Tag:bcs
Posted on: January 19, 2011 7:37 pm
 

What The Longhorn Network means to the BCS

It wasn't a surprise, this ESPN/Texas deal. Not the money, not the partner, not the length. The Longhorn Network -- or whatever you want to call it -- was announced Wednesday, a deal worth $300 million over the next 20 years.

Somewhere in there they managed to remind us that "campus musical performances" would also be televised and you had to chuckle. Sure, TLN will fund some other areas -- half the money in the first five years will go to the university -- but at its core this about Texas controlling the market, the Big 12, the universe.

It's about power -- just like the BCS, which got me to thinking. We all know that our beloved postseason system is leaving hundreds of millions of dollars on the table by ignoring a playoff. The commissioners would rather control the system than profiti more by it.

The Texas deal, though, should be a sign. A modest Plus-One playoff (four teams) can, and should, be in college football's future. I wrote about it on the day of the BCS championship game.

I asked BCS executive director Bill Hancock directly why the BCS couldn't enter into its own long-term agreement with a rights holder. Hancock said" "Don't kid yourself. The bowls would suffer." To loosely quote the conclusion in the book, "Death To The BCS", that's B.S. A Plus-One could be locked in for 15, 20, 25 years. The BCS fathers could expand it, shrink it, dump it. The point being that the BCS commissioners, like Texas, control the system so it's theirs to manipulate.

"Everybody we do business with, we do long-term stuff with them," Texas AD DeLoss Dodds told me Wednesday. "We find somebody we like and put some length on it."

As for the BCS doing a long-term Plus-One agreement, I asked Dodds about that too.

"Yeah, absolutely," he said. "You have to get the Rose Bowl past where they are."

The Big Ten-Pac-12-Rose Bowl blockade of an expanded postseason is not insignificant. But, remember, we once thought something like the BCS was impossible because the Big Ten and Pac-10 did not want to give up their exclusivity to the Rose Bowl. On Jan. 1, TCU of the Mountain West won in Pasadena. There goes some of that exclusivity.

TLN is such a game-changer that Texas is now essentially competing as an independent. It has a contract with ESPN. It has scheduling agreement with the nine other teams in the Big 12. The conference could go away but Texas/ESPN won't. Dodds swears his will stay loyal to the reconstituted 10-team Big 12, but for how long? It was within a heartbeat of jumping to the Pac-10 last summer.

"If something happened and the Big 12 would dissolve in some way -- which would not be caused by us because we're not going to do that -- who would take us with our network?" Dodds asked. "That's a question in my mind and I assume someone would."

Yeah, somehow poor, old Texas would scrape by.

Control. Security. It's something the BCS should think about. A four-team Plus-One solves a lot of problems. It would produce a more legitimate champion. It would take care of, in most years, all the undefeated teams at the top. For example, this year we're still wondering about how TCU would match up against Auburn.

It would move the access argument from between the No. 2- and No. 3-ranked teams to No. 4 and No. 5. That actually would mean less of an argument. That also would equal a better football postseason

We'd have Texas to thank for the template. The Horns rule. Literally.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: January 7, 2011 4:47 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2011 5:29 pm
 

Harbaugh fills one opening, creates another

Stanford might be the one that Chris Petersen takes.

I'm talking about the hotter-than-July Boise State coach who has been perfectly happy in his job. Now that Jim Harbaugh surprised absolutely no one by going to the 49ers, there is an interesting opening at an interesting place. Harbaugh proved that you can win big on The Farm, producing a season for the ages in 2010.

The prospects for 2011 are even better -- 17 returning starters including Andrew Luck, a likely top-five preseason ranking. Yes, I'm saying that the Cardinal can compete for the national championship.

With the right coach. Petersen might be that guy. The Boise coach's name comes up for literally every job opening. He has built a BCS-busting program that lately has added a shut-down defense to a usually explosive offense. He's also completely happy in Boise, a mini-Oregon that turns two-star players into superstars. Could "Pete" be pried loose by Stanford? It's on the West Coast. Harbaugh proved you could win there despite the academic restrictions. The media crush -- something that bothers Petersen -- wouldn't be much.

Petersen played and began his coaching career at nearby Cal-Davis (104 miles separate the two schools). He knows West Coast (particularly California) recruiting. He's a proven winner. Going to the Pac-12 would be a step up in competition but Petersen has proved he can compete in the BCS arena. Think about the prospect of coaching Luck.

If Petersen says no -- and Bob Bowlsby sure as hell better make him say no -- then the favorite seems to be Stanford assistant Greg Roman, a 37-year-old with 13 years of NFL experience.

Meanwhile, Michigan can now move on unencumbered by Harbaugh speculation. There was a Twitter report that Michigan had sent a plane to Baton Rouge on Friday. One problem. Les Miles is in Dallas for the Cotton Bowl. I'll stick by my original assertion that Miles has a monster team returning and is, for now, content. That could all change in one controversial Cotton Bowl tonight.

That leaves San Diego State's Brady Hoke. Excited, Michigan Men and Women?  


Category: NCAAF
Posted on: January 2, 2011 6:46 pm
 

TCU's legacy both BCS and non-BCS

On the same day TCU received its first Rose Bowl bid, its stadium was demolished.

The two occurrences on Dec. 5 are actually related. In a strange way, the Frogs were in Saturday's Rose Bowl because Amon G. Carter Stadium was being demolished. The win over Wisconsin was a culmination of events that might have elevated TCU to being the best non-automatic qualifier in existence.

Part of the stadium was torn down as part of a $100 million facilities upgrade. Call it an overall upgrade, the biggest in school history. With the Rose Bowl win and a 13-0 season, TCU is on the edge of breaking into college football's elite. It certainly has passed Utah and Boise as the best non-BCS programs of the BCS era (since 1998). World's tallest midget status is a bit meaningless now, though, with TCU joining the Big East in 2012.

It will leave behind quite a legacy before starting a new one as one of the game's haves. Gary Patterson is a defensive savant but his teams have been tremendously balanced. Departing senior Jeremy Kerley was a dual threat as a receiver and returner. Quarterback Andy Dalton leaves as the winningest active quarterback in the game. His placement will be either Casey Pachall, a redshirt freshman, or Matt Brown, an Allen, Texas star who changed his commitment from Arizona in February.

Only 10 starters return with the loss of 26 seniors in 2011. But Patterson has been good at replenishing and rebuilding. Most of the 2010 recruiting class redshirted. Only three true freshmen played any significant time. This season marked the program's fifth in the last six with at least 11 wins. The residual gift from those victories will benefit both the Mountain West and Big East. BCS executive director Bill Hancock confirmed Saturday night that the leagues will each get credit for TCU's records in 2010 and 2011.

A four-year evaluation period for automatic BCS conference qualification has been adjusted to match up with TV contracts. That's why TCU will most likely help the Big East keep its BCS status and aid the Mountain West in getting its shot. If the MWC meets a series  of benchmarks it will get temporary automatic qualifying status in 2012 and 2013. That would help sustain the league despite the losses of Utah and BYU next season and TCU in 2012. Boise State joins the MWC in 2011. Nevada, Fresno State and Hawaii (football only) will arrive in 2012.

As TCU AD Chris Del Conte said, that wasn't the MWC that TCU had joined or wanted to be part of in the future.

Some dope tweeted Sunday about TCU's weak schedule. While the MWC has been damaged by defections, it is on the brink of BCS automatic qualification because of the accomplishments of TCU, BYU and Utah. The Frogs have actively sought a tougher schedule in the Big East. Meanwhile, in the non-con Boise State comes to Fort Worth in 2011. Oklahoma and Virginia follow in 2012. There's a home and home with LSU in 2013 and 2014.

Let's see Ohio State (Marshall, Ohio and Eastern Michigan this season in the non-con) match that.

Posted on: December 30, 2010 11:46 am
Edited on: December 30, 2010 4:15 pm
 

The Year in Dodd

Jan. 8 -- I'll never forget a crushed Mack Brown in the Rose Bowl hallway leading to the Texas lockerroom after losing to Alabama. I ask him, "Would Colt [McCoy] have made a difference?" Mack: "It wouldn't have been close."

Jan. 9 -- God, it's sunny outside in Newport Beach and God I want to be out on the golf course but while working on the national championship game folo, I find out South Florida's Jim Leavitt has been fired and Pete Carroll is leaving for the Seahawks. So much for golf. A hectic 2010 officially kicks off.

Feb. 1 -- What's so special about Cretin-Derham Hall High in St. Paul, Minn. No. 1 recruit Seantrel Henderson? A lot. But the kid's nationally televised commitment to USC turns out to be a mockery of the system.

Feb. 26 -- While the NCAA ponders making sickle-cell trait testing mandatory, another player dies of the affliction.

March 10 -- An all-access embedment with Baylor basketball during the Big 12 basketball tournament begins with the suggestion that Scott Drew might be the most despised coach in the conference.

March 12 -- I'm surprised to see that Baylor's pregame is as much religion as it is basketball. 

Mid-March -- During a first-round trip to San Jose for the NCAA Tournament I inquire about talking to quarterback Andrew Luck at nearby Stanford. I'm told he's busy with finals. Luck will later live up to the hype on the field too.

March 17 -- Before Butler bounces a ball in the NCAA Tournament I was there to chronicle what was then a stepping-stone job.

March 25 -- You know him as Ali Farokhmanesh, the all-Missouri Valley honorable mention who took out Kansas. His teammates know him as "Stroke".

March 28 -- Yes, Magic Johnson deserves to celebrate a Final Four berth with Michigan State.

April 6 -- That was the best coach of all time you saw win the national championship.

April 11 -- Even if the venue stunk, the Frozen Four was great again even if the fans of a team not involved in the championship game made the most noise.


May -- Jack Dodd and dad took in a three-game Cardinals-Padres series in San Diego. Ate fish tacos and made friends of ushers who openly root for Pads, leading one sarcastic Dodger fan to shoot back, "Let's go, sta-aff!! (clap-clap, clap-clap-clap)."

Also in May -- Haley Dodd graduates from high school, commits to the University of Missouri.

June 1 -- Big 12 spring meetings begin in Kansas City with all hell breaking loose.

June 3 -- Big 12 schools are so spooked by impending conference realignment that an ultimatum is issued: Declare loyalty or else. Nebraska won't commit, having been in talks with Big Ten since January.

June 9 -- Colorado announces it is joining the Pac-10.

June 11 -- Nebraska trashes Texas on the way to announcing its departure for the Big Ten in 2011. The Longhorns take their worst beating in seven years.

June 12-15 -- Texas re-commits to the Big 12 after a failed raid by the Pac-10 to take six Big 12 teams. The crucial hours come on Saturday, June 12 and Sunday, June 13 when Fox Regional and ESPN essentially decide it is in their best interests to make a financial commitment to a 10-team Big 12 rather than lose an entire BCS conference. If the Big 12 had gone away, the new Pac-12 could have, and still might, go out to bid leaving one or both (Fox, ESPN) from losing another BCS property.

A portion of the remaining Big 12 have nots (Missouri, Iowa State, etc.) agree that Texas should get an increased share of conference revenue just because it's Texas. There is no Big 12 with it. The Horns spend the rest of the year establishing its own network, reportedly with ESPN for $15 million per year.

June 16 -- Troy is burned to the ground.

Mid- June -- Went on a Mexican cruise to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. Smoked a Cuban cigar, body surfed, watched World Cup soccer at 7 in the morning and enjoyed a seal show -- in the pool where my son and I were swimming! Mexican health laws are a little bit different than ours.

July 21 -- Nick Saban goes there with the p-word.

July 27 -- Tom Tuberville finds out he could retroactively win the 2004 national championship.

August -- Jack begins practice for CYO seventh-grade football. No two-a-days, more like two-a-weeks.

August 15 -- Haley moves into her University of Missouri dorm 30 years after her dad moved out of Columbia. Yes, a few sentimental tears were shed.

August 27 -- It's the Year of the Comeback.

August-September -- North Carolina football is ripped apart by an agent scandal than resulted in mass suspensions, an NCAA investigation and resignation of assistant coach John Blake.

September 7 -- Boise State launches itself into a season-long national conversation with a 33-30 win over Virginia Tech.

October -- Through a series of stories and spectacular performances we are introduced to this juco quarterback at Auburn. What's his name? Oh yeah, Cam Newton. We will learn more. Much more.

October 9 -- It's officially a national race again as defending national champ Alabama loses to South Carolina.

Also, I enjoy being a Kappa Kappa Gamma dad during the sorority's Dad's Weekend at Missouri. After tailgating, Haley and I watch Mizzou beat Colorado 26-0.

October 12 -- Turns out, South Carolina's win was a bigger deal than we thought. The Gamecocks become only the 45th team ever (in wire service era) to a beat a No. 1 team.


October 16 -- Wisconsin beats No. 1 Ohio State with something called the forward pass.

October 24 -- How crazy has the season gotten? The day before the game, Janet Dodd hits the Worldwide Interweb and somehow gets her husband a hotel room within walking distance of Faurot Field on homecoming weekend. Then People Magazine's "Sexiest Dad Alive" figures into Missouri's 36-27 defeat of BCS No. 1 Oklahoma.

October 31 -- Texas is well on its way to becoming the biggest disappointment of 2010.

Also in October -- Ascension beats CYO diocese power Cure of Ars for its only win of the season. Jack is proud. Dad is prouder.

November 4 -- Story breaks of Cam Newton's dad soliciting $180,000 from Mississippi State.

November 6 -- Matt Hayes of the Sporting News and I get trapped in the LSU postgame celebration after an amazing win over Alabama. We get a behind-the-scenes look at the LSU's coach's "Lesticles."

November 12 -- Why not go wall-to-wall on the scene with Cam Newton? With this ...

November 13 -- And this ...

November 23 -- And this ...

November 26 -- On the day after Thanksgiving, Auburn and Alabama play one of the best Iron Bowls ever and Boise State's Kyle Brotzman misses two chip shots against Nevada. Afterward, neither Cam Newton nor Brotzman are talking. For different reasons, of course.

Non-BCS story of the year: While covering that Boise-Nevada game on a bitterly cold night in Reno, a window in the press box has to be cracked so the clock crew "can hear the whistle." We're not exactly in Columbus, folks. Haven't heard a line like that since the Class 4-A state title game in 1984.

November 27 -- Miami's Randy Shannon is fired after an uninspired loss to South Florida. Jon Gruden gets his name in the search, as he always does, but in the first major hire of his career, AD Kirby Hocutt eventually picks Temple's Al Golden.

December 1 -- The best guy to talk about Kyle Brotzman's disappointment happens to be Boise resident and fan Bill Buckner.

December 1 -- Cam Newton is declared eligible to play in the SEC championship game because he didn't know his father had sought $180,000 for his services at Mississippi State. Hilarity ensues. Commissioners go nuclear.


December 4 -- Oregon beats Oregon State and Auburn beats South Carolina (again) to clinch BCS title game berths. Both schools are first timers in a BCS system than has seen only 14 teams play for the national championship since 1998.

December 5 -- Told you it was the Year of the Comeback.

December 6 -- Yes, we came this close to the end of the BCS.

December 8 -- When Tim Tebow left Florida, that made it a lot easier for Urban Meyer to resign. This time it stuck.

December 9 -- The nation's top rusher is a good guy. Really.

December 11 -- While in New York for the Heisman, a short, middle-aged man listening to his IPod strikes up a conversation with me on the elevator. Hello, Donny Osmond.

December 11 -- Cam Newton wins the Heisman surrounded by eight security goons but no family members in the post-ceremony presser. Sad.

December 13 -- Legends and Leaders? C'mon Big Ten.

December 19 -- Jack and dad enjoy the Chiefs and Rams in St. Louis during Christmas break. It's nice watching a game without a deadline to meet or a petulant coach to question. It's even better doing it with my wingman.

It was a great year. May 2011 be even better.

Posted on: December 6, 2010 8:51 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2010 9:23 pm
 

BCS fumbles final standings

If you read Jerry Palm's scoop Monday, then you know we came close to the end of the Bowl Championship Series.

Palm discovered, by simply checking the math, that Wes Colley's computer rankings -- one of six computer indexes used to determine BCS standings -- were wrong in the final BCS standings. It was a minor glitch -- Colley missed the Appalachian State-Western Illinois score. Minor -- this time. It caused a switch in the standings between No. 11 Boise State and No. 10 LSU.

But what if the mistake had changed the order of the No. 2 and No. 3 ranked teams? In other words, changed which team was playing in the national championship game. The outcry would have burned the BCS to the ground. Trust me, I know these people. You thought the commissioners were upset with the Cam Newton NCAA decision last week? They have actual control over what occurred on Monday. Imagine BCS director Bill Hancock telling No. 2 Oregon, "Woops, sorry. Our bad. TCU is really supposed to play for the national championship."

Court battles would have been the beginning of the controversy. Picture Oregon having to get a court injunction to play for the national championship. In the end the BCS would have ended. It would have lost total credibility. I know, I know, it doesn't have much credibility with the public now. But at least most of us accept Oregon-Auburn as the "right" national championship game.  After this kind of screw-up, I imagine the bowls would have advocated a switch back to the old system.

At least in the arranged bowl marriages of the past, schools had somewhat of a say in things. This is potential death by arithmetic. Boise's elevation did enhance, in some small way, the Mountain West's quest for automatic qualifier status in 2012 and 2013. Boise's recent success will be applied to the Mountain West during a four-year evaluation of the BCS worth of all conferences.

Suddenly we're all thinking the same thing: How many BCS errors haven't been caught? Are the right teams even playing?

The only reason Palm caught Colley's error is that Colley makes his formula available. None of the other five masters of BCS computer indexes release theirs, not even to the BCS. That's right, the BCS assumes their numbers are right. Colley was wrong because he relied on a database assembled by fellow BCS computer honcho Peter Wolfe. Wolfe told me that Colley had picked up his scores before they were updated with the App State-Western Illinois game.

Kind of adds new meaning to the BCS motto: Every Game Counts.

This is a database, Wolfe said, that he meticulously maintains and is cross-checked by Jeff Sagarin, probably the most well known of the BCS computer guys.

"This is my 10th year, every year there are 4,000 games. That's 40,000 games," said Wolfe from Los Angeles where he is an associate clinical professor at the UCLA medical school. "I do my best. I'm sorry this happened. In general this is unfortunate, we're all human. I do this because I'm interested in it. If my name is on something, I want it to be right."

Hancock was in touch with Wolfe Monday asking what had happened. There was a subsequent BCS release Monday night that quoted Hancock: "I was deeply disturbed when I learned about this today. This error should not have happened and is unacceptable." Hancock added that the issue will be "near the top of the agenda" during the spring BCS meetings.

Is the potential there to infect the whole system with bad math? Not in this case. Wolfe's scores are accessible to anyone on his website. Colley just happened to use the numbers before they had been updated. The core issue here remains that aside from Colley, the computer guys do not reveal their formulas.

"It is something we have developed," Wolfe said. "It does have some [proprietary] value."

Like me, you're probably wondering why the BCS can't find six guys who will make their formulas public.

"You're right," Wolfe said. "It is trust."

With a national championship now potentially at stake, the BCS, then, is asking us for what dwindling trust is left.

"We don't know if any of these guys are right ...," Palm said. "Could you imagine if we had to change who played in the BCS title game today?"

Already have. It would have been a disaster, leading to a real death to the BCS.

Posted on: November 23, 2010 6:14 pm
 

BCS releases list of at-large candidates

The BCS exclusionary?

Not today with 22.5 percent of Division I-A still eligible for BCS bowls. That's the conclusion after reading a BCS press release Tuesday afternoon. The BCS released its list of teams still under consideration for the five elite bowls. In addition to the 19 teams contending for automatic berths by winning their conference there are still eight teams being considered for at-large berths.

Those are:

No. 11 (in the BCS) Alabama, 9-2. Eliminated from the SEC, the Tide could get in the conversation by beating Auburn.

No. 21 Arizona, 7-3. A longshot even if the Wildcats beat Oregon this week.

No. 12 Arkansas, 9-2. The LSU game is a playoff to stay alive in the BCS.

No. 4 Boise, 10-0. Let's be honest, if the Broncos don't win out they're not going to a BCS bowl.

No. 5 LSU, 10-1. The highest-ranked one-loss team would seem to be in if it beats Arkansas.

No. 19 Nevada, 10-1. Another longshot even with a win over Boise on Friday.

No. 20 Utah, 9-2. Consecutive losses to TCU and Notre Dame doomed the Utes.

No. 3 TCU, 11-0. The Frogs are nervous. If they are passed by Boise for the No. 3 spot, their BCS bowl chances are in jeopardy.

To be eligible for an at-large berth, a team must finish in the top 14 of the BCS standings. For a non-A.Q. (automatic qualifier) conference champion to get into a BCS bowl it must finish in the top 12. (Top 16 if it is ranked higher than a champion from a power conference.) Only the highest-ranked non-A.Q. meeting those parameters is guaranteed a spot in the BCS. 

What's amazing is that there are 19 teams still alive for automatic berths:

ACC: Florida State, North Carolina State, Virginia Tech
Big East: UConn, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, West Virginia
Big Ten: Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin
Big 12: Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M
Pac-10: Oregon, Stanford
SEC: Auburn, South Carolina

Posted on: October 27, 2010 1:04 pm
 

Boise react

No matter what you think about Tuesday night's Boise victory over Louisiana Tech, understand this: There will always be criticism.

Boise is an outsider. It is a college football nerd to legions of the sport's fans. I listen to a nationally syndicated sports talk show out of Alabama on most days. Some of the listeners literally don't believe that Boise plays what we would call football. Really, it's that bad.

So even the perfect game by the Broncos is going to be picked apart. And the 49-20 win over Louisiana Tech was far from perfect. Start with the headline in the Idaho Statesman.

I'm not damning Boise. I think you know my stance by now. I'm a Boise BCS honk. I am saying they did themselves no favors on Tuesday night. If the Broncos want to play with the big boys, they'll have to endure the national scrutiny when they don't play their best. It's a fashion show for here on out and for long stretches Tuesday, the Broncos were wearing jorts.

The nation's No. 1 defense had its worst showing (394 yards surrendered) against a middling WAC team. There were two fumbles that came in the middle of Boise scoring plays. The 29-point margin of victory was the smallest in Boise's in three WAC games.  For the first time in a month quarterback Kellen Moore had to play into the fourth quarter.

"Probably not the cleanest version of ourselves that came out," Moore said.

The hardest part of the schedule may be approaching. The next four games come against the other WAC teams with winning records -- Hawaii, Idaho, Fresno and Nevada -- combined winning percentage:  .724. The worst part: Boise disappears off the national radar as the weekend approaches. The Sunday morning story is likely to be how six undefeated teams did with games on the road. If the right ones lose, then Boise will be the story again by Sunday night when the BCS standings come out.

Until then, the lasting impression from Tuesday night: Gosh, those jorts sure do look like they're tight.

 

 

Posted on: October 22, 2010 11:57 am
Edited on: October 23, 2010 8:42 am
 

Big 12 tiebreaker tweaked

It's two years too late for Texas but the Big 12 has adjusted its three-way tiebreaker according to the Dallas Morning News.

Oklahoma won the tiebreaker and advanced in the Big 12 South, and eventually played for the national championship in 2008, after tying Texas and Texas Tech for the division title. All three teams finished 7-1 in the division. Oklahoma won the tiebreaker because it was the highest-ranked team in the BCS standings, by .0128 of a point over Texas.

That tiebreaker was amended back in the spring to read that the highest ranked team in the BCS standings shall win, "unless two of the tied teams are ranked within one spot of the other in the BCS poll." In that case, head-to-head results will apply. If that tiebreaker had been in effect two years ago, Texas would have won the South.

The rule change was submitted by Texas AD DeLoss Dodds earlier this year. The change was discovered this week by the Morning News. There is a chance again this season for another three-team tie in the South. Oklahoma is currently No. 1 in the BCS, followed by Oklahoma State at No. 14. Texas is 19th.

Category: NCAAF
 
 
 
 
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