Big 12 background.(via EDSBS, Fire Turner Gill )
It already appears that ESPN's 30 on 30 presentation The U is already making it's mark on the pop culture. Or at least the sports pop culture. Via the Miami Hurricanes blog The 7th Floor comes a selection of "U" gifs that you'll probably be seeing pop as avatars and in sig lines if you haven't already.(via The 7th Floor)
Here's the least shocking event to come out of Tigergate: Jay Mariotti is overreacting. Mariotti has declared in his Fanhouse column that Tiger Woods can't repair the damage his sexcapades have caused. In fact the headline reads "Can Tiger Ever Recover? Answer Is No. ""He's now a laughingstock, a pariah, a corporate red flag and the antithesis of the role model we thought he was for a dozen years," Mariotti writes. " Simply, a public figure of his magnitude can't portray himself in an impeccable, squeaky-clean way for so long, only to plunge into sordid, sleazy affairs with women so pathetically beneath his stature. The result has been a relentless firestorm of widespread backlash, all over the world, and even a man who has demonstrated enormous emotional strength on the course -- winning the 2008 U.S. Open on one leg, you remember -- will have difficulty resuming life as Tiger Woods."As usual Mariotti throws the baby out with the bathwater. Is Woods going to be seen as a paragon of virtue again? Probably not. Is Woods career toast. Probably not.Mariotti seems to forget that Tiger Woods isn't the first celebrity to be caught in a big scandal. He also forgets that in many cases, celebrities have come back to regain their superstardom or even reaching new heights. Elizabeth Taylor made a career over her private life as much as she did her movie roles. She was even able to turn a stint in the Betty Ford Clinic into a positive story of personal recovery and became an inspiration to many.Even look at possibly the biggest pre-Tiger uber-media scandal: Brittney Spears. A couple of years ago, more than a few in the media declared her career over. How's that projection panning out? Spears has done quite nicely for herself. She even had a recent number one single on the Billboard "Hot 100" chart with "3."Then of course there's Madonna. If she had a dollar for every time a media pundit declared her career over due to a scandal she'd be a millionaire. Oh wait, she is a millionaire.Or how about Bill Clinton? His Presidency survived a sex scandal where he came out way better in the end than some of his enemies.Mariotti predicts that when Woods comes back it will take him "into his 40s" to pass Jack Nicklaus' record for most majors. Don't hold your breath there, Jay. He'll be 34 on December 30. Even with assuming he takes about a year off (and I'll wouldn't be shocked if he's back before then), Woods could win a major a year and still break Nicklaus record when he's 39. And it might not take him that long.Yes, Woods has lost a few sponsors. The only sponsor that really matters (Nike) hasn't yet. It would be a huge shock if they did. This is the company that turn past sex scandal de jour Kobe Bryant into a puppet. And his scandal had criminal charges, for crying out loud (even if they were dropped). It would probably have to take something really nasty to make Nike drop Woods.It would probably take some kind of serious criminal charges to really total Woods' career.It's classic Mariotti to run around like Chicken Little saying the sky is falling. Usually it isn' t the case. Tigergate is a big, but in many ways it's not as career threatening as Mariotti and others might think. Woods will adapt his public persona post-scandal, bit he won't be as worse for wear as some think.(via Fanhouse)
Brian Kelly has barely been coach at Notre Dame for a couple of days and already the spin doctors are busily revising history to put Kelly in a better light. The South Bend Tribune's Al Lesar, provides several examples of how questionable parts of Kelly's past were excused away.For example, there's Kelly's stance on abortion, for example."Scour anything written about Kelly and it's impossible to find his stance on abortion. Could it be his work as a legal assistant on the staff of Sen. Gary Hart in the early '80s?"I'm a practicing Catholic," Kelly said Friday. "I embrace the same values that are here at Notre Dame. I can tell you this: I'm pro Notre Dame; I'm pro football - that's about it."Kelly's "pro football", eh? Freudian slip, perhaps? Maybe an even bigger dream job back in the mental closet there?Then there is the nasty little Central Michigan incident. Notre Dame's athletic director Jack Swarbrick's comment on the issue:"Brian, in my conversation with him, brought up the Central Michigan topic," Swarbrick said Friday. "I would have gotten to it if he didn't. He talked about the lesson he learned from that. I really appreciated that. Take that stuff head-on. That's sorta the nature of his personality."Of course, Swarbrick failed to share what the lesson was that Kelly actually learned.And then there's that little problem of how Kelly pretty much left Cincinnati at the Sugar Bowl altar. In Kelly's own words:"Transition is very difficult, and those situations are extremely emotional," Kelly said. "But I handled myself in a manner that was up front and honest. The two watch words for me in dealing with our student athletes and anybody is professionalism and integrity. And I believe that in those areas, that's the way I handled myself. When I had the opportunity to inform our team, I certainly did that."Which is why some of your former players hate your guts right now."It's like somebody turned their back on us," tight end Ben Guidugli told AP. "To have someone walk out now is disappointing."Notre Dame can spin Kelly's baggage issues as much as they can. All it can do is haunt the school if Kelly flops.(via South Bend Tribune)
With the talk of the Big 10 possibly looking for a twelfth member there is a big question that needs to be answered. To wit: how would a twelve team Big 10 be divided? Well, that's a pretty tricky question there.For one thing, trying to divide the conference up without knowing who the twelfth member is makes it a little hard to divide geographically. Assuming that the Big 12 would raid a Big East team makes it a little easier. The new team would naturally go in the eastern division. The trick is making the divisions equal in both geographic and competitive balance.Going with East/West divisions, it could line up as follows:West Wisconsin Minnesota Iowa Illinois Northwestern Purdue EastMichiganMichigan St.Ohio St. Penn St.Indiana(12th member)As you can tell, the divisions do not quite divide equally along state lines the way the Big 12 or the SEC does. To get the divisions to work in the SWRT scenario, Purdue and Indiana had to be placed in separate conferences, even though they're both in Indiana. If somehow Notre Dame accepted an invite into the conference, it would put two Indiana teams in the East and one in the West. West Lafayette is slightly farther west than South Bend, so Purdue would still go in the west.Of course this plan pretty much makes the Big 10 West the weaker sister of the two conferences. Unlike the SEC, where both conferences are pretty much even most years (with Alabama/LSU/Auburn in the West, Florida/UGA/Tennessee in the East). The Big 10 East would have the pick of the litter of Big 10 teams, plus the new school. It would be more like the Big 12, where the South is stronger than the North. On the plus side, Michigan and Ohio State are pretty much preserved as yearly rivals.Using a North/South division is a little trickier, but may be slightly more even.NorthWisconsin Michigan Michigan St. Minnesota Iowa Northwestern/ (12th member) SouthOhio St.IndianaIllinoisPurduePenn St.Northwestern/ (12th member)In this scenario, Ohio St. and Michigan are in separate divisions. For their rivalry to continue there would have to be some two or three member partnerships that cross divisions. This would be especially true if Notre Dame is the twelfth team, and was in a different conference than fellow Indiana schools Indiana and Purdue. The geography is a bit shaky, but it does provide the possibility of a Ohio St./Michigan rematch each year in a championship.(And as for a Big 10 championship site, Chicago's the obvious choice, even if it's too close to the Illinois' Champaign campus)Either set-up isn't geographically perfect, and could vary with a team or two. The trick will be to create two divisions that will be competitively balanced.
The Big 10 (Plus 1) may finally be ready to enter the 20th 21st century. Word has come down that the Big 10 may be seeking a twelfth team to join the conference. This would pave the way for divisions and an end of the season championship game.No word on who the lucky twelfth school might be. Still stuck in the past Notre Dame turned the Big 10 a few years ago. A raiding of the Big East is probable. Rutgers and Syracuse would probably be frontrunners if only because of their markets. Cincinnati might have a good shot also. Teams like West Virginia and Navy are pretty much dark horses.No word if the Big 10's perennial Rose Bowl opponent the Pac-10 is ready to enter the 20th century.(via Deadspin, JSOnline)
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