"LeBron James' agent Rich Paul has told Heat LeBron will exercise early termination option"
- Chris Broussard, ESPN
So LeBron pulled the trigger on free agency today. As many were quick to note, free agency doesn't even mean that he'll leave Miami, but now he does have an *ahem* Decision to make. The maybe-former Heat and definitely-former Cavalier star does have some precedent in switching teams during free agency, which some of you readers may remember from 2010.
LeBron's family has done nothing to quiet rumors of a return to Cleveland. His wife instagrammed a picture referring to Akron as "Home sweet home!" with the "countdown" being real, but it's unclear whether that's a reference to expecting their next child. #mystery #internetsleuths
As others around the SB Nation universe have written, there's nothing saying that he'll go anywhere fast. Some don't even put Cleveland among the top contenders for us to witness James live. Instead, Miami, Chicago, and Houston are the top destinations, with Cleveland playing second fiddle. Apparently the Knicks are not his next stop, however.
"The Buckeyes probably don't have a Top 15 team among their four non-conference opponents, but Navy (on the road), Va. Tech and Cincinnati are all respectable."
- Bruce Feldman, Fox Sports
The only thing this ranking does is reinforce how weak non conference scheduling has gotten around the country. West Virginia gets points for scheduling Bama, but otherwise they only have Maryland and Towson. If we're handing out awards for scheduling Maryland these days, then I don't understand anything about college football.
No one would mistake Ohio State's schedule for a murderer's row, but the Buckeyes make Feldman's list with Navy, Virginia Tech, and Cincinnati. Virginia Tech is a quality opponent, but Navy and Cincinnati are just in that nebulous "not cupcakes but not real challenges" category. Vegas agrees, favoring the Buckeyes by a combined 53 points in those three games.
Hopefully the playoff improves schools' incentives to schedule better teams (no FCS teams is a good start), and schedules are mostly filled in years in advance, so it's no wonder why the non-conference matchups are overwhelmingly exciting this year.
If you had your pick of non conference games for the Buckeyes, who would you schedule over the next five years? Maybe it's my mid-2000s nostalgia, but I'd love rematches against USC and Texas. Neither team is at the same place it was when Colt McCoy and Mark Sanchez faced off against the Bucks, but I'd love the opportunity for some revenge against those historic programs.
"The more intriguing obstacle is this: The Big East already is locked into the "championship week" dates for its men's basketball tournament, so the Big Ten would need to be flexible, likely moving its tournament up one week."
- Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune
The battle is set: big bad Jim Delany in one corner, with conference school presidents in the other. They're fighting, obviously, over whether or not to stage the 2018 Big Ten men's basketball championship in Madison Square Gardens or not. However, from the article above, it sounds like it'll be less of a fight than a passive aggressive resentment party by the school presidents.
Delany allegedly will stop at nothing to move the game to New York even though it could shorten the regular season, eliminate practice time, or affect injuries and academics. Further, the Big Ten would be "out of sight, out of mind" while the other conferences are having their championships?
"To me, the combination of Rutgers in the Big Ten, that's game changing. That, to me, gives Rutgers an opportunity to be the next great national collegiate success story."
- Julie Hermann, Rugers atheltic director, via Tyler Barto, The Trentonian
Everyone is loving Maryland and hating Rutgers on the eve of their move to the Big Ten. Maryland is suddenly the mark of a tough out of conference schedule, while Rutgers is a PR embarressment and liability for the Big Ten. I don't think I know anything to dispute that, I could kinda see the Louisville comparison. I think the problem, though, is that Maryland looks a lot better as a Louisville comparison.
See, Louisville benefitted immensely from the expanded television revenue and exposure from their move to the Big East. The Big Ten, naturally, has plenty of T.V. money and exposure to offer both Maryland and Rutgers. So, Rutgers' athletic director Julie Hermann has at least some reason to believe that a move to the Big Ten could do the same for her school.
However, there are two problems here. First is that the other rookie school, Maryland, is in a much better position to enjoy the increased exposure because it's a much better football team. Second, whereas Louisville went in to the Big East closer to parity with the rest of the conference, Rutgers doesn't have the infrastructure - both facilities-wise and player talent-wise - to compete right away (or maybe ever). In order for the "television revenue/exposure for athletic program development" model to work for Rutgers, it actually has to do some winning. And there's really no indication that Rutgers will be able to do that.
STICK TO SPORTS
- I can't wait til someone asks for one of these for their Sweet 16.
- Ohio State doctors are at the forefront of paralysis research, with the first patient able to open and close his paralyzed hand.
- I thought Predator 2 was evidence that any Predator with Ahnuld doesn't deserve to exist, but maybe Shane Black is the guy to do it.
- Nukes and racecars for your testerone shot of the day.