Sports Outside the Beltway

Report: Big Ten Makes Expansion Offers To Four Colleges

If this report from a Kansas City sports radio station is to believed, the Big Ten Conference is thinking big when it comes to expansion:

big_ten_mini_pennant_set_23109bigThe Big Ten Conference has extended initial offers to join the league to four universities including Missouri and Nebraska from the Big 12, according to multiple sources close to the negotiations.

While nothing can be approved until the Big Ten presidents and chancellors meet the first week of June in Chicago, the league has informed the two Big 12 schools, Notre Dame and Rutgers that it would like to have them join. It is not yet clear whether the Big Ten will expand to 14 or 16 teams but sources indicated Missouri and Nebraska are invited in either scenario.  Notre Dame has repeatedly declined the opportunity to join the Big Ten.  If Notre Dame remains independent, Rutgers would be the 14th team.  The Big Ten would then decide whether to stop at 14 or extend offers to two other schools.  If Notre Dame joins, sources say an offer will be extended to one other school making it a 16-team league.

All four are interesting choices, for different reasons.

Notre Dame, of course, is a prize that the Big Ten has been pursuing for years, but it’s always been the one that got away. Given their lucrative television contract and national fan base, remaining independent has always seemed to be to Notre Dame’s advantage. Times are changing, though, and the Fighting Irish aren’t what they used to be. Putting them at the center of a conference where they would be instantly competitive might just be what’s needed to reinvigorate a program still hurting from the Charlie Weis years.

Rutgers seems like a odd choice at first because of it’s geographic distance from the rest of the Conference, but there are two reasons why it makes sense. Under Greg Schiano, the Rutgers football program (and make no mistake, this expansion is mostly geared toward football) has become credible in a way that it never was before. When I attended there in the late 80s and the Scarlet Knights played a rare game against Michigan State, it was an occasion for laughter in Lansing, Michigan. Not anymore. Second, bringing in Rutgers gives the Big Ten access to two of the biggest media markets in the country, which would be a big deal for both football and basketball.

As for Missouri and Nebraska, it’s interesting that the Big Ten would be so brazen about poaching from the Big 12, but both schools would be excellent additions on the football side to a conference that has come to be dominated in recent years by Ohio State and Penn State. Bringing the Tigers and Cornhuskers into the conference, along with Rutgers and Notre Dame, would instantly make football season much more competitive.

All in all, this seems like a smart move for the Big Ten.


NFL Draft 2010 – Round 2 #16- Carolina- QB Jimmy Clausen

The first pick of the draft for the Panthers and they go for rapidly dropping Jimmy Clausen. Clausen doesn’t have the arm strength to be a top NFL Quarterback. He also sidearms the ball. Not a good combo for the pros. Carolina is going to regret this pick. writes- The Panthers surprisingly land a franchise quarterback in the second round with the selection of Jimmy Clausen. The former Notre Dame star was expected to come off the boards in the early part of the first round, but questions about his leadership skills and personality led to a dramatic slide down the charts. Although the free fall has surely dampened Clausen’s spirits, the opportunity to go to a franchise without an established starter could lead to early playing time, if he performs to his potential during the preseason.


Clausen has been the face of the Notre Dame program for the past three years and has shown improvement in virtually every aspect of his game each year. He lacks a cannon for an arm but he does have a live arm and a quick delivery that allows him to get the ball out quickly. He has close to a ¾-arm delivery which coupled with his lack of top height can cause some of his passes to get knocked down or tipped by pass rushers. He has been well coached and understands a pro style offense, so he is apt to come to camp better prepared than most. He is recovering from toe surgery and will not participate in combine drills.


2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament- March 18th

This post will remain at the top of the blog for the rest of today. To see newer posts, scroll down.

As results come in today, I will update this post. I’ll also include any related tournament news here.

1st result- Old Dominion defeats Notre Dame 51-50
1st overtime game- BYU beats Florida 99-92 in double OT
Close call- #2 seed Villanova beats Robert Morris 73-70 in overtime.
First big upset- #13 Murray State beats Vanderbilt 66-65
Baylor beats Sam Houston St. 68-59
Kansas State beats North Texas State 82-62
St. Mary’s beats Richmond 80-71
Butler beats UTEP 77-59
Kentucky beats East Tennessee St. 100-71
Ohio beats Georgetown 97-83
Washington beats Marquette 80-78
Northern Iowa beats UNLV 69-66
#1 Kansas beats Lehigh 90-74
New Mexico beats Montana 62-57
Wake Forest beats Texas 81-80


2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball predictions

Here are my selections-

2010 predictions1

2010 predictions2

So you heard it here first. Duke and Ohio State in the finals.

Note- Starting tomorrow I will have a sticky post at the top of the blog featuring that day’s results. Feel free to make your own predictions in the comment.


2010 NCAA Women’s Tournament Bracket

Here it is-

2010 Women's bracket

Like with the Men’s tournament, I’ll take a shot at making some guesses predictions in the women’s also.


2010 NCAA Basketball Tournament Bracket

Well here it is-

2010 bracket

I don’t have to say. Later in the week, I’ll take a shot at predicting the outcome.


For the record- UConn beats Notre Dame 59-44

The Huskies broke the consecutive win streak also set by the Huskies back in 2001-03. From AP-

Tina Charles, Maya Moore and the latest Connecticut Huskies dynasty now have their own place in the record books.

Charles scored 16 points and Moore added 11 to help top-ranked Connecticut win an NCAA record 71st straight game — a 59-44 victory over Notre Dame (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP) on Monday night in the semifinals of the Big East tournament.

UConn surpassed its own mark set from Nov. 9, 2001, to March 11, 2003. Unlike that amazing run, which ended in a loss in the Big East conference tournament semifinals to Villanova, this Huskies team has thoroughly dominated its opponents in every game, winning all of them by double digits.

Connecticut (32-0) will face either West Virginia or Rutgers on Tuesday night with a chance to win its 16th Big East conference tournament championship.

Maybe the most spectacular aspect of UConn’s record is the fact they have seldom been behind in any of the 71 games. Has there ever been a more perfect sports team?


2010 NFL Draft to include record tying 53 non-seniors

The 2008 NFL Draft also saw the same amount of under classmen. In 2009 the total was 46. From AP-

The expected heavy influx of non-seniors applying for this year’s NFL draft did not happen despite looming labor unrest in the league.

Although a record-tying 53 players declared for early entry, that number released Tuesday by the NFL was short of most projections.

“I think that the colleges have really done a good job of telling these young men how it is to their advantage to stay in school,” said NFL draft consultant Gil Brandt, who helped build the Dallas Cowboys in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. “I thought there would be more and I was surprised.”

Six All-Americans did apply for the draft: defensive backs Eric Berry of Tennessee and Joe Haden of Florida; defensive end Derrick Morgan of Georgia Tech; tight end Aaron Hernandez of Florida; linebacker Rolando McClain of Alabama; and wide receiver Golden Tate of Notre Dame.

Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner, also declared for April’s draft, along with Mississippi quarterback Jevan Snead; Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen; Southern California running back Joe McKnight; Cal running back Jahvid Best; Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap; and Penn State linebacker Navorro Bowman.

Fresno State tailback Ryan Mathews, the nation’s leading rusher, applied. So did tackles Bryan Bulaga of Iowa and Anthony Davis of Rutgers, who are projected to go high in the draft.

I remember when Herschel Walker came out of school(U of Georgia) early and all the controversy it caused. A Herschel Walker today wouldn’t risk a potential big payday in the NFL either.

What I don’t get is how some experts expected the total of non-seniors to be around 100 or a 100% increase from last year. Maybe I’ll find an article that list the college players who stuck it out. A free college education should be valued. One day your sports playing days will end and what will you do for money then? Look at Bernie Kosar who left the University of Miami early for the NFL. Right now he is bankruptcy court.

The entire list of college underclassman declaring for this year’s NFL draft is below the fold.


Former Notre Dame and NFL football player Jack Zilly dead at 88

He was also an assistant college football coach after his playing days were over. RIP.

John “Jack” Zilly, who played on two national championship football teams for Notre Dame in the 1940s, has died. He was 88.

The school said Saturday that Zilly died Friday in Narragansett, R.I.

Zilly was a right end on Notre Dame’s 1943 championship team. He then joined the Navy and served two years in the Pacific during World War II. He returned to school and celebrated another national title in 1946.

Zilly was a sixth-round draft pick by San Francisco of the All-American Football Conference. He wound up playing for the Los Angeles Rams from 1947 to 1951 and the Philadelphia Eagles in 1952.


Former Pitt Panther Head Coach Foge Fazio dead at 71

He was also a long-time NFL assistant with five different teams. Most recently he was a Pitt radio analyst. RIP.

Foge Fazio, who succeeded Jackie Sherrill as the football coach at alma mater Pittsburgh and later was a defensive coordinator for the NFL’s Vikings and Browns, died Wednesday night following a lengthy battle with leukemia. He was 71.

Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson confirmed Fazio’s death while attending the Pitt-Duquesne basketball game on Wednesday night.

Fazio, who grew up in Coraopolis, Pa., in suburban Pittsburgh, was a former Pitt linebacker and center and was chosen as the team MVP in 1959. He was drafted by the AFL’s Boston Patriots in 1960 but soon after moved into coaching. He spent nine seasons as a Pitt assistant, the final three as defensive coordinator, before being promoted to head coach in 1982, following three successive 11-1 seasons under Sherrill.

Fazio’s first Pitt team, quarterbacked by Dan Marino, began the season ranked No. 1 and started 7-0, but lost three of its final five as the Panthers’ offense struggled. His 1983 team went 8-3-1, but he was fired with two years left on his contract following a 31-0 loss to Penn State in 1985.

Fazio was 25-18-3 at Pitt, including a 3-7-1 record in 1984.

“I don’t know that anyone embodied the Pitt spirit better than Foge Fazio,” Pederson said. “It was obvious from the first time that I met him how passionate he was about this university and its football program. Foge had the unique ability to make everyone he came in contact with feel special. In so many ways he represented all the great things associated with the University of Pittsburgh.”

After leaving Pitt, Fazio was hired as coach Lou Holtz’s defensive coordinator at Notre Dame. He also was an assistant coach with the Falcons, Jets and Redskins and was the defensive coordinator of the Vikings (1996-98) and Browns (2001-02). He retired with Cleveland in 2003 but returned two years later as a Vikings defensive consultant under coach Mike Tice.

Fazio spent the last two seasons as a radio analyst on Pitt football broadcasts, but hadn’t worked this season since the South Florida game on Oct. 24. He recently told broadcast partner Bill Hillgrove he hoped to return for the No. 14 Panthers game Saturday against No. 5 Cincinnati.

“Foge was a true ‘Pitt Man,’ ” Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said. “He loved this university and everyone at Pitt loved Foge.


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