Thursday, April 29, 2010

Could the Big East be the first domino to fall?


According to Brian Bennett's blog on ESPN.com, UConn coach Randy Edsall said that the football coaches of the conference want an ultimatum delivered to Notre Dame- join the Big East for football (they are a member for every other sport...independent in football only) or leave.

That's a pretty bold move, if Big East commissioner John Marinotto complies with the wishes of the football coaches. On one hand, gaining the Irish would give them a boost in television exposure and revenue. It would also give the Big East nine football-playing members, which means a balanced conference schedule like the Mountain West has.

On the other hand, this may be an attempt to indirectly save the league from completely imploding. If Notre Dame's other sports programs are cast off from the Big East, they would not be able to survive as independents as their football program has been able to. That might be the impetus for the Irish to finally join the Big Ten as that conference's twelfth member.

The thinking there being that, if the Big Ten gets to 12 with Notre Dame, that they cease looking for other new schools. Many of their potential targets right now are Big East schools- Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse, etc. Getting back to Bennett's blog, Edsall also said that if the Big Ten were to take two of those teams, that "the Big East is all done".

Trouble Ahead?

Last night's game got ugly early, with Baylor jumping out to an 11-1 lead in the 4th on their way to a 14-4 laugher of a win over TCU down in Waco. The Frogs were never in it, as starter Greg Holle lasted just an inning and a third, giving up 7 hits and 6 runs.

Holle, the 6'8" junior from upstate New York, went 5-2 in twelve starts in 2009 and was being counted on to be the Frogs' midweek starter in 2010. His season got off to a rocky start, and though he rebounded with an impressive effort against UTA back in March, lost the #4 starting job to Paul Gerrish. With two midweek games this week, Holle was called upon to make his first start since he gave up 7 runs in 2⅔ innings in an RPI-destroying loss to Dallas Baptist in late March. Last night's performance wasn't much better, and Holle now has an ERA of 10.17 and an opponents' batting average of .327.

I don't want to sit here and rip on this kid all day, but I think that for a team with championship aspirations in a sport where pitching depth is so incredibly key in the postseason, you've got to be concerned about this if you're a Frog fan.

While the three main starters (Purke, Winkler and Maxwell) have been solid all year (they've got a combined W-L record of 19-0!) as well as the go-to relievers (Tyler Lockwood and Kaleb Merck), you cannot rely on them to pitch every inning once you get to the conference tournament, regionals, or further. If Schlossnagle finds himself in need of a 5th starter in any given weekend of the postseason, does he move Lockwood (who has pitched brilliantly as of late and has starting experience) into the rotation? But then, how much does that weaken the Frogs' bullpen, which is already without Eric Marshall?

Before I've got you convinced that the sky is falling, remember that this team is 31-9 and probably headed for a deep postseason run. I just worry about them getting into a situtation where the continuation of the season depends on the end of the pitching staff. But with no more weeks with multiple midweek games, if the Frogs can stay in the winner's bracket this may be much ado about nothing.

Morning Dump

Baylor hands TCU rare 14-4 rout Star-Telegram

Lady Frogs set tough non-MWC basketball schedule
Star-Telegram

TCU stumbles at Baylor, 14-4 GoFrogs.com

TCU trio earns All-MWC accolades
GoFrogs.com

Thre Frogs named All-MWC
GoFrogs.com

Curtis Clay broadcasts his off-field passion
KDAF

 


Newhouse follows in family footsteps
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

BCS needs help from below
Salt Lake Tribune

Mountain West close to sharing BCS riches
San Diego Union-Tribune