Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Big East Expansion And BC--Mess

It's clear that the Big East Conference is still seen as a little brother in the BCS pecking order. So how do you fix it? Expansion. The Big East needs at least 10 football schools. Notre Dame will never get on board so cut ties. In fact cut ties with the rest of the non-football half of the Big East. Time to move on. Sixteen teams is too many anyway. My buddy Ken Broo last week suggested the Big East make a run at Kentucky. At first, I thought that was crazy. Then I thought, "that will never happen." Then I kept thinking about it. And then it made perfect sense. I'm not sure how it would affect other sports, but it would help Kentucky immensely in football and be no worse than a wash in basketball. Even in years Kentucky is decent, the Wildcats are still nothing more than a punching bag for the rest of the SEC East. Annually the Wildcats have a chance of beating Vanderbilt and perhaps one or two other SEC teams at most. Then they get another guitar for playing in the Music City Bowl. They need the Big East. That will give the Wildcats a chance to mine recruiting territories that are not dominated by the other SEC schools. Any player south of Kentucky is going to Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, LSU, Arkansas, Auburn, or South Carolina. Maybe even Ole Miss these days. That leaves Kentucky, Vanderbilt, and Mississippi State feeding off the bottom. Should Kentucky join the Big East, the Wildcats could start mining Ohio a little more, and certainly Pennsylvania. And think of the natural football rivals: Louisville, Cincinnati, West Virginia, and Pitt. Aside from Tennessee, exactly who does Kentucky have a good football rivalry with in the SEC? If the dollars even come close to adding up, it's a no-brainer. Kentucky football has been affiliated with the SEC since 1933. The Wildcats have exactly two championships, the last one coming in 1976 (thanks to a game later forfeited by Miss St.). So what's the point in staying in a conference where you are at a huge recruiting disadvantage in a high-profile sport like football? Kentucky backers have been searching for years to find a way to make football successful. Being the northernmost school in a conference so steeped in southern tradition is not working. You know what else isn't working? Indiana football in the Big Ten (11). There's your plan Big East.

The Big East owns a 6-5 record against other BCS teams this season, but the biggest of those wins came against Florida State and Oregon State. Bad losses in my opinion include Pitt losing at N.C. State (how?), West Virginia fumbling four times in the fourth quarter at Auburn, and UConn losing at home to North Carolina. Those losses make the Big East appear weak, and that has U.C. battling to get respect as a worthy candidate for the national championship game. That part I understand. But to hear some of these national pundits who profess to know so much, to sneer down their noses (yes, you Herbie)and act like there no way U.C.(you too, Bob Davie) belongs in a national championship game is snobbery on the surface. Below the surface it points out what a joke this system continues to be. If a BCS team goes undefeated in the current BCS system and is left out of the championship game for a one loss team, that will blow up the system. Maybe that's not such a bad thing. Sure, the national snobs get to say "we told you so", but the rest of us get another drum to beat for a playoff system.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Why Sabo Still Connects

Chris Sabo was an immediate hit with fans in Cincinnati. Tuesday at the Reds Hall Of Fame announcement, he gave us several reminders why. He genuinely does not see anything he does as a big deal. He just goes out, does it, and moves on. It was also a given that no matter what, Sabo busted his butt in every day, every night, every season. He didn't cheat himself, his teammates, his manager, ownership, or the paying customer. He has immense athletic talent, and it's a shame a bad back cut his baseball career short. But he continues to excel at golf, making the semi finals of the Cincinnati Met Amateur this past summer. I think he still is amazed that people in Cincinnati took such an immense liking to him.

There are so many funny stories involving Chris. Remember the night his bat cracked and super balls started bouncing all over home plate? He had no idea what happened, but some of his teammates did. Talk about a set-up. Congratulations to Chris, Pedro Borbon, and Tony Mullane. I remember Borbon well. Old "rubber arm " could pitch every day, and he will forever be remembered for taking a bite out of Bud Harrelson's hat in a scrap with the Mets in the 1973 playoffs. I don't quite remember Mullane. I ain't that old! Mullane pitched for the Reds from 1886-18892. Mullane's story is fascinating and I am shocked as a lifelong Reds follower I didn't know more about him. Click here for more on Mullane and the Reds HOF inductees from the Reds Official web page. It's worth the read as Mark "The Gosse" Sheldon covers all of the bases. I still can't get over the Mullane stuff.

I checked out the Miami hockey team on Tuesday. The Redhawks are number one in the USA Today coaches poll and fourth in the CBS poll. Somehow, they are picked third in their conference, the CCHA. The kicker, a lot of the same coaches they voted in the national poll that has Miami first, are the same coaches who voted in the conference poll. Weird. Miami coach Enrico Blase had a funny take on the situation.

Miami opens Friday night at Steve "Coach" Cady Arena in Oxford.

The Bengals cannot afford to have the offense go to sleep in this game against Baltimore. To win there, they are going to have to play their best. Even though they are 3-1, we have not seen this team crank it up for four quarters. The Bengals have played well at Baltimore over the last fiver years, coming out of there with a 3-2 record. The two losses during that period were by seven points and six points.

Here is some fun for U.C. football fans. Since the Bearcats don't play for over a week, chew on this Boise vs U.C. vs the BCS stuff from CBSSportsline. This is a link to Gregg Doyel's story that contends that U.C. and Boise do not deserve a whiff of the BCS Championship. I know Gregg, so I'm allowed to say he is one of those SEC snobs. But there are also links on the page to Dennis Dodd making a case for Boise and Mike Freeman making a case for Cincinnati. It's fun reading, but don't let Doyel get you too steamed.