Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Ranking Cypress Hill's Albums



 With the Showtime documentary Cypress Hill: Insane In the Brain premiering on Wednesday, April 20th, I figured I'd list their studio albums according to what I like. No critics. No record sales. Me. So here we go.

10 - BACK IN BLACK (2022)

The album is just ten tracks long and Muggs is nowhere to be found. There's solid cuts on their newest album but nothing that really makes you point to as one of their top performances. "Open Ya Mind" is one of their more political sounding songs, while "Come With Me" uses Tupac's "Hail Mary" to a nice effect. There's nothing spectacular on this album and it barely sounds like a typical Cypress joint.

Favorite song: "Open Ya Mind"  

9 - STONED RAIDERS (2001)

Stoned Raiders, to me, is kind of all over the place. This is the first Cypress Hill album to feature rap and rock songs mingled together on the same album. As someone who is not a big fan of their rock stuff (note: I do love "Real Thing" when it came out as well as when they rocked out their hits on their live album, but I'm really not into the other stuff). Saying that, "Trouble" was one of the better attempts at the rap/rock mix, but the others really fall flat. This album had more features than what you're used to on a Hill album, though it is a nice roster of Method Man, Redman, Kurupt, MC Ren, King Tee and Kokane. "Here Is Something You Can't Understand" is a great callback to their first major hit and bumps really well with Kurupt's flow. Still, the best track is "Lowrider" which is so catchy and chill, but still hits hard.

Favorite song: "Lowrider"

8 - TIL DEATH DO US PART (2004)

This album has some outstanding tracks on it ... and then filler the rest of the way. One of my favorite Cypress Hill songs of all time is "Street Wars". It combines Muggs' eerie sound with B-Real's potent gangsta swagger to perfection ... and it moves quickly. "Latin Thugs" may be their best spanglish song since "Latin Lingo". "What's Your Number" adds a reggae touch and puts B-Real in a different position -- chatting up a girl at a bar/club. I mean, I applaud the group for branching out and trying new stuff, but "Ganja Bus" seems out of place.  Now, when I originally bought the album, "Ready To Die" ... one of my favorite Hill tracks ... wasn't on it. It is now.

Favorite song: "Street Wars"

7 - RISE UP (2010)

I'm in the minority by saying I really like a lot of this album. It is the first non-Muggs album and it really shows. However, it is interesting to hear B-Real and Sen work off a different style of hip-hop beats -- though just like their later albums, it is uneven. I absolutely adore the hard hitting tracks like "It Ain't Nothing", "Get Em Up" and "Carry Me Away". "Take My Pain" with Everlast knocks, and "Armada Latina" is a cool anthem. Again, there are several rock-based songs that I skip which gives the album a weird flow. I will say that "KUSH" may be their most fun pot anthem, especially with all the name drops. 

Favorite song: "KUSH"  

6 - SKULL & BONES (2000)

This is a double-album with the first CD (Skull) filled with cleaner and hard-hitting rap tracks (just ten songs and an intro) and the second, Bones, containing six hard rock songs. Just my taste, but I don't listen to the rock CD at all ... but will say that "Rock Superstar" is better than "Rap Superstar" just due to Sen Dog's verse is included. I don't like that they took it out of the rap version. There are some really good tracks on here that hit hard, but the album is very short ... especially if you aren't into the Bones album. I do love "Cuban Necktie", "Stank Ass Hoe" and "Certified Bomb", but it's an album filled with solid songs but not many greats. 

Favorite song: "Rock Superstar".

5 - ELEPHANTS ON ACID (2018)

It took eight years after Rise Up for us to get a new Hill album, and this didn't disappoint. While their last album (and their next) were without Muggs ... this is all about Muggs. He even has the trippy "Muggs Is Dead" which was accompanied by a fantastic animated video. Now, there are a ton of interludes on Elephants and several short tracks, but this is their most concept-y album which makes it seem like one long soundscape. For me, there are a couple of huge moments -- "Band of Gypsies" is something I'm sure you've never heard before. When I did, it just grabbed me. "Oh Na Na" and "Reefer Man" are the go-to stoner songs while "Crazy" is a fun trip. "Pass the Knife" begins like it is an interlude and then turns into ... something. "The 5th Angel" may be the most beautiful piece of music Muggs has ever produced. 

Favorite song: "Oh Na Na"

4 - IV (1998)

The song most affiliated with this album is "Dr Greenthumb", which not only introduced B-Real's alter ego but became the catalyst for now-legal business ventures among other things. Continuing with the darker sounds of their second and third albums, IV is more ... eerie, with Halloween-type squeals and noises. There are some droplets of rock sounds which will become a major part of their next several albums. Barron Ricks is featured heavily on this album ... and then never heard from again on a Hill track. "Audio X" has B-Real speed rapping, "Looking Through the Eye of a Pig" is sort of a sequel to "Pigs", but from the view of a cop. I worked at Target at the time and this CD came in my shipment two weeks before street date. And I was loving having this album before the masses (back before leaks). 

Favorite song: "Dead Men Tell No Tales" 

3 - III: TEMPLES OF BOOM (1995)

The third album continued with Black Sunday's dark sound, but mixed with a more Hindu sound and imagery. Songs like "Illusions" were slower and had more of a hazy tempo, while dealing with darker subject matter. There's also the Ice Cube diss track, "No Rest For The Wicked" which opened up one of the better beefs in the mid-1990s. Temples Of Boom also began DJ Muggs' interest in placing more short interludes throughout the album. I bought this on Halloween and didn't listen to anything else through Thanksgiving.

Favorite song: "No Rest For The Wicked"

2 - BLACK SUNDAY (1993)

This was their most popular album with their most popular song. While their first album had a lot of gang stuff mixed with faster-paced party songs, Black Sunday was a lot darker. This album came out just a week before my 18th birthday and was my soundtrack for the summer. I remember first hearing "Insane In the Brain" on the radio like it was yesterday -- driving my car on Albemarle Road in Charlotte, right in front of The Regency. I didn't know a hip-hop album could sound so dark. The wailing sounds mixed with their typical gun play and weeded content made for an exceptional album.

Favorite song: "Cock The Hammer"

1 - CYPRESS HILL (1991)

There's nothing better than the original. I remember first hearing Cypress Hill on BET's Rap City and I was hooked. Obviously it was "How I Could Just Kill a Man", and B-Real's voice was nothing like I had ever heard before. I was 16 years old when I tried to buy the album. The record store wouldn't let me because I wasn't 18 years old (that was B.S.). My mom was in the store, so I gave it to her to buy. She looked at the track listing and saw "How I Could Just Kill a Man", "Hand On the Pump" and "Hole In the Head" and said "should I be buying you this?".  She did. 

Favorite song: "Light Another"


Sunday, March 27, 2022

Sportz' NCAA Tournament Recap - Elite 8




 Just a quick recap of what I saw in my Sportz Room -- filled with TVs that I can watch all games going on at the same time.

GAME OF THE DAY: Villanova vs Houston. North Carolina and Kansas ran away in their games, while Duke didn't seem to be seriously threatened by Arkansas. The Nova-Houston game wasn't a classic, but both teams slugged it out as they struggled to find ways to score. Again, no one is hanging this in a museum, but it was the best regional final we had.

UPSET OF THE DAY: Villanova vs Houston.  All four higher seeds won, so there wasn't really any upsets. However, Houston was looked at as a championship favorite of sorts and they just couldn't get anything going on offense. The Cougars shot 1-of-20 from three and under 30% overall.

CONFERENCE OF THE DAY: ACC. A conference that was maligned all year has two teams in the Final Four. And not just two teams ... THE two ACC teams. North Carolina and Duke will not only play in the Final Four but will play each other in what will be one of the most anticipated games in college basketball history.

CONFERENCE WITH A BAD DAY: SEC. It's really hard to say that any league had a bad Elite 8, but I'm giving it to the SEC on a technicality. The ACC (Miami) had a losing team, but had two winning teams; the AAC (Houston) didn't play well in their loss to Villanova; and who can bag on the MAAC (St. Peter's) when they reached the league's first regional final. But the SEC fancied itself as a conference to be reckoned with in this tournament and they fell a bit flat. Now, Arkansas had a fantastic season, played Duke really tough and they don't deserve to be the team to face the wrath of the league's shortcomings in the 2022 tournament. But the SEC (who's final team lost to an ACC team) has to be disappointed with its showing. 

DUD OF THE DAY: North Carolina vs St. Peter's. In any other moment, no one would be surprised to see North Carolina jump out to an early lead and beating the Peacocks by 20. Even leading up to this game, the Tar Heels were a healthy favorite. But everyone outside of Chapel Hill wanted to see St. Peter's continue their Cinderella run reach the final weekend. Carolina leapt to a 24-7 lead and never looked back. The plucky Peacocks came down to earth as they struggled to slow down the Heels and struggled even more to get their offense going. What a story they've been.

DOMINANT PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY: Kansas vs Miami. Miami had a six point halftime lead, and then it all Kansas in the second half. That second half may be the most impressive stretch any of the Final Four teams have played all tournament. The Jayhawks outscored the Hurricanes 45-17 in the second half

UNDERLYING STORYLINE OF THE DAY: Blue blood Final Four. We have a Final Four consisting of Kansas, Villanova, Duke and North Carolina. Four blue bloods. The first Final Four where each program has won multiple championships ... and each of these have won at least three. And we finally get Duke-North Carolina in the NCAA tournament with a spot in the national championship on the line. 

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Sportz' NCAA Tournament Recap - Sweet 16, Day 2




Just a quick recap of what I saw in my Sportz Room -- filled with TVs that I can watch all games going on at the same time.

GAME OF THE DAY: St. Peter's vs Purdue. How are they doing this? This plucky program from Jersey City now finds itself as the first No. 15 seed to ever make the Elite 8. Shaheen Holloway has outcoached everyone he faced in the tournament thus far, with his guards defending at a high level and being poised as if they are supposed to be here. Well ... they are supposed to be here.

UPSET OF THE DAY: St. Peter's vs Purdue.  Amazing that a No. 15 seed has made it to the Elite 8. Even more amazing that they did so despite not having an outstanding offensive performance. The Peacocks rely on their defensive pressure and the ability to seem like there are seven players out there. I was big on Purdue early on in the season and must say was very surprised that they fell in this game.

CONFERENCE OF THE DAY: ACC. With North Carolina and Miami winning, the ACC has placed three teams in the Elite 8. Amazing that a league that looked like it was on its downswing in the lone conference who placed multiple teams in the regional finals ... and three schools at that.

CONFERENCE WITH A BAD DAY: Big Ten. With Purdue gone, the Big Ten is gone. They still haven't won a national championship since 2000 despite placing nine teams in the field this year. Nine teams and none lasted past the Sweet 16. 

DUD OF THE DAY: Miami vs Iowa State. In a game featuring two double-digit seeds, this one wasn't close. Kameron McGusty had a huge game (27 points) and the Canes held the Cyclones to 32% shooting for the game and pulled away late for the 70-56 win and Miami's first regional finals appearance.

DOMINANT PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY: Miami vs Iowa State. Miami wasn't completely dominant, but in a night with three close games, the Hurricanes' 14-point win looks that way

UNDERLYING STORYLINE OF THE DAY: St. Peter's. Sorry for continuing to harp on this, but St. Peter's has become one of the biggest Cinderella's in the history of the tournament. If they find a way to beat North Carolina on Sunday afternoon, they likely head to the top of the list. 

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Sportz' NCAA Tournament Recap - Sweet 16, Day 1



 Just a quick recap of what I saw in my Sportz Room -- filled with TVs that I can watch all games going on at the same time.


GAME OF THE DAY: Duke vs Texas Tech. There were four games on Thursday. Three of the games saw the underdog take control early and put the better seed on the ropes. Only one of those higher seeds were able to come back and win their game -- Duke. The Blue Devils shot 71% in the second half and asserted themselves on the defensive-minded Texas Tech Red Raiders. A great finish from a team that has a good look at a sixth national championship.

UPSET OF THE DAY: Arkansas vs Gonzaga.  The top overall seed goes down in the Sweet 16. Arkansas' defense was superb and did a wonderful job on Andrew Nembhard (2 of 11 shooting) and limited the Bulldogs to 5-of-21 shooting from three.

CONFERENCE OF THE DAY: AAC. Houston is only going to be a member of the AAC for a year or two until they head to the Big 12, but the Cougars are showing again that they are a championship caliber team. They were physical against Arizona, limiting the Wildcats to 33% shooting.

CONFERENCE WITH A BAD DAY: WCC. Four different conferences suffered a loss tonight, but the WCC got the worst of the damage. In the online trolling of Gonzaga, the WCC has been brought up as a prop that helps the Zags get these No. 1 seeds that they've been unable to cash in on. That is an unfair criticism for a conference that got Saint Mary's and San Francisco in as at-large teams, however, perception can be tough to shake ... and it will continue to be until Gonzaga finally wins a ring. 

DUD OF THE DAY: Villanova vs Michigan. Once you get to this point, you are splitting hairs with this category. This was the only game where the higher seeded team had control of the game and carried it throughout. Neither team shot well (35.8% from the field; 31% from three).

DOMINANT PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY: Houston vs Arizona. This was looked at as the trendy upset pick today, but I didn't think Houston would shred the Wildcats like they did. Their defense was outstanding against a very talented Arizona offense. The Cougars held the Wildcats to under 34% shooting while they hit 23-of-50 shots on the other end

UNDERLYING STORYLINE OF THE DAY: Mike Krzyzewski moves on. There are so many storylines during the NCAA tournament, but now that we are halfway through the Big Dance, the narrative of Mike Krzyzewski's final tournament still lives on. The Blue Devils are a win away from his 13th career Final Four and three wins away from his 6th national championship. As we whittled down to an Elite 8, the Coach K run for a title (especially with a lot of the other favorites eliminated) becomes an even larger story.  And possibly a reality.. 

Monday, March 21, 2022

Sportz' NCAA Tournament Recap - Second Round, Day 2




Just a quick recap of what I saw in my Sportz Room -- filled with TVs that I can watch all four games going on at the same time.


GAME OF THE DAY: Arizona vs TCU. What a back and forth game down the stretch! The only overtime game of the day We had poster dunks, huge shots, huge rebounds and one of the national championship favorites hang on for dear life in San Diego. TCU fought hard to erase a 9-point lead late and had small leads in the closing moments but couldn't finish it off. Ben Mathurin poured in 30 while Christian Koloko added 28. They carried the Wildcats.

UPSET OF THE DAY: Iowa State vs Wisconsin.  Iowa State was 2-22 last year ... and just went into Milwaukee and upset 3-seed Wisconsin.  More on this game in a bit.

CONFERENCE OF THE DAY: ACC. The Big 12 had a mix bag with Iowa State and Texas Tech winning ... but Texas and TCU losing. The ACC saw Duke continue the Coach K retirement party while Miami took down the biggest seed on the day. Sure, Notre Dame ... a First Four team ... lost, but the Irish were in it until the very end. The ACC joins the Big 12 with three schools in the Sweet 16. Not bad for a league having a down year.

CONFERENCE WITH A BAD DAY: Big Ten. The Big Ten has woefully under-performed again. Four Big Ten teams lost today, led by Wisconsin's shocking loss ... in Milwaukee ... to Iowa State (who went 2-22 last year). Illinois was handled rather easily by Houston, while Michigan State blew a late lead by giving up a 20-6 run to end the game. Ohio State was game against Villanova, but ultimately fell, 70-60. 

DUD OF THE DAY: Iowa State vs Wisconsin. We actually were treated to eight really competitive games. The Cyclones win over the Badgers takes this spot because, well, the game really wasn't fun to watch. Final scores of 54-49 don't really capture the audience. Iowa State shot 34.5% for the game. Wisconsin shot 29.8%. The BADgers missed 20 of their 22 three point attempts (the Cyclones missed 11 of their 14 threes).

DOMINANT PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY: Miami vs Auburn. The Hurricanes led the entire way against Auburn, pulling away over the first 10 minutes of the second half. Isaiah Wong dunked on lottery pick Jabari Smith. Walker Kessler, for whatever reason, only played 13 ineffective minutes. 

UNDERLYING STORYLINE OF THE DAY: Big Ten's failure. I know it seems like I'm beating a dead horse, but it is rather amazing to see the Big Ten struggle yet again in the NCAA tournament. Last year, the Big Ten had a number of teams who had a good look at winning a national championship and they were picked off fairly early. The 2022 Big Ten lacked true title contenders, but had teams who could make a run at ending their 21 year championship drought. They still have Purdue (who is the top seed remaining in the East) and Michigan still alive, so they can still end that streak, but there can't be much confidence in the league come March.. 

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Sportz' NCAA Tournament Recap - Second Round, Day 1




 Just a quick recap of what I saw in my Sportz Room -- filled with TVs that I can watch all four games going on at the same time.


GAME OF THE DAY: North Carolina vs Baylor. What a game! North Carolina was stunning the world when they ran up a 25 point lead on the defending national champions and the East Region's top seed. Then Brady Manek's elbow got him tossed and the Bears ended regulation on a 38-13 run. The Tar Heels tried everything they could to give Baylor the game, but UNC regrouped in overtime and were able to reassert themselves and pull off the win.

UPSET OF THE DAY: St. Peter's vs Murray State.  Sure, beating Murray State seems to be light work after dispatching Kentucky, but the fact that this tiny school from New Jersey will be playing in the Sweet 16 next week in Philly (alongside blue bloods UCLA and North Carolina) is amazing. Murray State was 31-2 heading into this game and hadn't lost since before Christmas ... and that was to Auburn. Looking forward to seeing more Peacocks next week.  

CONFERENCE OF THE DAY: MAAC. Eight winners from eight different conferences. So let's celebrate the MAAC's St. Peter's. They looked dominant for most of their game against a really, really good Murray State team on Saturday. With a lot of power leagues (and the WCC) moving teams along, it's cool to see a team from the MAAC playing on.

CONFERENCE WITH A BAD DAY: SEC. Arkansas held on for dear life to beat New Mexico State, but the SEC's bad moment came when their conference tournament champion lost to Michigan. In a tough, back and forth battle, the Volunteers once again come up short in the NCAA tournament. With Kentucky already out, the SEC's best title shot comes from Auburn (no offense Razorbacks fans).   

DUD OF THE DAY: Providence vs Richmond. Of the eight games on Saturday, this was the only one that wasn't competitive.

DOMINANT PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY: Providence vs Richmond. I know that I'm guilty of overlooking Providence even though they were Big East regular season champs, and I'm wrong for that. The Friars tossed aside Cinderella favorite South Dakota State in the first round and routed Richmond, 79-51, on Saturday.

UNDERLYING STORYLINE OF THE DAY: East region is broken. #1 Baylor is gone. #2 Kentucky is gone. There is a #15 seed still playing. Two blue bloods will face off in one Sweet 16 matchup and we could see a big surprise reaching the Final Four. .  .

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Sportz' NCAA Tournament Recap - First Round, Day 2




Just a quick recap of what I saw in my Sportz Room -- filled with TVs that I can watch all four games going on at the same time.


GAME OF THE DAY: Illinois vs Chattanooga. If you were looking for an upset, Chattanooga nearly pulled it off. The Mocs led virtually the entire game and frustrated Illini star Kofi Cockburn all day. But in the big moments down the stretch, Illinois made the plays to take and hold on to the lead. For those who root for the Cinderella, this was heartbreaking. For Illini fans, it was heart pounding.

UPSET OF THE DAY: Miami vs USC.  There weren't the kind of upsets that Thursday produced, but Miami-USC was a bit of a stunner. The Trojans had one of their best regular seasons ever while Miami came into their meeting just 4-3 in their last seven games. Isaiah Wong poured in 22 points and the Hurricanes' Charlie Moore hit two free throws with three seconds left to ice the win. Again, nothing earth shaking.  

CONFERENCE OF THE DAY: Big 12. The Big 12 went 4-0 on the day with Texas Tech, Texas, Iowa State and TCU all winning on Friday. They join Kansas and Baylor in the second round for a perfect 6-0 record.

CONFERENCE WITH A BAD DAY: SEC. The SEC has been one of the most competitive conferences all year long, but they took a hit on Friday. After Kentucky's stunning loss on Thursday, Alabama and LSU were both upset on Friday. Of course, LSU has had a really tough week with sanctions coming soon and their head coach dismissed this week, but the Tigers and Crimson Tide's roller coaster seasons ended in the inconsistent fashion they've played all season. Auburn also struggled to shake Jacksonville State for a while.   

DUD OF THE DAY: Ohio State vs Loyola Chicago. Loyola Chicago a chic pick for an upset in this game. After all, this is the last hurrah for the last of the guys who were on that 2018 Final Four team ... plus Ohio State had an embarrassing loss to Oral Roberts in last year's tournament. We got an ugly game filled with turnovers and missed shots ... with a final score of 54-41. Ugh.

DOMINANT PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY: TCU vs Seton Hall. Another 8-9 game that wasn't close at all. The Pirates shot an abysmal 28% and were never in the game against the Horned Frogs. 

UNDERLYING STORYLINE OF THE DAY: Power teams move on. If Thursday was about the mid-majors, then Friday showed the power conferences flexing their muscle. The winners? Notre Dame, Texas Tech, Duke, Michigan State, Texas, Purdue, Arizona, TCU, Illinois, Houston, Villanova, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa State, Auburn and Miami. Only Houston doesn't play in a "power five" league ... and they're a Final Four team that will be joining the Big 12 in a few years. 

Friday, March 18, 2022

Sportz' NCAA Tournament Recap - First Round, Day 1




 Just a quick recap of what I saw in my Sportz Room -- filled with TVs that I can watch all four games going on at the same time.


GAME OF THE DAY: Creighton vs San Diego State. While people were glued to St. Peter's upsetting Kentucky (more on that in a second), Creighton and San Diego State were battling it out in Fort Worth. The Blue Jays mounted a spirited comeback and needed a missed free throw by the Aztecs late to send the game into overtime ... then making the big plays on both ends of the floor for the win. Freshman Trey Alexander was huge down the stretch.

UPSET OF THE DAY: St. Peter's vs Kentucky.  Kentucky followed up what may be the worst season in its proud program's history with possibly their worst loss in tournament history. This wasn't the typically dominant Wildcats team from a talent standpoint ... even though they may have the national player of the year. It isn't just that they lost to St. Peter's, but that they looked shaken while the Peacocks looked the the program that has won eight national championships.  

CONFERENCE OF THE DAY: Big 12. Baylor an Kansas were looked at as the weakest of the top seeds, but they flexed their muscle in their first round matchups. No conference really dominated (the West Coast Conference looked good before San Francisco fell to Murray State in overtime) but the Big 12 did what they were supposed to do.

CONFERENCE WITH A BAD DAY: Mountain West. The Big East also had a tough day with UConn getting upset and Marquette getting spanked, and the Big Ten took a bigger hit as Indiana got completely rolled by Saint Mary's while Iowa ... the Big Ten tournament champion and buzz pick to win their region ... lost to Richmond.  But the Mountain West really stunk. Boise State, San Diego State and Colorado State were all beaten by lower seeds today. Couple that with Wyoming's loss to Indiana in the First Four and the Mountain West went 0-4 in the 2022 NCAA tournament and are all gone.   

DUD OF THE DAY: North Carolina vs Marquette. This was the biggest blowout in an 8-9 game ever and it was almost instantly a dud. The Tar Heels had been so up and down all season that you really didn't know what you were going to get. Marquette's press defense did nothing to phase Carolina and their offense couldn't get anything going.

DOMINANT PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY: Saint Mary's vs Indiana. Indiana had a tough task of winning a First Four game in Dayton and then flying out to Portland to face a tough Saint Mary's team, The Gaels, who soundly beat Gonzaga a few weeks ago, just trounced the Hoosiers and quickly turned this game into a laughter. When Indiana's best moment was a cheerleader getting the ball down off the backboard, you've had a bad day.

UNDERLYING STORYLINE OF THE DAY: Mid majors. Today was a great day for the mid-majors. Not only did St. Peter's, Richmond and New Mexico State pull off upsets, but Vermont and San Francisco performed nicely in losses. Gonzaga and Saint Mary's ended up winning handily and Murray State continues on with their magical season.  .

Thursday, February 3, 2022

What Do I Think About the Washington Commanders


I have been a Washington Football Team fan my entire life. As the Redskins, I watched as we won three Super Bowl titles from 1982 to 1991. We were right there with those fantastic 49ers teams and those physically brutal Giants and Bears. Joe Gibbs' offenses were great despite having three different starting QBs and three different sets of running backs during each of those Super Bowl runs. 

It all came crashing down in the 1990s. RFK Stadium in downtown DC was replaced by what is now known as FedEx Field in the outskirts in Maryland. Daniel Snyder bought the team in 1999 and has turned the franchise into an embarrassment in nearly every way you can imagine. The team hasn't found on field success, hasn't found a sustainable quarterback, hasn't found a reliable coach and has made a bunch of high-priced free agent blunders. Of course, that's the great news as the front office has been a run of "yes men" run by a bro code that led to rampant chaos and sexual misconduct. As a fan, it has been embarrassing.

When I was growing up, the wait list for tickets was years and years long. Now, no one bothers to show up. There were sizable opposing fan bases coming to our games over the last few years and that stadium has fallen apart ... literally ... before our very eyes. 

Which brings me to the name change.

I get it. The old name was a slur and needed to be changed. No matter how hard it was being defended by Snyder and the NFL, 2020 became the perfect wave to finally retire the name and move on to something else. 

Just not this.

Full disclosure, I was in the Washington RedWolves camp. The RedWolves name has the same cadence as Redskins and could easily fit into the fight song and the HTTR slogan. The wolf (or any canine) has been woefully underused in pro sports. Howling at games. The imagery. Even the wolf can bring some spirit or callback to the Native American honor those who defended the retired name want to hold on to. 

Alas trademarks and the like got in the way so I was bummed. I reluctantly hitched my name to Red Hogs just because it would be weird enough to work. I mean, The Hogs have been a defacto mascot for the team for decades and, well, it would certainly be different.

Even if that was too wild, I really grew into the Washington Football Team name. It was quirky. For those who never wanted to change the name, it was a technicality that it didn't really change to anything else. It was mocked but turned into a bit of a cool thing. There needed to be some tweaks, sure, but it could be done up in a big way if we went all in.  So of course they didn't want to do that.

No, if Snyder was forced to change the name (and he was forced by pressures around him) then he was going all in to please the Redskins defenders and embrace a military name. Note that most of the finalists were of a military nature and you see where Snyder was trying to go with this. 

Why Commanders? I really don't know.  I can't change it. I'll have to accept it. Maybe I'll even like it. So indulge me as I say what I like and don't like about ... well ... all of this.

COMMANDERS

I think I've already established that I don't like it. It sounds like a generic name you can pick in Madden. I believe despite what they are saying that they were dead set on picking a military name and this was one that was the most popular. So we are the Commanders. Three syllables and not two like the old name so it doesn't fit in the fight song. It's even difficult to cheer. It has already been shortened to "Commies" by our rivals. Ah, our rivals. Does "Commanders-Cowboys" sound great? I give this a D+

WHITE JERSEYS

I loathe these. I could learn to love the style of them, but the color is hideous. We look like the alternate Cardinals or Falcons jerseys. Maybe if they burgundy-ed it up or used gold on them it would work better. It really seems out of place. Understand that for a long time our white jerseys were what we primarily wore so seeing this monstrosity hurts.

BURGUNDY JERSEYS

Nowhere near as bad. I can get behind these, especially if they were worn with white or gold pants (of course they won't be).  If they could ditch the Commanders font on the front, I'd start to love these. Get rid of the bars and make the font smaller and you've got something. And why couldn't the white ones look like this?

BLACK JERSEYS

I didn't need this, but I get it. They look a little too much like the Steelers but they do have their own military flair. I hope we only wear these around 9/11 and Veteran's Day games. I'm not a fan of the helmets ... especially the W at the front of the jersey. I hated the numbers on the helmets when we were the WFT so I'm hating that they kept that here. I do like the font and bars on the nameplate on the back.

HELMETS

The normal helmet is nice. It's matte and keeps the old helmet look kind of similar and what I wished we had as the Washington Football Team. The W is good, though Eagles fans have already called it a taco holder. I would've preferred a gold face mask but that's honestly just a want more than a need. This is by far the best part of the rebrand. 

THE CREST

I'm fine with it. It's got a lot going on but there are two things I wished it did. One, it says "Washington Football" on it. Man, go ahead and put "Team" on that and it would've been a nice callback to the WFT. And even though a lot of fans aren't digging the Commanders vibe, having the WFT attached would've been cool. My biggest problem is the dates on the crest. Don't put 1983, 1988 and 1992. Sure, that was the actual year we won those Super Bowls, but it was for the previous seasons of 1982, 1987 and 1991. No one calls them the '86 Bears, do they????  The 1973 Dolphins? Nope. So why did you do this? Either fix those dates or turn them into the Super Bowl numbers (XVII, XXII, XXVI). It will forever bother me. 

LETTERMAN JACKETS

This is Snyder's people in a nutshell. They roll all of this out trying to sell us on the look and name. Yet the thing everyone wants is those letterman jackets they all wore at the announcement. And those aren't for sale. I want one. They are so, so, so sharpe ... and should've been the color scheme they went for with the white jerseys instead of whatever that's called. 



Friday, January 7, 2022

Do We Really Need to Expand the College Football Playoff?


No.


Well, not really.

Unlike any of our other favorite sports, college football truly has a worthy playoff. No automatic bids. In the NCAA tournament, we have all these conference champions guaranteed a berth into the 68 team tournament even though we know about 48 or so of those teams have no shot at winning the thing. Or in all the pro sports, where winning a geographically created division means you get to participate in the postseason (like Washington's 7-9 NFC East championship in 2020). 

It also has just four teams in there and isn't inflated like nearly every other sport. As I write this, the Chargers and Raiders will play next Sunday night with the winner making the NFL playoffs. Does anyone really think that either of those teams will realistically get to the Super Bowl in February? Nope. 

The College Football Playoff and the four teams that are selected for it all have a legit shot at winning a national championship. Mostly. So much so that fans of the teams who finished fifth or sixth in the CFP standings feel they could've won it all. And a committee selects the four teams as there are no automatic bids. 

Now the powers that be want to expand the tournament to eight or even twelve teams. I used to be a guy that championed for a 12-team tournament. My proposal all those years ago was to have the five Power 5 champions automatically in, the top ranked Group of 5 champion, and then the six highest ranked non-champions. The top four seeds receive a bye. Seeds 5 through 12 play on campus. The winners of those games play at the four bye teams. You can then make the semifinals at bowl sites with the championship game like a Super Bowl (which the semis and the title game look like right now). Here is how it would've looked under the 2021 CFP rankings.

BYES
1-Alabama*, 2-Michigan*, 3-Georgia, 4-Cincinnati*

FIRST ROUND
12-Pittsburgh* at 5-Notre Dame
11-Utah* at 6-Ohio State
10-Michigan State at 7-Baylor*
9-Oklahoma State at 8-Ole Miss

The proposals kicked around during the summer would have their playoff look a lot like this, aside from some of the seeding. Under their rules, the byes would have been all conference champions, which means Baylor would've been a top four seed. 

So when you see that, is this really what we want? Aside from maybe Notre Dame and possibly Ohio State, would any of the added teams really have a shot at winning a national championship? And if they somehow did, would they really represent who was the actual champion? 

Of course, that's guessing what could happen ... so let's look at what actually does happen. We've had 16 semifinal games under the CFP format. 

-13 of the 16 games were decided by more than 10 points
-9 of the 16 games were decided by 20 or more points
-4 of the 16 games were decided by 30 or more points
-0 of the games were decided by 5 or less points

The championship game has gone a bit better. After Ohio State thrashed Oregon in the inaugural CFP championship game, there were three outstanding title games in a row. The last three, however, have been yawners.  In fact, the past three years, only the Clemson-Ohio State semifinal game in 2019-2020 was even competitive among any of the playoff games. So why do we need more of this?

No offense, by why do I need Pittsburgh playing for a title this year? Why should Michigan State bother a top team from winning a ring? What's the point?

If you think it is to make the bowl games interesting again (like Ohio State fans and players didn't care about attending the Rose Bowl last week), you have another thing coming. Do you think college football is going to incorporate 10 or 11 bowl games for the playoff? Get real. Would Utah fans be able to travel to San Antonio for the Alamo Bowl one week, to Orlando and the Citrus Bowl the next week, to Dallas for the Cotton Bowl the following week, and then a national championship game in Indianapolis? No. Playoff games would likely be played on campus at least for the first round and possibly up through the quarterfinals. If that's the case, what kind of teams will be playing in the Gator Bowl if the 12 best teams are already used up? Hell, what kind of Rose Bowl would we get if the top three Big Ten teams and the Pac-12 champion are already in the playoff? Those bowl games would actually get worse and the logistics of jet-setting these players (possibly during finals) is unsettling, even as we are coming to grips of college football's lack of amateur status. 

My solution will never, ever happen. I believe there should not be a set amount of playoff teams, and we just size it up when we get to the end of the season. Are the two best teams set in stone? Then just have two teams have it out for the title. Three teams? Do that. Four? Six? Then create that kind of bracket if needed. I mean, some years there are three legit title contenders and we are trying to figure out who the fourth deserves to be. Screw it. Just have the three with the No. 2 and 3 teams facing off with the winner facing the No. 1 seed. If it is five teams ... the seeds No. 4 and 5 play to get into the four-team bracket. 

Of course people can't handle that so it won't happen, but is that any worse than having Pittsburgh playing in a national championship tournament because we want Kenny Pickett to play one more time instead of protecting his NFL Draft status?  No.  

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

John Madden's Legacy Is Hard To Quantify





In basketball, the impact of the 1992 Dream Team is felt in today's game as the league is filled with more international players -- read: stars -- than ever before. 

So imagine what John Madden's impact on the NFL is. As a coach, he never had a losing season during his 10-year career with the Oakland Raiders, culminating with a win in Super Bowl XI. His coaching is typically the least known of his accomplishments (he has the best winning percentage, minimum 100 games) because he did it in an era where Chuck Noll and the Steelers and Don Shula and the Colts and Dolphins ran things in the AFC. Plus, it was prior to the NFL becoming the sports leader it is today. 

As a broadcaster, he became the respected, yet relatable voice that brought the nuances of the game to the viewer. You understood why offensive linemen were so important. He ... along with the telestrator ... diagramed plays so you understood why it worked. He did so with the zest of college basketball's Dick Vitale with the knowledge of the NBA's Hubie Brown while delivering it in a way people understand it. He changed the way fans watched the game and broadcasters called it.

And then there's Madden Football from EA Sports. To some people, it may not seem as if a video game would be the reason the NFL blew up the way it has ... but it did. Now, fans can play the game and understand rules, play calling, roster construction, play diagrams and all those nuances that makes watching the actual game more engaging. I mean, and entire generation of fans know what exotic defenses are just because Madden demanded they get placed in the game. No, Madden didn't create or build the game, but his knowledge put that title on a pedestal that every other game strove to achieve. 

It wasn't just that the game was popular, but it was informative and (for the most part) added more and more reality to it each year. 

I tend to add my age in my writing because I think it's important to note where my actual experience lies with certain subjects. I'm 46, so I didn't watch Madden as a head coach but he was the announcer on CBS as I was growing up. When he went to FOX with the NFC package in the early 1990s, it was a huge thing for the network. At that time, FOX was an upstart network when that just never happened. Their shows were mostly ... well ... different than what was typically on network TV. Married ... With Children, The Simpsons, Tracy Ulman Show, Beverly Hills 90210, etc. The joke was that Bart Simpson would be calling games for FOX. But when Madden signed on, pretty much all of CBS' NFL talent went with him and gave the network credibility. That was a major power shift in broadcasting that he helped spearhead. 

I was also a teenager when Madden games came out, so I remember the old simple graphics to the extremely challenging game it is today. And, yes, my understanding of the Xs and Os of football emerged as I played the game (and still play the game). 

John Madden will never happen again in sports. There may be people who can be as great or greater at one aspect of his life, but not be all the things Madden was all at once.

Rest well, sir.  And thank you. 



Thursday, October 21, 2021

AAC Adds Six New Programs



 Out goes Cincinnati, Houston and UCF.

In comes Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice, UAB and UTSA. 

The American Athletic Conference expanded to 14 teams today with the addition of those six soon-to-be former Conference USA members. While none of those schools are necessarily powers, they are all in large markets which continues the league's trend of having a league in big cities. When the realignment happens, the AAC will have schools in Charlotte, Birmingham, Houston, San Antonio, Memphis, Tampa, Dallas, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Tulsa. Plus FAU is just outside of Miami. Only East Carolina, in Greenville, NC, would be an outlier.

This means the AAC would likely split into two divisions for football.

EAST
Charlotte, East Carolina, Florida Atlantic, Navy, South Florida, Temple, UAB

WEST
Memphis, North Texas, Rice, SMU, Tulane, Tulsa, UTSA

The league would further its roots in Texas with four members hailing from the Lone Star State. It also condenses the geography of the league, making a west division primarily in Texas and the Mississippi River area, while the eastern division would be mainly in the Sun Belt of the southeast ... with Navy and Temple on the eastern seaboard. 

On the other end, this is a huge blow to Conference USA, who now has lost six members. Three of those members were in the state of Texas (including emerging program UTSA), leaving UTEP as its only remaining member in that state. Florida International also lost three of its closest geographical rivals in the league (FAU, UAB, Charlotte) which could make them uneasy about sticking around. That alone could be the death knell for this league which will now begin a power struggle with the Sun Belt Conference in the next domino of realignment. The Sun Belt has become a stronger league and would be more attractive to Florida International and the delta schools like Southern Miss and Louisiana Tech. UTEP and/or Middle Tennessee could also want to leave for the Sun Belt, while Marshall (along with Old Dominion or Western Kentucky) may try to apply to rejoin the MAC. Marshall also may be attractive to the Sun Belt as it carefully crafts its future.

Right now, the Sun Belt and Mountain West don't feel they need to expand, but the Sun Belt in particular may be wise to strengthen itself with the best programs left in Conference USA (making Marshall and Southern Miss attractive). Conference USA may get desperate and attempt to add Liberty, whose political affiliations have made all the conferences weary of dealing with the school, or try to pull schools like James Madison up from the FCS. 

I know in the realm of college athletics, these lower leagues don't tend to gain the interest in fans as the power leagues, but these are major decisions for survival for these leagues and these programs. If you remember in the 1990s, the Southwest Conference folded and their member spread out all over the place with some going to the Big 12 while others, like Rice, toiling in Conference USA. Also, the WAC was a power out west before it broke up in the last 1990s. Now it has disbanded football and the basketball conference is a mixed bag of programs all over the country. 

The AAC made a move for its own survival as a conference that matters. The Sun Belt may make a move to solidify its standing as a conference on the rise. Conference USA may be on its last legs. 

Friday, September 10, 2021

Should Group of 5 Create Their Own "Super Conference"?




 With all the realignment talk going on in college athletics football, much of the talk has centered on the power five leagues eventually breaking off from the NCAA and forming their own super league. We all have gotten lost in the glitz of what a league with Alabama, Clemson, USC and Ohio State would look like and how it would create an NFL-like atmosphere.

But what if the lesser leagues decide to do the same thing?  It does make sense. 

Let's start when the current news of the day: Cincinnati, Houston, UCF and BYU will likely receive invitations from the Big 12 to join their league. Soon after, those schools will accept. Now the domino falls to the AAC to replace three of their better programs. The AAC has already said they have schools looking to join, and that domino could cause the other league to start poaching each other. And then we'll have it again at some point.

So why wouldn't the Group of 5 decide to go in together and figure out a way to create a geographically wise "super" league to keep these schools under one umbrella and stop all the senseless poaching? 

I've been of the mind that the conferences and any kind of super league can coexist. The Group of 5 consists of the AAC, Mountain West, Conference USA, Sun Belt and MAC. Those conferences may not exist as leagues within any super league, but if they all offer up their membership in such league they could split several TV rights deals and help create a climate where their top programs face off to send a team or two to this 12-team playoff. 

There is a risk. If a 12-team playoff was last season, two Group of 5 schools (Cincinnati, Coastal Carolina) would've gotten in. Creating a super league of these conferences may only net one school in. Still, over the six previous seasons of the College Football Playoff, only UCF (twice) would've gotten in. So four times in seven years (among 84 slots) would've been a Group of 5 school. Of course, the caveat of six champions and six at-larges would have changed that number.

What would this Group of 5 super league look like? As I said, make it geographically sound to help these schools financially with travel (here's looking at you, Sun Belt and C-USA) but also allow for great inter-sectional matchups that will boost the league as a whole. The BYU-Coastal Carolina game last year -- which was put together at the last minute -- was a fantastic show for people who typically don't watch those schools or those leagues. 

Let's go ahead and take out Cincinnati, UCF and Houston from the AAC and BYU as an independent. The AAC has eight schools, C-USA has 14, MAC has 12, Mountain West 12, the Sun Belt with ten and five independent schools not named Notre Dame.  That's 61 schools. It would be fantastic to add two more schools into the mix from the FCS and have seven nine-team divisions ... but for this purpose, we'll have five nine-team divisions and two eight-team divisions. The nine team divisions play a true round robin (8 total games) as do the eight team divisions (7 games) with those divisions playing one cross division game with each other to add that eighth game. 

The other four games to fill out the schedule will be as follows:

*One game against one of the Power 5 teams 
*One game against an FCS school 
*Two games (home and home) scheduled against a non-division opponent, hopefully keeping true rivalries that may have been broken up

After the regular season, the four highest ranked teams play a playoff style bracket (yes, that will mean two teams will play a 14th game ... so what). Have whatever committee (or ask the CFP committee to assist with this) to determine the top four teams. The winner of that bracket would get invited to the 12-team College Football Playoff. The other teams receive their bowl bids accordingly. 

EAST: Army, Buffalo, Liberty, Marshall, Navy, Old Dominion, Temple, UConn, UMass
SOUTHEAST: Appalachian State, Charlotte, Coastal Carolina, East Carolina, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, South Florida
NORTH: Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Northern Illinois, Toledo, Western Michigan
CENTRAL: Memphis, Miami-OH, Middle Tennessee, Ohio, Troy State, South Alabama, Southern Miss, UAB, Western Kentucky
SOUTHWEST: Arkansas State, Louisiana, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Rice, SMU, Tulane, Tulsa
MOUNTAIN: Air Force, Colorado State, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Texas State, UTEP, UTSA, Wyoming
PACIFIC: Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, San Diego State, San Jose State, UNLV, Utah State

Note that the Mountain and Pacific divisions are eight teams only and will have a cross-division game scheduled each year. I attempted to do this as close to geographically as I could. I would've loved to keep the Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi schools together but then there would be oddities elsewhere. I would've loved to keep the Ohio schools together and Texas schools together, but there would've been tougher cuts somewhere else. Again, there are openings for schools to play against each other via inter-divisional play so this takes care of some of the broken rivalries (it's been hacked up in the Power 5 leagues anyway, so why would Ohio-Kent State be the death of this set up?). 

The other possible set up would be seven seven-team divisions and two six-team divisions. These divisions are really only for scheduling purposes only and would allow for more inter-sectional scheduling. If you think about it, most college football schedules are set up like this with six-team divisions within conferences, so this wouldn't be a stretch. 

EAST: Army, Liberty, Navy, Old Dominion, Temple, UConn, UMass
ATLANTIC: Appalachian State, Charlotte, Coastal Carolina, East Carolina, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, South Florida
OHIO: Akron, Bowling Green, Kent State, Marshall, Miami-OH, Ohio, Toledo
NORTH: Ball State, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Western Michigan
CENTRAL: Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Middle Tennessee, South Alabama, Troy State, UAB, Western Kentucky
SOUTHERN: Arkansas State, Louisiana, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, Southern Miss
TEXAS: North Texas, Rice, SMU, Texas State, Tulsa, UTEP, UTSA 
MOUNTAIN: Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Utah State, Wyoming
PACIFIC: Fresno State, Hawaii, San Diego State, San Jose State, Nevada, UNLV

Same basic principles. Round robin against the six other teams in your division (five, if you are in the Pacific and North divisions) and opens up the rest of the schedule to fill out. 

Again, the point is not to create division winners for a full blown Group of 5 playoff. If this was the point, the Group of 5 may as well drop to the FCS. This is to have a better schedule, less financial strains due to travel, ability to create better inter-sectional matchups, end senseless member poaching between these conferences and to place a really good team in a 12-team College Football Playoff. 

Right now, these leagues aren't putting a team in that playoff, and the ones that would've been eligible under a 12-team format are now graduating to the Big 12. Now these leagues will begin picking apart each other and it really doesn't help anything. And while it may seem as this would be a demotion of sorts, it isn't. It is more of a consolidation or resources and they'd still have the ability to play Power 5 schools, play in bowl games, and actually schedule better games then the be thrown around the country fulfilling conference requirements. 

This would likely not happen, but since we are seeing an bubbling SEC, an Alliance of three power leagues and rumors of a breakoff ... this isn't too far outside the box. 


Saturday, September 4, 2021

Big 12 Will (Likely) Add Four Teams Very Soon


 


So we've had Texas and Oklahoma leave the Big 12 for the SEC ... then the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 form an alliance ... and now we've seen the Big 12's response.

Reportedly, the Big 12 will add BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF in the coming weeks. The league will ultimately be back to a 12 team league. 

No word if the league will split back into divisions and what that would look like if they did. Currently, the Big 12 (which is made up of ten schools) play a round robin schedule with the top two teams playing in the conference title game. At 12 schools, the round robin won't happen but it is up in the air how they'll move forward. A division format could look like this:

EAST: Cincinnati, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, UCF, West Virginia
WEST: Baylor, BYU, Houston, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas Tech

Of course, the East schools would be shut out from having access to the Texas area, but that was how it was in the "old" Big 12 when Colorado and Nebraska were still members. 

THE GOOD

Well, the Big 12 looks a lot better than it has over the last two months. For the eight remaining members, it showed their willingness to look for solutions together and that this isn't a fractured bunch. The schools they're adding have been recently successful football programs who bring in large markets. Houston, Cincinnati, Orlando and Salt Lake City are in the fold, with BYU's national program being the jewel of that bunch. This solidified Texas while introducing the Florida and Ohio markets for the Big 12. 

This is also a huge win over the AAC. For weeks, there were rumblings that the AAC could extract Big 12 schools to come to them which could vault that league into becoming a power conference ... or at least one that matters when the 12-team playoff comes about. With the Big 12 taking away three of the AAC's biggest programs, that all but slams the door on that idea -- at least for now. 

Let's look at basketball. Baylor is the defending national champion, Kansas is a blue blood, West Virginia is solid with Bob Huggins (who used to coach at Cincinnati), Oklahoma State just produced the 2021 top overall draft pick, Texas Tech was in the 2019 national championship game and Iowa State has been a solid program for quite some time. BYU has been really good during their time in the West Coast Conference, Houston was in the last Final Four, Cincinnati has been a decent program with two national championships in their history while UCF challenged the Zion Williamson Duke team in the 2019 tournament. 

Of course, this is all about football and while none of these schools bring with it the brands of Texas and Oklahoma, they can be great additions to the Big 12.                                                 

THE BAD

There are still some concerns, though. For one, the league will stretch geographically from Salt Lake City, Utah to Orlando, Florida -- three time zones. Obviously there could be some issue to the commonality of the member schools, though we've pretty much haven't cared too much about that of late. 

There's also the question of if these four schools can keep playing at their current level one they step up in competition. You could point to Utah and TCU as prime examples of schools taking a dip before finding their footing to push against that theory. There are also schools like Miami, Nebraska and Colorado that get into new leagues and didn't find the same level of success. 

The main issue, though, will be the individual goals of these schools. Right now, everyone is all in on keeping the Big 12 alive and well ... but what happens when one of the other power leagues start sniffing around? Say the Big Ten does try to go after Kansas and Iowa State -- you better believe those two will jump immediately at the chance for a more secure situation. The Alliance has pledged not to poach each other, but the Big 12 isn't part of that group and will be the store these leagues would likely go shopping in if they want to expand. For the last two months, the eight remaining schools have run concurrent plans of protecting the Big 12 as well as looking for a safe landing spot elsewhere. 

Say that does happen where the doomsday scenario of Kansas and Iowa State leave for the Big Ten, West Virginia and Cincinnati for the ACC and Oklahoma State and some Texas schools leave for the Pac-12. The Big 12 won't be able to just pull from the AAC and other sources to field a league anymore, and we could see the AAC as the aggressor. Remember the folly of the Big East about 20 years ago when they lost Miami, Boston College and Virginia Tech, then lost Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, West Virginia, etc several years later and then started reaching for schools to add that the entire thing fell apart. That could happen here if the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 or SEC decide to expand. 

THE VERDICT

This is a very positive move for the Big 12 and the four schools they are inviting. The things that fall under my "bad" category are things that aren't really exacerbated by expanding and could happen no matter what the Big 12 does.

Hopefully this is the move that saves the Big 12 from extinction. This has been a solid league for 25 years now and it would be a shame to see it broken up (it's already a shame to see Texas and Oklahoma leave). Adding BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF doesn't guarantee greatness but there is potential for any or all of them to step into a bigger spotlight with being in a power conference. After all, they've all done so in smaller leagues. BYU does have a national championship, Cincinnati was in the Big East and Houston in the SWC so they aren't going into this blind.  

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

College Football Powers Need To End the Charade And Create Their New Identity

Let's just get this over with and stop playing around. Just create a new College Football System and leave everything else alone.

The SEC, Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 need to just get their power guys in one room and hammer out how they want their new entity to look. Just create this 60-ish school football league, figure out how the money will be distributed, and leave everything else alone.

What I mean is this: those four conferences need to figure out what schools they want to put into this system. Create an NFL-type league of 64 schools that will compete only against each other, have a 12 or 16 team playoff, sell all the rights you possibly can and split the money up somehow. Right now, those four leagues have 56 combined programs. Add in Notre Dame for a 57th team. BYU as 58th? Maybe let those Big 12 cast offs to bring it to 66 or 67. Quite possibly some programs like Kansas, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest or Rutgers get left behind and placed in a lower football division with the Mountain West, AAC, MAC, Conference USA and Sun Belt. The SEC and Big Ten take bigger cuts of the money than the ACC or Pac-12 with the possibly bonus shares going to the leagues that produce the playoff teams and champions.

They all get paid. The schools get paid. And we don't have to tear apart college basketball or the non-revenue sports to make this happen. We don't need these cross country conferences anymore just to make football money. So just create this Mega Conference and keep it separate from the rest of college athletics.