Trying to sort out college football while wondering if Doyel scares small children sporting that dead beaver on his head ...• Just wondering if Bill Self accepts that crazy/sick/monster money from Oklahoma State, what it does to the football side.
While $3 million is the new $2 million, college football has only one $4 million man in Alabama's Nick Saban. Does Oklahoma State's impending offer possibly cross sports and raise the bar for everyone. I'm told that hoops coaches around the country are hoping Self takes the money from OSU for obvious reasons. It would help everyone.• Oregon offensive coordinator Chip Kelly added this nugget on how hard it is to evaluate talent: "All of us have only three weeks in December and three weeks in January (actually parts of November and February too for in-person contact). It's such a restrictive calendar, how are you evaluating someone that you're going to invest $150,000 in (in scholarship money) when all you have is bad high school film."
• Fresno's Pat Hill wasn't as upset as I thought when I called. Kansas State recently pulled out of a game to host the Bulldogs in September. It's almost unheard of do something like that less than six months until the beginning of the season. It was a heck of a message K-State coach Ron Prince was sending his players: We aren't good enough to beat a third-place team from the WAC in our own stadium.
"What can you say? It irritates me. (But) it worked out good for us," Hill said.
Thanks to a chance meeting with Greg Schiano at a Nike event, Hill started to find a replacement. A cable network getting involved and Fresno found Rutgers to replace K-State, in what will be one of the better early-season non-conference games. K-State picked up Montana State, an automatic W, to replace Fresno. Prince might be feeling some pressure to produce after sinking to 5-7 last season and lost the AD who hired him. Tim Weiser recently went to the Big 12 as a deputy commissioner.
Hill is used to such schedule shenanigans. His program long ago became too good for most I-A powers to play in non-conference games -- on the road or at home. Fresno is 12-14 against BCS-conference teams this decade but that's only half the point. Hill's anyone-anytime-anywhere philosophy means the Bulldogs have played an average of 3.25 BCS-conference schools each season since 2000.
Coming off a 9-4 season with 16 starters returning, Fresno arguably has the best chance of any non-BCS program to make it to a BCS bowl. The schedule gives them a chance. The season kicks off on Labor Day night at Rutgers. Wisconsin comes to Fresno on Sept. 13 before the Bulldogs visit UCLA on Sept. 27.
Hill has done himself no favors by battling some of the teams for which his team is supposed to roll over. USC had to fight to wire to win 50-42 in 2005 at the Coliseum. Fresno started 8-0 in 2001 beating Colorado, Oregon State and Wisconsin. Since 2004, Kansas State has lost twice to Fresno, including last season's 45-29 thrashing.
"If we were playing a real weak schedule, it would be a lot easier," said Hill who is entering his 12th season. "That's our niche, though. Not many West Coast teams are going home-and-home with us, and we're not going to play a bunch of I-AA games."
It's a Catch-22. Hill would have a better chance of going undefeated if he played an easier schedule, but that would make it harder to get a high BCS ranking. Playing a tough schedule gets the Bulldogs attention and a ranking, if they win. That's a big if.
Playing a weak schedule worked for WAC rival Hawaii last season. The difference was the Warriors at least were ranked going in (No. 23 preseason in AP).
"Lose and we just fall off the map," Hill said. "We just hate it."• Notre Dame recently issued a tersely-worded e-mail to media covering the Irish. It basically warns media to stay away from recruits while they're on campus. Fair enough. Interviewing or photographing recruits while they are on campus can land a program in NCAA hot water.
Where ND stepped over the line is this passage: " ... any attempt by you or your staff members to contact ... any prospective student-athlete while they are in the South Bend area for the purpose of visiting our campus may be cause for sanctions ..."
Let's see, would that include a certain publicity-hound quarterback who called his own press conference "in the South Bend area" (College Football Hall of Fame, actually) to announce his commitment? We're talking about Jimmy Clausen who sought the attention two years ago, coming to the press conference with an ESPN camera crew in tow.
ND has overstepped its authority with that last passage. On campus, we understand the concerns. Other than that, we can call recruits, we can call their parents, we can drive to their houses to interview them. We can talk to them when they come to campus -- just not on campus. Remember, these are recruits, public figures, not the property of Notre Dame.
If the school wants to keep us from interviewing the Jimmy Clausens of the world, tell the Jimmy Clausens to stop seeking the limelight.• The play calling will stay in the family but Steve Spurrier is ready to delegate duties. http://www.charleston.net/news/2008
• A former big-time recruit at San Diego State is facing murder charges.
• What kind of country club was being run at Michigan previous to Rich Rodriguez? Part of the reason given by offensive lineman Justin Boren for leaving the team is that linemen had to run to the line out of the huddle.