Sell-out crowd. National TV. BCS bowl bid on the line.
Big East officials couldn’t possibly have been beaming with more pride and satisfaction, could they?
Talk about a slap in the face or a swift kick to the nether regions. On a night when the conference should have been enjoying some exposure and some positive words, the prevailing theme that enveloped the proceedings Thursday at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, N.J., was hardly Big East-related.
More like, oh, here’s a couple of rent-a-cops finishing up their shift before heading over to that prettier, more stable mall a couple miles over on a permanent basis.
With Louisville announcing its intent to join the ACC in 2015 earlier this week, and Rutgers rejoicing over moving into its true home in the Big Ten by 2014 last week, current “affiliation” could muster little more than background-noise rating.
This is what the Big East has been reduced to at this point: a stage for intercollegiate athletic programs to showcase their worthiness … of something better than being in the Big East.
It’s just about over now.
The water is creeping up, having completely engulfed the body and now forcing the head to bob and weave in desperation to garner oxygen; the attempts at finding a life raft, a life preserver or anything else to alter the inevitable having long since lost any legitimacy.
This is the Big East today – alone … helpless … drowning … no salvation in sight.
Just a week after Rutgers announced it would roll out and into the Big Ten, another shoe dropped: Louisville, owner of the top all-around athletic program in the Big East, will be leaving for the ACC. The organization gleefully confirmed its addition Wednesday. That makes seven schools in the past year to have opted to depart the Big East, joining a list that includes West Virginia, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Texas Christian – the last one so beholden to its commitment that it bolted for the Big 12 before ever taking the field or court as a conference member.
One down. Three to go. And it's just getting started.
Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee and Auburn all relieved their head coaches of their duties. Following not-up-to-par years, each program methodically and quite expectedly made a change at the top of their respective football programs.
Kentucky was the first to announce that Joker Phillips would not return next year and they have been the first to announce a replacement. Florida State Defensive Coordinator, Mark Stoops (yes, that Stoops - brother of successful Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops and not so successful at Arizona Mike Stoops) will take over a program that has not been competitive since Rich Brooks brought them to back respectability, they were 2-10 this year and 0-8 in SEC play. Stoops is unproven as a head coach and it is yet to be seen if he can turn the program around. But if Vanderbilt can win eight games, there is no reason to believe that the right person couldn't turn Kentucky into a perennial winner.
Oh, boy, the propaganda machine is working overtime now.
It isn’t enough that Notre Dame is 12-0, bound for the BCS title game and any comment that questions the 2012 edition of Irish football’s greatness is deemed sacrilegious or conspiratorial, but now we get the overkill pretzel logic of pushing for college football’s top individual honor to fall under the same domain. Even the most recognized journalistic hack in ESPN’s arsenal is on board.
Oh, for the love of Touchdown Jesus …
OK, let’s get it out in the open. Manti Te’o has been a great player throughout his stay at South Bend, Ind. He’s a leader, a top-notch performer, a wonderful story and seemingly an even better guy.
What he isn’t is the nation’s best player in 2012.
Sorry, he isn’t. Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is, and he has been dominant in proving that he is.
If this were a lifetime achievement award, Te’o could be, should be, would be the choice.
He deserved it.
For anyone bemoaning the firing of Gene Chizik on Sunday as head football coach at Auburn University, try to keep that in mind.
Yeah, he came in with a flourish of success … and he is departing with a flourish of the opposite.
It is the nature of the business. Put up or perish. Either win or go home … or head off to the next gig.
Yeah, his Tigers stood atop the BCS nation following the 2010 season. They also dropped off to 8-5 the next year and were an abysmal 3-9 this one … with off-the-field issues starting to rear their ugly heads.
As strange as it may seem to some that Auburn would cut ties with Chizik so soon after leading the Tigers to the promised land, there were just as many, if not more, confused at his hiring on the Plains four years ago.
Coming off a 5-19 run at Iowa State, he hardly was a hot commodity. Back then, the push was for Turner Gill to get the job. The former Nebraska quarterback had taken Buffalo to a bowl game the year before, and remained the hot name as much for his racial profile as for his X-and-O acumen.