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Tag:Missouri
Posted on: September 14, 2008 1:59 pm
Edited on: September 17, 2008 10:51 am
 

Deep thoughts on a football Saturday

One last reaction from Ohio State-USC:

"I can't believe that we screwed up so badly," Ohio State offensive tackle Alex Boone told reporters. "I cannot 
believe this is second time this happened to this team. I thought this team made it clear after the national 
championship game -- all the gassers we ran, and all the running we did that we weren't going to mess up anymore. 
Apparently, that wasn't evident."

Second time?

 A lot of history has been made at Notre Dame, not a lot of it on crutches. Notre Dame is 2-0 after beating 
Michigan 35-17 and, if you believe in omens Irish fans, Charlie Weis still has another knee to tear up. Not to go ND message 
board here, but the schedule does look favorable especially if Notre Dame keeps getting six turnovers a game.

 

Sept. 20, at Michigan State; Sept. 27, Purdue; Oct. 4, Stanford. Do I smell 4-1?

 It was not a good day in the Pac-10. Washington State, Washington, UCLA, Cal, Arizona State, Stanford and Arizona lost by an 
average of 23.3 points. That includes Arizona State's overtime -- but no less humiliating -- loss to visiting UNLV 
and UCLA's mind-bending 59-0 tank job at BYU.

 

That last score has me wondering how Tennessee is feeling right now.

"A butt whoopin'. We got our butts whooped," linebacker Reggie Carter told the Los Angeles Times. "I'm going home, 
go to sleep, and tomorrow forget about it."

Easier said than done. UCLA's worst loss since 1929 was complete and had me wondering which team competed in the 
Pac-10 and which was in the Mountain West? BYU's Max Hall had seven touchdown passes in THREE QUARTERS. The 
decade-old Mountain West went 4-0 against the Pac-10 on Saturday.

 In Oklahoma's 55-14 win over Washington, Bob Stoops won his 100th game in his 122nd game as the Sooners' coach. That's the eighth-fastest to 100 in history. It's also the second-highest total for a coach in 10 seasons.

 

Barry Switzer also reached No. 100 in his 122nd game. Legend Bud Wilkinson is No. 3 on the list getting to the milestone in 111 games. Oklahoma is the only school to have four coaches with at least 100 victories -- Stoops, Switzer, Wilkinson and Bennie Owen. Stoops' teams have scored at least 50 points in 24 of his victories.

 What is it with Oregon quarterbacks and knee problems? The Ducks' season hangs in the balance after its third 
starting quarterback in 10 months went down. Justin Roper reportedly tore his left MCL against Purdue and could be 
out as long as two to four weeks. There's not a lot behind Roper. Freshman Chris Harper finished the game against 
Purdue, a 32-26 overtime victory. Bellotti says juco transfer Jeremiah Masoli and freshman Darron Thomas will also 
get looks.

 

Oregon has had enough problems lately with quarterbacks being injured. Dennis Dixon's injury derailed a possible 
national championship run. In the preseason Nate Costa suffered an ACL injury that has him out of the season.

 It almost went unnoticed that Florida State could still have to forfeit games as part of the penalties involving 
the academic scandal. If so, Joe Paterno could take a commanding lead in the all-time victories race. We're talking 
about Florida State's seven victories from 2007. The legendary coaches are tied at 375 victories apiece after Penn 
State beat Syracuse on Saturday and Florida State clobbered Chattanooga.

 

 Michigan State and Florida Atlantic combined for 20 punts and 36 incomplete passes in the Spartans' soggy 17-0 
victory. The Owls' Rusty Smith completed only eight of 34 passes.

 

 Cal became the West Coast Clemson when it failed to show up at Maryland. The Bears scored 21 fourth-quarter 
points to make it cosmetic but their 35-27 loss to the Terps was crippling. Cal was outmatched on both sides of the 
line for most of the game.

 

 Missouri has scored on its last 13 possession with Chase Daniel at quarterback (12 touchdowns, one field goal). If 
he could only stay on the field. The Tigers have boat-raced their past two opponents (Southeast Missouri State and 
Nevada) so thoroughly that Daniel has been removed in the second half of each game.

 

In that abbreviated action, Daniel has completed 40 of 46 the past two games for 663 yards and seven touchdowns. 
Against the Wolf Pack, Daniel completed 23 of 28 for 405 yards and four touchdowns.

 You knew East Carolina was due for a letdown. Patrick Pinkney threw a late touchdown pass against Tulane and the 
Pirates are 3-0 for the first time since 1999.

 

 Oklahoma State continues to amaze. The Cowboys passed only 10 times in a 57-13 victory over Missouri State. Their 
450 rushing yards were the fifth-most in school history. Okie State did this (offensively) last year but were just 
as bad on defense as they were good on offense.

 

 Looking ahead to next week, it's the SEC's world and we're only living in it: Georgia is at Arizona State, LSU 
goes to Auburn, Arkansas plays Alabama in the Ego Bowl. Oh, and apparently Florida is playing Tennessee too. That's 
three games with both teams being ranked.

 

 The best of the rest: (These teams weren't good enough to get into my top 25 but deserve mention) 1, Oklahoma 
State; 2, Vanderbilt; 3, Kentucky; 4, Nebraska; 5, TCU; 6, Notre Dame; 7, Northwestern; 8, Boise State; 9, Iowa; 10, 
Florida State; 11, Minnesota; 12, UNLV.

 

 Heisman Watch: 1, Chase Daniel, Missouri; 2, Sam Bradford, Oklahoma; 3, Max Hall, BYU.

 

 If you've got the time and the money go to The Huntley hotel in Santa Monica and take the elevator to The Penthouse. It's a Stars War bar scene of young hipsters trying to be crucially cool. The doors of the elevator opened and I immediately felt like a janitor. I can't believe places like this existed. It's a cliche of L.A. Not to drop names but someone said Jamie Foxx was there.
Posted on: September 11, 2008 10:28 am
 

What the Arkansas-Texas cancellation means

Arkansas is trading one Burma Road for another after seeing it game against Texas cancelled due to the threat from Hurricane Ike.

Beginning Saturday, the Hogs were lined up to play Texas, Alabama (Sept. 20), Florida (Oct 4 after a bye week), at Auburn (Oct. 11) and at Kentucky (Oct. 18).

Now the schedule becomes even tougher with consecutive games against Alabama (Sept. 20), at Texas (Sept. 27), Florida (Oct. 4), at Auburn (Oct. 11), at Kentucky (Oct. 18). Those five schools are all off to 2-0 starts. Four of the five are ranked. Counting last season they are a combined 53-22 (.707) since the beginning of 2007. Four of the five won their bowl games. Only Florida lost.

Texas has it a bit easier than the Hogs. It loses a bye week installed before the beginning of the Big 12 season. The schedule now looks like this: Rice (Sept. 20), Arkansas (Sept. 27), at Colorado (Oct. 4), vs. Oklahoma (Oct. 11), Missouri (Oct. 18). Those opponents have yet to lose. Two are ranked.

Posted on: August 31, 2008 5:39 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2008 8:53 pm
 

Deep thoughts on a football Saturday

As long as I'm piling on the ACC couldn't resist this one ...

Well, it's not an ACC error per se but why not kick a mediocre league while it's down. It seems that Duke officials 
were shocked when parachutists descended into Wallace Wade Stadium with the game ball about an hour before Saturday's 
James Madison game. One problem. Duke hadn't ordered a game ball. However, North Carolina, eight miles away, did.

 Will we look back on this as the football equivalent of The Beatles playing the Cavern Club? In other words, the 
modest beginning for a monster talent? Terrelle Pryor looked more than capable in his career debut against 
Youngstown State, 35 yards passing, 52 yards rushing and a touchdown.

 

For up-to-the-minute updates go to Pryor's 24-hour webcam. You've got to see the archived stuff of him having the 
Caesar salad for lunch on Friday. Classic.

 Appalachian State won! The third quarter, 7-3 over LSU.

 

 Nothing like patience. This from a Detroit columnist: "(Michigan quarterback) Steven Threet needs to start based on his performance 
(against Utah)." After watching that mess in The Big House does it matter?

 

 Hawaii AD Jim Donovan is a smart, smart man. There are no more SEC teams on the Warriors schedule for the 
foreseeable future. The last two outings against the SEC have resulted in combined losses of 97-20 to Georgia and 
Florida.

 

 If you want to put a new name atop the hot seat list, feel free to add San Diego State's Chuck Long. We did get 
our designated I-AA upset late Saturday although it wasn't the earth shaker you might think. Cal Poly beat the Aztecs 
for the second time in three seasons. This time it was 29-27. A San Diego columnist the program "reached the bottom of its existence."

 

 Big 12 starting quarterbacks threw a combined 20 touchdown passes on Saturday. That's an average of 2.2 per man without two of the  nine starters throwing for a score. The breakdown:  Kansas' Todd Reesing (three), Missouri's Chase Daniel (three), Nebraska's Joe Ganz (four), Kansas State's Josh Freeman  (three), Texas' Colt McCoy (three), Texas' A&M Stephen McGee (none), Texas Tech's Graham Harrell (two), Oklahoma State's Zac  Robinson (none) and Oklahoma's Sam Bradford (two).

 


 Five years ago to the day Dennis Franchione started his Texas A&M career with a 26-11 victory over Arkansas State. 
Franchione's replacement, Mike Sherman,wasn't so fortunate losing to the Red Wolves 18-14 in his first game as 
Aggies' coach. The usually staid Associated Press called it "one of the most embarrassing losses in A&M history."  


 Nebraska recovered a fumble against Western Michigan. That brings the Huskers to one-third of their total for all 
of 2007.


 Pittsburgh is now 5-13 since starting 6-1 in 2006. 

 How important are those Virginia Tech special teams? Huge. The Hokies had won 17 consecutive games when blocking a 
kick. Ironically, East Carolina's T.J. Lee blocked a punt and scored the game-winning touchdown in a 27-22 Pirates' 
victory. East Carolina became the only team below the BCS level that beat a top 20 team. The other teams 
with a win over top 20 wins on Saturday were Missouri and Alabama.

 

The Pirates became the first Conference USA team to beat back-to-back ranked teams. They had defeated Boise State in 
last year's Hawaii Bowl. That says more about Conference USA than it does East Carolina. Conference USA is 13 years 
old.

 Injury watch: Georgia's monster defensive tackle Jeff Owens is out for the season with a knee. How many more injuries can UGA stand?...There are varying reports about the severity of Jeremy Maclin's injury late Saturday. Missouri's all-purpose 
king apparently twisted an ankle (X-rays were negative).

 

 Novenas are being said in Columbus for tailback Beanie Wells. Ohio State's tailback has some sort of right foot 
problem. Again, X-rays were negative. Even if he is 100 percent look for Jim Tressel to seriously limiting Wells' 
playing time this week against Ohio. The Bucks need him healthy for USC in two weeks. We should know something on Monday.

 

 Most impressive on opening weekend? It had to be USC which slapped around Virginia. Pete Carroll looked like he 
was sandbagging us during the preseason. Three weeks after dislocating his knee, quarterback Mark Sanchez looks 
ready and able to become the new Leinart after throwing for a career-high 338 yards.

 

"Everything happened just right," Carroll said. "Too bad we let them score."


 If you're looking ahead to Tennessee-UCLA on Monday night consider UCLA's Kevin Craft. The juco transfer 
quarterback faces some uphill odds. The last juco transfer qb to lead a team to a Pac-10 title was USC's Tim Green in 
1984.

 Hurricane Gustav's impact is being felt all the way to Alabama. Tulane has already gone threat ahead of the storm 
in preparations for this week's game at Alabama. Troy goes over to LSU in a game that could be a prime candidate for 
cancellation. The Category 3 storm is expected to hit Louisiana on Monday.

 

 OK, so there is no Terrelle Pryor 24-hour webcam but if you got down this far believing it, gotcha!

 


Posted on: July 22, 2008 10:20 pm
 

Five things you should know about the Big 12

1. Move over Pac-10: At least for now the Big 12 has the best set of quarterbacks alive. Ten of the conference's 12 starters return. Start with Heisman finalist Chase Daniel at Missouri. Both Sam Bradford of Oklahoma and Graham Harrell of Texas Tech are Heisman candidates. Bradford was the NCAA pass efficiency leader as a redshirt freshman. Kansas' Todd Reesing led the Jayhawks to the best record among BCS conference schools.

It says something when Texas' Colt McCoy might be the fifth-best quarterback in the league.


2. First-year blues for the Blackshirts in the red jerseys: Don't assume that Bo Pelini is going to turn it around right away at Nebraska. Sure, he is this moment's Next Hot Model but there are significant issues in Lincoln.

He inherits only 11 returning starters, tied for the second fewest in the Big 12 (with Texas). The defense can't be rebuilt in a day, or even four months. Pelini is a defensive wizard but he will need time and players.

For all his talents, Pelini is still a first-time head coach (not counting his one-game interim coach win in the Alamo Bowl five years ago for Nebraska). The other 11 Big 12 coaches were a combined 57-75-1 in their first year as a head coach.

3. The Heisman Thing: There are at least five legitimate Heisman candidates in the league this season. That's probably a record for this young league. As I've always said, in late July I'm a candidate. But watch these guys closer:


--Daniel. A 2007 finalist could be the favorite to win if Tim Tebow falters and Missouri wins 12 games again.

--Missouri's Jeremy Maclin. Set an NCAA freshman record for all-purpose yards last season. Should become more of a go-to receiver this season.

--Bradford. Playing behind a massive offensive line.

--Harrell. If Tech plays 14 games (regular season + conference championship game + bowl) Harrell would need to average only 456 yards per game to become the game's all-time leading passer.

--Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree. If that happens then Crabtree will another monster year like 2007 when he caught almost 2,000 yards worth of passes.

4. North Rising: There is a definite shift in power. Four years ago the North Division was 3-15 against the South. Two years ago the North won three non-conference games against BCS-conference schools. Last year both Missouri and Kansas finished in the top 10. Nebraska and Colorado are on the way up. 

5. Showdown at Arrowhead: Get a hotel room in Kansas City for late November and early December. The Big 12 race comes down to Cowtown.  Missouri and Kansas play in Kansas City on Nov. 29. The Big 12 championship is at Arrowhead a week later.  If either the Tigers or the Jayhawks win the North, they would have a decided advantage playing against the South champion in what would amount to a home game at 80,000-seat Arrowhead.

Posted on: July 21, 2008 7:05 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2008 11:18 pm
 

The Big 12's best, minus two


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Scratch two Heisman candidates?

This is nothing personal against Texas Tech's Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree. Both are part of a bumper crop of Big 12 award candidates this season. But their trophy chances had to dim when they didn't show up Monday for the beginning of the conference's preseason media days.

It wasn't necessarily their choice.

Coach Mike Leach decided that the reigning Biletnikoff Award winner (Crabtree) and a guy who could become the leading passer of all time (Harrell) weren't worthy to be interviewed by us media types during a pre-arranged media session on football media day. Leach threw out something about football being the ultimate team game when I asked him why on Monday.

I'm not saying Harrell and Crabtree are out of the Heisman race before it begins. I'll leave that to the other Heisman voters whose companies spent money and resources for them to get here. Let's just say stiffing the Big 12 (and national) media doesn't help.

Leach is quirky that way. He doesn't do things conventionally all the time. Sometimes that's charming. Sometimes it's downright unprofessional. A person with knowledge told me that the Big 12 asked to Leach to reconsider bringing his two stars, but that he refused.

To reporters Monday, Leach flippantly said that any of us are welcome to interview his stars "in their natural habitat" in Lubbock. That's great except there is a reason these media days exist, so we don't have to go to each individual school. Especially when Lubbock is so far from anywhere it can see the end of the earth in any given direction.

"A lot of times there are so many guys who play football, there is a temptation to isolate the attention around a couple of guys," Leach said. "Our team is far more than a couple of individuals."

Oh yeah? That would make a shred of sense if it weren't so hypocritical. In Texas Tech's own media guide Crabtree has a page to himself. Harrell has two. Every other player in the guide except one (running back Shannon Woods) gets half a page. So much for not isolating the attention around a couple of individuals.

If this was a high school team before a state championship, I'd kind of understand it. This being a major university (according to some) with major aspirations taking in major public dollars, it is short-sighted. Tech SID Chris Cook told me an interesting story about Crabtree working out in Dallas with the likes of Deion Sanders and Pacman Jones. Sure wish I could have fleshed that one out. It sounded neat.  

Leach wants to send the message of teamwork. Here's another message Leach is sending: Attention, recruits. Don't come to Texas Tech. We won't promote you. You'll have a tough time winning national awards, never mind competing in a Big 12 South Division Tech has never won.

This is not just me on a rant. Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel woke at 4:30 Monday morning to fly from Los Angeles to be here for interviews. Daniel is currently an instructor at the Elite 11 quarterback camp in Southern California. After a couple of hours of answering questions, Daniel was right back on a plane back to California.

He seemed to be slightly upset that the Tech guys weren't here after the effort he had made.

"You've got to bring your best players here," he told me. "It's the best thing to do. Coach Leach is a smart guy. He's been in this business a lot longer than I've been alive. He can do what he wants. (But) you look at it: You have a guy like Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree, both are legitimate Heisman candidates. You've got to get them both out in the limelight."

The trend continues here. Oklahoma redshirt sophomore quarterback Sam Bradford won't be making an appearance either on Wednesday.The nation's pass efficiency leader last year is old enough to go to war, own a house and vote but apparently not mature enough to handle a few media questions.

It's not like we're going to grill him. After the season he had, we want to say good things. Start with the fact Bradford is an inspiration on the field and to the Native American culture he represents.

Maybe there are extenuating circumstances. I doubt it. I'm tired of it, anyway. These kids aren't the property of the football program. They are students with lives to lead who might want to see a different part of the world than their own. In essence, they are promoting the school, before themselves, at these media days.

In that case, what the hell is wrong with being an individual?

 

 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: July 14, 2008 2:36 pm
 

Some thoughts on the best coach series...

I purposefully waited until the coaching series was over to go back and dissect the numbers. When picking the 

coaches in each category, I didn't want to be influenced.

Anyway, here is how it breaks down ...

 The big winners were the SEC and Big 10. Surprise! Eighteen of the 66 coaches chosen came from the SEC (27.2 percent). The Big Ten had 13 picks (19.7 percent). Only three of the coaches came from non-BCS leagues (two from Conference USA and one from the WAC).

 Another surprise (not). Nine of the 66 coaches came from schools in Florida.

 

 The Big 12 and Pac-10 each led with three coaches on the dream staff. Norm Chow (UCLA, offensive coordinator), Pat Ruel (offensive line, USC) and Pete Carroll (head coach, USC) came from the Pac-10. In the Big 12, there were Cale Gundy (running backs, Oklahoma), Bruce Walker (tight ends, Missouri) and Brian Cabral (linebackers, Colorado). The Big Ten and SEC each had two "bests".

 USC and Florida tied for the most coaches on the list, each with five. That means that more than half the staffs at those schools are among the best in the country. That would make sense since the schools have combined to finish No. 1 in the AP poll three of the last five years.

 Thirty-five total schools were represented, including at least two programs from all six BCS conferences. Notre Dame did not have a coach on the list. However, East Carolina, Hawaii, UNLV and Tulsa did.

 The only SEC schools not represented were Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Kentucky and Mississippi State.

 

 The only conferences not to have at least one coach on a list were the Sun Belt and MAC.

 

 Nine of the dream staffers have won a national championship. The only ringless member is Missouri tight ends coach Bruce Walker.

Coaches I wished could have made the list but didn't:

 South Florida defensive backs coach Troy Douglas (coached first-rounder Mike Jenkins and fifth-round Trae Williams in 2007).

 There were too many good offensive coordinators. Among those that deserve mention: Bryan Harsin, Boise State; Mike Locksley, Illinois; Joker Phillips, Kentucky; Jim Bollman, Ohio State; Steed Lobotzke, Wake Forest.

 How do you leave off defensive coordinators DeWayne Walker of UCLA and Wally Burnham of South Florida?

 

 This has nothing to do with the coaching series but I found it interesting that Texas A&M's new president Elsa Murano isn't expecting much out of Mike Sherman in his first season.

"I have great expectations for coach (Mike) Sherman. Poor guy," Murano told the San Antonio Express-News. "We all think he needs to win the championship the first year, which of course cannot possibly happen. We need to give him a chance to rebuild.”

Cannot possibly happen? You've got to love Murano's candor.

Posted on: June 24, 2008 12:56 pm
 

Choking on bowls

OMAHA, Neb. -- NCAA Managing Director of Football and Baseball Dennis Poppe confirmed for me Monday what I've been wondering about the proliferation of bowl games.

When it comes to new bowls, it's promoter beware.

The NCAA in April approved two more bowl games, the Congressional Bowl in Washington D.C. and the St. Petersburg  Bowl in -- guess where? -- St. Petersburg, Fla.. That brings the total to 34 bowls. Do the quick math and that means 68 bowl slots. There were only 71 bowl-eligible teams last season.

Poppe, here for the College World Series, calls that a safe "margin of error." Three teams? (Actually, the number  varies from year to year but it's still close. In 2006, there were 73 bowl-eligible teams.)

 The pressure is not on the NCAA, which does little more than certify new bowls, but on the bowls themselves. If there aren't enough bowl eligible teams, there simply won't be bowls.

"The only option right now is that the bowl wouldn't have a game," said Poppe, a former lineman for Missouri's 1970 Orange Bowl team. "That's what it always has been (but) we reaffirmed that. The association's position is that granting a license doesn't necessarily guarantee a game."

If there was a possible shortage, why did the NCAA certify the two new bowls? Legally, it doesn't have much choice.  It might be surprising to know that the NCAA has little to do with the postseason. It certifies bowls, assigns officials and sets rules. Other than that, cities, promoters, schools and conferences stage the games.

If there is a glut of games, the public loves it. Average attendance at the 32 bowl games in 2007-08 was the highest in eight years. That would suggest that although seven bowl eligible teams didn't make the postseason last year, there are fans out there willing to watch the likes of Troy, Ohio and Louisiana-Monroe. (The other four bowl eligible teams that did it get invites were South Carolina, Northwestern, Iowa and Louisville.)

The next hurdle for bowl executives could be the dreaded Academic Progress Rate. Beginning in 2009, teams that have posted a sub-900 APR three consecutive season could be banned from postseason competition.

"We are in an area where the margin is pretty thin," Poppe said. "I still think we should have enough teams ... The theory is to provide as much opportunity as possible."

 You might have noticed that the newspaper industry is in shambles. This is not gloating. While we Internet hacks seem to be the lucky ones, our hearts go out to colleagues who are being downsized because of corporate mismanagement.

Two good friends left their jobs recently. Wendell Barnhouse of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram took a buyout after more than three decades in the business. The Star-Telegram has decided to do away with its national college football beat as part of its downsizing.  Also, Howard Richman was let go at the Kansas City Star after a quarter century with the paper. He was covering Kansas State, nailing every breaking story on the beat.


These guys are two examples of how the reader is losing. Newspapers still haven't figured out to make their product  work in a changing media environment. Sure, the Internet is a threat but you would have thought by now that someone would have figured how to reconfigure newspapers.

The major problem is papers being run by corporations instead of journalists. This guy Zell who owns Tribune Co. literally scares me.

It used to be about putting out a good product. Now it's more about profit margin. This bastardization of a vocation causes good people like Wendell and Howard to leave the profession. Courage, guys. We're thinking about you.

 

Posted on: May 15, 2008 10:33 am
 

USC you later?

USC's situation is not as bad as it is made out to be. Don't be a lemming -- or an Obama supporter. Think for yourself on this issue.

USC has a problem with agents -- mostly the two major sports seem to attract those with hygiene problems. In other words they're greasy. The NCAA is looking into the, ahem, pasts of O.J. Mayo and Reggie Bush. But death penalty? Whoa, there. Let's operate from the premise that USC didn't know about either case of extra benefits. A source with broad knowledge of the NCAA investigative process, says the NCAA is actually slightly more forgiving when it comes to agents giving extra benefits than it is with boosters. The language in the NCAA Manual deals specifically with boosters, the thinking being that schools have an ability and a duty to control them.

Not so much with agents. This isn't to absolve USC. Bush-Mayo looks bad. Real bad. But unless the NCAA can prove that USC knew or should have known about each situation, the school is likely to skate. Is it fair? Probably not, but as Gary Parrish pointed earlier this week there are Mayo situations going on all over the country. USC being USC, it got caught in the headlights. Do you think "Outside the Lines" does a piece with a jilted agent runner outing, say, Seton Hall?

We'll find out soon enough about Bush. Depositions will be taken next month in the lawsuit against him. The trial is scheduled for March. If it gets that far, I'll be shocked. Bush should have settled with Lloyd Lake by now. I don't know why he hasn't. The negative publicity from the case already has cost him dearly in endorsements.

"Hummer, lost them all, except for adidas," one source told me.

Since both these guys are out of school it will come down to the NCAA deciding if the school knew about the agents. At worst USC is guilty of negligence, not complicity. Did USC want to know? Of course not. It was in the school's best interest to get Bush and Mayo on campus win games. Should USC have known? That's the NCAA's (and the Pac-10's) task.

 If you playoff proponents want a ray of hope, here it is: Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen is rumored to be stepping down next year. (His choice, by the way) Hansen, along with the Big Ten's Jim Delany, is part of the blockade against a plus-one. The new commissioner might be able to slowly melt some cold presidential hearts within the conference.

Watch for the Mountain West's Craig Thompson to go after the job. That makes sense, but there is another name in the rumor mill that will blow your doors off: Notre Dame AD Kevin White.

Hansen is the longest-tenured major-college commissioner having been in his position since 1983.

 Why didn't someone at the BCS meetings in South Florida last month propose an unseeded plus-one? That model seems much more agreeable to the bowls, presidents and schools. Let all the bowls go back to the natural hookups (Fiesta with the Big 12, Rose with Big Ten-Pac-10, Sugar with the SEC, Orange with ACC and/or Big East). The two highest-ranked teams after the bowls would then meet for the national championship.

There are issues: Because of its agreement with two conferences, the Rose Bowl could face a situation where an 8-4 team could upset an undefeated No. 1 team. That doesn't exactly legitimize a national championship game.

A fifth bowl would have to be added to accommodate the non-BCS schools. There's always the possibility that 1-2 teams could play in a bowl, although not much of one. Between 1936 and 1992 (when the Bowl Coalition was formed) No. 1 played No. 2 in a bowl only eight times.

But the dearth of postseason sizzle was why the BCS was formed.

Choosing among the bowl winners still doesn't clear up the problem of selecting the top two teams. If the system had been in place last season, you would have needed federal troops to clear the streets. The top seven teams in the final BCS standings (prior to the bowls, mind you) finished with at least two losses. The No. 8 team, Kansas, went 12-1.

Best guess on an unseeded plus-one in that scenario: LSU vs. Georgia, USC, Missouri or Kansas. Satisfied?

 A fond farewell to Kansas State president Jon Wefald who is retiring after the 2008-2009 academic year. The Miracle in Manhattan never would have happened had not the energetic president taken big, big chances in turning his football program around.

In the late 1980s, he spent K-State into debt in order to hire a top notch coach, pay his staff and improve facilities. Obviously, it worked. You couldn't help but like the guy. He bounced around the press box like a suit-wearing gnome, a cheerleader without being annoying. Warner Bros. is busy turning a screenplay written by Wefald into a TV movie about the Negro Leagues.

His legacy will be greater than 99 percent of the presidents around today. First, he stayed on the job, 23 years by the time he retires. Most of his peers are academic gigolos, jumping from one job to another.

The school continued to go out of the box with Bill Snyder's replacement, Ron Prince. The hire was great at the time, in part, because Prince was one of the few minority head coaches in I-A football. The hire looks like a gamble now because Prince lost his AD (Tim Weiser) and his president while the program has declined.

Wefald leaves with another gamble on his record. Bob Huggins came and went. So did Michael Beasley. For now it worked. Frank Martin took K-State to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 12 years. Can the basketball success be sustained?

 That Tim Tebow circumcision stuff was worth a laugh but if I'm a self-respecting doctor, I'm pissed. Letting a Heisman Trophy winner snip sutures is a bit like letting a civilian in a press box. That's our office. We're the trained professionals who, like doctors, adhere to a code of ethics.

There has to be a professional organization of doctors in Alachua County, Fla. that will weigh in on this. And what about the head of the University of Florida medical school? If I get a minute I'm going to call them and ask them about Tebow.

 I was sitting around and decided to rate the conferences going into next season. What do you think?

1. SEC -- Three of the last six BCS national champions.

2. Big 12 -- All grown up. The Large Dozen enters its 13th season with at least four top 15 programs (Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas)

3. Pac-10 -- The only league to play nine regular-season conference games continues to chase USC.

4. Big East -- Seven deep in 2008

5. Big Ten -- Big drop off after Ohio State.

6. ACC -- Haven't won a BCS bowl game since 1999.

7. Mountain West -- BYU is back!

8. WAC -- Depth throughout. Boise, Fresno and Hawaii should all go bowling.

9. Conference USA -- Two 10-game winners in 2007.

10. MAC -- The league champion (Central Michigan) lost six games<>

11. Sun Belt -- Finally. Three teams at .500 or above.

-30-

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
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