Tag:SEC
Posted on: December 3, 2011 7:36 pm
Edited on: December 3, 2011 7:38 pm
 

Heisman Badger whips Dawgs

ATLANTA -- It was bordering on the ridiculous.

For two months since that slop of Game of the Century we’ve had to listen to SEC loyalists argue about the defensive aesthetic value of its top teams. For the first half of the SEC championship game the Strength Everywhere Conference had lost the benefit of the doubt. It shamed itself. It shamed football. It shamed the No. 1 ranking.

At least the top two BCS remain intact. Or so it seems after No. 1 LSU did enough in the second half Saturday to beat Georgia in the SEC title game thanks to a kid renamed Heisman Badger.

His real name, LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, not only saved the game for the Tigers, in one stunning afternoon-turned-night that turned Georgia into goo. At the same time he saved the SEC’s rep and legitimized, somewhat, the BCS national championship game.

Mathieu returned one punt 62 yards and set up another score with a 47-yard in the third quarter. Somewhere, Johnny Rodgers was giving props. Everywhere crotchety gray-haired Heisman voters conditioned to write “Andrew Luck” on the top line over the top few weeks had to scramble.

Spelling lessons – no, it’s not Tyrone Matthew – and a highlight package were in order for the uninitiated. A cornerback for Heisman is an acquired taste. Ask Charles Woodson. Can Mathieu get to New York? Debatable. Should he win the Heisman? No question.

With apologies to Robert Griffin III, this might have been as big a Heisman Moment as there has been on the last Saturday in recent years.  

That was all a mostly punchless LSU offense needed. It had tortured its coach and LSU fans for most of the game, but particularly in the first half. The Tigers had 12 yards and no first downs at halftime. The only reason they any points was Mathieu’s punt return.

The defense took over in the third quarter, giving LSU field position that led to 21 points. That’s all the Tigers needed to (we think) secure a spot in the BCS title game for the third time in eight years. Believed to be accompanying LSU is Alabama which waited on the sidelines Saturday for the Tigers to rubber-stamp things.  

That would be a matchup of the No. 31 (Alabama) and No. 62 (LSU) offenses. But on defense those teams are 1-2 in total defense. But there is only one Honey Badger which was the only original nickname stuck on the sophomore from New Orleans when he began making play after play.

For those of you not caught up on the Honey Badger saga, watch this. You too will see why the Honey Badger takes what he wants.

In the season opener against Oregon, Mathieu led all LSU tacklers with 10 accenting that with a strip and score of Duck Kenyon Barner. At the end of the season, in his 25<sup>th</sup> career game, Mathieu has averaged one big “Badger play” per game. That would be four career interceptions, 11 forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries and two punt returns for touchdowns. Total: 25.

The SEC as a whole really couldn’t lose Saturday. LSU could have lost and possibly opened the door for the best postseason day in SEC history. Three teams – LSU, Alabama and Georgia – would have stood a chance of getting an unprecedented three BCS bids.

Turns out it doesn’t matter who lost that Nov. 5 Game of the Century. If it was LSU, Alabama would have been here causing Georgia to tap out. One was going to be No. 1 and the other was going to be No. 2. That is all but assured now. Right?

 

  

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Alabama, BCS, Georgia, LSU, SEC
 
Posted on: December 1, 2011 10:04 pm
 

A&M acts late on Sherman

Something happened with Mike Sherman.

A day ago he was talking about recruiting three stars and turning them into five stars. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why he was fired Thursday.

Targeting three stars is probably not the right philosophy going into the SEC.

Anyway, something happened to Sherman. Radically. A day ago it looked like the Aggies’ coach was safe. The athletic department owed a lot of money to a lot of people but … come to think to think of it, maybe that’s why he was fired Thursday.

Four years, .500 record. A&M had enough especially owing upwards of $50 million to various entities ($16 million loan to the university, $9 million to buyout Sherman, unknown exit fee to the Big 12).

Something happened to Mike Sherman and it likely has a brush mustache and is part of the Bowtie Revolution.

That would be president R. Bowen Loftin, the driving force behind the school’s move to the SEC. A little Bowen mind-reading here: Best to start with a clean slate with the competition about to be ratcheted up in the SEC.

Great idea except that Loftin is an academic making intrusions into a glorious, tradition-bound football program. That said, Sherman was a reach from the start. AD Bill Byrne handed a seven-year contract to the Houston Texans’ offensive coordinator. Who exactly was Byrne’s competition?

What he got in exchange was a 25-25 record and numerous blown second-half leads. The Aggies, in a word, were soft. At least this year. A 20-3 halftime lead at home melted away against Oklahoma State and its 107<sup>th</sup>-ranked pass defense. There was an 18-point halftime lead against Baylor that went pffft. The Aggies led mediocre Missouri 14-0 at home. And blew that one too.

Much more was expected out of a team that was 9-4 in 2010 and returned 18 starters. Someone at A&M likely looked around and saw Arizona hire Rich Rodriguez and Washington State Mike Leach and asked, “Just what the hell are we doing about anything?”

That someone was probably Loftin. He conspicuously changed his tune on Sherman following the Thanksgiving night loss to Texas.

Before: “As far as I'm concerned, yes," he said Tuesday. "We don't want to make any hasty moves, and we look forward to him being our football coach in the future."

After:  "We're thinking hard about [the season and the future]."

A president is allowed to change his mind, but this president has his nose poked so far into athletics that, well, you get it. A&M most likely will pursue Kevin Sumlin, one of its former assistants. Sumlin is right down the road in Houston about to take the Cougars to a BCS bowl.

But A&M might be late. There was a report Thursday that Arizona State had already offered Sumlin. I’ve got a better idea. There’s a young guy up the road coordinating a salty defense. Had a great year. Name’s Manny Diaz. Works for Texas.

But that would be deal breaker for Bowtie Guy who just let century-old ties with the Longhorns to head South. His program may already be headed there. 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 18, 2011 1:48 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2011 9:46 am
 

Delany makes postseason proposal

The source of one college football postseason idea pitched this week shouldn’t be surprising.

According to a person in the room at Monday’s BCS meeting, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany pitched a model whereby only the No. 1 and No. 2 teams would be matched in the postseason. That would basically eliminate the other BCS bowl tie-ins in the 14-year-old system.

The proposal essentially is a roll back to the old Bowl Alliance that was in effect from 1995-97. On its face, the proposal seemingly benefits the Big Ten, SEC, Big 12 and Pac-12 the most.

The Big Ten could not immediately confirm Delany as the source of the idea since the commissioner was traveling on Friday. However, another source in the room at the San Francisco meeting said the idea stood out among several that day because it was “new.” The source would not confirm the model came from Delany.

Using Delany’s idea, the relationship with the current BCS bowls – Orange, Fiesta, Sugar and Rose – would end. At the beginning of the season all schools would have an equal chance to get into the championship game. Supposedly, some kind of rating system would be used to rank teams.

Below that championship game, schools and bowls would be free to arrange their own deals. In the old Bowl Alliance, the champions of the ACC, Big East, Big Eight, SEC and Southwest conferences, along with an at-large team, were matched in the Fiesta, Sugar and Orange bowls. The Rose, Big Ten and Pac-10 did not participate at the time.  The uniqueness of the Alliance was that there were no conference tie-ins to particular bowls.

BCS commissioners began saying in December that they might go back to the old bowl system if pushed by non-BCS schools.  

There were other ideas Monday during what was termed a preliminary meeting meant for informal proposals. Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson weighed in. Thompson was already on record with his 16-team playoff proposal. CBSSports.com reported last week there was growing support to get rid of automatic qualifiers in the BCS. One result of that could be a top 10, 12, or 14 ranking that would have to be attained to get into a BCS bowl.

Delany’s idea would reflect the elimination of automatic qualifiers. The so-called “AQs” are the champions of the Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, SEC, Pac-12 and SEC. Notre Dame and champions of lesser conferences can currently qualifier for BCS bowls if they meet a set of benchmarks.

Delany’s particular model doesn’t address an age-old BCS problem: What about No. 3 and below, the teams that get left out? The commissioners discussed legal concerns that could emerge from that situation according to a source.

Also, if automatic qualifiers are eliminated, it would seem there would have to be some kind of access for non-AQs. Teams from non-BCS leagues – MAC, WAC, Conference USA, Sun Belt, Mountain West – have enjoyed improved access to BCS bowls since 2003. During that time the success of schools such as Boise State, Utah and TCU developed into David-vs.-Goliath stories that captured the nation’s attention.

There is also the significant issue of revenue distribution. 

It’s a good bet that under Delany’s plan, the Rose Bowl would be “protected”. In other words, the bowl would have access to the champions of the Big Ten and Pac-12 each year unless one or both schools were involved in the championship game.

Because the ACC and Big East have struggled to be nationally relevant in recent years, Delany’s proposal would directly benefit the Pac-12, SEC, Big Ten and Big 12. Teams from those four conferences have played in some combination in the last eight BCS title games.

It can’t be stressed enough the preliminary nature of Monday’s meeting. After discussing various models at the 1 ½-hour meeting, commissioners were to go back to their conferences to present them with their schools.  One source called it “process and procedure.”

The commissioners meet again in person Jan. 10 in New Orleans, the day after the BCS title game. It is at that meeting and subsequent ones that a clearer view of college football’s postseason going forward will begin to emerge. The commissioners must develop a postseason model to present to ESPN during its exclusive negotiating window that begins in October. If ESPN passes during those negotiations, then the model would go out to bid.

The current BCS model is in effect through the 2014 bowls. 

Posted on: November 14, 2011 1:27 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 1:29 pm
 

BCS chair Spanier won't immediately be replaced

BCS officials will not pick an interim replacement for former Penn State president Graham Spanier when they meet Monday in San Francisco.

Spanier was BCS Big Ten rep and chairman of the BCS presidential oversight committee but lost that position last week when he was fired at Penn State. One conference commissioner speculated that replacing Spanier might be the first order of business Monday. But BCS executive director Bill Hancock told CBSSports.com that it could be “a few weeks” before a replacement is found.

Spanier had been one of the most respected college CEOs both in academic and athletic circles. He was relieved of duties on Wednesday by the Penn State board of trustees, the same day Joe Paterno was fired.

The oversight committee consists of a presidential representative from each FBS league, plus Notre Dame (12 in all). They consider information from the BCS commissioners, AD advisory group and television partners throughout the year. Monday’s meeting is not expected to be all that newsworthy, although rudimentary discussions are expected to begin on how college football’s postseason will look at the end of the current BCS deal that expires after the 2014 bowls.

More significant meetings will be conducted in January at the site of the BCS title game in New Orleans and in April at the annual BCS meeting.

 

The 11 current members of the BCS presidential oversight committee and conference they represent:

Scott Cowen - president, Tulane University (Conference USA)
Rev. John Jenkins - president, University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame)
Max Nikias - president, University of Southern California (Pac-12)
Duane Nellis - president, University of Idaho (WAC)
Mark Nordenberg - chancellor, University of Pittsburgh (Big East)
John Peters - president, Northern Illinois University (MAC)
Bill Powers - president, University of Texas (Big 12)
Gary Ransdell - president, Western Kentucky University (Sun Belt)
David Schmidly - president, University of New Mexico (Mountain West)
Charles Steger – president, Virginia Tech (ACC)
Robert Witt - president, University of Alabama (SEC)


 

 

Posted on: November 9, 2011 10:08 am
Edited on: November 9, 2011 12:52 pm
 

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

There is growing support toward eliminating automatic qualifier status in the next evolution of college football’s postseason according to Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas.

The concept has been discussed informally among the game’s power brokers and would represent a fundamental shift in the way the sport’s postseason is administrated. Neinas supports the change because he said eliminating the so-called “AQ” status would slow or stop conference realignment.

“I think there is growing sentiment to eliminate the automatic qualification part of the BCS,” Neinas told CBSSports.com this week. “You can see what’s happening. They [conferences] are gerrymandering all over the place under the intent to maintain an automatic qualification. History has shown you don’t need that if you are qualified.”

Removing AQ status would, in part, continue to benefit the power conferences who are currently bound by a two-team limit in the BCS. But it would also allow so-called non-AQs a more consistent, fair entry into the BCS. No changes would take effect until the 2014 season.

There are currently 10 slots among the five BCS bowls. One discussed configuration would allow the top 10 teams in the final BCS standings at the end of the season to play in BCS bowls no matter what conference affiliation. For example, if the Big Ten or SEC had three or more teams in the top 10, all those schools would get BCS bowls.

It’s not clear what the Rose Bowl’s stance is on the issue. It is known the Rose wants to keep its Pac-12-Big Ten game as often as possible. Eliminating AQ status may be the interim step between the BCS and a playoff. Various officials from four of the six BCS leagues have been in favor of at least a plus-one model at one time or another in the last three years.

The changes supported by Neinas wouldn’t occur until after the 2014 bowls when the current BCS deal expires with ESPN. Commissioners and ADs will discuss the changes as part of their next BCS meeting Monday in San Francisco.

“I imagine it will be one of many things they will be talking about," said Bill Hancock, BCS executive director. "It’s really premature to speculate about what the group might do."

The game’s administrators will have to have a new model going forward when ESPN reaches its exclusive negotiating window in October.

It’s not clear how much support there among commissioners. It would seem that at least the ACC and Big East would be against change. The ACC champion has finished out of the top 10 three of the last four seasons. Both leagues failed to have a team in the top 10 team at the end of last season.

It’s also not clear how money would be divided. Currently, 85 percent of the BCS bowl take is divided among the six power conferences. Last year approximately $200 million was made off the BCS bowls. If one of the six major conferences is not guaranteed a BCS bowl that could change the distribution model and potentially be a deal breaker.

Those six power conference champions – SEC, ACC, Big East, Big 12, Pac-12, Big Ten – are guaranteed a BCS bowl. The champions of the five non-AQ leagues – MAC, WAC, Conference USA, Sun Belt, Mountain West – are not. The best schools in those leagues must meet a set of benchmarks to get in.

Using the final 2010 standings as example going forward, the Big East (UConn, out of the BCS top 25) and ACC (Virginia Tech, No. 13) would not have had a BCS team because those conferences champions finished out of the top 10. The Big Ten would have had three teams – Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State.

In that configuration schools like Missouri (2007), Texas Tech (2008), Boise State (2008, 2010), Iowa (2009), Georgia Tech (2009) and Michigan State (2010) would have made BCS bowls simply by finishing in the top 10.

To date the Big Ten has played in the most BCS bowls, 23. The SEC is second with 21.

Neinas said he senses support for the change among his peers. The scramble for automatic qualification has affected three of the six BCS leagues just in the last couple of months. TCU and West Virginia joined the Big 12, in part fearing instability in the Big East. Syracuse and Pittsburgh joined the ACC for the same reason. Meanwhile, the Big East is trying to reconstitute itself to be a BCS league going forward.

Commissioners will have to decide if the Big East even merits AQ status if the system remains the same. It currently has that status because of a waiver granted by BCS commissioners in 2008.

“You can make it on your merit without having to be in an automatic qualifying situation,” Neinas said. “That would solve some problems here with people just scrambling because they think they have to take in certain institutions. Let’s eliminate automatic qualification. If you merit it, you’re in …

“The point is, then you wouldn’t have this effort to cobble together a conference for the purpose of automatic qualification.”

Neinas also said he senses “strong sentiment” for conferences to remain with current membership until 2013. That would mean Syracuse and Pittsburgh would remain in the ACC, Missouri and Texas A&M would remain in the Big 12 and West Virginia and TCU would remain in the Big East.

The Big 12 is in a state flux with its television partners (ESPN, Fox) because it needs at least 10 members in 2012 for its payout not to be affected, Neinas said.

“We have to provide inventory to our TV partners and also we have some bowl partners,” he said. “Of course the major problem is scheduling.”

West Virginia has been sued by the Big East to fulfill its obligation to give 27 months notice before leaving the league. Big 12 sources are upset that Missouri intends to leave by July 1, 2012. Neinas remarked that it was “awful short notice” by the school.

Both Texas A&M and Missouri are still haggling with the Big 12 over exit fees owed to the conference. Those fees could range from $15 million-$30 million per school according to reports.

If both Missouri and West Virginia aren’t in the league in 2012, that would leave only nine members. With only nine members, each Big 12 team would have to find another non-conference game on short notice for 2012.

Asked if he expected Missouri to be in the league next year, Neinas said, “That would be nice, sure. Is that possible? I don’t know.”

He was then asked if there is any sentiment within the league for legal action against Missouri, Neinas said, “I don’t’ think I’ll comment on that.”

Posted on: November 5, 2011 7:04 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2011 7:16 pm
 

SEC will reopen contract with ESPN

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The SEC will exercise one of its options to adjust the current ESPN contract with the conference, commissioner Mike Slive told CBSSports.com

The conference is expected to ask for an increase in the rights fees on the current 15-year, $3 billion deal after the addition of Texas A&M and Missouri. CBSSports.com confirmed a Saturday report that Missouri would become the SEC's 14th team after A&M joined in September.

In addition, there has long been industry speculation that the SEC would bundle some non-conference football games as a foundation for a separate network.

At intervals during such contracts, conferences are allowed periodic “look ins” to address issues such as these when they expand. Typically in these cases, the parties negotiate a rights fee increase. If they can’t come to an agreement the issue goes to arbitration. These situations have seldom, if ever, gone to arbitration according to several industry sources.

“We will look in,” Slive said adding that the issue likely will be addressed after the current season.

Currently, SEC schools are allowed to show one non-conference football game per year on a pay-per-view basis, according to Slive. None of the schools do so, however. Bundling 14 non-conference games – one for each team – and forming a network around the programming could create another windfall stream of revenue for the SEC.

An SEC network would be a separate entity along the lines of the Longhorn or Big Ten networks. It is thought that ESPN would have first crack at creating that network

The SEC, ESPN and CBS are two years into that 15-year deal.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: CBS, ESPN, SEC
 
Posted on: November 5, 2011 6:43 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2011 6:48 pm
 

Missouri to the SEC next week

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Missouri will formally join the SEC early next week according to The Sporting News. CBSSports.com was able to confirm the Saturday afternoon report.

After a drawn-out process the began months ago Missouri will leave the Big 12 and an affiliation with some teams in that league that go back to 1907. Missouri will become the SEC's 14th team and join the East Division. It wasn't immediately clear but the school is expected to begin play in 2012.

That will end the SEC’s expansion for now, a process that intensified in early June when Texas A&M began a process to leave the Big 12. Missouri has long been concerned about the stability of the Big 12. Twice within 16 months, Texas and Oklahoma – and others in the Big 12 -- came close to joining the Pac-12.  

NCAA president Mark Emmert addressed conference realignment Saturday before the LSU-Alabama game.

“I’d love to see something like a waiting period, almost,” he said. “Kind of kike the SEC, the Security and Exchange Commission. You’re going to buy a company, you have to vet it out …

“We saw that sometimes. Missouri just announced. Missouri said, ‘Yeah, we’re thinking about this.’ They spent a fair amount of time thinking about it. It was a pretty rational process.” 

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Missouri, SEC
 
Posted on: October 22, 2011 7:05 pm
 

LSU rout of Auburn over; time to talk 'Bama

Who needs synthetic marijuana when you have real depth on your roster?

Such is the case for LSU now that the countdown has officially begun to the Alabama game. The Baton Rouge Tigers beat Auburn's Tigers with, not exactly a skeleton crew, but there was a little less meat on the bone.

Budding superstar cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, backup Tharold Simon and starting tailback Spencer Ware sat out because of reported failed drug tests (reportedly for that synthetic marijuana). The supposition was that LSU had enough talent left over to set up college football's Super Bowl in a couple of weeks. They just had to prove it.

It was a blowout, but it wasn't easy. During a sometimes-dreary first half LSU's faithful actually booed on a couple of occasions. For a while it looked like LSU's season would go, well, up in smoke. Those fans' attitude changed after a pair of matching sideline strikes stretching the halftime lead to 21-3.

Jordan Jefferson (42 yards) and Jarrett Lee (46 yards) threw almost identical bombs to Rueben Randle within four minutes of each other in the second quarter. The game plan following that -- whether stated or unstated -- was to show as little as possible.

You know who's watching.

Two weeks from Saturday the nation's No. 1 team will play a de facto national semifinal in Tuscaloosa. Winner goes to New Orleans for the BCS title. Well, not directly, but the stakes are that high.

Both schools have a bye next week giving the game time to build to a 1 vs. 2 pinnacle. LSU goes in almost with a yawn to this point. For the first time in school history, the Tigers have opened the season with eight double-digit wins. They have trailed for 6 minutes, 33 seconds all season.

Those missing starters were hardly missed. True freshman Kenny Hilliard ran for two touchdowns including the game's opening touchdown on his sixth career carry. Senior Ron Brooks more than compensated for the loss of Mathieu. His 28-yard pick six made it 42-3 in the third quarter.

LSU got satisfaction for last season's 24-17 loss at Auburn. Don't call it revenge because Cam Newton, the difference in a lot of games for Auburn last season, is gone. Let's just call it the No. 1 team in 2011's first BCS rankings beating last season's last No. 1 in the BCS.

Now it's time to bring on Alabama.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Alabama, Auburn, BCS, LSU, SEC
 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com