"The real magic is the energy that's in the air...Nothing can match that energy. The second you get there you can feel it. It's pure, utter magic in the air, unlike anywhere else on the planet...the feeling in the air, the feeling of the camaraderie between each other. The feeling of family love...that's where the whole word family came from...that's what it means. The best way to describe that feeling in the air, it's truly a special moment...it's sorta like what I imagine it's like for Muslims who visit the holy land of Mecca. That's what I imagine it to feel like."
No, those aren't the words of Big East Commissioner John Marinatto describing Big East Media Day, though I think we can all picture him saying them. Those are the word of Violent J, one-half of the Insane Clown Posse and de facto leader of The Juggalos, their fanbase. He's describing what it feels like to attend The Gathering of the Juggalos, a yearly festival you've no doubt heard of at this point for feces-throwing-related reasons.
While that quote and its speaker have nothing to do with Big East Football, I think it's fair to make the connection. They're two very different organizations and yet they face the same issues and questions.
"Wait, they still exist?"
"Oh how cute, they're trying to be noticed."
"Does anything they do really matter?"
"Yeah, they were relevant...in 1998."
"Who is in charge of this mess?"
If I asked you whether those statements and questions were about the Juggalos or Big East Football, could you tell? Wouldn't you agree they apply to both?
I'd argue that these two groups, disparate as they might seem, are one and the same. Behold...
The Juggalos gather in strange, overgrown fields in the middle of nowhere like Cave-In-Rock, IL.
Big East Football gathers in strange, overgrown high school football fields like Nippert Stadium.
The Juggalos are full of insane, deluded fans who wear clown facepaint, cause trouble and made inane declarations.
Big East Football is full of insane, deluded fans like RutgersAl:
The Juggalos gather in places far away from the media spotlight that other acts like Eminem grab.
Big East Football gathers in Newport, RI for it's Media Day, far away from the media spotlight that conferences like the Big Ten or SEC grab.
The Juggalos look back on the late 90's and early 00's as a prosperous time for ICP and it's album sales, though they have never been able to duplicate them.
Big East Football looks back on the late 90's and early 00's as a prosperous time for Miami and Virginia Tech and their many important wins, though the conference has never been able to duplicate them.
The Juggalos participate in logic-defying events that no sane person would find appropriate, like Flashlight Wrestling.
Big East Football participate in logic-defying events that no sane person would find appropriate, like Wednesday Night Football.
The Juggalos are prone to saying absurdly-amazing things like "We shouldn’t be fighting, we should be
giving each other hugs and saying, " I clown love you ninja!"
Big East Football Commissioner John Marinatto is prone to saying absurdly-amazing things like "the Big East conference is stronger today, in every way, than at any point in its history."
The Juggalos moments of success are largely overshadowed by their failings, like issues at the most-recent Gathering.
Big East Football's moments of success (West Virginia's BCS bowl wins, Cincinnati' undefeated 2009 regular season) are largely overshadowed by their failings, like Cincinnati's Sugar Bowl performance against Florida.
The Juggalos show their displeasure by throwing huge rocks and feces at the source of their anger.
Big East Football...well, hasn't taken it that far yet But let's see what happens the next time Greg Schiano loses a recruit to Syracuse or UConn. All bets, and diapers, are off.
So now you know, ninja. And knowing is hizzalf of the mutha-f***in' bizzity battle. WOOT WOOT!
The six Big East football blogs of SB Nation (Louisville's Card Chronicle, Rutgers' On The Banks, West Virginia's The Smoking Musket, UConn's The UConn Blog, Syracuse's Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and USF's Voodoo Five) decided to get together an preview this conference they call home (for now). They were each posed with 25 questions about the conference. Some important, some not so much.
1. Big East Preseason Standings
1. Pittsburgh (5)
2. West Virginia
4. UConn (1)
In case you're wondering who gave UConn the No. 1? The UConn Blog...of course. Justify yourself, sir:
I know it seems like a homer pick, but I sincerely believe UConn has a legitimate shot at winning the conference. They return a lot of talented upperclassmen from a squad that finished strong last year. More importantly, the Huskies host Pitt, West Virginia and Cincinnati, so the schedule works in their favor big time.
Most seem to agree on Pittsburgh, who was never lower than 2nd. And most seemed to agree Louisville was in last, except for Card Chronicle, bless'm. Otherwise, it was a free-for-all. UConn went as high as No. 1 and as low as No. 6. South Florida ranged from No. 4 to No. 7. Two-time defending Big East champ Cincinnati went from No. 2 to No. 5.
So in a nutshell, the race for the Champ Sports Bowl seems to be a wide-open one.
2. Big East Bowl Participants (aggregated)
BCS Bowl: Pittsburgh
Champ Sports Bowl: West Virginia (unanimous)
Meineke Bowl: Cincinnati
Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers
Liberty/Birmingham/St. Pete: UConn, USF (all depends on how things shake out)
3. Offensive Player of the Year: Noel Devine (WVU), whom it seems has been at West Virginia for nine seasons to every other Big East team. VoodooFive is quick to point out that "Pitt’s Dion Lewis is more of a 1A then number 2, but Devine is the most explosive player in the nation. If Bill Stewart can remember to give Noel more than 15 carries a game, West Virginia will win the conference."
4. Defensive Player of the Year: Greg Romeus (Pitt)
5. Big East Freshman of the Year: Demar Dorsey (L'ville)
7. RB of the Year: Noel Devine (WVU)
8. WR of the Year: Jonathan Baldwin (Pitt)
9. OL of the Year: Jason Pickston (Pitt)
10. DL of the Year: Greg Romeus (Pitt)
11. LB of the Year: Lawrence Wilson (UConn)
12. DB of the Year: Robert Sands (WVU)
14. Coach of the Year: Dave Wannstedt (Pitt), if you can believe it.
15. Coach Most Likely To Be A Head Coach In The Big Ten/SEC Next Season: Randy Edsall (UConn)
16. Coach Most Likely To Be A Coordinator In The MAC Next Season: Bill Stewart (WVU), though no one actually thinks any Big East coach is in danger of being fired this season.
18. Best Uniforms: USF's White Helmet, White Pants Classy Look
19. Worst Uniforms: Cincinnati's Cat-Scratch Fever
20. Best Home Field Advantage: West Virginia (especially when Country Roads is playing)
21. Worst Home Field Advantage: Tie (Cincy & USF)
22. Team Most Likely To Defy Expectations: Cincinnati
23. Team Most Likely To Fall Short Of Expectations: UConn
24. Big East Coach (Other Than Your Own) You'd Like To Lead Your Team: Randy Edsall
25. Big East Player (Other Than One Of Your Own) You'd Like To Play For Your Team: Greg Romeus (Pitt)