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Tag:Houston
Posted on: January 18, 2012 4:32 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2012 4:39 pm
 

Texas A&M, Notre Dame most overrated in 2011

Now that the 2011 college football season is finally completed – Bobby Hebert’s done ranting about Les Miles, right? – let’s take a look at how smart or, make that clueless,  the voters in the Associated Press poll were before the season.

I was one of the 60 voters that participated in the AP poll. Each summer we’re asked to produce a Top 25 out of thin air. And then come January, we discover we’re usually as accurate as a non-fiction piece from James Frey.

Surprisingly, though, this year we did a fairly decent job of predicting the future or, if you prefer, the teams did a decent job of living up to their preseason rankings.

First the good.

We nailed it! Of the AP’s preseason Top 25 teams, three schools – No. 7 Stanford, No. 14 TCU and No. 19 Georgia – finished with the same ranking in the final AP poll.

Missed it by this much: Of the remaining 22 teams ranked in the preseason, we were off by only three spots or less on six schools: Alabama (preseason No. 2, finished No. 1), Oregon (preseason No. 3, finished No. 4), LSU (preseason No. 4, finished No. 2), Boise State (preseason No. 5, finished No. 8), Wisconsin (preseason No. 10, finished No. 11) and South Carolina (preseason No. 12, finished No. 9).

At this point I’d like to mention of the preseason top 19 teams, nearly half (nine) finished within three spots in the final AP rankings. Not bad. Which brings me too …

Wow, were we wrong: Of the remaining 16 teams ranked in the preseason Top 25, nine schools finished in the final Top 25, but were nowhere close to their preseason rankings. No. 1 Oklahoma finished 16th, No. 6 Florida State finished 23rd, No. 9 Oklahoma State finished third, No. 10 Nebraska finished No. 24, No. 13 Virginia Tech finished No. 21, No. 15 Arkansas finished fifth, No. 17 Michigan State finished 11th, No. 24 West Virginia finished No. 17 and No. 25 USC finished No. 6.

That leaves seven schools that were ranked in the preseason Top 25 but plummeted out of the rankings by season’s end because (take your pick) they choked under the pressure of a preseason Top 25 ranking, didn’t deserve to be ranked, were overrated, underachieved or all of the above.

We/they totally blew it: Here they are: the not-so-Magnificent Seven teams that were ranked in the preseason Top 25 but ended the season outside the Top 25. No. 8 Texas A&M, No. 16 Notre Dame, No. 18 Ohio State, No. 20 Mississippi State, No. 21 Missouri, No. 22 Florida and No. 23 Auburn all finished out of the Top 25.

We never saw them coming: There were 48 schools that received at least one vote in the preseason Top 25 poll. Yet, there were four schools that did not receive a single preseason vote that still finished in the final top 25: Baylor (finishing No. 13), Kansas State (finishing No. 15), Clemson (finishing No. 22) and Cincinnati (finishing No. 25).

Three other schools received Top 25 preseason votes and were not in the preseason Top 25 but finished in the AP final poll: No. 12 Michigan, No. 18 Houston and No. 20 Southern Miss.

So who were the biggest surprises and disappointments of 2011? Look no further than the Big 12, which had the nation's two most pleasant surprises in Baylor and Kansas State and the nation's biggest disappointment in Texas A&M.

Based on their AP preseason rankings, the biggest surprises in 2011: Baylor, Kansas State, Clemson (yes, even with the Orange Bowl seal-clubbing), Michigan, Cincinnati, USC and Houston. The biggest disappointments: Texas A&M, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Mississippi State, Florida, Arizona State, Miami, Utah, Iowa, Florida State, N.C. State and Oklahoma.

Listed below are the 48 schools that received a vote in the preseason Top 25 and the difference of how many spots better (+) or worse (-) it finished in the final Top 25 rankings. Following the school is each team’s preseason and final ranking. If a school started unranked and finished unranked, it was considered starting/finishing at No. 49.

Diff School (Pre-Final ranking)
+36 Baylor (NR-13)
+34 Kansas State (NR-15)
+27 Clemson (NR-22)
+26 Michigan (38-12)
+24 Cincinnati (NR-25)
+19 USC (25-6)
+18 Houston (36-18)
+15 Virginia (NR-34)
+11 Southern Miss (31-20)
+13 Northern Illinois (41-28)
+10 Arkansas (15-5)
+7 West Virginia (24-17)
+7 Brigham Young (33-26)
+6 Oklahoma State (9-3)
+6 Michigan State (17-11)
+3 South Carolina (12-9)
+2 LSU (4-2)
+1 Alabama (2-1)
+1 Wisconsin (11-10)
0 Stanford (7-7)
0 TCU (14-14)
0 Georgia (19-19)
-1 Oregon (3-4)
-3 Boise State (5-8)
-3 Nevada (46-NR)
-3 Northwestern (46-NR)
-3 Washington (46-NR)
-4 Auburn (23-27)
-4 Texas (26-30)
-5 Arizona (44-NR)
-5 Maryland (44-NR)
-6 Penn State (27-33)
-6 Tulsa (43-NR)
-8 Virginia Tech (13-21)
-8 Missouri (21-29)
-8 Hawaii (41-NR)
-9 UCF (40-NR) 5
-10 Tennessee (39-NR)
-12 Pittsburgh (37-NR)
-14 Nebraska (10-24)
-14 Air Force (35-NR)
-15 Oklahoma (1-16)
-16 N.C. State (33-NR)
-17 Florida State (6-23)
-17 Iowa (32-NR)
-19 Utah (30-NR) 25
-20 Miami (29-NR)
-21 Arizona State (28-NR)
-27 Florida (22-NR)
-29 Mississippi State (20-NR)
-31 Ohio State (18-NR)
-33 Notre Dame (16-NR)
-41 Texas A&M (8-NR)



Posted on: January 9, 2012 11:24 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2012 11:25 pm
 

Alabama, LSU, Okla State top my AP ballot

NEW ORLEANS – Based on Alabama’s dominating performance in Monday night’s BCS title game, the Crimson Tide are ranked No. 1 on my final Associated Press ballot.

Alabama (12-1) was ranked No. 3 on my final regular season ballot, but the Tide were impressive enough to leap LSU and Oklahoma State. LSU (13-1) may have had the most impressive regular season in college football history, but I only ranked the Tigers No. 2

Despite Oklahoma State’s victory against Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl, I dropped the Cowboys from No. 2 to No. 3. Their victory wasn’t dominating enough for me to keep Oklahoma State (12-1) in my top two.

Here is my final AP ballot for 2011. Last week’s rankings in parenthesis.
 
1. Alabama (3)
The Crimson Tide finished 12-1, defeating LSU in the BCS title game.

2. LSU (1)
The Tigers finished 13-1, losing to Alabama in the BCS title game.

3. Oklahoma State (2)
The Cowboys finished 12-1, defeating Stanford 41-38 in overtime in the Fiesta Bowl.

4. Oregon (4)
The Ducks finished 12-2, defeating Wisconsin 45-38 in the Rose Bowl.

5. Boise State (6)
The Broncos finished 12-1, defeating Arizona State 56-24 in Las Vegas Bowl.

6. Arkansas (8)
The Razorbacks finished 11-2, defeating Kansas State 29-16 in the Cotton Bowl.

7. USC (9)
The Trojans finished 10-2 and were not eligible for a bowl game.

8. Stanford (5)
The Cardinal finished 11-2, losing to Oklahoma State 41-38 in overtime in the Fiesta Bowl.

9. South Carolina (10)
The Gamecocks finished 11-2, defeating Nebraska 30-13 in the Capital One Bowl.

10. Wisconsin (7)
The Badgers finished 11-3, losing to Oregon 45-38 in the Rose Bowl.

11. Michigan (12)
The Wolverines finished 11-2, defeating Virginia Tech 23-20 in overtime in the Sugar Bowl.

12. Michigan State (15)
The Spartans finished 11-3, defeating Georgia 33-30 in triple overtime in the Outback Bowl.

13. Baylor (13)
The Bears finished 10-3, defeating Washington 67-56 in the Alamo Bowl.

14. TCU (17)
The Horned Frogs finished 11-2, defeating Louisiana Tech 31-24 in the Poinsettia Bowl.

15. Georgia (16)
The Bulldogs finished 10-4, losing to Michigan State 33-30 in triple overtime in the Outback Bowl.

16. Oklahoma (20)
The Sooners finished 10-3, defeating Iowa 31-14 in the Insight Bowl.

17. Kansas State (11)
The Wildcats finished 10-3, losing to Arkansas 29-16 in the Cotton Bowl.

18. West Virginia (24)
The Mountaineers finished 10-3, defeating Clemson 70-33 in the Orange Bowl.

19. Florida State (19)
The Seminoles finished 9-4, defeating Notre Dame 18-14 in the Champs Sports Bowl.

20. Southern Miss (21)
The Golden Eagles finished 12-2, defeating Nevada 24-17 in the Hawaii Bowl.

21. Houston (22)
The Cougars finished 12-1, defeating Penn State 30-14 in the Ticket City Bowl.

22. Nebraska (18)
The Cornhuskers finished 9-4, losing to South Carolina 30-13 in the Capital One Bowl.

23. Clemson (14)
The Tigers finished 10-4, losing to West Virginia 70-33 in the Orange Bowl.

24. Virginia Tech (23)
The Hokes finished 11-3, losing to Michigan 23-20 in overtime in the Sugar Bowl.

25. Cincinnati (NR)
The Bearcats finished 10-3, defeating Vanderbilt 31-24 in the Liberty Bowl.



Posted on: December 8, 2011 1:50 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2011 1:54 pm
 

Notre Dame football remaining independent

NEW YORK – Notre Dame to the ACC? Notre Dame to the Big Ten? How about Notre Dame to the Big 12 or SEC?

It’s not going to happen, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said Thursday.

The Irish plan to remain an independent in football and are confident with the future of the Big East after the league introduced five new members Wednesday. The majority of Notre Dame’s non-football schools compete in the Big East, which allows Notre Dame to be an independent in football.

However, there had been some speculation that because of the league's uncertainty, Notre Dame might be forced to join another conference in football.

“We’re thrilled with the announcement of the Big East’s new members and we think it delivers on the (league’s) stability,” Swarbrick told CBSSports.com. “It’s great news for the Big East and it’s a great home for us for most of our sports.”

The Big East announced Wednesday Boise State and San Diego State would join the league in football-only in 2013 and add Houston, UCF and SMU in all sports. By the Big East remaining together, it allows Notre Dame to compete as a Big East member in virtually all sports but football, while remaining a football independent.

“Father (John) Jenkins was trying to provide leadership to help the Big East navigate through this period of time,” Swarbrick said of Notre Dame’s president. “We welcome the new Big East members and we think it speaks to the future vitality and stability of the Big East.”

With the addition of Houston, UCF and SMU in 2013 and if West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Syracuse remain in the league until June 30, 2014 as scheduled, that means during the 2013-14 school year the Big East would have at least 19 basketball members.

“It doesn’t scare me,” Swarbrick said. “You could figure out a way to set up the schedule. The amount of time they’ve spent determining how many teams will play in the Big East tournament is another story. I think it’s manageable.”

Swarbrick said he would defer to the conference whether West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Syracuse should be allowed to leave a year early in 2013 when the new members are added.

The biggest question Swarbrick said he gets from the media and when he travels around the country at speaking engagements is whether the Irish will remain an independent in football.

He estimated he speaks each year at between 80-100 Notre Dame clubs or fundraisers in association with a Fighting Irish game.

“You can’t do a Q/A without one of those (questions about if Notre Dame is joining a conference),” Swarbrick said. “They (Notre Dame’s fan base) are pretty clear: they want status quo and national championships.

“It’s easy,” he joked.

Status quo as a football independent and national championships.

“But not in that order, that’s exactly right,” Swarbrick said.

Posted on: December 7, 2011 7:38 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 7:43 pm
 

Big East: different look, but same name

NEW YORK – First things first: the Big East Conference, stretching four time zones from the East Coast to the West Coast, is not undergoing a name change.

It will remain the Big East.

It will, however, look much, much different.

On Wednesday, the league announced that Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, SMU and UCF would join the league in 2013. Boise State and San Diego State as football-only members and Houston, SMU and UCF as all-sport members.

And even with the addition of those five schools, Big East commissioner John Marinatto said the league has no plans to allow West Virginia (to the Big 12) and Syracuse and Pittsburgh (to the ACC) to leave before June 30, 2014, as required by conference by-laws.

“The additions that we're making today have no impact whatsoever in regard to our commitment and our belief that our schools that are leaving would fulfill the 27‑month requirement clause that's currently in our bylaws,” Marinatto said. “The bylaws are the bylaws are the bylaws. They represent the agreements between the conference schools. I think there's an understanding amongst all of our schools that an early departure and a violation of those bylaws would do damage to the schools that are remaining. As a result, two of our schools have indicated that they respect that process and they understand it.”

Those two schools are Syracuse and Pittsburgh. West Virginia, however, has filed a lawsuit to join the Big 12 next season. The Big East also has filed a lawsuit to make West Virginia honor the exit agreement until 2014.

West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck told CBSSports.com Wednesday that even if the league compromised and allowed the Mountaineers to leave a year early in 2013, their plans are still to join the Big 12 next season.

“That doesn’t change,” Luck told CBSSports.com.

Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross said his school is prepared to honor the 27-month exit agreement, but told CBSSports.com “we’re just open to seeing what happens.”

“They’re starting to put together what the new Big East will look like,” Gross said. “As they go forward to put together new multi-media deals, they’re going to need us to move out of the way. We’re waiting for that.”

Marinatto said that was not the case. So if West Virginia, Pitt and Syracuse must remain in the league through June 30, 2014, that means the Big East in 2013 would consist of at least 13 teams in football and 19 schools in basketball.

Officials at Air Force, which was a target of the Big East as a football-only member, told the Gazette Wednesday, that it would remain in the Mountain West. Navy, however, remains a viable target, but won’t make any decisions this week that would take attention away from Saturday’s Army-Navy game.

The new Big East is certainly bigger than any conference out there. It’s got a bigger footprint than even Bigfoot.

“We've envisioned the premise that we could theoretically on any given Saturday have four kickoffs that don't compete with each other,” Marinatto said. “We think, as I mentioned earlier, that's a very powerful model as we move forward in our upcoming TV negotiations.”

Those will begin in 2012. The Big East first must give ESPN the first opportunity as its currents rights holder and if they don’t reach a deal by November 2012 then the Big East could negotiate with other networks such as Fox or NBC/Comcast.

NCAA President Mark Emmert, without specially mentioning the Big East, discussed schools leaving non-automatic BCS qualifying conferences (such as Boise State, Houston, San Diego State, UCF and SMU) for an automatic qualifying BCS conference such as the Big East.

“There’s a lot of motivation’s going on (with expansion), clearly the BCS automatic qualifying position is driving a lot of this,” Emmert said at the IMG Forum at the Marriott Marquis. “Nobody wants to lose their AQ rights in the BCS and, of course, one of the ironies is the BCS is going to be refined again (in 2014).”

And if there remains BCS AQ conferences at that time, the Big East feels strongly it will remain one.

“Part of our objectives in expansion was to create the best conference we could both on the football side as well as other sports,” Marinatto said. “We recognize obviously the departure of the schools leaving the conference affected us. But we always felt confident that if we made the right moves, we would keep our BCS AQ status and we've done that.”

Posted on: December 7, 2011 4:41 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 6:03 pm
 

C-USA, Mountain West all-sports merger on horizon

NEW YORK – With the Mountain West and Conference USA losing at least five members to the Big East, those two leagues are now looking at an all-sports merger instead of a full-scale football expansion as originally planned, sources told CBSSports.com.

Conference USA and the Mountain West initially planned to combine into a separate football-only league with between 20 and 24 members and conducted an Oct. 15 press conference to announce the news. The winners from C-USA and the Mountain West would meet in a playoff with, they hoped, the winner earning a BCS bowl berth.

A BCS bowl berth, however, would have had to be approved by the BCS.

However, that plan has lost steam by the loss of Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, SMU and UCF to the Big East. Instead, C-USA and the Mountain West are considering a merger in all sports. Sources have indicated that Craig Thompson, the current commissioner of the Mountain West, would become the commissioner of the new merged league, while Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky would step down.

A vote on the merger could come by next month, sources said.

The merged league would consist of: East Carolina, Marshall, Memphis, Rice, Southern Miss, Tulane, Tulsa, UAB and UTEP from C-USA and Air Force, Colorado State, New Mexico, UNLV and Wyoming from the Mountain West along with new members Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada for a 17-team conference. Air Force was being sought after by the Big East, but the Gazette reported Tuesday evening that the Falcons would remain in the Mountain West.

After the initial merger announcement to as many as 24 schools on Oct. 15, Banowsky e-mailed officials at Conference USA and the Mountain West a week later about a proposed new conference, entitled “BCS and The Big East Expansion (An Alternative Plan).”

“Attached is a document that might find of interest regarding conference realignment,” Banowsky wrote on the e-mail, obtained by CBSSports.com.

That eight-page document presented two possible conferences mergers: one with 28 teams and another with 32 teams. They included all the Big East, Conference USA and Mountain West teams, plus a few other teams from other leagues. The plan was never endorsed by the Big East and didn’t get much further than being reported by various media outlets.

To combat the departures of the five schools, the Mountain West had decided to add San Jose State and Utah State. But adding those schools has now been put on hold, sources said.

Posted on: December 6, 2011 8:49 pm
 

Want to be President? Carry the Big East states

With the 2012 Presidential election upcoming, here is a sure fire way to become the next President of the United States - simply win all the Big East states.

CBSSports.com reported Tuesday that Boise State, San Diego State, UCF, Houston and SMU will join the Big East in 2013. A formal announcement is expected Wednesday.

Bob Elliott, a copy editor at CBSSports.com, did the numbers crunching and discovered the next POTUS only needs to campaign and win the Big East states. Well, that is 15 states after all, including the District of Columbia.

Carrying all 15 states would give the next POTUS the minimum required 270 electoral votes, so don't waste your time campaigning in Iowa - that's Big Ten country. Presidential candidates need to concentrate solely on the Big East.

West Virginia was not included as a Big East state since the Mountaineers are all but officially out the door to the Big 12 - either in 2012 or 2013 or 2014, although Pennsylvania and New York remained as a Big East state because even without Pitt and Syracuse to the ACC there still remains Big East schools in each respective state.

Here's the breakdown of electoral votes by each state with that will have a Big East member in 2013.

State Electoral votes (Big East member)
California 55 (San Diego State)
Idaho 4 (Boise State)
Texas 38 (SMU, Houston)
Wisconsin 10 (Marquette)
Illinois 20 (DePaul)
Indiana 11 (Notre Dame)
Kentucky 8 (Louisville)
Ohio 18 (Cincinnati)
New York 29 (St. John's)
Pennsylvania 20 (Villanova)
Connecticut 7 (UConn)
Rhode Island 4 (Providence)
New Jersey 14 (Rutgers, Seton Hall)
Florida 29 (South Florida, UCF)
District of Columbia 3 (Georgetown)

The next President of the United States approved of this message.
Posted on: December 6, 2011 12:50 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 9:05 am
 

Boise State, 4 others to join Big East in 2013

Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, SMU and UCF will join the Big East Conference in 2013, sources told CBSSports.com.

The announcement will be made Wednesday. The league will hold a 5 p.m. ET teleconference to formally discuss the new members. Realignment map: The new Big East

Boise State and San Diego State will join the Big East as football-only members, while Houston, SMU and UCF will join as all-sport members. Boise State is expected to put its non-football sports in the WAC, while San Diego State would place its non-football sports in the Big West, sources told CBSSports.com.

With the addition of those five schools -- minus the departures of West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Syracuse -- the Big East will have 10 football members.

With those five schools on board, Navy is expected to join as a football-only member -- possibly as soon as next week -- to boost the football membership to 11 schools.

The Big East hopes to add Air Force as its 12th football school -- as a football-only member -- but the Falcons still remain undecided.

If the Big East cannot get Air Force, Temple would be a likely candidate to become the Big East's 12th member.

Even with the new schools, sources also told CBSSports.com that the Big East still plans to make West Virginia, Syracuse and Pittsburgh honor the league's 27-month exit requirement and stay in the league until June 30, 2014. Big East commissioner John Marinatto has said previously the league could have more than 12 football members and 16 basketball members during the 2013 season.

However, West Virginia AD Oliver Luck told CBSSports.com two weeks ago the Mountaineers are planning to join the Big 12 next season.

"We're planning on all sports spending the 2012-13 academic year in the Big 12," Luck said. "The Big 12 folks haven't given us a [deadline] date. We're 100 percent focused on competing in the Big 12 and with this season closing, have time to prepare for next year.

"Our coaches are starting to think about Kansas State, Oklahoma and Texas and all the other schools we'll be facing in the Big 12 next year."

Both West Virginia and the Big East have filed lawsuits. West Virginia claims it should not have to honor the 27-month commitment, while the Big East contends West Virginia may not leave before 2014.

Syracuse and Pittsburgh have not filed a lawsuit to join the ACC early, but are monitoring the West Virginia situation. If WVU leaves before 2014, Syracuse and Pittsburgh would do the same, sources said.



Posted on: December 4, 2011 2:56 am
Edited on: December 4, 2011 2:57 am
 

LSU, Okla. State atop my AP ballot

STILLWATER, Okla. – With Oklahoma State’s dominating victory against Oklahoma, earning the Cowboys their first Big 12 championship, I moved OSU up to No. 2 on my final regular season Associated Press ballot.

The final AP poll will be released on Jan. 10.

Last week’s rankings are in parenthesis.

1. LSU (1)

2. Oklahoma State (3)

3. Alabama (2)

4. Oregon (4)

5. Stanford (5)

6. Boise State (6)

7. Wisconsin (11)

8. Arkansas (7)

9. USC (10)

10. South Carolina (13)

11. Kansas State (16)

12. Michigan (17)

13. Baylor (18)

14. Clemson (22)

15. Michigan State (9)

16. Georgia (12)

17. TCU (19)

18. Nebraska (20)

19. Florida State (23)

20. Oklahoma (15)

21. Southern Miss (NR)

22. Houston (8)

23. Virginia Tech (14)

24. West Virginia (25)

25. Louisville (24)

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