Bowl week begins

As of Friday, the St. Pete Bowl was nearly sold out. Rutgers is receiving slightly over $1.2 million from the Big East this year. I wonder if the athletic department will try to limit travel costs this year, as they would have turned a small profit in 2008 if the band and cheerleaders didn't come along.

For anyone who didn't catch ESPN's documentary The U about the rise of the Miami Hurricanes football program over the weekend, it was excellent, and definitely recommended viewing. What's incredible is how much was left out - the film went two hours (counting commercials), and could have easily supported another hour. Yeah, even though the analogy only works on some levels, The U does have quite a bit to say about the pratfalls of building a winning tradition from scratch which are applicable to Rutgers, or any historically underachieving program trying to find its way. Watching that footage of Miami running up the score on Notre Dame can never, under any circumstances, get old.

I guess it was bound to happen - with nothing left to talk about in Big Ten land until bowl season, Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez had to go and stir up a hornet's nest again on Friday by commenting on the topic of Big Ten expansion. With the word that commissioner Jim Delany is actually serious about adding a team this time, there's a possibility that the conference could actually set the wheels in motion on this topic at some point over the next year. No point in worrying about that until it actually is on the horizon, though.

Ray Rice had thirteen carries for 166 yards and a touchdown (along with four catches for 53 yards) on Sunday, and that's after being pulled early in Baltimore's blowout win over Detroit. That mismatch is like playing Madden on rookie mode. The contrast between the two teams just goes to show the importance of landing in a good situation in the NFL. Last year, Matt Millen actually wanted to take Rice in the second round. However, because of the depth at RB, and their need at linebacker, they reached for the undersized Jordon Dizon, who was seen as a good fit in their Tampa-2 defense. Which the Lions do not run anymore now that Millen and Rod Marinelli are out the door, and Dizon isn't starting under the new regime.

Meanwhile, Baltimore's GM Ozzie Newsome takes the best player available. He takes Rice even though they have Willis McGahee, and Michael Oher this year falling into their laps was only the latest coup. Rice would have put up better numbers last year as a starter in Detroit, but there's absolutely no debate that he's far, far better off as a Raven. Now Rice is on the fast track to the Pro Bowl, and just cracked 100 yards. That 2008 RB class was ridiculous, but Rice is the only player from it who's been nearly as productive as Chris Johnson this year.

What do you know, Rice is chipper after a win (video). Kenny Britt had two catches for 75 yards in Tennessee's blowout win, but he better hope that Vince Young is healthy. The Ledger had a piece on Eric Foster yesterday. Brian Leonard was tackled during a leap in the Vikings game, and I missed this one on him last week.

Switching gears a bit, I don't want to make any 2010 predictions just yet, but Pitt may be losing its defensive coordinator in addition to heavy attrition on both lines. Time for some of those big recruits to step in.

Houston HC Kevin Sumlin turned down a chance to interview for Cincinnati's opening. CMU's Butch Jones is still an option, which is holding up his acceptance of the Marshall job.

New Brunswick's Golden Rail burned down over the weekend.

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