Tag:UConn
Posted on: June 8, 2011 2:58 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 9:42 am
 

CBSSports.com College Football 100: 10-3

By the Eye on College Football bloggers

To celebrate the (now fewer than) 100 days remaining until the first Saturday of the new college football season, this is the CBSSports.com College Football 100: our countdown of the 2011 season's 100 most influential players, coaches, administrators, venues, or any other related
things in college football. It's like that other "most influential" list, but, you know, more important. Also: it's supposed to be fun.

We're now down to the nitty-gritty: Nos. 10-3 below, No. 2 tomorrow and our No. 1 unveiled Friday. Stay tuned.


10. JOHN MARINATTO, commissioner, Big East. Marinatto joined the Big East executive staff as senior associate commissioner in 2002, just in time to see the biggest shakeup in membership since the conference began football competition in 1991. Now, as the Big Ten and Pac-12 have shaken up the conference landscape with the expansion to 12 teams -- as well the ACC and Pac-12 recently negotiating lucrative multi-network media deals - the onus falls on Marinatto to bring the Big East up to par with the new standards of major conference football.

In his discussion with CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy, Marinatto made no mistaking that the primary driver of Big East expansion is the expiration of their current television deal with ESPN at the end of the 2012-2013 school year. Beginning in September 2012, the Big East will have a 60-day exclusive negotiation period with the network. At that point Marinatto hopes to have expansion completed, and be holding all the attractive chips for a bidding war that will pay out the way it did for the Pac-12. TCU's arrival next season obviously holds the greatest national intrigue, as well as reaching a very un-Big East audience in the Southwest. But where will expansion stop? With the right moves, the league cound finally abandon its role as college football's BCS-conference punchline.

For now Marinatto insists that there is no model, and all options are still on the table. The only driving factor in the eyes of the conference is how will the addition of a certain team add value to television contract negotiations. College football is a big money business that networks will pay for, and after seeing the deal that Larry Scott got for the Pac-12 everyone will one a piece. But we'll get to Scott soon enough ... -- CP

9. LANDRY JONES, quarterback, Oklahoma. With Oklahoma being the popular pick to start 2011 on top of the polls, there's no arguing that quarterback Landry Jones won't begin the season as a Heisman favorite. But it's not just the visibility of being under center for the nation's No. 1 team: the junior-to-be has thrown for 7,916 yards and 64 touchdowns in his first two seasons in Norman. The formula will be pretty simple--the more games that Oklahoma wins, the more talk you'll hear of Landry Jones.

The Sooners offense has been an explosive one for as long as Bob Stoops has been at the wheel, and one that gives the quarterback a lot of toys to play with. Life is a lot easier when you have guys like Ryan Broyles, Kenny Stills and James Hanna to throw to. Still, Jones is the kid in charge of driving the car. He doesn't have a ton of room to improve this year, though he has thrown 26 interceptions in his career. If Jones can cut down on turnovers this season it will only boost his touchdown numbers, Oklahoma might never let go of that top spot, and Jones will be in New York this winter to pick up some hardware. -- TF

8. MIKE SLIVE, commissioner, SEC. If you thought for one red second someone other than Slive was the true ruler of the SEC, we hope you paid attention to the league's recent spring meetings. Slive proposed a "soft cap" of 25 signees per class, among other "roster management" initiatives designed to curb oversigning. The SEC's 12 head coaches voted against the proposal 12-0. But with the final decision in the hands of the league's presidents, the proposal passed anyway, the presidents voting 12-0 in favor. What Mike Slive wants, Mike Slive gets.

Well, except maybe a new television contract. The "no outs" nature of the league's current 15-year deal, signed three years ago, looks worse and worse as league after league (most notably the Pac-12) strike it rich on the open market and the Big Ten Network's revenues continue to grow. The SEC is hardly hurting for money, though, and it's Slive who has overseen the conference rise to five consecutive BCS championships -- spread across four teams, even more impressively -- even as its number of programs under probation has dwindled (pending a few open investigations, mind). The modern SEC might still be the Conference (former commish and BCS visionary) Roy Kramer Built, but Slive has done a masterful job of pressing its football advantages while pushing a handful of successful academic measures (like the oversigning legislation) to battle the league's win-at-all-costs image. If the SEC does make it six-for-six in 2011, its commissioner will no doubt get some measure of credit--and it's hard to argue he won't deserve it. -- JH

7. BILL HANCOCK AND THE BCS, Executive Director of/and championship cartel. Boo! Hiss! The BCS and Bill Hancock aren't the most popular topics amongst college football fans, but they are both incredibly influential in the world of college football. It's the BCS that helps inject more money in the BCS conferences, and is also a driving factor behind the conference realignment we've seen the last few years. After all, 2011 isn't TCU's final year in the Mountain West if they hadn't just finished two undefeated regular seasons and not gotten a chance to play for a title. Of course, while it's fun to rage against a acronym, it's also nice to have a face to go with that acronym.

Which is where Bill Hancock comes into play. No matter who you are -- a fan, a writer or the United States government -- if you present the BCS with a rational, well-thought and logical complaint about the BCS system, Hancock is the man you'll hear from. He'll be the guy telling you that you're wrong, and that the BCS is perfect. The BCS will then go about its business doing things the way it always has, and at the end of the season they'll determine who has the right to play for a national championship, and you won't. -- TF

6. JIMBO FISHER, head coach, Florida State. First Will Muschamp burned Texas to accept the job at Florida, then the recent Dana Holgorsen/Bill Stewart feud exploded at West Virginia. It seems like one of the only "coach-in-waiting" situations that has worked out recently was Jimbo Fisher at Florida State. After contractually getting the title in 2007, Fisher waited behind the legendary Bobby Bowden to take control of the powerhouse in Tallahassee. But in those last few years under Bowden, the Seminoles had slipped from being perennial national title contenders to perennially playing December bowl games. But that all seemed to change when Fisher took the reigns and delivered the Seminoles' first 10-win season since 2003.

Now Florida State returns 17 starters from that squad, and last year's backup quarterback E.J. Manuel steps in after leading the Seminoles to victory over South Carolina in the Chick Fil-A Bowl. Fisher's promotion also paid immediate dividends on the recruiting trail, with blue-chippers like defensive back Karlos Williams and running back James Wilder Jr. giving the 'Noles their strongest haul in years. (The 2012 class, incidentally, is already shaping up to draw consideration as the nation's best.) The pundits now have Fisher's team tagged as ACC favorites, and there is once again a major buzz around Tallahassee regarding Seminoles football. Fisher has demanded that his players understand what expectations mean. "Just because you're picked to win, they don't give you a trophy when the season starts," he explained recently.

The fast-talking Fisher will fill your ear with areas where his team needs to improve. He never gets complacent, and constantly asks more from his players. It was complacency that arguably played a major role in Florida State's fall from grace after the turn of the century, and now Fisher has a great chance to restore that dominance in 2011, in just his second year as head coach. College football's next true powerhouse could get its start here. -- CP

5. ANDREW LUCK, quarterback, Stanford. Luck finished runner up for the Heisman last season and many figured he'd be house shopping in the Charlotte area after dismantling Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. Every NFL pundit was labeling him a surefire number-one pick and future Hall of Famer after watching him shred opposing defenses every time he dropped back. CBSSports.com draft analyst Rob Rang called him the best quarterback and elite prospect he's ever scouted. With his head coach, Jim Harbaugh, headed to the San Francisco 49ers, many assumed he was a lock to bolt for NFL riches.

The architectural design and engineering major from Houston had other plans, however. He kept his Palo Alto address and announced he would stay at Stanford for his redshirt junior year to try and capture the inaugural Pac-12 title. He'll be gunning for the few Stanford quarterback records he hasn't already broken and look to get back to a BCS bowl as well. He's not just an accurate pocket passer, though; he can run and doesn't mind giving a shove to defenders if they end up in his way. It's good that he's mobile as two of the Cardinal's biggest challenges under new head coach David Shaw are replacing several starters along the offensive line and finding a few targets for Luck to throw to. Despite the issues on offense, the 6-foot-4, 240-pound quarterback is the prohibitive favorite to win the Heisman Trophy this year. He's got a lot riding on his heavily insured right arm in 2011, but with a manageable schedule and the fact that he's competed over 70 percent of his passes for his career, don't be surprised if the talented Luck keeps the Cardinal offense humming and the team in the national title hunt as well. -- BF

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4. NCAA COMMITTEE ON INFRACTIONS, punitive arm of legislative body, NCAA. The 10 members of the Committee on Infractions (COI) might be the most talked about group in sports that no one really knows anything about. Of all of the committees that make of the NCAA, the group may also be the most infamous, meeting behind closed doors and dishing out sanctions through press releases. It is this group that is tasked with being the grand jury, judge and jury for every school that comes before them and, in just about every case, has a school (and their fans) in considerable disagreement with their ruling. The members that made up the committee run the athletics gamut (three independent lawyers, three professors, three from league offices and one athletic department veteran at the moment) but all have some law or compliance background. 

The COI will be in the news a lot this year, as the off the field headlines in college sports have dictated. First up is Boise State -- battling the dreaded charge of "Lack of Institutional Control" for violations in several sports -- and Tennessee this weekend. The Volunteers' case is one many observers are looking at with a close eye due not only to the coaches involved (Lane Kiffin and Bruce Pearl) but to see how they treat a coach that blatantly lied to investigators ahead of their later date with Ohio State and Jim Tressel. In addition to levying scholarship reductions, bowl bans, probation and a host of other penalties, the COI has also started to hand out suspensions to coaches, such as the three-game suspension for UConn head basketball coach Jim Calhoun.

The committee is not bound by prior case precedent -- though they say they use it as a guide -- so decisions can feel arbitrary and vary from case to case. All of that simply makes predicting what they will do harder than getting the right lotto numbers. It's not a courtroom where schools have due process rights; the COI, rather, is all about finding "clear and convincing evidence" to support the NCAA enforcement staff's case against schools. The NCAA has recently tried to be more transparent with the COI, showing how things are done and opening the door into their world ever-so-slightly under new president Mark Emmert. Questions still remain, though, about what penalties will eventually come out of the room for schools such as Tennessee, Ohio State, and eventually North Carolina. The only answer at the moment is to wait. -- BF

3. NICK SABAN, head coach, Alabama. It's the year 2011, and the argument is over; Nick Saban is the most powerful college football coach in Division I. Every rival who might have challenged him for that honor is in decline, or gone entirely. Jim Tressel: resigned in disgrace. Pete Carroll: fled back to the NFL just ahead of the NCAA posse. Mack Brown: went 5-7, ceded Big 12 superiority to Bob Stoops. Stoops: has seen Saban win two rings with two different teams since he won his last. Urban Meyer: retired to punditdom (however temporarily). And when it comes to being the biggest, baddest head coach on the FBS block, are they really any other challengers?

If Les Miles can down the Tide in Tuscaloosa this season on his way to a second crystal football, or Chip Kelly can get his Oregon team over the hump of their nonconference struggles, or--most likely--Stoops can finally grab that elsuive second national title, then we can talk. But it's Saban until then, not least because he's as likely to come away with this season's ultimate prize as anyone; between what projects as the nation's clearcut No. 1 defense and what should be a punishing ground game, even a potentially up-and-down passing game (featuring a first-year quarterback and wideouts mostly more steady than spectacular) may not be enough to prevent the Tide's second BCS title in three years.

The old saying is that college football teams take on the personality of their coaches, and nowhere is that more true than at Alabama. Saban's brutally professional, clinically detail-oriented, obsessively driven approach has created a program where sloppiness and shoddy preparation--from offseason workouts to gameday routines to play execution--isn't so much "not tolerated" as nonexistent. It's not a particularly personable philosophy, which is one reason Saban has arguably become the SEC's most hated villain. But as the 2011 season grinds into motion, it's also what's made him the nation's single most successful active college football coach. -- JH

The 100 will continue here on Eye on CFB tomorrow. Until then, check out Nos. 100-91, 90-81, 80-71, 70-61, 60-51, 50-41, 40-31, 30-21 and 20-11. You can also keep up with the 100 by following us on Twitter.
Posted on: May 24, 2011 9:40 am
 

Calhoun predicts Big East split in 4-5 years

By Brett McMurphy, CBSSports.com Senior Writer

PONTA VERDA BEACH, Fla. – UConn basketball coach Jim Calhoun admits he likely won’t be coaching when it happens, but he still sees it coming. And it can’t be stopped.

Rapture? The end of the world? Not quite, but the end of the Big East Conference as we know it now.

“My own personal opinion – and I won't probably see this – in the next couple of years, four or five years down the road, I think you'll see a separation [of the football and non-football membership],” Calhoun said. “I think it's inevitable.”

The Big East currently has 16 members, including eight football members. Next season with the addition of TCU, that number inflates to 17 all-sport members and nine football members.

That number could increase even more in the next couple of years with the Big East looking to expand its football membership by as many as three teams, which conceivably could result in a behemoth 20 member conference, including 12 football members.

Big East commissioner John Marinatto has said the Big East’s 16-team basketball league could evolve into 20-teams, split into four pods of five teams or two 10-team divisions.

“If you go to 18 [members], oh boy,” Calhoun said. “We're talking about going to 17 [now and that] creates enough different issues.”

A split of the football and non-football schools has been speculated for some time, but league sources feel that would happen as only a last resort.

Calhoun, 68, said if the league split, the eight basketball members – DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Notre Dame, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s and Villanova – would pursue some additional teams from the Atlantic 10, such as Xavier and Dayton.

“That’s what I think could happen,” Calhoun said.

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: April 26, 2011 1:19 pm
 

Hey Big East: UCF leads C-USA in revenue

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

UCF has sworn they'll be part of of a BCS conference one day, a day that could come sooner rather than later if the Big East and Villanova can't get on the same page (and the alleged backroom efforts of USF to keep the Knights outside the league fall on deaf ears). But whatever argument the Knights might like to use, there's one that's always talked louder than any others: money.

And fortunately for the Knights, they've got it, as Forbes.com contributor Kristi Dosh illustrates in this report on the 2009-2010 financial picture in C onference USA. UCF leads the way in the conference with more than $15 million in football revenue, a number greater than several BCS schools and two Big East programs--UConn and Cincinnati.

Dosh points out that UCF's football profit wasn't necessarily a result of overwhelming fan interest so much as UCF's simple overwhelming size; at 56,000 students, UCF is the second-largest school in the country, and all those student fees and alumni donations add up. The Knights also boosted their bottom line by not immediately re-investing all their grosses back into the program, as the school's football spending (at approximately $8.5 million) lags in the middle of the conference.

But if anything, those details probably only emphasize why the Big East might take an interest. If the Knights can turn such a substantial profit even without a horde of ticket sales, what happens when interest both on- and off-campus receives the kind of spike that comes with BCS competition? If UCF's athletic department can turn out a C-USA champion and BCS top-25 team even while keeping their spending relatively in check, how good could they be with the budget boost that comes with a distribution check from a BCS league?

The Big East may still let some other conference find that out, of course. Adding UCF means adding yet another basketball team to an already over-swollen 18-team (hoops-centric) conference, and unless Villanova joins up as well, it still wouldn't give the conference the necessary 12 for a lucrative championship game. There's a reason the conference is taking its time in expanding beyond its TCU addition.

But there's also little doubt UCF's friendly bottom line will give the league's decision-makers some food for thought.

One other note on Dosh's report: it would be tempting to look at SMU's conference-leading spending and assume that explains their quantum leap forward under June Jones and C-USA division championship last year. But the next two schools on that list -- Rice and Memphis --suggest that it's not as easy as simply throwing money at the problem.



Posted on: March 14, 2011 12:10 pm
 

The Big 12 bails out Oklahoma

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Over the last couple of weeks we've learned about the financial windfall that a trip to a BCS bowl game can be for a school. Just take a look at schools like UConn, who was lucky enough to lose $1.8 million on a trip to Glendale for the Fiesta Bowl. Just to prove that such treasures weren't limited to smaller schools from the Big East, both Auburn and Oregon -- the two teams playing in the biggest game of the season and for a national title -- returned home from their trips to Glendale with less money in their pockets as well.

Just further proof of what a wonderful system the BCS is.

Of course, not every school came home from a BCS berth poorer. No, there's Oklahoma, who faced UConn in the Fiesta Bowl. The Sooners returned to Norman with money in their pockets, but only because the Big 12 was willing to absorb their losses.

Thanks to the Big 12's policy of absorbing much of a school's unsold tickets, Oklahoma only had to eat $337,080 worth of tickets. The conference took on 10,402 unsold tickets, eating $1,884,250. Which means that at the end of the day, Oklahoma returned home with a whopping $9,350 profit

What a wonderful system the BCS has put together for everybody!

Seriously, think of the BCS this way. With March Madness in full effect right now, a lot of you are no doubt joining bracket pools. Well, if the BCS was running the bracket pool, it would work like this.

Say 120 people entered the pool, paying $10 each. That would bring the total prize pool to $1,200. If you had the best bracket and won the pool, the BCS would then demand you pay them another $1,200, while giving everybody else their $10 back. Does that sound like the kind of pool you want to join?
Posted on: March 4, 2011 1:12 pm
 

Auburn and Oregon lost money with BCS trip

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Earlier this week we wrote about the $1.8 million that UConn lost with its trip to the Fiesta Bowl. The largest portion of UConn's loss came from the number of tickets the school wasn't able to sell. Of course, UConn only lost money because it's a smaller school without a great football tradition, and just didn't have the same number of fans available to buy up tickets.  Surely a larger school wouldn't have such a problem with the BCS system, right?

Wrong. Not even Auburn and Oregon, the two teams playing for a national championship, could escape their postseason trips with a profit.

According to the Birmingham News, Auburn returned home from Glendale short over $600,000, while Oregon lost $261,132. Combined, the two schools ended up paying $875,238, with the biggest culprit once again being ticket sales. Auburn had to eat $781,825 in tickets, while Oregon took a $555,575 hit.

Granted, I'm pretty sure if you told Auburn it could win a national championship every year for $600,000 -- insert Cam Newton joke here -- it would take the deal in a heartbeat. Besides, the odds are that Auburn will make that money back through the sale of merchandise related to its BCS title. That being said, the fact that even the teams playing in the biggest college football game of the year are losing money to do so tells you an awful lot about the BCS system.

Sure, the BCS is around to help both the schools and the student-athletes. Just as long as you replace "schools and student-athletes" with "BCS" anyway.
Posted on: March 2, 2011 3:15 pm
 

The Fiesta Bowl cost UConn $1.8 million

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's a good thing that UConn and booster Robert Burton were able to hug things out, because the last thing the school needs right now is to have to refund a $3 million donation. You see, according to a story in the school's newspaper, The Daily Campus, the Huskies trip to the Fiesta Bowl was pretty costly. Not only did it cost them a head coach, as Randy Edsall used the rise in profile to capture his "dream job" at Maryland, but it turns out that the trip to Arizona cost the school $1.8 million.

And that's including the money the school got from the BCS.
The UConn athletic department lost nearly $1.8 million at the 2011 Fiesta Bowl, according to bowl documents obtained by The Daily Campus.
The university incurred total expenses of $4,280,998 at the Fiesta Bowl while only receiving a payout of $2,523,200 from the Big East.
By far the largest expense the university incurred came from absorbed ticket sales. The university sold only 2,771 out of an allotment of 17,500 tickets, resulting in the university absorbing 14,729 tickets worth $2,924,385.
The official figure of 2,771 tickets sold is substantially lower than the previously reported amount of 4,600 tickets sold.
The school has not commented on the amount it spent for the game, though the paper did get its hands on a survey the Fiesta Bowl gave to the school. UConn responded to questions about ticket prices and ticket commitments with a "neutral" to both. Though UConn did leave this in the comments section.

"We recognize the total ticket commitment associated with this BCS bowl game, but selling 17,500 tickets is a challenge for a school from the east whose fans incur significant travel expenses."

Seeing as how the school was stuck with 14,729 tickets, that does seem to be quite the challenge.

Here's a breakdown on what the school spent for its trip to Glendale.
  • Travel - $685,195
  • Food and lodging - $460,941
  • Entertainment, promotion, etc - $210,477
Those three things alone total $1,356,613.

But the current bowl system works both for the students, and for the schools. Don't forget that, kids.
Posted on: March 1, 2011 3:34 pm
 

So now here's a long-snapping trick shot video

Posted by Adam Jacobi

It's clear now that 2011 will be the off-season of the trick shot video in college football, with outstanding submissions by quarterbacks Johnny McEntee of UConn and Alex Tanney of Monmouth. But throwing the ball overhand like that? So played out. So February.

The logical next step, then, is long-snapping, and Zach Enyeart of Washington State is here to school the masses on how to do that properly. It's now time to watch four minutes of long-snapping tricks, because why not? It's the off-season!

There's an endearing goofiness to it, like a PG-rated Jackass episode -- for crying out loud, there's a target hanging between a guy's legs -- but with tricks instead of human misery (the denouement aside, of course). Also, the golf course sequence was particularly inspired, and we'd like to believe that his "putt" was on the first take so it's a legit par. Odds aren't great on that, but this is a trick shot video on YouTube; the end product is what matters, not the process.

One must wonder, though, that if we're already in the long snap portion of this fad and it's been less than a month, where will it go by June or July? Athletic trainer stunts? Check out this person putting an air cast on a shattered tibia in under 30 seconds! Watch as the trainer throws balls of tape into a garbage can from 30 rows up at the stadium! Who can stay in the cold tub the longest without developing life-threatening hypothermia???

Actually, now that I think of it, I really want to watch an athletic trainer trick shot video. Get at it already, Internet!

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