Build a Better Offseason: Recommendations for the Week of March 4

Among This Week's Recommendations: AleSmith's Horny Devil, "When the Garden Was Eden" and Syracuse v. Georgetown

Among This Week’s Recommendations: AleSmith’s Horny Devil, “When the Garden Was Eden” and Syracuse v. Georgetown

College football’s offseason is nearly two months old already, but that means there’s still a little under six months until the 2013 season. It’s an eternity for any college football fan, and while many of us indulge in watching other sports, it just can’t compare to fall Saturdays.

With that in mind, we bring you the first installment of a weekly feature here: “Build a Better Offseason.” Every seven days or so, we’ll provide recommendations on what to do with all your free time now that you’re not all-consumed by college football, specifically focusing on beers, books, movies and sporting events. There’s also “this week in shame,” which you can view at the bottom of each piece.

Beer

Horny Devil, by AleSmith Brewing Company in San Diego, CA (Belgian Strong Ale, 11% ABV)

Horny Devil is a delicious, citrusy brew that any Belgian ale lover is sure to enjoy. Like Duvels or Saisons? This is a great choice as almost a best of both worlds, while still giving you a taste that’s not overly fruity or heavy. I’ve only seen it in 750ml bottles, and distribution is currently limited to the state of California, minus the San Francisco Bay Area. So if you can get a hold of this, it’s a must-have.

Book

When the Garden Was Eden,” by Harvey Araton (2011)

The definitive narration of the cultural phenomenon that was the late-60s, early -70s New York Knicks basketball team. Sure, it helps to already be a fan of the Knickerbockers when first opening this book, but trust me, if you didn’t think this was the world’s most interesting basketball team beforehand, you’ll certainly believe it after reading. Araton’s perspective, as both a long-time fan and a beat writer for the team, also provides the exact tone you’d want from this oral retelling; honest to a fault and deeply caring about the subject matter.

Movie

Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

Yeah, you may be able to call this a kid’s movie, but it’s a lot more than that – as you soon figure out due to the character depth provided by John C. Reilly and the other talented (voice) actors. Without giving too much away, Reilly’s character, the titular Ralph, dives into a lot of the issues today’s adult faces in terms of dealing with careers and life while still finding joy in it all. And yet manages to avoid overdoing any of that. For those who missed it in theaters last year, it’s out on DVD tomorrow, and comes highly recommended from yours truly.

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ACC Football Chat: Can College Sports Get Attention In Pro Sports Cities?

Why Do College Teams Struggle To Gain Attention In Large Markets? (PHOTO CREDIT: Mike Borkowski)

Always looking to expand our content around here, we’ve started up a new weekly feature. Mike and I will be discussing different topics pertaining to ACC football and then posting up the conversation here. Disagree with us? By all means, share your thoughts below. Happy to continue to the debate.

This week’s topic: Can college sports get attention in pro sports cities?

John: As we sort of discussed last week, i believe that college teams can succeed in pro sports towns, specifically citing Los Angeles and Miami. But I know you have a differing opinion…

Mike: Not necessarily. It really depends on the town. You go to a place like Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago; pro sports are the attraction. I think it really depends on the culture of the town.

Go down south, even if there are pro teams in a city, if there’s a major college nearby, that college will receive a lot of press.

J: Well Chicago brings up an interesting point — what about the University of Illinois, Northwestern and Notre Dame?

M: As far as I know, Northwestern may be in the Big Ten, but it’s not a major player. The Illini and ND get press no doubt, but you know the Bear, Bulls, etc. are the main show.

J: Fair — but what about L.A., then? The Lakers and Dodgers are insititutions — huge attractions for the city. Yet, UCLA and USC reign.

Are we seeing a case of college teams that existed before pro teams taking precedent, but for older pro sports cities (like NY, Boston, Philly), the college teams struggle to really gain any share of voice with the sports media? Continue reading

Big East Expansion: Who’s Looking to Start a New Basketball Conference?

Could Georgetown Be Stirring Up Another Big East Exodus?

Apologizing for the slight divergence from our regularly scheduled programming (football) in advance:

In what has become a weekly saga around these parts, we take a look at our (and by our, I mean Syracuse‘s) former stomping grounds (the Big East), which look more like a graveyard most days. While addition has been on everyone’s mind lately, it appears that some more future defections could lead to subtraction in the future (shockingly?). Says the Chronicle of Higher Education: “…two Big East members (that) have had conversations about leaving the conference to start a new league built around traditional basketball powers.” This is, of course, of no surprise to anyone who’s ever been on the inside of the hulking, slow behemoth known as the Big East. But the bigger questions still loom — who are the two Benedict Arnolds, soon to be the “new Pitt and Syracuse?” and if these schools were to form a basketball superconference, who else would be on board?

Obviously, the additions of schools like SMU, Houston and UCF to the basketball league do nothing for the overall quality but provide additional punching bags for the likes of Georgetown and Louisville. Since most of the Big East currently pads their out of conference schedule in advance of what’s usually a brutal 18-game league schedule, these additional bottom-feeders really don’t help. We can surmise that multiple basketball schools are unhappy about this, but which ones are so unhappy they’d consider defection? Keep in mind that candidates will almost definitely be of the league’s old guard, and won’t have a football program (or much of one to speak of). They also won’t be Providence, because John Marinatto and the school hold joint ownership of the conference (metaphorically). Which leads us to Georgetown and St. John’s. Why them, but not say Seton Hall or Marquette? Simple: TV revenue.

Once again, we know that schools are unhappy with this setup, but you have to look at which ones possess enough value to attract other big basketball schools away from their respective conferences and into the “Roundball League” (or whatever probably horrendous name it adopts). Since the Hoyas and Red Storm deliver parts of the New York and D.C. markets, these are your best options. We avoid Villanova since not only do they fail to be the hottest game in town, but their football program is looking to move up in the world (not possible in a basketball-only league). With these two main players set, the following Big East teams probably jump at the chance to join up: Marquette, Seton Hall, DePaul. Assuming they aim for 12, who else do they grab?

In this scenario, we assume Memphis and Temple are pushed by the Big East failing to extend an invite (highly plausible). Recognizing the sinking ship they’d remain a part of, ‘Nova would finally jump to this league, as would Providence. For the final two spots (and to keep it semi-regional), I’d encourage George Mason and VCU. What you’re left with is a 16-team basketball superconference, whose weak link would probably still be DePaul (surely the Demon Deacons don’t find this as entertaining as I do). To be honest, they’d probably get just as many bids as the ACC for the NCAA Tournament every year (if not more). A frightening thought, but far too important to ignore.

If this all comes to fruition (we’re far from that right now), who’d you like to see in this basketball-only superleague? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.