Friday, July 17, 2009

Big Ten News O' the Week

Just when you thought the "Slowest sports week of the year" couldn't get any worse, we get today's weather forecast: cloudly with a record low-high of 58 degrees- IN FREAKING JULY!!!!!!!!! Good lord if we're going to get October weather, why can't it just be October? It might be my favorite month here in Minnesota as the weather is cool, crisp and refreshing (not unlike one of my other favorite things- beer. By the way, am I a snob because I can't get enough Newcastle right now? The best liquor store in the Twin Cities is the one beside Rainbow Foods on Snelling and University in St. Paul because they have a ginormous selection and ridiculously low prices, like a 12 pack of Newcastle for 12 bucks. I mean really- how does it get any better than that- well ok unless someone is paying for my Newcastle. Anyone? Anyone? No? Ok then. Lately I've found myself asking myself the question of "why aren't you drinking a Newcastle right now?" And you know what? There's really not a good comeback to that one. There's really no excuse to NOT be drinking a Newcastle if you're not already drinking one. Maybe someone has a scenario where you shouldn't be, but I can't think of one), college football season is in full swing, plus baseball playoffs, the NFL, and for those that care, also some pro hockey league going on. Oh and Oktoberfest! We might- and by might I mean we MUST- have a gopherfootballblog Oktoberfest get-together this fall. Even if it's just me and Jer I think it would be worth it. Seriously, how great is October? It's not even scalable if you think about. I DO know it's a helluva lot better than this week in July when it's 58 degrees outside!!!!!

Anyway, where was I? Something about the Big Ten News of the Week on the slowest week of the year...

- I think we've covered about all the Gopher-related news earlier in the week- and thus far none of it has really been good, so in review...

...Star HB recruit Hasan Lipscomb and last year's starting FS Tremaine Brock were both officially rule inelgible for the upcoming season because of grades. While both players certainly would have helped, I maintain neither were vital for 2009. Lipscomb very well could have been the starter, but then again, he was having to beat out four other guys who return with talent and experience. I was actually surprised to hear Brock even had a shot at returning this fall, as I thought when dropped out of school in January he was officially done. He was certainly talented and a big part of their D last year, but Scony transfer Kim Royston should be more than adequate as the new starter back there. Obviously it's never good to lose a possible starter on defense and possibly your best recruit from your incoming class, but the Gophers can survive this year without them. However, this is two years in a row now that coach Tim Brewster has had his top recruit miss the season because of grades, so in order to build a successful program, hopefully the academic issues of the guys he targets will be an exception and not a trend.

...It's been a week now since Pioneer Press writer/blogger Marcus Fuller reported Hayo Carpenter's JC coach said Carpenter was "On his way, transcripts in hand"- and yet there's still no sign of the star wide receiver. Hayo needs to enroll- and soon- in order to be eligible for the 2009 season. Losing Carpenter- well ok technically you can't lose something you never had- so not getting Carpenter on the field this year would be a huge blow to the Gophers offense, as he was expected to be the starter opposite Eric Deceker this fall. Carpenter is a legit big-play deep threat would complement Decker extremely well and add another dymanic weapon to the offense. Here's hoping we'll be saying HAYO!!! to Hayo very, very soon.

...the Sporting News have the Gophers ranked as the 50th best team in college football to start 2009. I won't argue that one too much, as the Gophs certainly have some questions to be answered after the five game losing streak and blow-out losses to Iowa and Kansas to end last season. In the Sporting News rankings of the top 100, the Gophs are ahead of other Big Ten schools Northwestern (Number 57), Illinois (60), Purdue (76), and Indiana (not even ranked in the top 100- yeah that hurts. What hurts for Gopher fans is that Indiana is not on the schedule this year or next).

Of the six other Big Ten teams ranked in the top 50 along with Minnesota only two, Ohio State (9) and Penn State (12), were ranked in the top 25, with Iowa (26), Michigan State (31), Michigan (38), and Wisconsin (47) falling in that next group of 25. The only real beef I have with those rankings is Michigan at 38. Really? A 3-9 team from last year who will start a true freshman at quarterback and will have one of the younger and more inexperienced teams in the country is 38th best? Puh-lease. Rich Rodriguez WILL get the Wolverines back competiting for Big Ten titles and choking in bowl games before long, but they'll be lucky to go bowling this year, let alone finish as the 38th best team in the country. If that same team were Michigan State instead of the Maize and Blue they'd be ranked 68th instead of 38th. And yet I'm sure Michigan fans will still whine about a low ranking. Whatever. know it's a slow week for college football news, and sports news in general, when E!SPN takes a break from their sports man-gossip rumor mongering to give Utah Senator Orrin Hatch his own op-ed article on why the BCS is a crapshoot. Thanks Orrin, but we already know the BCS is a crapshoot. We didn't need your 969 whiny words to further prove the point, and we certainly didn't need a congressional hearing on it either. Actually, that wasn't even the point Hatch was trying to make. Sure, the title of his article was "Current BCS System Limits Competition" it's just the content of his article and argument has nothing to do with on-field competition, and everything to do with not getting more of the BCS Benjamins.

If you want to put yourself to sleep, read the article. Or I can save you the time and tell you he briefly mentions a few times how it's unfair that Utah and Boise State get excluded, but what he's really peeved about is the big bucks the Big Six conferences get from the BCS. As usual, here's another rich dude claiming to be championing the cause for fans of an unfair system and yet all he wants is more money is his constituents pockets. Last week on the Dan Patrick Show (scroll down to Friday, July 10) Hatch talked for 10 minutes about the unfairness of the BCS system, but only once, and only when prompted by Patrick, did he talk about how unfair it was that deserving teams from non-BCS conferences didn't get to play for a national title. The rest of the interview, and I'm not exaggerating, he whined about how unfair it is that Utah and the rest of the the Mountain West can't get more revenue from BCS bowl games. Revenue, revenue, revenue. It's all he really cares about, and he's trying to use Congress (because of course what else would Congress do with their time? Help fix the economy? Figure out a health care system that makes sense? Hell no! Not when we've got more important issues to solve like the BCS and steroids in baseball!!!) to get at that money.

Well you can guess how that actually went. For all his huffing and puffing the Mountain West took a sweetened deal from the BCS and E!SPN to get a little more of the BCS Benjamins and shut the f up. Hatch claims that had they not signed it, the "little guys" would have been shut out completely, so they had no choice and did so reluctantly.

You know what else would have shut the little guys out completely? If Hatch and his cronies had actually succeded in getting rid of the BCS. Stewart Mandell of (bring back the Mailbag Crush, Stew! Bring it back!) wrote a great piece before the hearings even started on what a total and utter waste of time the whole "Hatch Hearings" would be. Not only was he 100% correct, but he also had this quote from Nebraska chancellor Harvey Pearlman:

"The alternative is not a playoff," said Perlman. "The alternative is to go back to the system we had. That's fine. Many of us would think that's not a bad outcome."

Yep, no matter how tough Hatch talks, he cannot and will not be able to impose a playoff system (i.e. a way to get smaller conferences more money) on college football. The NCAA does what is deemed best for its members, and its members- the BCS conference schools, which are still the majority- do not want a playoff, and won't be forced into one. How funny it would have been if Hatch strong-armed the BCS into oblivion (or "Bolivia" as Mike Tyson once said. Good to see him making a comeback in "The Hangover". If you haven't seen that movie yet, leave work right now and run to your nearest theater. It's Friday, your boss won't notice. Tigers love pepper. They HATE cinnamon), only to have the NCAA go right back to the old bowl system where the little guys Hatch claims he was fighting for get completely shut out of the Big Bowls.

Personally, I'd be all for that. Sure, an eight team playoff (and no more than eight), or even a "Plus-One" system, would be the best solution, but since we're not likely to see either of those, I'd much prefer the old bowl system to the BCS. At least with the old system we were guaranteed great matchups in the Big Four Bowls and actually had them all played on New Year's Day, instead of what we've been getting now (Cincinnati and Virginia Tech, anyone? Hawaii and Georgia?) with mostly crappy games spread out over a week.

...Finally, the greatest video game in the history of the universe came out this week. I cannot wait to use the Gophs in their new outdoor stadium- and start MarQueis Gray over Adam Weber.

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