Now that the second round is complete, I will quickly preview the quarterfinals:
Uruguay vs. Ghana
Uruguay knocked off South Korea 2-1, while Ghana edged the USA 2-1 in extra time. Look for a low scoring game with a lot of defense. Once again, look out for Forlan for Uruguay. Ghana will fight hard, and it is Africa's last hope for glory in this World Cup.
Prediction: Uruguay wins 2-1
Brazil vs. Netherlands
Game to watch #1
Arjen Robben returned and helped the Netherlands dominate Slovakia, while the Brazilians dominated as usual against Chile. Look for the Brazilians to attempt to shut down Robben's left foot, which was costly for the Slovaks. Kaka will eventually break out of his shell at some point, boosint Brazil's firepower. Look for a high scoring affair and note the somewhat suspect Dutch defense.
Prediction: Brazil wins 3-2
Argentina vs. Germany
Game to watch #2
Germany absolutely dominated England, save for a 15 minute span, with the help of a bad call, while Argentina was the beneficiary of some sloppy officiating and a Mexican implosion. Messi still has not scored in this tournament, and now would be a great time for him to break out. Don't count out Teves for Argentina as well. Germany's three headed monster of Podolski, Mueller, and Klose continues to torment opponents and shows no signs of slowing down, unless it runs into another card happy ref. Look for an entertaining affair that will probably come down to defense.
Prediction: Germany wins 2-1
Spain vs. Paraguay
Paraguay knocked off Japan in penalties while Spain dispatched Portugal 1-0. Barring a Swiss style upset, Spain should not have much trouble dispatching Paraguay. Look for Villa to continue his scoring streak.
Prediction: Spain wins 3-1
Prediction record: 6-2 (through one round)
Others Receiving Votes-ilurk,NBL,Chi,irish
The Shake Down
SCS summer of loves continues with World Cup and setting up Live Blogs. Hulk at his highest ranking since the very first rankings. JC brings us the goods even in the dead of the off season. Dark Blue brings news that we are a top 15 Michigan Blog... which is hard to take serious with out the mother ship at the top of the list(OR ON IT AT ALL). Seth9 survived all the storms and is back. Coward Dean proving his worth with live blog appearances. Sec20 hangs on with witty stuff as always. OSD.. bizarre...youtubes. TLP blows some minds with info stating MM came from nothing. CMR and Mr.Dean fight it out for rookie of the month.
This Top 15 is brought to by Lebrontochicago.please July 1st is coming fast.
While watching a game earlier in the World Cup (possibly the USA/Australia friendly), I realized that soccer and hockey really are not that different. The technical aspects are obviously different, but when one stops and thinks about it, the two games are quite similar. Both consist of putting something in a net and running/skating around a surface. Unlike basketball, however, both games require immense skill and physical stamina. In fact, about the only thing soccer and basketball have in common is that the refs are usually suspect at best (notable exceptions exist in soccer, such as Howard Webb, who is quite good), while the other major American sports contain few to zero similarities with soccer. Over the course of this post, I will try to explain exactly how they are similar and different.
When beginning to understand this similarity, it is important to think of each surface as the same, just in different sizes. Both include players chasing an object around a surface and trying to put it in the goal, as I have already stated. However, now imagine soccer players in ice skates, or hockey players playing in cleats. Sure, the size of the pitch and the rink are nowhere near similar, but anyone who has watched enough of either sport knows that soccer requires a massive playing surface to be truly effective, whereas hockey does not. This explains the difference in the number of players on the surface at one time. Net size is also different, but when one considers a) the size of the rink, and b) the size of the object heading for the net, this is easily explainable.
The way both sports are played often illustrates grace in running/skating styles with some of the elite players. Watching Lionel Messi or Diego Maradona (see Goal of the Century) run around defenders is just as graceful as watching Wayne Gretzky or Pavel Datsyuk skate circles around their opponents. While the equipment is vastly different (anyone trying to play hockey without pads would just be stupid), the concept is still the same. Different defensive schemes (both games have their version of the "Trap;" the 1995 New Jersey Devils and any Jose Mourinho coached team played/plays this style) and different formations (the left wing lock employed by the Detroit Red Wings for a period of time vs. the 4-4-2 formation used by the current Bayern Munich squad) are employed throughout the sports. This is not unlike American football, but football has different objectives than these sports, so this can be discarded.
Both sports also contain fouls of various kinds. A well placed free kick in soccer can practically equal a power play in hockey if done correctly. Yellow/Red cards equal majors and game misconducts/match penalties in hockey as well. The red card/game misconduct/match penalty comparison is the most obvious, as one is often suspended for an offense along these lines in hockey (minus fighting instigators before the last 5 minutes), while red cards automatically carry at least a one game suspension, and that can be lengthened. The one notable exception to this is that hockey does not contain a lot of diving, while soccer contains a lot.
What might be the most important comparison is the flow of the game. Anyone who has watched an entire soccer match knows that there are absolutely no commercial breaks whatsoever, unless it is during pregame, halftime, or post-game. This makes the game smooth and continuous no matter the circumstances (unless weather disrupts your feed like the Germany/Turkey game in Euro 2008 (see the semi-finals section for this event)). NHL style hockey employs a somewhat similar system, but does allow for a few commercial breaks during the course of a period. Olympic style hockey does not stop for any commercial breaks, even though networks will often cut out the feed of the game for a few seconds. Both of these games continue for long periods of time with constant, and often hard fought, play that makes it vital for these players to stay in top condition, which is not found in most other sports. As for the other major sports, basketball is often disrupted by timeouts, American football is in no way continuous via the stops and starts from each down, and baseball is almost as bad as football, if not worse for various reasons that are quite apparent (pitching changes, pitchers/catchers taking forever on the mound, etc.).
Of course, if you want to pull a tl;dr, just read what Seth had to say in Cbox, "Comparing hockey to soccer: Hockey is similar to soccer, but more exciting and not prissy...unless your name is David Setoguchi." CMR also chimed in, saying, "Soccer: hockey for the less economically privileged."
So the World Cup has made it to the knockout stage, where it gets even more exciting than what we've already seen. We've had shockers (Italy out), outstanding games (USA vs. Slovenia/Algeria), and absolute snooze fests (Brazil/Portugal) combined with the typical pathetic performance (France). Here is a preview of what is to come (sorry, I know some teams better than others, so some previews might be extremely long/short):
June 26th games:
USA vs. Ghana:
After making their run to the Round of 16 by giving almost everyone in the US a massive heart attack several times over, the US will try to get revenge for their defeat to Ghana in Germany in 2006. Ghana is a strong team that held its own against Germany, and also defeated Serbia. The USA needs to actually get something in the net early and not get screwed by the refs in the process. Look for ratings records to be broken on ABC this weekend. Prediction: USA wins 2-1.
Uruguay vs South Korea:
Two words: Diego Forlan. If he's on, Uruguay should move on without too much trouble. If he's off, they are in trouble. South Korea is no pushover, but I still think that Uruguay will come out on top. If you are a US fan, root like crazy for the Koreans, as Forlan would run circles around US defenders. Prediction: Uruguay wins 1-0.
June 27th games:
Argentina vs. Mexico:
Will Maradona finally jump onto a building celebrating something? Seriously, this guy is a ton of fun to watch as a manager. The fact that he's shorter than everyone else on the pitch definitely helps. Anyways, will this be the game that Messi finally scores? Will Higuain continue his goal scoring touch? This will be a fun game to watch no matter what. All the Argentinians need to do is prove that they are not the South American versions of Spain and not choke. Prediction: Argentina wins 2-1.
Germany vs. England
Game to watch #1
First and foremost, Bastian Schweinsteiger is doubtful for this match because of an injury, which is a major blow to Germany's midfield. Anyways, England's play overall has been extremely suspect, and they probably should not have advanced. Germany is the less experienced of the two sides, but England still have to get out of their slump. Rooney got better later in the Slovenia game, but still has yet to score. Note that Germany and England absolutely hate each other (England especially), so this is always a good rivalry. Note to people who hate the English, mention any PK to an English fan to watch them suffer a seizure. Prediction: Germany wins 2-1.
June 28th games:
Netherlands vs. Slovakia:
The Dutch also have a tendency to choke on this stage, but have not shown any signs of slowing down at the moment. With Robben back in the lineup, they should be even more lethal and should move on to face off against Brazil in an epic showdown. Slovakia have had an amazing run, including stunning Italy, but likely will be no match for the Dutch firepower. Prediction: Netherlands wins 2-0
Brazil vs. Chile
It's Brazil and the knockout stage, surprise surprise. Brazil handled the Group of Death well and made it to a game that they should (and probably will) win. Chile made it through by knocking of Switzerland and Honduras, and playing Spain reasonably well. The Samba Kings will most likely revert to old form and just have fun with Chile by the end of it. Prediction: Brazil wins 3-1
June 29th games:
Spain vs. Portugal:
Game to watch #2
No matter the outcome, you can expect one to declare war on the other by the time this match is complete. Spain feature arguably the most potent and beautiful style of play by any team in the tournament. Portugal has the second best player in the tournament in Ronaldo, and he could probably be the best if he didn't play like an Italian and flop so much. This match also features two teams that tend to choke during the World Cup, namely Spain. No matter what, this match will be a beauty to watch and could potentially be the most entertaining match of either the second round or the entire knockout stage. Prediction: Portugal wins 2-1 in a stunner
Paraguay vs. Japan
Japan might be the most surprising addition to the knockout stage, and if they aren't then it is Slovakia. Japan knocked off Denmark to move ahead, while Paraguay took care of business against New Zealand (i.e. draw and let Slovakia stun Italy). Japan has surprised many people, but might have finally run out of gas against a Paraguay side that has not shown many kinks (one howler against Italy comes to mind...). Prediction: Paraguay wins 1-0.
I rarely ever check my email here at MM, no one ever sends me anything but spam, however today I happened to open up the email and guess what I found? An email from a lady informing Midnight Maize that she had included MM in a list of Top Big Ten blogs.
I was a little bit disappointed in there choice for top Michigan blogs(not including ours), as they left out MGOBLOG, which as we all know is the foremost site for Michigan sports news. So are we better than MGO? Probably not but in a universe this big I guess anything is possible.
As football season approaches, I think we are going to try and be a bit more serious, without losing our patented sense of humor., At least that is my goal, I should be able to get through one blog post without saying FARTBUTTS, well maybe not.
I don't know much about soccer. I haven't even watched the World Cup. I watched 5 mins and in those 5 mins I saw the USA get screwed by some dude wearing yellow. I also saw the game just stop with out warning. Like the clock is meaningless... Anyway I had a request for a soccer MS Paint. I painted everything I know about World Cup Soccer. We scored some huge goal to win the game that sent Mgoblog into Muppet Mode,the Vuvuzela is hot right now and the announcer always yell GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Enjoy! Happy World Cup!
Others Receiving Votes-otter,Mexican Gardner,ilurk
The Shake Down
SCS keeps starting these live blogs for me which is nice and I don't need to hurry. JC brought us some Ed Davis buzz kills. Hulk and I have oddly enough started to get along more..Seth9 has been limited due to PC issues. I see I some how put "seth20" and I meant Sec20. He chimes in here and there but makes me laugh most times. Dark Blue had a nice idea for a round table when the season starts. TOB pops in and joins forces with JC to form the best recruiting duo of all time. Coward Dean is making a case for rookie of the year. Fly has been missing in action a bit like a few others... ahh it's June. OSD, keeps bringing the bizarre,wrong and not cool Youtubes to Live blogs every night.
This Shredder Top 15 is brought to you by no one. We couldn't find a sponsor..
My 8th grade teacher is good friends with Fred Jackson. He was lucky enough to go to the practice right before the spring game. Here is a few things he passed on to me.
-He loved the things Denard did that day but his lack of being able to read a defense pre-snap is alarming. He says Tate is still the man to start.
-Fred loves his stable of running backs but think Michael Shaw could break away from the pack after 3 or 4 games.
-Fred also said Shaw has good leadership and shows a ton of heart. The kid wants to win.
-Thinks the defense will be good, not great...not awful(nothing new).
-Said Mike Cox struggled with blocking and just knowing the plays. Which has been sort of floating around for some time.
-Fred thinks Fitz can be pretty good just needs game reps and to get a bit more focused.
-Gushed over Gordan(like everyone has).
-RR practice's are intense and nothing like Lloyd's.
I will not be on tonight. I will be back Wednesday. You may have noticed that one writer has left MM. Tater and MM decided to part ways. You can now find Tater at http://tinfoilhatsportsblog.blogspot.com/ I wish him well in his blogging future and thank him for all his hard work here at MM.
So, after two sets of games completed, we currently stand with a mass of confusion in most groups, and a couple of groups that have one side advancing. For the sake of clarity, I will split up this post into each group and explain how each team can advance into the knockout round.
Group A: No one has advanced or been eliminated
Both Mexico and Uruguay can advance with a draw or a win. A draw means that both sides advance, while a win means that one side advances while the other waits to see how the goal differential is played out in the France/South Africa match. South Africa and France can advance with a win over the other, a loss by one of the other two, and making up the goal differential between themselves and the other team. If France advances, consider it an act of divine intervention or something equivalent after what happened to them this weekend.
Who should advance: Uruguay and Mexico.
Group B: No one has advanced or been eliminated
Argentina can advance with just a draw. Argentina can also be eliminated with a loss to Greece that consists of them getting crushed and losing their goal difference tiebreaker. South Korea and Greece need draws to advance, with either side scoring more goals than the other (Greece needs to score two more goals than South Korea in the final match to advance, while South Korea needs zero with Greece only scoring one). Nigeria needs a win and a lot of help from Argentina.
Who should advance: Argentina and South Korea
Group C: No one has advanced or been eliminated
See Seth's post for advancement possibilities
Who should advance: Slovenia and the USA
Group D: No one has advanced or been eliminated
This is an extremely confusing scenario, as Ghana has 4 points, Germany and Serbia have 3, and Australia has 1. Ghana needs at least a draw to advance. Germany needs a draw to advance, with either Serbia and Australia drawing, or Australia winning, and neither side making up the goal differential. Serbia needs a draw and either a Germany or Ghana loss while making up the goal differential, and Australia needs a win with either a Germany or Ghana loss and also needs to make up the goal differential. In other words, quite confusing.
Who should advance: Germany and Serbia
Group E: Netherlands have advanced, Cameroon has been eliminated
Japan and Denmark go head to head to decide this one. Draw or win for Japan means advancing, win for Denmark means advancing.
Who should advance: Denmark
Group F: No one has advanced or been eliminated
After Italy was stunned, and nearly upset, by New Zealand, things got much more interesting. Paraguay needs a draw to advance, while maintaining its goal difference advantage. New Zealand can advance with a win or a draw, with Italy drawing to Slovakia and New Zealand scoring more goals overall. Italy needs the same thing, except New Zealand losing to Paraguay and Italy at least drawing would see Italy advance. Slovakia needs a win over Italy and a New Zealand loss or draw.
Who should advance: Paraguay and Italy
Group G: Brazil has advanced, North Korea has been eliminated
Basically put, Cote d'Ivoire needs a miracle to advance. They need a Portugal loss combined with at least an 8 goal thrashing of North Korea to advance. Portugal advances with a draw.
Who should advance: Portugal
Group H: No one has advanced or been eliminated
Chile needs a draw with Spain to advance. Spain needs a draw and either a Switzerland draw or loss to advance, with the Swiss not making up the goal difference. Switzerland needs a draw and a Spain loss to advance, or a win to advance and making up the goal difference in the process, while scoring more goals than Spain overall. Honduras needs a win over Switzerland and a Spain loss combined with making up the goal differential in order to advance. Note that if Spain and Switzerland both win, it comes down to goal differential overall, then to total goals, and then to head to head record. This could get quite confusing.
Who should advance: Chile and Spain
Second series of games notes:
Germany was screwed by a card happy ref. Also, Lukas Podolski missed the first PK for Germany since 1982.
The US got it even worse than Germany when a goal was called back for no apparent reason.
North Korea finally imploded, and Portugal could be fun to watch if they can beat up on teams that are actually good.
Brazil is dominate as always, while Italy looks to be in a load of trouble.
France sucks, what else is new?
This is a comprehensive list of the ways that every team in Group C can advance, for those interested (Tie-breaking procedures can be found here):
Lose to England by one goal and Algeria beats the United States by one goal.
Defeat the United States and Slovenia draws with England.
In a move that will surprise nobody, the Pac 10 is inviting Utah to become the 12th member of the Pac 10, allowing the conference to have a title game and bolstering the potential for a Pac 10 Network. The official announcement could come as soon as Friday.
Ok, so through one set of games in each group we've had some absolute stunners (Switzerland beating Spain, Japan beating Cameroon, Brazil not destroying North Korea), some very good matches (England-USA, German domination of Australia), and a lot of excitement in the rest. Here's my take on the tournament so far.
Germany look like the favorites at the moment after Spain's collapse and Brazil getting held at bay by North Korea. Of course, one needs to see the Germans play someone else than Australia before actually saying that Germany is the outright favorite.
England's goalkeeping will be a question mark throughout the tournament after the howler by Green. Wayne Rooney was held in check well during the US game and will need to find a way to get hot.
North Korea is not a pushover after holding Brazil to a 2-1 loss. This game could have been much worse, but North Korea played excellent defense during the game.
The Italians still dive at every opportunity, as does Cristiano Ronaldo.
The US is a decent team that has a legitimate shot at qualifying and potentially advancing past the first knockout round (assuming that they do not draw Germany).
Spain continues to choke on the international stage (sorry, 2008 won't help you here).
As obnoxious as the vuvuzela is, it, in my opinion, is better to listen to it than completely take out the crowd noise.
The "Special One" has departed for Real Madrid (as many of you probably know by now), which means that Inter's chances of repeating in the Champions League are not very high. Real will most likely do what they do every year and acquire a couple of players for an inflated transfer fee, considering Mourinho will want his players with him. Rafael van der Vaart has been rumored to be leaving Real, possibly to Bayern Munich. Meanwhile, Manchester United has a lot of debt and it will be interesting to see how that affects their transfer budget. Barcelona and Arsenal continue their duel over Cesc Fabregas, and Barcelona have also acquired David Villa from Valencia. Bayern Munich has terminated Luca Toni's contract and he is headed for Genoa. Champions League play starts on June 29th (game times have not yet been announced).
Match of the Titans (Yes, that is what this is called):
The new owner of the Pontiac Silverdome has announced that AC Milan and Panathinaikos have agreed to play a friendly at the Silverdome on August 6th at 8:00 PM (ET). AC Milan finished third in Serie A last season, while Panathinaikos won the Super League Greece. This should be a fun match-up to watch, even if Italian soccer is not the most exciting brand. Tickets range from $29.95 to $150 and can be found here. Note: The price jumps from $35 for the upper level to $65 at the ends in the lower level. H/T MGoJen for alerting me (and the rest of mgoblog) to this.
Tom Izzo announced tonight that he will remain a Spartan for life. Can anyone honestly admit they are shocked? This guy is one of the best coaches in College Hoops, why in the hell would he leave the proverbial superpower that he has built in East Lansing, to go to that shithole we call Cleveland? He has compiled a career 364-146 record at MSU, including 6 Final Four appearances and 1 National Championship. Would he be as beloved in Cleveland as he is in East Lansing? The answer is a loud NO!
I’ve seen and talked to a lot of disgruntled Michigan fans, since this was announced. My question to you people is, what is there to be upset about? You currently root for a school whose motto is THE LEADERS AND THE BEST. To be the best shouldn’t you have to beat the best? He currently holds an 18-8(or 18-3 depending on if you are counting vacated wins) record against Michigan. I don’t want this guy to leave, I want him to stay right there so I can take full joy in watching John Beilein kick the shit out of him.
Coming into this years EA NCAA 11 game I was pretty harsh. I have said many times that I would never buy this game until they made a lot of changes,gave a shit and fixed numerous bugs. I have NCAA 08. I skipped 09 and 10 and played both a lot at friends houses. Both those games felt like my 08 and 10 felt the worst and looked the worst(shiny players anyone?).
So going into 11 I didnt have much hopes until I played the demo... Lets just say that EA finally gave a shit. No longer do players skate on the field. They looked to be making steps into the turf. Speed isn't king anymore and thank god. The pro-tak system is so cool. It's great seeing players do 3-5 gang tackles. The ESPN presentation is awesome and should have been there from day one(been saying it for years). I will do a bigger review once the game comes out. So here are some pro and cons.
-New running and blocking system is like butter
-ESPN pres is !!!1111
-No more Corso! Yay!
-Players run with purpose, looks to be planting feet into turf.
-Safeties no longer cover the whole field.
-The Zone read works!!
-Online recruiting(not in demo)
-The spread feels like the spread
-No more blowing up people on every tackle.
-Not sure if custom sounds will make it into the game.
-a few minor glitches(player froze in place one time).
-The AI did throw 3 picks to me in one game but all were awful throws that should have been picked.
-Miami players flashing the "U"(no really this is pretty cool).
-Still no coaches
The cons I have found aren't that bad. I'm hyped for this game. So much in fact I traded in my 08 game for like $2 at Gamestop. I plan on buying it on July 13th and I will have a review up a few days after I get into the game. I went back and watched a few NCAA 10 and the game is night and day. 10 looks so ugly while 11 has a awesome polish that the series has begged for so long.
Programming note: No Shred Top 15 this week.
EDIT!: agasp at Mgoboard has posted the Michigan Roster. Most look very fair but no Cam Gordon. I know someone with a lot more time than I will put a very good roster download out.
EA Sports has updated their Teambuilder website which means they have released the base rosters for NCAA 11. Also you can check out a screenshot of Michigan Stadium with the renovations if you go to the stadium selection screen when making a team. To see the Michigan player ratings when creating a team go to roster then select template Michigan.
Check it out at easports.com/teambuilder
Some Notable Ratings:
Tate: 86 OVR, 85 SPD, 88 THP, 85 THA, 32 Elusiveness (WTF?)
Denard: 81 OVR, 92 SPD, 90 THP, 77 THA
Devin Gardner: 76 OVR, 90 SPD, 94 THP, 76 THA
There is a 4th QB listed #14 and Freshman, I assume its Conelius Jones, 66 OVR
Mike Shaw/VIncent Smith: 85 OVR
Martavious Odoms: 85 OVR
Roundtree: 86 OVR
Stonum: 84 OVR
Hemingway: 85 OVR
David Molk: 96 OVR!
Ryan Van Bergen: 86
Craig Roh: 91 OVR! (listed as a DE)
Mike Martin: 90 OVR
Renaldo Sagesse: 87 (a bit high?) OVR
Big Will: 85 OVR
Obi Ezeh: 81 OVR (down from 88 last year)
Mouton: 81 OVR (down from last year as well)
JT Turner: 78 OVR
Woolfolk: 84 OVR
JT Floyd: 81 OVR
Freshman CB #4 (has same measureables as Demar Dorsey, I guess they didn't take him out of the game): 74 OVR, 96 SPD
Cullen Christian (CB #24 I assume): 75 OVR
Vlad Emilien: 84 OVR
Will Hagerup: 81 OVR
No sign of Cam Gordon anywhere.
It seems EA has our safties as Vlad, Mike Williams, Thomas Gordon, Jared Van Slyke (#31), Jordan Kovacs (80 OVR), and Teric Jones
Overall, I think the ratings are pretty fair. Some players are probably overrated (Sagesse, Emilien) and some are just off (Tate 32 elusiveness?). I am disappointed that Cam Gordon isn't in the game, I'll have to edit him in once I get it.
The Big 12 will survive with ten teams as Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and others have pledged to remain in the conference. This has been confirmed by ESPN and other outlets. The question now is why Texas and Texas A&M chose to stay in the conference.
...sources say UT officials have vowed that if A&M turns down its invitation to the Pac-10, breaks away from UT and goes to the SEC, Texas won't schedule the Aggies in anything anytime soon.Texas A&M's athletic identity revolves around hating Texas. Ending the rivalry with Texas would likely be detrimental to Texas A&M in the long term as losing its only important rivalry would weaken fan support. To put it another way, Texas A&M losing its rivalry with Texas would be like Michigan State losing its rivalry with Michigan, only worse.
Once again, Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com has important news on conference expansion, namely that Texas A&M now intends to join the SEC. Assuming this is true*, this has the potential to completely change the conference realignment picture. Previous reports had indicated that the remaining five Big 12 invitees would announce that they too were joining the Pac 10, possibly as early as next week. Should Texas A&M decide to break ranks and join the SEC, then it becomes an open question as to what Texas and Oklahoma will do.
Last night new Midnight Maizer cleverlurkingreference posted this and I loved it... Everyone have a great weekend.
OWHbigred: BREAKING NEWS: Nebraska has accepted an invitation to join the Big Ten. Check Omaha.com for updates. #huskers #nebraska #big10 #big12 41 minutes ago via HootSuite · Reply · View Tweet
The official announcement isn’t coming until 4:45 today, however Nebraska has accepted the Big Ten’s invitation to join the conference. I’d just like to welcome a great football school to a great conference. Nebraska we in the Big Ten are very happy to have you here.
Per ESPN: Boise State has joined the Mountain West. The story is still developing and I'll update this later today.
According to numerous reports (they can be summarized here), Colorado already has a Pac 10 invite in hand and may officially accept the invitation as early as today. I previously analyzed this move here. I'll try to get another update up this evening.
I have nothing ground breaking. Just a Lebron to Chicago hype video. Bring the King!
According to Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com, the Omaha World Herald, SportsCenter, and others, Nebraska is going to leave the Big 12 for the Big Ten on Friday. Meanwhile Chip Brown has also stated that six Big 12 schools, (not including Baylor) are likely to accept the Pac 10's invitation very soon. Meanwhile, Missouri is not being invited at this time, as the Big Ten has apparently decided that they think they can do better. Summary of today's events can be found here.
- Pac 10: The Pac 10 will capture two top level football programs and they project that each school in this arrangement will receive $20 million a year, which is comparable to the Big Ten and SEC.
- Big Ten: The Big Ten gets a top flight football program to strengthen its football conference and network, while leaving itself plenty of room to maneuver.
- Nebraska: Their revenue is about to nearly double and they get to join a stable conference.
- Colorado: Colorado gets to join a conference that they greatly prefer to the Big 12.
- Texas Tech: Texas Tech also finds a home, thanks to Texas state politics.
- The Big East and Mountain West: Both conferences get to pick at the scraps of the Big 12, which could get the Mountain West a BCS bid and revenue and save the Big East.
- Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, Iowa State, and Missouri: These schools are left twisting in the wind hoping for mercy. This is especially crushing for Missouri, who openly courted was anticipating a Big Ten invite (which they shouldn't have, if they were using their brains).
- SEC: The SEC loses the A-list of their expansion targets, as expanding their geographic footprint becomes much more difficult and they lose out on the Texas market. If the SEC decides to expand, they'll have to raid the ACC or the Big East.
- Boise State: A Mountain West invite just became a lot less likely.
Expansion rumors have run rampant the past couple days. There has been a lot of speculation on whether the Big Ten is going to invite Nebraska and Missouri this week, the specifics of the deadline given to Missouri and Nebraska, whether the Big Ten intended to wait for Notre Dame before inviting anyone, and whether a 15-person bloc in the Texas state legislature, combined with lobbyists, could replace Colorado with Baylor in the list of Pac 10 invitees.
If this report from Orangebloods.com is correct, the answer to the last question on the list is no. Orangebloods.com, who broke the story on the Pac 10's plan to invite six Big 12 schools, is now reporting that C0lorado is going to make a major announcement tomorrow after a special meeting of the regents today, and that the announcement will likely be that Colorado will be accepting an invitation to the Big 12. Assuming that this is true, then it is an excellent move by both Colorado and the Pac 10. It would preemptively kill any chance of Baylor gaining sufficient momentum to replace Colorado on the list of Pac 10 invitees, something that the Pac 10 would be very hesitant to do even if it was the only way to get Texas, and changes the debate in the Texas state legislature from whether or not to push for Baylor to replace Colorado to whether or not to damage the three public schools in the Big 12 by forcing them to stay for Baylor's sake.* It also puts a lot of strain on the Big 12 as it loses a major television market, which could lead the other Big 12 schools that are sitting on the fence to decide to leave. And even if the other Big 12 schools decide to stay put, then they can go to their Plan B and invite Utah, thus expanding to 12 teams. Or they can do what the Big Ten does now and have 11 teams.
Of course, this all could be completely off base. It may well be that the announcement has nothing to do with athletics at all. Or maybe the Big Ten invited Colorado. OK, probably not that last bit.
*There is a third option, namely attempting to get all the Texas schools into the SEC. However, Texas is guaranteed to balk at that so it is almost certainly not realistic.
UPDATE: The Denver Post has reported that Colorado has yet to be invited, so this is completely premature. Nevertheless, I still think it makes sense to invite Colorado regardless in order to preempt the Baylor issue.
UPDATE 2: The Omaha World-Herald has reported that Nebraska may join the Big Ten as early as Friday, citing sources from other Big 12 schools. Nebraska has yet to confirm this and the paper in question hasn't exactly been great in its expansion coverage, but then again they're primary job is covering Nebraska. Take it for what it's worth.
Others Receiving Votes-NBL,CPS,Cwood,Jen
The Shake Down
A big week with a bunch of WLA people joining the fray. Seth9's Expansion posts have been great and it's where I go to get the latest of this mega conference mess. JC keeps bringing awesome news and recruiting every night(don't be scared to post this stuff). SCS has been keeping the weekend oil lamp lit and I give much thanks. Fly moves up to four and becomes a man. Hulk still watching LOST and running to the Store at 2am in the morning. TOB like JC feeds us the goods. Dark Blue the Bulls don't suck. OSD makes a jump for odd youtubes that you don't wanna see but can't help but watch. Sec20 makes his comments than lurks and than comments and repeat. MMW hanging on by a CBOX thread. WLA also on the move.
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For the next few weeks, I will be posting on conference expansion/realignment news as quickly as I can process it. I will not be writing posts in series on this topic, as I have in the past, for a while as it would be impractical.
At this point, making sense of conference realignment is highly difficult. It seems clear that the Pac 10, Big Ten, and Big 12 are about to make some major decisions. Forces that previously operated outside the public eye, most notably the Pac 10 office and Texas state politicians, are now in the open, while others are still working behind the scenes. As such, very little about the situation is clear.
To begin with, we do know the following:
- The Pac 10 currently intends to invite Colorado, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech into their conference. Texas Tech was likely included to appease the Texas state legislature, just as Oklahoma State was included to appease the Oklahoma state legislature.
- There is a bloc of 15 members of the Texas state legislature that intends to demand that Baylor be substituted for Colorado in this invitation.
- The Pac 10 commissioner has stated that the Pac 10's options are merging with the Big 12, inviting the six aforementioned Big 12 schools, inviting Colorado and Utah, and staying where they are.
- A deadline to decide whether or not to leave the conference has been given to Nebraska and Missouri. Some reports put this deadline at Friday. Others put it a week from this Friday.
- The Pac 10 believes that their current expansion plan will net the conference $240 million a year in TV revenue, which is comparable to the Big Ten's net revenue.
- The Big Ten is also making overtures to Texas.
- Texas A&M fans believe that their school would rather go to the SEC than the Big Ten. This has been echoed elsewhere.
- Missouri and Nebraska fans believe that their respective schools want to go to the Big Ten.
- Texas fans believe that Texas wants the Big 12 to remain intact, as has been echoed by their athletic director. However, they are split over whether Texas would prefer going to the Big Ten or Pac 10 if given the choice.
- Kansas fans believe that the Kansas state legislature has hitched Kansas State to Kansas with regards to conference affiliation. They do not know if this will still be the case if the Big 12 collapses.
- Whether the Big Ten intends to invite Nebraska and/or Missouri.
- What the nature of the deadline imposed on Nebraska and Missouri actually is. If the other ten Big 12 schools all prefer to keep the conference intact, then they are likely trying to force Nebraska and Missouri to make a decision quickly in the hopes that they will not be able to negotiate a deal with the Big Ten before the deadline. If the schools believe that there's a fair chance they would not be invited, then they would be more likely to stay with the Big 12. On the other hand, it could be a threat made by Texas alone to Nebraska backed up by the threat of leaving the conference if they don't make a decision on their timetable.
- How much power does the Baylor bloc in the Texas state legislature actually have. On the one hand 15 legislators in a House of 150 isn't necessarily a gamebreaker at first glance, but if they are either in a disproportionately powerful position with respect to realignment or if the legislature as a whole is buckling on the issue, then they can become a major force.
- Have all of the Pac 10 schools signed onto the plan to invite the six Big 12 schools.
This is Part 1 of a multi-part series (length TBD) regarding the Pac 10’s impending invitations to six Big 12 schools and the potential effects of this invitation on conference realignment in general.
A couple of days ago, OrangeBloods.com reported that the Pac 10 is going to invite six Big 12 schools to join the conference, namely Colorado, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech. Several sources including the Colorado athletic director, Texas A&M athletic department, and most importantly the Washington athletic director have confirmed this. This move has put the Big 12, as well as the rest of the FBS conferences, into a state of disarray, with a lot of rumors flying and a dearth of hard facts.
What we do know is that the Big 12 is in trouble. Most of the Big 12 schools appear to be willing to leave the conference for greener pastures and the only schools that aren’t are schools like Kansas and Iowa State who would be hard-pressed to find a home in another BCS conference. We also know that both the Big Ten and Pac 10 want Texas, as indicated by the Big Ten’s communications with Texas as shown by the communications unearthed by the Columbus Dispatch.
With little information publicly available, I can only speculate on what’s actually going on with the major players in conference realignment. However, using that information and some simple, logical assumptions about the primary motivations of the various players involved (i.e. make as much money as possible while maintaining beloved traditions and their own standards), I can paint a picture of what may be happening.
First of all, based on the email unearthed by the Dispatch, it seems clear that Texas anticipates major political difficulties in attempting to change conferences without finding Texas Tech a home (the same applies to Texas A&M too, FWIW). Based on the general opinion of their fanbases, Oklahoma and Kansas appear to have similar problems with Oklahoma State and Kansas State, respectively. From this, it seems that the likely motives of the Pac 10, namely to get Texas into the conference and get the necessary ingredients for a strong and successful television network.
The key piece of this expansion plan is clearly Texas, which would deliver a huge fanbase and a very strong athletic program. Texas fans have indicated, by a relatively narrow margin, that if they had to change conferences, they would go to the Pac 10 over the Big Ten. However, the Big Ten can offer Texas more TV revenue than the Big Ten and admission to the CIC, which would, in theory, greatly increase the amount of research money that Texas gets from the federal government and other sources. The Pac 10 almost certainly cannot match the Big Ten’s academic and financial advantages, but their actions show that they intend to counter these by offering athletic and political incentives. From an athletic standpoint, the Pac 10 is offering six Big 12 schools, including Texas’ main rivals, Oklahoma and Texas A&M, and Texas Tech, another biannual road game within easy driving distance. Meanwhile, the invitation to Texas Tech is helpful because it removes a major political obstacle in changing conferences by ensuring that Texas Tech has a home. Meanwhile, they ensure that Oklahoma, another relatively valuable team, can come to the Pac 10 by inviting Oklahoma State and round off the move by inviting Colorado to get to sixteen teams.
Also important is that this move allows for the creation of a very strong Pac 10 Network. If the teams accept the invitation, The Texas, Colorado, and Oklahoma networks will be added to the Pac 10 footprint, and the network could easily spread to basic cable throughout the west. Meanwhile, the conference would also add two top tier football programs in Texas and Oklahoma, as well as a good program in Texas A&M and newly strong programs in Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. The overall strength of these teams will allow for numerous compelling games on the Pac 10 Network, meaning that in addition to a very large population base, the network would be able to get a ton of ad revenue.
Part 2 will cover the potential responses by the Big Ten and the SEC to this move by the Pac 10.
Others Receiving Votes-Joeyb,NBL,Coward Dean
The Shake Down
I hope I didn't forget anyone. Seems to be new names all the time. JC grabs the number 1 spot just by joining the foot and giving us recruiting tidbits and news. SCS has been posting the live blogs most nights which does nothing but help me. Seth9 comes strong every night, made us proud at Black Heart Gold Pants. Hulk may have made the biggest jump in the short history of the Top 15. Watching the first season of LOST will do that(which means he's eating his words). Fly keeps bringing good recruiting notes. Dark Blue... is Dark Blue.. Oh he's a uncle! TOB climbing his way back up after going off the grid. Tater brings all sorts of crazy. TLP missing in action a bit, the screen writer maybe writing a screen play on my life and this blog. MMW has also been MIA. I think he may have switched to 2nds but I notice his CBOX presence which counts for something. Sec20 which is all solid was left off... Not sure how.
This Shredder Top 15 has been brought to you by Jim Joyce's UMP camp. Learn 1st base mechanics by the best in the MLB!
All of this nonsense can be found HERE.
So yeah almost –700 and counting. Keep your head up hulk and better luck next time.
Fwiw I think this is ridiculous Hulk is usually a very good poster, he just picked the wrong time to question something.
- I was highly impressed with Armando Galarraga's reaction to the blown call. He did not argue it on the field and he showed class when addressing the call after the game.
- This is further evidence that the use of instant replay should be expanded in baseball. I have no problem with restricting the choice of whether to use instant replay to the umpires. I also believe that strikes and balls should not be reviewed because it would be impractical and would disproportionately favor the team that got the reviews because most MLB umpires have relatively consistent strike-zones and reversing certain calls but not others would typically benefit only one team. That said, there is no reason not to review calls on balls in play.
- I'd be curious to see what the MLB will do with Joyce. I hope that they are at least smart enough to keep him from umping Detroit games for the rest of the year.
The Late Glenn Edward “Bo” Schembechler Jr. said in the 1989 book Bo by Mitch Albom, that recruiting made him feel like a pimp. This came straight out of the mouth of imo the greatest college football coach of all time. How should I, the average passionate fan feel about recruiting?
In all honesty I hate it. I hate the hoards of fans that anxiously wait for the Rivals 250 to be released(Rivals 100 was released today). I hate the people that e-stalk 17 year old athletes. This post isn’t a knock on you people, in today’s society the masses demand instant knowledge and instant gratification. Look at any college football message board today, and the majority of the talk will be about High School athletes.
I understand why recruiting is relevant, I really do. These kids are the future of our program. I get that, what I don’t get is the need to stalk these kids by guys in their 20’s and 30’s or even into their 40’s. I understand that at Michigan we demand the best, that we expect every 5 star athlete we sign to come in and start from day one. But doesn’t it make more sense to let the kids play who have had some time in the system? Very few people want Jordan Kovacs to start in 2010, but this was a guy who was a very good football player unless he had deep coverage. You want Marvin Robinson to come in and start because he’s more athletic? Does he have some of the intangibles that Kovacs has? Does he have experience in this system?
I don’t want to go off on a rant, the whole deal with recruiting perplexes the shit out of me. These 17 year old kids could give a fuck what you, or I have to say, our words are not going to influence their decisions. In my real life, when a 17 year old walks past me in the street I pay ZERO attention to them. Why should these kids be any different. Ignore the fuck out of em.
Well I am behind again. Sometimes 3rds puts me through a loop. I was stuck at work this morning until 10:30 am. I am suppose to leave at 8:30 am. I have to be back tonight at 10:30 pm tonight. So they leaves little time for much of anything. I wanted to do my Top 15 last night but the kids needed me. My job is more demanding than ever. It's even hard to make it to midnight Live Blogs. Good thing some people have picked up the slack and I thank them for that. I will try my best to catch up.
In some other exciting news we just filled a rather large recruiting hole that was left by the great John S. JC will now be our recruiting guy and insider. He seems to bring good tidbits every night to Live Blogs so why not join the foot? As you can see he already pop his MM cherry with a post about Chris Rock, which was a good one. I look forward to seeing what JC can bring to the blog. I feel the circle is now complete.
In other news, I stumbled onto this odd Youtube from West Virgina. Its some hot chick yelling at "Rich Rod". I found it funny that people were so pissed about him taking a better job that they made used car ads out of it. The guy who plays Rich Rod looks about 55 years old but whatever.. It's the W.V. as my wife would say.