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ESPN’s Big Monday

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.

2013 Football Season–The Calendaring Begins

ESPN is already announcing the kickoff times for the football season openers.  With ESPN’s control over the ACC and SEC, it should not be surprising to see that teams from those conferences are getting the prime time exposure that weekend.

Here are the announced dates and times.

Thursday, Aug. 29

6 p.m. — North Carolina at South Carolina (ESPN)

9:15 p.m. — Ole Miss at Vanderbilt (ESPN)

Saturday, Aug. 31

5:30 p.m — Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic (Atlanta): Virginia Tech vs. Alabama (ESPN)

8 p.m. — Georgia at Clemson (ABC)

9 p.m. — Cowboys Classic (Arlington, Texas): TCU vs. LSU (ESPN)

That is three SEC-ACC battles out of five games.

Also, we know that Pittsburgh-Florida State will be featured during opening weekend as well.

In any event, if you are a fan of Virginia Tech, North Carolina, or Clemson, you can already start planning for that weekend….

Is ESPN’s Greed Causing it to Lose Profit?

Frank the Tank has a new article up on the Catholic 7’s new television deal showing that basketball has more value in expansion than previously thought.  The Confidential does not disagree.  However, with Fox offering big money for a basketball-only product–and taking that product away from ESPN–it is just the latest example of ESPN’s greed causing it to lose profit.  What this also shows is that ESPN made a killing off its undervalued contract with the Big East and is making another killing off of the ACC contract.

Think about it.  If the Catholic 7 collectively have a fair market value of $3M apiece–that is $21M right there.  TCU, Syracuse, Pitt, West Virginia, Rutgers, and Louisville have values of approximately $18M apiece–given that they were accepted into conferences that needed roughly that (more for TCU/Rutgers/WVU) to break even.  So that is $108M.  Figure ND is worth $6M for its non-football stuff… that is $135M ($21M + $108 + $6M).  And then you still have UConn, USF, and Cincinnati.  Even at $25M total for the three schools, that is $160M.

For that collection of schools, ESPN offered $11M per football school–or $99M/year.  With the hoops schools getting a few million apiece, that is another $20M tops.  So $120M.  $40M less than what the schools ultimately proved to be worth individually.  At the very least.

In the end, ESPN ends up with UConn, USF, Cincinnati, and fodder.  So much for that extra value.  By trying to profit as much as possible off the Big East, ESPN ended up losing most of it.

Sort of.  Some of it went to the ACC, which is also under ESPN’s control.

For now.

Regardless of the veracity of any rumors, there are vultures circling the ACC to see IF it is a carcass.

So the interesting issue is whether ESPN will lose its ACC golden goose also.  Viewed separately, all but a handful of ACC schools are desired by the Big XII, SEC, and Big 10.  Viewed conservatively, BC, Pitt, Syracuse, and Wake Forest are “stuck” in the ACC.  An argument could be made that BC, Pitt, and Syracuse might have value to the Big XII as part of a NE wing with WVU.  Interesting thought.  But let’s assume not.  If conferences making $20M/year (minimum) can find a revenue BOOST in adding the other 10 ACC schools, that must mean that those schools are worth at least $22M apiece or $220M.  Assuming the remaining 4 are worth $11M apiece (50%), that is $264M total.  Minimum.  It is probably much higher.

Well, ESPN is paying an average of $240M per year.  Less extra profit than with the Big East, but still a nice 10% premium above the bare minimum numbers discussed above.

The question this time is whether ESPN will allow the ACC–in its current form–to walk out the door.  For every ACC school that leaves for somewhere other than the SEC, ESPN becomes less relevant and Fox becomes more relevant on the college sports scene.  At some point, ESPN has to protect its place in the college sports game.  It wants to start an SEC Network, not become the SEC Network.  Right?  But, given what has happened at many major corporations, one can never underestimate the stupidity of an organization.  10 years from now ESPN’s college programming might be down to the SEC and 10 different shows where reporters yell at each other about college sports.  Or ESPN could end up overbidding on the Big XII or Big 10 because they put themselves into a desperate situation.  Who knows?

But it does seem like ESPN could save itself a lot of trouble by locking up the ACC.  That gives the network good football and great basketball.  Programming from September to March.  At the very least, something to keep it on pace with Fox.

 

Syracuse, Notre Dame, Pitt, and Louisville fans… get your Big East Conference Tournament tickets here:

Big East Basketball Tournament – All Sessions

ACC fans, get your tournament tickets here:

ACC Basketball Tournament – All Sessions

The 2013 Greg Schiano Pansiness In Scheduling Award for the ACC

Nobody rode the coattails of weak scheduling any farther than Greg Schiano.  As noted here previously, Rutgers rise to mediocrity was accompanied by a rather obvious shift to absolutely putrid OOC scheduling.  Well, it worked…as Rutgers is now in the Big 10 and Schiano is now in the NFL.  In the meantime, let’s take a look at the OOC schedules for the ACC teams.  In the spirit of the Oscars, who gets the Greg Schiano award for the ACC in 2013?

First, let’s look at the OOC schedules (courtesy of http://www.theacc.com):

  • Boston College: Villanova, @ USC, Army, @ New Mexico State
  • Clemson: Georgia, South Carolina State, The Citadel, @ South Carolina
  • Duke: North Carolina Central, @ Memphis, Troy, Navy
  • Florida State: Nevada, Bethune-Cookman, Idaho, @ Florida
  • Georgia Tech: Elon, @ BYU, Alabama A&M, Georgia
  • Maryland: Florida Int’l, Old Dominion, @ UConn, West Virginia
  • Miami: Florida Atlantic, Florida, Savannah State, @ USF
  • North Carolina: @ South Carolina, Middle Tennessee, East Carolina, Old Dominion
  • NC State: Louisiana Tech, Richmond, Central Michigan, East Carolina
  • Pittsburgh: New Mexico, Old Dominion, @ Navy, Notre Dame
  • Syracuse: Penn State (Neutral site), @ Northwestern, Wagner, Tulane
  • Virginia: BYU, Oregon, VMI, Ball State
  • Va Tech: Alabama (Neutral site), Western Carolina, @ East Carolina, Marshall
  • Wake Forest: Presbyterian, Louisiana-Monroe, @Army, @ Vanderbilt

Old Dominion might have the toughest schedule East of the Mississippi, with games against Maryland, Pitt, and North Carolina.  Heck, let’s add them to the conference!  Just kidding.

Notably, only a handful of teams play more than one AQ-conference team.  Clemson plays Georgia and South Carolina.  Maryland plays West Virginia and UConn (kinda, sorta).  Miami plays Florida and USF (kinda sorta).  Syracuse plays Penn State and Northwestern.  So those 4 teams can be eliminated from the Schiano Award.

Virginia Tech plays Alabama, Virginia plays Oregon, Florida State plays Florida, Pitt plays Notre Dame, and Boston College plays Southern Cal.  That is five teams that are taking on elite teams, kings of the sport.  We can eliminate them too.  That leaves but 5.

Georgia and Southern Carolina may or may not be Kings, but they are darn goods teams.  We can eliminate North Carolina and Georgia Tech.  Down to 3 teams.

Wake Forest plays @ Vanderbilt and @ Army.  Two road OOC games against decent programs.  Heck, Greg Schiano would not have scheduled a road game against Vandy in the same year as a road trip to Army, so we’ll eliminate the Demon Deacons.  Down to 2.

The two finalists are Duke and North Carolina State.  Duke’s toughest game is either Navy or @ Memphis.  Yep… one of the worst teams in all of FBS may be Duke’s “toughest” game.  For North Carolina State, home games against Louisiana Tech and East Carolina are the choices.  Wait a minute… North Carolina State is not even going on the road at all!  Four home games and zero games against any BCS-level programs?  Methinks we have a winner here.

The 2013 Greg Schiano Pansiness in Schedule Award for the ACC goes to… the North Carolina State Wolfpack!

 

 

Syracuse-Georgetown Day!

Syracuse fans are thrilled to be going to the ACC next year.  But one of the downsides is the end to a rivalry like this.  Over the years this has been THE game for both Syracuse and Georgetown fans.  Today at 4pm on CBS the last ever Big East game at the Carrier Dome between these two storied programs.

Football rules college athletic decision making – but don’t tell that to the 34,000 fans that will pack the Carrier Dome today. With the nation’s longest home winning streak on the line, what Syracuse fan doesn’t remember the last game at Manley Field House when John Thompson concluded with saying Manley Field House was officially closed?  How about the Classic 1990 game where JT was ejected?

This ranks up there with NC-Duke.  All Big East fans will miss this rivalry.  Today will be college basketball at its best.  I hope all the ACC fans get a chance to take a look at this game today and see the Carrier Dome experience as new rivalaries get set to begin next year.

Anyone with other great SU-Georgetown moments they remember?

 

 

ACC Hoops Weekend–1st Weekend of February 2013

As we draw ever closer to March madness, the weekends become more and more important for ACC basketball fans.

Saturday, February 2, 2013:

#6 Syracuse suffered only its second loss in 30 conferences games last Saturday.  With an injury to Dajuan Coleman, the Orange are down to seven scholarship players.  They travel to Pittsburgh for a nooner, who narrowly lost to Louisville on Monday.  Going to be a great matchup.

But the big game of the day has to be #14 Miami @ #19 North Carolina State.  These are the two teams to beat DePaul.  Meanwhile, Miami has won 8 straight.  Tune in at 4:00 p.m. for this one.

Another big game is #5 Duke at Florida State.  The Confidential still cannot figure out why the Seminoles are struggling.  But as Duke looks to continue its post-Miami blowout rebound, the Seminoles are going to need to play to their potential.

Notre Dame heads into Chicago to face struggling DePaul.  At 17-4, the Irish are looking to get back into the national rankings.  DePaul has lost 5 straight and is 10-10.

At noon, Virginia Tech faces off at the Dean Dome against North Carolina.  The Hokies are at 11-9, meaning the bubble–as in NIT bubble.  Perhaps they should not have made the coaching change?  Meanwhile, the Tar Heels are a mere shell of their normal selves at 14-6.  Good for some teams, subpar for UNC.

Another nooner is Clemson at Boston College.  The Tigers need every win they can get, while Boston College’s 5-game streak shows that this year will have to be about moral victories (again).  2012-2013 has been better than 2011-2012, as an example.  Clemson MUST win this game.

The final Saturday game is Maryland hosting Wake Forest.  While the Terps are busy spending their future Big 10 riches, Wake Forest is busy…. well, doing very little.  Both teams need to right the ship as they enter the game on two game losing skids.

Sunday, February 3, 2013:

The folks over at Frank the Tank see Virginia and Georgia Tech as the two schools likely to head to the Big 10.  After all, the Big 10 is collecting markets that do not succeed on the field/court.  In any event, these two programs face off at 3:00 pm on Sunday, allowing their fans to avoid most of the pre-game Super Bowl show.  Here is a question… who has a better defense in terms of points-per-game… Virginia basketball or Georgia Tech football?  You can look it up.

The other Sunday matchup is a pair of schools that are fleeing the Big East… Marquette and Louisville.  Both schools are ranked (Louisville at #12/#13, Marquette at #25) and have only four losses.  This should be a very good one.


Weekend Hoops Review: January 28, 2013

As we draw ever closer to March madness, the weekends become more and more important for ACC basketball fans.  Here are the questions posed before the games, as well as the answers.

Games from Saturday, January 26, 2013:

How will Duke respond to its 27-point loss to Miami this week?  We’ll find out when they take on 15-4 Maryland today.  Expect Coach K’s team to rebound at home–but if they lose???   Wow–what a tough week.

Well, Duke rebounded.  Not literally, as Maryland outrebounded the Blue Devils 42-31.  Duke figuratively rebounded, defeating Maryland in convincing fashion, 84-64.  Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon led the Blue Devils with 25 points, but it was a team effort…offensively and defensively.  With the win, Duke improves to 17-2 overall and 4-2 in conference play.  Despite the loss, Maryland is still 15-5, albeit with a 3-4 conference record.

With apologies to others, today’s North Carolina-North Carolina State game is the best of the day.  NC State is 15-4 and ranked #18.  North Carolina is 13-5 and unranked.  Really, North Carolina is closer to the bottom of the ACC than the top right now–if you count the future members.  You know NC State wants to do to the Tar Heels what Miami did to Duke.

Our NC State correspondent was cautiously optimistic, but it was the caution that was the mistake.  The Pack jumped out to a 45-26 lead at halftime, and then coasted to a 91-83 victory.  Three players had double-doubles: CJ Leslie (17 points, 10 rebounds), Richard Howell (16 points, 14 rebounds), and Lorenzo Brown (2o points, 11 assists).  Oh, and two other players scored in double figures too.  With the win, State has now beaten Duke and UNC, and sits at 5-2 in conference play. 

Louisville’s loss to Syracuse was understandable.  Louisville’s loss to Villanova was far less so.  No rest for the weary as the #5 Cardinals head to Georgetown today.  A win–and the ship is back on course.  A loss?  And now you’ve got a 3-game losing streak.  Can Rick Pitino get his team focused?  We’ll see.

Uh-oh.  Louisville lost again.  Offensively inept Georgetown defeated the Cardinals 53-51, making it three-straight losses for Rich Pitino’s squad.  At the very least, Louisville is not being dominated by teams.  It took a tip-in for this loss.  Needless to say, however, Louisville needs to right the ship fast.  And the schedule does not let up–with Pitt on Monday, as well as games against Marquette, St. Johns, and Notre Dame in the next two weeks.

#3 Syracuse travels to Villanova.  If Villanova can pull another upset, that would be quite a week for the Wildcats.  Syracuse has been treading water, but needs to take care of business today.

The Orange had been playing with fire in the games without James Southerland, and it finally came back to haunt them, losing to Villianova in overtime, 75-71.  Without Southerland, foul trouble cost Syracuse two of its bigs in regulation.  33.3% from the field did not help either.  But don’t feel sorry for Syracuse, they are 18-2 overall and 6-1 in conference play.  They have won 28 of their last 30 Big East regular season games too.

#24 Notre Dame leaves the snow to head to Florida to take on South Florida.  The Bulls are better than most think, but at 10-8 aren’t doing themselves any favors.

The Fighting Irish improved to 16-4 overall by toppling the Bulls, 73-65.  With Villanova, Syracuse, and Louisville on the schedule in the next two weeks, Notre Dame needed to win this winnable game.  

At 16-4, Pitt has hardly been awful this year.  They get to host DePaul today to get that 17th win.

Pitt utterly destroyed DePaul, 93-55.  This puts the Panthers at 17-4 overall and 5-3 in conference play.  Are they back?  Not sure a win over DePaul can provide any answers about that.  We’ll see how it goes against Louisville, Syracuse, Cincinnati, and Marquette over the next 5 games.  

Wake Forest and Georgia Tech are both hovering at .500 overall.  Georgia Tech is on a 5-game losing streak and needs a win badly.

Georgia Tech got its first conference win of the year, beating up on Wake Forest, 82 to 62.  The Yellow Jackets jumped on the Demon Deacons, racing to a 52-29 lead at halftime.  Georgia Tech was due, if not overdue, for a win, so let’s give them credit for doing so in convincing fashion.  Wake Forest drops to 3-4 in conference play.

At 13-5, Virginia is having a nice, but unspectacular season.  They cannot afford to lose to 9-9 Boston College, obviously.

Despite trailing at halftime, Virginia rallied in the second half to put Boston College away, 65-51.  For the Wahoos, this means avoiding a very ugly loss on the resume.  This also improves them to 14-5 overall and 4-2 in conference play.

Games on Sunday, January 27, 2013:

If only these were football games.

11-7 Virginia Tech travels to 10-8 Clemson for a 1:00 p.m. matchup.  These teams are not likely to be dancing in March, but they need wins to keep NIT hopes alive.

Clemson moved to 11-8 with a 77-70 victory over the now 11-8 Virginia Tech Hokies.  Senior Milton Jennings had his best game ever, with 28 points and 14 rebounds.  He also had four blocks and was an amazing 16 for 18 from the foul line.  Meanwhile, Virginia Tech has lost two in a row and is only 2-4 in conference play.    

At 14-3 overall and 5-0 in conference play, Miami looks to build off its utter destruction of #1 Duke this week.  A win over disappointing Florida State would be a nice rivalry win, as well as a reason to move Miami up substantially in the polls.  The ACC wisely chose to feature this game as its 6:00 p.m. Sunday game.  The Battle for Florida is on.

Miami destroyed Florida State, 71-47, to move to 6-0 in conference play.  At 15-3, Miami is due for a substantial rise in the polls.  Is it an understatement to say that hiring Jim Larranaga was a good idea?  Meanwhile, Florida State continues to struggle… now 3-3 in conference play and 11-8 overall.  

The Last Weekend of January: ACC Hoops

As we draw ever closer to March madness, the weekends become more and more important for ACC basketball fans.

Saturday, January 26, 2013:

How will Duke respond to its 27-point loss to Miami this week?  We’ll find out when they take on 15-4 Maryland today.  Expect Coach K’s team to rebound at home–but if they lose???   Wow–what a tough week.

With apologies to others, today’s North Carolina-North Carolina State game is the best of the day.  NC State is 15-4 and ranked #18.  North Carolina is 13-5 and unranked.  Really, North Carolina is closer to the bottom of the ACC than the top right now–if you count the future members.  You know NC State wants to do to the Tar Heels what Miami did to Duke.

Louisville’s loss to Syracuse was understandable.  Louisville’s loss to Villanova was far less so.  No rest for the weary as the #5 Cardinals head to Georgetown today.  A win–and the ship is back on course.  A loss?  And now you’ve got a 3-game losing streak.  Can Rick Pitino get his team focused?  We’ll see.

#3 Syracuse travels to Villanova.  If Villanova can pull another upset, that would be quite a week for the Wildcats.  Syracuse has been treading water, but needs to take care of business today.

#24 Notre Dame leaves the snow to head to Florida to take on South Florida.  The Bulls are better than most think, but at 10-8 aren’t doing themselves any favors.

At 16-4, Pitt has hardly been awful this year.  They get to host DePaul today to get that 17th win.

Wake Forest and Georgia Tech are both hovering at .500 overall.  Georgia Tech is on a 5-game losing streak and needs a win badly.

At 13-5, Virginia is having a nice, but unspectacular season.  They cannot afford to lose to 9-9 Boston College, obviously.

Sunday, January 27, 2013:

If only these were football games.

11-7 Virginia Tech travels to 10-8 Clemson for a 1:00 p.m. matchup.  These teams are not likely to be dancing in March, but they need wins to keep NIT hopes alive.

At 14-3 overall and 5-0 in conference play, Miami looks to build off its utter destruction of #1 Duke this week.  A win over disappointing Florida State would be a nice rivalry win, as well as a reason to move Miami up substantially in the polls.  The ACC wisely chose to feature this game as its 6:00 p.m. Sunday game.  The Battle for Florida is on.

New Contributor: Syracuse

Hi Everyone!
My name is Tom and I will be contributing to the website on a regular basis. I am a huge college sports fan even though the Northeast is dominated by professional sports. As a Syracuse fan I have followed conference realignment with great interest since the first Big East departures to the ACC a decade ago. I had always hoped Syracuse would eventually wind up in the ACC . In addition to following college football and basketball, I have great interest in lacrosse and the Olympic Sports of the ACC. I think there is more on the conference realignment front coming and hope the ACC comes out stronger. I look forward to responses to my contributions and interaction with the other ACC correspondents!
Thanks,
Tom

Big Weekend for ACC Hoops Today

This weekend promises to be an exciting one for ACC basketball fans.

Saturday, January 19, 2013:

The big game will be #1 Louisville v #6 Syracuse.  Syracuse will be playing without its top offensive threat, James Southerland.  Louisville is on quite a roll.  Can Louisville hang on to #1?

North Carolina has not been North Carolina this year.  Maryland is 14-3.  Can Maryland go into the Dean Dome and topple the Tar Heels?

Florida State and Virginia were two of the most surprising teams in basketball last year.  Both have somewhat disappointing records so far.  They play today–some has to win and get momentum.

In other games, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech square off.  14-4 Pitt hosts UConn.  And #20 Notre Dame hosts Rutgers.

Sunday, January 20, 2013:

Sunday’s lone game features North Carolina State, now ranked #14, hosting Clemson.  These are the games that the Wolfpack need to win going away to show that they are worthy of a top 4 seed in March.

 

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