Posted on: December 7, 2011 4:41 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 6:03 pm
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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 4:16 pm
Edited on: December 4, 2011 4:40 pm
 

Colorado State fires Steve Fairchild

Colorado State coach Steve Fairchild was fired Sunday after four seasons at CSU, sources told CBSSports.com.

Fairchild was 16-33 with the Rams, including finishing 3-9 the past three seasons. Colorado State lost its season finale to Wyoming, 22-19, Saturday.

Earlier this week, Colorado State fired athletic director Paul Kowalczyk. He was replaced by Jack Graham.





Category: NCAAF
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)

Posted on: December 2, 2011 5:36 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 5:39 pm
 

Luck's dad: It's not end of world (if no Heisman)

TAMPA, Fla. – Oliver Luck, the father of Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, said his son is not worried about the upcoming Heisman ceremony, but instead more concerned about his academics.

Shocking, huh? Not really.

“After the Notre Dame game (Nov. 26), we had brunch on Sunday and he said I’m just focused on school,” said Oliver Luck, also the West Virginia athletic director after the Mountaineers win at South Florida Thursday.

Andrew Luck was the overwhelming preseason favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, which will be awarded Dec. 10. Oliver Luck said while his son has handled the pressure of being the favorite all season, he’s tried not to get too anxious about the upcoming ceremony.

“I’m not anxious,” Oliver Luck said. “There’s nothing you can do about it. My wife and I are fairly relaxed. It would be great if he won the award, but if he didn’t win, someone is more deserving. It’s not the end of the world. I think the voters, I think they do a sincere job of voting for who is most deserving. It’s a subjective award.”

Oliver said he believes his son made the right decision by returning to Stanford this season. And this year couldn’t have gone any better – except for winning the Pac-12 title.

“It was his decision (to return), getting his degree,” Oliver Luck said. “If Stanford is able to stay in a BCS bowl (the Cardinal are expected to go to the Fiesta Bowl), it’s hard to argue with the decision. Most importantly he got his degree. You hate to belabor the point, but it matters.”

Luck is expected to be the first pick in the NFL Draft and the winless Indianapolis Colts would have that first pick. I asked Oliver Luck if he’s started buying any Colts gear.

“No comment,” Luck said, smiling.




Category: NCAAF
Posted on: December 1, 2011 9:23 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 11:25 pm
 

Carl Pelini expected to take FAU job

Nebraska defensive coordinator Carl Pelini has been offered the Florida Atlantic job and is expected to accept the position, sources told CBSSports.com.

The 46-year old Pelini is the brother of Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini. Carl Pelini will replace Howard Schnellenberger, who announced his retirement before the season.

Carl Pelini has been Nebraska’s defensive coordinator since 2008. Before that Pelini was defensive line coach at Ohio from 2005-07, defensive coordinator at Minnesota State in 2004 and a Nebraska graduate assistant in 2003.

From 1987-2002, Pelini was a high school coach in Ohio, except for three seasons (1989-91) as a Kansas State graduate assistant and restricted earnings coach.

This will be Pelini’s first head coaching job since 2002 when he was at Austintown’s Fitch High School in Ohio.

Florida Atlantic (1-10) concludes its season Saturday at home against Louisiana-Monroe.






Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 28, 2011 10:50 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 10:51 pm
 

SDSU in no hurry w/Big East, BYU no Big 12 offer

San Diego State and the Big East began discussions last week about the Aztecs joining the league as a football-only member, but don’t expect the Aztecs to make a decision anytime soon.

Meanwhile BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said Monday night the Cougars never had an invitation to the Big 12 and the school  is “at an impasse (with the Big East) and not able to move any further.”

College football industry sources said San Diego State officials informed the Big East it will need some time before determining whether to join the league as a football-only member.

“They might not be in a hurry,” a source said.

The Big East is looking at San Diego State as a football-only member after the Big East decided to “move on” from negotiations with the Cougars after BYU wanted to retain its television rights for its home football games.

Sources said San Diego State “is still very excited about the opportunity” to join the Big East, but estimated it could take anywhere from “two to three weeks” to “a few months.”

The Big East is pursuing the Aztecs because Boise State has said it wants a guarantee of a Western partner before joining the league.

UCF, Houston and SMU are prepared to join the league but want to join in a group with Boise State. So those three schools are waiting on Boise State while the Broncos are waiting on a Western partner – either San Diego State or Air Force – and Navy is waiting until those other schools join before it commits.

BYU began discussions with the Big East after the Big 12 “decided to go in a different direction,” Holmoe said Monday night on BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall’s radio show.

“At this time things have slowed down (with the Big East),” Holmoe said. “I think it’s apparent.”

Holmoe said BYU and the Big East were able to go through a number of issues very quickly.

“But there were some uncertainties when it got to the end," he said. "Some television issues, and other issues. We are at an impasse and couldn’t go any further.

“They were eager to make this happen, to get BYU on board. We weren’t ready to do this. We gave them a proposal – I’m not sure exactly how it got out – we could do that, we could sign on right now if there were TV rights for our home games. But that would have been certain; we would have known exactly what we were getting into.

“We tried to come up with a possible solution, once we reached an impasse.”

Holmoe also said BYU never had any television discussions with the Big 12.

“We didn’t get too far down the road (with the Big 12),” Holmoe said.

Even though, the Cougars left the Mountain West last season to become an independent in football, Holmoe and Mendenhall both said the school sounded eager to join a conference.

“We’re continuing looking for conference affiliation if it were to come along, we’re not hanging posters on conference doors,” Holmoe said. “We’re going to keep our eyes open.”

Mendenhall added that “at some point, some one in a conference will say that’s a ‘very unique brand that wins a lot of football games that has a worldwide following and has tremendous assets and we want them.’ ”

A source told CBSSports.com last week that the Big East had “moved on” and was no longer pursuing BYU as a football member.

“The Big East, I respect them so much,” Holmoe said. “I’m not in position to tell them where things are.”


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