Tag:Alabama
Posted on: November 30, 2011 5:26 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2011 8:36 pm
 

Door finally opens for The Pirate at Wazzu

Mike Leach and Washington State have a lot of people to thank.

Start with Ohio State. Jim Tressel, Gordon Gee and Gene Smith in particular. Throw in USC, Penn State and Syracuse. There’s probably a few others out there, at least accused of reprehensible behavior. In their own way, they all opened the door a little further for Leach to find work again.

After sitting out the two previous seasons, The Pirate verbally agreed to take the Washington State job per our Bruce Feldman.

How bad does it look now suing a former employer? Not even. A potential courtroom smackdown of Craig James would draw a standing-room crowd. But it’s no reason to shun an accomplished coach. Leach’s legal preferences have nothing to do with cheating to win a championship, taking extra benefits, lying or looking the other way while alleged victims suffered. In fact, Leach should be admired for sticking to his beliefs and doggedly pursuing those three lawsuits. They dragged on at the same time college athletics made most of the news -- dragging itself into a sewer.

Time and circumstances, it seems, can always turn a pariah into a savior. Especially one armed with equal parts charisma, quirkiness and offensive innovation.

We reached critical mass on Wednesday. Washington State’s desperation to win outstripped any off-field concerns there would be about Leach. His case against Texas Tech currently caught up in the Texas State Court of Appeals doesn’t seem like that big a deal at the moment. Not when Ohio State is throwing $4 million a year at Urban Meyer at the same time it is fighting the NCAA on two fronts. Not when USC is just entering the worst phase of its NCAA penalties. Not when Penn State may never be the same.

In this sometimes sordid world of college athletics, these types of lawsuits seem like paper swords. This pirate swings a much more substantial such weapon. Winning remains the currency of choice, which it should be in Pullman.

This is a program that was in the Rose Bowl as recently as 2003. It’s also a program that ran itself into the ground with a series of bad hires and bad decisions. Remember when Mike Price went to Alabama? Wazzu is a small-budget operation that exists on the edge Throw in a suddenly winnable Pac-12, stability and money – lots of money – and the choice was easy for Washington State AD Bill Moos.

Did I say small budget? That, it should be noted, is about to change. The Pac-12 is counting on what could be a $30 million per year payout per school in the near future. Armed with those kinds of Benjamins, Moos acted decisively. Kansas was the other main suitor. Jayhawks AD Sheahon Zenger has a long relationship with Leach. Kansas football is experiencing a similar football downturn. Someone needs to put a bottle of Heinz 57 on Zenger’s desk. Ketchup! He just got skunked.

Or maybe it’s just the college football landscape. Maybe Leach was balancing offers from both schools. Washington State: 9-40 over the last four years, but a member of what claims to be the richest conference in the country. Kansas: 5-19 in two years under Turner Gill in a league that is guaranteed (we think) to stay together only six more years.

A bad rich program is better than a bad unstable one.

Either way, we can only hope that Craig James never again has to do either of their games, right?

 

 

 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 19, 2011 1:03 am
Edited on: November 19, 2011 7:53 am
 

BCS chaos kicks off in Eugene; I'm buying

EUGENE, Ore. – This could be the best two weeks of football in BCS history, and I’m at the kickoff party.  

They’re going about two shades of crazy here Friday night at Hop Valley Brewing Co. out near I-5 in Duckland. A guy just walked in and yelled, "How about Iowa State?" It’s a brew pub that just turned into a staging area for the national championship push.

How about the Cyclones indeed? By beating Oklahoma State in overtime Friday night, they made it about football again. We can care again. Maybe we can forget tragedy and scandal -- for a little while.

Maybe for a long while. Two weeks from Sunday, two teams will be matched up to play for the 14th  BCS title. It is more than wonderful that we have no idea who they are going to be. There are six teams in the running -- LSU, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Alabama and Oregon. Oregon and Arkansas gained the most. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State the least.

But that’s just me, right now. The Hefeweizen is going down really smooth.

BCS chaos reigns. It reigns because a team whose uniforms look strangely like USC (Iowa State) just took down the nation’s No. 2. I’m here to see Oregon play the real USC on Saturday in a game that just got a lot bigger.

The Ducks are in that conga line with a bunch of one-loss teams, all of them with their hands up saying, "Pick me!"

Let the arguments begin: Do you want a rematch? LSU-Oregon awaits. So does LSU-Alabama. But shouldn’t you have to win your conference? Alabama potentially won’t. Don’t forget Arkansas, which is suddenly in the conversation.

Is Oklahoma State entirely out? Does Oklahoma deserve to be in the discussion? It lost at home to Texas Tech, which lost by 34 to Iowa State, which beat Oklahoma State. The Sooners have a chance, a small one unless …

Unless chaos continues. Who knows how OU will be perceived in two weeks? If Oregon wins on Saturday it most likely will jump to No. 2 in the BCS. Alabama plays Georgia Southern. Nothing, though, is permanent. Call it the BCS' Kardashian Moment.

Get ready for a fashion show with shoulder pads, built-in programming for sports radio. Someone give Jerry Palm a raise. Now.

You can hear the sound of Boise State kicking itself all the way from here.

Please don’t say “kicking” around the Broncos. They not only would have been in line for the BCS national championship game, they would have had to beat only San Diego State, Wyoming and New Mexico to get there. But a kid named Dan Goodale pulled a Brotzman last week, missing the game-winning field goal. That was only after TCU’s Gary Patterson proved he had more stones that Boise State had field goals.

The old missed kick seems to be an epidemic. Dan Goodale meet Oklahoma State’s Quinn Sharp, who wasn’t. Sharp missed a 37-yarder with 77 seconds left that could have beaten the Cyclones.

Nothing is permanent. Ask Kim, or give Sharp a Hefeweizen. He needs one right about now. 

How about the Cyclones indeed? By beating Oklahoma State in overtime Friday night, they made it about football again. We can care again. Maybe we can forget tragedy and scandal -- for a little while. 


Posted on: November 3, 2011 10:44 pm
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

Son of WWL is the petulant offspring of Weekend Watch List. This week it weighs in on the LSU-Alabama rematch.

 


Before the teams even kick it off Saturday LSU-Alabama II has filled minds, cyberspace and column inches.

That’s the world we live in. If Tigers-Tide is good, a rematch in the BCS championship game could be better – depending. Depending on a very narrow set of circumstances.

First, ask yourself. Do you even want to see the Game of the (11-year-old) Century again, two months later? Is that even fair? Here’s my take on how it could happen:

--LSU has to lose Saturday’s game. Alabama is favored and playing at home. The pollsters probably wouldn’t give the benefit of the doubt to the Crimson Tide in this scenario if they lose. It doesn’t matter that LSU is No. 1. Alabama is No. 2 and perceived to be the better team playing at home before 101,821 fans and Bear Bryant growling in the background. Literally.

--LSU has to play well and lose a close game, preferably at the gun and preferably by a 55-yard field goal or something like that. That would resurrect the oldest line in show business: Always leave them wanting more.

--LSU has to win the rest of its games which at this point include Western Kentucky, a trip to Ole Miss and at home against Arkansas. It would help, a lot, if LSU blew out the Hogs. That would be the lasting impression the Tigers would leave in the minds of the voters who would still have to wade through two more Saturdays of football. (Arkansas-LSU is on Friday, Nov. 25).

It was a different set of circumstances but don’t forget LSU lost to Arkansas in 2007 and still went to the BCS title game with two losses. That’s one indication of how powerful an SEC team is in the BCS standings.

--Stanford and Oklahoma State have to lose. At least. The feeling is that LSU would at least have a chance to pass an undefeated Boise State in the BCS. While that’s no certainty, the SEC has gotten the benefit of the doubt before (see above).

“I’m a believer,” Steve Spurrier said, “that if a rematch does occur, the formula we have in place is to get the best two teams in the game.”

Spurrier should know a little bit about the subject. Florida beat Florida in the Sugar Bowl rematch to win the 1996 national championship.


Why it won’t happen

 

--The loser will have had its chance … No one wants to see the game again … Give someone else a chance.

All those are valid arguments and have already manifested themselves five years ago. Michigan lost the last regular-season 1-2 game at Ohio State 42-39 in 2006. On the last day of the season (two weeks later) the Wolverines – No. 3 in the BCS at the time -- were edged out by SEC champ Florida after No. 2 USC was upset by UCLA. Michigan actually gained in the polls and computers, but enough losing out to Florida by .0134 of a point.

--SEC voter fatigue. WWL has no evidence that this exists but after five consecutive national championships who is to say that – if it’s close – human nature won’t take over? In other words, why not give someone else a chance?

--The loser won’t play on the last day of the season (Dec. 3) when a lot of statements can be made. If Alabama wins big in the SEC title game, that will be another reason not to elevate LSU to No. 2. Boise State could complete an undefeated season with what figures to be a complete obliteration of New Mexico.

--The loser better not fall too far. In the 13-year history of the BCS no team that finished out of the top two in the final regular-season polls played for the national championship. Nebraska played for the title in was fourth in 2001 in the AP and coaches poll. Oregon finished but was relegated to the Fiesta Bowl.

 

 

Something to chew on, and spit out: What’s wrong with this world when Barry Switzer gets a statue at Oklahoma 22 years after leaving the school and Nick Saban got one at Alabama after his fourth? … Where have you gone Mike Leach? Last week against Iowa State, Texas Tech failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time in five years … Unbelievable: Iowa and UCLA still control their own fate in their conferences. Iowa, 5-3, can still win the Legends Division despite a horrific loss last week to Minnesota. The Bruins, 4-4, are in the thick of things in the Pac-12 South. They host division leader Arizona State this week … Penn State’s Silas Redd led the nation in rushing in October with 703 yards … Louisville travels to West Virginia looking for its first three-game Big East winning streak in five years … Unless a meteor hits, Boise’s Kellen Moore should set the record for career wins by a quarterback. Moore is 45-2 as a starter going into the UNLV game.

Posted on: October 30, 2011 1:40 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2011 6:10 pm
 

Thoughts On A Football Saturday: West Virginia

This is on Don Nehlen. Major Harris too. Don’t forget Bobby Bowden. Rich Rodriguez gets credit. Even Bill Stewart.

West Virginia joined Big 12 on Friday (beginning in 2012) because of all those folks. Nehlen, the gritty, veteran coach who put the school on the map. Major Harris, the dual threat sensation before there were dual threat sensations leading the Mountaineers to the brink of a national championship. Rich Rod, the homeboy, and his basketball-on-grass offense. And all Coach Stew did was beat Oklahoma and average nine wins a year.

You can thank Gordon Gee too. Gee was West Virginia’s president during a key time (1981-85) in the school’s history. If not for the school’s admission into the old College Football Association, it might not be here today. West Virginia was among a group of about 15 independents in that initial CFA group of 63 schools.

The CFA gained power out of the Supreme Court’s de-regulation of college football in 1984. It was the television negotiating arm for those top 63 football-playing schools.

“They [West Virginia] met all the criteria,” said former CFA executive director Chuck Neinas. “They routinely get 60,000, their stadium size, strength of schedule, certain academic commitments.”

The qualifications for the old CFA have faded into history. But they are essentially why West Virginia is in a BCS league going forward and the Big East is in trouble. West Virginia has been selected to move on as a big-time football program.

That, and cold, hard numbers. You want to know why West Virginia is in the Big 12 and Louisville isn’t? 500,000 homes. That’s the difference in the half-rating point for television that separates the two schools.     

It comes down to West Virginia’s average 2.6 television rating over the past five years as opposed to 2.1 for Louisville. That half-rating point equals half a million television homes. That’s according to an industry source who had the numbers in front of him for all 120 FBS schools.

The FBS average rating is 2.2 In other words, Louisville is an average TV draw. West Virginia is an above average draw.

Big 12 inventory becomes more valuable because of  West Virginia-Texas and West Virginia-Oklahoma Louisville doesn’t move the needle as much. According the industry source, that 2.1 Louisville rating was boosted significantly by a pair of two five-year-old results – games in 2006 against West Virginia and Rutgers.

Neinas, currently interim Big 12 commissioner, was CFA executive director for the 20 years of existence. It disbanded in 1997. The Mountaineers move to the Big 12 can be traced back to Neinas’ time when he guided college football through a treacherous period. West Virginia made the cut Friday because of all those things – Nehlen’s leadership, that national championship run, ratings points. But it goes back to West Virginia being leading Eastern independent when the CFA was formed.

The CFA was a precursor the current BCS (membership: 66).

So West Virginia has its nose under the tent and the Big East moves on with uncertainty. Even if it does reconstitute itself and expand to 12 teams, there is no guarantee the Big East will retain its BCS status. That issue will at least be discussed when the BCS holds its next scheduled meeting Nov. 14 in San Francisco.

For 2012 at least, the Big 12 is a 10-team conference but don’t hold your breath.

“The only thing constant in this world is change,” Neinas said. “Right now we’ve got our house in order. We’re looking forward to a very aggressive conference.”

 

National notage …

 

A closer look at how Wisconsin has blown its last two games to Michigan State and Ohio State:

In the final eight minutes of both those games the teams’ combined score has been even, 21-21. In those fourth quarters, Wisconsin’s pass defense allowed 10 completions on 17 attempts for 155 yards. Take away the two game-winning plays – Michigan State at the gun and Ohio State with 20 seconds left – and the opposition completed only eight of 15 in that span for 74 yards, 4.93 yards per attempt.

But you can’t leave out those two plays. Keith Nichol caught the winner for Michigan State from 44 yards out. Ohio State’s Devin Smith caught that 40-yard touchdown from Braxton Miller with 20 seconds left.

Essentially, Wisconsin hasn’t responded when playing tougher competition. It won its first six games by at least 31 points. Two plays have killed the Badgers. They will likely be the difference in a BCS bowl (Rose?) and perhaps a Big Ten title.

 


Case Keenum has to be the season’s most valuable player to this point.

Houston is in the running for a Big East berth (maybe) and BCS bowl (barely) primarily because of its quarterback’s right arm. The nation’s leading passer has the Cougars ranked and on the periphery of BCS contention. The memory may have faded by now but Houston beat Rice 73-34 Thursday with Keenum throwing nine touchdown passes.  Someday soon he will be the all-time leader in passing yardage.

Yes, a sixth year of eligibility has helped but look at what it has wrought: In conference realignment where your worth can be judged by what you did yesterday, the Cougars are a hot commodity – at least to the Big East. Houston could be included in a batch of teams that would stretch from BYU to Texas and back East just to keep the conference viable.

Basically, Keenum is all Houston has. That’s no disgrace considering what’s at stake. While the defense is improved over last season (from 103<sup>rd</sup> to 86<sup>th</sup>), the Cougars have won games this season allowing 34 (twice) and 42 points. It all comes back to Keenum, already the NCAA’s career total offense leader, having thrown a nation-leading 32 touchdowns.

Without him, Houston is a commuter school in media market where it is the fourth or fifth option. With him, Houston may someday be able to thank Keenum for a berth in a BCS bowl.

That brings us to this week’s top Heisman contenders ...

1. Keenum – 139 career touchdown passes. 
2. Kellen Moore, Boise State – forget his measurables. Should end up in a pro camp somewhere.
3. Andrew Luck, Stanford – Completion percentage, touchdown-to-interception and passer rating all up over last season.
4. Trent Richardson, Alabama – We’ll know more after Saturday.
5. Russell Wilson, Wisconsin – Don’t blame the nation’s most efficient passer for the Ohio State loss.

 


While we’re speculating on coaching turnover, let’s not forget North Carolina State’s Tom O’Brien.

 

After being shut out by Florida State, 34-0, the Wolfpack is 4-4 having beaten only one BCS conference program this season (Virginia). N.C. State was shut out on the road an ACC game for the first time since 1990, not to mention Wilson’s decision to let Russell Wilson become a free agent.

O’Brien is 29-29 in his fifth season, having never finished better than a tie for second in the ACC Atlantic Division.

 

 
This from the Boulder Daily CameraIt seems like it’s already time to question why Colorado was included in the Pac-12’s expansion plans.

So why was CU No. 1 on Larry Scott's expansion list?

"CU just checked all the boxes for us," the forward-thinking Pac-12 commissioner said. "CU was a fit in terms of academic compatibility, being a good geographic fit and sharing a similar philosophy and culture in terms of the role of athletics within the broader mission. And Denver is a very important market."

Colorado dropped to 1-8, 0-6 in the Pac-12 South after a 48-14 loss at Arizona State. Pac-12 newbies CU and Utah are a combined 5-12 overall, 1-10 in the league.

 


Penn State may be the worst 8-1 team you ever saw, but it has a plucky defense and, more importantly, an inside track to the Big Ten title game.

After beating Illinois Saturday, the Nittany Lions have a 2 ½-game lead over Wisconsin, Purdue and Ohio State in the Leaders Division with three games to go. Hold onto your Coke bottle glasses. Those final three games are at home against Nebraska, at Ohio State and at Wisconsin. If JoePa somehow grabs another Big Ten title at age 84 he will have earned it.

 

Posted on: October 24, 2011 6:59 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2011 10:41 am
 

Synthetic Three expected to be reinstated Tuesday

LSU’s three suspended players are expected to be reinstated on Tuesday CBSSports.com has learned.

Defensive backs Tyrann Mathieu, Tharold Simon as well as running back Spencer Ware were suspended for Saturday’s Auburn game following reported failed drug tests. Asked following the game if the players would return for the Alabama game on Nov. 5, coach Les Miles said, “I probably know the answer to that but I don’t want to talk about it.”

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported last week that the players would be suspended only one game.  The three were not around the team for LSU’s 45-10 win over Auburn.

At the time of his suspension, Mathieu was considered a Heisman and All-American candidate. Ware was the team’s leading rusher. LSU will now have 11 days to prepare at full strength for Alabama. The game marks the between 1-2 teams in the AP poll in five years. 

For more coverage of the big game visit the LSU-Alabama Daily blog on CBSSports.com 

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Alabama, LSU
 
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
 
Posted on: October 21, 2011 12:34 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2011 12:36 pm
 

Son of WWL: Les Miles will do the right thing

Les Miles will do the right thing.

Ever since CBSSports.com’s Brett McMurphy noted that LSU’s suspended players may face a two-game suspension due to failed drug tests, there has to be a lot of hand-wringing in Baton Rouge.

A two-game suspension would put the Nov. 5 Alabama game in play. LSU can get by without Tyrann Mathieu, Spencer Ware and Tharold Simon Saturday against Auburn. Alabama is a different matter.

In a game that is shaping up as a national semifinal, Miles needs all hands available. I believe he will do the right thing and hold those players out of the Alabama game – if the players are subject to a two-game suspension.

It’s a logical conclusion that the players face a two-game suspension – at least. The original report said the players failed a drug test. The NCAA doesn’t test for street drugs like synthetic marijuana, the drug named in the report. The SEC doesn’t test for drugs. It is the conference’s policy that each school have its own drug-testing policy.

That leaves LSU. If the report is true, there are some tough decisions ahead. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that the suspensions will be only one game

We probably will never know that for sure about any drug-test issues. Any failed drug test falls under privacy laws protecting students. Unless the students or their parents admit to a failed test, the reason for the suspensions could remain a secret.

That doesn’t relieve Miles, or his AD Joe Alleva, from doing the right thing. I believe they will. Miles took decisive action on Jordan Jefferson, even though the quarterback was eventually charged with only misdemeanor battery.

There a lot of schools that would have gone to the wall to keep their starting quarterback on the field. LSU wasn’t one of them. Miles was behind that.

In a world gone mad with conference realignment and unethical conduct, it would be nice to see LSU/Miles set a standard.

 


WWL has a sworn duty not to give free publicity to apparel makers during their hideous assault on traditional uniforms. But this item could not be ignored.

It’s a perfect time to draw attention to the players who are on the field for LSU against Auburn. The Tigers will be wearing their Pro Combat unis.

Meanwhile, the damage was done last week at Michigan State. While the words “good taste” didn’t enter the conversation in describing the Alabama-Birminghamish uniforms, there was one cool aspect to them.

On the back of the Spartans’ Pro Combat jerseys worn last week against Michigan is the Greek phrase, “Molon Labe.” Translated, it means “come and take them.” It is an expression of defiance spoken by King Leonidas I to the Persian army which had demanded the Spartans lay down their weapons.

Wow, these guys are serious. Used to be the most damage at a Michigan State game was caused by brat juice dripping on your new fleece.



Maybe it’s not Urban Meyer. Maybe it’s just being a Gator. There have been arrests at Florida in the last calendar year.



How long does Denard Robinson have as Michigan's quarterback? Devin Gardner is bigger, stronger and definitely has a more accurate arm. That’s not saying much given D-Rob’s 52 percent completion percentage.

But the feeling among many is that if Robinson, a junior, is around next season he will be converted to a slot receiver, wildcat or some sort of other unique weapon. Michigan State exposed him as an inaccurate thrower who couldn’t get outside against a quality defense.

Michigan has another week to figure things out before hosting Purdue. 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: October 11, 2011 1:57 pm
 

National notes: Source of Missouri's indecision

We're starting to get a clearer picture of the momentous decision Missouri has to make.

The school could make as much as $12 million more per year in the SEC according to this Monday Associated Press story

The AP obtained the document that was shown to the school's board of curators last week. It contains details about academics but the juicy stuff is the money. As reported previously, Missouri would face a significant exit fee if it leaves for the 2012 season.  The document pointed out Missouri would make approximately $2 million less in revenue staying in the Big 12 compared to the average SEC school in fiscal 2012 ($19.25 million-$17.16 million).

The real money is in the future where the SEC is two years into its 15-year, $3 billion deal with ESPN and CBS. At issue seems to be how that additional $12 million could be made.

I talked to multiple TV sources who could come up with, at most, an $8 million-$10 million increase for Missouri. That includes the extra money gained from the SEC title game. Also, there is normal yearly escalation in the contract that is currently paying that $19 million per year to SEC members.

The document could be referring to the back end of that 15-year deal. Typically, long-term contracts are "back-ended" where an escalating amount of money is paid at the end of the deal. That's one of the reasons why CBS partnered with TBS and Turner on a new NCAA tournament basketball deal. It was easier to redo the deal than to pay the bigger rights fees at the end of the old contract.

The other possibility is a much-discussed "SEC Network". Technically, that's the description of the current ESPN deal that distributes the conference across multiple platforms. What's being speculated, though, is a new revenue generator -- a bundling of the conference's third-tier rights to form a new cable entity. That theoretically would include one non-conference game from each school.

Each SEC school gets the rights to that one a year to telecast on a pay-per-view basis. The conference would have to negotiate to reclassify those rights so that they could be bundled.

As far as a windfall for the SEC by merely expanding to 14 teams, slow down. I'm told that the increase in revenue would be negligible. Remember, that additional revenue from expansion would be a negotiation. If the parties (ESPN, CBS) can't come to an agreement with the SEC on a new number then the issue goes to arbitration.

ESPN and CBS will rightly argue that they're already in Texas, where the SEC already does well in the ratings. The SEC will counter that it has added value. Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas said Monday he doubted the $12 million figure, adding that Missouri will be a Big 12 member for 2012-13.

Neinas said for Missouri to gain an extra $12 million per year, the SEC would have to increase their TV revenue by $168 million.

Missouri never seems to be able to do anything privately when it comes to these matters. Remember, it was Gov. Jay Nixon who is blamed by many for touching off this latest round of realignment. There have been dueling "leaks" starting with an anonymous Missouri official last week saying that the Big Ten was the school's first choice.

Monday's AP story seems to counter that by stating how rich Missouri could become by moving. In the end, it points up how divided Missouri is on the subject. There is no clear consensus. Does the SEC want that?

Missouri is obviously concerned about the instability of the Big 12. The league is basically guaranteed to stay together for only the next six years. The SEC could be a lifetime decision.

The Big 12's newest head coach already has some advice for Missouri.

"Stay in the Big 12," TCU's Gary Patterson said. "It's a better fit. Same with me as far as [speculation about] taking jobs. I know what my plusses and minuses are here. Everybody thinks it's going to be a better place if they change conferences."

 


Is Texas soft?

The question has been asked so often -- accusingly -- over the years that it is part of the Longhorn hater's talking points. But the issue has come up again this week as the depth and breadth of Texas' loss to Oklahoma starts to settle in.

Saturday's 38-point win was the largest for Oklahoma in the Red River series since 2003 and the fifth-largest margin in the history of the rivalry. OU had eight sacks for 84 negative yards, 113 yards in tackles for loss. Texas' 259 total yards was three more than OU had in sacks, tackles for loss and fumble/interception returns.  Defensive end Frank Alexander had a career day with three sacks, four tackles for loss, a forced fumble, a recovered fumble, a quarterback hurry and six total tackles.

"This was my last one," Alexander said. "I wanted to go out with a bang."

"It's not like we were playing the Little Sisters of the Poor, right?" Bob Stoops said.

That's to be debated. Any encouragement Texas got from starting 4-0 had to be diminished as the Horns go into the Oklahoma State game. One Dallas columnist went back to a season preview magazine to one of those quotes from an anonymous coach sizing up Texas before 2011.

"The guys they are taking are good-character kids, and good for them. But they don’t' get a lot of kids who have overcome a lot of adversity. How tough are they?"

We're about to find out. Mack Brown is 13-0 in games immediately following Oklahoma.

 

 

Did the state of Florida just detach from the United States?

Seems that way. It's clear that something is wrong in the Sunshine State. There was no team from the state in the top 25 for the first time since 1982. But there are rational reasons. Miami and Florida have new coaches. Florida State has been on a downturn for a decade.

What's new? Nothing much in the SEC. LSU and Alabama continue to be two of the most dominant teams in the country. Florida just got done playing them back-to-back.

"You can't get any tougher than LSU and Alabama," former Auburn coach Pat Dye said.

Miami was hurt by suspensions. It will be hurt by coming NCAA penalties in the Nevin Shapiro case. Florida State is the biggest surprise, rather disappointment. After the hype leading up to the Oklahoma game, the Seminoles have been one of the biggest underachievers of the season.

It will get fixed. All three schools won't be down for long. Florida has tremendous injury problems at quarterback. Miami has lost to Maryland, Kansas State and Virginia Tech by a combined 15 points.

 


Mike Stoops can now be himself. Expect Arizona's just-fired coach to surface quickly as an assistant somewhere. His name has already been attached to Kansas which is dead last in total defense.

KU would owe sitting coach Turner Gill the $6 million left on his contract if it fired him after this season. In one of the biggest potential boat races of the season, Kansas hosts No. 3 Oklahoma Saturday night.

Bob Stoops said he would be willing to hire his younger brother: "Sure, if I got enough money to. He's going to have a lot of opportunities. I know that."

 

One more on Arizona: AD Greg Byrne got out ahead of the competition by making the move on Mike Stoops in midseason. If nothing else, he can pursue a successor with a clear conscience without sneaking around behind his coach's back.

That puts Arizona ahead of UCLA, among others, which has a decision to make on Rick Neuheisel.  

 


TCU AD Chris Del Conte admits that his program's inclusion into the Big 12 gives it a boost in recruiting against in-state big brother Texas. But as Patterson pointed out, the coach was already recruiting against Texas in some instances.

Del Conte, in a strange way, reiterated Patterson's ability to develop players.

"We overanalyze five-star recruits. The greatest player when I was growing up in Taos, N.M. was a giant," Del Conte said. "but he was 5-7 in eighth grade. I was the only guy [back then] who took my shower with my underwear on. It was like, 'Whoa guys, I'm not ready for that.' "

 

 

My Heisman top five this week:

1, Tyrann Mathieu, LSU -- Best in this category since Charles Woodson?

2, Andrew Luck, Stanford -- Plays like Peyton Manning. Now, in the NFL.

3, Trent Richardson, Alabama -- Never thought he'd be a workhorse like this.

4, Russell Wilson, Wisconsin -- Look for Russellmania to explode this week against Indiana. 

5, Robert Griffin, Baylor -- Legitimacy of candidacy should be decided this week against Texas A&M. 

 
 
 
 
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