When it was announced - or when rumor spread - that the Louisville/West Virginia game on Nov. 20 would kickoff at 7 p.m., I, like most Cardinal fans, was ecstatic. The late start time set the stage for a full day of tailgating (including an appearance by one Arthur Carmody), no worries about people getting to the stadium in time to honor the seniors, and a big game under the lights against arguably our biggest conference rival.
Enter the Big East Network.
To get the game on TV, the BEN had the start time moved to noon. Rushed tailgating, minimum Art, and an increased likelihood that a half-full stadium will honor the seniors.
It'd be one thing if the move was being made so that the game could be carried by ESPN (or one of its brethren), but this is the Big East Network...the picture is miserable, the announcing is worse (it was Preston Brown), and no one outside of the city is watching.
The rumored start time for the season-finale against Rutgers is also noon. That would mark five straight nooners to end the season, all so John Congemi can mispronounce Bilal Powell's name and tell us that Josh Chichester is tall.
The Big East's television contract also demands that three games be made available for the "Championship Weekend" of Dec. 4, a weekend that technically isn't part of the 13-week season. Essentially, this gives all but two teams in the league and extra bye week during their conference season.
One of the two teams being deprived of this bye week? The fighting Cardinals of the University of Louisville.
The other team working at a disadvantage is Syracuse, meaning that the (current) second and third best teams in the league will not be a part of "Championship Weekend."
"We don’t have a (second) bye week," SU head coach Doug Marrone said. "Louisville and Syracuse are the only two teams that don’t have a bye (during the league season).
"I understand why it’s like that, but when you’re trying to get back to where you want to be as a program … I’m sure Louisville might be going through the same thing … it is difficult. If we didn’t have (so many) injuries, I probably wouldn’t say anything about it."
With its starting quarterback, tailback, and center all gimpy, it's safe to say U of L could benefit from an extra week off as well.
The six teams benefiting from the extra bye week have/had them on either Oct. 30 (Rutgers and South Florida) or Nov. 6 (Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Cincinnati and Connecticut). Nearly all of those six were able to build schedules that included mid-week games, giving themselves a two-games-in-21-days breather before entering the stretch run of the season.
"It’s our TV partners’ desires," Big East associate commissioner Nick Carparell said. "Again, they want games that will draw the greatest ratings.
"It’s all in the eye of the beholder."
I have no idea what that's supposed to mean.
College football is a joke sometimes.