Tag:Wyoming
Posted on: January 28, 2011 1:45 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2011 2:49 pm
 

Thompson tells bottom of MWC to shape up

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It was just yesterday that UNLV's reported upcoming stadium announcement gave us an excuse to look at the Runnin' Rebels' sorry 2010 season, one that finished at 2-11 with zero victories that didn't come at home against Wyoming or New Mexico, Vegas's partners in mediocrity at the bottom of the Mountain West standings. Between the three of them, the Rebels, Cowboys, and Lobos combined to win just one game against the rest of the conference, Wyoming's season-ending blowout of Colorado State, a team that itself won just one game against teams that weren't MWC bottom-feeders.

All together, the bottom four teams in the Mountain West went a staggering 2-34 against all other FBS competititon, the only victories Wyoming's five-point win at Toledo and Colorado State's two-point escape against Idaho.

So it's no surprise that as his conference scrapes and claws for a BCS automatic bid, with every game its members play either helping or hurting its argument, MWC commissioner Craig Thompson isn't real pleased with how his bottom three teams are performing. He said as much in an interview yesterday with ESPN's Andrea Adelson , where few words were minced (emphasis added):
It’s never been an issue at the top. We’ve been in the Top 10. We’ve played in BCS games, but I read a recent Q&A with John Swofford of the ACC. Their strength is 12. I am not badmouthing any of our teams, but we need to have our six, seventh and eighth finishing teams have better seasons, period.
Well, no offense Commish, but that seems like you kind of are badmouthing those sixth, seventh, and eighth teams (i.e. CSU, UNLV, and Wyoming). (Why the No. 9 Lobos are spared, we're not sure, unless Thompson has joined the rest of the country on simply giving up on the Mike Locksley's train wreck of a program.)

But that's fine; their 2010 efforts deserve some badmouthing, especially when -- as Thompson's Q&A makes clear -- they're such a major stumbling block to a BCS bid that for now looks just slightly out of reach. The MWC needs to come in at sixth or better in the BCS polls and the BCS computer rankings to qualify for the bid, and in the 2008-2011 evaluation period, Thompson says they've hit that bar in the polls but don't have the computer juice (finishing seventh). Where the 2010-2013 period is concerned, they've cleared it in 2010, but just barely--and how much better will things get without Utah, BYU or TCU?

Without the necessary rankings, the MWC would have to apply for a waiver from the current BCS conferences, and though Thompson doesn't dismiss the possibility the guess here is that such a waiver will be granted when pigs rule the skies. The league's best bet is to put together a smashing 2011 that puts them in the top six for 2008-11, and they simply can't do that if the bottom four teams can't pull some tiny measure of their weight.
Posted on: January 27, 2011 3:40 pm
 

Report: UNLV to get domed stadium

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

There aren't many FBS programs more downtrodden than UNLV, who haven't had a winning season or played in a bowl game since 2000 and have won more than two games only twice in the past seven seasons. Clearly, the Runnin' Rebels are in need of something big to turn the program around.

Fortunately, it looks like that something may be on its way. The Las Vegas Sun has reported that plans will be unveiled next week to build a "multipurpose sports and entertainment complex near campus," one that will include a domed stadium and be funded by Los Angeles billionaire Ed Roski as part of a "public-private partnership."

No timetable for the completion of the project (or its groundbreaking ,for that matter) appears to be set at this time.

The stadium will replace the off-campus Sam Boyd Stadium as UNLV's home football venue and -- one would have to assume, though the report doesn't raise the issue -- could take over as the host for the annual MAACO Bowl Las Vegas. It could prove to be a huge boon to the Rebels on several fronts; not only will the new facilities no doubt be a huge help for recruiting purposes, but a lively crowd and better atmosphere in a stadium much, much closer to campus could tip a few close home games in the Rebels' direction that tipped elsewhere at Sam Boyd.

Then again, the current edition of the Rebels -- 2-11 in Bobby Hauck's first year, with the only wins coming at home over fellow MWC sad-sacks Wyoming and New Mexico -- wouldn't be able to win if Jerry Jones had built his Dallas football space palace on their doorstep. It's going to take a lot more to revive UNLV football than a shiny new building.

But there's also no doubt that Hauck will take whatever help he can get, and certainly a state-of-the-art facility like the one Roski is proposing would be an awful lot of help indeed.
Posted on: November 30, 2010 7:26 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2010 7:32 pm
 

Self: Big East was set to take Kansas, others

Posted by Adam Jacobi

At the height of conference realignment talks last year, there was real concern that Texas (and most of the other Big XII South schools) would flee the conference for -- pardon the pun -- greener pastures, leaving the schools up north wondering what their next move would be. Six conference members doth not a viable conference make, after all, and there was real concern that schools like Iowa State or Kansas State would have to suffer the indignity of joining a non-AQ conference.

Fortunately, as Kansas basketball coach Bill Self told listeners on his weekly radio show yesterday, his Jayhawks' AQ status was never in doubt -- and nor was that of Missouri, KSU, and ISU. When asked about TCU and its move to the Big East, Self said that if the Big 12 folded, those schools would have been offered a spot in the Big East. And further, Self thinks the Big East was smart to make those offers, because it was the only way to ensure the Big Ten doesn't kill the Big East's football program.

Audio, courtesy of the IMG Jayhawk Network, is below. Those interested in the full show may listen through Jayhawks All-Access ($$).

If you can't listen, here's the full text of Self's statement, with minor alterations for clarity's sake:

To be honest with you, Kansas could have been making the same announcement today that TCU made. And Kansas State could have been in there too, because the feeling that we got -- or we had, when the conference realignment was going on, that if by chance, Texas would have gone to the Pac-10 and we would have stayed buddies with Kansas State and not separated and done all that stuff, then the Big East would have came and gotten us, and KSU, and Iowa State, and Missouri. Which, in theory, you say, 'Oh god, the Big East, bad travel.' They would have gone to divisions, so we would have had divisions with probably the teams that are close, and maybe Louisville and Cincinnati or whatever.

And I think that's smart on the Big East's part, because the Big Ten's still going to go poach somebody, and when they poach somebody it's going to be a football-playing school, and if that number goes beneath eight, then I believe -- I could be wrong -- but I believe then they're not eligible for the BCS bid. So they're covering themselves to make sure that whenever the Big Ten does whatever they do, they'll still have enough football-playing schools to make sure that they keep their BCS football bid alive. So I think it's a smart move, and probably great for TCU, so I see no problems with it.

Although there had been rumors to this extent back in the spring and summer, this is the first time that a school official has not only addressed the rumor that the Big East was set to invite the wayward Big 12 North schools, but out-and-out confirmed it. And as Self mentioned, with the Big Ten purportedly sniffing around for expansion targets out east, the Big East needed to either go into buyer mode or prepare to get out of the business of football altogether. While some college football fans might have preferred the latter, the Big East would have lost an automatic qualifier bid and all the money it entails, so that was never really going to happen.

And above all else, this should at least reassure fans of those four schools that even if the Big 12 had folded, the day that ISU or Missouri would have had to share a conference with Wyoming or Middle Tennessee State was never really going to happen; there had always been another BCS conference waiting, and there probably still will be if this latest iteration of the Big 12 doesn't work over the next few years. The arms race probably isn't over yet.



Posted on: November 6, 2010 9:20 pm
 

New Mexico is off the schneid

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

When the day started, only two winless programs remained in the FBS, Akron and New Mexico . And both teams were facing their best opportunity of the season to avoid going 0-for-2010, with the Zips facing hapless Eastern Michigan victims Ball State and the Lobos hosting the equally toothless Cowboys of Wyoming .

The Zips came as close as you can possibly come without getting over the hump, going into double overtime before succumbing 37-30 in double-overtime . So maybe that was the inspiration the Lobos needed to finish the job; tied at 31 late in the fourth quarter with Wyoming, first-time starter and true freshman quarterback Stump Godfrey (handed the job after a pumpkin-carving accident ended his predecessor's season) led an epic 11-play, 47-yard march that ate up the final 5:33 off the clock and ended squarely in field goal range. James Aho connected on a 39-yard attempt at the gun, and the Lobos officially moved into the win column, 34-31

The victory won't come close to saving Mike Locksley 's job, and it probably won't even lead to anything better than a 1-11 final record. But the Lobos can say they haven't lost every game they've played. And tonight, that probably feels like enough.

Posted on: October 25, 2010 7:36 pm
 

TCU defense could be best in 21 years

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Baylor entered the polls this week for the first time since 1993, and they did it with quite the offensive splash : 47 points, a school-record 683 yards of offense (five more than the 678 the Bears gained Week 5 against Kansas ), more than 400 yards passing for quarterback Robert Griffin and 250 yards rushing for tailback Jay Finley , all against a Kansas State defense that had allowed 350 yards or fewer in four of their first five games against FBS competition.

So now seems like a good time to remind college football fans -- and potentially the poll voters that have leapfrogged multiple teams over them in the past several weeks -- that back on Sept. 18, TCU made that same Bears offense look like it needed the phrase "Bad News" appended to it . 263 total yards. More kick return yards (166) than passing yards (164). 2-of-12 third down conversions. And just 10 points in a 35-point demolition. "It's just embarrassing," Griffin said.

Griffin can take heart, though; the Horned Frogs have embarrassed a lot of people since then, most recently an Air Force team that entered their date with TCU leading the nation in rushing (including a 351-yard outing at Oklahoma ) and held them to barely more than half their average.

Even with the Falcons putting up a first-quarter touchdown -- the first given up by TCU in 12 quarters -- the seven points allowed (along wih the zero against Colorado State , the zero against Wyoming , the three against BYU , etc.) was good enough to keep TCU easily atop the national rankings in scoring defense at an even 9.0 points allowed per-game. That mark would match the 9.0 allowed by USC 's 2008 defense as the best since Michigan allowed just 8.9 in 1997.

Even more tantalizing for Gary Patterson 's team is that they still has dates against two horrific offenses in UNLV and New Mexico, currently 114th and 116th in total offense, respectively. Shutouts in both those games combined with strong performances against San Diego State and Utah -- the latter coming on the road in TCU's biggest challenge on the season -- could even propel TCU into the 8.7-8.8 range, the lowest total since Auburn allowed just 7.2 points-per-game back in 1988.

Critics will argue that the Mountain West has served up a whole series of terrible offenses for TCU to feast on, and they won't be entirely wrong. But as that performance against Baylor (and Oregon State , and Air Force) illustrates, the Frogs have brought the goods against the legitimately good offenses on the schedule as well. Numbers this strong don't happen by accident. And if at the end of the season the Frogs find themselves locked in a debate with a one-loss BCS-conference champion for a single berth in the national title game, they'll be the sort of numbers that shouldn't be ignored.

Posted on: October 13, 2010 12:57 am
 

Is it time to overhaul the Coaches Poll?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

One of the most odious aspects of the BCS -- and let's be clear, there are very many -- is the fact that the Coaches Poll constitutes one-third of the voting for the standings. If the poll's involvement weren't already accepted as normal, it would sound absurd: the selected coaches (or their selected assistant who actually fills these things out without attribution), given about 20 hours after the conclusion of their games, are tasked with ranking 25 out of the 120 teams in the FBS. The coach will never gameplan for, or have anything more than a cursory opinion about, the vast majority of these teams. The more time the coaches spend researching the poll, the less time they have to do their job (which isn't one with a great deal of spare time to begin with).

Thus, we get the same win-go-up, lose-go-down lazy polling that we can very well get from the AP already. What's the point? Does adding yet another hastily arranged Top 25 to the BCS add any merit? Moreover, isn't it a waste of what the coaches bring to the table for the BCS? Coaches do have exemplary abilities when it comes to evaluating other teams, after all, but that skill is primarily used in the daily rigmarole of their job, which is to say, on teams that they're actually going to play at some point.

So let's embrace that: have every single coach participate in the new coaches poll by ranking only their 12 opponents. As with traditional polls, a no. 1 gets the highest value (in this case 12), a no. 2 gets 11, and so on down the line. You know, like a normal poll. Now, since this is necessarily grading only FBS play (unless fans really want to see Montana come in at no. 8 in the poll or something similar), the teams with an FCS opponent are only going to be ranked by 11 opponents, so the rankings will be by average value instead of total.

Does this unfairly reward good teams in weak conferences (see: Boise State)? Well, maybe when it comes to their rankings relative to their conference pals. But look at who Boise's opponents are playing. Oregon State also plays TCU and Oregon. Wyoming got Boise, TCU, Utah, and Texas for this season (yes, Texas tanked, but that's an anomaly). Lowly San Jose State? The Spartans see Boise State, Utah, Wisconsin, and Alabama. Boise State may have some control over their schedule, but they certainly have little control over who their opponents play, and that's going to matter in this poll. Meanwhile, Ohio State may play in a tougher conference, but does anyone seriously think any of the Big Ten's coaches would rank another conference member over OSU as long as the Buckeyes stay undefeated? Would anybody have put Alabama second in the SEC before South Carolina pulled the upset?

Also, once the season starts to get into its late stages, coaches will be able to rank these teams based on what they saw first-hand in actual gameplay. Will this result in some coaches ranking teams based largely on how they performed against that coach's team? Sure. That's called rewarding wins and punishing losses. In other words, it's the entire point of polling. And if a coach seriously thinks a team that's, say, 19th in the AP played his team better than the 11th-ranked team, well, that's information that absolutely deserves to be integrated into the poll -- and it's much easier to justify making that adjustment in this format instead of the win-go-up/lose-go-down cookie cutter Top 25s. 

Is this a perfect poll? No, of course not. There's still some value in a straight Top 25 poll, and the computer rankings have their merit. But if we're including coaches in the BCS process -- and we should! -- we should play to their strengths, not make them play pollster. This is how to do it.

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