CHERUBINI CHIMES IN
Friday, September 3, 2010
By Ron Cherubini
Pirates' cup runneth over with bulletin
All rights reserved.
As the one and only
Richard Morgan Fliehr once said,
“To be the The Man, you gotta beat The Man!” The Nature Boy said it
quite often and his words underscore a fundamental ingredient that any
would-be challenger to a champion better have in its arsenal: due
respect. This holds true whether in the squared circle or on the
swagger, talent and experience are necessary ingredients to beat the man,
the few that find themselves in that position only get there when they carry
with them that measure of respect for the guy who knows what it takes to
defend something all others want.
Apparently, a lot of sports journalists have never beaten The Man. It must
be true, at least if the wave of 2010 Conference USA previews are to be
taken with any measure of seriousness.
that in minute.
our beloved Pirates players are taking the time to read the growing volume
of bulletin board material that must be a few inches deep over there in the
Murphy Center. If the preview magazines, sports television previews, and
league message boards are to be believed, East Carolina won’t even factor
into the race for the East division this season.
I think I
Aretha warming up.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T … or lackthereof for the two-time defending C-USA champions is
opener Sunday against Tulsa, our conference brethren from the West. Consider
this: Tulsa is largely considered the third best team in the west behind
Houston and Southern Methodist. The Golden Hurricane is going on the road to
play against the back-to-back conference champions, who are 22-8 at home in
the past five years — 12-2 during the past two seasons — in the league’s
most daunting game-day stadium, which will yet again be sold out.
Pirates have beaten Tulsa the last two times out. Last season, largely the
same offense personnel that will take the field on Sunday
hung 44 points on the Golden Hurricane at their place. Despite
that, Tulsa is more than a touchdown favorite and at one point was a
double-digit road favorite.
instead of putting players’ names on the back of the jerseys this season, we
should just put “Dangerfield.”
Tulsa skipper Todd Graham gets it. During his game-week presser, he
reminded a room full of those sports journalists time and time and time
again that the Pirates are the two-time conference champions. That means
something to those who have really competed physically for something.
and his players will be ready because they are treating this game like what
it is: a visit to the champion’s house. It is the biggest game in which
Tulsa has played since the 2008 C-USA Championship, period.
those so-called sports journalists, which in my mind includes anyone who is
paid to talk about college football on television, write a blog for an
established sports media outlet, or contribute to a preview magazine. If you
are saying to yourself, “Hey, Ron produces a preview magazine and writes for
Bonesville… doesn’t that make him one of them?” Well, all I
can say to you is… you’re just going to have to figure that one out for
a time when it was expected that before a pen went to paper or before the
microphone or cameras were turned on that extensive research would be
conducted on the topics to be covered. Today, at least when it comes to
C-USA, research is apparently not a prerequisite. The result is that bolus
of bulletin board for the Pirates to consume and digest into the biggest
chip ever donned by an East Carolina team.
take a little sampling here:
College Sports Network gave a 30-minute preview of C-USA and allotted the
two-time champion Pirates three minutes of air time. (Quick tangent: 30
minutes to preview 10 teams in 2 divisions… are you kidding? The three
service academies got 30 minutes).
Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer — a guy who once lobbied fairly hard for the ECU
job — claims Central Florida will win the East because it has a great coach
in George O’Leary and the best defense in the league. Apparently, greatness
at UCF equals a 34-41 coaching record... and the stellar label applied to
the Knights' defense is the spin term for a unit that the Pirates'
vanilla offense hung 403 yards on a year ago.
Carolina's three-minute segment came down to Fulmer’s other big contribution
on the show. He stated that Skip Holtz left just in time because the
cupboard is bare for Coach Ruffin McNeill. How would Fulmer know? I don’t
think he even took the time to read a Cliffs Notes version of ECU's team’s
think CBS College Sports Network — C-USA's partner — could care less about
the league given that pathetic preview, you need to take a gander at the
gem ESPN.com put together for the conference. The presentation was
horrible. It reminded me of that yahoo UNC-Chapel Hill superfan who used to
give YouTube previews and post-game reports on the Tar Heels from his
basement. The ESPN.com offering was terrible enough to watch, but the
content was simply the same as what was on CBS College Sports Network,
albeit delivered from a stumbling teleprompter reading.
Thanks a lot ESPN. I want the old ESPN that didn’t have the BCS television
no better in the magazines, whether it be the previews produced by the big
outlets like ESPN, Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News, or the preseason
rags produced by Athlon, Lindy’s and the rest. I often wonder if there is a
single guy, about six sheets to the wind, who writes a single uninformed
preview — replete with misspellings, mentions of players who are no longer
on the roster, and analysis based on a depth chart released in the spring —
which is then run in every magazine and on every website.
Regardless of which “source” of information you read, they are all saying
the same things about C-USA: Houston wins the West with a challenge from SMU
while Central Florida and Southern Miss fight it out in the East. Houston
wins it all and ECU whimpers off to rebuild.
ABSOLUTELY NO CHANCE TO COMPETE IN 2010.
smarts more than a backhand slap to the cheek. How does that feel Pirates?
the Pirates have
Bobby Boucher-sized cans of whoopass in their lockers because someone —
starting with Tulsa — needs to pay for the disrespect the media has given
the defending champs.
Regardless of the unknowns this year’s ECU team faces, I’m with Ric
Flair. Until someone comes in here and beats The Man, there is only one
Man in Conference USA: The Pirates.
Ron Cherubini Archives
09/03/2010 03:16 AM