Thursday, June 3, 2010

Conference Expansion Rumors moving West

With the game of conference musical chairs set to begin any day now according to the wide array of reports that indicate that come this time next week, Boise State will be a lame duck member of the WAC after they accept an invitation to the Mountain West (expected to come Monday). Most pundits around the country think that the Broncos will be the first of many teams changing conference affiliation in what could be a massive restructuring of Division I athletics.

Aside from the Boise-to-MWC rumor (and it is still just that, currently), which seems to be generally accepted by nearly everyone, anything else is just guesswork and speculation. A lot of it centers around the Big Ten and how bold they might be in expanding their overrated conference, but today Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com decided he knew well enough to go ahead and publish his idea. His claim? The Pac 10 is going to invite exactly half of the Big 12 to join their overrated conference. The schools, according to Brown, are Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, T. Boone Pickens State and Colorado. Goo!

I should probably tell you now that Orangebloods is an affiliate of Rivals, and we've all experienced firsthand the kind of journalistic integrity that they possess (which is about as much as this site has- but at least we don't take ourselves seriously). But heck, I figure all of this conference expansion stuff is pretty intriguing, even if it means analyzing the predictions of someone who was let go by the same paper that still pays Jean-Jacques Taylor to attempt to put together legible sentences.

So let's just say this does happen. Obviously, the Big 12 would be about as alive as Omar Little trying to buy a pack of smokes. Anyone left would be looking for the first lifeboat, and you'd have to expect that Nebraska would be the first one to find safety, perhaps with the Big Ten as has been previously rumored. You can be sure that Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State would all be attempting to get a +1 with the Cornhuskers, but I highly doubt the Big Ten would be interested in all four of them. Who's DEFINTELY left alone in this scenario, on the corner begging for a spot in the MWC or CUSA? Baylor. And do I find that funny? Oh, oh Lord, yes.

But as much satisfaction as I would take in the tables being turned on the Bears, I'm not so sure this rumor is actually one I'd like to see come to fruition. If you think the deck is stacked against a small school like TCU now, just wait for the kind of exclusionary tactics that the big dogs of the college football world will enact once they've all gathered into three or four "super conferences" like the proposed Pac 10 would be.

A vast, vaaaaaaast majority of the TV money (read: power) would be pouring into those conferences, and if you think they're going to save a spot at the table for deserving outsiders in whatever postseason structure they build, forget about it. Whether it's playoffs or a revamped BCS, they've had quite enough of the TCU's and Boises of the world crashing their party. So if we see a move towards these super conferences, it's because the popular kids want to move on to something more exclusive. T-shirt fans unite!

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy

Yes, I am excited about Regionals. How could you tell? If college baseball isn't the best-kept secret in the world of sports, then postseason college baseball is. I honestly do not understand how there is a college softball game on one of the ESPNs at all times, yet only TWO of the sixteen baseball regionals are being televised (don't kid yourselves, aggy, your game is only on because of the FIU kid's 54-game hit streak). This weekend's games at Lupton are SOLD OUT with the exception of a few general admission seats, so if you haven't secured tickets yet I'd do so as soon as possible.

Speaking of tickets, it appears that our ursine neighbors to the south are throwing a collective temper tantrum over the lack of available tickets. Go see for yourself over on the BaylorFans.com baseball board (I'm sure you'll just observe for entertainment sake and not cause any trouble over there, riiiight?). I can almost understand Texas, OU or A&M fans looking down their noses at TCU and expecting to be able to just waltz into our stadium and outnumber Frog fans without much effort. But BAYLOR? Come on, guys- your grip on reality can't be that loose, can it? Get over it and come up to Fort Worth and buy some tickets from a scalper- it's what I've done at every regional tournament I've attended.

Turning our attention to on-the-field issues, though, there continues to be a lot of talk about Coach Schlossnagle changing the pitching rotation going into this weekend. David Peterson of HornedFrogSports.com, who knows at least twice as much about baseball as I do, registered his thoughts on the change, and I value his opinion so go read it!

Remaining in the winner's bracket is important in any tournament, but having to play during the day in Fort Worth this weekend is going to additionally punitive because of the 100+ degree temperatures being predicted. I wish TCU were hosting one or more teams that were likely to wilt in the heat, but I'm pretty sure guys from Waco, Beaumont & Tucson will all be just as ready to endure it as the Frogs. Then again, how many Baylor players was it that had to leave the 2006 football game with cramps?

So get ready for a fun weekend at Lupton. Make sure you've got plenty of beer for the tailgate, some zinc for your nipper (sunscreen to the non-Simpsons junkies out there) and some Midol if you're wearing green & gold.

TCU football Mini-Camps start today

Camps, camps camps

Morning Dump

TCU looks for familiar results in NCAA Fort Worth regional this weekend Star-Telegram

TCU mens golf 29th at NCAA championship
Star-Telegram

Athlon tabs Kerley preseason all-American
GoFrogs.com

Holaday named finalist for Johnny Bench award
GoFrogs.com

Woolf and De Beer honored with all-South region laurels
GoFrogs.com

Previewing the Fort Worth regional
Yahoo! Sports

TCU commit Cameron White being recruited hard by Texas A&M, Nebraska and Notre Dame
Fox Sports SW

2010 tourney primer: Baylor Bears
ESPN

It's time for Boise St., MWC to get together
Sports Illustrated