NCAA College Football Week 3 RecapMonday, September 19, 2011 22:27
Week 3 college football recap and the latest in college football’s ongoing conference realignment soap opera.
Conference Realignment Redux
Week 3 of the 2011 NCAA college football season featured some intriguing match-ups and some interesting results, yet all the talk was about the specter of conference realignment that has once again reared its ugly head.
And as of today that specter has materialized even further.
Over the weekend the ACC announced that the Pittsburgh Panthers and Syracuse Orange would be joining the conference, thus adding the Big East to the endangered species list already occupied by the Big 12. The Big 12, as you recall, went on life support once Texas A&M declared its intent to join the SEC, quickly sending Texas and Oklahoma off to investigate more stable long-term alternatives (mostly likely with Oklahoma State and Texas Tech in tow). Flash forward to today and both the Longhorns and Sooners have been cleared to leave the Big 12.
On Saturday, after it was first reported that Panthers and Orange had applied to enter the ACC (but had not yet been formally accepted), I was speaking to my wife and I suggested that if the Texas, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh and Syracuse chips all fell, the best thing for both the Big East and Big 12 to do would be to merge. The Big 12′s situation would be even more dire than the Big East, dropping to eight teams (with the possibility of going down to six if the Cowboys and Red Raiders followed suit). While the Big East, already the weakest of the BCS conferences, would have been totally decimated in football, at least the Big East would still have been a conference due to its massive membership for basketball and other sports.
Flash back to today (again), and shortly after the Texas and Oklahoma exit clearances were detailed, guess what else was reported? The Big East and Big 12 are discussing merger.
As for the weekend’s games…
The premiere game had the #1 ranked Sooners facing their first true challenge of the season in a road tilt at #5 Florida State. The game was much closer than the final 23-13 score indicates, with the Seminoles tying the game at 13 in the fourth quarter before Oklahoma pulled away. A good road victory for the Sooners, but one they have to be somewhat concerned about, too. Florida State hung in the game after losing one of their top receivers to injury early on–and then losing starting quarterback EJ Manuel in the third quarter. The tying score came with back-up Clint Trickett at the home.
Two teams that had come close to losing to supposedly vastly inferior opponents earlier in the season save for late comebacks, Auburn (struggled in Week 1 against Utah State) and Ohio State (struggled in Week 2 against Toledo) finally bit the dust. Clemson Tigers mauled the Auburn pride 38-24–Auburn apparently forgot to buy a replacement for Cam Newton–while Ohio State fell to Miami in the NCAA Violations Investigation Bowl. By this time next year, both schools will probably be on probation…assuming the Hurricanes haven’t been levied with the dreaded death penalty, a distinct possibility. Both Auburn and Ohio State subsequently fell out of the Top 25.
Notre Dame notched its first victory of the year, not noteworthy news except for the fact that the win was an upset over #15 Michigan State, which also dropped out of the rankings after the loss. #22 Arizona State’s return to the rankings lasted only one week after being upset by Illinois, while Mississippi State went from #16 to #25 to out of the Top 25 after two straight losses.
With bigger conferences, intra-conference match-ups are moving earlier and earlier in the season. It is sad that just as the games are starting to heart up, they will most likely once again be overshadowed in the coming week by the latest edition of “As the Conferences Turn”.
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