Tag Archives: College Football

Texas A&M Has To Go For It’s Own Good

Earlier this week, Texas Governor Rick Parry gave a Republican Party motivational speech in Dallas, and for whatever reason went off the fanatical right-wing track on a tangent to declare unequivocally that his alma mater, Texas A&M, would join the Southeast Conference. I’m not cynical enough to believe that with that statement the school was pushed into acting quickly now that their secret backroom negotiations were out, but I’m sure it didn’t help. Nonetheless, here we are three days later and the Division-I college football landscape has experienced another major tectonic shift, with it about to get worse over the coming year.


Don’t listen to the status quo apologists on the sports networks preaching that Texas A&M’s imminent move from the “Big XII” [insert appropriate snide misnomer here] to the SEC is motivated by ego. The move is motivated by what it’s always motivated by; money. And in this case, rightfully so.


The Big XII – which with this move will be reduced to just nine teams, making the name of this conference all the more asinine – is the only Division-I conference in which the revenue is not equally shared. Every other team in the conference is guaranteed $9 million dollars per year, even the teams that have made up this conference since its inception, while Texas gets $22 million.


The college football apologists will argue that Texas is deserving of this unbalanced revenue distribution because they are the Big Dog in the conference, the powerhouse athletic program in the pack. With the possible exception of Oklahoma, that may be true, but the other conferences in top-flight college football have their powerhouses (the Big Ten has Ohio State and Michigan, the SEC has Alabama and Florida, the Pac 12 has USC, the ACC has Miami and Florida State, the Mountain West has BYU, The WAC has Boise State), yet those conferences have more equitable monetary distribution.


No wonder Nebraska bolted for the Big Ten. Along with Oklahoma the Cornhuskers are an original member of the Big XII – and certainly nobody is going to argue that either the Sooners or the ‘Huskers’ athletic record takes a backseat to the ‘Horns – yet these two national powerhouses and the other six teams that made up the original Big 8 gladly accepted Texas (along with Texas A&M, Baylor and Texas Tech) into their conference 15 years ago after the embarrassing collapse of the Southwest Conference only to be treated like second-class citizens.


It’s not as if nobody wanted to see Nebraska or Oklahoma before Texas joined. Before Texas joined the Sooners and Cornhuskers annually played in the best rivalry game in college football. To accommodate Texas and their unfair demands, Oklahoma and Nebraska were split up into different divisions, marginalizing their annual war to once every three years. When the economic distribution became untenable, Nebraska bolted for greener yet fairer pastures, eliminating the rivalry entirely.


Texas A&M doesn’t need Texas. TEXAS NEEDS TEXAS A&M! Texas’ historical reputation as a national force has been predicated on ruling a conference – any conference – with somebody to beat up on. It’s one thing to beat up on your conference foes on the field (A&M can live with that; it gives them something to strive for competitively and makes for a higher level of play), but a 5-7 team like they were last season that still insists on its overwhelming cut of the revenue is farcical. Under those circumstances, it’s not really hard to understand why Rice, SMU, Houston, Arkansas, and TCU couldn’t rid themselves of Texas fast enough.


Now the breakup of another conference that Texas is in is unfolding before our very eyes. With the loss of Nebraska and Colorado (to the Pac 12) the Big XII is currently down to ten teams, losing their status as a superconference and, even more importantly monetarily, their championship game. Yet they still maintain the misnomer “Big XII”, an illusion they must maintain to hopefully raid other conferences’ teams in the future to provide newer pigeons for Texas and get back to superconference status. And the conference commissioner, Dan Beebe, and its member athletic directors and presidents continue to genuflect at the Longhorns’ alter, under the mistaken belief that in order for their athletic programs to survive they need Texas. The reality is that Texas needs a conference to rule more than the Big XII – or any other conference for that matter – needs Texas, because if Texas was as powerful and influential as they think they are, then they would give up the illusion of being in a conference and just join Notre Dame as an independent…


…Which we all know they won’t do.


Is the move good for Texas A&M? Who really knows? I don’t like the SEC any more than I like Texas, but at least the Aggies will get revenue equity. Plus with the addition of A&M, the SEC is unbalance and will need to find at least one and maybe three new members to attain megaconference status (something I was hoping for the Pac 12 last year, but I digress). Are Clemson, Florida State and Missouri soon to follow? And what will the other conferences do to maintain their relevance? It looks like the free-for-all we all expected in 2010 will happen sometime in the next year.


I for one am glad to see that the Big XII is now in survival mode. If they continue to believe that their very existence is tied to Texas and their unfair revenue slice of the pie, then in the long run they will go the way of the dodo – and the SWC (the hitch they should hook themselves to is Oklahomas, but the Sooners will be fine wherever they land because, well, they’re the Sooners). Right now, Texas is like the sibling in the house that has joined a street gang, and the only way to get rid of him is to sell the house from underneath him…



The True National Champions

Oklahoma and Florida can battle for the BCS. But we’ve already crowned the true national champ.
by Rick Reilly

NOTE: This is a reprint of an article that appears in the current edition of “ESPN The Magazine“. It is worth reprinting here because it couldn’t be more right — daveydoug
Some gifts people give are pointless: Styling mousse to Dick Vitale. An all-you-can-eat card to Kate Moss. The BCS Championship given to Oklahoma or Florida.

It means nothing because the BCS has no credibility. Florida? Oklahoma? Who cares? Utah is the national champion.

The End. Roll credits.

Argue with this, please. I beg you. Find me anybody else that went undefeated. Thirteen-and-zero. Beat four ranked teams. Went to the Deep South and seal-clubbed Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. The same Alabama that was ranked No. 1 for five weeks. The same Alabama that went undefeated in the regular season. The same Alabama that Florida beat in order to get INTO the BCS Championship game in the first place.

Yeah, that’s how it is now in the shameful, money-grubbing world of college football. If you’re Florida and you beat Alabama, you get a seat in the title game. If you’re Utah, you get a seat on your sofa.

Hey, remind me: What do they give out for one of those BCS things anyway? It’s been so long since I cared. Something from Sears? This is the sixth year in the past 10 that the title has been in dispute under this cash-grab, fan-dis, monopoly that the BCS has created. Which is why the title game just doesn’t matter anymore. It’s like being named Miss Ogallala. Or Best Amish Electrician.

Just take a look at the teams that think they’re worthy of being called national champs:

USC? Great year. Wonderful. Let’s all go to SkyBar and celebrate. But it lost to Oregon State, a team Utah beat.

Texas? You think beating Ohio State by a nubby three points gets you the title? The Big Ten was 1-6 in bowl games! That’s like pinning David Spade!

Florida and Oklahoma? They lost. Utah never did.

So that’s it. Utah is the national champion. The Utes should probably have two now, actually. They went undefeated in 2004, too, and their coach still thinks they were the best team in the land. Smart fella named Urban Meyer. Coaches Florida now.

By the way, we’re calling our title the “national” championship because it actually includes the whole nation-all 119 Division I schools-unlike the BCS, which includes 66. Yeah, the BCS somehow eliminated the middleman-the NCAA. The conferences these schools play in take their dump trucks full of cash straight from the TV networks and fairness can go suck a lemon.

Do me a favor. Call Ohio State president Gordon Gee and ask him why he won’t support a playoff. He’s one of the most powerful presidents in the NCAA. He could get it done. If he says anything other than, “We don’t want to share the loot” then you know he’s lying his bow tie off.

“This is not how we normally do things in America,” says Utah president Michael Young. “In America, quality usually wins, not conspiracy. And there’s a reason people usually enter into a conspiracy. It’s money. You make money doing it. And those that are in on the conspiracy want to stay in and keep everybody else out.”

Sure, BCS blowhards will hand you schlock about how the college football season is like a playoff, how it’s an elimination tournament every week. Really? Well, how come Florida and Oklahoma weren’t eliminated with their losses? Utah ran the table, beat everybody set in front of them, including Ala-damn-bama in no less than the Sugar Bowl, and gets the bagel.

Oh, by the way? It was Utah’s eighth straight bowl win, the nation’s longest streak. Among the losers during that run? Let’s see USC, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, and now the legendary Houndstooth Hats.

“What else do we have to prove?” asks Utah’s magical quarterback, Brian Johnson. Good question. He and the Utes essentially whipped Alabama at home. Handed Nick Saban a garlic necklace to wear the entire off-season. Stepped on his team’s neck 21-0 in the first three possessions and never looked back. Let’s see. Who was it that was losing to Alabama until nearly six minutes into the fourth quarter? Oh, yeah. Florida.

What, you want the Utes to win a spelling bee? Make a prize-winning souffle? Knock up Angelina Jolie? What?

It just slays me. It really does.

Call Myles Brand, president of the asleep-at-the-wheel NCAA, and ask him if he and his greedy presidents are going to stand in defiance of president-elect Barack Obama, who wants a playoff and wants it yesterday.

Ask Brand what he’s going to do if Obama starts asking the Justice Department to look into anti-trust hearings against the BCS. The Utah Attorney General has already launched an investigation into that very thing. Or ask him what he’ll do if Obama asks the Department of Education to consider withholding federal funds from these schools that have entered into this secret club called the BCS. You don’t think playing in the title game means millions in general-fund donations for a school? That’s as unfair as anything Title IX fought against.

Until all these people do the right thing, I’ll be celebrating with the true national champions-the undefeated, untied Utah Utes. (Our new slogan: Utahk about a team!)

Lemonades for everybody!

— Rick Reilly —
“Life of Reilly”
ESPN The Magazine

I Don’t Watch Beauty Pageants!

I’m sorry, but I just can’t get jazzed over the bowl season any more. Even with Cal, my alma matar, in a postseason bowl the whole idea of it is so absurd, so surreal, so asinine that me wasting even one brain cell on it and trying to apply any semblance of logic to it is just giving it way too much credibility it so clearly does not deserve.
I wanted to at least try to get into Cal playing at AT&T park against a team and a school I absolutely despise (Miami, Fla.), but then I saw what some of the other bowl matchups were and — like every season since that heresy of a bastard mutation of an institution, the BCS (Bull Championship Shit), came into existence — just threw up in total revulsion. 7-5 South Carolina gets to play on New Years Day but Cal at 8-4 has to settle for the Emerald Bowl (no disrespect intended). Texas Tech, at 12-1 and with a tougher schedule of anybody not named Texas or Oklahoma, not only doesn’t even get a chance at winning their conference but also has to settle for a non-BCS bowl while Penn State, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech and Ohio State — all ranked behind them — get to play in the BCS…
If this sounds like the continual sour grapes I’ve felt since Cal got fucked out of the Rose Bowl in 2004, that is only part of it. As I’ve come to realize, with the Bull Championship Shit there is always at least two schools every year that get fucked like this. Want to explain to me what the rankings mean to all the schools ranked ahead of Cincinnati and Virginia Tech? [And don’t give me any excuse about the Bearcats and the Hokies won their respective conferences. That just doesn’t fly. I could see the reason behind a ranking if there was a comprehensive playoff system like basketball’s NCAA Tournament, but since there isn’t then what good is it to Texas Tech when being “ranked #7” (sarcasm intended) doesn’t get you anything other than the Cotton Bowl, but the schools “ranked 12th and 19th” (sarcasm intended) get the prize?]
So South Carolina gets to play on January 1st because it’s Steve Spurrier and it’s the SEC and in Tampa it is much more likely that those rabid football fanatics from the South will turn out and spend lots of money and the viewing public is much more likely to tune into the Gamecocks rather than those tree-hugging hippies from Berkeley who don’t have national recognition and don’t spend money and won’t come all the way out to Tampa and who wants them there anyway because they’re left-wing commie nut jobs and they’ll just come out and picket and protest something.
If the Bull Championship Shit ran the NFL then the Cowboys and Patriots would have played in this past January’s Super Bowl; to hell with the playoff. If the Bull Championship Shit ran major league baseball then the Red Sox and Cubs would have played in this past October’s World Series; to hell with the playoff. Because those matchups would have gotten bigger ratings and made the sponsors happier and raked in more cheddar.
Everybody and their mother knows that the NCAA could put an end to all of this — and everybody and their mother is equally aware that the NCAA is not even remotely interested in putting an end to all this. Two reasons: (1) There is way, way, WAY too much money from underwriters and sponsors of the bowl system that the NCAA just doesn’t want to give up. And (2) A comprehensive and fair playoff system will in some years get you undesirable matchups in the championship game (like Boise St. vs. Oregon) that just won’t generate any national interest. So it is in the NCAA’s best interest to maintain the status quo and keep teams like Notre Dame and Alabama at the top of the food chain. (Don’t laugh; Fox Network was horrified when the Rays and Phillies made it to the Fall Classic. And ABC was jazzed a few year’s ago about their TV contract with the newly formed ACC superconference with power schools Miami, Florida State, Clemson, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Boston College until the very first ACC Championship had Wake Forest vs. Georgia Tech).
I like watching college football. There are teams I love (Cal, Oklahoma), teams I like (Ohio State, Florida State, Sac St., San Jose St.), teams I respect (Every school in the Pac-Ten, Penn State, Texas Tech, Auburn, Michigan, Wisconsin, Texas A&M, Marshall, Air Force, Navy, Army, Hawaii, Boise St, Fresno St.) and teams I despise with every fabric of my being (Texas, Miami, Florida, Alabama, LSU, Nebraska, BYU). I like seeing whose good and who could go to the NFL, and who would look good in a Niners uniform (which is the only reason I watched Saturday’s SEC Championship). I like the head-to-head matchups, the school rivalries, the color and pageantry. But where they stand, whose good and who isn’t, who’s better, and who is going where when the season ends? I just don’t care anymore.
The NCAA in general and the Bull Championship Shit are two of the most archaic institutions that exist today. They are so archaic they are like something right out of the 12th century Inquisition. I have more respect for the WWE, the UFC, and any number of alphabet soups that are boxing’s “sanctioning bodies” (sarcasm intended) — and I have absolutely no respect for any of them.
The NCAA has succeeded in turning Division One college football into a beauty pageant…
…I don’t watch beauty pageants.
– daveydoug