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Tag:SEC
Posted on: November 16, 2010 4:52 pm
 

Nick Fairley will not miss the Iron Bowl

As of right now, Auburn's best defensive and offensive players will be on the field against Alabama a week from now.

The SEC refused to suspend defensive tackle Nick Fairley after an apparent spear of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray. (He was penalized for roughing the passer.)

Cam Newton you know about, and if you don't, well, keep enjoying your nap.
Category: NCAAF
Tags: Auburn, Georgia, SEC
 
Posted on: October 26, 2010 11:55 am
Edited on: October 26, 2010 1:47 pm
 

National Notes

All Cam Newton all the time? Seems like it especially with the question of the week that has risen up on various talk shows, Twitter accounts and in my brain:

Is Cam Newton better than Tim Tebow? At this point in time the answer is yes. Cammo is bigger (6-feet-6, 250 pounds), stronger (watch him bulldoze those linebackers) and faster than the Gainesville god known as Tebow. Newton won't approach Tebow's numbers because this might be his one and only season at Auburn.

The irony is that Florida had him and let him get away. Actually, Newton admits he let himself get away. The laptop incident didn't help but Newton was being redshirted and had an ankle injury in his final semester with the Gators. Tebow and John Brantley were ahead of him on the depth chart, making it easier for Newton to transfer.

After becoming the national juco player of the year, Newton found the perfect coach (offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn) with the perfect offense at Auburn. The rest you've watched each Saturday. The latest accomplishment was setting the SEC season rushing record by a quarterback -- with four games left.

"He's the best facilitator of the football as a college quarterback," said Pete Cordelli, a former Notre Dame assistant. "He runs his football team like he's a point guard. It's Showtime on the Plains. Who can you take and put on the other 119 teams  and make them better? Can you imagine him at Oregon or Oklahoma? Imagine if he was at Penn State, we wouldn't be talking about Paterno retiring. Imagine him at Ohio State?"

That's a lot of imagining but only one team has him. 


* The next question is whether Newton will go Prince on us and change his name to a symbol: N - mg = ma

(The equation is deciphered below)

* By the way, don't blame Urban Meyer. He's got enough problems. Critics want the Florida coach to get rid of lawbreakers (you might have heard there have been quite a few), but they want to blame him for letting Cam I Am for "getting away."

* If the top of the polls look unfamiliar, they should. Oregon is No. 1 for the second consecutive week in the AP poll. Other than USC, the last Pac-10 team to be ranked No. 1 in the AP poll was Washington in 1992 (five weeks). No. 2 Boise State is the highest ranked WAC team since BYU won the national championship in 1984.

* Boise rant of the week: At what point do 47-point beatdowns of WAC teams in some way equal a seven-point win over LSU. That's why I think Boise could win the SEC East, Big 12 and Big Ten.

* During this Alabama bye week, Nick Saban visited the Touchdown Club of Memphis. One snarky attendee  gave Nick his props and summed up the season properly -- at least from an Alabama perspective: "Congratulations on winning the BCS national championship last year and producing a Heisman Trophy winner. I know expectations are high in the state of Alabama and people expect another national champion and another Heisman winner. Fortunately, those expectations appear to be in reach. Auburn is No. 1 in the BCS and Cam Newton appears to be the leading candidate for the Heisman."

* What's the antidote for arrogance? Mack Brown is trying to figure that out. According to him, that's what Texas has been playing with for too long. Brown who called out his players after the Iowa State loss and, in the process, might have indicted his own motivation skills.

There is no excuse with bowl-bound Baylor coming in. The Longhorns roster routinely is comprised of the best players in Texas, some of the best in the country. Try to explain, then, how Baylor leads the Big 12 South eight weeks into the season. You can't.


* Sometimes we write too much about the winners, the BCS, bowl games, NCAA reprobates. This space is dedicated to the feel-good stories of late October.

Baylor clinched a bowl berth for the first time in 15 years after that Kansas State win. The season looked encouraging but Bears fans had learned not to assume anything. Quarterback Robert Griffin was coming off a blown-out knee. It lost at TCU by 35 earlier in the season.  Griffin now is arguably the best quarterback in the Big 12.
 
Western Kentucky broke a nation-leading 26-game losing streak in beating Louisiana-Lafayette. Akron and New Mexico now share the national lead; each have lost eight in a row. Oh, and another warning for the next Vince Lombardi at Minnesota: The Gophers are next with a seven-game losing streak.

Remember when Ron Zook was on the hot seat? Illinois' coach is a respectable 4-3, having beaten Penn State in the process. Its three losses are no disgrace, to Michigan State, Ohio State and Missouri. Those schools have a combined record of 22-1.

No shame either for Iowa State's Paul Rhoads. The Cyclones are now 4-4, chasing a bowl after beating Texas. Their four losses are to Iowa, Kansas State, Utah and Oklahoma. Combined record: 23-5.

Seven games into his second season, Syracuse's Doug Marrone has the Orange at 5-2, in second place in the Big East, a half-game behind Pittsburgh. (Pittsburgh has beaten Syracuse already so it has the tiebreaker)

For only the second time and for first time in six years Baylor and Iowa State won a Big 12 Conference game on the same day. Also for only the second time in Big 12 history, Texas and Oklahoma lost on the same day when coached by Bob Stoops and Mack Brown.

* Why could Cameron Newton nickname himself "N - mg = ma"? That is more or less the mathematical representation of Newton's first law of motion: An object in motion tends to stay in motion. If I were Newton, Cam not Sir Isaac, I'd copyright that sucker.

 


Posted on: September 28, 2010 7:47 pm
 

National notes

What the hell happened to the Big East?

No one was predicting a national championship this season, but things were looking up weren't they? Pittsburgh had a bonafide Heisman candidate in Dion Lewis. UConn was going to beat Michigan and begin the end for Rich Rod. West Virginia had Noel Devine. Cincinnati wasn't 12 wins good, but it was 10 wins good. Right?

The only thing good about the league at this point is that September is ending. At least the Big East can start 0-0 in October. It was 1-10 against BCS conference schools in September. Every team in the league has at least one loss. There are no ranked teams. UConn has changed quarterbacks. There has been an APB sent out for Lewis. Syracuse? There's hope. The Orange are 3-1.

Remember, this was the league that Paul Tagliabue thought was worth saving.

Here's what went (really, really) wrong.

Brian Kelly left Cincinnati. The Bearcats were thinking the worst and hoping for the best. Turns out that Kelly did have the magic touch to get a mid-major into a BCS bowl. It also turns out that the growing pains under Butch Jones were going to be significant.  A 1-3 start means the Bearcats have one less loss than they have had in last two seasons combined (four).

Rutgers never capitalized. It was almost four years ago that Rutgers lit up the nation and New York with that magic win over Louisville. The Scarlet Knights didn't follow through to win the Big East and capture that BCS berth. Greg Schiano keeps recruiting well but Rutgers has lost that Cinderella the program had. It dropped to 2-1 Saturday with a loss to North Carolina.

Ditto for South Florida. Wasn't it just three years ago that the Bulls rose to the No. 2 in the country? South Florida was a fun story for a while under fiery coach Jim Leavitt. Then they always seemed to fade in November. Leavitt got sideways with the administration and may have struck a player. A lawsuit trying to dispel that assertion is what takes most of his time lately. Skip Holtz was the right hire but it's going to take time. Actually, the Bulls might have the brightest outlook after one month. They stuck with Florida for a half and should be 4-1 heading to Morgantown on Oct. 14.

Pittsburgh underachieved again. The Panthers were a prohibitive favorite to win the league in the preseason. They still might do it but have already lost twice. Thursday's four-touchdown rout by Miami was embarrassing. There will be no 10-win repeat.

Four of the league's eight teams have switched coaches in the last two years.
Remember, continuity is a good thing.

There's always Temple and/or Villanova. The two schools have been rumored to join the league as a way of bolstering its major-market profile if and when the Big Ten gets the expansion jones again. There was a report that the league may be interested in TCU. Makes sense for both sides, sort of. If TCU loses once in the Mountain West, it could be out of the BCS running. If it loses three times (non-conference games) while playing in the Big East, it could still get a BCS bowl.

None of that fixes what's wrong now. 

The top 10 September teams (No preseason polls involved. Strictly based on accomplishments to date)

1. Alabama -- beat two ranked teams, one top 10 team on the road. No drop off after losing nine defensive starters.
2. Boise State -- beat two ranked teams, one on the "road" (Virginia Tech). No drop off after undefeated season.
3. Stanford -- Most underrated team in the country. Andrew Luck could win the Heisman. Cardinal could win the Pac-10.
4. Auburn -- Complete team now with Cam Newton.
5. Nebraska -- Defense alone could get it to national championship game.
6. Oregon -- Scorched the earth until Arizona State, then Devils handed them a game by turning it over seven times.
7. Arizona -- Win over Iowa was biggest in years.
8. NC State -- Won twice impressively on the road (Central Florida, Georgia Tech). Suddenly an ACC favorite.
9. Ohio State -- Against the only upright opponent showed flaws but still picked off four Miami passes. Still waiting for Big Ten sked.
10. Michigan -- Can't argue with 4-0 for the second straight season. Denard Robinson emerging as Heisman favorite.

The Quarter Pole

(The best after four games. Team and player)

Best of the Big East: West Virginia, Jordan Todman (UConn)
Best of the Big 12: Nebraska, Taylor Martinez (Nebraska)
Best of the Big Ten: Ohio State, Terrelle Pryor (Ohio State)
Best of the ACC: NC State, Russell Wilson (NC State)
Best of the SEC: Alabama, Ryan Mallett (Arkansas)
Best of Conference USA: East Carolina, Bryce Beall (Houston)
Best of the Pac-10: Oregon, Andrew Luck (Stanford)
Best of the Mountain West: TCU, Ronnie Hillman (San Diego State)
Best of the Sun Belt: Middle Tennessee, Jerrel Jernigan (Troy)
Best of the WAC: Boise State, Kellen Moore (Boise State)
Best of the MAC: Temple, Bernard Pierce (Temple)

Posted on: August 21, 2010 3:12 pm
Edited on: August 21, 2010 3:24 pm
 

Preseason AP poll analysis

His name is Joe Giglio of the Raleigh News and Observer.

In 10 keystrokes of brilliance he made himself and his newspaper more relevant. That's not a swipe, that's a salute to the only AP voter to award a No. 1 vote to Boise State. In a year when the whole seems to have turned Crimson, Giglio hopefully made us aware of the obvious.

Boise State can win the national championship. Not just because it is ranked No. 5 in the coaches' poll and No. 3 in AP. True, it is positioned well to make a run -- Virginia Tech, Oregon State and the bye known as the WAC schedule.

But you have to see these guys play. I don't mean reading a preseason mag, I mean really see them play. For some not-fully-explained reason, every time Boise plays "up" it seems to win. (4-1 vs. BCS schools since 2006) I already wrote that coach Chris Petersen is upset that the Broncos aren't the cuddly underdog anymore.

Now we have to admit they are a powerhouse. What other proof do you need? They're not good because of who they don't play. You can only play the teams in your conference. You certainly can't criticize them for playing a weak non-conference schedule.

If Boise State gets to the championship game, it will have earned it. Giglio is like me. His eyes have been opened.

Other observations about the AP preseason poll ...

This is the first time since 1978, Alabama has been the AP preseason No 1. In the wire service era, Alabama is 72-8-3 in years after national championships.

The highest-ranked Big East team is Pittsburgh at No. 15. This important only because of the Panthers' schedule which has them playing Utah and Miami in the first four weeks.

To no one's surprise, the SEC has six teams in the top 25.

At No. 14, USC has its lowest preseason rank since 2002, Pete Carroll's second year.

At No. 23, Georgia has its lowest preseason AP rank since 2001.

The farthest back a team has come to win a championship in the BCS era is LSU in 2003. It was No. 12 in the first BCS rankings.

Posted on: August 20, 2010 11:48 am
Edited on: August 20, 2010 5:01 pm
 

CUSA and MWC discuss BCS play-in and updated info

The commissioners of Conference USA and the Mountain West have had preliminary discussions regarding a BCS bowl play-in game between the two conferences' champions that would lead to an automatic BCS bowl berth, MWC commissioner Craig Thompson confirmed Friday after CBSSports.com's initial report.

Thompson and his Conference USA counterpart Britton Banowsky spoke Thursday in the midst of upheaval below the BCS conference level according to the source. There are few specifics at this point but the idea is to make both conferences more relevant and perhaps coax BYU into staying in the Mountain West. Thompson stressed the preliminary nature of the talks. Here is how the MWC couched things on its website.

"We had probably set this up about a month ago," Thompson said. "We said, 'Let's just talk about what's going on if there are going to be all these superconferences ...' We did speak about, 'What if a group of 22-24 teams were to approach the BCS about an automatic bid vs. the nine, or eight or 10-mmeber Mountain West?' That was on the table. I'd like to label it a 'think session.' "

No information has been submitted to BCS officials from the two leagues. In fact, 2010 begins a new four-year cycle for the BCS. That would mean the soonest anything could be in place is at the end of the 2014 season.

"The conferences have agreed to this format for the next four years," BCS executive director Bill Hancock said.

Conference USA and the Mountain West were among those conferences.

"We talked [with CUSA] about marketing 24 instead of 12, 10, whatever," Thompson added. "The bottom line is this is the first of four years. We haven't played this year's BCS games. This is like kindergarten in formal education. We're just talking."


Nothing much has changed in terms of access in the new BCS agreement. The champions of the six BCS leagues get automatic BCS bowl berths (ACC, Pac-10, Big 12, SEC, Big Ten, Big East). The other four BCS bowl berths are filled by schools that reach at-large qualification standards. In the Mountain West, Utah (twice) and TCU have gained at-large berths in recent years. Conference USA has not had a BCS bowl team.

CUSA and the MWC are among the conferences that are halfway through a four-year evaluation process to determine a possible temporary BCS automatic-qualifying status in 2012 and 2013. The Mountain West was close to achieving that status until it lost Utah in the offseason and invited Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada into the league.
 
The subject of a BCS bowl play-in game among non-BCS leagues has been discussed informally in the past. Conference USA and the MWC would probably have to get approval from the other nine Division I-A conferences. One potential roadblock: The three other non-BCS leagues (MAC, WAC, Sun Belt) probably would have an issue with those two conferences playing for a BCS bowl instead of them. The WAC probably isn't on the best terms with the MWC right now. The WAC has placed teams in BCS bowls three times (winning twice) since 2007.

This would not be a merger between Conference USA and the MWC, but a play-in game to advance to the BCS after both leagues decided their conference champions. Conference USA already stages a conference championship game. The Mountain West is in a state of flux as BYU decides if it wants to leave the league and play as an independent in football. Fresno State and Nevada accepted invitations to join the MWC this week, supposedly beginning in 2012. Since it's not certain how many members the MWC will have going forward, it's not certain if it will attempt to stage a conference championship game of its own.

A play-in game could mean at least one of the leagues would be playing 15 games in a season, counting a conference title game, BCS play-in game and bowl game.

The MWC is still waiting on BYU's decision. As of Friday afternoon, the Mormon flagship was supposedly still deciding whether to go independent in football. BYU had, or has, a standing agreement to play four-to-six games against WAC teams and put its non-football sports in the conference.


Thompson addressed the status of his conference's automatic BCS qualification in 2012 and 2013. If the MWC (and other non-BCS leagues) achieve a level of three mathematical benchmarks during a four-year evaluation period ending after the 2011 season they would earn a temporary automatic access to a BCS bowl. If they achieve two of the three benchmarks -- which is where the MWC is right now -- their admission would be subject to a waiver granted by the BCS. That waiver process has not been defined by the BCS.

In the past, the Big East has retained automatic BCS status by waiver.

"The numbers aren't that frigging difficult to figure out," Thompson said. "No, we are no qualified. We have not qualified. We've got two years left to go."


As of early June, the MWC's BCS prospects looked excellent. Boise State had joined the league, adding its numbers to the mix. Then Utah bolted for the Pac-10. When Fresno and Nevada joined that possibly diluting the numbers.

Thompson would not be specific on the status of The Mtn. contract with league. A source told CBSSports.com this week that the absence of Utah and/or BYU could allow conference's network to walk away from the MWC partnership. Thompson said only that there is language in the contract regarding membership. The Mtn. is owned by Comcast and CBS College Sports.



Posted on: July 21, 2010 10:37 pm
 

SEC expansion fantasy

HOOVER, Ala. -- The conflict, it will be written, started in a small conference room at a Scottsdale, Ariz. resort.

It was on that day in April that Mike Slive, lawyer-turned-revolutionary, calmly unfolded a piece of paper and began reading his manifesto to the assembled media.

"If there is going to be a significant shift in the conference paradigm," Slive began, "the SEC will be strategic and thoughtful to make sure it maintains its position as one of the nation's pre-eminent conferences."

Cool, confident and articulate, the SEC commissioner, fired his warning shot at the Big Ten during the BCS meetings.

College sports stopped short of full-on realignmentmania this summer but Slive's words from that day endure. The point was to get his message across to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany.

Slive was using his big words that day to issue a short message: If the Big Ten expands beyond 12, the SEC is ready to throw down. The conferences are No. 1 (Big Ten) and No. 2 (SEC) in revenue produced. They didn't get that way by being timid.

The waters are calm for now but when the time comes -- and it will come -- the SEC needs to add these four schools:

Texas: I know, I know. Texas is happy for now. But how long is it going to want to travel to Ames, Iowa and Columbia, Missouri? What Texas wants, Texas gets. Why not access to the SEC riches and recruiting grounds? Arkansas would gain back its natural rival and be able to recruit again in Texas.


Miami: Admit it. The expanded ACC has been a borderline failure in football. The league has arguably lost its position as the nation's best basketball conference.

The SEC would do for Miami what the ACC couldn't. The U still holds that cache as a market (South Florida) and a brand. Get Miami in the SEC and suddenly you turn on that entire South Florida region to the SEC. Think of a conference featuring the Big Three -- Miami, Florida and ...

Florida State: Yeah, that's right. Throw the Seminoles a life line too. Florida State is run like an SEC program anyway. Tallahassee is as Deep South as it gets.

Think of Alabama, LSU and Tennessee coming through Tally on a regular basis. Florida already does. There were 17,000 empty seats (at least) at Doak last year for the Maryland game. It would never happen again.

FSU needs to become a superpower again. It isn't going to happen in the sleepy ACC.

Georgia Tech: A natural rival of Georgia and former SEC member (1933-63), Tech is the easiest fit in this scenario.

It has always been sort of awkward for the Jackets to playing in the ACC in the traditional center of the SEC, Atlanta. Recruiting would definitely improve. Imagine Tech being able to go head-to-head with Georgia in recruiting. Imagine Tech beating Georgia and being able to stay home in the SEC championship game.

Imagine Tech's academics classing up the SEC.

All this a pipe dream, you say? Who would have thought in December that Nebraska would be in the Big Ten?

Posted on: June 11, 2010 3:53 pm
Edited on: June 11, 2010 6:47 pm
 

Nebraska trounces Texas, moves to Big Ten

LINCOLN, Neb. -- It was the worst beating Texas has taken in public in at least seven years.

That 65-13 loss to Oklahoma in 2003 was only a football game. Nebraska officials spent the better part of 40 minutes Friday putting Bevo in his place.

Nebraska didn't just leave the Big 12 for the Big Ten on Friday, it told the world why: That bully Texas. In the space of eight days, Nebraska transformed from happy member of the Big 12 to angry, rancorous new member of the Big Ten.

Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman and AD Tom Osborne both took turns hammering Texas during a comment period before the board of regents. When they got done, there was only one possible result. The regents' vote was unanimous. Nebraska is headed to the Big Ten. Unspoken: Because Texas forced it out.

The moment the news broke last week about the Pac-10's desire to take Texas and five Big 12 partners, Nebraska turned sour. Perlman, at one point, stared across a table during the Big 12 meetings at his Texas counterpart Bill Powers and asked him if he was willing to give up his media rights. In other words, start a Big 12 Network. Powers said no. At that point, Perlman knew it was over.

This league had a chance to survive seven years ago but a possible network was voted down, obviously not supported by Texas. Now, it's clear the Pac-10 is going to get Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.

Super conferences, start your engines.

The money quote from Osborne: "One school leaving a conference does not break up a conference. Two schools leaving a conference does not break up a conference. 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."

T.O. intimated that Texas has been talking to the SEC, Big Ten and Pac-10.

It was a bad day for Texas' reputation. It was a good day for Nebraska's future.
Posted on: June 7, 2010 11:24 am
Edited on: June 7, 2010 12:40 pm
 

Latest from Expansion Central. Syracuse?

The latest scuttlebutt Monday morning has to do with Syracuse being the key to prying Notre Dame loose for the Big Ten.

If Missouri and Nebraska say yes to the Big Ten, I'm hearing that then either Pittsburgh or Rutgers would be paired with Syracuse to form an expanded eastern boundary of the new league. The key, apparently, is taking The 'Cuse into the Big Ten. The fit already looks good. Syracuse chancellor Nancy Cantor is a former chancellor at Illinois and provost at Michigan.

In this scenario, the addition of Syracuse collapses the Big East and potentially forces Notre Dame to find a conference home for its minor sports. Not to mention a conference home for football.

In other words, Notre Dame needs a compelling reason to join a league in football. I reported yesterday that if Notre Dame came to the Big Ten, that league's expansion might be capped at 12. That might not be the case now. The two biggest words to remember in this entire process is that it is always a "fluid situation."

Adding to the intrigue is that Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said Sunday that expansion could happen in stages

If all of the above comes to pass, we'd be looking at two 16-team leagues (Pac-10, Big Ten), the collapse of the Big 12 and Big East and a whole lot of chaos. Does the SEC react?

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