Tagged with "Connecticut"
How I Would Reorganize College Football, Part III
Category: NCAA
Tags: NCAA Football ACC Army Big East Big Ten Cincinnati Connecticut Navy Notre Dame Rutgers South Florida Virginia Tech West Virginia

LSU note: This is only the Tigers’ fourth 8-0 start (1973, 1958, and 1908). See also the updated LSU/Auburn edition to my Rivalry Series.  I'm trying not to be too happy about Wisconsin and Oklahoma.

Big East/ACC recombination

I’ve already gotten some responses to the first section along the lines of “What about West Virginia? Virginia Tech?” I put them both in this group. As I did before, I’m going to have the two divisions both vertical next to each other with the permanent rivals (other-division team to play every year) paired horizontally.

Va. Tech-WVU

It’s not the best set-up for West Virginia admittedly, but I think they would have good rivalries with Virginia Tech, Maryland, and Navy. I don’t think they’d be much better off staying in the current Big East with Pitt leaving. I was a little haphazard with the last 5 permanent rivalries, but they wouldn’t really be necessary. The teams could alternate over time. Virginia and Va. Tech could swap occasionally. Breaking up Miami and BC would not be allowed as long as Doug Flutie is alive though. I’m somewhat kidding. You could argue the two Florida teams don’t belong at all, but I’m OK with allowing for custom to prevail over geography in some places.

Full blog, including Big Ten +2 +4

Butler Bona Fide : Why America Needs Good To Defeat Evil
Category: NCAA
Tags: Butler University University of Connecticut NCAA NBA ABA 2011 Men's Basketball Tournament Brad Stevens Jim Calhoun John Calipari Thad Matta


When Butler University takes the floor Monday night, they will be playing in their second consecutive NCAA Men's Basketball Championship.
Few expected them to get this far again, but few bet against them because the Bulldogs have been defying the odds for about a decade. But the early exit of sophomore star Gordan Hayward to the NBA this season had many think they might not even get to the tournament.
Butler is far from being called a gateway to the NBA. Before Hayward, only three players in school history had any NBA or even ABA experience. Bob Evans was a fourth-round pick in 1950 that played one season, Ralph O'Brien was a sixth-round pick who played two years, and Billy Shepherd was an undrafted guard who played three years in the ABA.
Their most famous basketball alumni happened to be an inspiration in the "Hoosiers" movie that Butler was compared often to last year. Bobby Plump was Indiana's Mr. Basketball in 1954 and went on to be a two-time MVP for Butler. His high school coach, Marvin Wood, had played basketball for the Bulldogs a few years earlier.
Butler's coach now is Brad Stevens, the youngest ever to coach a team to two Final Fours. He also has the NCAA record for the most wins in his first three years. He has been tied into Butler since his days as a college athlete when Stevens taught at summer camps on the Butler campus.
Stevens took a job as an assistant with the Bulldogs a year out of college in 2000. He worked under Thad Matta, now the head coach at Ohio State University. When Matta left in 2001, Stevens worked under Todd Lickliter until Lickliter left to coach at the University of Iowa in 2007.
Since then, Stevens has run a program that has the admiration and respect of his peers. His teams are often called smart, tough, and well prepared. This mirrors their coach, who is calm, fierce, and studied.
The young coach could make a serious run at the legacy of Butler legend Tony Hinkle if he so desires. Hinkle coached at Butler for 41 years and win two national championships. Winkle was called "Dean of Indiana College Basketball Coaches" and is enshrined into several Hall of Fame's.
Since Butler last won their national championship in 1929, they have remained competitive for the most part as other schools grew in size and financial status. Despite being a small school of about 4,500 students, they have no problems trying to compete with the bigger schools in basketball because the sport in huge in the state of Indiana.
They face the University of Connecticut, a school that has 21,000 students. Despite being over four times larger than Butler, their athletic success didn't really start to blossom until Jim Calhoun was hired in 1986.
Of the 30 players who went from the school to the NBA, 23 played under Calhoun. He has also overseen two teams to national championship victories The woman's team won it all in 2004 with Calhoun's squad, becoming the first men's and women's basketball programs win the national title in the same year.
A key to this success is the aggressive recruiting of Calhoun, where he was able to lure players to a town with less than half of the population as the University itself. Able to procure talent for a school with little historic pedigree somehow.
How Calhoun has done this has been long scrutinized. While his supporters say it was Calhoun's past of bringing Northeastern University out of Division II to Division I after building a winning program. Critics say he built the program like many other schools with under the table actions.
It is the route of the NCAA today. With a committee willing to turn a blind eye if their pockets are sufficiently filled, schools compete for top talent today by offering cash, cars, sexual partners, or whatever the pursued desires.
The big money typically wins tournaments, which is why the underdog squads gets so much adoration from the press. These are schools who can only offer their players four years of free education, which is what an athletic scholarship is supposed to entail.
Those rules have been out the door for over 30 years, so the institutions left to compete this way truly define "old school" in the purest form. Though it is certainly conceivable a few smaller schools could sweeten the pot to entice, it typically is for talent the bigger schools have no interest in.
When 2005 Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush was discovered to have accepted monies that were "against the rules", the NCAA and several members of the media tried to feign surprise. Bush was stripped of his award even if many Heisman winners since at least the 1970's was given more than a scholarship.
While the University of Southern California was conveniently discovered to commit improprieties after years of their upper echelon success began to wane, they certainly are not the only school guilty and the Pete Carroll Era was not USC's only shady regime.
In men's basketball alone, schools like Kentucky, the University of North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, and any school that hired John Calipari have long been suspected of dirty pool. Watching a Calipari leave each school behind with infractions bring the question as to why the NCAA allows him to slither back into employment.
From this scribes personal standpoint, I had a friend long ago living in near poverty in a single parent household where the parent was unemployed. Dean Smith gave him a scholarship, a big wad of cash, a car, and his parent a job with the North Carolina government that somehow allowed the parent attend each game no matter where it was held.
This was several decades ago, but it certainly proved the theory of Smith running a dirty program to be true. His student, Roy Williams, has carried on those learning's his entire coaching career.
Schools like Butler cannot afford to even offer jobs, even if Steven's appearances on television last year increase enrollment by 67 percent this year. This novel idea of getting a free education as reward enough for playing may seem outdated, but it is a truer definition of amateur athletics,
The world of college athletics is changing to the point amateur status seems almost as ancient as the days of James Naismith nailing a pair of peach baskets to railings. When the U.S. Olympic basketball team eschewed the amateur baller for the pro athlete in 1982, the shark had been officially jumped.
So enjoy Butler University. Root them on too. They are amongst the last of a dying breed. A breed that will soon be extinct and long forgotten in the NCAA world.
The player who went to college for the free education, not the fee for playing a child's game. In between the nine minute commercial breaks, enjoy the athlete that no one heavily recruited try to stand up to a group of players a hundred schools tried to sign up.
No matter what the end result, Butler wins because they earned this doing it the right way. They didn't pay their way to this point. Seldom as it does happen, it would be good for evil to fall to this tiny college so the youth can learn every success is not driven by a fiscal bottom line.
Deep Thoughts-Monday Edition
Category: FEATURED
Tags: NFL; Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick; NCAA Connecticut Womens Basketball; Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo








Yeah, I know...it is odd to see Deep Thoughts on a Monday. Beeze and I agreed to swap this week, so look for Beeze on Wednesday. I never gave much thought to writing on a particular day, but it is different. If you have read Deep Thoughts, you know that I like to grab and discuss developing stories. Since this is Monday, I almost feel like "stuff" hasn't happened yet. But, as they say...shut up and write; or something like that.

December football is special. I watched several high school championships this weekend. Do you remember a running back at Texas Tech named James Gray? Well his son is a junior at Aledo HS in Texas. They won the 4A division II championship for the second year in a row. Jonathan Gray had a pretty good season. 59 TD's this year. On Friday night, Gray rushed for 325 yards on 26 carries. He also scored 8 TD's. I saw several very talented running backs, but none like Gray. I am not sure where he will play football, but he should have plenty of offers. Wow...



I missed most of the games on Sunday because of a family Christmas party, but I did get to catch a great kick return. What makes this so great is that it was New England's guard Dan Conolly. Check this out:



The only thing better would have been for him to score, because then we would have been able to see the fat guy celebration dance!






I have to admit that I was critical of Michael Vick during his days as a Falcon. I did not think that he was an accurate passer and thought he relied too much on his running ability. I never believed that he would work hard enough to develop the finer points needed to be a top level NFL QB. This season we have seen a new Vick. Many scoffed at the amazing game against the Redskins, as the Redskins are not a good defense. I think that Sunday's game against the Giants will be the game that propels Vick to a different level. This was a game that mattered greatly to the Eagles. Down by 21 points with only 8:17 left in the game Vick put the Eagles on his back and willed them to a victory. Of course the punt return by Jackson was amazing, the reason it mattered is that Vick made it so. After watching Staubach, Elway and Montana orchestrate many late game comebacks, this game had the same characteristics. I really wished that I could have watched this game, I think it was the beginning of another great QB. 




Congrats to Tony Romo on his upcoming marriage to Candace Crawford. If you have not heard, Romo got engaged to the former Miss Missouri recently. I guess since he is not doing much right now, he has time for "other" interests.



Is it just me, of does she look familiar?





I know that Jessica Simpson, Carrie Underwood and Candace Crawford are different women, but  Romo certainly is consistent...blonde and beautiful are nice traits...

Being an NFL QB does have its perks.


It took prison for Michael Vick to make the necessary changes to become a very good NFL QB. WIll marriage change Tony Romo? WIll watching Jon Kitna win with his guys make a difference? There is something missing and I just cannot put my finger on it. Maybe what he needs is a good woman to settle him?




Is this the modern day John Wooden? Does Connecticut's 88 wins equal UCLA's 88?


I enjoy watching college basketball, men's college basketball. I have tried to watch the women's game, but I just never enjoyed it. I know that there are very talented athletes playing women's basketball, but it is sort of like watching soccer for me; I just don't have passion for the game.  Geno Auriemma is coach of the Connecticut women's basketball team. On Sunday, they won their 88th game in a row, which is obviously a tremendous honor, as this ties the 88 game winning streak of UCLA. At a press conference on Sunday evening, Coach Auriemma gave a candid assessment of what he thought:

"I just know there wouldn't be this many people in the room if we were chasing a woman's record," the Connecticut coach said Sunday near the end of his postgame news conference. "The reason everybody is having a heart attack the last four or five days is a bunch of women are threatening to break a men's record, and everybody is all up in arms about it." 

"All the women are happy as hell and they can't wait to come in here and ask questions. All the guys that loved women's basketball are all excited, and all the miserable bastards that follow men's basketball and don't want us to break the record are all here because they're pissed," Auriemma said. "That's just the way it is." 

Is there a fourth group? People who don't care one way or the other? I congratulate the Connecticut women for a tremendous accomplishment, but this is simply not the same as the UCLA record for me. I am certainly not pissed because they have won as many games as UCLA. I don't see this as breaking UCLA's record because they are not playing men's basketball. Am I crazy? I just don't see this.


I feel like crap, so I think I will check it in now...


Here is a bit of Jack Handey to take with you:

To me, Judo is like a ballet, except there's no music, no choreography, and the dancers knock each other down. 

Martha was watching the football game with me when she said, 'You know, most of these sports are based on the idea of one group protecting its territory from invasion by another group.' 'Yeah,' I said, trying not to laugh. Girls are funny.

Thanks for stopping by today and I hope you have a great week! Feel free to leave comments...




Pre-Bowl Top 25 and Other Thoughts
Category: NCAA
Tags: College Football Arkansas Auburn Boise St. Connecticut Tulsa Hawaii LSU Michigan St. Ohio St. Oklahoma Texas A&M TCU Oregon

Full rankings

rank team prev.

1 Auburn 1

2 Oregon 3

3 Oklahoma 5

4 TCU 2

5 Ohio St. 4

6 Mich. St. 6

7 Boise St. 11

8 Arkansas 7

9 Stanford 9

10 LSU 10

11 Missouri 8

12 Wisconsin 12

13 Okie St. 13

14 Nevada 16

15 Texas A&M 15

Continue reading for 16-25 and bowl comments

Rivalry Series: LSU-Arkansas and final pre-BCS comments
Category: NCAA
Tags: College Football Arkansas Auburn Connecticut LSU Mississippi St. Oklahoma Oregon TCU

NOTE: While I will post my new ratings at the normal time at my ratings site, I will wait until the BCS standings and the bowl picks to come out before posting my rankings blog tomorrow.

Final pre-BCS comments

Just a few comments about the top teams even though my rankings don’t come out officially until tomorrow morning.

Oregon was hardly impressive, but they were good enough. Auburn of course knows how that feels based on early games, but aside from a shaking first half defensively, they looked pretty good today.

I have to say that with Auburn’s undefeated seasons in 1993 and 2004 and Oregon’s various close calls at the end of the season, a part of me is happy for both schools. I’ll be for Auburn just because of what they’ve gone through to get here, but I wouldn’t take anything away from Oregon if they find a way to win.

I expect there will be 3 SEC West teams in the top 10 and while some may find that excessive, consider that between Auburn, Arkansas, LSU, Mississippi St., and Alabama, there was only one loss to a team outside of that group (South Carolina’s win over Alabama). They all beat Ole Miss, there were no other losses to an SEC East team, and there were no non-conference losses. (If you were curious, Ole Miss was 1-2 against the East.)


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