Monday, December 17, 2012

weekend review

Just small bullets today.  Deprived of bowl preparations, this time of year is so bereft of news and such that I might end up posting a full-blown preview of the Morgan State game on Wednesday.  (On second thought no.  Not that desperate.)  Anyway.

-- It's highly unlikely you missed the fact that the basketball side of the Big East finally snapped and voted to leave the conference.  Things would've been even more entertaining had they been able to vote to dissolve it entirely.  (Realignment is all fun and games when it's going on below you.)  I think the final word on dissolution was they needed two football-school votes, so it's a shame they didn't latch onto this idea before Rutgers left.  (Just to see if anyone could ever top the dick move of voting to dissolve the conference while secretly knowing you have an invite from somewhere else.)

At any rate, what's left is a Conference of Sanity, coming sometime in the future to hoops only, and a spread-out agglomeration of random former CUSA and MWC schools.  And Connecticut, but let's face it, a football program that isn't even old enough for a drivers' license is hard to have a lot of sympathy for.  Does that suck for their hoops program?  Yes, but then, Memphis seemed to do just fine as the one behemoth in CUSA.

As for the ACC, it probably means nothing in the short-term.  The main effect is that now, Notre Dame can't figure out what it's supposed to do if it wants to leave early. (Had the rumored dissolution occurred, it would've quadrupled the weird factor, since in that case ND and Louisville would've been free to jump right in next year.  In which case we would've had to figure out what to do with Maryland, since the B1G would've probably added Rutgers early as well and would've been likely to demand Maryland's freedom too.  But that's all moot now.  The Zombie Big East will carry on without much direction for a little while longer yet.

UConn and Cincinnati are no doubt feeling rather out in the cold right now, but they'll be around if the ACC needs them.  (Let's hope it doesn't.)  Pre-emptive expansion would be a bad idea.  If for some reason the Big Ten decides to add UConn, I'd be furious as a B1G fan but highly relieved as an ACC fan, and the scales, in case you're wondering, would tilt decidedly towards my ACC loyalties.  I don't want to see UVA in the Big Ten, that's why.

-- Rumorz on the LaxPower forum are harbingers of a tough time to be a UVA goalie hopeful.  Dan Marino has (another) broken thumb and Austin Geisler has transferred to High Point.  Geisler is no longer on the roster, so there's your corroboration.  Marino's thumb is newsworthy this time around because there isn't time for it to heal before the preseason, or even perhaps the season itself.  That turns a three-man derby for the starting gig into a one-man derby: Rhody Heller, as the last man standing, is now almost certain to start the season in net.  And he needs to spend the next few weeks lovingly encased in bubble wrap, because after that is nobody who's a solution.

-- It's been almost two years since we had to put up with a decommitment, so the time was ripe.  Losing Brad Henson to North Carolina, though, stings a bit.  More so than any recent decommitment I can think of, going back several years.  Henson was the most highly-sought-after member of the O-line class (obviously) and part of the succession plan at center.  Thinness at the O-line (partly due to Tim Cwalina's unfortunate heart condition) was causing the coaches to pursue a fourth offensive lineman for the class, but now they'll have to make it a priority.  Decommitments are not in and of themselves worth getting worked up over, but Henson's handling of the situation ("two-faced" would not be a complete stretch) left much to be desired.  Contrast that with Tim Harris, who, if he decommits (I don't think he will, but you never know) will at least have been up front about his intentions.

-- Will Stewart at ITA has an excellent article that does a nice job of reading between the lines of the WaPo's behemoth article on Maryland's move to the Big Ten.  Top quote:
"30 years as a career academic administrator at the collegiate level, and Loh admits to knowing almost nothing about athletic conferences, other than 'there are games.' And he’s the driving force behind moving Maryland to the Big Ten."

Admittedly some of the article plays on the emotional pull of historical matchups and tradition and yadda yadda, none of which anyone that makes any decisions gives a shit about.  But here is a guy who used to know nothing about athletic conferences other than "there are games," and now knows nothing about athletic conferences other than "there are games, and some conferences have more money than others."  And he decided exactly what you'd expect someone would decide given no knowledge but that which relates to money, and only that knowledge which Jim Delany deigned to let him in on.  A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.


Anonymous said...

It's funny, not long ago you wrote that the only two forces driving conference alignment were TV money and inertia -- and you were right. But then along comes the Big East to buck the trend. These basketball schools are making a move based on neither TV money nor inertia -- but on common sense! Common sense as in, "Look at this conference. How the fuck did this happen?!"

Good for them, I say. I've never liked the Big East, but I love this move. Now I just have to hope they don't mess up the A-10.

Brendan said...

Some months ago it so happens I also wrote that I fully expected the Catholic schools to do this. It happened sooner than I thought, but it comes as no surprise. The reason is: I think it's more accurate to say that for once, common sense and the money happened to align. Partly, yes, they looked around and said "this is bullshit." But partly also, it was highly predictable because of money.

It's not like the Catholic 7 got an equal share of the Big East TV deal - anywhere from two-thirds to three-fourths went to the football schools. The rest got divvied up among the hoops schools, which wasn't a lot but was enough to make them better off than their A10 brethren. As the mass defections grew, the money shrank, and it's more or less at the point now where the damage to the brand outweighed whatever money was left, and they'll likely do better for themselves as a basketball-only brand.