As we now move into the third week past the usual time the next ACC football schedule is released, shortly after Signing Day, it seems an opportune time to examine what is causing the hold-up.
Shortly after it was announced last fall, to most everybody’s surprise, that Pitt and Syracuse would be the latest to escape that miserable conglomeration, the AD of the Cousins, Cousin Ollie, glanced around and happened to notice that of the original eight members of the BEFC, the Cousins and the DORKS of RUTSgers would be the only ones left.
While the sad-sack athletic finances of RUTSgers, every bit as mismanaged as anything else having to do with the government of New Jersey, indicated that they would likely be members of the Li’l E for as long as there was a Li’l E, Cousin Ollie was not impressed, even less so when he got wind of Commish Mariana’s scheme to bring into the Li’l E every mid-major in North America not named East Carolina [even as Terry Holland jumped up and down, waving his arms and yelling, "Pick Me!"].
With all financially-solvent schools having bolted, along with the Canes, Cousin Ollie declared, “I’m a big boy, too,” and announced his intention to leave. While the rest of the BE escapees actually had another conference accept them before they actually left, Cousin Ollie was undeterred. He headed straight for where everybody that leaves goes, the ACC, announcing to Little Johnny, “Good news! We will become your 15th member,” interrupting Little Johnny’s telephone conversation of “Come on, Jack, you can’t stay an Independent forever and how long do you think the Biggie E basketball tournament will stay in Madison Square Garden with Syracuse gone?”
As Mountainloons filled up message boards declaring their satisfaction at finally having the chance to get back at those back-stabbing traitors from Virginia Tech, Little Johnny stared at Cousin Ollie, finally asking, “I’m sorry, who are you?” Told Cousin Ollie from the Hills was agreeing to join the ACC and bring the whole family with him, Little Johnny, as diplomatic as always, replied that while there had been some interest expressed in studying the Cousins by the Duke Lemur Center, the idea of Carolina having a half-moon hung over the Old Well was just a little too much to take and they would just as soon the Butch Mahal remained empty of fans.
A snarling Cousin Ollie announced, “Well, your football league stinks, anyway. We’re going to a real football conference, the SEC.” That lasted until Mike Slive told Cousin Ollie that while the SEC prided itself on virtually no academic standards whatsoever, they were still higher than those presented by the Cousins and besides, the SEC wanted schools that were actually located in the southeast, like Missouri.
Having exhausted all possibilities east of the Mississippi, Cousin Ollie then glanced westward and noticed that the Big ? was losing members like a Penn State recruiting class and was the new home of TCU, which had pulled off the neat trick of leaving the Li’l E before actually joining the Li’l E. Cousin Ollie told Interim Big ? Commissioner Chuck Neinas that the Cousins wouldn’t mind being another prison bitch of Texas, nobody in the Hills could read a map anyway and few of their fans would make the trek to cause trouble in other Big ? stadiums. Neinas sighed and said, “Well, we’ve got to add somebody,” and the Hills were magically turned into Texas plains.
Then things got interesting. While all the other schools that left the Li’l E, and there were plenty of them, had agreed to abide by Li’l E escape rules [leading to, among other the things the Motown riot when Tech played there in 2003], Cousin Ollie claimed the Cousins would not and were leaving right now. Just because their prez had affixed his ‘X’ to those rules meant nothing. The lawsuits began flying, with the Li’l E claiming, Rules is rules, and Cousin Ollie claiming that the Li’l E’s gross incompetence was causing everybody to run away. Well, he had a point.
As Skadden Arps salivated at the thought of another big payday from Li’l E antics, somebody back in the offices of the Big ? noticed that their fancy new television contracts called for a minimum number of members, and while membership numbers were changing from day to day, they didn’t seem to have them at the moment. A settlement fee of $20 extra-large was quickly agreed upon with the Li’l E and the Big ? agreed to foot half of it. The Big ? is paying through the nose even before the Cousins can cause property damage.
That left the 2012 schedule. With the Cousins crossing off people like the DORKS and Directional Florida, and Orange Bowl RUTS of Clemson along with them, and adding Texas and Oklahoma and whoever else hasn’t yet finagled an invitation to another conference, that left the remaining Li’l E schools with only 11 games scheduled. Also left in the lurch was Florida State, as, for good measure, the Cousins decided to cancel the series scheduled at the Cousins insistence as part of the legal settlement 2-3 lawsuits ago.
February does not seem to be the optimum time for rounding up an opponent for that September. The Noles don’t seem to be having a lot of luck.
And so two conferences wait while mid-majors and I-AA teams steadily increase their salary demands for the late scheduling of games. This is just a bit irksome for those of us who would like to make Away game travel arrangements.
This abject lesson in the trouble one incurs when dealing with the Cousins will eventually end. Schedules will be finalized and released, hopefully by September 1. Pretty soon the sportswriters in the Hills will stop gloating about how they stuck it to the Li’l E and ACC and go back to whining about how Tech is too scared to schedule the Cousins. Those in the east will finally be done with them and the Cousins will become the problem of Texas. Enjoy, Big ?.