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No more "Country Roads"

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Rarely will I applaud anything Louisville does, but I thought it was a hoot that they sang "Country Roads" in their locker room after beating the Mountaineers last weekend in West Virginia.

Serves'em right!

Generally, I would frown on any John Denver selection as a post-game celebration. but given the propensity of UC's recent opponents to bolt the conference, good for the Cards.

I hope those that counted Butch Jones' Bearcats out at the annual clambake in Rhode Island (wonder if they show the Elvis movie?) are taking notice of what UC is doing.

Louisville has entertained the Big 12 option and the Bearcats took them down at Paul Brown (Rick Pitino is the only one with any sense in "The 'Ville").

Pitt jumped ship to the ACC, joining Syracuse in an attempt to gut one of the best basketball conference's ever.  Their payback was another national TV loss at the hands of the Bearcats at Heinz Field.

Now, it's West Virginia's turn.

Again, the move is puzzling, but sometimes I think too much as a fan I suppose. In doing so, keep in mind, this conference jumping is a complete slap in the face to loyal fans.

West Virginia will travel heavy to Paul Brown Stadium, just as they have to Nippert Stadium and Fifth Third Arena. Outside of the few coach-burners who get worked up into a lather over beer being served, the Mountaineer fans are generally good people.

They'll load up the truck and drive to Louisville, they'll drive to Pittsburgh, they'll drive north to Syracuse and here.  That was the luxury of the Big East.

You think anyone's driving from Morgantown to Waco, Lubbock, Austin, Stillwater or even Lawrence, Kansas?

Maybe if it were a bowl game or an NCAA tournament game, but not for a regular season contest during one of the worst recessions ever.

Financially, I suppose it makes sense.  That's the end answer to anything in life you'll ever wonder about.

Logically and logistically, it's all a nightmare.

Pitt and Syracuse used to play in the BEST postseason basketball tournament around, the Big East tournament in Madison Square Garden.  To any basketball junkie, Madison Square Garden is the mecca of college hoops.

Now, instead of playing where Willis Reed once limped onto the floor and led the Knicks to the NBA title and where Gerry McNamara made improbable shots for Jim Boeheim, Syracuse gets to play in Greensboro.

Greensboro exists solely to host first-round Duke tournament games.

Pitt also made great runs in New York, as did West Virginia. Now. the Panthers will play in a conference where they are middle-of-the-pack at best.

West Virginia's basketball in the Big 12 makes little sense too. Sure, they'll compete, but instead of Bob Huggins getting a yearly warm welcome in Cincinnati, he'll be heckled and harassed unmercifully by those in Manhattan, Kansas that he left high and dry.

In football, maybe all the teams compete. Maybe not.

In the ACC, Pitt and Syracuse can probably do OK, but I wonder how many of their local recruits will be ignored by the pressure to recruit more in the south?

As for West Virginia, do you really want to play Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, etc. every year?

The Mountaineers absolutely have had respectable teams, but be careful what you wish for.

What do you think the odds are of WVU making another Orange Bowl playing out of the Big 12?

For the Bearcats, Saturday at PBS is another of several opportunities to slap some schools around that in my mind have showed athletic arrogance. In exchange for some cash, these schools have spat on tradition, on rivalries and essentially told their fans, "You don't matter!"

It's sad.

Syracuse, Pitt and West Virginia are all at fault. Connecticut, Louisville and Rutgers have made overtures.

It's kind of like having a date for the prom and then ditching her because the phony, superficial popular girl with her store-bought charm has feigned interest.

It's Eve tempting Adam with an apple.

Bite and you leave the Garden.

All I can say is if UC football continues on its path, you can cue up the Toby Keith song at season's end. Bite on that!

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2 Comments

Scott,

Yes I would love to be joining WVU and playing Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State and the rest of the Big 12. I always want to compete at the highest level possible and strive to grow. While I appreciate all the things the Big East has brought us, the biggest was a chance to grow and expand. The Big 12 would give us that chance again. If the UC administration isn't trying to make that happen I would be shocked and disapointed that Cincinnati would aim small.

Regards,
Eric