Posted on: October 21, 2011 6:28 pm

BCS games to watch

This week's BCS games to watch:

North Carolina at Clemson -- The Tigers have three of their final four on the road, so it is important for them to take care of business at home.

Oklahoma St at Missouri -- This is arguably the toughest game left for the Cowboys before their season-ending showdown with Oklahoma.  Baylor and Kansas St are on the schedule too, but those games are at home.

Wisconsin at Michigan St -- The Spartans are probably best equipped to defend the Badgers, but they will have to do it without suspended DE William Gholston.

Washington at Stanford -- I'm not a bettor, but I can't believe Stanford is a three-touchdown favorite.  Washington (5-1) has played well behind QB Keith Price.  The Huskies almost took down Nebraska in Lincoln.

Auburn at LSU -- No Honey Badger.  No Spencer Ware.  So, LSU will be shorthanded.  This could be a dangerous spot for the Bayou Bengals.

USC at Notre Dame -- No BCS impact for the Trojans.  They are not eligible for the post-season.  However, they can all but end their rivals' chances of getting to the BCS with an upset in South Bend.
Posted on: October 21, 2011 10:12 am
Edited on: October 21, 2011 4:20 pm

DI Bowl Task Force proposes changes

The Division I Bowl Task Force that the NCAA put together last April in response to the scandal at the Fiesta Bowl that took down former executive director John Junker has made it recommendations.  If they are accepted, they will definitely change the bowl landscape.

The biggest change, although less obvious to the casual fan, is how bowl games will be certified.  The task force recommended doing away with the NCAA Bowl Licensing Committee, which has been certifying games since 2004 based on things like minimum attendance and financial guarantees.  The task force is instead recommending that things like that be left to the conference and the bowls to negotiate among themselves. 

Instead, the NCAA will set criteria based on governance, community support and marketing.  Each bowl would be responsible for filing reports with the NCAA certifying that they are in compliance with those standards, and the NCAA staff will make periodic audits of the bowls to ensure compliance as well.  The governance standards are to ensure things like the campaign contribution scandal at the Fiesta Bowl don’t happen again.

Other changes that will be much more obvious include a recommendation that the bowl schedule match better with the academic calendar.  The task force recommended that all bowl games be played in a three-week window, the exact dates of which would vary from year to year, but the idea is that games would not start until after final exams and would end before the start of classes (at most schools).

That tight of a window would most impact the BCS title game, and the bowl that hosts it.  Right now, those games are scheduled about a week apart to give the host bowl time to properly accommodate both games.  The new calendar could push the title game back much closer to Jan. 1st, which would force the host bowl to move its original game earlier as well, or try to squeeze two games in on a much tighter schedule.

This year’s bowls start on Saturday, Dec. 17th and end on Monday, Jan. 9th, a period of 23 days.

The other change that could have a major impact on the bowls is one that was actually adopted in August by the D-I Board of Directors, which says that teams must have an APR of 930 or better to participate in the postseason.  That could increase the odds of there not being enough eligible teams to fill the games.  There is no procedure in place for what to do if something like that happens, and the task force did not recommend one.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: October 20, 2011 2:54 pm

Mountain West 16-team playoff close, but no cigar

The Mountain West conference proposed a 16-team playoff to the other conference commissioners last September, which will most likely get discussed this April, when the BCS has its annual meeting.

Personally, I like the idea of going straight to a proper 16-team playoff if the poobahs in charge ever decide to get rid of the BCS.  If you're going to bit the bullet and create a playoff, you might as well get it right from the start.  Four- and 8-team models aren't inclusive enough to get full buy in.

The nice thing about MWC commissioner Craig Thompson's plan is that it is big enough to include all 11 conference champions.  Wait -- ten conference champions after his league merges with Conference USA.  However, his plan then makes the mistake of failing to include all of the conference champions.  Instead, his plan requires conference champions to be in the top 30 of some committee vote.  This committee is the selection committee.  Its 1-30 ranking would be used to select and seed the tournament.

That's too much work, plus it's politically expedient to include all the conference champs.  The basketball committee model is much better.  Just give the committee the ten conference winners, let them select the six at-large teams and seed the bracket.  Easy peasy.

His proposal also has a limit of a maximum of three teams per conference, which is probably unnecessary.  The odds of one league having three of the best six at-large teams are pretty small.

Another place his plan fails is trying to mix bowls and playoffs.  Bowls aren't playoffs and not meant to be part of them.  Bowls are week-long, chamber of commerce fueled events.  They're vacations.  Playoffs are business trips.  Thompson wants the four BCS bowls to host quarterfinals.  That is after the first round is played at campus sites, and before the semifinals are played at campus sites.  There is no need for a neutral site round in the middle of the tournament.  Just do it like every other level of football and play the whole thing at campus sites until the final.

The powers that be aren't ready for something like this yet anyway, and may not be for some time.  However, if they ever do go to a 16-team playoff, include everyone, skip the bowls, and just play it.
Posted on: October 20, 2011 7:56 am

Blabbing with Brando, Barnhart

I spent part of the day yesterday talking about the first release of the BCS with Tim Brando and Tony Barnhart.  Click on their names to see the clips.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: BCS
Posted on: October 16, 2011 10:02 am
Edited on: October 16, 2011 9:14 pm

First BCS Coming Today

The first official release of the BCS is now out.  LSU did a little better in the computers that I expected, and Oklahoma slightly worse.  As a result, LSU is at the top of the rankings by a whopping .0003 over Alabama.

Oklahoma is third, and archrival Oklahoma State is fourth.  The Cowboys, as expected, are the top-rated team in the computers.

Wisconsin is only 11th in the computers, and despite being fourth in both polls, the Badgers come in sixth overall.

Stanford is also suffering in the computer rankings, but the Harris voters are also underwhelmed by the Cardinal.  That has allowed Clemson to sneak ahead of them for the seventh spot.

Oh, did I forget Boise State?  I guess I'm just used to them always being there now.  The Broncos are fifth overall.

We aren't used to seeing Houston.  You have to look pretty far down the list to find the Cougars.  They start out at No. 19.

The only other major undefeated team is Kansas State, and the Wildcats check in at No. 11, behind one-loss teams Arkansas and Oregon.

With so many undefeated teams, you'll see a lot of folks jumping on the panic button with both feet, but these things have a way of working themselves out.  The three Big 12 teams will play each other.  LSU and Alabama meet in a few weeks.  Everyone has tough games left.  It's unusual to have more than two AQ unbeatens at the end of the year.

You can see the rankings for all 120 teams here,  At this time, Wolfe and Massey have not released their complete rankings.  When they do, the chart will get updated, and I will update this post as well.

Posted on: October 15, 2011 12:20 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2011 12:33 pm

Mountain West, C-USA Merger not BCS-Worthy

The Mountan West and Conference USA announced a long-planned, football-only merger yesterday that has as one of its goals acquiring an automatic BCS berth for its champion.

I cannot imagine any chance of that happening.

The Mountain West, on its own, has been hoping to meet the three-part qualification standard for becoming an AQ conference for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.  It looks like that will fall short, although the league should have an opportunity to appeal to the BCS presidential oversight committee.  I can't see any non-political reason for that appeal to be granted.

The qualification standard has three parts and is based on a four-year cycle that ends with the current season.  The parts are the highest ranked team in the league, the average BCS computer rankings of all the teams in the league, and the number of top 25 teams in the league.

If a non-AQ conference finishes the four-year cycle in the top six conferences in the first two categories, it becomes AQ. If it finishes in the top five in one of the two, seventh in the other, and meets a minimum standard in the third category, the league can appeal to the POC.  That's where the MWC stands entering this season.

The Mountain West is in the top five in the highest ranked team category and a distant seventh (yes, well behind the Big East) in the second category.  It is not mathematically possible for the MWC to finish sixth, and it hasn't been a particularly good year for the league anyway.

Conference USA is in a battle for 8th place in this list with the WAC, and both are well behind the MWC in all three categories, and that's the problem for this association's attempt to get an AQ spot in the BCS.  Adding C-USA dilutes the Mountain West.  

That is not even taking into consideration that both leagues are under attack from the Big East, which is looking to grow its membership.

In a semi-related note, the Big East's AQ status is not in doubt for at least two more years, and maybe longer, if it can get its membership numbers up and stabilized.  There is no formal process for removing AQ status from a conference like there is for adding it.  That doesn't mean the BCS poobahs can't create a process or strip a league of its AQ status without one, but it will be at least the 2014 season before that would happen.

In an effort to prevent that, the Big East will invite Air Force, Boise St (MWC), UCF (C-USA) and Navy to join its ranks next week, Brett McMurphy posted yesterday.  Other reports say that SMU and Houston (C-USA) will recieve invites as well.  That doesn't mean those invites will be accepted.

There may be other, perfectly good reasons for these two leagues to work together like this (TV, scheduling, etc), but getting a BCS berth for its champion looks like a pipe dream.

Posted on: October 13, 2011 3:52 pm
Edited on: October 13, 2011 8:04 pm

Preseason Bracket

Is it too early to speculate who will make the NCAA tournament? Who will be the top seeds? What will the great matchups be? Heck, yes, it is, but who cares? It’s still fun.

This bracket is done the same way I do the ones that you’ll see as we get into the season, except for two things: there is no RPI data to base anything on, and I didn’t make an effort to avoid things like regular season rematches. However, some things you can always count on. Death, Taxes, Seth Greenberg getting his heart broken.

I took a few fliers on conference tournament upset winners.  Included among those are Indiana St, which did it last year, and Butler, which figures to take a step back toward the pack this year.

Another thing I didn't do, and the committee doesn't do, is put juicy matchups together.  I do have Michigan St-Detroit and a possible Purdue-Notre Dame game, but I didn't even realize I did that until I put the teams in the bracket.

I think we'll all be surprised if three of those top four seeds aren't there come March.  North Carolina, Kentucky and Ohio St look almost unassailable, barring injury, suspension or the return of Larry Drew, Jr.  The fourth one could be up for grabs.  I like the Big East champ, which I peg as Syracuse, but certainly UConn will figure heavy in that chase.

You don't like the bracket, fire away.  If you do like it, let us know that too.

Posted on: October 13, 2011 9:40 am
Edited on: October 13, 2011 3:53 pm


Those of you who are used to coming to this blog for basketball, you will have some company.  This is the new home for my football thoughts as well.

I'll have BCS analysis here (and whatever else falls out of my brain) a few times a week, or more as news dictates.  You can also find my bowl projections and 1-120 computer ranking now.

So, here is a quck look at the BCS games of the week.

Virginia Tech at Wake Forest -- The Demon Deacons are 3-0 in the league -- who would have thought that? -- but they are still an underdog to the Hokies

Oklahoma St at Texas -- The Cowboys figure to get a fight from what should be an angry Longhorn squad.

Kansas St at Texas Tech -- The Wildcats are undefeated and one of the pleasant surprises of the early going.  They will have their hands full with a high-powered Red Raider offense.

Michigan at Michigan St -- I have taken a lot of heat (although less lately) for having Michigan in projected to a BCS bowl since the preseason.  I never thought they would win the league though, and this is a place they may stub their toes.

Ohio St at Illinois -- Illinois may be on upset alert, but Ohio St is on "wheels coming off the season" alert.  The Buckeyes suffered a heartbreaking loss last week, and they don't know what they will get from QB Braxton Miller this week.  Miller was clearly the more effective of the Buckeyes' two signal callers last week.

Arizona St at Oregon -- Both teams are undefeated in the Pac 12, and while this is a cross-division game, it could still be important as the division races go on.

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