This is the time of year when I should be obsessing about M Cunningham’s durability (while wondering about those $900 kicks he wore the other day), whether Monty Montgomery will be fully back, and will the secondary stabilize?
And beyond those contemplations, how much will really tall Josie Williams add to Jeff Walz’s phalanx of bigs, can KP coach as well as he can win the room, and, of course, will that rising senior from Jersey play for his dad’s coach or his grandpappy’s teammate? Or shake up the hoops universe and take his talents elsewhere?
But . . .. but . . . but instead of thinking Xs and Os and out of bounds plays, instead of focusing on the guys in pads and cleats and sneakers, about that three game obstacle course to open the gridiron campaign, I’m obsessed with the guys in suits, what they’re conjuring up with their cash flow charts and TV stats.
* * * * *
The other day the Professor and I were lamenting the pickle many/most wags seem to believe U of L and its league seem to be in, given the Cards middle of the road stature and its positioning in regards to the accelerating shift in college sports.
At one point, I began reminiscing about how it was when we were in high school.
We’d lie to our parents about having done our homework, he’d pick me up in what he still calls his “titty pink” Lark, and we’d head out to Freedom Hall for a Cards game. It didn’t matter who U of L was playing. Wittenberg. Kentucky Wesleyan. Eastern Kentucky.* We were always pumped.
*One of my favorite Cardinal games ever, was a W over Paul McBrayer’s Colonels on a last second Ron Rubenstein jumper from the corner (70-69, 01/04/61). Back then the clock didn’t stop when the ball went out of bounds. Which in this tilt happened seconds before the buzzer, the Cards down a penny. But U of L’s favorite ref, Max Macon, did stop the countdown, saying afterward that the ball was rolling too far from the court. That allowed Louisville to steal a victory, much to the heated chagrin of the Maroon contingent. It was as exciting to us then — and now to be honest — as Mangok’s improbable game winner against UVa half century later.
“Seems like we’re headed back to those days,” offered Prof.
It’s twu, it’s twu.
Probably. Maybe. Hopefully not.
* * * * *
Being OCD, especially about the Cardinals and college sports, I’ve been reading way too much about the seismic shifts in conference alignment, all of which is dictated by football and theTV Benjamins.
The term “Grant of Rights” pops up in conversations at least once a day. It is the theme of any discussion about where and how the ACC falls or rises in all this.
Louisville’s league, the Atlantic Coast Conference, its member schools, appear locked in together until 2036. It’s too convoluted a legal morass to explain. Besides, if you care, you mostly understand; if you don’t, you couldn’t care less, and are waiting for “The Masked Singer” to come on.
To put it in rock & roll terms, which is my wont, I’ll pass along a couple of comments I wish I’d thought of on my own to an article about all that which I read this morning at one of the national sports sites.
“We are all just prisoners here of our own device.”
A reply: “Clemson can check out any time it likes, but it can never leave.”
Too damn clever. Even if its the haughtiest group in rock that said commentariat and I have referenced.
It is more likely than not too damn true.
* * * * *
So here I am obsessing about whether the Cards will eventually end up not on the inside with the cool kids, or out in the cold dark world of they-also-play, Tuesday night mid November kickoffs on the U+ stream against Western Florida State.
How bad has it gotten? Honest to Betsy I smiled schadenfreudedly when reading that merger talks between the Big 12/14/16 and PAC 8/10/12 have ended.
How sick is that?
At some juncture, I came up with the not-so-cockamamie-anymore idea that the three P5 leagues — the ones not the Magnificent Two — should actually merge, form a legal, binding connection that would be a force when it came to negotiating TV deals.
It would be totally unwieldy. Absurd really. In the abstract. But no more preposterous than Southern Cal and Rutgers being league mates.
I had the intention — honest — of presenting a chart of how the Bicoastal Athletic Conference could work, how it would be broken down, etc, etc.
A futile, time wasting effort it would have been.
Which is not to also admit my woefully short attention span got in the way, and I never really started.
I beseech thee Bronconagurskius, Greek God of Pigskin, make it go away.
— c d kaplan