Monday, May 7, 2012

Miscellaneous Minutiae, 5/7/2012

ONE OF US: In light of this post on Corn Nation (via on the utility of the Big Ten's Rose Bowl obsession vis-a-vis Nebraska, I found this to be extremely amusing. As the college football world stumbles in the general direction of "the future" on and attempts to formulate the structure for life after the structured nonsensical failure that is the BCS--not unlike a college grad's transition to being a real person--many have of course seen the Big Ten (and the Pac 12) as an obstacle to various playoff scenarios because, yeah...the Rose Bowl. The ultimate elephant in the room, that Rose Bowl. This criticism from the college football world at large is all in spite of the fact that Jim Delany himself has been showing support, with actual words*, for a 4-team playoff. Can you blame everybody for this frustration after years of suffering Delany just, you know, being Jim Delany? I surely cannot.

As the conference's newest member, how does Nebraska feel about this "Rose Bowl", and, by extension, the possibility (inevitability, really, but who's counting) of a playoff in college football? Nebraska president Harvey Perlman takes it upon himself to opine on the matter:
"I can't figure out a good reason to have a playoff to start with. We've had some informal meetings, the Big Ten presidents and the Pac-12 presidents, and I think we're largely aligned in thinking a plus-one with a different ranking after the bowl games to select No. 1 and 2 would be acceptable. Our second choice would probably be a four-team playoff inside the bowls. Our highest priority is to preserve the status of the Rose Bowl and our connection to it."
The Jim Delany of several months ago would've been all "I SEE YOU PERLMAN, B1G STAND UP!" Alas, Perlman was a bit tardy in coming to the commissioner's aid, because, you see, the Big Ten is slow in all aspects of life. Our linebackers are slow, Big Ten presidents are slow in showing support for an initiative that the conference's head honcho doesn't even back anymore, Big Ten tailgaters are slow to make it to their respective stadiums on Saturdays after guzzling their daily allotments of Velveeta cheese at the wee hours of the morning, etc. So, is it really a surprise that our fair conference's academic representatives would be slow in attempting to publicly back the Rose Bowl-centric agenda? Of course not!

As Hinnen notes, this is largely irrelevant, as nobody really cares what Perlman, MSC, and the rest of the B1G presidents have to say about this issue. Jim Delany, Larry Scott, Mike Slive, and, now, Bob Bowlsby, will drag the sport kicking and screaming into the future.

As for the Rose Bowl, before moving to the South, I was only able to experience one of them as a kid in the Midwest (the 1998 game against Washington State). Of course, Michigan has lost in its three subsequent appearances, since then, so I might not have the warm, romantic feelings that folks a little older than I might have about the game, the spectacle, the event. It's probably a different feeling, a different attachment, for those older than I, folks that have grown up with the Rose Bowl as a central part of college football and Michigan football more specifically, of course. "The Grandaddy of Them All", when it once meant something. As a 23 year old in 2012, I appreciate the game and all that it stands for, although much of that feeling is admittedly retroactively applied in nature. The Rose Bowl and its special place in the heart of Big Ten/Pac 12 fans will never go away; however, it's obvious that it, like many things, will become a necessary casualty of change.

*Delany's native tongue is in fact some form of pretentious, dismissive, and mostly unintelligible muttering.

Realignment codified: Have you, like I, been wondering what is left, exactly, after the dust has settled after the furious run of expansion of the last couple of years? Well, Stewart Mandel helpfully compiles a list of all moves, big and small. It's somewhat amusing to remember that the Big Ten essentially kicked this whole bad habit into overdrive. Indeed, the Big Ten is known for not being stodgy and afraid of change.

In retrospect, the most absurd/sad/hilarious items of the bunch:

  • Nebraska to the Big Ten-Because the Big Ten DID SOMETHING. ANYTHING. I mean, who foresaw that? I'm actually non-sarcastically and legitimately impressed. 
  • Boise State and San Diego State to the Big East--Because geography. 
  • Independents adds BYU, loses Navy: Bold move by Independents dropping a national brand for an entity like BYU. What media markets do the Cougars bring to the Independents? After all, Navy did bring, oh, just a little thing called ALL OF THE OCEANS, which I'm pretty sure represents a bigger television footprint than that of Rutgers University. 
  • Conference USA adding FIU, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, UT-San Antonio*, and an abandoned Waffle House off of I-20 in Apocalypse, Texas--Conference USA heard the phrase "less is more" and thought "I'm going to just go ahead and do the opposite of what you just said, Common Sense."
  • Memphis to the Big East--Despite having gone through the Jay Hopson Experience and winning only two games in 2011, Memphis gets rewarded by being offered an invitation to a major conference. This is analogous to contributing literally nothing to a group project for school and then receiving a C- for said project. Great job? 
  • The WAC has been whacked--RIP actually somewhat entertaining minor conference that gave us Boise State, Pat Hill's mustache, Colin Kaepernick, and Hawaii in a BCS bowl game against an SEC team. Heck, even Utah State gave us an entertaining bowl game in mid-December (if you don't remember, that probably means you have a life). It's been fun. 
  • Texas A&M to the SEC--This means that, at some point in the future, Texas A&M will descend upon Nashville, TN for a football game against the Vanderbilt Commodores. Think about that. A&M fans and Vanderbilt fans, all in the same place at the same time for ostensibly the same reasons. 
So, there you have it. College football makes no sense, but, like all change in this thing we call life, we'll get used to it eventually. 

*This is a real thing apparently. 

Shane Morris is that guy: Shane at the Elite 11, via maizedandconfused:

These sorts of shenanigans--this "photo-bombing"--are unbecoming of a Michigan Man. It is quite rude indeed to ruin what would otherwise have been a perfectly nice photo. It shows a me-first, pre-Madonna (sic) attitude that will not fly at Michigan.
/Michigan Man'd

Luckily, this wasn't the NFL combine or Shane would be having dozens of scouts on his case citing "character concerns" after such an outrageous stunt. "Football between legs shows flippant lack of respect for THE GAME. Photo-bombing shows immaturity. Draft with caution."

Jack Johnson leads America to victory: The United States took on Canada at the hockey world championships in Helsinki over the weekend, and this would not necessarily be notable in this space if not for the game-winner being notched by none other than team captain Jack Johnson. The USA won this one 5-4, with JJ's winner coming less than two minutes into the overtime period. Despite a somewhat disappointing tenure in Los Angeles, paired with the ignominious outcome that is being traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets, one can only hope that a strong performance and a strong leadership presence in these games can give JJ what he needs to pick it up a bit going forward.

FWIW, Canadien forward and former Wolverine Max Pacioretty also participated (he gets a brief mention in the article linked up there). Also FWIW, I am no Wings fan but Jimmy Howard stopped 42 of the 46 shots that came his way.

This was a big one for the USA, as this marks only the USA's fourth victory--against 38 losses--against the Canadians in the World Championships, a tournament which has been around since 1931. The USA will take on Slovakia this afternoon at 1:15 ET on the NBC Sports Network, for those that are interested in watching/DVRing.

More? Unless you're a Bulls fan this probably won't mean much to you, but this is a well-written article about Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry and the general unpredictability of young talent in the NBA. Sounds like we should be on basketball commitment watch re: Caris LeVert.

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