West Virginia and Virginia Tech will renew their rivalry

The West Virginia Mountaineers and Virginia Tech Hokies haven’t met on the gridiron since 2005. The schools were once Big East football rivals, but the Hokies departed for the ACC in 2004 and the Mountaineers left for the Big 12 in 2012.

The two schools have decided to renew the battle for the Black Diamond Trophy in 2021. The Mountaineers will host the Hokies that season before returning to Blacksburg in 2022.

“During my three years as Athletic Director at West Virginia University, I have heard from legions of Mountaineer fans, particularly those in the Southern part of the state, who have expressed their strong sentiments to renew the football rivalry with Virginia Tech,” West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck said in an official release. “This game is great for college football. We all know that the two schools have extraordinary fan bases, and both schools will be counting down the days until the Hokies and the Mountaineers meet again.

“I want to thank Virginia Tech Athletic Director Jim Weaver and Coach Frank Beamer for their efforts in helping to get the two teams back on the football field. It will be a great day for all involved when the rivalry is renewed.”

Right now the only way the teams will meet is in a bowl game. The series has been played 51 times, beginning in 1912 with West Virginia holding a 28-22-1 advantage. When the series ceased in 2005, the Hokies and Mountaineers had played every year since 1973.

This is a good East coast football rivalry, but since rampant realignment has kicked in a lot of rivalries are going bye-bye.

Check out other great articles at just sports & just us .

2013 NFL Draft Round 19 – New York Giants

 

With the 19th selection of the 2013 NFL Draft, the New York Football Giants select Guard Justin Pugh out of Syracuse.

Pugh started 34 games in his career, and earned All Big East honors in three consecutive seasons; second team as a sophomore, and first team as a junior and season. Pugh entered the draft after his junior season.

Pugh is a seasoned starter at offensive tackle with very good movement skills. However, he lacks adequate arm length and size to stick at offensive tackle going forward. His best fit will likely be as an offensive guard in a zone-blocking scheme.

Surprised by Georgetown? Do Your Homework!

Georgetown was a two seed in this year’s March Madness tournament and a trendy pick to go far, as most people followed the chalk up to the Elite Eight (and maybe even beyond). Tonight they burned many brackets as they fell to Florida Gulf Coast University (of all places), the biggest upset of a very busy couple days full of upsets.

My only question: what did you expect?

The Hoyas are always seeded generously in the tournament and lately they always disappoint. In fact, of the five times they have been in the tourney in the last six years, each time they lost to a double-digit seeded team.

2013: #2 seed – lost to #15 in first round

2012: #3 seed – lost to #11 in second round

2011: #6 seed – lost to #11 in first round

2010: #3 seed – lost to #14 in first round

2009: NIT – lost first round game

2008: #2 seed – lost to #10 in second round

Yes, that’s right. Four times in the last six years they have been a #2 or #3 and they have not even made it to the Sweet Sixteen once!

Including their NIT appearance, they are 2-6 since 2008, with first round exits via FGCU, VCU, and Ohio (not Ohio State).

I don’t watch much college basketball. In fact, I didn’t see Georgetown play at all this year (and perhaps not the two years before that, either). But I think it is safe to say that no one in the country has underachieved more than the Hoyas. When we see Georgetown we think BIG/SIZE, but they come up small under the bright lights of March Madness.

So if your bracket is busted because you picked Georgetown to go deep, well, I don’t feel sorry for you.

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Eagles Hold Private Workout With QB Geno Smith

With little over a month remaining before the 2013 NFL Draft, every team in the league is out doing their due diligence, so no workout a team puts a player through should be much of a surprise.

94.1 WIP  in Philadelphia via Pro Football Talk is reporting that Eagles brass packed up and traveled to Morgantown, West Virginia, to hold a private workout with quarterback Geno Smith.

The group that watched Smith perform included owner Jeffrey Lurie, G.M. Howie Roseman, and head coach Chip Kelly.  Smith did have the fastest 40 time of any quarterback at the combine, so he’s athletic enough all while being a good enough passer to run Kelly’s uptempo spread offense.

The true question is with so many holes on that roster, is it worth drafting Smith at 4th overall to sit and watch Michael Vick for a year while you have so many other holes to fill.

Check out other great articles at BlackSportsOnline.

Christie Signs Internet Gambling Bill, Rand Paul’s Haircut, & a Wednesday NCAA Basketball Selection

 

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie yesterday signed a bill to legalize internet gambling. People will be allowed to gamble online on any games that are played in Atlantic City’s casino’s, such as roulette, blackjack and craps.

Sports betting is not allowed in AC, so for now you will not be able to bet on a sporting event. But this matter is discussed frequently and I believe will be Atlantic City’s next step in expanding.

One good aspect of the online gambling is that people will be able to earn comps as they play, just as if their gambling was being rated in live play.

The BEST aspect of this bill is that it will now be legal once again to play poker online. In 2011,  federal laws all but shut down the hugely popular online poker craze that had swept the USA.

Many of the old poker sites were shady, several were mired in scandal, and people’s overall faith in many of these sites was very low. The new, casino-run, online poker rooms will be extremely professional and completely above board. That’s my hope anyway.

It’s about time, Chris Christie. And Sports betting is LONG past overdue …

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Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is known mostly because of his famous father, former presidential nominee Ron Paul (who, by the way, is opposed to internet gambling restrictions.)

Rand Paul is also known for being a terrible person. I will not get into politics here, but the statement he made regarding land after its been mined for coal says a lot about the man:

“…The other thing is that I think coal gets a bad name, because apparently a lot of the land is desirable once it gets flattened out… I don’t think anyone’s going to be missing a hill or two here and there. Some people like the flat land, and some of it apparently has become rather valuable when it’s become flattened.”

Enough said on that … but there is one other thing about Rand that is noteworthy — his truly awful haircut. There is an explanation: he recently confirmed that he cuts his own hair. I have nothing against anyone saving time/money/whatever by giving themselves a trim. Except when it ends up looking like this

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The biggest and most interesting NCAA game tonight is in the Big East, as the #7 Georgetown Hoyas travel to UConn to take on the Huskies.

Due to academic issues, UConn in ineligible this year to play in any postseason tournament — not only is March madness out, they also will not participate in the Big East tournament. So that leaves 4 games until the Huskies season ends.

UConn has rallied under first year coach Kevin Ollie, and compiled a very respectable 19-7 mark on the year. They have had an all around team effort, but their star and go-to guy is Shabazz Napier, who averages 17.2 ppg.

Georgetown, meanwhile, hopes their season will not end for another 5 weeks or so, as they have legitimate plans of making the Final 4. They have been the hottest team in the country over the past month, winning their last 9 games and 11 of their last 12. Amazingly, they have covered the spread in all 11 of those wins.

Their most recent win was on Saturday against Syracuse, who came in riding the nations longest home winning streak — 38 games. Not only did the Hoyas break that streak and pull off the upset as an 8 point dog, they beat ‘Cuse handily by 11. They held the Orange to just 46 points. G’town star Otto Porter poured in 33 in the victory.

Georgetown’s key to success is their defense. In 11 of their last 12 games, they have held opponents to under 40% shooting. They have allowed no team to score more than 66 against them; 5 teams have been held to a total in the 50′s, 2 teams (including ‘cuse) were held in the 40′s. That’s incredible.

So while this should be a fun game to watch, it is difficult to pick the winner. Georgetown comes in as the slight 1.5 point favorite … Georgetown showed no fear walking into the hostile environment at Syracuse’s Carrier Dome, surely they can handle a UConn team with very little truly to play for.

But its not that simple. The fact that UConn has nothing to play for makes them extra dangerous. They are playing the spoiler role here. I’m sure they are tired of hearing how good, how hot, Georgetown is. And the home crowd will be fired up for this.

It’s not UConn’s last home game, they play Providence the last night of the season. But this is certainly UConn’s most important home game remaining. For the team and the crowd, this is their March madness and Big East tournament rolled into one.

And UConn should play with no trace of fear; no sign of holding back in any way. Georgetown will probably suffer a letdown after the huge emotional win on Saturday.

All that won’t matter at all if Georgetown brings their “A” game, and most importantly their lock-down defense. If they do, the crowd can be as crazy as they want, UConn can be as inspired as they want, it just won’t matter. Georgetown’s best game obviously takes down UConn’s best game.

Everything considered, I believe UConn gets it done tonight. A win like this can erase much of the bitterness and will carry the team through until next year. A loss, or worse, a poor performance, would make a tough season for the Huskies that much harder to take.

But not to worry! Napier and crew will get it done. They will beat the Hoyas outright, in what might be viewed by some as an upset. It really won’t be though. It will just be a team playing a spoiler role and catching the white hot Hoyas at the right time.

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The Pick:  Take the home team Huskies, UConn +1.5

 

Rutgers Football Blows Overtime Citrus Bowl Chunks

Rutgers football has aspirations of football greatness.  They have spent the money to be a big time player and have quit the struggeling Big East to move to the Big Time Big 10.  But to get to the promised land they are going to have to do something new.

Win a big time football game against a big time opponent.

Tonight in Florida the anemic Rutgers football team blew a 10 – 0 halftime lead and just gave VIrgina Tech a 13-10 overtime win.

And it was just terrible to watch.

Just like the game against Louisville where they had a halftime lead and the Big East Championship in their hands they let is just slip away.  And the Rutgers Head Coach had no answers.

If Rutgers wants to take that next step they are going to have to take the next step and figure out a way to win a big game whether in the Big East or Big 10.

Until then the will just be a real team’s speedbump on the way to a big bowl game.

What Virginia Tech is Saying About Rutgers Football

Chris Lang

When Khaseem Greene was growing up in the northern New Jersey city of Elizabeth, the local FBS program wasn’t exactly at the forefront of peoples’ minds, and understandably so. Rutgers was a non-factor, both in the Big East Conference and the local sports scene. In the early 2000s, the Scarlet Knights were simply put, awful.

From 1995-2004, the Knights endured 10 straight losing seasons, and Greene knew all about it.

“I had two cousins who played for Rutgers back in those days,” said Greene, a standout linebacker for this year’s Rutgers squad, which will face Virginia Tech on Dec. 28 in Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando. “They used to come to our middle school and hand out tickets and stuff like that. It’s taken a big-time leap to where it is now.”

Undoubtedly. Virginia Tech and Rutgers shared the same conference home from 1992-2004, before Tech left for the ACC. Rutgers will spend one more season in the disintegrating conference before leaving for the Big Ten.

Most Tech fans will remember the Scarlet Knights as a benign punching bag, a respite on the schedule. The Hokies won 11 straight against the Knights after losing the first matchup between the teams as Big East rivals. The last nine victories were by no fewer than 16 points, and some came with embarrassing margins, like the back-to-back years where Tech won 49-0 and 50-0.

The lack of success made it difficult for the local talent in Jersey to take the Scarlet Knights seriously.

“I’m not gonna lie, when I was younger, Rutgers, we really didn’t talk about it much,” said quarterback Gary Nova, who is from Elmwood Park and played at Don Bosco Prep, one of the nation’s top high-school programs. “Obviously, we talked schools like Miami, those big schools that were successful at that time.”

What Rutgers needed was a Jersey guy to come in and reclaim the Garden State from the FBS programs that raided it for talent on a continual basis. Virginia Tech, Penn State, Ohio State, Maryland, Syracuse … they all plucked the best Jersey talent out from underneath Rutgers’ noses. When Greg Schiano left his job as Miami’s defensive coordinator in 2000 to return home to try to resurrect the moribund Rutgers program, he made sure to sell Rutgers as New Jersey’s state program, his goal simple: Keep the best in-state talent close to home.

Schiano grew up in Wyckoff in northern New Jersey and played college ball at Bucknell in Pennsylvania. The rebuild wasn’t easy. Schiano’s predecessor, Terry Shea, won 12 games in five seasons before being relieved, and Schiano went 2-9 and 1-11 in his first two years. But as the roster began to fill with in-state talent, the Knights’ fortunes changed. In 2003, Rutgers went 5-7. In 2005, the Knights went 7-5 to break the 10-year string of losing seasons. The next year, riding legs of running back Ray Rice — not a Jersey kid, but a player from nearby New Rochelle, N.Y., in the New York City metro area — Rutgers won 11 games and beat Kansas State in the Texas Bowl to begin a five-game bowl winning streak.

Schiano left after last season to take over as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but longtime assistant Kyle Flood took over, trying to maintain the tradition Schiano had built. Rutgers won its first seven games this season, including a road victory against SEC member Arkansas, and was quietly sneaking up the national polls until a stunning loss to Kent State at home. Still, the Scarlet Knights had an opportunity to reach a BCS bowl game for the first time, hosting Louisville in the season’s final week.

A three-point loss ended those dreams, but Rutgers still earned a share of the Big East title, another program first that was unimaginable when the Knights were a conference laughing stock in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

“We’ve been able to do some things that have never been done here before,” Greene said. “It’s just all a credit to the guys who came before us, the players who wore the uniforms before us, the coaches who coached the team before us. Everybody played a role in getting this program to where it is now and ultimately where it’s going to be in the future.”

Fifty New Jersey players dot the Rutgers roster this season, and it’s clear that the Knights have been a preferred option for Garden State players who want to stay close to home. And it’s not just role players. Greene is the two-time Big East defensive player of the year and a sure-fire pick in next April’s NFL Draft. Nova has a chance to be a three-year starter at quarterback.

None of it would have happened if it wasn’t for a Jersey guy coming in and reclaiming Rutgers’ recruiting territory.

“It’s very special being a Jersey guy and doing something that’s never been done at this school, winning a Big East championship,” Nova said. “I think coach Flood did a great job stepping in for coach Schiano and kind of being his own guy. Not trying to change everything, pretty much putting the team in the hands of the seniors and letting them lead us throughout the season. I think he did a great job hiring a great staff that really cares about us. So it was really a good year. Obviously we didn’t finish the way we wanted to, but it was a great year.”

 Follow Virginia Tech beat writer Chris Lang on Twitter: @ChrisLangLNA
www.VTInsider.com

Rutgers – The Fall of the Big East

That eery, depressing sound that circled the streets of New York last night you may have heard while the New York Knicks were sticking it to the Los Angeles Lakers had nothing to do with Mike D’Antoni being back in town. It had nothing to do with the NBA at all. Nor did it have anything to do with any professional sports team in New York, not even the locked out Rangers.

That sound was the Big East conference dying. And there is nothing more depressing in all of the Northeast right now than that.

Yesterday, the remaining seven Catholic schools in the conference (Marquette, Georgetown, St. John’s, Providence, DePaul, Seton Hall and Villanova) agreed that they would leave in unison and either start-up their own conference, or join another conference as a group with the Atlantic-10 as the most logical destination.

They followed Notre Dame (ACC), Louisville (ACC), Rutgers (Big Ten), Pittsburgh (ACC), Syracuse (ACC) and West Virginia (Big 12) out the door of the slowly dying conference. As of today, the only remaining football and basketball remaining members are Connecticut, Cincinnati and South Florida. That’s it.

How did we get to this point, you ask? It’s simple. Basketball is not how athletic departments make the majority of their money anymore in television contracts. Football has become the clear-cut money sport in college, and if you’re not playing in an elite conference with a locked in TV contract, you’re losing out on large paychecks other schools are cashing.

Here’s the problem: the Northeast could not care less about college football.

New York City, the biggest television market in the United States, has not had a good college football team since Army’s heyday, so the city as a whole stopped caring about rooting for a local team. If surveyed, I can guarantee the most popular team in the Northeast region (New York, New Jersey and New England) would be Notre Dame, with Penn State as the likeliest #2 team. It’s why when conferences last realligned before this version, when Miami (FL), Virginia Tech and Boston College ditched the Big East for the ACC, nobody worried. In fact, league insiders were thrilled that they were able to cut the fat on bad basketball teams and add powers like Louisville, Cincinnati and two Catholic schools (Marquette and DePaul) into the mix.

It’s not to say that schools like UConn or Rutgers aren’t good at football. Both teams have had years in which they’ve played in BCS bowls and appeared in the Top 10 of the AP polls. It’s just that football was never the #1 sport for the college fan base. The reason why the Big East was never able to secure a big television contract for their football teams is because there was interest from any stations to give them one. When SNY brought in the Big East on their original contract, they were much more interested in the basketball portion of the product than the football.

This truly is a sad day. The league as I knew it growing up in Westport, CT is dead. The days in which the Big East routinely putting in eight or nine teams into the NCAA Tournament are long over after this year. Nobody is excited for the Tulane’s, the SMU’s or the East Carolina’s to enter this now-defunct league. In fact, if those teams are smart, they’ll nix the move to the Big East and remain in the Conference-USA, which now seems much more stable than the Big East.

If I had to guess, UConn will likely try to bargain its way into the ACC, Cincinnati (along with SMU) will attempt to gain entrance into the Big 12, Temple will go back to the A-10 with the seven Catholic schools and return to the MAC for football, teams like Boise State and San Diego State will do their best to gain entrance back to the Mountain West, and poor South Florida will be left at the alter wondering what the hell to do.

This truly is a depressing time for Northeast college basketball fans. The members of the Big East wanted their cake, but they couldn’t eat it, too.

And they ruined the best conference the nation had ever seen. Good job, ADs.

 

Check out other great articles at The Waiver Wire.

Triple Coverage 12/10/12 Part 1

TC 12-10-12 Part 1 

http://www.mtrmedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/TC-12-10-12-Part-1.wma

The Dovid Dobin Show 11/26/2012: Hour 2

Much more NFL talk, including the Jets disaster. Plus, a look at the latest in conference realignment, featuring the Big Ten, Rutgers and Maryland.

The Dovid Dobin Show 11/26/2012: Hour 2

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