Tag:SMU
Posted on: November 1, 2011 1:51 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 1:55 pm
 

Big East Presidents approve, extend invitations

Posted by Chip Patterson

On Tuesday, the Big East held their annual meeting of the school Presidents in Philadelphia. As expected, commissioner John Marinatto used the gathering as an opportunity to get the official votes from league members regarding the specific plan for conference expansion. After the meeting, Marinatto provided a veiled update on the league's plan and timetable regarding expansion and the exit process for West Virginia.

“Our Presidents voted unanimously to extend invitations to specific institutions, including both football-only and all-sport members to join the Big East Conference," Marinatto explained in his official statement.  "I will be speaking to representatives of those schools shortly and look forward to announcing with them their acceptance into the Big East. The addition of these members will extend our reach, bring us to exciting new markets, strengthen our status within the BCS, and lay the foundation for possible further expansion, all while maintaining the high quality and standards our Conference is known for.

“In light of the lawsuit filed by West Virginia yesterday, the Presidents also discussed and confirmed our continuing commitment to enforce the Conference’s 27-month notification period for schools choosing to leave. The Conference believes these claims to be wholly without merit and will explore all its legal options to protect its interests and to ensure that West Virginia lives up to its obligations.”

There are not too many surprises in this update, including the clarification that both football-only and all-sports invitations will be extended. Navy, Air Force, and Boise State are expected to be among the football-only invitations, while Conference USA schools UCF, Houston, and SMU have been awaiting official invitations to join in all sports since the 12-team football expansion plans began taking shape.

The real development in the statement is the league's plan to hold West Virginia to the 27-month withdrawal period. CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy detailed West Virginia's lawsuit against the Big East hoping for an exit in time to compete in the Big 12 for the 2012-2013 academic year. In the Big 12's teleconference, West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck explained that "our team is working with their team" to make it happen. Marinatto's statement on Tuesday suggests that this may be a more difficult process than the Mountaineers originally imagined.

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Posted on: October 31, 2011 2:23 pm
 

SEC Poll Reactions, Week 9

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

This week's polls have been released. Here's how the SEC fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.

(AP/Coaches)

1/1. LSU

Want a recipe for keeping the status quo in a team's poll position? Make them the clearcut No. 1 team in both polls, give them a bye week, and have the only team within shouting distance of them also enjoy a bye. Result: the Tigers didn't just stay a comfortable No. 1 in both the AP and Coaches, their point totals from Week 8 barely flinched.

2/2. ALABAMA

Lather, rinse, repeat. No. 3 Oklahoma State's bludgeoning of Baylor did nothing to narrow the gap between the Cowboys and the Tide, despite Alabama having the week off.

8/8. ARKANSAS

The Razorbacks entered the week No. 8, then saw No. 6 Clemson lose and slip to 11th or 12th, depending on the poll. So why didn't the Hogs move up? Because Oklahoma leapfrogged them after going on the road and smashing previously-undefeated Kansas State. We've been championing the Hogs for the top spot among one-loss teams for weeks, based on their Texas A&M and Auburn wins and highly-understandable loss at Alabama. But the Razorbacks really can't have any complaints after a second straight underwhelming perfomance, this time escaping Vanderbilt solely on an unforced goalline fumble by Zac Stacy and a missed Commodore field goal. At this point, the No. 8 spot even looks a tad generous. Though nowhere near as generous as ...

10/10. SOUTH CAROLINA

... the Gamecocks sliding in at No. 10. No, Carolina's collection of wins isn't bad at all; at Georgia, at Mississipi State, now at Tennessee gives them three road W's over likely bowl teams. But that's no better than Kansas State's collection, and the Wildcats' loss to Oklahoma is much more understandable than losing at home to Auburn ... so why are the Wildcats a whopping 7 and 9 places behind the Gamecocks depending on the poll? Clemson's beaten Virginia Tech, Florida St. and oh-by-the-way the same Auburn team that beat Carolina; why are they behind the Gamecocks at all?

And all that is strictly looking at wins and losses--anyone who's seen the Gamecock offense sputter and flail the past two weeks can't be convinced this is one of the 10 best teams in the country. We'll buy Steve Spurrier's team as top-20 and even top 15 based on the resume, but slotting them 10th is just preseason-based laziness on the part of the voters.

18/20. GEORGIA

The Dawgs get a four-spot bump in the AP after downing Florida but move up just one spot in the Coaches poll. Who's right? We'll side with the Coaches on this one; the Gators and previous Dawgs victims Tennessee and Mississippi State are all decent teams, but none of them are even on the right side of .500 and both of Georgia's losses have come at home. Why the AP took the Dawgs over a Wisconsin team that crushed Nebraska and lost both its games on last-minute Hail Marys on the road, we're not sure. Until/unless they handle Auburn at home in two weeks, 20th should be good enough for Georgia.

25/unranked. AUBURN

And speaking of the Tigers, they're now the only three-loss team in either poll after sneaking into the bottom of the AP. With all three of those losses coming on the road to teams in the top 11 and one of the Tigers' wins coming on the road at that No. 10 Carolina team, it makes sense, though we can't really blame the Coaches for going with Southern Miss (7-1, wins over surging Virginia and SMU). Texas, though, whose best win came either at home vs. BYU or at UCLA ... them, we're less sure about.

Posted on: October 26, 2011 2:26 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2011 2:58 pm
 

Q&A with NCAA VP Kevin Lennon

Posted by Bryan Fischer

NCAA Vice President of Academic and Membership Affairs Kevin Lennon has been with the association for nearly 25 years and oversees a wide-ranging department that includes student-athlete reinstatement, compliance and other issues. He sat down with CBSSports.com to discuss several of the reforms that are currently making their way through the legislative process ahead of this week's meetings.

CBSSports.com: How did you wind up at the NCAA?

"I went to Harvard as an undergrad and played some varsity and club sports there. Then I came to work at the NCAA then I went to the Southwest Conference. I was actually the first guy hired by the Southwest Conference after SMU had their death penalty. That was an interesting time to be down there and see a culture that was very different. Spent a couple of years there and have been back at the NCAA ever since. I've been the vice president for nearly 13 years."

Any interesting stories from your SWC days?

"When Fred Jacoby became commissioner of the SWC, in his first meeting the coaches had him leave the room - the commissioner - so that they could do their draft. They were buying all the same guys so they realized, let's just be more organized. 'You need these two defensive tackles, you take them, we'll take him.' They literally had a draft board. Poor Fred had come from the Mid-American Conference down to that environment.

"I'm reminded that in light of all the challenges we have now - which are significant - there was a period of time where it was just a different era."

What's been the biggest change at the NCAA during your time there?

"I think the whole development of the compliance efforts has been significant. My sense is that every time you have major cases that are processed, it does send some shock waves through the membership and then there's a response. It's a little bit reactive. Particularly among the FBS programs, we've seen more energy and more effort put into rules compliance. I think that's helped change the culture to some extent.

"At the same time, I think you've had that academic reform wave. We have more coaches that are talking about academic success and those types of things. Over the last decade, those are kind of the two things that I've seen that have changed clearly from earlier."

You work with over 1,000 schools in three division, what are the difficulties you see at each level?

"Division III has their challenges. We go through this financial audit program that says you can't offer any athletic aid or factor it in to your packages and sure enough, there's some outliers. That speaks to me just in general about the competitive nature of athletics. Even in a place where you're not offering athletic scholarships, people want to win and they sometime cut some corners.

"Division II, in terms of life in the balance, have really done a nice job of saying you can have a high quality athletics program and still be acclimated as part of the regular student body. In Division I, you see why you fly across the country for a football game. The public's interests, the pressures surrounding the competitions, the influences on the student-athletes themselves, commercial issues, create just an interesting mix from a regulatory perspective. It's just pretty darn complex. We probably spend 98% of our time on it."

The Board of Directors has several major changes they'll look at this week, is there more change this year than ever before?

"Yes. I don't think you can look at the action items that are going in front of the board and not say this is a big deal. There are some big ticket items as I would describe them. I think there was some significant issues brought up under President (Myles) Brand but I look at between now and April as very significant. There are major things with respect to access to championships that will really get people's attention. The two-year college transfer stuff will make sure that whole community is better prepared and have a significant ripple effect.

"I'm excited about the new rules group I'm working with. We have a great opportunity to get the board to just re-write that (manual). We really want to identify what do we care most about at the NCAA. It's kind of hard to tell right now. It's usually thrown together and you don't know what the priority is. To a large extent, we've always said if the membership adopts the rules, they're all of equal importance. How do you say that is more important than that? I think we finally have some courage at the presidential level to say, 'You know what? This is more important, this is a principal of what we do."

Full cost of attendance is being talked about a lot but the $2,000 figure thrown out seems a bit arbitrary.

"Out of the blocks, there is some thought that you can always go up. I think that's something the NCAA does a pretty good job of. We'll use data to figure out if there's a lot of unmet need that tells us we'll need to go to $3,000 or $4,000. I think people will be willing to do that. Keep in mind that most people will get their Pell Grant on top of that and we're going to open up other non-athletic aid that a student can receive that won't count against their total. Then there's the special assistance fund money, we give out $35 million a year. It will be fascinating to take a needy student with the two grand and the Pell Grant and the student assistance and see just how much they got at the end of the year. We're trying to meet the unmet need and I think $2,000 is a reasonable place to start. The Board could say it needs to be $3,000 to start, that will be determined by them."

One of the presidential working groups is looking at cutting scholarships in football and men's basketball, what's the reasoning behind that?

"There's a really interesting idea that's developed out of that rules group in terms of building in incentives to get yourself back to the full allotment. Like the access to championships, where you must have a certain score to be eligible, how about you have a high enough APR you can get yourself back to 13 in men's basketball. The baseline could be lower but you incentivize by academic performance teams having their full allotment of scholarships. I think it's a great idea.

"If we look at the rules, we don't have any incentives that say go above minimums and you receive benefits. I like the idea and it's one that we'll take up in earnest, that's a powerful piece. If you're a poor performing team, you may play with 11. If you're a high academic team, you'll get 13. It's some competitive advantage for a team that does well academically. I think there's a fundamental issue that our membership is walking into that says, you want to be a Division I member? There is a minimum expectation as to what you need to be providing."

Some have suggested that there be a another division for big time FBS schools.

"I think the thought is that the tent is big enough under Division I to allow for this diversity of mission. Having said that, within the regulatory structure, we need to redefine competitive equity. Up to this point, it's been whatever the last member, in terms of resources or commitment - we can't allow others to do things that would hurt them competitively. We are really getting away from that. You'll see, out of this rules group, a redefinition of what fairness means and what opportunity means.

"All that will allow conferences to have more say in how they regulate themselves versus some others. That's something that we're openly examining. Cost of attendance is a perfect example, not everyone will be able to do that. In the past we would have said you can't go to two grand because this school can't do it. Now we'll say if you can do it, do it. We're maturing to some extent and allowing enough within the tent to not
stand in their way of improving the student-athlete experience."

How big is the NCAA manual in a year or two?

"We're marking it up. My thinking right now? I think you blow the thing up. While we may have a copy somewhere in the vault, the approach should be if you had to start with a new day, what would it be. I think you'll see outcome based principles, we may end up having eight of them. You can't recruit using a third-party, you need to deal directly with the young man or woman and their family. That's a principle, you violate it and you'll face significant penalties. You may have some operating bylaws underneath that.

"I'll give you one example. One bylaw we have we've gone from 13 pages to four in the first cut. (The manual) will be significantly reduced."

Has there been a wake up call at the NCAA?

"It does seem like we had a lot of things happen this past year, there's no denying that. Malfeasance among parents, among students, there's been more of a spotlight on administrators. You could call it a perfect storm. There's been new leadership coming in and saying this doesn't feel right. To Mark (Emmert's) credit, he's been pretty aggressive in trying to figure out the systemic causes of why we're here.

"I thought the Presidential Retreat, and I've been here 25 years, was one of the most thoughtful, honest conversations about why we got where we are and what we can do about it."



Posted on: October 24, 2011 4:17 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2011 4:20 pm
 

The Poll Attacks: Week 8

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The latest college football polls are out and now it's time to rip them to shreds. Senior college basketball writer Gary Parrish has been calling out voters in the major hoops polls for thinking a little bit too far outside of the box when it comes to their AP ballots every week.

With the football season starting, I thought I'd steal take the baton on the idea from my colleague and keep all of the writers across the country who vote honest. I've come to know a good number of these people through time and twitter but relationships do not matter, bad votes do.

AP Poll           Coaches Poll           Harris Poll           BCS

(Details of AP ballots courtesy of PollSpeak.com)

Poll reactions: ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC

Rodney Dangerfield "No respect" team of the week: Southern Miss

  The Golden Eagles are ranked in the top 25 for the first time since 2004 in the Coaches Poll but are just "receiving votes" in the AP. Voters must not be aware of them shutting down June Jones' offense on Saturday, holding SMU to just three points and 330 yards. They're behind teams like West Virginia (blown out by Syracuse) and Arizona State (lost to Illinois, blown out by Oregon) for some reason. Yes, they're a Conference USA team so they have to fight for respect a lot more than others but they should be on everyone's ballot at 6-1.

Overrated: Nebraska

  To be fair, it's hard to figure out where to slot Nebraska because of the mediocre group of teams outside of the top 10-12 or so. The blowout loss to Wisconsin looks even worse now and having to come back and beat Ohio State is not a ringing endorsement for a top 15 team given their troubles in the passing game. We'll figure out if they deserve a high-ranking after Saturday but until then, they probably should be behind Virginia Tech and even Texas A&M.

California Craziness

A trio of voters from California (CSN Bay Area/CBSSports.com's Ray Ratto, San Jose Mercury News' Jon Wilner, LA Daily News' Scott Wolf) are an interesting voting block. Some would call them progressive, others would call them extreme and just about everybody else will call them crazy given their fluctuations in their ballots each week. All three are consistently in Pollspeak's group of "extreme voters" so we'll highlight the most baffling decision(s) out of each.

  I swear that Wilner just likes being the one in this space in order to gloat to his Bay Area compatriot Ratto. First off, teams that are on his ballot that shouldn't be: Auburn (17th), Washington (21st), Texas (23rd). Teams not on his ballot that should be: Houston, Michigan, Penn State. Also head-scratching: Auburn above USC, Kansas State 19th, Virginia Tech one spot behind Washington, Arkansas ahead of Stanford, South Carolina in the top 12, Georgia in the top 15.

What were you thinking? Desmond Conner, Hartford Courant

  Conner's top 20 isn't bad at all, aside from Nebraska being ahead of both Michigan State and Wisconsin. The bottom five is disastrous however. Arizona State is 20th, followed by West Virginia, Auburn, Georgia Tech, Illinois and Penn State. He was the only voter to rank the Fighting Zookers despite losing back-to-back games to Ohio State and Purdue and has one-loss Penn State dead last on his ballot. Conner is also the only one to leave USC unranked.


Posted on: October 17, 2011 4:15 pm
Edited on: October 17, 2011 4:17 pm
 

Week 8 Picks: Who do you like?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Each week, the CBSSports.com college football staff offer their choice for the week's Expert Picks. But before we make our selections for Week 8, we spin the wheel o' games to select a handful of contests we want your take on. You can see the results of the voting each Tuesday night at 8 p.m. on Inside College Football, which airs on CBS Sports Network. 

Your options are below, and choose wisely, because if you're wrong we will send somebody to your house to laugh at you. Seriously, we will. Don't test us.

Posted on: October 17, 2011 2:34 pm
 

The Poll Attacks: Week 7

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The latest college football polls are out and now it's time to rip them to shreds. Senior college basketball writer Gary Parrish has been calling out voters in the major hoops polls for thinking a little bit too far outside of the box when it comes to their AP ballots every week.

With the football season starting, I thought I'd steal take the baton on the idea from my colleague and keep all of the writers across the country who vote honest. I've come to know a good number of these people through time and twitter but relationships do not matter, bad votes do.

AP Poll           Coaches Poll           Harris Poll           BCS

(Details of AP ballots courtesy of PollSpeak.com)

Poll reactions: ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC

Rodney Dangerfield "No respect" team of the week: Michigan State

  Smash-mouth, hard-hitting defense and a solid (but certainly not spectacular) offense but Sparty just can't get much respect. They beat Michigan and held Denard Robinson and his explosive offense to just 250 total yards and 14 points. Edwin Baker, the touchdown maker, ran for 167 yards against an improved Wolverines defense too. We'll really see what they're made of this week but they should be higher than 15th in the AP and Harris Polls after their performance last week. They've proven more than Nebraska or South Carolina and probably should be in the 11-13 range.

Overrated: South Carolina

  The Gamecocks are ranked 14th in the AP, 12th in the Coaches and 13th in the Harris Poll. First off, let's say that they lost their quarterback, top offensive player and running back Marcus Lattimore and struggled to beat Mississippi State 14-12. They really haven't beaten anybody convincingly outside of Kentucky before the injuries so it's safe to assume they're probably going to struggle in the near future. Is this a one-loss top 25 team? Sure. Top 15? Ehh...

California Craziness

A trio of voters from California (CSN Bay Area/CBSSports.com's Ray Ratto, San Jose Mercury News' Jon Wilner, LA Daily News' Scott Wolf) are an interesting voting block. Some would call them progressive, others would call them extreme and just about everybody else will call them crazy given their fluctuations in their ballots each week. All three are consistently in Pollspeak's group of "extreme voters" so we'll highlight the most baffling decision(s) out of each.

  Welcome back Jon, it's been a while since you found yourself in this space. We've got several issues with the ballot you turned in, starting with putting Clemson 3rd. In case you didn't watch (and you probably didn't), the Tigers needed a late 4th quarter rally from 18 down to beat Maryland. The Terps also rolled up 468 yards and 45 points on the defense, not exactly top three caliber. It's also concerning to see Stanford ranked behind Oregon and Arkansas at 10th, two spots ahead of a way to highly ranked Auburn team. Wilner doesn't respect Kansas State much either, putting them 20th behind 11 teams with at least one loss. Oh yeah, Texas is still ranked too, as is USC.

What were you thinking? Craig James

  Is there a more maligned broadcaster than James? Judging by Twitter, I'd say no. Either way, he's also an AP voter despite the issue of having an active lawsuit against him by a former coach. Perhaps that was what was weighing on his mind when he turned in his AP ballot this week. It's not terrible but there are a few interesting choices. Of course he has SMU ranked 25th but that looks good considering he put Wake Forest 23rd overall. Yes, the Demon Deacons have had a nice season but they lost to Virginia Tech 38-17 this weekend and their other loss is to Syracuse. Not a top 25 resume at all. James also has Oregon 7th, higher than anybody and higher than undefeated Wisconsin.

Posted on: October 10, 2011 5:55 pm
 

The Poll Attacks: Week 6

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The latest college football polls are out and now it's time to rip them to shreds. Senior college basketball writer Gary Parrish has been calling out voters in the major hoops polls for thinking a little bit too far outside of the box when it comes to their AP ballots every week.

With the football season starting, I thought I'd steal take the baton on the idea from my colleague and keep all of the writers across the country who vote honest. I've come to know a good number of these people through time and twitter but relationships do not matter, bad votes do.

AP Poll           Coaches Poll           Harris Poll

(Details of AP ballots courtesy of PollSpeak.com)

Poll reactions: ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC

Rodney Dangerfield "No respect" team of the week: Kansas State

  You would think that the coaches (or sports information directors) that vote in the Coaches Poll would appreciate what Bill Snyder has done at Kansas State this year. The Wildcats are undefeated so far this season with wins at Miami and against Baylor and Missouri. They don't have much of a passing game (115th in the country) but do have a good ground game, even without the services of former former five-star running back Bryce Brown. Not sure then why the coaches have Kansas State 18th then, one spot below where they are underrated in the AP Poll. They're below South Carolina and Nebraska, both of whom are one-loss teams that have more issues. This is the ultimate "don't get no respect" program but Snyder has them playing hard and playing tough this season.

Overrated: Auburn

  First of all, no one expected Auburn to be sitting 3rd in the SEC West with only two total loses approaching the halfway mark in the season. They're one of only two teams to play three teams that are currently ranked in the top 25. They are, however, not supposed to be one of them. The Tigers are just barely in the top 25, ranked 24th in the AP Poll and unranked in the Coaches. Once again, some kudos for the latter for keeping them out. Gene Chizik's group has gotten lucky in most of their wins - they're 80th in total offense and 105th in total defense - and really only the South Carolina one is notable. That's why it's funny to see Jon Wilner put them 12th and Andy Staples to rank them 17th. Too high gentlemen, act more like Brett McMurphy who has Auburn unranked.

California Craziness

A trio of voters from California (CSN Bay Area/CBSSports.com's Ray Ratto, San Jose Mercury News' Jon Wilner, LA Daily News' Scott Wolf) are an interesting voting block. Some would call them progressive, others would call them extreme and just about everybody else will call them crazy given their fluctuations in their ballots each week. All three are consistently in Pollspeak's group of "extreme voters" so we'll highlight the most baffling decision(s) out of each.

  Three in a row for Wolf! He pulls into the lead in the race to the top/bottom of the California Craziness derby. Wisconsin is 8th, lowest on any ballot in the country, while West Virginia is right behind them ranked 9th, highest on any ballot. Florida is still a top 15 team according to Wolf, despite quarterbacks that were born in the 1990's who have barely taken any snaps. Undefeated Illinois is 22nd, behind two-loss Notre Dame, while Auburn is 17th. Undefeated Kansas State is 24th (see above) and SMU is on the ballot at 25th. Yeah...

What were you thinking? Ron Higgins, Memphis Commercial Appeal

Ron, I feel for you. You probably have to watch Memphis Tigers football closely and have to do so more often than anyone. That's rough but you still have to vote in the AP Poll. You didn't turn in a ballot this week, causing some angst back in the office for those that coordinate and release the thing we have to rip to shreds every Monday on CBSSports.com. Remember, every vote counts and, unlike the state of Florida, we know how to count them. Thanks! (P.S. if you want me to email a reminder, I'll do so!)

Team bias

Our tech team at CBSSports.com is pretty awesome and came up with this neat tool to take a look at team and region bias in the AP Poll. Check it out below, it's a fun thing to play around with.





Posted on: October 5, 2011 6:19 pm
 

SMU commemorates TCU win with $40.33 ticket offer

Posted by Jerry Hinnen



They say he who laughs last laughs best. And in this week's war of words between TCU's Gary Patterson and cross-town rivals SMU, we're awarding the Mustangs the last, best laugh.

That's not for lack of effort on Patterson's part. In the wake of SMU's 40-33 overtime victory Saturday, Patterson lashed out at everyone and everything involved in the game that wasn't Frog-related, including SMU, SMU "people," SMU head coach June Jones, former SMU head coach Phil Bennett, SMU receiver Darius Johnson, the Conference USA officials that worked the game, and Conference USA itself.

"We’ve let them come over and talked about how we do things academically and how we do things with the stadium and everything to try to make their program better and their way of thanking us for that is to cut us down," Patterson said in one typical quote. "I don’t think they should ever look for anymore help from anybody from over here ever again."

As Jones himself noted Wednesday, Patterson's outburst has already helped the Mustangs, by helping ensure that 2012's SMU-hosted "Battle for the Iron Skillet" draws far more attention -- and theoretically sells far more tickets -- than it would have otherwise. But the ensuing coverage has also helped get the word out about Mustangs' new offer for fans looking to purchase tickets to SMU's remaining 2011 home games. We'll let the official SMU athletic site explain the "Iron Skillet Special":

On the heels of winning the Iron Skillet, SMU has cooked up a special $40.33 ticket plan that offers fans a ticket for its four remaining home games at a special rate that highlights SMU's big 40-33 win over rival and 20th-ranked TCU last Saturday.

This "Iron Skillet Special" allows fans to catch every minute of the four remaining home games for just $40.33.

If you're keeping track, that's three different repetitions of the numbers "40" and "33" in just two sentences.

Patterson is more than welcome to air his grievances over the officiating and Jones' and Johnson's comments. But in the end, those two numbers are what both he and the Mustangs are going to ultimately remember about the game, and kudos are due SMU for going out of their way to remind their fans (and TCU's) of that.

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