Posted on: November 3, 2010 7:36 pm

UCF, TCU say no Big East contact yet

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

By now, virtually everyone in the college football world expects the Big East to proceed with all possible haste in its expansion from eight to ten teams in football. The only school confirmed as a target to date is Villanova , which could have a reserved spot if it decides to make the finanical commitment to make the jump from FCS to FBS competition.

But for all the discussion surrounding TCU and UCF -- who virtually everyone also expects to be the conference's top two targets if Villanova declines, or possibly regardless of what the Wildcats decide -- they might as well be confirmed targets. Official confirmation, however, hasn't come just yet. The report out of Fort Worth today:

TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte said he has not been contacted about the expansion.
And out of Orlando :

UCF Athletics officials released a statement Wednesday that said, “There has been no contact between UCF and the Big East Conference. We continue to be a proud member of Conference USA.”
The former statement may not be entirely accurate , as reports as far back as September suggested the Horned Frogs and Big East were in the most preliminary of discussions. For now, it looks like any Big East expansion announcements may come quickly by conference expansion standards ... but they won't be instantaneous, either. Barring some unforeseen thunderbolt from the league office, the biggest news on TCU's campus this week will still be the showdown with Utah .

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 2, 2010 7:27 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2010 7:31 pm

Boise State is big loser if TCU bolts to Big East

Posted by Adam Jacobi

If recent rumors are to be believed -- and there's no indication that they're overblown -- one of the two teams that will be joining the Big East's football conference is TCU. If that turns out to be true, that's seriously bad news for the Mountain West, and in particular, Boise State.

Consider this: Boise State has been limited for years by the creampuff-soft level of competition in the WAC when it comes to building a championship-level resume. Some would argue that such a comically easy slate of opponents has also been instrumental in getting Boise State to perennial double-digit wins in the first place, and that argument certainly has some merit, but it seems pretty clear that Boise knows its chances of playing for a national title are greatly enhanced when it plays real competition on a more regular basis. Hence, their move to the Mountain West.

That Mountain West, by the way, has certainly seemed like a more plausible candidate for an automatic BCS bid than, say, the Big East over the past few seasons. Adding another high-caliber football program like the Broncos would have likely sealed the conference's (and Boise's) reputation as unassailable, and shifted the balance of power in college football west.

Alas, that Mountain West will never exist. Just days after Boise State announced their intentions to head to the MWC, Utah accepted an invitation to join the Pac-10, which was sort of expected even beforehand. BYU announced its intentions to go independent in 2011 some months later, and now TCU's likely headed east. Replacing these three teams, then, will be Boise State... and Fresno State and Nevada. WAC, WAC, and WAC.

Indeed, by the time these moves all get made, the Mountain West won't look like a new power conference at all; if anything, it'll just be the WAC 2.0, but with fewer trips to Honolulu and more to Las Vegas. Hey, win some, lose some. But a conference led by Boise, Fresno State, and Nevada didn't get a sniff from the BCS Committee when it comes to awarding an automatic BCS bid (and guaranteeing BCS money), and it won't this time around either. Boise State's strength of schedule will still continue to suffer, and the Bronco faithful will still be left calling for a playoff when their team dominates and isn't granted a shot at the national title. That cannot possibly be what Boise State had in mind when they announced plans to join the Mountain West just five months ago.

Posted on: November 2, 2010 6:56 pm

Award semifinalists (mostly) skip non-AQ players

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

If there's been one defining, overarching narrative to the 2010 season to date, it's been ... well, maybe it's been the upheaval at the top of the polls that's seen preseason outsiders Oregon and Auburn seize control of their national championship destiny with four weeks remaining in the season. But if there's been two co-defining narratives, the second, without question, would be the rise of non-AQ teams like Boise State , TCU , and Utah into not only the BCS bowl picture but the BCS national championship picture.

So it's perhaps something of a shame that the lists of semifinalists for the Lombardi Award and the Thorpe Award -- given to the nation's best down lineman or downhill linebacker and best defensive back, respectively, and both announced within the past week -- do little to acknowledge that rise. The lists:

Lombardi Award

Sam Acho, Defensive End, Texas, 6-3, 260, Sr., Dallas, TX
Jeremy Beal, Defensive End, Oklahoma, 6-3, 267, Sr. Carrollton, TX
Da'quan Bowers, Defensive End, Clemson, 6-4, 275, Jr., Bamberg, SC
Adrian Clayborn, Defensive End, Iowa, 6-4, 285, Sr., St. Louis, MO
Jared Crick, Defensive Tackle, Nebraska, 6-6, 285, Jr., Cozad, NE
Nick Fairley, Defensive Line, Auburn, 6-5, 298, Jr., Mobile, AL
Cameron Heyward, Defensive Tackle, Ohio State, 6-5, 288, Sr., Suwanee, GA
Rodney Hudson, Offensive Guard, Florida State, 6-2, 282, Sr., Mobile, AL
Greg Jones, Linebacker, Michigan State, 6-1, 240, Sr., Cincinnati, OH
Ryan Kerrigan, Defensive End, Purdue, 6-4, 263, Sr., Muncie, IN
Jake Kirkpatrick, Center, TCU, 6-3, 305, Sr., Tyler, TX
Drake Nevis, Defensive Tackle, LSU, 6-5, 285, Sr., Marrero, LA

Thorpe Award

Prince Amukamara, Sr., Nebraska
Mark Barron, Jr., Alabama
Chimdi Chekwa, Sr., Ohio State
Brandon Harris, Jr., Miami (Fla.)
Cliff Harris, Soph., Oregon
Tejay Johnson, Sr., TCU
Joe Lefeged, Sr., Rutgers
Rahim Moore, Jr., UCLA
Patrick Peterson, Jr., LSU
Tyler Sash, Jr., Iowa

Congratulations are in order for all 22 of these players, each of which is, without question, an outstanding college football athlete and certainly deserving of the honor of becoming a semifinalist.

But it feels remiss not to note that in this year of unprecedented prominence for non-AQ programs, only two of those 22 players represent a non-AQ team, and those two -- TCU 's Jake Kirkpatrick and Tejay Johnson -- each represent the same team. The other 53 teams? Nothin'.

This can be explained, to some extent, by the undeniably true fact that most of the game's best athletes and players ply their trades in BCS leagues. But no one on the Boise State defense that currently ranks third in both scoring and total defense (or Utah's, which ranks sixth in both categories) is worthy of inclusion? Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry , tied for third nationally with 9.5 sacks and seventh nationally with 13.5 tackles for loss (one of only four players to rank in the top 10 in both categories) can't get a nod? Strong safety Domonic Cook of Buffalo leads the country in both passes broken up and interceptions; there's not room enough for him here?

There's no question that it's always going to be an uphill climb for non-AQ players who rarely play on national television and even more rarely receive the sort of fawning from scouts and writers that helps buoy campaigns for national honors, and that's fine. But it's worth wondering whether, in a season like this one, if the climb ought to be quite this steep.

Pictured: Boise State defensive lineman Ryan Winterswyk.
Posted on: November 2, 2010 4:14 pm

Utes to unveil new uniforms against TCU

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The game of the year in the Mountain West is this Saturday.  In previous years this may not have meant all that much to you, but trust me, this year's game between Utah and TCU will have a bigger impact than just deciding who will win the Mountain West.  A victory could provide a large boost for two undefeated programs in the BCS rankings, where both teams currently reside in the top five.  So, yes, a berth in the national championship game could be on the line this Saturday as well.

So Utah is taking it rather seriously, as the plans are in place to have a blackout at Rice-Eccles Stadium.  A blackout that won't be limited to fans, as the Utes unveiled some new jerseys on Tuesday with a nod to the nation's armed services.
The Utah Utes will unveil some new uniforms Saturday against TCU, thanks to sponsor Under Armour. The Utes will wear black uniforms with camouflage on the sides and around the numbers as part of the company’s “Wounded Warrior” project.

The jerseys feature words such as “Duty,” “Honor,” “Courage” and “Commitment” on the back instead of the players’ names.

“They’re fun,” said quarterback Jordan Wynn, who wore the jersey during Monday’s news conference. “It’s going for a good cause, and with the blackout, it’s going to be a great environment Saturday.”
While they're not quite as awesome as the full-camo jerseys that Army busted out on Saturday, I am somewhat partial to the look.  Of course, every jersey looks better when you're winning a game in them. 

Photo courtesy of The Salt Lake Tribune
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 2, 2010 9:13 am
Edited on: November 2, 2010 9:24 am

Podcast: Aizer, Darst interview Jerry Palm

BCS expert Jerry Palm had a few minutes to chat with Adam Aizer and J. Darin Darst to sort out what this week's BCS standings meaning. Palm also discusses the BCS Championship chances for TCU, Utah and Boise State.

One of the hot topics is a one-loss Alabama , which Palm thinks will play for the national title if it can win out.

Listen to the interview here:


Posted on: October 31, 2010 6:22 pm

Irish lose starting QB and RB for season

Posted by Tom Fornelli

On Saturday Notre Dame not only lost at home to Tulsa , all but destroying any chance the team had to go to a bowl game this season, but it lost its starting quarterback as well.  Dayne Crist had to leave the game in the first half after rupturing the patellar tendon in his left knee -- nearly a year to the day he tore the ACL in his right knee -- ending his season.

Now we learn that Crist isn't the only starter the Irish are going to be missing the rest of this season.  Running back Armando Allen did not play in the Tulsa loss, battling a hip injury, and on Sunday Brian Kelly said that Allen is going to undergo surgery on his hip.  A surgery that will not only end his season, but his college career as well.

"Armando, we're setting up a potential surgery for him," Kelly told the Chicago Tribune . "We dressed him so he could run out of the tunnel one last time, because we were pretty certain he's not going to be able to play again.... He has a right and left torn cartilage in the hip, I think specifically the labrum. Very, very unusual. We treated the first one. If you watched him in the Navy game, he played hard, he played with great passion, but he did not have that second gear he had early in the year. We have not concluded it with 100 percent certainty until the surgery is done, but we believe some of this was a preexisting condition."

Allen had 514 yards and two touchdowns this season, and was on pace for the best season of his career in South Bend.  As it is, that career will come to an end with 2,144 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns.

Obviously, at 4-5 with games against USC and Utah remaining on the schedule, getting to six wins this season was going to be very hard for the Irish to do. Now that they'll be without their starting quarterback and running back, it'll be just about impossible.
Posted on: October 31, 2010 9:10 am

What I Learned from the Non-BCS (Oct. 30)

J. Darin Darst

1. We are in for one hell of a game next weekend between TCU and Utah . For those who love that "the whole season is a playoff" nonsense, it basically is an elimination for a BCS game. I thought Utah would stumble to Air Force , but it held on to win 28-23. And of course, TCU blasted UNLV 48-6. So now this game is for a potential Rose or Orange Bowl berth. And I have no idea who is going to win this game. Both teams are playing so well on both sides of the ball, especially defensively. Can we please get the Mountain West an automatic bid to the Fiesta Bowl next year and get rid of the Big East bid? Even San Diego State deserves to be in the Top 25!

2. UCF is the class of Conference USA. After beating East Carolina 49-35 with Ronnie Weaver rushing for 180 yards, the Knights are now the only undefeated team in the conference at 4-0. If it can win at Houston on Friday, it should be smooth sailing to the conference title game. UCF deserves to play a SEC team in the Liberty Bowl, but I'm not sure the SEC will have enough teams to qualify. Also, this conference now runs six teams deep with Tulsa's win over Notre Dame. That would be quiet an accomplishment for the conference to get six bowl teams. Speaking of Notre Dame ...

3. Notre Dame will miss a bowl game ... again. It had to win against Tulsa, but now at 4-5 it needs to win two of its final three games. With games vs. Utah, Army and USC and quarterback Dayne Crist out for the season, that doesn't seem like its going to happen. Some people are calling for Brian Kelly to be fired, but please ... the guy is in his first year. It takes time. You Notre Dame lovers can't expect your team to be 9-3 overnight. Give Kelly some time. Army on the other hand needs to win one more game to get bowl-eligible for the first time since 1996. All it needs to do is win one of these final games -- Air Force, at Kent State, at Notre Dame and at Navy.

Posted on: October 30, 2010 11:59 am

Game day weather updates, Week 9

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Here's the weather outlook for all of today's important matchups. It's most certainly fall across the land today, and while most stadiums are staying dry, the wind is a real factor in several of the games. Will it affect the passing games of the undefeated teams playing on the road today? All times are Eastern.

Noon kickoffs

Tennessee at No. 17 South Carolina, 12:00, Columbia, SC: Low 60s, clear

No. 20 Oklahoma State at Kansas State, 12:00, Manhattan, KS: Low 60s, clear

Afternoon kickoffs

Georgia vs. Florida, 3:30, Jacksonville, FL: Mid 70s, partly cloudy, breezy

No. 5 Michigan State at No. 18 Iowa, 3:30, Iowa City, IA: Low 60s, partly cloudy, windy

No. 7 Missouri at No. 14 Nebraska, 3:30, Lincoln, NE: Mid 60s, clear, windy

No. 15 Arizona at UCLA, 3:30, Pasadena, CA: Low 60s, rainy 

Evening kickoffs

No. 3 Auburn at Ole Miss, 6:00, Vicksburg, MS: Low 60s, clear, breezy

No. 25 Baylor at Texas, 7:00, Austin, TX: Low 70s, clear, breezy

No. 8 Utah at Air Force, 7:00, Colorado Springs, CO: Low 60s, partly cloudy, windy

No. 1 Oregon at No. 24 USC, 8:00, Los Angeles, CA: Mid 60s, cloudy, early chance of rain

Late night kickoffs

Colorado at No. 11 Oklahoma, 9:15, Norman, OK: Low 60s, clear, breezy

No. 4 TCU at UNLV, 11:00, Las Vegas, NV: Upper 50s, partly cloudy

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com