Super Conferences? We’re Already There.
14 +14+10+12+15= 65. You may wonder why I would start this blog with a math problem. Well, that’s the number of teams in the SEC, Big 10, Big 12, PAC 12, and ACC added together. For years the rumor in college football has been that we are headed for super conferences. 4 of them to be exact. With 16 teams each. I’m here to tell you that we are already there. Not exactly in the mathematical sense, but we’re there. Realignment as we have seen it over the past 4 years is done. The shuffling will stop. You saw the math problem. 65 teams. 5 leagues. It’s not even. It doesn’t make as much sense as 4 leagues and 64 teams, but hey, it’s college football. What does anymore? West Virginia and Texas Tech are in the same conference. Realignment always made me think of this scene from Ghostbusters.
But it’s over now. The ACC has a Grant of Rights. What that means is that now if anyone wants to leave, they have to sign over all their TV money. The Big 12, PAC 12, and Big 10 all have this same type of contract. The SEC doesn’t, but seriously, who’s leaving that league? And if they did, we’d have to make sure that the school and it’s alumni weren’t taken over by body snatchers. And no one is giving up their TV money. In case you don’t know, with the new BCS playoff on the horizon, there is going to be plenty of it to go around. The ACC now has locked in Florida State, Miami, Clemson, and North Carolina. All schools rumored to be headed elsewhere on the message boards.
But what about the former Big East, now the All American Conference? Sadly they will be the victim in this. What about Conference USA? Please. The schools in those leagues will have to sit and wait for one of them to be good enough to get in the Top 4. Then maybe they can hope that things change again to include them more. In all likelihood, it’s all on the 5 power conferences now.
What’s the next move? I think it will be a shift to separate the Big 5 from the rest. But that’s probably another decade or so down the line. It’s never really going to be over. As long as there are TV networks, big piles of cash, and egos there will be something going on. But the big game of musical chairs is over for now. If you found a spot in the PAC 12, Big 12, SEC, ACC, or Big 10 you won. If you didn’t, my condolences.
We have been here for a few days now. New Orleans is amazing. The Media party on Tuesday was second to none. 50 restaurants and bars had their samples for us to taste. The Crescent City has raised cooking to an art form. I had Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding. Yes. It exists. And yes, it was magical. Also, if you’ve never had charbroiled oysters from Drago’s, you are missing one of the great experiences in life. Acme Oyster House has a shrimp and lima bean soup that made me cry tears of joy. Here are my non-food related thoughts.
1. Deer antler spray? Good work on the story by SI, but nothing will come of this. So why should I care? The NFL will do nothing to Ray Lewis. Not one thing. So it doesn’t matter.
2. Katherine Webb has gotten 2 TV jobs so far because Brent Musberger ogled her on air. Stop the fake outrage. She’s not mad about it, so you shouldn’t be. She’s here working for Inside Edition.
3. Nelson Cruz’s connection to a Miami area steroid distillery doesn’t surprise me. You know why? Because nothing does anymore. Nothing. Plus he went from being on waivers to being one of the most powerful hitters in the league. What has history taught us about guys like that? If he is out for 50 games, that’s a huge hole in the lineup for the Rangers. The offseason of disappointment continues. ARod’s involvement also surprises no one. It will be interesting to see if the Yankees can get out from under his contract. It would be a shrewd move if they did. I think that is unlikely, but you never know.
4. I met Troy Landry from Swamp People. Hilarious dude. Fun interview. And I held a live gator. It was a bizarre experience.
5. If I found a sports magic lamp, I would ask the sports genie inside for this. Please make this weird Manti Te’O story reach its end. Dr. Phil is involved. This has gone too far.
6. Ray Lewis is not alone in thinking that God has ordained that the Ravens will win. Nearly 1 in 3 Americans think the same way. Maybe he does. I don’t personally think so. But omnipotence is a funny thing.
7. New Orleans knows how to welcome the masses. This has been great. More to come. By the way. Here is a picture of me and Dan Akroyd. Ray Stanz in the flesh.
SUPER BOWL DAY 1
We have arrived at Radio Row for Super Bowl 47. The teams are getting in tonight. We beat them to New Orleans by 24 hours, so we could do some recon. You know, get the lay of the land. Sample the local fare. Mardi Gras is technically going on right now too, but since the Super Bowl is here, most of the festivities will be delayed a week as to accommodate the mob coming to town for the game. This is by far one of the larger Radio Row set ups we have seen. It’s about to get crazy here. Keep checking back for more updates as they happen here.
Go Away Lance. Go Away. I Am Not Going to Say Please.
1. Lance Armstrong spent two plus hours with Oprah Winfrey, apparently copping to using PEDs. Well, I guess I am glad he finally admitted wrongdoing. But for the love of all that is good, please go away. Your confession is probably financially driven as you haven’t cared whose life you ruined along the way as long as you and your empire were in the clear. So after this, do the right thing and fade into obscurity. It’s the only decent thing you can do. And Lance didn’t want to really spill all the beans. First of all, that might be legal suicide. Secondly, an interviewer like Bob Costas might have really opened him up. But he chose to go with Oprah. Oprah is a great many things, but a journalist isn’t one of them. Interviewer-yes. Journalist-no. In the spirit of Lance going on with Oprah, I am sure Maury Povich has already put out feelers to a good chunk of the NBA. That would be an epic “You are the father/You are NOT the father show.”
2. Hockey is back!!! When asked for comment all of Canada said “We’ll get back to you in the morning. It’s good news, but now we have to focus on the fact that we may not have enough Molson 3.0 to make it through the season.” I am not a hockey fan in the sense that I actually care who wins and loses. But I am glad that the lockout is over and our athletes don’t have to play in Finland.
3. Mark Cuban told the media yesterday that “The Bank of Cuban is open.” Sadly he wasn’t offering out low interest loans, but trades of players on his bad Mavericks team. Dirk Nowitzki is not one of them, but maybe he should be. The only way to rebuild in the NBA is to blow up the entire structure and start from scratch. The Mavs have done a good job so far of razing the building. But is Cuban talking fire sale? Or does he actually think this team is close to contending with the right moves? Mark, you are way smarter than most of us, but please be talking fire sale.
4. I would love to see an all Harbaugh Super Bowl. But I would also love to see Tom Brady win another. Yes. I am that guy. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Pats win another. Stop being haters. Love Brady. Embrace him. He’s fun to watch. I do realize that this, to some, is like rooting for the guards in “The Longest Yard,” but I don’t care.
5. You know what’s great? Justified. Watch it. Thank me later. Seriously, if you watch it, you must thank me.
6. Why do couples have Facebook accounts together? I don’t get it. Have your own Facebook page. If one of you doesn’t want to be on Facebook, that’s OK. There was a world pre-social media. Let them stay off the grid. All of your friends think it’s weird and won’t tell you. Trust me. It’s harsh to hear I know. But get a clue.
7. So is it too early to start counting down to the 4 team BCS playoff? The season just ended and we only have one more year of the old system. I can’t wait for teams to lower the bar and start clamoring that they should have been number 4. It actually might be an easier argument than claiming to be at least 2nd Best.
8. I do somewhat enjoy that everything old is new again with action movies right now. In the next month Stallone, Arnold, and Bruce Willis all have movies coming out. And the Willis one is the 5th Die Hard. None of them will win any awards. But I’ll probably watch all of them. Kids today missed out on the great action movie boom of 1984-1996. Salad days they were.
9. Everyone asks me what I think about Monte Kiffin. I honestly don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other right now. My worry is that the Cowboys just don’t have the wherewithal to win even with some of the good players they have. I’ll tell you what I said on the air the other day. Jerry Jones is not the worst owner in the league. He is also not the best. He lives somewhere in the middle. Just like his team. 8-8. And there’s the rub.
10. Rapid fire. 3 things that will make you smile right now.
2 Baby Orangutans
That is all.
10 Things That Bother Me
1. Online Petitions for meaningless things. This gem popped up today. Jerry Jones is not going anywhere. Nor can the President do anything about it. I suggest that if you want to both laugh and cry go the the White House Petitions page. People will put up anything.
2. Nugget Kicking. Come on Ndamukong Suh. This was not cool. Look, I think dirty play is dirty play and has no place in the game. But kicking another dude in the junk? Reckless. And totally against guy code. Not cool bro. Not Cool.
3. TV Singing Competitions. Are we really that devoid of singers that we need to have one of these on every network? And who follows all these people? None of it makes any sense to me. And what happened to Christina Aguilera? I can’t fathom how this was once this.
4. Nick Saban. Great coach. No doubt. He is at the top of the game right now. But he did utter these words this week: "It's not really a great scenario," Saban said on Sunday. "You play your way into the [SEC] championship outright, but it is what it is. I don't really know what me commenting about it is going to do to change it. But I don't feel good about it." Oh really Nick? Really? You got in the BCS title game last year and didn’t play in the SEC title game either. The rules are clearly working to your advantage. Shut up and ride the wave.
5. My year as a sports fan. FSU-probably in the Orange Bowl, but not all the way back. Boston Red Sox-dumpster fire. Dallas Cowboys. What can you say about the Cowboys that hasn’t already been said about athlete’s foot? There’s always next year, right Cubs fans?
6. Superfans. Fireman Ed hung up his helmet this week. I for one won’t miss him. Fans make working in sports both enjoyable and annoying. These guys always seem to bother me. It’s just too much. Dial it back 10% and I’ll think you are interesting.
7. Justin Bieber. How could you not be? Seriously? This guy. Jenny McCarthy kisses you and you wipe it off?
8. Bad news about food. Bacon shortage? Hostess is extinct? Soda bans? The world is changing. Maybe this is all good for our waistlines, but still. I can’t help but be a little bit sad. Wither Twinkies?
9. The Steroid Debate. It’s never going away. Ever. And we are about to jump it up with the Hall of Fame ballots this year. I say put them all in. Especially Barry Bonds. But I don’t have a vote. Sorry guys.
10. Giant Moths. This beauty was outside my house the other day. I thought it was a bat at first. I am not afraid of bugs, but this one had me spooked. If you are some sort of paleo-enotomoligist, I may have a find for you that will make you the rage of the academic circuit. Drop me a line. We’ll talk.
Thanks for indulging my rant. I’ll post things that don’t bother me soon.
It's a mad world in the NFL today after last night's blown call in the Seattle-Green Bay game. Green Bay got hosed. Jobbed. Screwed, Worse, Whatever you want to say. That's all true. You can say the regular refs would not have made that call. Also probably true. The issue is that the replacement refs are out of their depths. You know. I know it. Every player, coach and water boy in the league knows it. Roger Goodell knows it. The owners know it. But that's not the party line. This madness sporuts that kind of thing. But the bottom line is, both sides are a little bit right and both are a little bit wrong. Everyone talks about Ed Hochuli and how he wouldn't have let this happen. Lest we forget that he blew a huge one in Denver a few years back.
The regular officials need to admit to themselves that they weren't exactly setting the world on fire. Ask Seattle fans about them. They feel the refs gifted the Steelers a Super Bowl. They weren't terrible. But they weren't perfect. And no expectes them to be. The NFL needs to admit that not just any football referee can do this job. There is a pace, a speed, and an attitude that the replacements just don't have. It's about money. It always is. And the NFL is really good about pushing these negotiations back to the point where they become dire.
Last night's gaffe means one thing and one thing only for both sides. Get back to the table. Get it worked out. Stop this craziness. But let's not forget that NFL refs were a punching bag before this. And after a few weeks back, they will be again.