Tag:Nevada
Posted on: October 1, 2010 12:18 am
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

The Pistol formation is sweeping the country, if you consider sweeping a list of about 10 schools. The variation on the shotgun was invented by veteran Nevada coach Chris Ault in 2005. It features a quarterback four yards behind center and a running back three yards behind him.

The advantage for the offense is more downhill running than in a zone read where the running back frequently is running parallel to the line. Because the backfield is essentially in an I-formation it's harder for defenses to target their blitzes. Alabama, Arkansas, Boise State, Duke, Indiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and UCLA are using it in varying degrees this season.

Nevada (at UNLV) is 4-0 for the first time since 1992 and ranked in the AP poll for the first time since 1948.

Boise State (at New Mexico State) is chasing a national championship.

UCLA (vs. Washington State) switched to it to jump start its offense this season. The Pistol produced 264 rushing yards last week against Texas.

Alabama, Boise, Indiana (vs. Michigan) and Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are undefeated.

"Most great ideas are born out of necessity," UCLA's Rick Neuheisel said. "We needed to run the football better. Looking at the equipment we had, it just wasn't working. We had to accept that. We were very fortunate to have been given some great advice from the University of Nevada coaching staff. We kind of poured ourselves into it. It was a little bit of a leap of faith." ...

NC State (hosting Virginia Tech)  is ranked for the first time in seven years ... In a game that might go a long way toward deciding the ACC's best quarterback (non-Russell Wilson division), Miami's Jacory Harris plays at Clemson against Kyle Parker. Each of the last three games between the teams have gone into overtime ... Former Tennessee defensive coordinator John Chavis goes against the Vols for the first time when Tennessee visits LSU ... The problem at LSU is offense, specifically Jordan Jefferson's passing. Jefferson has yet to throw a touchdown pass and has completed less than half his passes to go with three interceptions ... A.J. Green returns for Georgia in its game at Colorado. The losing coach should check the temperature of his chair. Mark Richt and Dan Hawkins, are all but on notice about their job security ...  Florida Wildcat sensation Trey Burton is the grandson of Lawrence Burton who finished fourth in the 100 meters at the '72 Olympics, was a first-round pick of the Saints and played receiver at Purdue ...

Not surprisingly, the Big Ten and the SEC combined have almost half the teams in the top 25 (six each). You can see what this is coming down to: The Big Ten and/or SEC champion vs. Boise State in the polls/BCS/public discussion ... Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh on playing at Oregon:  "Just thinking about it, we're going to be ready to walk out of that tunnel, 80,000 screaming Duck fans. We'll have our team huddled around us beneath that stadium. It doesn’t get any better than that. I'm getting excited thinking about it." Sounds lyrical except that Autzen Stadium seats only 54,000 ... Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker will miss his fourth consecutive game because of what are reportedly complications from diabetes ...  The Sun Belt player of the year so far is Troy's Jernell Jernigan. The sophomore receiver is second nationally in all-purpose yards (208 per game). In addition to averaging almost 100 yards in receptions per game, Jernigan returns kicks and punts and lines up in the Wildcat. Troy is No. 14 in total offense and plays perhaps the Sun Belt game of the year Tuesday at Middle Tennessee ... Central Florida's George O'Leary (Wednesday vs. Alabama-Birmingham) is 1-19 against BCS teams. That's the same record as the man he replaced in 2004, Mike Kruczek. That's according to research done by CBSSports.com's Matt Brodsky.

Posted on: September 23, 2010 10:43 am
 

Latest Scripps Howard News Service Heisman poll

1. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan, 17 carries, 104 yards rushing, 1 TD, 10-of-14, 241 yards passing, 2 TD passes, int., 43 (7).

2. Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas, 21-of-33 passing, 380 yards, 3 TDs, 30 (2).

3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State, 20-of-30 passing, 370 yards, 2 TDs, int., 26 (1).

4. Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State, 8 carries, 35 yards, TD, 22-of-29, 235 yards passing, 2 TD passes, 2 ints., 21.

5. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford, 17-of-23, 207 yards passing, 4 TDs, 3 carries, 69 yards rushing, TD run. 5.

Other receiving votes: Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State, (4), South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore (3), Oklahoma QB Landry Jones (3), Alabama QB Greg McElroy (2), Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez (2), Alabama RB Mark Ingram (1), Kentucky WR Randall Cobb (1), Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick (1), Oregon RB LaMichael James (1).

(Scripps Howard News Service Heisman Trophy poll voters: Kirk Bohls, Austin (Texas) American-Statesman; Jimmy Burch, Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com; Vahe Gregorian, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Mike Griffith, The Knoxville (Tenn.) News-Sentinel; Michael Lewis, Salt Lake Tribune; Bob Condotta, Seattle Times; John Lindsay, Scripps Howard News Service; Tom Luicci, The (Newark) Star-Ledger; John Rohde, The Oklahoman.)
Posted on: September 14, 2010 2:20 pm
 

WAC sues Fresno, Nevada and Mountain West

It's still not clear, though, where Boise State stands on this.

WAC commissioner Karl Benson said Tuesday that Boise is not a party to the lawsuit that is trying to force Fresno and Nevada to stay through the 2011 season. But since it will not officially join the Mountain West until July 1, is it not a defendant in the suit either. At least that's the way Benson sees it. That's called legal limbo, folks. It's also good for Boise unless you consider that some of their monies contributed to the WAC conference coffers (i.e. bowl money, dues, basketball tournament revenue, TV revenue) will be used to fund the legal challenge.

Obviously, the WAC needs until 2012 to attract other members to remain a viable conference. Benson said that by 2012, the WAC could have as many as 12 teams. It currently has six. In 2012, the NCAA is increasing the minimum number, from six to seven, of conference teams needed to retain an automatic berth in the NCAA basketball tournament, Benson said.

There isn't much doubt that the WAC can lure teams to replace Fresno and Nevada, but it needs time. There are scores of I-AA programs out there that would kill to join the WAC. But a current NCAA moratorium on I-AA teams jumping up to I-A expires in June. That means the soonest a current I-AA program could join the WAC as a full I-A member would be 2013.

If the WAC doesn't win this suit, it will be OK in terms of BCS and NCAA Tournament automatic qualifying status, Benson said. At least in the short term.

"We are not expecting that any of this will jeopardize any of our automatic qualifying status," Benson said.

He also said the WAC will remain part of the BCS through the current four-year deal that began this year. The BCS is compromised of all of Division I-A. The WAC does not have an automatic bid to a BCS bowl for its champion. That's part of the reason Boise is moving to the Mountain West next season.

Benson added that he doesn't believe that Fresno and Nevada have begun scheduling Mountain West contests for 2011.

Posted on: September 1, 2010 3:03 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 3:55 pm
 

Dissecting BYU's move to independence

Maybe it started in 1996. That year BYU went 13-1 in the regular season and was ranked fifth in both polls. In the old Bowl Alliance, there was no room for the Cougars even then in the four big bowls that would become the foundation of the BCS -- Sugar, Fiesta, Orange and Rose.

That year No. 7 Penn State, No. 20 Texas (both Fiesta) and No. 10 Virginia Tech (Sugar) all got into big-time bowls before BYU.

The Cougars settled for the Cotton bowl, beat Kansas State and became the first team in major-college history to win 14 games in a season. That year, BYU finished No. 5. Florida, 12-1, won Steve Spurrier's only national championship.

That perceived injustice would lead WAC commissioner Karl Benson to lobby Congress for his schools' inclusion in the major-bowl postseason. Out of that trip to Washington D.C. eventually evolved the BCS two years later.

Or maybe it was what happened in 1999. That's when the Mountain West formed with BYU as its lead dog.

It certainly had to hit home in the last four seasons when BYU won 11 games three times, 10 games in the other season. And went to the Las Vegas Bowl each time.

It was clear that the last non-BCS school to win a national championship had to try something revolutionary to win another one. That's why it made sense for BYU to go independent in football. Everything else, the shifting of most other sports to the West Coast Conference, is an afterthought.

This was about the long-term viability of BYU football. Why did it take this radical step? Because it could. It had leverage.  Utah has been good since 2004. Boise State has had one of the country's best records since 2000. TCU just played in it first BCS bowl.

BYU has been a national power for decades. It is a true football factory. Used to be Quarterback U. Lavell Edwards, Steve Young, Robbie Bosco, all that.  It did win that national championship in '84.

It finally became time to separate itself. ESPN bought in with an eight-year agreement to televise BYU's home games. BYU already has its own network (BYU TV). Now it has its matchmaker. ESPN executive Dave Brown is one of the sport's power brokers when it comes arranging made-for-TV matchups.  That will help a lot when it comes to scheduling games. If that sounds a lot like Notre Dame and NBC, you're right.

"We're going forward with an opportunity to extend our reach, not to play it safe," AD Tom Holmoe said.

 The final straw might have been the Mountain West  "attacking" BYU last week. In an effort to keep the school in the conference (and wreck the WAC), Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson invited Fresno State and Nevada.

Before that, Benson had devised a plan to lure BYU back into the WAC by luring San Diego State, UNLV and Texas El-Paso.

The only "winner" was BYU. Alone. It had a problem with the MWC's relative anonymity. The conference isn't fully affiliated with ESPN. MWC games are shown on Versus and CBS College Sports. The MWC's conference network, The mtn., hasn't turned a profit yet. That BYU signed off on this strategy years ago to keep from having to play mid-week games hardly matters.

The WAC wasn't an option because of questions about its long-term viability after Thompson's Fresno-Nevada raid. If we've learned anything from this Summer of Sleaze it's that the only accountability is to yourself. In addition to the ESPN agreement, BYU also announced a six-game series with Notre Dame.

 "We'll do all we can to assist them in scheduling," ND AD Jack Swarbrick said. :We look forward to playing them."

The way it played out, the MWC and WAC were assured of mutual "destruction." Things broke down when Utah bolted for the Pac-10. That seriously wounded the MWC's chances of getting a temporary automatic BCS bid in 2012 and 2013. BYU knew it.

When the WAC lost Boise State, it tried an end-run to get UNLV and San Diego State, in a bold attempt to lure back BYU. When Thompson got wind of that, he tried to collapse the WAC. Fresno State and Nevada came but the result was a net loss. The MWC lost Utah and BYU. It gained Boise, Nevada and Fresno. That's hardly an even trade in the BCS' eyes. A net loss in BYU's eyes.

So where are we?  The MWC is now closer to the WAC than it is the BCS.  The WAC's best program is Hawaii -- if the Warriors don't go independent -- maybe Louisiana Tech. The glory days of Boise may be in jeopardy playing a tougher MWC schedule in the future. Even with the addition of Boise and the retention of TCU, the MWC lost most of its traction for that BCS bid.

 Halfway through a four-year evaluation process for that bid, the MWC is not certain to meet evaluation threshholds needed for an automatic BCS bid. (1. Average ranking of highest-ranked team in a conference; 2. Average conference rank in BCS; 3. Number of teams in top 25 of final BCS).

It's as if the Cuban Missile Crisis actually became a confrontation between the U.S. and Russia. Both conferences are diminished.  There are no winners. The WAC will fill in with I-AA programs, probably from the West Coast if Hawaii stays in the league. The MWC's schedule strength goes down.

BYU determined that it could make more money and perhaps get easier access to the BCS controlling the schedule.  Spreading the Mormon faith via these stand-alone games had to be a factor too. Its BCS access point will suffer (automatic only if BYU finishes No. 1 or No. 2, "eligible" in top 14). But as I reported earlier, the BCS and BYU have at least had conversations. Don't be surprised if football gets some kind of relief on that issue. As it stands, BYU is in the same BCS boat with Army and Navy.

"Right now the BCS is not the reason we made this move," Holmoe said.


If nothing else, BYU football is going to be a lot richer and a lot more visible. That's not something the MWC and WAC can say.

Posted on: August 19, 2010 2:19 pm
Edited on: August 19, 2010 2:30 pm
 

Karl Benson says WAC will go forward

The WAC commissioner spent 80 minutes on a conference call Thursday explaining why his conference would survive.

He mentioned several schools by name that would be interested in joining -- Cal-Poly, Cal-Davis, Sacramento State (already a member in baseball), Texas-San Antonio, Texas State, Montana. The WAC staff was checking what the minimum number of teams it takes to have a I-A conference. I checked the NCAA Manual a while ago and it's confusing. Not sure by the by-law if it meant six teams for a division, or six teams for a league.

However, the WAC wants to bulk up to at least eight.

Benson called the defection of Fresno State and Nevada "disappointing" and "selfish." On Wednesday, the commissioner thought he had secured BYU as a non-football member. On Thursday, his league was fighting for its life. The Mountain West raided the WAC for Fresno and Nevada as a preemptive strike to keep BYU from leaving. As of Thursday, BYU was considering its options. The school's move to independence is, in fact, not a done deal.

For a guy who has given blood in trying to keep his conference together, it was a bitter day for Benson. There are only two teams left from the last year of the old 16-team WAC in the late 1990s (San Jose State, Hawaii). From that he built a league that sent its champion to a BCS bowl three times in four years.

"We will be successful, Benson said.

"I fully expect Utah State or New Mexico State to jump from the pack and go to a bowl [in 2010].  I won't be surprised at either of those teams," he added.

What the WAC might look like in a couple of years:

San Jose State -- almost dropped football a few years ago.
Hawaii --pondering independent status itself?
Idaho -- Robb Akey led Vandals to 2009 bowl
Louisiana Tech -- Let's just say Derek Dooley got out at a good time
New Mexico State -- Named by me the worst I-A program in the country a couple of years ago
Montana -- could be the next Boise State
Texas State -- see above
Utah State -- the state of Utah could have a Pac-10 team (Utah) an independent (BYU) and this WAC member
Posted on: August 18, 2010 6:05 pm
 

MWC offers Nevada and Fresno State

The Mountain West just announced on its Twitter account that it had offered invitations to Nevada and Fresno.

Earlier in the day, the Salt Lake City Tribune reported that BYU would leave the MWC and go independent in football and move its other sports to the WAC. The MWC's move seems to confirm that report. The league is attempting to stay alive by adding the Bulldogs and Wolf Pack.

It looks now like the two leagues are trying to put each other out of business. The old 16-team WAC was almost killed when half the teams broke off in 1999 to form the Mountain West.

If both schools leave for the MWC then the WAC is on the clock. The addition of Nevada and Fresno don't do much for the MWC's BCS numbers but that's hardly the point right now. It's all about survival now. The MWC has lost power teams Utah and BYU in the last few weeks.

As of now, none of this impacts BCS leagues causing the Big Bang (superconferences). The WAC will likely have to retrench with the likes of Montana (moving up from Division I-AA).

How the MWC might look in 2011

Nevada
Fresno State
Colorado State
UNLV
San Diego State
Wyoming
Boise State
TCU
New Mexico
Air Force

Posted on: November 29, 2009 10:08 am
Edited on: November 29, 2009 10:40 am
 

Latest Heisman Watch

It was the weekend to abuse bad defenses. Colt McCoy turned the quarterback draw into Texas’ biggest weapon. Toby Gerhart used his arm to help beat Notre Dame. That left Tim Tebow and his five touchdowns lagging behind in third place

1. Colt McCoy, Texas: Moves up to No. 1 because without him Texas would have lost to Texas A&M. Four touchdowns passing, one rushing and almost 500 yards in total offense. Texas stared into the abyss. Colt pulled it back.

2. Toby Gerhart, Stanford: The kid taking 21 units this semester – 21! – got some national TV love against Notre Dame. Charlie’s angels – they certainly weren’t demons – allowed Gerhart 205 rushing yards and three touchdowns. He also threw for a score.

3. Tim Tebow, Florida: It’s a fairly tight race when Superman throws for three and runs for two and ends up only third. Were those camera phones going off in the end zone during his final series at home? Yes, they were.

4. Kellen Moore, Boise State: The poor guy has been forgotten all year. All five of his touchdowns were needed in an 11-point victory against Nevada. The best thing: Boise is all but in the BCS.

5. Danario Alexander, Missouri: Slowly and quietly, Alexander has become the best receiver in the country. So slow that he isn't a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award. Against Kansas he caught 15 balls for 233 yards. That was the third time in four games Alexander has surpassed 200 yards. Prior to that, Missouri had three 200-yard games by a receiver in its history.

Posted on: November 23, 2009 11:02 am
Edited on: November 23, 2009 12:11 pm
 

A case for cheating

A reader passed along some good points. At least they seemed reasonable at the time ...

It's the best interests of Oklahoma, New Mexico and Nevada this week to lose showdown games.

--An OU loss to Oklahoma State all but clinches a BCS berth for the Cowboys.

--New Mexico should lose to TCU to make sure it shares in the $19 million booty TCU and the Mountain West will collect for playing in a BCS bowl.

--The same for Nevada against Boise State.

The reader was missing one thing: That thing beating inside of every player. Imagine telling any Auburn Tiger that would be best for the school if they lost to Alabama this week. Although the Bedlam Series looks more like Bedtime this year, you better believe Oklahoma will want to kill the Cowboys.

The reader said the BCS incentivizes (if that's a word) "cheating". The BCS is a lot of things but it's not a stage for cheating.

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