Tag Archives: NCAA

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…



If It Were Up To The BCS, Part V

If it were up to the BCS, Ohio State and Kansas would be playing in the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship…

Ohio State was eliminated by Kentucky three games short of the national championship game, and Kansas was eliminated by Virginia Commonwealth two games short.

If it were up to the BCS, Butler and Virginia Commonwealth aren’t even buying customers in the Final Four…

…Both teams made it…


Welcome to Bracketville 2010: South Region

South Region

By far the #1 seed with the least hardest path to the Final Four is Duke. How it is Mike Krzyzewski always manages to get these gift draws even in down years is beyond me; he must have made some kind of deal with the (Blue) Devil (ha-ha-ha). Not only that, why does Duke and not the #1 overall seed Kansas get the winner of the play-in game in the opening round? You could have made a case for West Virginia to get a 1-seed, but even though it was a down year in the ACC Duke played one of the best non-conference schedules in the country. Not seeing much on this side of the bracket to challenge Duke, so go ahead and pencil in their name in the regional final.

In a definite down year in the Pac Ten, so California should have won the regular season championship. This is probably the worst defensive team in the tournament, and there isn’t a lot of size, but the Bears do get after it on the offensive end. The key is they have to spread the floor and shoot lights out, but when the shooting goes out they are hard to watch. Louisville, on the other hand, is not a great shooting team, but man these guys can get in your grill on defense. The Cardinals are the only team to beat Syracuse TWICE. Still an experienced team that played a tough Big East schedule and made it all the way to last year’s regional final. As much as I hate to say it, Louisville wins this one but dies on the vine against Duke in the Round of 16.

Siena has won in the first round each of the last two years in the NCAA’s. They are a balanced and experienced team that has learned to expect to win even though they don’t have the world’s strongest schedule. Plus, they are catching Purdue at the right time. The Boilermakers were pounding it out for a #1 seed when they were hit with key injuries at the most inopportune time, then they subsequently were just ordinary down the stretch, so they come into the tournament not playing their best. Because of injuries points are going to be very hard to come by. Purdue was probably gifted a kind 4-seed and probably didn’t deserve it, but there is enough all around for them to finally put the kibosh on Siena.

Texas A&M-Utah State is a better 5-12 matchup than you might think. A&M is not especially big but everyone is tough on the defensive end – holding opponents to 40% shooting. Problem is they are one of the worst foul shooting teams in the country. UTU is in the top ten nationally in three point and free throw shooting. Their perimeter shooting allows them to beat most zones, but deep teams that can substitute for pressure or big teams can cause them all kinds of problems. Not knowing anything else I would pick this matchup as an Upset Special, but Utah State didn’t beat anybody of note, while Texas A&M came up big against big time opponents. I’m taking A&M.

I like Notre Dame’s chameleon-like tenacity. Playing a tough Big East schedule, the Fighting Irish had to morph from a high-scoring, good-shooting team, when they were beset by injuries, into a more patient team. So we know Mike Brey’s charges can adjust to ever-changing game conditions and become what they need to be at any given moment. Old Dominion is one of the bigger teams in the tournament that ruled the paint in a weak Colonial Athletic Association – and they needed every bit of that size just to shoot 40% from the field. That, coupled with the Monarchs’ inability to shoot free throws, indicates that Notre Dame will take this one in an entertaining 6-11 pairing.

Baylor! Wow! These guys are surprising good both inside and outside. Superb guard play coupled with the second best rebounding in a tough year in the Big XII. Stated simply, this team is dangerous; this is probably the one team in this field nobody wants to see. The Bears had some big wins against Kansas, Xavier, Arizona State, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Texas A&M – and Texas TWICE. Sam Houston State was the best offensive team in the Southland Conference – which isn’t saying much; another team that didn’t play anybody. Baylor may be neophytes at this, but there’s enough wow here to overwhelm anybody. Baylor in a walk to set up a knock-down drag-out fight with Notre Dame in the next round.

Tough 7-10 matchup to call. Surprise Richmond cracked the Top 25 this year, with defense (holding teams to 39% shooting), depth (a solid rotation of nine players), and an experienced backcourt. This is by far the best Richmond side ever. St. Mary’s is nobody’s prison bitch, though. They had to vanquish Gonzaga convincingly to get to the tourney. Despite the loss of key starters in the backcourt in December and having to switch to a bigger lineup because of it, the Gaels hit the boards with abandon while still sinking 41% of their treys; all while sinking 76% of their free throws. Problem is the lineup is limited; they have no depth and rely almost solely on their starters. If Richmond can rotate players in and put pressure on St. Mary’s, this could be a very long game for the Gaels. I’m guessing the selection committee got this one right in giving the Spiders the higher seed.

Not the world’s most difficult subregion for Villanova. Arguably the deepest, most experienced team in the field returns their Final Four team virtually intact. The Wildcats run the floor well, play up-tempo and will run you off the court. There is scoring all up and down their lineup, and they shoot the ball well from all over the court and from the charity stripe. They get Robert Morris in the first round, whom I will give madd kudos to for a defense-first mentality and playing some tough regular season foes. But Villanova shouldn’t have too many problems with this subregion. It gets tougher after that, with Baylor (wow!) possibly waiting for them before having to deal with Duke in the regional final. If there is anybody in this region who can beat Duke it’s Villanova, who dispatched the Blue Devils in last year’s regional semis.

– DaveyDoug