ESPN’s Big Monday (UPDATE)
UPDATE: Our guest writer just pointed out that the Miami Herald reported the following:
The ACC says it likely will take the Big East’s 7 p.m. slot on ESPN’s Big Monday next season. The new Big East – including seven Big East defectors, Xavier, Creighton and Butler – is shifting to the new Fox Sports 1, a 24-hour-network that debuts in August, replacing Speed.
This blog entry was contributed by a guest, who chooses to remain anonymous (for now). The Confidential greatly appreciates this guest’s opinion and welcomes others to submit guest entries–whether anonymous or not.
Yes, we have been told that football drives the bus. We get it! ACC football has a lot of questions to answer. But for the purpose of this singular guest blog entry, let us concentrate on what the ACC does historically well … basketball.
For the last 30 years, the ACC and Big East have essentially traded punches in their all-out pursuit of being the dominant college hoops conference in the land. Fittingly, I propose we begin our study with the memorable UNC-Georgetown final in 1982. The conferences clash for the first time. In Dean, MJ, Worthy, Perkins vs. John Thompson, Patrick and Sleepy Floyd. Great theater. And a three-decade long tug of war began with UNC claiming an initial victory.
Including ’82, in 31 seasons, there have been 124 Final Four spots up for grabs. And a team from the ACC or Big East claimed 49 of those berths. That’s a slick 40 percent and that does NOT include FF berths claimed by Louisville or Cincinnati in their pre-Big East days.
Now, the ACC’s immediate future won’t include Big East basketball heavies such as Georgetown, Marquette, UConn or Cincinnati, but it is safe to say when you combined the hoops heritages of (alphabetical order as not to offend anyone) Duke, Georgia Tech, Louisville, NCSU, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Virginia under one roof, the word “juggernaut” can justifiably be tossed around.
And, one cannot with good conscious sneeze at the histories and accomplishments of schools like Boston College, Wake Forest, Clemson or Florida State. Even Miami looks like a solid #2 seed this year, and Virginia Tech can beat anyone at Cassel Coliseum on a given night.
Oh. Maryland. Never mind. Another topic.
But there is no avoiding the fact that ACC hoops will be King. And it begs the question, what and where is the King’s throne?
My answer is that it should be on ESPN’s Big Monday at 7 p.m.
That’s right. Other than securing a football commitment from the Golden Domers, I think seizing the early slot on ESPN’s Big Monday should be near the top of the ACC’s Honey To Do List.
In the college hoops universe, Tuesday’s are Super, Wednesday’s are wonderful and Thursday’s are weekend-esque, but Monday’s are BIG. They are the proper and fitting platform for Kings.
Think about it.
- The NFL rules the majority of January (and into February, Super Bowl). On at least two weekends, playoff games are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. And yet, January is when the conference hoops slate gets started. These are important games. The ACC should seek to avoid these primo matchups being engulfed by Super Storm NFL Playoffs.
- Since weekend hoops games are necessary, note that around 90% of weekend college hoops games fall on Saturdays. On weekends, anything beyond the NFL is sucked up by the NBA, the PGA Tour (I love the West Coast swing!!) and NASCAR (Daytona). So after gorging on sports all weekend and fending off the usual Sunday night/Monday morning depression, Big Monday is always there with open arms waiting to kick start a new sporting week.
- There is a reason that traditionally ESPN puts its best CBB crew (Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas, Bill Raftery) on at 7 p.m. on Big Monday. Sorry, Mike Patrick, Dick Vitale, Doris Burke, Len Elmore and Adrian Branch, need not apply. For the record, Jimmy Dykes (aka John Calipari’s Press Secretary), Fran Frashcilla (Euro basketball does not matter to me) and Andy Katz (Mark Few’s shoulder to cry on) are NOT Big Monday worthy. Sean, Jay and Bill are as good as any three-man booth in any sport. They’ll do the ACC serious justice. They are BIG time.
- Academically, the ACC’s Big Monday combatants could travel on Sundays and potentially have their athletes back in the classroom by Noon on Tuesday. This fact should matter in the equation.
I also realize there is a reluctance by ACC charter schools to accept anything that might be tainted Big East.
I get it. I graduated from a Big East school. I later worked in an ACC Athletic Department, so I am well aware of and greatly appreciate the ACC’s proud history. I just hope that growth opportunities — such as a unique and almost exclusive platform on Big Monday – are not simply bypassed out of conference spite (a.k.a. anti-Big East bias).
In some limited instances such as Big Monday, what was once terrific for the Big East can render even greater returns for the ACC.