It's been three long months since Bill appeared on this site so it was time to lure him out of hibernation with a little Two Dudes, One Post. This edition focuses on the rumors of an imminent Big Ten Conference power play and what it means for Notre Dame, the conference, and the national college football landscape in general.
1. The rumblings of a Big Ten expansion are getting louder and louder. Of course when it comes to We Never Graduate there is one team in these discussions that is of extraordinary relevance: the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Do you want to see Notre Dame join the Big Ten? Explain the reasoning behind your answer.
Bill: Of course I do, then you can't point to your schedule when you go 6-6. They're good for the league. They add value, they have great academics, mediocre football program, and they take the pressure off Northwestern as the nerdiest school in the conference.
Mattare: Absolutely not. I think remaining independent is a huge part of maintaining our identity as the premier brand in college athletics. We're totally unique in the fact that we are the only team that can pull off being independent thanks to our program's history and national fan base. There's really something to be said for that.
Being independent means we have total freedom and flexibility in scheduling and television negotiation rights, it means we don't limit ourselves to being a associated with a single region, and it means that we preserve a tradition that's unparalleled in college football. Scoff and say that clinging to tradition is just an unwillingness to change with the times, but tradition is large part of what makes Notre Dame so special. The ability to survive and thrive as a program without a conference is something we should never surrender.
2. Apparently this expansion could include only one team or it could be as many as five. In your mind what's the ideal number, who are the teams, and why?
Bill: One, and I would like Notre Dame, only because I don't see enough other worthy candidates. The conference is already under fire and I really don't want to water it down. As far as the rumblings that college football is moving towards super conferences--I'll be honest--I don't really know what that means. I like the familiarity that comes with 10-14 team conferences. If we had to take 3 schools I'd opt for ND, Pitt, and Rutgers.
Mattare: As long as it isn't Notre Dame I couldn't care less, but I'll play along with the exercise. I think they should take one and it should be Nebraska. I don't want to deal with the doomsday scenarios of the Big East imploding any longer so to me this would be a nice, quick, easy, and painless transition. The Big Ten would get their title game, Nebraska would generate a lot of excitement and fun new matchups (Nebraska-Michigan, Nebraska-OSU, Nebraska-PSU would all be blockbuster games), and all the people who are chirping about "a new world order" in go back to yelling at people on street corners in New York City.
3. There are columnists hypothesizing this will have a minimal impact outside the Big Ten while others think that it could send shockwaves that will kill the Big East and reshape the Big 12. When all is said and done, what do you think ends up happening and what impact will it have on the college football landscape?
Bill: At the time I'm writing this I think it only hurts, or should I say destroys the Big East. I don't think Texas or Missouri is happening, I think we end up landing three teams from the Big East at which point it is no more. Maybe they have to form a new conference with Conference USA teams or pick up Temple, Buffalo and Miami OH???
Mattare: I don't think that it's going to be as crazy as some people seem to believe. First of all, adding Texas is a pipe dream and Notre Dame is not budging on their desire to stay independent. The only reason to aggressively raid the Big East for three teams and bury it is to force Notre Dame's into the conference--which in my opinion is a lost cause.
The teams they're talking about adding in the big raid--Rutgers, Pitt, and Syracuse--won't do much to expand the Big 10 Network's footprint much because there are more Penn State fans in Jersey than Rutgers fans and more Penn State fans than Pitt fans in Western PA. Syracuse just waters down the league in terms of football so they'd almost be a burden in exchange for acquiring the Western NY area. I also don't understand why it's a forgone conclusion Syracuse would jump to the Big Ten. Are they that willing to junk their traditional rivals in basketball, their more important sport?
4. Let's make a huge assumption and say the extreme happens--the Big Ten takes five teams, the Big East crumbles, and the other conferences realign. Do you think this makes a switch to a playoff system imminent?
Bill: I do not. What changes with bigger conferences? The BCS still gets to hand out bowl bids to these conferences and all the other bowls would reach new agreements with the new conferences and everyone still gets paid.
Mattare: No. The college presidents and the majority of conference commissioners don't want it and therefore it won't happen. Every year it'll be debated and some years when there are multiple teams that have a case for a shot at the championship (like last year) it'll be more heated, but it'll all be for nothing.
I don't see any sort of "plus-one" model becoming a reality until this generation of college presidents and commissioners retires and to be honest I never see a D-1AA style playoff (whether it be 8 or 16 teams) ever coming to fruition. The powers-that-be don't want to lessen the importance of what is the best regular season in sports and, while they'll never come out and say it, the debates that happen every winter about who should be in the championship are actually great for the sport.
ON TO THE RAPID FIRE FINISH!
Mattare: Tim Tebow prayed his way into the end of round one (the only explanation for the entire world conveniently forgetting his Morelli-esque Senior Bowl performance). How do you see his pro career turning out?
Bill: I think he will earn a job as a starter and have a winning record. 0 Pro Bowls, 0 Super Bowls.
Bill: What happened to Jimmy?????
Mattare: The only explanation is he admitted to running a dog fighting ring during his pre-draft interviews. The silver lining is he landed in the perfect spot with the Panthers. He's going to light it up.
Mattare: How excited are you that the Birds traded up to pass on Safety Earl Thomas and pick a 268lb Linebacker-Defensive End tweener deluxe who went to Michigan?
Bill: Pretty pumped actually. Linebacker might be the weakest spot on our team and I like Graham's instincts...and I heard we liked Nate Allen all along.
Bill: The Skins picked up Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark, so now you have two of my old quarterbacks (Clark and McNabb). How do the sloppy seconds taste?
Mattare: Like mediocrity. The type that takes the gas in big games. Neither have anything on Sexy Rexy Grossman.
Mattare: We both experienced our first bachelor parties last month in Vegas and South Beach. What did you learn that will come in handy at our bachelor parties?
Bill: Two Days max. Any longer and you are shaving serious year off your life.
Bill: Staying with the bachelor parties, how many months could you pay your car insurance if you didn't get VIP bottle service in Miami?
Mattare: The rest of 2010...all for three fifths of Three Olives Vodka with sparklers attached to them. Bottle service is the dumbest thing we did on the trip that I'm willing to post on this site.