Posted on: September 25, 2011 5:08 pm
Edited on: September 25, 2011 7:39 pm

UNM's Locksley first casualty of the season

New Mexico coach Mike Locksley has become the first coaching casualty of the season. The Lobos' third-year coach was fired Sunday, a source told CBSSports.com. The firing comes less than a day after a youth was arrested for DWI while driving what was reportedly a car registered to Locksley.

Locksley was 2-26 in less than 2 1/2 seasons, his latest loss coming in overtime Saturday to FCS Sam Houston State. When AD Paul Krebs hired him in December 2008, Locksley was a hot coaching prospect having helped lead Illinois to the Rose Bowl. Locksley was known as an ace recruiter. Prior to his first season, he went to directly to a familiar area attempting to stock the New Mexico roster -- Washington, D.C.

In 2007, D.C. native Arrelious Benn was the Big Ten freshman of the year for Illinois. Benn was among at least nine players Locksley landed from the D.C. area from 2005-2008.

Things quickly went South in Albuquerque. Before his first season, Locksley was hit with a sex and age discrimination lawsuit by an administrative assistant. In September 2009, he was reprimanded after an altercation with an assistant. Locksley was suspended for 10 days.

On Saturday, recruit Joshua Butts was arrested for aggravated DWI, a minor in possession of alcohol and driving without a license.New Mexico does not believe Butts is a recruitable athlete which could complicate matters with the NCAA.

One final piece of fallout from Locksley's regime: The losing may be a huge contributing factor in keeping the Mountain West from an automatic BCS berth in 2012 and 2013. The league is currently at the end of a four-year BCS evaluation period. The league reportedly meets two of the three benchmarks needed for automatic qualification status and may have to ask the BCS for a waiver going forward.

The Mountain West is one of five conferences without an automatic BCS bid.

Posted on: September 19, 2011 8:48 pm
Edited on: September 19, 2011 11:09 pm

MWC, CUSA discuss first super, duper conference

Don't you dare try to copyright the latest (possible} conference on the horizon.

I'm calling it the Big Country.

CBSSports.com has learned that merger talks have heated up again between the Mountain West and Conference USA on a possible 22-to-24-team combination that would span the country and result in an automatic BCS bowl berth for the winner of the amalgamation.

As CBSSports.com initially reported, officials from each conference first discussed the arrangement last year. Each league would produce individual champions who would then play off in a championship game for the BCS berth. Officials from each conference have met recently on the subject CBSSports.com also learned.

There are complications. The Mountain West is still waiting to learn if it will receive temporary BCS status in 2012 and 2013 as a result of meeting a series of benchmarks over a four-year period that concludes after this season. Aside from that, with conference realignment in full swing, college athletics' first super, duper conference just might work. Assuming the remains of the Big East and Big 12 merge, there will be one less automatic BCS berth. The Big Country snatch that up, spanning from the Carolinas, Florida and Mississippi to Texas and the West Coast and Hawaii.

There were no details on how the champions in the individual conferences would be decided. Conference USA is a 12-team league, that is decided by a championship game between the two division winners. The Mountain West is currently an eight-team league that will be 10 teams in 2012. It is losing TCU to the Big East next year and getting Nevada, Hawaii and Fresno from the WAC. It's not clear if the conference would or could expand further to 12 teams.

"It would strengthen our league and give us more television sets," said an administrator from the possible Big Country. "I think it's a big picture thing for us."

Using the current configuration, think of a Boise State-Central Florida Big Country champ game for a berth in, say, Orange or Fiesta Bowl. Not sure how the Orange or Fiesta feel about that. That's another blog for another time.
Posted on: September 13, 2011 4:50 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2011 6:21 pm

Big Game Bob rides again

NORMAN, Okla. -- If nothing else, Bob Stoops is laying the groundwork this week, just in case, you know, Oklahoma doesn't win.

He's not saying that overtly, but playing No. 5 Florida State this early has its benefits even if No. 1 Oklahoma doesn't win.

"If all things are equal and you play a tougher schedule than somebody than you, you would get the nod. If not, why play them?" Stoops said at his weekly presser.

Take that "nod" any way you want -- Jan. 1 bowl, BCS bowl, BCS championship. The man is a big believer in scheduling. Take 2008 when Oklahoma won a controversial Big 12 tiebreaker against Texas in the South Division. Even though Texas had beaten OU that year, Oklahoma won the tiebreaker based on highest BCS ranking. OU nosed out Texas by .0128 of a point for the right to play Missouri in the Big 12 title game.

Oklahoma beat the Tigers and advanced to the BCS title game where it lost to Florida.

That year the BCS computers deemed that OU had the tougher schedule, one that included Chattanooga, Cincinnati, Washington and TCU. Meanwhile, Texas played Florida Atlantic, Texas-El Paso, Rice and Arkansas. The difference was a sliver of a point, all that Oklahoma needed.

Never has a rivalry been so bitter as when Texas lost a possible BCS title shot by calculations of computers.

"If you're willing to go to Florida State, Alabama, there should be some reward in that," Stoops said of the non-conference schedules he has assembled in his 13 seasons here. "The other reward is our fans love it, college football loves it, it puts us in the national picture."

So, yeah, scheduling counts at OU. In 2003, Oklahoma lost the Big 12 title game to Kansas State by four touchdowns but remained in the BCS top two, able to play LSU for the national championship. The BCS formula has since been adjusted but it didn't hurt that Oklahoma played Alabama and UCLA that year.

That's part of the reason why Stoops intentionally schedules these big games. Saturday's contest at Doak Campbell Stadium is arguably the biggest non-conference game of the Stoops era. While he has never beaten a ranked non-con opponent in a true road game, the sample size isn't that big. There was the controversial Oregon "loss" in 2006 and Miami in 2009.

Future OU series include Notre Dame (2012-13), Tennessee (2014-15), Ohio State (2016-17) and LSU in (2018-19). Saturday ends a home-and-home with FSU that began with a 47-17 thumping of the Noles in Norman last year.

There is talk of revenge by FSU, but in his heart of hearts Stoops has to know that OU could lose in Week 3 and still rebound to have a title shot.

"Look at through the years: we’ve had Alabama, we’ve had Oregon, we've had UCLA, Miami, Florida State. They're all great programs," Stoops said. "When you schedule them, you know that. You expect them to be a top-five, 10 team."

When he was at Florida as defensive coordinator, Stoops remembers looking up at the TV after a practice and seeing Oklahoma suffer an early season loss.

"Most of the [Florida] coaches there were kind of from the Southeast," he said. "I had roots with seven years in the Big 12 [at Kansas State]. I said, 'That's a shame.' I grew up in Ohio following  Oklahoma in Coach Switzer's years. I remember pointing at the TV saying, 'That's a sleeping giant. They should not be getting beat or having the years they're having.' "

It started with that lone championship in 2000, a magic season that ended with a 13-2 win over the Seminoles in the Orange Bowl.

"Once that happened in 2000 the mood changed," Stoops said. "It just shot us back to one of the more elite teams -- a team legitimately that year in, year out has a chance to contend for your conference championship and has a chance to contend for national championships.

"When we walked in here there wasn't a real confident group anyway. That [Florida State game] was the key. It immediately shoots you right back like a big ball in sling shot. It immediately puts you right back in the game."

That year Stoops became known as Big Game Bob. A run now referred to as "Red October" included wins against No. 7 Texas, No. 2 Kansas State and No. 1 Nebraska in consecutive games. After that, there came a run of BCS bowl defeats over the years. Even as Stoops continued to pile up Big 12 titles, Big Game Bob became a term of derision.  It's a problem a lot of coaches would like to have.

Under Stoops, Oklahoma has spent the most weeks ranked No. 1 in the BCS (20) and, this week, became the first program to spend 100 weeks at No. 1 in the AP poll.

"You ever hear me call myself that?" Big Game Bob asked.

No, but the label is waiting to be applied again after Saturday.  

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: August 23, 2011 1:51 pm

Utah AG still looking for help to sue BCS

Note to law firms: Those of you wanting to assist Utah's attorney general in his lawsuit against the BCS have less than a week to file papers.

Mark Shurtleff is in the process of seeking what are called Requests for Information to assemble a legal team to take on the BCS. At least one national law firm who has handled college athletics cases has been approached by Shurtleff's office.

These are not submitted bids, but preliminary information which is then reviewed. The process is not unlike when contractors submit bids to a city to construct a downtown office building.

In this case, Shurtleff is attempting to deconstruct the BCS. He is soliciting for partner law firms who would help attack the BCS on anti-trust grounds. You can read the RFI web page here. The RFI deadline is Monday.

Here's the official language from the attorney general's office:  "The OAG is seeking information from Legal Teams preliminary to undertaking a process to select a Legal Team to pursue an investigation and possible litigation to determine the legality of the Bowl Championship Series system for College FBS post season football under federal and Utah state antitrust or other applicable law and to obtain appropriate relief. "

Shurtleff's BCS pursuit has been pushed out of the headlines because of, well, just pick up a paper or click on a website. You know what I'm talking about. For now, click on the "Packet for Bid" tab to get inside the request process.

Among the information sought from applicants:

--Describe your qualifications and experience in antitrust investigation and litigation.

--Has your Legal Team already undertaken  any analysis regarding the BCS system and its compliance with federal and/or state antitrust or other applicable laws?

The state is also asking bidders whether they would work pro bono? I think I know the answer to that one .

This is still in the preliminary stages so stay tuned.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: August 23, 2011 12:42 pm
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