Thursday, September 08, 2011

Catching up promises not to sue

It's all about Oklahoma: Baylor apparently is 100 percent on board with my assessment from the other day: The Big 12's viability is dependent on Oklahoma. Baylor will only waive its right to sue Texas A&M for its proposed SEC departure if Oklahoma promises to stick around in the Big 12, and that's something OU isn't quite ready to do:
Oklahoma, meanwhile, has no timetable for reaching a decision on whether to stay in the Big 12 or pursue a move to the Pac-12, according to a source with knowledge of Oklahoma's decision-making process. Last Friday, university president David Boren said the school would evaluate all of its options.

Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione isn't against becoming part of a 16-team conference if that's what Boren decides, although it's not seen as ideal, the source said. The source said Oklahoma would not be divided in the process.

So the choices are (a) basically the status quo and (b) CONFERENCE REALIGNMENTOCALYPSE HIDE THE CHILDREN AAAGHGHH. And it's up to Oklahoma.

On a related note, this part makes me laugh:

A source with knowledge of Baylor's situation said the Bears' first choice is to stay together with the remaining nine Big 12 schools and pursue a 10th for expansion.

Really? So Baylor would rather be part of a solid conference now centered in Texas than be cast adrift into a sea of uncertainty with little hope of financial or competitive relevance in the future? That's some top-notch investigative reporting from ESPN. I mean, is there really an alternative?

But Baylor, like Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State, isn't sitting idle. Neither is the Big East, which has reached out to the Big 12 schools that could be left behind if the conference were to lose two members (Oklahoma and Oklahoma State) or four (the Oklahoma schools, Texas and Texas Tech), the source said.

The Big East would be willing to expand to 12 football-playing members and 20 for men's and women's basketball in order to stave off a potential raid from the SEC (West Virginia), the ACC (Syracuse and Connecticut) or even the Big Ten (Pitt or Rutgers), according to sources.

OK, let me rephrase that? Is there a viable alternative? The Big East seriously wants to go to 20 (!!!) teams for basketball, including a clump of five in the Southwest? Scheduling would be a nightmare. And while basketball is a delightful game of peach-basket-y goodness, football pays the bills, and the Big 12 leftovers would do little to make the Big East more relevant in that regard. This is just getting ridiculous.

Brian at MGoBlog said it best the other day: "When Texas is playing Kent State on Thanksgiving, everyone will realize how stupid they've been."

Notre Dame to start Tommy Rees
against Michigan: No surprise here. Rees was far better than Dayne Crist last week, going 24 for 34 racking up almost 300 yards and two touchdowns in his one half of play against South Florida. If not for T.J. Jones forgetting that he was playing football for about five seconds, Rees probably would have accounted for 27 points and led a comeback win from a 16-0 halftime deficit that was partly the result of Dayne Crist going 7 for 15 with a pick.

Rees did go 4-1 down the stretch last year after one of Crist's knees fell apart for the 37th time, but he wasn't exactly dominant in those games: He averaged about 200 yards, two touchdowns and a pick against Tulsa, Utah, Army, USC and Miami. And only one of those games was on the road: Against USC (in a rain-marred slopfest), he went 20 of 32 for 152 yards with two touchdowns and three picks. Still, he's been significantly more potent than Crist in producing points, and that's what matters. For what it's worth, I was hoping Crist would start against Michigan (homerism FTW).

As for Crist, his relatively disappointing career is probably at its functional end. For most of last year and the week leading up to the USF game, Brian Kelly was talking about how Crist was the best quarterback in practice and seemed to have a better grasp of the offense and blah blah blah. The fact of the matter is that in the games, he never produced at the level Kelly needs for his offense to be any good. With Rees just a sophomore and having (obviously) more long-term viability, my bet is that he's the guy from here on out. Whether that's a good thing for this year's high hopes remains to be seen.

Damn it, K.C. Joyner: So I saw this headline that read "Joyner: Wolverines can't handle Irish offense," and it excited me in a demented way. Given my take on some of K.C. Joyner's recent ... ummm ... "analysis," I thought, "This thing is gonna be ripe for a fisking," and I proceeded to laugh like Mr. Burns while rubbing my hands together in evil-old-man fashion.

Sadly, I was wrong; his argument is actually backed up quite well with logical and relevant statistics. Example: Notre Dame averaged just over 8 yards per pass attempt and just under 7 yards per rush against South Florida, which returned the large majority of a defense that finished in the top 20 last year in almost every significant category.

And this is pretty much exactly what I was saying in my Week 1 recap:
Had it not been for a couple of bad decisions on passes by Crist and Rees that turned into interceptions; a mistake by wide receiver T.J. Jones not to look for a pass on a crossing route that turned into an interception; a fumble on a run that could have been blown dead and instead turned into a touchdown return for South Florida; and a missed chip shot 30-yard field goal -- then the Irish could have easily posted 30-40 points in this contest. All of this is not to excuse the Irish for making mistakes that cost them a game they should have won, but it does give us an idea of just how much potential Notre Dame has on offense this season.
The hope (from a Michigan fanboy standpoint) is that Rees' first start on the road -- at night, on national TV and in front of the largest crowd in the history of the sport -- contains lots of the "oops I didn't see that linebacker"-type errors that first-year starters typically make.

Miami to start Jacory Harris against Ohio State: Stephen Morris' ascension to the top of the depth chart lasted all of one (uninspiring) game, as Al Golden announced Thursday that interception machine Jacory Harris will get the start Saturday. And in the coachspeak-iest terms possible, Golden said Harris actually won the job in camp and was simply returning to the spot he had rightfully earned:
"Jacory won the job in camp," Golden said. "... It was primarily because of the body of work that Jacory put together in training camp, his experience and obviously what we saw in the game. The things that we needed in the game were really things that we thought Jacory could give us at this stage."
In other words, "I'm not very comfortable with the other guy but don't wanna throw him under the bus so toughness camp experience senior leadership yadda yadda." Morris was OK against Maryland -- he finished 19 for 25 for 195 yards and ran for a TD -- but he didn't throw a touchdown pass, did throw an ugly pick-six in the final minute and was primarily responsible for two straight delay-of-game penalties (that's hard to do, BTW). Harris might throw 14 interceptions Saturday, but he's also a senior and is less likely (I think) to have a composure-related meltdown that makes the game unwinnable.

Golden basically said as much later on:
"There were some things in the game the other night that I think (Harris') experience and maturity would have helped immeasurably," Golden said. "So that's the decision that we made."
The big question is whether Harris will continue to keep the job if/when he plays like the Jacory Harris we've seen for the past three years.

It's good to see things are under control at Ohio State: In a laughable revelation, it turns out that the three Ohio State players who were suspended for the opener after supposedly receiving some sort of "benefit" at a charity event actually received $200 in cash. Yup.

The records released Thursday night indicate the athletes gave varying accounts for why they received the money and who they received it from.

Two of the athletes said they believed the money was for working at the event while a third said he believed he was receiving money from a teammate. They were invited to attend the charity event by a former Buckeyes player.

All three believed that Ohio State had approved attending the event, even though it had not. Ohio State's NCAA compliance department requires that athletes ask for and receive written permission to attend promotional or charitable events.

The records, a copy of the violations that Ohio State forwarded to the NCAA, do not point to a clear source for the money. All names were blacked out in the material released to The Associated Press.

I blame Jim Tressel. He's clearly a rogue employee. And it's good to see that Ohio State's comprehensive compliance training is having such a positive impact on the players (insert "isolated incident" joke here).

This would be a good spot for my favorite quote yet from AD Gene Smith, who put out a press release late last week that didn't name the players or clarify what they were suspended for but said the school was seeking their immediate reinstatement:
"We take this matter seriously," athletic director Gene Smith said in the release. "Our commitment to institutional integrity is steadfast, and we must hold everyone associated with our athletics programs accountable for lapses in judgment. We believe in transparency with the NCAA, all regulatory bodies and all of Buckeye Nation."
I literally can't believe the words that come out of this guy's mouth. Mind-bottling.

Wanna see Texas football? Hahahaha good luck with that: The Longhorn Network will probably make a lot of money once people can actually watch it, but as was the case with the Big Ten Network when it first launched, that's turning out to be a little harder than expected. According to this summary of a press release, ESPN has reached agreements to bring the Longhorn Network to roughly 174 people in the state of Texas via the likes of Grande Communications and Bob's Backyard Cable Provider.

This is pretty much all you need to know:
The current list of providers carrying LHN and locales served are Verizon FiOs, Consolidated Communications, En-Touch Systems, E-Tex Communications, and Mid-Coast Cablevision/Texas Mid-Gulf Cablevision/Bay-City Television).

And not one on this list services Central Texas.
I bet the bars in Austin were busy Saturday (and will be again for whatever the next crappy game is that's relegated to LHN).

As always, The Onion nails it: No commentary necessary:
INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA unveiled a new set of college football recruitment rules Monday, restricting teams from communicating with high school athletes using anything other than a wink or a raised eyebrow.

The only way to level the playing field for programs and temper the influencing of young athletes is to limit coaches to six of these facial movements toward a player in any given week,” said NCAA president Mark Emmert, who earlier vetoed a proposal from schools that wanted to use the more suggestive half-smile, head nod, and rubbing of thumb, index, and middle fingers together to denote “cash.”

“Coaches are advised that their facial movements must be made at least 20 feet away from the athlete and for a duration of no more than five seconds. The gestures may not be repeated if they go unnoticed.”
It should be noted that the "file" photo with that story is of Lane Kiffin. I heart The Onion so much sometimes.


Post a Comment

Powered by Blogger.