Friday, June 11, 2010
The Big XII is dying. Being ripped limb from limb by the other BCS Conferences, who like cannibals are gobbling up their fellow NCAA power broker. The Big Ten wants Nebraska. The Pac-10's taken Colorado. But they also want Texas and as many as 5 other teams. Oklahoma might even join the SEC.
How'd this happen? Well, the Big Ten and Pac-10 are the epitome of all that's wrong with college football. That's how. They're greedy, more than the other conferences. They're hogs among pigs.
The Big Ten and Pac-10 are the two biggest defenders of the BCS system, which is almost universally seen as inadequate, unfair, and recognized to be bullshit. These two also have their sweetheart deal with the Rose Bowl, the only BCS contest which strictly adheres to conference affiliations.
You can understand their desires to expand to 12 teams. That gets them a lucrative Conference Championship game. And adding Nebraska to the Big Ten gives that conference yet another historic, nationally followed team.
But if the Pac-10 snatches 2 teams from the Big XII, that conference loses its legitimacy. Losing Nebraska is a big enough blow. But take out two more and the house of cards collapses. Don't forget that the Big XII is a mere 16 years old, and was a combination of the Southwest and Big 8 Conferences. Texas and Oklahoma don't want to be the kings of a worthless kingdom.
But the Pac-10 doesn't just want to expand to 12. Nor do they want to take the geographically logical approach and offer a promotion to top Mountain West teams to join their league. The Pac-10 looks to become the Pac-16. That's right, a 16 team monster of a league.
Such a behemoth is grotesquely greedy. This isn't an attempt to improve the quality of the conference. It's not for geographic realignment. It's for TV money. The Pac-10 wants to lure powerhouses like Texas and Oklahoma, get themselves a better broadcasting rights deal, and get even more Bowl money.
The Gator Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, the Holiday Bowl, the Sun Bowl, the Alamo Bowl, and many more smaller bowls are what awaits the Pac-10 if they absorb the Big XII's powerhouses. The 12 team SEC and ACC have 9 bowl tie-ins each. The Pac-10 only has 6, but could easily double that to 12 if they expand to 16 teams. That's a lot of money just waiting to be nabbed.
This isn't new. The ACC raided the Big East quite recently. But they didn't destroy it. The Pac-10, however, seems hell-bent on destroying the Big XII, and pillaging its TV contracts and bowl games.
And what if the Pac-16 divides itself into 4 division, with a two-round playoff of its own to determine a Conference Champ? That's 3 times the "bonus" title games that the SEC, Big Ten and ACC have.
And if it works, the SEC and Big Ten will soon want to expand to 16 as well. They'll plunder from the ACC and Big East.
But as ugly as it sounds, maybe it's a step in an ultimately good direction. The current mishmash system of different sized conferences is an utter mess. There's no strong central governing body. The conferences are too independently powerful. It's like the USA before the Constitution, just a collection of allied but independent units. Each state printing its own money, making its own laws, conflicting with other states.
There are about 64 programs worthy of being in power conferences. Baylor doesn't belong in a BCS league. Boise State does. These 64 can someday be divided among four 16 team conferences. And the winners of these conferences could meet in a playoff.
Maybe. But I doubt a playoff system will come directly from this. As I mentioned, the Pac-16 is looking to absorb bowl games. Streamlining will be an unintentional result of this carnage. But in the end, conferences like the Pac-10 and Big Ten only want money. They don't care if the declared national champion truly deserves a Championship. They just want ESPN to pay them to play the Insight Bowl.
In a 14 game stretch against the dregs of the AL (Kansas City, Oakland, Baltimore, and Cleveland), the Sox went a very unremarkable 8-6. Which isn't bad. But when you're in 3rd place of the best division in baseball, you have to capitalize on these subpar non-divisional opponents. And the Sox failed to do so.
The pitching didn't show up the last two nights. Jon Lester allowed 6 runs in his 6 innings. It snapped a streak of 4 consecutive Quality Starts. Then it was Daniel Bard who blew the Save after the Sox came from behind. Bard has been good this year, sporting a tidy 2.48 ERA. But this was also his 4th Blown Save of the season.
On the bright side, perhaps Pedroia is emerging from his slump. He was 2 for 5 last night with an RBI and a Run. Then again Ortiz has frozen up. He's 1 for his last 23.
This 14 game stretch was an opportunity to nibble at the lead that Tampa Bay and New York have in the East and Wild Card races. Instead, the Sox are only 0.5 games better than where they were when they started this sequence. A 5.5 game deficit reduced to a 5 game gap.
The Sox host the Phillies tonight. Jamie Moyer opposes John Lackey. Yikes.
The Celtics rallied around Glenn Davis and Nate Robinson to pull away from the Lakers in the 4th and tie the NBA Finals at 2-2.
The Celtics' bench outscored the Lakers' 36 to 18. The C's outrebounded the Lakers 41-34, including 16 offensive rebounds. And they outscored them 54-34 in the paint.
What was most enjoyable was when the referees contained themselves and let both teams play. They still called fouls that were clearly fouls, and they laid down the law with technicals when appropriate. But the 3rd and 4th quarters were some of the best basketball of this series, thanks in no small part to the officials being officials, and the players allowed to be players.
The Celtics starters couldn't buy a make. They were generating quality shots, but bricking like crazy. It spoke volumes that in a close 4th quarter, Rondo, KG, and Pierce were all on the bench well into the period.
Paul Pierce woke up. He scored 19 points, but was also hustling for rebounds and driving for fouls.
A mammoth Game 5 will comes Sunday night in Boston.