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Posted on: August 20, 2010 11:48 am
Edited on: August 20, 2010 5:01 pm
 

CUSA and MWC discuss BCS play-in and updated info

The commissioners of Conference USA and the Mountain West have had preliminary discussions regarding a BCS bowl play-in game between the two conferences' champions that would lead to an automatic BCS bowl berth, MWC commissioner Craig Thompson confirmed Friday after CBSSports.com's initial report.

Thompson and his Conference USA counterpart Britton Banowsky spoke Thursday in the midst of upheaval below the BCS conference level according to the source. There are few specifics at this point but the idea is to make both conferences more relevant and perhaps coax BYU into staying in the Mountain West. Thompson stressed the preliminary nature of the talks. Here is how the MWC couched things on its website.

"We had probably set this up about a month ago," Thompson said. "We said, 'Let's just talk about what's going on if there are going to be all these superconferences ...' We did speak about, 'What if a group of 22-24 teams were to approach the BCS about an automatic bid vs. the nine, or eight or 10-mmeber Mountain West?' That was on the table. I'd like to label it a 'think session.' "

No information has been submitted to BCS officials from the two leagues. In fact, 2010 begins a new four-year cycle for the BCS. That would mean the soonest anything could be in place is at the end of the 2014 season.

"The conferences have agreed to this format for the next four years," BCS executive director Bill Hancock said.

Conference USA and the Mountain West were among those conferences.

"We talked [with CUSA] about marketing 24 instead of 12, 10, whatever," Thompson added. "The bottom line is this is the first of four years. We haven't played this year's BCS games. This is like kindergarten in formal education. We're just talking."


Nothing much has changed in terms of access in the new BCS agreement. The champions of the six BCS leagues get automatic BCS bowl berths (ACC, Pac-10, Big 12, SEC, Big Ten, Big East). The other four BCS bowl berths are filled by schools that reach at-large qualification standards. In the Mountain West, Utah (twice) and TCU have gained at-large berths in recent years. Conference USA has not had a BCS bowl team.

CUSA and the MWC are among the conferences that are halfway through a four-year evaluation process to determine a possible temporary BCS automatic-qualifying status in 2012 and 2013. The Mountain West was close to achieving that status until it lost Utah in the offseason and invited Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada into the league.
 
The subject of a BCS bowl play-in game among non-BCS leagues has been discussed informally in the past. Conference USA and the MWC would probably have to get approval from the other nine Division I-A conferences. One potential roadblock: The three other non-BCS leagues (MAC, WAC, Sun Belt) probably would have an issue with those two conferences playing for a BCS bowl instead of them. The WAC probably isn't on the best terms with the MWC right now. The WAC has placed teams in BCS bowls three times (winning twice) since 2007.

This would not be a merger between Conference USA and the MWC, but a play-in game to advance to the BCS after both leagues decided their conference champions. Conference USA already stages a conference championship game. The Mountain West is in a state of flux as BYU decides if it wants to leave the league and play as an independent in football. Fresno State and Nevada accepted invitations to join the MWC this week, supposedly beginning in 2012. Since it's not certain how many members the MWC will have going forward, it's not certain if it will attempt to stage a conference championship game of its own.

A play-in game could mean at least one of the leagues would be playing 15 games in a season, counting a conference title game, BCS play-in game and bowl game.

The MWC is still waiting on BYU's decision. As of Friday afternoon, the Mormon flagship was supposedly still deciding whether to go independent in football. BYU had, or has, a standing agreement to play four-to-six games against WAC teams and put its non-football sports in the conference.


Thompson addressed the status of his conference's automatic BCS qualification in 2012 and 2013. If the MWC (and other non-BCS leagues) achieve a level of three mathematical benchmarks during a four-year evaluation period ending after the 2011 season they would earn a temporary automatic access to a BCS bowl. If they achieve two of the three benchmarks -- which is where the MWC is right now -- their admission would be subject to a waiver granted by the BCS. That waiver process has not been defined by the BCS.

In the past, the Big East has retained automatic BCS status by waiver.

"The numbers aren't that frigging difficult to figure out," Thompson said. "No, we are no qualified. We have not qualified. We've got two years left to go."


As of early June, the MWC's BCS prospects looked excellent. Boise State had joined the league, adding its numbers to the mix. Then Utah bolted for the Pac-10. When Fresno and Nevada joined that possibly diluting the numbers.

Thompson would not be specific on the status of The Mtn. contract with league. A source told CBSSports.com this week that the absence of Utah and/or BYU could allow conference's network to walk away from the MWC partnership. Thompson said only that there is language in the contract regarding membership. The Mtn. is owned by Comcast and CBS College Sports.



Posted on: October 18, 2009 6:27 pm
 

Thoughts on a football Saturday

Coaches of the year at the halfway point (seven weeks down, seven weeks to go)

ACC: Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech. With the upset of Virginia Tech, Johnson is on track to win the league in his second season. Who says the triple option won’t work in major-college football. The Yellow Jackets completed one pass on Saturday.

Big East: Brian Kelly, Cincinnati. They were picking for the middle of the pack after losing 10 starters on defense. Kelly took a bunch of offensive players, made them linebackers and balanced a team that was going to score points with Tony Pike and Mardy Gilyard on offense. The question is how long can Cincinnati hold onto Kelly if he wins the Big East again, especially if Notre Dame opens up?

Big Ten: Kirk Ferentz, Iowa: No one expected 7-0, especially after an opening-day squeaker against Northern Iowa. Now the Hawkeyes are to be feared after a comeback win at Wisconsin. Don’t be surprised if they’re favored on Nov. 14 going to Ohio State.

Big 12: Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State. That loss to Houston is looking better all the time.  The dude isn’t exactly Mr. Rogers but he does know how to call an offense and the addition of Bill Young on defense has made a difference. The NCAA took away Dez Bryant. Injuries took away his best running back, Kendall Hunter. The Cowboys, 5-1 and second in the Big 12 South, control their own destiny for the conference title.

Conference USA: Kevin Sumlin, Houston. Not “Sumlan” as a wire story called him on Saturday. Be assured, the Cougars’ coach is known throughout the industry. After defeating three BCS-conference teams, Houston is the favorite to win Conference USA. Kelly should be up for every major job that opens.

MAC, Al Golden, Temple: The Owls have won four in a row for the first time since 1985 and are tied for the MAC East lead. The division could come down to a Nov. 27 date at Ohio. As late as 2006 this program had lost 20 in a row.

Mountain West: Gary Patterson, TCU. Fort Worth’s favorite has the Froggers chasing their first BCS bowl and first conference title since 2005. No Heisman candidates, a great defensive end (Jerry Hughes) and Patterson’s scheming.

Pac-10: Chip Kelly, Oregon. In his first season as head coach, Kelly lost his best runner and his quarterback. All he did was win the next five after the opening-night loss to Boise. USC should be worried, very worried, when it goes to Eugene on Oct. 31.

SEC: Nick Saban, Alabama. Until Saturday, it might have been Steve Spurrier but Saban quashed that talk. In his third season, Saban has the Tide back among the elite. They control their road to the national championship; have a Heisman candidate (Ingram) and perhaps the nation’s nastiest defense.

Sun Belt: Charlie Weatherbie, Louisiana-Monroe. Among the lowest-paid coaches in I-A, Weatherbie has the Warhawks off a 3-0 conference start. That's the longest conference winning streak in 16 years. At a school that usually gets beaten down by guarantee games against  BCS schools, Louisiana-Monroe is 4-2 overall.

WAC: Robb Akey, Idaho. The Vandals are 29th in the first BCS which should be cause for a street party in Moscow. Idaho is nine miles away from the BCS (Pullman, Wash., home of Washington State is that close), but miles away from a BCS bowl. Still, Akey has taken a program that was picked for the bottom of the WAC to contention with mighty Boise State. Halfway through the season the Vandals are bowl eligible. Their only bowl as a I-A program came 11 years ago.

National coach of the (half) season: Check back on Wednesday.

The right-now, no-hype, no-b.s., not-what-they-did last year Heisman rankings for this week:

1. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama. Behind Tebow, the best player in the SEC.
2. Case Keenum, QB, Houston. Leads the country in touchdown passes (19), yards (2,464) and has beaten three BCS schools.  That’s as many as Jimmy Clausen.
3.  Jacory Harris, QB, Miami. The physical and spiritual momentum behind Miami’s rise back to the top.
4. Dion Lewis, RB, Pittsburgh. The nation’s leading freshman runner is on pace for 1,580 yards.
5. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida. Harassed by Arkansas but came through again during the game-winning drive.

Posted on: September 23, 2009 10:19 am
 

Flu outbreak policies of I-A conferences

[The policies of the Pac-10 and Sun Belt are listed in Wednesday's story]


ACC: A policy might be determined Oct. 7 at the fall meetings.

Big 12:
No conference-wide policy. Institutions should work with local and state health agencies.

SEC: Currently working with schools on handling outbreaks.

Big Ten: Ongoing discussions regarding contingency plans.

Conference USA: In the process of developing a policy. Could have specific language on the issue within a week.

Big East: Has taken out an “event cancellation” insurance policy that protects against several elements including swine flu.

WAC: (Regular season)

1.   In the event the visiting institution is unable to arrive at the site of a contest for any reason in order for it to be played at its regularly scheduled time, it shall notify the home director of athletics, home head coach and the Conference office as soon as possible.

2.   In the event either the visiting institution is unable to arrive at the site of a contest in order for the contest to be played and completed on the day it was scheduled or if the home institution is unable to participate for any reason:

a.   The contest shall be rescheduled only upon the mutual consent of the involved Directors of Athletics and the approval of the Commissioner.

b.  If the contest is unable to be rescheduled, it shall be declared no contest and shall not be included in the regular season standings.


Mountain West: The conference's planned approach is to address each situation on a case-by-case basis in the context of the unique circumstances of that particular outbreak. These would include, but not be limited to, the location of competition, the sport involved, the host institution’s policies/emergency management plan, state and local guidelines, etc.  After gathering all the pertinent information and consulting with all necessary constituents/agencies, we would make a determination how best to proceed.
 
As an example, while it did not affect competition, the United States Air Force Academy recently had an outbreak among the incoming freshman cadets and quarantined a significant number of individuals as a result.  This was done in accordance with USAFA guidelines and other pertinent jurisdictions.  Had there been institutional and/or MWC competition involved, we would have consulted with the appropriate parties at USAFA and developed a plan of action.

Note: The Mid-American Conference did not respond.




Other flu outbreaks regarding college football:
(Others are mentioned in Wednesday's story. Source: Cleveland Plain-Dealer)

 
Duke: One confirmed case in August. Upwards of three dozen players had flu symptoms that lasted approximately 10 days.

Tulane: Twenty seven players had mild symptoms and returned to practice in early September.

Washington State: Sixteen players got sic shortly before the Sept. 5 home opener against Stanford (a loss).

Kentucky:
Defensive tackle Antwane Glenn has been isolated due to flu symptoms.

Wisconsin: Several players developed symptoms the week of the Sept. 12 game against Fresno State. Whether it was because of the flu or not, several Fresno State receivers were able to get behind the Wisconsin secodary during an overtime win by the Badgers.

Posted on: October 15, 2008 10:56 am
 

National notes at the halfway point

One of the best measures for an improved program is the games ahead/behind method. Look at baseball standings for an example. The NCAA includes a section in its statistics book each year that tracks the most improved teams from one year to the next. In 2007, it was Illinois which went from 2-10 in 2006 to 9-4 last season. That's an improvement of 6 1/2 games.

Hawaii holds the record improving by 8 1/2 games in 1999. Ironically, the Warriors might be on the opposite side of that stat this season.

At the halfway point, I thought it would be a good idea to figure the biggest improvements and biggest declines of the 2008 season. Remember, some of the numbers might be skewed because we've played only half a season. But this might be a good measuring stick for coach of the year candidates and provide a short list of coaches about to be fired.

Most improved

1. Minnesota +7 1/2 games (from 1-11 to 6-1)
2. Duke +5 1/2
3. North Carolina +4
4. Pittsburgh +3 1/2
5. several tied at +3

Biggest decline

1. Hawaii -5 1/2 games (from 12-1 to 3-3)
2. Central Florida, Tennessee -4
4. LSU, Arizona State, Florida Atlantic, Michigan, West Virginia, Rutgers, Kansas - 3 1/2

Most improved by conference: Baylor, +3; ACC, Duke +5 1/2; Big East, Pittsburgh, +3 1/2; Conference USA, Rice/Marshall, +3; Mountain West, Colorado  State/UNLV, +3; MAC, Ball State/Northern Illinois, +3; SEC, Vanderbilt/Ole Miss, +3; WAC, New Mexico State, +3: Independents, Notre Dame, +3; Big Ten,  Minnesota, +7 1/2; Sun Belt, Florida International/Louisiana-Lafayette, +3; Pac-10, Stanford, +2 1/2.

Biggest decline by conference: ACC, Boston College/Clemson/Virginia, -2 1/2; Big 12, Kansas, -3 1/2; Big East, West Virginia/Rutgers, -3 1/2; Big Ten, Michigan, -3 1/2;  Independents, Western Kentucky, -2 1/2; Conference USA, Central Florida -4; MAC, Bowling Green/Ohio/Miami (Ohio), -1 1/2; Mountain West, New Mexico, -3; SEC, Tennessee, -4; Pac-10, Arizona State -3 1/2; WAC, Hawaii -5 1/2; Sun Belt, Florida Atlantic, -3 1/2.

Storylines for the second half

Will anyone go unbeaten?: It looks like the SEC and Big 12 will cannibalize each other. That leaves a bunch of one-loss powers that also could include Ohio State, Penn State, USC and Utah or Brigham Young.

Heisman race: Tim Tebow won't repeat and the Big 12 looks like it has a lock on the 2008 winner. But which player?

JoePa In the Sky With A Headset: Can Penn State's venerable coach win a Big Ten title and national championship without setting foot on the field the rest of  the way? Physical problems continue to keep JoePa in the press box. When asked Tuesday if he needed a hip replacement, Paterno answered cryptically, "I don't  know." It isn't exactly Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds but anything Joe does the rest of the season is going to be followed closely.

The non-BCS challengers: TCU, BYU and Utah are all in the mix. If Tulsa can win at Arkansas on Nov. 1 the Golden Hurricane will be a factor. The MAC is  simply too tough for Ball State (7-0) to go undefeated but you have to root for the Cardinals. Their best receiver's career is over (Dante Love) and their quarterback (Nate Davis) wears gloves.

Biggest looming controversy: If a one-loss team from the SEC, Big Ten or Big 12 is edged out of the BCS title game by an undefeated non-BCS school.

Next coach to be fired: Given the swiftly declining situation at Auburn it might be Tommy Tuberville. Other than that, Washington's Tyrone Willingham and  Syracuse's Greg Robinson are locks. Keep an eye also on San Diego State's Chuck Long and Central Florida's George O'Leary.

Biggest upset looming out there: Not in terms of David and Goliath but watch the Texas at Texas Tech game on Nov. 1. If both teams keep winning you're looking at No. 1 Texas vs. a Red Raiders team that should be in the BCS top five. If Texas Tech wins try to wrap your mind around Mike Leach and his Pirate  Love jumping up to No. 1.

Get out your swords and Johnny Depp movies.

BCS bowl predictions at the halfway point

BCS title game: Penn State* vs. Oklahoma*
Fiesta Bowl: Texas vs. Alabama
Sugar Bowl: Florida* vs. South Florida*
Orange Bowl: BYU^ vs. Virginia Tech*
Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. USC*

*-conference champ
^-non-BCS automatic qualifier

  Remember last week when Washington State held open tryouts to find a scout team quarterback? The winner of that competition, Peter Roberts, suddenly finds himself a viable backup option with the Cougars headed into the USC game.

 Speaking of injuries, it's a shame that two stars at Kentucky and North Carolina recently saw their careers end. Carolina's Brandon Tate, the I-A career  leader in kick return yards, is finished because of a knee injury. Exciting Kentucky receiver Dicky Lyons is done because of a knee ligament tear.

 

 Don't say I didn't warn you. I know what I said about Texas and Texas Tech above but indulge me: The way things are shaking out, a Kansas-Oklahoma State Big 12 title game isn't out of the question. If Texas beats Missouri on Saturday then it becomes more likely. Kansas is playing better and has Texas at home later in the season. KU and Missouri meet in Kansas City on Nov. 29.

 

Oklahoma State is playing better than anyone in the conference (that includes Texas). That head-to-head game is Oct. 25.

 Remember this when you watch BYU and TCU on Thursday night. BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall allows each special teams unit to name a captain. The captain then  names starters and backups for each unit. Wonder if that ever happens in the SEC?

 

 


Posted on: October 15, 2008 10:56 am
 

National notes at the halfway point

One of the best measures for an improved program is the games ahead/behind method. Look at baseball standings for an example. The NCAA includes a section in its statistics book each year that tracks the most improved teams from one year to the next. In 2007, it was Illinois which went from 2-10 in 2006 to 9-4 last season. That's an improvement of 6 1/2 games.

Hawaii holds the record improving by 8 1/2 games in 1999. Ironically, the Warriors might be on the opposite side of that stat this season.

At the halfway point, I thought it would be a good idea to figure the biggest improvements and biggest declines of the 2008 season. Remember, some of the numbers might be skewed because we've played only half a season. But this might be a good measuring stick for coach of the year candidates and provide a short list of coaches about to be fired.

Most improved

1. Minnesota +7 1/2 games (from 1-11 to 6-1)
2. Duke +5 1/2
3. North Carolina +4
4. Pittsburgh +3 1/2
5. several tied at +3

Biggest decline

1. Hawaii -5 1/2 games (from 12-1 to 3-3)
2. Central Florida, Tennessee -4
4. LSU, Arizona State, Florida Atlantic, Michigan, West Virginia, Rutgers, Kansas - 3 1/2

Most improved by conference: Baylor, +3; ACC, Duke +5 1/2; Big East, Pittsburgh, +3 1/2; Conference USA, Rice/Marshall, +3; Mountain West, Colorado  State/UNLV, +3; MAC, Ball State/Northern Illinois, +3; SEC, Vanderbilt/Ole Miss, +3; WAC, New Mexico State, +3: Independents, Notre Dame, +3; Big Ten,  Minnesota, +7 1/2; Sun Belt, Florida International/Louisiana-Lafayette, +3; Pac-10, Stanford, +2 1/2.

Biggest decline by conference: ACC, Boston College/Clemson/Virginia, -2 1/2; Big 12, Kansas, -3 1/2; Big East, West Virginia/Rutgers, -3 1/2; Big Ten, Michigan, -3 1/2;  Independents, Western Kentucky, -2 1/2; Conference USA, Central Florida -4; MAC, Bowling Green/Ohio/Miami (Ohio), -1 1/2; Mountain West, New Mexico, -3; SEC, Tennessee, -4; Pac-10, Arizona State -3 1/2; WAC, Hawaii -5 1/2; Sun Belt, Florida Atlantic, -3 1/2.

Storylines for the second half

Will anyone go unbeaten?: It looks like the SEC and Big 12 will cannibalize each other. That leaves a bunch of one-loss powers that also could include Ohio State, Penn State, USC and Utah or Brigham Young.

Heisman race: Tim Tebow won't repeat and the Big 12 looks like it has a lock on the 2008 winner. But which player?

JoePa In the Sky With A Headset: Can Penn State's venerable coach win a Big Ten title and national championship without setting foot on the field the rest of  the way? Physical problems continue to keep JoePa in the press box. When asked Tuesday if he needed a hip replacement, Paterno answered cryptically, "I don't  know." It isn't exactly Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds but anything Joe does the rest of the season is going to be followed closely.

The non-BCS challengers: TCU, BYU and Utah are all in the mix. If Tulsa can win at Arkansas on Nov. 1 the Golden Hurricane will be a factor. The MAC is  simply too tough for Ball State (7-0) to go undefeated but you have to root for the Cardinals. Their best receiver's career is over (Dante Love) and their quarterback (Nate Davis) wears gloves.

Biggest looming controversy: If a one-loss team from the SEC, Big Ten or Big 12 is edged out of the BCS title game by an undefeated non-BCS school.

Next coach to be fired: Given the swiftly declining situation at Auburn it might be Tommy Tuberville. Other than that, Washington's Tyrone Willingham and  Syracuse's Greg Robinson are locks. Keep an eye also on San Diego State's Chuck Long and Central Florida's George O'Leary.

Biggest upset looming out there: Not in terms of David and Goliath but watch the Texas at Texas Tech game on Nov. 1. If both teams keep winning you're looking at No. 1 Texas vs. a Red Raiders team that should be in the BCS top five. If Texas Tech wins try to wrap your mind around Mike Leach and his Pirate  Love jumping up to No. 1.

Get out your swords and Johnny Depp movies.

BCS bowl predictions at the halfway point

BCS title game: Penn State* vs. Oklahoma*
Fiesta Bowl: Texas vs. Alabama
Sugar Bowl: Florida* vs. South Florida*
Orange Bowl: BYU^ vs. Virginia Tech*
Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. USC*

*-conference champ
^-non-BCS automatic qualifier

  Remember last week when Washington State held open tryouts to find a scout team quarterback? The winner of that competition, Peter Roberts, suddenly finds himself a viable backup option with the Cougars headed into the USC game.

 Speaking of injuries, it's a shame that two stars at Kentucky and North Carolina recently saw their careers end. Carolina's Brandon Tate, the I-A career  leader in kick return yards, is finished because of a knee injury. Exciting Kentucky receiver Dicky Lyons is done because of a knee ligament tear.

 

 Don't say I didn't warn you. I know what I said about Texas and Texas Tech above but indulge me: The way things are shaking out, a Kansas-Oklahoma State Big 12 title game isn't out of the question. If Texas beats Missouri on Saturday then it becomes more likely. Kansas is playing better and has Texas at home later in the season. KU and Missouri meet in Kansas City on Nov. 29.

 

Oklahoma State is playing better than anyone in the conference (that includes Texas). That head-to-head game is Oct. 25.

 Remember this when you watch BYU and TCU on Thursday night. BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall allows each special teams unit to name a captain. The captain then  names starters and backups for each unit. Wonder if that ever happens in the SEC?

 

 


Posted on: June 20, 2008 10:22 am
 

What I've learned while on vacation...

 Forget about Notre Dame joining the Big Ten, Big East, etc...At least in the short term. The school re-upped with NBC in football this week through the 2015 season. That contract is the biggest reason Notre Dame has no reason to look around. The deal, now worth more than $10 million per season, still means Notre Dame gets to keep all the money. No other school has such a deal. That's equivalent to four Sugar Bowls each year for Hawaii which cleared $2.2 million from its first-ever BCS bowl.

Any conference discussions for Notre Dame would include the sticky situation of revenue distribution. ND would be silly to share any of it. Even though ratings were down during Notre Dame's 3-9 season, NBC obviously still sees a valuable television property.

 That brings us to the Big East and Mike Tranghese. The league is losing its heart and soul when Tranghese retires. The long-time commissioner was around when the league was formed in 1979 and kept it alive a few years ago when the ACC conducted its raid. The league is strong now but will continue to be vulnerable to another raid, especially if gas prices keep heading up and the economy keeps going in the tank.

One thought is that energy prices will force leagues to consolidate to save on costs. We already have four leagues of at least 12 teams (MAC, Big 12, ACC, SEC). Could there be more on the horizon? And would the Big East be vulnerable again?

 Among the cities to put in bids for upcoming Final Fours are Phoenix and Dallas. Might as well book both towns in the next decade. Phoenix has the new Phoenix University Stadium (home of the 2007 BCS title game). Dallas is going online next year with Jerry Jones' new stadium in Dallas, which could be the best stadium in the world.

Is there any doubt, then, the Jerry Dome (don't know what else to call it) will eventually be in the BCS rotation. The Cotton Bowl already has moved its game there.

 One local business owner told me that tourism is off 20 percent in Hawaii. The family and I went to paradise this month and something was missing: People. The real spike in airline prices hasn't hit yet. The beaches, hotels and towns just weren't as packed as they usually are this season. A person running a beach-related business told me she was "scared" about the drop off in tourism business.

 Still, it's hard to find a place where in one day you can see a 40-foot whale shark (it passed in front of our boat), spinner dolphins, sea turtles and Alice Cooper. The legendary rocker was getting up from his dinner at the Maui Marriott as we were sitting down. And, no, he didn't have snake.

 Even when it rains, the College World Series is still the best amateur event out there. Thursday was a washout but I'll be back in Omaha for the championship series next week. That will make it 17 consecutive years for me at the CWS and, yes, you are jealous.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on: May 1, 2008 1:00 pm
Edited on: May 1, 2008 2:50 pm
 

The real story behind the BCS meetings

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany's calculated plan worked.

Tuesday at lunch, Delany emerged from the BCS meetings and went on a rant about his place (and his conference's place) in the postseason. Remember, Delany doesn't talk publicly about much of anything with reporters. At least lately. This past week he has been practically chatty talking about his league's perception. He, the Big Ten, Pac-10 and Rose Bowl aren't obstructionists, he said, in college football's postseason. In fact, Delany contended, that the Big Ten and Pac-10 have been progressive in helping deliver the Rose Bowl to the BCS. Without it we'd still in the old Bowl Coalition.

"The characterization of the Big Ten and Pac-10 being at one place and everyone else being at the other place, I don't think that's accurate," Delany said. "You guys (media) have an opportunity to talk to a lot of people here. I would ask you to ask each one of those people how strongly they feel about the call for change. I don't see it."

Then Delany lobbed the bomb that changed the course of these meetings.

"Thirty-six months ago, all six commissioners, all six (BCS oversight committee) presidents, the AD advisory committee said we don't want a plus one," Delany said. "About 18 months ago, people people said let's look at it. I think there are a lot of people who like where they are, but they should speak for themselves."

Basically, Delany called out his peers.

If you want a plus-one, identify yourself.

On Wednesday, they did. The six BCS bosses were paraded out for the media to state their case. For: ACC commissioner and the SEC's Mike Slive. Against: Everyone else -- Big 12, Big East, Pac-10, Big Ten and Notre Dame AD Kevin White.

Considering the group needs a consensus to change things, there's a loooooonnnng way to go before we get a playoff. The Big 12 presidents considered the issue in March and turned it down flat. Big East commish Mike Tranghese said, "We're opposed to a playoff. We don't think a playoff is in the best interests of college football."

The great thing was hearing all these powerful public. None of us (media) thought a plus-one would be passed but we weren't expecting what was essentially a public vote. Now these guys are on record. If you want to write your local congressman, er, commissioner now you know where to go.

  Slive, who stuck his neck out and presented the plus-one, was disappointed that the issue wasn't "vetted" more by presidents at the conference level. The Big 12 was the only league that formally presented the issue to its presidents. The Big 12 presidents rejected anything resembling an NFL-style playoff that meant a team would have to play more than 14 games. A Big 12 champion playing in a plus-one championship game would be playing in its 15th game.

  The so-called Group of Five non-BCS conferences (WAC, MAC, Mountain West, Conference USA, Sun Belt) have a combined vote but didn't use it because a formal vote wasn't taken.

"There could have been support for a plus-one model if it meant a better chance for a team from the Group of Five to have a chance to play in it," said WAC commissioner Karl Benson. But we're happy with the system with the way it is. It has provided access and it has provided revenue."

  The so-called "bracket creep" argument doesn't make sense. Several commissioners said they were concerned that a four-team bracket would soon expand to eight or 16. Don't believe the hype. The BCS commissioners (and their presidents) control the BCS. That's different from Divisions I-AA, III and III where NCAA committees control the playoffs.

If the commissioners and presidents wanted a playoff to end at four, it would end at four. There would be no group above them who could overrule.

While I was in Florida ...

  These schools had more players drafted than Alabama (which had none): Arkansas State, Army, Bentley, Buffalo, Coastal Carolina, Eastern Kentucky, Furman, Gardner-Webb, Hampton, McNeese State, Nicholls State, Northwest Missouri State, St. Augustine's and Wheaton.

  Matthew Stafford somehow got anointed as the No. 1 quarterback in next year's draft. Stafford is popular with the honeys, loves NASCAR and can lift a keg over his head, but to call him the best NFL quarterbacks prospect after only two seasons? It must be a shallow draft next year. Matthew has yet to throw for 300 yards but has been held under 100 yards six times.

  Two more bowls made the postseason cut. The approval of the St. Petersburg and Congressional bowls by the NCAA on Thursday brings the number to 34. That's 68 teams for a division that produced only 71 bowl-eligible teams last season. That's also three more than the NCAA Tournament. I'm waiting for the time when the St. Pete and Congressional have to petition the NCAA to allow a 5-7 team in its shindig because there aren't enough teams to go around.

 

 

 

 

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