A Little On Conference Realignment: I know, this subject never gets old, but I saw this note from AAS's Kirk Bohls regarding the recent proposed television deal that Texas might have with ESPN. Here's Bohls:
If you're asking why ESPN is close to finalizing a deal to link up with Texas as its broadcast partner for the new Longhorn television network, for exorbitant figures perhaps approaching $15 million a year, it's because the worldwide leader is hoping to use this platform as a way to leverage with Texas' help a deal to acquire all of the Big 12's television rights that will be negotiated next spring. And, yes, we all know Texas has clout. If the other nine members of the reconfigured Big 12 don't go along, Texas hasn't minded using its power before and could easily reopen talks with the Pac-12 or go independent. ESPN is positioning itself for the inside track with the Big 12 and squeezing out Fox.
One very highly placed Big 12 school official told me the other nine schools are holding preliminary discussions about their own networks. To avoid Texas threatening to leave again, the opinion here is the Big 12 must be aggressive and try to strengthen itself against other assaults. That means looking to expand. The Big 12 should go after Arkansas and LSU, Arizona and Arizona State, even Notre Dame. I keep hearing Kansas is talking to the Big East. Who would blame the Jayhawks for looking, since they were nearly left out in the last realignment merry-go-round?
This sounds logical and it's pretty clear that Texas Tech is trying to make in-roads in creating their own production team with the numerous team videos and the RaiderPower series. And I think that Bohls is right in that the Big 12-2 should try and strengthen, but I don't think this happens, in part because I don't think those schools would ever want to be part of a conference that's not stable. Not only that, there will be a time when other schools start to have options. Rock Chalk Talk's Owen Kemp opined about TCU's recent move to the Big East, which now gives the Big East 9 football teams and 17 basketball teams:
Nine teams and seventeen teams, two rather odd numbers in the grand scheme of things. Scheduling oddities in basketball and a bit of a no man's land in football. At this point the Big East would seem to be positioning themselves for two things, both requiring three more schools. A 12 team football conference with a conference championship and a 20 team basketball conference representing the nation's first basketball super conference so to speak.
Quarterback and Receiver Rankings . . . Meh: I stopped following this in the middle of the season for whatever reason and FSN's Eddie Middlebrook ranked the top 5 quarterbacks in the Big 12 and QB Taylor Potts was the #5 signal-caller and also ranks the top 5 receivers and WR Lyle Leong was the #3 receiver. I don't know that I have a major argument with either of these lists, but I've always thought that lists like this are intended to create some debate (which is probably why I stopped linking to them) but by the end of the year, there's probably not much debate because the stats or play on the field typically dictate the results.
Miscellaneous: Ryan Hyatt from the Williams and Hyatt Show talk with recruiting guru Raiderpower.com’s Greg Powers (good stuff) . . . FWST's Dwain Price talked with Mike Leach about the Miami job. . . if you're at all interested in keeping up with Auburn QB Cam Newton and the NCAA's decision regarding his ineligibility then eligibility then you should check out SEC blog Team Speed Kills. They always do excellent work and have a great link-roundup this morning with this quote from SEC Commissioner Mike Slive:
"The SEC had to determine whether it violated SEC bylaws for an individual's family member to solicit funds from an institution that is different from the one he attended. Ultimately," Slive said, "I had to determine what the appropriate league response was after balancing all of these factors and after considering all of that I did not believe that he had violated our bylaws."
And TSK's response:
::shakes head:: WHA? Read that carefully, ladies and gentlemen, because it means exactly what you think: It is not against the SEC's rules to try to get fair market value for your prospect. (Somewhere, Pat Dye is wondering why Mike Slive couldn't have been commissioner when he was Auburn's head coach.) Slive says that the SEC will try to close the Cam Newton loophole (read: the Cam Newton annihilation of the idea that there are rules in college football) at the national level next year. Which is all well and good, but they ought to start with the SEC rule book.
PK's Post-Game Quotes: I could have sworn I read an article where LAJ's Courtney Linehan essentially implicated that head coach Pat Knight's was talking about Baylor coach Scott Drew, but now it's gone, or things have been cleaned up a bit by the LAJ. Let me back up. Yesterday morning, I ran across the LAJ's Linehan game story and there were some quotes from Pat Knight about how Oral Roberts' head coach Scott Sutton is one of his best friends. Those quotes are no longer in her game story. Not anywhere. Luckily, DT's Mike Graham's game story did contain those quotes and hasn't been revised. Here's PK:
"I’d much rather beat some cheating S.O.B. that cheats his ass off and everyone knows about, but they want to say they’re great coaches when all they do is buy players," Pat Knight said. "I’d rather much rather beat a guy like than one of my good friends. That’s tough because one of us is going to feel bad.
"If I had my choice I’d rather beat the bad guy than the good guy."
Although I don't have any proof because I believe the LAJ website has changed, but LAJ's Linehan wrote her game story and mentioned / implicated Baylor's Drew by name, although PK didn't mention any coach. I obviously can't prove any of this because I think parts of her game story has changed as I remembered it. Then this morning, LAJ's Linehan wrote this story where PK apparently contacted Linehan and specifically told her that he was not talking about Drew:
Pat Knight was not talking about Scott Drew in his postgame news conference after beating Oral Roberts on Tuesday night.
Knight called me Wednesday afternoon to make that clear. It’s something I should have more specifically outlined in my column that ran in some editions of Wednesday’s Avalanche-Journal.
In a blog post by Linehan, that's been now taken down, Linehan tried to connect the dots between PK's comments and Drew that essentially tried to back up her thoughts: that most of the Big 12 coaches don't like Drew (which may be true) and that Drew and his Baylor program is under investigation, although she made it clear that Drew and Baylor are innocent until proven guilty.
UPDATE: [Note by Seth C, 12/02/10 7:22 AM CST ] I forgot when I wrote this morning's DTN that I did link to Linehan's story yesterday morning in a FanShot, but if you click on the story link, there's nothing there.
I may write some really stupid things on DTN and I can live with that, but I truly dislike how the LAJ changed and took down some stories from their website. I get that PK may have threatened Linehan with access to the program and she had to make things good, but to completely change stories and take down blog posts seems extreme and that you could still explain away why you wrote what you wrote without deleting posts. I can honestly say that I don't think I've even taken down a post and the only editing that I do with a post is usually a spelling or grammatical error (which are a lot).
But this really shouldn't surprise us, and if there was ever anything to the thought that the LAJ is too close and/or to dependent on TTU for access to their program, then this might be it.
Miscellaneous: Big 12 Hoops with their weekly power rankings . . . Yahoo! Sports Jason King with his weekly look at the conference . . . SB Nations' Chris Dobbertean with a look at all of the interesting college basketball games in December . . .