Posted on: November 17, 2011 7:53 am
Edited on: November 17, 2011 7:54 am

How Case Keenum can win the Heisman

He’s 6-foot-2, 210, in his sixth year of eligibility from Abilene, Texas. Houston quarterback Case Keenum has two 5,000-yard passing seasons to his credit, leads the nation in that category this season and already is the game’s all-time leading passer (17,537 yards), passing touchdowns (144) and total offense (18,434).

If the Heisman Trophy is considered a lifetime achievement award, how does Keenum not get a trip to New York as a finalist? At least. He has battled through a knee injury that ended his 2010 season prematurely. Barring a loss, Keenum can probably book a trip to Marriott Marquis in Times Square for the ceremony.


Here’s why:

1. With an undefeated season, Houston would become the new non-BCS darling. The school would be the 46th ever to go to a BCS bowl in the 14-year history of the postseason arrangement.

Look what BCS status did for Boise and Utah. Boise quarterback Kellen Moore was a Heisman finalist in 2010. Utah’s Alex Smith finished fourth in the voting in 2004.

2. Exposure. If you didn’t know Keenum, you will  now. GameDay is in Houston this week and will certainly yank a tear or two out of your ducts in regards to the married 23-year-old.

3. If you’re into that sort of thing, Keenum is an NFL prospect. Guys who throw for almost 18,000 yards get into NFL camps, at least. The previous record holder, Timmy Chang, did. So did the previous, previous record holder, Ty Detmer.

4. Sheer numbers. Keenum passed for nine touchdowns against Rice. OK, it’s Rice but it’s still nine touchdowns. And coach Kevin Sumlin called off the dogs too. Over his last five games, Keenum has 23 touchdowns. That’s at least as many as 101 FBS schools over that span.

5. Keenum is on track to become the most efficient single-season passer in history. His current 193.4 rating is ahead of record-holder Colt Brennan of Hawaii (186 in 2006).

6. He is fourth in both the current straw poll vote and  Scripps-Howard News Service Heisman poll.

7. Houston has its BCS scalp, beating UCLA to start the season. The Bruins are still in the running to win the Pac-12 South.

8. It’s about time. The last non-BCS player to win it was Detmer in 1990.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 15, 2011 6:07 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2011 2:12 pm

Harvard's Murphy interested in Penn State

Harvard coach Tim Murphy would “definitely” be interested in “looking into” the vacant Penn State job, according to a source close to the situation.

It is not known if Murphy is being considered by Penn State for the job but has been mentioned in reports because of his success at the non-scholarship Ivy League program. The source did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation and because the coaching search to replace Joe Paterno is in its earliest stages.

“I think he’d definitely be interested in looking into it,” the source said Tuesday. “He’d have to look … at this one. He’s got plenty of years left in him. He’s absolutely interested in exploring it.”

Murphy, 54, has long been admired by his peers. On Saturday, the Crimson won their sixth Ivy League title under Murphy. His name popped up at Michigan before Rich Rodriguez was hired, at Notre Dame before Charlie Weis was hired and at Boston College before Frank Spaziani was hired. Murphy’s name has been connected to at least six major jobs since 2001.

“He’s not a name that’s on top of everybody’s mind, but maybe that’s the whole point,” the source said.

Murphy once told that he is determined not to repeat his experience at Cincinnati. He took the job at a program hit with NCAA probation in 1989 as the youngest coach, 32, in then Division I-A. He abruptly quit after 1993 to take the Harvard job. The reason was to be near his terminally-ill mother. He never left Harvard.

Murphy is 119-59 at the school. 

Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick thought his college coach would be a good fit at Penn State.

"Obviously they’re looking for a guy with a clean record, a guy that cares a lot about academics and the student part of the student-athlete and in that regard I think he’d be a perfect fit ...," Fitzpatrick told Rapid Reporter Mark Ludwiczak, "He possesses all the qualities that I think they would look for.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 14, 2011 5:30 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 5:31 pm

Emmert: Miami being "incredibly cooperative"

Miami has been “incredibly cooperative” in the Nevin Shapiro case, NCAA president Mark Emmert told But at the same time the NCAA’s highest-ranking official reiterated his view that the death penalty should be used as deterrent in certain cases.

Emmert was widely quoted after the Shapiro report broke in August saying, that, hypothetically, the death penalty was an option in the Miami case. He repeated that again recently without speaking specifically about Miami.

“My position hypothetically was, no, you can’t take that [death penalty] off the table,” Emmert told in a one-on-one interview. “We’re going to need whatever penalty structure we need to get people to behave themselves. If that entails – in extraordinary situations – the death penalty, I’m not unwilling to put that on the table.”

When the depth of Shaprio’s influence was revealed, the scandal was called the worst in NCAA history. Since then, there has been competition for that label.

Emmert went out of his way to compliment Miami president Donna Shalala and her role in the ongoing investigation that the NCAA started in the spring. For a sitting NCAA CEO to comment on such a high-profile case as Miami’s is almost unprecedented. For him to drop in compliments in the middle of the case, well, it’s hard to remember if that has ever occurred.

“The reality is that Miami, the university, has been incredibly cooperative,” Emmert said. “[Miami] President Shalala is doing an incredible job of interacting with us. Donna is doing a great job. She is being very, very helpful.”

Emmert did not elaborate, only to say that the NCAA is determined to wipe out third-party influence in football. The Shapiro case is ongoing as is the one involving Houston mentor/talent broker Will Lyles.

Emmert also spoke on other issues:


Conference realignment: “We had a situation a few months ago where it felt like June 1914. Everybody had their hand on the trigger and waiting for somebody to flinch. People weren’t necessarily making rational choices for rational reasons. We watched friendships, collegiality and trust blown up. That’s not the way universities are supposed to handle themselves.”

Emmert was most likely talking about Texas A&M’s June-September fling that resulted in its move to the SEC.

“I’d love to see something like a waiting period almost. Kind of like what you had with the SEC – the Securities and Exchange Commission. If you buy a company you have to vet it out. We saw that with Missouri. ‘Yeah, we’re thinking about this.’ It was a pretty rational process.

“We don’t have a formal role in all that [conference realignment]. Universities have to be able to make those decisions. Nobody should tell a university who they’re going to be a conference affiliate with. What I want is a system or a process by which schools can make up their minds -- optimally, deliberately without any rancor and politics of it.”


Recent NCAA reforms: “This is really the first wave. I’m extremely pleased. It was heartening to see the kind of support a pretty big change in a short period of time garnered … We made a clear statement about where I’ll our values were. The next wave will be around the rulebook, be around the way we do enforcement and the way we insist on integrity.”

On some criticisms of those reforms: (Some critics have said the $2,000 stipend was instituted too soon and/or won’t make much of a difference.) “You know the history of the NCAA. In the past when we wanted to make some decisions we started down a good road but then you say, ‘There’s this wrinkle and that wrinkle.’ By the time you’re done, you’ve got mush. This time we’re saying this is where we want to be.”

On pending legislation to address the Cecil Newton situation: (There is pending legislation that would label a parent a booster/agent if that parent solicited money from a school for the child’s services.) “We’ll see it coming out of this current task force on enforcement and infractions -- language that defines third parties to include family members, guardians, etc. That will have a very, very positive impact … That will be an integral part of the wave of reform around those issues. As you know, the intrusion of third parties…is ubiquitous and can be extremely pernicious. We’ve got to get our arms around it.”

The NCAA’s role in football’s postseason: “We have to be involved all the way along. Even though we don’t govern [FBS] postseason football, we certainly have rules about it. We’re debating right now the length of the season. How long the bowl season should be. Everybody wants to shrink it a bit. As we’re doing that, we have to then work with the conferences to say, ‘All right, what are you thinking about with the BCS?’ “


His hiring of Nick Saban at LSU in 2000: (Emmert was then LSU’s president.) “His record at Michigan State was very impressive in that he had taken a team that was floundering and having a lot of NCAA problems. By the time he’d spent five years there they were ranked eighth or ninth in the country. They beat Michigan once in a while. That’s a tough place to win at, Michigan State.

“I didn’t know him I hadn’t met him but when I sat with him his football mentality, his analytical nature, the clear game plan for what you needed to do at LSU were just pretty stunning. It was a very, very easy choice.”

Posted on: November 14, 2011 1:27 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 1:29 pm

BCS chair Spanier won't immediately be replaced

BCS officials will not pick an interim replacement for former Penn State president Graham Spanier when they meet Monday in San Francisco.

Spanier was BCS Big Ten rep and chairman of the BCS presidential oversight committee but lost that position last week when he was fired at Penn State. One conference commissioner speculated that replacing Spanier might be the first order of business Monday. But BCS executive director Bill Hancock told that it could be “a few weeks” before a replacement is found.

Spanier had been one of the most respected college CEOs both in academic and athletic circles. He was relieved of duties on Wednesday by the Penn State board of trustees, the same day Joe Paterno was fired.

The oversight committee consists of a presidential representative from each FBS league, plus Notre Dame (12 in all). They consider information from the BCS commissioners, AD advisory group and television partners throughout the year. Monday’s meeting is not expected to be all that newsworthy, although rudimentary discussions are expected to begin on how college football’s postseason will look at the end of the current BCS deal that expires after the 2014 bowls.

More significant meetings will be conducted in January at the site of the BCS title game in New Orleans and in April at the annual BCS meeting.


The 11 current members of the BCS presidential oversight committee and conference they represent:

Scott Cowen - president, Tulane University (Conference USA)
Rev. John Jenkins - president, University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame)
Max Nikias - president, University of Southern California (Pac-12)
Duane Nellis - president, University of Idaho (WAC)
Mark Nordenberg - chancellor, University of Pittsburgh (Big East)
John Peters - president, Northern Illinois University (MAC)
Bill Powers - president, University of Texas (Big 12)
Gary Ransdell - president, Western Kentucky University (Sun Belt)
David Schmidly - president, University of New Mexico (Mountain West)
Charles Steger – president, Virginia Tech (ACC)
Robert Witt - president, University of Alabama (SEC)



Posted on: November 13, 2011 11:54 am
Edited on: November 13, 2011 11:59 am

Power Poll: Week 11; LSU-Bama rematch fever

They weren’t exactly celebrating in Tuscaloosa Saturday night. A win over a lethargic Mississippi State was consoling but it was a side issue.

An LSU-Alabama rematch just became a lot more likely.

Two unbeatens went down (Stanford, Boise State). Alabama is projected to stay solidly at No. 3 in the BCS as the “best” one-loss team in the country. You know what that means: If Oklahoma State cannot, for whatever reason, fulfill its duties as a BCS title game finalist, the Tide will be glad to take over if the Cowboys lose.

This week's Power Poll ...

1. LSU – Tigers 10-0 for the first time since 1958. Quarterback shuffling for the second time in a week.
2. Oklahoma State – If you had Texas Tech and 61 points, you were a big winner. Red Raiders weren’t.
3. Alabama – Trent Richardson stars in The Week After.
4. Oregon – Ducks don’t let Stanford Stadium grass grow between their webbed feet, scorch the Cardinal. Ducks haven’t lost a conference game since 2009.
5. Oklahoma – Loss to Texas Tech looks even worse.
6. Virginia Tech – David Wilson for Heisman?
7. Clemson – Sammy Watkins injured, Tajh Boyd uneven. Tigers still win ACC Atlantic.
8. Stanford – Cardinal are really, really good except when they Oregon. Outscored 105-61 in last two meetings.
9. Arkansas – Armageddon scenario shaping up if Hogs win at LSU.
10. Houston – Look who’s headed to the Sugar Bowl.
11. Boise State – For the second straight season, a crushing November loss with the kicker taking the “starring” role.
12.Nebraska – Huskers competing just fine in the Big Ten. Could win 10 in their first season.
13. Michigan State – Are there any Legends or Leaders left in the Big Ten? Spartans in control of division named after the former following big road win at Iowa.
14. Wisconsin – Russell Wilson back in Heisman race (16 of 17, four touchdowns). Badgers back in Leaders race.
15. South Carolina – Spur Dog cries in the lockerroom. Calls Florida win his sweetest ever. How will that play in Gainesville?
16. Georgia – Dawgs tied for the fourth-longest winning streak in the country.
17. USC – “This has become a big rivalry,” Lane Kiffin says after Washington win. Trojans have also become a resilient team.
18. TCU -- Gary Patterson had more stones than the Broncos had field goals.
19.Penn State – Let the healing begin.
20. Michigan – Where was this against Iowa?
21. Kansas State – In its last four weeks, Wildcats have scored 50 twice and given up 50 twice.
22. Southern Miss – Ole Miss could do worse than hire Eagles’ Larry Fedora.
23. Florida State – The evil Jacory Harris shows up again throwing crippling interception against Noles.
24. Baylor – Bears avoided biggest embarrassment of the day, coming back from 21 down against Kansas.  
25. Notre Dame – To be honest, there was no one else to put here. Irish won on a coin flip.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 11, 2011 3:41 pm

Son of Weekend Watch List 11/11

Things move slowly at Ohio State.

The Olentangy River, the offense, the administration, justice.

On those last two items the football scandal at the school seems to be moving toward some sort of closure. Slowly. On the eve of Saturday’s game at Purdue, the school announced Friday it had received an amended notice of allegations stemming from the dealings of infamous booster Bobby DeGeronimo. Ohio State is now looking squarely at a “failure to monitor” charge from the NCAA.

That revelation was slow enough for the NCAA arrive at. It needed DeGeronimo’s largesse – he reportedly doled out cash and overpaid players for jobs – to determine that the program really had serious issues. Never mind a Big Ten title was won with the aid of ineligible players.

It seems also that Ohio State president Gordon Gee finally got it after dragging his feet in cement all these months. On Friday he boldly stated that it was “unacceptable” that AD Gene Smith didn’t keep tabs on DeGeronimo. Really? It is almost 11 months to the date that Tattoogate broke. Since then Gee has hoped Jim Tressel wouldn’t fire him, defended the compliance department and been in charge during arguably the largest NCAA scandal in the school’s history.

It took Gee this long to realize that Smith’s actions were unacceptable. Really? We, and others, were writing that months ago. The school’s reaction to the scandal has resembled the slow drip of molasses out of a Vermont sugar maple tree.

It took Ohio State a couple of false starts before it finally got rid of Tressel – although with a $50,000 going-away gift and full benefits for life. It took until August to offer some give-back to the NCAA – its $338,000 take from January’s Sugar Bowl. Along the way it vacated the 2010 season, one lowlighted by the still incomprehensible Buckeye Five’s eligibility to play in the Sugar.

(By the way, those “vacations” are like mosquito bites you get on vacation. You may feel them at first, but if you ignore them they quickly go away.)

Also Friday, the school docked itself five scholarships over three years. That’s another laughable self-imposed penalty. Subtracting an average of 1.66 scholarships over the next three seasons is like, well, a mosquito bite.

Now, Gee finds his AD’s actions unacceptable. Wow, swift action there. It’s clear that Gee now has thrown Smith under the bus. The once-distinguished AD’s days have to be number in Columbus. The football program is in line, officially, for major sanctions. Anything less than a postseason bowl ban(s) Ohio State can handle but that’s another discussion.

Who now stands in judgment of Gee? It has to be the Ohio State trustees who have to realize blame for this mishandled investigation of relatively minor NCAA crimes that turned into a cover-up has to end up at the president’s office.

Gee has done so much good for such a long time for so many schools, his accomplishments cannot be ignored. Similar words were uttered and spoken this week for another collegiate old-timer. While no one is comparing the Ohio State situation to that at Penn State, the time has come for Gee to suffer the same fate as Joe Paterno.

He must go.


Game-time decisions

TCU is 3-1 in its last four games against top five teams … Western Kentucky coach Willie Taggart is finding inspiration from his former boss in playing LSU. Taggart was on the Stanford staff when the Cardinal beat USC 24-23 in 2007. After the game Jim Harbaugh famously commented, “We bow down to no man.” A sign reading the same can be found in the Toppers’ lockerroom this week. Taggart was a Western Kentucky quarterback in the mid-1990s. Harbaugh was an unpaid assistant on the staff … While New Mexico continues to look for a new coach, it sports two of the nation’s longest losing streaks: overall, 12 games and road games, 20 … In 1986 TCU’s Gary Patterson was the linebackers coach at Cal-Davis that featured Boise’s Chris Petersen at quarterback … Texas (heading to Missouri) has rushed for 400 yards in back-to-back games for the first time since 1977 … Of the last three Cincinnati coaches, Butch Jones currently is having the best season (7-1). The past two Bearcats coaches are Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio and Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly … Boston College’s Luke Kuechly continues to amaze. He has had at least 10 tackles in 31 consecutive games.



Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 10, 2011 10:48 am
Edited on: November 10, 2011 10:56 am

JoePa to end at 409

More than likely, any wins accumulated by Penn State interim coach Tom Bradley will be credited to him according to the NCAA.

That is an issue now that Joe Paterno and his 409 wins have gone to the sidelines. The NCAA typically leaves it up to the school on how to list wins when a coach leaves during a season but historically in firings, resignations and deaths, the succeeding coach gets credit.

 “At some point we’ll reach out to the school just to check to make sure it’s Bradley,” said NCAA statistics director Jim Wright. “The last thing we want to do right now is check with the SID.”

The exception, of course, is vacated wins. Calhoun and Kentucky’s John Calipari made it to this year’s Final Four having vacated wins in the same year (1996) for NCAA improprieties during their watch.

Paterno was fired Wednesday owning the Division I record for wins. He passed Eddie Robinson this season. Bradley, Penn State's longtime defensive coordinator, will lead the Nittany Lions Saturday against Nebraska. Penn State has the possibility of playing five more games this season.  

Posted on: November 9, 2011 10:08 am
Edited on: November 9, 2011 12:52 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

There is growing support toward eliminating automatic qualifier status in the next evolution of college football’s postseason according to Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas.

The concept has been discussed informally among the game’s power brokers and would represent a fundamental shift in the way the sport’s postseason is administrated. Neinas supports the change because he said eliminating the so-called “AQ” status would slow or stop conference realignment.

“I think there is growing sentiment to eliminate the automatic qualification part of the BCS,” Neinas told this week. “You can see what’s happening. They [conferences] are gerrymandering all over the place under the intent to maintain an automatic qualification. History has shown you don’t need that if you are qualified.”

Removing AQ status would, in part, continue to benefit the power conferences who are currently bound by a two-team limit in the BCS. But it would also allow so-called non-AQs a more consistent, fair entry into the BCS. No changes would take effect until the 2014 season.

There are currently 10 slots among the five BCS bowls. One discussed configuration would allow the top 10 teams in the final BCS standings at the end of the season to play in BCS bowls no matter what conference affiliation. For example, if the Big Ten or SEC had three or more teams in the top 10, all those schools would get BCS bowls.

It’s not clear what the Rose Bowl’s stance is on the issue. It is known the Rose wants to keep its Pac-12-Big Ten game as often as possible. Eliminating AQ status may be the interim step between the BCS and a playoff. Various officials from four of the six BCS leagues have been in favor of at least a plus-one model at one time or another in the last three years.

The changes supported by Neinas wouldn’t occur until after the 2014 bowls when the current BCS deal expires with ESPN. Commissioners and ADs will discuss the changes as part of their next BCS meeting Monday in San Francisco.

“I imagine it will be one of many things they will be talking about," said Bill Hancock, BCS executive director. "It’s really premature to speculate about what the group might do."

The game’s administrators will have to have a new model going forward when ESPN reaches its exclusive negotiating window in October.

It’s not clear how much support there among commissioners. It would seem that at least the ACC and Big East would be against change. The ACC champion has finished out of the top 10 three of the last four seasons. Both leagues failed to have a team in the top 10 team at the end of last season.

It’s also not clear how money would be divided. Currently, 85 percent of the BCS bowl take is divided among the six power conferences. Last year approximately $200 million was made off the BCS bowls. If one of the six major conferences is not guaranteed a BCS bowl that could change the distribution model and potentially be a deal breaker.

Those six power conference champions – SEC, ACC, Big East, Big 12, Pac-12, Big Ten – are guaranteed a BCS bowl. The champions of the five non-AQ leagues – MAC, WAC, Conference USA, Sun Belt, Mountain West – are not. The best schools in those leagues must meet a set of benchmarks to get in.

Using the final 2010 standings as example going forward, the Big East (UConn, out of the BCS top 25) and ACC (Virginia Tech, No. 13) would not have had a BCS team because those conferences champions finished out of the top 10. The Big Ten would have had three teams – Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State.

In that configuration schools like Missouri (2007), Texas Tech (2008), Boise State (2008, 2010), Iowa (2009), Georgia Tech (2009) and Michigan State (2010) would have made BCS bowls simply by finishing in the top 10.

To date the Big Ten has played in the most BCS bowls, 23. The SEC is second with 21.

Neinas said he senses support for the change among his peers. The scramble for automatic qualification has affected three of the six BCS leagues just in the last couple of months. TCU and West Virginia joined the Big 12, in part fearing instability in the Big East. Syracuse and Pittsburgh joined the ACC for the same reason. Meanwhile, the Big East is trying to reconstitute itself to be a BCS league going forward.

Commissioners will have to decide if the Big East even merits AQ status if the system remains the same. It currently has that status because of a waiver granted by BCS commissioners in 2008.

“You can make it on your merit without having to be in an automatic qualifying situation,” Neinas said. “That would solve some problems here with people just scrambling because they think they have to take in certain institutions. Let’s eliminate automatic qualification. If you merit it, you’re in …

“The point is, then you wouldn’t have this effort to cobble together a conference for the purpose of automatic qualification.”

Neinas also said he senses “strong sentiment” for conferences to remain with current membership until 2013. That would mean Syracuse and Pittsburgh would remain in the ACC, Missouri and Texas A&M would remain in the Big 12 and West Virginia and TCU would remain in the Big East.

The Big 12 is in a state flux with its television partners (ESPN, Fox) because it needs at least 10 members in 2012 for its payout not to be affected, Neinas said.

“We have to provide inventory to our TV partners and also we have some bowl partners,” he said. “Of course the major problem is scheduling.”

West Virginia has been sued by the Big East to fulfill its obligation to give 27 months notice before leaving the league. Big 12 sources are upset that Missouri intends to leave by July 1, 2012. Neinas remarked that it was “awful short notice” by the school.

Both Texas A&M and Missouri are still haggling with the Big 12 over exit fees owed to the conference. Those fees could range from $15 million-$30 million per school according to reports.

If both Missouri and West Virginia aren’t in the league in 2012, that would leave only nine members. With only nine members, each Big 12 team would have to find another non-conference game on short notice for 2012.

Asked if he expected Missouri to be in the league next year, Neinas said, “That would be nice, sure. Is that possible? I don’t know.”

He was then asked if there is any sentiment within the league for legal action against Missouri, Neinas said, “I don’t’ think I’ll comment on that.”

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