Sunday, February 21, 2010

This is Syracuse: The Big East as Africa

It's easy to make fun of the Big East. They haven't brought any big names, there aren't any places we think of as national powers, and they seem like a bunch of podunk colleges in a non-football part of the country. But every so often, we get the Mike Vicks, the Pat Whites, and all. But usually its a lot of Wannstedt and losing bowl games. And yes, all of those schools leaving for greater pastures is just colonialism writ-large.
  • Cincinnati :: Ethiopia. A lot more impressive historically than you may realize, and have come blistering into relevance as the region around them crumbles. Are a big part of the reason why the region around them crumbles. Great food. Kelly/Selassie would've been a worldwide phenomenon had he been anywhere else and done the same thing. Certain parts of the city look like refugee camps.
  • Pittsburgh :: Libya. What's more surprising then the fact that the guy who runs it is still in business is that he's really not doing as bad a job as you think. No matter how ridiculous he looks. They're doing better than you'd think, though not as good as they could, due to great natural resources/recruiting hotbed. The plain green flag is just like the Heinz Field endzone.
  • West Virginia :: Nigeria. Synonymous with scams, poor education, and general zaniness, but actually incredibly successful and have been for a while. Recruit well, have good natural resources, and have been the cream of the region for ages. Have massive identity issues, though. Home to a bunch of gun-toters who do their best to cripple the economy. Morgantown and Lagos are the only two places I can think of where I could see this:
  • Rutgers :: Sudan. You don't like 'em. Nobody really does. But they are one of the biggest in the region (42 million people, akshuwaly)and suddenly are acting like it. When they started throwing their weight around in the mid-2000's, everyone got grumbly, but noone actually DID anything. There's a lot more going on there than you think, but we were all happier when it was a sleepy backwater.
  • Connecticut :: Equitorial Guinea. Did you know Equitorial Guinea has the highest GDP per Capita in Africa? Could you guess that this is just because most of the wealth lies in the hands of a few? Does this sound just like the state of Connecticut to you or what? Not really known for anything other than being a source of embarrassment for great powers. Full of people who don't like you.
  • South Florida :: Uganda. Always sort of relevant, but most famous for being run by a complete and utter lunatic. With meteoric rises (AIDS education/#2 in the polls) and catastrophic downfalls (Groethe-ism/making homosexuality a capital offense) they're certainly fun to watch. But when you watch 'em, you never forget you're dealing with a young program/country from Tampa/Central Africa.
  • Louisville :: Zimbabwe. It wasn't so long ago that it was a decent place. Solid middle class, burgeoning economy, long line of stud quarterbacks. It looked like the sort of place where you could put some stock into. Mugabe/Kragthorpe had all the pedigree (Oxford Education/Tulsa turnaround). But they left the place a seething, teeming, mess. The whole world was happy that Charlie Strong/Tsvangirai got their chance. But good look, folks. You're gonna need it.
  • Syracuse :: Somalia. Who the hell is in charge here? Sure, Siad Barre and Pasqualoni looked bad at the time, but have you seen what happened since you forced them out? Good lord, there's nothing good coming out of Upstate New York or the Horn of Africa these days. They actually used to be great places, and have awesome statues representing those times. But when you bring in a Duke Basketball Player / the Islamic Courts Union for stability, you're not exactly hoping for great progress.
Next up: the Big 10.

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