Stuff that caught my eye while surfin' the 'net. (Do people still say that?)
*Fresh off yet another round of bickering about the future of the Big 12 in which Texas pledged its love for the Longhorn Network, ESPN rewarded the school with a decision to scale back on programming for its little-watched trial balloon of a TV channel.
As Paul Wadlington of Barking Carnival notes, with Disney shareholders pressuring the Worldwide Leader to tighten its belt, the decision to cut costs in Austin makes sense. So long as Texas wants to keep collecting checks, ESPN can keep doing just enough to keep the ventilators running. And if the ‘Horns ever work their way out of their current funk, maybe Bristol will loosen the purse strings.
While I'm sure the news will lead to speculation that the LHN is dying out, I'd keep in mind that it was formed to keep Texas under ESPN's thumb. I suspect that ESPN will want to continue using the LHN contract to exert a measure of control over the college sports landscape so long as it can.
*Congratulations to longtime Tulsa World scribe Guerin Emig on this promotion to columnist. His latest piece looks at the recent cordiality between OU and Texas.
I'm sure this means an end to all the squabbling in the Big 12.
*Speaking of which, the Big 12 apparently wants more information from Baylor about the Pepper Hamilton report.
In addition to the fact that BU is facing potential heat from the federal government and major lawsuits by sexual assault victims, the school has be concerned about its standing within the Big 12. The Bears probably won't get the boot over this, but more conference realignment appears likely in the near future. A school of Baylor's stature doesn't possess much leverage in those scenarios, so it's going to need some friends. As of now, however, the Baptist university is losing friends faster than O.J. Simpson post-acquittal.
(This is called a segue...)
*I've only been able to watch the first three parts of ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary on the Juice, but I'll add to the chorus praising Ezra Edelman's masterpiece. I hope to write more on it once I've finished the entire film.
*By the way, how bad does that doc make casting Cuba Gooding as O.J. in the FX miniseries look? Aside from the fact that Juice seemingly has about six inches and 40 pounds on the Snow Dog, what the hell was that raspy voice Rod Tidwell used throughout the 10 episodes?
Frankly, Theo Huxtable as Al Cowlings is probably worse.
*Is it me, or did OU's malaise for a few years around 2010 change how the athletic department treats the salaries of assistant coaches?
Broyles Award winner or not, an 80 percent raise for a coordinator just feels like a major departure from standard operating procedure for Joe Castliglione.