Things that happened during the week which drew the attention of ajerseyguy:
What’s with Notre Dame football coach Bryan Kelly? His Irish team gets wacked by Alabama in the BCS title game, he talks to the Philadelphia Eagles about their opening the next day and then goes underground for a few days as the speculation mounts. This is hardly an endorsement for long-term stability as the Irish’ coach. But then again, anything is possible these days. If and when the news about Kelly does finally have some direction, count on ESPN’s Chris Mortensen to have it first. Not only is Mort very good at his job, but he and Kelly have the same agent.
The odds of Connecticut breaking away from the Big East to join the Catholic 7 still are of the long shot variety, but make no mistake, the option has been and will be discussed among UConn officials. The question of what to do about the football program is obviously the stumbling block, but all options will be examined before a final move is made. UConn as part of the Mountain West is only viable if there is a major expansion move made by the MWC which creates an Eastern Division.
…Although San Diego State has until the end of the month to make a final decision on whether to stay in the Mountain West or move to the Big East as scheduled, expect some kind of announcment much sooner than that, perhaps sometime next week.
After hearing what the Big East had to say, San Diego State officials are still leaning to staying with the Mountain West.
The idea of a MWC super conference of 16 or more teams going across multiple time zones is not new. MWC commissioner Craig Thompson first floated the idea a year ago.
I, along with my buddy Dennis Dodd of CBS sports.com, obtained a document outlying a plan which would include a 32-team super league comprised of teams from the MWC, Conference USA and the Big East.
The West Division would consist of Boise State, Hawaii, UNLV, Nevada, Fresno State, San Diego State, Utah State and San Jose State.
The Mountain Division would consist of Air Force, Wyoming, Colorado State, New Mexico, UTEP, SMU, Tulsa and Houston.
The Central Division would consist of Marshall, Memphis, Southern Mississippi, Tulane, UAB, Rice, Temple and Louisiana Tech.
The East Division would consist of Louisville, UConn, Rutgers, Cincinnati, South Florida, Central Florida, East Carolina and Navy.
That plan was rejected by all parties as too big and too hard to manage. But the landscape has changed and so have attitudes.
Obviously some schools such as Louisville and Rutgers have gotten better deals. Bu the other teams and other conferences remain in play.
While Thompson and the MWC may be content by sticking with Boise State and San Diego State, don’t be stunned if talks continue about a super conference format, which could include UConn and Cincinnati.
The Dallas Cowboys hired Monte Kiffin as their new Defensive Coordinator. Really?….It’s January so we can start to focus on college basketball, which is why Saturday’s game between Duke and North Carolina State is intriguing. Is Duke really that good? And how good is NC State which was the pre-season pick to win the ACC?…Good to see former BC football coach Tom O’Brien re-emerge as an associate head coach on Mike London’s staff at Virginia after getting dumped by NC State DOA Debbie Yow. O’Brien still has a lot of energy left and will bring an extra boost to Virginia…Former BC coach Frank Spaziani is starting to emerge after being fired by the Eagles… You can criticize Spaz all you want for his tenure as a head coach, but his success as a defensive coordinator is also part of his resume and some staff could use his skills.
Word has it that while the Fox television offer for the Catholic 7 basketball league is generous (reportedly $500 million over 12 years), the group still is waiting to see what ESPN might offer. The problem is inventory. Will it be a 10 team or 12 team league? And will football schools with a strong basketball pedigree such as Cincinnati and Louisville be part of it?
If I were the Catholic 7, searching for a new commissioner I would have a short list which included Mike Tranghese (at least on an interim basis until it is up and running) Dan Gavitt, Tom McElroy, Mike Aresco and Chris Plonsky. All have Big East and television connections and know the landscape as well as anybody.
If everything holds up with the Big East (no more immediate defections) the conference will be 10 teams in football in 2013 and 18 teams in basketball.
© 2013, Mark. All rights reserved.