Trying to Crack into the Club

Often in our life there are “clubs”….or cliques….that we hope to join. Becoming one of “them” may be difficult… so too in the NCAA-F Elite club.
…the jump to being a mid-level NCAA team to the “Big Time” club is a huge, wide leap. The U of Cincinnati Football team is facing such a challenge right now. The Bearcats who once were considered in the NCAA-basketball elite circle are trying to crack into the same circle in Football. Holding a 12-0 record while competing in the Athletic Conference, considered mid-level by some observers. The 1 huge win that could be interpreted as showing their skill is the 24-13 Cincy win over Notre Dame in S.Bend. That is the only loss of the season for ND who have beaten N. Carolina, Wisconsin, USC, Virginia, Florida State this year. Should Cincy be voted in the top 4 for the National Championship Series? Can they crack into the “Big Boy” Club?
…part of the problem is that NCAA teams are scheduling 10 years out. I mean, the players in those years are 10 & 11 years old right now!! I’d like the teams to limit their scheduling…or at least a game or 2…to 4 years out. Further, with many of the major conferences get reshuffled with teams coming & going, these long-range schedules become just another obstacle to jump.
….another part of the problem is “perception”. Some of the “BIG” conferences want to be viewed as elite…above all the other conferences. So….to some of them, playing challenging non-conference games that may really damage their image …their club…if they lose are discouraged.
….Another team trying to crack into the “elite club is Oklahoma State 11-1 . OSU knocked off their big-time rival, Oklahoma 37-33 to beat the Sooners for the 1st time in 7 years. The OU-OSU ga0me known as the “Bedlam Game” is an emotional one for both teams. This edition was a “classic” with the lead changing hands several times in the 2nd half. One has to wonder what will happen to this rivalry as Oklahoma moves into the SEC in the future.
…Some colleges have chosen to switch conferences and join the “club”. They believe that these changes will assist them in joining the with additional fame, press and most of all-money. Clearly the money matters more than maintaining long-time rivalries in many cases. Remember the MU-KU rivalry? It went all the way back to the Civil War… Jayhawks v Tigers. It disappeared when Mizzou flipped to the SEC. The lame attempt to claim that Arkansas is now our new “rival” seems to be falling on deaf ears…. 20 ft trophy or not. It actually reminds me of the “participation” trophy that youngsters are given despite their “success” on the field. Who cares?
….one team, not only in the club, but sitting on the throne in NCAA-F is Alabama. Alabama is holding a record of 181 -18 since Nick Saban arrived in 2007. No doubt Saban is a brilliant coach. He’s wisely brought in several offensive coordinators, who usually had short stays, and picked their brain & implemented a wide range of offensive ideas into his program. Several teams are simply overmatched physically against the Crimson Tide. This past weekend though in a 4-OT thriller, Auburn beat themselves. Ahead late in the 4th quarter & Bama out of time outs. The Tigers needed 1 to hang onto the ball & stay in-bounds. The plan should have been…drain the clock to under 30 seconds punt it deep. But… Auburn’s back, trying too hard for yardage was knocked out of bounds, saved Bama 40 precious seconds (the game was down to under 2 min at that point). Those 40 seconds proved to be a disaster as Bama went over 70 yards to get into a game tying FG position as the clock was almost expired. Bama won in 4 OT. The longer a game goes, the more it favors the better team.
…. From my eyes…a team that beat a team in 4-OT should not get the same acclaim or recognition as another team that beat them in regulation. …To me, Alabama should receive less #1 votes for this 4-OT win over a 6-6 team. Still ranked in the top 4 with a season that has a win in 4OT over a 6-6 Auburn team, a loss to an 8-4 team(Texas A&M) , a 2 pt win over a 6-6 Florida, 2 completely meaningless wins against New Mexico St &Mercer. But being in the club..probably in the throne room… skews the votes in your favor in the weekly rankings.
….once the king in the early days of NCAA-M soccer, St Louis U want’s back in the club.….Post-season games are never just “another game” or another “win”. St Louis U M-soccer knocked off Duke 4-3 in the NCAA Tourney over the weekend. Just hearing SLU beating Duke in anything seems to make the game more important 😊 SLU jumped ahead 1-0 was tied early in the 2nd half but quickly responded with 2 “quick goals to take a 3-1 lead. SLU still didn’t have it wrapped up. The final, and decisive, goal came when Isaiah Parker placed a corner kick in a dangerous spot in front of the goal, and the ball caromed off of Duke goalkeeper Eliot Hamill in the 79th minute. SLU remains the only unbeaten D-1 Mens Soccer team with in the country a 16-0-4 record. I’d say that they’re back “in the club”
…on the same campus, SLU Women Soccer Team is getting closer to entering the “club”. The Lady Bills reached the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament for the 4th straight year (and their 6th time) but fell to Rutgers (a #1 seed) 4-0. The SLU Women finished the season 13-9-1. While we’re in the Women’s Soccer side of things….Washington Univ women soccer dropped their 3rd round, or quarterfinal, game in PK’s to Univ of Wisconsin-Lacrosse. Wash U finished 15-1-3 for the 2021 season.
….on the other side of the room, some MLB teams DON’T want to be in the club. The “tanking” (selling off or trading away highly paid players for the sole purpose of reducing payroll) has a growing tendency. Some view “the club” as having too many good players to really compete against. Sooo…as these “don’t-wanna-be’s” trade their stars for possible future good players, the competition in the division dwindles between 2..maybe..3 teams…not 5 teams. That isn’t healthy for the MLB. This is an area that I concur with the MLBPA… a minimum team salary or maybe at least 2 players within a “premium” pay range for the bottom teams in the league. Why punish the Tampa Bay’s of the world who win BIG with one of the lowest payrolls. Kudo’s to them!! Healthy leagues have changing division leaders moving in & out, that’s 1 of the beauties of the NFL. Up to this point, the MLB has catered to the huge metropolitan areas to ensure their interest—especially New York & Los Angeles.
….Well….my time in the “club” has come to an end. Thanks for the read! Post &/or check out the responses of readers on my Facebook Page (Bob Ryan). If you want to read any of my past blogs, you may find them on .Thanks for the read! Bob

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