Hope everybody caught my piece on OC Mike Bajakian yesterday. Really think the job he's done here the last few years has been remarkable and without the relationship/trust he developed with Butch Jones, reformatting this offense as they have would have been much more difficult.
One extra I came across that I wasn't able to stuff into the story. Actually, Bajakian is familiar with this week's opponent, Delaware State. Turns out he coached there for three days. Yep, he showed up to take a job there and on Day 3, the Chicago Bears called.
"Unbeknownst to me I had been recommended to (Bears coach) Lovie Smith and (Bears GM) Jerry Angelo," Bajakian said. "Sitting at my desk at Delaware State ... Mr. Angelo asked me how quick I could move, I said my bags are in the car. Secretary asked if I could make a flight by 5 o'clock today. I jumped in my car and drove to the airport."
Thus, the Bajakian era at Delaware State ended. Somehow think he made the right decision.
--- So, Notre Dame will be taking its talents to the ACC. Immediate reaction from most fans is fright and disgust at another step in the downward spiral of the Big East.
I'm here to tell you that was not the case yesterday. Far from it.
Actually, Yahoo!'s Dan Wetzel is here to tell you that and he holds more clout in his pinky finger than I do in my entire body. Read this story, then continue.
Here's what you need to know -- did the Big East lose a quality basketball program yesterday? Sure it did. Did you want to lose them? No. The Irish and Mike Brey have turned into one of the consistent top tier programs in the conference.
Does the league and BE tournament look any stronger or weaker with ND in it or Memphis/Temple in it? Probably worth debating. Let's be clear, there's still no shortage of basketball talent in the conference and it remains one of the best hoops conferences in the country and on some years will be the best. This not debatable.
Louisville, Villanova, Georgetown, UConn, Cincinnati, Memphis, Temple, Marquette, St. John's, USF. Enjoy.
In the broader picture, this move by Notre Dame improves the Big East's football picture. All this conference needs to survive is stability. It owns the coast-to-coast TV attraction desired. The key is not losing anymore key institutions on the football field. ND's move means the ACC won't be plucking anyone else and it very much appears the Big 12 is content with its current structure.
Stability at last gives this Big East model its chance to survive and thrive as many inside and outside the conference believe it will under the new TV deal emerging in the next few months.
And a point I have been harping on since the beginning that Wetzel reiterates in his piece -- will an undefeated Big East team end up in the four-team playoff? Yep.
At the end of the day, that's all you need to stay relevant. Well, that and a massive TV deal.
Turn that frown upside down, UC fans.
--- Most importantly, this news elicited the Tweet of the Month from ESPN's Rick Reilly.
--- As Bill Koch found in speaking with Whit Babcock, there is no sense of panic. Nor should there be.
--- Opinions aren't all the same on the severity of the move, Dana O'Neil of ESPN claims this solidifies the ACC as the top basketball conference in the country and increases instability in the Big East. Sure, institutions like Louisville, Rutgers and UConn might secretly desire to head elsewhere -- who wouldn't be intrigued by $20 million payouts -- but there is nowhere to go.
The ACC probably does take the title of best hoops league, but it will be close. And, ultimately, as we've learned the last three years, basketball means next to nothing in the big picture. Football moves forward on a more stable course.
--- ND AD Jack Swarbrick explains his move and says he doesn't view it as a negative impact for the Big East. Granted, he kind of has to say that.
--- ESPN spoke with media rights experts about how the move would affect the contract negotiations. Answer: Not at all.
--- From the fairly absurd media observation department, my alma mater of Ohio U. was mentioned among possible teams who could slide in to fill a void. Listen, I love my Bobcats and if TV deals were based on party school rankings, this would be a slam dunk, but that talk should end there.
--- Perhaps the bigger news coming out of Thursday for the stability of the Big East revolved around news breaking Jim Calhoun will retire from UConn.
UConn is the most traditional power left in the new Big East. Can they stay strong without him? He built the Huskies. He is the Huskies.
Can they land a high-profile coach? Seems like a no-brainer, but have you been to Storrs?
Matt Norlander wonders about the future of UConn hoops here.
As friend of the blog Troy Machir of NBC Sports points out, UConn fans just love that guy.
--- At least the Bearcats can know they sent him out the right way.
--- Walter Stewart's draft stock is on the rise, from Evan Hilbert at CBSSports.com.
--- Wanted to address a comment made by Jones following the win against Pittsburgh. CBJ mentioned Munchie Legaux needed to improve on what he calls "pitch-and-catch passes."
Without doubt, too many short to intermediate passes weren't completed against Pittsburgh as Legaux finished 14 of 28. Legaux was victimized by a few drops, but just as many were inaccurate.
How do you fix this? Is it fixable or will it be a fact UC fans will have to deal with this year?
I asked Munchie and Bajakian their thoughts on the pitch-and-catch fix.
"A lot of it is technique, a lot is experience," Bajakian said. "Getting used to those game-speed reps, different scenarios and situations."
Munchie took on a similar mindset that time will cure those ailments.
"The biggest key with that is just knowing your receivers and repetition, practice," he said. "You can't just go out and do it, it has to happen in practice. Pitch and catch is just routes on air, you and the receiver. I throw the ball he catches it, as simple as that, you have to know repeating it over and over. Knowing where the receiver is going to be at, where he wants the ball and he has to know how I am throwing the ball on time, on rhythm."
He sees it as an easy fix. Time will tell.
"I want to say it was just first-game anxiety," Legaux said. "We'll get that taken care of this week in practice and hopefully we won't have those problems this game."
--- Time for some randomness...
--- The iPhone 5 announcement came yesterday. No word yet on if it can remote navigate the Mars rover yet.
--- Huge fan of Donald Glover on Community, cool to see he's developing his own sitcom.
--- When I first heard Bullet with Butterfly Wings by Smashing Pumpkins I thought, 'You know what, I bet that lead singer will open a tea shop one day."
--- Since I just mentioned it, might as well throw it on here. For all those of you needing to rage this Thursday. Have a great day.