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Tag:Iowa
Posted on: August 2, 2010 9:38 am
Edited on: August 2, 2010 4:37 pm
 

Five things about the Big Ten

Sizing up the Big Ten going into the Big Ten media days in Chicago...

Divisional set up. Conference officials will begin talking this week about how to split the Big Ten in two beginning in 2011. That would be two six-team divisions and staging a championship, which is all but a certainty as league officials meet this week in Chicago. In a league that believes Dockers are a fashion statement, expansion to 12 teams is a radical step. Traditional rivalries are at stake. What do with the Old Oaken Bucket (Indiana-Purdue)? More importantly, what to do with Ohio State-Michigan? Competitive balance is first on commissioner Jim Delany’s list of priorities. But today’s slug (Michigan) could be tomorrow’s power. Don’t screw this one up, fellas. You’ve got a good thing going as it is. We don’t want too many Iowa-Northwestern championship games.

Joe goes for 400. No one is talking about it, but Joe Paterno is six victories away from 400 career victories. Only two other college coaches have made it to that number (Eddie Robinson, 408 and John Gagliardi, 471). The way the profession is structured today, it’s doubtful anyone will ever get to 400 again. Incredibly, JoePa has gotten better with age. His teams go to BCS bowls. He keeps recruiting with fervor. His staff stays mostly intact. We’re talking a modern miracle here, folks. Joe has been under the weather during the offseason with an intestinal disorder so it will be interesting to see how he looks at the media days. The Lions become the first team ever to play three teams that won BCS bowls the previous year. Alabama, Ohio State and Iowa are all on the road. Penn State hasn’t won in Iowa City since 1999 and has lost six of the last eight to Ohio State. Still, save the date: The way the schedule shapes up, win No. 400 will come on or around Oct. 30 against Michigan.

Malaise and blue. This is either the last year of the Rich Rodriguez era or the takeoff point for Michigan getting back on track. There is no in-between with a new athletic director in place and pending NCAA penalties on the horizon. Rich Rod is going to have to win – big, it says here -- to save his job. With the school trotting out a $225 million refurbishment of the Big House this season, another losing season won’t be tolerated. The angst starts Sept. 4 against UConn.

Define “pause.” That’s the term Delany used on June 11 to describe the current state of Big Ten expansion.  That was also the day Nebraska formally announced it had joined the league. That means college athletics still is sitting with a tack on its chair. There’s this uncomfortable feeling that things aren’t settled. Notre Dame could decide tomorrow it wanted in and we’d be in for another round of expansion turmoil. Texas could spend two years in the 10-team Big 12 and decide it doesn’t want to go to Waco and Ames anymore. Those two scenarios aren’t likely but Delany isn’t closing the book on expansion either. Going into Monday’s media days, he hasn’t quite defined what hitting the pause button means. For now, the Big Ten, which has an 11 in its logo, will expand to 12 beginning in 2011. 

Ohio Statement. After winning its first Rose Bowl in 10 years, the Big Ten is on a roll. It beat four top 15 teams in bowls last season. Even in losing, it proved its worth. Northwestern gave Auburn a tussle in the Outback Bowl.  Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn may be this season’s Ndamukong Suh. Wisconsin seems to have the running thing down (a 1,000-yard rusher in 15 of the last 17 seasons). It’s up to Ohio State, though, to complete the comeback. The Buckeyes won their first Rose Bowl in 14 years, have a Heisman candidate in Terrelle Pryor and most probably will start the season ranked No. 2.  This season is a success in Columbus and around the Big Ten only if Ohio State plays for in a third national championship game in nine years.
 

Posted on: July 21, 2010 10:37 pm
 

SEC expansion fantasy

HOOVER, Ala. -- The conflict, it will be written, started in a small conference room at a Scottsdale, Ariz. resort.

It was on that day in April that Mike Slive, lawyer-turned-revolutionary, calmly unfolded a piece of paper and began reading his manifesto to the assembled media.

"If there is going to be a significant shift in the conference paradigm," Slive began, "the SEC will be strategic and thoughtful to make sure it maintains its position as one of the nation's pre-eminent conferences."

Cool, confident and articulate, the SEC commissioner, fired his warning shot at the Big Ten during the BCS meetings.

College sports stopped short of full-on realignmentmania this summer but Slive's words from that day endure. The point was to get his message across to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany.

Slive was using his big words that day to issue a short message: If the Big Ten expands beyond 12, the SEC is ready to throw down. The conferences are No. 1 (Big Ten) and No. 2 (SEC) in revenue produced. They didn't get that way by being timid.

The waters are calm for now but when the time comes -- and it will come -- the SEC needs to add these four schools:

Texas: I know, I know. Texas is happy for now. But how long is it going to want to travel to Ames, Iowa and Columbia, Missouri? What Texas wants, Texas gets. Why not access to the SEC riches and recruiting grounds? Arkansas would gain back its natural rival and be able to recruit again in Texas.


Miami: Admit it. The expanded ACC has been a borderline failure in football. The league has arguably lost its position as the nation's best basketball conference.

The SEC would do for Miami what the ACC couldn't. The U still holds that cache as a market (South Florida) and a brand. Get Miami in the SEC and suddenly you turn on that entire South Florida region to the SEC. Think of a conference featuring the Big Three -- Miami, Florida and ...

Florida State: Yeah, that's right. Throw the Seminoles a life line too. Florida State is run like an SEC program anyway. Tallahassee is as Deep South as it gets.

Think of Alabama, LSU and Tennessee coming through Tally on a regular basis. Florida already does. There were 17,000 empty seats (at least) at Doak last year for the Maryland game. It would never happen again.

FSU needs to become a superpower again. It isn't going to happen in the sleepy ACC.

Georgia Tech: A natural rival of Georgia and former SEC member (1933-63), Tech is the easiest fit in this scenario.

It has always been sort of awkward for the Jackets to playing in the ACC in the traditional center of the SEC, Atlanta. Recruiting would definitely improve. Imagine Tech being able to go head-to-head with Georgia in recruiting. Imagine Tech beating Georgia and being able to stay home in the SEC championship game.

Imagine Tech's academics classing up the SEC.

All this a pipe dream, you say? Who would have thought in December that Nebraska would be in the Big Ten?

Posted on: July 7, 2010 4:50 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2010 5:51 pm
 

Preseason mags' top 25

We love the polls. College football polls to be specific. Preseason college football polls to be exact.

There is the annual cry to get rid of them. Hogwash. First, the Associated Press isn't going to disappoint its subscribers by scrapping one of its most popular offerings of the year. Second, there would be no preseason magazines without preseason top 25s.

And last time I checked, the magazines aren't going away either. We need them. We want them. The likes of Athlon and Lindy's are selling better than ever. There are regional editions. Sure, some of them outdated by the time they hit the stands. (USC No. 3, Athlon? Really?) That's OK. The sport is year-round now. It's not going to stop for a printing press.

The mags' arrival officially stirs the juices. Suddenly, it's OK to break down the Sun Belt, predict the WAC. Argue about the SEC East. That's why this blog is devoted to one of my annual obsessions -- a combined poll from all the preseason magazines.

I combined five polls, from The Sporting News, Phil Steele, Lindy's, Athlon. Yahoo Sports and CBSSports.com. Our official preseason poll won't come out until late August. For this purpose, then, I'm using my post-spring top 25.

A few notes, rules and notifications:

*Each school was assigned a number in descending order. Twenty-five points for a No. 1 ranking, 24 for No. 2, etc.

*Schools are then ranked from highest-point total to lowest.

*I also included an average poll rank, mostly because not all the schools were named in all five polls. Example: Oregon State finished No. 25 because it got 11 points from being ranked No. 15 in The Sporting News.  The likes of Cincinnati (eight points) and Utah (five) were ranked in two polls but finished with fewer total points than Oregon State.

*Thirty seven schools received votes.

*Alabama was not a consensus No. 1. Phil Steele made some waves by picking Oklahoma No. 1.

The annual compilation:

1. Alabama: Duh. Haven't lost an SEC regular-season game since 2007. Highest rank, No. 1. Lowest, No. 3 (148 points, Avg. rank between No. 1 and No. 2)

2. Ohio State: The Big Ten is back. Ohio State never left. Highest rank, No. 2. Lowest rank, No. 3. (142 points. Avg. rank between No. 2 and No. 3)

3. Boise State: Should be a consensus top five pick with major polls debut next month. Highest rank, No. 2. Lowest rank, No. No. 6. (136 points. Average rank between No. 3 and No. 4)

4. Florida: Fastest team in the country, again. Highest rank, No. 4. Lowest rank, No. 7. (123 points. Avg. rank between No. 5 and No. 6)

5. TCU: Nation's best defense the past two seasons. Highest rank, No. 4. Lowest rank, No. 11. (113 points. Avg. rank between No. 7 and No. 8)

6. Nebraska: Fitting that these two are tied. They hate each other. Highest rank, No. 5. Lowest rank, No. 11 (112 points. Average rank between No. 7 and No. 8)

7. Oregon: Most talent in the Pac-10. Highest rank, No. 6. Lowest rank, No. 15 (111 points. Avg. rank between No. 7 and No. 8)

8. Texas: Adding physicality to offense. Highest rank, No. 4. Lowest rank, No. No. 11 (110 points. Avg. rank between No. 7 and No. 8)

9. Oklahoma: Rebuilding into Big 12 and national power again. Highest rank, No. 1. Lowest rank, No. 12. (106 points. Avg. rank between No. 8 and No. 9)

10. Virginia Tech: Class of the ACC until further notice. Highest rank, No. 8. Lowest rank, No. 13. (94 points. Avg. rank between No. 10 and No. 11)

11. (tie) USC: Two-year bowl ban begins. Does the dynasty continue? Highest rank, No. 3. Lowest rank, No. 16. (90 points. Avg. rank No. 11)

Iowa: Sexy dark horse pick in the Big Ten. Highest rank, No. 8. Lowest rank, No. 14. (90 points. Avg. rank No. 11)

13. Wisconsin: Fresh from pounding Miami. Factor in Big Ten. Highest rank, No. 6. Lowest rank, No. 23. (82 points. Avg. rank between No. 12 and No. 13)

14. Miami: Starting to look like Canes of old. Highest rank, No. 4. Lowest rank, No. 14. (79 points. Avg. rank between No. 12 and No. 13)

15. Florida State: New coach, healthy quarterback. Great prospects. Highest rank, No. 14. Lowest rank, No. 20. (60 points, Avg. rank No. 16)

16. Arkansas: Petrino starting to work his magic with Ryan Mallett. Highest rank, No. 16. Lowest rank, No. 21. (50 points, Avg. rank between No. 17 and No. 18)

17. North Carolina: Nation's best defense? Highest rank, No. 12. Lowest rank, No. 24. (48 points. Avg. rank No. 18)

18. Pittsburgh: Coming first 10 win season since 1981. Highest rank, No. 14. Not ranked by Steele. (45 points. Avg. rank No. 17)

19. LSU: Les Miles on the hot seat? Highest rank, No. 18. Not ranked by Steele. (35 points. Avg. rank No. 19)

20. Georgia Tech:
Defending ACC champs seem to have gotten better. Highest rank, No. 13. Not ranked by Steele, Yahoo and Athlon. (30 points. Avg. rank No. 16)

21. Auburn: Chizik not ready to cede state to Alabama. Highest rank, No. 15. Not ranked by Lindy's and Yahoo. (29 points. Avg. rank between No. 18 and No. 19)

22. Penn State: JoePa going for No. 400. Highest rank, No. 18. Not ranked by Sporting News. (27 points. Avg. rank No.  20 and No. 21)

23. Georgia: New AD could be the least of Dawgs' problems. Highest rank, No. 15. Not ranked by CBSSports.com and Sporting News. (24 points. Avg. rank No. 20)

24. West Virginia: Noel Devine could carry 'Neers to a BCS bowl. Highest rank, No. 19. Not ranked by Athlon and Yahoo. (16 points. Avg. rank No. 22)

25. Oregon State: Mike Riley always has Beavers in contention. Highest rank, No. 15. Not ranked by CBSSports.com, Steele, Lindy's and Athlon. (15 points. Avg. rank between No. 18 and No. 19)

Other teams receiving votes: Notre Dame, Connecticut, Missouri, South Carolina, Cincinnati, Utah, Houston, Clemson, Arizona, Stanford, Washington, Navy.

Notes: To no one's surprise the SEC led all conferences with six teams in the top 25 (Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Georgia) ... To everyone's surprise, the ACC was second with five teams (Virginia Tech, Miami, Florida State, North Carolina, Georgia Tech) ... The Big 12 had three of the top 10 (Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska) ... The ACC, Big Ten and Big 12 each had three teams in the top 15 ... Every national champion since 1999 is represented in the top 25 ... Six states had multiple teams in the poll. Florida led all states with three (Miami, Florida, Florida State).

 

Posted on: February 10, 2010 10:30 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2010 2:02 pm
 

More expansion: A proposed new look

The Mountain West is on notice.

The Big East too.

Don’t forget the Big 12 which could be ripped asunder.

One or all of those conferences are going to be impacted if, as expected, the Pac-10 and Big Ten expand in the near future.

After writing about the big picture on Wednesday, we’re here to speculate freely about how other conferences might be impacted.

Mountain West: After leading his league to the brink of BCS automatic qualifying status, commissioner Craig Thompson has to be concerned.

A BYU-Utah defection to the Pac-10 makes a lot of sense. In basketball, the league has travel partners (Washington-Washington State, Arizona-Arizona State). The Utes and Cougars are bitter rivals but would be make ideal additions due to the far-flung nature of the league.

I still don’t know how the Pac-10 views the academic aspect of expansion, so I’m not sure how it views the combination of a state school (Utah) and what amounts to a private school (BYU). If there is a fallback, it could be San Diego State.

If the Big Ten were to take Missouri, that’s a potential three teams ripped from the Mountain West and could mean the end of the league.  The three most likely replacements would be Boise State, Fresno State and Texas-El Paso.

The best non-BCS league could find itself teetering on the edge of existence, or at least relevance.

Big 12: The biggest hit comes if both Colorado (Pac-10) and Missouri (Big Ten) leave.

If Missouri or Colorado leave, the Big 12 would go get TCU from the Mountain West. While that would wound the MWC, the league would most likely then invite Boise State.

If both Colorado and Missouri left, the Big 12 would get TCU and, maybe, Houston? Either way, the Big 12’s TV stature would shrink.

Big East: The league was almost wiped out when the ACC expanded five years ago. What happens if Pittsburgh, Syracuse or Rutgers is taken by the Big Ten?

Most likely the Big East would raid Conference USA for Central Florida. That would get the league further into Florida. UCF is third-largest school in the country (53,000) behind Ohio State and Arizona State. There's got to be some football players in there somewhere. Plus, the school has made a huge commitment to facilities.

Sooner or later doesn’t Big East football and basketball have to split? The unwieldy existence between the two sides (16 teams in basketball, only eight of which play football).

After the wounds caused by the ACC, another hit could cause the end of the Big East in football.

My latest look on how the Big Ten, Pac-10, Big 12 and MWC might look in the future.

BIG TEN 
Schembechler Division

Iowa
Missouri
Michigan
Michigan State
Minnesota
Northwestern

Grange Division
Illinois
Indiana
Ohio State
Penn State
Purdue
Wisconsin

BIG 12
North Division
Nebraska
Colorado
Kansas
Kansas State
Iowa State
TCU

South Division
Texas
Texas Tech
Texas A&M
Oklahoma
Baylor
Oklahoma State

 

PAC-10
North Division
Oregon
Oregon State
Washington State
Cal
Stanford
Washington

South Division
BYU
Utah
Arizona
Arizona State
USC
UCLA

MOUNTAIN WEST
Fresno State
Boise State
Texas-El Paso
Air Force
Wyoming
UNLV
San Diego State
New Mexico
Colorado State

 

 

Posted on: January 11, 2010 3:45 pm
 

Iowa's Amari Spievey declares for draft

The All-Big Ten cornerback is coming out.

"My time at the University of Iowa has been great and the opportunity
Coach Ferentz and defensive coordinator Norm Parker have given me has
been tremendous," Spievey said. "Even though I love being a Hawkeye,
moving on to the NFL is in my best interest."

Spievey ended his career with six interceptions (one returned for a touchdown).

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Iowa
 
Posted on: January 2, 2010 5:46 pm
 

On the ground in Cali

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – Andrew Hawtrey likes my stuff.

Who is Andrew Hartley? You know him better as the scruffy dude on those Allstate commercials, "Bergwood".  In the latest installment  Bergwood has an equally scruffy puppet on his knee hurling insults.

Yeah, I know. It’s weird but when a semi-celebrity says he likes your writing you take notice. Especially when he sits down next to you moments before the Sugar Bowl last night.

Apparently, Hawtrey/Bergwood came all the way around the Superdome to introduce himself in the press box. Who was I to be a big shot? You take compliments where you can get them.

Anyway, he’s an Iowa fan which ought to help my rep in Hawkeye Nation. If you follow my byline, I’m not exactly a favorite among Iowa readers.

I'm a State Farm guy but that’s not going to keep me from watching the commercials. They’re actually pretty good. They were filmed in the L.A. Coliseum parking lot, Hawtrey said, and were all done over a two-day period.

 The irreverent Bud Light-like quality to the ads has earned Hartley a few moments of fame. Think of him as a Spuds McKenzie for the ‘10s.

 Who can forget this classic from a recent Allstate tailgate?

 Friend: “Where did you meet your wife?”

 Bergwood: “Pilates.”

 Friend: “Ohhh, she’s from Europe.”

 Now, that’s writing. Nice to meet you, Andrew.


In other news, it's been a huge 24 hours for Florida. Hours after winning the Sugar Bowl,Urban Meyer/Steve Addazio picked up two commits out of the Under Armour All-Star -- Chris Dunkley a receiver from Pahokee, Fla. and Dominuqe Easy, a defensive linemanfrom New Jersey.

It's on to the Disneyland ESPN Zone to listen to Saban and Mack. Talk to you later.  

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Florida, Iowa
 
Posted on: December 9, 2009 12:31 pm
 

Iowa in the Fiesta

Some wishful thinking by BCS types? Read the copy.
Category: NCAAF
Tags: Iowa
 
Posted on: December 7, 2009 3:07 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2009 4:43 pm
 

The Fiesta Bowl situation

I want to believe the Fiesta Bowl is breaking new ground with matching TCU and Boise against each other. It has more than a 35-year history of thinking out of the box.

Remember Miami-Penn State in 1987? That was a Fiesta-arranged meeting between No. 1 and No. 2. Right or wrong, Louisville filled a void in 1991 when the Martin Luther King holiday controversy raged.

So what are we supposed to make of TCU-Boise State? The bowl says the game is a ratings winner for TV. The stats say that last year’s Poinsettia Bowl between the same two teams was the 15th highest rated bowl.

The bowl says it’s a chance to match up a couple of unbeaten non-BCS teams. In that sense, Orrin Hatch, the schools, the Mountain West and Congress can’t complain. The alternative was playing a two-loss team from a major conference.

That’s what TCU and Boise probably wanted but neither school can complain either. They are playing the highest ranked team available -- except that they aren’t. The ideal matchup would be TCU vs. Cincinnati. But as executive director John Junker explained Cincinnati is like a long-distance girlfriend, not very geographically desirable.

OK, so this isn’t the best matchup. It isn’t particularly a TV ratings winner either, although TCU-Cincinnati would be worse.

Here’s a working theory based on nothing but conjecture …

 There was some low-level pressure from spin doctor Ari Fleischer, the BCS’ p.r. king, to keep the kids away from the adult table. That’s assuming that Fleischer knew enough about the system to suggest a Boise-TCU game. (Nothing personal, Ari. Ninety-nine percent of the country doesn’t get the BCS.)

The point being, that such a game would reduce the yelp from critics to almost zero.

 The four BCS bowl directors “colluded” to dump TCU and Boise in the desert. That keeps the embarrassment factor for all the BCS bowls to a minimum.

 With Cincinnati, Boise and TCU in separate bowls, the possibility exists of three unsettling upsets by non-traditional programs. Now the number is down to one, if Cincy beats Florida in the Sugar Bowl.

I don’t give the BCS bowl honchos that much credit. They’re in this for the individual gain of their bowls. If they’re in the business of helping other bowls, this instance would be the first time ever.

On the other hand, the Fiesta wasn’t exactly crowing (privately, that is) about having to take Utah in 2004 and Boise in 2006. Suddenly, a school with 40,000 living alumni (TCU) and one from the Idaho hinterlands (Boise) are appointment television?

Something doesn’t fit here.

Final verdict: We’ll have to take the Fiesta at its word. At the end of the day, it’s trying to get as many people in the Valley of the Sun for as long as possible to spend a lot of money.

As a fan, the alternatives – Iowa-Boise, Iowa-TCU – don’t do much for me. We already know that Boise and TCU are probably better than Iowa.

Now if one of those schools were matched up against Florida in the Sugar Bowl?

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