Posted on: February 2, 2010 3:30 pm

NCAA Tournament vs. BCS

One playoff plan may end up in the hands of the Justice Department. Another new one is a heartbeat away.

The difference between the college football and basketball postseasons are being played out at the same time. Football, of course, doesn’t have a playoff. Basketball has the perfect playoff.

The BCS is protected by a cadre of lawyers who believe that the maddening system is not in violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. That protection is being challenged by Sen. Orrin Hatch who has asked the Justice Department to look into the legality of the system.

Meanwhile, March Madness is perceived as the best, fairest way to decide a national champion.

In both cases, the keepers of both postseasons are willling to do anything financially to prop up their systems. The BCS had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbyists and PR flacks to promote their system. The NCAA is considering expanding the 65-team basketball tournament to 96.

The irony is dripping from the headlines. Never mind that BCS executive director Bill Hancock is hawking football’s flawed postseason after spending 13 years running the NCAA Tournament. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and Texas AD DeLoss Dodds questioned the wisdom of expanding the bracket Tuesday in USA Today.

One is the head of a BCS conference getting BCS money. The other is the AD of the richest athletic department in the country -- also getting BCS money.

Expansion is bad? Getting a mixed message here, guys. Delany’s own conference apparently is aggressively pursuing expansion, perhaps by as many as three schools. Texas leads the world in post-secondary athletic facilities and is paying its coach $5 million a year.

Scratch that mixed message. We’re getting a headache. The keepers of the flame are also the bloaters of the flame. Both men say the process for “bracket creep” should be more transparent.

Texas didn’t canvas public opinion when it paid Mack Brown that $5 million. The Rose Bowl, Pac-10 and Big Ten don’t let us in on their contract negotiations. The Big Ten isn’t going to hold a press conference when officials are on campus examining expansion candidates.

At issue is whether the NCAA will opt out early this year from the 11-year, $6 billion tournament contract with CBS.

Dodds and Delany are both rightly worried about revenue split after adding 31 teams. In other words, does expansion make financial sense? There is no expansion without the money to back it up.  These two guys know money. Ask Big Ten schools which make $16 million per year off conference contracts. Ask Texas which, in the uneven Big 12 revenue split, makes at least $4 million per season than Baylor.

As for the expansion itself, it seems to me that the NCAA is about to ruin a good thing, a perfect thing by opting out and expanding the tournament. (Full disclosure: I work for CBS which stands to lose the contract but what the heck. This is my blog.) Ninety-six seems like too many teams. That’s the equivalent of a 34-team playoff in football.

That would go a long way toward making both postseasons even. They would both stink.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: January 15, 2010 6:53 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2010 12:33 pm

Breaking down the Tennessee search

Tennessee fancies itself a top 10 program in the best of times. In the worst of times, it just landed the coach of the team that tied for fifth in the WAC.

That’s one way to look at the hiring of Derek Dooley on Friday at Tennessee.

Rocky Flop? 

Here’s another, a formal list of names that I’m told were on the Tennessee list:

Will Muschamp, Texas defensive coordinator – Apparently turned down a $3 million-a-year offer.

Jon Gruden, Monday Night Football – What job doesn’t he apply for?

Troy Calhoun, Air Force – Happy at Air Force. Can do better if he aspires to return to the NFL.

Randy Edsall, UConn – A great coach who would be out of his element in Knoxville.

Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears – May be fired by the Bears. Apparently was a Tennessee assistant way back.

Kyle Whittingham, Utah – Turned down an offer Thursday night.

Doug Marrone, Syracuse – One year for the still-rebuilding Orange.

Gary Patterson, TCU – No way.

Kippy Brown, Tennessee assistant -- Interviewed on Friday. Apparently didn't do well.

Al Temple, Temple – A late well-respected addition.

Phil Fulmer, former Tennessee coach – Might have been AD and coach by Monday if the search dragged on.

A list of names that should have been considered

Mike Stoops, Arizona – Tennessee is into famous surnames lately. There is no more respected name in the sport right now than Stoops. Arizona is beginning to turn around.

Bobby Petrino, Arkansas – Hey, he lasted as many games with the Falcons as Kiffin did with the Vols, 13.

Tommy Bowden, former Clemson coach – Duh. Why wouldn’t you call this guy?

Rich Rodriguez, Michigan – Please tell me he wouldn’t take Mike Hamilton’s call. Then please tell me he wouldn’t take the job, if offered.

Chip Kelly, Oregon  – If you’re a top 10 program don’t you have to at least see if he’s interested?

Posted on: January 15, 2010 1:10 pm
Edited on: January 15, 2010 3:15 pm

Derek Dooley expected to be named Tennessee coach

Indications are that Derek Dooley will be named the next coach at Tennessee.

A person intimately involved in the search told CBSSports.com Dooley was "a great hire," Friday afternoon although no formal announcement had been made. At least three other outlets had reported that Dooley was expected to be Tennessee's choice. Knoxville radio station WNML first reported that Dooley was the choice at about noon ET.

Govolsextra.com reported that Tennessee AD Mike Hamilton would interview current assistant Kippy Brown at 1 p.m. ET.

Dooley apparently did not tell his Louisiana Tech staff of his departure but reportedly cancelled player meetings to travel from Ruston, La. to Knoxville. The son of legendary Georgia coach Vince Dooley has a 17-20 in three seasons as head coach at Louisiana Tech.

As recently as Thursday night, Tennessee officials met with Utah coach Kyle Whittingham in Salt Lake City according to the Salt Lake City Tribune. Whittingham turned down a job offer according to the newspaper. Earlier this week, CBSSports.com reported that Tennessee had offered Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp $3 million per season. Duke coach David Cutcliffe said Friday he was staying at the school.

Dooley is a former walk-on receiver at Virginia who earned a scholarship in his second season. He went to earn his law degree from Georgia in 1994. He practiced law for two years in Atlanta before getting into coaching.

His coaching career started with Georgia in 1996 as a grad assistant under Jim Donnan. From there he went to SMU to three years before joining LSU in 2000. That’s where his career took off. Dooley coached tight ends, running backs, special teams and was the recruiting coordinator under Nicks Saban from 2000-2004

Dooley then followed Saban to the Miami Dolphins. In 2007, he was hired by Louisiana Tech. Dooley seemingly comes highly recommended by Nick Saban and Muschamp. All three were on the staff together at LSU.

Muschamp reportedly recommended Dooley to Tennessee after he was pursued by Vols AD Mike Hamilton. Dooley had recommended by Muschamp and Kirby Smart to Saban at LSU. Smart is now the Alabama defensive coordinator under Saban.

As LSU’s recruiting coordinator, Dooley helped LSU land the No. 1-ranked recruiting classes in 2001 and 2003. 

Dooley is expected to inherit the majority of Lane Kiffin's former staff. It was Cutcliffe's unwillingness to do so that kept the Duke coach and former Tennessee assistant from progressing further in talks with Hamilton.

The leftover members of Kiffin's are still recruiting, according to one of those coaches. Coach or no coach, Tennessee is expected to have a group of recruits in this weekend for official visits.


Posted on: January 14, 2010 10:13 am
Edited on: January 14, 2010 3:25 pm

Muschamp says no to lucrative offer

Tennessee offered Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp $3 million a year to coach the Vols. However, several outlets have reported that Muschamp is staying put in Austin. Muschamp has not spoken publicly since his name was attached to the Tennessee job.

Tennessee is desperate to get the best guy available so it was willing to pay big money. Muschamp has deep SEC roots and would have been able to hit the ground running. This would have been good time for him to move at the age 39, but Muschamp has been convinced to hold on as the coach-designate for Mack Brown.

While Texas AD DeLoss Dodds wasn't going to go $3 million for an assistant, the supposed offer seemed about right for Muschamp -- at least in the SEC.

No word on the length of the contract offer. Now that Air Force's Troy Calhoun has decided to remain in Colorado Springs, where does Tennessee turn to next? Perhaps Duke's David Cutcliffe.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: January 13, 2010 11:37 am
Edited on: January 13, 2010 7:33 pm

Muschamp top choice at Tennessee

Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp has been targeted as the top choice to replace Lane Kiffin at Tennessee.

Muschamp’s name surfaced almost immediately in Knoxville after Kiffin’s shocking announcement Tuesday night. The 38-year-old with roots in the SEC was elevated to Texas’ “coach designate” in November 2008 after being hired away from Auburn in January 2008. His pay jumped from $425,000 to $900,000 in less than a year in Texas.

Under his watch, Texas’ defense became a top five unit in 2009 featuring All-Americans Sergio Kindle and Earl Thomas. It has long been thought when a school seriously came after Muschamp there wasn’t much Texas could do about it. Brown’s retirement is not imminent.

Since coming to Texas, Muschamp name has been linked to openings at Auburn, Clemson, Washington and Tennessee (after Phil Fulmer departed).

Other names that have surfaced for the opening include Troy Calhoun (Air Force), Houston Nutt (Ole Miss), Kyle Whittingham (Utah), Bronco Mendenhall (BYU), Kevin Sumlin (Houston) and Phil Fulmer.

 And so the fallout begins …

The Knoxville News Sentinel is reporting that Ed Orgeron is telling Tennessee mid-term recruits not to enroll. That, the paper says, would allow the recruits to sign at USC ...

Before you go to bed tonight, you have to look at this gallery of photos from Knoxville last night. Vol Nation is an uproar ...

Did I just see that Mike Leach has been contacted by South Florida? A guy that is suing his administration could replace a guy (Jim Leavitt) who is about to sue his administration.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: January 7, 2010 8:14 pm

Celebrity sightings at the Rose Bowl

PASADENA, Calif. -- Roger Clemens doing interviews. In public. With his wife at his side.

That was one of the sightings at the Rose Bowl minutes before kickoff. Guess Roger is ready to come clean, no? He looked awful comfortable for a guy who is going to have to wait a long time for the hall of fame.

Anyway, whenever Texas travels, especially to Southern California, the stars come out. Rex Linn of CSI: Miami, Brian Orakpo, Frank Okam, Pete Carroll and oh yeah, a certain Vince Young.

VY looked tight with his shaved head and beard. When he walked out of the tunnel in pregame the eyes of Texas were upon him. He strode past the end where he scored the winning touchdown against USC in 2006.

"I got a little real estate over there," VY said. "I definitely had to be here."

This is the night where Colt McCoy possibly replaces Young as Texas' greatest quarterback.

"One you're going to have the same chance," Vince said he told McCoy before that game-winning drive against USC.

We'll see.

Let's kick it off.
Category: NCAAF
Tags: Texas
Posted on: December 9, 2009 5:39 pm

Scripps-Howard Heisman poll

Another major Heisman indicator. Mark Ingram is the winner of the final Scripps-Howard News Service Heisman poll, by a point over Ndamukong Suh. Yours truly voted in this poll all season.

This is shaping up to be the closest Heisman vote in history. Scripps-Howard is a further indicator with Ingram getting 33 points to Suh's 32. Third-place Toby Gerhart actually had the most first-place votes, four. There were 10 voters nationwide. Here is the breakdown:

1. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama, 33 points (two first-place votes).

2. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska, 32 (2).

3. Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford, 29 (4).

4. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas, 16 (1).

5 (tie). Tim Tebow, QB, Florida, 7 (1); C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson, 7.

Others receiving votes: Houston QB Case Keenum 5, TCU DE Jerry Hughes, 1.


Posted on: December 6, 2009 8:35 am

BCS bowl lineup and my top five

If form holds – and that means Texas finishing No. 2 in the BCS – this is how the BCS bowls will shake out tonight …

BCS title game – Texas vs. Alabama
Comment:  Got to think Bama will be almost a prohibitive favorite but Texas wasn’t supposed to beat USC in the 2006 Rose Bowl either.

Fiesta Bowl – TCU vs. Boise State
Comment: Fiesta is always thinking out of the box. It becomes the first BCS bowl to match two undefeated non-BCS schools. Should be a ratings winner.

Orange Bowl – Iowa vs. Georgia Tech
Comment:  Pasty Iowans will overrun South Florida and come away schooled in the ways of the option offense.

Sugar – Florida vs. Cincinnati
Comment: Alabama didn’t want to be here last year. Will Florida coming off an SEC title game loss? Also, who coaches the Bearcats with Brian Kelly headed to Notre Dame?

Rose – Oregon vs. Ohio State*
Comment:  Might be the best game of the bunch. Chip Kelly’s wide open Quack Attack against Ohio State’s old-style defense.

*--locked in

Here is my final regular-season top five. You can see the entire top 25 later Sunday:
2. TCU
3. Texas
4. Cincinnati 
5. Florida

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