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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mid-Major? No longer

Hey everyone, sorry for the hiatus. Many of you probably thought that I was taking a break since my NCAA bracket was busted last weekend. No, that is not the reason, even though my bracket has been busted, and I have a greater chance of winning mega millions than I do of winning my work pool. Others probably think that I needed time to recover after the defeat of my favorite team, Ohio State. While that loss to Tennessee in was disheartening, especially considering that despite their horrendous play throughout the Buckeyes still had a chance to win, that too was not the reason I have not chosen to write. No, after last weekend I am suffering from a little writer's block-but I believe that I finally found something worth writing about-the use of the term 'Mid Major Conference'-and its subsequent death.

For years we(media and fans across the nation) have used the term 'Mid-Major Conference' to refer to a team that belongs to a conference that is not considered a traditional power. The conferences that make up the traditional powers are the ACC, the Big East, the Big 12, the Big Ten, the Pac 10, and the SEC. Any school that is from a conference other than the aforementioned is considered a 'Mid Major" school, simply for the fact that in the past it has been believed they could not attract the athletes to compete with such schools. But if recent history has taught us anything, it is that these schools can compete with the big boys. In football, Boise State, a school from the Mid Major Western Athletic Conference has made it to the Bowl Championship series twice in the last four years-their first appearance being a victory over Big 12 powerhouse Oklahoma. Schools like Boise State have also produced more picks in the NFL draft that have become starters, the most notorious example recently being Delaware's Joe Flacco starting at quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens. And in basketball, the most teams from non-traditional power confereences received at-large bids--13 I believe it was-with six teams from non traditional power conferences making the sweet sixteen. All culminating with the Horizon Conference's Butler making its first final four appearance. Butler's road to the final four included wins over basketball powers such as Syracuse, Kansas State, Ohio State, Xavier, Georgetown, and St. John's. I believe that we will be seeing this type of trend continue in both Divison I NCAA football and men's basketball, and with the arrival of teams from schools that do not belong to the traditional powers, we must reevalute the use of the term Mid Major. Nay, I say we should abandon the use of the term altoghether.

This weekend's final four should bring us some exciting games. My head says that West Virginia has the best chance to win it all, although as a fan I wouldn't mind either Duke or Butler winning it all. Regardless of the outcome, however, I believe that this tournament should be the death of the term ' Mid Major' when referring to NCAA Divison I conferences.

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