Tag:Nebraska
Posted on: September 24, 2010 4:24 pm
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Mailbag 9/24


I'm going to give PlayoffPAC its due.

(cue sound of crickets chirping)

If you missed it, and you probably did, the political action committee out of Washington D.C. this week blew the lid off of the BCS bowl system. PlayoffPAC said those bowls' CEOs make too much money. They play fast and loose with their tax exempt status by offering perks and doing undisclosed lobbying. That's from the lead of the Associated Press' "exclusive" detailing PlayoffPAC's legal complaint against the Fiesta, Sugar and Orange bowls.

It probably didn't make your nightly news or even your in-box. Take the word of the Fiesta Bowl which called the accusations, "dated, tired and discredited." So why bring it up? Because I'm wondering what PlayoffPAC wants. It's one thing being a playoff proponent, it's another pouring over 2,300 pages of documents to "nail" these three bowls. Don't these people have families? I know a lot of people who favor a college football playoff. They don't have an unholy, demon-of-the-night compulsion to bring down the very system that would be the foundation of a playoff.

Look, I'll be the first one to say these bowls exist to keep themselves relevant and, yes, profitable. They think the bowl experience is unique and a playoff would wreck the system. I disagree, further evidence that no I'm a bowl honk. I've enjoyed these bowls' hospitality and stayed in really nice hotels set aside for the media. I've also walked back to my hotel at three in the morning after filing two stories on deadline. It's all part of the job. None of that changes if there is a playoff. Actually, I'm on the fence. A playoff would be fun, but it would have to be a 16-teamer from the start. Everything else has inherent exclusion problems that the PlayoffPAC folks should understand.

From what I've read in this complaint, the bowls in question look like they might have to pay a fine. If the IRS threatens to remove their tax-exempt status, then some deal will be cut. Either that or the Cotton Bowl or Gator Bowl or Chick-fil-A Bowl will take their place. But that won't happen. 

It won't happen because these bowls aren't criminal enterprises. Like it or not, they have friends in very high places whether they lobby or not. The Sugar Bowl is part of the fabric of New Orleans and the SEC. After the Cardinals and the Suns, the Fiesta Bowl might be the most significant sports entity in the Valley of the Sun. As a non-profit they have donated millions to charities.  These are institutions to their region, not Enron.

I don't think this is a big deal because virtually no other media outlet picked up on it. The Fiesta Bowl was accused of much of the same stuff in a series of Arizona Republic stories. Read the first sentence of this latest AP story.

Opponents of how college football crowns its champion accused three of the nation's premier bowls of violating their tax-exempt status by paying excessive salaries and perks, providing "sweetheart loans" and doing undisclosed lobbying.

If I didn't know better, I could have sworn they were describing the NCAA. Excessive salaries for executives? Luxury perks? The NCAA, you should know, is a non-profit too. It distributes the overwhelming majority of the money it takes it to its members. Former president Myles Brand made more than $800,000 per year. Seems a bit steep for a non-profit, don't you think? While they're at it PlayoffPAC might want to look into the tax exempt status of the 120 Division I-A schools too.

Maybe it will. Maybe this is the beginning of the end. One thing, though. I almost glossed over it. The PlayoffPAC came after three bowls with a combined age of 175 years with six lawyers and an accountant. I've seen bigger legal teams in a Grisham novel set in rural Mississippi. In the big, bad world of DC politics, this is the equivalent of a six-man football team taking on the Redskins.

Nice try, guys. You may want to wait for a book generating a lot of buzz being released next month. It's called, "Death to the BCS". A death threat? I'll read that. There might be something to it.


From: John

Please continue to pick against Nebraska. We're just a bunch of dumb farmers and bandwagoners huh? We know a thing or two about talent and teamwork.

Better Corn Fed Than Dead:

Little bit presumptuous aren't we? Nebraska has beaten two corpses (Western Kentucky, Idaho) and a Pac-10 cellar dweller. Each time Nebraska strings a couple of wins together Big Red Nation has little red kittens. How'd that Bill Callahan thing work out for you? Actually, how have the last 10 years worked out for you?

While I was more than impressed with the Washington victory, Nebraska has to get back before it can be back. Check back with me after the Texas game.

 
From: Phil

I love college football and watch games from 11 a.m. CST until midnight. Nothing personal against Boise State but I cannot stand to watch their home games on that ugly blue turf. Bad enough that the field is blue. They add to my dismay by wearing all blue uniforms. Too bad that the NCAA permits crap like this and the red field at Eastern Washington. They can penalize someone for buying a kid a hamburger but let this crap persist.

Fashionista:

That's the first I heard of an extra benefit being compared to Field Turf but what do I know?

Paint is in. Fans paint their faces. Mike Leach paints a different picture of the coaching profession. You might have heard that Oregon State painted its practice field blue this week.  That tells me the Beavers are beaten before they take the field. They're intimating that Boise's blue jerseys on the blue turf make it hard to pick up the ball. Maybe, but 63 times since 2000? That's the Broncos' home record (opposed to two losses) in the last 10 years.

Don't hate the color, hate the playah. The Broncos are darn good.


From: Steve

This year there are 35 bowl games, so 70 of 120 teams will go bowling. This probably means sub-.500 teams will be going bowling. What are the selection rules for sub-.500 teams to go to bowls? i.e. do ALL the 6-6 teams have to select first before a 5-7 teams can be selected? Can a 5-7 team from a conference with lots of bowl tie-ins be selected before a 6-6 at-large team from another conference?

Bowled Over:

Good questions. All the 6-6 teams will have to go before a 5-7 team. If there aren't enough bowl eligible teams to fill all 70 spots then a conference, or team, will have to apply to the NCAA for a waiver. They'll get it too. The NCAA has done the research and believes there will be enough .500-or-above teams. If there aren't, it's on the NCAA.

The exception might be the Sun Belt. It had its champion go to the New Orleans Bowl a few years ago at 5-6. I think it was North Texas. Sun Belt teams typically take guarantee games for the money. Sometimes good teams come into the conference season winless. Hope that helps.


From: Sam

Thought your UT Vols article was very interesting especially with the commentary from Fulmer. Phil needed to step away from the game since Tennessee had become stagnant. He would be a possible and interesting fit for Tennessee but not sure if he'd be the right one. Derek Dooley has his work cut out, but with so much promise from the first half of the Oregon game I look forward to see how all of the freshman squad grows together. I will give them a hug, most certainly! Go Vols!

Vol-ley:

It's clear that Fulmer is lobbying for the AD job. Don't know if you caught it last week but he ripped Lane Kiffin on CBS. This is a disguised shot at AD Mike Hamilton who, in hindsight, never should have hired Kiffin. I know Fulmer still wants to coach but there aren't many good fits out there for him.

I'm curious how the old coach would be accepted as the new AD.

From: Yossel

You write real good!

Yokel, er, Yossel:

You done made me proud.

 

Posted on: September 23, 2010 4:36 pm
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

The closest Alabama has come to the schedule it will face the next three weeks came in 1952. Bama faced No. 5 Georgia, No. 2 Maryland and No. 16 Auburn. The Tide could face three consecutive top 10 teams considering it plays No. 10 Arkansas, No. 9 Florida and No. 12 South Carolina in the next three weeks ... Oregon State is basically admitting that Boise's blue turf is in its head. You might have read -- how could you not? -- that Oregon State painted its practice field blue to get ready for Saturday's showdown in Boise. There is some thought that the blue turf blends in with Boise's blue home jerseys.  Maybe, but that still makes it hard to explain Boise's success at home -- 63-2 since 2000, which leads the nation. The Broncos haven't lost in blue (jerseys) on the blue (turf) since 2001 ...

Houston true freshman Terrance Broadway starts this week against Tulane. UCLA knocked out the top two quarterbacks on the depth chart, Case Keenum (knee) and Cotton Turner (collarbone), for the season ... While Florida's offense still needs to get it together, its defense has been impressive -- a nation-leading 10 interceptions and plus-7 in turnover margin ... Is there any more cursed program when it comes to running back injuries than Iowa? For the second consecutive year, Jewel Hampton will miss the season with a knee injury ... New Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Wheeler leads the country with 11 touchdown passes. Veteran Zac Robinson, since departed, threw 15 td passes all of last season. New offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen is making his mark ...

For what it's worth here are SWWL top four defenses (in random order) -- Texas, TCU, Nebraska, Alabama. Combined they have allowed 3.97 yards per play and a total of 19 touchdowns (1.18 per game) ... There's a reason Kansas may have had problem signaling in plays last Friday at Southern Miss. The Lawrence Journal-World reported that Joe Dailey, KU's on-campus recruiting coordinator, was taken off play-signaling duty prior to the game  because his role had been against NCAA rules. The NCAA states that "field level" duties are for those "who are performing a service associated with action on the field of play ..." In other words, a coach. Dailey is a former Nebraska quarterback who coached with Turner Gill at Buffalo. KU hosts New Mexico State trying to come out of the non-con 2-2 ...

Former Kansas coach Mark Mangino has not been hired by Minnesota as a consultant according to the Gophers AD. Joel Maturi denied a broadcast report that Mangino had been hired. Several outlets reported that Mangino was on the sideline during Saturday's loss to USC. Mangino resigned under pressure in December and has been residing in Naples, Fla. ... Guarantee-game fallout: Louisiana-Lafayette and Florida Atlantic are tied for the best overall record in the Sun Belt, 1-1 ... The SEC has as many teams ranked in the top 15, six, as every other BCS conference combined ... Boise is 7-17 all-time against teams from BCS conferences. Five of those wins have come since 2006 ... My picks this week. I'm really good.

Posted on: September 23, 2010 10:43 am
 

Latest Scripps Howard News Service Heisman poll

1. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan, 17 carries, 104 yards rushing, 1 TD, 10-of-14, 241 yards passing, 2 TD passes, int., 43 (7).

2. Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas, 21-of-33 passing, 380 yards, 3 TDs, 30 (2).

3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State, 20-of-30 passing, 370 yards, 2 TDs, int., 26 (1).

4. Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State, 8 carries, 35 yards, TD, 22-of-29, 235 yards passing, 2 TD passes, 2 ints., 21.

5. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford, 17-of-23, 207 yards passing, 4 TDs, 3 carries, 69 yards rushing, TD run. 5.

Other receiving votes: Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State, (4), South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore (3), Oklahoma QB Landry Jones (3), Alabama QB Greg McElroy (2), Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez (2), Alabama RB Mark Ingram (1), Kentucky WR Randall Cobb (1), Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick (1), Oregon RB LaMichael James (1).

(Scripps Howard News Service Heisman Trophy poll voters: Kirk Bohls, Austin (Texas) American-Statesman; Jimmy Burch, Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com; Vahe Gregorian, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Mike Griffith, The Knoxville (Tenn.) News-Sentinel; Michael Lewis, Salt Lake Tribune; Bob Condotta, Seattle Times; John Lindsay, Scripps Howard News Service; Tom Luicci, The (Newark) Star-Ledger; John Rohde, The Oklahoman.)
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 16, 2010 6:51 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2010 6:51 pm
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

The overflow companion piece to Friday's Weekend Watch List

Boise State has more than twice as many points in the AP poll (1,306) than the Big East and ACC combined (627) ... Arkansas has not been 3-0 since 2003 ... Speaking of which, Ryan Mallett has some monster numbers (73 percent completion rate, six touchdowns) but has yet to face a I-A opponent ...

Duke's David Cutcliffe
is a Bama grad and worked as a grad assistant for Bear Bryant. As a head coach at Ole Miss he has beaten Alabama twice. In his wallet, Cut carries a ticket stub from Nov. 28, 1981, the day Bryant became the then all-time winningest coach with his 315th victory. Cutcliffe's first game as a student assistant came 28 years ago. Alabama beat Duke ... Minus 13 those starters in the opener, North Carolina leads the nation in passing after two weeks (412 yards vs. LSU) ... Baylor is one of three teams that has not allowed a touchdown this season. (Alabama and Arizona are the others) The last time the Bears did not allow a TD in their first two games was 1960 ... Kansas State's Carson Coffman leads the Big 12 in pass efficiency. Dad Paul was an 11-year NFL veteran. Younger brother Cameron, also a quarterback, is a big-time recruit at Raymore-Peculiar (Mo.) High. Sister Camille is a freshman volleyball player at Wyoming. Another brother, Chase, was a standout tight end at Missouri ... Nebraska quarterback sensation Taylor Martinez has back-to-back 100-yard rushing games. The last time a Husker quarterback did that was 2003 ... 

Miami
returned a punt and kickoff for a touchdown in the same game last week for the first time in the same game (last week vs. Ohio State). According to Miami sports information no team in the last 15 years has scored on a kickoff and punt return as well as a 50-yard-plus field goal in the same game ... There are as many underclassmen quarterbacks (freshmen and sophomores) in the top 13 in rushing as there are senior running backs (three each) ... Lost in the flurry of I-AA upsets was Liberty. The Flames beat Ball State last week 27-23. That was Liberty's second win over a I-A school in its history, its first in 21 years. The Flames are ranked 14th in I-AA. Each one of the other I-AA teams to beat I-As this season are also ranked ... Not surprisingly, UCLA leads the Pac-10 with seven turnovers. Only New Mexico has more (eight) ... San Diego State (at Missouri) has finished 105th or lower in rushing each of the last three seasons. It is currently 21st. The Aztecs' eight rushing touchdowns matches their 2009 total. San Diego State is 2-0 for the first time since 1994. 
Posted on: September 1, 2010 2:30 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 4:02 pm
 

Big Ten divisional announcement special

Give the Big Ten credit for building the hype.

The league will announce the much-awaited divisions for 2011 going forward during what is being called a "divisional alignment special" at 7 pm ET Wednesday night. There is already speculation and a report out there that Michigan and Ohio State are in different divisions.

The other key issue is when that game will be played. There is much consternation over moving "The Game" from its traditional spot during the last weekend in November. The 90-minute special will feature ADs Gene Smith (Ohio State), Dave Brandon (Michigan), Mark Hollis (Michigan State) and Tom Osborne (Nebraska).

If you want to assume that a pair of schools are being represented, go ahead. 

My divisions: 

East (or Hayes) Division

Ohio State
Purdue
Minnesota
Wisconsin
Illinois
Penn State

West (or Schembechler) Division

Michigan
Indiana
Iowa
Nebraska
Northwestern
Michigan State

It appears that the Big Ten has used the "zipper" plan that essentially separates rivals. That makes it easier for the so-called 5-3-1 model. Five games against teams in your division, a set of three rotating games against teams from the opposite division and a designated rival. That would be a game played each year.

In my divisional alignment, Ohio State and Michigan would play each year along with Purdue-Indiana, Iowa-Minnesota, Michigan State-Penn State, Wisconsin-Nebraska and Illinois-Northwestern.
 

Posted on: August 31, 2010 11:53 am
 

Son of 25 Things to Watch

These five "things" didn't make the cut ....

26. This is the best, most-inside look at Nebraska's move to the Big Ten. The Omaha World-Herald piece shows that Nebraska was tipped off in January about possibly being left out as conference shifting took place. From there, the school played a risky, clandestine mating dance with the Big Ten that resulted in the school joining on June 11.

27. Odds on winning the national championship from Bodog.com

Alabama 4-1
Ohio State 5-1
Oklahoma 15-2
Boise State 8-1
Florida 9-1
Texas 14-1
Nebraska 15-1
Miami 18-1
TCU 18-1
Virginia Tech 18-1


In case you're scoring at home, Boise State has a better chance of winning the national chanmpionship than Florida, Texas, Nebraska or Miami.

28. Just in case you need help getting into the 2010 Heisman race, Texas coach Mack Brown says the 2004 Heisman race might not be over. 

29. Most fearsome ...

Defensive line: Iowa returns four all-Big Ten starters and its top two reserves. Only two players rushed for 100 yards against the Hawkeyes last year.

Offensive line: Alabama. Having the defending Heisman Trophy winner and his sidekick (Trent Richardson) to spring lose, how hard can it be?

Secondary: North Carolina. All four starters are back (for now) on a unit that allowed 175 passing yards per game.

Offensive backfield:  Virginia Tech. Tyrod Taylor is ready to break out. Tailback Darren Evans returns to find his spot taken by '09 freshman sensation Ryan Williams. The only question for Frank Beamer is how to split the carries.

Defensive backfield: Texas. Three starters back from a unit that picked off 11 more passes (25) than touchdowns allowed (14).

Linebackers: Michigan State. Big Ten defensive player of the year and All-American Greg Jones is in the middle. He is bookended by Spartans' No. 2 tackler Eric Gordon and talented sophomore Chris Norman. 

Receivers:
Oklahoma. Four receivers averaged at least 12 yards per catch. Watch tiny Ryan Broyles who went over 1,000 yards on 89 catches.

Special teams: Nebraska. Alex Henery handles the kicking (24 of 28 FGs) and punts (41.4). Adi Kunalic has 86 career touchbacks, 38 percent of his kickoffs. Niles Paul averaged 28 yards per kickoff return and 10.7 on punt returns.

30. Comeback player of the year

Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder rebounded from shoulder surgery. Auburn's Zac Etheridge came back from a serious neck injury. Baylor's Robert Griffin ripped his ACL in the third game of the season.  Georgia Tech defensive back Cooper Taylor needed heart surgery .

They're all back in 2010 but the winner has to be Boston College's Mark Herzlich who beat cancer and inspired a nation during his recovery -- part of which was televised.

Posted on: August 20, 2010 5:22 pm
 

Big 12 ADs discuss starting cable network

Eight Big 12 athletic directors met with a media rights holder Friday morning to discuss forming their own cable network.

Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Iowa State, Colorado, Missouri and Kansas State had discussions Learfield Sports, a Plano, Texas-based company that manages the multimedia rights for more than 50 universities nationwide. Texas A&M AD Bill Byrne has talked and tweeted about the meeting publicly. The move is not related to any conference shifting, but is seen as a new revenue stream.

"[People are] interested in creating a cable network for the conference," Byrne told CBSSports.com. "It's something I'm quite interested in ... It's something that our fans are going to be demanding sooner rather than later."

This is the conference's last season as a 12-team league. Nebraska is headed to the Big Ten in 2011. Colorado is leaving for the Pac-10 in either 2011 or 2012. It wasn't immediately clear what Colorado was doing at the meeting if it is soon leaving the league.

Texas' rights are not handled by Learfield. The school has made it clear it wants to develop its own channel or network.

"If they can pull that off, my hat's off to them," Byrne said. "We're just having preliminary discussions right now to gauge the level of interest."

Experts have said the success of a college sports cable network hinge on the number of football and men's basketball games it can broadcast. Fox Sports, ESPN and ABC own those Big 12 rights. Byrne said there could be some flexibility in new negotiations. The Big 12 has been promised upwards of $20 million annually per team in the new round of negotiations which begin next year.

"That's what you have to have to have a successful cable channel," Byrne said. "You have to have football and a handful of men's basketball games."

Learfield played down the meeting.

"It caused a lot of questions [from media]," a spokesman said. "It was nothing out of the ordinary. It wasn't anything top secret."

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