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Tag:Boise State
Posted on: December 9, 2010 1:52 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2010 1:55 pm
 

A response to Bill Hancock

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Former director of the NCAA Final Four and current executive director of the BCS, Bill Hancock, wrote a column in today's USA Today defending the BCS and everything it stands for.  After reading it, I couldn't help but react, so I figured why not have show my reaction here?

Below is Hancock's column, word for word, with my response to everything he says.  Hancock's words are italicized, while mine are just dripping with sarcasm and disgust.  

We've been called communists, a cartel, crooks — and worse — but that's malarkey. And I'm proud to stand up and point out why college football is so popular and why our system works so well.

I can't wait to hear this you commie pinko bastard.

College football was one weekend away from Boise State participating in the BCS National Championship Game because of what happened on the playing field — not in a chatroom, a boardroom or a newsroom. The BCS rankings are based on how a team plays between the white lines, and the results speak for themselves. If the BCS were corrupt, how could a missed field goal in the Boise State-Nevada game and a 24-point comeback by Auburn over Alabama have made such a difference?

I'm no genius, but I'm pretty sure that even before the BCS, Boise State losing to Nevada would have killed its chances to win the national championship in both human polls.  I'm not sure that the BCS can claim that it invented losses.  Also, should there be one of those crazy playoff things, that loss would have affected Boise's seeding in the tournament.

As USA TODAY reported shortly after Boise State lost its first game and TCU decided to join the Big East, "It's been a bad 72 hours for BCS bashers."

You know who the day was worse for?  The conferences that the BCS has effectively killed due to exclusion.  The Mountain West and WAC are dying because the teams that have the best chance to get to a BCS bowl game have to leave the conference so they can have a better shot at the billion dollar pie.

The purpose of the BCS is to match the nation's top two teams in a championship bowl game while creating a series of other exciting matchups. It's nothing more than that. This season, that means the No. 1 Auburn Tigers vs. the No. 2 Oregon Ducks.

Our other purpose?  Make money money, make money money.  

The problem people have with the BCS isn't what it's trying to do.  It's what the BCS keeps from happening.  You know, that playoff system that would allow more teams a chance to play for a national title, and actually settle it on the field rather than in the opinions the media and coaches, and the calculations of some computers.

If this were the shady system that some people claim, how could Boise State have been only inches away? And if the system were designed to shut out schools from the so-called non-power conferences, how could TCU — undefeated and No. 3 in the BCS rankings — play in the granddaddy of them all, the Rose Bowl?

Because the Rose Bowl was forced to take TCU, and because the BCS won't allow TCU to play for a national title.

The abuse from the critics is balderdash. The fact is the BCS accomplishes its mission with a stunningly popular national championship game. It regularly draws more viewers than the NCAA Final Four, the World Series, the NBA Championships and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Other things that draw more viewers than those events: Dancing With The Stars and American Idol.  You know what the difference is between those shows and the BCS?  They actually force all the contestants to compete against each other and listen to the opinions of those who watch the show.

And it does this while maintaining college football's wonderful regular season and also by preserving America's unique multiday bowl tradition that rewards student-athletes with a celebratory bowl-game week.

Congratulations!  Have fun in Mobile!

As this season proves, outstanding teams can play in BCS bowls, including the national championship game, no matter what conference they're in. For much of this season, Boise State and TCU earned the ranking of No. 3 and No. 4. That can't happen in a rigged system.

You know what can happen in a rigged system?  Never allowing Boise State and TCU to get higher than No. 3 or No. 4.  

Also, nobody is complaining that TCU or Boise don't get a chance to play in BCS bowls.  The complaint is that a TCU team that is undefeated just like Auburn and Oregon can't get a chance to play for a title.  Don't lie to me, Hancock.  We all know that had Auburn lost to Alabama and then beaten South Carolina, they'd still be playing Oregon.

Commies? A cartel? Give me a break. The BCS is a voluntary arrangement that benefits every university in the NCAA's Bowl Subdivision.

You and I have different definitions of "voluntary," sir.  

It has provided all schools with more revenue and more access to the major bowl games than ever before.

It just happens to provide certain conferences with more revenue and more access.

Why not a playoff?

This should be good.

Sure, I understand that many football fans want an NFL-style playoff instead. I know that they want to fill out a bracket, and that they want to watch more college football in December. They want their favorite team to have a slot in that bracket. But the desire for a different postseason format doesn't justify the false attacks against the BCS event. And as the person who used to manage the NCAA Final Four, I know that what works for one sport doesn't work so easily for a different sport.

Good point, Mr. Hancock.  It's not like the FCS has a playoff system or anything.  I mean, that's college football, where as the FBS is college football.  It's totally different.

College football has the best regular season of any sport, and the lack of a playoff is one big reason why. Millions of football fans this year tuned in to watch the season-opening game between Boise State and Virginia Tech because there was so much on the line —starting early in September. If there were a playoff, the Alabama-Auburn game wouldn't have been as important nationally, or as dramatic.

Yes, we've all seen what playoffs have done to the NFL regular season.  Those incredibly high ratings, packed football stadiums and all that money coming in has destroyed the sport.

I mean, nobody would ever tune into a football game if the only thing that was on the line was the top seed and homefield advantage in the playoffs.

A playoff also would mean the end of America's bowl tradition as we know it. As Rick Baker, president of the Cotton Bowl, said, "A playoff system would ruin the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic."

Yes, the Cotton Bowl Classic which recently left the actual Cotton Bowl for Cowboys Stadium.  We certainly don't want to threaten that tradition.  Surely with a playoff system we'd never again have a chance to see the third-best team in the SEC face off against the third-best team in the Big 12.

Under the current system, 70 schools and hordes of fans arrive days before the big game and immediately become the toast of the town.

"GIVE US YOUR MONEY!"

Fans and families plan vacations around bowl week. Student-athletes are celebrated as the players get to see places and do things they otherwise never could do. No wonder a poll of student-athletes taken by ESPN the Magazine earlier this year showed that 77% of players would prefer a career with three bowl games to a career with one playoff game.

Well, with a playoff system, if that player stayed in school all four years and only made the playoffs once, he'd end up playing in one playoff game and go to three bowl games.  I wonder how he'd feel about that option.

A playoff, on the other hand, would be limited to a small number of schools, 

Unlike the BCS, which welcomes 10.

and it would turn their celebratory week into a series of one-day business trips because the teams would arrive the day before the game and leave right afterward. If they won, they'd need to get ready for next week's game. That's not a bowl party — that's another game on the schedule. 

While bowl games are another game on the schedule.  There's a difference!

For the schools that don't make a playoff, their bowl games would fade away. Sadly, so too would a great American tradition.

Ah, yes, America.  Baseball, apple pie and the DVDA Compass Bowl.  I tear up just thinking about it.

If ever a season showed that the BCS is fair and that it works, it's this season. And it happened while maintaining the thrilling regular season in which every game counts.

Yes, that's right.  This season, the one in which a team that has not lost a game this year and will be denied a chance to be champion, is the fairest of them all!  Every game in the regular season counted, just not TCU's!

Thanks for helping me see the light, Mr. Hancock.

Posted on: December 9, 2010 2:15 am
Edited on: December 9, 2010 2:20 am
 

Utah player guarantees win over Boise State

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Are you excited about the Las Vegas Bowl? You should be! Boise State and Utah are squaring off, and even though Boise's heavily favored and Utah got blasted 47-7 by TCU in Week 10, we should see plenty of offensive fireworks. Oh, and Utah's going to pull the upset.

What? Don't believe that we're seriously calling this one for the Utes right now? Well!  We happen to be working with inside information -- namely, the testimony of Utah DE Christian Cox. Here's what he told Utah basketball fans Tuesday night, according to the Deseret News:

Head coach Kyle Whittingham , center Zane Taylor and defensive end Christian Cox spoke to the crowd, thanked them for their support and encouraged them to make it to MAACO Bowl Las Vegas [sic].

Cox, however, delivered the biggest statement.

"I promise a victory against Boise State in Las Vegas," he said. "You better be there."

Now, here's the thing: Utah probably will not beat Boise State. It probably won't even be close. Crazy things do happen in bowl games all the time, though. Boise State has a fantastic track record of showing up big in big bowl games, but it's also a team that dropped a bowl game to an 8-3 Boston College in 2005 and a 7-5 East Carolina (the Chris Johnson coming-out party, if you'll recall) in 2007. If the Broncos are still bummed about getting bounced from the BCS on two horrifying missed chip shots and don't take this game seriously, Utah is still good enough to give them fits.

And should Cox's guarantee come to pass, the one team that will be howling with dismay is TCU, whose national standing suffered after a "lackluster" 40-35 win over San Diego State that was never really that close. Sure, Wisconsin will probably beat TCU, but if the Horned Frogs can go 12-0 in the regular season with a 40-point win against a Utah team that can beat Boise State and still have no shot at the national title (to the point where many wondered aloud if Auburn losing the SEC Championship to South Carolina would actually be enough to drop the Tigers to No. 3 if TCU's waiting there), then there's really no reason for the non-AQ conference teams to participate in the BCS bowl system, is there?

So yes, there could be some wide-ranging ramifications to the Boise State-Utah matchup in the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl. And they'll all come to pass, because Utah's definitely going to win! Christian Cox even said so, you guys!


Posted on: December 7, 2010 5:27 pm
 

Boise State president not thrilled with BCS error

Posted by Adam Jacobi

As pointed out by CBSSports.com's Jerry Palm yesterday, the final BCS rankings contained a serious error in one of the computer rankings, one that directly affected the standings. Dennis Dodd correctly noted that it was pretty much luck that A: this error didn't affect a BCS bowl pairing itself (or, heaven forbid, the BCS Championship Game itself), and that B: the error was even caught in the first place, since the other five computer rankings don't release their calculations to anybody.

Those are viewpoints shared by Boise State president Bob Kustra, who has been critical of the BCS system's existence for years, and who saw his team directly affected by this error. Here's a letter Kustra sent to various school presidents and college athletics administrators today expressing further dissatisfaction with the BCS, published by the Idaho Statesman :

I trust that you have heard about the news from CBS sports analyst Jerry Palm that the BCS rankings erroneously ranked the positions of four teams in the final BCS rankings of the season.

The BCS has corrected for it and Bill Hancock has apologized, but it still leaves open the question of transparency. There are five other computer models used to determine the rankings each week that are hidden from public view, unlike the approach used by Wes Colley who allows the light of day to shine on his work.  Thankfully, in this case an astute third party caught the error and brought it to the attention of the BCS.  I’m sure that you can imagine numerous “what if” scenarios where this type of mistake could have had significant repercussions.

How many times have we heard calls for transparency on our campuses and how many times have we shared our governance and communicated with our faculties and other constituencies in a transparent fashion?  Yet, in intercollegiate athletics, with the NCAA standing silently on the sidelines, we allow the BCS to work its magic with no idea of how accurate its rankings are on a week to week basis.  

It's egregious enough to see teams with mediocre seasons climb into the BCS bowl games because they happen to be in privileged conferences, while others with better records are written off as second-class citizens.   When we cannot see how these decisions are made, it becomes an affront to the concepts of integrity and fair play that we claim to value. 

When C. Wright Mills wrote of the "power elite", I doubt he was speaking of universities and intercollegiate athletics.  If he were still around, there could be a great second edition, this time focused on where elitism really runs rampant and takes Division 1 football players from some conferences and restrains their ability to compete.  I hope you noticed my choice of the word, "restrain".  I trust we will all be hearing more about "restraint" unless presidents step up and do the right thing.

C. Wright Mills? Now there's a reference that should get people firing up Wikipedia. But Kustra is right: the near-complete lack of transparency on the part of the NCAA and BCS on this matter means that there is no assurance that non-AQ schools will ever be on the same level playing field as BCS-conference schools when it comes to playing for a national championship ... or for the $17 million that comes from one BCS bowl berth these days.

Whether Kustra will find allies in automatic qualifier conferences to help take up his cause is debatable; it's not exactly in those schools' best interests to give up any portion of the concentrated monetary power they currently enjoy, after all, and the institutionalized disadvantages Boise State and its fellow non-AQ schools face ensure that barring a sea change, those BCS-conference schools will never be forced to cede that power. "Sorry," they'll say, "but we're just more qualified for the postseason than you schools are. And we've got the computer rankings to prove it."

Posted on: December 6, 2010 6:38 pm
 

Heisman finalists announced

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Heisman Trophy will be handed this Saturday in New York, and while there really isn't all that much suspense surrounding who is likely going to be taking home the hardware, until now there was some question as to which players would be making the trip.  Well, that suspense is over.

The four finalists for the Heisman were announced on Monday, and they are as follows:
  • Cam Newton - QB - Auburn
  • LaMichael James - RB - Oregon
  • Andrew Luck - QB - Stanford
  • Kellen Moore - QB - Boise State
I am snubbed once again.

Now, if the votes were based solely on performance on the field this season, then there wouldn't be much doubt that Cam Newton was going to be walking out of New York with the trophy in his hands.  Still, who knows for sure how the voters are going to vote considering everything that has taken place with Newton this season, and the fact that Reggie Bush just gave up his Heisman a few months ago.

Nobody wants to see that happen again, and according to some voters I've seen on Twitter, there are some voters who left Newton off of their ballot. Which means that there is a chance that somebody other than Newton will win the award, though I wouldn't bet on it.
Posted on: December 5, 2010 1:59 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2010 4:01 pm
 

Looks like Boise to play Utah in Las Vegas

J. Darin Darst

Looks like Boise State is headed to Las Vegas.

With Nevada taking a slot in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, Boise was looking for the best possible matchup. There was talk about Boise playing Miami in the Sun Bowl, but the Sun Bowl is pretty much set on a Miami vs. Notre Dame game.

So where does that leave Boise? Well the Maaco Bowl in Las Vegas needs to fill a slot because there won't be enough bowl-eligible teams out of the Pac-10, so Boise will fill that spot.

Several sites are reporting this, including the Boise student newspaper .


Category: NCAAF
Posted on: December 2, 2010 4:18 pm
 

Mountain West mulls expansion options

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

BYU may have wanted out, Utah may have wanted out, TCU may have wanted out, but the continuing expansion drama surrounding the Mountain West Conference has proven that there's still plenty of schools that would be happy to be in. The Honolulu Star-Advertister reported yesterday that Hawaii officials were in Colorado this week, speaking with MWC commissioner Craig Thompson and ironing out the final details of what appears to be a done deal to bring the Warriors aboard as a football-only member. (UH's other sports will join the California-based Big West. )

But the MWC may not stop there. According to this AOL Fanhouse report , Utah State officials have also been making a face-to-face plea to Thompson and Co. this week, asking for a MWC invite and a lifeline out of the lame-duck WAC . The Aggies won't bring much to the table in terms of football pedigree, but at least they've taken steps forward in recent years under coach Gary Andersen (including beating BYU this season for the first time in 10 tries) and can claim a sterling men's basketball program and solid academics.

USU's interest gives the MWC several options when it comes to expansion. Running them down:

They could stand pat at 10 teams . There seems to be little downside to bringing Hawaii aboard, especially in football alone -- the travel costs of visiting the islands are easily offset by the NCAA provision allowing teams a 13th scheduled game if they travel to Hawaii -- so it seems unlikely the MWC will suddenly stiff-arm the Warriors and stay at 10 teams. But few other immediate options will do much to raise the league's football profile, and weaker members on the gridiron could put the league's dream of a BCS automatic bid in jeopardy.

They could expand to 12 teams and start a championship game . A title game could be an excellent carrot for the MWC to dangle when they start looking to finally get out of the less-than-lucrative current television contracts that drove BYU into football independence. Utah State might be the most obvious candidate, but Conference USA member SMU would bring the highly attractive Dallas media market back into the league after TCU's defection, and under June Jones the Mustangs have made major strides on the field as well. With C-USA's chances of ever snagging a BCS bid set at "nil," the Mustangs would likely jump at the chance. The same goes for Houston , which is an even more distant geographical fit but features an even-better established football program and a similarly-lucrative market.
Other potential WAC refugees like Idaho or New Mexico State would also be options, but probably only in the event the BCS bid was already off the table and SMU and Houston had turned the league down.

They could merge with C-USA. This seems like a terrible idea from the MWC's perspective, but nonetheless the Orlando Sentinel reported today that Thompson and C-USA commissioner Britton Banowsky have had prliminary discussions about "a variety of potential collaboration options." But it's hard to see what, other than potentially a push for a joint TV contract, the C-USA can offer the MWC; the latter is the stronger conference top-to-bottom, has more brand recognition (compare the profiles of Boise State and even, say, Fresno State to C-USA powers like East Carolina and Southern Miss ), and already has the BCS bid process underway. If the C-USA is looking to create a full merger, it would seem to eliminate any chance of the league being powerful enough to wrangle a BCS bid; if all they want is an end-of-year title tilt, that's likely just one more obstacle in the way of a Boise or, well, Boise and a BCS at-large berth.

Butit's on the table, along with a lot of other possibilities for the MWC. Thompson has some very big decisions to make, decisions that will help shape the future of college football in the West for years to come.
Posted on: December 2, 2010 12:07 pm
 

Gordon Gee is done talking football

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Ohio State president Gordon Gee drew a lot of attention to himself last week when he made some comments about the BCS and schools like Boise State and TCU.  Essentially, Gee said that he prefers the BCS to a playoff system, and then talked about how the Big Ten and SEC were better than schools like Boise and TCU because they don't play a "Little Sisters of the Poor" schedule.

Gee then lit his cigar with a hundred dollar bill and went for a swim in his pool full of gold coins.*

Well, after taking some heat for his comments -- and deservedly so -- it seems Gee has taken some time to reflect and decided that, in the future, he should just keep his mouth shut when it comes to talking about college football.

"I'm very blessed to have the best athletic director and best football coach in the country," Gee told The Columbus Dispatch. "They run the athletic program and I run the university, and I should have stayed out of there. What I should do is go over to the surgical suites and get my foot extricated from my mouth.

"What do I know about college football? I look like Orville Redenbacher. I have no business talking about college football."

Which was pretty obvious from the start considering the school Gee oversees, and the one he claims doesn't play a "Little Sisters of the Poor" schedule played Marshall, Ohio and Eastern Michigan this season.  Not to mention that the Buckeyes don't have a single victory over any team ranked in the BCS -- that system he loves so much -- at the moment.

Still, the fact that he was big enough to admit his mistake is good enough for me to get off of his case.

*That may have been Scrooge McDuck
Posted on: December 1, 2010 7:17 pm
 

Utah headed to Las Vegas Bowl

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The bowl dominoes have continue to fall this afternoon as the Salt Lake Tribune has reported that Utah has accepted a bid to the Las Vegas Bowl (or, to be precise, the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas ). Despite the game's longtime affiliation with the Mountain West , this will be the Utes' first postseason visit to Sin City since 2001, when they defeated USC 10-6.

As recently as yesterday, Utah appeared to be on the fence about accepting their invitation to Vegas, but changed their minds for reasons Lya Wodraska explains via Twitter :





Though you can't imagine playing Boise State being overly excited about a Mountain West team for a third consecutive season, it would likely beat playing a .500 at-large team to be determined (our bowl projections slot in Georgia Tech ) in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl .

If Boise bites, the Las Vegas Bowl has a smashing must-see matchup between the lightning-rod Broncos and a ranked Ute team that despite its back-to-back flops vs. TCU and Notre Dame  still finished a robust 10-2 on the year.If you'll pardon the Vegas pun, the game appears to halfway home to hitting the jackpot.

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