Friday, September 16, 2011

Catching up will meet to discuss affiliations

The end is nigh: I somehow managed to avoid writing about various expansion rumors for the past two weeks, but actual news has arrived and must be discussed. The upshot: Oklahoma and Texas met last week to discuss the Big 12's future relevance (or lack thereof), and Oklahoma followed that up by scheduling a board of regents meeting Monday to "take any appropriate action" related to conference affiliation. Texas then scheduled its own board of regents meeting to do the same. Put it together and you get the Big 12 taking the long walk to that field behind the barn -- just pretend the kid is Dan Beebe:

The widely held belief at this point is that Oklahoma has no interest in sticking around to be Texas' sidekick in a shell of a conference. Here's some stuff from The Austin-American Statesman to back that up:
"There's nothing Texas could have offered Oklahoma that would have changed their mind. They were set on leaving the Big 12 before Texas got there," a source said."The Big 12's done. Oklahoma wasn't open to creating Big 12 stability."
So yeah ... that's pretty straightforward. But there are two questions left to be asked:

1. Would Oklahoma (and probably Oklahoma State) be admitted to the Pac-12 without Texas? The assumption is that it's Oklahoma's decision, but nine of 12 votes are needed from the Pac-12 presidents for expansion, and an Oklahoma-Oklahoma State package might not represent a sufficient financial upgrade (wooo Tulsa market!) to justify the additions. This is from beat writer Travis Haney -- yes, beat writers still exist in some places -- at The Oklahoman :
It still remains unclear whether OU and OSU would receive the necessary votes to enter the Pac-12 without Texas. Some close to the talks say it has been discussed and OU and OSU would be in. Others are not so sure, saying Texas means more to league expansion than it has been perceived. OU sources have said the school believes it would be accepted without Texas, but they were not firm in their wording about those prospects.
2. Is Texas so tied to the Longhorn Network that it'll give up all its real rivalries? IMO, Texas needs to go wherever Oklahoma goes to maintain any sense of Texas-ness in its schedule and make the Longhorn Network a viable thing. Texas could go independent and fill its schedule with the BYUs and Armys of the world, but the loss of visibility and overall brand damage would represent a significant long-term hit to the athletic department in every way. And the ACC talk is a pointless bluff; there's no way Texas is gonna join an East Coast conference, wipe out all current ties to its storied history and quadruple its travel costs for all 30-ish sports.

If Oklahoma bolts for the soon-to-be Pac-14 (and is accepted), Texas probably has to do the same and make it a round 16. At that point, superconferences commence and heads asplode.

For the record, my hope is that Oklahoma makes all of this irrelevant and salvages the Big 12 (although there's basically no chance this happens). Superconferences are dumb for a lot of reasons, but mostly because I don't want to see Michigan playing Wisconsin once every eight years just so the Big Ten can add Rutgers and some other programs that will be about as relevant as Minnesota but with none of the history.

Travis Lewis might won't be back this week: Travis Lewis was expected to miss roughly the first month of Oklahoma's season (the Texas game was the targeted return, IIRC) with a broken foot suffered in training camp but began practicing this week and made a bunch of promising statements. His return would've been HUGE for Oklahoma, which might have a big game this week or something and could probably find a spot for an All-American outside linebacker ... but he was just kidding:
Won't be playing this week ... Still another week away. Sorry sooner fans
Twitter's always there with the truth, amirite? The good news is that he's obviously close; Oklahoma gets Missouri at home next week and plays Texas on October 9, and he'll probably be available for both.

Jerry Kill released from hospital: This is good news, obviously. The end of the Minnesota-New Mexico State game was terrifying (must abstain from Minnesota jokes) when it became apparent what was going on. I had never heard this mentioned before, but Kill has now had three in-game seizures in his career; the first two came in 2001 and 2005 while he was at Southern Illinois. The statement from Minnesota's medical staff said he has some complications related to his previous treatment for kidney cancer but now takes seizure medication and generally has things under control, although he admitted Friday that he had several more seizures this week while hospitalized.

Kill doesn't seem particularly concerned: He showed up at practice Thursday and Friday and might be back with the team for Saturday's game against Miami (Ohio). The team doc said it's totally up to Kill, which is also a good way of saying, "I take no responsibility for additional/related seizures."

Stats vacated from Michigan-Western Michigan game: This is so dumb. The schools agreed to call the game late in the third quarter with Michigan leading 34-10 and major thunderstorms rolling in. There was no dispute that the game was decided; Western essentially forfeited the final quarter in order to go home and not sit around all evening waiting to play a pointless quarter.

But since all NCAA decisions must be ridiculous and nonsensical, we get this:
Because the game did not complete three quarters, its statistics are not official, the NCAA told the schools.

The Wolverines get credit for the win, and Michigan and Western Michigan agreed to keep their statistics as part of their records for the 2011 season. However, as far as the NCAA is concerned, none of the numbers from that game count.

So according to the official NCAA record book, Michigan won 34-10 and yet nobody scored touchdowns or kicked field goals or attempted passes or anything else. The points just matriculated out of thin air and placed themselves in the database in magical fashion.

This one gets a 9 out of 10 on the NCAA Stupid Ruling Meter, which only goes from 8 to 10 since the other numbers are unnecessary.

Derek Dooley wears spectacular pants: How did I miss this?
They are probably the most popular piece of clothing in Knoxville, with more than 15,000 likes on Facebook and counting. Coach Derek Dooley's now-famous orange pants are all the rage here in Vol country.
I can totally see why. Crazy facts from that story: Dooley specially orders the pants from a place in England that dyes them three times to get the correct shade of orange, and they're only available to Dooley; no orders allowed. I find this odd and amusing and reminiscent of a joke I once heard (this was from a Tennessee fan, BTW): Tennessee picked orange so they can wear it to the game on Saturday, hunting on Sunday and to pick up trash on the side of the road during the week. I probably butchered that, but it's still funny.

Last chance for The Greatest Class Ever: It says a lot about the most hyped class in the history of recruiting that I'd honestly forgotten about its significance just three years later until reminded by a great story from Heather Dinich at ESPN.

Miami's 2008 class basically consisted of the Miami Northwestern All-Stars (including Jacory Harris) and included four five-star recruits (!). The city was on Howard Schnellenberger-style lockdown once again, Miami was on its way back, etc.
Since 2008, Miami has gone 23-17 ... the Canes have never played for the ACC title, have yet to win a bowl game and have finished above seven wins only once, in 2009.
Those guys are all seniors now and will probably be remembered more for their roles in the decimation of Miami's football program than their roles in any on-field success. The only way to be remembered for success is to have some.

Sponsorships will be the death of everything: This was posted on my Facebook but is so absurd that it bears repeating in a slightly larger forum: The New Mexico State-UTEP game is officially titled "The SONIC® America's Drive-In® Battle of I-10."

Commentary is unnecessary.


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