Tag:Rutgers
Posted on: April 19, 2010 11:35 am
 

Rating the Big Ten expansion candidates

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany travels to the Arizona desert this week which is kind of fitting. For some unlucky schools, there is going to be a college football wasteland once the Big Ten gets done expanding. The BCS meetings this week in Phoenix could be where it all starts. Out of public view, mind you, but it could start. Delany could begin the process of notifying affected conferences that he is about to raid them.

With that in mind, it's time to rating the Big Ten expansion candidates in terms of relevance:

1. Notre Dame: If the Big 16 (or whatever) is able to lure/coerce ND into joining, the other schools don't really matter. Notre Dame brings everything -- class, quality football, eyeballs to the Big Ten Network. The two parties will have to figure out how to do deal with the NBC contract. That's really just a detail once the school decides to join, though. At issue: ND must decide that after 22 years without a national championship, it's better chasing a Rose Bowl every year than hoping for a BCS bowl in some years.

2. Connecticut: A UConn/Syracuse/Rutgers triumvirate maybe makes New York care enough about the Big Ten for the region's big cable carriers to start putting the Big Ten Network on the basic tier. Theoretically, you get New Jersey, New England and, maybe, New York. Taking UConn would be a big of a departure for the Big Ten because it is not an AAU school.

3. Missouri: Outside of getting Notre Dame and turning on New York, Missouri is the next biggest "get" for the Big Ten. It is virgin territory from which the BTN could reap a big profit. Kansas City is a Kansas town (followed closely by Missouri), but St. Louis is a Big Ten/Illinois/Mizzou town. With the likes of Ohio State and Michigan coming to Columbia on a regular basis, cable carriers would have to consider  featuring the BTN on the basic tier. If it's five teams, then count Missouri in. Delany could boast of having markets from the Great Plains to the Atlantic Ocean to New England.

4. Rutgers: By itself, Rutgers does little in the New York market. If the Big Ten took just Rutgers, it could be taking it on the come. We all remember how the region got turned on 3 1/2 years ago. It could happen again. Most likely, Rutgers needs a partner or partners in expansion.

5. Syracuse:  Almost a tag-along at this point. The 'Cuse by itself doesn't make sense because it doesn't bring a market or consistent football. Basketball is great, but that's not what this expansion is about at all. 'Cuse football is going to be better. We all know that. But does the Big Ten expand hoping Syracuse will get good? No, the school would be  a throw-in with Rutgers and UConn if Delany chooses to influence New York (see No. 1) 

6. Pittsburgh: There is little buzz about Pittsburgh at this point. The Big Ten is already in Pennsylvania with Penn State. When Joe Paterno talks about adding another school in the East, that kind of eliminates Western Pennsylvania.

Posted on: April 18, 2010 4:09 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2010 5:36 pm
 

New developments in Big Ten expansion

It seems that some values may have to be compromised in this expansion-go-round that was turned up a notch on Sunday.

The Big Ten prides itself on the academic exclusivity of its institutions. All 11 universities are members of the Association of American Universities. As you can read here, the AAU is a "nonprofit organization of 62 leading public and private research universities in the United States and Canada.  Founded in 1900 to advance the international standing of U.S. research universities ...

"AAU member universities are on the leading edge of innovation, scholarship, and solutions that contribute to the nation's economy, security, and well-being.  The 60 AAU universities in the United States award more than one-half of all U.S. doctoral degrees and 55 percent of those in the sciences and engineering."

Neither Connecticut nor Notre Dame, two schools prominently mentioned in Big Ten expansion, are AAU members. One line of thinking has it that commissioner Jim Delany wants Connecticut because it would help the conference's reach in the Northeast (New England and New York area).  The addition of Notre Dame would have a national impact.

Even without Notre Dame, Delany could conceivably make a run at the New York market with a three-school combination of Rutgers, UConn and Syracuse. 

That's why Sunday's reported meeting of high-ranking Big Ten officials is so important. The Chicago Tribune reported Sunday that the conference's expansion timetable has moved up. It would have been easy for those Big Ten officials to meet considering the AAU is meeting in Washington D.C. through Tuesday. That's the same day as when the BCS meetings begin in Phoenix, lasting through Thursday.

Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman is one of the 11 members of the AAU's Executive Committee.

To get an idea of how academically exclusive the Big Ten is, consider that the BCS conference with next most AAU members is the Big 12 (seven). The Pac-10 has six.

Posted on: March 2, 2010 11:20 am
Edited on: March 3, 2010 11:04 am
 

Big Ten expansion at the speed of light ...

If this were a child birth, the head would be showing.

Big Ten expansion is moving along faster than Joy Behar's mouth. The Chicago Tribune is reporting that it makes financial sense for the league to add any one of at least five candidates -- Notre Dame, Missouri, Rutgers, Syracuse or Pittsburgh.

The story goes on to say those are only the "obvious" candidates. There could be others. In a sidebar, Rutgers is identified as the favorite! Missouri is second and Pittsburgh is third.

Whoa, slow down. I thought we were only in the discussion stage. Based on what has broken in the last few days, we're going to know a 12th Big Ten/11 team by the summer. Maybe more. The league isn't going to necessarily stop at one. If the Big 12 and Big East weren't on alert before, they are now.

This report answers a key question I had about this whole thing: Which of those schools bring enough to the table financially to guarantee a minimum $22 million payout per year. This tells me that the Big Ten TV partners -- Big Ten Network, CBS and ABC/ESPN -- have signed off on expansion as a profit center.

The Big Ten has hired an investment firm to analyze candidates. Last week Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez was quoted as saying the league had hired a research firm to look at 15 potential candidates. Alvarez the right school or schools would have to "buy their way in" to the Big Ten.

At least he was being honest about it.

I talked to a source familiar with the Pac-10 who said he isn't sure that league will do anything. Unlike the Big Ten, there aren't the slam dunk candidates out there. Utah and Colorado, for example, don't deliver that much to a 12-team league even with the addition of a championship game. He reminded me that Pac-10 fans, in general, don't travel well. What if you have, say, an Arizona-Stanford championship game?

Here's my overview from last month.

Keep those seat belts fastened. There's going to be turbulence. For sure.

 

Posted on: February 25, 2010 9:21 am
 

Big East schedule breakdown

Remember the Big East. Remember it well, because it may not be long for this earth.

OK, maybe that's an exaggeration but with expansion winds blowing throughout college football, maybe it isn't. Once again, the conference is on notice with the Big Ten looking to improve its television profile. If the Large Eleven picks off Connecticut, Syracuse, Rutgers or Pittsburgh, then the Big East has to stay viable.

That's getting ahead of the carnage, er, story. For now, the Big East will continue with new coaches (Cincinnati, Louisville, South Florida) and the same old story in places like Syracuse. The conference will continue to promote itself with 14 weeknight games (six on Thursday).

Cincinnati and Pittsburgh once again look like the class of the league. UConn is one of the quietest success stories in football. Charlie Strong finally gets his chance at Louisville. The Skip Holtz era begins at South Florida. West Virginia hasn't gone away under Bill Stewart.

Their schedules are finalized except for Syracuse which is still looking for a non-conference game. Might we suggest a Big Ten opponent? Could count in both leagues' standings.

Just kidding.


Game of the year:  (non-conference)  Miami at Pittsburgh, Sept. 23. These old Big East rivals are both standing at the altar of BCS bowl contention.  Neither current coach has broken through. Dave Wannstedt still hasn't won that conference title after a heart-breaking end to last season. Randy Shannon is still in rebuilding mode. It doesn't help that Jacory Harris (hand) and Graig Cooper (knee) will miss spring practice. That doesn't tell us much about seven months from now.

This game will go a long way toward proving if Wanny and the Panthers are worthy of that BCS bowl.  Same for Shannon who is 7-9 on the road.

There is a bit of history for those of us who can remember all the way back to 2003. In the regular-season finale at Heinz, Miami won an Orange-Bowl-or-bust game 28-14. That was the Canes' last Big East game.

Game of the year: (conference) Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, Dec. 4. Three in a row for the Bearcats? Brian Kelly has left enough talent for Butch Jones to get to a third consecutive BCS bowl. Last year's snowy matchup in Pittsburgh was a classic decided by a botched extra point.

This season's game will be impacted by a couple of high-profile replacements. Pat Bostick and Tino Sunseri will battle it out in the spring to replace Bill Stull as Pittsburgh quarterback. The mouthy Mardy Gilyard will be missed at Cincinnati but only until one-time USC five-star recruit Vidal Hazelton takes over as Zach Collaros top target.

Team on the spot: Rutgers. Whatever happened to Greg Schiano's magic? The Scarlet Knights have finished above third only once since the 11-win season in 2006. That was a three-way tie for second in 2008. Are we expecting too much? This is, after all, Rutgers but the '06 ride was such a tease.

The offensive line underachieved last season even though tackle Anthony Davis could be a high draft choice. Quarterback Tom Savage showed flashes as a freshman but needs to make that leap to difference maker as a sophomore. The most exciting player in the conference might be Mohamed Sanu who was effective out of the Wildcat and at receiver.

Toughest non-conference schedule: Hard one because the schedules are so balanced in the Big East and Syracuse is still looking for a  game, but Pittsburgh seems to be in the most peril. It opens at Utah, then gets I-AA power New Hampshire nine days later. The Miami game comes to Pittsburgh after an open date. The Miami and Notre Dame games are sandwiched around a home game against Florida International.

Wanny and AD Steve Pederson are putting the program out there playing two BCS teams and a team that is in a de facto BCS league (Utah). That could be a season killer. It also could lift the Panthers into that BCS bowl.

Easiest non-conference schedule: Rutgers. As much as the Knights need to get back on national scene, they've got the schedule to do it. Norfolk State, Florida International, Tulane and Army don't exactly strike fear into hearts. The only sweat-breaker is North Carolina which comes to New Jersey on Sept. 25. Win that and Rutgers should start 6-0 before going to Pittsburgh on Oct. 23.
Check back in November, though. Beginning Nov. 3, Rutgers plays at South Florida, Cincinnati and West Virginia in its final five games.

 

Posted on: November 17, 2009 10:56 am
Edited on: November 17, 2009 2:47 pm
 

Leach and Louisville

The latest from the coaching rumor mill is that there is a mutual interest between Texas Tech coach Mike Leach and Louisville.

It is almost a certainty that Cardinals’ coach Steve Kragthorpe will be relieved of his duties after this, his third season. Louisville is 4-6 with games left against South Florida and Rutgers. It needs to win those to have a chance to go bowling for the first time since 2006. Kragthorpe is 15-19 at Louisville.

The school is already assured of its first consecutive non-winning season since 1987. 

Leach just went through a bitter contract extension negotiation earlier this year. But he emerged with a who’s-your-daddy chip after a battle with AD Gerald Myers. Leach owes no buyout if he leaves. The Red Raiders are 6-4 which ties for their worst 10-game start since 1999, the year before Leach was hired.

The colorful coach is known to have a wandering eye. He interviewed with Washington last year and was reportedly interested in the opening at UCLA  before Rick Neuheisel took over in 2008.


"If there are communications [from Louisville], it's not been with us," said a Leach representative on Tuesday.

Louisville AD, Tom Jurich, is one of the more aggressive ADs in the country. He got Rick Pitino to coach basketball and moved quickly after Bobby Petrino left to coach the Atlanta Falcons after the 2006 season. At the time, Kragthorpe was one college football’s hottest coaching properties.

Such a move would make sense. Texas Tech is coming off its best season in Leach’s decade-long stay. It went 11-2, losing to Mississippi in the Cotton Bowl in 2008.

The Big 12 South Division is one of the most rugged in the game with annual powers Texas and Oklahoma in control. A move to the less competitive Big East would allow Leach better access to a conference title and BCS bowl.

Leach is in the first year of the extension which pays him $2.8 million this season. That includes an $800,000 bonus he will be paid on Jan. 1 if he is still at Texas Tech.

Posted on: November 16, 2009 12:43 pm
 

How Cincinnati becomes USC

One of the knocks on USC this week is that it got eviscerated by Stanford and still remained in the polls (No. 21 in coaches, No. 22 in AP). Had it been a Clemson or a Missouri, they would have been dropped so far out of the polls they would have needed the Hubble telescope to see No. 25.

But the Trojans are still ranked and still have a slight chance to go to the Rose Bowl through a series of tiebreakers.  How Cincinnati takes on the USC disguise is if it passes TCU in the BCS rankings down the stretch.  Cincy probably has a weaker schedule than TCU but will get a big push from playing Illinois – yes, Illinois – and Pittsburgh in the final two games.

TCU has Wyoming and New Mexico. A jump by Cincinnati could make a huge difference if two of the top three lose. While that’s not likely, imagine the screams you would hear from Fort Worth if Cincinnati played for a national championship over the Frogs.

Think about that: Cincinnati getting to the championship because it has more "name brand" value than ... anyone!

Cincinnati signature victories: Rutgers, Oregon State

TCU signature victories: at Clemson (possible ACC champion), at Virginia, at BYU, Utah. That’s three ranked teams and as many or more ACC wins than four ACC teams.

Posted on: October 10, 2009 11:33 am
 

Who's going to be No. 1?

Let’s say LSU beats Florida, who is your new No. 1?


No. 2 Texas – We still don’t know a lot about the Horns. A blowout win over Colorado shouldn’t show us much. Against the only carbon-based life forms they’ve played (Texas Tech), they looked sluggish at times. Most of the Horns heavy lifting is ahead of it.

No. 3 Alabama – A big win over Ole Miss, or maybe even a little win, may vault the Tide over everyone into the No. 1 slot. They’re used to this type of stuff. They were No. 1 for five weeks last season. This is arguably the most balanced team in the country.

No. 4 LSU – Depending on how it goes down, how do you deny the Tigers? You beat No. 1, you should be No. 1. If LSU does win, it will answer a lot of questions about its quarterback, offense and running back. The defense has been fairly consistent although not quite yet up to LSU standards.

No. 5 Virginia Tech – Hello? The Hokies’ only loss is to Alabama. They’ve destroyed Miami. If Ole Miss handles Bama, The Fighting Beamers will have an argument.

No. 6 Boise State – Not likely. Off this week and already slipping in the polls. We’ll next know about the Broncos on Wednesday when they travel to Tulsa.

Game day notes: Four Tennessee true freshmen have combined for 215 all-purpose yards per game – Bryce Brown, David Oku, Nu’Keese Richardson and Marsalis Teague … UCLA (hosting Oregon) has won six of its last nine home games against ranked teams … Off week chattel: Despite losing eight starters, USC goes into its bye week third in scoring defense, fifth in rushing defense and third in pass efficiency defense. The D has not allowed a passing touchdown this season … When Tim Tebow gets a concussion, the whole world stops. That’s why you probably don’t know that Rutgers’ freshman quarterback Tom Savage will try to play this week against Texas Southern after suffering his own concussion … Some things never change: South Florida freshman quarterback B.J. Daniels leads the team in rushing. It has been that way for the previous three years under out-for-his-career starter Matt Grothe … Demaryius Thomas looks out of place in Georgia Tech’s option-based offense. That doesn’t keep him from being one of the nation’s best receivers. Thomas has caught 24 of Georgia Tech’s 35 completions for 536 yards. He is averaging 107.2 yards per game … Cal has accomplished what has been done only 10 other times in Pac-10 history. It went back-to-back games mustering only field goals against both Oregon and USC. They go for a touchdown next week against UCLA … Freakin’ Idaho, 4-1, needs two wins to become bowl eligible. The Vandals’ one and only bowl appearance came in 1998 in the Humanitarian against Southern Miss (42-35 victory). It has one winning season since then.

Posted on: October 4, 2009 9:42 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2009 9:43 pm
 

Thoughts on a football Saturday

It’s becoming apparent that Notre Dame has to beat USC in two weeks to go to a BCS bowl. I told you in Sunday’s story how lowly regarded ND is in the polls.

Here’s why: It has plenty of competition. Notre Dame is currently one of 30 one-loss teams in Division I-A. Twenty-three of the other 29 teams are from BCS leagues. Ten of the 29 are ranked. Six of those 10 have a victory over a ranked team. That's something Notre Dame doesn't have.

That means ND is one of 20 one-loss teams in I-A that are unranked. it is in a group with the likes of Boston College, Georgia Tech, Nebraska, Baylor, Texas A&M, Michigan, Pittsburgh, UConn, Rutgers, West Virginia, Stanford and UCLA. Four of those teams are left on ND’s schedule – BC, Pittsburgh, UConn and Stanford.

Given that the Irish play only one more team that is currently ranked (USC), the Oct. 17 game becomes make-or-break for a BCS bowl the way I see it. It’s 11-1 or bust. The pollsters and computers simply won’t get ND high enough at 10-2 because of the quality of the remaining schedule.

 Oklahoma has lost a pair of games by a point in the same season twice. Both have come in the last four years – 2006 and 2009 following Saturday's 21-20 loss to Miami. That followed a 14-13 opening-night loss to BYU.

In 2006, OU lost to both Oregon and Boise State by a point. In its history, OU has lost 299 games. Only 18 have come by a single point. That’s a one-point loss for every 16 losses. Since Sept. 16, 2006, four of the Sooners’ last 10 losses have come by one point.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops had lost 26 games. Four have been by one point and two have been by two points.

  Which way LSU? All we can say is the that Tigers are still undefeated after sneaking out of Athens with a 20-13 victory over Georgia. Charles Scott’s game-winning 33-yard run with 46 seconds left was set up by A.J. Green’s excessive celebration penalty. You’ll read more about that from Tony Barnhart on Tuesday. My take? That kind of penalty should never decide a game. This one did.

“It was a want-to run,” said Scott who had been struggling this season. “I ran mad.”

He better run madder with Florida coming to town. I’ve trotted this out a bunch of times, but the winner of LSU-Florida has won the national championship in the last three seasons.

 All that stuff about USC slipping in the Pac-10? Maybe not. The 30-3 win at Cal re-positions the Trojans for BCS bowl No. 8 in a row.

 Anyone want to take a stab at the Florida State mess? One of the most trusted and knowledgeable beat writers in the South says it’s time for Bobby to go. For most of the BC game, it looked like Bobby Bowden had lost his team. Down 21-6, the Seminoles rallied to tie, only to lose late 28-21. That marks FSU’s first 0-2 start in the ACC. It is 2-3 for the first time since 1976.

--In the battle of point guards, Syracuse’s Greg Paulus had more turnovers (five interceptions) than South Florida’s B.J. Daniels. The former Duke guard lost to the current South Florida guard (they’re both quarterbacks, by the way) 34-20.

 Virginia Tech's Tyrod Taylor threw for a career-high 327 yards against Duke. Yes, you read that right.

 Stanford, 4-1, is off to its best start since 1995.

 Minnesota mascot Goldy Gopher stuck it to Wisconsin fans by wearing a Brett Favre jersey during the Badgers’ 31-28 victory in Minneapolis. Let’s hope Goldy is not on scholarship because that would be a waste of good polyester.

 

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