The elements may be in place for a grand finish for University of Louisville baseball.
Could the glory road still be continuing at a university that won a national championship in basketball, a BCS bowl in football, and was accepted into a Big Five Conference during the past seven months?
Dan McDonnell, who just won his 300th victory in seven seasons, has his team humming right now, having won 12 consecutive games. His team is one game out of first place in the Big East Conference as the regular season enters its final week. The Cards are 42-10
Guess which team is coming to Louisville this weekend. None other than league-leading Pittsburgh, providing an opportunity for McDonnell to win his fourth conference championship. They will play at 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and at Noon on Saturday. Louisville must win all three games to claim the Big East title outright.
A conference championship and success in the Big Tournament could bring another Regional to Louisville, maybe even another Super Regional. What we’ve learned in recent months is to maintain high expectations.
UofL is led in hitting by Ty Young with a .374 batting average, and has six players batting .325 or better. Chad Green and Jeff Thompson lead the pitching staff with 8-2 and 9-1 records, respectively.
Winning is nothing new to McDonnell. In his 24 seasons in NCAA baseball as a player and coach, his teams have averaged 38 wins per season and have advanced to an NCAA Regional in 15 of those seasons, including 12 of the last 15.
With the passage of time, the possibility of a split between the football schools and non-football schools in the Big East Conference appears more remote than ever.
New Commissioner Mike Aresco addressed the issue while in Chicago over the weekend, indicating that the westward movement of the conference is essential to media deliberations and securing the future of the league.
“We have two sports that are equally important, and they can help each other,” Aresco told The DePaulia, the DePaul student newspaper. “The basketball-only schools derive great benefit from being with our football-basketball schools. The football-basketball schools benefit from the wonderful, strong heritage of the basketball schools. That, together, will mean a lot as we talk to the various networks.”
While disappointed with Notre Dame’s recent announcement that the Irish would be moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference, he indicated the decision of Notre Dame to finally make a move may have had a settling effect.
“They decided to move on, but that’s a clarifying moment in some ways in college sports. We think now that there will be a period of stability.
“One never knows in this business, but I believe that, I think a lot of people believe that, and I think that’ll enable all the conferences now to consolidate.”
He suggested that the conference would also consider a dedicated Big East Network, but his primary focus remains on negotiating the best possible television deal with a major network or a combination thereof.
“We need to do a good TV/media deal. We need to do a deal that gives our schools the resources they need, that gives them the confidence financially, the stability they need. And also the exposure they need.”
As for a recent report that a study had been commissioned to consider changing the name of the conference, “I don’t want to change our name. We want to tell our story while forging a very bright future.”
Big for the Big East.
Tremendously positive news that Boise State will be joining the Big East for football during the 2013 season.
A legitimate college football power that will seriously challenge any notions of the University of Louisville going unchallenged in efforts to dominate the realigning conference.
The programs last clashed in the Liberty Bowl in 2004, with Louisville ranked No. 9 and BSU No. 10 in the Associated Press poll. The teams were also rated as the top two offensive teams at the time. Stefan LeFors guided UofL to a 44-40 win in a down-to-the-wire finish that left fans of both teams gasping for breath.
While U of L lost momentum during the Steve Kragthorpe years, Boise State was maintaining at high levels. In 2009, Boise State defeated TCU to become only the second team to ever finish with a 14-0 record. Between 2008 and 2011, the Broncos went 50–3 to become the first FBS team to win 50 games over a four year span. BSU was 12-1 last season, ranked No. 8 in the AP.
Boise State will be featured on national TV networks 11 times during the upcoming football season, including the season opener against Michigan State on Friday, August 31.
Welcome to the Big East, Boise State. The temperature rises just thinking about future match ups.
Here’s a great Boise State blog site.
The top chiefs at the U.S. Naval Academy have made it official, Navy will join the Big East as a football-only school, beginning with the 2015 season.
A good move for the Big East and Navy, which has a national following and averaged 34,611 fans at its five home game last fall, the third most in school history. The midshipmen have been to eight bowl games in the last nine seasons.
The Baltimore Sun repots that Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk spent the past few months reshaping existing schedules and television contracts beginning in 2015. Navy has schedules running through 2017 and a television contract with CBS Sports and CBS Sports Network through 2018. The Big East, of course, is connected with ESPN.
Navy will continue its rivalries with Army, Air Force and Notre Dame.
The tentative 2015 Navy schedule already includes SMU and San Diego State that could be two games against the league’s West Division, which would also include Houston and Boise State. Members of the East division would come from Navy, Connecticut, South Florida, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Rutgers and Louisville, if U of L is still around.
Texas Christian University has accepted an invitation for full membership into the Big East Conference.
TCU will become the 17th conference member on July 1, 2012, with athletic teams competing in the 2012-13 academic year. With an enrollment of 9,142 in Fort Worth, TCU competes in 20 sports.
â€œOur membership is genuinely excited to add an institution of the caliber of TCU to our Conference,â€ stated Big East Conference Commissioner John Marinatto. Â â€œLocated in one of the top five media markets in the country, TCU also enables the BIG EAST to extend its media footprint, which already encompasses more than a quarter of the country.â€
â€œThe addition of TCU ensures that the Big East will continue to remain one of the nationâ€™s premier athletic conferences well into the future,â€ stated John I. Jenkins, president of Notre Dame and chairman of the Big East CEO executive committee.
Probably the most surprising thing about the announcement is that Notre Dame’s president is chairman of the Big East’s executive committee.