Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
 
Tag:Mountain West
Posted on: April 7, 2009 5:48 pm
 

Senator Orrin Hatch challenges the BCS

Powerful Republican Utah Senator Orrin Hatch is progressing toward hearings examining the BCS (probably in the fall). He recently took the time to answer these e-mail questions from me.

Dennis Dodd: You've long been a critic of the BCS, when did it reach the stage, in your mind, that hearings needed to be convened?
 
Sen. Hatch: I’ve thought for a number of years that there were significant problems with the BCS.  We held hearings on the matter back in 2003 when I chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee, and I said then that the system was unfair.

After that time, there were some efforts made to expand the system and make it more open.  For example, they’ve added a fifth game and made it slightly easier for teams from conferences that don’t receive automatic bids to qualify for one of the games.  But, as we saw last season, these changes haven’t been good enough.  First of all, there were only two teams to finish the regular season undefeated – Utah and Boise State – but, only one of them was invited to play in a lucrative BCS game.  And, of course, neither team had even a remote chance of qualifying for the national championship game – the BCS system makes it impossible for outside teams to do so.
 
The bigger problem is the money and the principles of fair play being taught to our young people by those who they look to for leadership.  Teams from the conferences that receive automatic bids share an enormous pot of money generated by the BCS, even if they lose every game and finish at the bottom of the standings.   At the same time, nearly half the teams in college football share a much smaller pot, even if they are fortunate enough to play their way into a BCS game.  This creates an inherent disadvantage, not just on the field, but with regard to recruiting, facilities, and funding for other athletic programs.  Given the amount of money involved here, which is unprecedented in the history of collegiate sports, I think these inequities warrant the attention of Congress.
 
Dodd: Who do you expect to call to testify? (Maybe not specific persons but NCAA, BCS officials, ADs, players?)
 
Hatch: That is yet to be determined.  I think we need to make sure we hear from all sides of the debate, so we get a clear picture as to how the system works, what its effects are, and how it can be improved. 

We’ll also need to include some sharp legal analysis of the antitrust issues.  These hearings, particularly in this subcommittee, aren’t just about airing grievances.  There are serious questions about the legality of the BCS system, namely, whether it constitutes a coordinated effort to eliminate competition.  The main objective of the hearing will be to find answers to those questions.
 

Dodd: What's the likelihood the hearings actually come about, and when?
 
Hatch:
I have a commitment from my colleague, Senator Herb Kohl, the Chairman of the Antitrust Subcommittee, to hold a hearing this year.  So, I believe that a hearing on the matter is more or less imminent.  I expect it to take place later this year.
 
Dodd: Are you working in concert with some of the Congressmen and Senators -- Abercrombie, Miller, Barton, etc? Does it matter that there seem to be separate battles against the BCS going on?
 
Hatch: The BCS system has been condemned by almost everyone who follows college football, from coaches and university officials, to sportswriters and analysts, to Members of Congress, and even the President of the United States.  So, I’m well aware that I’m not alone in my concern regarding these issues. 

Some House Members have introduced legislation on this issue and I am currently exploring similar options here in the Senate.  I’ll be willing to work with any of my colleagues to see if we can fix this system.

Dodd: Obviously, the BCS leaders have lawyers and they think their position is solid. How specifically can the BCS be attacked?
 
Hatch: I’m sure they have a team of lawyers ready to defend this unfair system.  That doesn’t surprise me at all.  But, I think there’s a pretty decent antitrust case to be made here.  Put simply, our antitrust laws are designed to prevent people from working in coordination to reduce competition in the marketplace.  I think that’s pretty clearly what we have going on here.  Make no mistake, college football is a commercial enterprise.  The colleges and universities market their football programs like they would a business.

In addition, there are television contracts, advertising revenue, and corporate sponsors for each of the bowl games.  So, this isn’t what we had decades ago when the bowl system first started -- two schools deciding to meet up at a neutral field and play a bowl game.  We’re talking about a national, multi-million dollar business enterprise. 
 
Dodd: Have you spoken to Mountain West representatives? They made the rounds through the House and Senate last month promoting their own agenda.
 
Hatch: I’ve been talking with the Mountain West folks about this issue.  As you know, the commissioner of the Mountain West Conference, Craig Thompson, recently unveiled an alternative proposal to the current BCS system.  I thought this was a constructive step, and I hope to see more options put on the table. 
 
Dodd: Utah coach Kyle Whittingham is OK with the current system, or at least didn't cry out against it. The Utah administration is on record as wanting to work within the system. How do react to that?
 
Hatch: Coach Whittingham has expressed his disappointment with the way the Utes were treated by the BCS last year.  He even broke with convention and voted his team No. 1 in the final coaches poll, even though the BCS system more or less requires the coaches to vote for the winner of the so-called “national championship game.” 

He felt strongly enough to buck the system there.  I think Coach Whittingham would have liked the opportunity for his team to play for the national championship and, quite frankly, had that occurred, I would have liked their chances.
 
But, the problems with the BCS are not specific to the University of Utah, they are much broader.  The BCS system affects nearly every aspect of college football, which in turn affects schools throughout the country.  Obviously, I want to see the schools from my state treated fairly, but I think we need to make sure the system is fair to everyone. 
 
Dodd: I have found that many of the Congressmen and Senators don't know the basics of this system -- re: the NCAA has virtually nothing to do with the postseason. Do you understand that this a system that all the conferences have agreed to until 2014?
 
Hatch: The NCAA is clearly not involved in the college football postseason, and that may be part of the problem.  As it stands right now, the decisions regarding the postseason and the road to the national championship are decided, in large part, by the elitist conferences involved in the BCS, working with television networks and corporate sponsors to generate massive amounts of revenue. 
 
Obviously, I understand that the non-automatic bid conferences are signatories to the BCS and share some of the responsibility.  But, it’s not as though they have the power to initiate the necessary changes.  The five conferences without automatic bids collectively share one vote on the BCS board, while the six other conferences and the University of Notre Dame each have a vote.  So, it’s difficult to assign to them any culpability for the actions of the BCS cartel. 

As far as the current agreement is concerned, it is my understanding that the current BCS agreement expires next year and that there is a proposal on the table to extend it through 2014.  The deal is not yet in place and a number of the conferences, particularly the Mountain West, have expressed serious concerns about the proposed extension.  Frankly, I think this proposal is the reason for Congress to get involved right now.  The current system has been condemned by virtually everyone, yet the interested parties see nothing wrong with continuing the status quo for the foreseeable future.  I think that’s just outrageous.
 
Dodd: Do you have a specific playoff plan? What is it?
 
Hatch: I don’t have a plan of my own.  There are enough alternatives out there and, keep in mind, people have been dreaming and speculating of a national playoff system for years.  So, I am looking forward to working with a variety of individuals to create a fair system.
 
Dodd: How should profits from such a system be allocated?
 
Hatch: Again, I don’t want to be in the business of writing a new system from scratch.  I don’t think that’s the Senate’s proper role in this issue.  But, in general, I think the funds should be allocated in a way that is based on the teams’ performance on the field.  Right now, the money may as well be handed out at the beginning of the season because, in the end, we all know which schools and conferences will be getting the money.  That, more than anything, is the problem with the BCS.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: February 27, 2009 9:38 am
 

National notes

Florida president Bernie Machen was weighing in on the BCS issue long before it heated up again recently. The former Utah president has been in both arenas -- overseeing of the one of the richest athletic departments in the country and looking up at the big boys from the Mountain West Conference.

Here are some leftovers from an interview last season that are still relevant today:

"There's no difference in my mind between the Mountain West and -- I won't name them -- a couple of the BCS conferences. So we have to find a way to allow those conferences to get some security. They don't have to have the season of all seasons to get in there.

"They deserve to be in there. They're working their ass off. They got budgets that are half of the BCS (schools) because they don't have the money.

"I'd probably put some of the weaker BCS conferences where they had to compete against the non-BCS guys. Every year there are teams -- BYU, Utah, Boise State or Fresno State -- those teams are damn close to a lot of the teams that are in the BCS.

"I don't begrudge us because we earn it. But there are teams in our conference that aren't as good as Utah. Yet, they get the BCS revenue which gives them an unfair advantage. We have to let these high-achieving non-BCS teams get an easy shot. "

 If you're worried about hard economic times for athletic departments, consider that the problems come from the bottom up. Orange County, which encompasses, Orlando, Fla., is considering cutting some freshman and junior-varsity sports, including football, to save money.

Imagine a hotbed of Florida football without a feeder system to develop football talent. Here's a look at an Armageddon scenario in 2019.

 One former player verbalizes what we've all been thinking. Joe Paterno is going to die on the field.

 Don't sweat the Oklahoma offensive line, which loses four starters from one of the best units in the country. "The Clean Team" was responsible for keeping Heisman winner Sam Bradford from washing his uniform last season. Things are not as bad as you think going into the spring.

Six-foot-seven LSU transfer Jarvis Jones should slide into the right tackle spot. Jones played on the 2007 LSU national championship team but was dismissed for a violation of team rules.

Trent Williams, considered by the staff to be the best overall offensive lineman last year, will move from right tackle to left tackle. Right guard Brian Simmons was overcome a couple of surgeries for clubfoot.

 In these tough economic times it scrambles the brain to see so many schools adding football, the largest expenditure there is in college athletics. I wrote about Georgia State recently.

Texas-San Antonio is ramping for football in 2011 and is considering for coach former Miami coach Larry Coker and Northwest Missouri coach Mel Tjeerdsma. Now that Terry Bowden has a job Coker has joined Dennis Franchione as the most accomplished coaches without a job.

 As the Bryce Brown saga marches on, the Wichita tailback's father recently admitted the recruiting odyssey had taken its toll.

"This thing has turned into something we never anticipated," Arthur Brown Sr. said.

The kid's long-awaited announcement is still scheduled for March 16.

Posted on: February 20, 2009 5:23 pm
 

Mountain West bolts the BCS family

Here are the details on the "standards document" that the Mountain West has refused to sign. I wrote about it the day of the national championship game.

The league could gain automatic qualifier status if it meets a set of criteria involving 1) highest ranked BCS team in a conference; 2) number of teams in the top 25 of the BCS; 3) ranking of all a conference's team in the BCS. The commissioners refuse to release the actual math that goes with this because they don't want to become speculated on, similar to the RPI in basketball.

There are three years left on the current review 2009-2011. If the Mountain West performs well is could become an automatic qualifier for a BCS bowl in 2012 and 2013, on a temporary basis.

Also, here is BCS chairman John Swofford's statement on the Mountain West:

“The commissioners have not received anything specific from the Mountain West.  I’m sure they will listen to any proposals that come forward, any potential changes would be considered by the full group of commissioners representing their respective conferences and the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee.”

Looks like it's going to be some lively BCS meetings in late April in Pasadena.

       

 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 19, 2008 12:28 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2008 1:16 pm
 

National notes

The golden era of Buffalo football was 50 years ago. That's what makes this week so special.

Beat Bowling Green on Friday and the Bulls clinch the MAC East and play for the MAC title, which would guarantee them their first bowl game. They are led by an African-American coach (Turner Gill) and an African-American athletic director (Warde Manuel).

 Fifty years ago, the Bulls had an invite to play in their first bowl game, the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, Fla. One stipulation: The game was being in a stadium controlled by a local school district that didn't allow integrated games.

There wasn't even a vote. The Bulls refused the invitation standing solidly behind their black teammates -- Willie Evans and Mike Wilson.

"They insulted two of our teammates," former quarterback Joe Oliverio told the Associated Press, "and we were going to hit them back between the ears by refusing to go without our teammates."

Fifty years later, Syracuse has a wonderful opportunity to carry on that legacy. Not necessarily because Gill is an African-American but, yes, that is part of it. Much higher on the list is the chance to turn around a moribund program. Gill has done what few thought was impossible, transforming a fledgling I-A program into being competitive.

That's all Buffalo was asking when it hired him three years ago. But this is above and beyond. The Bulls (6-4) already are bowl eligible. A victory Friday puts them in that first MAC title game.

A year ago Gill was mentioned in the Nebraska coaching search if for no other reason than to appease the Big Red masses. The former Nebraska option quarterback ran one of the highest scoring offenses in the game's history. In becoming a 1983 Heisman Trophy finalist, Gill guided Nebraska to within a missed two-point conversion of the national championship.

That was a quarter-century ago. Fast forward to 2007 and a change of career paths. Gill wasn't ready for Nebraska and not with a 7-17 career record.

But Gill is perfect, now -- right now! -- for Syracuse. The program that desperately needs to hit a home run with its next hire has one sitting right down the interstate. Gill is young, enough (46) and energetic enough to undertake the massive rebuilding job it's going to take to resurrect the program.

Think about this: Syracuse probably is in no position to be grabbing big-name coaches. It desperately needs one who is hungry. What Gill has done at Buffalo in only three seasons is one of the most underrated stories this season.

Of course, it didn't become a big story until the Bulls beat Akron in overtime on Saturday. That meant bowl eligibility and a chance at the conference title.
I just amazed myself typing those words.

Getting Buffalo to win anything is like transforming elephant into an Olympic sprinter. It has been in I-A only nine years. 
Gill's career record is a modest 13-21 but consider where Buffalo had been before this point. The program has consecutive five-win seasons for the first time since 1981. The program was 10-69 in seven previous seasons before moving to Division I-A in 1999.

"How come it can't happen?" Gill said. "That's what I told this football team when I first came in here. I said to them, 'We will be successful here and I will not be ashamed of being the head football coach at the University at Buffalo.'"

Far from it. Oh, and Gill can recruit.

 Senior quarterback Drew Willy drew interest from Pittsburgh, Syracuse and UConn but those schools weren't exactly knocking down his door. Syracuse got rid of Paul Pasqualoni which soured Willy on the Orange. Gill them proved himself as a quarterback maker. Willy has thrown 45 career touchdowns and is currently third in MAC passing.

 

 Kicker A.J. Principe was a player no one wanted out of Columbus, Ohio. Gill gave him a chance to walk on. The sophomore has 25 career field goals making 73 percent of his kicks. And a scholarship.

 

 Receiver Naaman Roosevelt was the New York state co-player. His only offer was from I-AA New Hampshire. Now he leads the MAC in receiving yards.

 

A couple of years ago, Buffalo played Bowling Green in a game that lasted more than five hours because of lightning delays. When the teams meet Friday, it could mark the fastest three hours in Buffalo football history. Win, and the Bulls are in.

 

 mgoblog.com is reporting that Michigan tailback Sam McGuffie is transferring.

 

 

 More from Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe on Obama's playoff talk:

 

"Look at our league, you talk about turning up the pressure. In our league those that have annual expectations -- Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas.  Let's say one of them isn't in (a playoff) for three or four years, their coaches aren't going to make it, the season ticket sales may go down, the bowls aren't going to be satisfied if they're not in it. An eight-team playoff is not going to accommodate more than two teams from a conference. You're going to put the pressure on."

 

 Part of the Mountain West's success includes complete domination of the Pac-10 and the best record of any conference against BCS conference teams (9-5). The conference is so good, though, that it me shopping for a bowl.

 

It is contracted to four bowls but the nine-team league could have six bowl eligible teams if Colorado State and UNLV (both 5-6) win this week.

Utah could relieve some of the pressure by beating BYU. That would push the Utes up to a BCS bowl. However, if BYU wins that could mean four bowl spots for six teams.

 

 By the way look for Utah's Kyle Whittingham to get a contract extension after the season He is in the fourth year of a six-year deal.

 

 

 It's interesting to look back at the first Power Poll on August 31. Here's the top 10 from back then. Five of the 
10 are still in the mix.

 

1. Ohio State -- Beat Michigan and it shares the Big Ten title.
2. Oklahoma -- The Texas loss probably keeps OU from being No. 1 at this point.
3. USC -- Ever hear of Jacquizz Rodgers?
4. Missouri -- Another victim of the Big 12 South.
5. Georgia -- Wasn't Knowshon Moreno supposed to be a Heisman candidate?
6. Florida -- Forget Tebow, Brandon Spikes for Heisman.
7. LSU -- Jarrett Lee has legally changed his name to "Pick Six".
8. West Virginia -- You're kidding, right?
9. Texas -- One loss, on the road, on the last offensive play of the game to No. 2 Texas Tech.
10. Auburn -- Wheeze, cough, cough. Don't wait for me to catch up. Go on ahead. The wolves will end my misery.

 Question: The day Will Muschamp becomes Texas head coach, will he be one of the few head coaches who calls his own defensive plays? I can only think of two at the moment, TCU's Gary Patterson and Western Kentucky's Dave Elson.

 

Posted on: November 14, 2008 11:18 am
Edited on: November 14, 2008 11:23 am
 

Latest on coaching searches

One source says that Air Force's Troy Calhoun has emerged as a favorite at Tennessee followed by UConn's Randy Edsall and Brian Kelly of Cincinnati. Remember, I said a favorite, not the favorite. Calhoun also has been mentioned at Washington.

The name of Lousiana Tech coach Derek Dooley has emerged at Clemson. We already know the school is interested in Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables and Lane Kiffin and will speak to Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster.

Coaching headhunter Chuck Neinas has been employed by Syracuse, Toledo and Tennessee for their searches.


 There is a way for Boise State to get to a BCS bowl, even if Utah wins out.

Broncos fans are busying themselves with that possibility with their team stuck at No. 10 in the BCS and heading to Idaho this week. Boise State's (lack of) schedule strength won't be enough to leap over Utah, No. 8 in the BCS, if the teams keep winning.

Only one non-BCS team is guaranteed an automatic spot if it qualifies. A second team would have to make it as an at-large. The odds are slim of two non-BCS teams making it to BCS bowls but here's how it happens:

 Six of the 10 spots go to the BCS conference champions. Boise must then hope that the four at-large spots are filled by teams from different conferences. Think Big 12, SEC, Utah (Mountain West) and Boise (WAC). In that scenario, there would be no other team to pick but the Broncos.

 An at-large team must have at least nine victories and finish in the top 14. Ohio State must get beat to drop out of the top 14. Oregon State must get beat to keep the Pac-10 from getting two teams in the BCS. A Beavers loss would vault USC into an automatic spot as the Pac-10 champion. Penn State would have to win out to clinch the Big Ten.

 Of course, Utah could take care of things for Boise by losing at least one of its final two games. If not, no BCS bowl is going to pick Boise over, say, Ohio State to fill one of its spots.

 "Has it taken longer than expected (to win at South Carolina)?" asked Steve Spurrier who is in his fourth season with the Gamecocks. "No, not really. Our big recruiting class came two years ago. We've got 26 players of those players on campus. We've got a pretty good nucleus of players for the next three or four years."

 Spurrier laughed when asked about denying interest in the Tennessee job recently.

"They weren't going to come after me anyway," he said. "I'm on my last gig. I'm on my last job. They want to hire a guy who is going to be there 15 years."

 Great quote gathered by our Craig Barnes who covered the Virginia Tech-Miami game on Thursday night:

 "The U is back," Virginia Tech cornerback Victor "Macho" Harris said. "The swagger is back. The teams that we played last year and tonight were completely different. Their team has confident that they can win."

If Macho says Miami is back, that's good enough for me.

Posted on: October 15, 2008 10:56 am
 

National notes at the halfway point

One of the best measures for an improved program is the games ahead/behind method. Look at baseball standings for an example. The NCAA includes a section in its statistics book each year that tracks the most improved teams from one year to the next. In 2007, it was Illinois which went from 2-10 in 2006 to 9-4 last season. That's an improvement of 6 1/2 games.

Hawaii holds the record improving by 8 1/2 games in 1999. Ironically, the Warriors might be on the opposite side of that stat this season.

At the halfway point, I thought it would be a good idea to figure the biggest improvements and biggest declines of the 2008 season. Remember, some of the numbers might be skewed because we've played only half a season. But this might be a good measuring stick for coach of the year candidates and provide a short list of coaches about to be fired.

Most improved

1. Minnesota +7 1/2 games (from 1-11 to 6-1)
2. Duke +5 1/2
3. North Carolina +4
4. Pittsburgh +3 1/2
5. several tied at +3

Biggest decline

1. Hawaii -5 1/2 games (from 12-1 to 3-3)
2. Central Florida, Tennessee -4
4. LSU, Arizona State, Florida Atlantic, Michigan, West Virginia, Rutgers, Kansas - 3 1/2

Most improved by conference: Baylor, +3; ACC, Duke +5 1/2; Big East, Pittsburgh, +3 1/2; Conference USA, Rice/Marshall, +3; Mountain West, Colorado  State/UNLV, +3; MAC, Ball State/Northern Illinois, +3; SEC, Vanderbilt/Ole Miss, +3; WAC, New Mexico State, +3: Independents, Notre Dame, +3; Big Ten,  Minnesota, +7 1/2; Sun Belt, Florida International/Louisiana-Lafayette, +3; Pac-10, Stanford, +2 1/2.

Biggest decline by conference: ACC, Boston College/Clemson/Virginia, -2 1/2; Big 12, Kansas, -3 1/2; Big East, West Virginia/Rutgers, -3 1/2; Big Ten, Michigan, -3 1/2;  Independents, Western Kentucky, -2 1/2; Conference USA, Central Florida -4; MAC, Bowling Green/Ohio/Miami (Ohio), -1 1/2; Mountain West, New Mexico, -3; SEC, Tennessee, -4; Pac-10, Arizona State -3 1/2; WAC, Hawaii -5 1/2; Sun Belt, Florida Atlantic, -3 1/2.

Storylines for the second half

Will anyone go unbeaten?: It looks like the SEC and Big 12 will cannibalize each other. That leaves a bunch of one-loss powers that also could include Ohio State, Penn State, USC and Utah or Brigham Young.

Heisman race: Tim Tebow won't repeat and the Big 12 looks like it has a lock on the 2008 winner. But which player?

JoePa In the Sky With A Headset: Can Penn State's venerable coach win a Big Ten title and national championship without setting foot on the field the rest of  the way? Physical problems continue to keep JoePa in the press box. When asked Tuesday if he needed a hip replacement, Paterno answered cryptically, "I don't  know." It isn't exactly Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds but anything Joe does the rest of the season is going to be followed closely.

The non-BCS challengers: TCU, BYU and Utah are all in the mix. If Tulsa can win at Arkansas on Nov. 1 the Golden Hurricane will be a factor. The MAC is  simply too tough for Ball State (7-0) to go undefeated but you have to root for the Cardinals. Their best receiver's career is over (Dante Love) and their quarterback (Nate Davis) wears gloves.

Biggest looming controversy: If a one-loss team from the SEC, Big Ten or Big 12 is edged out of the BCS title game by an undefeated non-BCS school.

Next coach to be fired: Given the swiftly declining situation at Auburn it might be Tommy Tuberville. Other than that, Washington's Tyrone Willingham and  Syracuse's Greg Robinson are locks. Keep an eye also on San Diego State's Chuck Long and Central Florida's George O'Leary.

Biggest upset looming out there: Not in terms of David and Goliath but watch the Texas at Texas Tech game on Nov. 1. If both teams keep winning you're looking at No. 1 Texas vs. a Red Raiders team that should be in the BCS top five. If Texas Tech wins try to wrap your mind around Mike Leach and his Pirate  Love jumping up to No. 1.

Get out your swords and Johnny Depp movies.

BCS bowl predictions at the halfway point

BCS title game: Penn State* vs. Oklahoma*
Fiesta Bowl: Texas vs. Alabama
Sugar Bowl: Florida* vs. South Florida*
Orange Bowl: BYU^ vs. Virginia Tech*
Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. USC*

*-conference champ
^-non-BCS automatic qualifier

  Remember last week when Washington State held open tryouts to find a scout team quarterback? The winner of that competition, Peter Roberts, suddenly finds himself a viable backup option with the Cougars headed into the USC game.

 Speaking of injuries, it's a shame that two stars at Kentucky and North Carolina recently saw their careers end. Carolina's Brandon Tate, the I-A career  leader in kick return yards, is finished because of a knee injury. Exciting Kentucky receiver Dicky Lyons is done because of a knee ligament tear.

 

 Don't say I didn't warn you. I know what I said about Texas and Texas Tech above but indulge me: The way things are shaking out, a Kansas-Oklahoma State Big 12 title game isn't out of the question. If Texas beats Missouri on Saturday then it becomes more likely. Kansas is playing better and has Texas at home later in the season. KU and Missouri meet in Kansas City on Nov. 29.

 

Oklahoma State is playing better than anyone in the conference (that includes Texas). That head-to-head game is Oct. 25.

 Remember this when you watch BYU and TCU on Thursday night. BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall allows each special teams unit to name a captain. The captain then  names starters and backups for each unit. Wonder if that ever happens in the SEC?

 

 


Posted on: October 12, 2008 3:39 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2008 5:05 pm
 

Random thoughts on a football Saturday

Is Tommy Tuberville coaching for his job?

 A week away from the release of the first BCS standings there are 10 undefeated I-A teams, half of them from non-BCS conferences. The most undefeated teams we can have at the end of the season now is seven because of head-to-head matchups among the 10. Only three of the six BCS leagues are represented -- Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC.

 

The breakdown:

Three of the teams are from the Big 12 -- Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech.

Penn State is 7-0 for the first time since 1999.

Utah and BYU are still headed for a Nov. 22 showdown in Salt Lake City. The Mountain West rivals gave up a combined one touchdown on Saturday. Utah beat Wyoming 40-7 and BYU dominated New Mexico 21-3.

Ball State is hanging around at 7-0, although end-of-the-season battles against Central Michigan and Western Michigan are looming.

The next big SEC games are coming up with Florida-Georgia on Nov. 1 and undefeated Alabama, 6-0, going to LSU on Nov. 8.

 Halfway through the season how about these surprise conference leaders?

 

Pac-10: Cal, at 2-0 still has the bulk of its schedule left but still an impressive bounce back from last season at 4-1.

Big Ten: Michigan State is tied with Penn State and Ohio State at 3-0. The Buckeyes come to East Lansing this week. Michigan State ends the season with a trip to Penn State.

WAC: San Jose State is 2-0 (4-2) overall after beating Utah State.

Sun Belt: Florida International is one of four teams tied at the top at 2-0.

Mountain West: It's showdown Thursday when the BYU visits TCU. The teams are undefeated in conference play.

 

 Who would have known that halfway through the season that two teams from Oklahoma would be undefeated (Tulsa, Oklahoma State) and one of them wouldn't be Oklahoma?

 

 The last time Nebraska opened conference play with two losses was 1968. It fell at Texas Tech 37-31 in overtime. That was the Huskers' eighth consecutive loss to a ranked opponent.
 
 Georgia Tech tipped the game-tying field goal attempt with three seconds left to survive against Gardner-Webb 10-7. Coach Paul Johnson was down to his third-string quarterback Calvin Booker who was largely ineffective.

 

The defensive line combo of Michael Johnson combined for five sacks, 17 solo tackles and 51 yards in lost yardage.

 How bad is Washington State? The Cougars intercepted Oregon State's Lyle Moevao four times but lost 66-13. Wazzoo had more penalty yards (170) than offensive yards (132).

 

 Georgia's Matthew Stafford surpassed 300 yards passing for the first time in his career (310) against Tennessee. The Vols are 0-3 in the SEC for the first time in 20 years.

 

 North Carolina (5-1) is off to its best start in since Mack Brown's last season in 1997.

 

 USC's Fili Moala tied an NCAA record by blocking two field goals in one quarter against Arizona State.

 

 Wyoming used four quarterbacks in that loss to Utah.

 

 Is it ironic or just karma? Rich Rodriguez negotiated his Michigan contract in Toledo during the offseason. He lost to the school that represents that city on Saturday. Some called Toledo's 13-10 "stunning". After Appalachian State there is nothing that compares to stunning. The Rockets had been 1-4. Michigan had been 24-0 against MAC teams.

 

“I feel that we’re at a crossroads where we could either go downhill or we can hang tough and weather this storm,” said linebacker Obi Ezeh. “Hopefully, this will pass and things will start going our way. We’ve just got to be tough.”

 Texas is one game into playing four ranked opponents in a row. It's No. 11 Missouri this week after the big win over Oklahoma. Mack Brown is 10-0 in the game immediately following Oklahoma, four of those opponents have been ranked.

 

 Florida's Tim Tebow is two rushing touchdowns shy of Emmitt Smith's school record of 34.

 

 Texas and Oklahoma combined to score each of the 11 times they were in the red zone on Saturday. For the season, OU has cashed in all 28 red-zone visits. Texas is 32 of 33.

 

 Forget about Gary Pinkel going to Washington. The Missouri coach's next job is the hot gossip in the industry considering the Tigers are a national title contender and the Washington job will be open. Pinkel coached for 12 years at U-Dub under mentor Don James.

 

"I don't know why he'd even want to consider coming out here, with the facilities he's got and the way he's got it going," James told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I wouldn't know why anybody would want to leave Missouri now. It would be a tough, long haul."

 Tis the season. First Tony Franklin at Auburn, now Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper. Harper was demoted last week after a 12-7 loss to Wake Forest on Thursday. Hot-shot recruit Willy Korn will take over for the preseason ACC player of the year.

 

 The weird things you see at the Texas State Fair...

 

Spam quesadillas ... Wine coolers. Who the hell drinks wine coolers anymore? ... Sign outside the Cotton Bowl: Pass Out Only At Halftime ... Fried ice cream ... Fried Avocado Chunks ... Gregg Doyel's cousin.

 

Posted on: August 18, 2008 10:40 am
 

Five things you should know about the Pac-10...

1. The Slickster: He's back and he's here to stir up Westwood, L.A., That School Down The Road and the Pac-10. Rick 
Neuheisel will be the freshest thing to hit the league since, well, Pete Carroll. Get ready for the USC-UCLA rivalry to reignite.

2. Curse of the Trojans: A dislocated knee is one thing (quarterback Mark Sanchez) but it's getting ridiculous at 
USC. Offensive lineman Jeff Byers is being treated for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Running back Joe McKnight 
smashed his fingers in a doorjamb last year (ouch!). Don't forget an outbreak of jock itch.

3. Curse of the Trojans II: USC has developed a nasty habit of a conference loss that defies explanation. Last year, it was Stanford. The year before that it was Oregon State. Put a shotgun (formation) to my head and I'd have to say 
the Oct. 25 game at Arizona qualifies as this season's head scratcher.

4. Intersectionals: Never let it be said the Pac-10 is ducking the competition. It plays that brutal nine-game 
round-robin league schedule. It doesn't fill the non-cons with cream puffs either. The Pac-10 was 5-3 against BCS 
conference schools in non-conference games last season (No. 1 in the country). We'll know a lot about the Pac-10 
(and a lot of other conferences) early on. Consider these intersectional doozies ...

USC at Virginia, Aug. 30
Oregon State at Penn State; BYU at Washington, Sept. 6
Oklahoma at Washington, Ohio State at USC; UCLA at BYU, Sept. 13
Georgia at Arizona State, Sept. 20

A case can be made for the Pac-10 being favored in only two of those games, both USC games (Ohio State, Virginia).
 

5. The end of an era: Commissioner Tom Hansen ends more than a quarter century of service when he steps down after 
this academic year. An NCAA veteran of 16 years, Hansen joined the league in 1983. Things have been great -- the 
re-emergence of USC -- and embarrassment -- the recent officiating snafus -- but Hansen always added class and dignity to a tough job.

His replacement could signal a small crack in the staunch Pac-10 position against a plus-one depending on who is 
hired. The short list: Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson, WAC commissioner Karl Benson and former 
Pacific/Dartmouth/Stanford AD Ted Leland.

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