OK, let’s run it down.
Temple topped No. 3 Syracuse on Saturday, a week after Butler bumped off No. 1 Indiana. Back around Thanksgiving, Virginia Commonwealth went on a Tour de Oh So Close against a trio of ranked teams in the Bahamas, taking out then-No. 19 Memphis before scaring the bejesus out of Duke and Missouri, ranked No. 5 and 13, respectively, at the time, before succumbing late.
Just what in the name of “national” programs is going on here?
It’s almost enough for the Big East’s Catholic 7 members to step away from preaching about their forever relevance in college basketball circles and take notice of what’s going on in that lowly Atlantic 10. You know, the conference Georgetown, Villanova, Marquette and their “our hoops are holier than thou” brothers about to break out on their own scoffed at for having the audacity to think its offer to join forces would be met with more than, well, some serious scoffing.
After all, that conference has no cachet, no substance. There is nothing “national” about it. That’s the general consensus, ain’t it?
Pardon me whilst I upchuck from the blinders-wearing BCS bigots out there …
Did you hear the latest in college football? Some schools are talking about switching leagues. Can you believe it?
Even more amazing, one school – Boise State – is talking about switching back to the league it was switching from. Confusing? You betcha, but it’s not necessarily surprising.
With all the cash involved, and the seemingly never-ending collapse of the Big East – could someone just put a fork in the poor conference and we be done with it already? – it stands to reason that there may be, um, a little movement here or there.
Fortunately, with the bowl season in full swing now, we can focus our eyes onto the actual field these days. So, without further ado, let’s look at upcoming Week 2 of the non-playoff postseason:
If nothing else, give officials representing the Catholic 7 of the Big East their just due: these guys know when to strike.
Forget tithing; that can come later, when all the dust has settled and TV contracts have been signed. We’re talking timing, baby.
At a juncture when the NFL hits its annual late-season slowdown before the postseason and college sports hold some serious sway with basketball underway and the football bowl season and coaching carousel in play, when better to throw down the attention-grabbing gauntlet?
It was the perfect opportunity to state their “suffering,” their intent for redemption, their willingness to strike out on their own, and, thus, steal a few headlines in the process to prove they still had some pull to potential suitors in the TV industry and partners in the “forming a league” business.
Bravo, Georgetown. Bravo, Marquette. Bravo, Villanova. Bravo, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Providence and DePaul, too.
Individually and especially collectively, the soon-to-be-departing hoops-focused members of the careening-off-the-tracks Big East picked the right time to play their hand – at least the initial one.
It’s official. They’re outta here. See ya later. Sayonara.
With a sweeping stroke of self-righteous sanctimony, the seven Catholic, basketball-based schools in the Big East voted unanimously to depart the Big East as soon as possible, or whenever their football-focused brethren finish turning the conference into a pile of self-destructive rubble.
The only question is, where will they go?
Or, rather, what league of their own will they form?
Not for nothing, but these guys may be thinking a bit beyond their reality. Yeah, Georgetown and Marquette still have some national cachet. Villanova is just three seasons removed from a trip to the Final Four. However, the Wildcats seem to be fading fast as a power even with fashion plate Jay Wright still donning the finest attire a Division I basketball coach’s salary can finance.
As for the other members of the Catholic 7 – St. John’s, Seton Hall, DePaul and Providence … umm, those comments of “who” or “huh” heard resounding across the country should be a wake-up call to those receiving offers to join forces, not to mention those making the offers.
The bowl season kicks off today with games in New Mexico and Idaho. For any curious soul with no connection to Nevada, Arizona, Toledo or No. 22 Utah State, don’t worry – ESPN has you covered.
Actually, save for a few cameos by its sister stations, CBS and Fox, the network should have you smothered as it will broadcast 29 games from this afternoon through the national title contest Jan. 7 that pits Notre Dame against Alabama.
Granted, things may not be Colin Kaepernick-like exciting as his former Pack take on Rich Rodriguez’s Wildcats, but that game pits two of the country’s top runners – Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey (1,757 yards, 20 TDs rushing) and Nevada’s Stefphon Jefferson (1,703, 22) – squaring off. The nine-win Rockets going against the 10-win Aggies isn’t exactly an awful matchup, either.
Yeah, yeah … we’re all just biding time until the Irish and Tide meet up in that winner-take-all showdown. Aside from alums and the bean counters at each institution, no other bowl means that much. So what?
No reason why we can’t enjoy the ride along the way to that BCS culmination.