Tag:Fiesta Bowl
Posted on: May 17, 2011 11:16 am

Teams to watch for turnover trouble

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

We're certainly not breaking any news when we tell you that turnover margin is, yes, the kind of statistic that can make or break a team's season or -- for regular readers of Phil Steele and the numbers-minded like -- one that fluctuates from season-to-season nearly at random. While elite teams like Pete Carroll's mid-decade USC squads can end up consistently on the positive side of turnover margin, this correlation study at College Football News concludes that for most teams, it's more about the bounce of the ball:
[I]t's clear that for most teams, the turnover margin they enjoy one year has virtually zero predictive value for the turnover margin they will enjoy the next year. That means that on average, teams with substantially positive margins will see major decline in margin the next year, and teams with substantially negative margins will see major improvement the next year. A team with a -10 turnover margin in 2009, for example, would have an expected turnover margin of -1.2 in 2010, an improvement of nearly a full turnover per game!
Again, it's not a surprising conclusion (though that "nearly a full turnover per game" number deserves the exclamation point). But it's worth emphasizing that as we start to look towards the 2011 season, we pay a particularly skeptical eye towards teams with gaudy -- and likely unsustainable -- 2010 turnover margins. Here's a few:

Tulsa (+17). The Golden Hurricane are likely to be among the Conference USA favorites thanks to the 1-2 punch of quarterback G.J. Kinne and receiver/returner Damaris Johnson, but their no-huddle attack has always been something of a turnover slot machine and the overhaul  on the coaching staff won't help limit mistakes.

Connecticut (+12). No one's expecting a repeat trip to the Fiesta Bowl, but Paul Pasqualoni might have an even more difficult job ahead of him than expected. With quarterback Zach Fraser gone and the defense unlikely to come up with 31 takeaways again, just staying on the positive side will be an accomplishment.

Army (+16). The Black Knights are in better shape under Rich Ellerson, program-wise, than they've been in ages. But as the study points out, it's tough to expect a team that's averaged a -5 finish over the past eight years to turn in overwhelmingly positive margins two years running.

Maryland (+15). The Terps finished tied for fifth in the nation in fewest giveaways, and while some of that was steady quarterbacking by Danny O'Brien, some of it was also an amazing four fumbles lost all season. (Only Ohio State and Wisconsin lost fewer.) A repeat performance in that department is highly, highly unlikely.

Oregon (+13), Oklahoma State (+12). Many national title contenders are able to rely on year-in, year-out success in the turnover department -- Alabama has been +36 over the past three seasons, Ohio State an incredible +48 in that span -- but in the cases of the Ducks and Cowboys, their 2010 margins reperesented a quantum leap forward; they finished at +2 and 0 the year before, respectively, with neither better than +5 the year before that.

If either is going to make their expected BCS push in 2011 (or another one, in Oregon's case), they'll have to show that 2010 was the start of a Buckeye- or Tide-like trend rather than a fortunate one-off.

Posted on: May 12, 2011 10:38 am
Edited on: May 12, 2011 1:31 pm

Podcast: Should Oklahoma be No. 1?

Dennis Dodd puts Oklahoma at No. 1 in his post-spring Top 25, so we bring in Sooners beat writer Guerin Emig of the Tulsa World. Guerin tells us where he would rank the Sooners, holes in the Oklahoma roster, who else contends for the Big 12 this year and much more. Plus, J. Darin Darst and Adam Aizer react to the recent Fiesta Bowl news, a transfer rumor and Pat Fitzgerald's new coaching contract.

Posted on: May 11, 2011 5:20 pm
Edited on: May 11, 2011 5:23 pm

The BCS is laughing at you

Posted by Tom Fornelli

When I first heard the BCS announcement today about the "punishment" it has handed down to the Fiesta Bowl, I could only laugh. Maybe I should have been outraged, but laughter is the natural reaction to a joke. Which is exactly what this whole thing is, and all that the BCS has ever been.

For all its improprieties, the Fiesta Bowl was told today it must pay a one million dollar fine and follow tighter BCS guidelines. In other words, pay this paltry sum of money -- "walking around" money to the Fiesta Bowl -- then do what you should have been doing the entire time.

It's the equivalent of parents sending their child to his room as punishment, where cable television and his XBox await.

Part of me wishes the BCS could run the entire judicial system for this country. "Tom Fornelli, you have been found guilty of murder. Pay a $50 fine and try not to kill any more people." I'll do my best, your honor.

So now, the Fiesta Bowl will reach into its very deep pockets, pull out a wad of cash and go back to being a BCS bowl game. Which means it will once again have the chance to award a couple college football teams the opportunity to pay their way to Glendale, pay for millions of dollars in tickets, and then play a football game where the vast majority of income will fill the Fiesta Bowl's coffers.

It's like a time-share seminar on steroids, only you've got to keep paying rent on the condo even after you've already bought it.

The Fiesta Bowl may not learn any kind of lesson from all this, but I have. Or at least, I've been reminded of it. The BCS may in fact be a joke, but the BCS has been in on it the entire time.

What I hope more people realize today is that the joke has been on us.

Posted on: May 11, 2011 3:42 pm

Release: 'Six other reforms' necessary for Fiesta

The Fiesta Bowl appears to have gotten off light in its punishment from its BCS peers, subjected to a $1 million fine that represents only a fraction of the kind of Monopoloy money the bowl has spent for its own board members over the years. And it has.

But at the least the BCS is making some effort to prevent the Fiesta's brand of scandal from happening again. Per the BCS's official press release, executive director Bill Hancock and the rest of the BCS overseers have approved a series of "six other reforms" recommended by a BCS task force to provide "tougher and more independent audits, tighter membership controls for the Fiesta Bowl board, and greater accountability."

These are in addition to various reforms enacted by the Fiesta already, without which the task force "almost certainly would have recommended the termination of the BCS Group's involvement with the Fiesta Bowl." Whether these reforms (or those added by the task force) will have any lasting effect remains to be seen, but at least it's a start.

The full text of the press release is as follows:
The presidents and commissioners who oversee the Bowl Championship Series today unanimously approved a special task force recommendation to enact a series of sanctions designed to create stronger oversight and better management of the Fiesta Bowl, including a $1 million sanction.

The task force concluded that the reforms undertaken by the bowl’s new leaders are “appropriate and necessary,” but due to the severity of the problem, the task force has recommended that additional measures and corrective action be required.

The commissioners and university presidents approved the recommendation of the task force that the Fiesta Bowl be subject to a $1 million sanction with the proceeds benefitting youth in Arizona. The task force also recommended the enactment of six other measures to improve the governance of the bowl.

The task force, chaired by Penn State University President Graham Spanier, concluded “The board of directors of the Fiesta Bowl failed in its responsibility to properly oversee the management and administration of the Bowl. The task force is deeply troubled by the evidence set forth in the [Fiesta Bowl’s] Special Committee’s report. That evidence strongly suggests that the Bowl’s executive staff frequently acted with scant regard for ethics and proper conduct. Further, it is the opinion of the task force that the Bowl’s board of directors over the years was negligent in its oversight responsibilities.”

The task force commended the bowl’s leaders for their swift and corrective “reveal and reform” actions since the Special Committee report was released in March. According to the task force’s 15-page report, “Nevertheless, the task force has concluded that additional reforms are needed, and is recommending sanctions.” Had these reforms not been made by the Fiesta Bowl, the task force “almost certainly would have recommended the termination of the BCS Group’s involvement with the Fiesta Bowl.”

In addition to the $1 million sanction, the task force called for the six other reforms involving tougher and more independent audits, tighter membership controls for the Fiesta Bowl board, and greater accountability. The task force also recommended requiring all BCS bowls conform to soon-to be developed standards for responsible bowl governance and that each bowl associated with the BCS be required to certify annually to the Executive Director of the BCS that it is conducting its business in accordance with the standards or be subject to possible sanctions.

Posted on: April 28, 2011 6:36 pm

TicketCity Bowl in danger of NCAA pulling plug?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's been a busy day in the world of the NCAA and the 35 bowls it kinda-sorta oversees. Earlier today, the organization made two big announcements, instituting a three-year moratorium on new bowls and establishing a "Bowl Licensing Task Force" to make sure any future Fiesta Bowl scandals are nipped in the bud.

Towards that end, the NCAA made another announcement this afternoon, reaffirming the licenses for 32 bowls that will continue play as  planned in 2011-2012. Of the three whose licenses were not renewed, it's no surprise that two of them were the Fiesta and the Insight Bowl , both of which are jointly organized by the same corrupt executives.

But I'm not sure anyone had the brand-new TicketCity Bowl pegged for potential NCAA danger. The game has been played just once, this past New Year's Day, as the Cotton Bowl stadium's replacement for the actual Cotton Bowl (which moved across town to Jerry Jones' space palace). But it doesn't sound like the current licensing committee is too happy with them:
The subcommittee delayed its decision on reaffirming the TicketCity Bowl license as well pending further information and discussion of its business plan ...

The committee requires bowls to meet several licensing criteria annually in order to maintain their bowl license. Among other items, the committee reviews conference commitments, sponsorships, revenue expectations, facility condition, bowl management, and community support.
There's no indication of the likelihood of the license being denied or renewed, or on what timetable that decision might be reached.

What we can say for certain is that this is one start-up bowl game we'd actually like to see make it. The Cotton Bowl has hosted New Year's Day football every year since 1937 ; bringing an end to that kind of decades-deep tradition while watching the (to pick an example unfairly at random) Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl continue on in atmosphere-less Tropicana Field  just seems ... what's the word we're looking for here ... oh yes: wrong.

But until the NCAA officially gives the TicketCity the go-ahead, that's the reality it -- and we -- are facing.

For more on this and similar issues, check out this week's CBSSports podcast with Nick Carparelli, chair of the NCAA's Bowl Licensure Subcommittee.

Posted on: April 27, 2011 6:28 pm
Edited on: April 28, 2011 1:37 pm

Podcast: Interview with NCAA's Carparelli

Adam Aizer and J. Darin Darst chat with NCAA's Nick Carparelli , chair of the Bowl License Subcomittee. Carparelli addresses the report regarding his attendance of the 2008 Fiesta Frolic, saying there will be no conflict of interest when the Subcommittee rules on the Fiesta Bowl's status.

He also says these types of events will continue to go on, explains the NCAA's role in bowl games and tells us what he wants to hear from the Fiesta Bowl this week.

"I think some things are just a way of life, especially in this country. I can't think of too many businesses where there is a client relationship that doesn't involve some going out to dinner to talk about business or playing golf occasionally. I don't see those two things as conflict of interest or anything that is going to cause bias by the committee members. I think that's a little far-fetched and a little bit of sensationalization to think that would be the case."
When asked if he thought about stepping down to show the public good faith because of the perception of a conflict of interest, Carparelli said:

"Aboslutely not. Not for one minute."

Listen to the complete interview here: 

Subscribe to all of the CBSSports.com Podcasts.
Posted on: April 21, 2011 6:01 pm
Edited on: April 21, 2011 6:05 pm

NCAA delays Fiesta Bowl ruling

Posted by Chip Patterson

While the college football offseason has provided us with plenty of off-field news to talk about, few headlines have stirred the BCS pot quite like the reports of financial improprieties with the Fiesta Bowl. Many believe that the Fiesta Bowl, as well as the Insight Bowl, could both be in jeopardy of losing their licenses when the bowls are reviewed by the Postseason Bowl Licensing Subcommittee at an annual meeting in New Orleans next weekend. On Thursday Nick Carparelli, Jr., the chair of the Football Issues Committee, announced that any specific decision on the two bowls would be delayed until another time.

“We are delaying our overall licensing review and decision of the Fiesta Bowl and Insight Bowl until we can discuss these details with bowl officials and fully examine all appropriate information,” Carparelli explained in an official release.

The licensing subcommittee has asked bowl representatives to provide details as to how they will improve the management of the bowls and their finances, including future business plans. For the organizers of the two bowl games, the extension comes as good news. Now the big-wigs who have not been removed from their post can have more time to clean up the mess. They will fight in the coming months to prove the Fiesta Bowl's validity as a principle member of the Bowl Championship Series, while Jerry Jones and the Cotton Bowl wait patiently with baited breath.
Posted on: April 20, 2011 1:09 pm

Fiesta Bowl's fate could be known in May

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Fiesta Bowl has been in the news a lot recently, and for all the wrong reasons. A report was released last month that showed that the bowl had been reimbursing employees for political contributions, which is a violation of election laws and the bowl games non-profit status. The CEO of the Fiesta Bowl, John Junker, was fired following the story for overseeing everything that had taken place, along with some questionable spending habits.

Since then the BCS has put together a seven-member panel to do it's own investigation of the Fiesta Bowl and figure out what is to be done with the game in the future. More specifically, whether or not the Fiesta Bowl will remain a member of the BCS, or if it will be replaced by another bowl game, possibly the Cotton Bowl.

Well, according to Penn State president Graham Spanier, who is the head of the BCS' committee, we may not have to wait all that long to find out. In an interview with the AP on Tuesday, Spanier said that hopes we know the fate of the Fiesta Bowl by mid-May.

"We do not expect to have this drawn out very long," Spanier told the AP. "There's a lot at stake for everyone. It's in everyone's interest to move this discussion along quickly."

The committee will have the final say in the fate of the Fiesta Bowl. Aside from Spanier, the committee also includes Northern Illinois President John Peters, Big East Commissioner John Marinatto, Sun Belt Commissioner Wright Waters, and athletic directors Jeremy Foley of Florida, Bob Bowlsby of Stanford and Richard Giannani of Southern Mississippi.

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