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.

Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson Appears on ESPN’s First Take Program

Following the conclusion of the final double session for the Houston Texans, former Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson appeared on ESPN’s First Take via call in from the Texans practice facility. For those able to stomach Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith for a couple minutes were treated to a nice interview where the star receiver addressed his team’s expectations, his recent injury history, and his place among the top WRs in the NFL today.

Johnson was first asked about comments made by QB Matt Schaub regarding the Texans “Super Bowl or Bust” mentality for the upcoming season. Johnson stood by Schaub’s statement and acknowledged that as the team’s leader, the rest of the Texans need to believe in Schaub’s words also. 

Smith asked Johnson if there was any added pressure on the offense, particularly him, Schaub, and RB Arian Foster, to perform now that the Texans defense, led by Wade Phillips, was such a formidable unit. While Johnson wouldn’t admit there was any added pressure, he did acknowledge that the team dynamic is certainly different than in years past. While Johnson didn’t come right out and say it, he alluded to the fact that the defense was so far behind the offense for so many years that it’s refreshing to finally have a balanced team. Johnson stressed that the offense just needed to keep playing they way they’re capable of because the defense is now able to win games for them. Andre stressed, “The sky is the limit for our team.”

Johnson touched on the adversities faced by the Texans last season, injuries in particular. This prompted a question from Bayless regarding Johnson’s recent history of hamstring and groin pulls. AJ simply responded that if he had an answer, he’d give it, but at the moment he is feeling good and has been practicing for the past week and a half. As is already common knowledge, Johnson will be making his preseason debut this Saturday at home against the San Francisco 49ers. 

Next, Johnson was asked where he felt he stood among the game’s top wide receivers when 100% healthy. Johnson said he of course felt he was the best as every receiver should, but admitted he is a big fan of the game and enjoyed watching guys like Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Greg Jennings, and Roddy White. 

Lastly, Johnson was asked what his personal and team expectations were if he is healthy. Johnson responded by stating the goal was of course to win the AFC and that nothing is given to them. Johnson brushed off the expectations and said that what mattered was that he and the rest of the team needed to go out on Sundays and compete they way they know they can. 

As always, Andre Johnson was classy if a bit quiet and reserved as a interviewee. Nothing overly surprising came out during the interview, just a reassurance that AJ is healthy and ready to kick off the 2012 season in pursuit of the Texans’ first Super Bowl. 

Check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

New York Yankees Sign Nicaraguan Prospects Corby McCoy, Luis Garcia

The New York Yankees have signed two Nicaraguan pitching prospects, Corby McCoy and Luis Garcia, reports Ben Badler of Baseball America.

McCoy, 16, signed for $150,000 and is one of Nicaragua’s best pitchers. At 6’3″, 170 pounds, the young left-hander has an athletic, projectable body. His velocity has ranged from 85-88 mph in the past, but Badler reports McCoy’s fastball has touched as high as 91 mph recently. He also has a breaking ball in his arsenal, which is still being developed. 

Garcia, who signed for $50,000, is also a 16 year-old left-hander, but has a larger frame than McCoy at 6’4″ and 185 pounds. Like McCoy, Garcia’s fastball ranges from 85-88 mph. 

With the signing of McCoy, the Yankees have spent all of their $2.9 million international bonus pool limit. If they sign another top international player before July 2, 2013, they would have to pay a penalty for exceeding the $2.9 million amount. Since Garcia signed for under $50,000, he will likely be used as one of New York’s exemptions of six players who can sign for under $50,000 each without counting toward the team’s $2.9 million spending limit.

In addition to McCoy, New York’s other top international signings were Luis Torrens for $1.3 million, Alexander Palma for $800,000, and Yancarlos Baez for $650,000

Also…

Check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

2012 NFL Draft, Round 2 Results

 

1

33

St. Louis

Brian Quick

WR

Sr

Appalachian State

2

34

Indianapolis

Coby Fleener

TE

Sr

Stanford

3

35

Baltimore
(from Minnesota)

Courtney Upshaw

LB

Sr

Alabama

4

36

Denver
(from Tampa Bay)

Derek Wolfe

DT

Sr

Cincinnati

5

37

Cleveland

Mitchell Schwartz

T

Sr

California

6

38

Jacksonville

Andre Branch

DE

Sr

Clemson

7

39

St. Louis
(from Washington)

Janoris Jenkins

CB

Sr

North Alabama

8

40

Carolina

Amini Silatolu

G

Sr

Midwestern State

9

41

Buffalo

Cordy Glenn

T

Sr

Georgia

10

42

Miami

Jonathan Martin

T

So

Stanford

11

43

NY Jets
(from Seattle)

Stephen Hill

WR

Jr

Georgia Tech

12

44

Kansas City

Jeff Allen

G

Sr

Illinois

13

45

Chicago
(from Dallas through St. Louis)

Alshon Jeffery

WR

Jr

South Carolina

14

46

Philadelphia

Mychal Kendricks

LB

Sr

California

15

47

Seattle
(from NY Jets)

Bobby Wagner

LB

Sr

Utah State

16

48

New England
(from Oakland)

Tavon Wilson

S

Sr

Illinois

17

49

San Diego

Kendall Reyes

DE

Sr

Connecticut

18

50

St. Louis
(from Chicago)

Isaiah Pead

RB

Sr

Cincinnati

19

51

Green Bay
(from Arizona through Philadelphia)

Jerel Worthy

DE

Jr

Michigan State

20

52

Tennessee

Zach Brown

LB

Sr

North Carolina

21

53

Cincinnati

Devon Still

DT

Sr

Penn State

22

54

Detroit

Ryan Broyles

WR

Sr

Oklahoma

23

55

Atlanta

Peter Konz

C

Jr

Wisconsin

24

56

Pittsburgh

Mike Adams

T

Sr

Ohio State

25

57

Denver

Brock Osweiler

QB

Jr

Arizona State

26

58

Tampa Bay
(from Houston)

Lavonte David

LB

Sr

Nebraska

27

New Orleans

Forfeited

28

59

Philadelphia
(from Green Bay)

Vinny Curry

DE

Sr

Marshall

29

60

Baltimore

Kelechi Osemele

G

Sr

Iowa State

30

61

San Francisco

LaMichael James

RB

Jr

Oregon

31

62

Green Bay
(from New England)

Casey Hayward

CB

Sr

Vanderbilt

32

63

NY Giants

Rueben Randle

WR

Jr

LSU

 

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