Monday, December 31, 2012

What's Next For These Fired NFL Coaches?

Black Monday is in full swing and ... as I type this ... SEVEN head coaches have reportedly been fired with a few spots still in flux.  While I won't begin to attempt to speculate about who is in line to fill these spots, I will try to figure out what the futures hold for the fired coaches.

LOVIE SMITH:  Chicago fired Smith after nine seasons and a 80-63 record.  Smith led the Bears to the Super Bowl where they lost to Peyton Manning's Colts (remember, Rex Grossman was his QB on that team).  He went to three playoffs and two NFC Championship games.  Aside from his 5-11 mark in his first season, his worst record was 7-9 (twice). 

While not coming completely out of nowhere, this is the one firing that has fans and players upset.  To me, if the Vikings had lost to the Packers on Sunday and the Bears would've qualified for the postseason, Smith wouldn't have been fired. 

I think he lands on his feet.  He could take a season off, but with all of the openings around the league, I can see him finding a job pretty soon.  While he got the Bears to the playoffs just once in the last six seasons, he has fielded good teams ... even though those teams faltered late in the season.  Someone like Arizona could be a landing spot.

NORV TURNER:  I think Turner's time as a head coach is over.  He's had three shots (Redskins, Raiders, Chargers) and not much to show for it.  In 15 years as a head coach, he's been to the playoffs just four times ... the three of them were his first three seasons with a Chargers team that was 14-2 the season before he took over.  He drove a team that was on the brink of a title into an also ran.

Turner will show up elsewhere in the league.  He's a darn good offensive coordinator and will find a job somewhere doing that.  Head coach?  No more.

KEN WHISENHUNT:  Whisenhunt was a Big Ben miracle pass to Santonio Holmes from winning a Super Bowl with the Arizona Cardinals.  Yes ... the Cardinals.  Aside from that, he hasn't accomplished too much.  His team fell off when Kurt Warner hung it up.  Since then, the Cards offense has been a carnival of clowns helming the QB slot and a lack of being able to have any offensive consistency.  You can argue that ... like Andy Reid in Philly ... Whisenhunt attaching his horse to one quarterback (Kevin Kolb) cost him his job.

Whisenhunt could become a retread coach.  He did lead the Cardinals to two of the three winning seasons the organization has had in the last 28 years. 

What could hurt him is that laughable lack of offense the Cardinals had.  Being an offensive coordinator prior to getting the Arizona gig, more was expected from him and it could be argued that it was Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald (and Anquan Boldin) that deserves more or the credit for the team's success.

CHAN GAILEY:  I'm not going to sugar coat this, but I couldn't believe Gailey got the Bills job in the first place.  Like Turner, I think his opportunity to be at head coach ... at least in the NFL ... is gone.

Gailey didn't really fail in Dallas as much as he wasn't in the class of head coaches that Jerry Jones was used to.  In his three seasons with Buffalo, the Bills finished last in the AFC East each time.  The Bills have missed the playoffs for 13 straight seasons.

Gailey could emerge at a second or third tier college football program or somewhere coaching offense.  I seriously doubt anyone would take on the 60 year old in a head coaching capacity. 

ROMEO CRENNEL:  Last year, Crennel won the last two games for the Chiefs after taking over the team with three games left.  This year, Crennel's Chiefs won just two games all season long. 

I feel bad for Crennel.  He took over the team in an emergency interim basis last season and those two wins catapulted him to the full-time job.  He also will have that image of Jovan Belcher committing suicide in front on him at the Chiefs facility.  He is one of the good guys in sports and a class act in any field.

Kansas City isn't bare.  They'll have the top overall pick in the draft for having the league's worst record and, oddly, had five guys elected to the Pro Bowl (three of which were from Crennel's defense).  Crennel's career may be more or less as a defensive coordinator at best.  He'll be somewhere soon.

ANDY REID:  Reid should find somewhere else to be a head coach.  He had a great run in Philadelphia (five NFC Championship games, one Super Bowl appearance) that just ran out of gas.  He was just there too long and got stale.

Reid will get a good job, but he'll want one with a bit more power than the rest of the guys on this list.  That would keep him away from some owners or GMs, but someone will give in. 

PAT SHURMER:  I think he blew his one shot.  Back to being a quarterbacks or tight ends coach.

The Redskins' Unsung Heroes

I've been a Redskins for most of my 37 years on Earth.  I started rooting for them as a 7 year old and haven't stopped.  Needless to say that I was a bit giddy watching my Redskins win the NFC East for the first time since 1999 ... when I was a young newlywed all of 24 years old.

My wife got me a Griffin III jersey for Christmas.  She also got my 5 month old son and almost-three year old daughter jerseys too.  I have been proud to wear my Skins gear around for the last two months (I always wore it before, but would hear some taunts every now and then). 

Of course, RG3 gets all the run.  The die-hards knew ... and the casual fans found out last night ... that Alfred Morris deserves a lot more credit than he gets.  The patchwork defense that lost Brian Orakpo, Adam Character and a slew of safeties early this season has become much more formidable of late.  Despite all the drops, the receivers were a big improvement over the past several seasons.

But the two things I've noticed are two things that only die-hard Redskins will find joy in.  A healthy offensive line and a kicker who can actually make kicks.

Maybe only the Redskins fans value the offensive line like they do.  Thirty years after The Hogs ruled the trenches, their impact is still all over the franchise.  They are beloved.  And despite the faces and the names changing, The Hogs are a moniker that may be owned by one era of linemen but are slapped on any Skins' really good line.

The 2012 line may have not been elite ... or maybe not even that great.  However, they did block for the league's top rushing attack, where two rookies led the team in yardage.  More remarkable, this line stayed healthy for virtually all of the season.  Unreal!  The die-hards know that over the past several years, this line has been anchored by a bunch of aging veterans who would enter each season with a laundry list of ailments and a hot-shot youngster at left tackle that seems to stay in trouble.

This year?  Trent Williams, Chris Chester, Will Montgomery, Kory Lichtensteiger and Tyler Polumbus has played virtually every snap together.  No real jumbling of the line.  No playing out of position.  No lack of continuity.  They've stayed on the field together and their zone blocking scheme has helped Morris break out to the 3rd highest rushing total for a rookie in NFL history ... and the top rushing season in Washington Redskins history.  With the names that preceeded Morris, that is quite a feat. 

As you saw last night in Dallas, that line and rushing attack can be lethal.

The other guy that's helped is Kai Forbath.  Forbath, who hadn't made a regular season squad since coming out of UCLA in 2011.  Forbath made his first 17 field goals in his career ... an NFL record.  That was a far cry from the Billy Cundiff era at the beginning of the season ... or the littany of bad kickers the Redskins have employed over the past decade.  We love our Mark Moseley!  Our Chip Lohmiller!  Our Ali Haji-Sheikh!  For me, it is rare that I feel confident when our kicker walks up to nail a field goal (even though he did knock one off the upright last night). 

Unsung heroes, yes.  No one will roll with a Forbath jersey or a Lichtensteiger jersey.  There will be tons and tons of Griffin III jerseys like the one I just got with some of Morris, Orakpo, Pierre Garcon, Santana Moss or even London Fletcher sprinkled in (not to mention the Sean Taylor ones), but all those folks know how important those Redskins linemen have meant to this NFC East championship team.

Did The Vikings Schedule Help Adrian Peterson Nearly Catch Dickerson?

Here are the total defense rankings for the teams that Adrian Peterson and the Vikings played this season. 

Week 1:  Jacksonville.  31st
Week 2:  Indianapolis.  26th
Week 3:  San Francisco.  2nd
Week 4:  Detroit.  13th
Week 5:  Tennessee.  25th
Week 6:  Washington.  28th
Week 7:  Arizona.  12th
Week 8:  Tampa Bay.  29th
Week 9:  Seattle.  4th
Week 10:  Detroit.  14th
Week 11:  Bye
Week 12:  Chicago.  5th
Week 13:  Green Bay.  10th
Week 14:  Chicago.  5th
Week 15:  St. Louis.  15th
Week 16:  Houston.  9th
Week 17:  Green Bay.  10th

As you can see, it is a mixed bag.  There are some really bad defenses (Jags, Buccaneers, Redskins, Colts, Titans) early in the season ... and some really good ones later on (Seahawks, Bears twice, Texans). 

Funny, but look at the rushing rankings for these teams.

No. 1 - Tampa Bay
No. 5 - Washington
No. 6 - San Francisco
No. 7 - Houston
No. 9 - Chicago
No. 11 - Seattle
No. 14 - Green Bay
No. 16 - St Louis
No. 18 - Detroit
No. 23 - Tennessee
No. 28 - Arizona
No. 30 - Indianapolis
No. 31 - Jacksonville

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Who Will NBC Flex In For Week 17?

Okay, NBC will have its flex game for Week 17's Sunday Night Football.  It can be any game of the week, but it will be the one with the most on the line.  With the AFC's playoff teams set (though their seeding isn't), it should most likely be an NFC game.  Three games stick out the most, with one as ... to me ... the obvious winner.

Here is the rankings for which game it could be:

16-JAGUARS AT TITANS:  Two teams that I've probably watched a total of 10 minutes all year long play. 

15-RAIDERS AT CHARGERS:  No reason at all for anyone to watch this mess.

14-BUCCANEERS AT FALCONS:  Tampa's out and Atlanta has home field advantage locked up.  Expect the Falcons to sit their stars. 

13-BROWNS AT STEELERS:  Big rivalry with nothing on the line. 

12-JETS AT BILLS:  I rank this game this high because we've spent all year with this horrible Jets team so overhyped.  May as well ride it to the end.

11-PANTHERS AT SAINTS:  Of all the games that have no playoff implications whatsoever, this is the best of the bunch.  Should be an exciting game featuring two teams who are pretty darn hot right now.  If, for some reason, there really is nothing to play for anywhere else, might as well put this one on.

10-CHIEFS AT BRONCOS:  Well, home field advantage could be on the line for Denver depending on if Houston loses.  A bye could be on the line.  The Chiefs getting the No. 1 pick.  Nope, no one wants to see this.

9-DOLPHINS AT PATRIOTS:  New England could get the top overall seed in the AFC if Denver and Houston lose.  If either of them lose, the Pats could battle for a bye. However, that's a lot to happen for this game to mean anything important enough to watch. 

8-TEXANS AT COLTS:  Both are heading to the postseason.  We know the Colts are a wildcard team, it would just come down to who'd they play.  If Denver and/or New England win earlier, then Houston would be playing for home field. 

7-CARDINALS AT 49ERS:  Depending on whatever happens in Green Bay earlier in the day, San Francisco could be playing for a first round bye.  Aside from that, move on.

6-EAGLES AT GIANTS:  New York has imploded, but still has a shot at a playoff berth.  Still, a lot has to happen around the league for the Giants to get in.  This game could be moot.

5-RAVENS AT BENGALS:  Like the Texans-Colts, these two are already in the playoffs.  All they are fighting for is seeding, which makes this game a dumper.

4-BEARS AT LIONS:  Detroit has disappointed, but they are still good and Megatron will be going for the first 2,000 yard receiving season ever.  The Bears are right in the thick of the playoff race but could be eliminated before this game starts.  A win and ... gulp ... a Packers win over the Vikings means Chicago would make it in.

3-RAMS AT SEAHAWKS:  Seattle could be playing for a NFC West title.  Depending on what goes on earlier in the day with Chicago, Washington, Dallas or the Giants, Seattle could be playing just to get into the playoffs.  Not a bad matchup, but only sexy if no other option.

2-PACKERS AT VIKINGS:  Green Bay could be fighting for a first round bye.  Minnesota could be fighting to get in, depending on what happens elsewhere (a Vikes win in this game and they're in).  You'd also have the chance Adrian Peterson breaks Eric Dickerson's rushing record.  Heated rivals with a lot on the line.

1-COWBOYS AT REDSKINS:  The winner wins the NFC East.  The loser will most likely miss the playoffs (the Redskins could have a shot with a loss).  Huge rivalry.  The two most valuable franchises in the NFL.  Two controversial owners.  RG3 vs Romo.  A rematch of a lively Thanksgiving game.  Two huge markets.  Need any more reasons?

Tebow to Jags? Do It And Let's Get This Over With!!!

Rumor is that the Jets don't want Tim Tebow anymore and the Jaguars will be his next destination.

Thank god.

I hope this happens.  I don't care if it is good for Tebow.  I don't care if it is good for the Jaguars.  It IS good for anyone tired of Tebow Mania.  Well, at least Tebow Mania that seems undeserved.  It will help settle the people who think Tebow can't play and is waaaaaaay overhyped from the people who back Tebow and think he just needs a chance to play for a team that is all-in for him. 

Then we can get something.  If Tebow stinks it up, all those people who called that can feel great and we can shut up about him.  If he does good things in Jacksonville, then those Tebow supporters will be vindicated.  Either way, we get that question answered. 

Oh, and don't give me that whole "Jags suck so he can't be truly judged."  The Redskins sucked.  The Colts sucked.  New quarterbacks have gotten them into the postseason chase.  The Vikings weren't thought of as a playoff team ... but here they are. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Can Mountain West Conference Become The "Big Sixth" Member?

Like we all figured, the Mountain West Conference is trying to lure Boise State back.  Boise, remember, joined the MWC last season before jumping to the Big East conference for next season.  Of course, that was when there was a BCS automatic bid process as well as a somewhat attractive Big East.

Now?  That is all gone.

The new playoff system leaves the Big East out of the "BCS" crowd.  Boise State would have just as good a shot at the postseason if they stayed in the MWC.  Even if that didn't matter, the Big East is a shell of the conference it even was when Boise signed on (San Diego State is also supposed to leave for the Big East as well, but no word if they are interested in coming back). 

To me, it makes sense for Boise State and SD State to come back.  The Mountain West will be the same as it was this year, aside from the additions of San Jose State and Utah State.  That bumps the membership to 12 teams and gives them an ability to have a conference championship game (in Vegas, perhaps?).  The conference could be divided like this:

EAST:  Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, Utah State, Wyoming
WEST:  Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, San Diego State, San Jose State, UNLV
Pretty simple dividing line there and have that MWC title game in Las Vegas.  Maybe the league would be interested in getting to 14 teams if they can find a way to woo BYU back into the fold (New Mexico State or Texas State could be out there as the 14th team).  BYU and New Mexico State/Texas State go to the East and Boise State moves to the West division. 

Aside from that, the Mountain West should no only be able to stay the 2nd best conference in the west (duh) but to become that strong 6th conference behind the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 12 and ACC.  I mean, Boise State is the biggest BCS buster we have had, Hawaii has been to a BCS bowl and the other schools have decent programs from time to time.  You have teams in Vegas, SoCal, the Bay Area and along the Rockies.  Getting BYU would be huge.  The MWC also has rival markets with the Pac-12 with Utah, Colorado, Southern and Northern California.

Of course all this is with the assumption that Boise State would come back to the MWC.  That isn't a done deal.  While the Big East isn't at all as sexy as it once was ... and it wasn't that sexy ... they still have the same positioning for a BCS bowl berth.  Bouncing back to the MWC could get messy for Boise State by having to pay to get out of the conference before even playing a game (ask TCU).  But unlike TCU, Boise won't be leaving for a big TV payday that can cover for the fee.  The MWC has one of the worst TV contracts out there and coming back to the conference may not be worth it for Boise.  This would also, basically, show Boise State as nomads as they've not been able to commit to anyone it seems.  They joined the WAC in 2001, left for the Mountain West in 2011 and then announced they were heading for the Big East in 2013.  Quitting on that deal would look kinda bad.

They could stay in the Big East and wait out for maybe the Pac-12 to expand again or maybe a new conference (two have been rumored) that could form.  It isn't that far out of the realm of possibilities.  Even then, the MWC would be alright but not as good as they could be with that star program in Boise State. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Will Big East Schools Really Leave For Atlantic 10???

I knew this would eventually happen, though I thought it could've happened earlier.  The non-football schools in the Big East are fed up with this mess and are looking to split from the Big East.

I thought when the Big East turned into a 16-team mammoth league that the non-football schools already in the league (St. John's, Georgetown, Providence, Seton Hall and Villanova) as well as the two non-football schools they acquired from Conference USA (DePaul and Marquette) an possibly Notre Dame would break off from the Big East and form their own league. 

I was originally wrong.  While I thought that the hoops schools would become testy after watching the football side of things (which formed nearly 15 years after the conference actually began) run the league and the futures of those programs.  However, the Big East's cache grew due to the collection of dominant basketball prowess.  While it became a bit more tedious to have to travel to South Florida or DePaul, that was the price to pay to have this big-time conference.

Well, the same reasoning the conference blew up is the same reasoning the conference is now ... well ... blowing up.  West Virginia (Big East Final Four team) left for the Big 12.  Louisville (Big East Final Four team) is leaving for the ACC.  So is Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame.  Even also-ran Rutgers is bolting for the Big Ten.  Even Cincinnati and UConn (Big East championship squad) threw themselves after the ACC and pouted when they were rejected. 

That is devastating for the pigskin side of things.  While losing Syracuse, Louisville, Pitt, Notre Dame and West Virginia are tough for any conference to take, the basketball league still has nice programs.  A league with UConn, Cincinnati, Georgetown, Nova, Marquette and St. John's isn't that bad of a league ... with DePaul and Seton Hall decent programs.  But football ruled the roost and the Big East sold its soul.  Adding Houston, SMU, Central Florida and Tulane for all sports (as well as San Diego State, Boise State and East Carolina for football) told the non-football schools a lot. 


A once eastern-only conference will feature Texas schools.  It was one thing to go to the midwest to face Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Marquette or DePaul ... but it is another to travel to Tulane.

Tulane.  Why?  Tulane is one of the worst programs in college basketball and may have broke the camel's back.  I know you need their football membership, but you just pissed off all of the Big East Hoop-dom.  You may have held off the mutiny a few days just by now giving East Carolina full membership.

Not only to those non-football schools want to leave, they want their brand back.  They want the Big East name, history and that cache back.  They want what they had before the league office sold their soul for football and watched as outsiders poached your league.  They want this, but won't get it.  Why?  They need the votes to make it happen, and Cincinnati, UConn, South Florida and Temple (who now is a member) won't let it.   They want to keep all this together until ... ya know ... Cincinnati and UConn finally get that offer from the ACC.  Nice.

Breaking away would be difficult.  They'd have to find some more members (Xavier?  Butler?) to join them to create a new league.  A new, non-historical league.  They'd lose their automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament as well as some of the cash they would normally receive.  Plus, start ups are kinda expensive. 

The other option could be the Atlantic 10.  The A-10 said they'd welcome those seven schools with open arms.  They are currently a 16-team league that will lose Charlotte (Conference USA) and Temple (who completely leaves for, ironically, the Big East) to bring membership down to 14.  Yeah, that means this would be a 21-team league but it should be exactly what the Big East members want.

GEOGRAPHY:  St. Louis would be the furthest member west.  That's not a big deal since that's closer than Tulane or the Texas schools and not much worse than traveling to DePaul or Marquette.  The furthest south would be Richmond which isn't anything for those Big East schools to make.  Everyone else sits right in those non-football Big East school's footprint and helps DePaul and Marquette bridge the gap.

LIKE MINDEDNESS:  No football here.  The basketball-only league would serve the interests of all the schools.  Not to mention, those non-football Big East schools would love having fellow Catholic schools among their friends.  Of the 14 members of the A-10, only UMass, Rhode Island and VCU are public universities. 

The A-10 says they could do this pretty easily.  They could either split into two divisions or just have a 20-game conference season where everyone plays once.  I like either way, though I'm partial to no divisions in basketball.  But, the A-10 could accomodate those Big East schools by essentially giving them their own division and a quasi-conference.


Give the Big East their own division.  Then they sorta get what they want and fashion their own league.  They'd have to take on three more schools at least to even it up, and figuring out who that would be wouldn't be that big a deal.  So how would that look?

I:  Butler, DePaul, Georgtown, La Salle, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St John's, VCU, Villanova

II:  Dayton, Duquesne, Fordham, George Washington, Rhode Island, Richmond, St Bonaventure, St Joseph's, St Louis, UMass, Xavier

I placed Butler and VCU with the Big East side of things since they are the newest members of the A-10.  I put La Salle with them to give one of the Philly schools to join Villanova.  While the Big East side looks much more formidable, that may be what would be best for everyone.  It doesn't hurt the current A-10 since they all get a lift from just having those Big East schools linked with them.  It doesn't hurt the Big East schools since they are used to having a high difficulty of schedule.  Maybe Butler and VCU should switch back to the other division and schools like St Bonnie's and Fordham get moved over, but that shouldn't be that tough a discussion.


Maybe an East/West format would be best?

EAST:  Fordham, George Washington, Georgetown, La Salle, Providence, Rhode Island, Seton Hall, St John's, St Joseph's, UMass, Villanova

WEST:  Butler, Dayton, DePaul, Duquesne, Marquette, Richmond, St Bonaventure, St Louis, VCU, Xavier.

This is decent.  The talent level is broken up a bit (Butler, Xavier, VCU and Marquette on one side; G'town, Nova and St. John's on the other).  The one thing that could bother western schools is that they'd be alienated from the New York area.  I liked the first scenario because is sort of spread out the geography of things.  Of course, you could go rogue and split everything evenly ... but why not just go to the orginal format.

Of course, I love no divisions if they don't want it.  With this league, it would be great home-and-away since so many schools are located near each other.

NEW YORK CITY (St John's, Fordham):  Play one at their place each year and one at home.  That gives everyone a shot at playing in the New York area each season.  I know Fordham isn't St John's, but you still can sent NYC kids back to play in front of the family each year.

PHILADELPHIA (Villanova, St Joseph's, LaSalle):  These three join up where you'd play two in Philly one year and one the next.  Not a bad gig.

OHIO (Dayton, Xavier):  Each school would get a shot to play in the Cincinnati-Dayton area every year.

RHODE ISLAND  (Rhode Island, Providence):  One Lil' Rhody trip.

RICHMOND (Richmond, VCU):  You get a Virginia trip each year.

DC AREA (Georgetown, George Washington):  Everyone gets a trip to the highly fertile DMV area.

CHICAGOLAND (DePaul, Marquette):  Not really the same market, per se, but you make the one trip in that area each year.  Same goes too ...

MIDWEST (Butler, St Louis)

WESTERN NEW YORK/PENNSYLVANIA (St Bonaventure, Duquesne):  Yeah.

Seton Hall and UMass don't really have a partner so you could just split the pair. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Soooooo, What Will College Football Look Like Now?

Just an update about what the NCAA football conferences will look like in a few years when all this stuff moves around.


LEGENDS:  Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern

LEADERS:  Indiana, Maryland, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers, Wisconsin

I'd like to see
EAST:  Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers
WEST:  Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin


ATLANTIC:  Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Louisville, NC State, Syracuse, Wake Forest

COASTAL:  Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Virginia, Virginia Tech

*Notre Dame joins to become the 15th basketball member

I'd like to see
NORTH:  Boston College, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest
SOUTH:  Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, NC State, North Carolina


EAST:  Central Florida, Cincinnati, UConn, East Carolina, South Florida, Temple

WEST:  Boise State, Houston, Memphis, San Diego State, SMU, Tulane

*It is unknown if the Big East will add a 14th member with Navy in 2015.  Possibly Charlotte?

BASKETBALL:  Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, DePaul, Georgetown, Houston, Marquette, Memphis, Providence, Seton Hall, SMU, South Florida, St John's, Temple, Tulane, Villanova

I'd like to see ... in basketball ...

EAST:  Central Florida, Connecticut, Georgetown, Providence, Seton Hall, St John's, Temple, Villanova

WEST:  Cincinnati, DePaul, Houston, Marquette, Memphis, SMU, South Florida, Tulane


EAST:  Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Marshall, Old Dominion, UAB

WEST:  Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Rice, Southern Miss, Tx-San Antonio, Tulsa, UTEP

*All speculative.  East Carolina joins the above members for a 14-team basketball conference.


Air Force, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, San Jose State, UNLV, Utah State, Wyoming


Arkansas State, Georgia State, La-Lafayette, La-Monroe, South Alabama, Texas State, Troy, Western Kentucky

*Arkansas-Little Rock and Texas-Arlington join for basketball


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What Should New ACC Look Like?

Now that the ACC has added Louisville to the mix, what should the league look like?

I hate the "Atlantic" and "Coastal" divisions.  They make no sense and it has been nearly a decade and I barely know who is in what football division.  To me, it seems like there are two simple solutions.


Just do the geography and move on.  For the most part, Virginia-North Carolina border serves as a perfect dividing line for the divisions.  However, one of the North Carolina schools had to move to the North.  I put Wake Forest there due to ... well, they are the smallest fanbase and would be least affected.  Plus, the Triangle dynamic of North Carolina-Duke-NC State should stick together.  Have some sort of stipulation that Wake gets to play at least one and try to get two games against the fellow NC schools.

NORTH:  Boston College, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest

SOUTH:  Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, NC State, North Carolina


In a somewhat similar setup, just split the division into the pre-expansion fellowships.  Meaning, the seven schools that were together before the league decided to become relevant in football (remember, that started with bringing in Florida State in the early 1990s) and have FSU and the former Big East republics together.

ORIGINAL:  Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, NC State, North Carolina, Virginia, Wake Forest

NEW GUYS:  Boston College, Florida State, Louisville, Miami, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia Tech

The good is that the old school ACC fans will like that they are back together again.  The bad is that the football dominance is obviously in the "New Guys" division (name 'em what you want).  Clemson would be the best school in one division while there is a brawl in the other.


Even though I mentioned I hated the current setup, maybe do what the Pac-12 was toying with and split the conference.  The Pac-12 has six easy geographical rivalry sets and toyed with having each member in each set in separate divisions.  That would mean that each school still had the ability to make trips to each area in the conference. 

In the ACC, that's tough since there are only a few of these types of sets.  Still, let's give it a try.

SET #1:  Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, NC State, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest

SET #2:  Duke, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina, Syracuse, Virginia 

Looks a little similar to what the ACC is now, but still has the split.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Could Alex Smith's Benching Lead To Players Hiding Concussions?

While there has been a lot of talk about the San Francisco 49ers quarterback controversy, one thing hasn't really been discussed:  Will this start a trend of players hiding concussions?

Alex Smith suffered a concussion three weeks ago and sat out in the Niners game against the Bears (he was close to being cleared to start).  Colin Kaepernick came in a played lights out.  Now Alex Smith seems to be cleared to play, but the Niners seem to be moving on to Kaepernick.

Has Smith just gotten Wally Pip'ed? 

Usually in sports, you don't lose your job due to injury.  The reality is that it sometimes happens no matter who you are.  Just ask Joe Montana.  But with the heightened awareness around concussions and the league mandating players sit out until cleared by the NFL, will players now try to hide any concussion-like symptoms in order to keep from losing their jobs?

Sure, in this day and age, it may be hard to hide a concussion.  Still, could a player take more of a risk by trying to keep team doctors from diagnosing one if the player keeps quiet about it.  Alex Smith didn't deserve to lose his job.  He led the Niners to the NFC Championship last year and has them in a great spot to make a Super Bowl run this season.  He is efficient and doesn't turn the ball over.  He was doing his job.  Sure, Kaepernick may be the future of the franchise and may, ultimately, be better than Smith.  However, we would never have known that had Smith not suffered a concussion and been forced to sit.

That concussion ... mild as it appeared to be ... may have cost Smith over $8M.  Smith was due to get that check after the season, but will now most likely be released before it kicks in.  All because of a concussion.  All because he had to sit.  He will lose $8 million, his starting job and his opportunity to lead his team to a Super Bowl championship. 

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not saying the NFL is in the wrong for being cautious with concussions.  The NFL has done a lot to bring attention to head injuries and erring on the side of safety is the right thing.  Smith losing his job isn't the NFL's fault.  But because of these new regulations, will players decide to try to hide these concussions in order to keep their jobs.  And their money.

Don't think this isn't crossing every quarterback's mind. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Why Would The Big Ten Want Maryland????

The Big Ten is in talks with Maryland to join their conference.  If the Terps bolt, then Rutgers would most likely leave the Big East to join them.


Well, for Rutgers' sake I totally get it.  Get out of a murky Big East that is hanging out by threads and tape and into one of the richest conferences with one of the best histories.  Don't blame them at all.

But the Big Ten and Maryland?  Why?  The Big Ten doesn't need Maryland at all for on-the-field support.  Maryland's football program would be among the worst in the Big Ten and their basketball has been in a funk over the past several years.  Maryland brings nothing.

Well, they do bring the Washington DC television market.  And Rutgers would bring the New York/Philadelphia market.  Oh so everyone assumes.  Sure, those markets may be forced to have the Big Ten Network on their cable provider's blocks ... but it isn't as if it will get many more viewers.

The Terps sit well behind the Redskins, Ravens and Orioles and a bit behind the Wizards, Capitals and Nationals.  And, well, just ask any New Yorker or Philadelphian how important catching the Rutgers game is.  From a competitive standpoint, adding Maryland and Rutgers is absurd.  From a rating standpoint, even more absurd.  From a market standpoint, quite a reach.

While you get to be on television lineups in the Beltway and Jersey, that doesn't mean it will be on many people's TV screens.  It could also take a lot out of those Midwestern fans' TVs when their Wisconsin squad gets the "pleasure" of facing off against the Terps or Knights.  It sure isn't Notre Dame they'd be getting.  And not many of those folks will fall over themselves to travel from Nebraska to half way across the country to New Jersey.  Honestly, it doesn't make sense. 

As for Maryland ... why leave the ACC which you were a charter member of, won a football and basketball championship, to join a league where you will be the ultimate afterthought?  You know how Boston College has been the bastard child of the ACC?  You will be that for the Big Ten.  You will be that weird stop like West Virginia now is to the Big 12. 

I do understand Maryland's main gripes.  Of all the schools that complain about the ACC's Carolina-centric views, Maryland has always been front and center.  That, despite the ACC's addition of five schools near or north of Maryland and two schools in Florida over the past 20 years.  But even that has hurt the Terps.  Virginia, their formal natural rival, has now buddied up with new addition Virginia Tech.  Duke, the Terps' mortal enemy in basketball, now has moved away from that rivalry now that the conference has grown.  Maryland will no longer face Duke twice every season anymore ... and that bothers Maryland and, well, no one else. 

Maryland always feel like Jan Brady in Marsha's shadow. 

So now they want out of the relationship and, yes, the Big Ten seems like a nice place to squat.  But if trading in your respectability for some cash (that you need and don't have right now ... and will become even worse with a $50M exit fee due to the ACC), then go for it.

The ACC can replace Maryland with UConn and be just fine.  UConn brings New England along with the New York market (remember that the ACC already has Boston College and Syracuse) and their contributions to football and basketball will instantly be greater.

Good luck with that Maryland.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

NFL: Sportz' Down The Stretch Addition

With nearly everyone with just 7 games remaining in their schedules, we are entering the playoff stretch.  So what has been the good and bad of each division so far?

SURPRISE:  Redskins.
  I know that the Redskins are just 3-6 and are in a funk.  But the way RG3 and Alfred Morris have entered the league has been amazing.  They've been in 5 of the 6 games they lost despite having a horrible defense and a massive pile of injuries.

DISAPPOINTMENT:  Eagles.  It is tough to pick them over the Cowboys, but I had the Eagles as the team to beat in the East.  Now this looks like a franchise that will completely overhaul after the season.

WHO WINS:  Giants.  No one looks great in this division, but New York has done the work and seems to be the most champion-like of the bunch.

SURPRISE: Buccaneers.
  Greg Schiano has this team on some sort of edge.  They have a shot at a playoff berth and are as dangerous as you can be ... especially when you have the Muscle Hamster on your side. 

DISAPPOINTMENT:  Saints.  Now, they seem to be turning this thing around, but I never thought they'd fall as hard out of the gate as they did. 

WHO WINS:  Falcons.  Winning your first 8 games out of the box is awesome for your chances.  The Saints and Bucs will be coming hard for them, but the lead Atlanta enjoys should be too great.

SURPRISE:  Vikings.
  A young QB, a banged up back and a struggling team last year turned into this? 

DISAPPOINTMENT:  Lions.  This team makes no sense.  Every game they look like garbage for 3 quarters ... and then dominate the 4th. 

WHO WINS:  Packers.  The Bears are niiiiiiice, but the Packers are putting it together.  Plus they beat Chicago back when Green Bay wasn't playing that well. 

SURPRISE:  Cardinals.  I expected nothing from this team ... especially when they have no idea who they QB or running back is.  Sure, they've been bad over the last month and a half.  . 

DISAPPOINTMENT:  Seahawks.  Harsh, but for the non-49ers in the division, I thought they'd look better.  They were given a game by the fake refs and I still don't know if they are any good.  When you believe in them, they let me down.

WHO WINS:  49ers.  Of course.  Though either Seattle or Arizona could make it interesting.

SURPRISE:  Dolphins.  A rookie quarterback, new coach and no receivers.  To be in the mix this long defies logic.

DISAPPOINTMENT:  Patriots.  Yes, the Jets are laughable and are disappointing to some, but I didn't think much of New York before the season started.  The Pats should be wrapping this division up by now and have let these lesser thans stick around.

WHO WINS:  Patriots.  Still, New England is by far the top team in this division and should display that at some point.

SURPRISE:  Colts.  Anyone in the world have this team at 6-3 right now?  Anyone?  Anyone?

DISAPPOINTMENT:  Titans.  I guess.  The Jags were looking bad and everyone else is exceeding expectation.  Tennessee gets the nod.

WHO WINS:  Texans.  Best team in the AFC ... unless the Colts can get even better????

SURPRISE:  Ravens.
  This division lacks any surprises ... except that Baltimore is 7-2 despite looking old on defense.

DISAPPOINTMENT:  Bengals.  Not a great disappointment, but Cincinnati doesn't look like the same young studded team they did last year.

WHO WINS:  Steelers.  I like B-more over Pittsburgh, but the Steelers keep winning despite all those injuries.  They have to get healthy at some point soon.

SURPRISE:  Broncos.  I mean this team did win the division last year, but to see Peyton Manning looking like an MVP is very surprising to me.

DISAPPOINTMENT:  Chiefs.  I thought Kansas City would look much more competitive after ending last season on a winning streak.  I guess I was wrong.

WHO WINS:  Broncos.  The Chargers are still right there, but Denver is the better team and they have Peyton.  Everyone else sucks.   

Lakers Firing Mike Brown Wasn't Fair ... But It Was Right

As a Laker fan, I am glad to see that the franchise removed Mike Brown as its head coach.

Don't get me wrong.  I think Brown is a good guy, a good coach and pretty much got jobbed in this whole deal.  Still, he didn't belong.  He wasn't Laker-like and certainly wasn't a fit for the roster that has been assembled.  The things he wanted to do may have worked for a different team but it was wrong for this one right now.

This is a win-now franchise.  Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash may only have a few seasons left.  Dwight Howard is in the final year of his contract and could sign elsewhere if he wants.  There is absolutely no youth on this team to build the future on.  This is as win-now a franchise as there could ever be.  So installing a Princeton offense or whatever you want to call it may have been the wrong idea.  The learning curve is very thin.  And the fact that your defense ... which is your calling card ... has been poor really kills your scheme.

It doesn't help that no one was in love with the hiring of Brown during the summer of 2011 and no one really had his back.

Not to say that it may not have worked.  It just would've taken longer than maybe he had time to do it in.  Yes, Brown did get jobbed.  He inherited a Phil Jackson Laker team that had lost its identity.  He had essentially no training camp last season to get anything done.  Not to mention his roster was completely screwed up when David Stern inexplicitly nixed a trade that would've sent Chris Paul to the Lakers ... which the collateral damage meant Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol (both were included in the deal) suffered emotional issues -- which led Odom to being traded for nothing.  Brown went through a major roster overhaul this season when Dwight Howard and Nash were added (among others).  He wanted to install the Princeton offense but saw Nash, Howard and Kobe miss a lot of preseason time due to various injuries and recoveries.  In the Lakers' first five games of the season, Kobe Bryant had a sore foot, Howard was out of shape after back surgery and Nash has played all of a game and a half.   Under normal circumstances, he deserved more time.

The thought was Brown had the upcoming six game homestand to right the ship.  If there wasn't any improvement then he was gone.  Only the Lakers laid a huge egg in Utah to drop to a 1-4 record and it sent up huge red flags.  The brain trust of the Lakers met and discussed it and they decided the end was now.

My issue with it all was the fact that you KNOW that this was discussed during the offseason.  You don't fire a coach this soon into a season without having doubts about him prior to the season.  I can see them deciding early on "we'll let him start this season but we'll cut him loose if this doesn't look good."  With names like Phil Jackson, Mike D'Antoni, Jerry Sloan, Nate McMillian, Mike Dunleavy, the Van Gundys and several others that there are plenty of really good coaches out there that would love the Lakers' gig. 

And that's where we are at now. 

The key is to get this thing back on track ASAP.  The talent is there and if Phil Jackson decides to come back then it would be a bit seamless to plug him in.  Three main cogs understand the triangle offense (Kobe, Ron Artest and Gasol) but it should be simple for Howard to pick up.  How Jackson uses Nash ... by far the best point guard Jackson would ever have coached ... will be interesting to watch.  Either way, this should lead for another wild season in L.A.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

NHL Picked The Wrong Time To Have Labor Issues

The NHL is about to go into another nuclear winter as it seems as if there won't be a CBA agreement anytime soon.  Here we go again.

That means for the second straight fall, we will get to see SportsCenter updates involving court rooms, negotiators, arbitrators, players wearing suits walking in and out of glass doors or conference rooms.  Lawyers stepping in front of microphones railing on about how they are being fair and the other side is ridiculous. 

In 2011, it was the NFL that did this all spring and summer long.  They finally cracked a deal and didn't miss much but some preseason action.  Then the NBA had their deal, missing over a month of the season and nearly the entire campaign.  Now it is the NHL, the league that canceled the entire 2004-2005 season due to a lockout.

You know that Bud Selig and Major League Baseball is loving the fact that they seem to have complete labor peace for nearly 20 years.

The NHL picked a really bad time for this.  A really bad time. 

First off, the NHL isn't the NFL or NBA.  They don't have the following and there isn't the outrage from fans and media types.  Sure, Barry Melrose will go off every once in a while and those hockey-centric anchors will chime in, but it won't grip the headlines like any of the other sports.

I mean ... the NFL's labor issue with their referees will get ... and has gotten ... more press.  More people will be irate at the NFL situation after a bad call during a Jaguars-Colts game than the fact that we have no hockey on our TVs.

Oh, yeah.  There is that, too.  We won't miss the NHL because we seemingly haven't already.  The NHL used to be a mainstay on ESPN back in the olden days.  I started watching it because it was always on.  Not anymore.  ESPN dumped the NHL during the aforementioned lockout and the league has been stuck on Versus, which is now NBC Sports Network.  Smart move for ESPN since they do better showing NBA and college sports during the week. 

Finally, the NHL is in this spot because they had canceled a season.  If you go through and cancel an entire season, the agreement that comes from it better be one that locks in what you wanted.  Nope.  The NHL is filled with 17 year contracts for players who make about half a team's payroll (okay, an exaggeration).  But if you screw with us once and then say that deal was crappy and you'll have to do it again ... well, a lot of people ain't buying it. 

I am one of those casual NHL fans who pretty much left it when it left ESPN during their 2004-2005 lockout.  I haven't come back.  I'm sure I'm not the only one.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sportz Assassin's Favorite Will Ferrell Movies

Okay, this isn't really sports related ... but I just wanted to do this.  And since Will Ferrell has made lots of sports-related movies, I guess it is relevant for my blog.

Now, these are his "starring" vehicles and not ones where he was supporting.  I love "Austin Powers", "Old School", "Drowning Mona", "Wedding Crashers", etc, etc.  No, these are the true WILL FERRELL movies.

By the way, I haven't seen The Campaign yet so it isn't included.

1-STEP BROTHERS:  This is one of those movies where I swear they just told Will Ferrell on John C. Reilly the concept and then just let them go.  A lot of times, movies like that don't work.  But when it does, Step Brothers happens.   It is silly but doesn't get too silly where it is stupid.  Ferrell is considered to play a lot of man-child characters.  Well Brennan Huff is a nearly 40-year old man who acts like a child. 

2-THE OTHER GUYS:  My wife and I love this movie.  It isn't the typical man-child movie that Ferrell does.  That may be why this movie hit it right for me.  Ferrell is an accountant for the police department and lives inside his little box.  Still, that allows for Ferrell's comedy to sit under the surface and poke right out.  Whether it is referring to his wife ... played by Eva Mendes ... as "a hobo" or him singing songs in an Irish pub or constantly defending his Prius, he is more of the straight man here but still gets the biggest laughs. 

3-ANCHORMAN:  I know I have this lower than anyone who would make such a list ever would ... but it isn't that I don't love this movie as much as how much I love Step Brothers and The Other Guys.  Ron Burgundy is a legendary character of such ego that Ricky Bobby, Jackie Moon, Chazz Reinhold, George W. Bush or Robert Goulet could ever dream of having.  And the supporting cast was as perfect as you can get.

4-ELF:  Elf is hard to place in a list like this since it isn't a movie I tend to watch until late in the year.  As a Christmas movie, it is awesome.  Is it his funniest movie?  Maybe not, though Buddy the Elf is legendary as well.  It is the Will Ferrell I can show my kids (well, aside from Megamind or Curious George) and I feel good watching it.  It doesn't jump higher than this, but I love watching it. 

5-TALLADEGA NIGHTS:  This is one of those movies that can hit me just right or I can leave it.  There are some really funny parts in here as well as parts that just get bogged down.  To me, Ferrell isn't as funny as everything around him.  John C. Reilly is the best part of this movie with "Walker" and "Texas Ranger" trailing just behind. 

6-SEMI PRO:  I'm not as down on this movie as others have been.  Maybe it is because the 1970s are cool to me.  Maybe it is because the ABA was the backdrop.  It wasn't that bad to me.  It isn't that great either, but it is what it is.

7-BLADES OF GLORY:  The sibling of Semi Pro.  Again, not that bad but could've been better.  I will say that the Will Arnett-Amy Poehler team had me rolling ... and Jon Heder will always be Napoleon Dynamite to me. 

8-KICKING AND SCREAMING:  The title says it all.

9-BEWITCHED:  This was strangely so un-funny.  Why have Will Ferrell in this movie if you won't use him properly?

10-LAND OF THE LOST:  This sucked so bad that I didn't even finish watching it.


These aren't those "Will Ferrell movies" per-se, but movies that he made a difference.

EVERYTHING MUST GO:  Yeah he starred in it, but it doesn't fit what I was trying to do with my list.  He was good in this as a sorta-serious man facing serious personal issues.  And it was pretty good.

OLD SCHOOL:  All hail Frank The Tank.

JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK:  I love Kevin Smith movies (especially the View Askew flicks) but Ferrell brought a different kind of comedy relief in a slapstick comedy.  He ruled the second half of that movie.


And I love his television work ...

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE:  Duh.  He has three greatest hits DVDs and is deserving even more.

EASTBOUND & DOWN:  Ashley Schaeffer was a perfect foil for Kenny Powers.  Coming back for Season 3, Ferrell was spot on. 

THE OBLONGS:  A very talented cast on a very underrated cartoon.  Ferrell plays the armless, legless, pipe smoking father who always has a sunny outlook on life.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

David Stern's Under-23 Rule For USA Basketball IS Dumb

Enjoy today's gold medal matchup between the United States and Spain because NBA commish David Stern and the NBA owners are trying to ruin it.  Stern is proposing an under-23 age limit that would basically end the star power of the NBA going to the Olympics.

The reasoning?  Well, they'll say that the NBA owners are tired of taking the risk of sending their super stars ... aka their most expensive players ... over to the Olympics and getting hurt.  They'll say that the Dream Team era has run its course.  They'll say the NBA teams get nothing out of this.


Since the NBAers started back in 1992, we have seen no major injuries.  In fact, we tend to see players sent to the Olympics come back better for the experience.  Whether it is the atmosphere, the honor or the fact that they are playing alongside other great players whose work ethic and commitment rubs off on them, it makes a difference on everyone.  You can't tell me that being around Kobe Bryant's focus wasn't good for LeBron James.  One of the best examples was Lamar Odom, who seemed to thrive after being part of 2010 FIBA World Championship team.

And that is just the USA's guys.  The foreign players tend to get more confidence after playing in the Olympics.  Tell me that Australia's Patty Mills ... a backup for the Spurs ... won't play better this upcoming season after his blistering Olympic efforts. 

Ahhhh the foreign players.  I know there has been a lot of debate recently about if the 2012 USA team could beat the Dream Team of 1992.  Lost in all the argument is the fact that the opposition is so much better now.  Back in 1992, there were hardly any NBA players on any other country's squad.  Today, the USA will play a Spain team that features five current NBA players ... including All Stars Pau and Marc Gasol.  Rudy Fernandez, Juan Carlos Navarro and Sergio Rodriguez are also NBA players at one time.  Argentina ... the team USA just beat ... has five NBA players. 

The point is that the impact on the game globally is exponential.  And the NBA teams have not only cashed in with those great players developing and coming over to the League, but in the fact that it broke down the door and let tons of marketing opportunities into these other nations. 

Oh ... that is what all this is really about.  Money.  See, the NBA owners don't make one red cent off of sending players to the Olympics.  Again, no red cents directly, but they've made a ton collaterally.  But this new World Cup of Basketball thing that FIBA has cooking up ... well the NBA can really cash in.  The World Cup, the re-branding of the FIBA World Championships, will allow for teams to both cash in on sending their players over as well as allowing all sorts of marketing possibilities for the NBA.  So the NBA wants to keep their stars out of the free Olympics ... like soccer does ... and use them for the World Cup. 

No one else really likes this.  To the other nations, this would make the United States even more dominant in Olympic play since US players are better at 23 than international ones.  Remember back when our college players played in the Olympics that we were getting beat by other nations who had adult professional players on their teams. 

Note: the NBA is proposing a 3 player exception for each country which would allow three guys over the 23-yr limit to participate. 

This won't be in place for the 2016 Games in Rio.  That could be good since that would probably be the end of our current cycle of Olympians.  You can see LeBron, Wade, Dwight Howard, Durant, Paul and Carmelo making that their last run and then the 2020 Games starting this new era.  Maybe that will work out for everyone.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The NEW Los Angeles Lakers

Okay, let's take a minute to look at the 2012-2013 Lakers roster as it stands:


Nash brings leadership, an ability to coach a team on the floor and one of the best jump shots in the NBA.  He played with a bunch of backups in Phoenix last year and had a fine season ... so imagine what he could do with this lineup?  He is an excellent FT shooter and long range shooter which will open up things for the big men in the paint.  He is a mess defensively and won't be able to guard Westbrook, Parker, Paul, Curry, Rubio or virtually any of the starting point guards in the west.  With Kobe off the floor, expect Nash to be on it, giving the Lakers someone who can create a shot for themselves or someone else.


Yeah, he's old in basketball years.  But the addition of Nash and Howard helps him on both ends of the floor.  On offense, Nash will take a lot of the ballhandling duties away from Kobe.  Nash also can create for himself and others (Kobe was the only Laker who could do such a thing over the last few seasons).  During Kobe's rest, Nash can lead the team and should keep the team on track (it has been hit or miss lately).  On defense, Kobe doesn't have the be the lock down defender he used to be (which he isn't as much anymore).  Kobe's scoring will go down from the 27 ppg of last season, but his efficiency should rocket.


World Peace's job description got a whole lot easier.  He needs to spend the bulk of his court time defending one of the opponent's top wings and how to find the open spots behind the three point arc.  I'll bet that MWP will shoot more 3s than 2s this season.  And they all should be wiiiiiide open.  Still, he needs to perform because the Lakers have other options to go to.


I have a feeling Gasol will have a bit of a re-breakout season.  You figure that he spent last summer smarting from the venom of fans cracking on his horrid performance in the 2011 playoffs.  Then in December, he was dealt in the Chris Paul deal ... that eventually got nixed.  For the entire 2011-2012 season, Gasol's name was thrown in virtually every trade rumor -- even bad ones.  Fast forward to today.  He has Spain in the gold medal game against the USA, Steve Nash is there as a perfect pick and pop guy and now Howard is next to him as an elite defender.  Oh, and he's not being traded and has basically re-gained to confidence of the organization.  Again, Nash will use Gasol as a perfect pick and roll/pop guy in a mini offense.  While Howard will want his touches, he won't clog up the lane as much as Bynum did for Gasol.  For a guy who had no fit last year, Gasol is a glove this year.


Howard just made a poor defensive team pretty darn good.  If he could do it for Jameer Nelson, J.J. Redick, Hedo Turkoglu and Ryan Anderson, he'll do fine with Kobe and Metta World Peace.  His importance will be blocked shots and rebounding.  He will also be one of Nash's pick and roll guys who will receive a few alley-oops from the Canadian.  He will have a fraction of the pressure of leading the team as he did in Orlando. 



This is a big, albeit quiet get for the Lakers.  Dude averaged 17 ppg last season and will be asked to do nothing more than be a scorer off the bench.  He can backup up either Gasol or MWP and just worry about filling up the bucket.  He's a great locker room guy who has the respect of everyone in the league.  He's played for coach Mike Brown before, played alongside a star before and even won a Sixth Man award with Dallas several years back.  Plus, if MWP acts up or slumps like he did last season, Jamison could move into the starting lineup.  Most likely he is the man off of a once sad bench. 


Duhon isn't a great player by any means, but he has started over 300 games in the NBA and played in Chicago and New York before ... so L.A. won't be too large for him.  His job will be to play his little minutes backing up Nash and keeping the offense moving.  He's a decent three point shooter (the Lakers have been baaaaad at this and the offense Mike Brown wants to run involves having outlets for Kobe, Nash, Gasol and Howard that can knock down 3s). 


Blake has been a bit of a disappointment in L.A. so this should be a make or break season for him.  He has shown spurts of value (like against the Nuggets last postseason) and then looks like a liability.  He should have an easier go of it this year since he will spend most of his court time as a 2-guard.  He'll be Kobe's backup in a sense in the second team rotation alongside Nash.  I think his offense will be easier to get and he should benefit from not having to handle the ball as much.  His bad defense will get better with Howard ... as I can write that about everyone on this list. 


Hill was a nobody until the end of last season and the playoffs.  Now, the Lakers are counting on him to be the go-to frontcourt backup.  His job will be the same: crash the boards and work hard defensively.  The fact he was scoring at all was icing.  He will probably see most of his court time with Howard out and may even get to start right off the bat while Howard recovers from back surgery. 


Let's put it this way: among Duhon, Blake, Meeks and Ebanks, one or two of these guys will move forward with Brown's trust to be the gunner on this team.  Meeks could lead in that role since he is primarily a 3-point shooter.  That's why he's here.


Ebanks still is unsigned and technically doesn't have a roster spot right now.  But the Lakers like him for his defense and his athleticism.  His court time may be sporatic this season.


He should get more run at the beginning of the season while Howard is recovering from back surgery.  Hill could start at center and Clark backs him up.  From there, Clark will have to hope to emulate Hill and carve a niche out on this team.


The Lakers liked him last year and he could get into that battle for those precious few minutes as a gunner.  Maybe not. 


Hopefully he can make this team and find a good suit guy.  With Nash, Duhon, Blake and Goudelock ahead of him, Morris won't see much of the active roster.


See Morris.  Johnson-Odom was the Big East player of the year and has a lot of toughness ... which Mike Brown loves.  He may see more D-League action than anything.


Mitch Kupchak has really liked Sacre so I think he stays in some capacity.  He may get some early season run with Howard hurt.  Once Howard comes back, I see Sacre as a D-League guy to work on his game. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Maybe We Can Finally Get a Bit Of Lin-Closure

Look, I'm not a Jeremy Lin fan.  That doesn't mean I hate him or that watching him have one of those out-of-the-blue stretches last season wasn't unreal.  I just don't believe in him being a guy that really ... matters. 

I'm not on the Money May bandwagon of Lin blowing up because he is Asian.  I will say that his star rose much, much higher because it happened in New York City.  If he did this in, say Houston, then it wouldn't be as big a deal as it became.  Again, not to say it didn't deserve a lot of attention.  I just don't think Lin is a big time player.

That being said, I don't fault Lin for going for the money during free agency.  In sports, I can rarely ever blame someone for getting paid.  Your earning potential is much smaller than many other people and we're talking big dollars.  If Lin wanted that Houston money like that, all the power to him.

But don't turn around and cry that you wished you could still be a Knick.  They wanted you and were willing to pay a lot to keep you around.  The Knicks were cool with the deal he was going to originally sign with the Rockets (New York could match any deal Lin got) but the "poison pill" added to the third and final year of the deal was just too much for the Knicks to handle.

That's another opinion piece for another time.

Lin though is sending signals that he wanted to be a Knick all along.  Nice, but don't sign an offer sheet somewhere else and then get upset when you actually have to honor it.  Houston can't tell you, "uh, we thought the Knicks were going to match you so we really don't want to pay you this amount", now can they?  If you want to be a Knick and they were going to compensate you in a way you could deal with ... then stop screwing around and sign with the Knicks.

Trust me, I get it.  New York told him to go out and see what he could get and they'll probably match it.  Lin went out and found the best deal he could and expected that the Knicks would match.  However, that "poison pill" added at the end was something that killed the deal.  You signed that knowing that it could be a sticking point.  Houston offered it to you knowing that the Knicks may think twice about matching and keeping the Rockets from looking like leverage than an actual destination for you.  That's why there is a poison pill in the first place.

Lin will go to Houston and do fine.  He will get a great shot to shine in Kevin McHale's system that got Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic some shine last season.  Since Houston is about as talented as the banged up Knicks were when Lin exploded on the scene (remember, Carmelo Anthony was hurt and Amare Stoudemire was out of the lineup), Lin should be able to get his shots.  Other than people keeping tabs on him and the occassional big outing, I doubt ESPN will be on Lin that much once the sparkle of the new 2012-2013 season wears off.  I also doubt the Knicks will miss Lin that much on the court.  While Raymond Felton may not be as dynamic a player, he may fit in better with an offense that caters to Melo.  Should be a win-win.

But the NYC media (which for some reason is pushing the Brooklyn Nets all over us even though they've got the same crappy team back from last year ... and Joe Johnson and a "healthy" Brook Lopez.  How is that exactly a title team?) will tie us in to what Lin does for the season -- and probably beyond.  Again, I hope the best for him since it is a great story.  But some stories just aren't as good when you keep on reading.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Dwight Howard Deal: Dan Gilbert Is Losing His Fan Support

Two summers ago, many people felt bad for Dan Gilbert.  Gilbert, the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, just watched LeBron James bolt his team to form a SuperTeam in Miami with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.  While Gilbert did get all high and mighty with his chatter after The Decision, a lot of people could understand that Gilbert was really disappointed in how things happened.

That was the Summer Of 2010.

Last summer, the Summer of 2011, the NBA was shut down due to labor strife.  The lockout cut into the season and nearly shut down the season.  One of the sticking point among owners was all these SuperTeams starting to form (remember that the prior season saw Carmelo Anthony force his way to the Knicks and Deron Williams was traded to the Nets).  Owners were tired of players demanding to not only be dealt but where they'd be traded to.

Fast forward to this summer.  All the NBA offseason talk has been around Dwight Howard and where he could end up.  We all know that Howard has set his list to the Nets and no one else.  The Nets, who resigned Deron Williams and traded for Joe Johnson, would love to form their own Big Three with Howard in the fold.  The problem is that it is a logistical nightmare to get this deal made without getting another team to help out.

Enter the Cavaliers.

Reports are that the Cavs are willing to be a third team in the deal and would be essentially doing nothing but getting Kris Humphries as a one-year rental and maybe and late first round pick.  It makes barely any sense for Cleveland to do this since they'd be helping mold yet another Big Three team in the East. 

Then you remember that it is Dan Gilbert that is allowing that. 

Yep the same Gilbert that was so adamant that the Lakers couldn't trade for Chris Paul last December that Commish Stern controversially vetoed the deal.  The same Gilbert who became the go-to voice of the small market owner that houses a team in an undesirable market. The same Dan Gilbert who promised his Cavs would win a title before LeBron's new Heat squad would ... and watched the Heat go to two Finals in two years and winning a ring. 

Why would Gilbert then become the third wheel in a deal that would send the best center in the NBA to a Brooklyn Nets team that is trying to step up to the glamour franchise table?  And all he's getting is a draft pick in the late 20s and Kim Kardashian's ex-husband?

Unless the Cavs are shown to get a high draft pick via a 4th team in any deal, then Gilbert has a lot of questions to answer when the media honks gets to him. 

Maybe Gilbert will promise another Cavs title before the Nets win one. 

Let's Realign The NBA

I love what the NHL is going to do ... eventually.  They are abandoning the six division format and going back to four divisions -- which they will label "conferences".  Then, they are going way back and having the first two rounds of the postseason being division (errr, "conference") matchups. 

The NHL used to do this back before the southern expansion boom in the early 1990s.  It gave us outstandingly chippy postseason series since these guys get sick of each other very quickly. 

I wish the NBA would do the same thing.

The NBA has the same amount of teams (30) as the NHL.  Right now, the NBA's six division format is a complete joke since conference teams play each other nearly equally anyway.  While the postseason is okay as it is, the lack of a strong care for the divisions make them meaningless.

So do one of two things: kill the divisions or do what the NHL is doing.

The first realignment is very simple.  Just eliminate the divisions and just have two 15-team conferences.  In reality, that's what it is anyway so it would just make it easier for everyone.

EASTERN:  Atlanta, Boston, Brooklyn, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indiana, Miami, Milwaukee, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Toronto, Washington

WESTERN:  Dallas, Denver, Golden State, Houston, LA Clippers, LA Lakers, Memphis, Minnesota, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio, Utah


Or we can go the other way.  I like things that are even ... so the NBA should just contract Charlotte and Sacramento.  Ahhhhhh, but that's not happening so the NBA just expands to, say, Seattle and Kansas City (I'd imagine that the Kings will leave Sacramento for Las Vegas or Anaheim pretty soon).

ATLANTIC:  Boston, Brooklyn, Miami, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Toronto, Washington

CENTRAL:  Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Indiana, Detroit, Milwaukee, Minnesota

MIDWEST:  Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Memphis, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, San Antonio

PACIFIC:  Golden State, LA Clippers, LA Lakers, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, Seattle, Utah

I love this.  As you can see, I put the expansion Seattle SuperSonics in the Pacific and the new Kansas City franchise in the Midwest.  I also moved the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Central Division due to the fact that they are closer to the Bucks and Bulls than they are to any franchise in the Western Conference.  Kansas City makes sense with Oklahoma City, Memphis and the Texas teams.  Look at a map and it makes perfect sense.

Now the playoffs.  The top four teams in each division makes the playoff and would play each other in the first four rounds.  Let's use the 2011-2012 standings to see how this would shake out (we'll imagine that the expansion Seattle and Kansas City franchises wouldn't have qualified).

ATLANTIC:  1-Miami vs 4-New York, 2-Boston vs 3-Orlando
CENTRAL: 1-Chicago vs 4-Milwaukee, 2-Indiana vs 3-Atlanta

MIDWEST:  1-San Antonio vs 4-Denver, 2-Oklahoma City vs 3-Memphis
PACIFIC: 1-LA Lakers vs 4-Phoenix, 2-LA Clippers vs 3-Utah

The only difference in the Eastern Conference would be that the Bucks made it in and not the Sixers.  In the West, the Suns jump in and the Mavericks are knocked out. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

UNC Players NBA Career Prospects

Tonight is the NBA Draft and four Tar Heels figure to be selected in the first round ... probably all in the top 20 selections.

So as someone who has watched virtually every second of every one of their games over the past four seasons, what kind of NBA players and careers will each of these guys have?

HARRISON BARNES:  A lock to be a top ten pick and could be a top five guy.  He could be one of those cats that has a better pro career than college one.  He is a nice shooter who can hit both the three and has a great mid-range game.  He is deceptively quick and athletic and has the ability to be a very good defensive player.  He struggles to create his own shot and he's not a great ballhandler.  I see a lot of Ray Allen in him, provided he gets some handle.

Barnes would be at his best on a team where he has a point guard who is adept at setting up his teammates.  When Kendall Marshall took over the lead guard spot for the Tar Heels in the middle of their freshman season, Barnes exploded.  He is great at getting to his spot, using screens as well as owning a nice one dribble jumper.  I think he'll have a long career just on his shooting alone and could have an All Star or two in him if he gets his ballhanding down.

The ideal situation in this draft?  Cleveland.  The Cavs have Kyrie Irving (yeah, a Dookie) who Barnes already has a friendship with as they both were in the class of 2010.  Washington wouldn't be a really bad spot since they do have John Wall.  He could fall to Golden State or Toronto which wouldn't be bad, but, to me, the Cavs are his best spot.

JOHN HENSON:  A shot blocker, rebounder who has a little jump hook and a spot up jumper.  Lengthy.  He is rail thin and will get bumped around quite a bit and will probably find himself in foul trouble on the next level.  He's also a horrible free throw shooter and tends to get too emotional on both ends of the spectrum.  His career could look a lot like other former Tar Heels Ed Davis and Branden Wright. 

Henson is a better shot blocker than Davis and a better spot up shooter than either of them.  The fact he can hit that 12-15 footer adds some value to him.  But he doesn't have a position.  He won't be a guy that you can run any offense for.

Henson needs to go to a team that already has a post scorer ... whether that is a power forward or center.  He can come in and be the defensive presence who can create space by hitting those mid-range jumpers.  To me, his career will probably be as a 7th or 8th man who comes in with the second team to provide defense

He would do great in Sacramento alongside DeMarcus Cousins, though the Kings won't draft him that high.  Detroit seems to be the team that wants him and he'd do well alongside Greg Monroe.  Portland could use him alongside LaMarcus Aldridge.  If he dropped a bit, Dallas wouldn't be a bad landing spot.

TYLER ZELLER:  Of all these guys ... pretty much of anyone in the entire draft ... you know what you are going to get with Zeller.  He's a quick, fast center who can block some shots, hit jumpers, has post moves and gets to the line (where he can hit his free throws).  Usually known entities scare GMs because they lack the sex appeal of potential. 

Zeller will be a smart backup big man on the NBA level.  He can pretty much fit in anywhere because of this.  That makes it hard to project who will select him.  Possibly those teams I had previously mentioned with Henson.  My dream would be for him to go to Phoenix where they love to run the floor.  That would play into Z's strengths. 

KENDALL MARSHALL:  Marshall is the one of the four that will most likely fall out of the lottery and could fall towards the end of the first round.  Funny, since he showed in the NCAA Tournament that he was the most valuable of the quartet. 

Marshall is a great passer.  A great playmaker.  Efficient and doesn't commit turnovers.  Towards the end of the season, his offense really took off and his shot started to fall.  He is a leader on and off the floor. 

He also won't be able to defend any of the top point guards on the next level.  He is slow by their standards and will find it difficult to beat his man.  To me, he would serve best as a backup point guard who can direct the second team and face off against second-string point guards.

His best bet would be to fall all the way to 28th and the Oklahoma City Thunder.  They could really use his passing ability since this was one of the worst passing teams in the league in terms of assists (they also committed tons of turnovers).  He could come in as the Derek Fisher role and slide Westbrook to the two-guard (though Marshall could guard the other team's two).  He'd be great at deciding who gets the ball and where they should get it ... as his role at Carolina forced him to do the exact same thing.

If not OKC, then any of those playoff teams would work.  Indiana would work great with all those shooters.  Same for Atlanta.  In Dallas, he could back up Jason Kidd or Deron Williams (if he gets there).  In any case, he'll be a change of pace kind of guy. 

Zeller isn't big, isn't strong, isn't a dominating low post scorer.  He's smart, has great hands and can sprint end-to-end with any big man.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Why Everyone Will Be Watching This Thunder-Heat Finals

Whether you like it or not, the Miami Heat will face off against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Finals.  This should be quite a big ratings bonanza for ABC/ESPN.  Why?

No. 1 - BOTH TEAMS ARE GREAT:  In an age of mediocrity all over the league and the teams who were among the best (Lakers, Spurs, Celtics, Mavericks) aging, these are two teams who are both young and great.  Both have their Big Threes.  Both have personality.  And we may be watching what could be the next Lakers-Celtics rivalry.

I mean, we will get that great Kendrick Perkins-Udonis Haslem matchup.  Uh, wait.  No, I think any of the other four matchups will be pretty cool.  Ibaka-Bosh?  Sefalosha-Wade?  Westbrook-Chalmers?  Ahhhhhhh.  Kevin Durant vs LeBron James.  Yeah, that could be good.

No. 2 - SCORING:  Maybe these two aren't the highest scoring teams, they both know how to do it.  This series will feature 3 of the top 5 scorers in the NBA during the regular season (Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook).  If it wasn't for all those missed games that caused his scoring average not to qualify, Dwyane Wade's 26.4 ppg would have placed him 4th ... meaning 4 of the NBA's top 6 scorers are in this series.  What that means is we have four guys that at any moment take over any game.  We've seen all four of these guys do that at some point during this postseason.

Add in James Harden and Chris Bosh, and you've got two more cats that can light up a scoreboard.

No. 3 - HATING THE HEAT:  Contrary to what people say or think, sports hate parity.  Yes, it is great for the fanbases to watch their team have a chance to win, but it works a lot better when there is a team that everyone hates ... and that team is good.  The Yankees, Cowboys and Lakers all give off that flavor as do the Patriots, Red Sox and ... yes ... the Heat.  If the Thunder assume control of this series, all the Heat haters will make sure to watch the knife go into their heart. 

No. 4 - LEBRON JAMES:  No matter where on the spectrum you lie, you have a feeling about LeBron.  You love him, you hate him, you feel sorry for him, you laugh at his struggles, you think he's great but he should be greater, you are tired of all the hype.  No matter what happens, the lead story is LeBron.  His quest for his first championship will be scrutinized whether he wins or loses.  If he wins, was it he that led them or did he just do his thing?  Was he clutch?  Was he everything he should be as a champion?  If they lose ... well you know the deal. 

No. 5 - OTHER HATED PLAYERS:  Maybe they aren't as hated, but guys like Wade, Harden, Mario Chalmers, Kendrick Perkins and Westbrook have their own haters.

No. 6 - KEVIN DURANT:  He is the anti-LeBron to many people.  A guy whose greatness hasn't gone to his head.  A guy who doesn't want to leave his small market and believes he can win a title just where he is.  A guy who does gloat about his greatness.  A guy who could be on the track to a multi-championship career. 

No. 7 - SUPER DUPER STARS FIGHTING FOR A TITLE:  The main event is LeBron vs Durant for their first title.  We really haven't seen anything like this in quite a while.  I'd have to go back to 1980 to even approach this.  Magic Johnson going up against Dr J's Sixers.  Sure, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had won a title in Milwaukee in 1971 (like Wade won one in 2006), but history recalls this series as the one where Magic came up big for an injured Kareem and driving home a title.  Magic could play the role of Durant, LeBron the role of Dr. J who previously lost in the Finals yet looking for his first title. 

You could also look at 1977 when the young Portland Trail Blazers led by Bill Walton snuck into the Finals and took on that loaded Sixers squad. 

Or you could say the 2006 Finals with Wade vs Dirk (aka Heat-Mavericks). 

No. 8 - OKLAHOMA CITY FANS:  Of course those OKC fans are rabid.  There are a one horse town (meaning one pro team) that still have that new car smell.  Charlotte was the same during the Hornets era of Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning.  So was the Sacramento Kings in the early 2000s.  There are few crowds in sports where you can feel the arena through the television.  OKC is one of them, just as the Cameron Crazies, Red Sox, Yankees, Raiders and Saints are. 

Still, you have to feel bad for Seattle.

No. 9 - WHAT ELSE ARE YOU GOING TO DO?  The Stanley Cup will be decided in the next few days.  Baseball is in its dog days.  Your stuck in the middle of your fall shows ending and those summer ones starting up.  The Euro 2012 soccer tournament is played during the daytime hours.  All the Olympic stuff heats up in a few months.  Might as well watch the Finals.

No. 10 - NO CALIFORNIA OR TEXAS:  Low blow, but this will be the first Finals since 1998 that won't be held in either California or Texas.  The Lakers, Spurs or Mavericks have been in every Finals since the Chicago Bulls beat the Utah Jazz for the second straight time. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Be Careful What You Wish For, FSU!

So a trustee at Florida State lit a bomb that now has FSU toying with bolting the ACC for the Big 12.  How accurate any of that is seems to be debatable but this will be a topic for the rest of the summer and probably through the fall.

Bascially, FSU sees the ACC's latest contract with ESPN to be inferior to what the Big 12 is about to make in its TV deal and the cash-strapped university is looking for the bigger, better deal.  The trustee also mumbled that the ACC is all about their "North Carolina schools" ... meaning that the league cares a lot about basketball.

So Florida State may leave to go to the Big 12.  What if they did?  Like I said, it wouldn't be the worst thing for the ACC ... though it really wouldn't be a good thing.  The ACC would become fractured a bit since they haven't been a league that hasn't been pilfered yet.  It could loosen up the bonds on schools like Clemson, Miami, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech or Maryland to bolt as well.  Sure, the league could reload by looking at schools like UConn, Rutgers or even Notre Dame, but it would be something for this tight knit league to lose a member.  Since the league was founded in 1953, only South Carolina has left the conference.

But what would it mean for Florida State? 

FOOTBALL:  Sure, FSU would be leaving for a much better football conference.  The ACC is probably 6th out of six BCS conferences in terms of the strength of their champion.  The Big 12 has powers like Texas and Oklahoma leading the way and programs like Oklahoma State and Baylor who are becoming quite strong.  This would put Florida State in a much bigger spotlight.

But what would Florida State bring to the Big 12?  Sure, the other schools would LOVE it since it opens up Florida to more recruiting options.  Heck, Texas can recruit anywhere, but if they have a footprint in the state of Florida and an ability to tell recruits that they'll get to play there???  That's big. 

The Noles program gives the Big 12 ... what?  Yeah, they have quite a history over the past 30 years but Bobby Bowden isn't walking through that door.  FSU was fine with the ACC when they dominated it and had no football rival.  Now Miami and Virginia Tech has joined the league and FSU's stronghold has vanished.  Not to be mean, but that stronghold would've been weakened even if those schools didn't join: FSU isn't what it used to be.  The Noles have just become "another school" in the ACC.  Virginia Tech has been more dominant and you still have Miami, Clemson and Georgia Tech stealing your shine. 

So if this program goes to the Big 12, can it compete?   Florida State will be having to compete with Texas, Oklahoma, TCU (remember that they are joining the league this season), West Virginia (so are they), Oklahoma State, Baylor and Texas Tech ... with Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State solid at times. 

Last season, Oklahoma State finished 3rd in the final poll with Baylor (13), TCU (14), Kansas State (15), Oklahoma (16) and West Virginia (17) joining them.  Florida State finished 23rd with a rather disappointing 9-4 season.  Don't think Texas won't get back off the mat after a so-so 8-5 season. 

If FSU is struggling to rule the ACC, do you think they will make any damage in the Big 12?

BASKETBALL:  The funny thing is that the trustee slammed that the ACC was more basketball-centric than the school likes.  Meanwhile, FSU is the defending ACC champion.  They went 3-1 against the mighty Tar Heels and Blue Devils this season and won the ACC tournament. 

The Big 12 is quite a basketball league.  FSU would leave two blue bloods (UNC, Duke) for one (Kansas).  Missouri has been good, but they are leaving.  Baylor has come on strong the last few seasons and Texas is a tournament fixture.  West Virginia joins the league and they have been a tough, tough program with a nice history.  After that?  Well, Oklahoma State has it moments, Kansas State has been good but loses coach Frank Martin, Iowa State surprised many this past year and then just some ick.  Florida State could compete in that league.  But would it be worth it?  Being a second class citizen in a league with both UNC and Duke are one thing but doing so to Kansas and getting nothing for it is another. 

Oh, and remember that Syracuse is coming to the ACC, meaning there will be no other league as top-heavy basketball wise than the ACC.  NC State and Maryland have championship pasts with NC State looking like it will re-ascend to that status very soon.  Pittsburgh has been really good.  Despite all of that, Florida State has been the third best hoops program over the past decade. 

That means that you ... yes YOU Florida State ... are among those "basketball elite" schools. 

FLORIDA WISE:  Something that cannot be dismissed is the fact that for a long time, Miami, Florida State and Florida weren't in the same conference.  Florida has the allure of the SEC and makes the most of that.  Florida State for a long time had the fact that they were the lone Sunshine state school in the ACC which was better than the Big East Conference that Miami was in.  Now, of course, FSU shares the ACC with Miami so that bit of advantage goes.  If FSU moved to the Big 12, they'd be able to lure better players than the ACC's Miami. 

It would also open Texas up to FSU in a big way.  I mean, if you are a big time prospect in Texas, it isn't a bad deal to go to sunny Florida State to play football and still get to come back home and play Texas, Texas Tech, TCU or Baylor. 

Of course no one cares about any of this at Florida State unless I wrote this on a bunch of huge stacks of $100 bills.