THE END OF THE WEST
[SEC news is after the jump and down a bit, for those who like skipping the national stuff.--ed.]
So now Fresno and Nevada are headed to the Mountain West and BYU is doing -- what again?
If there's one thing we've learned about the conference realignment process, it's that there's always a curve ball. Fresno State and Nevada turn out to have a heck of a curve ball: They'll leave the WAC, making that league less attractive to BYU, and head to the Mountain West, making that league more attractive to BYU. (Dizzy yet? Don't worry; by the end of all this, you will be.)
This all distracts from the fact that the MWC is still not giving up on the very thing that started this realignment talk in the first place: The appallingly stupid and arrogant attempt to start up its own network, The Mtn. A competitor for the Big Ten Network, it's not. (It's actually not even a competitor for QVC. But I digress.)
Thompson spoke after returning from a meeting in Philadelphia with Comcast and CBS officials, who said they wanted the league and its television network -- The Mtn. -- to reach more markets. The league started the network a few years ago, giving up national exposure on ESPN for more scheduling freedom.
Well, at least they don't have to play on a day other than Saturday. Because then somebody might actually watch their games and rank their teams higher. I've been a big booster of MWC teams on this site, but it's hard to attack the BCS too much for underranking them when the league refuses a perfectly logical way to increase its profile.
Fresno and Nevada make the football decision a no-brainer for BYU: The Mountain West is better than independence. But The Mtn. makes the financial decision a no-brainger: Independence is better than the Mountain West. The MWC has no one but itself to blame if BYU leaves.
BYU knows loyalty
Meanwhile, in a development guaranteed to anger everyone, BYU apparently asked WAC officials to strengthen the buyout provision for WAC schools -- all while planning to leave its own conference.
According to sources close to the situation, BYU wanted the buyout agreement reached to ensure the WAC would remain strong if the Cougars returned to the league in all sports but football.
That plan worked brilliantly. And now, before it's even joined the WAC, BYU might be considering leaving the WAC for the West Coast Conference, which actually is a different conference. BYU is now the Bobby Petrino of football teams.
WAC official: BYU will bolt when it gets LDS approval
The LDS church has to actually sign off on this deal, seeing as how they own the school and everything.
A source in the WAC office said BYU is waiting on final approval from the LDS Church and could hold a news conference later this week or early next week to address the changes, news of which sent shock waves through the college sports world on Wednesday.
"In light of the media leaks, it may be expedited a bit," the source told The Tribune.
Or, given the decision of Fresno and Nevada to join the MWC, it might provide a convenient lifeboat to BYU to keep them from jumping onto a sinking ship. Also, don't underestimate the importance of LaVell Edwards' skepticism about the idea; he's basically the Bear Bryant of BYU.
Since this is all just a guessing game, why not?
Mountain West Connection, which has now seen itself rescued from oblivion (unless it wants to become one of those retrospective blogs, like a Goo Goo Dolls fan site), throws out an idea so bizarre it probably will happen: BYU returns to the MWC and Houston joins as team No. 12.
This all has blown up in BYU's face and they may be forced to head back to the Mountain West. They may try to get a better deal with the Mountain West, but do they really have any chance of doing that under these circumstances.
Before you dismiss the idea: Remember how hard we all laughed when Dan Beebe said the Big XII wasn't dead yet.
Big XII speculation
They could end up with Houston, TCU, Air Force or a beautiful unicorn.
The Winner: The Big East?
First of all: Have those words ever been spoken before?
Anyway, I'm not sure Sean isn't jumping the gun just a little bit here -- a MWC with Fresno and Nevada would actually be more dangerous to the Big East if BYU reconsiders -- but, if nothing changes, he's right.
The Big East is officially turning into college football's Dukes of Hazzard. They keep getting into crazy predicaments only to jump the General Lee at the last moment and live to see another day.
Another thing to keep in mind: Jim Delany still has not given the all-clear. And if this thing gets really out of hand and teams are flying around, there are still plenty of reasons to doubt the existence of any conferences save (probably) the Big Ten, SEC and Pac-10/11/12/16/248.
SEC, OTHER NEWS
Almost as bizarre as the conference realignment saga
That would be the faked endorsement of would-be Bessemer, Ala., Mayor Dorothy Davidson by Alabama head coach Nick Saban, who presumably has more immediate issues on his mind right now. And then things get strange.
The man who has been managing Bessemer Councilwoman Dorothy Davidson's campaign for mayor this afternoon said he tricked Davidson into believing she had an endorsement from University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban.
Now, never mind that any human being on the face of the planet would be skeptical about this announcement to begin with, or that Davidson nonetheless claimed that the obviously photoshopped picture of her and Saban was genuine. The campaign manager has fallen on his sword; that's what he's supposed to do in a case like this.
Another take on Stephen Garcia
Gamecock Man differs with the significance we've all been attaching to the South Carolina signal-caller, and says Garcia is getting blamed as much for mistakes of his receivers (perhaps) and offensive line (almost certainly) as for his own miscues.
This all leads me to believe that the numerous commentators that have suggested that our success this year rests on whether Garcia has a big year are off the mark -- Garcia is very important, but he's not exactly a question mark and, in that sense, not the number-one key to success.
The only quibble I have is that Garcia still had enough problems to cause Gamecock fans to be nervous this year. But anyone who saw the Papajohns.com Bowl knows that his season passing rating probably fell by 10 points that day on dropped passes alone.
From 'a quarterback mentality' to 'not going to get any reps anyway'
It seems that Les Miles' view of Zach Lee depends on whether Zach Lee plays for LSU or the Dodgers.
Florida players take Lindy's more seriously than anyone else does
The defensive line is mad about Lindy's ranking them No. 7 in the league. I mean, really mad -- like, near homicidal rage directed at a preseason magazine.
Alabama, Florida to don Nike
monstrosities Pro Combat uniforms
Etch-a-Sketch aficionados, rejoice! Also
abandoning all good fashion sense joining the promotion: Boise State, Miami, Ohio State, Oregon State, Pittsburgh, TCU, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.
That's a deterrent?
I'm not complaining about this, because I think the rule is stupid to begin with. But does Mississippi State athletics director Scott Stricklin really expect us to believe that a $50,000 fine would lead the Western Division Bulldogs to crack down on cowbells?
"It just reinforces that we’ve got two excellent reasons to make sure that we’re going to abide by the plan," Stricklin said, noting the one-year trial on the compromise and the financial penalties in place if the school is determined to have broken the rule.
Even to the Mississippi State athletics department, $50,000 is nothing.
Is anyone surprised?
LaGarrette Blount -- stop me if you've heard this before -- punched another football player, this one a teammate with the Tennessee Titans. This being the NFL, Blount is applauded for being a good player. That is a very strange league they have.