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Top 40 08/05/09

And now, August. This most miserable of months has brought with it, as is always the case, stifling heat and humidity along with a steadily-increasing desire to get the darn thing over with so we can move on to more important things, such as football season. Why couldn’t August be the month with 28 days?

The best thing about August is that it eventually ends. That might not seem the case now, but it always has before, so it seems reasonable to expect that at some point I will be flipping that Russian calendar that hangs near my kitchen table to the magic month of September [BTW, Russian: considering how fast the months of football season sail by, I will be needing a new calendar pretty soon].

Tech doesn’t make surviving August any easier. An e-mail early in the week informed me that my season football tickets were on the way. gps-6A UPS tracking link provided tells me they are in town and ‘out for delivery.’ Since we are talking private enterprise here, or what’s left of it following the sickle swung through the economy by the collectivist-in-chief, my expectations are high that they will be delivered before the day is done. That means they will lie in repose in their usual position on my kitchen table. For the next four weeks, as I pass by I will have a constant reminder of exactly how long is the month of August.

Different people cope with surviving August and getting it in the past in different ways. Among the more interesting was the method employed by the boys at ESPN. A few of them got together and decided that the current so-called Football Bowl Subdivision was entirely too big. No kidding? They decided that instead of 120 schools with wildly-different budgets and interest from most any MAC school to the SEC big boys, they would pare it down to a more manageable 40. A mock draft was conducted by Disney staffers to determine who would make the cut.

119604As might be expected from the network that in a few weeks will be changing its name to SECSPN, schools from the SEC were well represented. 8 members of Roy Kramer’s brainchild made the Top 40, including 4 of the Top 10. That does tell us which teams, in the upcoming assignment of all home SEC games to the various ‘family of networks,’ who will get the big exposure on the mother ship and who gets relegated to ESPNU.

All things considered, the ACC didn’t fare too badly, placing 6 schools on the Big List. That looks pretty darn good when you consider the Li’l E got exactly 1, that being the Cousins. Obviously drunken fans rioting and assaulting visitors before, during and after games was not weighted very heavily in the ESPN criteria.

So, in ESPN’s culling of the I-A herd, the ACC finds itself cut exactly in half. That does solve the problem of lousy attendance at the championship game. It also would bring to an abrupt end all of those neat, close by road trips to away games I have been making over the past 5 years. In the trimmed-down ACC, Tech finds itself on just about the same remote island it occupied back when the Big East was still the Big East. A conference of Tech, Clemson, the other Tech, the 2 Florida teams and Fredo does not lend itself to quick jaunts down Rte. 86 to road games.

Wiped away from the New and Improved ACC are the 4 North Carolina teams, as well as that model of football consistency constructed by the Great NFL Legend in Hooville. Hopefully, being relegated to the ‘B’ division will not imperil that pre-game pep talk in Hooville of what was running through the mind of Mr. Jefferson when he designed the Grounds; probably not that one day the Hoos would be forced to hock the Rotunda in order to afford algroh’s buy-out. rotunda_20july07It’s a good thing the conference expanded when they did; otherwise, Little Johnny would be left with a league even smaller by half again. A 3-team ACC would place an even greater premium on scheduling a tough OOC.

Before Mark Warner again springs into action, this time with a ‘Save Hoo Football’ campaign that would likely generate a lot less passion and a lot more laughter around the state than did his last efforts, he should be advised that this was only a mid-summer afternoon’s dream on the part of some ESPN guys. It ain’t happening, at least not yet. But it likely will, eventually.

While the Top 40 approach taken by messrs Forde, Maisel and Schlabach was a bit draconian, they had the right idea. Natural selection will, one of these days, cause the top level of college football to be quite a bit smaller than the bloated current model. The directionals and hyphens of the football universe have little to nothing in common with the Big Boys and all of the whining and demands of a BCS welfare handout won’t change it. If anything, these congressional clown shows are probably hastening the creation of what’s coming, the Super Division.

green_street_hooligans_1What the ESPN guys proposed in their mock Top 40 was the blowing up of existing conferences, replaced by a system of rotating membership based on the English soccer Premier League. Well, if you are going to base anything on English soccer, I guess that explains why the Cousins were included. But, let’s face it: the wiping away of the leagues that are the backbone of the collegiate athletics structure ain’t gonna happen. What will happen, sooner or later, will be the BCS conferences, the ACC, SEC, Li’l E [basketball will keep them in, as it will the ACC], Big 11, Big XII and Pac 10 and Notre Dame in some fashion, will separate themselves from CUSA, the MAC and the rest of the Wednesday night crowd. There will be another division, probably not long after the PAC 10 can be talked into adding Utah and BYU and get Orrin Hatch off the back of the BCS. Despite the bleating of the MWC and the wild grasping of straws by the Strawgraspers [‘all we have to do is go undefeated and the Li’l E will have to take us’], there is no public outcry for the MAC to be treated on equal terms with the Big 11 in a socialized and dumbed-down version of major college football.

4 of the 6 BCS leagues are staring down the barrel of reduced payouts from their television contracts. They ain’t gonna stand still for their member budgets to be further reduced by their postseason football money handed out in equal shares to a collection of directional mid-majors. The Super Division is coming, likely with a Top 68 or so instead of a Top 40. Boise State had best enjoy next year’s trip to the capitol while they can. There will be a lot of wailing, gnashing of teeth and threats, but in the end the separation won’t be much different than it was the last time, when Division I split into I-A and I-AA [raise your hand if you can remember all the screeching done in the late 70’s by Richmond, and how far it got the Spiders]. Ensuring that the vast wealth redistribution system known as NCAA Tournament basketball television cash stays intact will allow the BCS leagues to have a divisional home of their own.

Of course, all of this is down the road and has no bearing on this year’s season. We still have to get through August. Doing so will involve….. sorry, a UPS guy is at my door. Gotta go!


  1. Hokie Mac — August 5, 2009 #

    Tobacco Road basketball boys would love the Top 40 plan, make their “club” cozy again.


    Rob D Reply:

    Don’t be so sure. As a North Carolina native and Duke graduate, I very much like having most of the schools that we have in the league. There’s only one I’d get rid of, and they’re not below the Mason-Dixon line. :-)


  2. Calendar Waffen SS — August 5, 2009 #

    When a sentence is constructed using “I will be flipping that Russian…”, there’s only one thing left to say… “No calendar for YOU”.



    Jim Reply:

    Are we going to tailgate for ‘Defender of the Fatherland’ Day?


    Red Army Choir Exchange Program Reply:

    Sure. Followed by a Clubhouse Tailgate chorus’ rendition of “hello muddah, hello fuddah”…
    Hello Muddah, hello Fadduh,
    Here I am at Camp Grenada
    Camp is very entertaining
    and they say we’ll have some fun if it stops raining.
    I went hiking with Joe Spivy
    He developed poison ivy
    You remember Leonard Skinner
    He got ptomaine poisoning last night after dinner.
    All the counselors hate the waiters
    And the lake has alligators
    And the head coach wants no sissies
    So he reads to us from something called Ulysses.
    Now I don’t want this should scare ya
    But my bunkmate has malaria
    You remember Jeffrey Hardy
    They’re about to organize a searching party.
    Take me home, oh muddah fadduh, take me home, I hate Grenada
    Don’t leave me out in the forest where I might get eaten by a bear.
    Take me home, I promise I will not make noise or mess the house with
    other boys, oh please don’t make me stay, I’ve been here one whole day.
    Dearest fadduh, darling muddah,
    How’s my precious little bruddah?
    Let me come home if ya miss me
    I will even let Aunt Bertha hug and kiss me.
    Wait a minute, it stopped hailing,
    Guys are swimming, guys are sailing,
    Playing baseball, gee that’s better,
    Muddah Fadduh kindly disregard this letter.


    Jim Reply:

    By the time we get around to singing that, we will have enough whisky in us to eliminate any chance of swine flu.


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