Category:NCAAF
Posted on: September 30, 2011 12:40 am
Edited on: September 30, 2011 12:53 am
 

Source: Big 12 best to stay at 9

The Big 12 should not expand in order to maximize its earning power, a source intimately involved in the conference's TV negotiations told CBSSports.com on Thursday.

"If it were me I'd try to stay where I am," said the source. "Nine months ago they had the same money for 10 teams. Is anything going to change if they have nine?"

Texas A&M's formal departure to the SEC this week reduced the Big 12 to nine teams. Missouri is still contemplating whether also to pursue membership in the SEC. With nine teams, the source said, not only would the conference get an expected windfall for its primary rights fees following the 2015 season, it would provide nine more non-conference games as inventory.

"That's more attractive to the networks than BYU-Iowa State," said source who did not want to be identified because of his relationship with the league.

BYU is widely speculated to be joining the Big 12 should it expand. A nine-team league would allow the Big 12 to keep playing a round-robin conference schedule (eight games) while scheduling four non-conference games. The league currently plays a nine-game conference schedule with three non-conference games.

Both Fox and ESPN committed to saving the league in 2010 after the Pac-12 almost raided the Big 12 of half of its team. The 10 remaining schools were guaranteed approximately $20 million each when the conference's primary rights deal with ESPN expired after the 2015-16 academic year.

Fox began to fulfill that promise when the league agreed to a $1.13 billion deal for 13 years for its secondary rights earlier this year. The source said neither Fox nor ESPN were going pay less than promised in 2010 for the Big 12 at nine teams, or perhaps even eight teams. It's not clear if Fox or ESPN have a cancellation clause of their contracts if league membership falls below a certain number.

Staying at nine, said the source, would make it easier for conference schools to get to that $20 million per-team plateau. For example, with nine teams the new Fox deal alone is worth $9.6 million per team. In the latest round of conference realignment schools either are a "brand" or have markets. While more teams would bring more inventory (games) to bid on, the question is: Would each new school bring $20 million to the table individually?

The Big 12 has a long way to go before answering that question. It hasn't been determined whether the schools have committed their primary media rights to the conference for six years. That would essentially hold the conference together but no one is quite sure where that issue stands. Oklahoma president David Boren said a week all the remaining schools had agreed. Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton merely said the issue was being discussed.

The Missouri board of curators will reportedly meet on Tuesday. The board could merely empower Deaton to seek another conference although there is no indication which way the school is leaning.

Big 12 expansion speculation is all over the map -- from staying at nine to going to 16 teams.

 

 

 

 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 29, 2011 10:54 pm
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

Starting with leftovers from the Friday Charlie Weis interview.

Florida's offensive coordinator takes on Alabama Saturday in his biggest college game since leaving Notre Dame in 2009. The knee he had replaced in June is no longer an issue. I began by asking him if walking around pain-free makes a difference in his job. 

"Absolutely no effect," he said.

All righty, then. Moving on. 

Question: You've coached at the highest level. Is the SEC, in some ways, like the NFL because it is a line-of-scrimmage league?

Weis: "It's not just a line-of-scrimmage league, it's how much speed there is. There's fast guys all over the place. That's a big testament to the conference. It's not just the linebackers and defensive backs. There's a bunch of athletic lineman running around too. You have to be on guard just to give yourself the best chance."

Question: When Urban Meyer came into the league one of the first things he realized is he had to have a fullback out there. Was there any surprise about coming into this league?

Weis: "I just came from the NFL so you're used to guys who can run real fast. You see it on a weekly basis. Now especially as we're getting ready for Alabama, I look at these guys on tape. This is what you're used to playing against."

Question: Have you snuck a look at the Chiefs this season?

Weis: "I know what's happened right there. We don't have time to watch any of their games or anything. Sunday is a very busy day for us."

Question: How is your son? (The reason Weis came to Florida was because he could be with his son Charlie Jr.)

Weis: "He's an intern for the head coach. I got him away from me, so he isn't like daddy's little tag along. That's worked out very nicely.

Question: What does he do for Will Muschamp?

Weis: "He's kind of the offensive liaison. He keeps Will [Muschamp] abreast of everything we do on offense. Will is always completely up to date with everything we do on offense. He brings him our daily grades and personnel. It's been a nice role for him."


Jordan Jefferson is back:
Now that LSU's quarterback has been reinstated, could it be that in a convoluted way, that bar fight might be one of the best things that happens to LSU?

Jarrett Lee (this week vs. Kentucky) probably never would have gotten the reps, or the starting job, had Jefferson never been suspended. Now, the Tigers essentially have two starting quarterbacks. If Lee slumps or loses the job, Jefferson is in the wings. Les Miles is already saying Jefferson will play in every game as a super-backup.

WWL would never advocate violence but in a weird way, this episode has worked out in LSU's favor. Jefferson is expected to see action against the Wildcats.


The gift that keeps on giving: The NCAA's top five passers this week all have ties to Mike Leach:

Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden, Houston's Case Keenum, West Virginia's Geno Smith, Arizona's Nick Foles and Oklahoma's Landry Jones.

Weeden, Keenum and Smith are or were coached by Dana Holgorsen, Leach's offensive coordinator at Texas Tech from 2000-2007. Holgorsen has since coached at Oklahoma State and West Virginia.

Foles' offensive coordinator at Arizona, Seth Littrell, played at Oklahoma under Leach. Littrell was also Leach's running backs coach at Texas Tech. Prior to Litrell, Sonny Dykes was Foles' offensive coordinator at Arizona, before going to Louisiana Tech as head coach. Dykes coached with Leach at Kentucky and Texas Tech.

Connection to Jones: Oklahoma's co-offensive coordinator is Josh Heupel who was coached by Leach in 1999 as OU's OC.


This gets a WWL mention because we are a quarter of the way through the season and, well, it matters:
 Temple is No. 1 in scoring defense. The Fighting Addazios (3-1, hosting Toledo) have given up four total touchdowns playing an FCS (Villanova), a conference rival (Akron) and two BCS programs (Penn State and Maryland).


This week's Power Poll
1. LSU
2. Oklahoma
3. Boise State
4. Alabama
5. Wisconsin
6. Virginia Tech
7. Oklahoma State
8. Stanford
9. Nebraska
10. Oregon
11. South Carolina
12. Texas A&M
13. Clemson
14. Baylor
15. Florida
16. Georgia Tech
17. Michigan
18. Kansas State
19. Illinois
20. Michigan State
21. TCU
22. Arkansas
23. West Virginia
24. Arizona State
25. Ohio State



Piling on: George Barlow makes his head coaching debut for crippled, battered, embarrassed New Mexico. The Lobos, 2-26 under Mike Locksley, try to salvage some pride in a rivalry game against New Mexico State. Barlow was New Mexico's defensive coordinator before Locksley was fired on Sunday. That defense is 116th nationally having allowed 24 touchdowns, the most in the country ... Look who is the No. 1 running back in the country. After a slow start against LSU, Oregon's LaMichael James has 613 yards. James is coming off a school-record 288 yards against Arizona. The Ducks play Cal on Thursday ... We'll see how that K-State defense defends its manhood after defending the goal line last week against Miami. Baylor's Robert Griffin threw for 404 yards and four touchdowns last season against K-State in a 47-42 win ... Half of the Big 12 (actually five of 10 teams) are ranked No. 17 or higher in the coaches' poll ... Joe Paterno coaches his 700th game this week as a part of the Penn State staff (at Indiana) ... If South Carolina's Stephen Garcia doesn't get it going this week against Auburn he never will. Steve Spurrier's much-cussed quarterback is ranked second-worst among the 100 quarterbacks rated by the NCAA. Auburn's secondary has allowed opponents to complete almost 68 percent of passes ... LSU is No. 1 for the first time since November 2007.
Posted on: September 28, 2011 11:30 am
Edited on: September 28, 2011 12:33 pm
 

Neinas "key consultant" for SD-based firm

Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas told CBSSports.com he will not be working for an emerging San Diego-based consulting firm while working for the conference.

According to Sports Business Journal, Neinas is a "key consultant" for JMI Sports, which oversaw the planning and building of Petco Park in San Diego

Neinas is among 17 consultants in JMI's new college division according to SBJ.  They are all current or former college administrators. That list includes Texas AD DeLoss Dodds, Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky and Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson.

Neinas said Friday he would not be consulting or doing coaching searches while working for the Big 12, aside from an active job he had with Conference USA and the Mountain West that did not conflict with his Big 12 duties. Neinas runs Neinas Sports Services, one of the most influential head-hunting companies in college athletics.

The story said the consultants would be paid on a project-by-project basis.

Neinas officially takes office on Monday. He is currently meeting with Big 12 ADs in Dallas.  

Former San Diego State AD Jeff Schemmel is JMI college division's new managing director. The University of Houston has been signed as a client according to SBJ. 

Posted on: September 27, 2011 5:33 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2011 6:31 pm
 

National notes: What now Missouri?

What now Missouri?

While the school remains conflicted about its place in the Big 12, SEC commissioner Mike Slive pretty much decided Missouri's short-term ambitions when he announced that his league likely will play with 13 teams until at least 2013.

"There are not any other institutions currently under consideration by SEC presidents and chancellors except Texas A&M," Slive repeated again on Tuesday.

As for "informal offers" to Missouri reported by two outlets, it probably comes down to semantics. Define informal. Were these bids made by SEC fans wearing jorts or the commissioner himself? Probably somewhere in between, but certainly not to the level of official consideration by the SEC.

Have there been back-channel communications between the SEC and Missouri? Almost certainly. But legally the SEC can't even hint at an interest in a 14th team. Look what happened to Texas A&M on Sept. 6. It wasn't until the Pac-12 turned down Oklahoma and Texas last week that A&M president R. Bowen Loftin felt comfortable enough to move to the SEC. In other words, when Baylor knew the Big 12 was going to survive there was no need to threaten legal action.

"[At that point], there's really no basis for litigation," Loftin said.

The Show-Me State is in a state of limbo. For the second consecutive year, it has hiked its skirt and flirted a new conference. For the second consecutive year, it could be embarrassed. While that situation could change in 15 minutes, Missouri is in much the same situation it was in June 2010 -- hoping for, but conflicted about taking a lifeline out of the Big 12.

Read between the lines. What's the rush for the SEC? It can play with 13 teams for a couple of years. Who knows if some better school shakes loose? The Big 12 is a daily soap opera. Who knows who is going to be upset tomorrow?



Slive did admit that he has spoken to Loftin about making A&M's first SEC game possibly a stand-alone affair on a special day or at a special time. Think of perhaps Labor Day night Texas A&M vs, maybe, Alabama in a celebration of Bear Bryant? Just speculating.

 


It's been discussed before
but Slive also said there would be discussions about rescinding the two-team limit per conference for BCS bowls. Now that the SEC is the first major conference to grow to 13, it may think it deserves more BCS access.

"There are several issues important enough to have serious discussion," Slive of the BCS going forward. "That would be one of them."




Will Lyles could be the most significant figure of the 2011 season.

The notorious mentor/talent scout/rat now holds the fate of several teams. Lyles told Yahoo! Sports that former Tennessee assistant Willie Mack Garza sent paid for the airfare of Lache Seastrunk for unofficial visit

Several things wrong with that: A school can't pay for unofficial visits. That's why they're unofficial. Garza resigned at USC within a couple of days of Lyles speaking to the NCAA on Aug. 30 in Los Angeles. Oh, and Tennessee just got hit with NCAA penalties, among them "failure to monitor."

The football program got off relatively unharmed when the NCAA penalized Tennessee in August. The NCAA might not be so forgiving if major infractions are found so close together.

The question is, who's next? There's been a buzz since that NCAA sit-down that Lyles has dropped a dime on several schools. In the short term, LSU and Oregon should be concerned. Perhaps Cal as well.

The foundation of this story is an NCAA determined to stamp out third-party influence in college football. Lyles, it seems, has turned state's evidence. All Ohio State did was get to a BCS bowl while its coach intentionally allowed ineligible players to participate. Oregon reportedly asked Lyles to assemble a national recruiting package on fly.

What's worse? I'd be way more worried at Tennessee, LSU, Cal and Oregon.



There has been this rumbling that Texas A&M is making a horrible mistake going to the SEC.

That it is going to be overwhelmed by ES-EE-SEE footbawl. That is has no idea what it is getting into.

Rubbish.

A&M is as committed a football school as there is. I toured the A&M facilities Saturday before the Oklahoma State game and came away impressed. The school's total athletic infrastructure may be better than anything in the SEC. There are fans, I'm told, who park their RVs near the football stadium before the season and don't leave until the last pitch is made in baseball in the spring. That's loyalty.

A&M's one football conference title since the beginnng of 1998, is exactly two less than Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Georgia combined in that same time span.

There is no question the Aggies can compete in, and win, the SEC. Here is how I would rate a 13-team SEC in current strength of football program. I'm talking everything, on the field, facilities, recruiting, fans, fund-raising.

Alabama
LSU
Florida
Arkansas
Texas A&M
Auburn
South Carolina
Georgia
Tennessee
Mississippi State
Ole Miss
Kentucky
Vanderbilt



The threat of lightning can postpone a game but when lightning actually strikes, the score stands.

Lightning struck Saturday when Big East officials totally botched that extra point in the Toledo-Syracuse game. The clearly errant Syracuse extra point was ruled good, probably costing Toledo a victory.

Toledo and MAC officials protested but NCAA rules are clear: Once a game is over, it's over. That didn't come into effect a couple of weeks ago in that Utah-USC game.

Here's a solution in such games when officials clearly cost a deserving team a chance at victory (Also see The Fifth Down Game): 

Declare the result vacated. In other words, the stats count by Syracuse and Toledo don't get credit for a win or a loss. Just vacations, same as at Florida State, Alabama and USC for NCAA transgressions, the games simply don't count.

If one or both teams finish 5-6, they would both automatically be bowl eligible (at 6-6). It seems to be the fair thing to do. The screwed team doesn't get a loss and the team that benefits doesn't get a win. Just a thought.



Extending my screed against boards of regents/curators, we give you these brief bios of the Missouri board of curators. These may be the seven people who will decide whether Missouri goes to the SEC.

Warren Erdman -- appointed in 2007 by then governor Matt Blunt. Erdman is executive vice president of administration and corporate affairs for Kansas City Southern. The transportation holding company has investments in the United States, Mexico and Panama.

David Bradley -- was appointed in 2009 by current governor Jay Nixon. Bradley is president of the News-Press & Gazette in St. Joseph.

Don Downing -- appointed in 2009 by Nixon. Attorney who is a former managing general partner of Stinson, Morrison, Hecker in St. Louis and is Missouri's former chief deputy attorney general.

Wayne Goode -- appointed in 2009 by Nixon. A retired former Missouri senator and state representative.

Donald Cupps -- appointed this year by Nixon. Senior partner at Ellis, Cupps and Cole.

Judith Haggard -- appointed in 2007 by Blunt. A family nurse practitioner and drug abuse counselor.

David Steward -- appointed this year by Nixon. Deep breath here, kids. Steward is chairman and founder of World Wide Technology of St. Louis, a leading systems integrator that provides technology products, services and supply chain solutions to customers around the globe.
Posted on: September 25, 2011 8:55 pm
Edited on: September 26, 2011 7:58 pm
 

On A Football Saturday: UNM considering Leach?

So, would New Mexico consider Mike Leach?

The answer seems to be a resounding yes. Within minutes of releasing the statement that announced the firing of Mike Locksley, New Mexico AD Paul Krebs texted his qualifications for the new coach.

Head coaching experience is strongly preferred. Ability to recruit in Texas is a virtual must. Also, ties to the Albuquerque area will be considered.

Leach qualifies for all three. He spent a decade at Texas Tech recruiting Texas. Lubbock qualifies as having area ties. It is 320 miles from Albuquerque.

Don't sleep on this situation. New Mexico's interested. Is Leach?



--A quarter of the way through the regular season these are surprising undefeated teams:

Baylor: Robert Griffin III has more touchdown passes, 13, than incompletions, 12.

"A young man like Robert Griffin, it's like you're playing with 13 people," said Rice coach David Bailiff after Saturday' 56-31 loss to the Bears.

Houston: In his sixth year of eligibility, Case Keenum is now the third-leading passer of all time

Illinois: The Illini are 4-0 for the first time since 1951, the year they won a national championship in something called the Boand System.

Clemson: Give Dabo Swinney a microphone, he'll scream into it. Tigers have early advantage in the ACC Atlantic after beating Florida State.

Georgia Tech: Another Paul Johnson classic. A route of Kansas, followed by a late win over North Carolina. Can we just go ahead and call that offense the hardest to play against in the country?

South Florida: While the Big East agonizes over membership in the future, the Bulls are the league's only undefeated team right now.

Florida: Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps are finally becoming a fearsome <>combination<> under Charlie Weis.

Kansas State: Bill Snyder still has some magic left. The same Wildcats who almost to Eastern Kentucky at home, stopped Miami at the 1 to go 3-0 for the 16th time in Snyder's 20 seasons.



--That "Big 12, Big 12" chant by Oklahoma State fans Saturday at Texas A&M. It was as much a taunt as pride. Okie State probably didn't know that one A&M fan was waving a giant SEC flag at Friday's midnight yell practice ...



--Don't know what this means: The top six rushers in the country are from six different conferences ... The top two rushers in the Big Ten are quarterbacks: Denard Robinson (168.67 yards per game), Nebraska's Taylor Martinez (105.25) ... Anyone notice conference play is beginning? ...

Blowing by you on the bayou: This just in at LSU. The Tigers are incredibly fast ... Also, Oklahoma State is incredibly resilient: "What this comes down to is I thought our team was in better physical condition by a long shot," said coach Mike Gundy. Game time temperature was 91 degrees accompanied by bright sunshine. Pokes gave guts and character. Can't wait until the Bedlam game Dec. 3 in Stillwater ... Oklahoma hadn't trailed in 20 consecutive home games until falling behind Missouri 14-3 in the first quarter ... Clemson has gained at least 455 yards in all four games. Quarterback Tajh Boyd has consecutive 300-yard passing games ... The Big Ten went 8-2 on Saturday but the two losses were embarrassing. North Dakota State beat Minnesota for the second straight season. North Texas got by Indiana ... West Virginia gave up its most points in six years in LSU's 47-21 rout ...

Who says you can't win committing seven turnovers? East Carolina did it, beating Alabama-Birmingham 28-23 ... Southern Miss has beaten Virginia in consecutive meetings ... SMU and South Carolina have the best conference records in FBS, 2-0 ... Toledo had a 22-play drive against Syracuse and settled for a field goal. Sure, it got screwed on that extra point that Big East on-field and replay officials ruled good (it wasn't.). But the Rockets would have done themselves some good by punching it in the first quarter.


--This week's Heisman ballot: 1. Robert Griffin III, Baylor; 2, Marcus Lattimore; South Carolina; 3, Kellen Moore, Boise State; 4. Denard Robinson, Michigan; 5. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State.


If Steve Spurrier ever gets a big head -- how could that happen? -- all he has to do is watch this 45-year old tape from the Ed Sullivan Show. Ed obviously didn't know who Spurrier was or his school. Miami? 
Posted on: September 25, 2011 5:08 pm
Edited on: September 25, 2011 7:39 pm
 

UNM's Locksley first casualty of the season

New Mexico coach Mike Locksley has become the first coaching casualty of the season. The Lobos' third-year coach was fired Sunday, a source told CBSSports.com. The firing comes less than a day after a youth was arrested for DWI while driving what was reportedly a car registered to Locksley.

Locksley was 2-26 in less than 2 1/2 seasons, his latest loss coming in overtime Saturday to FCS Sam Houston State. When AD Paul Krebs hired him in December 2008, Locksley was a hot coaching prospect having helped lead Illinois to the Rose Bowl. Locksley was known as an ace recruiter. Prior to his first season, he went to directly to a familiar area attempting to stock the New Mexico roster -- Washington, D.C.

In 2007, D.C. native Arrelious Benn was the Big Ten freshman of the year for Illinois. Benn was among at least nine players Locksley landed from the D.C. area from 2005-2008.

Things quickly went South in Albuquerque. Before his first season, Locksley was hit with a sex and age discrimination lawsuit by an administrative assistant. In September 2009, he was reprimanded after an altercation with an assistant. Locksley was suspended for 10 days.

On Saturday, recruit Joshua Butts was arrested for aggravated DWI, a minor in possession of alcohol and driving without a license.New Mexico does not believe Butts is a recruitable athlete which could complicate matters with the NCAA.

One final piece of fallout from Locksley's regime: The losing may be a huge contributing factor in keeping the Mountain West from an automatic BCS berth in 2012 and 2013. The league is currently at the end of a four-year BCS evaluation period. The league reportedly meets two of the three benchmarks needed for automatic qualification status and may have to ask the BCS for a waiver going forward.

The Mountain West is one of five conferences without an automatic BCS bid.

Posted on: September 24, 2011 6:56 pm
Edited on: September 24, 2011 7:25 pm
 

Huge comeback by Oklahoma State

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Call it a small victory for the Big 12. Oklahoma State's incredible 30-29 win over Texas A&M was somewhat bigger.

The decision makes it more likely that the conference title would stay with it into to next season. Had A&M won, the Aggies could have taken their last Big 12 title into perpetuity to the SEC.

A&M president R. Bowen Loftin told CBSSports.com Saturday that the school's move to the SEC will be done "shortly."

That wasn't the issue when the Aggies blew a 17-point halftime lead, losing its fourth straight to the Cowboys. Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon blew a certain third-quarter touchdown when he fumbled into the end zone from A&M's 2.

That only affected the point spread. Oklahoma State ran 37 plays to A&M's 11 in the third quarter in overcoming a 20-3 halftime deficit. Call it the biggest backtrack by the Aggies since "committing" to the Big 12 after the upheaval of June 2010.

It would be nice to keep the Big 12 title in the Big 12 going into next season. For now, Oklahoma State becomes the chief contender to No. 1 Oklahoma in the Big 12. Their game is still more than two months away but it was impressive that the Cowboys won the first game between two top-10 teams in the Big 12 in two years.


Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 24, 2011 5:54 pm
 

Wave bye-bye to Aggies; All in for SEC

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Consider the Aggies departed to the SEC.

Texas A&M president R. Bowden Loftin told CBSSports.com Saturday he expects the Aggies to be in the SEC "shortly".  After joining a Big12 presidents' conference call this week, Loftin said the Big 12 is committed to going forward "without us."

"I think the legal issues are basically gone," said Loftin speaking at halftime of the Oklahoma State-A&M game.

He was referring to four Big 12 schools that retained their rights to possibly sue the SEC if A&M leaves.  Baylor had been heading up that effort since early September when former commissioner Dan Beebe wrote SEC commissioner Mike Slive that all hurdles had been cleared for A&M to join the SEC.

A&M could be playing its first game as an SEC member (actual membership begins July 1) next Saturday against Arkansas in Arlington, Texas.

"Look at what’s happened this past week," Loftin said. "The action on Tuesday night by the Pac-12 has led to the Big 12, minus us, being in place. I joined the teleconference on Thursday evening of the Big 12 directors. They were firmly committed to going forward without us with nine teams."

CBSSports.com reported earlier Saturday that Texas A&M officials considered the SEC membership to be resolved quickly. Loftin was asked directly if he expects A&M to be in the SEC by next Saturday.

"I expect to be in the SEC soon," he said.

Loftin said he would listen to a plea from interim commissioner Chuck Neinas to keep the Aggies in the Big 12, but didn't sound hopeful.

“He’s an icon in our world, you know that," Loftin said "I’d be willing to talk to Chuck anytime he wants to be talk to me. But we’ve made a very firm decision about our future here and we’re going to stick with it. What more can I say?"

On Friday, Neinas said he would try to contact A&M but considered them gone to the SEC. He also said he expects Missouri to stay in the Big 12.  

Loftin spoke exclusively to CBSSports.com and the Dallas Morning News. 

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Big 12, SEC, Texas A&M
 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com