Monday, June 07, 2010

Catching up with the Big Televen
Well, it is amazing that even in the so-called off season, there really is plenty to cover in the world of the Big Ten on a nice, late spring day. It is far from high season for our beloved league, but the Michigan football program has released its findings, Big Ten expansion talk goes from white hot to volcanic and there are some other intriguing sports stories as well.

Wrong is wrong
Okay, so I've been listening - objectively, - to some of the arguments from Michigan fans that "everybody is doing it," "even Jim Tressel questioned the severity," and "this is much ado about nothing."

But I ask, is it? If everyone is doing it, why did Michigan get caught and why do they have to pay the piper in some way, shape or form? And since when do Michigan fans buy a thing hated Wolverine killer Jim Tressel has to say? And really - is it much ado about nothing? Isn't Michigan facing it's first major violations and penalties in footall in its esteemed history?

Where I come from, rules are rules. Growing up in a law enforcement house gives you that black and white level of perception. In my book, this is a major slap in the face of the pre-eminent football program in college football. For anyone, subway fans or distinguished alumni to shrug it off as something petty is a little disturbing.

There is a trend here. Michigan has had two straight losing seasons. The program is in trouble with the NCAA. All while Rich Rodriguez has been at the helm. I call a spade a spade and folks, I said all along that Michigan got its version of John L. Smith when Rich Rod came to town. Be careful what you wish for. The Wolverines face at least some penalties of note and may be looking another losing season straight in the eye...

Expansion is a matter of time
I can't even begin to keep up with all of the blogs, secret emails, false leaks and what ifs that are flying around with regard to conference expansion these days. I will say this - I love it. The Big Ten needs at least one, ideally three teams to again become the power conference in all of college sports.

The who, what, when, where and how part could be debated forever. Several schools have merit in the discussion. Notre Dame makes the most sense but won't move unless their hand is forced. The Texas trio is very intriguing. Missouri makes sense but, yawn... I like the prospects of adding Pitt but that doesn't expand the footprint or bring big bang.

Whatever is done, whoever is added and how ever many are added, my gut says the Big Ten will outshine the rest of the conferences and kick off an epic battle for overall conference supremacy...

Izzo isn't going to the Cavs
The hot topic de jour in Michigan is the so far unsubstantiated rumor that Izzo is being offered the Cleveland Cavaliers job. Michigan fans are praying, others in the Big Ten might be hoping but folks, Izzo leaving hurts the league as a whole.

MSU is loaded and will replace him - if he ever leaves - with someone hand picked by Izzo himself. Rooting for him to go because it helps your team isn't a good reason. He is the Dean of Big Ten coaches and gets the Big Ten in the Final Four - a lot. Besides, he won't go. Why would he? Sure, the NBA can throw even more money at him but who says LeBron stays? And even if he does, what pieces are in place around him to make the next step.

Tom Izzo is a college coach. It is very rare that the great ones in college have success in the NBA. NOt sure why, but it is what it is and it is why Izzo isn't going anywhere...

Perfect imperfection
I was one of those fans who flipped off Jim Joyce and swore in disbelief when he robbed the Tigers and Armando Galarraga of a perfect game last week. Shame on me. What ensued makes this even bigger than it would have been as a "mere" perfect game. We got a chance to see the goodness of humanity. The "own-up-manship" of Joyce. The forgiveness of Galarraga. The imploring of the Tigers franchise to give the guy a break. The outcome was wonderful and made me realize that sportsmanship isn't dead. Hat's off to the Tigers, Galarraga and most of all, Jim Joyce.

Football previews
A promotion at work might mean even less time than ever this summer, but I'm still hoping to preview this conference, team by team for something like this ninth year in a row. Stay tuned. Until then, fairways and greens!