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Posted on: May 17, 2010 7:16 pm
Edited on: May 17, 2010 9:50 pm

Expansion notes while heading to Chicago

...for the Big Ten spring meetings

Buried in a recent story Chronicle of Higher Education story is the basic reason the Big Ten is expanding. Jim Delany and his BCS commissioner peers don't want to share the equity and brands they've built up over decades with programs that have been good for mere years.

Delany: "Essentially these decisions are local ... The schools are serving stakeholders -- coaches, athletes and fans, in some respects, not stockholders. And so there is always a stakeholder to make a claim on resources. Whether it's to have the best law school or the best medical school, no one questions that kind of competition. No one questions that Harvard or Texas have a [big] endowment and don't share it with Hofstra and South Alabama.

"But intercollegiate athletics is sort of unique in that institutions that have certain advantages -- based on demographics or history or tradition or fan base -- somehow are seen as the source of resources for others that do not [have them].

 "I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon, but there's certainly a lot of gnashing of teeth, like why doesn't the Rose bowl spread its revenue around to Boise State? Well, partially because we developed it. We built it, it's our tradition, and to the extent that it's successful, it's successful for our institutions. So that's essentially a home-rule approach. I think it's an honest approach. I don't think there's anything wrong with money, but life's a lot easier when you have than when you don't."

 Several reports state the Mountain West presidents will consider inviting Boise State from the WAC next month. The presidents will meet in early June with the Boise State issue high on the agenda.

The Mountain West is seeking to bolster its BCS profile and could get a huge boost by adding the Broncos. The conference could earn a temporary, automatic BCS bid in 2012 and 2013. On the other side of that is possible attrition. Boise State could be joining a league that could possibly lose any one or all of the following: Utah, TCU and BYU.

Boise would have to be invited by July 1 for its record to count toward that 2012-2013 BCS goal.

 The Fiesta Bowl and University of Phoenix Stadium are diving into the neutral site pool.

 Here is Big 12 revenue distribution as of 2007. Note that no two schools in the league equal what one Big Ten school per year these days, $22 million.

1. Texas, $10.2 million
2. Oklahoma, $9.8 million
3. Kansas, $9.24 million
4. Texas A&M, $9.22 million
5. Nebraska, $9.1 million
6. Missouri, $8.4 million
7. Texas Tech, $8.23 million
8. Kansas State, $8.21 million
9. Oklahoma State, $8.1 million
10. Colorado, $8 million
11. Iowa State, $7.4 million
12. Baylor, $7.1 million

Source: Omaha World-Herald

 The Chicago Tribune said last week that the $22 million in revenue earned each year by each Big Ten school could double by 2015-16. Also, according to the Trib, look for more weeknight games by the Big Ten.  The league traditionally didn't play weeknight games but recently changed its stance because of the advantage of stand-alone game/commercials promoting the Big Ten. Both Ohio State and Indiana will kick off the season with games on the night of Sept. 2.

Posted on: April 13, 2010 12:30 pm
Edited on: April 13, 2010 9:04 pm

NCAA mandates sickle cell trait testing

The NCAA finally addressed the leading cause of death of among  football players in the last decade.

The association announced Tuesday that its Legislative Council approved legislation mandating all Division I schools test for sickle cell trait.

As part of a lawsuit settled last year, the NCAA said it would begin merely recommending to members that it test for the trait. Sickle cell trait had become the leading cause of death among football players since 2000. The settlement came about after the family of Rice player Dale Lloyd, who passed in 2006, filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

The NCAA has documented sickle cell trait deaths going back 35 years. However, it had never formally recommended testing for the trait, in part, because of legal concerns. The test is relatively inexpensive, from $5 to $30 per player.

According to Oklahoma trainer Scott Anderson, a leading authority on the subject, before the legislation approximately 64 percent of NCAA schools test for the trait. However, as the deaths and lawsuits piled up, scrutiny increased. Pending an autopsy result, an Ole Miss player who died in February could become the ninth victim of the condition since 1990.

Sickle cell is an inherited condition that occurs in approximately 8 percent (one in 12) of the country's African-American population. Caucasians are susceptible at a much lower rate.

During extreme exertion, the trait can cause complications. Those with the trait who are not properly acclimated to during workouts can have their red blood cells "sickle". Those cells can accumulate in the bloodstream causing a "log jam" and leading to the rapid breakdown of muscles and organs.

Sickle cell trait is a condition, not a disease and is inherited from parents.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: March 30, 2010 10:37 pm
Edited on: March 31, 2010 12:20 pm

How the UTEP hire helps USC

USC has to feel good about Texas-El Paso's hiring of Tim Floyd. Maybe better than UTEP.

The hiring indicates that Floyd will not be penalized in connection with the NCAA's investigation of USC. You've seen the headlines: Floyd allegedly paid an associate of former Trojan O.J. Mayo $1,000. He resigned two months later and said in January his departure had to do with a deteriorating relationship with AD Mike Garrett. Floyd has maintained his innocence throughout.

Half the battle, then, might be won for Garrett with his two major sports staring down an NCAA gun barrel.

Don't be surprised if UTEP checked with the NCAA infractions committee through channels to determine if Floyd was going to be involved in USC penalties. It's interesting to note that Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky is on the committee.

Still, UTEP is still in a unique position. The USC case is still open. What if a show-cause order is attached to Floyd by the NCAA?  Show-cause means if a school hiring a coach who has been slapped with such a designation must appear before the NCAA to explain why it shouldn't face penalties.

A show-case usually can be a career killer for a coach wanting to work in college again. Former Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson is currently under a five-year show cause. Dave Bliss, formerly of Baylor, has a 10-year show-cause. Current Morgan State coach Todd Bozeman was given an eight-year penalty after his issues at Cal. 

But none of those coaches had taken another college job before his show-cause. I person familiar with the NCAA process told me that such a penalty would follow Floyd to UTEP. That's potentially a messy situation.

I spoke to UTEP AD Bob Stull on Tuesday who said the school had done its "due diligence" in vetting out Floyd. Stull is proud of the fact that there have been no major violations on his watch and called Floyd, "a man of integrity." 

" We weren’t the only one out there talking to him [to coach]," Stull said. "As much as Tim loves El Paso, the situation at USC made him available to us. We feel like we have a guy who is an icon in the community. He's a good fit for us."

Floyd is a good fit particularly at UTEP because he was one of Don Haskins' lead assistants in the 1970s and 1980s. Given his recent past, he's not going to use UTEP as a steppingstone. That also makes Stull feel good. Three of his last four hires -- Tony Barbee, Billy Gillispie and Doc Sadler -- took the Miners to the NCAA Tournament.

Floyd should do the same.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Baylor, Cal, Oklahoma, USC, UTEP
Posted on: March 8, 2010 9:37 pm

Big 12 schedule analysis

(This is next installment of a continuing series analyzing the 2010 schedules of the BCS conferences)

You thought the Big 12 has been good lately? Year 15 of the conference kicks off with three familiar names at the top. At least two of the three are familiar.

Even with the loss of Colt McCoy, Texas never rebuilds (or is never allowed to). Oklahoma is over the loss of Sam Bradford as Landry Jones begins his first full season as starter. Nebraska is a fallen power making the long, slow slog back to the top. It hopes. But the Huskers are all the buzz coming off a 10-win season and sporting one of the nation's defenses -- even without a boy named Suh.

Elsewhere, there is depth throughout the Big 12. Missouri has established itself as a top 25 team every year. Texas Tech can only get better under Tommy Tuberville after Mike Leach's conduct going out the door almost ripped the program apart. Oklahoma State isn't going away with the Boone Pickens pipeline still running and Texas A&M is making strides, at least offensively. Baylor gets Robert Griffin back trying to end that pesky 15-year bowl-less streak.

Expect another national championship run, by some league team or another. A Big 12 team has been in five of the last seven BCS title games.

Game of the year: (non-conference) Florida State at Oklahoma, Sept. 11. In a sense, the suspense has been building for a decade. These teams last met in the 2000 BCS title game. Florida State is a shell of itself. Oklahoma not quite as strong as in the past. Watch for a rare Stoops vs. Stoops matchup. This time it's Oklahoma's Bob against FSU's Mark, the Seminoles new defensive coordinator. But there's so much more at stake here. This is essentially Jimbo Fisher's first real test (the opener is against Samford). It comes on the road in one of the game's most revered temples. We know FSU can score with Christian Ponder and other significant weapons. But for the Seminoles to get back to the top, it must start stopping people. God bless Mickey Andrews, but his final defense stunk. It's up to you, Mark.

Game of the year: (conference) Oklahoma vs. Texas, Oct. 16. As goes the Red River Shootout, so goes the Big 12. Or so it seems. The winner of this game usually has the inside track to the Big 12 South and national championship contention. Texas is a roll having won four of the last five. Included in that streak is two Big 12 titles, two national championship berths, one national championship. Or as they call it in Austin, "Doing pretty good lately."

Team on the spot: Nebraska. After a 10-win, Holiday Bowl-winning season in Bo Pelini's second year, we're all wondering if the Huskers are truly back. The Flying Pelinis will go into 2010 as favorites to win the North. At least. The next step is to win the Big 12 for the first time since 1999. Nebraska was one playmaker on offense -- one -- away from beating Texas last season. Armed with a fearsome defense, the only question for Pelini is whether his offense can score enough to make 10-2 a reality. Nebraska almost pulled off the upset last year. The toughest games (Texas, Missouri) are at home. Oklahoma is off the regular-season schedule.

Toughest non-conference schedule: Colorado. No surprise here. The Buffs haven't backed off in the non-con since the Bill McCartney days. Good for building a program, not good for keeping your job. Dan Hawkins starts a win-or-else season with Colorado State, Cal, Hawaii and Georgia outside of the Big 12. That's a blood rival, a Pac-10 team that tied USC for third in the Pac-10 and a Georgia team on the rebound. The only game you'd feel confident of putting in the win column is Hawaii and even that might be a stretch. CSU has split the last four meetings. CU has split the last four against the Pac-10 on the road but hasn't won in a Pac-10 stadium since 2004. Georgia is an SEC powerhouse coming off a down year but will be favored in Boulder. A 3-1 start is recommended. A 2-2 beginning might not be enough for Hawkins who has to play Missouri, Oklahoma and Nebraska on the road.

Easiest non-conference schedule: Missouri. The Tigers have beaten Illinois five consecutive times. McNeese State has never beaten a team from a current BCS conference. San Diego State last beat a team from a current BCS conference in 1999. Miami (Ohio) has lost 23 of its last 26. Throw in a home game against Colorado after that and the Tigers don't have to leave the state of Missouri to start 5-0.



Posted on: February 23, 2010 11:13 am

Breaking down the ACC's 2010 schedule

(This is the first of an irregular offseason series breaking down the schedules of the BCS leagues.)

The ACC enters Year No. 7 since expansion still looking for an identity.

The league has won only two BCS bowl games sporting the worst winning percentage (.166) of any BCS league in those major bowls. Miami and Florida State haven't stepped up. In fact, each has shrunk from superpower status. Virginia Tech, an afterthought in the original expansion, has won the most titles (three) since 2004. While Clemson and Florida State are rebuilding, Maryland and Virginia have slipped.

Butch Davis has all the coaching chops but North Carolina hasn't made a dramatic move under him yet. The best stories will be Year One at FSU A.B. (After Bobby). Jimbo Fisher enters his first season as head coach with mounds of pressure on him.

Virginia Tech has the best program. Georgia Tech had last season's best team. Coach Paul Johnson is making everyone adjust to his option offense. In his second season, the Jackets broke through their first ACC title since 1998.

Game of the year:  (non-conference) Miami at Ohio State, Sept. 11. In a rematch of the 2002 national championship game, Miami puts its renovation project on  display against a national championship contender. Figure on this one being at night with 105,000 lubed up Buckeyes wanting blood. Why not? Ohio State has won 50 of its last 52 non-conference games at The Shoe. The winning team's quarterback could come out of this as one the Heisman frontrunner.

The Canes don't want to be pushed around by a second consecutive brawny Big Ten team. (see: the Champs Sports Bowl).

Game of the year: (conference) Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech, Nov. 4. Does the new boss meet the old boss? Johnson has split his two meetings with Frank Beamer. Virginia Tech has played in four conference title games and won three ACC championships since expansion in 2004.  After winning the ACC in 2009, Johnson isn't going to stand still. Beamerball and PJ will likely come into 2010 with teams projected 1-2 in the league.

Team on the spot: Florida State. Fisher has to start producing right away. Recruiting was good. The defense needs to be overhauled. There isn't much room for error, not with Oklahoma and BYU back-to-back after a season opener against Samford.

If FSU negotiates that mine field, there are back-to-back road games at Virginia and Miami in October. Will a 3-3 start be tolerated?

Toughest non-conference schedule: Once again, Miami has doused itself with kerosene and is hoping no one lights a match. It worked, sort of, last season with a 5-1 start after opening with Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Oklahoma. But that ambitious start might have had something to do with a 4-3 finish.
This season, after an opening yawner against Florida A&M, the Canes go to Ohio State AND Pittsburgh before heading to Clemson. That's three potentially-ranked teams from three BCS conferences in 21 days. Oh, and if that isn't enough, Florida State comes to Miami on Oct. 9. South Florida comes to Land Shark/Dolphin/Sun Life/Joe Robbie for the season finale on Nov. 27. Try to find a tougher non-con in the ACC.

Easiest non-conference schedule: Virginia Tech. In a league where five teams are playing at least one SEC opponent, the Hokies follow a neutral-site opener against Boise State with home games against James Madison and East Carolina. The other non-con is a homer against significantly diminished Central Michigan. There are no true non-conference road games on the schedule and only two road games at all after Oct. 2.

Posted on: February 10, 2010 10:30 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2010 2:02 pm

More expansion: A proposed new look

The Mountain West is on notice.

The Big East too.

Don’t forget the Big 12 which could be ripped asunder.

One or all of those conferences are going to be impacted if, as expected, the Pac-10 and Big Ten expand in the near future.

After writing about the big picture on Wednesday, we’re here to speculate freely about how other conferences might be impacted.

Mountain West: After leading his league to the brink of BCS automatic qualifying status, commissioner Craig Thompson has to be concerned.

A BYU-Utah defection to the Pac-10 makes a lot of sense. In basketball, the league has travel partners (Washington-Washington State, Arizona-Arizona State). The Utes and Cougars are bitter rivals but would be make ideal additions due to the far-flung nature of the league.

I still don’t know how the Pac-10 views the academic aspect of expansion, so I’m not sure how it views the combination of a state school (Utah) and what amounts to a private school (BYU). If there is a fallback, it could be San Diego State.

If the Big Ten were to take Missouri, that’s a potential three teams ripped from the Mountain West and could mean the end of the league.  The three most likely replacements would be Boise State, Fresno State and Texas-El Paso.

The best non-BCS league could find itself teetering on the edge of existence, or at least relevance.

Big 12: The biggest hit comes if both Colorado (Pac-10) and Missouri (Big Ten) leave.

If Missouri or Colorado leave, the Big 12 would go get TCU from the Mountain West. While that would wound the MWC, the league would most likely then invite Boise State.

If both Colorado and Missouri left, the Big 12 would get TCU and, maybe, Houston? Either way, the Big 12’s TV stature would shrink.

Big East: The league was almost wiped out when the ACC expanded five years ago. What happens if Pittsburgh, Syracuse or Rutgers is taken by the Big Ten?

Most likely the Big East would raid Conference USA for Central Florida. That would get the league further into Florida. UCF is third-largest school in the country (53,000) behind Ohio State and Arizona State. There's got to be some football players in there somewhere. Plus, the school has made a huge commitment to facilities.

Sooner or later doesn’t Big East football and basketball have to split? The unwieldy existence between the two sides (16 teams in basketball, only eight of which play football).

After the wounds caused by the ACC, another hit could cause the end of the Big East in football.

My latest look on how the Big Ten, Pac-10, Big 12 and MWC might look in the future.

Schembechler Division

Michigan State

Grange Division
Ohio State
Penn State

BIG 12
North Division
Kansas State
Iowa State

South Division
Texas Tech
Texas A&M
Oklahoma State


North Division
Oregon State
Washington State

South Division
Arizona State

Fresno State
Boise State
Texas-El Paso
Air Force
San Diego State
New Mexico
Colorado State



Posted on: December 28, 2009 8:40 am

What I WAS writing for Sunday...

...had Urban Meyer stayed retired or whatever it was he was doing:

Short of death, there really has been nothing like it in the coaching profession. Knute Rockne was at the top of his game when he died in a plane crash in 1931.

Urban Meyer reacted to his own mortality when he stepped down as Florida’s coach Saturday night. Stunning doesn’t even begin to describe the impact on Florida and the game. The whirlwind, really, has just begun. All signs point to Florida AD Jeremy Foley moving quickly to name a new coach, perhaps by the end of the week.

Here’s a look at the fallout both past and to come:

--More than anything, Meyer’s departure shows the vagaries of the coaching profession. Tommy Tuberville once put the over/under for any coach at one school at 10 years.

Meyer lasted only five at Florida – nine total -- before the stress wore him down. They say there will never be another Joe Paterno, but how many more Meyers will there be given the stress of modern coaching?

Pete Carroll will be entering his 10th season next year at USC and the wear is starting to show. There are academic and NCAA issues within his program. This season’s team was the worst since a 6-6 debut in 2001. Carroll remains one of the top coaches in the game but 2010 will be a key season whether his program remains at the top.

Oklahoma's Bob Stoops saw some decline in his program as well this season. It was injuries mostly that caused a 7-5 season. The bigger concern is that Texas is getting a choke hold on the Big 12.

Speaking of which, Mack Brown is completing his 12th season but already sees the finish line with coach-in-waiting Will Muschamp, well, waiting.

The next great coaches are going to trend more toward Meyer than Paterno. Get in, get out, hopefully with enough money to live on and some championships to solidify your legacy. In that sense, rock star coaches are more like actual rock stars. In both professions, most of the best peak quickly and last – like the Beatles  – about a decade.

The Rolling Stones of the world are as rare as the Bobby Bowdens.

Coaching is an unstable profession, at best. How unstable? When Florida hires its next coach, since 2002 it will have had as many coaches as Notre Dame. In the space of this decade, Meyer has gone from rookie head coach at Bowling Green to arguably the best at his profession to, for now, retirement. That dizzying rush to the top has included four conference championships, four BCS bowls and two national championships.

If he were alive today, those would be Rockne-like numbers.

--It seems that at least one program is going to get blown up in the middle of recruiting season. Unless a pro coach like Mike Shanahan is hired, the dominoes are going to fall down the line. The ripple effect could be significant.

Florida AD Jeremy Foley likely wants to have a coach in place by Jan. 3 when the recruiting dead-period begins (no contact with recruits). That means a busy week as Florida gets ready for Meyer’s last game.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: December 11, 2009 6:03 pm

Erroneous news about Harbaugh at Kansas

Jim Harbaugh has not been offered the Kansas job athletic director Lew Perkins said Friday.

A report from Kansas City television station KMBC apparently posted an erroneous report to the contrary Friday afternoon. That doesn't mean Kansas officials haven't spoken to Harbaugh or are targeting him at the moment but the match doesn't make sense. Harbaugh's only tie to the area is his wife who is from the Kansas City area.

Taking the Kansas job would be perceived as a lateral move, at best. With Brian Kelly off the market, Harbaugh assumes the postiion of The Nation's Hottest Coach. It wouldn't be likely that he would take a job at a mid-level Big 12 program. The way Stanford is trending upward, he'd be much closer to a BCS bowl game at The Farm than in Lawrence, Kan. whree there is a rebuilding job to be done.

Last week Harbaugh was close to signing an extension that would pay him $1.25 million, making him the highest paid coach in Stanford history.

If the coach is going anywhere it would be to the NFL or his alma mater Michgian, as soon as after next season. If he goes Kansas, fans would have to worry about how long he would stay.

Harbaugh is 46-25 in six seasons at both San Diego and Stanford. The Cardinal will play Oklahoma in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 31.
Category: NCAAF
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or