Saturday, June 19, 2010

The winners in this mess

So now all the remains is who will the Pac 10 pick to be their 12th member now that they managed to corral the worst athletic department in Division 1 sports.  Expect Utah to receive their invitation sometime within the next 10 days to 2 weeks.  Then we can all sit back, take a long breath and wait for the next 18 months to 3 years until it starts up again.  And believe me, it's going to start again.  But while we're catching our breath or having a cigarette, let's take a look at who were the winners here.
The University of Colorado.  They finally managed to get to the conference that they always belonged in when they joined the Pac 10.  They have the whole west coast mentality going plus great skiing.  You can include beautiful scenery, a student body more interested in smoking weed than attending football games and absolutely the least successful athletic department in the country.  Can you tell me the last league title they've won?  Can you tell me the last time they finished in the top 5 in anything?  I'm serious here.  I have no idea.  They were basically the way the Pac 10 extended a middle finger to Texas when they suggested they might be better off taking Baylor so the entire south of the Big XII could remain together.  Somehow the administration of Cal and Stanford couldn't see themselves with a Baptist university and it was a good time to show them.  But what the hell, Colorado gets what it wants.  Away from Texas and access to some really good northern California pot.
Texas.  Was there any doubt they were going to land on their feet?  At any time they could simply have called up the Big Ten, Pac 10 or SEC and been admitted without making a 2nd call.  However, other than the SEC they weren't going to be given permission to start their own network.  And that's what they really wanted from this.  Now they have a few years cushion to get the thing up and running before they begin looking for another soft place to land that will allow them to bring their own up and running network along.  They may well be powerful enough and the Pac 10 especially may be desperate enough at that point.
Chip Brown and Kevin Keitzman.  These are heady days for these 2 formerly unknown media pundits.  Keitz was the guy that actually threw the first chum in the water last month when he announced on his radio show that formal offers had been extended to Missouri, Nebraska, Rutgers and Notre Dame.  He parlayed this into appearances on numerous appearances on radio and television stations around the country and much of the media, including ESPN just took his story and ran with it.  Meanwhile, Brown, acting as Jimmy Olsen to Deloss Dodds Superman regurgitated information coming from the Texas athletic department and enjoyed his own 15 minutes of relative fame.  Whether they can retain their new found popularity once this dies down remains to be seen.
The Big East and Notre Dame.  A week ago it seemed really likely that we were going to see the implosion of the Big XII and likely the Big East as Missouri would be swept up with corn nation.  Grabbing Rutgers and Syracuse would have ended the Big East as a football conference and put their basketball status in jeopardy.  Now, things remain the same and the Irish can continue to remain independent in football while continuing an affiliation in basketball and minor sports with Pitt and the boys.
Iowa State, Kansas State and Baylor.  These were the 3 schools that stood to lose the most.  Make no mistake they were likely going to fall hard, unless the Big East had made a desperate attempt to take the 5 remaining Big XII teams had the Big Ten and Pac 10 plans worked out the way they intended for them to work.  Now they have some time to get their shit together and prepare for this thing when it starts up again.   That really applies to Mizzou and kansas as well, although I still think both of them would have landed somewhere.  In my opinion the new Big XII has a shelf life of 5 years at the most.  The most important guys on campus in Columbia are Gary Pinkel and Mike Anderson.  We better get behind those guys and their teams or it could get really ugly when things get started.
I intended to include the losers in this post, but it's drawn on too long already so we'll talk about them next week.  I've lots to do this weekend so just get out there, fire up your grill and spend some quality time with the people you love.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

So this is what we waited 6 months for?

So after all the posturing, all the news reports and all the leaks we're going to wind up right where we were?  Well hell.  As a member of what I now consider to be the stupidest fan base in America, I am going to agree that we got played and played badly over the last few months.  But before we gather to walk to Mike Alden's house, pitchforks and torches in hand let's take a look at where we've been the last few months.
Last December we first heard about Big Ten plans to expand.  Over the next few months instead of merely adding a 12th team we heard that Jim Delaney was going to shake college football to the core and become the first "super-conference" of 16 teams.   Missouri, along with Rutgers immediately are mentioned as 2 of the front runners as well as Notre Dame.  Eventually Nebraska enters the picture as do Syracuse, Maryland, Virginia, Pitt, the University of Toronto and this dental assistants school on the 22nd floor of the Sears Tower in Chicago. 
In May, a Kansas City radio host, Kevin Keitzman reported that MU, Rutgers, Notre Dame and Nebraska had all been extended offers from the Big Ten.  Now he really had no proof of this other than he had heard it from his "sources".  From that moment on the whole expansion thing hit the nitrous and took off with a life of it's own.  Everyone from ABC to ESPN to the Sporting News, for some inexplicable reason took Keitz's report seriously and began to run with it.  In a feeding frenzy that would rival "Anaconda", every media outlet broke every rule of journalism in a desperate attempt to get the story first.
This apparently caused some consternation within the Pac 10 who suddenly realized that they were about to get put into a vulnerable position by this giant chess match.  In an attempt to match the Big Ten they began exploring realignment for their conference also.  Their original intent seemed to be adding 5 Big XII south teams and Colorado from the north to form their own 16 team league.
You know the details from here.  Texas says Missouri doesn't matter, conference can hold together as long as Nebraska remains.  Delaney promptly offers Nebraska and Texas says now that they, along with the other 5 south schools will be heading west.  Of course, Baylor will have to replace Colorado.  Pac 10 issues a huge middle finger to Texas by offering the Buffs first.  Texas A&M decides they've had about all the UT shit they want to eat for a lifetime and begin exploring a solo move to the SEC.  Rumors swirl that the Big East is willing to add the remaining Big XII schools, one of which is now Missouri as soon as their conference implodes.   Then suddenly Mizzou pops up as a possible travel companion for A&M and kansas appears as a serious candidate for the Pac 10 to replace A&M.  Larry Scott, the Pac 10 commissioner does a weekend tour of Texas to talk with his potential new partners.  On Sunday night at 6:00 pm his plane is reportedly set to travel to Kansas City to meet with beak officials the next day.
And then, just as quickly as it begins, it just stops.  I mean as in hit a brick fucking wall stops.  Within 6 hours we learn that the Big Ten will halt at 12 teams and the Big XII will hold together with 10 teams.  The Pac 10 will probably add one more team to go with their prize of adding the worst athletic department in college athletics and the SEC will just sit this one out.  Notre Dame's sphincter has sufficiently loosened so they won't be joining any conference soon.
Now I have to confess that I'm something of a conspiracy buff so take this with a grain of salt.  But something tells me that Delaney, Scott, Deloss Dodds and the SEC power brokers didn't suddenly and simultaneously developed guilt pangs and decided to stop and take a breath before breaking up the BCS and college athletics as we know it.  No, in my opinion someone with a lot of political crank, (I'm not going to say who, but his initials are Orrin Hatch) decided that college football wasn't going to take off in a new direction without Utah on the wagon.  Expect the Utes to be extended a Pac 10 offer within the next 2 weeks.
But for now, I believe we're going to enter a quiet period for the next 2 or 3 years.  This isn't over by a long shot, and in hindsight it was moving too damn fast.  We were looking at 4 super conferences of 16 teams controlling college football and that's just not enough.  Expect this to encompass about 96 teams before it's done and we're going to see a playoff.  The important thing now is to have a home over these next years and to make a statement that you're a football program to be reckoned with.  Gary Pinkel, you're about to earn your money like never before.
I've been thinking about who were the winners and losers here and I'm going to try to reconcile my thoughts on that.  Some of them are going to surprise you.  I guarantee it.  See you in a couple of days.     

Monday, June 14, 2010

So who exactly is orchestrating this right now?

What's happening in college football now is unprecedented.  We've seen swerves and double swerves followed by more swerves during the last couple of weeks.   First Missouri is heading to the Big Ten.  Then Nebraska jumps in and winds up with the bid that the Tigers felt was theirs.  Then Chip "Scoop" Brown announces that the Pac 10 is prepared to offer Colorado and the Big XII south, minus Baylor.  Then Texas determines they can't leave Baylor behind so they tell the Pac 10 they'll have to take the Bears over the Buffalos.  Then the Pac 10 issues their middle finger to Texas and offers Colorado without a mention of Texas and their little brothers.  Now Texas A&M decides fuck Texas, we're going to talk to the SEC. 
So just exactly where are we now?  In the middle of a really high stakes poker game is where.  I do know that in the game we saw Texas blink first, but oddly enough, at this point in time I believe that A&M is holding all the cards.  They apparently have an offer in hand from the SEC that they are prepared to accept as soon as Tuesday morning.  So now Texas faces having to go to the Pac 10, carrying Tech, OU and Okie lite with them which may not be anything like the Pac 10 envisioned in the first place.  After all, the Aggies would have been considered a much bigger prize than the Red Raiders or Cowboys.
So, as the clock nears midnight in rides Dan Beebe with what he claims is an offer from Fox Sports to pay the remaining 10 teams SEC money for the television rights.  Word has it that the Longwhorns are prepared to accept this offer this week, providing A&M comes along.  The reason, in my opinion is that if Texas goes to the Pac 10 their dream of a Texas channel will never come to fruition.  The new deal supposedly allows any and all teams to explore their own networks including starting up their own channels.  I would currently give this about a 30% chance of actually happening, but given the uncertainty of Missouri receiving an offer from the Big Ten or SEC, it's a good fall back position for the Tigers right now.  In poker-ese, Missouri may have just drawn a one eyed jack to go with their 2 pair.  Or, in Vince McMahon's world, maybe the hulkster (Dan freaking Beebe?) just stormed the ring to make a save. 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Gossip, rumors and conference alignment....

Just when you think it couldn't get any weirder, it seems to.  Last week we watched the Big Ten swoop in and claim all 17 televisions in Nebraska to add to their network when they were hoping to land Notre Dame or Texas, and could have had 2.5 million Missouri sets simply by asking.  We also watched the Pac 10 take what was arguably the worst athletic department in Division 1 sports when they snagged Colorado instead of the 5 teams that Texas seemed prepared to deliver for them.  For the past 48 hours we've watched the Tiger fan base react with everything from false bravado to outright panic as the possibility of winding up in some bastardized version of Conference USA.
So let's take a quick look at the current possibilities, realizing this is subject to change before I manage to get this posted.  Understand that I'm typing as quickly as I can. 
Rumor 1.  While Jim Delaney allegedly told Dan Beebe that the Big Ten currently had no intent of taking another Big XII team at this time, he expects the Texas + 9 conference to disband by mid week enabling him to add Missouri along with 2 teams from the Big East.  This, theoretically would force Notre Dame's hand and they would join the Big Ten in what would be the 2nd "Superconference" as the Pac 10 would already have accomplished this by adding 5 south teams to Colorado.   
Rumor 2.  Texas A&M wants out of UT's shadow and is currently trying to negotiate a deal to move to the SEC sans the Longwhorns.  This would likely require the SEC to add another team from the western edge of their conference that would provide television markets were they to add a couple more teams from the east to form their own 16 team alliance.  While the SEC would probably like to add Texas there is little chance of that and Missouri would bring more to the table than anyone else they might recruit from other teams from the south.
Rumor 3.  The Big East is determined they won't be destroyed by all this shifting around.  Along with the Big XII, they are considered to be the most vulnerable in the current setup.  They are reportedly talking with the remaining 4 teams from the north about the possibility of forming what would apparently be a new 12 team football and 20 team basketball conference.  Frankly, I don't have much idea who about 12 of the basketball teams would be.  I'm pretty sure that Pitt is in here somewhere but other than that.....
Rumor 4.  This one just came out Sunday morning and may well be the weirdest of all.  Apparently there is a proposal to keep the remaining 10 Big XII teams in line while a new television contract that is negotiated.  Said contract is reported to bring all 10 teams about 17 million dollars per year per team, which would be comparable to the current SEC deal.  The kicker here is that all teams would also retain the right to form their own television or network deals for games not carried by Fox, ESPN or ABC.  This would be attractive to Texas and is something they couldn't get from either the Pac 10 or Big Ten.  It also is intriguing to me in that it would finally offer the Tigers (as well as the beaks and K State) the opportunity to work something out with Metro Sports in Kansas City.
So what's going to happen?  I have no more idea than any of you, but you have to admit, it's been a hell of a summer so far. While I have to admit I find rumor # 4 to be interesting, if it happened I'd prefer to try to pick up Utah and Memphis and keep the Big XII at 12 teams.  Call me a traditionalist.   Anyway, I'm sure another couple of rumors have come along that I've missed so I'll try to keep my ears open and get back to you this week.
As for me, it looks like my yard isn't going to mow itself and it's been dry for almost 4 hours so I'm heading outside. 
*edit* It's starting to rain again so I guess I'll be bailing sometime this week.  Nothing to do now but have a beer I suppose.  Have a great week folks!!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I love my university and team and all

But why is it that sometimes we look like a bunch of monkey's trying to fuck a football?  For the last couple of months we've heard that Missouri to the Big Ten was a "done deal".  Now at about 3 ticks before midnight out of no where comes hick nation swooping in to take the first bid.  And to add insult to injury, the Nebraska chancellor, Harvey Perlman and the athletic director, Tom Osborne take the opportunity to toss Missouri under the bus as they make the announcement that they've applied for Big Ten membership. 
You'd think that as a Missouri fan I'd be used to this.  It's not like this is the first time we've watched as we inexplicably managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. We've seen fifth downs and bicycle kicked balls turn games that were won into just another horrific chapter in the history of what it's like to follow the Tigers.  And then, what could have been the worst part of all of this was the response of our leadership; yes I'm talking about Brady Deaton and Mike Alden saying that they'd been in no discussions with any other conference.  WTF?  I don't know if this is true or not, but if it was then they'd better be on the phone today, and I mean right fucking now trying to contact the commissioner of the SEC, unless they have a written agreement with the Big Ten that this is the way things had to shake out in order to collapse the Big XII and our membership will be announced next week when the conference completes it's implosion.  I don't know about you, but winding up in some makeshift version of the Big East or ACC does absolutely nothing for me.
And so now, we as fans can do nothing but wait.  We have no idea if we were in on this as part of some master plan or if we were just being used by poker players that were far better at this game than our guys were.
When you get down to it, I'm not actually crying for myself or for any of our fans.  Hell, most of us have been at this long enough that we never open a newspaper or log on to the internet without first making sure that our nut cups were firmly and comfortably in place.  The guys that I feel bad for are coaches Gary Pinkel and Mike Anderson who put their faith in the Missouri administration and have worked their asses off to put a product on the field that the university and fans could be proud of.  They, above any of us fans deserve better than what they're getting now.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

So, who blinks first?

The last week has been an especially wild week in this, the craziest off season I can ever remember.  The Big XII meetings in Kansas City started with a lot of questions about Dan Beebe and his "who's on the plane" question on Tuesday and ended up on Friday with a report that the Pac 10 was ready to annex the Big XII south and/or Colorado.
So still really all we know is that sometime in the future is that the Big Ten is planning on expanding and Missouri and Nebraska may be or maybe already have been semi-invited.  (Why don't you 2 guys fill out an application for membership to the Big Ten.  wink*wink)  We also know, per Chip Brown anyway that the Pac 10 has offered to take 6 teams from a weakened Big XII to form a 16 team conference with an east and west divisions.  We know, once again through Chip that while the Pac 10 wants Colorado, Texas prefers to bring Baylor along and Texas always gets their way.  Right?    But since Texas is so benevolent, they've decided to give Missouri and Nebraska until Friday at 5:00 pm to sign a loyalty oath to the conference or Texas will take their ball, their brothers and head west.
But not so damn fast their longwhorns.  While it appears that the Pac 10 indeed plans to expand, apparently they have no intention of taking Baylor.  They also appear committed to starting up their own Pac 10 channel which would preclude Texas starting their own cable venture. 
So exactly what is shaking down here and what do I expect to happen within the next couple of days?  Pretty much nothing.  I don't think Jim Delaney has much or any interest in Deloss Dodds bluster.   I don't believe that Missouri or Nebraska will respond in any manner.  Why should they?  Where are the threats to the Texas 6?  Dodds is used to getting his way but this time he may well have jumped in over his head.  He brought his 6 shooter to the gunfight only to find out the other guy has a rocket launcher and is just as devious as he is.  Right now he's looking at a conference that could well lose 3 members from the northern division within the next few months, if not days and it's possible he's going to have to negotiate a deal for not only Texas, but A&M, Tech and Baylor who may or may not be hanging onto his legs hoping the parachute will carry them all to safety.
And what happens with the 4 members that appear to be left out of these discussions?  Iowa State has some of the greatest fans in the country but absolutely nothing that would appeal to any conference in what could be a suddenly changing landscape.  K State and kansas may or may not be joined at the hip and kansas has it's own set of problems to deal with such as the current FBI anal probe going on in lawrence.  Karma is indeed a bitch isn't it?  This broke at about as bad a time as it could have for the beaks.
So what are my feelings?  I think that probably Mizzou and corn nation have some unofficial word that they will be invited to join the Big Ten, where Nebraska offers name recognition and Missouri and it's 6 million citizens can pay their own way from day one.  For me, after the last 3 years, I have to say I'm ready to cut bait.  I'd sign no loyalty oath and if it means we wind up playing in Laramie on a Thursday night game then so be it.  I'm sick of Texas, sick of Oklahoma, Big XII favoritism, bowl snubs and the idiot that was put in charge of this conference, Dan Beebe.  I have only one thing to say on my way out, and I imagine you can guess what it is.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My favorite new reality show

I just detest reality shows in general, whether it's "American Idol", "The Great Race", "Survivor" or anything involving Ashton Kutcher.   I get why we have so many of them.  Hell, it's cheaper to bring in a bunch of unknowns and pay one of them a huge prize at the end of the season as opposed to bringing in real actors, and hiring real writers to create something interesting.   Just bring in a few unfulfilled egomaniacs, toss in a few has beens that do have something resembling name recognition to act as judges, and let the folks at home have something to do with who wins if humanly possible and then just let the camera's roll. 
However, as the debacle in lawrence, kansas continues to unfold, I may have to change my opinion.  This has been like an MTV series full of self self indulgent exhibitionists trying to live together in a house, but also more twists than an entire season of "24".  I fully expect Jack Bauer to pop in at any minute and attempt to get lew perkins spirited out of lawrence just ahead of the bad guys that are attempting to assassinate him, or kidnap his kid or some such shit.
So let's take a look at some of the things that have been going on in larryville.  We know that 5 former employees of the university, plus the husband of one of those employees have been accused of stealing tickets that were supposed to be distributed to friends, family and members of the Williams Fund, and sold them to various unsavory characters such as David Freeman who started all this.  In an attempt to buy his way out of a bribery charge of a Junction City judge, he offered up this tale of stolen tickets that he was distributing to characters in Kansas City hotels to "guys with guns and thick Jersey accents".   It appears that over 17,000 basketball tickets and over 2,000 football tickets, parking passes and luxury suites were sold to the highest bidders over several years and most of those employees were put in place by none other than the messiah of kansas athletics, lew perkins.
Now a lot of beak fans that I see on message boards say this is nothing more than a few bad apples that took advantage of lew's trusting nature.  However, I just happen to have a drinking buddy that attended the university of kansas and also happens to be a retired judge on the federal court of appeals.  He presented a far less optimistic view of what is taking place right now.
In his opinion, and I have to believe he knows a thing or 2 about the law, David Freeman has had his date to appear at the prison postponed for 30 days, so it's more than likely that the feds are talking with him again.  If what he said is true, then we're looking at not only theft, but interstate trafficking, fraud, possible collusion with perkins, Big XII officials, Dan Beebe, ncaa officials, Orange bowl officials and God knows who else.  I mean my buddy is nervous as hell, and he really doesn't care that much about athletics.  What disturbs him is that if this could be proven to go high enough, that the university could lose it's tax exempt status and donors could be facing retroactive audits for their donations for the past 10 years or so.  I don't expect this to happen, but we are in uncharted territory right now.  We've never seen anything resembling this.
And now, we get to the week of the annual Big XII meetings in Kansas City, where the commissioner, or as I like to call him; one huge dumbass, Dan Beebe, will be attempting to get Colorado, Nebraska and Missouri to pinkie swear a loyalty oath to not listen to any overtures from any other conference and stay in the Big XII for as long as Texas deems the conference worth of their presence.  God know actually taking care of some problems such as the rampant cheating we've seen done by both kansas and Oklahoma in the past few months to decades depending on your perspective.  I just don't know what it is, but when I see a photo of this boob I just want to kick something.  Anyway, it appears to be a dead heat as to what off season news will be bigger; potential realignment of conferences or if the entire athletic department at the university of kansas will be getting fitted for orange jumpsuits in the next couple of years.  But whichever happens, it's been a fun summer so far.
 Oh, and I feel badly that I teased about having a pictorial tribute to Jennifer Love Hewitt (who I consider to be one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen) and it has yet to come to fruition.  It's just that between all the Missouri/Nebraska to the Big Ten talk and now with the goings on at the university of kansas, I just haven't had time. So, just for my own enjoyment, here is a little taste for all of us.  I hope you all had a great holiday weekend.  I certainly did.  And I wake up most every morning eager to get to the internet to read the news and see just what screwed up in lawrence overnight.