Tag:ACC
Posted on: October 18, 2009 6:27 pm
 

Thoughts on a football Saturday

Coaches of the year at the halfway point (seven weeks down, seven weeks to go)

ACC: Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech. With the upset of Virginia Tech, Johnson is on track to win the league in his second season. Who says the triple option won’t work in major-college football. The Yellow Jackets completed one pass on Saturday.

Big East: Brian Kelly, Cincinnati. They were picking for the middle of the pack after losing 10 starters on defense. Kelly took a bunch of offensive players, made them linebackers and balanced a team that was going to score points with Tony Pike and Mardy Gilyard on offense. The question is how long can Cincinnati hold onto Kelly if he wins the Big East again, especially if Notre Dame opens up?

Big Ten: Kirk Ferentz, Iowa: No one expected 7-0, especially after an opening-day squeaker against Northern Iowa. Now the Hawkeyes are to be feared after a comeback win at Wisconsin. Don’t be surprised if they’re favored on Nov. 14 going to Ohio State.

Big 12: Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State. That loss to Houston is looking better all the time.  The dude isn’t exactly Mr. Rogers but he does know how to call an offense and the addition of Bill Young on defense has made a difference. The NCAA took away Dez Bryant. Injuries took away his best running back, Kendall Hunter. The Cowboys, 5-1 and second in the Big 12 South, control their own destiny for the conference title.

Conference USA: Kevin Sumlin, Houston. Not “Sumlan” as a wire story called him on Saturday. Be assured, the Cougars’ coach is known throughout the industry. After defeating three BCS-conference teams, Houston is the favorite to win Conference USA. Kelly should be up for every major job that opens.

MAC, Al Golden, Temple: The Owls have won four in a row for the first time since 1985 and are tied for the MAC East lead. The division could come down to a Nov. 27 date at Ohio. As late as 2006 this program had lost 20 in a row.

Mountain West: Gary Patterson, TCU. Fort Worth’s favorite has the Froggers chasing their first BCS bowl and first conference title since 2005. No Heisman candidates, a great defensive end (Jerry Hughes) and Patterson’s scheming.

Pac-10: Chip Kelly, Oregon. In his first season as head coach, Kelly lost his best runner and his quarterback. All he did was win the next five after the opening-night loss to Boise. USC should be worried, very worried, when it goes to Eugene on Oct. 31.

SEC: Nick Saban, Alabama. Until Saturday, it might have been Steve Spurrier but Saban quashed that talk. In his third season, Saban has the Tide back among the elite. They control their road to the national championship; have a Heisman candidate (Ingram) and perhaps the nation’s nastiest defense.

Sun Belt: Charlie Weatherbie, Louisiana-Monroe. Among the lowest-paid coaches in I-A, Weatherbie has the Warhawks off a 3-0 conference start. That's the longest conference winning streak in 16 years. At a school that usually gets beaten down by guarantee games against  BCS schools, Louisiana-Monroe is 4-2 overall.

WAC: Robb Akey, Idaho. The Vandals are 29th in the first BCS which should be cause for a street party in Moscow. Idaho is nine miles away from the BCS (Pullman, Wash., home of Washington State is that close), but miles away from a BCS bowl. Still, Akey has taken a program that was picked for the bottom of the WAC to contention with mighty Boise State. Halfway through the season the Vandals are bowl eligible. Their only bowl as a I-A program came 11 years ago.

National coach of the (half) season: Check back on Wednesday.

The right-now, no-hype, no-b.s., not-what-they-did last year Heisman rankings for this week:

1. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama. Behind Tebow, the best player in the SEC.
2. Case Keenum, QB, Houston. Leads the country in touchdown passes (19), yards (2,464) and has beaten three BCS schools.  That’s as many as Jimmy Clausen.
3.  Jacory Harris, QB, Miami. The physical and spiritual momentum behind Miami’s rise back to the top.
4. Dion Lewis, RB, Pittsburgh. The nation’s leading freshman runner is on pace for 1,580 yards.
5. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida. Harassed by Arkansas but came through again during the game-winning drive.

Posted on: October 7, 2009 5:57 pm
 

Champs Sports Bowl extends deal with the ACC

The ACC and Champs Sports Bowl announced a new agreement for 2010-13. The bowl will get a third pick from the ACC to match against the top non-BCS bowl team from the Big East or Notre Dame. The bowl can select Notre Dame once in a four-year cycle. 

In its current cycle, the Champs Sports Bowl selects the ACC’s fourth pick and the Big Ten’s fourth or fifth pick, based on the year.

Last year’s attendance (52,692) for the Florida State-Wisconsin game was the second-highest in the bowl’s history.

Posted on: October 7, 2009 5:50 pm
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Posted on: September 23, 2009 10:19 am
 

Flu outbreak policies of I-A conferences

[The policies of the Pac-10 and Sun Belt are listed in Wednesday's story]


ACC: A policy might be determined Oct. 7 at the fall meetings.

Big 12:
No conference-wide policy. Institutions should work with local and state health agencies.

SEC: Currently working with schools on handling outbreaks.

Big Ten: Ongoing discussions regarding contingency plans.

Conference USA: In the process of developing a policy. Could have specific language on the issue within a week.

Big East: Has taken out an “event cancellation” insurance policy that protects against several elements including swine flu.

WAC: (Regular season)

1.   In the event the visiting institution is unable to arrive at the site of a contest for any reason in order for it to be played at its regularly scheduled time, it shall notify the home director of athletics, home head coach and the Conference office as soon as possible.

2.   In the event either the visiting institution is unable to arrive at the site of a contest in order for the contest to be played and completed on the day it was scheduled or if the home institution is unable to participate for any reason:

a.   The contest shall be rescheduled only upon the mutual consent of the involved Directors of Athletics and the approval of the Commissioner.

b.  If the contest is unable to be rescheduled, it shall be declared no contest and shall not be included in the regular season standings.


Mountain West: The conference's planned approach is to address each situation on a case-by-case basis in the context of the unique circumstances of that particular outbreak. These would include, but not be limited to, the location of competition, the sport involved, the host institution’s policies/emergency management plan, state and local guidelines, etc.  After gathering all the pertinent information and consulting with all necessary constituents/agencies, we would make a determination how best to proceed.
 
As an example, while it did not affect competition, the United States Air Force Academy recently had an outbreak among the incoming freshman cadets and quarantined a significant number of individuals as a result.  This was done in accordance with USAFA guidelines and other pertinent jurisdictions.  Had there been institutional and/or MWC competition involved, we would have consulted with the appropriate parties at USAFA and developed a plan of action.

Note: The Mid-American Conference did not respond.




Other flu outbreaks regarding college football:
(Others are mentioned in Wednesday's story. Source: Cleveland Plain-Dealer)

 
Duke: One confirmed case in August. Upwards of three dozen players had flu symptoms that lasted approximately 10 days.

Tulane: Twenty seven players had mild symptoms and returned to practice in early September.

Washington State: Sixteen players got sic shortly before the Sept. 5 home opener against Stanford (a loss).

Kentucky:
Defensive tackle Antwane Glenn has been isolated due to flu symptoms.

Wisconsin: Several players developed symptoms the week of the Sept. 12 game against Fresno State. Whether it was because of the flu or not, several Fresno State receivers were able to get behind the Wisconsin secodary during an overtime win by the Badgers.

Posted on: September 11, 2009 1:33 am
Edited on: September 11, 2009 7:45 am
 

Clemson 27, Josh Nesbitt 3

You have to admit, it's entertaining.

The ACC might not be able to handle the Colonial Athletic Association but it can sure stage some conference doozies. Monday: Miami and Florida State return to the national stage. Thursday: Clemson and Georgia Tech try to play giveaway.

Tech jumps out to a 24-0 lead, only to fall behind 27-24 in the fourth quarter. Then, bam, Josh "The Arm" Nesbitt strikes again. Actually, Nesbitt didn't strike much of anything including the sides of barns. Nesbitt is the Tech quarterback who will not soon be confused with Dan Fouts. In fact, he represents the biggest weakness in Paul Johnson's option offense. In general, its quarterbacks aren't great throwers.

To be fair, Johnson inherited Nesbitt and is only two classes into his recruiting career at Tech. So what Johnson is left with is a 42 percent career passer. Nesbitt was awful for most of the game. He had one more completion (three, out of 14 attempts) than interceptions (two).

In the end, only one pass mattered. Nesbitt hit Demaryius Thomas with a 39-yard strike in the fourth quarter that set up Scott Blair's game-winning field goal. In other news, blind squirrels sometimes find nuts.

In the second week of the season it was a game that both teams had to win. Virginia Tech remains the ACC favorite. Florida State was impressive on Monday. Georgia Tech goes to suddenly formidable Miami next Thursday. Clemson hosts Boston College, followed by TCU.

Nesbitt did run for 91 yards, which is his strength. You feel sorry for Clemson's Kyle Parker, the more conventional quarterback (261 yards, three touchdowns) who led the comeback. But this isn't about convention.

All is forgiven, ACC, if you keep pumping out conference games like this.
Posted on: August 7, 2009 1:06 pm
Edited on: August 7, 2009 1:21 pm
 

Reaction to the first coaches' poll

The first People’s Republic of Coaches secret ballot is out. What we're supposed to learn from it:

1. SEC fan must be throwing himself off various barbeque shacks in the South after learning the crushing news: The world’s best conference has only five teams in the first poll. Condolences, the world is gaining on you SEC. The Big 12, ACC and Pac-10 are tied for second with four teams each.

2. First you have to be ranked. That’s another way of saying Boise State is the early favorite to grab its second BCS bowl. The Broncos go in as the highest-ranked non-BCS school (No. 16) followed by No. 17 TCU, No. 18 Utah and No. 24 BYU.

There is hope. Utah was unranked at the beginning of 2008 before going undefeated.

3. The Big East got skunked. Not only did the Big East not have a ranked team, you have to look all the way down to the team with the 29th-most votes to find the league. Cincinnati is followed, in order, by Pittsburgh (30), West Virginia (31) and Rutgers (32).

How embarrassing is this? In the last three years, the Big East has had a team ranked in the top 10 in the preseason. West Virginia started there in 2006 (No. 7), 2007 (No. 6) and 2008 (No. 8). Two teams were ranked last season (South Florida and West Virginia) and three teams were ranked in 2007 (West Virginia, Louisville and Rutgers).

4. The SEC West is strong. Ole Miss is No. 10 which means, according to the poll, it is only the third-best team in the West. Alabama is No. 4 and LSU is No. 9.

5. I’m a little bit surprised that Kansas isn’t ranked.  The Jayhawks are favored by many to win the Big 12 North. The Jayhawks get No. 22 Nebraska at home and return the best pair of returning receivers in the country – Dezmon Briscoe and Kerry Meier. KU started just out of the top 25 with the 26th-most votes.

6. Only in the coaches’ poll. Voters can vote for themselves No. 1 before they’ve played a game, but they can’t (or are encouraged not to) vote for their teams No. 1 in the final poll unless their team wins the BCS title game.

7. It’s murkier and more secret next year. In 2010, coaches will go back to keeping secret their final ballots. As I’ve written, BCS commissioners are going to try to convince the coaches to change their stance – or possibly be kicked out of the BCS.

Would love to know who didn't vote Florida No. 1 (the Gators got 53 of the 59 first-place votes), but it's a secret. 

 

Posted on: April 30, 2009 11:56 am
Edited on: April 30, 2009 12:31 pm
 

Bobby Rush to chair BCS hearings

Friday's BCS hearings will be chaired by Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush. It's not clear if Rush has an agenda regarding this issue. It seems that everyone else gathering in D.C. certainly does.

Fellow Energy and Commerce Subcommittee member Joe Barton of Texas is a ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Barton proposed a bill late last year that would keep the BCS from calling a "national championship game" unless it was part of a playoff. Barton's agenda, obviously, is supporting Texas which lost that confusing tiebreaker in the Big 12 and essentially eliminated from the national title game.

Rush? All we (me, actually) know is that he represents Chicago and South Chicago. He has the highest percentage of African-Americans in his district than any Congressman. He was arrested in 2004 outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington, D.C. protesting genocide.

His son, Jeffrey, was fired from his job with the Illinois prison system in 2007 for allegedly having sex with female inmates. According to reports, Jeffrey Rush was hired by then-governor Rod Blagojevich's administration in 2003.

Bobby Rush supported Blagojevich's appointment of Rolad Burris to take over Barack Obama's vacated Illinois Senate seat. Here is a bunch of stuff from his past, none of it really relavant to the BCS.  

I talked to committee's press office on Thursday and was reminded that Congress is not in session. We're not sure how many subcommittee members will be in attendance. All we know for sure is that Rush and Barton will be there. One bowl source told me the hearings were for "fact finding." 

The rage against the BCS machine reached a new level on Wednesday when the subcommittee announced the Friday hearings to "examine competitive fairness ... adversely impacted by the ... Bowl Championship Series ..."

Hearings have been threatened by Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch but this comes from a different direction.

ACC commissioner John Swofford, the BCS coordinator, has been invited as a witness along with Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson, Paul Hoolahan, chairman of the Football Bowl Association and Gene Bleymaier, the Boise State AD.

Only Hoolahan won't be attending. Past FBA chairman Derrick Fox, CEO of the Alamo Bowl, will take his place.

"We're prepared for this, this isn't anything that has caught us off guard," said Hoolahan who heads one of the four BCS bowls. "There is such a level naivete on how this thing oeprates. These guys want to get a sound bite and get up on the bully pulpit. More than anything we have to wage an informational campaign. When their constituents hear that they about to shoot the goose that lays the golden egg (they won't like it)."

What do I think will happen? Not much, at least for now. It's hard to imagine Congress will move on this while the country deals with a swine flu epidemic, two wars and the economy.

Thompson and a group of a Mountain West officials visited senior legislative staff earlier this year. Last week, Thompson detailed an eight-team playoff proposal by his conference to replace the BCS last week in Pasadena, Calif. during the BCS meetings.

Swofford reiterated during the meetings that he feels the BCS would stand up to any legal challenges. I detailed some of Swofford's confidence earlier this month in a story about anti-trust lawyer Tom Rhodes.

 

Posted on: April 24, 2009 1:20 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2009 1:34 pm
 

No downside to cheating to win a BCS title

Leftovers from this week's West Coast swing ...

BCS commissioners might soon have to consider penalizing one of its own. One of the issues that emerged from the recent consolidation of the two USC cases, is a possible lack of institution control violation. Both former basketball star O.J. Mayo and former Heisman winner Reggie Bush are alleged to have taken improper benefits.

The combining of the cases streamlines things and makes it more likely that one or both of the programs could be forced to forfeit or "vacate" games. In the case of USC football, that could include a pair of Pac-10 championships in 2004 and 2005 as well as the 2004 national championship.

That could put the BCS commissioners in the uncomfortable spot of having to remove that national title. Because the NCAA doesn't stage a championship in I-A football, a forfeit would affect Pete Carroll's victory total, Pac-10 titles, the NCAA football records book and the USC media guide. It would be up to the commissioners to actually take away the title.

That isn't going to happen. The commissioners don't want to get into the business of penalizing their own. But it does raise another question: Because a BCS title is essentially immune from NCAA sanctions, does that ratchet up the incentive to cheat to get one?

It's looking more and more like Bush acted on his own. But if a booster (or group of boosters) or even a school decided to cheat its way to a title, really, what are the disincentives? Florida State has its panties in a bunch because it wants to protect Bobby Bowden's victory total. Other than that, the biggest drawback to forfeits/vacates is embarrassment.

Especially when the upside is a possible national championship that can't be taken away.

 Incoming Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott made an appearance at the BCS meetings in Pasadena. One of the subjects being tossed around in the rumor mill is a network that would be a joint venture between the ACC and Pac-10.

While those are two disparate conferences at opposite ends of the country, they do share some of the same problems -- lack of exposure in football. Scott has poo-pooed nothing so far. It will be interested to see how far Pac-10 presidents want to go in terms of expansion and television.

The Ocean Network (Pacific/Atlantic, get it?) could feature early ACC games at 11:30 a.m. ET (beating the Big Ten by half an hour for the first major-college games of the day) followed by a featured Pac-10 game at 3:30 p.m. ET. (12:30 p.m. PT).

Don't worry so much about game quality. Some of those early Big Ten games are dogs but they get good ratings because fans just want to see football as soon as possible on Saturday. A Wake Forest-Maryland game at 11:30 a.m. wouldn't be as distasteful as you might think.

As for that 3:30 p.m. window? The Pac-10 has to do something to get its games out of Saturday late night. While USC gathers most of the attention and ratings for the conference, you better believe that other conference members would welcome an afternoon time slot.

 Couldn't resist thinking of this while in L.A.: One school (USC) was staging a quarterback battle, while across town they're having a pillow fight (UCLA).

The spring opened with coach Rick Neuheisel opening the competition to replace/challenge Kevin Craft who threw 20 interceptions last year. Redshirt freshman Kevin Prince is the clear leader going into Saturday's spring game. Craft has fallen to third.

That brings us to the curious case of Chris Forcier. Sensing his future in Westwood wasn't assured, the brother of Michigan's Tate Forcier sought his release to transfer. One problem, once given his release, Forcier found no takers for him to play quarterback.

He did what any red-blooded disgruntled signal-caller would do, he stayed and switched to receiver. His prospects, if there are any left, are even worse at that position. To say that he is buried on the depth chart would be an insult to cemetery residents.

"Certainly you take your hat off [to him] for being willing to do things to help the team," Neuheisel told the Los Angeles Times. "But you can't just reward the great effort and slow down the team to create playing time, if it is not merited."

 How good is Washington's Steve Sarkisian? It seems that he was Nick Saban's first choice to be Alabama's offensive coordinator a couple of years ago.

 Ohio State fans will do anything to get close to their Buckeyes for the spring game.

 My new favorite quarterback, Navy's Ricky Dobbs, weighs in with his latest blog.

Ramblin' Ricky is upset after the spring game, talks about his dance moves and signs for the president -- five times.

 BCS coordinator John Swofford when he was quoted in an AP story that the commissioners would consider using a human committee to select teams in the future. Not true, according to a BCS official. Swofford was asked if he would consider parts of the Mountain West Conference eight-playoff proposal. He said, yes, using the human committee as an example.

I can't imagine the commissioners would come close to using a human committee. If you thought the polls and computers had flaws, think of the inherent biases that would come with humans picking the teams. Anyway, the point is that you can't unring the bell. Media are latching onto Swofford's comment ...

Jay Drew
Salt Lake Tribune
23 April 2009

The Mountain West Conference is far from claiming victory after its proposal for sweeping changes to the current system of choosing a college football champion was pretty much swept under the rug at the Bowl Championship Series meetings in Pasadena, Calif., earlier this week.

But the league that is not one of the automatic qualifying conferences in the BCS did get in some jabs -- about 90 minutes' worth -- on Tuesday.

BCS coordinator John Swofford, in return, threw a bone to the conference that includes Utah and BYU.

The Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner said the BCS could adopt parts of the MWC's playoff plan. Specifically, he told The Associated Press that although the group is not likely to do away with its present system, the MWC's idea of forming a committee to pick the qualifying teams, rather than relying on computers and human polls, seemed to have some merit.

"A selection committee? Yes," Swofford said after the meetings concluded on Wednesday.

Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson flew back to league offices in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Thursday but was not granting interview requests, a league spokesperson said.

Thompson had to be upbeat, however, seeing as how he spoke before the meetings about his wish of just getting the proposal on the table for discussion, which happened. Thompson is well aware that change won't happen soon.

The issue now moves to presidents of universities, Swofford said, noting that BCS commissioners will meet again in June (in Colorado Springs, coincidentally) to discuss the matter further.

But the pressure has been turned up, and not just by the conference itself and other conferences that feel left out of the most lucrative bowls.

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff of Utah has launched an investigation into whether the BCS violates federal antitrust laws and Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah has pushed for the BCS situation to be on the agenda of the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights.

Swofford said after the meetings that BCS commissioners did not feel they were on shaky legal ground.

Utah's football team went undefeated last season, but was not chosen to play in the BCS title game that featured a pair of teams with at least one loss.

Category: NCAAF
 
 
 
 
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