Posted on: October 6, 2010 2:26 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
I watch a lot of college football every year. Some people have always liked to use their Saturdays to go outside or spend time with their families, but I've always preferred watching college kids beat each other up on the gridiron. I live in Chicago, after all, and it gets cold outside in the fall, I don't want to go out there.
I prefer the comforts of my recliner and the television. It's because of all this college football that I watch that I'm comfortable saying that I know quite a bit about teams from all over the country, but I'll openly admit that I know less about the teams on the west coast of the country than I do teams in the east, midwest and south. Some would tell you that this is because of the east-coast bias that exists in the media that largely ignores the other side of the country.
I've no doubt that this plays a part of it, but there's always been a bigger reason for me. On any given Saturday I'll watch 12 hours of college football, starting at 11am local time through the end of the primetime games at 11pm. Unfortunately for me, though I would be interested in watching more Pac-10 games, by the time those games kick off I'm a bit worn down.
LaMichael James is hard enough to keep your eyes on while he's flying down the field, when you're eyes are half-closed and glazed over, it's nearly impossible.
Which is why I'm so happy to hear that the Pac-10 is considering earlier start times for their games, which will allow the rest of the country to tune in a bit more. Last weekend's game between Oregon and Stanford was originally scheduled to start at 8pm PST but was moved up three hours so ABC could feature it as it's primetime game of the week.
Because of the decision, a lot of people who ordinarily wouldn't have had a chance to see either team were able to tune in and see an Oregon offense that is, as Will Brinson put it, like crack on meth. You'll notice that on Sunday Oregon had leapt Boise State in both the AP and Coaches poll to move in to the top three.
Don't think for a second that having this game seen by the entire country didn't play a role in that. Before Saturday's game, most people on the east coast had seen Boise State play more often than they had Oregon.
Moving game times to earlier in the day would help the Pac-10 in a lot of areas. It would give the conference greater exposure throughout the country, which would not only help in possible revenue once the conference launches its own network, but it'll also help the programs expand their recruiting bases to states they don't normally have any access to.
Not to mention that having more games seen nationally would also help get more BCS bowl bids, which in turn lead to more cash money.
Also, there's really no disadvantage to the Pac-10 to do this. It's not like moving games to noon local time would affect attendance at the home stadiums. Noon start times work just fine on the east coast, as do 11 am starts throughout the central time zone.
There is a lot of good football being played in the Pac-10 right now, something folks on the west coast already know, but it's about time the rest of the country was given a chance to figure this out as well.
Posted on: October 5, 2010 1:02 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Last year the Idaho Vandals were getting ready to board a plane to head to Boise to take on in-state rival Boise State when athletic director Rob Spear refused to get on the plane. Why? Well, the plane was painted in orange and blue, which happen to be Boise State's colors. It's one of many planes that Horizon Air has given college themes, including planes for Oregon, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State.
Well, Spear said at the time that he wouldn't fly on a Horizon Air plane until they'd painted one with an Idaho Vandals theme. It looks like he won't be missing any road games in the near future.
Horizon Air has announced that a Q400 aircraft will be painted in Idaho silver and gold. The plane will be available for service in November, a year after Spear made headlines for declining to board the Boise State plane.
So I guess you can say that the plane has been Vandal-ized. Oh man, trust me that one hurt me just as much to type it as it did for you to read it. Seriously, though, this hardly seems fair. George Clooney's character in Up In The Air had to fly ten million miles just to get his name put on an airplane, and Spear just has to throw a hissy-fit and he gets his own personally themed plane.
Who knew the athletic director at Idaho could have so much pull? If I'm Alabama AD Mal Moore I'm demanding my own airport.
Hat tip to the good Doctor.
Posted on: September 29, 2010 7:36 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Last week, we mentioned that the WAC was entertaining two potential new members in UT-San Antonio and Texas State as part of the conference's quest to, well, save itself. The WAC has only six members lined up for the 2011 season, and while the NCAA will recognize the WAC and allow its members postseason bids if a group of at least five schools have been in the same conference for the five prior years is there, six just won't cut it when it comes to actually making schedules.
At any rate, we weren't terribly impressed by UTSA or TSU, but were intrigued by commissioner Karl Benson's statement that there were three other schools that would be presenting to the WAC during their meeting in Dallas this week. It was intriguing mainly because, well, who would they be? All of the FBS schools in the WAC's central region are in the Mountain West or Pac-10, and both of those conferences were acquiring schools during the latest conference realignments, not losing them. Now we know the rest of them, and... well, it's a work in progress:
Interestingly enough, the school with the best football program of the bunch (which isn't saying much, since three don't even have programs) is Montana, and they didn't put together a formal presentation for the meetings because they were still waiting on the results of a study into whether it's worth their time to move from FCS to FBS designation. Instinctively, the answer to that question is yes; Grizzlies fans routinely pack Washington-Grizzly Stadium at a capacity of a little over 25,000, so even if the WAC or NCAA want capacity expanded, there'll probably be butts in the new seats. But we'll see what the study says.
Past that, the Universities of Denver and Seattle wouldn't even bother fielding football teams (wise), so while they could very well be smart additions for every other sport, they're not going to help fill out a conference schedule when the time comes. That's why, barring the re-entry of new schools into this discussion, we think UTSA and Texas State will end up joining the conference: at the end of the day, you need guys on the gridiron.
And no, those aren't particularly impressive candidates, but you know what? If anyone's acutely aware of how non-AQ the WAC is, it's the WAC, and at the very least they're not wasting anybody's time by publicly courting Oklahoma State or the like. The WAC is what it is, and Benson's just embracing it these days.
Posted on: September 29, 2010 4:30 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
When Boise State kicks off their conference season against powerhouse (cough) New Mexico State this weekend, they'll be doing so without one of their leaders on defense. Winston Venable, a senior safety, was suspended one half by WAC commissioner Karl Benson after a helmet-to-helmet hit on Oregon State wide receiver James Rodgers. From Benson:
"After reviewing this play, it was determined that a flagrant personal foul should have been called by the game officials which would have resulted in the player being ejected" said WAC commissioner Karl Benson.
Rodgers, who wasn't even the ball-carrier on the play (it was a quarterback scramble by Ryan Katz), suffered a concussion and appeared to lose consciousness briefly.
The WAC was planning on suspending Venable for a game before a Boise State appeal cut the punishment in half. The Broncos obviously don't need to have Venable in their secondary to beat NMSU; heck, they could throw head coach Chris Peterson back there and still win by 30. But preparation and routine are important in football, and it'll be easier for Venable to stay in the proper mindset for the season if he's going through practice and preparing to actually be on the field come Saturday -- even if the game could be such a blowout that the rest of the starters will be ordered to sit at the half.
To the larger point, though, it's nice to see a commissioner's office take some proactive steps to combat this sort of thing. Venable's hit didn't make a lot of sense from a football perspective; he didn't try to shed the block, he just decided to initiate the inevitable contact rather than absorb it, and he laid a hellacious hit on Rodgers. Of course, while he was doing that, Katz was staying on his feet and picking up the first down. Tactically, it was a dumb decision, and it ended up being a pretty dangerous one too. Football's got to start actively avoiding that style of play; it's not "dirty" in the normal sense of the word, but it leads to enough brain injury -- on both sides and both immediate and cumulative -- that it's in everybody's best interests to stop such play.
Posted on: September 29, 2010 11:43 am
Edited on: September 29, 2010 11:58 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
Boise State could not afford to slip in their final game against a team from a BCS AQ conference on Saturday, and left the Smurf Turf victorious after the 37-24 victory over Oregon State. But one of the Broncos did slip, and it is going to cost him the rest of the season.
Running back D.J. Harper has stepped up as a significant big play threat for Boise State's offense, returning to the field after missing last season with a torn ACL. Trying to make a cut against the Beavers, Harper injured his knee. He ended up returning to the game, but tests revealed a re-injured left knee, and bad news for the redshirt junior.
Boise State junior tailback D.J. Harper has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee for the second straight season, Boise State announced Tuesday. He is out for the rest of the season.Harper kicked off the 2010 season with a bang, breaking a 71-yard touchdown run in the season opener against Virginia Tech. The run revived a Broncos team that looked to be stalling after giving up a 17-0 lead. Harper has also been a receiving threat out of the backfield, catching a pair of Kellen Moore passes in the first two games of the season before getting hurt against Oregon State.
Junior Doug Martin has been the leading rusher for the Broncos, and Harper's role will likely be filled by senior Jeremy Avery. Avery only has 18 attempts thus far on the season, but was a 1,000 yard rusher a year ago.
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Posted on: September 27, 2010 4:17 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2010 5:50 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Now that Boise State has gotten past Oregon State it's entirely possible that when the regular season ends both Boise and TCU could be undefeated. Which, depending on how the rest of the college football landscape unfolds, could create some BCS chaos. For argument's sake, let's pretend that Alabama, Ohio State and Oregon all finish the season with a loss and TCU and Boise are the only unbeatens left standing. Also known as The Doomsday Scenario amongst the BCS.
Would you put them in the BCS title game?
A lot of people wouldn't, preferring a one-loss Alabama or what have you, as they'd argue that Boise State and TCU didn't play the same quality of competition. Which is a valid argument -- unless you've seen a Tennessee or Georgia game this year -- that has a lot of merit, and one that I might be inclined to agree with.
Still, if either school is looking for someone to stand up and sing their praises, they won't have to look further than the head coach of the team that both of them have beaten this year: Mike Riley.
Although Riley artfully dodged choosing between them Saturday, he did make a fairly significant statement after the news media scrum dissipated. Riley said that Boise State and T.C.U. were worthy of their top-five rankings, something that some coaches from high-profile programs have been hesitant to admit.
Riley even went on to say that both Boise and TCU's defenses are "about as quick and fast as we've played against ever." Considering some of the USC defenses Riley has faced during his years in Corvallis, that's not praise to be taken lightly.
Neither are Boise State and TCU.
Posted on: September 25, 2010 10:41 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Boise State's leading this game, as they have for the vast majority of play tonight. But it's only a 24-17 margin, and Boise State can point directly at the penalties it's been committing as a reason that Oregon State's been hanging around in this game.
Twice, during Oregon State's last touchdown drive, Boise State committed drive-extending penalties after holding Oregon State on 3rd down. First, they sacked Ryan Katz, only to commit a taunting penalty after Katz went down. Later, Katz scrambled for a first down and came up short... except a Boise defender led with his helmet, which is another automatic first down.
The Broncos would come back to score a touchdown on their ensuing possession to push the margin back to 14 points, and they held Oregon State to a three and out. Unfortunately, Boise returner Titus Young fumbled the punt, the Beavers recovered, and Oregon State would score a touchdown a few snaps later. The score's now 31-24, late in the third quarter, and the Broncos only have themselves to blame.
Posted on: September 25, 2010 11:55 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Here's the weather outlook for all of today's important matchups. Conditions look ideal everywhere but Auburn and LSU. All times are Eastern.
Georgia Tech at North Carolina State, 12:00, Raleigh, NC: Lower 90s, partly cloudy
No. 16 Stanford at Notre Dame, 3:30, South Bend, IN: Lower 60s, partly cloudy, breezy
No. 1 Alabama at No. 10 Arkansas, 3:30, Little Rock, AR: Lower 80s, partly cloudy
No. 8 Oklahoma at Cincinnati, 6:00, Cincinnati, OH: Upper 60s, clear
No. 12 South Carolina at No. 17 Auburn, 7:45, Auburn, AL: Lower 80s/Upper 70s, scattered thunderstorms
No. 24 Oregon State at No. 3 Boise State, 8:00, Boise, ID: Mid 80s at kickoff, lower 70s by halftime, clear
No. 22 West Virginia at No. 15 LSU, 9:00, Baton Rouge, LA: Upper 70s, chance of thunderstorms
California at No. 14 Arizona, 10:00, Tucson, AZ: Mid 80s, clear
No. 5 Oregon at Arizona State, 10:30, Tempe, AZ: Lower 90s, clear