The news broke right as I walked into the college football coaches' luncheon, and it's going to resonate from now until the tipoff of the college basketball season.
Penn will play at Drexel on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at 10:00 a.m. on ESPN.
Yes, really. If you have to take a deep breath between the words in the above sentence, that's okay.
Penn will play at Drexel ...
After years of Bruiser Flint complaining that he can't get a Big 5 team to come to the DAC, the team his fans most want to beat is finally making the walk up 33rd Street.
... on Tuesday, Nov. 18 ...
So it's the Dragons' season opener.
... at 10:00 a.m ...
Wait, huh? 10 in the morning? On a Tuesday? There must be something more to this.
... on ESPN.
No, not ESPNU, or ESPN Classic, or some channel ESPN hasn't created yet. The big one. It's part of a 25 1/2-hour college basketball marathon that's designed to finally give the sport the kind of Opening Day it has never really had.
I'm trying to get some quotes from Bruiser Flint about how it all came together; I also have some good stuff from the football coaches' luncheon that I'm working on.
It looks like a pretty serious gauntlet just got thrown down to all of us. This thing starts at midnight on the 18th with Massachusetts at Memphis, and we can only imagine what Beale Street will be like at tipoff time. Fresno State at St. Mary's will give the night owls an early-season chance to see Patty Mills, while the true obsessives (and live-bloggers) among us will pull an all-nighter for Idaho State at Hawaii.
Big-name teams on the schedule include Syracuse, North Carolina and Kansas. Allen Fieldhouse will be in the spotlight twice, as the Jayhawks' women's team will play in the afternoon before the men take the floor at night.
While the 10 a.m. start at the DAC might inconvenience a few local fans, it's actually an ideal spot to be in. With a four-hour pregame show preceding tip-off, there will likely be more live shots of warm-ups and fans than the other game will get. Hopefully the show will find some time to talk about the Big 5 as well.
I'm definitely excited. Between this day and all the early-season tournaments across the country, there's going to be a true feast of college basketball to start the season.
Oh, and before we get back to football, I have to mention the bomb scare that evacuated Citizens Bank Park this evening. Daily News columnist Rich Hofmann talked to an investigator at the scene, and was told that the suspicious packages contained "the same hot dogs the Phanatic uses to shoot into the crowd."
If I remember correctly, those are also same the hot dogs that the Hatfield Meats pig shoots into the crowd at Big 5 games. And if that's the case, we've known for a while now that those things are explosive.
So my sincere thanks to whoever called the police to get the package out of there. Hopefully we'll continue to be vigilant in ensuring that fans (and reporters) never have to be splattered with processed meat and tin foil again.