Is USC in danger of losing its 2004 BCS title?
The BCS commissioners aren't ready to answer that question yet, but they will begin to ponder rule violations by the former BCS champion during Collegiate Commissioners Association meetings in June. BCS coordinator and SEC commissioner Mike Slive said this week that the BCS would "begin to think" about punitive issues.
|Coach Pete Carroll led USC to a 12-1 mark in 2005. (AP)|
The June discussions are at least a step forward from last week, when Slive said in Phoenix that the BCS is "... not a structure designed to deal with issues that are (NCAA) governmental in nature."
The truth is, the NCAA has little jurisdiction over the Division I-A postseason. It would be up to the BCS to take away its own championship.
Key questions remain:
- Do the commissioners have the stomach to penalize their own? The Pac-10 is the only conference with its own enforcement staff.
- What is the voting process? Consider a 5-5 tie between the 11 I-A commissioners on whether to discipline USC and the deciding vote is cast by the Sun Belt Conference.
- Would a penalty be retroactive to include USC, or would the commissioners decide to apply sanctions only going forward?
- What army is going to be hired to break into Heritage Hall to take back the BCS championship trophy?
For the commissioners to even consider stripping a title -– from USC or any team in the future –- the NCAA and conference investigations would have to run their courses. There was an indication to SportsLine.com that the BCS would act only if the NCAA forced a school to forfeit victories as part of sanctions.
The NCAA and Pac-10 are currently investigating USC.
The NCAA does not sponsor a championship for Division I-A football. Until the BCS started in 1998, "mythical" national champions were determined strictly by polls since 1936. The BCS was created to match in a championship game, the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in its final regular-season standings.
"It's too early to tell, there are no specifics to be had," BCS spokesman Charles Bloom said when asked about the possibility of sanctions. "The commissioner doesn't like to deal in hypotheticals. There are so many issues and so little information."
It is doubtful that BCS bowl money would have to be returned in such a case. While taking away a title would be largely symbolic, at least there would be some process in place if a BCS champion was guilty of wrongdoing.
The NFL Draft isn't always an indicator of a college program's relative strength. But for our notes column purposes, it is. Read on:
Today's Final Jeopardy answer: Cal Poly, Abilene Christian, Alabama State, Northwestern State, Grambling.
The question: What teams had more players taken in the NFL Draft before Michigan saw its first player go off the board in the fourth round?
Michigan defensive tackle Gabe Watson was taken No. 107 overall by Arizona.
The draft is just one measure of a program's strength. In this case it's a pretty good one because, by any measure, Michigan's Lloyd Carr is one of the high-profile coaches on the hot seat going into 2006.
Last year's 7-5 record -- including an embarrassing loss to Nebraska in the Alamo Bowl -- was this program's worst in two decades.
Last weekend's draft was an extension of those woes. Embarrassing? First-day picks: Ohio State 7, Michigan 0.
Total Michigan draft picks: three. The rest of Big Ten: 38.
Not only that, seven of the league's 10 other teams had as many or more picks than Michigan.
- Miami barely kept alive its string of 12 straight seasons with a first-round choice. Seattle took cornerback Kelly Jennings at No. 31.
- Final damage estimate on Matt Leinart staying in school an extra year: $10 million to $13 million. That's an educated guess on how much less in salary and bonus Leinart forfeited by sticking around. Had he come out in 2005, Leinart probably would have been the No. 1 pick in the draft. He slipped to No. 10 (to the Cardinals) on Sunday. Was it worth it?
We all know there are too many bowls. The NCAA certified four more last week at a time when the Houston Bowl still owes money to last year's participants.
That brings the total to 31 -- or 32 if Houston gets its act together. That would mean 54 percent of I-A football would be playing bowl games.
Get used to it. The NCAA figured out long ago that it's easier letting the market decide which bowls belong, rather than applying an unreasonable set of strictures.
Plus, the addition of the 12th game means there will be more "inventory" for those bowls. As expected, the NCAA Executive Committee established the bowl eligibility benchmark at 6-6.
Essentially, all start-up bowls have to produce is a $2 million letter of credit, a stadium and a gaggle of volunteers. Last week, the International Bowl (Toronto), New Mexico Bowl, Birmingham Bowl and the BCS title game got the thumbs up.
Remember when critics said the BCS would kill the second-tier bowls? They're flourishing.
Here's what you didn't know about the newbies:
- We know what you're thinking: What compelling need is there for college football in Canada, especially for a second or third pick from the MAC and a fourth or fifth pick from the Big East? Toronto is a destination city and the stand-alone scheduling is unique, Jan. 6, 2007 -- two days before the BCS title game. Plus, International Bowl executive director Ken Hoffman is more interested in football than hockey. Hoffman is a former Michigan State official who also runs the Motor City Bowl in Detroit. The Motor City has been around 10 years injecting $15 million into the city's economy annually. Officials are predicting a crowd of 20,000 at the Rogers Centre, which is better than a mid-week crowd for a Blue Jays-Tigers series. Why not Toronto?
- Speaking of destination cities, Albuquerque is no Detroit. Uh, that's a good thing. The New Mexico Bowl will feature WAC and Mountain West teams. OK, so you aren't exactly on the edge of your chairs with that matchup. However, the game does guarantee that if New Mexico or New Mexico State is bowl eligible, one of those schools will be invited. But not both. Last year New Mexico was invited to a bowl despite a 6-5 record. Like we said, you weren't on the edge of your chair for that one. But the art, food, golf and skiing are great.
- Birmingham Bowl officials might be looking at being in on the ground floor when and if the city builds a domed stadium. Ground has been cleared downtown for a stadium, but financing apparently is a long way off. If a domed stadium is built, the city could bid on the SEC championship game, UAB could play games there, Alabama and/or Auburn could play the odd game in B-ham and the Birmingham Bowl would have a spiffy new home.
- Tommy Tuberville's staff is the highest paid in the country, according to budgets obtained by the Indianapolis Star. Tommy T and staff had a total budget of $4,938,831 in the 2004-05 school year. Private schools are not required to report their budgets (USC is among those). Auburn is 26-4 in its last 30 games including 2004 when it couldn't break into the BCS title game despite going undefeated.
- Then there was Texas which converted the No. 2 budget into a national championship. Mack Brown and staff made $4,887,932. The rest of the top 5 -- Tennessee, Texas A&M and LSU.
- Now that Keith Jackson is retired (again, and supposedly for good), who do you consider the current voice of college football? E-mail us. Hey!