May 31, 2010

The Road to Omaha



In case you missed the NCAA baseball selection show today at 12:30 -- Virginia received the #5 national seed, which means we're a regional host and [if we win said regional] a super-regional host.

Our region:
#1-seed, #5 national seed -- Virginia
#2 -- Ole Miss
#3 -- St. John's
#4 -- VCU

Regional play is basically just a four-team double-elimination tournament. We play VCU on Friday at 4:00 PM to get the festivities started.

You might remember Ole Miss from last year -- they hosted the super regional we won to advance to the College World Series, so they are a somewhat familiar potential foe. The Rebs feature a pitcher that many think is the best in college baseball -- Drew Pomeranz. Pom is downright nasty, and sports an 8-2 record, 2.21 ERA, and has tallied 134 strikeouts in 93 innings. Yikes. Luckily for the Hoos, it's widely rumored that Pom will get the start against St. John's on Friday!

Speaking of the Red Storm, they just beat national superpower Louisville twice to win the Big East Tournament. It looks like St. John's runs hot and cold, but are rolling into the postseason definitely running hot. They can be dangerous.

VCU always has a quality team, but we were able to beat them 10-5 back on May 4th. I don't know much about what they have going on this year, but they honestly don't scare me much as the 4-seed in our regional. Knock on wood.


I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, but if we survive our regional (and with 4,800+ Hoo fans at full throat, I feel like we'll have a decided homefield advantage), we would then host the winner of the Norman, Oklahoma regional in the Charlottesville super regional. The teams playing in Norman are #1-seed Oklahoma, #2 Cal, #3 North Carolina, and #4 Oral Roberts.


Click it HERE to take a look at the entire tournament bracket!

GO HOOS!

May 28, 2010

Bummer.

Yesterday's ugly 11-4 loss to Florida State coupled with today's 12-2 shellacking Boston College received from the Seminoles has effectively eliminated Virginia from ACC championship game contention.

If we beat Miami tomorrow, we finish round-robin play at 2-1, tied with FSU. They take the head-to-head tiebreaker and play on Sunday.

If we lose to Miami, the Canes end up tied with Noles, and since Miami beat FSU on Wednesday night, they would play in Sunday's championship game.

So for tomorrow's game against Miami, Florida State coaches, players, and fans are huge UVA fans. For the Hoos, the game is meaningless. We'll probably still pitch Danny Hultzen, to give him another chance to work his way out of his mini-slump and get ready for the regional next weekend.

And that's just it. The ACC championship is great, but we have bigger fish to fry this season.

Back to Omaha, or BUST.

May 27, 2010

Virginia Rallies for 6-4 Win


GREENSBORO, N.C. - Jarrett Parker (Jr., Stafford, Va.) hit a two-out, two-run single in the eighth inning to break a 4-all tie and lift the top-seeded Virginia baseball team to a 6-4 victory over No. 8 seed Boston College Wednesday in the opening game of the 2010 ACC Baseball Championship at NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro, N.C. The Cavaliers trailed 4-3 entering the eighth inning before scoring three in the eighth for the victory.

Tyler Wilson (Jr., Midlothian, Va.) earned the win for Virginia and improved to 7-3 this season. He tossed 2.1 innings of scoreless relief and struck out three. Kevin Arico (Jr., Flemington, N.J.) struck out the game's final two batters to notch his NCAA-leading 16th save of the season. Taylor Lasko (4-2) took the loss for BC after giving up a pair of runs in the eighth inning.

Both starting pitchers had excellent performances. Virginia starting pitcher Cody Winiarski (Jr., Franksville, Wis.) worked six innings and also pitched to the first three batters in the seventh inning. Winiarski allowed four earned runs, five hits and no walks while striking out four.

Boston College starter Pat Dean worked seven innings and pitched to the first batter in the eighth inning. Dean locked down the ACC's top offense, allowing just four earned runs, two hits and three walks while striking out six.

The Cavaliers tied a season low with five hits, but they made them count as all five directly led to UVa runs. Leadoff hitter Phil Gosselin (Jr., West Chester, Pa.) went 2-for-2 and reached base in all four of his plate appearances. He scored twice and stole a base. Dan Grovatt (Jr., Tabernacle, N.J.) also hit a two-run home run.

Virginia (46-10) struggled for answers all day against Dean, managing just two hits - both on home runs in the first 2.1 innings. The Cavaliers scored in the opening inning on a Grovatt two-run homer to right field. The long ball was Grovatt's seventh of the season.

Boston College (29-27) answered with a run in the second inning when Anthony Melchionda hit a one-out double down the right-field line, moved to third on a balk and scored on a Mike Sudol sacrifice fly.

The Cavaliers used the long ball to score again in the third inning when Phil Gosselin homered onto the hillside behind the left-center field wall for his eighth dinger of the year. The hit was UVa's final one until the eighth inning.

Winiarski faced the minimum nine batters from the fourth through sixth innings before Boston College forged ahead with a three-run seventh inning. Mickey Wiswall led off with a single and scored on a two-run home run to right-center by John Spatola, which tied the game. Melchionda then doubled on the next pitch, which spelled the end of the day for Winiarski. Wilson entered in relief and allowed a run-scoring double to Sudol to give BC the 4-3 lead, but he buckled down to strand Sudol at third and prevent further damage.

The Cavaliers rallied with three runs in the eighth. Pinch hitter Stephen Bruno (Fr., Audubon, N.J.) coaxed a leadoff walk from Dean, who was replaced by reliever Taylor Lasko. Keith Werman (So., Vienna, Va.) sacrificed Bruno to second on a two-strike pitch, and Gosselin followed with a single to move Bruno to third. Tyler Cannon (Sr., Pigeon Forge, Tenn.) then singled in Bruno to tie the game. Grovatt drew a walk to load the bases, and Matt Brazis came on to face Parker, who ripped a single up the middle to plate Gosselin and Cannon and give UVa a 6-4 lead.

Boston College threatened in the ninth when Melchionda singled to center with one out and Sudol walked. Arico entered and struck out pinch hitter Matt McGovern. The runners advanced to second and third on a passed ball before Arico whiffed Matt Watson to end the game.

Virginia continues ACC play at 4 p.m. Thursday when it battles No. 5 seed Florida State.



This was a big win for the Hoos. I think Winiarski is our 4th best starting pitcher right now, with freshman fireballer Branden Kline pitching so well as of late. To win a game that Winiarski started is a great thing, especially against BC's ace, on a day Dean was straight dealing. My only regret is how much Tyler Wilson pitched. He'll probably be available for Saturday's game, but not before.

With Florida State losing to Miami last night, these are the standings in division A in the ACC Championship:

#1 Virginia 1-0
#4 Miami 1-0
#5 Florida State 0-1
#8 Boston College 0-1

This afternoon's game against FSU doesn't matter all that much in the grand scheme of things. Our would-be berth in Sunday's championship game hangs in the balance on Saturday, when we play Miami. Win or lose today, a win on Saturday advances us to the championship game. Ties are broken by the head-to-head, and if more than two teams are tied at 2-1, the highest seed advances. So we're in really good shape right now.

Robert Morey is scheduled to start the game against FSU today, Danny Hultzen on Saturday against Miami, and Kline on Sunday if we make it to the championship game.

GO HOOS!

May 24, 2010

ACC Baseball Championship




After earning a hard-fought series victory against Miami in Coral Gables this weekend, Virginia Baseball secured the #1 overall seed in the 2010 ACC Baseball Championship. Action begins this week, with the championship game scheduled for Sunday at 1:00 PM.

Here's how it works...

There are two four-team "divisions" in the championship system. The #1 seed (Virginia), the #4 seed (Miami), the #5 seed (Florida State), and the #8 seed (Boston College) are in division A. The #2 seed (Clemson), the #3 seed (Georgia Tech), the #6 seed (Virginia Tech), and the #7 seed (NC State) are in division B. Each team plays three games against the other teams in their division. The division winners (with the best record in each division after head-to-head play) advance to Sunday's championship game.

Virginia's schedule:
Wednesday, 12:00 noon --- vs. Boston College
Thursday, 4:00 PM --- vs. Florida State
Saturday, 12:00 noon --- vs. Miami

TheACC.com's site for the ACC Baseball Championship.


Last year, we won this event as the #6 seed, after beating Clemson, North Carolina, and Duke in our "division" and then beating Florida State in the championship. That success in the ACCs fueled our run in the NCAA Tournament. Thus, I think it's important that we show well again this week in Greensboro.

It's important, but it's not crucial. I know we've already locked up hosting rights for the first round regional, and I think we've already secured a national top-8 seed, which would have us hosting a second round super regional if we advance out of the first round.

Home field advantage is great, but it's momentum that will carry the day. That's why it's important that we play well in Greensboro.

GO HOOS!

May 17, 2010

ACConESPN




Good news for ACC fans this fine Monday morning! ESPN outbid Fox for ACC television rights.


From the Triangle Business Journal:

ESPN won the TV rights to ACC football and basketball in a bidding competition with Fox Sports that was surprisingly close, industry sources say, and as a result made the conference several million more dollars.

The back-and-forth bidding, which reached its final stages last week at the league’s spring meetings in Amelia Island, Fla., drove up ESPN’s rights fee from initial projections of about $120 million a year to $155 million, sources said, providing the ACC with more than double the revenue it was receiving from its previous football and basketball contracts.

ESPN’s increase was in response to an unexpectedly strong pursuit by Fox Sports and sources familiar with the negotiations say the bidding was neck-and-neck last week.

The ACC broke from its spring meetings without announcing a new deal, and the conference said a formal contract had not been finalized. But industry sources pegged a pending deal with ESPN at $1.86 billion over 12 years .

That annual figure of $155 million dwarfs the average of $67 million the league was getting from its previous media deals, which expire at the end of the 2010-11 season, but falls well short of the $205 million a year that the SEC gets from its new 15-year deals with CBS and ESPN.

Raycom Sports, a 30-year partner with the conference, is expected to continue running the syndicated package of football and basketball by sublicensing those games from ESPN.

It is unclear what digital rights are included, but the deal is thought to be an all-encompassing arrangement between the ACC and ESPN that includes online and broadband.

With the new package, ESPN will continue to choose from the ACC’s full selection of football games for its Thursday night programming, as well as its Saturday afternoon and night games on ABC. The basketball package keeps the highly rated North Carolina-Duke game on ESPN, and the network typically broadcasts ACC action on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights during the week, in addition to Saturdays. It remains to be seen if FSN will continue its Sunday night basketball programming by purchasing those games from ESPN in the new contract.

To win the rights, ESPN had to stave off Fox, which sent its big guns to Amelia Island to make its final bid. Fox was represented by Chase Carey, the chief operating officer for parent company News Corp.; Fox Sports President Ed Goren; and Fox Sports Networks President Randy Freer. Their bid included over-the-air and cable components, with a game of the week on Fox Sports and other games throughout the week on FX and FSN.

ESPN had executive vice presidents John Skipper and John Wildhack, and Burke Magnus, senior vice president of college sports, at the meetings for its final pitch.

Ken Haines, the longtime president of Charlotte-based Raycom Sports and a familiar figure around the ACC meetings, made his final presentation as well.

ACC Commissioner John Swofford and the ACC’s media consultant, IMG’s Barry Frank, led the talks on the conference side.

That Fox made such a competitive bid could be considered a heartening development for the Pac-10 and Big 12 conferences, which are next in line to negotiate new media contracts. Both have rights expiring in 2012.

Turner Sports, which recently acquired with CBS the NCAA’s rights to broadcast the men’s basketball tournament through 2024, could be a factor in future rights negotiations as it seeks regular-season college programming to go with its NCAA package.

Those networks might provide some much-needed competition in the college space for these conference deals, which have been dominated by ESPN.

The ACC’s new contract, which will take the league through the 2022-23 season, will be structured differently than its previous contracts. In the past, the ACC sold its football rights to ESPN, while Raycom bought the basketball rights. Other broadcasters who wanted ACC basketball, such as CBS, ESPN and FSN, acquired their games from Raycom.

The new deal puts the football and basketball rights in ESPN’s basket, from which Raycom, FSN and others will purchase their games.



Each ACC school will receive $12.9 million annually. Compare that to ~$17 mil for SEC schools and $22+ mil for Big Ten schools, pending increased revenue via the Big Ten Network.

This deal puts the ACC solidly in the #3 spot amongst the "big six" conferences when it comes to TV revenue. The Big 12 is #4, and averages ~$8.5 mil per school, but their system isn't true revenue sharing -- only half of the Big 12's TV money is divided evenly. The other half goes into an appearance pool. The schools that earn the most money are the ones who appear for football TV games and basketball nonconference games. Credits also are issued for NCAA tournament appearances.

#5 is the Pac-10. It's schools average ~$8 mil. But the Pac-10 TV deal is expiring and will be re-negotiated. The expectation is that the Pac-10 will climb to just above $12 mil per school; right around the ACC's level.

#6 is the Big East at ~$5 mil per school.


What does this mean? I think two things: 1) The ACC has just protected itself from being raided by conference expansion. 2) The Big 12 and Big East are extremely susceptible to raiding. Their flawed revenue sharing system and relatively low TV deals make them easy prey.

May 13, 2010

"Virginia Football: The Building of a Program"



I'ma DVR the crap outta this.

“Virginia Football: The Building of a Program” is an 18-part television series that will air on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic and online at VirginiaSportsTV.com and VirginiaFootball2010.com. Each episode will deliver an in-depth look at the building of the football program under first-year head coach Mike London.

The Virginia athletics department will produce the series in conjunction with the Emmy Award-winning NASCAR Media Group. The first episode will air on Comcast SportsNet Monday, May 17 at 9:30 p.m. Each episode will also be available online every Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. beginning May 18 at VirginiaSportsTV.com and VirginiaFootball2010.com. The final episode will air the week following Virginia’s opening football game against Richmond.

“We hope this show will give people a unique perspective for what it takes to build a football program,” said Jon Oliver, Virginia’s Executive Associate Athletics Director. “The show’s format is inspired by the HBO Sports Productions ‘Hard Knocks’ and ‘Jimmie Johnson: The Road to Daytona.’ This series will allow fans to see the inner-workings of the organization and truly get to know everybody involved in the program. Coach London’s been very supportive of this project and we appreciate his willingness to allow the cameras into meetings, practices, and other team activities.”

Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic delivers more than 500 live sporting events per year, along with Emmy Award-winning news, analysis and entertainment programming, to more than 4.6 million homes throughout the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

The broadcast schedule on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Altantic for each of the episodes is listed below. Dates and times are subject to change.



“Virginia Football: The Building of a Program”
Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic Programming Schedule:

Episode #1
Monday, May 17, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, May 18, 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 18, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, May 19, 9 p.m.
Monday, May 24, 9:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 25, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, May 26, 7 p.m.
Friday, May 28, 7 p.m.

Episode #2
Monday, May 24, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, May 25, 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 26, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, May 28, 7:30 p.m.
Monday, May 31, 9:30 p.m.
Tuesday, June 1, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, June 2, 9 p.m.

Episode #3
Monday, May 31, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, June 1, 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, June 2, 9:30 p.m.
Friday, June 4, 9:30 p.m.
Monday, June 7, 9:30 p.m.
Tuesday, June 8, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, June 9, 9 p.m.

Episode #4
Monday, June 7, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, June 8, 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, June 9, 9:30 p.m.
Friday, June 11, 9:30 p.m.
Monday, June 14, 9:30 p.m.
Tuesday, June 15, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, June 16, 9 p.m.

Episode #5
Monday, June 14, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, June 15, 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, June 16, 9:30 p.m.
Friday, June 18, 9:30 p.m.
Monday, June 21, 9:30 p.m.
Tuesday, June 22, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, June 23, 9 p.m.

Episode #6
Monday, June 21, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, June 22, 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, June 23, 9:30 p.m.
Friday, June 25, 9:30 p.m.
Monday, June 28, 9:30 p.m.
Tuesday, June 29, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, June 30, 9 p.m.

Episode #7
Monday, June 28, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, June 29, 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, June 30, 9:30 p.m.
Friday, July 2, 9:30 p.m.
Monday, July 5, 9:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 6, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, July 7, 9 p.m.

Episode #8
Monday, July 5, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, July 6, 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 7, 9:30 p.m.
Friday, July 9, 9:30 p.m.
Monday, July 12, 9:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 13, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, July 14, 9 p.m.

Episode #9
Monday, July 12, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, July 13, 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 14, 9:30 p.m.
Friday, July 16, 9:30 p.m.
Monday, July 19, 9:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 20, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, July 21, 9 p.m.

Episode #10
Monday, July 19, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, July 20, 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 21, 9:30 p.m.
Friday, July 23, 9:30 p.m.
Monday, July 26, 9:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 27, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, July 28, 9 p.m.

Episode #11
Monday, July 26, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, July 27, 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 28, 9:30 p.m.
Friday, July 30, 9:30 p.m.
Monday, August 2, 9:30 p.m.
Tuesday, August 3, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, August 4, 9 p.m.

Episode #12
Monday, August 2, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, August 3, 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, August 4, 9:30 p.m.
Friday, August 6, 9:30 p.m.
Monday, August 9, 9:30 p.m.
Tuesday, August 10, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, August 11, 9 p.m.

Episode #13
Monday, August 9, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, August 10, 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, August 11, 9:30 p.m.
Monday, August 16, 9:30 p.m.
Tuesday, August 17, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, August 18, 9 p.m.

Episode #14
Monday, August 16, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, August 17, 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, August 18, 9:30 p.m.
Friday, August 20, 9:30 p.m.

Episode #15
Monday, August 23, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, August 24, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, August 25, 9 p.m.

Episode #16
Monday, August 23, 9:30 p.m.
Tuesday, August 24, 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, August 25, 9:30 p.m.
Tuesday, August 31, 4 p.m.

Episode #17
Monday, August 30, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, August 31, 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, September 1, 9:30 p.m.
Friday, September 3, 9:30 p.m.
Monday, September 6, 9:30 p.m.
Tuesday, September 7, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, September 8, 9 p.m.

Episode #18
Monday, September 6, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, September 7, 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, September 8, 9:30 p.m.
Friday, September 10, 9:30 p.m.

May 11, 2010

Andy Katz on Big Ten Expansion

Andy Katz on Big Ten Expansion

If you don't want to blow three minutes watching it, here are the Cliffs Notes: The offers aren't *official* yet, but thqat might just be a technicality. Missouri, Nebraska, and Rutgers will jump at the Big Ten's offer. Notre Dame has a tough decision to make. The Big Ten is also eying Vanderbilt, Maryland, and Georgia Tech.

Nuts.

May 10, 2010

The First Domino Falls...




Big Ten makes initial offer to Big 12 pair
The Big Ten Conference has extended initial offers to join the league to four universities including Missouri and Nebraska from the Big 12, according to multiple sources close to the negotiations.

While nothing can be approved until the Big Ten presidents and chancellors meet the first week of June in Chicago, the league has informed the two Big 12 schools, Notre Dame and Rutgers that it would like to have them join. It is not yet clear whether the Big Ten will expand to 14 or 16 teams but sources indicated Missouri and Nebraska are invited in either scenario. Notre Dame has repeatedly declined the opportunity to join the Big Ten. If Notre Dame remains independent, Rutgers would be the 14th team. The Big Ten would then decide whether to stop at 14 or extend offers to two other schools. If Notre Dame joins, sources say an offer will be extended to one other school* making it a 16-team league.

In order for the University of Missouri to join the Big Ten, the Missouri Board of Regents will still have to approve the move. Sources close to the governing body say the Big Ten has told officials that Mizzou could add $1.3 million per month in revenue to the lucrative Big Ten Television Network. The Big Ten Network is currently offered on basic cable to very few of over 7 million residents living in Missouri television markets and adding it throughout the state will be a windfall for the conference.

Big Ten representatives have also told Missouri officials they would like to have the entire expansion process wrapped up this summer with a formal announcement coming no later than July.

The University of Missouri is currently under contract with the Big 12 conference and will have to pay a stiff penalty to leave the Big 12. The Big 12 charter states any member will lose between 50 and 100 percent of its shared annual revenue depending on the length of notice any school gives. According to published reports, Missouri receives around $9 million annually in shared football revenue from the Big 12. According to sources, it seems likely Missouri would give one- year notice. It is projected that Missouri's football revenues would increase by $10 million or more per year when it joins the Big Ten versus what it currently receives in the Big 12.


*My guess is that the other school is Pittsburgh.


This is the first real nudge; the first push toward tectonic conference realignment. So how will the dominoes fall...? And how will the shifting plates ultimately affect the college football landscape?

My [extremely educated and well-read] guesses as of now:

1) Mizzou and Rutgers want to join the Big Ten. Openly. They'll both eagerly, greedily, and immediately accept their invitations, and the Big Ten Network (henceforth known as the "BTN") will grow into the rich Missouri and New York media markets.

2) Nebraska doesn't want to leave Texas behind. But the grass is much greener in the Big Ten. They'll drag their feet a bit, but the Huskers will join Mizzou and Rutgers.

3) Notre Dame is the key. They make $15mil/year from their ongoing NBC deal. The Big Ten can offer at least $22mil, and probably much more, via the BTN. The Irish will join the Big Ten, finally, after many, many, many long decades of holding out. And the BTN will be on basic cable in almost every home in the US. $$$ $$$ $$$ $$$ $$$ Dollar, dollar bills yo.

4) Poised at 15 teams, the Big Ten will add one more school -- Pitt -- to round out their conference at 16. The first SUPERCONFERENCE is born. (Sorry WAC, but your 16-team conference doesn't count. And Big East, nice try, but we're talking about football here.)

5) Not to be outdone by Jim Delaney and the Big Ten/Sixteen, Mike Slive will quickly move to expand his SEC to 16 teams. Invitations will be sent to Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State, as a four-school package deal built around the Texas superpower.

6) Texas is the biggest crown jewel in all of this assorted conference expansion and realignment business, probably even bigger than Notre Dame. But if the Longhorns are stubborn and decide to try to hold the Big 12 together, it would really surprise me. I think they will lead their quartet into the SEC to form SUPERCONFERENCE #2, leaving behind the poor crippled remains of the Big 12 -- K-State, Iowa State, Colorado, Kansas, Texas Tech, and Baylor.

7) Larry Scott, the commissioner of the Pac-10, has been eyeballing expansion just as Delaney has. The major difference is that the Pac-10 doesn't have the BTN or the SEC's cache, and thus, doesn't have the big money to throw around in its expansion bid. Wanting to expand gently and gracefully, the Pac-10 decides to add two schools to get to 12, the NCAA's minimum for a lucrative championship game in football. The Big 12's demise is the Pac-10's gain, as the conference cherry picks Colorado. To land #12, they raid the Mountain West and invite Utah to the fold. Both schools accept the Pac-10/12's advances happily, eyelids batting.

8) The Big East is damaged by the defections of Rutgers and Pitt, but the conference is not dead. In fact, the Big East has weathered worse storms than this. They just need two football-playing schools to replace the two they lost to the Big Ten/Sixteen, to have a chance to defend their conference BCS auto-bid. Keeping in mind that basketball runs the conference now, the Big East identifies Memphis as its primary target. Needing an 8th team for football, the Big East carefully weighs the pros and cons of Temple (for the basketball tradition), ECU (for relatively strong football), and UCF (for an increased toehold in the Florida media market)... and eventually opts to invite Temple back into the conference. Memphis and Temple join the Big East, mitigating the football loss and completely overcoming the basketball loss. Say what you will, but the Big East are a bunch of survivors.

9) The ACC stands strong, unscathed by all of the commotion in the conferences around them. (However, if Texas spurns the SEC's overtures, Miami, Florida State, Georgia Tech, and Clemson could end up receiving invitations... which I think could be cataclysmic for the ACC. I'm not too worried about that right now, because I think Texas will go to the SEC. It makes too much sense for the Longhorns.)

10) The five remnants of the picked-clean Big 12 will pull together and issue strong invitations to the best the Mountain West, WAC, and C-USA have to offer, in an effort to outclass the new-look Big East and save their BCS auto-bid. How about TCU, BYU, Boise State, Fresno State, Houston, UNLV, and Nevada joining with Kansas State, Iowa State, Kansas, Texas Tech, and Baylor in the NEW Big 12? Not too shabby, and not bad at basketball, either.

11) What's left of the Mountain West joins back together with what's left of the WAC to form the West Coast Unwanted Conference -- WCUC. (I don't actually think it will be named that.)

11) As the dust settles, we're left with two SUPERCONFERENCES: The Big Sixteen and the SEC, two strong 12-team conferences next in the pecking order: the ACC and the Pac-12, two decent third-tier conferences: the Big East and the NEW Big 12, and a handful of lesser conferences: C-USA, the MAC, the Sun Belt, and WCUC.


That's what, if I had to wager, I think will happen. It's a little bit out on a limb, but I can really see the dominoes fall in that way.


But what if one of two things happen:

A) Texas rejects the SEC, and Slive then comes after Miami, Florida State, Georgia Tech, and Clemson? Would the ACC be content to go back to eight teams, lose its championship game, and potentially lose its BCS auto-bid? Not likely.

B) Texas goes to the SEC, but John Swofford and the ACC decide they too want to expand to 16 teams and forge the third SUPERCONFERENCE?

Either way, the ACC would need to add four new schools to the fold. My guesses for those schools are ECU, UConn, Syracuse... and West Virginia. Maybe Louisville. Maybe UCF.


Hang on for dear life, college football fans. It's going to be a wild ride.

May 7, 2010

Exposure and Expectations Rise for Virginia Baseball





If you haven't had the chance to really follow the baseball team 'til now, here's a nice read from ESPN's Anna Katherine Clemmons. This piece really sets the stage for our last two series (home against UNC the weekend of the 15th and at Miami the weekend of the 22nd) and for our trip to the ACC Tournament in Greensboro and our retun to the NCAA postseason. Enjoy!

Exposure, expectations rise for Virginia

May 5, 2010

Read this.




If you're anything like me, you're completely enthralled by the conversation surrounding Big Ten expansion, and how that conference's ultimate decision could set tumbling a string of dominoes that will alter college sports forever.

If you're anything like me, you're hungry to read more and more about the possibilities of conference expansion and the creation of the SUPERCONFERENCES.

If you're anything like me, you'll love reading this: The Colossal Conference Grind-up