As a long time college football fan, the past few months have to be the most interesting off season I can remember. Here are a few of the highlights (or maybe lowlights, depending on your perspective)
- The conference realignment mess, simmering since the Big 10 announced it was “studying” expansion has gone from simmer to full boil. At this point, the situation resembles the beginning of World War I, where the assassination of Habsburg heir-apparent Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo (the Big 10 “expansion study” announcement) led Austria-Hungary to declare war on Serbia (Colorado to the PAC 10), bringing Russia into the war (Nebraska to the Big 10), triggering the mobilization of armies all over Europe (PAC 11, Big 10, SEC, ACC all prepare to expand to an integer number larger than 12) and the inevitable and irreversible carnage of World War (commence wholesale looting of the remains of the Big XII, existing Big East, Notre Dame, Utah, BYU, TCU, Boise State, and, for all I know, the Canada West Universities Athletics Association – UBC to the PAC-10?). People in South Bend should keep in mind what happened to neutral Belgium (Notre Dame, attempting to stay out of the fray) in August 1914. The situation gets more complex with each passing minute. If you thought that Texas and Texas A&M were inseparable, the Orlando Sentinel reports this morning that Texas A&M is considering moving to the SEC without Texas so they can get out from under Big Brother’s shadow or something like that.
- Seemingly out of the blue, USC head coach Pete Carroll bolts for the NFL. I think we know why: the NCAA gave USC the harshest recruiting violation penalty handed down in years yesterday. Two year postseason appearance ban, loss of 30 scholarships (ten per year over 3 years), and forfeiture of past wins.
- In a story that would have made headlines if not for the other two, the University of Oregon made a bold bit to capture the coveted Fulmer Cup when starting QB and Heisman Trophy hopeful Jeremiah Masoli was kicked off the team for driving on a suspended license and possession of marijuana. Although not a huge Fulmer Cup point total for Oregon (“Fightin’ in ‘da Club/Weed Possession/Standard DUI” gets only 2 Fulmer Cup points, and “Drankin’/Suspended License/Assorted petty misdemeanors” only 1 point), the loss of a standout QB is a big story.