Tag:Colorado
Posted on: March 8, 2010 9:37 pm
 

Big 12 schedule analysis

(This is next installment of a continuing series analyzing the 2010 schedules of the BCS conferences)

You thought the Big 12 has been good lately? Year 15 of the conference kicks off with three familiar names at the top. At least two of the three are familiar.

Even with the loss of Colt McCoy, Texas never rebuilds (or is never allowed to). Oklahoma is over the loss of Sam Bradford as Landry Jones begins his first full season as starter. Nebraska is a fallen power making the long, slow slog back to the top. It hopes. But the Huskers are all the buzz coming off a 10-win season and sporting one of the nation's defenses -- even without a boy named Suh.

Elsewhere, there is depth throughout the Big 12. Missouri has established itself as a top 25 team every year. Texas Tech can only get better under Tommy Tuberville after Mike Leach's conduct going out the door almost ripped the program apart. Oklahoma State isn't going away with the Boone Pickens pipeline still running and Texas A&M is making strides, at least offensively. Baylor gets Robert Griffin back trying to end that pesky 15-year bowl-less streak.

Expect another national championship run, by some league team or another. A Big 12 team has been in five of the last seven BCS title games.

Game of the year: (non-conference) Florida State at Oklahoma, Sept. 11. In a sense, the suspense has been building for a decade. These teams last met in the 2000 BCS title game. Florida State is a shell of itself. Oklahoma not quite as strong as in the past. Watch for a rare Stoops vs. Stoops matchup. This time it's Oklahoma's Bob against FSU's Mark, the Seminoles new defensive coordinator. But there's so much more at stake here. This is essentially Jimbo Fisher's first real test (the opener is against Samford). It comes on the road in one of the game's most revered temples. We know FSU can score with Christian Ponder and other significant weapons. But for the Seminoles to get back to the top, it must start stopping people. God bless Mickey Andrews, but his final defense stunk. It's up to you, Mark.

Game of the year: (conference) Oklahoma vs. Texas, Oct. 16. As goes the Red River Shootout, so goes the Big 12. Or so it seems. The winner of this game usually has the inside track to the Big 12 South and national championship contention. Texas is a roll having won four of the last five. Included in that streak is two Big 12 titles, two national championship berths, one national championship. Or as they call it in Austin, "Doing pretty good lately."

Team on the spot: Nebraska. After a 10-win, Holiday Bowl-winning season in Bo Pelini's second year, we're all wondering if the Huskers are truly back. The Flying Pelinis will go into 2010 as favorites to win the North. At least. The next step is to win the Big 12 for the first time since 1999. Nebraska was one playmaker on offense -- one -- away from beating Texas last season. Armed with a fearsome defense, the only question for Pelini is whether his offense can score enough to make 10-2 a reality. Nebraska almost pulled off the upset last year. The toughest games (Texas, Missouri) are at home. Oklahoma is off the regular-season schedule.

Toughest non-conference schedule: Colorado. No surprise here. The Buffs haven't backed off in the non-con since the Bill McCartney days. Good for building a program, not good for keeping your job. Dan Hawkins starts a win-or-else season with Colorado State, Cal, Hawaii and Georgia outside of the Big 12. That's a blood rival, a Pac-10 team that tied USC for third in the Pac-10 and a Georgia team on the rebound. The only game you'd feel confident of putting in the win column is Hawaii and even that might be a stretch. CSU has split the last four meetings. CU has split the last four against the Pac-10 on the road but hasn't won in a Pac-10 stadium since 2004. Georgia is an SEC powerhouse coming off a down year but will be favored in Boulder. A 3-1 start is recommended. A 2-2 beginning might not be enough for Hawkins who has to play Missouri, Oklahoma and Nebraska on the road.

Easiest non-conference schedule: Missouri. The Tigers have beaten Illinois five consecutive times. McNeese State has never beaten a team from a current BCS conference. San Diego State last beat a team from a current BCS conference in 1999. Miami (Ohio) has lost 23 of its last 26. Throw in a home game against Colorado after that and the Tigers don't have to leave the state of Missouri to start 5-0.

 

 

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: February 10, 2010 12:26 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2010 12:53 pm
 

Feel the earth move, college football

Expansion: It's coming and it's coming soon.

The latest round of rearranging the deck chairs on college football's luxury liner. You saw it in December when the Big Ten went out of its way to announce it was looking into expansion. The conservative, staid, reclusive (Walnut Park, Calif.?) Pac-10 then shook things up Tuesday by saying it is ready to "seriously" look at expansion.

I talked to a few people on Wednesday and an analysis piece is forthcoming later today, but suffice to say this comes down to three key elements at the moment:

Missouri to the Big Ten.

Colorado to the Pac-10 (as one of two expansion teams).

The Big 12 to the Rolodex to see who is interested in joining its fractured conference.

If the Large Dozen loses two teams, that damages its chances to negotiate for lucrative contracts when its TV deals come due in the next three years. Then as the Big 12 scrambles to stay together, it robs from the poor (TCU? Houston?) TV consultant Neal Pilson told me this latest round of upheaval means that the core of college football may be limited to 40 schools.

"The colleges better be careful  that they don't get what they're asking for," Pilson said, "that is complete freedom to make TV deals because TV is basically interested in the big schools. I'm talking about the bigger schools within the big conferences. I think the magic number is probably 30 to 40."

That's essentially what Comrade Ratto wrote today, cutting to the chase with machete as usual.

Posted on: November 6, 2009 9:43 am
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

If I’m Jimbo Fisher I’m raising holy hell.

Bobby Bowden picking the new defensive coordinator has to be a deal breaker for Jimbo. The job is going to be his in 13 months or so. No way he wants to be saddled with a d-coordinator who is hand-picked by Bobby.

Just to refresh: Bobby will be retired in January 2011. Jimbo Fisher has to live with his choice as d-coordinator.

Bobby’s legacy doesn’t include sticking his nose into Jimbo’s staff. This move could not only bring down the defense, it could bring down the program.

Dollar Bill: Kansas State’s Bill Snyder might re-retire sooner than we think. Speaking on Kansas City station WHB this week, Snyder hinted that he is a mere caretaker until the program is in good enough shape to turn over to someone else.

“This isn’t something to do for the rest of my life,” Snyder said prior to Saturday’s game with Kansas. “I want to get it back, calm the waters and [rally] the constituency. Get it in good position for a smooth transition …

“I’ve got to spend time with my children and grandchildren. There’s going to come a time when I went to do [that] again. Hopefully that is in the not-too-distant future.”

Snyder, 70, is in the first year of his second coaching career at K-State.  Originally, he was the author of the “Miracle in Manhattan” from 1989-2005. The Wildcats are currently 5-4 and in first place in the Big 12 North heading into the Sunflower Showdown against Kansas.

SEC bowls: The SEC has only five bowl-eligible teams. The league is trying to fill what looks like a potential 10 bowls spots (eight regular bowls plus a likely two BCS bowls). Nervous? There are five other teams at 4-4 or 4-5 that have some work to do.

Three of the five teams are playing winnable non-conference games this week. Mississippi State, that 4-5 team, is off. Mississippi, 5-3, still has to win two because it played two I-AAs. Arkansas, 4-4, might face a do-or-die game at home against South Carolina. Tennessee Tech is at Georgia, 4-4. Memphis is at Tennessee, 4-4. Kentucky, also 4-4, has Eastern Kentucky at home.

Boise blitz: Boise State has hired a p.r. firm to keep the Broncos in the “forefront” of the “minds” of “pollsters”.  That smells a lot like buying voters. First, let The List express its regret that it is not a Harris or coaches’ poll voter.

No, this isn’t Daley-era Chicago. Boise isn’t going to buy votes. In fact, it is fighting an uphill battle going into Friday’s game at Louisiana Tech. All TCU (at San Diego State on Saturday) has to do is keep winning. The voters <i>and</i> computers have spoken. They like Horned Frogs better than Needy Broncos.


Beaver milestone: As the 300th game at Beaver Stadium looms, let’s review the previous 299 games …

Penn State has a 241-58 record (80.6).

There have been 15 unbeaten seasons.

The Nittany Lions are 216-40 at Beaver with Joe as head coach. Fourteen of those undefeated seasons have come under Paterno.

Penn State is 32-3 in its last 35 at home. The only setbacks have come to No. 4 Michigan in 2006, No. 1 Ohio State in 2007 and Iowa on Sept. 26.


Paterno has been around for all of them.


  The North is 3-9 against the South Division. Two of those wins are against Baylor, in last place in the South.

  Kind of tells you something when Oklahoma-Nebraska gets relegated to the WWL blog. The teams now only meet twice in any four-year period.  A Husker win in Lincoln would give Nebraska a huge boost in the North.

  Does Colorado AD Mike Bohn have the $3.2 million he’ll need to buy out Dan Hawkins? Some more contributions might be added to the pot if the Buffs, 2-6, lose Texas A&M, 5-3

  Something has to give. Navy (34 minutes, 18 seconds) and Notre Dame (33:19) are 1-2 in time of possession.
 
  South Carolina is 7-10 after Nov. 1 under Steve Spurrier. USC is 27-0 in the month under Pete Carroll. 


Personal rant: The decision on player suspensions needs to be taken away from the school, the athletic director, maybe even the school president. SEC commissioner Mike Slive stepped in a week ago to issue his edict about critical coaches. Then Urban Meyer criticized officials and wasn’t punished. Yet. It seems like commissioners basically exist these days to pursue the best television contracts and shake hands with bowl reps.

The call here is for leagues to put in their constitutions (or whatever they’re called) language that gives the commissioner (or some league panel) the sole power to hand out discipline. Then the commissioners need to have the you know what to follow through.
.

 

Posted on: October 24, 2009 8:01 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2009 12:11 pm
 

Would you rather be Lincoln or in Lincoln?

Who do you want to be Saturday night?

Niles Paul or Daniel Lincoln?

Neither guy will be able to get a date, or much sympathy. Goats? With horns.

If you haven’t seen the two most compelling plays of the day, pull up a screen. Lincoln is the Tennessee kicker who kicked .250 against Alabama in a 12-10 loss. That’s another way of saying he went one for four, the last miss was a 44-yard attempt that was blocked by Alabama’s Terrence Cody as time ran out.

Perhaps you’ve already seen Mt. Cody ripping off his helmet and going nuts after Bama’s victory. If it wasn’t for Nebraska’s loss to Iowa State – more on that below – Cody would have been upstaged by Husker defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh who blocked two field goals.

Either way it was a bad day to be Lincoln or in Lincoln.

Paul is the Nebraska receiver who was part of the Huskers’ epic snowman against Iowa State. That would be eight – count ‘em eight – eight turnovers in a 9-7 loss to the Cyclones.

More turnovers than points. More embarrassment than Pee Wee Herman when he got caught in that theater.

Ahem, yes, well, let’s move on.

 Paul contributed probably the most spectacular of the turnovers in the first half. Sailing free for a long catch and run for a touchdown, Paul inexplicably dropped the ball at about Iowa State’s 5 without being hit. The ball then bounced right to him. Good luck, right? Paul stumbled, on his own, and went down about the 2.

The ball came loose again (the ground can cause a fumble when you don’t have control of it). The Iowa State defender practically trotted up to the ball in the end zone and snagged it for a touchback.

Eight turnovers tied the school record and were the most in 37 years since, amazingly, 1972 when Nebraska was pretty good. Remember?

Remember this: Iowa State was an 18 ½-point underdog and hadn’t won in Lincoln in 32 years. It’s starting quarterback and tailback were out with injuries. The team itself was wracked with a stomach bug that, according to the wire story, affected the team at halftime.

Eeeewww!

If they weren’t wearing those famous uniforms and selling out every game there are times when the ‘Skers could be mistaken for a Conference USA team this season. Nebraska has now played one serviceable quarter in the last three games (12 quarters). That would be the 27-point fourth-quarter against Missouri on October 8.

In the remaining 11 quarters against Missouri, Texas Tech and Iowa State, the Huskers have scored 17 points. In the last 14 quarters against BCS conference competition, No-Point Nebraska has scored 20 points.

The result contributed to an increasingly ugly Big 12 North situation. Halfway through the conference schedule, Kansas State is 3-1 after a 20-6 victory over Colorado. The Wildcats are the team in the division above an above-.500 conference record.

 

Posted on: September 23, 2009 5:30 pm
 

More reasons why the SEC is real, real good

The last time a major conference had three of the top four teams in the AP poll mutton chops and bell buttons were huge. And I mean that in the sense of size, not cool. I couldn't grow mutton chops back then but, anyway ...

That was in 1971 and the conference was the Big Eight. Nebraska was No. 1, followed by Oklahoma and Colorado. I had an old bumper stick that I kept for years from back then that read, "1 + 2 + 3=Big Eight" Get it?

Anyway, the SEC this week has No. 1 Florida, No. 3 Alabama and No. 4 Mississippi.

The SEC also leads the country in points per game (35) and rushing yards per game (204.5).
Posted on: September 12, 2009 6:52 pm
Edited on: September 12, 2009 8:13 pm
 

Early notes at 6:50 pm ET


It happens every year. Sometimes more than once.

Michigan State became the first official MAC sacrifice of the season. Central Michigan scored nine points in the final 32 seconds to beat the Spartans in East Lansing 29-27.

The Chips scored a touchdown to draw within one with half a minute to go. Game over, right? Central Michigan executed an onside kick was well as it can be run.  The Chips recovered and drove into field-goal position.

Andrew Aguila nailed a 32-yarder with three seconds left. Michigan State used its timeouts and allowed Aguila an extra chance after jumping offsides. Aguila had missed a 47-yarder but the right end jumped.

Central’s Dan LeFevour became the MAC’s career total offense leader. Going into Saturday LeFevour had 2,000-plus more career yards than one Tim Tebow (12,166-8,914).

  Carolina is the team with the goat as a mascot. But UConn’s Dan Ryan should be the one braying or naying or whatever goats do.

Ryan, a senior offensive tackle, was caught holding in the end zone with 1 ½ minutes left. The automatic safety broke a 10-10 tie and helped avoid another embarrassing ACC loss. Not that the Huskies don’t matchup with the Tar Heels, but UConn did lead 10-0 going into the fourth quarter.

“That's why you don't see any 100-year-old football coaches,"' Carolina’s Butch Davis said.

  There are two reasons why Chris Petersen might be a lifer at Boise State.

It’s not just the quality of life. Boise is a hidden gem. It’s not solely the lack of pressure. When you’ve beaten Oklahoma, you can live off that accomplishment for 10 years, or more. It’s not only because he coaches an Amtrak. What’s an Amtrak? A train, baby, and it’s rolling in Boise.

Recruiting, winning, adoring fans. It’s all in place for a program that could post its third undefeated season in the last four years.

But none of those reasons are the big one, the main reasons why Petersen stays in Boise despite having the chops to pull the ripcord and go get himself a golden parachute somewhere.

 They are named Dirk Koetter and Dan Hawkins. Both had similar success in Boise. Both cashed in at the top of their game for jobs at BCS conference schools. Koetter at Arizona State, Hawkins at Colorado.

The artificial grass isn’t always greener. Koetter was a mostly middling head coach, lasting six years with the Sun Devils (40-34). He is now with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Hawkins?

Colorado is off to an 0-2 start after an embarrassing 54-38 loss Friday at Toledo. Hawkins is now 13-26 at CU and the walls are closing in. CU AD Mike Bohn extended Hawkins a year ago so even if he wanted to fire him it would probably cost the school a prohibitive buyout.

Hawkins and Koetter were a combined 79-21 at Boise, 53-60 after leaving.

Petersen is safe, snug and successful in Boise. Why leave?

  Doubt that Joe Paterno is about to retire that all-time victories record? In the space of a week, Paterno went from leading Bobby Bowden by one (383-382), to three -- if only for a few hours.

Penn State got off to a 2-0 start after beating Syracuse 28-7. Florida State lost its opener on Monday before playing Jacksonville State on Saturday night. The race now stands 385-383 Paterno but that’s not counting the almost-certain vacating of those 14 Bowden victories by the NCAA.

  More Georgia Tech from Thursday night: The Ramblin’ Wreck was a wreck in special teams last year. The Yellow Jackets were in the bottom three in the ACC in net punting, punt returns, kickoff returns and field goals. 

It beat Clemson 30-27 with the help of a pass off a fake field goal from kicker Scott Blair.
 

  

Posted on: September 7, 2009 10:01 am
Edited on: September 7, 2009 10:02 am
 

Updating Coaches On The Hot Seat ...

Or at least get new seat cushions, especially for Dan Hawkins, Ron Zook and Al Groh. Those three are the main targets of columnists, fans and message boards after the first week of play. (Note: This is before Miami-Florida State so this post may appear dated by Monday night.)

This ain't intramurals, brother, but it sure looked like it Sunday night in Boulder. Colorado, a 10 1/2-point favorite, was manhandled by in-state rival Colorado State 23-17. And, yes, the score was as misleading as Byron Hout's "internal discipline" at Boise State.

They're all over coach Dan Hawkins for a) sticking with his son Cody at quarterback the entire game and b) leaving one-time program building block Darnell mostly on the bench. Hawkins completed 24 of 40 for 222 yards but still looks like he's too short to see over the line when the rush comes. His dad picked him in a tight battle with Tyler Hansen to be the starter so, if nothing else, you can't doubt a dad's love.

That was one problem. The bigger one was that the Buffs weren't ready to play. Colorado State scooted off to a 17-0 lead in front of stunned Folsom Field fans. CU AD Mike Bohn had said privately that is was very unlikely that Hawkins was even in trouble going into the season. Scratch that. CU can't afford a rebuilding effort that includes a flat offense, an intimidated defense and an unprepared squad.

Zook has to be on the hot seat (again) after his team's performance against Missouri. Sure, he lost preseason All-American receiver Arrellious Benn early on but quarterback Juice Williams looked flat in a 37-9 loss to Missouri. Yes, Missouri's defense surrendered single-digit points to a BCS conference school for only the fourth time since October 2004. (Ironically, two of those performances have been against Colorado.)

Williams did not look comfortable against a defense he had skewered for 42 points in last year's meeting. On the other side, Missouri's Blaine Gabbert is a national player of the week candidate after throwing for 319 yards in his first start. Gabbert averaged 9.7 yards per attempt. Chase Daniel surpassed that average only nine times in his 41 games as a Tiger.

Speaking of national players of the week, please don't overlook William & Mary's B.W. Webb. Bill and Mary's redshirt freshman picked off three passes, returning one for a touchdown, in his team's shocking 26-14 win over Virginia. The immediate reaction in the Georgia Dome press box was whether Groh would last the week.

You can catch all the action here. William & Mary's SID department immediately threw up on an online video of the game. Don't miss the seven -- yes, seven -- Virginia turnovers.

Until the ACC actually starts winning football games the league office ought to institute a media blackout. The ACC was 4-6 in the opening week against non-conference opponents. There's no truth to the rumor that BCS honchos are considering replacing the ACC with the Colonial Athletic Association.

The CAA took two ACC scalps (Richmond beat Duke) and is considered the Big Ten (roughly) of I-AA. William & Mary is ranked No. 14 and Richmond is a former I-AA national champion.

 
 
 
 
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