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Category:NCAAF
Posted on: October 30, 2011 1:40 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2011 6:10 pm
 

Thoughts On A Football Saturday: West Virginia

This is on Don Nehlen. Major Harris too. Don’t forget Bobby Bowden. Rich Rodriguez gets credit. Even Bill Stewart.

West Virginia joined Big 12 on Friday (beginning in 2012) because of all those folks. Nehlen, the gritty, veteran coach who put the school on the map. Major Harris, the dual threat sensation before there were dual threat sensations leading the Mountaineers to the brink of a national championship. Rich Rod, the homeboy, and his basketball-on-grass offense. And all Coach Stew did was beat Oklahoma and average nine wins a year.

You can thank Gordon Gee too. Gee was West Virginia’s president during a key time (1981-85) in the school’s history. If not for the school’s admission into the old College Football Association, it might not be here today. West Virginia was among a group of about 15 independents in that initial CFA group of 63 schools.

The CFA gained power out of the Supreme Court’s de-regulation of college football in 1984. It was the television negotiating arm for those top 63 football-playing schools.

“They [West Virginia] met all the criteria,” said former CFA executive director Chuck Neinas. “They routinely get 60,000, their stadium size, strength of schedule, certain academic commitments.”

The qualifications for the old CFA have faded into history. But they are essentially why West Virginia is in a BCS league going forward and the Big East is in trouble. West Virginia has been selected to move on as a big-time football program.

That, and cold, hard numbers. You want to know why West Virginia is in the Big 12 and Louisville isn’t? 500,000 homes. That’s the difference in the half-rating point for television that separates the two schools.     

It comes down to West Virginia’s average 2.6 television rating over the past five years as opposed to 2.1 for Louisville. That half-rating point equals half a million television homes. That’s according to an industry source who had the numbers in front of him for all 120 FBS schools.

The FBS average rating is 2.2 In other words, Louisville is an average TV draw. West Virginia is an above average draw.

Big 12 inventory becomes more valuable because of  West Virginia-Texas and West Virginia-Oklahoma Louisville doesn’t move the needle as much. According the industry source, that 2.1 Louisville rating was boosted significantly by a pair of two five-year-old results – games in 2006 against West Virginia and Rutgers.

Neinas, currently interim Big 12 commissioner, was CFA executive director for the 20 years of existence. It disbanded in 1997. The Mountaineers move to the Big 12 can be traced back to Neinas’ time when he guided college football through a treacherous period. West Virginia made the cut Friday because of all those things – Nehlen’s leadership, that national championship run, ratings points. But it goes back to West Virginia being leading Eastern independent when the CFA was formed.

The CFA was a precursor the current BCS (membership: 66).

So West Virginia has its nose under the tent and the Big East moves on with uncertainty. Even if it does reconstitute itself and expand to 12 teams, there is no guarantee the Big East will retain its BCS status. That issue will at least be discussed when the BCS holds its next scheduled meeting Nov. 14 in San Francisco.

For 2012 at least, the Big 12 is a 10-team conference but don’t hold your breath.

“The only thing constant in this world is change,” Neinas said. “Right now we’ve got our house in order. We’re looking forward to a very aggressive conference.”

 

National notage …

 

A closer look at how Wisconsin has blown its last two games to Michigan State and Ohio State:

In the final eight minutes of both those games the teams’ combined score has been even, 21-21. In those fourth quarters, Wisconsin’s pass defense allowed 10 completions on 17 attempts for 155 yards. Take away the two game-winning plays – Michigan State at the gun and Ohio State with 20 seconds left – and the opposition completed only eight of 15 in that span for 74 yards, 4.93 yards per attempt.

But you can’t leave out those two plays. Keith Nichol caught the winner for Michigan State from 44 yards out. Ohio State’s Devin Smith caught that 40-yard touchdown from Braxton Miller with 20 seconds left.

Essentially, Wisconsin hasn’t responded when playing tougher competition. It won its first six games by at least 31 points. Two plays have killed the Badgers. They will likely be the difference in a BCS bowl (Rose?) and perhaps a Big Ten title.

 


Case Keenum has to be the season’s most valuable player to this point.

Houston is in the running for a Big East berth (maybe) and BCS bowl (barely) primarily because of its quarterback’s right arm. The nation’s leading passer has the Cougars ranked and on the periphery of BCS contention. The memory may have faded by now but Houston beat Rice 73-34 Thursday with Keenum throwing nine touchdown passes.  Someday soon he will be the all-time leader in passing yardage.

Yes, a sixth year of eligibility has helped but look at what it has wrought: In conference realignment where your worth can be judged by what you did yesterday, the Cougars are a hot commodity – at least to the Big East. Houston could be included in a batch of teams that would stretch from BYU to Texas and back East just to keep the conference viable.

Basically, Keenum is all Houston has. That’s no disgrace considering what’s at stake. While the defense is improved over last season (from 103<sup>rd</sup> to 86<sup>th</sup>), the Cougars have won games this season allowing 34 (twice) and 42 points. It all comes back to Keenum, already the NCAA’s career total offense leader, having thrown a nation-leading 32 touchdowns.

Without him, Houston is a commuter school in media market where it is the fourth or fifth option. With him, Houston may someday be able to thank Keenum for a berth in a BCS bowl.

That brings us to this week’s top Heisman contenders ...

1. Keenum – 139 career touchdown passes. 
2. Kellen Moore, Boise State – forget his measurables. Should end up in a pro camp somewhere.
3. Andrew Luck, Stanford – Completion percentage, touchdown-to-interception and passer rating all up over last season.
4. Trent Richardson, Alabama – We’ll know more after Saturday.
5. Russell Wilson, Wisconsin – Don’t blame the nation’s most efficient passer for the Ohio State loss.

 


While we’re speculating on coaching turnover, let’s not forget North Carolina State’s Tom O’Brien.

 

After being shut out by Florida State, 34-0, the Wolfpack is 4-4 having beaten only one BCS conference program this season (Virginia). N.C. State was shut out on the road an ACC game for the first time since 1990, not to mention Wilson’s decision to let Russell Wilson become a free agent.

O’Brien is 29-29 in his fifth season, having never finished better than a tie for second in the ACC Atlantic Division.

 

 
This from the Boulder Daily CameraIt seems like it’s already time to question why Colorado was included in the Pac-12’s expansion plans.

So why was CU No. 1 on Larry Scott's expansion list?

"CU just checked all the boxes for us," the forward-thinking Pac-12 commissioner said. "CU was a fit in terms of academic compatibility, being a good geographic fit and sharing a similar philosophy and culture in terms of the role of athletics within the broader mission. And Denver is a very important market."

Colorado dropped to 1-8, 0-6 in the Pac-12 South after a 48-14 loss at Arizona State. Pac-12 newbies CU and Utah are a combined 5-12 overall, 1-10 in the league.

 


Penn State may be the worst 8-1 team you ever saw, but it has a plucky defense and, more importantly, an inside track to the Big Ten title game.

After beating Illinois Saturday, the Nittany Lions have a 2 ½-game lead over Wisconsin, Purdue and Ohio State in the Leaders Division with three games to go. Hold onto your Coke bottle glasses. Those final three games are at home against Nebraska, at Ohio State and at Wisconsin. If JoePa somehow grabs another Big Ten title at age 84 he will have earned it.

 

Posted on: October 30, 2011 12:08 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2011 3:53 pm
 

Power Poll Week 9: Bye week before LSU, Bama

When was the last time the top two teams in the country had a bye on the same day? When was the last time the top two teams in the country from the same conference had a bye on same day? When was the last time the top two teams in the country from the same conference had a bye on the same day before playing each other?

Maybe never.

LSU and Alabama both rested on the couch Saturday. They planned it that way. LSU’s Les Miles told me last week he requested the bye week from the SEC before the Alabama game. You can bet Nick Saban did the same thing.

The SEC complied with the requests making the biggest regular-season game in (perhaps) five years equal footing before Saturday’s Ya’ll Brawl in Tuscaloosa.

This week's Power Poll ... 



1. LSU – Jarrett Lee must somehow throw downfield to loosen up Bama defense. For all you rematch fans, the best and pretty much only chance at one is if the Tigers lose at the gun by a field goal. Keep reading. The details will be coming later in the week. 

2. Alabama – Six, seven, eight future future pros on defense? Hope there’s room in the press box for, you know, media with all those NFL scouts showing up this week.

3. Oklahoma State – Cowboys quietly became the best team in the Big 12 on Saturday. Thirty-five point win against Baylor doesn’t properly reflect dominance.

4. Stanford – Bad Luck puts Cardinal in position to lose by throwing pick six. Good Luck leads four consecutive scoring drives to beat USC.

5. Boise State – Best chance at scoring BCS points the rest of the way is beating TCU Nov. 12 at home.

6. Oregon – Strange days in Eugene. Darron Thomas was pulled at halftime against Washington State in favor of redshirt freshman Bryan Bennett.

7. Oklahoma – Sooners’ only loss looks like a curd in the punch bowl -- to Texas Tech which lost by 34 at home Saturday to Iowa State. Yuck.

8. Virginia Tech – Hokies get caught up in research project with Duke. Almost fail.

9. Nebraska – Huskers’ only loss looks worse all the time. The best team (?) in the Big Ten has lost by 31 to Wisconsin. Still in control in Big Ten Legend.

10. Clemson – The Sprained Ankle That Killed A National Championship. Andre Ellington’s replacements – D.J. Howard and Mike Bellamy -- each lost a fumble against Georgia Tech.

11. South Carolina – SEC East put on endangered species list. This is where good football goes to die.

12. Arkansas – That’s why they’re Vanderbilt.

13. Penn State –JoePa passes up Eddie Robinson on all-time wins list; Lions have 2 ½-game lead in Leaders Division.

14. Michigan – Look who’s alive in the Big 12 Legends.

15. Houston – What, Case Keenum couldn’t get to double figures in touchdown passes against Rice? What a bum.

16. Kansas State – Yes, Oklahoma proved the Wildcats were patching it together with spit, mud and glue. And they’re still a heck of a story.

17. Michigan State – Too hard physically and mentally to get up three weeks in a row for Michigan, Wisconsin and Nebraska. For now, the Spartans have lost control of Legends.

18. Wisconsin – Great job at producing instant classics for the World Wide Leader to re-air. Bad job at finishing games.

19. Arizona State – Could clinch Pac-12 South this week.

20. Georgia Tech – This doesn’t seem right but it is: Tevin Washington’s 176 rushing yards against Clemson were the most ever by a Jacket quarterback

21. Georgia – Nothing bad to say here about Mark Richt. Finally. Dawgs win sixth in a row.

22. West Virginia – Are frequent flyer miles considered an extra benefit? Mountaineers welcomed to the Big 12. 

23. USC – Lane Kiffin has done one of the best coaching jobs this season. Really.

24. TCU – Allowed only 42 points in three games since losing to SMU

25. Cincinnati – Well, someone’s got to win the last Big East title. Kidding, kidding. 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: October 29, 2011 6:35 pm
 

Oklahoma looks great but does it matter?

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Is Kansas State this bad or is Oklahoma this desperate for BCS love?

The Sooners, despite a blowout win here, is in full scramble mode. Oklahoma started the day No. 9 in the BCS. It needs help. Lots of it. That loss to Texas Tech still stinks like a varmint that crawled up into the attic and died.

The Sooners can say all the nice things about still pursuing a Big 12 title but even that looks like a risky proposition.

They may not even be the dominant team in the conference. That designation probably belongs to Oklahoma State which routed Baylor and remains, you may have noticed, undefeated. The Dec. 3 game that once looked like a national semifinal, now looks like a Cowboy steppingstone to New Orleans.

Oklahoma smashed K-State and impressed no one who saw the Texas Tech game.  It may have rebounded here from an inexplicable loss. Ryan Broyles may have set the Big 12 career receiving record. Landry Jones may have set the school passing record. The Sooners may have kept their slim BCS championship hopes alive but is it all too late?

These Wonder Cats saw their undefeated season end but not for lack of effort. They picked off Oklahoma’s Landry Jones twice. They rallied from a 14-0 deficit to score 17 consecutive points. They don’t have the athletes to match up with Oklahoma but it’s still a program with possibilities, with a future.

The coach is only in his third year. Never mind that he’s 72. Oklahoma won easily? Big deal. That’s what it was supposed to do. That Texas Tech loss remains an F on the Oklahoma season report card.

If we’re going to let go of K-State for this season, let’s remember them for how they got it done.

Take this slice of Wildcat life: In scoring 17 unanswered points to take a three-point first-half lead , Kansas State’s quarterback 1) lost a shoe while running for a first down, 2) a Flea Flicker turned into an Oklahoma pass interference penalty 3) a reverse netted 10 yards and 4) that shoeless quarterback imitated Michigan’s Shoelace.

Only his mother and college football sabermaticians know that Klein came into the game second in quarterback rushing to Michigan’s Denard Robinson. In starting a rally from 14 down, Klein swept around on left end for 11 yards but not before the quarter lost his left shoe while running out of bounds.

That’s in everyone’s playbook, right?

It was fun for a while, until Oklahoma woke up from the worst six quarters of its season and scored 44 in a row on the Wildctats. K-State isn’t all there yet. It got to 7-0 with a combination of pluck, luck, trick plays and Snyder’s magic. It was a victim of a better team on Saturday.

Based on Saturday more questions have to be asked: How did Kansas State get to 7-0? Also worth asking, how is Oklahoma not still undefeated?

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: October 27, 2011 12:08 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2011 11:19 pm
 

Three senators have been hammering B12 for weeks

The appearance that Louisville and Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell made a late push into the Big 12 expansion process this week is not accurate. A source told CBSSports.com that three senators identified Wednesday in national reports have been involved in the process for what was termed "weeks."

McConnell and West Virginia senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin had all been in contact with at least Oklahoma president David Boren before Wednesday’s messy expansion revelations, the source said. Manchin threatened a Senate investigation if it was proven McConnell was lobbying in Louisville’s favor against West Virginia.

CBSSports.com reported exclusively Wednesday that the Big 12 had a press release ready and at at least two high-ranking conference officials were scheduled to fly to Morgantown, W.V., for the announcement that West Virginia was being accepted into the league. That process hit a snag when Louisville’s prospects improved.

But it wasn’t a last-minute thing. Manchin and Rockefeller have been working for West Virginia while McConnell, a Louisville graduate, supports his university’s fortunes. The Big 12 is seen as brass ring for each to keep continued BCS status.

It is a logical assumption that all three politicos were seeking Boren’s influence in the matter. (A spokeswoman for Manchin's office said Thursday night: "Senator Manchin does not know, has not spoken to or been in contact with President Boren.") Before becoming OU’s president, Boren was Oklahoma governor and a former Oklahoma state senator from 1979-94. The New York Times reported that McConnell had also contacted Texas Tech chancellor Kent Hance, himself a former congressman, to push Louisville.

But Boren -- a political animal of the highest order -- now is central to the expansion discussion. According to a source and at least one report, Oklahoma wants the 10-year grant of rights and Louisville for the Big 12. Texas wants a six-year grant of rights and West Virginia.

The grant of rights is an all-in media rights agreement that the conference would own even if a school left for another league. In other words, if Texas and/or Oklahoma left the Pac-12, the Big 12 would still own its TV rights. The agreement basically bonds a conference together for as long as the grant of rights is in effect.

But the word “bonds” is seldom used in the Big 12. If Missouri eventually leaves for the SEC a huge reason will be the typical conference infighting described above. If adopted, the 10-year grant of rights may give Missouri pause. So may the inclusion of Notre Dame into the Big 12 win everything but football.

Texas apparently is sticking to its six-year preference. Three schools -- Texas A&M, Nebraska and Colorado -- have left the Big 12 since June 2010.

Adding to the incongruity, Missouri is supposedly leaving the conference because of instability. West Virginia/Louisville want in because of stability. Go figure.


Posted on: October 25, 2011 10:39 am
 

Notre Dame to Big 12 (in all but fb) makes sense

Notre Dame to the Big 12?

Don’t blow your Dome. We’re talking basketball and the second-tier sports, all the stuff that needs a home if the Big East blows up. Makes sense for ND. The Big East is unstable. The Big 12 is willing to try anything to solidify itself. In fact, Texas AD DeLoss Dodds offered a Notre Dame spot in the league to park its non-football sports. That was before the 2010 season and the tongue-in-cheek “offer” fizzled almost the moment it left Dodds’ mouth.

Now the stakes are higher. With the Big East’s future uncertain, the Irish may need a new home for non-football sports. There are rumblings that the Big 12-Notre Dame talk has started again. It has caught the attention of at least one Big 12 writer.

The detailed document regarding the SEC given to Missouri’s board of curators and obtained by the AP earlier this month included Notre Dame among future Big 12 expansion candidates.

It is known that the Irish desperately want to stay independent in football, but might face a decision with its other sports. Playing in the far-flung (for Notre Dame) Big 12 could be a logistical problem (the closest Big 12 school would be Iowa State), but there aren’t many options left. ACC commissioner John Swofford quashed any Notre Dame speculation recently when he said his league is an “all-in, revenue-sharing conference.”

Notre Dame definitely isn’t into revenue sharing. Its football contract with NBC nets the school a reported $15 million per year. It also wants to start a school-centric network similar to the Longhorn Network. But if the Big 12 can live (barely) with the LHN, what’s another dedicated network between friends?

The attraction for the Big 12 would be to have a relationship if and when the Irish decide to join a conference in football. The product on the field isn’t helping that solidify that independence. The Irish were all but eliminated from BCS consideration after Saturday’s lost to USC. In his two seasons at the school, Kelly is a mediocre 12-8.  Charlie Weis’ two BCS bowl seasons are starting to look pretty good.

The disadvantage would be flying over several states to play in Oklahoma and Texas. But, again, what options does Notre Dame have? A minor sports alliance with the Big Ten makes total sense but the NBC contract would almost certainly be a deal breaker. Like the ACC, the Big Ten shares its revenue equally and is just starting to realize the profitability of the Big Ten Network.

 

 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: October 24, 2011 6:59 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2011 10:41 am
 

Synthetic Three expected to be reinstated Tuesday

LSU’s three suspended players are expected to be reinstated on Tuesday CBSSports.com has learned.

Defensive backs Tyrann Mathieu, Tharold Simon as well as running back Spencer Ware were suspended for Saturday’s Auburn game following reported failed drug tests. Asked following the game if the players would return for the Alabama game on Nov. 5, coach Les Miles said, “I probably know the answer to that but I don’t want to talk about it.”

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported last week that the players would be suspended only one game.  The three were not around the team for LSU’s 45-10 win over Auburn.

At the time of his suspension, Mathieu was considered a Heisman and All-American candidate. Ware was the team’s leading rusher. LSU will now have 11 days to prepare at full strength for Alabama. The game marks the between 1-2 teams in the AP poll in five years. 

For more coverage of the big game visit the LSU-Alabama Daily blog on CBSSports.com 

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Alabama, LSU
 
Posted on: October 23, 2011 1:58 pm
Edited on: October 23, 2011 1:59 pm
 

Power Poll Week 8: USC moves up

Question of the week in the Power Poll: Does Pac-12 South Division title count if no one recognizes it?

That’s a significant question as USC moves up to No. 17 this week. Most of us can agree that the Trojans are overachieving at 6-1 to this point. They were supposed to be distracted, discouraged at this point with nothing to play for. Then along came Notre Dame. USC’s 31-17 win wasn’t that surprising considering the Trojans have won nine of the last 10 over the Irish.

But look at the Pac-12 standings. The Trojans are tied with Arizona State at 3-1 atop the South Division. The Sun Devils hold the tiebreaker having embarrassed USC 44-23 on Sept. 24. Since then the Trojans have won three in a row by an average of two touchdowns.

These Trojans look like the Trojans of old. One problem: It doesn’t matter in the big picture. This is the second year of USC’s NCAA postseason bowl ban. Not only can it not go bowling, it also can’t win the South even if it, well, does. That’s part of the postseason ban.

So there is a chance the second-place team in the South will play the North Division winner (probably Oregon at Stanford) in the first Pac-12 championship game. That means that with five games remaining Arizona State just about has the South locked up.  First or second, doesn’t matter.

USC is ineligible. Third-place UCLA (3-4, 2-2) is a mess but, strangely, controls its own destiny in the Pac-12 South and Pac-12. The division could come down to the Nov. 5 Arizona State-UCLA game. At least the Sun Devils will get to play once in the Rose Bowl.

 

Elsewhere …

 

--At 4-3, Notre Dame is officially out of the BCS race. Brian Kelly is now blaming players. Wow.

--OK, I’ll say it. The LSU-Alabama bye week is overshadowing Florida-Georgia in the Cocktail Party.

--Talk about overshadowed, Houston’s Case Keenum threw for six touchdowns against Marshall and became the FBS career total offense leader. But how does he compete with Albert Pujols, Michigan State and Texas Tech for headline space?

--Anyone notice that Penn State (7-1, 4-0) has a 1 ½-game lead over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Leaders Division?

--Let’s give credit to the Big Ten for getting it right. The league that created and refined replay review looked fantastic Saturday night in making the right ruling on Michigan State’s Hail Mary “Rocket” play.

--Best $30 million spent: On Pujols by the Cardinals (per year) to sign the pending free agent or the exit fee Missouri is going to have to fork over to join the SEC?

 

This week’s Power Poll

  1. LSU – Can’t get any “higher” in the rankings. Synthetic Three (Tyrann Mathieu, Spencer Ware, Tharold Simon) ready to make return vs. Alabama.  
  2. Alabama – Caught sleeping through wake-up call for the third week in October.
  3. Stanford – Is there any more physical team in the country?
  4. Oklahoma State – Cowboys now rule the Sooner State.
  5. Clemson – Let’s just go ahead and call this the best offense in the land.
  6. Boise State – Lost style points for struggling with Air Force and wearing hideous gray uniforms.
  7. Oregon – No Darron Thomas, no LaMIchael James, no problem at Colorado.
  8. Kansas State – Another destruction of Kansas impacts Turner Gill’s job security.
  9. Michigan State – Can we please have a Big 12 champ game rematch between the Badgers and Spartans?
  10. Wisconsin – You could see on Bret Bielema’s face: We blew it. The lead, last play of the game, national championship hopes.
  11. Oklahoma – Sooners never left the lockerroom (mentally) after 90-minute lightning delay.
  12. Virginia Tech – David Wilson is the best running back you never heard of.
  13. Nebraska – Bye week, er check that, win over Minnesota sets up Legends Division clash with Michigan State.
  14. South Carolina – Still in control of SEC East but UGA coming on.
  15. Arkansas – You just knew trailing Ole Miss 17-0 the Hogs would come back.
  16. Michigan – Little Sisters have to watch Big Brother Spartans win again.
  17. USC – Irish had shiny new helmets. Trojans had the goods.
  18. Texas A&M – Still included in Big 12 promo commercials. Guys, it’s over. The Aggies are going to the SEC.
  19. Penn State – Let me get back to you on this one. I don’t know how Joe is doing it either.
  20. Texas Tech – The Riverboat Gambler is back.
  21. Houston – The case for Case. Next stop, statistical immortality as NCAA career passing leader.
  22. Cincinnati – Bearcats closing in on third BCS bowl in four years. Might literally keep Cincinnati in a BCS league (Big 12?)  
  23. West Virginia – What. Was. That. Against. Syracuse?
  24. BYU – Season will be defined by Friday neutral site game vs. TCU at Cowboys Stadium.
  25. Georgia Tech – Consecutive, embarrassing ACC road losses. 
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: October 23, 2011 2:16 am
Edited on: October 23, 2011 1:29 pm
 

Finally, a meaningful upset; Tech over Oklahoma

And you thought Adam James was merely a character in a Mike Leach novel.

Turns out the son of Craig James is one son of a guns up in the clutch. When last seen on the college football landscape almost two years ago the privileged, mouthy Texas Tech receiver was getting “locked” in a “shed”, helping get his coach, Mike Leach, fired.

Turns out, Adam can wreck more than careers. His five catches helped bring down No. 1 Oklahoma (coaches’ poll) in the season’s biggest upset, 41-38. Who saw that coming? Not those of us who thought the defenseless Red Raiders could cover the four-touchdown spread. Not Oklahoma which watched its 39-game home winning streak end. Not Bob Stoops who had last lost at home in the 2005 opener. That loss to TCU was fallout from the Big Red Motors scandal.

This one just left the Sooners red-faced. It possibly wrecked Oklahoma’s national title hopes. The polls and BCS are not likely to view favorably a home loss to a team Oklahoma hadn’t lost to 15 years.

In the immediate aftermath, we have some drama at the top for the first time this season. BCS No. 3 (Oklahoma) and No. 6 (Wisconsin) BCS lost. The biggest beneficiaries seem to be Oklahoma State and Boise State. The Cowboys will likely move up to No. 3 in the latest BCS standings on Sunday. Okie State is Oklahoma Light no more. It remains in control of its own destiny after a convincing win over Missouri.

Meanwhile, Boise State – remember the Broncos? – could move up to No. 4 in the BCS. While Boise’s win over Air Force wasn’t convincing, there are only eight undefeated teams remaining with six weeks left in the season. Two of them are additional BCS hopefuls Clemson and Stanford, other big winners from Saturday.

It was quite a night – to reminisce – for Leach. Two of his former players helped knock off the Sooners, something he did three times in 10 tries. Adam James justified his scholarship catching five passes for 75 yards. James came into the game with seven catches all season and 41 total in his checkered career. If you have to be reminded Leach has three lawsuits active in the aftermath of his firing at Tech, all of them stemming from his alleged mistreatment of Adam James.

Swing  Your Sword? James would like to take a swing at Craig James.

Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown had Leach as his position coach at Kentucky. The 31-year-old was hired away from Troy by Tommy Tuberville. Speaking of the  ol’ Riverboat Gambler, Tuberville got his biggest win since leaving Auburn. He was 5-2 against top five teams with the Tigers.

Perhaps Oklahoma could have used Keith Nichol. You know the former Oklahoma quarterback? That was sooo 2007 when Nichol spent a forgettable season in Norman before transferring to Michigan State where he once again became a forgettable quarterback.

Nichol, now a receiver, did what he never could at Oklahoma, score a winning touchdown. The fifth-year senior will go down as a Spartan for the ages after catching the winning touchdown against Wisconsin as time ran out.

“My heart,” said Spartan coach Mark Dantonio who recovered from a heart attack a year ago, “is racing.”

Michigan State’s win effectively took the Big Ten out of the national championship race but who cares? We’re all for a replay of this game which could come in the first Big Ten title game.

We also now have a more interesting national championship race. Someone is going to have to play the winner of LSU-Alabama. It is absolutely wonderful that we have less of an idea who that will be after Saturday.

 

 Early best guess on the BCS top five on Sunday

 

  1. LSU
  2. Alabama
  3. Oklahoma State
  4. Boise State
  5. Stanford
Category: NCAAF
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com