Tag:Wisconsin
Posted on: October 2, 2010 11:23 am
Edited on: October 2, 2010 11:46 am
 

Dantonio out today

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio began complaining of disomfort in a leg on Thursday. That's what led to the decision to admit him to a hospital causing the coach to miss today's home game against Wisconsin.

Dantonio has a blood clot in a leg that doctors say is not uncommon following a heart attack. He had planned on coaching the team from the press box.

To be on the safe side, doctors suggested he sit out one more week. The team was not told about Dantonio's absence until after Friday night's meetings shortly before curfew. Previous to telling the entire team, Dantonio had told his coaches, captains and a select number of players on a team leadership council. 


The coach could return next week when Michigan State visits Michigan. Dantonio suffered a heart attack two weeks ago following the team's victory over Notre Dame.

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 9, 2010 5:29 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2010 9:37 am
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

(Overflow from Friday's Weekend Watch List)

How arrogant is LeBron James? You may have heard he is thinking about attending the Miami-Ohio State. Heaven help him if the Miami Heat star watches Miami win. It's 105,000-1. No matter what Jim Tressel says, there will be a much of hacked off Bucknuts ... San Jose State goes to Wisconsin with the distinction of having played more ranked non-conference opponents in the first two weeks of the season (two, counting Alabama) than the Badgers have in the last eight years (one). The Spartans are playing back-to-back home games in the Central Time Zone for the first time since 1999 ... Oklahoma has a nation-best 31-game home winning streak ... Texas A&M ran 99 plays against Stephen F. Austin, the most in the nation last week ... The Big 12 is back to being a running league. For a week. Three backs went over 200 yards last week for the first time since 1998 ... In Rick Neuheisel's 26 games at UCLA (hosting Stanford), he has beaten two with winning records at the end of the season -- Tennessee in first season and Temple in last year's EagleBank Bowl ... Part of an explanation, sort of, for the poor showing against Miami (Ohio).  Florida played 15 true freshman last week. That was the most of any team in the country ... The Boise State-Virginia Tech game was the most-viewed regular-season game in ESPN history (7.2 million viewers).

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 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 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: April 20, 2010 4:47 pm
 

Pac-10 schedule breakdown

The best thing about the Pac-10 is that it plays a true round-robin with only three, usually strong, non-conference games.

The worst thing about the Pac-10 is that is plays a true round-robin with only three, usually strong, non-conference games.

Ask the coaches.

While the Pac-10 produces a "true" champion, there are plenty of reasons to question the scheduling philosophy. The unbalanced schedule means nine conference games. Half of the league is playing four conference home games and five away games. That puts more pressure on getting just the right mix of three non-conference games. Six Pac-10 teams will be playing I-AA teams this season. Arizona State is playing two. USC gets a 13th game this season by playing in Hawaii and is still playing seven road games.

That means there are plenty of land mines out there for the contenders and a chance for the Pac-10 to drop off the national title radar this season. Even with the loss of Jeremiah Masoli, Oregon will be favored. The Ducks, though, still have to travel to USC and Oregon State as well as Tennessee in the non-conference.

If the Pac-10 expands -- a decision is coming soon -- it probably will have to abandon the round-robin scheduling format.  It might not be such a bad thing to add a winnable non-conference game and drop a conference game that could ruin your season.

Game of the year:  (non-conference) Notre Dame at USC, Nov. 27. There are other tasty games (UCLA at Texas, Oregon State at Boise, Oregon State vs. TCU in Arlington, Texas), but it's never bad to go with tradition.

Neither the Irish nor the Trojans will likely be favored to win any championships this season. That's hardly the point. There's a new coach on each side in this game for the first time since 1941 (Sam Barry and Frank Leahy). USC's current winning streak over Notre Dame (eight) is a game more than Lane Kiffin has won (seven as a college coach).  Brian Kelly tries to  bring the zone read option to a program that is searching for an identity.

Heismans are won and souls are crushed in this game. You have to watch.

 

Game of the year: (conference)  Oregon at Oregon State, Dec. 4. The Civil War reached new heights last season when the Ducks were featured on a Thursday night in their road to the Rose Bowl. It's hard to describe the intensity in this game but when it makes an impression on the Big Ten commissioner who know it's special.

"The games that were regional became national," said Delany speaking about the BCS has been able to highlight certain games. "Once they got me to watch Oregon-Oregon State, they got me to watch other games."


Team on the spot:  Arizona State. Three years ago the Sun Devils actually won a share of the Pac-10. Since then, they are 9-15. Only six of those victories have come against BCS conference schools. Dennis Erickson's star has faded fast. No one is expecting the Sun Devils to do much this season. With two I-AAs on the schedule (Portland State and Northern Arizona), a bowl is a must isn't it?


Toughest non-conference schedule:
UCLA. It's all about momentum. In his third season, Rick Neuheisel has to have it. By the first week of October he could lose it.

An 0-4 start is a definite possibility. There are no breathers in the non-non which is broken up by an early conference opener in the second week against Stanford at the Rose Bowl.

I dare any team to try this September schedule in consecutive weeks:

Sept. 4 -- at Kansas State. The improving Wildcats came within a game of winning the Big 12 North last season. Under Bill Snyder at this point they are capable of beating anyone outside the top 10. UCLA needs to mature in a hurry on offense. If it doesn't in this game, it could be another lost season.

Sept. 11 -- Stanford.  This was supposed to be an off field before it got switched for television. (Stanford was originally scheduled for Oct. 16) At least the Bruins get the Cardinal at home before (perhaps) the Pac-10's best quarterback, Andrew Luck, can get on a roll.

Sept. 18 -- Houston. This is the real WTF? Houston beat Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Mississippi State on its way to a 10-win season last year. Case Keenum sure as heck isn't going to be intimidated by the Rose Bowl. This is a pick-'em at best, a Houston victory if Keenum heats up. This is the beginning of a two for one and gives the Bruins some face time in Texas, but wedged in where it is ... tough, tough, tough.

Sept. 25 -- at Texas. More face time in Texas but this is not the game you need at this time. Mack Brown has promised that the offense will become more physical this season. The Bruins better muscle up on D coming off meetings with Luck and Keenum.
 

Easiest non-conference schedule: Arizona State. As mentioned, Portland State and Northern Arizona kick off the season. That means the Sun Devils will have to win seven this season to go to a bowl game. It can count only one I-AA against bowl eligibility.

Reality sets in the next week at Wisconsin.

 

 

 

Posted on: March 2, 2010 11:20 am
Edited on: March 3, 2010 11:04 am
 

Big Ten expansion at the speed of light ...

If this were a child birth, the head would be showing.

Big Ten expansion is moving along faster than Joy Behar's mouth. The Chicago Tribune is reporting that it makes financial sense for the league to add any one of at least five candidates -- Notre Dame, Missouri, Rutgers, Syracuse or Pittsburgh.

The story goes on to say those are only the "obvious" candidates. There could be others. In a sidebar, Rutgers is identified as the favorite! Missouri is second and Pittsburgh is third.

Whoa, slow down. I thought we were only in the discussion stage. Based on what has broken in the last few days, we're going to know a 12th Big Ten/11 team by the summer. Maybe more. The league isn't going to necessarily stop at one. If the Big 12 and Big East weren't on alert before, they are now.

This report answers a key question I had about this whole thing: Which of those schools bring enough to the table financially to guarantee a minimum $22 million payout per year. This tells me that the Big Ten TV partners -- Big Ten Network, CBS and ABC/ESPN -- have signed off on expansion as a profit center.

The Big Ten has hired an investment firm to analyze candidates. Last week Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez was quoted as saying the league had hired a research firm to look at 15 potential candidates. Alvarez the right school or schools would have to "buy their way in" to the Big Ten.

At least he was being honest about it.

I talked to a source familiar with the Pac-10 who said he isn't sure that league will do anything. Unlike the Big Ten, there aren't the slam dunk candidates out there. Utah and Colorado, for example, don't deliver that much to a 12-team league even with the addition of a championship game. He reminded me that Pac-10 fans, in general, don't travel well. What if you have, say, an Arizona-Stanford championship game?

Here's my overview from last month.

Keep those seat belts fastened. There's going to be turbulence. For sure.

 

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