Saturday, May 24, 2008

Ode To Stubbie

Looking at the price of college football ticket lead to eBay and this:

Here is a VINTAGE approx. 2 5/8" by 1 1/2" ticket stub in Very Good condition "FOOTBALL - Findlay College VS Bluffton College - Sept. 15, 1979 Donnell Stadium, Findlay Ohio"! Winning bidder will pay only $1.75 for safe shipping and handling in the United States. International bidders will pay postage based on where they live.

Bid through 5/26

At $4.95 this 29 year old ticket is a real bargin.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Yesterday's News

The past tends to become a jumble as we get further away. A normal person has a healthy habit of a memory dump (or more accurately deterioration) unless the event is repeated or significant it is all but forgotten quickly. Recently, there was a story going around about a women unable to forget and let things slip quietly into the past.

The Internet has a sharp memory only some of those memories come with a price tag. This post was original to be a epic of the events of the 2003 ACC Raid. We will have to settle for some selective snapshots.

Tranghese says ACC tries to lure Big East teams Saturday, April 19, 2003
By Phil Axelrod, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

"They have made two presentations to the University of Miami -- and have been turned down -- but they continue to come back, hoping to get the right answer. They've gone to Syracuse, Boston College and Virginia Tech." (Tranghese)

Never happened, Swofford told the Durham Herald-Sun.

Johnny boy you need to use language that allows you an out.

At Miami's mercy Big East's fate hinges on 'Canes, ACC expansion
Posted: Thursday May 15, 2003 7:24 PM

"It behooves all of us to do what we can to keep the current Big East as it is," Virginia Tech athletic director Jim Weaver said. "I'm not sure just what it is that's driving it. If it's money, then we'll discuss that in the Big East meetings this weekend and try to do everything we can to keep our current conference intact."

Jimmy you will soon be playing footsie with Johnny.

Let the Big East courting begin
Wednesday, May 14, 2003

"If the ACC adds Miami, Boston College, Syracuse and/or Virginia Tech, then its basketball product will be a bit diluted -- much like the Big 12 and SEC.

A long article with multiple "what if's" but the above was correct the football money was not free."

Option play--QB-turned-senator Allen playing tough with ACC
Posted: Thursday June 19, 2003

"So Allen, Gov. Mark Warner and Attorney General Jerry Kilgore played hardball, putting the squeeze on University of Virginia president John Casteen to vote against the expansion plan.

With seven votes needed and Duke and North Carolina likely to vote against expansion, Virginia is in position to kill the latest would-be super conference."

Everything is better when the politicos help out. The original plan was for Syracuse to be the third invitee and then Virginia Tech got in via the UVA vote.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Voices From Beyond

For a topic as important (in the world of college football) as the ACC Raid on the Big East there is value to be found in hearing diverse opinions so columnists and fellow bloggers were invited to join in the discussion. While the BCF is firm in the belief that the ACC raid was merely a greed driven endenvor that has not worked out like planned, other will see the events differnetly and that different points of view have tremendous value.

Matt Zemek of posted the following comment to this blog
Swofford is counting on market penetration and diversity (provided primarily by Boston and Miami) to ultimately make this a plus for the ACC. By getting more cosmopolitan markets to follow what has been a primarily Southern conference, Swofford hoped to create a revenue colossus even more than a sports colossus. (This is consistent with Swofford's view of the BCS as healthy; it's not the championships, but the money coming into conference coffers.)

What Swofford and the ACC ignored in their hubris was the simple reality that the ACC has niche schools, and niche schools are hard to shake from their identity once it's been established. Florida St. is a football school, Duke and UNC basketball schools, with most of the other ACC charter members being hoops schools as well. Trying to "football-ize" the conference with Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech had a certain degree of logic to it, but the move has served to pressure FSU, which gave the ACC regular exposure to and participation in big-time bowl games.

The other thing Swofford overlooked is that increased and lengthened travel--with Boston and Miami now being ACC markets--creates more parity on the playing field.

We'll see where we are in 5 years, but for now, it's nice to see Swofford's BCS arrogance being tempered by internal realities such as the paltry attendance of the ACC Championship Game.

Matt Zemek
College Football News

Drew Howard College Gridiron Boss

My initial thinking of the "raid" was that the ACC would become a football powerhouse and the Big East would become a basketball powerhouse. The ACC has without question improved due to adding Virginia Tech and Boston College, but Miami really has been on a downswing since coming to the league. The interesting thing about Miami was that before coming to the ACC the big knock on their team was they would only have to play 1 or 2 quality teams each year in able to reach the national championship game. The interesting thing about the Big East is there's really not a whole lot of talent in the league, especially with the teams who are on top. The team with the most talent according to is actually Pittsburgh. Pat White, Steve Slaton, and Ray Rice were all 3 star players. To me, when I see that amount of success and that little talent, I turn to the head coaches as the reason behind the team's success.

Being somebody who believes the head coach is the most important factor to the success or failure of a program, I would say the success of the Big East is due to the coaches. That being said, the maintained success of the conference is going to rely heavily on which coaches are running the programs. In the near future I see some fall off in the conference due to these coaching turnaround. Bobby Petrino leaving Louisville is the most recent example of the value of the coach. He was essentially the only piece missing from that 2006 team, and in 2007 they were incredibly mediocre. Brian Kelly at Cincinnati is a great hire, but how long will it be before he gets snatched up by a more high profile team. The loss of Rich Rodriguez is really going to hurt West Virginia. The effect of his loss may not be felt this year, but certainly a few years down the line once Pat White is gone. Greg Schiano is another coach who is likely to leave if the right school (Penn State) comes knocking. Jim Leavitt and Randy Edsall are two coaches who have elevated their programs to unthinkable levels in the time that they've been coaches. Unfortunately due to the conference schools not being as high profile, or willingness to shell out big time cash for their coaches, every school is prone to losing their coach to another school. If these coaches all leave the conference and the next hires aren't up to par, the conference could really nose dive.

The surprising thing to me about the Big East is they haven't brought in any other schools to the conference. I was assuming that they would have expanded or disbanded as a BCS conference at this stage in the game. As long as there's no pressure from the NCAA to add schools, the teams in the Big East have a far easier path than any other BCS conference to reach a BCS game and the BCS National Championship.

The ACC has in a sense underperformed, but there are 2 sleeping giants at Miami and Florida State that are just aching to be awakened. Many of these issues in the conference have been coaching related as well. Miami really hasn't had the swagger that they were used to the past 20 years or so. Florida State is in a bad situation with Bobby Bowden in the sense that he's the legendary coach who's leveled off success wise and isn't ready to step down just yet. Once those two programs get the right coach in there, there's enough talent to propel them right back to the top (assuming they both find a quarterback).

The conference has greatly upgraded their coaching situations as of late. The additions of David Cutcliffe at Duke and Butch Davis at North Carolina are big time hires from programs who could really use the help. The fact that Davis did not pursue the Arkansas job leads me to believe he will be there for some time.

I can go on and on about the quality of coaches in the ACC, but I think from here on out we're going to essentially start to see the fruition of the ACC/Big East shakeup come to it's true form in the next 5 yrs once the coaching situations start to shift in favor of the ACC and away from the Big East.

Brian Harrison--Orange::44

The perspective of Syracuse in the Big East/ACC Conflict is an interesting one. Syracuse was on the inside at the start. Former Athletic Director Jake Crouthamel, one of the founding fathers of the Big East Conference, was in on talks to include Syracuse moving to the ACC with Virginia Tech and Miami. Somewhere along the way the ACC stopped being interested in Syracuse. Syracuse then shifted into damage control mode. Syracuse joined with other Big East schools, including Boston College, to possibly sue Miami and Virginia Tech for leaving the conference. Then, after a pledge by the BC Athletic Director, a week later Boston College jumped with VTech and The U. There was a very strong hatred of all things ACC, southern, anything maroon, powder blue, or from North Carolina by any Big East loyalist. There was talk of the Big East losing its participation in the BCS. There was a big impending feeling that the Big East conference was on borrowed time, and when the BCS contract expired, the Big East members might as well have been 1-AA teams.

Then something happened. There was an idea that there was something else to be done. We simply had to do to another conference what the ACC did to us. Obviously football makes the world go round when it comes to college athletics. So it was important to lock up more teams. Connecticut was going to join the Big East in football anyway, so they just upgraded a year sooner. Then we added Louisville, Cincinnati, and South Florida. So the Big East Farewell Tour began. Syracuse played each team again, the most hated being Boston College. Any Big East fan knew that VTech and Miami were elite teams, and honestly it made sense geographically for them to bolt, but the deceit and shadiness of Boston College was too much for any Syracuse fan to take. Syracuse beat BC both at home and away one last time and that was good enough temporally.

Then there was the basketball element. The Big East had solid teams already. Syracuse, Georgetown, Villanova, and Pittsburgh were already well established. But adding the likes of Louisville, Marquette, and Cincinnati to basketball was simply excellent for basketball fans. The Big East became a 16 team superleague. The best byproduct of acquiring new teams for football was acquiring the best basketball league in the nation.

Meanwhile, while we were all enjoying the success of basketball, the football league did just fine. In the 2007 season South Florida was ranked as high as #2. Connecticut finished ranked in the top 25. West Virginia finished in the top ten in the nation and won a convincing victory in the Fiesta Bowl. Finally Big East football had its respect back. The BCS bid is locked up most likely.

ACC Ya! became the motto since 2003 and it seems like the whole situation seems like entire thing is a distant memory. Everyone loves the 16 team basketball league, the football league is solid, and the other sports are benefiting from new competition. I think most people have let the entire ACC thing go, although the normal animosity still appears for the ACC in general, as well as Boston College, a longtime rival of Syracuse and other Big East schools. But really, overall I would argue the Big East is better now than it was then. While Virginia Tech and Miami were excellent football programs, West Virginia and other schools have clearly picked up the pace, and even the lower tier football programs are on the way up (yes even Syracuse). While I am without question a Big East homer, I can still appreciate the objective view of the entire thing, and clearly The Big East is still one of the best in any sport and should enjoy success for many years to come. And just for the record... BC sucks and always will, Virginia Tech sucks and Miami swallows, and Georgetown still sucks!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Make an Excuse for Stopping By

Mike Tranghese might think about packing something along with his toothbrush, a copy of Desomd Conner's recent article ECU Ready For Big East, If League Wants It on an upcoming trip to Florida. Maybe several copies.

Mike should opt to drive from Providence maybe stop at some schools along the way for informal meet and greets. Let's see Wilmington, Delaware; Fairfax, Virginia; Greenville, North Carolina; Columbia, South Carolina; and Athens, Georgia. In each of those locations pay a visit to the respective AD and university president for a casual lunch or dinner. While sitting down with Terry Holland at East Carolina accidentally have a copy of the article sitting out in plan view and if that isn't enough to get things started prop the article up with the following part highlighted:

The school should be willing to:

--Play a conference football schedule with zero compensation from the Big East so current members don't have to give up any of their share of revenue.

--Be responsible for negotiating a television contract for home games until the league wants the school to be a part of its package.

--Not expect any of the league's BCS revenue until earning a BCS bid of its own representing the conference.

--Come in as a football member only. Other sports would play in another league in order to not interfere with the league's current 16-member setup for all other sports.

--Show a solid track record of putting fans in the seats at home, on the road and at bowl games -- all on a trial basis for a few years.

Then while AD's and presidents of the Big East schools will be having there annual meeting in Amelia Island leave several more copies sitting in plan view (highlight as needed). After they slap each other on the back and the Rutgers v. Notre Dame have a cold shoulder contest maybe some brighter people attending will take notice and start a conversation about the idea of East Carolina making an interesting new member...under the right conditions. Plant the seed so they can adjourn until next year with big smiles on their faces more than just a successful year in football and basketball...a more secure future.

Any offer like this if genuine solves the expansion issue and the scheduling problem in one stroke.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mike Tranghese Stars In: The Big Sleep

Part #2

The Big East is the last to BCS conference to form and as the raid five years ago showed us the most vulnerable to external forces. Originally built with a combination of northeastern basketball schools in 1979 the addition of football and in a move of profound stupidity rejected Penn State’s application for membership in 1982 in a move that effectively killed the formation powerful football conference. The football branch was not added until the mid-1990’s with the mysterious aversion to the pigskin by the founding click. “It’s not big on our campus so it must not be any good,” was the attitude taken by the smaller schools and schools were added for football only as second class citizens. Finally after securing an independent a lucrative contract with NBC for football Notre Dame joins the conference in 1995 for everything but football. The Big East is the astronomical equivalent of a binary star system plus one with the competing centers of basketball and football and the disruptive gravitation field of Notre Dame (mostly siding with the basketball).

If John Swofford is the corporate raider then, Mike Tranghese is the asleep at the switch corporate management oblivious to the economic forces that destroyed the Southwest Conference to create the building blocks for the Big 12 and a piece for the SEC. Even then the Big East was the runt of the BCS conferences and in competition with the ACC for bragging right of not being in 6th place. The U flourished in the Big East and brought the conference both the credibility and disrespect, Miami and the Seven Dwarfs winning championships seven of the eleven season they were members. While other conferences have a feeling of togetherness Big East football was merely a convenient home for Miami that was happy to take a super-sized slice of the pie—money provided the gravitational pull that bound the Cane to the conference.

Patching itself up after the ACC raid the Big East is once again feeling good about the future. Unfortunately the cancer of the lack of a center, a common purpose, and a common identity remains and while not enough to kill the group it will continue to be a source of weakness. The Big East can now boast three consecutive BSC wins but in a term borrowed from Matt Zemek of College Football News are Nuevo riche and lack a reputation to fall back upon in lean times. As pointed out by Desmond Conner of the Hartford Courant there are few options that make sense as additions so the Big East will remain the Awkward Eight.

As an example of the lack of respect given the conference look at the BCS selection rules and specifically at the bottom Conference Automatic Qualification in Future. Basically it says that any conference that is NOT assigned a permanent BCS site is subject to review as far as, “…athematical standards of performance which be applied to determine the number of conferences whose champions will automatically qualify for a BCS game.” The Big East and any other conference that seeking membership at the BCS Country Club is subject to review. Mitch Vingle’s May 7th column detailed the non-event of the conference maintaining BCS status

Last week, however, without fanfare, BCS officials reaffirmed the participation of the six leagues currently involved through the end of the 2013 season. That includes the Big East.

The reinvention of the league since the 2003 purge is complete. And one can now call it a complete success.

The reason is simple: no one noticed the news. No one questioned the Big East's place at the adult table. The reaffirmation wasn't even a note in BCS meeting coverage.

Mr. Tranghese a word of caution: 2013 will be here before you know it.

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Part #1: Atlantic Swofford: Raiders of the Lost Dream

In the first of four parts BCF will look at the current staus of the ACC expansion that hit the college football landscape five years ago this month. This series will examine the biggest money story in college football during this young century focusing on the current status of the ACC and Big East in part #1 and #2, #3 will look at the predictions from 2003 and part #4 will foolishly look ahead.

Five years ago the college football world was rocked by the hostile raid by the
Atlantic Coast Conference of Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College from the
Big East. In a move that is looking as questionable as the speculation in real estate a year ago the move the Atlantic Coast Conference may have serious regrets about the move.

"Are you better off today than you were four (five) years ago?" A political
candidate will ask that question but perhaps that should be the query posed to
John Swofford by college football fans in general and those those that pledge
there precious fan energy to the teams of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Here in 2008 we can clearly see that the expansion of the ACC has not resulted
in the superpower of college football and basketball that was expected. While Duke has rarely been a force in college football it is now arguably the weakest BCS program*, the conference has few high profile wins.

As pointed out in No spring in the step of ACC football

The ACC hasn't taken off like many expected once expansion brought in BC, Tech and Miami. Down periods by the Hurricanes and Florida State haven't helped. But the door has been open for former power Clemson to step forward, and Tommy Bowden's teams often falter in their biggest games...

...Conference members went 50-47-1 (.515) versus ranked non-ACC teams in the 1990s, but are just 25-57 (.305) this decade.

The plan was for a football conference to rival the SEC, or to be in football what the ACC was in basketball, but without a BCS win in the current century the conference seems as toothless as Y2K. The plan also called for a high profile, well attended, money machine, championship game and a second team in a BCS game but neither have panned out. The conference has received a lucrative contract from Disney sports and a range of respectable (read the as high payout) bowl games, yet, genuine respect for ACC football is still elusive.

While all the expected benefits have not materailized the move to twelve teams has had a few unwelcome consequences: first is the perception of weakness in the basketball end of the business with only five and four teams being invited to the big dance (strong at the top but weaker overall); the loss of playing home and home games with all other memebers in basketball; the creation of rivals that fans do not always care about, FSU v. UM, UVA v. VT make sense but do Terps fans know their rival; Who's Atalntic and who's Coastal?; Playing a bowl game on the Smurf turf in December is a reward for wiining? None of these are deal breaker, just annoyances.

This is not to say that the the ACC expansion has been a complete Daimler-Chrysler type failure. Unlike the business world where quick results are often the measure of success the ACC is still on the monetary upside of this deal and while revenues are increasing most are more than will to ignore any faults in the plan.

*(It would interesting to set up a tournment with Duke, Syracuse, Northwestern/Minnesota, Baylor, Vanderbilt, and two at large teams to settle this on the field.)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

BTN Schedule: Set the DVR to Stun

In May what will the BTN be bring the the lucky few that will be charged a dime and for in the Big Ten 'FOOT PRINT' states see what you traded a trip to Golen Arch's dollar menu to enjoy?

Please click on the title of this post in order to be taken to the current BTN schedule so you can plan you life around these fine offerings.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

1:00AM ET Big Ten Tonight (HD)
A.M. = Morning (not night)

1:30AM ET Big Ten Tonight: All Access (HD)
The bloopers that were taken out of the 1:00AM ET Big Ten Tonight

2:00AM ET Big Ten Tonight: Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament Recap

2:30AM ET Big Ten Tonight: Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament Recap
If you do not know now do you really care?

3:00AM ET The Big Ten's Greatest Games - Football: 2007 Motor City Bowl: Purdue vs. Central Michigan (HD)
For those that find CSPAN too entertaining.

6:00AM ET Big Ten Men's Tennis '08: Big Ten Championships (HD)

8:00AM ET Big Ten Tonight (HD)
Last night?

8:30AM ET Big Ten Tonight: All Access (HD)

9:00AM ET Big Ten Tonight (HD)
Repeating is good. Repeating is good. Repeating is good. Repeating is good. Repeating is good. Repeating is good. Repeating is good. Repeating is good. Repeating is good. Repeating is good. Repeating is good. Repeating is good.

9:30AM ET Big Ten Tonight: All Access (HD)

10:00AM ET Big Ten Men's Tennis '08: Big Ten Championships (HD)

12:00PM ET The Big Ten's Greatest Games - Football: 2007 - Michigan at Michigan State (HD)
Yes, Greatest

2:00PM ET The Big Ten's Greatest Games - Football: 2007 - Purdue at Indiana (HD)
Yes, Greatest...too

4:00PM ET Northwestern Campus Programming: News at Northwestern 3

5:00PM ET Ohio State Campus Programming: iMix - University Mixed Media 3

5:30PM ET Purdue Campus Programming: Purdue Pride 2 (HD)

6:00PM ET Big Ten Tonight: Top Ten Men's Basketball Games of the Year
In 30 minutes or less

6:30PM ET Big Ten Tonight: Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament Recap

7:00PM ET Big Ten Short Stories: Best of Short Stories
Tonight: Green Eggs and Ham

7:30PM ET Big Ten Tonight: All Access (HD)

8:00PM ET Big Ten Outdoor Track & Field: Illinois Twilight (HD)
Live or Memorex?

10:00PM ET Big Ten Tonight: All Access (HD)

10:30PM ET Big Ten Tonight (HD)
And tomorrow morning.

11:00PM ET Big Ten Outdoor Track & Field: Illinois Twilight (HD)

Come on Comcast how can you deny your viewers quality content like this?

Sorry McDonald's the dollar is looking weak.

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Thinking Beyond the Numbers

In business schools there are two camps the rarely meet as they will grow to be mortal enemies in the future and one does not want to become too familiar with the other camp. The two groups of which I speak are the future accountants and account executive (form the marketing department). Do not let the similar names fool you nor the fact that they roam many of the same halls on campus--these two are oil and vinegar. The accountant is the master of the numbers the scorekeeper of the organization neat tightly and precise. The person with the marketing degree is a weaver of tales. Master of the big picture and quick to say, "We'll worry about the details later." (Only to find that the details are the causes of the current crisis)

On the surface and most in respectable party is the accountant with just the numbers none of the fluff. Thinking about the numbers complied for a recent article in the Wildcat Online that gives the profitability of top 66 football and basketball programs may lead to questions about the honesty of the accountants. While the big picture of the numbers tell a consistent story the question come in the expense side of the equation. Looking at the top two schools we can see the issue the average expense for Texas were $15 million and Ohio State reports expenses of $28 million. Does it really cost the Buckeyes twice as much to run their football team? The truth is simple that these expense are worthless at best and probably misleading the public as to the truth. That said there may not be an attempt to deceive anyone just wildly differing judge calls as to how expenses are charged or not charged to the athletic department.

Suddenly thae marketing guys WAG numbers seem to be morer crediable.
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