Posted on: September 22, 2010 12:05 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2010 12:09 pm

National notes

Heart attacks can happen to anyone. Young, old. Physically fit, physically decrepit. That's why our thoughts and prayers should rightfully go to Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio.

But the idea that coaches face any more stress than the rest of us is laughable. If anything, coaches should be healthier than the general public. They control their hours. They are around trainers, doctors and elite athletes all day. There is a weight room right around the corner. Sure Dick Vermeil coined the term "burn out" but most of us don’t' have the luxury of quitting our jobs, doing TV for 16 years and getting into wine collecting.

Take a moment and think about the poor slob, trying to make the mortgage and putting two kids through college. He's burned out every day.  He doesn't get a trip to Hawaii from Nike in the offseason. Heck, he doesn't have an offseason. So let's not go nuts here. There are some coaches, Steve Spurrier and Bob Stoops among them, who don't believe that more is better.

Dantonio's heart attack spurred a rash of cliché coaches-need-to-take-care-of-themse
lves stories this week. Thankfully, in general, most coaches responded the same way as Michigan's Rich Rodriguez.

"There are a lot of stressful jobs out there," he said.

**On June 11, Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman and AD Tom Osborne stood before the Nebraska board of regents and ranted.

"One school leaving a conference does not break up a conference. Two schools leaving a conference does not break up a conference," Osborne said. "Six schools leaving a conference, breaks up a conference. We have not had a hidden agenda, we have not dealt with more than one conference."

They were talking about Texas. It was half theater (the board voted unanimously for Nebraska to join the Big Ten) and half political. In that same meeting, Perlman added that his school didn't owe the Big 12 a dime for leaving the conference. Remember, this was in the middle of the Pac-10's failed raid on half of the Big 12.

From a legal standpoint, Nebraska wanted to position itself as having been pushed out of the Big 12 because of the wandering eyes of Texas and the five other schools pursued by the Pac-10. Colorado and Nebraska left the Big 12 on consecutive days. The next order of business was determining how much each school owed the Big 12 for departing. League bylaws state that a school that gives only one year's notice, it must sacrifice 80 percent of its conference revenue share.

Perlman knew there would probably come a day when his school would negotiate some sort of exit fee. When it did, Perlman wanted to save as much money as possible. He was already on record as saying his team was forced out.  Nebraska no doubt would have cited Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe's assertion, on the day Nebraska left for the Big Ten, that the Big 12 would be better off with 10 teams. The Big 12's case would have been bolstered by a report that Nebraska had been sending feelers to the Big Ten since January. 

Faced with the prospect of a protracted court battle, what happened Tuesday was a mutually negotiated divorce. A mediator was brought in work with Colorado, Nebraska and the Big 12 over a two-day period, according to the Boulder (Colo.) Camera. As late as Saturday Colorado apparently still hadn't taken advantage of a standing Pac-10 offer to "finance" the Big 12 buyout by withholding future Pac-10 revenues. The Pac-10 had offered up to a $10 million loan to help CU with the exit fees, the Camera reported.

The Big 12 settled for only half of the money owed it when Nebraska agreed to pay the league $9.2 million. Colorado paid less, only $6.9 million, because it had said all along it was joining the Pac-10 in 2012. Plus, its revenue take in the Big 12 was less than Nebraska's.

Remember this when you next read about buyout clauses and exit fees. They mean little. They are meant to compensate current members, not keep schools in a league. If a school really wants to leave, it will leave. Everything can be negotiated. If it isn't, there's always court.

**The news last week that Penn State is adding hockey had an interesting Notre Dame twist.

With Penn State there are now six Big Ten teams that sponsor men's hockey, the NCAA minimum. Commissioner Jim Delany has been enthusiastic about forming a Big Ten hockey league. The other five Big Ten hockey members compete in NCAA power conferences -- Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State in the CCHA; Wisconsin and Minnesota in the WCHA.

Notre Dame also competes in the CCHA. The hockey Irish might have no choice but to join the Big Ten in hockey if Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State decide to leave the CCHA. In essence, it would be the hockey version of the recent college football realignment. Would Notre Dame playing Big Ten hockey be part of a larger move for all of the Irish's sports? The school already plays in three other leagues (Big East, CCHA and Midwest Fencing Conference) for its other  sports.

**How underachieving has Florida's offense been to this point? Mississippi State, which threw five interceptions against LSU, is ranked significantly higher (No. 70) than the Gators (92nd) in total offense. Only five other BCS conference schools average fewer yards than Florida -- UCLA, Kansas, Vanderbilt, Oregon State and Maryland.  That's after the Gators have played Miami (Ohio), South Florida and Tennessee.

**So much for losing nine defensive starters. Alabama is back in the top 10 (ninth) in total defense.

Posted on: September 12, 2010 11:38 am

The Day After in CFB

The day the ACC died: OK, maybe too harsh but it was certainly one of the worst days in ACC football since expansion.  All four ranked teams lost -- No.  12 Miami (to No. 2 Ohio State); No. 13 Virginia Tech (to James Madison); No. 15 Georgia Tech (to Kansas) and No. 17 Florida State (to No. 10 Oklahoma). The rest of the league (unranked teams) was 4-1. Overall, the ACC was 4-5.

It could get worse next week: Cincinnati plays at NC State on Thursday. On Saturday, Clemson is at Auburn, Duke hosts Alabama, BYU comes to Florida State, Maryland is at West Virginia and East Carolina goes to Virginia Tech.

Get your No. 16 jersey, while they last: If Denard Robinson isn't hot enough, check out what may be a bit of foreshadowing from the Michigan Daily.

YouTube sensations: The two most jaw-dropping plays of the day. Kyle Rudolph's catch and run vs. Michigan and LaMichael James' incredible run against Tennessee.

Rockin' the mic: Following an embarrassing 35-0 home-opening loss to Stanford, UCLA's Rick Neuheisel grabbed a microphone and addressed the Rose Bowl crowd. "We'll get better," he said, "We can't get any worse that we were tonight ... I promise you, we will not give up. We'll be back."

It suddenly seems like a long time since Neuheisel led a pep rally after his first game. It's been only two years.

Miami fans never cease to amaze: While there only seemed to be 3,000-5,000 in the stands at Ohio Stadium, they made themselves known. The kid at the Columbus airport was interesting. Cut into the back of his head by an enterprising barber: "U Swag"

Posted on: September 8, 2010 10:42 am

Lew Perkins' legacy at Kansas

All you really have is your resume – what you’ve done and what people think you can do. Friends and co-workers can make favorable comments about your work habits, but, really, all you have is your accomplishments.

Lew Perkins had a staggering resume. He was a power broker, not unlike an old-time party boss. As he leaves Kansas this week, a full year in advance of his planned retirement as athletic director, Perkins can be proud of overseeing two major-college basketball powers – Connecticut and Kansas. He flat-out put both football programs on the map – UConn as a start-up in football as it transitioned from I-AA to I-A. Under Perkins, Kansas went to its second major bowl in football in 40 years.

He leaves, though, somewhat in disgrace. The FBI is looking into a ticket scam that may have cost the school $3 million. The state ethics commission was looking into Perkins’ dealings.

Here’s the question for Kansas fans: If seven years ago someone had told you that in exchange for a national championship in hoops and an Orange Bowl win, the FBI would be at your front door, would you take it?

If you say no, Kansas fan, you’re lying. Perkins made Kansas athletics better – doubling the budget, overseeing impressive first-class facilities. Perkins inherited Mark Mangino and made the right decision, at the time, to keep him. Mangino was extended twice by Perkins and eventually delivered with that Orange Bowl. Was Mangino hard to manage? Absolutely. But if anything Perkins should be credited for trying to get his coach to change his alleged anger management problems. In the end, the winning percentage trumped everything. Kansas lost its last seven games of 2009 making it a way easier to ease out Mangino.

That’s the way it works in college athletics. Perkins’ “winning percentage” had slipped below .500. It was his time to leave. The ultimate power broker is gone. Kansas became a better place when he was there.  

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: June 13, 2010 8:58 pm

Expand-O-Meter, Sunday, June 13

Days college athletics has been held hostage (since Big Ten announced expansion exploration on Dec. 15): 180

Having a good day: The guy who invented the Intensive Care Unit. That's where the Big 12 is right now. As of Sunday evening, the patient had a pulse. There were reports of a last-ditch effort to save the Big 12 that has 10 as opposed to the Big Ten that has 12. The 10 remaining Big 12 schools were trying to rustle up some TV numbers that would be agreeable to everyone. One problem: The current number being thrown out is $17 million per school. That's the same number the Pac-10 has figured for a 16-team league even before it goes out to bid.

Having the bad day: Texas is going to get paid one way or another in the big picture, but it won't be playing in the College World Series. Just like college athletics, Texas owns Omaha. The baseball Horns are one of the most frequent visitors to the CWS. Sunday's super regional elimination by TCU avoided a potentially embarrassing situation: Texas playing in front of Nebraska fans a few days after the Huskers left/were forced to leave for the Big Ten.

Quote of the day: "Contrary to a published report, TCU would not lobby against another institution possibly seeking membership in the Mountain West Conference." --statement from TCU after a report that the school was against the Mountain West adding Baylor. More than a few Froggies remember that Baylor was included in original Big 12 formation, rather than TCU.

Link of the day: You can track Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott's tour of Utah, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas here. Oregon booster and former AD Pat Kilkenny lent his plane to Scott and deputy commish Kevin Weiberg for what are reportedly campus visits to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Texas. At least. It is not known if any formal invites were issued. Still up in the air -- along with Air Scott -- was Texas A&M which, as of Sunday night, was still trying to decide between the Pac-10 and SEC.  According to flightaware.com, Air Scott landed Sunday night at Kansas City International. That would suggest that Kansas is next on the list. If A&M goes to the SEC then the thinking goes that the last invite would go to either Kansas or Utah.

On tap: Me, on vacation. See you in two weeks. Please have this realignment thing cleared up by then.

Posted on: June 9, 2010 11:11 pm
Edited on: June 10, 2010 6:20 am

Expand-O-Meter, Wed. June, 9

Days college athletics has been held hostage (since Big Ten announced expansion exploration on Dec. 15): 176
Who is having the best day: The Big East. Yes, the Big East. With Nebraska seemingly headed to the Big Ten, that hastens the breakup of the Big 12. Where do the castoffs end up? Try the mortally wounded Big East. Think of a nine-team Big East that would include Connecticut, Louisville, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor and Iowa State. Is this a BCA league or not? With the collapse of the Big 12 taking away a BCS spot, how could it not be?

Who is having the worst day: Missouri. I am on campus at the moment and this place is sweating mortar rounds. With the Big Ten seemingly expanding in stages the process has a "Price Is Right" feel to it ("Come on down!"). Missouri is worried it is going to be left out having not received an invite as of Wednesday night. With its current conference all but dead, Missouri could go from Big 12 darling to Mountain West bait.

Quote of the day: "Multiple sources have indicated ..." -- multiple outlets have written in the frenzy to nail down the Nebraska-to-the-Big Ten story.
Link of the day:
Get used to more of this.

What's on tap: The Nebraska board of regents meet on Friday. Bring a cooler, a lawn chair and some brats. It's tailgating in June as the Huskers officially join the big Ten.

A final thought: If someone told you 15 years ago when the Big 12 formed that something called Orangebloods.com would chronicle the demise of the conference, you'd say: What's this Internet thing?

Posted on: June 1, 2010 6:21 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2010 6:32 pm

Kansas could be the latest Big 12 school looking

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Big 12 may have another member's loyalty to worry about when it comes to a long-term commitment.

Kansas AD Lew Perkins hinted strongly Tuesday that his school has been contacted by at least one other conference recently as expansion mania rages. Twice during a 26-minute press conference at the Big 12 spring meetings Perkins seemed to leave the door open for Kansas' future.

Asked directly whether his school had been contacted by another conference, Perkins said: "I won't go into any detail...People call me, I call on them. We're communicating."

Near the end of the press conference, Perkins was asked if Kansas would listen if the Big Ten called.

"How do you know they haven't called us [already]?"  he teased.

So, have they?

"I want you to think about my question back to you," Perkins said.

Those comments don't necessarily mean Kansas is going anywhere. On the surface, KU is not exactly dealing from a position of strength. It has neither the market nor the football program that would seemingly be attractive to the Big Ten.

But Perkins' comments have to add another layer of angst for a conference worried about its future. Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe has suggested he will issue an in-or-out ultimatum this week to schools with wandering eyes. Obviously, he is referring to Nebraska and Missouri which have been mentioned prominently as Big Ten candidates.

The Big 12 would be impacted severely if those schools left for the Big Ten. On the other hand, the league could get along with 10 teams and maybe even prosper more than it is now. With only 10 mouths to feed, a new lucrative TV contract could be negotiated next year.

The Big 12 is the nation's biggest example at the moment of every-man-for-himself in the conference carousel. It could be poached on the East by the Big Ten and on the West by the Pac-10. As long as big dogs Texas and Oklahoma hang on, the Big 12 seemingly will stay viable. If not, well, Texas AD DeLoss Dodds didn't exactly pledge loyalty Tuesday when he said that the Longhorns "...are going to be a player in whatever happens."

It's all a matter of who has the leverage. Texas' is the richest athletic department in the country. Missouri has 2.5 million virgin households potentially for the Big Ten Network. Nebraska is a name brand that could turn on televisions all over the country.

Kansas? A top-five basketball program and a mediocre football program reside in one of the nation's least populated states.

"I'm worried every day about what is going to happen...," Perkins said. "This is serious, serious, serious stuff."

Perkins admitted he was distracted by a couple of recent scandals at the school and hadn't been fully focused on the expansion issue. The school reacted to ticket scam last week that may have cost the school between $1 million-$3 million in scalped tickets. Perkins also said he couldn't go into detail regarding an ongoing blackmail investigation. Perkins filed a police report in April over a dispute regarding workout equipment that had been lent to him.

"The future of Kansas and 200 other universities in this country is expansion and affiliation ...," Perkins added. "The Big Ten has been in existence for 100 years. The Pac-10 for 100 years [actually only 32 years]. If you really analyze us, we're [Big 12] teenagers. We're just young kids. This is me saying this: I want to grow old with all my siblings."

The meetings conclude on Friday.


Category: NCAAF
Posted on: May 17, 2010 7:16 pm
Edited on: May 17, 2010 9:50 pm

Expansion notes while heading to Chicago

...for the Big Ten spring meetings

Buried in a recent story Chronicle of Higher Education story is the basic reason the Big Ten is expanding. Jim Delany and his BCS commissioner peers don't want to share the equity and brands they've built up over decades with programs that have been good for mere years.

Delany: "Essentially these decisions are local ... The schools are serving stakeholders -- coaches, athletes and fans, in some respects, not stockholders. And so there is always a stakeholder to make a claim on resources. Whether it's to have the best law school or the best medical school, no one questions that kind of competition. No one questions that Harvard or Texas have a [big] endowment and don't share it with Hofstra and South Alabama.

"But intercollegiate athletics is sort of unique in that institutions that have certain advantages -- based on demographics or history or tradition or fan base -- somehow are seen as the source of resources for others that do not [have them].

 "I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon, but there's certainly a lot of gnashing of teeth, like why doesn't the Rose bowl spread its revenue around to Boise State? Well, partially because we developed it. We built it, it's our tradition, and to the extent that it's successful, it's successful for our institutions. So that's essentially a home-rule approach. I think it's an honest approach. I don't think there's anything wrong with money, but life's a lot easier when you have than when you don't."

 Several reports state the Mountain West presidents will consider inviting Boise State from the WAC next month. The presidents will meet in early June with the Boise State issue high on the agenda.

The Mountain West is seeking to bolster its BCS profile and could get a huge boost by adding the Broncos. The conference could earn a temporary, automatic BCS bid in 2012 and 2013. On the other side of that is possible attrition. Boise State could be joining a league that could possibly lose any one or all of the following: Utah, TCU and BYU.

Boise would have to be invited by July 1 for its record to count toward that 2012-2013 BCS goal.

 The Fiesta Bowl and University of Phoenix Stadium are diving into the neutral site pool.

 Here is Big 12 revenue distribution as of 2007. Note that no two schools in the league equal what one Big Ten school per year these days, $22 million.

1. Texas, $10.2 million
2. Oklahoma, $9.8 million
3. Kansas, $9.24 million
4. Texas A&M, $9.22 million
5. Nebraska, $9.1 million
6. Missouri, $8.4 million
7. Texas Tech, $8.23 million
8. Kansas State, $8.21 million
9. Oklahoma State, $8.1 million
10. Colorado, $8 million
11. Iowa State, $7.4 million
12. Baylor, $7.1 million

Source: Omaha World-Herald

 The Chicago Tribune said last week that the $22 million in revenue earned each year by each Big Ten school could double by 2015-16. Also, according to the Trib, look for more weeknight games by the Big Ten.  The league traditionally didn't play weeknight games but recently changed its stance because of the advantage of stand-alone game/commercials promoting the Big Ten. Both Ohio State and Indiana will kick off the season with games on the night of Sept. 2.

Posted on: May 13, 2010 4:00 pm

KC Sports Commission reaches out to Missouri

University of Missouri officials will meet with the Kansas City Sports Commission Thursday afternoon, CBSSports.com has learned, in what looks like an attempt to determine the school's future plans regarding the Big Ten.

Kevin Gray, president of the sports commission, will meet with Missouri athletic director Mike Alden, chancellor Brady Deaton and system president Gary Forsee. The 44-year-old commission promotes sports events in the area and has been the engine behind landing and keeping Big 12 events in Kansas City over the years. 

Kansas City has been a center of the Big 12 conference since its beginning in 1996. That center could fall apart if Missouri and/or Nebraska go to the Big Ten. The commission has an interest in expansion because the Big 12 basketball tournament and Big 12 football championship game have been played at in Kansas City at various times during the league's 14-year history.

In addition, the Missouri-Kansas football game has risen to new heights since moving to Arrowhead Stadium since 2007. If the tournament and championship leave town, Thursday's meeting could be related to keeping that Missouri-KU game in Kansas City.

Alden confirmed the meeting, saying there were similar meetings scheduled with Kansas and Kansas State.

"It was more that the Kansas City Sports Commission was going to reach out to a number of schools in the Big 12," said Alden. He added that the meetings were suggested by Kansas AD Lew Perkins, Kansas State AD John Currie and Alden.

Alden said other cities seeking Big 12 events such as St. Louis and Oklahoma City have visited Big 12 campuses in the past.

The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. ET


Category: NCAAF
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