Tag:BYU
Posted on: October 8, 2010 1:29 pm
Edited on: October 9, 2010 9:06 am
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

Judgment time: More than half of Division I-A (61 teams) will reach the halfway point of the regular season having played six games after this week. The season reaches its official halfway point after the games of Oct. 16. Seven weeks down, seven weeks to go on the college football calendar ...

Strangely, the end of Saturday's LSU-Tennessee game was similar to the conclusion of the Fifth Down, at least in the confusion category. If you're looking for link between the two it's LSU third-string quarterback Chase McCartney. Chase is the grandson of former Colorado coach Bill McCartney who was the Buffs' coach against Missouri 20 years ago. Missouri and CU meet for the final time as Big 12 opponents Saturday in Columbia ... What's the big deal about Turner Gill's curfew which doesn't allow Kansas players to see women after 10 p.m. during the season? With all the mistreatment of women in sports, this is a bold, positive step. The alternative is Florida (30 arrests in six years). Gill was asked if his curfew would hurt recruiting. "I guess it could. But we can explain it. It's not that big a deal." The Jayhawks host Kansas State on Thursday ...

Sometimes you just feel pity. Purdue (2-2 going to Northwestern) has lost its quarterback (Robert Marve), best receiver (Keith Smith) and top running back (Ralph Bolden) to season-ending injuries ... Penn State is 114th in red zone offense, worst among BCS conference schools ... Florida State (25) and Miami (17) are 1-2 nationally in sacks. Best of luck to Jacory Harris and Christian Ponder ... Baylor (4-1 vs. Texas Tech at the Cotton Bowl) is trying for consecutive wins away from Waco for the first time since 1996 ...

Stay away from this trend, gamblers. Toledo is 0-2 at home but 3-0 on the road heading to ... Boise. Oh no. ... What's your deal? USC will try to stay within 34 (margin of loss in last year's meeting) when it travels to Stanford ... Who needs BYU in the Mountain West for BCS strength? The Cougars (1-4 and hosting San Diego State) are off to their worst start since 1973 ...  UNLV (at West Virginia) hasn't played in the Eastern Time Zone since 2004 ...

WAC commissioner Karl Benson is the latest source to want coaches' poll ballots made public. His former school, Boise State, was jumped last week in both polls by Oregon. "My guess is that there are coaches who voted Boise State in double-digits," Benson said. "Boise State, unlike any other team in the country, has won the games that they're supposed to win."

Benson brought into question the process which was further muddied by New Mexico State coach DeWayne Walker, whose team lost to Boise 59-0 last week. Walker wasn't sure if he had a coaches' poll (he doesn't), but "I usually let my assistant coaches handle that stuff." Let's hope he never gets a vote ...

Posted on: October 4, 2010 12:46 pm
 

National notes

Before we begin, here is your daily dose of Les Miles. Actually, it's the only dose of Les Miles you need for this week. If you learn anything more from this postgame video about Saturday's Unlucky 13 vs. Tennessee, let me know.


**A warning going into Week 6 ...

There is a real chance almost halfway through the season of an unprecedented logjam at the top of the BCS -- six undefeated conference champions, four of them in BCS leagues.

It's early but there is some separation and definition to the season after five weeks. Alabama is clearly the class of the SEC. Nebraska and Oklahoma are undefeated in the Big 12, and can't meet until the conference championship game. Ohio State's trip to Wisconsin in a couple of weeks suddenly looks less daunting. Boise State is going to rush through the WAC. TCU and Utah are likely to decide the Mountain West head-to-head. Oregon looks like it is going to run away with the Pac-10.

If all that happens, here is one projection of how the final BCS standings might look. Is too early? Never. The first BCS standings will be released in two weeks.

1. Alabama: With all the talk about the Pac-10's strength this season, the SEC still rules. The Tide are all but assured of playing three more ranked teams -- South Carolina, LSU and Auburn.

2. Oregon: Pollsters are already falling in love with the Ducks despite a dicey strength of schedule to this point.

3. Ohio State: Like Alabama, likely to play three more ranked teams (Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan). If you think the Big Ten's strength will carry the Buckeyes into the top two, think again. Oregon's offense is stronger and will make a stronger case, especially on the road where Jim Tressel seems to play conservatively.

4. Big 12: I am well aware that Kansas, Oklahoma State and Missouri are also undefeated making it five in this league. I'm also projecting that, regardless, this is where an undefeated Big 12 champion would end up if everyone else wins out. Among the five Big 12 undefeateds: Kansas State plays Nebraska, Oklahoma State and Missouri. Missouri plays Kansas State, Oklahoma and Nebraska. Nebraska plays  Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Missouri. Oklahoma plays only Missouri and Okie State. The Cowboys still have Kansas State, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

5. TCU/Utah: The Mountain West race will come down to the teams' Nov. 6 meeting in Salt Lake City. If either finishes undefeated it will most likely finish ahead of an undefeated Boise.

6. Boise State: There was bad, bad news for the Broncos on Sunday. They were jumped in both polls by Oregon for No. 3 in the rankings despite having superior accomplishments and super schedule strength to this point. Oregon has played a I-AA (Portland State) and a team that might as well be I-AA (New Mexico). Boise has played two ranked teams, one in the top 10 on the "road" (Virginia Tech at FedEx Field).

For the previous two weeks Boise, at No. 3, had gained on No. 2 Ohio State and pulled away from the No. 4 team. After one week of WAC play -- against admittedly horrible New Mexico State -- the voters have fallen in love with Oregon and are already damning the Broncos for their schedule.

There are 18 remaining undefeated teams. Five of those (28 percent) are in the Big 12. By the end of this week there will be 16 because of head-to-head meetings (Michigan State-Michigan, Nebraska-Kansas State). Also, by the end of the week a maximum of 11 teams will have the possibility of finishing undefeated because of assured head-to-head games. After this week only four undefeated teams will be alive in the Big 12; three in the Big Ten. Only one undefeated team (at most) will be able to come out of the Mountain West, Pac-10, SEC and WAC.

**Texas is out of the AP poll for the first time in 162 weeks (2000). The streak in the coaches' poll had lasted 192 weeks. Texas, 3-2, still has games left against Nebraska, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M meaning it could be headed for its worst season since before Mack Brown arrived in 1997.

**TCU posted its first road shutout of an opponent in Gary Patterson's 10 years as head coach, 27-0 at Colorado State. That's significant because Patterson is a defensive wizard whose teams have finished tops in total defense each of the last two seasons.

**Speaking of the Horned Frogs, the interest in the Big East is apparently real and reciprocal. TCU could join the league as soon as next season. One reason: There is no financial penalty to leave the Mountain West.

**Poor Jaime Hill. The BYU defensive coordinator was fired after Friday's loss at Utah State. You expect that in the SEC, but at BYU? Hill joined the staff from the CFL in 2006 and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2008. BYU, 1-4, is off to its worst start in almost four decades.

Some other d-coordinators who might want to watch their backs:

Tyrone Nix, Mississippi. The Rebs got upset by Jacksonville State giving up 49 points and got beat by Vandy, 28-14. Had to hold off Kentucky 42-35 on Saturday. Rebels allowing almost 33 points per game.

Doug Mallory, New Mexico. Not really fair because his future is tied to embattled head coach Mike Locksley. The Lobos have allowed a I-A-most 35 touchdowns and 52.6 points per game.

Co-coordinators Keith Patterson/Paul Randolph, Tulsa. The Hurricane gave up 51 points at East Carolina, losing on the last play of the game. Oklahoma State put up 65 on Tulsa which is 106th in pass efficiency defense.

Ray McCartney, Wake Forest. His defense has given up 68 points to Stanford, 24 touchdowns in five games and 36.8 points per game.

**Team Schizo: Washington has lost to the worst BYU team in years, got run off its home field by Nebraska and now has beaten USC in consecutive seasons.

**Team Schizo II: Kansas lost to Baylor by almost seven touchdowns, 55-7, in Waco. Not even the locals care about Baylor, a Big 12 doormat. There were an estimated 15,000 empty seats at Floyd Casey Stadium. It's bad when your team is intimidated by the Bears.

"When I went out there, they were bigger than I thought,” KU linebacker Steven Johnson told the Kansas City Star. “I’m just like, ‘What in the world are they eating?’ ”

Posted on: September 12, 2010 11:38 am
 

The Day After in CFB

The day the ACC died: OK, maybe too harsh but it was certainly one of the worst days in ACC football since expansion.  All four ranked teams lost -- No.  12 Miami (to No. 2 Ohio State); No. 13 Virginia Tech (to James Madison); No. 15 Georgia Tech (to Kansas) and No. 17 Florida State (to No. 10 Oklahoma). The rest of the league (unranked teams) was 4-1. Overall, the ACC was 4-5.

It could get worse next week: Cincinnati plays at NC State on Thursday. On Saturday, Clemson is at Auburn, Duke hosts Alabama, BYU comes to Florida State, Maryland is at West Virginia and East Carolina goes to Virginia Tech.

Get your No. 16 jersey, while they last: If Denard Robinson isn't hot enough, check out what may be a bit of foreshadowing from the Michigan Daily.
 

YouTube sensations: The two most jaw-dropping plays of the day. Kyle Rudolph's catch and run vs. Michigan and LaMichael James' incredible run against Tennessee.

Rockin' the mic: Following an embarrassing 35-0 home-opening loss to Stanford, UCLA's Rick Neuheisel grabbed a microphone and addressed the Rose Bowl crowd. "We'll get better," he said, "We can't get any worse that we were tonight ... I promise you, we will not give up. We'll be back."

It suddenly seems like a long time since Neuheisel led a pep rally after his first game. It's been only two years.

Miami fans never cease to amaze: While there only seemed to be 3,000-5,000 in the stands at Ohio Stadium, they made themselves known. The kid at the Columbus airport was interesting. Cut into the back of his head by an enterprising barber: "U Swag"

Posted on: September 10, 2010 5:44 pm
 

Mailbag 9/10


This mailbag is dedicated to Nick O'Leary. It is in honor of Jack Nicklaus' grandson because the Dwyer (Fla.) High tight end and his teammates were victims of one of the royal screw jobs in football history last week.

O'Leary was suspended for two games after a middle-finger salute to the stands following a 26-22 nationally-televised loss to Cleveland Glenville at Ohio Stadium. Nicklaus was in the stands watching O'Leary and Dwyer become a victim of the officials and the camera. The only reason the kid was penalized by the Florida state high school association is that his actions were televised.

Actions that were completely understandable.

I've never seen a team jobbed by the officials as much as Dwyer was in the closing moments of that game. Replays cleared showed that O'Leary's teammate caught a 25-yard touchdown pass inbounds. When Dwyer got near the goal line for the potential game-winning touchdown, there were clock issues. Dwyer quarterback Jacoby Brissett was ruled to have to been stopped on two quarterback sneaks. Folks, at least one of those was a touchdown.

O'Leary issued this statement apologizing, then adding, "We scored three times in the last two minutes and were never awarded a touchdown."

So, yeah, O'Leary deserves to be upset. What's this got to do with Showdown Saturday? Miami, take heart. Five days after that game, the Canes come to that same Ohio Stadium Saturday trying to right a seven-year wrong.  In keeping with the spirit of the weekend we refer any other comment to the Dwyer coach.

Jack Daniels.

 

From: Roy


No one has written the real story about BYU going independent and why it will work ... and that is the number of BYU alumni or fans who live outside of Utah. Having read many of your articles, I believe you would be the best for the research and delivery of the article.

 It would be interesting to have research done on the top schools, or all FBS schools, on how many alumni live outside of their own state. For example, I am a BYU fan and I live in California, not Utah. There are many BYU fans like me not in Utah. It would be interesting to also see how many Texas Longhorn alumni live outside of Texas, how many Florida Gator alumni live outside of Florida, or how many Ohio State Buckeye alumni live outside of Ohio.

 These schools can all get by with having local TV to reach its fan base. BYU needs national TV to reach its fan base. The only teams I think would parallel BYU's out-of-state alumni numbers are Notre Dame,

Roy:

It is not uncommon for large schools to have hundreds of thousands of living alumni. I recall doing a story once where a school had 450,000 living alumni. (Timeout: I have no idea I always write 'living alumni'. It's assumed that all alumni are living, right? OK, maybe not some of those at Notre Dame judging from a walk through the tailgaters last week in South Bend.)

The alumni figure is basically in proportion to enrollment. I would suspect that BYU has a similar number of alumni as, say, UCLA which would have a lot more than USC. While having a large alumni base helps, it also helps to have winning teams. Donors are more likely to give when a team is winning.

It is easy to conclude that Notre Dame, then, has a lot of rich alumni. In its case, a lot of rich subway alumni too.

In-state or out-state really doesn't matter. BYU has always benefitted from its worldwide fan base. One of my favorite places to visit in the islands is BYU-Hawaii on Oahu. Independence makes sense for BYU because someone is will pay for it, notably ESPN. The school has partnered up with the Worldwide Leader. There is an executive there named Dave Brown who is known as a matchmaker, arranging attractive non-conference games for the network.

BYU has a scheduling agreement with Notre Dame and the WAC. What I'm wondering is how it will get games in October and November when everyone else is playing conference games. ESPN sees value in it because BYU enhances their image, little more. I can't imagine BYU bringing huge bucks to ESPN. Having BYU just means the next time the network goes to do a deal having the Cougars gives credibility to that Worldwide Leader label.

In short, if you're on ESPN you matter.

As for BYU TV, the school's network likely will only show one or two football games and a handful of basketball games each season. You lose me in your argument when you say " ... these schools can all get by with having local TV to reach its fan base." Every major conference, including the Mountain West, has a rightsholder that broadcasts its games nationwide.

It's not until you get down to the MAC, WAC and Sun Belt level  that local television is involved. In short, BYU will succeed as an independent because ESPN believes it can sell enough advertising for its games to make the ratings work.

 


From:  John

Dennis, I understand you enjoy seeing Miami being down. To say that that the (2003 Fiesta Bowl) call was correct is ridiculous and to also to say that there were three other offenses on the same play is even more ridiculous.

Caniac:

Nothing like opening up seven-year-old wounds. I'll say it again: The play in question was a judgment call. I reasonable person can disagree. The problem was with field judge Terry Porter waiting so long to throw the flag. It indicated indecisiveness.

Also, you misread the story.  I didn't say there were three "other" infractions on the play. I said, there could have been two or three infractions total. If you look at the film, Miami's Glenn Sharpe can be called for illegal contact and defensive holding on Ohio State's Chris Gamble before the pass interference call.

If you really want to argue that Miami got screwed, I think another official in the end zone signaled incomplete pass. I think he has gone into hiding in Tibet.


From: Tagami

You assume that every reader follows sports like it matters, say, as much as the economy or world peace. When you write an opinion piece consider leading the story with the simple facts. What exactly did Reggie Bush do? Aside from your references that he may have took money and that he was to be competing as a non-compensated student-athlete... was he a good running back or a great running back? Did the money make him faster ala steroids?

Bushman:

No, but it cheated the athletes who played by the rules and competed as amateurs. I've never believed that old saw about what happened on the field matters most. If that's the case, why didn't USC use Carson Palmer of the Bengals as its quarterback in '04 and '05?

I understand the hypocrisy of kids getting nothing while the NCAA makes billions. But you've got to start somewhere with the rules.  Bush's "crimes" were so heinous that they could not be ignored. Wonder if Oklahoma cares about being beaten that night by a kid who was competing essentially as a pro? You already know Auburn's feelings from '04. It thinks it should be champion.

Steroids? Call what Reggie Bush took financial steroids.

From: Charles

Nice going on the political cheap shot at (George) Bush. Everyone, from the U.S. Congress, including the Senate Intelligence Committee, to the UN believed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

Chuckles:

Mission accomplished, big boy. You just made my argument for me. Why did everyone from  Congress to the Senate to the U.N. believe there were WMD? Because they were fed a pack of lies by the Bush administration which sold us the second Iraq war like it was a breakfast cereal.

New, improved Baseless War Granola!

In the aftermath of 9/11, we needed to take out our frustration on somebody. Why did that frustration contained inside the borders of Iraq and Afghanistan. I seem to recall there were some Egyptians and Saudi Arabians involved in 9/11. Oh, but wait. They're our allies.

Ask yourself, where are we eight years later with Iraq. Withdrawn, having left a shell of a country that is going to descend into chaos now that we have left. Congratulations Mr. Bush.

From: Tim

Dennis, Why did you pick Air Force over BYU, and Army over Hawaii?

Don't tell Charles, but I'm patriotic.

Posted on: September 10, 2010 5:44 pm
 

Mailbag 9/10


This mailbag is dedicated to Nick O'Leary. It is in honor of Jack Nicklaus' grandson because the Dwyer (Fla.) High tight end and his teammates were victims of one of the royal screw jobs in football history last week.

O'Leary was suspended for two games after a middle-finger salute to the stands following a 26-22 nationally-televised loss to Cleveland Glenville at Ohio Stadium. Nicklaus was in the stands watching O'Leary and Dwyer become a victim of the officials and the camera. The only reason the kid was penalized by the Florida state high school association is that his actions were televised.

Actions that were completely understandable.

I've never seen a team jobbed by the officials as much as Dwyer was in the closing moments of that game. Replays cleared showed that O'Leary's teammate caught a 25-yard touchdown pass inbounds. When Dwyer got near the goal line for the potential game-winning touchdown, there were clock issues. Dwyer quarterback Jacoby Brissett was ruled to have to been stopped on two quarterback sneaks. Folks, at least one of those was a touchdown.

O'Leary issued this statement apologizing, then adding, "We scored three times in the last two minutes and were never awarded a touchdown."

So, yeah, O'Leary deserves to be upset. What's this got to do with Showdown Saturday? Miami, take heart. Five days after that game, the Canes come to that same Ohio Stadium Saturday trying to right a seven-year wrong.  In keeping with the spirit of the weekend we refer any other comment to the Dwyer coach.

Jack Daniels.

 

From: Roy


No one has written the real story about BYU going independent and why it will work ... and that is the number of BYU alumni or fans who live outside of Utah. Having read many of your articles, I believe you would be the best for the research and delivery of the article.

 It would be interesting to have research done on the top schools, or all FBS schools, on how many alumni live outside of their own state. For example, I am a BYU fan and I live in California, not Utah. There are many BYU fans like me not in Utah. It would be interesting to also see how many Texas Longhorn alumni live outside of Texas, how many Florida Gator alumni live outside of Florida, or how many Ohio State Buckeye alumni live outside of Ohio.

 These schools can all get by with having local TV to reach its fan base. BYU needs national TV to reach its fan base. The only teams I think would parallel BYU's out-of-state alumni numbers are Notre Dame,

Roy:

It is not uncommon for large schools to have hundreds of thousands of living alumni. I recall doing a story once where a school had 450,000 living alumni. (Timeout: I have no idea I always write 'living alumni'. It's assumed that all alumni are living, right? OK, maybe not some of those at Notre Dame judging from a walk through the tailgaters last week in South Bend.)

The alumni figure is basically in proportion to enrollment. I would suspect that BYU has a similar number of alumni as, say, UCLA which would have a lot more than USC. While having a large alumni base helps, it also helps to have winning teams. Donors are more likely to give when a team is winning.

It is easy to conclude that Notre Dame, then, has a lot of rich alumni. In its case, a lot of rich subway alumni too.

In-state or out-state really doesn't matter. BYU has always benefitted from its worldwide fan base. One of my favorite places to visit in the islands is BYU-Hawaii on Oahu. Independence makes sense for BYU because someone is will pay for it, notably ESPN. The school has partnered up with the Worldwide Leader. There is an executive there named Dave Brown who is known as a matchmaker, arranging attractive non-conference games for the network.

BYU has a scheduling agreement with Notre Dame and the WAC. What I'm wondering is how it will get games in October and November when everyone else is playing conference games. ESPN sees value in it because BYU enhances their image, little more. I can't imagine BYU bringing huge bucks to ESPN. Having BYU just means the next time the network goes to do a deal having the Cougars gives credibility to that Worldwide Leader label.

In short, if you're on ESPN you matter.

As for BYU TV, the school's network likely will only show one or two football games and a handful of basketball games each season. You lose me in your argument when you say " ... these schools can all get by with having local TV to reach its fan base." Every major conference, including the Mountain West, has a rightsholder that broadcasts its games nationwide.

It's not until you get down to the MAC, WAC and Sun Belt level  that local television is involved. In short, BYU will succeed as an independent because ESPN believes it can sell enough advertising for its games to make the ratings work.

 


From:  John

Dennis, I understand you enjoy seeing Miami being down. To say that that the (2003 Fiesta Bowl) call was correct is ridiculous and to also to say that there were three other offenses on the same play is even more ridiculous.

Caniac:

Nothing like opening up seven-year-old wounds. I'll say it again: The play in question was a judgment call. I reasonable person can disagree. The problem was with field judge Terry Porter waiting so long to throw the flag. It indicated indecisiveness.

Also, you misread the story.  I didn't say there were three "other" infractions on the play. I said, there could have been two or three infractions total. If you look at the film, Miami's Glenn Sharpe can be called for illegal contact and defensive holding on Ohio State's Chris Gamble before the pass interference call.

If you really want to argue that Miami got screwed, I think another official in the end zone signaled incomplete pass. I think he has gone into hiding in Tibet.


From: Tagami

You assume that every reader follows sports like it matters, say, as much as the economy or world peace. When you write an opinion piece consider leading the story with the simple facts. What exactly did Reggie Bush do? Aside from your references that he may have took money and that he was to be competing as a non-compensated student-athlete... was he a good running back or a great running back? Did the money make him faster ala steroids?

Bushman:

No, but it cheated the athletes who played by the rules and competed as amateurs. I've never believed that old saw about what happened on the field matters most. If that's the case, why didn't USC use Carson Palmer of the Bengals as its quarterback in '04 and '05?

I understand the hypocrisy of kids getting nothing while the NCAA makes billions. But you've got to start somewhere with the rules.  Bush's "crimes" were so heinous that they could not be ignored. Wonder if Oklahoma cares about being beaten that night by a kid who was competing essentially as a pro? You already know Auburn's feelings from '04. It thinks it should be champion.

Steroids? Call what Reggie Bush took financial steroids.

From: Charles

Nice going on the political cheap shot at (George) Bush. Everyone, from the U.S. Congress, including the Senate Intelligence Committee, to the UN believed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

Chuckles:

Mission accomplished, big boy. You just made my argument for me. Why did everyone from  Congress to the Senate to the U.N. believe there were WMD? Because they were fed a pack of lies by the Bush administration which sold us the second Iraq war like it was a breakfast cereal.

New, improved Baseless War Granola!

In the aftermath of 9/11, we needed to take out our frustration on somebody. Why did that frustration contained inside the borders of Iraq and Afghanistan. I seem to recall there were some Egyptians and Saudi Arabians involved in 9/11. Oh, but wait. They're our allies.

Ask yourself, where are we eight years later with Iraq. Withdrawn, having left a shell of a country that is going to descend into chaos now that we have left. Congratulations Mr. Bush.

From: Tim

Dennis, Why did you pick Air Force over BYU, and Army over Hawaii?

Don't tell Charles, but I'm patriotic.

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 25, 2010 3:44 pm
 

The WAC's BYU resolution

Here's a copy of the WAC's resolution dealing with BYU obtained by the Salt Lake City Tribune.

It mentions only that BYU is a WAC partner, not that BYU is going independent in football or putting its minor sports in the WAC. I hope the Tribune didn't base its "done deal" asseration last week based on this resolution. While interesting, it is hardly a smoking gun.

Meanwhile, we're in Day 6 of BYU being a member of Purgatory West -- neither in the Mountain West or operating as an independent.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: August 23, 2010 2:44 pm
 

Have the BCS and BYU talked regarding access?

You have to assume that BYU's schedule as an independent is not a problem. At least not as big a one as I believed in the beginning.

The Salt Lake City Tribune reported last week that it was a "done deal" that BYU's football program was going indy. You don't get that far down the road without having a reasonable idea that there will be enough teams to schedule. Whether the WAC lives or dies, there's still a chance to play four to six of the remaining teams. Notre Dame could be sprinkled in every now and then. Throw in the two service academies, Army and Navy. That still leaves, at least, four games remaining.

But, again, I'm going to assume BYU has that figured out.

The real reason that BYU is in Purgatory West, rather than the Mountain West at this point is TV revenue. It's no secret the administration is not satisfied with The Mtn., the league's four-year old network which has yet to turn a profit. BYU may be talking to ESPN for both carriage of some of its games and as a partner to line up opponents as an independent.

The questions might be: What kind of deal is ESPN willing to do with BYU as an independent vs. what kind of break MWC will give BYU in terms of television exposure outside The Mtn.

Another huge reason for BYU's waffling, it is becoming clear, is its BCS access. It can line up a schedule. It can get more games on ESPN. But the only way it gets closer to a BCS bowl without having to go back to the MWC hat in hand, is to get easier access to the BCS. I have reason to believe BYU and BCS parties have talked. Could it be about improved access? As an independent BYU, along with Army and Navy, would have worst access to a BCS bowl. Those three teams would have same access point: Ranked No. 1 or No. 2, automatic. Other than, no automatic access point. Those three teams would be eligible if they finished in the top 14 of the BCS. BYU finished No. 14, its highest BCS finish, in 2009 and still was trumped by Florida, Iowa and Boise State as at-large teams.

 Remember, there are only four available at-large spots (out of 10) for independents. The other six spots (seven if Notre Dame qualifies) are taken up by the BCS conference champions.

The feeling is that BYU would have gone independent and placed its minor sports in the WAC had Craig Thompson not plucked Fresno State and Nevada. Now BYU has to determine if it wants to put its minor sports in the WAC (what WAC?), the West Coast Conference or the MWC. In the case of the last option, it's doubtful the MWC would allow BYU to put its minor sports in its league if football was independent.

Right now, no one has full leverage. BYU can't find enough games, improved access or more television money at the moment. The MWC doesn't want to lose BYU because it might lose The Mtn. Thompson wouldn't confirm there is language in the contract that allows The Mtn. to dissolve if Utah and/or BYU leave. That, however, is the assumption.

We are in Day 5 of a strange standoff.

For entertainment purposes only here are BYU's games already scheduled through 2014 (source: San Jose Mercury News).

2011

Utah
Oregon State
Texas
Utah State
Games needed: 8

2012

Oregon State
Utah State
Boise State
Hawaii
Utah
Games needed: 7

2013

Texas
Boise State
Hawaii
Utah
Games needed: 8

2014

Texas
Boise State
Utah
Games needed: 9

 
 
 
 
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