Thursday, December 8, 2011

UC, Butch, and Big East

It appears the U.C. Bearcats will not be looking for another football coach. There were some in the program who feared Illinois would make another hard run at Butch Jones, but Ilinois appears to be set on Toledo's Tim Beckman. I saw Butch Wednesday night at the G.C.L. football banquet and he was really fired up about this year's recruiting class. After the banquet he was hopping a private plane to visit a couple more highly rated prosepcts and had high hopes he would be securing another committment or two. For more on the life of Butch and his staff you need to read this all-access report by Tim Adams at BearcatLair. I suggest reading all of the segments. Great stuff. Also, while giving his speech at the banquet, Butch talked about how flattered he's been by other programs showing interest. He said he is proud that other schools recognize the work of his assistants and success of his players. Butch added that some like to say the grass is greener on the other side, but he thinks the grass is green right here in Cincinnati. After the banquet at least a couple of the high school coaches on hand remarked they thought Butch was very good at the podium. Not too long, but a couple of powerful messages to share with the kids.

By the way, new U.C. athletic director Whit Babcock is getting rave reviews. I have polled just about every athletic department employee I've seen, and they all say the guy has made quite the positive, early impression. It's funny, every person has said "real deal", "the man", or "home run", or some other phrase. I'm told he's already shaken the bushes and found some big-time money from at least one new donor. I also was assured U.C. president Greg Williams is 100% on board with getting football every resource possible. It all sounds good for the Bearcats, but action, donors, and fans will determine the final fate.

Someone help me. The immediate reaction to the new Big East was to laugh, ridicule, and talk about what a joke it is. So, what was the alternative for the Big East to survive as a football conference? Just chuck it, and say we give up? It's the best the conference could do to recover. It's a shame the conference found itself in this situation. Maybe the wounds were somewhat self-inflicted, maybe not. But I give the Big East credit for adding some television markets that will come into play in the upcoming negotiations for a new television contract. I work for an NBC affiliate but I have no inside info. However, it stands to reason that the new Comcast/NBC Sports network will need some inventory. I look for Comcast/NBC to make a play.

Speaking of conferences, I'm glad to see NKU join the division 1 party in basketball and other sports. Click on this link if you want to learn more about the Atlantic Sun Conference. I would much rather have the Norse in the Horizon Conference. My next preference would have been the Ohio Valley. But the Norse will probably have more opportunities in the future to join other conferences. For now the important step was to get in the game, and NKU has accomplished that.

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