Tag:Wisconsin
Posted on: July 27, 2011 8:04 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 8:12 pm
 

Five things about the Big Ten

With the Big 12 media days kicking off Thursday here are five key issues to consider: 

1. The 800-pound Buckeye in the room: The world is waiting to see how the second-richest athletic department comes out of possibly its most disgraceful period in school history. Following a Watergate-like cover up, the head coach "retired" but not before allowing five players to compete while ineligible. No big deal. All it meant was that Ohio State won its sixth straight conference title and a $20 million BCS bowl. There are enough leftovers in this mess to be the subject of lectures in finance, history, ethics and sports law classes for years. While the NCAA weighs the football program's penalties, this year's Buckeyes will be the slow-down-and-look wreck on the highway. Everyone will be gawking. It is rookie coach Luke Fickell's job to unite Buckeye Nation and what is still a talented roster. Don't be surprised if Ohio State wins the Leaders Division and the Big Ten. Call it Jim Tressel's going-away present.

2. Quick, name the members of the Leaders and Legends divisions: No, really. I'm serious. All those corporate goofs talk about branding and synergy. In this case, the Big Ten paid some consultant or another six figures to confuse the public. Commissioner Jim Delany was looking for competitive balance so North-South or East-West were probably out. I get that. What I don't get is why the words "Schembechler" "Hayes" or "Grange" couldn't have been worked in there somewhere. This is a conference that is about to profit off the grainy images of old Joe Paterno coaching shows from the 1960s (on the Big Ten Network). Instead, the corporate goofs have succeeded in making the Big Ten (really 12) teams anonymous. Why is Ohio State a Leader given its current rep? Why isn't Penn State a Legend given that it is coached by one. An enterprising reporter could embarrass some coaches at the media days by asking them to name the members of each division. For now, the easiest way to remember is this: All the Ms (Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan State) and the Ns (Nebraska and Northwestern), plus Iowa, are in the Legends. The Ps (Penn State, Purdue) and the remaining Is (Indiana, Illinois) are in the Leaders. That leaves Ohio State and Wisconsin to memorize on your own. A nursery rhyme, it ain't.

3. Nebraska assimilation: A tight-knit family hasn't been this charged up for a big move since the Clampetts figured California is the place they oughta be. In this case it's the Big Red loading up the U-Haul and moving to the Big Ten. Nebraska can't wait, per the wishes of Tom Osborne who had enough of Texas. Football-wise not much has changed. Some of the road trips are daunting. The Huskers move from one 12-team conference to another. They still haven't won a conference title since 1999. They still aren't "back". The Big Ten won't change those story lines. Talent-wise, Nebraska will compete just fine. It could make the Big Ten's title game in its first season. Other than that, Nebraska feels a lot better about itself having already inheriting some of that Big Ten arrogance on its way out the door from the Big 12. One thing, though: If the Big Ten is such a respected academic league why is Nebraska the only school not a member of the Association of American Universities. Expansion was not just about football. Yeah, right.

4. The rise of Sparty: In 2010, Michigan State won its first Big Ten title since 1990. (Tying with Wisconsin and Ohio State.) Next stop: The Rose Bowl. It's been 22 years since the Spartans got to Pasadena. After four seasons of steady improvement, Mark Dantonio has a chance to do it. To some, Michigan State is more than the trendy pick to win it all in the Big Ten. Kirk Cousins is one of the best pocket passers in a country in love with the spread offense. Edwin Baker (1,201 yards, 13 tds) may be the conference's best running back. A strong linebacking group must be rebuilt, although the schedule breaks Michigan State's way. It gets Ohio State in Columbus in the last game of the player suspensions. Michigan and Wisconsin come to East Lansing. Dantonio won't wow you with quotes but this is as solid a program as there is right now in the Big Ten. When the coach survives a heart attack and the team still wins 11 games something is going right. If it comes together, who knows Michigan State could get revenge on Alabama in a BCS bowl? (Bama trounced the Spartans 49-7 in the Capital One Bowl.)

5. The traditional mob boss: And I mean that in the best possible way about Delany. He is simply -- with the possible exception of SEC counterpart Mike Slive -- the most powerful man in college sports. Delany doesn't speak often publicly but when he does, he is usually provocative. Look for more of the same when Delany speaks Thursday during his annual state of the conference address at the media days. This is the guy who deftly tried to lure Notre Dame to the Big Ten (remember the rumblings about breaking up the Big East?), then ended up with a hell of a consolation prize -- Nebraska. This is the guy who slapped down the non-BCS conferences with impunity during a December forum in New York. "The problem is," Delany told the BCS wannabes, "your big stage takes away opportunities for teams to play on the stage they created in 1902." This is the guy who created the model for the conference network. Remember, there is still no guarantee the Pac-12, Longhorn and all these other networks will succeed. Ask Delany. It was a long slog to get to this point. With all the issues in play -- Ohio State, NCAA reform, conference realignment -- expect Delany to make his opinion known this week.
Posted on: June 27, 2011 4:33 pm
Edited on: June 28, 2011 9:32 am
 

Wisconsin just became the Big Ten favorite

Wisconsin just became the Big Ten favorite because of the biggest free-agent acquisition, maybe, in history. In the history of college football, that is. Sorry, Jeremiah Masoli. 

When quarterback Russell Wilson picked Wisconsin on Monday, the Badgers took control of the new, expanded Big Ten because, well, to this point no one else has.

 --Ohio State, you might have heard, is dealing with a few problems.

 --No one is really sure about the Nebraska offense.

 --I want to believe in Michigan State but until the Spartans do it -- go to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1988 -- they are suspect.

 With the addition of Wilson, Wisconsin is now, officially, loaded. He gives the Badgers something that they have lacked for years -- a playmaker at quarterback. I know, I know, Scott Tolzien wasn't bad, but he's also gone.

 Without him, Bret Bielema faced a familiar problem -- game-planning around the quarterback. Now he goes into games calling plays because of the quarterback.

 Let's not stop there. With Wilson, the Badgers could compete for the national championship if everything falls right. Sure, the Badgers lost an Outland Trophy winner in the offensive line (Gabe Carimi) and J.J. Watt in the defensive line, but if there are two things Madison is good at they are beer and linemen.

 The schedule is more than manageable. The Nebraska game is at home.

 Am I gushing? I can't help it. One of my lasting visions from the 2010 season was Wisconsin pounding TCU's defense in the fourth quarter of the Rose Bowl. Now, add an accurate arm and fast feet to that scene. Give the Frogs credit for bouncing back, but this is going to be a different Badgers' offense with Wilson. I also remember last year at this time when Wilson went 250 days without football-related activity before the 2010 season. It didn't seem to hurt the Pack who won nine games for the first time since 2002.

 Wisconsin gets a smart, polished quarterback who once threw 379 attempts without an interception. Perhaps most impressive: Wilson's 3,563 passing yards and 28 touchdowns not only led the ACC, it would have led the Big Ten.

 If the kid truly wants to concentrate on football now -- which seems to be the case -- then he's at the right place with Wisconsin's pro-styleish offense. If nothing else happens, Wisconsin will have the deadliest play-action passing game in the country.

 This is not Masoli II. Wilson will make a massive impact because he will be asked to do less in Wisconsin's offense. He is not a Cam Newton-like runner (who is?) but Wilson has enough mobility to make defenses account for him. Auburn never would have worked for Wilson because he plays too much like Newton.

No matter what he'd done, it would have been compared to a Heisman Trophy winner. Plus, the best he could have done is tie last year's accomplishments -- an undefeated national title season. That wasn't going to happen with or without Wilson.

 I had to chuckle at Bielema's official statement. Wilson will "compete" for the starting quarterback position. You don't transfer -- and Wisconsin doesn't accept you -- if a quarterback controversy is about to break out.

 The only thing that stops Wilson from becoming the Badgers' quarterback is a late hit from one of his teammates. So far, he's been pretty good at dodging those in live action. I like his chances of staying healthy and leading the Big Ten (ahem, 12) to its second straight Rose Bowl. At least.

 

 

 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: March 16, 2011 9:12 pm
Edited on: March 17, 2011 2:32 pm
 

Battle battles on for Penn State

TUCSON, Ariz. -- There are a lot of Talor Battles who never get this reward. You know the type: Gritty, talented player performing for a mediocre program overshadowed by football.

That was Battle, a senior Penn State guard, for the majority of his four seasons. A nice player, not a great one, but one who had to carry the Nittany Lions many miserable nights. Maybe the best thing that can be said is that he persevered. Battle recently became the third player in NCAA history to get 2,000 points, 600 rebounds and 500 assists in his career. Still, it looked like his career would in depression until a run to the Big Ten tournament championship game was enough to put Penn State into the bracket for the first time since 2001.

"It's definitely been an uphill climb," said the 6-foot, 170-pound guard from Albany, N.Y. 

Penn State plays its first NCAA game in a decade here Thursday morning, against Temple. The Nittany Lions are a middling 72-61 during Battle's four years. An NIT championship two seasons ago was followed by an 11-20 stinker in 2009-10. The low point had to be an 0-12 start in the Big Ten.  

"That," Battle said, "was a God-awful feeling ... What we did [this season] was jell together and mesh and play together as a team. We have to, we don't have the exceptional talent of a Duke." 

Who knew his surname would also become an appropriate verb for his life. His stepfather is Dan Buie, a once-marvelous player who ended up at Division II Washburn in Topeka, Kan. It was there in the late 70s that an eight-year-old Talor would shoot around on the Ichabods' floor at halftime.

His AAU team, Albany City Rocks, featured another more-famous New Yorker, Jimmer Fredette. 

"I wasn't shy about shooting it myself," Battle said. "We just kind of rotated, whoever was hot. I've been talking to Jimmer a lot of late. Everybody wants to talk to him now."

Battle? Not so much until recently. The season looked like another wash until Penn State beat Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan State to get to the Big Ten title game on Sunday. Even then, the tournament wasn't a certainty with a 19-14 record. You have to feel good about a guy who took 130 career starts to get to this point, becoming the Big Ten's second-leading scorer this season (20.1 points) and the school's all-time scorer. 

It's not clear if the NCAA selection committee actually knew, but the scheduled a "rematch" in Penn State's opening round NCAA game. According to Battle, the Lions were pummeled by Temple in a preseason scrimmage. 

"The most important thing was they out-toughed us," Battle said. 

Not anymore, at least not now. Penn State is back in basketball for this short, little while.

"This," Battle said, "is all new to us."
Posted on: February 10, 2011 2:28 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2011 2:33 pm
 

National notes leading w/ TCU-Wisconsin

Let's straighten out this TCU-Wisconsin mini-controversy. There's a huge reason the Horned Frogs did not want to play the Badgers for the second time in nine months. Its 2011 schedule is all but full.

TCU took a bit of a beating in the court of public opinion this week when Badgers coach Bret Bielema casually mentioned on a radio show that he had been approached by a third party to play the Horned Frogs in Madison in 2011. TCU turned down the "offer." Words like "rematch" and "ducking" entered the conversation on the always level-headed Worldwide Interweb. 

It wasn't a true rematch in that Wisconsin wasn't willing to return the game. There was no ducking because, in truth, TCU's schedule is about to be finalized. The public just doesn't know about it yet. 

The only other opening on the TCU schedule is expected to be filled by BYU on Friday, Oct. 28 at Cowboys Stadium. Pending the final contracts, that's the way it's going to be. TCU's other non-conference games are against Baylor, SMU, Louisiana-Monroe and Portland State. The Froggies will be playing five non-conference games because there are only seven conference games in its final season in the Mountain West.

AD Chris Del Conte's "Anytime, anyplace, anywhere," blast was in reference to Ohio State after Gordon Gee's "Little Sisters of the Poor," comment during the season. It doesn't apply to Wisconsin which was not committed to a return game. TCU is at a level now that it doesn't have to take one-off games on the road. 

It has future home-and-homes scheduled with Oklahoma, Virginia, LSU and Arkansas.




England, Hong Kong weigh in on the BCS: Nothing like a little foreign influence in the BCS. 

The San Diego State International Sports MBA Case Competition is taking on the postseason system in its annual contest involving some of the world's best MBA programs. Twelve schools are being asked to present their best alternatives for postseason college football. The winning group of students will present their case this summer to Mark Cuban, a noted BCS critic and NBA referee baiter who proposed his own playoff plan last year.

Among the MBA programs involved are San Diego State, UCLA, USC, Cal, Notre Dame, Texas, Florida as well as -- wait for it -- Oxford and Hong Kong University.

"We're really interested in what they say, they have no skin in the game," said Greg Block, a media relations director at San Diego State. 

Per the press release, "The largest hurdle ... is to work around the existing personalities and relationships in the current system, making it possible for an independent, outside company to navigate the existing power structures, earn a profit and enact lasting change that is supported by all (I-A) universities."

A time-saving hint for the MBAers: They might start by calling the Rose Bowl, Big Ten and Pac-12 to figure out how to get those three entities in a playoff. No one inside the system has been able to do it yet.

A winner will be determined Friday night. 



Signed and sealed: If you want to view the inner workings of an NCAA CEO you'll have to wait another 57 years. 

Bumping around the NCAA website this week, I discovered something called the Richard D. Schultz Papers. If that sounds like something akin to presidential papers, you're right. Schultz was the NCAA's second executive director from 1987-1993, following the iconic Walter Byers. During his time NCAA basketball revenue skyrocketed, a football playoff became topical and gender equity became a major issue as Title IX took hold.

The point is, you may have to wait a while to read about it.  Schultz' papers were sealed back in 1993 for 75 years or until 2068. All 111 boxes, taking up 57 linear feet. 

"There are some documents the public will never see," said NCAA librarian Lisa Douglass. 

The records are open only to NCAA employees and to "outside researchers" at the discretion of NCAA librarian, according to the site. I don’t know how much juicy stuff is in there but Schultz was not without a bit of controversy in his career. He resigned in 1993 after an investigation into improper loans given to athletes while he was AD at Virginia. 

Juicy stuff, if you're an NCAA nerd like me and love poking around that that kind of stuff. For some reason Byers' papers are more accessible. Those of Cedric Dempsey, who replaced Schultz and Myles Brand are still being assembled.
Posted on: January 21, 2011 5:40 pm
Edited on: January 23, 2011 10:13 am
 

Dodd mail, 1/21/11

I put out an informal Twitter poll request this week: In light of The Longhorn Network announcement, what is the over/under on number of years the Big 12 will last in its current configuration.

Dan Beebe may want to avert his eyes. Fifty persons responded. The average life span from the respondents? 3.4 years

Here's a sampling of some of the replies ...

"3 seasons, breaks up in spring of 2014"

"A&M and Oklahoma will go to SEC and leave Texas high and dry"

"I second that--2 years. Everyone finally wants to admit Texas is out for themselves. A&M, OU next to leave following CU, NE"

"Give them 3 yrs. Others will tire of the pro-Texas deals and agitate for more. Horns then leave"


I was surprised too. I don't know if one has to do with the other -- TLN and Big 12 Conference stability. In fact, the reason Texas stayed in the Big 12 last year was because it wanted to pursue its own network. Without Nebraska and Colorado, the Big 12 is leaner in football and flat-out a monster in basketball. We haven't even gotten to the Big 12's new TV deal which -- to quote Texas AD DeLoss Dodds -- is going to be worth SEC money" -- $17 million-$20 million per school per year.

I'm not into Big 12 bashing. Any league with Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Missouri (three 10 win seasons in the last four years) is formidable. It's going to be easier for the league to get two teams to the BCS each season without a championship game.

3.4 years? And some of us thought conference realignment had calmed down for a while. If an informal Twitter poll means anything, the upheaval has just begun.

This week's letters from the edge ...


From:
Wickedgrin1

I hope 2011 is better. 2010 left me feeling cheated by the NCAA, the SEC, the sports media herd, and Preacher Newton. I love the SEC and wanted to cheer for Auburn, but the smell was too great. And you in the media fed the momentum for that Newton thug, making this ripoff a fait accompli. I could not watch the biggest game of the year, and hung my head over the black eye to this greatest of all sports. With the possible nod to TCU, 2010 was the year without a national championship, and you in the media, the last line of defense, allowed it to be so.

Wicked:

What exactly did you want us to do? We reported the news to the best of our ability. We stayed on this Newton story so hard that the NCAA took the unusual step of dealing with player eligibility in the middle of an active investigation. What exactly did we miss?

We are, like you, still skeptical. We, like you, need closure from the 2010 season. We, like you, probably won't get it.


From: Richard

This is disturbing -- the new ESPN agreement with Texas. Notre Dame has had their own network for the past twenty years -- and, the last time I watched a Notre Dame football game -- including bowl games -- was the last year before their exclusive contract with NBC -- and, I am Catholic. Now Texas. This sets up a very disturbing and problematical hierarchy of the haves and have-nots and in the long run is not good for college football.

Since the NCAA has allowed Notre Dame to get away with this all these years without penalty or criticism -- they set themselves up for this eventual predicament. Once the genie is out of the bottle it is very difficult to put humpty-dumpty back together again. I don't know what the right answer is -- right now. But, I know this, these kind of arrangements would be considered unfair trade practices in the real-world and would be prohibited or highly discouraged.

Agitated:

Two words summed up your post -- "real world". There is no real world in college athletics. Notre Dame is private. Texas is public. One has to release balance sheet. The other doesn't. Both are among the richest schools in the country. And that's just a start. There are still 118 other schools with their own stories, desires and bank accounts.

We should have it figured out by now. Athletic departments are like board rooms -- selfish and worried about the bottom line. The "stock" in this case are young adults on scholarships on whose talents the schools' "stock" fluctuates.


From: Whatever

Brady White as the eighth-best hire [in Wednesday's story ranking the new hires 1-21] just because Miles and Harbaugh weren't hired?? Admittedly, Harbaugh would have been great for Michigan but the timing was wrong. It's hard to resist the NFL. But I definitely would rather have Hoke than Miles. There's something about the Miles situation that stinks... three years ago and now. In a few years, you will see that Hoke is a good short-term hire and probably the best long term coach for Michigan.

Whoever:

According to my research, you represent exactly 50 percent of the fans at Michigan right now. The other half wonder why the heck Dave Brandon couldn't do better.


From: Michael

There is no Louisiana-Lafayette. The University of Louisiana at Lafayette media guide has asked the media to call us UL, Louisiana or Ragin' Cajuns. The use of ULL or Louisiana-Lafayette is unexceptable.

Ragin' Politcally Incorrect:

It's also
unacceptable.

Serious tip: I have this rule that I've enforced for the 13 years I've been at CBSSports.com. This isn't some court room where you can change your last name when it suits you. You've got to earn it, over decades. Calling Ooo-La-La, Louisiana is arrogant and wrong. The same goes for Central Florida (not UCF) and South Florida (not USF). In other words, you're not a household name just because you say so.

All name changes should go through a panel made up of USC, UCLA, ACC and K-State officials.


From: Doug

Dennis--Maybe you or one of your colleagues has written about this already but I'd like to see something about the extremely poor example set the way Randy Edsall left UConn. Not telling his players, not taking a flight with the team after the bowl game. If he can't be man enough to tell his players he's leaving then I think he doesn't deserve to be coach in UConn, Maryland, anywhere. If I were a player I would not want to play for this clown. Fact is, Edsall is an average coach and recruiter, and he lucked out with the disaster of a league the Big East was this year.

Jilted:

I used to have a problem with this kind of conduct -- skating out of town without telling players. But what is this, a broken engagement or a new job? All Edsall owes his players is everything he gave them which is blood, sweat and tears for 12 years. He took a I-AA program and dragged it to the Fiesta Bowl. What else does he have to do at UConn?

He did make an honest attempt and spoke to a few key players by cell phone when they landed after the bowl game. He even apologized. I've got no problem with that. Edsall and Maryland kept this whole thing under wraps perhaps better than any of the other coaching searches this season. We didn't know Edsall was at Maryland -- until Edsall was at Maryland. Hurt feelings heal. Randy Edsall's only duty is to his family, his employer and his players. He has done all he could for all of them.


From: Bob

At this time, SEC has had a good run in football and the BCS, no doubt. However, when CBS & ESPN, ABC tells you that the SEC is great, I wonder. You guys are paying a lot of money to the SEC, you really can't say anything bad, and lose viewers. Sorta like patting your 8-year-old on the head telling everyone how great he is.

... or sorta like saying the sky is blue. We were merely stating the obvious, no matter how repetitive it might be. The SEC is fantastic until further notice. Nothing can change that no matter who runs the company.


From: John

I really don't get your sniping at the Legends and Leaders division names. Get a life. I think they are fine. Hopefully they will build into a tradition in time. I really don't get why you hate the Big Ten Conference so much. It sure does show.

Thank you, Mr. Delany. Your correspondence is appreciated.


From: Mike

I still wish that Butler had hit on that 3-point, 3-fourths of a court shot at the end of the NCAA Championship Game last year. That would have done more for parity, folklore, and equalizing all sports, big and small, at all levels of college sports. Duke would have deserved it, too!

Little Big Man:

Obviously you haven't been watching Boise State, TCU, Utah and Jacksonville State in football.


From: Steve

How does a national championship game that isn't even on network TV in prime time demonstrate that the whole BCS concept is a good idea? Give me back the days when all the games were on New Year's Day and the winner was crowned shortly thereafter.

Ding, ding, ding! We have found one of the two percent of people who don't have basic cable. What's it like watching Oprah all day?


From: Dan

I believe the TCU vs. Wisconsin game was a more of a comment on how weak the Big 10 conference is compared to other conferences. I admired TCU's win in the Rose Bowl but the problem with giving these small schools more BCS acknowledgment is their weak schedules, especially compared to the SEC, Big 12, etc. I know that TCU beat some good teams this year but it's the weekly grind of facing one big team after another each week that doesn't compare.

Mr. Gee:

Let's just make it the SEC vs. Big 12 every year and get over with, right?

TCU beat four teams with at least eight wins this season. Wisconsin beat three. TCU beat five bowl teams. Wisconsin beat four. TCU was one of two undefeated teams left in the country. Wisconsin was not. The Mountain West is considered just as good or better than the ACC and Big East and may have a BCS berth beginning in 2012.

Not exactly Little Sisters of the Poor, eh?

 

 

Posted on: January 2, 2011 6:46 pm
 

TCU's legacy both BCS and non-BCS

On the same day TCU received its first Rose Bowl bid, its stadium was demolished.

The two occurrences on Dec. 5 are actually related. In a strange way, the Frogs were in Saturday's Rose Bowl because Amon G. Carter Stadium was being demolished. The win over Wisconsin was a culmination of events that might have elevated TCU to being the best non-automatic qualifier in existence.

Part of the stadium was torn down as part of a $100 million facilities upgrade. Call it an overall upgrade, the biggest in school history. With the Rose Bowl win and a 13-0 season, TCU is on the edge of breaking into college football's elite. It certainly has passed Utah and Boise as the best non-BCS programs of the BCS era (since 1998). World's tallest midget status is a bit meaningless now, though, with TCU joining the Big East in 2012.

It will leave behind quite a legacy before starting a new one as one of the game's haves. Gary Patterson is a defensive savant but his teams have been tremendously balanced. Departing senior Jeremy Kerley was a dual threat as a receiver and returner. Quarterback Andy Dalton leaves as the winningest active quarterback in the game. His placement will be either Casey Pachall, a redshirt freshman, or Matt Brown, an Allen, Texas star who changed his commitment from Arizona in February.

Only 10 starters return with the loss of 26 seniors in 2011. But Patterson has been good at replenishing and rebuilding. Most of the 2010 recruiting class redshirted. Only three true freshmen played any significant time. This season marked the program's fifth in the last six with at least 11 wins. The residual gift from those victories will benefit both the Mountain West and Big East. BCS executive director Bill Hancock confirmed Saturday night that the leagues will each get credit for TCU's records in 2010 and 2011.

A four-year evaluation period for automatic BCS conference qualification has been adjusted to match up with TV contracts. That's why TCU will most likely help the Big East keep its BCS status and aid the Mountain West in getting its shot. If the MWC meets a series  of benchmarks it will get temporary automatic qualifying status in 2012 and 2013. That would help sustain the league despite the losses of Utah and BYU next season and TCU in 2012. Boise State joins the MWC in 2011. Nevada, Fresno State and Hawaii (football only) will arrive in 2012.

As TCU AD Chris Del Conte said, that wasn't the MWC that TCU had joined or wanted to be part of in the future.

Some dope tweeted Sunday about TCU's weak schedule. While the MWC has been damaged by defections, it is on the brink of BCS automatic qualification because of the accomplishments of TCU, BYU and Utah. The Frogs have actively sought a tougher schedule in the Big East. Meanwhile, in the non-con Boise State comes to Fort Worth in 2011. Oklahoma and Virginia follow in 2012. There's a home and home with LSU in 2013 and 2014.

Let's see Ohio State (Marshall, Ohio and Eastern Michigan this season in the non-con) match that.

Posted on: December 30, 2010 11:46 am
Edited on: December 30, 2010 4:15 pm
 

The Year in Dodd

Jan. 8 -- I'll never forget a crushed Mack Brown in the Rose Bowl hallway leading to the Texas lockerroom after losing to Alabama. I ask him, "Would Colt [McCoy] have made a difference?" Mack: "It wouldn't have been close."

Jan. 9 -- God, it's sunny outside in Newport Beach and God I want to be out on the golf course but while working on the national championship game folo, I find out South Florida's Jim Leavitt has been fired and Pete Carroll is leaving for the Seahawks. So much for golf. A hectic 2010 officially kicks off.

Feb. 1 -- What's so special about Cretin-Derham Hall High in St. Paul, Minn. No. 1 recruit Seantrel Henderson? A lot. But the kid's nationally televised commitment to USC turns out to be a mockery of the system.

Feb. 26 -- While the NCAA ponders making sickle-cell trait testing mandatory, another player dies of the affliction.

March 10 -- An all-access embedment with Baylor basketball during the Big 12 basketball tournament begins with the suggestion that Scott Drew might be the most despised coach in the conference.

March 12 -- I'm surprised to see that Baylor's pregame is as much religion as it is basketball. 

Mid-March -- During a first-round trip to San Jose for the NCAA Tournament I inquire about talking to quarterback Andrew Luck at nearby Stanford. I'm told he's busy with finals. Luck will later live up to the hype on the field too.

March 17 -- Before Butler bounces a ball in the NCAA Tournament I was there to chronicle what was then a stepping-stone job.

March 25 -- You know him as Ali Farokhmanesh, the all-Missouri Valley honorable mention who took out Kansas. His teammates know him as "Stroke".

March 28 -- Yes, Magic Johnson deserves to celebrate a Final Four berth with Michigan State.

April 6 -- That was the best coach of all time you saw win the national championship.

April 11 -- Even if the venue stunk, the Frozen Four was great again even if the fans of a team not involved in the championship game made the most noise.


May -- Jack Dodd and dad took in a three-game Cardinals-Padres series in San Diego. Ate fish tacos and made friends of ushers who openly root for Pads, leading one sarcastic Dodger fan to shoot back, "Let's go, sta-aff!! (clap-clap, clap-clap-clap)."

Also in May -- Haley Dodd graduates from high school, commits to the University of Missouri.

June 1 -- Big 12 spring meetings begin in Kansas City with all hell breaking loose.

June 3 -- Big 12 schools are so spooked by impending conference realignment that an ultimatum is issued: Declare loyalty or else. Nebraska won't commit, having been in talks with Big Ten since January.

June 9 -- Colorado announces it is joining the Pac-10.

June 11 -- Nebraska trashes Texas on the way to announcing its departure for the Big Ten in 2011. The Longhorns take their worst beating in seven years.

June 12-15 -- Texas re-commits to the Big 12 after a failed raid by the Pac-10 to take six Big 12 teams. The crucial hours come on Saturday, June 12 and Sunday, June 13 when Fox Regional and ESPN essentially decide it is in their best interests to make a financial commitment to a 10-team Big 12 rather than lose an entire BCS conference. If the Big 12 had gone away, the new Pac-12 could have, and still might, go out to bid leaving one or both (Fox, ESPN) from losing another BCS property.

A portion of the remaining Big 12 have nots (Missouri, Iowa State, etc.) agree that Texas should get an increased share of conference revenue just because it's Texas. There is no Big 12 with it. The Horns spend the rest of the year establishing its own network, reportedly with ESPN for $15 million per year.

June 16 -- Troy is burned to the ground.

Mid- June -- Went on a Mexican cruise to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. Smoked a Cuban cigar, body surfed, watched World Cup soccer at 7 in the morning and enjoyed a seal show -- in the pool where my son and I were swimming! Mexican health laws are a little bit different than ours.

July 21 -- Nick Saban goes there with the p-word.

July 27 -- Tom Tuberville finds out he could retroactively win the 2004 national championship.

August -- Jack begins practice for CYO seventh-grade football. No two-a-days, more like two-a-weeks.

August 15 -- Haley moves into her University of Missouri dorm 30 years after her dad moved out of Columbia. Yes, a few sentimental tears were shed.

August 27 -- It's the Year of the Comeback.

August-September -- North Carolina football is ripped apart by an agent scandal than resulted in mass suspensions, an NCAA investigation and resignation of assistant coach John Blake.

September 7 -- Boise State launches itself into a season-long national conversation with a 33-30 win over Virginia Tech.

October -- Through a series of stories and spectacular performances we are introduced to this juco quarterback at Auburn. What's his name? Oh yeah, Cam Newton. We will learn more. Much more.

October 9 -- It's officially a national race again as defending national champ Alabama loses to South Carolina.

Also, I enjoy being a Kappa Kappa Gamma dad during the sorority's Dad's Weekend at Missouri. After tailgating, Haley and I watch Mizzou beat Colorado 26-0.

October 12 -- Turns out, South Carolina's win was a bigger deal than we thought. The Gamecocks become only the 45th team ever (in wire service era) to a beat a No. 1 team.


October 16 -- Wisconsin beats No. 1 Ohio State with something called the forward pass.

October 24 -- How crazy has the season gotten? The day before the game, Janet Dodd hits the Worldwide Interweb and somehow gets her husband a hotel room within walking distance of Faurot Field on homecoming weekend. Then People Magazine's "Sexiest Dad Alive" figures into Missouri's 36-27 defeat of BCS No. 1 Oklahoma.

October 31 -- Texas is well on its way to becoming the biggest disappointment of 2010.

Also in October -- Ascension beats CYO diocese power Cure of Ars for its only win of the season. Jack is proud. Dad is prouder.

November 4 -- Story breaks of Cam Newton's dad soliciting $180,000 from Mississippi State.

November 6 -- Matt Hayes of the Sporting News and I get trapped in the LSU postgame celebration after an amazing win over Alabama. We get a behind-the-scenes look at the LSU's coach's "Lesticles."

November 12 -- Why not go wall-to-wall on the scene with Cam Newton? With this ...

November 13 -- And this ...

November 23 -- And this ...

November 26 -- On the day after Thanksgiving, Auburn and Alabama play one of the best Iron Bowls ever and Boise State's Kyle Brotzman misses two chip shots against Nevada. Afterward, neither Cam Newton nor Brotzman are talking. For different reasons, of course.

Non-BCS story of the year: While covering that Boise-Nevada game on a bitterly cold night in Reno, a window in the press box has to be cracked so the clock crew "can hear the whistle." We're not exactly in Columbus, folks. Haven't heard a line like that since the Class 4-A state title game in 1984.

November 27 -- Miami's Randy Shannon is fired after an uninspired loss to South Florida. Jon Gruden gets his name in the search, as he always does, but in the first major hire of his career, AD Kirby Hocutt eventually picks Temple's Al Golden.

December 1 -- The best guy to talk about Kyle Brotzman's disappointment happens to be Boise resident and fan Bill Buckner.

December 1 -- Cam Newton is declared eligible to play in the SEC championship game because he didn't know his father had sought $180,000 for his services at Mississippi State. Hilarity ensues. Commissioners go nuclear.


December 4 -- Oregon beats Oregon State and Auburn beats South Carolina (again) to clinch BCS title game berths. Both schools are first timers in a BCS system than has seen only 14 teams play for the national championship since 1998.

December 5 -- Told you it was the Year of the Comeback.

December 6 -- Yes, we came this close to the end of the BCS.

December 8 -- When Tim Tebow left Florida, that made it a lot easier for Urban Meyer to resign. This time it stuck.

December 9 -- The nation's top rusher is a good guy. Really.

December 11 -- While in New York for the Heisman, a short, middle-aged man listening to his IPod strikes up a conversation with me on the elevator. Hello, Donny Osmond.

December 11 -- Cam Newton wins the Heisman surrounded by eight security goons but no family members in the post-ceremony presser. Sad.

December 13 -- Legends and Leaders? C'mon Big Ten.

December 19 -- Jack and dad enjoy the Chiefs and Rams in St. Louis during Christmas break. It's nice watching a game without a deadline to meet or a petulant coach to question. It's even better doing it with my wingman.

It was a great year. May 2011 be even better.

Posted on: December 13, 2010 1:37 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2010 6:05 pm
 

Dungeons, Dragons and Big Ten divisions

The new Big Ten has 12 teams and will start every season with two Ls.

If this has you confused, it's meant to in the new Large Dozen. The Big Ten made a big deal Monday out of revealing the names of its two six-team divisions. Then it underwhelmed us. The divisions are named Leaders and Legends. Not to be confused with Dungeons and Dragons or Abbott and Costello.

Leaders Division:  Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin

Legends Division:  Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern


"There's nothing, maybe, like it out there," Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said.

That's certainly true. With all the great history and tradition available to it, the haughty Big Ten went low brow, corporate, generic. Leaders and Legends? That's the name of the trophy store down the street. What were "Gods" and "Superheroes" already taken? One thing for sure: The league won't be getting any cease and desist letters from famous people unless it's this guy. Sign ups are now being taken for summer school classes just to memorize the members of each division.

"Maybe if people don't embrace it in the first hour," Delany said, "they will in the first 24 or 36."


It's likely to take longer, if ever. If you're like me you're already wondering how the league promotes a Leaders Division showdown between Purdue and Indiana. It also prompts the question: Are the Leaders not legends and the Legends not leaders? And the alliteration thing is about as clever as a handoff to Archie Griffin. Delany was asked if the "two Ls" thing won't be associated with losses.

"You're the first one who has mentioned it," Delany said.

Apparently the commish wasn't on Twitter Monday which blew up with general mockery and disgust. A firm no doubt got six figures to "consult" on the division names and new logo. You'll love that when you see it. The league was cute with its embedded "11" in the old logo. In the new one, the "I" in "Big" has turned into "1". The "G" is meant to kind of simulate a "0". Maybe, but the "G" also looks like a "6". The league might be sending us a Da Vinci Code message on its future expansion plans.

"Now that you mention it ...," Delany said of a possible interpretation of "Big 16" in the new logo.

What is this a trademark or an M.C. Escher print?

All those names, all those (lower-case) legends and the league completely blew it. Schembechler and Hayes divisions would have been perfect. If Delany was worried about favoring individuals, then consider none of what went on Monday would have been possible without Bo and Woody enhancing the brand.

Instead the league used some of those people names for its conference awards, hyphenating them to get as many leaders and legends into the mix as possible. That makes the league's major awards look like chick-flick characters from your basic Lifetime movie. Who can forget Meredith Baxter-Birney playing Colleen Stagg-Paterno in "Looking For Love in Iowa City"?

My take on the subject wouldn't be complete without a list of suggested division names from myself and Twitter followers earlier on Monday. We got your generic right here.

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