It seems inevitable now.
With all the defections, departures and power plays at the intercollegiate athletics level recently, it’s only a matter of time now before the Big East Conference, sadly, even in the deformed, BCS Elephant Man state that it’s currently in, will no longer exist.
Apparently, the self-loathing, guilt-ridden backbone of the religion’s beliefs only stretches so far with the seven Catholic schools who reside in the outfit. If reports are true, the likes of basketball-based Villanova, St. John’s, Georgetown, Providence, Seton Hall, DePaul and Marquette have had enough with their football-focused friends.
The whole intent of the league, from the time it was just a figment in creator Dave Gavitt’s mind until it came to official fruition in 1979, was to appease a hoops-crazy Northeast, to unite the better programs in that part of the country and, as strength in numbers philosophy would suggest, shine a spotlight on the region and the conference, bringing in some serious coin in the process. Football wasn’t even a concern. In fact, it wasn’t even an option.
Encore… Encore… Encore?
If his mind happens to drift off to such thoughts, Johnny Manziel must be wondering how in the name of Reveille he can top his initial show on college football’s grand stage.
All the Texas A&M quarterback did in 2012 was become the first freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy, and he did so with style, with panache, with a make-something-out-of-nothing skill set the likes of which we haven’t seen since Doug Flutie was making people roll their eyes in disbelief and disgust – only with a couple caveats: Manziel earned his acclaim with foot speed the magician never even dreamed of having and posted his numbers against the best competition in the country.
It’s reached the ridiculous stage now with big-time intercollegiate athletics.
Loyalty, integrity, commitment … forget about ’em all. The first chance a better opportunity comes along, or even one that just catches someone’s fancy, all bets are off. The temptation is too great. The fear of being left behind even greater.
If anything bucks the human trend to avoid change it is being thrust upon the nation in pounding-home fashion these days with conference reshuffling and the coaching carousel.
The former has taken a break the last week after some serious upheaval in a short amount of time. The latter? Um, wow – things have been a bit busy of late on that front.
We all know that things are fueled by money, and to a lesser extent prestige and/or potential future stability. We also know that football is the main driving force behind that.
But what’s gone on the past few days has been hard enough to follow, never mind believe in some cases.
Still, some initial impressions …
George Hegamin. The name always creeps back into the consciousness every time the rationalization of Andy Reid being a “great coach” takes on a certain personal flavor.
The debate can rage on forever between Eagles fans who can’t stand the guy for reasons they understand and the rest of the nation who loves the guy for reasons they really don’t even know aside from that they seem to fit in nicely with classic clichés.
The facts are, Big Red is in his 14th season with Philly’s NFL franchise, has been in charge of the entire operation almost the word go, and can claim five NFC championship appearances and one Super Bowl showing. Color that pro or con or however you like, that’s the deal.
He’s accomplished some things, and not others.
Like him or loathe him, it’s all there in the record books.
Perhaps more interesting, and certainly more disturbing, than Northern Illinois busting the BCS conference stranglehold on the major bowls this weekend with being granted a berth opposite ACC champ Florida State in the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Day was the absolute arrogance of the guys breaking the news on ESPN Sunday night.
Kirk Herbstreit, David Pollack and Jessie Palmer – shame on ya, guys. Talk about biased. Their too-close connections to BCS programs at Ohio State, Georgia and Florida, respectively, due to their now long-ago scholar-athlete days came oozing out with every syllable uttered in dismay, discord or downright condescension at the Huskies’ inclusion at the main table.
OK, we get it. North Illinois doesn’t have wave upon wave of athletes of the caliber seen at places like Oklahoma. It doesn’t have the pedigree or history of any other squad in the top 25, and probably the next 25, too.
Thing is, the aforementioned athletes-turned-analysts need to hear their own words and abide by them: This is the system, deal with it.