Tag:Orange Bowl
Posted on: December 5, 2011 7:17 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 7:41 pm
 

Sugar-Fiesta were talking OU-OSU trade

The Sugar Bowl was actively seeking a trade of BCS teams with the Fiesta Bowl had Oklahoma beaten Oklahoma State, Sugar CEO Paul Hoolahan told CBSSports.com on Monday.

Hoolahan said he was in contact with Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas about working the deal that would have brought Oklahoma to New Orleans in exchange for Oklahoma State. That would have relieved Oklahoma from so-called “Fiesta Fatigue” by taking the Sooners had they lost Saturday to Oklahoma State. Per BCS procedure, the Sugar would actually had to take Oklahoma State with the first overall pick then wait until the selection procedure was over before working the trade for the Sooners.

Oklahoma has been in the Fiesta Bowl three of the last five years. The Sooners have played in New Orleans once since 1972. That was the 2003 BCS title game against LSU. The trade, of course, was predicated on LSU and Alabama remaining 1-2 in the BCS. It is allowable per the BCS contract. 

The Sugar ended up with Michigan and Virginia Tech.

“I was working with Neinas throughout the week prior to selections on a possible Oklahoma trade …” Hoolahan said. “We had that greased and ready to go.”

“A lot of time was spent looking at that,” he added. “A lot of time was spent looking at similar situations regarding Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech’s name didn’t come in out of the blue.”

A second source from the Fiesta Bowl confirmed the trade talks. Neinas did not immediately return a call for comment. Because it lost both LSU and Alabama as SEC anchors, the Sugar had the first and third picks in the BCS process. Michigan was the first pick.

While the trade talk doesn’t directly address the reason why Kansas State was left out of the Sugar Bowl, it does begin to explain the Sugar Bowl’s thinking. It needed a so-called “anchor” team to pair with a second participant. Michigan became a worthy choice and the potential trade was off when Oklahoma State beat the Sooners.

The Wolverines return to New Orleans for the first time since 1984. If there are less than 10 automatic BCS qualifiers, teams ranked in the top 14 of the final BCS standings that have won at least nine games are eligible for at-large selection. That explains the leeway BCS bowls have in creating their best matchup. 

An Oklahoma win in Bedlam likely would have put a second Big 12 team (Oklahoma State) in the BCS.  

While ticket sales didn’t figure to be issue in either of the possible games involving Michigan -- Michigan-Virginia Tech or Michigan-Kansas State – there are always television considerations. It could have been that Virginia Tech was a slightly better TV draw.

Virginia Tech itself is suffering from its own “Orange Bowl Fatigue” having been to South Florida as the ACC champion three out of the last four years. Still, the college football world wanted to know Monday why Virginia Tech made it over the more accomplished and higher-ranked Wildcats.

The two-loss Hokies come to New Orleans fresh off a four-touchdown beatdown from Clemson in the ACC title game. Virginia Tech beat one team (Georgia Tech) ranked at the time in the top 20. Its own coach, Frank Beamer, barely voted the Hokies within BCS at-large eligibility on his coaches’ poll ballot at No. 13. At-large teams in the top 14 are considered.

Meanwhile, Kansas State is ranked higher (No. 8, BCS) guided by a national coach of the year candidate in Bill Snyder.

Without getting into specifics, Hoolahan said it was  a matter of familiarity with Tech. “A fond relationship,” he called it. The Sugar contributed $250,000 to the school after the tragic shootings in 2007. This is the third time since 2000 and fourth time since 1995 the Hokies have been to New Orleans.

The Sugar Bowl doesn’t have a large volunteer base (125) which could also play into the decision. Compare that to the Fiesta Bowl which claims a volunteer base of close to 3,000. The Sugar is double-hosting in this BCS rotation, responsible for two BCS games within seven days.

With SEC powerhouses LSU and Alabama in the championship game, it could be one of the biggest and busiest weeks ever for the Sugar Bowl infrastructure. Anything to make the job easier – i.e. selecting a known commodity in Virginia Tech – could help.

Hoolahan called it inviting a “long-time friend and partner.”

The Sugar could also feel it is owed the freedom to make such a pick. Since 2008, it has hosted non-BCS schools Hawaii and Utah as well as the Big East’s Cincinnati. Essentially, the Sugar Bowl may feel it shouldn’t be criticized when it has taken teams with ticket and TV draw issues in recent years.

Those are lingering consequences of the BCS that will start to be dealt with when the commissioners meet next Jan. 10 in New Orleans.

Posted on: September 6, 2011 11:46 am
Edited on: September 6, 2011 11:49 am
 

National notes

Since I didn't get around to predicting the BCS bowls before the season actually started, let's just call this a BCS bowl preview (after one week).

BCS championship in New Orleans: Alabama* vs. Oklahoma*

Did nothing in Week 1 to change my opinion of the two best teams in the country.


Rose Bowl:
Oregon* vs. Wisconsin*

Oregon suddenly not a prohibitive favorite in the Pac-12.


Fiesta:
Texas A&M vs. Stanford

Fiesta gets supposed Heisman winner (Andrew Luck) against Big 12 runner-up.


Sugar:
LSU vs. Florida State

Tigers make it back to Sugar, but not the big one.


Orange:
West Virginia* vs. Virginia Tech*

Tech makes a return trip to South. Mountaineers giddy over return to BCS bowl.

*-automatic qualifier


--One reason why we saw all those games delayed or postponed by weather:

Lawyers, or the threat of them if even one person was injured, never mind or killed. Our society is so litigious that even one person slipping on a staircase could cost a school millions. That's why you saw 80,000 people evacuated from stadiums in a short period of time. It's obvious by the speed at which these teams were cleared that schools have prepared for this occurrence.

I can remember seasons when we didn't see this many weather-related delays. Now schools are erring on the side of safety. Who can blame Notre Dame for clearing the stadium twice after it lost a student videographer last season?


--Give Miami's Al Golden credit for not whining about his predicament at Miami.

"Eight of the 110 kids on our team had a significant issue for something they did three years ago?" Golden said. "We're moving on right now. I've been to the deepest depths in the NCAA."

Those depths would have been inheriting a roster with 54 scholarship players at Temple as well as NCAA and APR problems. The difference, as Golden has pointed out, Temple was shooting for a winning record. Miami wants to win championships.


--Yes, it's early and it probably means nothing but here's where you'll find last year's returning Heisman finalists in the current NCAA stats after one week.

Andrew Luck, Stanford: The Heisman runner-up threw for a modest 171 yards against San Jose State in a 57-3 blowout. He is 39th overall in pass efficiency.

LaMichael James, Oregon: Not listed in the top 100 after rushing for 54 yards in 18 carries against LSU. In his last two games, both against SEC superpowers, James has rushed for 103 yards on 31 carries.

Kellen Moore, Boise State: 21st in passing efficiency after completing 28 of 34 against Georgia. How does that get him to 21st after one of the biggest wins in Boise State history? Think of it this way: Moore is first on that list among quarterbacks who played a BCS-conference opponent in the first week.


--Weird stat of the week: Of Oregon's 83 scoring drives last season, it was forced to go more than 11 plays only five times. Oregon had to go 79 yards in 19 plays to score its first touchdown of the season against LSU. What looked at the time like a turning of the tide against the Tigers, turns out to be another reason to like LSU's defense.


--Baylor isn't likely to lose in the month of September. After this week's bye, the Bears have Stephen F. Austin and Rice at home. The conference opener is Oct. 1 at Kansas State and that's looking easier by the moment.

Look for more deserved Baylor hype. The Bears could be 5-0 heading into Texas A&M on Oct. 15.


--Way too early Heisman ballot:

1. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: Best quarterback in the Big 12 after beating TCU. Felt like Friday Night Lights in Waco.
2. Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU: It's good to have a playmaker. It's great to have a playmaker on defense. It's almost impossible to have a game changer in the secondary.
3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State: Now, only the NFL has to take notice.
Posted on: January 4, 2011 12:21 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2011 7:23 pm
 

Could Harbaugh/Luck both stay at Stanford?

What if Jim Harbaugh stays at Stanford?

Before answering, ask yourself this: What if Andrew Luck stays at Stanford?

The pair's decisions continue to be intertwined on some level after Monday's conclusive win by Stanford in the Orange Bowl. The Detroit Free Press is reporting that Harbaugh is "highly unlikely" to take the Michigan job. 

So does that mean Harbaugh is going to take one of the many NFL openings? Not necessarily. Remember, this is an unconventional guy. If Andrew Luck stays and decides to complete his degree in 2011, then Harbaugh may be on board. If Harbaugh stays, Luck may be on board. With Luck, Stanford probably starts the 2011 season in the top 10 despite heavy losses on the offensive line. With Luck back, the Cardinal would return 18 starters.


"That's something I'll definitely have to give a lot of thought about, whatever happens to him," Luck said of his coach.


Luck, a redshirt sophomore, told reporters last month that the lure of getting a Stanford degree is enticing.

"I would love to have a degree from Stanford," said Luck, an architectural design major. "Not the whole point but a big part of going to a university like Stanford is to graduate and get a degree. And have the opportunity to go into the business word at some point with a Stanford degree. It's a big deal."

 Former Stanford great John Elway was on the sidelines Monday night rooting for his college team but obviously wanting a shot at both Harbaugh and Luck. Elway is set to become the Broncos vice president of football operations.

Luck seems as ready as any player could be for the draft. He is projected to be the No. 1 player taken. But the lure of completing his degree, playing again for Harbaugh and spending time with his sister Mary Ellen, a freshman at Stanford, might be too much. He is not worried about dropping in the 2012 draft if he stays.

"I don’t want to sound cocky or pretentious, but no I think you have to have trust in the decision you're going to make," Luck said. "If I was going back to school I think I'd be confident that I could still perform at a high level."

As for playing for Harbaugh:

"He's very unique that he actually is a position coach as well as the head coach. He's very hands on. He's in the meeting, every meeting, as a quarterback ... As a team all the credit goes to him for where we are right now."

If Harbaugh stays/goes to the NFL what does Michigan do? It probably keeps Rich Rod in hopes of maybe snagging Urban Meyer or Harbaugh after the 2011 season. While that affects recruiting, there are no slam-dunk candidates. San Diego State's Brady Hoke doesn't seem sexy enough. There's no indication that Les Miles wants out of LSU. While Miles feels unappreciated at times, LSU could start 2011 ranked in the top five and the favorite to win the SEC West. Michigan would be a rebuild.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: October 21, 2010 5:33 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2010 11:10 am
 

Halfway Son of Weekend Watch List

BCS bowl projections halfway through the season:

BCS championship: Oregon* vs. Alabama*
Rose: Boise* vs. Iowa*
Fiesta: Nebraska* vs. West Virginia*
Orange: Florida State* vs. Ohio State
Sugar: Auburn vs. Oklahoma

*-automatic qualifier

Notes: Oregon and Alabama win out to advance to the championship game. Alabama beats both LSU and Auburn assuring that there will be no undefeated teams in the SEC. It then beats the SEC East champion to advance. Despite one loss, it vaults over undefeated Boise, the TCU/Utah winner and perhaps even Oregon.  It doesn't matter for the Ducks who stay in the top two because undefeated Boise, Utah/TCU can't catch it in the BCS standings. Meanwhile, other current undefeateds Auburn, LSU, Michigan State, Oklahoma and Missouri also lose locking in Oregon. Alabama would be playing for the first back-to-back national championship since Nebraska in the 1990s. Oregon would be playing for its first.

--The Fiesta Bowl would gladly welcome Nebraska which it hasn't had since 2000. West Virginia would be making a second trip to the Valley of the Sun in four years.

--The Orange Bowl gets one of its more intriguing matchups as Florida State returns to the big time returning to a BCS bowl for the first time since 2005. Ohio State has to settle for an at-large berth after failing to win a sixth consecutive Big Ten title. The Buckeyes return to the Orange for the first time since 1977.

--The Sugar is filled with two at-large participants. Oklahoma returns to New Orleans for the first time since the 2004 (2003 season) national championship game loss to LSU.


Ranking the remaining MICs

11. Urban Meyer, Florida: Let's not forget that 20 years ago, Florida football didn't matter. Post-Zooker, Meyer made it a bigger national power than it was under Spurrier.

12. Joe Paterno, Penn State: No matter how his career ends, JoePa will leave the program in great shape.

13. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech: An example of having patience with a good coach. Beamer started out terribly but the administration allowed him stay. Now he's one of the best in the country.

14. Al Golden, Temple: The nation's hottest young coach has got it back to the point where the Big East should consider inviting back the Owls.

15. June Jones, SMU: The first and only coach to lead the Ponies to a bowl game since the death penalty. That's good enough for me.

16. Mike Riley, Oregon State: Beavers win eight or nine each year and are always a factor in the Pac-10 race. Don't forget the Civil War is in Corvallis this year.

17. Larry Blakeney, Troy: In the same category as Snyder and Paterno on a smaller scale. Would Troy even exist without Blakeney?

18. Pat Hill, Fresno: Never won a WAC title but kept the Bulldogs relevant to the point that they're jumping to the Mountain West.

19. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State: It's early but all the signs are good that FSU will soon be back on the national scene.

20. Bronco Mendenhall, BYU: Like Meyer, Bronco is allowed a down year.

21. Bo Pelini, Nebraska: If the NFL doesn't come calling, Nebraska will begin winning championships again under Bo.

22. Bret Bielema, Wisconsin: Saturday's win allowed BB to make this list. Ohio State was his second win over a ranked Big Ten team. Barry Alvarez' hand-picked guy is trending upward.

23. Greg Schiano, Rutgers: The momentum has slowed since 2006 but Rutgers is back among the living under Schiano to the point that the Big Ten is sniffing around.

24. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern: Operating with a low budget against Big Ten giants, the Wildcats are more than competitive with Fitz.

Oregon set the school season scoring record Thursday in the season's seventh game. The Ducks have 386 points and are averaging more than 55 points per game ... Strange how two Big Ten programs defined themselves by invoking Vince Lombardi this week. First Minnesota AD Joel Maturi said, "It's not like he would be replacing Vince Lombardi," of the new coach after firing Tim Brewster. Then Rich Rodriguez said this about his struggling defense: "Listen, Vince Lombardi could come too and [it's] not going to fix some of the problems we have on defense." ... Ohio State (at Minnesota) hasn't lost consecutive games since 2004 ... TCU has lost one fumble this season ... Texas A&M has lost 12 consecutive televised games dating back to 2008. The Aggies play at Kansas Saturday on Fox Sports Net ...

In this Week of the Head Shot in the NFL, it's interesting to note that Arkansas' Ryan Mallett was knocked out of Saturday's game with a concussion. He practiced Tuesday and will play Saturday against Mississippi ... The last six Auburn-LSU games have been decided by six points or less ... Mississippi State is ranked for the first time in nine years ... Until BYU kicked a field goal in Saturday's 31-3 loss, TCU had not allowed a point in almost three games -- 175 minutes, 10 seconds. A third straight complete shutout would have marked the first time in college football since Boston College in 1992.

 

Posted on: October 14, 2010 11:25 am
 

What I believe about the BCS

Full disclosure? I'm on the fence about a playoff. It could work, sure. It also could diminish the regular season like it has in college basketball.

As someone who covers it, I like the BCS. The drama, the lunacy, the fuzzy math. It has given us some of the wackiest moments in the sport's recent history ... Texas' campaigning in 2004 to get in ahead of Cal. The lunacy of Nebraska getting in in 2001. LSU fans' continued disbelief that their team actually shared the 2003 title with USC.

Of course, I don't have a Bulldog in the fight so, of course, it's fun.

What I think folks forget is that the BCS is miles better than the old bowl system. Joe Paterno will go to his grave knowing he could have won four more national championships if not for the old-style back-room bowl deals. We've had 13 1 vs. 2 games in the BCS era (since 1998). From 1943 (the first 1 vs. 2 game) to 1997, we had 31. That's an average of one per year (guaranteed, by the way) compared to one every 1.7 years.

I'll never forget Tommy Tuberville canvassing votes in the Orange Bowl press box (2004). I'll always wonder at Nebraska and Miami stepping onto the Rose Bowl turf as "foreigners" in 2001. I lost part of my hearing watching LSU win two titles. Like it or not, the BCS gave us all that.

With the first set of standings being released on Sunday, this is what I believe about the BCS ...

--Every week is a playoff.

True: In the sense that you lose once and you're in danger of being eliminated for the BCS title game. That has made for some great theater over the years.

"I think we've got to preserve this regular season," BCS executive director Bill Hancock said. "No one knows how much, but it would be diminished. Energy would go from the regular season into the playoff."

--A playoff would ruin the regular season.

False: Sorry, Bill, rivalries are rivalries. A playoff doesn't diminish Ohio State-Michigan, Alabama-Auburn or Kansas-Missouri. Three years ago, Missouri beat Kansas to go to No. 1 in the country. KU went to its first BCS bowl (Orange) in almost in 40 years. Missouri played for the Big 12 title before losing to Oklahoma. Both of those teams would have been safely in a 16-team bracket. And it wouldn't have mattered a lick to the rivalry.

--The BCS is about power, not money.

True: The presidents and ADs would rather keep a system where most of the money goes to the power conferences ... than make more money with a playoff. A playoff would mean more trickle down for non-BCS schools who one day might join the power elite. The BCS, without saying it, wants to keep the membership exclusive.

A BCS executive disagrees.

"The Mountain West could never be [an equal] to the Big Ten," the source said. "Not in your grandkids' lifetime, not in my grandkids' lifetime."


--The BCS is in legal danger.

False: I'm no lawyer but it has survived every legal challenge so far. Obama and the Justice Department don't seem to want to get involved. PlayoffPAC sends out a heck of a press release but has yet to make an impression. The Mountain West's trip to Washington D.C. in 2009 seems less compelling now that the league has lost BYU and Utah.

--If the commissioners wanted it today, a playoff could be implemented.

True: No question. If Jim Delany can talk the Big Ten into the BCS and, later conference expansion, he could talk its presidents into a playoff.

--The windfall from a playoff would cure all financial ills.

False: A 1994 NCAA study into a playoff abruptly died when the opinion of Florida State's Derrick Brooks was solicited. Brooks reportedly told officials something like, "What's in it for me?" Any windfall would re-start the pay-the-players argument. Pay the players and you have withholding. If you have withholding, the you lose tax exempt status.

The basketball tournament income is different because it is controlled by the NCAA and parceled out in "units."


--The only playoff that works is a 16-teamer.

True: That way all the conference champions get a berth, along with five at-large teams. That takes care of the non-BCS champions who would suddenly be guaranteed a berth.

Anything else merely extends the argument from who's No. 2 to who's No. 5 (in a four-team playoff) to who's No. 9 (an eight-team playoff).

--A selection committee could pick those five teams.

False: Not all of them. No way. You'd have lawsuits from here to Boise. Look at the trouble we got in weaving voters and computers into the process. Putting, say, 12 people in charge of picking the final few teams of a college football playoff would introduce all kinds of human biases.

--The bowls are a great way to throw away money.

True: As reported in the new book Death to the BCS, schools are lucky to break after having to pay for their own transportation, lodging and having to buy bowl sponsorships and tickets.

"The fact that we didn't go to a bowl game means we actually made money," former Michigan AD Bill Martin said in the book.

--The bowls would die if there was a playoff.

False: How can the likes of the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl and Humanitarian Bowl be any more meaningless? A playoff doesn't affect that at all. 

Posted on: September 24, 2010 4:24 pm
 

Mailbag 9/24


I'm going to give PlayoffPAC its due.

(cue sound of crickets chirping)

If you missed it, and you probably did, the political action committee out of Washington D.C. this week blew the lid off of the BCS bowl system. PlayoffPAC said those bowls' CEOs make too much money. They play fast and loose with their tax exempt status by offering perks and doing undisclosed lobbying. That's from the lead of the Associated Press' "exclusive" detailing PlayoffPAC's legal complaint against the Fiesta, Sugar and Orange bowls.

It probably didn't make your nightly news or even your in-box. Take the word of the Fiesta Bowl which called the accusations, "dated, tired and discredited." So why bring it up? Because I'm wondering what PlayoffPAC wants. It's one thing being a playoff proponent, it's another pouring over 2,300 pages of documents to "nail" these three bowls. Don't these people have families? I know a lot of people who favor a college football playoff. They don't have an unholy, demon-of-the-night compulsion to bring down the very system that would be the foundation of a playoff.

Look, I'll be the first one to say these bowls exist to keep themselves relevant and, yes, profitable. They think the bowl experience is unique and a playoff would wreck the system. I disagree, further evidence that no I'm a bowl honk. I've enjoyed these bowls' hospitality and stayed in really nice hotels set aside for the media. I've also walked back to my hotel at three in the morning after filing two stories on deadline. It's all part of the job. None of that changes if there is a playoff. Actually, I'm on the fence. A playoff would be fun, but it would have to be a 16-teamer from the start. Everything else has inherent exclusion problems that the PlayoffPAC folks should understand.

From what I've read in this complaint, the bowls in question look like they might have to pay a fine. If the IRS threatens to remove their tax-exempt status, then some deal will be cut. Either that or the Cotton Bowl or Gator Bowl or Chick-fil-A Bowl will take their place. But that won't happen. 

It won't happen because these bowls aren't criminal enterprises. Like it or not, they have friends in very high places whether they lobby or not. The Sugar Bowl is part of the fabric of New Orleans and the SEC. After the Cardinals and the Suns, the Fiesta Bowl might be the most significant sports entity in the Valley of the Sun. As a non-profit they have donated millions to charities.  These are institutions to their region, not Enron.

I don't think this is a big deal because virtually no other media outlet picked up on it. The Fiesta Bowl was accused of much of the same stuff in a series of Arizona Republic stories. Read the first sentence of this latest AP story.

Opponents of how college football crowns its champion accused three of the nation's premier bowls of violating their tax-exempt status by paying excessive salaries and perks, providing "sweetheart loans" and doing undisclosed lobbying.

If I didn't know better, I could have sworn they were describing the NCAA. Excessive salaries for executives? Luxury perks? The NCAA, you should know, is a non-profit too. It distributes the overwhelming majority of the money it takes it to its members. Former president Myles Brand made more than $800,000 per year. Seems a bit steep for a non-profit, don't you think? While they're at it PlayoffPAC might want to look into the tax exempt status of the 120 Division I-A schools too.

Maybe it will. Maybe this is the beginning of the end. One thing, though. I almost glossed over it. The PlayoffPAC came after three bowls with a combined age of 175 years with six lawyers and an accountant. I've seen bigger legal teams in a Grisham novel set in rural Mississippi. In the big, bad world of DC politics, this is the equivalent of a six-man football team taking on the Redskins.

Nice try, guys. You may want to wait for a book generating a lot of buzz being released next month. It's called, "Death to the BCS". A death threat? I'll read that. There might be something to it.


From: John

Please continue to pick against Nebraska. We're just a bunch of dumb farmers and bandwagoners huh? We know a thing or two about talent and teamwork.

Better Corn Fed Than Dead:

Little bit presumptuous aren't we? Nebraska has beaten two corpses (Western Kentucky, Idaho) and a Pac-10 cellar dweller. Each time Nebraska strings a couple of wins together Big Red Nation has little red kittens. How'd that Bill Callahan thing work out for you? Actually, how have the last 10 years worked out for you?

While I was more than impressed with the Washington victory, Nebraska has to get back before it can be back. Check back with me after the Texas game.

 
From: Phil

I love college football and watch games from 11 a.m. CST until midnight. Nothing personal against Boise State but I cannot stand to watch their home games on that ugly blue turf. Bad enough that the field is blue. They add to my dismay by wearing all blue uniforms. Too bad that the NCAA permits crap like this and the red field at Eastern Washington. They can penalize someone for buying a kid a hamburger but let this crap persist.

Fashionista:

That's the first I heard of an extra benefit being compared to Field Turf but what do I know?

Paint is in. Fans paint their faces. Mike Leach paints a different picture of the coaching profession. You might have heard that Oregon State painted its practice field blue this week.  That tells me the Beavers are beaten before they take the field. They're intimating that Boise's blue jerseys on the blue turf make it hard to pick up the ball. Maybe, but 63 times since 2000? That's the Broncos' home record (opposed to two losses) in the last 10 years.

Don't hate the color, hate the playah. The Broncos are darn good.


From: Steve

This year there are 35 bowl games, so 70 of 120 teams will go bowling. This probably means sub-.500 teams will be going bowling. What are the selection rules for sub-.500 teams to go to bowls? i.e. do ALL the 6-6 teams have to select first before a 5-7 teams can be selected? Can a 5-7 team from a conference with lots of bowl tie-ins be selected before a 6-6 at-large team from another conference?

Bowled Over:

Good questions. All the 6-6 teams will have to go before a 5-7 team. If there aren't enough bowl eligible teams to fill all 70 spots then a conference, or team, will have to apply to the NCAA for a waiver. They'll get it too. The NCAA has done the research and believes there will be enough .500-or-above teams. If there aren't, it's on the NCAA.

The exception might be the Sun Belt. It had its champion go to the New Orleans Bowl a few years ago at 5-6. I think it was North Texas. Sun Belt teams typically take guarantee games for the money. Sometimes good teams come into the conference season winless. Hope that helps.


From: Sam

Thought your UT Vols article was very interesting especially with the commentary from Fulmer. Phil needed to step away from the game since Tennessee had become stagnant. He would be a possible and interesting fit for Tennessee but not sure if he'd be the right one. Derek Dooley has his work cut out, but with so much promise from the first half of the Oregon game I look forward to see how all of the freshman squad grows together. I will give them a hug, most certainly! Go Vols!

Vol-ley:

It's clear that Fulmer is lobbying for the AD job. Don't know if you caught it last week but he ripped Lane Kiffin on CBS. This is a disguised shot at AD Mike Hamilton who, in hindsight, never should have hired Kiffin. I know Fulmer still wants to coach but there aren't many good fits out there for him.

I'm curious how the old coach would be accepted as the new AD.

From: Yossel

You write real good!

Yokel, er, Yossel:

You done made me proud.

 

Posted on: April 23, 2010 1:51 pm
Edited on: April 23, 2010 2:57 pm
 

Cowboys Stadium is coming to the BCS

Jerry Jones has been typically aggressive lately. Somehow the Cowboys' owner convinced Wade Phillips to stay for another season, then got him boy scout Dez Bryant in the draft.

There's another side to JJ's aggressiveness -- filling his new stadium. Since it opened it has been filled with basketball games (including the NBA all-star game), a soccer game, the Cotton Bowl and other neutral site games. About the only thing missing from Cowboys Stadium is a BCS game.

Trust me, it's coming. It's coming because the Cowboys owner remains aggressive. Don't be surprised if the city of Dallas, backed by Jones, makes a bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics. Cowboys Stadium could be expanded to 100,000 for soccer and could easily be the site of the opening and closing ceremonies.

It's coming because you can't keep the best stadium in the world (at least for football) out of the mix. Three-plus months ago I wrote that the BCS would listen if Jones called. The devil is in the details. The current BCS bowls have a hard enough time hosting a championship game once every four years. Theoretically, the addition of Cowboys Stadium would push that to once every five years.

Unless ...

Unless the BCS has to expand. There are two ways...

1) As part of conference expansion the Big Ten and SEC demand the BCS rescind the two BCS-bowl limit per conference. A case can be made for both expanded 16-team super conferences having enough members to merit a chance at three BCS bowls.

That's up to six of the 10 slots taken by two leagues. With the Big 12, Pac-10, Big East and ACC still guaranteed slots, there stkill has to be room made for the non-BCS qualifier. The reasonable thing to do is expand the BCS by one bowl. No one said that Cowboys Stadium bowl has to be a championship game. Have the Cotton Bowl replace the double-hosting game on Jan. 1.

The big four bowls get to stay in the rotation, the Cotton gets into the BCS with a better game than it could ever get now with the Big 12 and SEC. Everybody is happy.

2) Extrapolate this expansion thing out to its likely conclusion -- four, 16-team conferences. At some point or another the commissioners have to think about a plus-one.

The four super conference winners meet in a four-team bracket. While the commissioners are against such a set-up at the moment, think of this:

If the Super 64 broke away from the NCAA, they could do anything they wanted. No Orrin Hatch, no anti-trust threats, just a lucrative entity that they could market to the highest bidder.

There's no worry about rotating the championship game because all five major bowls (Fiesta, Rose, Orange, Sugar, Cotton) are involved in the bracket every year. Here's one five-year rotation example...

First year: Fiesta-Cotton winner vs. Orange-Rose winner in the Sugar Bowl.

Second year: Sugar-Fiesta winner vs. Cotton-Orange winner in the Rose Bowl.

Third year: Rose-Sugar winner vs.  Fiesta-Cotton winner in the Orange Bowl.

Fourth year:  Orange- Rose vs. Sugar-Fiesta winner in the Cotton Bowl.

Fifth year:   Cotton-Orange winner vs. Rose-Sugar winner in the Fiesta Bowl.

In the years when a bowl isn't hosting a championship, it is hosting a national semifinal. There's a huge hurdle to get over here with the Rose Bowl. It says it will never be part of a playoff. But as we've seen lately, the game is about to change in radical ways.  

Maybe it works or maybe all this expansion talk has made loopier than after my second martini...

Posted on: November 8, 2009 4:07 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2009 12:14 pm
 

Thoughts on a football Saturday

After watching that replay again from Alabama, how can a reasonable person rule that wasn’t an interception? I’m expecting something out of the SEC office in the next couple of days.

Why I like Alabama on game day … “Sweet Home Alabama” comes on and immediately everyone on University Ave. starts jukin’ and yellin’. Ever see 10,000 folks do the Bama version of the River Dance?

Why I like Alabama on game day II … The houndstooth 1) skirts and 2) beer coozies.

Why I like Alabama on game day III … Yes, they were taking pictures of me as I was in makeup prior to my appearance on CBS College Sports’ SEC Tailgate. You people must find some meaning in your lives.

Get ready for a noisy Boise: The way things are sorting out, an undefeated Boise State is going to be beaten out for a BCS bowl by a two-loss team from one of the power conferences, p.r. firm or not.

The BCS bowl matchups began to get into sharper focus when Iowa lost and Alabama won. Here’s out it works:

The automatic qualifiers are down these teams …

Big Ten: Iowa/Ohio State. The teams plays this week in Columbus so that will sort itself out. Both teams have lost once. Saturday's winner most likely goes to the Rose Bowl.

Big 12: Texas will play either Kansas State or Nebraska from the North Division. K-State controls its own destiny after beating Kansas. Texas might be cruising but could get some blowback at Texas A&M on Thanksgiving or from Nebraska or K-State in the Big 12 title game.

SEC: Alabama vs. Florida in the SEC title game. If they teams stay undefeated before Dec. 5, the winner plays for the national championship. The loser most likely goes to the Sugar Bowl.

ACC: Still a mess but Georgia Tech is the conference’s only one loss team and leads the Coastal Division. Clemson controls its fate in the Atlantic Division. The ACC winner most likely goes to the Orange Bowl.

Big East: Cincinnati is undefeated but still has tough games left against West Virginia and Pittsburgh. With no conference championship game to hinder it, the Bearcats could be headed to the Sugar Bowl to face the Alabama-Florida loser.

Pac-10: It looks as if Oregon, Arizona or Stanford will go to the Rose. The Wildcats and Ducks meet Nov. 21 in Tucson. Despite the letdown loss at Stanford, Oregon still seems to have the advantage. Arizona still has its toughest games to play (Cal, USC, Arizona State). Stanford has to get past USC and Cal before meeting Notre Dame in the regular-season finale,

That leaves four at-large berths. Notre Dame is out after losing to Navy. If TCU stays undefeated and ahead of Boise State in the BCS, it will go, most likely, to the Fiesta Bowl. As mentioned, the Florida-Alabama loser should gobble up a Sugar Bowl spot.  If USC wins out it could get the other Fiesta Berth at 10-2.

That leaves an undefeated Boise having to fight off a two-loss team from a major conference in order to get to the BCS. Things being what they are, which is the same for the past 50 years in this situation, the Orange Bowl most likely would pick a 10-2 Penn State to play the ACC champion.

Sorry Broncos.

Name this team: Its last conference championship came in 2003. Since then it has been a mixed bag. This program has changed coaches twice, beaten Texas twice and produced a quarterback drafted in the first round. This year alone it has given up 66 points to Texas Tech, lost to Louisiana-Lafayette and, amazingly,  is in first place in its division.

Ladies and gentlemen, let us introduce you to Kansas State, 6-4 overall and 4-2 in the Big 12 North after beating Kansas 17-10. In Bill Snyder’s second term as coach, the Wildcats need only beat Nebraska in its final two games to clinch a spot in the Big 12 title game.

Snyder is getting some run for Big 12 coach of the year. We’re fairly sure no COY has lost to Texas Tech by 54 and lost to a fourth-place Sun Belt team in the same season.


USC decline: Before Saturday’s 14-9 victory over Arizona State, USC had allowed 110 points in its last three games. That’s the most in a three-game stretch ever. The Trojans had allowed 113 points combined in the previous 14 games.


Breaking down the big boys: Now that a Florida-Alabama rematch is assured, here’s the three-minute eval of the SEC title game slightly less than a month away.

Advantage Alabama: A better running game (I think) and the revenge motive for last year’s classic loss in Atlanta.

Advantage Florida: Tebow, Tebow, Tebow. As long as he’s taking snaps, Florida has a chance.

Advantage Florida: Defense. By a hair. This is going to be another matchup of the ages. Charlie Strong vs. Nick Saban/Kirby Smart. At this point Florida’s unit seems a bit more active.

Advantage Alabama: Special teams. With Javier Arenas returning kicks and Terrence Cody blocking them, give the Crimson Tide the edge. Kicker Leigh Tiffin is more than reliable. If you’re looking for an edge, this is it. Games like this tend to turn on special teams.

Stuff: SMU needed three blocked kicks to beat Rice and move to within one win of bowl eligibility. The Ponies last went bowling pre-death penalty in 1984 … Alabama hasn’t been 9-0 in consecutive seasons since 1973-74 … In its last 39 home games, Cal is 0-7 against Oregon State and USC, 32-0 against everyone else … My God, did you see Cal’s Jahvid Best suffer that concussion while diving into the end zone? Coach Jeff Tedford actually said his guy was “OK.” No, coach, he’s not OK. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Best’s season is over … Who knew UCLA had lost seven conference games in a row before beating  Washington?

The right now, no B.S., up to the moment Heisman Watch

1. Case Keenum, Houston. Another last-second win, this time over Tulsa. In his last two games Keenum has thrown for 1,081 yards and eight touchdowns. Any questions? My goal in life is to get this kid a trip to New York. He’s earned it. In a perfect world, he’d win the Stiff Arm but because he plays at a Conference USA school it probably isn’t going to happen.

2. Mark Ingram, Alabama. It’s the KIIS system – Keep It Ingram, Stupid. After throwing 25 passes in the first half, Nick Saban changed tactics and had Ingram carry it 16 games in the second half against LSU. The result was 144 yards.

3. Colt McCoy, Texas. It was only Central Florida but McCoy continued a recent uptick with 469 passing yards. McCoy was removed from the game with nine minutes left four yards shy of the school passing record (Major Applewhite, 473 yards in the 2001 Holiday Bowl).

Funny thing, Applewhite might have the school record but because the NCAA didn’t recognize bowl stats back then it officially doesn’t exist. What makes things more annoying is that a few years ago the NCAA started counting bowl stats. I still contend that an intern at each school in the country could go back and add in all the bowl numbers.

The NCAA explains that current record holders would have their names expunged if records were updated. Tough! You count all the numbers, not just some of them.

4. Toby Gerhart, Stanford. Coach Jim Harbaugh is preaching physicality. Gerhart pounded Oregon for a school-record 223 yards and three touchdowns in a 51-42 win.

5. C.J. Spiller, Clemson. If the Tigers are going to win their first ACC title in 18 years, Spiller is going to be the reason. He went for a school-record 312 all-purpose yards against Florida State.

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