Back From a Long Weekend: Sorry to be out on such a big weekend. From what I can tell, nothing really "happened", but there's lots of stuff going on, especially in terms of conference realignment. I'll get to what I can this morning.
SBN Regional Sites: SBN has created regional sites and a couple of the head-honchos were interviewed by the New York Times over the weekend. To see a list of those regional sites that are currently up, go here. There will be more regional sites added (the list looks fairly East Coast biased). As an aside, I've been getting the advertisement show up on the right side of DTN about a SBN meet-up and was curious if any Dallas-based folks could make it this Thursday. Here are the details:
Thursday, June 10th, 2010
5:00 - 8:00 PM
Frankie's Sports Bar and Grill (Uptown location)
3227 McKinney, Dallas, TX 75204
If anyone is interested, I'll make the trek from deep East Texas to say hello, but I won't get there until sometime after 6:00 p.m.
Conference Realignment: Yahoo! Sports Dan Wetzel has a very interesting article about how the Big 12 screwed itself by not agreeing to a Plus-One in the college football playoff:
It’s clear now that Delany used opposition to a football playoff not to preserve some bit of "tradition." His expansion plans clearly indicate he cares nothing about that. It certainly wasn’t done for the sake of aiding Big Ten football, since a playoff with on-campus home games likely would’ve helped his teams.
The goal was to starve out the Big 12, Big East and even the ACC of the hundreds of millions a playoff would’ve given them and thus turn the future of college sports into a battle of television sets.
And then Wetzel has this to say about Big Ten Commish Dan Delany working behind the scenes to create complete and utter chaos:
Why Beebe and Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese ever felt safe with Delany is a mystery. The guy is an assassin. He’s always been public about his desire to do whatever he feels is best for the Big Ten (or at least his "legacy").
Rather than helping him block the Plus One, they should’ve been explaining to their presidents that a full playoff was imperative to survival.
And let’s forget the ridiculous notion that the presidents are vehemently opposed to a playoff. The presidents will do whatever their commissioner says. It’s always been that case and the expansion chaos proves it. Ohio State’s Gee has been an anti-playoff guy in part because of "missed class time," even if none would be missed under a playoff that takes place during semester break.
Most have heard that Baylor is attempting a power plays as well, including the idea of trying to substitute Baylor for Colorado and forcing Texas to take Baylor or forgo the possible deal to the Pac-10. The Waco Tribune's John Werner has all of the details including Baylor President Ken Starr feeling confident:
In a column submitted Sunday for the Waco Tribune-Herald, Baylor University President Ken Starr said he is fighting to keep Baylor from being separated from its Big 12 rivals, "working to counter a significant and historic threat to the university." He said he is "guardedly optimistic" of success.
"The situation is extremely fluid right now," he wrote. "It is our understanding that the Pac-10 Conference may be preparing to invite six Big 12 members to join a proposed 16-team megaconference.
"Recent news reports have indicated that Baylor’s stock is rising and that it could be included among the teams invited to form a new conference," he wrote. "What we do know is this: The Lone Star state schools of the Big 12 should stick together. That’s what’s in the best interests of Baylor, of Texas and of our own community, here in Waco."
I talked to a Baylor alum this weekend and he didn't think that it would be the worst thing ever for Baylor to be in a lesser conference. His words, not mine, but I think there's something to that and I think this comes to down to television markets and if the Pac-10 has to choose between Colorado (Denver market) vs. Baylor (? market). Essentially this comes down to which school U of Texas feels that they need to take with them and my guesses aren't worth much at all.
One more thing. I've never researched the Permanent University Fund and I'm going to do some reading about the PUF over the summer. If anyone has any additional links, then please feel free to drop a comment or send me an email. I think I want to be more educated about this.
I again cannot recommend the story-stream at the SB Nation page to follow any and all updates regarding conference realignment. I'd also recommend following the Texas Tech football page at SBN so you can see who is writing about Texas Tech around the SBN network.
New Chaplain: From what I can tell, head coach Tommy Tuberville has hired a new chaplain, Steve Grant, a former NFL player. I don't know if I have a strong opinion about this one way or another. I've never been a part of a team with a chaplain and just wonder if a chaplain is just a guy to talk to other than the coach. I really don't know how this is going to work.
Steele Experience Chart: Phil Steele has his new and improved experience chart and Texas Tech sits at #63.
Knight and Wooden: For those of you who don't know, legendary coach John Wooden passed away over the weekend and LAJ's Courtney Linehan talked with head coach Pat Knight about Wooden's encounter with a younger PK:
"Coach Wooden, I'll never forget, he was sitting on the aisle and his wife was next to him," Knight said. "He had me sit down, introduced me to his wife, 'Hey Nell, this is Bobby's youngest son, Pat.' He had me sit down between them and talked to me for 15, 20 minutes, signed my ticket. He was nice as could be."
"He talked to me about my dad's team, how well he'd done. I'll always remember he talked to me about my dad's defense while I was sitting there with him."
Miscellaneous: CT's Steve Walentik has a Big 12 Summer Power Poll and has the Red Raiders at #9 heading into next season:
The Red Raiders have a strong enough core, with guard John Roberson and forward Mike Singletary, to finish in the top half of the conference standings and vie for a beth in the NCAA Tournament, but that was true last season, as well, when they went 4-12 in conference play. Defense continues to be a problem for Pat Knight's team, which yielded 81.5 points during the Big 12 season, and I don't think it's gotten consistent enough contributions from the supporting cast. Tech is also lacking an interior threat to keep opponents honest, and I'm not sure Cooper is going to provide one. Until I see the Red Raiders play better defense and get more balanced production, I'm going to have my doubts, particularly when the rest of the coaches in the southern half of the conference all have better track records for success.
I'll have a bit more on the basketball team, hopefully later in the week.
Spencer Reflects on 2010: LAJ's George Watson had a lengthy talk with head coach Dan Spencer regarding being just short of an NCAA invite:
"I think I looked at the glass half empty on Monday because of how close we were and that we were just a win or two away," Spencer said. "But as I got farther away from it … I started to think about where the program has come from and where we’re going. To finish fifth out of 10 in a power league, I think we’ve seen marked improvement. I feel good about this club this year and that we put ourselves in a position, even with the injuries on the mound, to compete for a regional."
Watson does a good job of running down who will more than likely be around after the MLB draft and at the end of the day, Spencer will need to replace almost all of his pitching staff:
"We’re hoping we can get enough innings early in the spring and create enough competition and pressure and adversity in the fall that they’ll be ready to go when conference rolls around," said Spencer, who eyes having three separate weekend starters and a closer, none of whom occupy more than one of those roles. "I am concerned about the youth and newness of our pitching next year, but that will pay dividends. Whether or not they take the next step next year remains to be seen, but they are the future."
Watson also compiles how each of next year's commitments did in 2010 (high school or JUCO) and talks with P Chad Bettis about looking forward to today's MLB Draft.