A Modest Proposal for the Big East, TCU, Boise State and Others: The Big Country Conference

Posted: November 16, 2010 in Big East, Big Ten, College Basketball, College Football, Sports
Tags: , , , , ,

The Pitt beat writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette believes that the Big East is purely looking for football-only members, and with the athletic director of TCU going on the record of only wanting to consider all-sports memberships, UCF and Villanova are considered to be the “Plan A” expansion candidates (with Temple as a back-up if Villanova decides against moving up from the FCS level) because they’re more willing to move just for football.  I’ve heard people with connections to other Big East schools state the exact same thing.  Frankly, if this is all true, it’s quite a shortsighted and underwhelming stance by the Big East as it ought to do whatever it takes to grab TCU, but not surprising as 16 members for basketball and other sports is already a massive league.  For all of those that want to make the divisions in the Big East to be simply “basketball vs. football”, the fact of the matter is that if the football members were all on the same page with anything, they would get their way with the Catholic schools.  The problem is that they aren’t even close to being on the same page – some were ready to split yesterday, others are hell-bent on keeping the hybrid together, some don’t care if the league adds multiple all-sport members and others don’t want any more all-sport members at all.  Therefore, if the Big East fails to add TCU or expand at all, the football members have only themselves to blame as opposed to the Catholic schools or the people in the conference offices in Providence.  (Note that the Fort Worth Star-Telegram is a bit more optimistic that the TCU-Big East marriage will eventually be consummated.) 

Let me throw some spaghetti against the wall here.  If I was running the Big East and the members were looking to make a significant move in football but preserve its strength and membership in basketball, I’d turn the concept of football-only membership on its head.  Instead, the Big East football members could head the formation of a football-only conference.  In essence, it would be a quasi-split – the Big East football members would separate from the conference in only football while keeping all other sports there.  This would preserve the 16-team league in basketball and all of the large markets and television contract advantages that come with it.  (Note that in my Big East Expansion FAQ post, I neglected to include the Big East basketball contract with CBS in the conference TV revenue figures, which is $9 million per year.  That means that each school makes $2 million per year total for basketball between the ESPN and CBS deals, which is actually more than what the football members make for football.  This only serves as further evidence that the Big East doesn’t want a full split and will do everything to keep its basketball league together.)  There is precedent for this type of structure, where the Missouri Valley Conference and Missouri Valley Football Conference share the same branding and headquarters with several common members, but are operated as separate entities with different charters and voting procedures.

After that, the new conference, which I’ll call “The Big Country”, will cherry-pick the best non-AQ schools from across the nation to create a strong and TV-friendly football league.  In fact, instead of the Big East members fearing the Big Ten and/or ACC raiding them to form 16-team leagues, they could form the first BCS superconference themselves.  Since it would be a football-only conference, the concerns about travel largely go out the window as the expenses as the non-revenue sports wouldn’t have to trek across the nation.  With two separate 8-team East/West divisions, even the travel for football itself would largely be minimized.  For the sake of argument, check out this proposed 16-team league:

West Virginia
1 of Temple/Villanova*
1 of UCF/ECU**

Boise State
1 of Houston/Memphis***
2 of New Mexico/Nevada/Hawaii****

Each school would play the 7 teams in its division plus 2 cross-division games, so the wide geographic range of the conference is a lot more manageable than how it looks on its face.  (Admittedly, Cincinnati and Louisville would get the shaft in terms of travel under this format, but remember that they had to travel all over the place in the much less lucrative former C-USA that stretched from West Point to Texas.)  A conference championship game would then be played (likely at the home stadium of the school with the best record or highest BCS ranking).

(* Whether it’s right or bone-headed tunnel vision, the Big East football members REALLY want a presence in Philadelphia.  In a way, it makes sense to the extent that it’s difficult to position yourself as the Northeastern BCS representative without a Philly school when you’ve already conceded Boston and DC/Baltimore to the ACC, don’t have a great hold in New York City and Penn State has such a solid fan base throughout the entire East Coast.  While the Big East would know with about five minutes of market research that Philly will probably only support Penn State en masse if it supports college football at all, the location in and of itself appears to be extremely important to the conference in this expansion process.)

(** Maybe it’s just me, but UCF doesn’t excite me as much as they seem to have excited Big East officials.  It’s a large and growing university that happens to also be the college home of Michael Jordan’s kids, yet I’m always wary of adding a school in an area that already faces an overload of direct BCS competition.  East Carolina actually has a very good fan base for a non-AQ school, but having 4 other BCS schools in the state of North Carolina that is an overwhelmingly ACC state is a killer.  On that front, UCF would get the nod purely because of its physical location where the Florida market is large enough to pump in enough additional quality BCS-level football players.)

(*** Is there any athletic department that has messed up more since the 2003 conference realignment than Memphis?  With its strong basketball program, solid fan base for an urban school, historic rivalries with Louisville and Cincinnati and financial backing from Fred Smith and the FedEx Mafia, Memphis would’ve been the next-in-line for an all-sports Big East membership if it had ANY football pulse whatsoever.  Instead, the Tigers might have the worst football team at the FBS level right now with dwindling attendance and are almost certainly getting passed over again.  I’ve only put them here as a football-only option as a geographic bridge between Louisville/Cincinnati and the rest of the West Division, but Houston would reasonably get the nod if I had to choose one of those two.)

(**** The one thing that I like about all of these schools: they’re flagship universities in growing areas that don’t have any other direct in-state BCS competition.  These are truly markets that this football league can own outright even if they’re on the smaller side.  In fact, I’d be willing to sign up all three in lieu of picking one of Houston/Memphis.  UNLV could also emerge as an option instead of Nevada here, but the Wolf Pack has clearly been stronger in football recently.)

If I’m running ESPN or another network, this is a conference worth paying some real money for compared to the current Big East or even an expanded 10-team Big East football league that includes TCU.  The Big East football members get the benefit of controlling their own destiny for football but still keep their profitable basketball league together.  As for what the other schools in this football-only league do with their other sports, the Big East members can legitimately say, “Not my problem.”  If this superconference is formed, then this permanently kills the chances of any other presently non-AQ conference like the Mountain West rising up to AQ status, so the stance can be either get onto the AQ gravy train now or forever hold your peace in the non-AQ world.  The Big Country wouldn’t make Big Ten or SEC TV money on a per school basis, but it would certainly present the opportunity for a massive upgrade that neither the Big East football members nor the non-AQ schools could hope for in more measured and conservative expansion scenarios.  This would make it a whole lot more palatable for schools such as TCU to agree to find a separate home for its other sports in comparison to the good-but-not-great revenue bump that it would receive if it were tacked on as a 10th football-only member of today’s Big East.  With other schools such as Boise State looking for a conference for other sports in the same manner, they can all agree to end up in a place like the WAC, WCC or even a brand new conference, which would provide a quality league for such other sports.

Do I think that the Big East football members are even considering this at all?  Heck no!  I’m sure that plenty of people will look at this proposal and perform some virtual vomiting all over it.  Yet, when The Big Country is framed and managed as a football-only conference, I don’t think it’s nearly as crazy logistically as it looks on a map.  This is a way that the Big East football members can throw in all of their last poker chips on the pigskin without risking anything on the basketball side.  In a way, the low revenue of Big East football gives those schools freedom to make moves that would be impossible for the Big Ten and SEC – they have little to lose on the football end, so this is a chance to go for a huge gain that will excite the general public and legimitately change the perception of the league.  Regardless, there’s no reason for the Big East football schools to split off (whether it’s just for football or all sports) unless it does so in a massive game-changing way.

(Follow Frank the Tank’s Slant on Twitter @frankthetank111 and Facebook)

(Image from Last.fm)

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  1. greg says:

    First time this year I’ve thought about the Outback Bowl.

  2. HerbieHusker says:


  3. Carl says:

    2 x “pick six” = 14

  4. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Frank – i like the idea, but how about leaving the Big East as-is for the Eastern division and taking the best of MWC, WAC, & C-USA for the Western division?

    M-WUSA Division:

    TCU, Houston, Memphis, Boise State, BYU, UNLV, San Diego State & Hawaii.

    • m (Ag) says:

      Actually, I’ve been thinking the same thing recently, except I’d make room for Fresno State instead of Memphis or UNLV.

      The Western division could be its own all-sports league. Really, it would be the same thing as 2 entirely different leagues that schedule regular non-conference games and have a title game.

    • MIRuss says:


      This is what I immediately thought, also, and I think someone actually threw this idea around in the comments of one of Frank’s earlier posts. I don’t have the time to search for it, but it made sense in a “you have to think anyway, so why not think big?” sort of way.

      Combining East and West Coast and splitting down the middle to make an AQ conference with a championship game makes total sense. I’m not sure the BEast can push a rope with the basketball schools involved, however, so there has to be something that entices everyone into the game: The AQ status. That should be enough right there, along with some better TV regular season dough to at least get the idea off the ground.

  5. @Towle_ says:

    One solid reason why the Big East doesn’t want TCU:

    Given the strength of that program, the current football schools would be resigning themselves to never winning the conference title. To add TCU would essentially be giving TCU an AQ conference, rather than giving an AQ conference another team.

    • gregenstein says:

      Your reasoning is sound, but it’s an argument why they SHOULD bring in TCU. TCU is in a good market and is a good team. This improves their position with ALL of their other bowl agreements as they’ll be able to say “Now you are getting a better #2, #3, etc. Pay for it!”

      Revenue sharing essentially means it doesn’t matter who is on top.

      • @Towle_ says:

        If you’re the university president of a Big East football school, you have to ask yourself whether the added revenue TCU brings is worth never winning a conference championship again– economically speaking.

        Ultimately, we need to remember that college football is worth this much money because of the football and the passion fans have for it. Are the current Big East football programs worth as much to their fans if it’s a given that TCU runs away with the conference title every year? Will the fans buy as many tickets, jerseys, etc? Will alumni donate as much money to the school? Without even a chance at winning, could the value of the programs diminish beyond repair?

        Keep in mind that if you’re wrong, your school might just be fucked for good. The decision you make is the decision you make forever. There’s no kicking TCU out later, after nobody in the country (but TCU fans) wants anything to do with Big East football anymore.

        • gregenstein says:

          Touche…but it seems to me that few of them want anything to do with the Big East right now.

          Also, TCU won’t be a top 5 team forever. Cincinnati was a 1-loss team only a year ago. I was wondering if Florida would ever not be good again, but it’s happening. Ditto Texas, USC. It’s not realistic to think nobody else will EVER win the conference again. TCU will probably be in the top 3 almost every year and a regular #1, but not every year. Much like Ohio State in the Big 10 (for the past 10 years anyway), there would probably always be 1 other team every year that could and will beat them.

          Fans buy tickets to see their team play other good teams or rivals. TCU I bet would sell more tickets for Pitt than Rutgers does.

          • @Towle_ says:

            “Touche…but it seems to me that few of them want anything to do with the Big East right now.”

            What are you saying, that things can’t get any worse?
            *starts raining*

            From my perspective, the few fans left clinging to Big East conference pride do so via historical sentiments. Bringing the 4th most popular team in Texas into the conference and having them kick your ass might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

            “Also, TCU won’t be a top 5 team forever.”

            You don’t need them to win the conference the next thousand years to kill fan interest. Eight of the next ten would be more than enough.

            “TCU I bet would sell more tickets for Pitt than Rutgers does.”

            The first two or three years, maybe. After that, how full that stadium is depends on how well the TCU fanbase decides to travel.

        • M says:

          “Why would the ACC invite Miami? None of them will win the conference ever again.”

          I find it ironic that both “TCU will not be able to stay consistently good” and “TCU will never lose another game” have been raised as arguments against the Big East inviting them.

          • @Towle_ says:

            Re: Miami to the ACC

            Different situation for one reason in particular: TCU can expect to get stronger as a member of an AQ conference. They’ll be able to land a lot of top recruits (especially from Texas) whom they wouldn’t otherwise have a chance at. If you recall the period immediately after Utah’s Pac-12 membership became official, their head coach claimed they got commitments from like 7 or 8 recruits he said they otherwise had no realistic shot at. He said recruits always liked the school and the football program, but their one hangup was always that Utah wasn’t part of a BCS conference.

            Re: Alleged irony
            There are two groups: one that believes TCU contends for that title every year and one that believes they will be “outed” after having to play a rougher schedule than they’re used to.

            The latter group can only logically be composed of Big East überhomers who should be written off.

          • @Towle – I think it’s going to end up somewhere in the middle if TCU joins the BE. It’s easy and fashionable to dump on the BE this season, but the depth of the conference has actually been fairly good over the past several seasons (and the second half of the BE is much more competitive than the second half of the MWC). Even the schools that have all the financial resources and recruiting advantages in the world go through tough periods. Look at the longstanding issues at Notre Dame, the fact that Texas is in danger of not being bowl-eligible one year after making the national championship game, Michigan’s issues over the past couple of seasons, USC not running roughshod over the Pac-10 anymore, etc. TCU, as well as it has performed, isn’t anywhere near those programs in terms of long-term historical support, so you can’t just concede that the school is going to automatically win the BE every year. WVU and Pitt, in particular, have solid football resources and a history of top tier bowl appearances, so they won’t exactly be pushovers.

          • @Towle_ says:


            It’s my personal tendency to rate the top non-AQ schools much higher than most do, especially in terms of overall program “strength” rather than week-to-week rankings. For my money, anywhere Chris Petersen takes a HC job becomes the best program in the country. I genuinely believe his way of doing things will become THE way of doing things for all major programs within, like 25 years.

            I think TCU is a real quality program too, and I think they’ll introduce a level of year-to-year consistency to the Big East that will confuse and befuddle current members. Unlike your cited examples of Texas, Michigan, et al, TCU’s strength is not built on name or tradition. They pick from the bottom of the Texas high school barrel, and they put together a damn good team doing it.

            Texas and Michigan go up and down because their ability to use their name to put together a good team goes up and down (shortterm: randomness of recruiting classes; longterm: quality of HC). TCU’s recruiting classes, by nature, are very much NONrandom. Their HC is their HC. If/when he leaves, my points are all moot. But you never know, that dude could be around another 20 years.

          • Bullet says:

            Miami didn’t totally dominate the BE. They won more than anyone else but didn’t dominate. They won 5 outright titles in 13 years and shared 4. In 2 of those 4 they lost out on tiebreak to VT.

            Miami and FSU still haven’t been to an ACC championship game and need a lot of help to get there this year.

            TCU will not do as well in the BE as Miami. They may be the best team more often than anyone else (and I’m not convinced of that long term), but things won’t always break their way.

          • M says:

            If you want an example of a team joining a league and then winning regularly, FSU is probably a better example. During their first 9 years in conference FSU went 70-2, winning the conference every year but one (which they lost on a head to head tiebreaker). I don’t think anyone would argue that adding FSU has been bad for the ACC. Having a consistent national title contender gave the league more exposure and more revenue.

            Without the ACC’s aggressive expansion over 2+ decades, they would not be particularly distinguishable from CUSA or the post-apocalypse Big East. Every halfway decent football program except Clemson has been an addition (GT ’83, FSU ’92, Miami, BC, VT ’05).

            Nothing raises the profile of a league more than having a national title contender and if TCU continues its rise they will be one with some regularity.

          • Jake says:

            @everyone – yeah, I’m a pretty die-hard TCU fan, and even I don’t think that we’d cruise through the Big East every year. This year, sure, but we’ve only won the MWC title three times in six years, so I wouldn’t expect us to do any better in the Big East.

            As for the ACC, that’s a good comparison not only for the current BE-TCU situation, but also for the conference of my youth, the Southwest. Back in the mid-seventies, the ACC and SWC were pretty similar – very regionally based, comparable population bases, mostly focused on one sport. Then the ACC went and added Georgia Tech and eventually FSU, while the SWC added … Houston. And look what’s happened to those two conferences since. Granted, there weren’t a lot of expansion candidates out West by then, but maybe if the SWC had beaten the Pac-8 to the punch and snagged the Ariz. schools (and let Houston be) things might have gone differently. Anyway, enough dreaming.

          • Jake says:

            @@Towle – bottom of the barrel? Not exactly. Patterson goes after different types of players than other schools, but he knows what he’s looking for and he usually gets it. Rivals ratings are bogus anyway.

          • @Towle_ says:


            I didn’t mean the phrase “bottom of the barrel” in any terms *other than* Rivals ratings (and similar methodologies). I’m sure Patterson knows talent; all I’m saying is the PERCEIVED big dogs are mostly off the board by the time he gets to pick. You feel me?

          • Vincent says:

            FSU won the inaugural ACC championship game in 2005, defeating Virginia Tech, but hasn’t been back since. Wake won the Atlantic Division in 2006, BC in ’07 and ’08 and Clemson last year.

  6. M says:

    I highly doubt they would name it the “BC Conference”. That’s like Coon and Friends without the Coon.

    Honestly, this plan seems to go against nearly every conference expansion rule you have: don’t expand just to expand, every school must be additive on a per school basis, think like a university president, don’t worry about travel costs even in non-revenue sports. It just doesn’t seem to fit any of those criteria.

    • @M – Ha! It definitely does go against a lot of what I’ve argued with respect to the Big Ten, although part of that was the strength of the Big Ten as of today meant that there was a much more limited universe of expansion options for that conference. There were fairly defined metrics in the Big Ten that had to be met for any expansion candidate and merely protecting the current revenue levels of the conference was as big of a concern as adding new revenue with additional members. The Big East, in contrast, can be an open canvas if we’re able to separate football from basketball and other other sports. They aren’t worrying about protecting $22 million per year per school like the Big Ten – what they’re trying to do is vault up in a manner that can get them anywhere close to those levels (or at least make them competitive). That would necessitate a much more aggressive approach.

      Of course, as I noted, I don’t think there’s a chance in Hades of this ever actually happening. It looks more like the Big East will be adding one of TCU/UCF and then one of Villanova/Temple for a 10-team football league. This is simply something I’d be looking at if I were running things considering that the BE seems to want football-only members. Trying to get football-only members is a constraint in an all-sports league (and a school like TCU probably doesn’t want to be looked at as the red-headed bastard if it’s the *only* football-only member in a 16-school league), but it’s not an issue in a football-only league (since ALL schools would be football-only members).

      • ezdozen says:

        The Big 10 and the Big East are on different planes. Not sure too many conferences can try to mimic the Big Ten, but the Big East sure cannot.

        This is why I have argued for the outside-the-box approach of two, 12-team divisions, with 6 team subdivisions within the greater Big East “conference”

        12 for all sports, including football

        12 for all sports, except football.

        Adding 4 teams for the sake of getting 12 teams just makes the conference a glorified MAC or a poor man’s ACC/Big 12-2.

        Plus, the Big 10 is… “competent” and forward-thinking, whereas the Big East is ridiculously incompetent and reactionary.

  7. Bullet says:

    This doesn’t look that good from the other schools’ standpoint. BYU, Temple and Hawaii would find homes for the rest of their sports. I’m not so sure about the rest.

    Also, this resembles the BE merge with MWC scenarios. Its not exactly the same, but you’re proposing a western division with 4 MWC schools + BYU.
    Its too much of a split of their most valuable asset-the autobid to the BCS, which unlike some people, I don’t think is at any serious risk.

    Still, BYU is a really obvious football only member. If you are going for TCU and looking for fb only schools, why not BYU?

  8. Nick says:

    This is very interesting, but does it fly in the face of th rule you mentioned last week where schools can’t have their hoops and football teams compete in different conferences which also support D-I basketball? Or is the loophole exactly that: there would be no “Big Country Hoops Conference”?

    • @Nick – Correct – there will be no “Big Country Hoops Conference”. The key is that the Big Country only exists for football.

      • StvInIL says:

        Sounds like a good name for the ravaged WAC should they not have been so damaged. I can hear country playing on the conference website as they show clips of the Schools engaged in sporting activities.

  9. gregenstein says:

    I wonder if Notre Dame would retain it’s right to vote on BIG EAST football matters…

    • FLP_NDRox says:

      I’m pretty sure, and Frank, correct me if I’m worng, but ND, like the other Catholic schools, don’t get to vote on football matters.

      I also don’t think they get bowl money unless they are playing in the actual bowl.

      • @FLP_NDRox ND actually gets to vote on the BE’s position on football with respect to NCAA FBS matters and governance. It’s unclear as to whether that also extends to pure football membership decisions (although if it’s an all-sports invite, then ND definitely has a say). I wouldn’t think that ND has a say on football-only memberships, but I was certainly surprised to see that ND had any input on BE/NCAA FBS governance issues, so it opens up the question a little bit. ND definitely doesn’t receive bowl money unless it’s actually playing in the bowl.

    • Vincent says:

      I would hope not, and please, don’t capitalize “Big East.” Or are you sending this from a certain office in Providence?

  10. cfn_ms says:

    I think that this is a really interesting idea, but I think that 16 teams would be too much. Why not just do 12 teams, something like:

    Northeast Division
    West Virginia
    1 of Temple/Villanova

    South and West Division
    1 of UCF/ECU/Houston/Memphis

    Since BYU is going independent in football and sending the rest to a small league, I’d have to think they’d take the BE football-only offer (actually I think they’d talk to the Big 12 and say “you have zero other decent expansion ideas besides us [unless you actually think ND is happening]. take us now or leave us forever” – but if/when the B12 says no, they’d be BE-bound), which would then start the ball rolling.

    Hawaii, Boise, Nevada, etc. are all logistical messes, even for just football. And none of them do anything in terms of market size, or long-term football potential.

    I also think there’s a lot of resistance to a 16-team league, which makes me think that going out on a huge limb like this isn’t a good idea. Moreover, becoming a 12-team league makes them fit in with all the other AQ’s (except B12), which I would think puts them in a stronger political position.

    Moreover, if they bloat up to a 16-team league, I’m thinking it’s only a matter of time before the Big 12 cherry-picks the two teams it wants from the group. Unless 16-team leagues truly are the wave of the future (which I’m doubting more and more), I don’t think it makes sense for the BE to go in that direction.

    • @cfn_ms – I was thinking about that, as well. Part of the driving force for this 16-team proposal is that I find a lot more opportunities out west (both in terms of higher quality football teams on the field and markets that currently don’t have BCS representation off the field). That 12-team league certainly looks good, though, and I was also considering a 14-school league, too.

      • cfn_ms says:

        If I’m BE (or BC as you call it), I would tend to look at the various other Western options as teams that will still be there later on if I want to add more. It is far more difficult to undo expansion after it’s happened than it is to add more later.

        The only example I can think of where a league essentially undid expansion was the Mountain West breaking off from the WAC-16… and there was a boatload of hurt feelings and (if I remember right) fairly serious discussions of lawsuits. Plus a couple of the pre-expansion WAC teams got left behind to boot. And in terms of the Big East, I would think that teams like Cincy and Louisville would be VERY nervous about taking a huge expansion risk that could very well result in a MWC-like split that leaves them behind.

        • spartakles78 says:

          Wouldn’t it be more pc to use BCE (before the common era, I mean Big Country East) instead of BC. The legal eagles in Back Bay might file…

          UC & U of L have been in several different conferences before.

          • cfn_ms says:

            But how many votes would BE need to expand? Even if it’s not as difficult as the Pac-10’s unanimous requirement, you’d still need close to across the board support.

            If you’ve already got two members who this is a VERY risky move for, it starts making less sense.

            Moreover, if you do the 7/2 game split, that means that even an Eastern team like, say, Pitt, would have one far to very far off game almost every year (2 yrs out of 8 they’d do Lville or Cincy which aren’t that bad; but presuming Houston over ECU you then have 2 of 8 in Texas, 2 of 8 in the Provo/Boise area, and 2 of 8 in some combination of NM/Nevada/Hawaii). For a bunch of Northeast schools that aren’t used to traveling far for games particularly often, I sincerely doubt that’s a winning proposal.

            So in a very real sense, it’s hard to see that anyone in the BE makes out particularly well, except perhaps Temple due to the AQ upgrade (though that was going to happen anyway if they say yes).

            Right now I don’t think there’s a single Big East team who’d be willing to do a home and home with Nevada, New Mexico or Boise in any sport, much less football. Signing up for a league arrangement where they’re essentially agreeing to regular home and homes with that group just doesn’t seem like it would make sense, even beyond the assumption that inertia would kill off radical suggestions anyway.

  11. Bullet says:

    Article out of Philly on Villanova’s status. His guess is that they probably will move up. They are feeling out donors now.


  12. Richard says:

    I don’t see it. Essentially, you’re amalgamating the BE with the MWC in football. I don’t think ESPN would pay much more than they do now if they combine.

    I also would quibble with your choices of teams to take. Nevada averaged 17.5K home attendance last year. Hawaii is way the heck out there. I think you have to take the big city schools out west, where there’s at least potential to make money if the teams do well:
    4 of
    Boise/Memphis/Houston/SDSU/UNLV/New Mexico/Air Force

    • @Richard – I see what you’re saying, although I do think that Boise State in particular has some true TV value to ESPN now. They’re not Texas or Notre Dame, but as far as TV draws among the current non-AQ schools, they’re probably about as good as you’re going to get right now. I also know what you mean about Nevada, which is why I pointed out UNLV as a possible option in place of them, but it’s just that UNLV is baaaaaaaad in football. They’re basically the Mountain West version of Memphis. If this were an all-sports league beyond football, then UNLV would be a lot more attractive with its basketball fan base.

      • Richard says:

        True, they are right now, but it’s difficult to project out for a decade or more. SDSU had been inexplicably bad despite being located in a talent-rich hotbed, but they have the potential to become a TCU. UNLV has no reason for being worse than Boise, being located fairly close to all parts of California; they should have done at least as well in the MWC as the Arizona schools in the Pac10.

        Using history, back when the SWC imploded, the WAC took 3 Texas schools, but not Houston because they were horrid in the final years of the SWC. Yet in the ensuing decade & a half, they’ve been better than 2 of the 3 Texas schools the WAC did take. Building a brand is tough work, and maybe Boise will become a Nebraska, but all else being equal, I’d take the school that is close to/in fertile recruiting grounds and has the potential to capture their home market.

        So I’d definitely take Memphis & UNLV (no pro football, not in the shadow of a big state school, and in or close to fertile recruiting grounds). Final 2 spots would be between Boise, Houston, and SDSU. Houston & SDSU are in very similiar situations: both in pro cities and can be overshadowed by schools in their state located in power conferences. I think SDSU can “own” San Diego in a way that Houston can’t ever own their city, though, (if they ever sustain success again) so I think SDSU is in.

        Maybe I’d take Boise over Houston because they’re a TV draw right now (and can turn in to a Nebraska-lite).

        • Bullet says:

          Actually, Houston had no interest in the WAC (though you are right about them being bad in the closing years of SWC). Had they been interested, they probably would have replaced Tulsa. But they were quietly working on building the CUSA. They viewed themselves above the other 3. Rice and TCU combined had less than 10 (probably closer to 5) winning seasons over the last 30 years of the SWC. SMU was just off the death penalty. UH wasn’t that far removed from Andre Ware’s Heisman year.

          • Jake says:

            @Bullet – this. I recall Houston being the “winner” as far as the SWC leftover finding new homes went. In addition to football, they weren’t too far removed from the Phi Slamma Jamma years, either – and C-USA was big in basketball back then. They were certainly the bigger “get” in those days.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            Agreed. I thought UH was as much focused on basketball as football. When CUSA first formed I thought of it as the Big East of the Midwest, if you will. With Cincy, Depaul, Marquette, Louisville, Memphis, and Houston, you had quite a history of Final Four teams.

  13. Richard says:

    BTW, UCF has a massive student population (which means its alumni base will be rapidly growing), so it has that going for it.

  14. MichaelR says:

    If it is serious about FBS football (or, in the alternative, thinks top-notch basketball is only viable in tandem with FBS status in football), Villanova’s best move would be to approach UConn and apply as a pair for admission to the ACC.

    • Richard says:

      I don’t think the ACC would want either of them. Also, if the ACC wanted to add basketball powers, Syracuse, Pitt, & UConn all stand in line before ‘Nova.

  15. jcfreder says:

    Put me in the camp that there’s probably no need for 16, because it seems like some of those teams on the bottom can’t reall add much value. I think a Philly presence makes sense, and TCU and BYU are no-brainers in you can get them. Boise is an interesting candidate – there’s no question they hold value now (particularly where they’d be playing much much better competition in this league), but I worry about them even more than TCU in terms of being able to hold value long-term. TCU’s location and athletic department size seems to make them a more stable commmodity. After these schools its hard to see a lot of value coming in. Maybe Hawaii does because of the late-late-late Saturday slot on ESPN, or maybe UCF does because of its size. But I would think that adding Houstons, ECUs or Nevada probably brings down the per-school market value of a TV contract.

    • Bullet says:

      I think Boise has a good position long term because of the growth of the Boise area and lack of an AQ team in the state as well as the proximity to California talent. California has to export as, despite being easily the most populous state, they only have 7 FBS teams and only 3 FCS teams. I think they only have 1 Division II team. Texas will soon have 12 FBS to go with 5 FCS and 9 or 10 Division II teams. Florida has 7 FBS and 2 FCS. Ohio has 8 FCS, 1 FBS and several Division II schools.

      • Richard says:

        I would think that the other 8 Pac12 schools as well as schools that are located closer (such as UNLV & Nevada) are in a better position to pick up Cali exports. Also keep in mind that while California is populous, its density of football talent doesn’t match Florida’s or Texas’s, and really is no better than BigTen states like Ohio, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.

        • StvInIL says:

          with 33 million people to pick from verses say Illinois with 13 Mil and Pennsylvania with 12,500,000 I find that really hard to believe.

          • Richard says:

            I’m talking about density. In sheer numbers, of course, California would have about 3 times the talent each of Illinois or Ohio or Pennsylvania would have, but that’s because of its massive population more than because its population includes a high percentage of football talent.

        • Bullet says:

          Boise is getting some highly rated recruits. UNLV and Nevada don’t. Now Boise isn’t going to beat out Washington and Arizona that often, but they may beat out WSU and OSU occassionally. And with their current success they have a good shot at anyone the P10 doesn’t get. There’s a lot of talent still out there after the P10 is done.

          • Richard says:

            I don’t think Boise has ever been in the top 50 of Rivals’ recruiting rankings any year. By comparison, Utah was above them both in 2009 & 2010, and OregonSt. & BYU were in the top 50 one of those years as well. UNLV & Nevada may not be able to outrecruit Boise now, but Boise’s also been a lot successful recently. The fact remains that those 2 schools are better positioned to pick up Cali talent given the same amount of on-the-field success.

          • Bullet says:

            Big if-given the same level of on the field success.

            And I don’t think that statement is necessarily true. Nevada draws 17k a game. UNLV gets lost in Las Vegas and only averages about 22k. Other than BYU (who should be in an AQ conference), there’s no western school outside the P12 or California better positioned to pickup players. Maybe several would be equal given the same level of success, but that’s a high standard. Even if Boise drops some, its those top 5 ranking years that will help them for at least a decade.

  16. Michael in Indy says:


    What are your thoughts on what the MWC should do to persuade TCU to stay in the league?

    Right now, the one thing the MWC has going for it is an improving football league, in spite of the departures of BYU and Utah. SDSU is in a great recruiting area (and good market, if the school can actually capture the market), and it’s already a very competitive program. BSU is in great shape. Air Force wins pretty consistently. Nevada and Fresno also have promising futures.

    Those six programs by themselves ought to turn the MWC into an autobid league in the next evaluation period if not this one. For TCU, it’s important to know whether those programs, along with TCU itself, will add up to an AQ conference, or if the dead weight of Colorado State, New Mexivo, Wyoming, and UNLV will drag the conference down too much.

    Perhaps more importantly, does the MWC have any chance to improve its existing TV deals in the next few years, or are they stuck with them for the long haul like the Big 12 is? If the MWC and Big East were able to renogotiate their football TV packages from scratch, how would they compare? Would the growing reputation of Boise, Nevada, and co. prove to be a more valuable package of programming than West Virginia, Pitt, and the Big East?

    The answers to those questions, if TCU looks for its long-term best interests, will determine whether the it’s actually better to stay in the MWC regardless.

    • @Michael in Indy – The discussion really begins and ends with whether the MWC can become an AQ conference. If the MWC is an AQ league, then being 1 of 10 in an all-sports league compared to being in a 17/18-team Big East hybrid is likely going to be more desirable to TCU both competitively and financially. The problem is that I’m extremely skeptical that the MWC is ever going to meet the AQ criteria. That dead weight of CSU, Wyoming, etc. is truly an anchor to the conference’s BCS prospects – the strength of the top 3 or so schools can’t compensate for those poor playing schools and the losses of Utah and BYU next year are going to exacerbate that problem (even with Boise State and Nevada coming in).

      Here’s a synopsis of the current MWC TV deals (written from the perspective of Boise State partisans as they were getting ready to announce their conference move):


      The MWC is making $12 million per year in TV money through 2016. Boise State is a strong national name as of now, but the losses of Utah and BYU hurt the MWC even more on the TV front than the competitive front. The Mtn. network (while not actually owned by the MWC) was dependent upon basic carriage in the Salt Lake City market and across the state of Utah for much of its revenue. Those households will now be gone and have very little chance of being replaced by the markets that the MWC is adding (and even if the sheer numbers of households are replaced, the high carriage rate that the Mtn. enjoyed in Utah won’t be). So, the MWC likely won’t be able to justify a higher rights fee from the Mtn. and might even have to endure a pay cut (if not the outright dissolution of the entire channel). That being said, the MWC has some attractive assets that can be leveraged on national outlets such as ESPN and/or Versus, so the conference should concentrate on maximizing its TV value there.

      All in all, it’s a pretty easy decision if I’m running TCU: if the Big East provides an all-sports invite, then there’s no question that the school needs to join. The MWC might very well end up being OK in terms of AQ status and TV money, but I wouldn’t take the risk of waiting 4 or 5 years and ultimately wind up empty-handed or even worse off relative to today.

  17. Some thoughts on expansion from a cross-section of Big East bloggers:



    Seems like TCU is really the only consensus candidate for football, Villanova actually has decent support, and everyone else is a mish-mash.

    • Stew says:

      I grew up outside of NY and live in the DFW metroplex, and all of this TCU to the Big East talk continues to bemuse me.
      I think if you frame this from the Big East perspective, rather than the fan perspective, analysis changes. For the Big East – the first question is – should it still exist in today’s world. Football definitely is the money driver, but this was and is a basketball-first conference, and of the core schools, only Syracuse and Pitt come close to being competitive and economically attractive as football and basketball schools.
      If the Big East is to survive as it does right now, it needs to keep those two schools, and if it is to stay AQ, it needs to be attractive to the bowls and the networks. If the Big East were to lose its AQ, then its whole reason for expansion goes away, and a Catholic b’ball/everyone split becomes a real possibility.

      I fail to see how going above 16 teams becomes attractive for any sport other than men’s basketball. The travel costs for other scholarship sports added by most of the usual suspects would eat additional revenues. I am not convinced that anyone would get excited over the costs of Providence-UCF or Seton Hall-TCU home and home anythings.

      So, what could happen? There’s one other actor to consider – NBC and its soon to be parent, Comcast. The Notre Dame contract isn’t worth anything what it used to be. Comcast has regional sports networks it is looking for programming for. What happens if Notre Dame continues to be a mediocre football program with no shot at a BCS bowl. One solution to the political pressure on the BCS is to take away the ND slot and give it to the MW (making lots of people outside of Provo happy), and for ‘Nova and ND to be football members 9 and 10 of the Big East.

      ND isn’t going to the Big Ten (12) any time soon, perhaps Comcast’s money could get them to the Big East.

      One more thought – on any given weekend in the fall, TCU is arguably the fourth most important school in DFW – after Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M (maybe worth a little bit more in Fort Worth). Their rise in football stature is a relatively recent phenomenon, and by no means guaranteed to continue. I think many on this board are overstating their value to anyone other than the MW. The Big XII (10) does not want them back, and no other AQ conference needs them.

      • Richard says:

        1. ND doesn’t have a slot in the BCS.
        2. If their not joining the BigTen, they have less reason to join the BE. Comcast isn’t going to deny them money as an independent and then suddenly shower them with money if they join the BE.

      • jj says:

        Nd will never join the be. Never.

      • M says:

        I sometimes wonder if ND’s ideal conference would actually have been the “dream BIG EAST”, pre-ACC raid and with Penn State:


        That’s a conference made up almost entirely of ND rivals located in the regions where they have their greatest support. Of course, Frank’s assessment of ND’s “Get off my lawn” attitude seems correct for the most part, but given the choice between the Big Ten and this conference, I bet most ND fans would take this one (as second choice after stabbing themselves).

  18. Paul says:

    Interesting concept you have there. You are thinking outside the box which is why I read your comments. Why not add all twenty schools, ten in each division. They would play only in division and the two champions would meet for the Big Country Championship. This would cut down on travel, think about it, the east coast to Hawaii is a long way and very expensive. Plus in your concept, there would never be any real rivilaries between east and west anyway, as it would take quiet awhile to play each school in the rotation(assuming you rotate schools every 2 years). Also, if you are hoping either Temple or Villanova can bring the Philly market, you double your chances by taking them both.

  19. Interesting figures today about the rankings of how much all of the FBS programs in the country spend on football:


    Ohio State is the biggest spender on football in the country with Alabama and Notre Dame right behind them. TCU actually ranks #12 in the country in football spending and would be tops in the Big East on that front if they were to join. Boise State, on the other hand, ranks #88 and spends about 1/3rd of TCU.

    Most importantly, the University of Illinois appears to be content with only using the savings account interest it’s collecting on its Big Ten TV revenue, as it’s last in the Big Ten in football spending and #65 overall.

    • spartakles78 says:

      The last 3 schools on the Big Ten list are b-ball schools. Are 5 round ball wins worth one FB win?

    • M says:

      My first reaction to that data was “I know Northwestern will be last in the conference, I just hope its close”, but they’re actually within a million or so from the average.

      Just for fun, here are the rankings of the “Kings”:

      1. Ohio State
      2. Alabama
      3. Notre Dame
      5. Texas
      6. Florida
      8. LSU
      11. USC
      13. Oklahoma
      14. Penn State
      20. Michigan
      25. Nebraska
      26. Miami
      30. Tennessee
      33. FSU

      There’s also a neat trivia question in there about the Illini: Who is the only school to have a losing season after a BCS bowl game multiple times?

      • @M – Ugh. The mentioning of the Illinois 2002 loss to San Jose State brought up memories of the worst football weekend of my life. That happened to be the year when the Bears played in Champaign during the Soldier Field renovation and both the Bears and Illini were coming off great 2001 seasons. There was only one weekend during the entire season where there would be an Illinois game on Saturday and a Bears game on Sunday, so I had looked forward to heading down there for both for several months with a bunch of friends. The Illini ended up losing to San Jose State on a last-second field goal, while the Bears blew their game on a craptacular Jim Miller-thrown interception in the 4th quarter to the Saints. They were both the types of soul-crushing games that send teams into season-long tailspins (which is exactly what ended up happening). (I won’t even get into how I almost had to take my cousin to the hospital for alcohol poisoning at 3 am Sunday morning. Everything about that weekend was horrific.)

        • Jake says:

          Why did you have to mention San Jose State? I still have nightmares about TCU’s loss to them back in 2000. The visions of LaTarence Dunbar letting a perfect bomb fall through his arms on third down, and then falling over on a quick out on fourth down, are haunting ones indeed. We had a shot at a BCS bowl that year, too. LT’s senior season deserved better than farking Mobile.

      • Bullet says:

        It could be worse. Georgia Tech went winless just two seasons after their 1990 MNC.

      • jj says:

        How many sweater vests with oddly placed flag pins can one man wear?

      • wmtiger says:

        Are Miami & FSU really Kings anymore?

        They both dominated the ACC when it was weak for some time but neither doing all that well with in a deeper ACC or in generating revenue. Both are young teams with very good talent that probably could be kings again but they look like barons to me.

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      Wow. Rice is in the top half of the spending list? We must get the lowest bang for the buck in all of college football.

      • Bullet says:

        Even though Rice is a bargain by Ivy League standards, I imagine they spend a lot more on tuition than the state schools.

        • loki_the_bubba says:

          Ah, if that number includes the tuition equivalent of the football scholarships, it makes more sense. That would be about $3.5mm.

    • frug says:

      Since we’re on the subject spending I figured I would throw this site up as a well. It’s from USA Today and has the complete expenditures and revenues sources for each public school* in the NCAA. It’s searchable by academic year from 2004-2005 to 2008-2009 and pretty darn nifty. Obviously this is only marginally related to what you posted but I just found it yesterday and thought others might like it too.

      *Because of some quirk in state law Pennsylvania schools are not included because they are not subject to FOIA rules. (Penn schools are technically only “publicly backed” as opposed to “publicly owned”, and no I don’t have the first idea of what the difference is)

      • frug says:

        Oh, I should also mention that it even includes how much each school makes from it’s tertiary broadcast rights. I only mention that because the last thread there were questions as to how much Texas tv rights were worth.

      • Bullet says:

        So, let’s get this straight. The Pennsylvania state universities are publically backed, not publically owned. But all liquor stores ARE state owned. We know where Pennsylvania’s priorities are!

      • Bullet says:

        Just looked up a couple of the non AQ schools for last year to see where their money was coming from:
        Ohio U. 12 million of their 20 million in revenue was “direct institutional support.” For Troy 7.8 million of their 16 million was. This probably is primarily student fees.

      • gregenstein says:

        The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does not own Penn State, Pittburgh, Temple, or Lincoln Universities. It does, however, give them taxpayer money every year. They are public universities, but not owned by the Commonwealth.

        There are 14 universities in PA “owned” by the Commonwealth. They are mostly Division II schools athletically.

        The difference? Penn State and Pitt set their own tuition, run their schools as they see fit, etc. The 14 PA-owned schools report (one way or another) to the Governor of PA.

  20. m (Ag) says:

    I’d like the Big East to add all the best non-AQ schools. However, if I was them, I would only add TCU now.

    The reason is we’re still not sure how stable the ‘new normal’ will be. Will the Big Ten study recommend new schools be added? Will the Big 12 fall apart, even if it’s just A&M to the SEC, leading to an ACC school going to the SEC and a Big East school going to the ACC?

    The Big 12 is the big question. The Big East doesn’t want to add too many football schools so as not to close off any possible additions from the Big 12 if the conference collapses. However, it can’t let itself get passed by the MWC, or else it could lose/share its AQ bid. If that happens, any possible Big 12 casualties might prefer the MWC to the Big East in 5 years.

    So adding TCU makes the most sense. It strengthens its AQ credentials while hurting the MWC. If the Big East gets poached again, it can grab another schools like UH or UCF. If superconferences aren’t formed, it will be OK more or less as it is. If superconferences are formed, it will be in position to pick the best of the leftovers.

    The Big East should admit TCU as an all-sports member. The only condition they should attach to the offer is that TCU will be ineligible to vote on any future Texas members. If the other members decide they want UH or Baylor in the future, TCU shouldn’t be able to block them.

  21. frug says:

    The problem with this proposal, besides being unrealistic, is that it doesn’t address the big problem the Beast and TCU are already facing; that TCU won’t put it’s football program in a separate conference from it’s other sports. The AD has said that it’s athletic department will always operate as a single unit and I can’t see how this proposal would convince them to change their minds.

    • Jake says:

      Del Conte also said that Fresno and Nevada were invited into the MWC because of baseball concerns. So, grain of salt.

      • Jake says:

        Of course, the baseball thing was an idle comment to a room full of TCU fans, while the thing about being a unit was more of a prepared statement (and one that could be embarrassing later on if it doesn’t work out).

  22. Tom says:

    I was bored at work and started to think about potential big east expansion possibilities, and this is what I came up with:

    West Virginia
    South Florida


    Now before everyone rails into me with my Georgetown inclusion, just here me out. I know that in this age of conference expansion and realignment, geography doesn’t really play as strong a role as people once thought. However, I think it is still important in terms of an identity.

    The Big Ten, despite having Penn State and now Nebraska, has and always will be known as a league centered around the Great Lakes. The Pac 12 has and always will be known as the premier league on the west coast, even with Colorado and Utah. The ACC despite having Boston College, Miami and Florida State, will always be known as the conference of the mid atlantic region. The SEC will always be the deep south’s league. Lastly, the Big East has always been the conference of the northeast.

    I think its important that the Big East try to maintain that feel. I like the TCU addition, which gives you a presence in Texas, but doesn’t dilute the “northeastern” feel of the league too much. (Yes, I know Cincinnati, Louisville, and South Florida are not northeast, but when one think of Big East football, I first think of Syracuse, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, and Rutgers.)

    I would be hesitant to add Central Florida, since you already have a presence there with South Florida. Even though the state of Florida pumps out football players left and right, I don’t think there is enough to sustain 5 legit BCS programs these days. Every major program and their mother recruits Florida, not just Florida, Florida State, and Miami. I think that this is starting to show as it has been a long time since the traditional three were all good at the same time. If Rich Rod manages to stay at Michigan another year or two, by the way his recruiting is going, I would venture to guess that about a quarter of Michigan’s roster will hail from Florida. Michigan has not played a game in that state since the 2007 season, (a victory in the Capital One Bowl over the Gators.)

    I also like the Villanova addition. I think the school is committed to athletic success as demonstrated by its basketball program and its football program, at least at the 1AA level. I see no reason why it can’t become a UConn type program if it moves up to the Big East. One issue would be fan support. If I’m not mistaken, Villanova would be the smallest school in terms of enrollment competing at the 1A level. I’m not going to discuss where the team would play, I’m sure Temple would be loathe to share Lincoln Financial, but perhaps that can be used as a bargaining chip to full time Big East membership? Either way, I’m sure the Big East is looking at it.

    As far as Temple goes, I personally think the Owls are on the rise, (even though as I type, Lincoln Financial Field is virtually empty for the Temple – Ohio game.) According to the Sagarin ratings, Temple checks in at #50, just behind Louisville at #47 and ahead of South Florida at #56. The Owls would probably be an average Big East school, and depending on whether Al Golden sticks around, I think they could contend for a title in the very near future. Having two Philadelphia schools in the Big East may be overkill especially when Penn State is probably the big draw, but it does help that northeastern identity that I mentioned earlier.

    Now we come to Georgetown, and I fully expect to get berated here. The Hoyas compete in the Patriot League, which is currently rated behind the Ivy League. In other words, Georgetown would be attempting to make a jump from basically division 1AA / division 2, all the way up to division 1A. This would be a huge leap of faith by the Big East, and it would probably require more than a few seasons of playing a mixed Big East / 1AA / MAC / Sun Belt schedule. But, I think if Villanova with a combined undergraduate / graduate enrollment of 9,535 can do it, then why can’t Georgetown with an enrollment of 15,318? Again, I have no idea where Georgetown would play, perhaps Byrd Stadium? Would Fed Ex Field be an option?

    Why would the Big East want the Hoyas? Here are my thoughts. Part of the identity that the Big East has in terms of being a northeastern football conference is also being a northeastern basketball conference. Many Big East fans / alumni feel that it is the greatest conference in the history of basketball, and are loathe to break that up just two have a decent football league. Well with the additions of Temple, Villanova, and Georgetown, I don’t think there is a better basketball league out there:

    UConn – top notch
    Rutgers – awful, but once freed from St. John’s / Seton Hall, it may have potential
    Syracuse – top notch
    West Virginia – solid program now with Bob Huggins
    Georgetown – top notch
    South Florida – awful

    Villanova – top notch
    Temple – solid program, has the potential to be top notch
    Pittsburgh – solid program, bordering on top notch
    Cincinnati – once top notch, has taken a step back
    Louisville – top notch, one of the blue bloods of college basketball
    TCU – awful? (honestly I don’t know anything about TCU hoops)

    Basically, this is the current Big East basketball conference, or at least the schools that matter. (Sorry Marquette and St. John’s now that Steve Lavin is in charge.) I’m sure Notre Dame would be invited as well on the basketball side. The result is a manageable 12-13 team league. Yes, you have 2-3 bad programs in there, but the rest of it is phenomenal.

    Basically, you’ve added a football power with TCU to help boost your credibility, and you keep your strong basketball league intact. More importantly the league remains a northeastern conference but with a presence in Florida, Texas, and the midwest.

    Yes, it still would lag behind the Big Ten, SEC, ACC, Big 12-2, and Pac 12, but there are no additions that are going to change that. It will still be firmly ahead of the Mountain West And while the Big East is down this year, its not too far removed from being relatively good. I think the most important thing the league needs is stability, and this goes a long way towards it. You start adding BYU, Boise State, Central Florida, Memphis, UNLV, while perhaps enhancing the football side of the league, you are just giving more reasons for the old guard of Syrcause, Pittsburgh, and Rutgers to bolt when the time comes. (I guess they would bolt regardless.)

    • Richard says:

      Rice is smaller. So is Tulsa.

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        Significantly smaller. So are all three service academies and Wake Forest.

      • loki_the_bubba says:

        I’m bored in a hotel room so I looked up all of the private school total enrollments on wiki. I added Villanova and Georgetown for comparison. Then I added a few of the big schools to see the order of magnitude difference. TCU is quite small. Georgetown is the size of Stanford. BYU and USC are huge…

        Tulsa 4,165
        Navy 4,400
        Air Force 4,417
        Army 4,487
        Rice 5,514
        Wake Forest 6,830
        TCU 8,696
        Villanova 9,535
        SMU 10,693
        Tulane 11,157
        Notre Dame 11,733
        Vanderbilt 12,514
        Duke 13,662
        Boston College 14,395
        Baylor 14,769
        Georgetown 15,318
        Stanford 15,319
        Miami 15,629
        Northwestern 16,377
        Syracuse 20,407
        BYU 32,995
        USC 34,824

        USF 44,997
        Texas 50,995
        Ohio State 55,014
        UCF 56,235

        Note that the service academies are only undergrads. If we sorted this list that way there would be many changes, but nothing earth-shattering, I wouldn’t think.

        • Bullet says:

          I think this list shows a factor in why the WAC 16 failed-Tulsa, Air Force, Rice, TCU, SMU among the smallest I-A schools. Wyoming, one of the smaller state schools, is about the size of SMU. That doesn’t make for a good TV market. Rice for a long time had the distinction of being the smallest school in # of undergrads, around 2500 of a total population of 4000. They have made an effort to grow recently, but may still have fewer undergrads than Tulsa.

          • Bullet says:

            The service academies, of course, are heavily male. If a private school has 3000 (Rice/Tulsa) to 6000 (Villanova) undergrads that are 50% female, a big proportion of your male population is fb players. Rice/Tulsa roughly 100(counting walk-ons)/1500 and Villanova 100/3000. It makes it difficult to recruit and be competitive on a consistent basis. And that is just fb players and doesn’t count other athletes.

            Wake Forest and TCU have really done a great job in the last few years.

    • Bullet says:

      Georgetown is non-scholarship, so they would basically be starting from scratch and adding 85 scholarships for fb players and 85 for female athletes. State schools have done it (USF, UCF, Marshall), but Villanova is the only private school I can think of that has created a full scholarship program in the last 40 years that is competitive. Liberty had a good year or two. And noone has done it at a higher level than FCS. GT also has the handicap of being in a pro sports market.

      While state commuter schools have been adding, private schools have been dropping scholarship fb. Drake and San Diego, non-scholarship programs, are the only private fcs schools west of Indiana. And I believe Villanova and Bethune Cookman in Florida are the only privates with scholarship fcs programs outside the DC to Charleston corridor (mostly Southern Conference schools). I don’t think Georgetown moving up in a realistic option.

    • Jake says:

      @Tom – TCU basketball has been pretty bad the last few years, but it was a big deal back in the ’90s, and we’re showing signs of life this year in Jim Christian’s third season. It’s never really been a big deal in the local sports scene, though. That could certainly change with BE membership.

  23. curious2 says:

    Re: Big Country Conference

    The 16 team conference suggested might more accurately be called the “Hodge Podge” conference. Building rivalries and geographical proximity are important.

    The Big East needs 1) stability (no more ACC- Big 10 expansion) 2) adding members that either stand on their own as a national football program or reinforce the footprint and add potential rivalries.

    2 of TCU, UCF, Villanova seem to be the most likely football adds to get to 10 football teams.

    • gregenstein says:

      Villanova at this point seems to be easiest move since they don’t confuse the “other sports” situation at all. That’s 1.

      At that point, I’d say go for 3 more and get the freaking 12 that gets a Championship game. Pick your favorite 3 of the leftovers. TCU and Boise State right I think would be the 2 hottest commodities. They’re the only 2 “eligible bachelors” out there that have any national appeal. So I’m stuck at 11, and I’d just roll the dice to see if Houston, UCF, Nevada, Hawaii, New Mexico, or ECU gets the final slot.

      • Richard says:

        Realistically, the BE isn’t getting TCU unless they take them in for all sports.

        • gregenstein says:

          Agreed, and they should do just that if it makes the deal happen. TCU shouldn’t want in unless it gets a cut of the hoops $$ after a negotiable “buy in” period.

      • curious2 says:

        Re: Boise, Houston, UCF, Nevada, Hawaii, New Mexico, or ECU

        I don’t see ECU, New Mexico, Nevada, Hawaii adding to any footprint.

        UCF is on the EAST coast and has the advantages of rivalry connection with USF with large upside as a national program in talent rich area.

        The others are part of the “hodge podge” coference.

  24. ezdozen says:

    The simple, smart solution is to just add TCU and UCF asap.

    Now you have this division setup–WVU, Pitt, Rutgers, UConn, Syracuse…. TCU, Lville, Cincy, USF, and UCF. 9 conference games.

    If Villanova moves up, then work on adding a 12th team. See what the options are at that point. Maybe East Carolina has become a TCU at that point based on NC getting whacked. Maybe Memphis turns it around and become compelling. Maybe Houston. Maybe the Big 12 implodes and something else is available. Who knows what 2013 holds.

    • Jake says:

      @exdozen – can’t have divisions without 12 teams. And is adding UCF smart? The Big East could use TCU’s football prowess to regain some national cred and interest, but what does UCF bring now that is so urgently needed by the Big East? Okay, they’re in Orlando, but is that more valuable than DFW or Philly? If they approved expansion to 10, it looks like Nova and TCU.

      • ezdozen says:

        I like UCF’s size and location. Over time, more and more graduates will get churned out in the area.

        Of course, no Big East team has been ranked recently. But UCF was. :-(

        But, really, the location is huge. USF and UCF can develop a rivalry. If each team played one of USF or UCF on the road, that is one trip to Florida each year.

        At worst, not a bad perk for the players when recruiting up north.

        TCU you take because of the program it is.

        UCF you take because of the program it could be.

        • Bullet says:

          UCF has invested in its facilities and it is a big school. But the most important factor in their favor in my mind is the same as the biggest issue in the Pac 12 divisions. The Pac schools rely on LA recruiting. The BE schools rely on FL recruiting. If the BE doesn’t play a round robin, schools will miss USF some years, so adding UCF becomes valuable. The current BE schools don’t recruit Texas much.

  25. Terry says:

    What makes you think the BC would be an AQ conf?

    BE has the magic ticket and they are not transferrable.

    Given the choice, is the BCS going to vote to give transfer BE’s ticket to BC? hmmm….

  26. Ross Hatton says:

    Even if the Big East were to pursue this course of action, hasn’t BYU committed itself to going independent at this point? I can’t really see how they would accept joining the Big East.

    • Richard says:

      I don’t see why they can’t change their minds. I mean, there’s the TV deal with ESPN, but that expires eventually. Their biggest beef with the MWC was not getting tertiary rights, which they can negotiate with the BE.
      In any case, this isn’t happen for a whole host of other reasons.

      • Ross Hatton says:

        What I mean is, they appear to have been preparing for this for some time, and it isn’t clear they would be in a better position with the Big East than they would be as an independent.

        BYU wants to cater to a national audience, and it has games with ND and Texas coming up which will serve that purpose. On top of this, I am not sure its TV contract in the Big East would be any better than its independent one.

        • Richard says:

          Well, they were preparing for a long time because the MWC’s TV coverage was so sucky for a long time. The BE games that get shown on ESPN tend to go out to a national audience, so I don’t think that’s a concern. Finally, if the BE TV money & visibility is the same TV money & visibility BYU would get as an independent, they’d jump right away, because the BE also gets a BCS auto-bid (and guaranteed bowl money) that BYU wouldn’t get as an independent. In fact, right now, BYU doesn’t have a place to go if they don’t make a BCS bowl. They could finish 11-1 next year and end up in the Motor City Bowl, and then only if the BigTen can’t fill its slots.

          • Michael in Indy says:

            I imagine BYU is negotiating with the WAC to take some of their bowl bids in the next few years since BYU will be playing 5 or 6 WAC teams. It would be a similar arrangement that Notre Dame has with the Big East’s bowl tie-ins.

            In any case, I can’t imagine BYU not having some sort of plan up its sleeves for its bowl games.

  27. dchorn says:

    Hey bamatab, I see Hollywood gossip columnists have set up shop on the Plains….Which Tiger are they looking for??

    • Bamatab says:

      Here is a post from a guy that has been out in front of this story from the beginning.

      The Feds have already visited Colonial and made them aware of the the fact that they have evidence to support the claim that Auburn football players were given ATM cards to tap into a slush fund, as well as loans from the bank that they never had to pay back. He also said that the story about AU players going to Victoryland and hitting rigged slots, ala Larry Langford, is 100% true, and the Feds have proof of that as well.

      I was also told the reason Slive sat on the story is because the Feds made him. They were afraid if news leaked about Cam and illegal payments, that the people they were listening to would know their phones were tapped. I was told to expect all the information to be made public once the indictments are handed down.

      Now I’m not sure how accurate this is, but this guy has been batting 1.000, so far on this case so take it for what it is worth.

      • Richard says:


        So the key question is whether the indictments and whatever NCAA actions will come before the SEC championship game or final regular season BCS poll.

        What a mess we’d have if it all comes after the final regular season BCS poll but before the championship game. People may very well choose another school as champion in the AP poll even if Auburn wins in that case, and would the coaches still be forced to vote Auburn champion?

        • Bamatab says:

          The indictment(s) are supposed to be handed down on Friday.

          • Bullet says:

            I’m with Zeek. I think this will play out over a period of months. Getting indictments this quick seems unusual, especially with the seriousness of the issues involved. Now Cam Newton’s part may be settled long before, but the whole story is going to take a while to unfold.

          • Bamatab says:

            Bullet, I was talking about the indictments for the gambling/state government corruption charges which have been under investigation for several months now. I wasn’t talking about auburn or Cam.

          • Bullet says:

            That makes more sense. Thanks for the info. The Newtons, assuming this is true, found themselves on the tip of a very big iceberg.

          • Bamatab says:

            BTW, I was mistaken. His arraignment was yesterday (Friday), he was indicted back in October. But Supposedly somemore indictments were handed out yesterday as well and the FBI are supposed to round those people up next week, supposedly.

  28. Ohio1317 says:

    In Big Ten news, Fox signs to get the first six Big Ten Championship games. Was hoping for ESPN personally, but it should be good.


    • Ross Hatton says:

      Not surprising, considering their stake in the Big Ten Network. I am curious how much Fox chose to pay for the rights.

    • @Ohio1317 – That’s actually VERY surprising to me. I thought that ABC/ESPN would end up with the game no matter what. I’m not quite a fan of the Big Ten Championship Game being the only college football game that Fox broadcasts other than the Cotton Bowl.

      However, there are 2 take-aways from this:

      (1) Fox must have totally overpaid for this game if it was able to out-bid ESPN.

      (2) It shows that the Big Ten is willing to split up its over-the-air rights from its cable package like the SEC. I believe that the Big Ten will always want a package on ESPN, so Fox Sports Net wouldn’t be a real substitute there, but definitely look for Fox to bid on the top game of the week package that’s currently on ABC.

      • Ross Hatton says:

        Wouldn’t surprise me to see them push for the Pac-10’s new contracts once those come through.

      • zeek says:

        It was a 6 year deal. The rest of the media rights comes up to rebid at the same time since the 10 year ABC/ESPN deal ends in 2016.

        I agree with you that the Big Ten will try to go for a similar setup to the SEC in the future, top game of the week + championship game on Fox.

        But we don’t really know, since both contracts are up at the same time, ABC/ESPN could get back both again if we combine them later, say if Fox isn’t interested in the SEC type setup for the Big Ten (they should be though since it would be synergistic with the BTN).

        One benefit though is this is more synergistic with the BTN in terms of sharing announcers and stuff like that.

      • Richard says:

        One small benefit to ESPN getting both the primary and secondary BigTen rights is that 2 BigTen games can be shown at 3:30 eastern (ABC/ESPN2 & ESPNU). This isn’t a big deal in the early part of conference play but once night games stop in November, since we could have weeks with 6 BigTen games, if only 1 conference game is on at 3:30, then the other 5 games would all be on at noon.

        Of course, maybe Fox wouldn’t insist on exclusivity at the 3:30 slot, which would make it easier for BigTen fans to watch more games.

        • SideshowBob says:

          I wouldn’t think Fox would insist on exclusivity since they have an ownership stake in the BTN and want that to prosper as well.

    • M says:

      The key part in the Big Ten press release:

      “FOX Sports’ coverage of the Big Ten Football Championship Game will allow the Big Ten Network to play a prominent role at the site of the game, including the possibility of shared talent.”

      Hopefully this means Big Ten announcers, not some random crew from FOX (who really should broadcast BIG EAST games).

      Basically, this will turn into a 3 hour long commercial for the BTN with a football game in the background. That’s not happening on ESPN.

      • greg says:

        BTN doesn’t really have their own in-game announcers, they sign third-tier guys for their random games. My guess is the in-game guys will be some random pairing, but the regular BTN studio guys (Revsine, DiNardo, Howard Griffith [who is excellent]) will broadcast pre-, halftime and post-game from the stadium. Which will be cool, I like those guys.

        • Richard says:

          The BTN certainly has its own announcing crews. You may consider them “third-tier guys”, but they’re there for the whole season.

          • greg says:

            Most of their in-game announcers are freelancers who have a primary job elsewhere. Looking at their “Network Talent” list, about the only ones I can see with a chance to call the game are Gus Johnson (who certainly isn’t with BTN all season and is listed as a BTN basketball analyst) and (doubtful) Chris Martin.


          • Richard says:

            Well, here are the first and second teams:

            Eric Collins
            Chris Martin
            Charissa Thompson

            Tom Hart
            Anthony Herron
            Lisa Byington

            The color commentators are BTN men. I think Tom Hart only announces for the BTN now, but Eric Collins calls baseball elsewhere and the sideline reporters have other jobs as well. I’m not sure how that’s different from other channels. Sean McDonough and Verne Lundquist announces other sports as well, but because ABC and CBS have a lot of other high-profile sports, their announcers can be occupied while working solely with one channel. That’s not really the case with the BTN.

            Also, it’s not as if the BTN goes and picks people off the street each season; there is continuity in talent there.

        • @greg – Fox just needs to keep Tony Siragusa FAAAAR away or else I’m switching to radio coverage.

  29. Phil says:

    Forget all of this football-only talk. I don’t love the idea of Villanova moving up, but the simple solution is Nova moving up in football, adding TCU for all sports and booting Seton Hall to stay at 16.

    Seton Hall has cut so much that I believe they only field teams in about 14 sports, and sports are such a low priority that they fired their AD in September and aren’t even starting the search for his replacement until after the New Year. They cash the basketball checks yet don’t have the decency to spend some of the money on making a decent conference in non-revenue sports like the other members do. With Rutgers and St John’s you are not losing anything in the NYC area by booting SHU.

  30. Ron says:

    Given that Big Country’s lead singer/composer Stuart Adamson committed suicide in Hawaii almost a decade ago, there is no way any college football conference is going to call themselves the “Big Country Conference”. Wish I were wrong on that because they were one of my favorite groups of all time and Adamson wrote very powerful lyrics. It hurt to hear of his death and it still doesn’t sit very well…

  31. Josh says:

    I’m wondering why Fresno State wouldn’t get consideration in this theoretical never-gonna-happen conference. I would think that Fresno State would be a much better choice than New Mexico, Hawaii or Nevada. A consistent winner in a market much bigger than Reno and Honolulu and in the same ballpark with Memphis and Albuquerque. On top of that, they draw about 34k a game and have a devoted following in the Central Valley. Unlike TCU, Fresno State doesn’t take a back seat to a school like USC or Cal in their own city. Plus, most of the nation thinks they’re in California because the maps say so.

    I think Fresno State would be more attractive than any of the three in the “pick 2″ category of the Western Division.

    • Richard says:

      You’re probably right.

      I’d still go with BYU, TCU, Memphis, SDSU, Boise, & UNLV. Fresno’s definitely a better choice than Nevada or Hawaii, though.

  32. loki_the_bubba says:

    A bit off topic for here, but interesting. Here is a summary of the issues in the Auburn/Cam Newton saga. If even part of this is true, the rabbit hole is deeper than I ever thought. Cam may have been caught accidentally due to an FBI investigation of gambling corruption involving Auburn booster and Board members.


    • dchorn says:

      Found it interesting that Mc Gregor’s people issued a denial from Montgomery last night…They still do not know what is on those tapes…I am concerned that we are about to walk into the biggest scandal that this sport has ever seen…remember, the FBI was not involved with SMU and it’s scandals….The last time the FBI has been involved was with point shaving at Arizona St in the 1980’s….

      • Bullet says:

        If even half of this is true, Frank will have to revise his statement about Memphis being the athletic department that messed up the most since the 2003 alignment. Accreditation issues are also extremely serious. Several Atlanta area school districts are at risk because of similar micromanagement/policy issues. One county’s schools (Clayton-400,000 people) already lost accreditation. DeKalb County (800,000 people) and City of Atlanta (500,000) are under review.

      • wmtiger says:

        FBI was involved in M’s fab five. In fact, nothing came about as usual till the IRS and FBI got involved. The real case was about Ed Martin running an illegal gambling/numbers game at Detroit area auto plants that netted him millions…

        He attempted to use his ‘dirty’ money, giving it nearly 20 promising Detroit area athletes (that went to many universities other than UofM) as far back as the ’80s, with the expectation that those promising athletes would repay him in they had professional future futures…

        Only 1 of the nearly 20 or so athletes actually repaid Ed Martin, Chris Webber.

      • Bamatab says:

        Supposedly the FBI does indeed have wiretap tapes that indict everyone from McGregor to Lowder to possibly even the auburn athletic department itself. Supposedly that the FBI is waiting on the whole McGregor/state congress payoff indictment (which is this Friday) before allowing any of their wiretap stuff to come out. We will see how accurate that rumor is, but I am leaning to believing it.

    • @loki_the_bubba – Wow! Everyone needs to read this.

      Bobby Lowder is not some ordinary rich guy booster, either. Here’s a profile of him by ESPN a few years ago effectively calling him the most powerful supporter of any athletic department anywhere because of him being the most senior member of the Auburn Board of Trustees, his control over that school’s affairs even beyond sports, and wielding enormous political influence within the state of Alabama:


      It’s not a stretch at all to think Lowder is the big game that the FBI is really hunting for seeing that Colonial Bank, which provided him with his fortune, collapsed last year.

      • Bamatab says:

        When SACS puts you on probation and come with in an inch of yanking your accreditation because one man wields so much power over the board of trustees, that should tell you just how powerful this man is. As I posted last week, a lot of the other people on the board are INDEBTED to him (literally). Even with the turmoil (especially the SACS stuff) that came about when they tried to covertly get rid of Tubbs weakened his hold over the school (not just the AD, but the whole university), he still managed to keep his control. I bet now they wish they would’ve got rid of him when they had their chance.

    • jj says:

      I heard auburn is changing its cat of choice. They are going from the tigers to the cheetahs.

    • spartakles78 says:


    • M says:

      Wow, just wow…

      I’ve consistently said that after what happened to SMU, no school would ever receive the death penalty again. If any of that thread is true, I’ve changed my mind. The stuff in there is simply absurd.

      Some highlights:
      Lowder pretty much ordered the AU president to allow Cam to play this week.

      Many other recruits received money, organized by Lowder.

      A whole slew of the BOT for Auburn is facing corruption charges for just about everything, including bribing public officials.

      Auburn previously had its accreditation as a university (i.e. its recognition as a real school) threatened due to Lowder micromanaging the president and controlling academic issues. If the accusations are correct and he ordered the president to allow Cam to play, that would be a slam-dunk case of an athletic department controlling the university and a loss of accreditation. For sports fans, SEC membership requires the university to be accredited, so in theory AU could be automatically removed from the conference.

      And the kicker: the FBI has wiretaps confirming all of these accusations.

      Maybe we just found out where A&M’s spot in the conference will come from…

      • Dave in VA says:

        If Auburn gets kicked out of the SEC, that could be the next big domino. I’m certain the SEC will look to fill the gap, either with an ACC team or with Texas A&M — and both of those paths have ripple effects that could easily go well beyond the ACC or Big Twelve-In-Some-Numerical-Base.

    • zeek says:

      I think some folks are getting a wee bit ahead of themselves even though the story as told looks damning. I mean anything’s possible if that story is even remotely true, including the death penalty, but this story has another several months to play out I’d imagine…

      I don’t think A&M is going anywhere, especially not in those kinds of circumstances, when the Big 12 looks safer due to Texas/OU stability.

      And an ACC team, are you kidding? What ACC team would want to jump into that mess if it’s to replace an Auburn team getting the death penalty. That kind of thing would make ACC teams stay away from the SEC, not want to jump in…

      The SEC’s best option would probably be WVU if I had to guess. WVU isn’t really a choice for the Big Ten, and ACC due to academics and they probably realize that. Culturally, they’re Appalachia, and the money/relative stability would be way too much to resist, so WVU is the school that I could see being a replacement. But that’s a bridge that’s way far away.

    • Richard says:

      BTW, if even half this stuff is true, I can understand why Auburn didn’t bench Cam Newton when the NCAA supposedly recommended to them to do so, because they’re getting the death penalty either way, so they might as well try their darnest to beat ‘Bama, win the SEC, and national title, because they’re not going to get another chance to do all 3, well, ever again.

    • gregenstein says:

      Great post loki. I had to stop reading it after the 5th or whatever post by “bluetunatiger”. Hollywood couldn’t make up this kind of corruption.

      I want to barf.

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      Breaking news, security video in the Cam Newton saga: http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll50/vtdad/makemoneywithauburn.gif

  33. Bullet says:

    Someone else put these two stories together as well. I’ve been thinking the big loser in sports this week isn’t Auburn or Cam Newton. Its Tony Parker.


  34. zeek says:

    Teddy Greenstein’s twitter:

    Reported Fox #s are HUGE. Approx $140m for six Big Ten title games. $20+m/yr nice bump from expected $13-$15m/yr. 11 minutes ago via TweetDeck

    That is huge. Way more than expected…

    • zeek says:

      To put this into perspective, the SEC Championship game was worth $14.5M last year.

    • Bullet says:

      Nebraska is the one happiest about that. That money goes to Nebraska. They will get a full share right from the start. UNL’s revenue was based on the increase in the B10 revenues the 1st few years. The Big 10 ADs have to wait for the BTN $ to increase to get their extra $.

      • zeek says:

        As cutter mentioned, the Big Ten reopened its contract with ABC/ESPN over the addition of Nebraska. So the Nebraska numbers are likely to already be taken care of in the ABC/ESPN numbers due to the renegotiation.

    • m (Ag) says:

      So, if it’s $140 million for 6 years, that works out to $1.94 million per school, per year. And that’s without ticket revenues (although much of that would offset payouts to the participating teams). Isn’t that more than the Big East schools make for their season-long contract?

      Interested to see how the Pac 12 does now, and what network gets it. I don’t think they’ll get as much money as the SEC, but it would make sense for the Fox network to try and get a Championship Saturday, with the Big Ten game in the late afternoon and the Pac 12 game at night. They could market that as a TV event, even if they don’t air any other college games all year.

      • zeek says:

        You’re right on your first point.

        As to your second, the Pac-12 has to be grinning about that since it’s the remaining free agent now for its CCG.

        We’ll see how they market it, and the Big 12 and Pac-12 will have their negotiations in the spring for their general contracts. Whether the Pac-12 includes the CCG in their contract will be interesting.

        I found it interesting that ABC/ESPN gave up one of their two games (Big 12/ACC). Now they only have the ACC, so they might have to make a big run at the Pac-12’s game to stay in the game so to say.

      • Bullet says:

        I imagine the B10 with its markets would usually get the night slot. P10 would have to settle for 4:30. It will be SEC on CBS and B10 on Fox at night, P10 on ?? in the afternoon and ACC on ABC in the noon slot. CUSA will be opposite ACC or on Friday night. MAC will be TH or F.

      • wmtiger says:

        Very impressive haul for the Big Ten. Big Ten is setting themselves apart [financially especially] from all the other BCS conferences other than the SEC.

    • cutter says:

      The estimated confernce distribution per program for the Big Ten schools in FY 2011 was $22.2M per Michigan’s Athletic Department budget. This number doesn’t include the monies being paid for the conference championship game, but it can serve as a useful baseline for the FY 2012 distribution.

      With no other changes in the conference distribution other than the funds Fox Sports Network is paying for the championship game, this means an addtional $1.94M per school per year for the $140M/6 year estimate. Round it down to $1.8M and that means the conference distributions will be NLT $24.0M for FY 2012.

      But we also know that the Big Ten is renegotiating its deal with ABC/ESPN due to the addition of Nebraska and the Big Ten Network has been extremely profitable lately. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Big Ten’s annual conference distribution get to the $25M to $30M range in FY 2012.

      • zeek says:

        Yeah, the most interesting wrinkle in all of this is where the ABC/ESPN deal goes with Nebraska.

        The Big Ten can take this Fox deal to them and essentially force them to pay up.

        Otherwise, Delany might be able to break it up and put a marquee game of the week on Fox, while putting the rest on ESPN/ESPN2 for less.

        • PSUGuy says:

          I think that’s what the Big Ten would threaten ABC/ESPN with, but in the end I really think they would just be more than happy to ensure 1-2 of the marquee brands always ends up on the BTN.

          I mean if you have Neb, UoM, OSU, Wisc, Iowa & PSU as viable tv commodities next year (I think that a reasonable assumption) that means the BTN is going to have seriously marketable programming next football season as ABC/ESPN can’t suck them all up.

          That’s the kind of programming you can use to help force your way into more tv markets without even having to add a member to do so.

          Once you get on those “out of region” cable lineups (and thus aren’t likely to be removed), then you can farm a game back out to Fox for a big payday.

          • Vincent says:

            In a few years, if the ratings for the Big Ten title game in the northeast aren’t as strong as Fox would like, perhaps it would encourage Delany and the Big Ten presidents to invite Rutgers and Maryland to bolster the conference along the eastern seaboard.

          • Richard says:

            You’re assuming Maryland wants to join.

            I have to say I don’t get your excitement for Rutgers or Maryland either. I don’t think either can deliver NYC & greater DC by themselves.

          • Vincent says:

            Rutgers and Maryland won’t deliver the NY/NJ and Balt/Wash regions by themselves; however, both would boost Penn State’s strength along the eastern seaboard, and both would become stronger properties through the Big Ten brand (just as South Carolina, which only gained a Southeastern Conference berth because Florida State went to the ACC, developed its brand as a member of the SEC). And academically, they’re excellent fits for the Big Ten consortium, providing improved access to NY and DC (federal) funds.

      • schwarm says:

        So basically the addition of the CCG paid for the addition of Nebraska, with any additional money from ABC/ESPN being a bonus for all schools on top of current distributions. Hard to believe that they can pull that off again in future expansions without adding real blockbuster schools.

  35. Jay says:

    Frankly, I don’t really think TCU is the prize some see it as. It’s only been a top-tier program for the past few years and hadn’t even finished a season ranked since the 50s before the year 2000. In addition, they’re hardly a big enough deal in their area to deliver the Dallas/Fort Worth television market. Heck, their stadium only seats about 40,000 people.

    Is there any reason to believe that this team will continue to be a perennial top-25 finisher once Gary Patterson moves on? I suppose you could make an argument that giving your conference a member located in Texas could help every school’s recruiting, but that’s about it. Is it worth blowing up the Big East’s current model and half of its schools’ comfort level for that?

    Of the current non-AQ studs, it makes sense to me that Utah was the only one to get snapped up by a BCS conference. It’s a good school that delivers a decent-sized market and a state. It has solid athletic programs across the board. TCU and Boise just don’t do it.

  36. Playoffs Now says:

    Rumors out there that Georgia asked Texas to talk to the Longhorns’ DC and ‘HC in waiting’ Will Muschamp. Supposedly Colorado is interested in UGA HC Mark Richt, hence the potential opening. With 3 years left on his UGA contract, supposedly Richt is pushing for a contract extension.

    FYI, Muschamp was born and raised in Georgia and played football for UGA. Another tidbit: despite coaching at a school with the resources and advantages that only FL, USC, and perhaps UCLA can match, Mack Brown has only won 2 conference titles in 13 years.

    • Bullet says:

      Richt to Colorado seems unlikely unless he is forced out.

      Read an article week or two ago, but couldn’t locate it. CU AD was saying they couldn’t afford to pay top $. Their donations were just about last among the B12 and Pac12 schools. Made you wonder about a coach wanting to go there with the AD talking about limits. It certainly explains why the B12 discovered Colorado delivered only slightly more TV value to the conference than Baylor.

    • Vincent says:

      Ironically, Richt lost to Colorado when the Bulldogs played at Folsom Field this year.

      Weird stuff about Auburn. I knew their boosters wielded a lot of power, but not that much. We will see if that school is deemed “too big to fail” by the NCAA, unlike Southern Methodist in the ’80s, because of the fallout it would cause with Alabama politicians, further conference realignment, etc.

    • Vincent says:

      The MWC-WAC tug of war continues…perhaps it’s a fallback in case Texas Christian does head to the Big East.

      • Michael in Indy says:

        If TCU doesn’t move to the Big East, then the MWC would have 11 members for football.

        I know the Big Ten was able to manage the oddity of 11 members for 20 years, but at the rate the MWC is adding new members (4 in 5 months), I can’t help but wonder if they might try to round it up to 12 so they can get a championship game. Then again, that would mean the league would either have 11 schools for all other sports, or it would have to find another school that would be willing to go football-only and join another league for everything else.

        • Richard says:

          If the BE takes UCF, then both the MWC and CUSA would have 11 for football. Get a BCS spot for the 2 leagues and they can stage a championship game.

    • Bullet says:

      Wow! And supposedly a fb only membership that they didn’t offer BYU. Why they wouldn’t do this before the WAC expanded is hard to see. Not only did the MWC screw the 8 they left behind in 98 and the 6 in 2010, now they are doing it to UTSA, Texas State and Denver as well.

      Early on in the WAC expansion process, there was talk that Hawaii was very unhappy with talk of UTSA/Texas State being admitted.

      • Bullet says:

        @m Hawaii makes a lot of sense, but like you, I thought they had zero interest.

        • Richard says:

          Hawaii has had a lot of interest in the MWC. The MWC just didn’t have much interest in Hawaii’s non-revenue sports. So long as Hawaii parked those elsewhere, the MWC seems to like Hawaii football just fine.

      • Bullet says:

        WAC lost their spot in New Mexico Bowl last week to the Pac 12, will eventually lose Blue turf Bowl and will now lose Hawaii Bowl. That leaves them with San Francisco.

      • Richard says:

        No, BYU wanted a all-but-football membership. The MWC wasn’t happy just to be a parking place for BYU’s non-revenue sports. A football-only membership is the complete opposite. I’m sure they would have offerred that to BYU.

    • Michael in Indy says:

      So the WAC’s football roster will eventually be:

      San Jose State
      Utah State
      New Mexico State
      Louisiana Tech
      Texas State

      This makes the MAC & Sun Belt look like power conferences.

      • Bullet says:

        And the Montana President like the only really bright one in all this conference realignment chaos. Big Sky has room for one more. San Jose, Idaho?

        • Josh says:

          San Jose State I can see. The support for football at SJSU has always been weak and playing in a conference with Cal Poly SLO, Sac State and UC Davis would make a lot more sense.

          Idaho will never go back because of Boise State. The relationship and rivalry between those two schools goes far, far beyond football and they have to keep football at the FBS level to fight off any perception that Boise State has passed them as the top school in the state. Idaho has the law school so they have the legislature, but they’re constantly fighting off demands to move programs to BSU where the majority of the population of the state lives.

    • cfn_ms says:

      Considering that it’s apparently a football-only move, it seems like an obvious one for both sides. Hawaii doesn’t get thrown into the 1-A wasteland, and MWC adds another decent football program w/o having to swallow the logistical mess that is their other sports.

      • Michael in Indy says:

        I don’t get it. The MWC needed Boise, Nevada, and Fresno to replace BYU & Utah, at least as much as possible. How does adding Hawaii help their case?

        • Josh says:

          Have you seen Hawaii’s computer rankings this season? Right now, Sagarin has them at #30 and pretty much everyone has them between 26 and 32.

          I can’t pretend I understand how these formulas for getting BCS AQ status work, but Hawaii would certainly raise the MWC’s overall strength of conference

        • I’ll have more thoughts on this when I’m not occupied by both the Bears-Dolphins and Illinois-Texas games going on at the same time, but Hawaii is a pretty good “depth” school for the MWC, which is what the league needs if it wants a chance at AQ status. They are also the best available option in the event that TCU moves to the Big East.

          Correct me if I’m wrong, but it looks like the MWC now has all of the FBS public flagships that aren’t members of BCS conferences (New Mexico, Nevada, Hawaii) plus the only FBS school in Idaho (Boise State). That’s a decent position to be in to argue for AQ status along with bringing in political pressure.

          • Bullet says:

            Some would argue that Idaho is FBS, but with a 16k stadium, that is debatable!

          • Josh says:

            Both Vandal fans are going to be really mad at you.

          • Bullet says:

            Illini and Longhorns showed some great defense last night, especially so early in the season. I only saw UT get 1 open shot w/o a hand in their face the entire 2nd half and OT. Illini do need to work on FT shooting. Texas needs to start from the beginning. FT shooting killed last year’s Longhorn team and this year looks worse, even with some of last year’s worst FT shooters off to the NBA.

    • Bullet says:

      Looked a little at the MWC and TCU boards. They were all stunned also. Most common reaction seemed to be, “Guess that means TCU is gone to BE.”

      • Bullet says:

        Someone brought up rumours of this happening from November 11th on the MWC boards, but the posters quickly dismissed it back then. I suspect Hawaii did the MWC deal then went to work on the Big West, which really fits their non-fb sports better than MWC or WAC. Geographically, competitively and sports emphasis are all better matches with the BW.

        With the vast distances, the mixed sports model seems to work better in the west. MWC (HI), Big Sky(UC-D, Cal Poly), WAC (Denver), Big West and WCC (BYU) are all doing it now.

        • Jeff says:

          The Big West for basketball and non-revenue sports was a done deal a couple of months ago. It was even in the papers out here. The only question was where football would land.

    • Josh says:

      Wow. I didn’t see that coming either, but the extra game is nice and it may help in improving the MWC’s overall conference strength which they need to gain AQ status.

      Plus, that 13th game every other year is nice, as long as your non-revenue sports don’t have to go there.

      The MWC just bisected the WAC for a second time. Originally the big eight schools left the WAC to found the MWC, now they’ve taken the big four schools of what’s left.

      The big issue is whether this is an attempt to get TCU to stay or have a replacement ready if they leave.

  37. Richard says:

    BTW, Hawaii currently gets 2+M from their PPV deal that shows most of their home games (which overwhelms the paltry TV money they get from the WAC). I guess they decided that taking a hit in TV money would be made up for by the higher attendance playing MWC schools and potentially being ranked nationally would get them.

    • Josh says:

      One thing they’re going to get is being in a conference that, even if they don’t get BCS AQ status, will probably get the BCS non-AQ bid 9 years out of 10.

  38. Josh says:

    This is very, very bad news for the WAC, as they lose their automatic bid to the NCAA basketball tournament over this, since the rules state that you have to have six teams with five consecutive years of membership.

    One other overlooked factor in this is that the MWC, like everyone else, wants to go to 9 conference games. The problem is that AFA has a real problem with that, since they have to play Army and Navy every year OOC. Hawaii would give AFA an extra OOC every other year, since the conference game at UH wouldn’t count against the 12 games limit.

    • Bullet says:

      Some discussion of the auto bids and potential changes in the rules in the attached. Note that there is a two year grace period, so its 3 years that you lose the bid.


      • Bullet says:

        And Josh is right about 6 teams for FIVE years, not Dodds with 6 for 6.

      • Playoffs Now says:

        …Per the NCAA’s “continuity-of-membership” clause each basketball conference needs a minimum of six Division I members who have been together at least six years. Beginning in 2012, the year Hawaii reportedly will leave for the Mountain West, the WAC will have only five such members.

        However, Benson said pending NCAA legislation will allow the WAC to keep its automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

        “We’re anticipating the new NCAA legislation that is expected to be adopted in January that eliminates the continuity-of-membership issue,” Benson said Friday morning.

        Told of Benson’s comments, one Division I-A official said, “I can’t imagine that that [legislation] would get through…”

        So the MWC convincing Hawaii to WAC off may really actually kill the WAC this time. While the incoming Texas schools may find landing spots, some of the isolated western schools may be unable to join another Football Bogus Subdivision conference and have to drop down.

        • Richard says:

          …or make a go of it as football independents.

          Idaho had only 3 home games in 2004 and 4 home games in 1998, 1999, 2001, & 2005.

          It might not be a great way to run a program, but if you can schedule bodybag games at 500K->1M a pop, you can finance the athletics department.

        • m (Ag) says:

          They can still schedule each other in all sports. They can still sign TV agreements as a coalition of schools. They can still sign bowl agreements. They can still give awards.

          I think the only thing official NCAA recognition gives you is the ability to get automatic bids to tournaments. Now, that’s important, but the schools can continue to function as a conference until they get their automatic bids back.

          • Michael in Indy says:

            Those automatic bids are crucial, though.

            Fresno State won the nat’l title in baseball a few years ago and wouldn’t have even made the tournament had they not gotten the WAC’s autobid.

            The WAC’s best team may make the NCAA tourney in b-ball no matter what, but in other sports is where it would really hurt.

        • Richard says:

          Also, they’re not screwed if Denver and/or Seattle joins them in basketball and other sports by 2012.

    • jokewood says:

      Does this move send Louisiana Tech back to the Sun Belt since the money/prestige advantage of the WAC is gone?

  39. Playoffs Now says:


    Only one end zone will be used for offense Saturday at Wrigley Field for the Illinois-Northwestern game because of safety concerns, the Big Ten announced Friday.

    So will the offending end zone be labeled “Northwestern Illinois” or “Illinois Northwestern?” Some ticketed fans just got really screwed!

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      I wonder which team will be shirts and which will be skins.

      • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

        Since Persa is injured, maybe they can play the same QB for both teams.

        Seriously, Northwestern is the smart kids school. Didn’t anyone think that a wall 6 inched behind the endzone would be a problem?

        • M says:

          This seems to be much ado about nothing. Unpadded baseball players run into that wall without padding 81 games a year, and it’s somehow supposed to be unsafe for football players in full pads?

          • m (Ag) says:

            Baseball players don’t have any defensive players trying to drive the ball out of their hands or drive them out of bounds.

        • frug says:

          Let’s NU and U of I are two the top engineering schools in the world and nobody realized this would be a problem?

          Car… GAME ON!

        • Hopkins Horn says:

          How about a 90 yard field? Would anyone really notice the difference?

          • Richard says:

            I think that would be even more against the rules….

          • M says:

            The NU boards have come up with a variety of “screwball” suggestions:
            1. Raise the center of the field so that the horizontal length gets smaller, but the path around the curvature would still be 120 yds.
            2. Have the field curve across the outfield. The sidelines would be curved, but the middle would be 120yds. Could cause problems with first down marker.
            3. Take 2 inches off of every yard. This would reduce the total length of the field by ~7 yds, leaving plenty of room.

            Honestly, I think that nothing would have happened if they played it how the originally planned. All that going to the one-direction method is that Gameday signs will not include “Go West Young Man” with a picture of Evan Watkins.

          • Bullet says:

            Be ready for the longest non-OT game in the history of college football.

    • jj says:

      I thought the guts at nw were supposed to be smart’

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      Amazing. I thought the BigTen would be above gimmicks like playing at Wrigley. But to screw it up this bad is special.

      • Richard says:

        Personally, I want to see 77 punts featured in a game like this. Unfortunately, we won’t get a driving rainstorm blowing east.

  40. Playoffs Now says:


    …Following the example set by the NFL to curb helmet-to-helmet collisions, and just weeks after Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand was paralyzed, today at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, the Medical Society of New Jersey’s Committee on Medical Aspects of Sports will announce its recommendation to eliminate kickoffs from high school football.

    The committee, which has been involved in putting breakaway bases in high school baseball games and other safety measures, is citing a study showing that during kickoffs and punts there are a higher incidence of severe injuries….

    …McInerney, a Giants season-ticket holder and football fan, believes that teams could start possessions at the 20 or 25-yard line, as they do in college overtime…

    …Across the country, the idea of changing kickoffs has started to spread. Former Chicago Bears safety Doug Plank gave a radio interview last month suggesting eliminating the play. In a recent article in the Idaho Stateman, Boise State special teams coordinator Jeff Choate called it “a 70-yard blitz” and suggested pushing the kickoff up to the 35 to increase touchbacks and reduce the risks of violent impacts…

    • Playoffs Now says:

      I would not be surprised if eventually high schools in many states went to kicking off from the 45 or 50, colleges from the 40 or 45, and the NFL from the 40 or 35.

      However the unintended consequence might be an increase in onside kicks, since the risk/reward ratio changes with field position and coaches are often more aggressive these days.

    • Bullet says:

      They could just move the kickoff back to the 40 where it used to be before they decided they wanted less touchbacks and more returns.

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      The only real way to eliminate the risk of helmet-to-helmet collisions is by eliminating the game altogether.

      • Phil says:

        True, but when you have one type of play that incurs these injuries out of proportion to the rest of the game, it is worth looking at, especially when recent rule changes may have made it worse.

        • Hopkins Horn says:


          I hear what you’re saying, but you’ve also had recent focus on hits on QBs and generally hard hits anywhere on the field (given the recent rash of fines in the NFL). There’s a general crackdown on a lot of what makes football the sport it is.

          Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that their shouldn’t be any focus on improved safety. But there does come a point that one has to assume at least a little bit of risk when one voluntarily plays football. No one’s holding a gun to anyone’s head making them play. If one isn’t willing to assume the risk (or if one’s parents aren’t willing), then don’t play football. There are many other sports one can play. (And, again, I don’t mean that in a “tough guy” sort of way. I’m just being realistic. I sure as hell will discourage my son from playing full-contact football and will try and steer him towards other sports. And I don’t think I’m less of a “tough guy” for taking this attitude.)

          • Phil says:

            I’m not for getting rid of kickoffs. However, as a Rutgers fan I heard after the Legrand injury that 28% of spinal injuries occur on kick returns, which are much less than 28% of the plays. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to reverse the steps previously taken (moving the kickoffs back) to generate more returns.

      • ccrider55 says:

        “The only real way to eliminate the risk of helmet-to-helmet collisions is by eliminating the game altogether.”

        Or eliminate the helmet?

        • M says:

          I can’t believe people seriously suggest this idea. There would be regular deaths on football fields without helmets.

          • ccrider55 says:

            Unless developers create a method of supporting the helmet on the shoulders or torso kids will continue in the belief you just expressed that they are protected, and will continue to use the helmet as a weapon. They will continue to avoid scull facial bruises but keep suffering neck and spinal damage.

            Bare knuckle boxing was by all accounts a brutal sport. But it wasn’t until boxers gloved up that they could consistantly deliver blows that could kill before breaking their own hands.

            I realize they are different sports but the unintended consequence in both cases was that an attempt to protect enabled a more violent action and created increased probability of catastrophic outcomes.

          • Bullet says:

            I read a recent article pointing out that helmets were designed to reduce deaths and paralysis and suggested they had been successful in doing so. They were not designed to reduce concussions and so weren’t so effective at that.

          • Bullet says:

            In the early years, when helmets were flimsy or not worn, deaths were much more common. The modern rules and requirement for helmets came about because of a meeting Teddy Roosevelt encouraged. College fb was about to be banned due to all the deaths.

            Helmets help.

          • M says:


            They will continue to avoid skull fractures which regularly killed football players. Your suggestion is like removing seat belts and safety glass from cars in the hope that people drive more carefully.

          • Bullet says:

            Kickoffs were moved from 40 back to the 35 in 1986. Helmets weren’t mandatory until 1939.

            The results of Teddy Roosevelts’ meeting was that in 1906 the forward pass was legalized, 1st downs became 10 yards instead of 5 and massed formations were eliminated (fb became less like rugby). 18 players had died in 1905, triggering the meeting.

  41. Josh says:

    Interesting interview on Hawaii’s problems and options with Hawaii’s AD, conducted just 4 hours before the MWC invite came.


    This really blindsided everyone.

    • Adam says:

      In reading this article, the following idea occurred to me in the case of Hawaii independence (or even non-independence, I suppose): why can’t Hawaii reach a deal with a league for conference championship Saturday?

      For example, they could sign a contract with the Big Ten where the Big Ten would send (say) our “best” team that isn’t going to be bowl-eligible; Hawaii gets a major conference opponent, and a 5-7 Big Ten team (or whatever) gets what amounts to a substitute bowl game. It’s not a bowl game, just a regular season game, but by signing a deal with the league, you avoid the problem of reaching an agreement with a team which then has to back out because it qualified for the league title game that Saturday. Or, you could do it where the “worst” team that will be bowl-eligible even with a potential loss (e.g., a 7-5 team) gets the nod. Point being, seems like the Big Ten and Hawaii could work something out which was mutually beneficial, where a Big Ten team To Be Determined with nothing to lose (either because they aren’t bowl-eligible anyway, or else because a loss isn’t likely to affect their placement in the bowl priority pecking order) gets to make the trip, while Hawaii gets a game.

      • Richard says:

        The logistics of sending a team to Hawaii on essentially a week’s notice is pretty much insurmountable. I mean, could they do it? Sure, but why would any league pay premium to charter a flight all the way to Hawaii on short-notice?

        What’s more reasonable is Hawaii making arrangements with a league that doesn’t play a championship game (say, the Big12) where different Big12 teams would rotate going to Hawaii that week.

        Then again, BYU has expressed interest in playing Hawaii that week, and given the connections between those 2 schools (the Mormons have a heavy Polynesian contingent), I can see an ND-USC type schedule between those 2 schools, where Hawaii visits BYU in October but BYU visits Hawaii in early December.

        BTW, Hawaii’s problem wasn’t with filling the last few weeks of the season or September, but getting home games in the 7 weeks of October and November before Thanksgiving.

  42. OT says:

    In my opinion:

    The Big East needs to go public with the following offer:

    Football membership to 2 of the following starting with the 2012 season: Villanova, TCU, and Boise State

    The first two to accept will get in.

    The one who doesn’t move fast enough will be locked out.

    The Big East, not TCU, holds all the aces in this poker game.

    The Big East is guaranteed a BCS autobid through the 2013 season.

  43. OT says:

    The WAC does have a way to keep going even though Hawaii is as good as gone:

    Rip the heart out of the Southland Conference by taking away every FCS football-playing school based in Texas from the Southland.

    That means the WAC needs to convince Lamar, Stephen F. Austin State, and Sam Houston State to move up from FCS.

    The WAC ca. 2015 could look like this:

    Louisiana Tech
    Stephen F. Austin State
    Sam Houston State
    Texas State
    Texas-San Antonio
    New Mexico State
    Utah State
    (Denver – non-football)

    San Jose State needs to go back to the Big West and drop football entirely. San Jose State no longer fits the new WAC geographically, philosophically, or culturally.

  44. m (Ag) says:

    Just more evidence that scheduling is all about money:

    Georgia v. Boise to open 2011 in Georgia Dome
    -Georgia getting $1.7 mill, Boise $1.4 mill
    -organizers also paying Louisville $0.6 mill buyout to open spot in Georgia’s schedule.

    Boise State was to open at Ole Miss in a $0.9 mill game (no return trip)
    -BYU will be going to Ole Miss instead for the same contract.

    In 2014 Ole Miss and Boise will play in the Georgia Dome.
    -Ole Miss will receive $2 mill, Boise $1.1 mill

    Hopefully Georgia will be better next year!


    • Richard says:

      In a good way, in this case.

    • Bullet says:

      Well UGA has cancelled a home and home recently because their scheduling philosophy has changed. They also wanted out of Louisville. Previously, they were trying to build a national name and had games against AZ St., Colorado and Oklahoma St. Now they have a former Florida AD has adopted the Gator philosophy and wants the easiest schedule and most home games possible. As m(Ag) points out, money can change things. $1.7 million convinced them to play a tougher team. Doesn’t hurt that its a virtual home game and Boise is graduating a bunch of seniors.

  45. Alan from Baton Rouge says:

    Frank – I knew the Zooker was a talent waster at Florida and Illinois has been inconsistent with him at the helm, but never thought the hot seat was justified since every coach is inconsistent at Illinois.

    Having just witnessed the College Gameday 7th inning stretch piece, Zook has to go! Not for his terrible singing, but he was holding an index card while singing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.” Who doesn’t know the words to that song? Obviously the Zooker doesn’t. He should be banned from ever working in any American sport ever again. That is an unforgivable offense.

  46. Wes says:

    Hey, M-AG

    Is that you sitting on the front row in your Aggie gear at game day in Wrigley Field?

    Gig Em’

  47. m (Ag) says:

    The Big East is apparently looking at other schools and going to a 12 team league. No mention of how that might change if TCU leaves.


    • m (Ag) says:

      Bleah. As soon as I hit ‘enter’ I realized I had typed ‘Big East’ when I meant ‘Mountain West’.

      Sorry, I get the 2 top mid-major conferences confused sometimes.

  48. Principal Rooney says:

    Did I just see Ferris Bueller in the stands?

  49. loki_the_bubba says:

    Those who have promoted the notion of ECU to the Big East, please note:

    ECU 38
    Rice 62

  50. Playoffs Now says:

    Just wanted to congratulate Texas A&M on a tough, gritty win over Nebraska.

    Really made me smile, especially since Pelini once again made an ass out of himself. Yelling “F you, F you” in the face of the officials all game, then shocked that they didn’t cut Nebraska a break at the end. There was a bad roughing the passer call that went against them, but there were also 15 other legitimate penalties committed by NE, including several personal fouls. If you choose to play that way then you can’t gripe about penalties.

    Might be a good idea to buy the team (and fans) a set of rulebooks and actually read them.

    • schwarm says:

      Nebraska got 2 personal fouls on this play, one for each nut grabbed.

      Playoffs now – I’m amazed that you know the other 15 penalties were legit, when ABC couldn’t find several of them.

      aTm is the most penalized team in the league, and had 2 for 10 yards tonight, against the best defense in the league. Par for the course for Nebraska’s conference opponents this year. Move along, nothing to see here…

      • Playoffs Now says:

        Apparently that Aggie is a TSA major…



        OMAHA, Neb. — Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman isn’t happy with coach Bo Pelini’s behavior.

        Perlman said Sunday that Pelini’s verbal assault of officials during Saturday’s game at Texas A&M did not reflect well on the university or the football program.

        “I think it was very unfortunate,” Perlman said, “and I think it’s something we’ll have to address with Bo.”

        The game was televised on ABC, and Perlman said he felt uneasy about the numerous camera shots of Pelini’s outbursts. Perlman spoke Sunday morning with athletic director Tom Osborne about Pelini’s conduct, and the chancellor said he, Osborne or both would talk to Pelini about his decorum.

      • Playoffs Now says:

        NE penalties:


        offense-15 yd pers foul at aTm 21
        offense-5 yd false start at aTm 26, yet field goal still good, thus penalties negated.

        offense-(2 drives later) 15 yd pers foul after recovering own fumble at aTm 49. Possible retaliation to Ag mischief.
        +coach-15 yd unsportsmanlike conduct-together 3rd and 14 becomes 3rd and 44.


        (aTm offense called for 5 yd false start at aTm 20)

        offense-5 yd false start at NE 36

        (aTm ties game at 3 on a 62 yd drive with no penalties against NE defense, now 3-3)

        sp. teams-13 yd pers foul on kickoff return at aTm 26
        offense-10 yd holding at NE 24

        offense-10 yd holding (different drive) at aTm 48, followed by an interception.


        offense-5 yd false start at aTm 49

        offense-5 yd illegal formation (different drive) at NE 31
        (aTm defense-5 yd pers foul on interception return)

        defense-2 yd pass interference at aTm 31
        defense-15 yd pass interference at aTm 35. Ags would then drive 39 more yards past the markoff and get a field goal, 6-3.


        sp teams-10 yd pers foul
        +coach-5 yd unsportsmanlike conduct after a touchback kick. NE drives the field and ties with a field goal, penalties negated, 6-6.

        defense-15 yd roughing passer at NE 49 (bad call.) Ags then gain 32 more yards on 5 straight run plays(!) and kick a field goal. NE gets the ball with 3:02 left, only needing a field goal.

        offense-0 yd intentional grounding on a 5 yd loss. NE can’t drive and turns the ball over on downs with 1:10 left.


        So, NE was consistent, 4 penalties every quarter. So exactly which penalties are ya’ll disputing?

        pers foul – 4, easy to see, though 1 might be legitimate retaliation. Because unlike every other team, surely no Cornhusker has ever played dirty at the bottom of a fumble pile. 2 of the personal fouls were on Eric Martin, who had already been suspended this season for a dirty targeting helmet to helmet hit.

        false start – 3, easy to see

        unsportsmanlike conduct on the coach – 2, easy to see

        pass interference – 2, easy to see

        holding – 2, only 2 called the entire game, one on 1st and one on 2nd down

        illegal formation – 1, easy to see

        intentional grounding – 1, easy to see

        roughing the passer – 1, bad call

        BTW, 9-11-2010, at Lincoln, Idaho 17 – NE 38. Penalties: Idaho 3-15, NE 10-123. Guess the B12 was trying to screw over NE in another pivotal game, too?

        IMHO, any team that can’t score more than 6 pts doesn’t deserve to win. The roughing call only gave the Ags 3 pts. In 4 qtrs NE couldn’t score at least 9 pts to keep the game going? That’s their real problem, not officials.

        • schwarm says:

          The game was a close, low scoring battle, where a call here or there makes a big difference to the outcome.

          I believe that Nebraska was called for five personal fouls:

          1) OL blasts DB after play is over, legit call, but A&M did the same thing later in the game, no call.

          2) TE kicks player after getting sexually assaulted.

          3) & 4) I think Eric Martin was called for two PF’s on kickoffs – no video of what happened. Eric was suspended for helmet to helmet on a KO vs. Okie State. He’s apparently getting “special attention” from the officials.

          5) Late hit on QB on A&M’s winning drive, obvious blown call that extends the drive.

          The crew that officiated the game Saturday has done three of Nebraska’s conference games; in those games Nebraska has been flagged 32 times for 293 yards, while their opponents have been flagged 9 times for 103. In all other conference games, Nebraska has been flagged 25 – 210, opponents 20-163. In the three games above, Nebraska’s opponent’s defense was flagged a total of zero times – in three games.

          In the grand scheme of things, having an injured starting QB and 2nd string QB who is out for the year has crippled our offense and made every game a battle. Obviously that has nothing to do with officiating. I hear Martinez is in a boot, and we are probably starting the third string QB against CU. They are still trying to get bowl eligible, and its going to be another battle.

          As far as deserving to win, I think Beebe’s Boyz agree with you.

      • m (Ag) says:

        I agree the roughing the passer call was bad. I do regret what happened in the pile, and I wish that they would get that out of football.

        “aTm is the most penalized team in the league”

        This may be true, but I don’t think it helps your argument. My own observation from games is that most of the excess penalties have come from being a young team. Several illegal formations and a painfully large number of false starts that have nothing to do with crowd noise. These penalties would have been noticed by the TV cameras, but the team seemed to have it in check Saturday night. All those 1st and 2nd year players have almost another year under their belt, after all.

        Now, I’ve only gotten to see about 1/2 the games on TV, but I haven’t noticed any excess calls for other types of calls (holding, personal fouls, etc) this year.

    • schwarm says:

      BTW, I saw one legit personal foul by Nebraska, where an OL hit a DB right after the RB was tackled. aTm did precisely the same thing later in the game… care to guess if it was called?

    • Bullet says:


      Bo’s brother Carl once again lost it after a loss, grabbing and tossing an Aggie press person’s camera. Bo & Carl are a huge contrast from the normal Husker behavior. Carl makes Bo seem calm by comparison. Carl was the one who went on and on claiming the B12 officials cheated in the championship game last year, long after it was pointed out they properly followed the rules.

  51. Michael in Indy says:

    I know a lot of people thought it was embarrassing for the Big Ten to have the offenses both go the same direction, but I say, “Who cares?” I actually thought it added an extra element of intrigue.

    It was so cool to see that cathedral of a ballpark host a college football game. In person, it must have been kind of surreal. Frank, if you made it to the game, I hope you had a great time. It looked like a lot of fun. Congrats to your Illini on becoming bowl-eligible.

    • Michael in Indy says:

      *Obviously, I was talking about the Northwestern-Illinois game at Wrigley. Guess I forgot to mention that. ;-)

      • Tom says:

        I did not attend the game, but since I live about 6 blocks from the field, I got a chance to hang out pre-game around the Wrigley and watched it in a variety of bars. I thought it was awesome, I later caught the Notre Dame – Army game, and that atmosphere paled in comparison. (Granted that’s a new Yankee Stadium, and the Bronx isn’t exactly Wrigleyville.)

        A lot of people were acting like society was about to collapse in terms of the endzone problem. I thought once the game got going, there wasn’t much to complain about.

        If the logistics of allowing 2 way play can be worked out, I think that Northwestern and the Big Ten should look at making this an annual event, featuring Northwestern as the home team against different Big Ten teams. Play it right on this same date so it doesn’t get overshadowed by next week’s big college rivalry / NFL thanksgiving games. Assuming the Cubs start running off a string of World Series appearances, you still have a couple weeks to get the field ready after the baseball season concludes.

        Looking ahead, potential opponents would be Minnesota in 2011, and then Illinois again in 2012. The Big Ten should then work on setting up the schedule so a different Big Ten team can visit each year. This would be very much like a mini bowl game. You can probably even come up with a trophy for it.

        If you’re Northwestern, you are sacrificing a home game, and Ryan Field actually holds about 5,000 more people so there is a potential revenue loss, but you are gaining alot of publicity by playing there. By hosting another Big Ten school, you are guaranteed to fill the place up because of the big ten’s large alumni bases in Chicago.

        • Richard says:

          With the endzone restriction/special ground rules, don’t expect another football game at Wrigley any time soon, as in the next few decades or so. Part of why this had such a great atmosphere (drawing Gameday, etc.) was because it was billed as a once-in-a-lifetime event.

          I’m actually partial to NU holding a home game every year at Wrigley because of the great atmosphere in Wrigleyville, but I just don’t see it happening.

          • StvInIL says:

            I think the end zone rules took away from the game some, but I think it was too successful an event to not do it again fairly soon. An Iowa NU game or NU IU game there may be good. MSU might even consider a neutral site game there. As we know it won’t be neutral for MSU so that would be exciting. And of course Illinois can pick a number of opponents such as Minnesota who can cut their travel down and hang in Chicago. I also think of Indiana or Purdue playing one of the Illinois schools as a home/neutral site for them at White Sox Park.

  52. duffman says:

    some sunday morning observations:


    your tigers are something to watch! good or bad if they get in the MNC game, I have a feeling it will not be boring! just remember I was on your tigers bandwagon all along :)

    alan, bamatab, and for the SEC posters on here in general,


    top 10 teams (BCS) and NCAA Strength of Schedule together:

    # 01 Oregon, PAC 10 (idle) = # 75 SoS
    # 02 Auburn, SEC (idle) = # 2 SoS
    # 03 TCU, MWC (idle) = # 69 SoS
    # 04 Boise State, WAC (W Fresno State) = # 59 SoS
    # 05 LSU, SEC (W Ole Miss) = # 8 SoS
    # 06 Stanford, PAC 10 (beat Cal) = # 65 SoS
    # 07 Wisconsin, Big 10 (beat Michigan) = # 67 SoS
    # 08 Nebraska, Big 12 (lost TAMU) = # 49 SoS
    # 09 tOSU, Big 10 (beat Iowa) = # 51 SoS
    # 10 oSu, Big 12 (beat KU) = # 38 SoS

    If the MNC were based on SoS only 2 top 10 BCS teams also have top 10 SoS. If scheduling truly mattered and you could take 2 teams from the same conference then as of right now Auburn should play LSU for the MNC. I will give the SEC credit where credit is due. the next lowest SoS belongs to oSu so they would be third in the MNC rotation. I would also argue that MSU should be in the top 10 in the BCS ahead of both tOSU and Wisconsin based on their # 34 SoS (and probably ahead of oSu, especially after TAMU beat UNL).

    That said the BCS should not allow a team with a SoS over 50 to ever play for a MNC! Frankly I was surprised to find the touted Pac 10 teams BOTH over 60 (the midpoint for the 120 teams in D 1). Right now I would put MSU in the Rose Bowl as they have a # 34 SoS compared to both tOSU (#51) and Wisconsin (#67) near the magical # 60 midpoint.

    for the Big 10 folks….

    Gophers #5, Illini # 9, PSU # 12, Iowa #15, and Michigan #18
    way to having the stones to have a top 20 schedule!

    PU # 23, MSU # 34, and UNL honorable mention at # 49
    at least these guys are in the top 50!

    tOSU # 51, IU #66, Wisconsin #67, and NU #85
    IU and NU do not have long term historical good football teams, but tOSU and Wisconsin why are you guys so low?

    in short, how can any team (no matter what their record) be a serious top 10 team if their SoS is over 50 or 60?

    comments please….

    ps. frank, did you go to the game? where will they go bowling?

    pps. shameless big 10 basketball plug!

    8 Big 10 teams are still undefeated!
    gophers congrats on the UNC win!
    hoosiers 12.11.2010 is circled on my calendar
    NU congrats on the saluki win
    buckeyes congrats on the gators win
    PSU beating the visiting hawks
    UM beware Gardner Webb (remember UK, remember App State)
    Izzo and his USC win!
    PU valpo on pearl harbor day, get the win
    frank, not too shabby early season win against the terps (aargh on UT).
    wisconsin and iowa, we shall see

    • duffman says:

      IU negativity from ESPN


      IU will be back! you have the freshman and a healed upperclassman.

    • MAC Country says:

      Unless out of conference schedules are made a year or two out instead of 10, SOS arguments are generally meaningless. Ohio State can’t help that Miami (Fl) is not a top 10 team this year. They were a top team when they signed the deal. What if tOSU supposed to do? Recruit for Miami (Fl) to make sure they have a decent team?

      • duffman says:


        no I am okay with that part, but the Big 10’s use of MAC teams, and the SEC’s use of Sun Belt teams is where the problem enters into the picture. In the past IU and UK played OOC in football and it was a good game and a good NC rivalry, but now both schools schedule a weak team they can bully instead that leave the fans a bit bleagh, and does nothing for schedule strength. tOSU could schedule UK as easy as Eastern Michigan and beat them just as bad, but at least the fans would feel like they were getting a better game for their money, and it would bolster tOSU’s schedule strength.

        I applaud games like tOSU vs Miami (FL), BAMA vs PSU, and Auburn vs Clemson OOC and every big time team should have at least 1 of these type games OOC on their schedule. What I am pondering is a Wisconsin vs Vandy type game instead of Wisconsin vs Austin Peay. As bear bryant said about ties (like kissing your sister) I feel about major conference teams not playing bad teams in other major conferences instead of some lesser known team they beat by 50 points, and is over after the coin toss.

      • Adam says:

        If you can’t schedule a good OOC opponent, don’t schedule one at all. That’s an excellent way of keeping the average strength of your schedule higher.

        • Jake says:

          I don’t mind the Big Ten-MAC and SEC-Sunbelt match-ups too much; at least those teams are FBS, have the same number of scholarships, and in theory at least are competing on a level playing field. But the FCS games? Those need to go. It’s not sporting, and I hate that a glorified scrimmage is included in my season ticket package.

    • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

      Duff – thanks for the kind words for my Tigers. I do remember you sticking up for LSU when others on this board called my beloved Tigers a fraud. Frauds don’t win 10 of 11 with the 8th most difficult schedule in America. The Tigers SoS will only go up next week when they take on #13 Arkansas in a BCS at-large playoff of sorts..

      For a team with an idiot grass-eating coach that can’t speak in complete sentences and no QB to go 10-1 so far and beat two evil geniuses (Saban & Meyer) and the right reverend Nutt (who always gives the Tigers fits), LSU just knows how to win. 7 of the Tigers games have been decided by 7 points or Les, errr less. CBS, as well as the advertisers that buy time in the 4th quarter, loves the Tigers. Verne Lundquist said last week that the Tigers are Must-See TV.

      • Bullet says:

        What’s really been interesting the last 2 weeks is how few of the favorites have lost. Normally there are more upsets this time of year as the underdogs have less to play for and play a little looser.

        Except for Utah and Nebraska, none of the 0 or 1 loss teams have fallen. There are still 4 unbeatens and 7 once beatens.

      • duffman says:


        it was sort of my point. tv likes corporate america to advertise all the way to the end of the game (the super bowls with the early blowouts, and second half advertisers who howled when their numbers tanked). People can say LSU is a fraud, but they miss two important facts.

        a) the games are exciting to the very end!
        when I was young a very wise old man explained that the difference between eccentric and crazy was how much money they had in the bank. I think about this when I think about football coaches. if the zookster was winning, would he be crazy or eccentric. miles is eccentric because he wins, and does it time and time again. if he was not winning he would be the zook of LSU, and probably out of a job.

        The reason I was on the LSU bandwagon early is they have a defense, and the people that call them frauds keep forgetting it. Folks can say what they will, but LSU has speed and can hit folks very hard. Maybe it is because I played the line, as did other family members, I watch the line play as best as I can (the media focuses on the QB’s) as that is where the teams that seem to have success always have strength (even tho they never get the love).

        b) the SEC always seems to flip.
        When I was younger it was tOSU, Michigan, and the “floater”. Now it is the same, but PSU is in the mix. The Pac is always USC, the Big 12 was UT, OU, and UNL (going farther back it was UT in the SWC, and OU / UNL in the Big 8). Not sticking up for the SEC, but they are a bit more slippery when it comes to who gets touted to win the SEC or MNC, and who actually does (last year it was supposed to be the Tebow show, and the Tide rolled past them. This year it was supposed to be the Tide, and yet Auburn is there with LSU nipping at their heels.

        As an old horse guy it is similar to the the Derby and why the favorites do not win often. My argument is that the media skews the reality. The media in the spring touts an east coast horse or a west coast horse (ignoring the good horses in the rest of the country). When Unbridled comes out of florida, or Little E T comes out of arkansas they are long shots, and seem like upsets. My argument has always been that they they were always good horses, that the media never followed early on like they should. The longer odds reflected media bias, not actual ability. Every year the SEC seems very similar (more so than most other conferences) in that pre season the media crowns an SEC team the team to win it all (this year it was BAMA) and seem to forget that their is a very good team or two that falls off the media radar (this year Auburn and LSU).

        Boise State and TCU remind me of FSU as an independent and as a conference member. Sure FSU was hot when they could go undefeated and just play a game or two that was tough during the season. They had early success in the early ACC expansion, but life has gone down hill since the ACC went to 12. I am not knocking FSU, but I am saying it is harder to go undefeated when you have a few less cupcakes on the schedule. A no loss FSU team has more luster than a 1 or 2 loss FSU team.

        just an observation.

        • Bullet says:

          Good point about the line. I’m always skeptical of a highly rated team that doesn’t have many returning O line starters.

          Cam Newton is very good, but not as good as advertised. Now the Auburn O-line is awesome. They’re the ones who make Newton look great.

          • m (Ag) says:

            While the media focused almost entirely on A&M’s QB play in our 3 game losing streak, I think our very young O-line was a significant part of the problem. Their improvement has been a big part of the winning streak.

          • duffman says:


            I agree to part of that, but having von and a return to the wrecking crew days has a hand in as well.

          • m (Ag) says:

            Duffman, the Defense has been the biggest part of the team for the entire year; I would say they were playing almost as well earlier in the season as they are now.

            They only gave up 24 points against Arkansas. Alabama is the only other team that has held them under 31 points this year. Maybe LSU will be the third team to do it.

            Against Oklahoma State, the defense did pretty well considering the offense turned it over 5 times; frequently OSU had short fields and could do nothing. OSU’s offense produced these drives:

            punt (3 plays)
            fumble (2 plays)
            punt (6 plays)
            int (3 plays)
            punt (3 plays)
            int (5 plays)
            TD (7 plays 65 yards)
            End of half (1 play)
            TD (12 plays 73 yards)
            TD (8 plays 71 yards)
            Punt (3 plays)
            TD (5 plays 48 yards)
            Punt (3 plays)
            Punt (4 plays)
            FG to win game with time running out (2 plays 16 yards)

            OSU had some good adjustments in the second half. Still, it was a good defensive performance against a top offense.

            The only bad performance they had this year was against Missouri. They simply looked unprepared to handle their offense.

            So, even though Von Miller was limited with an ankle sprain earlier in the year, I wouldn’t say the defense is playing much better than they were then. They were playing very well at the start, and they’re playing very well now.

            On the other hand, the QB and OL play have improved much more in the second half. That’s been the biggest change over the season. The defense, though, is still the strength of the team.

          • duffman says:


            I think we are in harmony here, I am not knocking TAMU. I am already on the TAMU bus this season, and was before fall football started. I am not disagreeing with you, so I hope my comment did not come across that way.

            As an aggie I do have a question for you tho. Is DeRuyter bringing back the wrecking crew mentality the thing that saves Sherman’s job? I have gotten the feeling that he has been on the hot seat, and now that the defense has helped get TAMU to 8 wins, that seat is a bit cooler now.

            I picked TAMU to beat oSu and still am at a loss as to why they did not finish them off early in the game. They could have won that game but they let oSu get a foot in the door. It was most frustrating to watch.

          • m (Ag) says:

            I don’t hit the message boards often, but I have the last few weeks. The critics have mostly died down to the level you get with every fanbase. Of course, there are some posters calling for Sherman to be fired and DeRuyter to be given the head job, just so he never leaves.

            Even when we were in the losing streak, I felt it would have been a mistake not to give him more time. It seems a majority of anonymous internet posters agree with me now.

        • Richard says:

          FSU played tough opponents as an independent. Looking at their last 5 season as an independent (when they went 10-1, 10-1, 9-2, 9-2., 10-2 in the regular season, they played Florida & Miami every year, and MSU, Auburn, VTech, Clemson, LSU, & Syracuse 2-3 times out of those 5 years.

          In ’93 & ’94, they played Miami, Florida, & ND OOC.

          In ’97 & ’98, it was Miami, Florida, and USC (with TAMU in the Kickoff Classic for good measure in 1998)

    • Bullet says:

      The system above is based solely on W-L record, so a 9-2 Northern Illinois counts as much as a 9-2 Nebraska.

      Now, I’m not saying Sagarin is the best system out there, but he comes to a totally different conclusion about strength of schedule. Ohio St. is still rated low, but the SEC is low and the Pac 10 seems unreasonably high.
      Team and SOS
      Oregon 19
      TCU 68
      Boise 73
      Auburn 40
      LSU 41
      WI 61
      Ohio St 59
      MSU 67
      Ok St 43
      OU 16
      UNL 36
      A&M 10
      MO 15
      Ark 30
      AL 31
      Stan 8
      AZ 11
      Utah 66
      VT 54

      Team with toughest schedule in each conference
      MN 28
      Pitt 47
      IaSt 9
      ECU 55
      Toledo 90
      UNLV 35
      Wash. St. 1 (Pac 10 has top 8)
      Vandy 12
      La-La 106
      SJSU 22 (it is possible in WAC to have high sos)
      ND 37

      • Bullet says:

        Don’t know how I did that face. Sagarin show top eight in Pac 10 + AZ #11 and Oregon #19. So Oregon does have the weakest schedule in P10.

        • cfn_ms says:

          Partially b/c they don’t have to play Oregon, partially b/c they had one of the weakest OOC’s in the league, partially b/c they haven’t played Arizona and Oregon St yet.

      • cfn_ms says:

        Pac-10 teams rated with high SOS due to:

        1) Nine league games – more than any other AQ

        2) Generally tough OOC slates

        3) Substantial OOC success this year (10-4 vs AQ’s for starters), which brings up everyone’s scores

        Doesn’t seem unreasonable to me… though admittedly I’m a Pac-10 guy.

      • duffman says:


        thanks for the sagarin contrast (it is why I like this blog). My only problem with sagarin is that it is proprietary and can not be analyzed by mainstream folks (the same can be said for beta numbers as calculated by value line) and can not be tested outside by independent 3rd parties. I am not knocking sagarin, just like I an not knocking Value Line, but we must take things as they come and can not test them (think of how schools now teach kids to answer questions instead of getting the students to understand how things actually work through the process). I am not sure I would put the Pac as the toughest conference this year. I would probably put the Big 10 and SEC at the top, with the Big 12 and Pac in the second tier. I would put the ACC and BE in the bottom, and the MWC, CUSA, and WAC below that with the MAC and Sun Belt.

  53. Bullet says:

    Coaches poll out. Changes at the top make you wonder if its random changes or an effort to promote or demote certain teams. Only Boise played of the unbeatens and Wisconsin(5), LSU(6) and Ohio St. (7) weren’t especially impressive.
    Oregon gained 2 points and 2 1st place votes from Auburn.
    Auburn, despite losing 2 1st place votes gained 1 point.
    Boise gained 12
    TCU lost 18. So TCU dropped vs. Oregon and Auburn who also didn’t play and lost 3 points to teams beneath them with unimpressive results.

    For TCU, Oregon St. crushed USC, Utah won and SDSU lost close to Utah. So it wasn’t their opponents. Cal who barely lost to Oregon got crushed by Stanford. TCU losing points to Boise is understandable. The rest isn’t. Oregon gaining on Auburn when both didn’t play doesn’t make sense either. In my mind, there are only 2 logical explanations: a) lackadaisical pollsters who don’t pay much attention (certainly possible) or b) deliberate efforts to boost AQ schools combined with an effort to punish Auburn. Both explanations are a condemnation of the system.

    • jj says:

      it’s almost like the polls are bullshit.

      • duffman says:


        I have thought this for quite some time. It is like the herd mentality on Wall Street. No broker is going to get canned for recommending Microsoft or WalMart as they all take the easy route. If you are following something off the radar, it is hard for folks to see the future as the lesser name is off the radar.

        The older I get the more I think the mainstream polls are the “idiots guides” for the masses who do not follow college football with more than a passing interest. Pablum for the masses if you will, so they pick the safe teams, or the undefeated teams in weaker conferences. The polls should have the stones to go out on a limb more often. Early on I said TAMU would have a good year and win at least 8 games and I got blasted for it, yet here TAMU is with their hat in the ring for a good bowl game (same with oSu, tho I did pick TAMU to beat oSu, so I am not that smart). The difference is as an individual who actually watches games OOC, I am not always on the “easy pick” bandwagon. early on I asked Frank to put the ducks higher because they had a good schedule (as did auburn) and it would affect their record.

        Not saying I am brilliant, but more that I am willing to look at actual things that can influence a season, and am willing to stick my neck out and take a risk. I think many of the pollsters do not have this luxury as they can probably be fired if they are wrong most of the time or pick a team nobody is following (and this is not even taking into account the fact that advertisers want people to read where their ads are running).

        Will I probably put PSU a spot or two higher every year because I have me some JoPa love? yes, but at least I am willing to admit it, and declare it when telling you how I pick my teams. Yes I give IU and MSU the love in basketball (and now the gophers because tubby is there) but I also tell you this up front. Am I happy Big Red is in the Big 10 family (of course) but it because I got to follow the old Big 8 and got hooked.

        In short, pollsters follow the herd, and they disguise their homerism, so I find it hard to believe anything they say. At least here there is good debate, and I can get different views from across the country from folks who actually follow teams in the off season (and yes I dream of IU as a football superpower, but I am not betting the house, and will also step up and say when they stink).

        I can not get the background (with good points of discussion) on a team like Rice in the mainstream, but here loki can keep me posted and informed on something I may have missed or would not have put on my radar in the first place.

        boy am i rambling today :)

        • jj says:

          good point about the herd. there are also the politics to deal with.

          i don’t want some massive playoff, but i can’t imagine how an 8 teamer with automatic ins for major conference champions is worse than this. it would go a long way toward improving the out-of-conference games as well, I suspect.

          I also can’t wait for next year for the B10 CG because they have the dumbest scheduling and champion crowning of all time in any sport. Spartans finally go 10-2 or 11-1 and have basically no shot at the Rose Bowl short of a thanksgiving miracle by the corn & blue.

          • Adam says:

            If only the Spartans had played Indiana instead of Iowa, then we would have a definitive champion!

          • m (Ag) says:

            Those of us in the Big 12 know you can still need BCS rankings to break ties for division championships!

            We Aggies are hoping they will have to be used again this week, even though the BCS rankings don’t seem to favor us at the moment.

      • 84Lion says:

        “it’s almost like the polls are bullshit.”


        • Bullet says:

          There’s an example in the basketball poll this week (probably several-but one that stood out).

          Illinois was 16 and Texas 22 last week. This week Illinois 4-1 with signature win 4 points over unranked MD is 19 in both polls. Texas 3-1, is 20 in 1 and 21 in the other. Texas signature win is 6 points in OT over Illinois in Madison Square Garden. Texas’ loss was by 2 to #5 Pitt in the same tourney.

          You could make the argument that with UT’s poor free throw shooting and limited # of scorers, the Illini will do better in the Big Dance, but does anyone think the pollsters are really putting that much thought in? They look at records, vote and don’t even know who the teams play.

  54. Bullet says:

    AP Poll
    Oregon & Boise gained 1st place votes, Auburn & TCU each lost one.
    Oregon lost 2 points
    Auburn lost 3 points
    Boise gained 17 points
    TCU lost 21 points

    So basically TCU lost 9 points to teams behind them who weren’t that impressive. Ohio St. did have a good win, but they were losing most of the game.

    • Bullet says:

      Saw TCU people complaining Craig James (ESPN) dropped TCU from 3rd to 6th behind Stanford, Wisconsin and Boise. So ESPN is 2 of the 9 points (Stanford & WI). At least ESPN doesn’t officially have a vote in Coaches or Harris poll.

    • Playoffs Now says:

      Good job exposing the ridiculousness and hypocrisy of this current system and the silly attempts to compare conference SOS. The SEC gets a few teams highly rated based simply on reputation, then incestuously rides that via circular reasoning and urban myths into a free pass into every beauty contest title game. Wasn’t it last year that we kept hearing how awesome the SEC was and the B10 couldn’t compete, only to see them play to a draw in head-to-head bowls (and didn’t the SEC luck out with NW by injuring their kicker?)

      And not too long ago Alabama was considered by the pollsters to be second only to FL and would surely smash Utah after the tough loss to Tebow in Atlanta. But of course Utah completely embarrassed Bama 6 ways to Sunday on the SEC’s home turf.

      So yeah, LSU is still a fraud, they’ll probably lose to AR. AU will likely lose one or both of their next two games even with Scam Newton. Stanford is likely the best 1-loss team. Boise and TCU may truly be the 2 best teams in the country (funny how the Oregon St used by pollsters/mediots to bash them is suddenly ignored after demolishing previously ranked USC 37-6. And Utah is cited as weak even though they are 8-2 and still ranked by the same pollsters.) But of course there is absolutely no way for me or anyone else to know and declare with any certainty who the 2 best teams are.

      • Robber Baron says:

        Not so fast on LSU losing. I am convinced they are a fraud, but I am equally convinced that SEC refs are crooked.

        • duffman says:


          I would expand the net even farther to say the refs in the SEC, Big 10, and other conferences are “influenced”. In the old days it was the gamblers, but now days I would argue it is the media, in that they want the “brands” to win because it translates to higher ad revenue.

          Sure auburn may be winning, but the media wants UF to win the SEC every year because they bring the most eyeballs and the best ad revenue. Same can be said for tOSU, UM, and PSU in the Big 10. I am enjoying MSU and Wisconsin having good seasons, but I am willing to bet the advertisers do not share my feelings. Here is Auburn and MSU having great years, but not getting the love as they split their states with a powerful advertising monster in their home state (UM and BAMA).

  55. Playoffs Now says:

    FWIW, I still contend that Vince Young has a good shot at being the Dallas Cowboys QB next year. Looks like Nashville isn’t big enough for both VY and Jeff Fisher. Kitna’s success seems to confirm that Tony Romo was part of the Cowboys’ problem. Jerry Jones showing no indication of giving up a big say in player moves, so the next coach may not have veto power over bringing in a home state star that would boost ticket sales and PR. Jerry will always be carnival barker famewhore Jerry.

    Not sure that Titans’ owner Bud Adams will go for it, but with the TN fans seemingly split on both VY and Fisher, the stars may be aligning.

  56. mushroomgod says:

    Duffman—-Zeller, then Devin Davis and Collin Hartman, and Yogi to announce on Wednesday (and possibly, Bluett, his ’13 roommate)!! IU basketball is back, in a big way…

    As for football, one more pounding and we rid ourselves of the worst coach IU, and possibly the Big Ten, has ever seen……all is good…….

  57. duffman says:

    A thought or two on UNL vs TAMU:

    a) here is a link of the video so folks can see what actually happened


    b) for the UNL fans on here I do not view this incident as reflective of your school or fans in general. In football you have a great history of fan and coach behavior (I feel the same way about Utah basketball fans). I have always felt that Nebraska is a class act, and will continue to feel this way even though this game was not a good image of Nebraska in the mainstream media and national exposure.

    c) refs can influence a game, and when it is on the national stage it is never a good thing for the country to see. however, this does not give a coach the right to strike someone. No matter what Woody did at tOSU, the sound byte of his career is striking the player that ended his coaching history with the buckeyes.

    d) for the TAMU “old army” vs “new army” debate about the fans on the field I am more “old army” in spirit, but am willing to give the kids a pass as the 12th man is special, and they were well behaved on the field. To the other “old farts” out there, lighten up, remember you were young once too and full of passion for the game of college football.

    • Bullet says:

      The Pelinis will really have fun next year when they face Michigan and Big 10 officials!

    • Mike says:

      A tweet from a (former, currently on medical scholarship) Husker player.

      For the record, Bo’s relationship with this side judge dates back to 2008. It has been incredibly rocky.
      Don’t know what Bo was saying to [QB] Taylor [Martinez] but I’ve been on the receiving end of some of those. Looks mean, but is productive.

      • Mike says:

        I wouldn’t mention it, except Pelini kept talking about how the situation became personal. Doesn’t excuse Bo at all, but there is a lot more there than we know.

        Despite how he’s portrayed, It’s been my experience that Bo doesn’t go off on his players that often. The coaches, that’s another story. Bo once said, the second time a player makes a mistake its on the coaches.

  58. jj says:

    Happy Thanksgiving all! Enjoy the Lions!

    • mushroomgod says:

      lol…….good stuff

    • StvInIL4NW says:

      I think that The Michigan Wolverines have probably made being a Lions fan doable. I mean a high probability of a win on Saturday and the lingering euphoria helped to anesthetize the pending loss on Sunday away. This and of course alcohol would make everything OK.

  59. ezdozen says:

    Does the Big 10 still want Rutgers?

  60. Bullet says:


    Bama site compares Albert Means case in 90s to Cam Newton. I didn’t follow the Means case closely. I hadn’t realized how much money was involved in that. Note, Bama was the one who got nailed on Means and this is on an Alabama site.

    • m (Ag) says:

      Interesting read.

      Of course, if the LSU board allegations are true, the Auburn case is a bit worse. While the Means case involved some boosters and some university employees (coaches), the Auburn case allegedly is run by the Board of Trustees. You don’t get any higher up than that.

    • Richard says:

      What I don’t get is how, if ‘Bama narrowly escaped the death penalty (as Wikipedia says), they only got a 2 year bowl ban, 21 scholarship reduction and 5 years probation. Why isn’t the maximum sentence before the death penalty 10 years probation, a 5 year bowl ban (in the second 5 years, so current students who thought they were joining a clean program don’t get screwed), and reducting down slowly to 60 scholarship players? They have to make a school noncompetitive for 10+ years to keep corruption at bay, IMHO.

      • Bamatab says:

        Actually in this case when the NCAA made the statement that Bama was staring down the barrel of the gun, it was actually more for show than an accurate account of the situation. Logan Young (who was a booster and not offically tied to the university) was the only person that was tied to paying the money, and it was paid to Means’ highschool coach and not to Means (who supposedly was paid by his coach prior to Young’s invovlment). And the only proof of this was testimony from Lang and Kirk, even after a lengthy investiagtion by the FBI and other government agents. They never did find the money trail. So while there is no doubt that it happened, the NCAA really didn’t have as much evidence to support it has they made it sound. I don’t think that will be the case for auburn. I’d be very suprised if they don’t find more evidence on them.

  61. Jake says:

    So, looks like the WAC is packing it in as far as being an FBS conference:


    Also, TCU’s board of trustees supposedly has called a teleconference for tomorrow (Tuesday). Probably to discuss a Big East invite.

    • zeek says:

      Interesting that Benson says that TCU could go Big East football only while going to the WAC for other sports.

      Obviously, TCU wants a full Big East offer, but we’ll see what happens. They do have a football-only method that would be workable now…

      • OT says:

        Why would TCU want to park basketball and Olympic Sports in the WAC, with air travel required to play at Idaho, Utah State, and San Jose State, when the Southland Conference would offer TCU a much cheaper solution with all ground-based travel?

        TCU isn’t much of a basketball program so there isn’t much difference between the Southland and the “new WAC” if the Big East won’t offer TCU full membership.


        If San Jose State hasn’t contacted the Big West already, then San Jose State is run by a bunch of idiots.

        • ohio1317 says:

          So that they could have the distinction of being the only program to play football in a conference that is supposed to be east coast and basketball in a conference that is supposed to be west coast :).

        • StvInIL says:

          If your football program is already there and has a basketball program that has a ceiling, the Big East would provide an exponential shot in the arm to the program overall. While some have doubts about BE football, there are no doubts about the value and competitiveness in Big East basketball.

      • Josh says:

        Karl Benson is the captain of the Titanic telling the fleeing passengers that they’ll have that hole fixed up in no time and that they’ll make it to New York on time. Also, he’s selling tickets for the return trip to England.

        In a related note, Benson’s wife and kids have moved out of his house and are staying in Craig Thompson’s guest room.

        Benson saying “We would have offered Hawaii the same terms if they’d have just waited a day” is laughable. There is no way that Hawaii would chose to play San Jose St., Idaho and La Tech over BSU, TCU and Fresno State. The Air Force Academy will also be a big draw on the islands as well.

        Benson is deluding himself or flat out lying when he says that he expects the NCAA to change the rules to give the WAC an NCAA tourney bid. The MWC had to go three years without an autobid, although it wasn’t a big issue because they always had at least one team good enough to make the tourney as an at-large bid. I can’t see why they’d give the WAC an autobid when they wouldn’t give one to the MWC 12 years ago. The big conferences hate the autobids and every small conference west of the Mississippi will fear getting raided by the WAC; a fear that lessens if they don’t have an autobid.

        The WAC might be able to survive but more likely the remaining football schools are going to look to a Sun Belt merger or dropping down to FCS.

        • m (Ag) says:

          They’ll lose some money from autobids, but they’ll get more money for their ‘buy’ games in football if they’re at the FBS level. With the possible exception of San Jose State, I think the schools have to much pride to go down a level now.

          Perhaps Denver will delay joining the conference for a few years.

        • Bullet says:

          I read some people several months ago saying the new rule was likely to be passed. It is not designed for the WAC. Don’t really know how it originated. Perhaps in lieu of the punishment that left-behinds get when members leave, some are trying to help those in that situation.

          The original rule was setup to keep a bunch of new Div. I schools from creating a new conference and getting an NCAA autobid. The new rule seems to protect existing conferences w/o making it easy to start a new one. This article was the 1st time I’ve seen anything other than internet posters giving an opinion on the liklihood of it passing.

    • Jake says:

      I got a kick out of Benson offering a home to TCU’s non-football sports. Southland, Summit, Missouri Valley – so many better options. I think it’ll be Big East for everything, though.

      I honestly don’t know how that guy hasn’t been fired yet. Maybe because no one stays in the conference long enough to get sick of him.

      • Richard says:

        It’s an impossible job. Who else would they get who’d be better?

        • Bullet says:

          In fairness, MWC left WAC for dead in 98, but they survived. CUSA stripped their biggest names after ACC raided BE and BE retaliated against CUSA, but they got better. This year they might be the 6th best conference and they have a better TV deal than MWC. Now the MWC took 3 teams and left them for dead. Discovering they weren’t dead, they took Hawaii. He and the WAC are both survivors, but they sure have been blind-sided a lot.

          • Jake says:

            WAC TV deal better? If you don’t mind making less money and playing half your games on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday nights, then yeah, I guess it’s better.

            I suppose Benson’s only real mistake was letting the WAC grow to 16 teams when that clearly wasn’t in the interests of some of his conference’s core members. Also, trying to steal teams back from the MWC this summer was kind of silly. He might have been able to keep Nevada if he hadn’t tried that nonsense.

          • Bullet says:

            WAC gets vastly more exposure and more flexibility. That’s why BYU left. Its a factor in Boise getting more publicity than TCU. That’s why they are all unhappy with the deal. And the deal will shrink dramatically w/o BYU and Utah, the biggest part of their market.

            Hawaii gets 400k from the WAC, but $2.5 million from local TV rights. MWC may be 3 times the WAC deal, but schools don’t have the same flexibility on local rights.

          • Richard says:

            I expect the mtn to go away (or maybe become just a syndication company) when it comes time to negotiate the next TV deal. I’m pretty sure schools like SDSU, Fresno, Boise, Hawaii, UNLV, etc. would like their games to be shown at least locally (or allow them to capture some of the value of second & third tier rights via PPV).

        • R says:

          I too have given shit to Karl Benson in the past, but I would like to cut him some slack. His job is to make the WAC as viable and strong as possible. Unfortunately, he is dealing from a weak hand to start with. The remnants of the future WAC are just too isolated, and small demographically, to warrant any interest from MWC schools. With the BYU deal, he obviously thought that would be enough to keep the WAC together. As a resident of a current WAC and future MWC located school and city, there has never been any doubt, that, even without Utah and BYU, the MWC is hugely better, going forward. Bensons scrambling to find members for the WAC is simply him doing his job, and with no 1-A’s dumb enough to come to the WAC, that leaves him only with FCS moveups!

          • OT says:

            As expected, “King Karl” has allegedly called up the following Southland Conference schools to try to convince them to move up to FBS and join the WAC:


            Stephen F. Austin State

            Northwestern State (Louisiana)

            Sam Houston State has already decided that it does not have the money to upgrade to FBS.

            “King Karl” also knows that his only chance to land TCU as a non-football member in the WAC is to weaken the Southland sufficiently so that TCU would not be able to park basketball, baseball, and Olympic sports in the Southland.

            The Southland is like the Big West: low budget, all ground-based travel. The Southland is where TCU should park its sports if the Big East only wants to have TCU in football only.

          • Richard says:

            The Southland has a ton of schools, so I don’t see how picking off a few more would cause the Southland to not be a viable option.

          • loki_the_bubba says:


            I would not think that the Southland is on the radar for TCU. That conference is not filled with any schools that TCU would consider peers. It is composed of smallish public schools in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. The likes of Lamar, SFA, SHSU, etc, have always been a significant step down from the big boys in the state of Texas. If TCU was foolish enough to take a football-only offer, I would think something like the Missouri Valley would appeal more to them.

            But I don’t really think TCU would take a football-only offer.

          • Bullet says:

            I agree with Loki about TCU not considering Southland, although I wouldn’t call the schools “smallish.” SF Austin and UTA have over 20k students. I believe Sam Houston does now also. And those 3 are among the fastest growing in the state. I think all the Southland schools are bigger than TCU.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            I meant ‘smallish’ in relation to the big state schools, SFA at 11k and Sam Houston at 17k are dwarfed by the likes of Texas and aTm. Schools like Nichols, McNeese, and A&M-CC are below 10k, like TCU. The big schools in the Southland are Texas State and USTA, which are leaving, and UT-Arlington at about 25k.

  62. Michael in Indy says:

    Four things that will throw a serious wrench into the BCS:

    1. Auburn loses to both Alabama and South Carolina. It’s not even far-fetched. SC was leading in the 4th quarter in Auburn in their September game.

    2. NC State or FSU beats VT for the ACC title, especially if it’s a 4-loss FSU (OU, NCSU, UNC, UF).

    3. Boise State struggles to beat Nevada.

    4. Oregon loses to Arizona, (but not to Boise opponent Or. State).

    TCU would definitely be in the title game, but who would they play? Would Boise, despite VT’s loss and its struggles against Nevada? Would Oregon, despite a late-season loss? Would Stanford, despite owning a blowout loss to Oregon? Would LSU, despite failure to win even its division? Would Wisconsin, Michigan State, or Ohio State?

    • m (Ag) says:

      Why would this throw a ‘wrench’?

      We’d get 4 interesting games, plus a game involving the Big East champion.

      • Michael in Indy says:

        Here’s how it would throw a wrench:

        TCU would finish the regular season ranked #1 in the AP poll, Coaches’ poll, and BCS standings, and deservedly so.

        The polls would rank Boise State and Wisconsin #2 and #3, provided Wisconsin beats Northwestern.

        LSU would finish #4 in both polls, but because of its favorable computer rankings, would almost certainly finish #2 in the BCS standings. Another loss by VT would hurt Boise too severely, putting an 12-0 team on the outside of the title game, watching a team that didn’t win its conference play instead.

        So, these would be the bowl games (Poll rankings indicated, not BCS rankings):

        BCS Title Game:
        #1 TCU vs. #4 LSU

        Rose Bowl:
        #3 Wisconsin vs. #5 Oregon

        Fiesta Bowl:
        #7 Oklahoma State vs. Pitt

        Sugar Bowl:
        #11 South Carolina vs. #6 Ohio State

        #15 Florida State vs. #2 Boise State

        The #1 team would be playing the #4 team. Should the #4 team win, it’s assured of the national title, while the #2 team would be unable to prove itself since it would be playing a 3-loss team. It would be a big, ugly mess.

        • Richard says:

          The AP can vote whoever they want the champion. We could have a split championship again (which would be fine by me).

          BTW, by the end, how Boise and TCU are placed will be determined entirely by the voters as their computer numbers should be very similar (if VTech doesn’t lose twice).

    • OT says:

      If Auburn were to lose twice, then the voters won’t have to vote $cam Newton and co. in the Top 14.

      If Oregon were to also lose once, then a monkey can make the simple picks for the BCS Bowls:

      BCS Championship – Boise State vs TCU
      Rose – Wisconsin vs Oregon
      Sugar – South Carolina vs Ohio State
      Orange – ACC Champion vs Stanford
      Fiesta – Big 12 Champion vs Big East Champion

      Everyone would be happy, including the BCS, which can brag to President Obama and Congress that the BCS works and the BCS is fair to the non-AQ conferences.

      • OT says:


        BCS Championship – Boise State vs TCU
        Rose – Wisconsin vs Oregon
        Sugar – South Carolina vs Ohio State
        Orange – ACC Champion vs LSU
        Fiesta – Big 12 Champion vs Big East Champion

      • Michael in Indy says:

        I’m not so sure LSU wouldn’t finish ahead of Boise. They’re so dependent on VT winning the rest of its games; struggling against Nevada would make things worse. LSU, on the other hand, has the opportunity to get yet another computer-friendly win against a 9-2 SEC team.

        Yet LSU would probably finish #4 in both of the major polls, behind Wisconsin and Boise. One-loss conference champions like Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and potentially Oklahoma State would have a legitimate gripe, but none more so than an undefeated Boise State.

        • Richard says:

          The computers wouldn’t care if Boise struggled. The voters might, but how many of them would drop them below a one-loss LSU (that’s been quite lucky to have only one loss)?

          • Jake says:

            LSU isn’t passing any undefeated teams in the human polls, but with a win over Arkansas, their computer numbers could put them ahead of Boise or TCU in the final BCS standings.

            And yes, the voters certainly seem to care when a non-AQ team struggles against a non-AQ opponent. The AQ schools can get away with it though, even if they should have lost to Cal. Stupid stutter step.

  63. Bullet says:

    UGA-Boise. Interesting article on how many teams’ schedules got altered by that game.

  64. Don Lewis says:

    Lets quit playing around with all these dinky football schools out West. Here is what should be done. Form the new football only conference like this.
    1 W V
    2 Pitt
    3 Syracuse
    4 U Conn
    5 Rutgers
    6 S Fla or one of the 2 Villa or Temple teams.

    1 Cincy
    2 Louisville
    3 TCU
    4 Boise
    5 BYU
    6 ND

    Now there would be a conference with some bite and some TV money.
    If BYU and/or ND don’t want in then fill their spot with UCF and if needed move S Fla down to the West. Fill the vacant spot in the East with either one of the Philly teams.

    I like that, now tell what is wrong with it all.

  65. cutter says:

    Using the BCS standings and the 16-team playoff format from the book, “Kill the BCS”, here’s what the first round of games would look like:

    #16 Florida Int’l (Sun Belt Champions) v. #1 Oregon
    #9 Oklahoma State v. #8 Ohio State

    #15 Central Florida (C-USA Champions) v. #2 Auburn
    #10 Michigan State v. #7 Wisconsin

    #14 No. Illinois (MAC Champion) v. #3 Texas Christian (MWC Champion)
    #11 Alabama v. #6 Stanford

    #13 Pittsburgh (Big East Champion) v. #4 Boise State (WAC Champion)
    #12 Virginia Tech (ACC Champion) v. #5 LSU

    The SEC has games this week between Alabama and Auburn and with Arkansas versus LSU. In a playoff scenario, these games would decide seeding and would might make the determination of whether or not Arkansas or Alabama go to the playoffs.

    Michigan State would probably have to beat Penn State to keep its playoff berth. Oklahoma and Oklahama State play one another–the winner of that game would probably get a playoff berth while the loser might get knocked out.

    This setup also shows a possible rematch betwen Virginia Tech and Boise State when the season’s–but this time the game’s on the blue turf (but for now, it would be V-Tech v. LSU). Wisconsin might also have a chance to avenge its only loss this season to Michigan State in the opening round of the playoffs.

    Dan Wentzel’s (author of “Kill the BCS”) playoff system has the first three rounds of games at the home stadium of the higher ranked team with the championship game in the Rose Bowl. He includes all eleven BCS conference winners, but I would include only the top nine and not all eleven (especially with the WAC now apparently losing Hawaii to the Mountain West–see link below) while picking seven at large teams. That would essentially eliminat the Sun Belt and WAC from the playoffs. In my system, the playoffs would look like this (this assumes Boise State has already joined the MWC and hasn’t played TCU yet–for illustration purposes only):

    #16 Central Florida (C-USA Champion) v. #1 Oregon
    #9 Oklahoma State v. #8 Ohio State

    #15 Northern Illinois (MAC Champions) v. #2 Auburn
    #10 Michigan State v. #7 Wisconsin

    #14 Pittsburgh (Big East Champion) v. #3 Texas Christian (MWC)
    #11 Alabama v. #6 Stanford

    #13 Virginia Tech (ACC Champion) v. #4 Boise State (MWC)
    #12 Arkansas v. #5 LSU

    The bowl system would operate in parallel with the playoff system, which means the Rose Bowl, for example, would include Iowa and Arizona. Other major bowl teams would include Missouri, South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas A&M, Nevada and Florida State.

    • gregenstein says:

      I like this idea a lot, but I am not in favor of arbitrarily cutting out any conference champion. That’s what the current system is basically doing already, and I hate it. If it is an established, football playing conference, they get a seat at the table. End of story.

      I’m OK with using Pollsters and the BCS to determine the at-large bids as this must be done somehow. Perhaps a selection committee similar to what is done with the NCAA basketball tournament.

      There will always be teams that will whine and say they should have been included. But, in the end, you can always just tell them “win your conference”.

      • @gregenstein – I’ll have to disagree with you here. The NCAA Tournament auto-bids for all conferences are acceptable because there’s top-to-bottom depth to that tournament – there’s enough at-large bids to pretty much account for every school that’s deserving of a shot at the title. Those #1 vs. #16 games are also followed up by the #1 seed playing a legit team 2 days later. Most upsets in the NCAA Tournament are also of the #5 vs. #12 or #4 vs. #13 varety, where the gap in talent between the teams isn’t necessarily that large despite how the seedings look on paper. In contrast, a 16-team football playoff where 11 spots are taken up by auto-bids, of which at least 4 conference champs likely wouldn’t be even ranked in the top 25, is simply not something I think is “fair”. (Note that I don’t equate equal access with “fairness”.)

        Once again, if we’re going to be playing playoff games, then every single one should be a blockbuster matchup. There is no time or place for having elite football teams to have to go through the motions of playing the equivalent of a September MAC-rifice game in December or January in the name of faux fairness. Having a #1 seed in basketball play an extra game isn’t a big deal, but every single extra football game at that time of year ought to be worthwhile. To discount the huge disparity in quality of the conferences is misguided, IMHO.

        • cutter says:

          I largely agree with you and if you took that one step further, the winners of C-USA or the MAC Conference wouldn’t be considered unless they were ranked among the top 16 teams in the nation.

          That would leave the conference champions from the ACC, Big 10 (12), Big XII (10), Pac 12, SEC, MWC and Big East as seven auto-qualifiers with nine at-large bids to be decided by a committee in order to maximize the playoff setup.

          Usinge the current BCS rankings, that would make the playoff look something like this:

          #16 Pittsburgh (Big East Champion) v. #1 Oregon (Pac 10)
          #9 Oklahoma State (Big XII) v. #8 Ohio State (Big 10)

          #15 Virginia Tech (ACC Champion–currently #16 in BCS poll) v. #2 Auburn (SEC)
          #10 Michigan State (Big 10) v. #7 Wisconsin (Big 10)

          #14 Missouri (Big XII) v. #3 Texas Christian (MWC)
          #11 Alabama (SEC) v. #6 Stanford (Pac 10)

          #13 Oklahoma (Big XII) v. #4 Boise State (WAC)
          #12 Arkansas (SEC) v. #5 LSU (SEC)

          Going into this weekend, the teams on the outside looking in would be Nebraska, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Florida State and Iowa–these are the teams in positions 14, 15, and 17 thru 20 that would still have a chance at a playoff.

          I think this would be a dynamite opening round for a college football playoff, although there might be some who would object to some of the in-conference rematches (Michigan State-Wisconsin, Arkansas-LSU).

          The conferences would have the following number of representatives:

          ACC (1) – Virginia Tech
          Big XII (3) – Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Missouri
          Big 10 (3) – Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan State
          MWC/WAC (2) – TCU, Boise State
          Big East (1) – Pittsburgh
          SEC (4) – Auburn, LSU, Alabama, Arkansas
          Pac 10 (2) – Oregon, Stanford

  66. OT says:


    TCU’s peers were SMU, Baylor, and Rice back in the days of the old Southwest Conference.

    Baylor used its political connection to get into the Big 12.

    TCU left Rice and SMU behind when TCU left Conference USA for the Mountain West.

    The only geographic rivalry TCU has maintained over the years is with SMU even though TCU clearly considers SMU to be an inferior rival in football.


    One would have to suspect that the Big East, which holds all the aces (in the form of guaranteed AQ access to the BCS through the 2013 season), can force TCU’s hand.

    All the Big East has to do is to make public its offers of football memberships to 2 of the following 3: Villanova, TCU, and Boise State.

    TCU would have no choice but to take what is on the table for fear that Boise State would jump ahead of TCU and lock TCU out of an AQ football league.

    (One is assuming that the Big East will allow Villanova to act last.)


    Of all the options available for TCU to park its basketball (which is a very average program) and Olympic sports:


    Missouri Valley


    The Southland is the only one that offers all ground-based travel.

    Hawaii doesn’t consider the Big West schools to be its “peers” either, yet Hawaii wants to park basketball and Olympic sports in the Big West for one reason: cost containment. Hawaii can fly its teams into LAX only once each season and play 5 to 7 road games on each trip.

    • Bullet says:

      BW is Hawaii’s peer in Olympic sports. And some of the schools, UC-Irvine, Cal-Davis, UCSB, might not consider Hawaii a peer academically (of course they don’t consider Cal St. schools peers either, but they’re in the same conference).

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      Since they are in the MWC now and angling to get into the Big East, I doubt ground-based travel is high on TCU’s list of desires.

  67. loki_the_bubba says:

    North Texas says no to the WAC for the third time. You’d think they’d get the hint…


  68. duffman says:

    On the Death Penalty and what it entails:

    what say you FtT folks, as U$C had issues in 3 sports (football, basketball, & TENNIS), and had clear loss of institutional control, yet they did not get the Death Penalty. I bring this up based on several posts over several blogs, as I still do not understand how U$C did not get it. I also do not understand why their games are still on TV? I thought part of major sanctions was loss of broadcast rights. Anybody care to clarify this for me?

    • StvInIL says:

      Probably because they are not North Texas. USC is a vary weighted progran out on the western quarter of the country.

    • Richard says:

      In USC’s case, were people connected with the athletic department involved? I actually don’t think paying student-athletes is a big crime, but paying them in order to acheive an unfair recruiting advantage is (as are academic cheating violations). Granted, there’s a loophole there, but those are just my thoughts.

    • Josh says:

      From what I understand, the NCAA considers the death penalty the equivalent of dropping an atomic bomb. The threat of it is a lot more valuable than actually dropping it, because it leaves devastation in its wake and collateral damage that is toxic to clean up. They did it against SMU and they saw what happened–the program took 20 years just to get back to mediocre and the SWC collapsed.

      According to Wikipedia, it’s only been applied twice since then, and both to tiny schools in non-revenue sports. Div III MacMurray got the death penalty for Tennis for giving Tennis scholarships and Div II Morehouse College got the death penalty in soccer for such a lack of institutional control that the athletic department didn’t even know that they had a soccer team. (Seriously. Follow the links on Wikipedia to the USA Today article. It’s crazy)


      • Richard says:

        It seems to me that the threat isn’t terribly valuable these days, so I’d have to ask again, why don’t they hand out 5 year bowl bans, 10 year probation, and scholarship reductions down to a 60 player limit as a second-to-last step before the death penalty? If a school buys players or is complicit in academic cheating, I would think that you’d have to make the program uncompetitive for at least a decade to make the deterrent strong enough.

        • duffman says:


          my bigger point is what good is penalties / probation if the schools are still on national TV and can still recruit via exposure and still generate hefty ad dollars via national contracts. My point in the original post was to question why they are not taking away TV money and exposure (as that would hit the bottom line the hardest, and be a real threat to cheating).

          • Richard says:

            Because that would hurt their league’s TV contract, which would hurt everybody else in the conference as well. I think limiting scholarships to 60 and 5 years of bowl bans (you can spread it out) should do the trick. It’s hard to imagine any team managing to be competitive under those circumstances, and its harder to recruit with no chance at bowls or national titles.

            If you want to make the punishment more of a deterrent, then don’t allow them to play non-conference home games during their probation period (or for 3-5 years). That’d definitely hurt their athletic department’s finances and maybe make them pay attention.

      • StvInIL says:

        Given your examples, i would say a big program like USC is not scared. They need to drop the bomb once every 4 years. No one in any program will forget it. Because it will alway be so current. That is unless you only go after Morehouse College and MacMurray Tennis.

  69. jj says:

    State just got jobbed in Maui! They let it happen by missing at the line, but crap man. F’n hightower.

    • mushroomgod says:

      Lucas only looks to be about 75% right now……hope that he gets his stregth and confidence back as the year foes along…..same for IU’s Mo Creek…………

      • jj says:

        yeah he looks slow and cautious. and izzo looks fat. what’s the deal with that?

        i just really wanted to win maui for once.

        i think izzo likes to let his team hang out there early in the season and maybe get beat a few times so they gain confidence / experience. I think he basically did that last night and the free throws were awful – good shooters misssing 1-1s and what not.

        that said. hightower is a joke. i swear he hates the B10. I flipped it on, saw him in his superfly tight pants and was like “oh, boy”, we’re gonna lose. Uconn was basically playing prison rules down the stretch. Oh well.

  70. BEst says:

    Check this out from Tiger Droppings Auburn Blog. It goes way deeper than just paying players.

    I apologize if this has already been posted.


  71. loki_the_bubba says:

    Rumor now is that TCU has a Board of Trustees meeting scheduled for Monday morning. Possible announcement after that.

  72. cutter says:

    Michigan Athletic Director David Brandon has been making the rounds at UM Alumni Clubs in Ohio this week. A few sources (including the one linked below) have written that Brandon told them he expects the Big Ten to expand to fourteen teams in the next couple of years with sixteen teams being possible.

    Brandon didn’t name any of the nominees, but did say they were “big name teams that have a large market share / successful in sports and in academics.” He did not name names, but mentioned only a few schools fit that profile.


    One of the other points that Brandon has been reiterating to the UM alumni clubs on these visits has been how successful the Big Ten Network has been financially–well beyond initial projections. It’s the success of the BTN which is providing the basis for the conference to look at additional members in the time frame that Brandon is indicating.

    We’ll see how things pan out in terms of the conference’s finances, but I would say that the deal for the conference championship game dollars wise is very encouraging. The next milepost I see going forward is the renegotiation of the ABC/ESPN contract (caused by the addition of Nebraska). If the financial resources available to the conference (and the individual programs) are greatly improved, then it might pave the way for future expansion in the near term.

    Would the conference be willing to add two programs that don’t break even financially or have a minimal return in order to enlarge the geographic footprint or gain market share? Would the Big Ten be willing to do an “Add 2 Now Plus 2 Later” strategy in terms of expansion to provide the kind of conditions necessary to entice Notre Dame into the conference as the 15th or 16th member? Or does the Big Ten really feel it’s necessary to make ND a member in order to successfully accomplish their goals?

    If the conference did a “Add 2 Now Plus 2 Later” strategy, then which two programs would be the 13th and 14th teams invited to join the conference? Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Maryland, and Syracuse come to mind if the Big Ten is committed to market penetration in the NE/NJ/NY/BALT/DC area with schools that are academically and athletically successful. We’ll see.

    I know Maryland is generally thought to be solid with the ACC, but the UMd does have a new president and athletic director and they have an athletic department budget that has actually declined. The Terps have first rate facilities (including expansions to the football stadium), but they are having attendance problems which include the inability to sell suites and premium seating for ACC football. Just a thought, which is echoed in John Feinstein’s article about ACC football/basketball linked below:


    • jj says:

      I’m getting close to sold on TN and KY if they can put the kibosh on the cheating. They both bring huge FB numbers and great BB programs and would put the hurt on the SEC. The SEC crowd would probably say it was no big deal to lose them, but I think it would be. The ACC and Beast numbers are pretty miserable.

      • Richard says:

        I wouldn’t say either are great in academics.

        I probably wouldn’t object if they were added, though, but I wouldn’t be too excited either, unless both schools really start to put money in to research.

      • StvInIL says:

        I think those two academically sound like a no go. My guess is that there would have to be a substantial academic boost in one of the additions to allow any one of those schools in individually. I do not think the conference is in a position to be beggars as they have the history, the academics, the unity and the Big Ten Network as rocks to build upon. So they really can be more demanding in what they want out of their new associates. Given that, they do seem to be patient suitors to Notre Dame. I am at a point now where I believe that ND would not be a good fit for the conference. Not that they are not worthy academically or they do not have some gravitas as a football program because they do. What they do not seem to have is a mentality that would make them a good citizen or good brethren within the league. I think they have to be happy to be here from day one and look forward to being brothers and not simply football social ladder climbers and elitist. Texas has similar problems and should maybe not be considered further. I hope the Big Ten turns its eyes to some of the other programs we have discussed in earnest.

        • Vincent says:

          If that’s the point, perhaps the Big Ten will eschew Rutgers and instead try to persuade the heart of the ACC (Maryland/Virginia/North Carolina/Duke) to join. I know UNC is viewed as an ACC version of Texas, that it views itself as an alpha dog — but it also has to know what in light of the football program’s recent problems, it will flounder for years without a drastic change. Big Ten membership would rescue UNC football, while turning Duke into the Northwestern of the east.

          Bringing those four in would make the Big Ten a big deal in the booming mid-Atlantic, while adding three programs that have won half of the last 10 NCAA men’s basketball titles and four schools that are generally high in both academics and Sears Cup standings. It would also signal that the Big Ten is once and for all not interested in Notre Dame.

          It would be difficult to pry the four as a group, but it would firmly secure the Big Ten — and its network — along the east coast.

          • Vincent says:

            I could also see Georgia Tech subbing for Duke — it would certainly be a better addition for football, and would give the Big Ten some inroads in Georgia, though Tech is a distant second cousin to UGa.

    • M says:

      Attendance of FBS football teams:
      (It’s sorted by capacity, but raw numbers are probably more relevant)

      Attendance is probably the best proxy for the amount of interest a particular team generates. Maryland and Syracuse are simply viable from this data. Their attendances are both in the 39-40k region, putting them squarely between Northwestern (37k) and Indiana (41k) at the bottom of the conference. Pitt (50k) and Rutgers (49k) aren’t much better. Adding any of these reeks of adding schools for the sake of adding schools, something the Big Ten isn’t going to do.

      • StvInIL says:

        M, that sounds like an argument for the validity of Fox News as a legitimate news outlet. If you simply look at attendance, you will be missing a great deal of value. I think there is a balance that must be struck and the deference must be given in the overall expansion scheme to things such as academics, shared cultural factors and an upward trajectory that might result from joining the prestigious Big Ten Conference.

        • Vincent says:

          Agreed, Stv. What was South Carolina’s football attendance pre-SEC? Put Maryland and Rutgers in the Big Ten, and their football trajectory would rise. (Perhaps the conference could stipulate that as part of their membership, those schools would have to play one home league game a year at FedEx and the Meadowlands, meaning most games against Penn State/Nebraska/Michigan/Ohio State would not be played in College Park or Piscataway.) And in all other factors, Rutgers and Maryland mesh very well with the Big Ten.

          That this comment would come from Michigan’s AD is especially intriguing, insomuch as Michigan is perceived as one of the old guard of the Big Ten. That it would seemingly back further expansion is notable.

          Also, remember how Wisconsin raised little rancor when divisional play put it in the “east”? At the time, some thought UW would be parked there for a few years, then shipped west when the Big Ten added two eastern members. Perhaps that is indeed in the cards, and the Big Ten wants its Nebraska assimilation to settle in for a bit, then expand.

      • m (Ag) says:

        Well, how much does attendance at Rutgers, Pitt, or UConn go up when they start hosting PSU, OSU, or Wisconsin?

        • StvInIL says:

          I don’t know for sure but as someone who attends Northwestern games, it makes a Hugh difference. When The Ohio State University or the University of Michigan and Wisconsin come in to Ryan Field, you get the feeling the rent’s definitely getting paid this week. I mean these people come in like they own the place. Then you look at MSU who has a large alumni base here, they are not as rabid but they show up. It makes a very real difference to NW , a school with the smallest student body in the conference. Now if you add a school that already has a large size student body, (25 – 35000) everything is a plus.

    • Richard says:

      Schools that would fit Brandon’s profile:

      Florida (& maaaaybe Georgia)
      UNC (& maybe Duke)
      Texas & TAMU
      USC & UCLA (& Cal & Stanford)

      Oh, and ND.

      That’s pretty much it.

      • Richard says:

        Oh right,

        FSU & Miami, if they qualify academically (they’d be above Kentucky, Tennessee, & Georgia).

        • @Richard – I know it’s not an AAU member, but count me in as someone that’s always loved the thought of going after Miami in the future. It’s not necessarily a perfect institutional fit (of course, neither is ND), but if the goal is to go to the South, then Miami is the most “Northern” school that you can get in that region. Its student and alumni bases are heavily from the Northeast and Midwest. Plus, that school could probably attract about as much attention in the NYC market as anyone outside of ND and Penn State if the goal is ultimately get more traction on the East Coast.

      • 84Lion says:

        As a resident of Georgia, I was floored to find out that UGA is considered a “public Ivy” in the same mold as most of the Big Ten schools. Georgia recently stated they will be adding engineering courses. Florida is also considered a “public Ivy.” I don’t see either of those schools leaving the SEC. The ACC schools seem to be a tight-knit group; I doubt any of those schools would really be interested in leaving that conference.
        I remain very skeptical of the Big Ten adding further schools in the near future. There just aren’t any “slam dunks” out there like Nebraska, unless Notre Dame comes hat in hand to the Big Ten offices, and I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

        • duffman says:

          I would be quite surprised by UGA adding engineering as they have been the yin to Ga Tech’s yang. Both have been good academically, but UGA has been the liberal arts and GT the science end of the spectrum. Seems like UGA getting into the the tech side would just be overlap of physical plant, and competition for educators and students.

          • Richard says:

            It’s not that uncommon.

            Both Michigan and MSU have fine engineering schools. VTech & UVa both offer engineering as well. Same with FSU & UF. Even both SEC schools in both Alabama & Mississippi do.

            Granted, IU doesn’t, and neither does UNC, but flagship universities that don’t offer engineering are the exception, not the rule.

          • Bullet says:

            And I think that was the idea-not to be an outlying flagship. Officially, there was a shortage of engineers, so they added programs at UGA, GA. Southern and graduate programs at Tech. UGA already had some limited engineering programs, but this was the 1st that overlapped Tech at all. Tech fought the additions at UGA and it passed by 1 vote. Fight may not be over.

            In Texas also, A&M and Texas have major engineering programs. Given how much students change majors, it would seem logical to have a pretty broad offering at a flagship.

    • Vincent says:

      Maryland and Rutgers would appear to be the most viable choices for an expansion to 14. Good athletic programs, excellent academics, improving the Big Ten footprint along the eastern seaboard (and adding value to Penn State, too). For #15-16, Pittsburgh and Syracuse might be possibilities, though Pitt gives you no new market and SU is weak on research. The Big Ten might hold those slots for Notre Dame and a partner (Pitt? Virginia?).

      • Vincent says:

        I also note the Michigan AD said men’s and women’s lacrosse will be added in Ann Arbor. If the Big Ten perceives (men’s) lacrosse as a spring equivalent of ice hockey as program fodder for the BTN, schools such as Maryland, Syracuse and Rutgers — which have lacrosse programs — add a bit of value.

        • Richard says:

          If any sport will be featured in the spring, it would be baseball. 99% of the Midwest cares more about baseball than lacrosse, and even the top lacrosse powerhouses draw minuscule attendance that’s a fraction of baseball attendance and a small fraction of BigTen hockey attendance.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            Well, if they’re expanding southward for baseball, I’m sure Rice would listen to an offer.

          • yahwrite says:

            Baseball is more popular than lacrosse, but basketball is also more popular than hockey. There is room for bball and hockey in the winter, so lacrosse should be able to find a slot on BTN.

            Lacrosse is a fast moving game, it could be a growth sport with more exposure. Baseball has had enough attention over the years that there is not much room for growth in popularity.

          • Bullet says:

            Well Rice is great academically and has a recent national championship in baseball. They’re in a big market.

            So Rice is #13. Who is #14, Penn? Didn’t they just win the Ivy League (and they actually win games in the NCAA tourney).

          • Richard says:

            CalTech & MIT

          • jj says:

            I’m in michigan. Lax has some interest but not a whole lot. I think people view it as hockey meets football and, like a houseboat, it’s not particularly good at either of it’s dual components.

        • cutter says:

          Michigan’s men’s club lacrosse team has won the MCLA title three years in a row, so they’ve certainly earned the right to become a varsity sport. See http://mgobluelacrosse.com/2010/05/15/three-peat/

          Women’s lacrosse is also a club sport at Michigan, but with not quite the same pedigree as the men’s team. See http://www.umich.edu/~womenlax/

          I don’t think the plan to make these teams varsity ties into Big Ten expansion, but you make an interesting point.

        • StvInIL4NW says:

          Well, I dont know, but I can tell you that the sport of lasross is gettingbigger on the suburban highschool level here in Illinois. It was not even a blip 10 years ago.

          • I’m in Naperville and lacrosse is definitely a huge growth sport here and the North Shore. Northwestern and Illinois could both support lacrosse programs if they desired (and NU is already a women’s lacrosse power).

            Of course, the easy way to create an instantly great lacrosse league is simply invite Johns Hopkins to the CIC and have them play their lone Division 1 sport of lacrosse in the Big Ten.

        • jj says:

          There is almost zero value to um for this. Maybe to help pull students more than anything. LAX in mich is almost exclusively an upper class white thing. Msu has a team for awhile. I think they dropped it for title 9.

          • Richard says:

            Michigan does get more East Coasters than most other Big Ten schools, but I agree, this doesn’t really do anything for the athletics department.

      • Richard says:

        None of those schools would be above average athletically in the BigTen. Most of those programs (besides maybe Pitt) would struggle to be even average in football, and Rutgers contributes nothing in basketball either. Being a top research institution is necessary but not sufficient (and Syracuse doesn’t meet that criteria anyway).

        The BigTen isn’t going to expand just for the sake of expanding, and my feeling is none of those schools bring enough market share to move the needle.

        • StvInIL4NW says:

          But Rutgers does have some Athletes in state. Should they decide to stay home they could make a significant difference. Remember the word trajectory. There is no telling where Rutgers will be after 12 years of Big Ten play. My guess is it will be in the plus territory.

          • Vincent says:

            Richard, you’re examining these schools individually rather than collectively. Rutgers or Maryland by itself may not help the Big Ten much, but together they amplify the value of Penn State — and the conference — along the eastern seaboard; currently many along the East Coast view PSU as an outlier in a midwest conference. As a trio, PSU, Rutgers and Maryland boost Big Ten interest in the NY-to-DC corridor, especially in non-football sports (Penn State men’s basketball is a perennial lost cause).

          • StvInIL4NW says:

            I totally agree Vincent. And such a move with one stroke would virtually erase that eastern outlier status for one and for all of the Easterners/ newbie’s.

    • jj says:

      Ok, put me down for the UT’s. Texas and Toronto.

    • Bullet says:

      This supports the comments that Calhoun (UConn coach) made a few weeks ago that there were some things going on behind the scenes (from his discussions with other bb coaches around the country) that made him a little nervous. I doubt that MWC expansion would concern UConn.

      I suspect ACC and B10 are discussing things. Whether its serious or not, I guess we’ll find out. And if B10 is talking to Big names that aren’t likely to be UT or ND, UNC? Miami? Do Pitt and SU fit the bill?

      • Richard says:

        I wonder if the 2 are Pitt & ND? That’d be counter-intuitive but may help the BigTen more in NYC than any other 2 schools.

        Pitt’s an interesting case; an ideal fit other than the fact that they’re already in the BigTen footprint, and I daresay most BigTen fans would be more excited about adding Pitt than all but a handful of schools (Texas, ND, USC & UCLA, Florida, Miami, FSU, UNC & Duke basketball)

      • Bullet says:

        Unless the past 6-6 season convinces Kelly and ND that they need to be in a conference, I don’t see them changing their mind soon.

  73. Playoffs Now says:

    Ohio State president Gordon Gee (no, GTE?) decides to be this Thanksgiving’s royal asshole:


    Ohio State prez: TCU, Boise St. are unworthy teams

    Correction, he wants to be the Thanksgiving goatsee:

    …Gee, long an admirer of the BCS and the current bowl system, said he was against a playoff in the Football Bowl Subdivision….

  74. StvInIL says:

    Gee-“said that TCU and Boise State do not face a difficult enough schedule to play in the national championship game.

    He may have apoint but I think in this case he is totally wrong about the worthyness of the two teams in question. It does strike you as some sort of feeling of entitlement. There is only one place that really can be decided. Gee should hold his powder.

    • Michael in Indy says:

      What a short-sighted comment to make. By saying that teams as good as Boise and TCU aren’t worthy, he’s building a solid case that AQ conferences, which are suupposed to be competing against each other, are actually conspiring against the non-AQ schools

    • Bullet says:

      Ohio St. is in no shape to be complaining about anyone’s strength of schedule this year.

  75. Playoffs Now says:

    From M’s list upthread,

    Schools over 21,000 average home attendance this year:


    AL 101821
    TN 99549
    GA 92746
    LSU 92718
    FL 90511
    AU 86087
    SCar 76668
    AR 71557
    KY 66070
    Miss 55444
    MSU 54999
    Vand 35258

    MI 111825
    OSU 105247
    PSU 104498
    NE 85667
    WI 79837
    MSU 73556
    IA 70585
    IL 54188
    MN 49298
    Purd 47718
    IN 41953
    NW 36449

    TX 100638
    OU 84738
    aTm 82477
    MO 61540
    TT 57837
    OSU 50753
    KSU 49816
    ISU 45395
    KS 44851
    Bayl 40043

    USC 78805
    WA 66264
    Cal 60083
    OR 59279
    UCLA 58230
    AZ 55267
    ASU 48620
    CO 46864
    Utah 45496
    OSU 45317
    Stan 40296
    WSU 23407


    Clem 74833
    FSU 69428
    VT 66233
    NC 58250
    NCSU 56877
    Mia 53582
    GT 46449
    UVA 45459
    MD 39927
    BC 38369
    Wake 30474
    Duke 28391
    Big East:

    WV 57648
    Lou 50648
    Pitt 50486
    Rut 48931
    USF 40690
    Syr 39639
    CT 37898
    Cin 36329

    New MWC:

    TCU 42466
    AirF 40093
    Fresno 36450
    Hawaii 36166
    SDSU 33758
    Boise 33502
    CSU 22400
    NM 21338
    WY 20791
    UNLV 20612
    NV 17720

    ECU 49776
    UCF 39376
    Hou 31728
    S.Miss 29400
    UTEP 29350
    Marshl 28595
    Rice 27665
    Mem 25703
    Tulane 23220
    SMU 21310
    Tulsa 20074
    UAB 18360

    ND 80795
    BYU 61381
    Navy 32653
    Army 31667

    That’s it. Top 6 conferences are also the AQ conferences. Supports the idea that the New MWC and CUSA requesting to become “Sub-AQ’s” by playing off their conf champs to get a BCS berth isn’t unreasonable, and that none of the other non-AQ
    conferences has anyone who draws adequately enough to be considered.

    Baylor’s attendance is a lot stronger than conventional ‘wisdom’ would have you believe, and football is their weakest sport. Would be middle of the pack for the ACC and Big Least, 2nd in the CUSA and New MWC (or first if TCU leaves) and comparable to attendance in Stanford’s glass house of stone tossing.

    For all the kidding Rice gets, in a down year for their football program they still have good attendance for their enrollment and alumni size, better than half the schools in CUSA and New MWC.

    Washington State’s is pathetically bad. Seriously, if the B10+2 and the SEC go to 16, TX has a good argument to demand they be ditched if the P16 wants the Longhorn posse. However I’m still skeptical we’ll end up with 4×16. 5×16 is more likely politically, though I could see the P12 having to settle for either a far flung final 4 quad addition (ND or BYU, Army, Navy, Air Force?) or the P12 even split up with the southern half aligning with a TX segment and the northern schools forming a west anchor for a Leftover 16.

    Most likely the B10+2 goes to 14 and we remain with a hodgepodge of conference ranging from 10 to 14 fb school.

    • Playoffs Now says:

      Oops, I forgot that Rice’s attendance reflects hosting TX, thus 70K fans skew their average. Still, if you remove that game Rice averaged about 20K, demonstrating that they fit in CUSA or New MWC. Rice would be third in the MAC, second in the Sunbelt, and first in the New WAC.

    • jj says:

      Great list. This just whets my appetite for navy. I think the next 2 have to be a “pair” and, to me, nd and navy are the best pair that could be available. I think that’s why I like tn and ky in some ways.

    • Bullet says:

      I think fan support is important in evaluating how strong a program is. Maybe a desperate BE can take a USF and Cincinnati (who is still lousy in attendance), but a conference who isn’t desperate shouldn’t. To expand on PN’s list, below is a list of the 4 year average 2006-2009:
      Big 10 + 2
      UM 109,449
      PSU 107,937
      OSU 105,111
      WI 81,078
      UNL 85,126
      MSU 72,740
      IA 70,388
      PU 55,486
      ILL 55,159
      MN 50,940
      IU 35,921
      NW 26,341

      WVU 58,644
      Pitt 44,855
      SU 36,197
      Rut 44,067
      USF 46,409
      UL 38,373
      Conn 38,676
      UC 29,135

      Clem 78,633
      FSU 78,361
      VT 66,233
      NCSU 56,496
      UNC 55,178
      UVA 54,839
      GT 49,993
      MD 48,266
      Miami 44,837
      BC 39,397
      WF 32,142
      Duke 23,671

      Note that the highest team from the MAC, SB or 2012 WAC is 89 of 120-CMU at 20,934. The bottom 14 and 27 of the bottom 32 are from those 3 conferences (29 of 34 if you count UTSA and TX St).

      Simple average by conference
      SEC 75,353
      B10+2 71,306
      B12-2 59,384
      P12 54,806
      ACC 52,377
      BE 42,044
      MWC 11 28,858
      CUSA 26,902
      MAC 16,791
      SB 16,787
      WAC 5 15,858

      • Bullet says:

        4 year average for a few others:
        ND 80,802
        BYU 63,340
        Army 32,429
        Navy 37,607

        Big 12-2
        Texas 93,033
        A&M 79,296
        OU 84,484
        OSU 45,740
        TT 51,665
        Mo 61,714
        KU 48,799
        KSU 46,507
        ISU 47,133
        Bay 35,472

        TN 102,594
        UGA 92,746
        LSU 92,426
        AL 92,107
        FL 90,494
        Aub 85,320
        SC 77,499
        Ark 68,390
        UK 66,296
        MS 53,069
        MSU 47,107
        Vandy 35,741

        TCU 32,630

        UH 22,406
        UCF 38,315
        ECU 41,872
        UTEP 36,330
        Mem 28,227
        USM 29,128
        Mar 25,733
        UAB 19,224
        Tulane 23,238
        Tulsa 23,193
        Rice 16,727
        SMU 18,432

    • M says:

      There’s a lot of ways to parse this data. One is the peril of being a small private school in a big conference:

      ND 80795
      USC 78805 (1st in conference)
      BYU 61381
      Mia 53582 (middle of conference)
      TCU 42466 (1st in conference)
      Stan 40296 (2nd from last)
      Bayl 40043 (last)
      Syr 39639 (3rd from last)
      BC 38369 (3rd from last)
      NW 36449 (last)
      Vand 35258 (last)
      Wake 30474 (2nd from last)
      Duke 28391 (last)

      Of the BCS conferences, 4 have a private school last in attendance (the bottom 3 in the ACC are all private), Stanford is second to last (more because of how dismal WSU is than anything the Cardinal are doing), and Syracuse manages to be third to last with less than 40k in the Big East.

      Much is made of Miami’s poor attendance, but they draw better than any other private school with the exception of two religiously connected schools and the de facto professional team for LA.

    • Hopkins Horn says:

      Is Cincy also slightly skewed from having played OU at Paul Brown Stadium?

    • Jake says:

      Keep in mind that Baylor gets a lot of help from visiting fans. Also, does that figure include their game at the Cotton Bowl? They were technically the home team for that one, but there were a lot more Techies in attendance. They certainly didn’t travel very well when they came to Fort Worth to play TCU, despite being undefeated at the time and very excited about this season.

      Also, you mention the academies as possible expansion candidates for the Pac-1X, but not TCU? C’mon, man.

  76. mushroomgod says:


    Yogi F. to IU. #2 rated PG class of ’12. 9 commits since August…..wish there was a way we could fast forward 2 years…………

  77. Playoffs Now says:

    TCU’s AD responds to Ohio St’s Prez Gee’s moronic statements with an offer to play them “Anytime, anyplace, anywhere. Buckeyes against the Horned Frogs. Tee it up. Let’s go.”

    Meanwhile, Dan Wetzel also strikes back:


    …Then there is this, Gee couldn’t have given a better Thanksgiving gift to the lawyers at Arent Fox, the Washington law firm that is trying to spur a Justice Department investigation into the BCS on anti-trust grounds.

    If you’re trying to prove the six major conferences systematically exclude the others then getting the Ohio State president to essentially admit they should be systematically excluded is no small development.

    “The BCS has finally found someone to stand up and defend the indefensible and Gordon Gee proved it – he not just proved that it’s indefensible but he did so with facts that are simply wrong,” Boise State president Bob Kustra shot back through the Idaho Statesman.

    “If anything, ridiculous and inaccurate presentations like this from a major university president will go further to make our case…”

    …The BCS isn’t doing the Big Ten any favors. This may be a reason why Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel this month predicted on the “Dan Patrick Show” that there’d be a playoff within five years….

    • Playoffs Now says:

      BTW, if Ohio State wants to talk strength of schedule, shouldn’t we also penalize in the BCS formula teams like the Buckeyes when they are so gutless as to only play 4 road games all year?

      • StvInIL4NW says:

        All “kings” do this. Because they can. So gutless? No more than the rest.

      • zeek says:

        You think they’ll ever do this with how much clout big schools wield in their conferences and Notre Dame wields in general?

      • Prophetstruth says:

        Why are they gutless when the financial model is built upon them playing 7 or 8 home games a year to like most other big schools. I would hardly call them gutless or any of the other schools that have a large enough base to warrant scheduling these games.

        • zeek says:

          That and those schools have to fund like 30 non-revenue sports in some cases, i.e. money drains.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            Yes, of course, the teams that get left out by the current system have no minor sports to fund…

          • Brian says:


            Ohio State – 36 varsity sports
            Boise State – 17 sports
            TCU – 18 sports

            All of those extra sports cost money, including paying for facilities. If you redistribute the money, those facilities still exist and require funding. Plus, a lot of students will lose opportunities.

            Crazy thought, maybe these other schools should have contributed as much to making college football what it is today as the major schools and their fans have if they want equal money now. There’s a reason why boxing purses are rarely split 50-50.

          • jj says:

            and OSU needs to buy Big Jim the finest sweater vests available in the ohio valley, that takes scratch.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            Crazy thought, maybe these other schools should have contributed as much to making college football what it is today as the major schools and their fans have if they want equal money now.

            Sometimes, the arrogance of the big school fans almost makes me cry.

          • loki_the_bubba says:

            Apparently, these are the schools that built college football…

            Washington State
            Texas Tech
            Iowa State
            Mississippi State
            Wake Forest
            South Florida
            Rutgers (*historic footnote)

            And coming soon…

          • Richard says:

            Actually, I think he was talking about Harvard, Penn, and the University of Chicago.

          • Brian says:

            Ok, so suppose the big schools never chose to play football. Where would the sport be now? Do you really think millions of fans would be tuning in to watch Boise State versus Nevada?

            It took decades for the large fan bases of the big schools to convince TV people that college football was viable programming beyond one game a week.

            Smaller school fans don’t have to like it, but it’s true. The current game, and its TV coverage, were built on the backs of the large school fans.

          • Vincent says:

            Loki, Maryland won a national title in 1953 (and beat the team that won the national title in 1951). Duke had some nationally prominent teams in the 1930s and ’40s, playing in a few Rose Bowls. You can’t compare them to Johnny-come-latelies like South Florida and Connecticut.

    • zeek says:

      The funny thing, is that when there is a playoff, it will likely favor the BCS conferences.

      I mean, 16 is too many teams to be practical at this point.

      And if you do an 8 team playoff, 6 of those teams are likely to be BCS conference champions. Only 2 at-large spots.

      In a year like this, Boise and TCU would make it, but that’s no guarantee for them…

      • Bullet says:

        That’s why I think it should be 9 to 12 with a play-in. If you keep the current 10 team BCS group, the 6 AQ get seeded to make it politically palatable and 3 wildcards and 1 best of the rest have a play-in mid-December with the 2 winners joining the 6AQ teams. The Rose Bowl could have B10+2 champ vs. P12 champ every year in the 10 team model. Realistically, the “best of the rest” is almost always going to be MWC or CUSA champs. The MAC, SB and WAC survivors aren’t at the same level. Every now and then you will get a Miami U. as in 2002, but that will be rare.

        • zeek says:

          That would deal with the Rose Bowl issue.

          That’s an interesting model. Less exclusive than an 8 team model, but it more easily builds on the current framework.

          I still think the current power brokers don’t want 16 teams. Delany/Slive/Scott and their presidents would probably see that as too many for their teams to have an easy path.

          Slive believes that 4 (plus 1) is enough to guarantee an SEC team a spot, which is enough for him to believe that the SEC always has a shot.

          Delany believes that the BCS (top 2) is the best since it’s the easiest path for a great Big Ten team, since they only face one opponent, which makes it more of a 50-50 proposition if they just reach the top 2, which they will due to the media bias that an undefeated Big Ten team will get.

          Those two perspectives are what folks need to keep in mind in designing a playoff. 16 is too much of a clash with those ideals…

      • Jake says:

        Why is 16 too many? That’s four weeks of games, running from the third Saturday in December to the second Saturday in January (which, conveniently, is also the length of the bowl season). If you go over that you might be pushing it, because you’d have to either start on the second Saturday of December, which runs into finals (along with Army-Navy), or push it further into January, when classes are starting again.

        Also, it looks like there would only be 10 conference champions with the WAC no longer counting as an official FBS league. So, six wild-card teams, then.

        And the current non-AQ schools would still be better off. You have a better shot at the national title with even a low seed in a playoff bracket than you do going to the Fiesta Bowl.

        • zeek says:

          I’m just saying that 16 is too many from the point of view of the BCS conference commissioners.

          They run the BCS. They will run the new playoff system.

          You can bet they’ll want to make it as exclusionary as the current system.

          You think they’ll give the WAC/MWC, etc. champions automatic bids into the playoffs?

          No way.

        • StevenD says:

          I prefer a playoff (at least 8 teams) to determine the National Championship. That’s the only way to get a true champion: man to man, on the field. Not by votes and computer programs. However, I don’t see a real playoff coming any time soon; we are stuck with the BCS.

          Our best hope for improving the BCS system is the “Plus 1″ National Championship game. As I understand it, after the four (or five) BCS bowls, the voters and computer programs would decide which two teams go to the “Plus 1″. This is a terrible idea. Forget about voting. Put the four best teams on the field (in two BCS bowls) and let the teams battle it out. Then send the winners to the “Plus 1″.

          By using the “Plus 1″ game this way, we would get a 4-team playoff. This is a big improvement on the current system. However, we can do even better than this. Instead of using the BCS rankings to determine the four “best” teams (which would cause controversy and argument), we could use the BCS rankings to determine the three strongest conferences and put the champions of those conferences into the two BCS semi-final bowls. Currently the SEC, BigTen and Big12 have the most ranked teams in the BCS — if this holds until December, then the champions of those conferences should play in the National Championship semi-finals.

          Putting the champions of the strongest conferences into the semi-finals has a lot of credibility. Those teams have played the toughest competition throughout the season and have managed to come out on top. They deserve a shot at the National Championship. On the other hand, the champions of the weaker conferences do not have the same credibility. Their route to the semi-finals should be via their BCS rankings.

          I propose that the two teams with the highest BCS rankings play each other in a pre-Christmas bowl (perhaps the New Orleans Bowl or the St Pete Bowl). The winner of this bowl (let’s call it the Wildcard Bowl) will take the fourth slot in the BCS semi-finals. Teams in the strongest three conferences will not be eligible for the Wildcard Bowl; their route to the National Championship is via their own conference championships. Currently the two eligible teams with the highest BCS rankings are Oregon and TCU — if that holds until December, they will play in the Wildcard Bowl. The winner will join the SEC/BigTen/Big12 champions in the BCS semi-finals.

          It may seem unfair to force Oregon and TCU to play an additional game on the way to the semi-finals. However, they both play in weaker conferences and therefore have had less demanding seasons. It is not unreasonable to ask them to play an extra game to prove themselves.

          I see a lot of advantages in organizing the semi-finals like this. By providing automatic entry to the champions of the three strongest conferences, their conference championship games become a lot more exciting; in fact, they become quarter-finals for the National Championship. The Wildcard Bowl will also serve as a quarter-final and it will be a lot more exciting than the bowl it replaces. By putting three conference champions and two top-ranked BCS teams onto the field, the battle for the National Championship will have real credibility.

          Although the benefits of this structure are substantial, the actual changes are relatively minor. The “Plus 1″ championship game is already penciled in for the future. The BCS bowls already exist — all that is required is to specify which two will be semi-finals for the “Plus 1″. None of the other bowls change (which should keep the bowl cities and the conferences happy). A minor bowl will get the wildcard game (which will make the host city happy). Except for the two teams in the “Plus 1″ game, the length of the playing season will not change (which should keep the university presidents happy). And most important: the regular season will not be downgraded. Every game will matter (although two or three losses early in the season will not necessarily kill your chances to play for the National Championship).

        • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

          “Death to the BCS” is a must read, folks. Even if you HATE the idea of a playoff, you must read it to understand how the BCS works and how corrupt the bowl system is.

          Beyond that, you may or may not agree with their 16 team playoff. Personally, I think it would be the golden egg to propel NCAA football into the sports-world “big picture” with the NCAA men’s tourney, NBA playoffs, and NFL Sundays. It would literally generate interest in dozens of more teams and dozens more games each week of the regular season (not just from alums and home town fans but ALL sports fans) while still protecting the integrity of the sport.

          Personally, I think the BCS powerbrokers are too smart to let it happen. I think they’ll appease the public with a “plus 1″ system when the BCS gets renegotiated…and that will preserve the current bowl system (which makes them millionaires) but will supposedly make the NC picture fair. There may be a small bump to those three playoff games in January, but ultimately, CFB will not be revolutionized. This move would be the best defense for the powers-that-be.

          If you want more discussion about this, go here.

          • Richard says:

            I’d read summaries of it, and if they hilighted the best parts of the book, I don’t want to see the bad parts.

            I would think most people already know how corrupt the bowl system is already (which a 16 team playoff wouldn’t get rid of, BTW).

            I do know that if a 16 team playoff is instituted, I would stop paying attention to any regular season college football game that doesn’t involve my team or conference, though, just like I do now with college basketball.

            Whether Auburn gets seeded #2 or #8 and whether ‘Bama makes the playoffs or not isn’t a big enough concern to me to actually watch them play.

          • Richard says:

            So under the current system, I’ve set time out of my day today (Black Friday) to watch 3 college football games that don’t involve my team or conference (you can probably figure out which 3). Under a 16-team playoff system, I wouldn’t be watching any of those 3 and would be doing something else with my time (just as I don’t even know or care to know what the top 3 ranked teams in college basketball are at the end of a regular season, much less bother to watch the games they play).

          • Joe4psu says:

            @Richard Umm. What? Could you explain why you have an interest in 3 games today but if there were a playoff you wouldn’t be interested?

          • Richard says:

            Because the Oregon, Auburn, and Boise games today under the current system determine who gets to play in the championship game.

            With a 16-team playoff, all those games may determine is seeding in the first round of a playoff that is 3 rounds away from the championship game (well, and maybe whether Alabama gets in to the playoffs), and frankly, as a neutral, I’m just not going to care about games that don’t have much impact on who’s going to be national champion. Seeding battles of teams I don’t have a rooting interest in don’t interest me.

            Like college basketball, if college football goes to a 16-team playoff, I won’t care about games that don’t involve my team (and sometimes my conference) until the playoffs start.

          • Jake says:

            @Richard – maybe that’s how you feel about today’s games, but if we had a playoff system, I’d still be interested in the three you mentioned, and WVU-Pitt would also have national significance, since the winner would be the likely Big East champ. And if you can’t get excited about Boise-Nevada, Arizona-Oregon and Auburn-Alabama without a BCS title berth on the line, maybe you just don’t like college football that much. Looking at tomorrow’s line-up, I see at least half a dozen games that would have greatly increased importance under a playoff system.

          • Joe4psu says:

            Richard, to each their own.

            If there were a 16 team playoff like the one suggested in the book these games wouldn’t mean any more or less to me since my school isn’t in the running for a playoff spot. It seems to me though that these games, and many more, would mean alot to people who’s schools are fighting for playoff spots and home field advantage.

            I’m not married to the 16 school set up discussed. To be honest, I’d be happy with a plus one for now. I may change my mind later, but that would satisfy me for now.

            With so few schools athletic depts able to break even a playoff should be a no brainer. Something has to give, either schools will have to cut dramatically or they will have to come up with more income from somewhere.

          • Richard says:

            College football isn’t opera. I don’t watch it for it’s aesthetic value; it’s only interesting if the results matter enough and I have a rooting interest.

            Just my opinion.

          • Jake says:

            @Richard – You said games with national import are more interesting to you. I pointed out how a playoff system would create more such games. More interesting postseason, more interesting regular season, more money for the schools (most of which could really use it). Go playoffs.

          • Richard says:

            Sorry Jake, you must have missed the part where I said battles for seeding wouldn’t interest me.

            Again, if it’ll take 14 games to determine who plays in the title game, I’m not going to care much about the games that take place before then that don’t involve my team.

            Not sure why that’s so hard to understand.

      • Brian says:

        Nothing personal to anyone here, but playoffs suck. All sorts of undeserving teams get into them, and even win the title on occasion.

        If you aren’t the best team in your conference, then how can you be the best team in the country? If the top team is undefeated, how can a 4 loss team be the best in the country?

        Playoffs also take a tremendous toll on student-athletes and fans who have to travel to games. Since players don’t get paid, I see no reason to demand they suffer more abuse to satisfy my whims of determining a champion more clearly.

        I would accept a non-seeded plus one, assuming the bowls get back to being on or near 1/1. The bowls can do their best to achieve seeding by changing their selection process, but it’s not worth losing the traditional tie-ins. If you can’t get in the top 2 after a bowl, tough. It’s only a national championship, not the end of the world.

  78. wmtiger says:

    BTW everyone, its the Bit Ten; not Big 10, not Big 10 + 2, Big Ten.

  79. mushroomgod says:

    Guys, let me know what you think of my bowl games +2 playoff system, as follows:

    Step 1–Use the Rose, Sugar, Orange, and Fiesta bowls, all to be played on Jan. 1st;

    Step 2–Rose Bowl–Have Big 10 champ v. Pac-10 champ;

    Step 3–Have the following other conf. match-ups each year, to be rotated amoung the other 3 bowls:

    —-SEC v. Big 12

    —-ACC v. Big East/ND

    —-Best remaining team from a present bcs conf. v. best non-bcs team;

    Step 4–Take the four winners of the 4 bowls, and seed them based solely on the coach’s poll after the bowl games. Have 1 play 4 and 2 play 3;

    Step 5–Winners play for the NC.

    Step 6–4 Bowl game $ split as is currently done; playoff $ split evenly between the 119 or so D1 teams.

    I believe this is the best, most realistic alternative for the following reasons:

    1. IMO, any playoff system will use the present bowls, not replace them;

    2. This plan recognizes the unique history of the RB game. If I was a Commish of either the Big 10 or Pac 12, I would insist on BT v. PAc 12 every year as part of any deal. I believe they have the leverage to do so. Also, that should not be objectionable to the other conferences because the fans of the teams and other conferences would be in a different city each year.;

    3.This plan makes all 4 major bowl games relevant again. And re-establishes Jan 1st as the best day to watch college football. The remaining bowls would all stay in place as rewards for good but not great years, and would all be played before Jan. 1st;

    4. This plan throws a lifeline to the 1 most deserving team from a present bcs conference that loses in a championship game or is otherwise excluded. For example, lets say Auburn and Alabama are ranked #1 and 2, and Bama beats Auburn because the Auburn starting QB has a sprained ankle and misses the game. Or Florida and Bama are 1/2 and Florida beats Bama in the SEC champ. game by 1 point. Or OSU and Michigan are 1/2, OSU beats UM in the last game, and UM beats OSU in the BTCG.

    IMO, every year there will be at least 1 team from the 6 power conferences with a legitimate argument as to why they should have a chance to win the NC.

    5. IMO, this plan does a damn good job of making the regular season, the conf. championship games, the bowl games, and the “playoff” games all relevant.

    I see only a few drawbacks to this plan, as follows:

    1. It could favor the “best of the rest” teams. In any given year, there may not be one team from the 49 or so non-bcs D1 teams that is worthy of top 8 billing; on the other hand, that has not been the case the last 4-5 years or so. And, this plan gives the underdogs their chance to shine each year;

    2. It could exclude a worthy “best of the rest” team (like TCU this year). Valid objection, but so does the present system.;

    2. There may be some unfair match-ups in the 4 major bowls. For example, a #1 OSU could be facing a #2 USC. This is a drawback, but I think this negative is more than offset by the fact that all 4 major bowls would once again be relevant.

    What do you guys think?

    • jj says:

      This is the plan I like.

    • StevenD says:

      Instead of putting the best remaining team from a present bcs conf. v. best non-bcs team in the fourth BCS bowl, I think the top two teams in the BCS rankings should play (excluding teams from conferences that automatically qualify). If the best non-bcs team can’t get a decent ranking, it doesn’t belong in the National Championship hunt. And there should be no lifelines for “deserving” teams that lose their CCG. For the teams in the six automatically-qualifying conferences, the first game of the playoff is the CCG. If you lose, you’re done. No “do overs”.

    • Jake says:

      Where would your second-round and championship games be played? Home sites, or more bowl sites?

      I will always object to any playoff system that keeps the present bowl games. They’re a scam, they’re leaching piles of money from the schools, and as much fun as they can be, they’re inherently inferior to a playoff game at a home site. In his response to Gee the other day, Wetzel pointed out that under his playoff system, OSU would currently be looking at hosting Alabama in a first-round playoff game. Just imagine that for a minute: the Tide heading into Columbus to play their first game in cold weather in God knows how long, the Horseshoe packed to the gills, with the winner advancing and the loser going home. I honestly can’t envision a better college football atmosphere. Some people keep saying that the bowls have too much power and can’t be left out of a playoff system, but I don’t think those people are dreaming big enough. The opposition to a true playoff is daunting indeed, but I’m not going to start the compromise process for them. Cut out the bowls, put the games on home sites. In addition to reducing travel costs for fans and one of the teams (and keeping tickets, parking and concessions with the schools and their surrounding communities as well), home-field advantage would give the top teams something vital to play for late in the season, if beating their rivals and winning conference titles isn’t enough for them.

      You do include eight teams, which is the minimum, I think, for a really solid playoff system. Four is too few, and I don’t see the point behind bye weeks, so why have any number in between?

      Also, if it’s possible that the non-AQ conferences don’t produce a championship-caliber team in any given year, the same can be said of any current AQ conference (I’m looking at YOU, Big East).

      • StvInIL4NW says:

        Jake, your Ohio State, Alabama situation sounds heavenly if you are a Big Ten fan or an Ohio State fan. But I believe any game of such significances should be played at a neutral site. Like a pro stadium somewhere in a quadrant of the country closest to both. Alabama, OSU maybe Fed Ex field Washington, instead of Columbus.
        There should be no inherent home field advantages.

        • Jake says:

          @StvINIL4NW – why on Earth not? The teams that do the best during the regular season deserve a reward – in addition to bringing in more revenue and being a total treat for their fans, home field would be a significant advantage in a playoff game. If Alabama wants home field advantage, they can earn it in the regular season (something they are in the process of doing at this very moment, by the way). Bowls are fun and all, but they aren’t going to match the intensity of a game at a campus site. Using a neutral site turns over important revenues to NFL stadium owners and surrounding businesses, money that could be going to the host university and its community.

          Travel is another consideration. Fans can set aside time and money to make one bowl game, given a month’s notice. But under a playoff, you’d have multiple games. Spreading those out all over the country would make it tough to get stadiums full of real fans – they already have trouble selling tickets at face value for all but a few bowls, and increasing the number would make it even tougher. At a home site, you’ve got a full house of very passionate fans for every round, even if a smaller, non-traditional power is the host. No worries about ticket guarantees – you’re standing room only every time.

          And if you think home field advantage is unfair, maybe we should have important regular season games at neutral sites as well.

          • Richard says:

            Oklahoma, Texas, Florida, and Georgia already do.

            Alabama & Auburn did as well.

          • Jake says:

            @Richard – OU-Texas in Fair Park’s days may be numbered, sadly – that’s one neutral site (along with the Cocktail Party) that I can get behind. So much tradition, so much ridiculously unhealthy food. We’ll see what happens. And there’s a big difference between OU and UT meeting in the middle vs. sending OSU and Bama to Maryland as Stv suggested.

          • StvInIL4NW says:

            Jake, I think at the point of which you play a game of this significance it is no longer a league game or a pre conference game. It is something different entirely. A should be shared nationally. The Pro stadiums offer 1. More seating on average and 2. More comfort for the fans. Think a little more globally about this. Yeah we know OSU, UM and PSU are used to hosting big crowds but not with the type of comfort that can be had in Lucas oil, fed Ex Field or the Georgia Dome, or The Alamo dome ect. They are used to running a professional game every other week in the fall.
            capacity of FedEx Field for football : 91704
            Dallas Stadium Capacity, Football: 80000
            The Georgia Dome Capacity, Football: 71228
            Lucas Oil football capacity: 63000
            Alamodome. Football Capacity: 65000

          • Richard says:

            All those places seat less than the top 3 stadiums in the BigTen. I believe most BigTen stadiums are bigger than most NFL stadiums.

          • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

            Agree. Home field advantage is the PERFECT way to retain the integrity of the regular season for any kind of playoff scenario. Sending #1 Oregon (let’s say) to Texas to play #8 LSU (or #16 Troy maybe) is ridiculous. Let the lower seeds fight against all odds to prove their merit.

    • StvInIL4NW says:

      I like any plan that retaines the the integrity of the bowls.Especially the traditinal locked in machups like Big Ten and Pac ten in the Rose. The only draw back is that there still culd be at least one good team in confrence that on paper is good enough to be in one of the last games.

    • Bullet says:

      Keep the 5 auto tie-ins and seed BE and any wildcards so that #1 of B12, SEC, ACC plays #3 of BE/WC1/WC2, #2 of the 1st group plays #2 of 2nd groupa and #3 plays #1. Your plan generally makes it easier for #1 Wildcard than conference champs.

    • ohio1317 says:

      As far as playoffs proposals go, I do like this. I’d still probably vote no, but I’d be close on this one unlike most other proposals.

      The only issue is that the AQ at large that is in may have an easier time than the actual champion of the league in getting to the playoffs.

      Also, I couldn’t see the money being split 120 ways evenly (not that I’m complaining about it). If the big conferences are going for this, they are going to be getting more money out of it.

      All in all, well thought out idea.

    • allthatyoucantleavebehind says:

      I don’t like your proposal because it puts a large gap between CCG Saturday (first in December) and the “first round” on January 1.

      The “Death to the BCS” proposal starts round one right after CCG Saturday. So, you go to the neutral site for the conference game (or you rest at home if you’re not in the conference game…then you either return for home field advantage or travel to another’s school’s field for the first round.

      A POSSIBLE (very longshot) compromise would be to play the first round of 8 right after the CCG and then announce bowl destinations. That way, you’d give deserving teams a shot at the title, you’d reward great teams in the regular season with home games, and you’d preserve the importance/relevance of bowls. Then, you’d have a champ game after the semi=final bowls.

  80. Vincent says:

    As I write this, the folks in Tuscaloosa are spreading joy to those in Fort Worth and Boise (halftime: Alabama leads Auburn 24-7), and perhaps Pasadena too (so the Rose Bowl can protect its sacred Big Ten-Pac 1x matchup). Moreover, the Tide may help avert a nightmare if all the Newton $ rumors are true (not to mention some of the other things about Auburn).

    Speaking of Auburn, who runs the regional university accrediting group? Could it be “bought off” to prevent Auburn from losing accreditation and being expelled from the SEC, potentially causing a domino realignment effect? Whereas I can see the NCAA viewing Auburn as “too big to fail” from the viewpoint of ESPN/CBS, state legislators, etc. to receive the “death penalty,” does the accrediting group have such worries over taking an action that in effect would be similar, if not stronger?

    • Jake says:

      There’s a guy on the TCU message boards who works for Stanford, and the word there is that the Rose Bowl isn’t thrilled about taking the Cardinal. Something about weak home attendance. When it comes to revenue vs. tradition, don’t fool yourself – the Rose will maximize their profits and pick the most lucrative match-up. And thanks to Dr. Gee, OSU-Boise or OSU-TCU (replace OSU with any Big Ten team) would be quite a bit of fun to watch.

      • Vincent says:

        If Texas Christian or Boise reach the BCS title game, the Rose won’t have to select the other (providing both are unbeaten and the lower team is rated #3 or #4). I’d be shocked if Rose officials would upset the Pac people by bypassing Stanford.

        • cfn_ms says:

          especially now that Boise lost. taking a 1-loss non-AQ over a 1-loss Pac team? I’m thinking the politics would go nuclear if that happened.

          • Bullet says:

            Lousy way to end a perfect season. Got to feel for Boise. They will probably stay in Boise for bowl season against a 6-6 team.

            Boise just didn’t have any tough conference games. After all, Nevada only beat Cal by 21 who lost by 2 to Oregon.

          • Richard says:

            Well, a WAC team has to go to SF to play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, so either Boise or Nevada may end up there.

            Also, the Pac10 won’t be able to fill all it’s bowl slots, so a trip to El Paso or Las Vegas may be possible for those 2 teams as well.

    • Vincent says:

      I have this horrid thought I jinxed the Tide. Auburn has come back and now only trails 24-21 with 3 1/2 minutes left in the third.

      • StvInIL4NW says:

        It’s over, The tide does NOT role. Usually I like it that way, but they had to screw this up didn’t they?

        • Vincent says:

          If Auburn reaches the BCS title game (or worse, wins it) and then is shown to be in major hot water with the NCAA (or regional accreditation group), all hell will break loose.

          • Richard says:

            We are all Gamecock fans now.

          • Michael in Indy says:

            The accreditation problem is what really boggles my mind. Say what you will about the SEC having average schools compared to the Big Ten; it’s still pretty shocking that a university would jeapordize its credibility as a school all for the sake of the football team’s ability to beat its rival.

            I have a friend from high school who got his Ph.D from Auburn. Super bright guy. He’s now in medical school at Cornell. People like him don’t deserve to have their hard-earned degrees tarnished because their sugar-daddy boosters can’t follow NCAA guidelines.

            And, no, I don’t think the accreditation people can be bought off. That’d be like trying to bribe a tough-as-nails IRS agent into letting you cheat on your taxes. The accrediting agency doesn’t care how much ESPN, the SEC, and/or the NCAA have invested in Auburn football.

          • Bullet says:

            Its really hard to root for Steve Spurrier.

          • Richard says:

            Think of the long-suffering Cock fans instead.

          • Richard says:

            Sorry, “Cocks fans”.

          • Bullet says:

            Not that I have anything against LSU, but if something happens to Oregon, an Auburn/LSU title game is possible, especially now that Boise lost. Another reason to root for South Carolina.

            Of course, that is dependent on the convential wisdom, which is frequently incorrect. LSU would have to pass TCU in the computer polls with their win over Arkansas. Most of the pundits seemed convinced Boise would pass TCU, but with LSU between the two in the 4 median computer polls, that would mean LSU would also have to jump TCU, since Boise beating NV wouldn’t have moved them over an LSU beating Arkansas. Improving your strength in the computers doesn’t mean your BCS score improves. You still have to improve enough to pass someone else.

          • Richard says:

            Seems highly unlikely to me. Boise is between TCU & LSU in only 1 computer ranking, so their loss doesn’t really help LSU there. TCU also leads LSU in 5 of the 6 computer polls. Even if, after today’s games, LSU draws even with TCU in the computers (or gets a small lead), the human polls (which matter more) will keep TCU handily above LSU.

          • Bullet says:

            Boise’s loss helps LSU in the human polls.

          • Vincent says:

            I can’t envision an Auburn-LSU title game if Texas Christian beats New Mexico today.

          • Richard says:

            Yeah, but the humans aren’t going to jump LSU over TCU, so LSU would have to lead TCU by a fair margin in the computer polls (since the human polls are twice as important), and I don’t see that happening.

          • Richard says:


            I have a feeling that LSU won’t be playing in the national title game regardless of what happens.

            Just an inkling.

  81. ohio1317 says:

    In my opinion, when deciding if a team should make the playoffs, the question should be, is this teams accomplishments possibly the best in the country? When you get the answer as being no, the team shouldn’t be in the playoff if you are actually trying for a fairer system. Designing a playoffs around that idea (so that no team is excluded that should be included 90% of the time), you should never have a playoff beyond 4 teams. There almost no years where the #5’s teams accomplishments are arguably the best and thus the #5 team shouldn’t be included.

    In this light, in my opinion of course, for all that we can love or hate a playoff, no sport currently does a better job of rewarding the regular season accomplishments than college football. I love baseball, but the Rangers weren’t the best American League team and the Giants weren’t the best National League team. I can accept them as champions because that’s the system, but that doesn’t mean it’s a fairer system than a system with fewer teams. It’s just a more popular one. College football might be fairer with 4 teams, but I will never think a 6, 8, or 16 team playoff is fairer than even a 2 team playoff most years.

    • loki_the_bubba says:

      So, should we pretend that a team that won its conference is worse than an team that did not win its conference?

      • ohio1317 says:

        I don’t understand how I’m doing that. Actually I’d argue the reverse is true. When we set-up playoffs so that we are getting multiple teams from the same conference, then we are pretending like one team that won it’s conference is no better than the loser. Baseball is the one that takes that to it’s worst extreme (after 162 games, you are basically pretending 8 teams are all even again outside of a very small home field advantage).

    • Bullet says:

      How about 2008 when OU got in the B12 title game and BCS title game by virtue of a higher BCS ranking than Texas? OU, Texas and Tech were all 11-1. OU lost first (the primary factor in who is higher for most pollsters) to Texas on a neutral site by 10. Texas lost next at TT by 1 on a last second TD. Tech got stomped at OU. So Texas, #3 in the BCS, should clearly be no since they didn’t win the conference? And if you don’t use conference titles, do you have a playoff with the top 4-FL, AL, OU and UT? And leave out unbeaten Utah and 11-1 USC? There are lots of years where more than 4 teams are very close. Basically every year when none of the top conference teams are unbeaten.

      What if Auburn and Oregon lose this year? Its been real close the last 2 weeks. Wisconsin would get in as B10 champ while 11-1 OSU and 11-1 Michigan St. (who beat WI who beat OSU) get left out.

      4 is better than two but its hardly a clear solution.

      • Bullet says:

        And that’s not even mentioning last year when there were 5 unbeatens.

      • Richard says:

        Again, I have little sympathy for teams that lost a game saying they deserve a shot at the national title.

        Last year would have been problematic, but years when you have 5 unbeatens are rather rare.

        • Bullet says:

          But other 1 loss teams are playing for the so-called national championship. That’s the issue. Its quite common for 1 or both of the teams to have a loss.

          • Richard says:

            Well, you controlled your own fate. When you lost, you lose control of your own fate. Tough.

            Maybe if you get jumped by a team you beat, you have a legitimate complaint, but otherwise, you’re dependent on the whims of voters and the calculations of computers. It makes every game in the regular season paramount. I don’t want a system where a team can think it can afford to lose a game and then turn it on in the postseason (as many NBA or even NFL teams do).

          • ohio1317 says:

            Agree completely Richard.

        • jj says:

          This is why the nonconference schedules largely suck balls.

      • ohio1317 says:

        I’m of the personal opinion that only conference champs should play for the championship, so I have no problem with Texas being excluded that 2008. I think the Big 12 tie-breakers suck, but Texas could have avoided the whole thing by beating Tech. It didn’t, didn’t win it’s conference, and thus wasn’t worthy of a national championship.

        If Ohio State was excluded this year, I wouldn’t argue either. We didn’t beat Wisconsin when we had the chance. I think we’d win that game more than not, but that’s irrelevant.

        I understand the disagreement, but will hold that taking the 4 highest conference champs (maybe putting in a rule that only the team winning a tie-breaker in conference without CCGs) is as far as it should ever go. Anything else diminishes the regular season too much.

  82. Richard says:

    You really have to credit Chris Ault.

    He’s also the reason why Nevada is getting in to a better league as well, since by all rights, they should be at the MAC/new WAC/Sun Belt level, as they’re in a tiny market and can’t even average over 20K a game in fans (and if they do this year, it would be because of all the Boise fans who came south for that game). In the new MWC, Nevada would have the smallest attendance, and this is while Nevada has been very good while NM and UNLV have been atrocious.

    • Richard says:

      Crazy finish.

      Jake, did you stay up to watch?

      • Jake says:

        I did. And some of the replay. I couldn’t get to sleep until around 3. Kept smelling Roses for some reason.

        And I had some serious doubts about bringing Nevada into the MWC, but I’m suddenly more okay with it.

  83. Playoffs Now says:

    Boise has the blue turf, now Nevada has their My Little Goalposts, bought at Toys R’ Us. Home field advantages can suck for the visitors. (Karma?)

    Especially since a lot of us think that the Boise kick for the win was actually good. (OT kick was wide.) Had it been called good Kellen Moore’s miracle pass would have been the new Flutie play that could have won him the Heisman.

    At least we still have TCU to be a BCS-buster. Either they make the faux national title game or they kick WI or OSU’s rear in the Rose (the latter would be especially sweet.) Hey TCU, please now shut up with the bashing of Boise, not needed now and it always came off as hypocritical. Just another reason we need a playoff.

    • zeek says:

      To me this just shows that Boise didn’t face enough teams of that quality. This was the second time this season that they were really tested.

      Hawaii, Nevada, and Fresno State were the other legit teams in the WAC, so Boise’s huge wins against Hawaii and Fresno State convinced me that they were the real deal, but I just think these teams need to face them week in and week out as opposed to 5 times a season (including VaTech and Oregon State).

      But it’ll be interesting to see them face more of those as they will in the MWC.

    • Jake says:

      @Playoffs Now – I thought it was good at first, but ESPN showed some replays that convinced me otherwise. Also, if you watch Brotzman’s reaction, he knew it was no good before the refs made the signal.

      But yeah, those are some middle school-looking goalposts. Nevada needs a serious upgrade to that erector set stadium.

  84. Playoffs Now says:

    B12 commish Dan Beebe decided not to attend the NE-CO game (where he was going to award the B12 north title trophy) after ‘The Classiest Fans in College Football’ sent him death threats and stalked his daughter:


    “Somebody posted something on my daughter’s Facebook that was derogatory. Somebody else called and acted like they were impersonating an officer, and said that they have my daughter, and she was unresponsive and they had to take her to the hospital.”

    Tom Osborne declined to criticize any of that. Given past history, he’s probably tracking down the creeps…so as to offer them a scholarship.

    • zeek says:

      This just shows me that he’s a wimp.

      He wouldn’t have been safe in Memorial Stadium? No one was asking him to stay in Lincoln, he could have flown out right after the game…

      More likely, he was afraid of the chorus of boos he would have gotten from 85,000 Nebraskans.

      And what does that even matter anyways? I’m sure Osborne’s gotten just as bad over his years, as anyone in these positions gets that kind of hate from some segment of the population…

      • schwarm says:

        Is Osborne bothered by Nebraska fans sending the messages that Beebe described?
        “I’ve said all I’m going to say. I’ve had all kinds of e-mails over the years. It’s not a problem.”

        • Richard says:

          Well, it’s true. Paul Krugman gets death threats because he’s outspoken and read a lot in the NYTimes. He doesn’t stop writing.

          I’m sure every coach of a major football program has gotten death threats as well. They don’t stop coaching.

          You’re always going to have deranged
          folks amongst any large population of people.

          Beebe is a wussy.

          • StvInIL4NW says:

            Yeah, but we’re not talking about polarizing national politics and policy here. It’s just sports. The fact that the two pranks evolved the man’s daughter I fund threatening and disturbing. Enough for a peace loving man to be looking for these bozos to give them a beat down.

        • Bullet says:

          How many commissioners get death threats?

          How many colleges keep coaches who act like Carl Pelini did?

          How many colleges have coaches who repeatedly act like Bo Pelini has?

          I think we all know the answers to those questions.

          Nebraska fans (a small minority of course) are starting to reflect their coaching staff. The President should think about that.

          • zeek says:

            You have those kind of yahoos supporting any of the major schools’ programs.

            We’ve all seen bad sports fans, every program has mean fans that harass visitors with outrageous behavior, etc.

            As for commissioners, most don’t get that kind of treatment, but he’s running the most disfunctional conference out there among the major conferences, so that comes with the turf.

            I’d still guess that many coaches get what he gets on a daily basis. How much hate mail do you think Rich Rod has gotten?

            What about Bill Byrne after A&M didn’t move to the SEC? He even answered one of the voicemails and left his own nasty voicemail…

            As for the Pelinis, I don’t condone that kind of conduct out of the coaching staff, so I don’t necessarily disagree about that.

            But Beebe wimped out because he didn’t want to get booed.

            He would have been perfectly safe in the stadium with the same police escort that coaches get…

          • Bullet says:

            The coaches behavior triggers the kooks. That’s why schools generally don’t tolerate that sort of nonsense from the coaches.

          • Bullet says:

            And you also have to consider the source. UNL has a history of extraordinarily well behaved fans. It wasn’t like these threats came from CU. As for A&M, I’ve had my car vandalized in Houston when it wasn’t even football season. They think its funny to saw the Horns off even if it means scratching the paint on your car.

          • Husker Al says:

            Ed Stewart, former NU All-American and Big 12 Assistant Commissioner, could have filled in.

            Beebe isn’t even pretending anymore.

          • ChicagoRed says:


            How many major conferences have 2 schools leave in the same year?

            You must have missed the memo–BXII = dysfunctional

          • Bullet says:

            I don’t know what the routine is, but Missouri was playing and was still in the hunt. Do they send one representative to each game?

            So disfunctional means Husker fans think such behavior is now acceptable?

          • Bullet says:

            Correction-Missouri played today not Friday, so I guess that wasn’t an issue.

          • Husker Al says:

            No, the behavior isn’t acceptable. It never was. But I know you’ve been around long enough to know that most public figures receive threats of this nature, especially in as charged of an environment as college football.

            Does anyone know whether Beebe was present at the NU/A&M game to award the trophy had NU won?

    • schwarm says:

      Couldn’t be bothered to send a representative…. that wouldn’t give him an opportunity to bitch about Nebraska to the press.

    • Michael in Indy says:

      “Somebody posted something on my daughter’s Facebook that was derogatory. Somebody else called and acted like they were impersonating an officer, and said that they have my daughter, and she was unresponsive and they had to take her to the hospital.”

      What the H is wrong with people? I hope Beebe has reported these people to the police. If you’re mad at someone, be a man and confront him face-to-face. It just doesn’t get any more low-life than to get back at your enemy by going after his daughter.

  85. Richard says:

    My wife thought that the tOSU players in their 1942 throwback unis (and shiny red helmets) look like insects.

    • Richard says:

      BTW, amongst their 22 starters, Michigan has more players from Ohio (6) than Michigan (5).

      That’s par for the course, of course.

    • StvInIL4NW says:

      One word, UGLY. So much so that I have taken to switch bewteen the OSU/UM game and Syracuse/BC.

      • Are talking about the game being ugly or the uniforms? (Both are true.) The most exciting game so far is the battle for the Old Oaken Bucket between Indiana and Purdue, which is knotted up 28-28 in the 4th quarter.

      • Bullet says:

        Didn’t any of you see Oregon with their green jerseys w/gray pants and gray wings on the green jerseys? The nation’s ugliest uniforms just got uglier.

  86. Jake says:

    Just wanted to congratulate future MWC member the Nevada Wolfpack on their thrilling win last night/this morning. If at any point in the next year I see a Wolfpack fan in a bar, I’m buying them a drink. Also, I hope Boise can still make a BCS bowl. I think they might have a shot at the Orange, depending on how things work out. Maybe the Fiesta. They’ll need some help, though. If they get stuck in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, I would feel very sorry for their opponent.

    Now I’m heading to the flower shop to see if I can find some purple roses. Needless to say, lots of my fellow Horned Frog fans are hoping to meet Ohio State in Pasadena. Something to do with some comments their president made.

    • Vincent says:

      First of all, recognize that Nevada is the “Wolf Pack” (two words). One word, and you’re commending the folks who wear red in Raleigh, not blue in Reno.

    • Richard says:

      Cheer for us this afternoon, then.

      Pretty much the only way OSU makes it to the Rose Bowl is if Wisconsin loses (or all hell breaks loose and Wisconsin somehow ends up in the national title game, but in that scenario, TCU would be there as well).

      • Jake says:

        Well, we still have to beat New Mexico. So I guess that would fall under “all Hell breaking loose.”

        Alright, so go Northwestern then. Cheering for the purple team shouldn’t be too hard.

        Nevada Wolf Pack, is it? Very well. Guess I’d better get used to that.

  87. Michael in Indy says:

    I’m pretty well convinced that the MWC is going to be able to get an AQ bid, which it would get for the 2012 and 2013 seasons as based on the results of the 2008-2011 seasons.

    Thompson will probably have to make an appeal, but his argument is all too strong.

    – In 2012 and 2013, the MWC will offer at least three teams (Hawaii, TCU, and Boise) who, by then, will have combined for at least five BCS bowl appearances and at least two wins. One of those teams is bound for this year’s Rose Bowl or National Championship Game.

    – Thompson will be able to claim three teams who finished the 2010 regular season 12-0 or 11-1 (TCU, Nevada, and Boise). All are likely to finish in the Top 15, which is on par with the Big Ten.

    – He’ll have a rising San Diego State team and Air Force, who were a few plays away from beating Big 12 heavyweights Missouri and Oklahoma, respectively.

    – He’ll have six Sagarin Top 50 schools (TCU, Nevada, Boise, Hawaii, San Diego State, and Air Force), which is one less than the Big Ten, the same amount as the ACC, and four more than the Big East. These six teams outrank every other team from a non-AQ conference, other than Pac-12-bound Utah.

    – Even the #7 team, Fresno, is 6-4 (with games remaining vs. Idaho & Illinois) and lost by one point to Nevada.

    – Given the stong ticket sales and TV ratings for BCS bowls that have featured Boise, Hawaii, and TCU, Thompson should have little trouble convincing the bowl representatives that his league should be included. His biggest hurdle will be the AQ commissioners, whom he may have to threaten with a lawsuit.

    • Bullet says:

      He will also have 4 MAC level schools. And there’s no guarantee SDSU doesn’t return to that status.

      In any event, its not about strength. Its about power. Just not going to happen.

      I really hope it doesn’t happen because the more AQ conferences, the less access for good teams from the other conferences and the less chance of a playoff.

      • Michael in Indy says:

        UCF, SMU, NIU, ECU, Houston, etc. are all behind Boise, TCU, Hawaii, SDSU, Nevada, and Air Force. UCF et al could still clinch a BCS berth by finishing in the Top 12 of the standings.

        Besides, does the Big Ten not have 3 MAC level schools in Minnesota, Indiana, and Purdue? That isn’t (and shouldn’t be) held against Wisconsin, Ohio State, or Michigan State. Same goes for the ACC with Duke, Wake, and Virginia. Why does it matter so much that the MWC has four of those schools instead of three?

        You’re right that it’s about power, and that mostly resides with the conference commissioners. But ESPN just paid top dollar to broadcast BCS games and is going to want highly-rated games. History has shown that BCS games with MWC teams do very well. Bowl reps will tell you that they buy tickets really well too, much better than the Cincinnatis and Wake Forests of the BCS world.

        Thompson also has political pressure on his side.

        • StvInIL4NW says:

          “Besides, does the Big Ten not have 3 MAC level schools in Minnesota, Indiana, and Purdue? That isn’t (and shouldn’t be) held against Wisconsin, Ohio State, or Michigan State.”

          I think you have a valid point. But you go by whether you believe YOUR MAC level school can win that conference. For Indiana, yes, Purdue even as injury plagued as they are I would say close. And Minnesota? I don’t know what the heck to make of Minnesota. I would say no.

        • Bullet says:

          Tulane went unbeaten a few years back (98?). Miami U. was top 10 in 2002. Those teams are more likely to get shut out with an MWC autobid. Boise would have been shut out the last few years if MWC had an autobid. Teams that have individual good years are more likely to get shut out with more AQ teams.

          • Bullet says:

            Right now it is 6 AQ, 3 wildcard and 1 for best of rest. The best of the rest won’t get a bid if its 7 AQ and 3 wildcard. The bowls pick and they will pick SEC/B10/B12/P12 schools.

        • mnfanstc says:

          The U of Minnesota is merely a good coaching staff away from being regularly competitive again in football… With 2 wins ending this season there is proof they can win, and against average to above average teams… Good way to close out an otherwise ugly season…

    • Jake says:

      This assumes TCU doesn’t leave for the Big East. TCU’s stats might still count in that case, but it would kill any chances of winning an appeal.

      If only Utah and BYU had stuck around …

      • @Jake – Seeing that an OT-loss to a top 20 team has sent Boise State from the Rose Bowl (at worst) or a national title game slot to the Humanitarian Bowl at home against a MAC team or Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (normally against Pac-10 #6, but with that conference possibly not having enough bowl-eligible teams, that might turn into ACC #9), I don’t think TCU is hesitating to take a Big East invite and run if an when it comes in the mail.

        • zeek says:

          I agree x1000.

          The Boise State circumstances just show how perilous the situation is for TCU if the MWC doesn’t get an AQ-bid in the next round.

          You can’t risk staying in a conference where 1 loss to your season sends you down the bowl rankings so dramatically…

        • Jake says:

          @Frank – word on the street is the TCU board of trustees is voting on Monday regarding the Big East invite. Supposedly it’s a done deal. We’ll see.

          I was holding out hope that Boise would still make a BCS bowl (I really do like those guys), but Stanford’s win pretty much clinches it. At least they won’t lose a bunch of money traveling to their crummy bowl.

          • Richard says:

            Well, the WAC may send Idaho to the Roady Bowl if they qualify, if another bowl with a Pac10 tie-in that they can’t fill wants Boise (Las Vegas, the Sun, or maybe even the Holiday Bowl). The Pac10 may have only a grand total of 3 bowl elgible teams this year if WSU can pull off the upset in the Apple Cup at home. If Stanford gets a BCS bowl, the Pac10 may leave 4 bowls unfilled (which is music to the ears of the MAC, which has 3 teams that are 8-4 or better and only 3 bowl tie-ins).

            BTW, not sure why Boise deserves more sympathy than Nevada, which is also co-champion of the WAC and beat Boise head to head, yet don’t have Boise’s national reputation or fanbase, so can’t hope for an invite to the Sun or Holiday bowls.

          • Richard says:

            OK, so Idaho did not qualify.

            Now the Las Vegas, Sun, and maybe even the Holiday Bowl may have spots to fill. The Fight Hunger Bowl as well, though supposedly the ACC can send a team out there if there’s a opening.

            The Pizza Bowl also needs to match a team with a MAC team. That’s 4-5 bowls.

            What’s available? An ACC team (likely BC or GTech) and, assuming ND goes to the Champ Sports, a BE team (Pitt? UConn if they don’t win the BE?), and some MAC & Sun Belt teams (though NIU is 10-2 and likely ranked, and 4 MAC teams are 8-4).

            Given the pickings, I think the Holiday or Sun would extend an invitation to Boise. That would open up a spot in the New Mexico Bowl.

            If I was the MAC, I would match up Toledo & Temple in the Pizza Bowl (they didn’t play this year, aren’t going to Detroit for the championship game, and this way, you give an extra spot to an 8-4 MAC team instead of a 6-6 Sun Belt team), then shop NIU around (they may get to go to Las Vegas or SF).

          • Bullet says:

            Bowl officials are breathing a little easier with Tennessee and Georgia’s wins. Had they lost, we would be sitting at 68 eligible teams and 70 slots.

            As it is, there are 70 bowl eligible teams with 4 others still with a shot. UW is the only one likely to make it (needs to beat WSU). So 1 6-6 MAC team gets left out. The other 3 teams are Oregon St. (must beat Oregon), Middle Tennessee (slight dog against FIU-but MTSU will be left out anyway) and La Tech (plays Nevada-and will likely be out even with a win).

            NV and Boise are both getting bad deals on the bowls, playing a 7-5 or 6-6 school from BE or ACC or P10. But Boise did beat the team in the ACC with the best record, basically on the road. So them being shortchanged is worse. They didn’t lose to Hawaii. I’d like to see Boise vs. someone like LSU. Nevada vs. Arkansas or Stanford would be interesting.

          • Bullet says:

            ESPN was saying it would be WI in the Rose and OSU in the Sugar and thought they deserved it.

            Does anyone else think MSU is getting the shaft? They beat WI who beat OSU. The teams they missed on the schedule were OSU and IU (8 conference wins). WI missed IL and PSU (8 conference wins). OSU missed MSU and NW (10 conference wins). None of the 3 played anybody ooc.

          • Bullet says:

            Ok. I just didn’t read down far enough.

          • Richard says:

            Actually, BSU & Nevada could be in Boise & New Mexico playing a MAC team and a 6-6 BYU team.

            However, I think that if the Sun (or Las Vegas, or Holiday) Bowl extends an invite, Boise would jump at it. They’re leaving the WAC anyway, so I doubt they feel compelled to honor the WAC’s bowl commitments.

          • Jake says:

            @Richard – yeah, Nevada’s had a heck of a season as well, but I don’t think they can move up far enough to be in BCS contention. Sucks that they’re still behind Boise in the polls. Also, Boise’s fans travel pretty well, as evidenced by the Fiesta and the VT game, and are pretty decent folks to boot, so I think they might be a more viable bowl option than Nevada, who has trouble getting more than 25,000 to come to their home games. Either is certainly more deserving than whoever comes out of the Big East, but that’s the way it is.

          • Bullet says:

            I find it interesting that there seems to be no discussion except among the TCU people. I would expect leaks somewhere. So is it real and the BE runs the tighest ship on the planet? Or is it just internet rumour? I guess we’ll find out Monday. I find it hard to believe there would be a meeting on TG Sunday.

            I can see Frank’s point that there may not be a significant $ advantage in a BE split leading conservative leadership not to split, but I think there are big intangibles in being in a 10-12 team conference with a lot of bb powers over being in a 16-18 team conference with a lot of bb powers.

  88. jj says:

    YEA STATE! Way to go!

    F’Ing Vest. Like I needed another reason to not like Michigan. Way to go, turds.

  89. jj says:

    Ok. Now I am stewing a bit. MSU’s stregth of schedule is better than osu and is far superior to Wisconsin, and msu beat Wisconsin pretty good. Yet, state is going to get shafted out of the rose bowl. Sucks, balls that is.

    • Richard says:

      Personally, I think they should go back to the old method where the school that hadn’t gone to the Rose Bowl the longest gets to go in case of ties.

      When did they change that rule?

      • @Richard – I’m pretty sure that went away when the BCS system was instituted. I liked that old rule, though.

        • Jake says:

          That rule cost TCU a Cotton Bowl berth back in ’94. Stupid Tech.

        • Adam says:

          Frank, the change is more recent than that. I believe they dumped the “who has it been longest for” rule at the same time they got rid of the “if you’ve played more FCS teams than other tied teams, you lose” tiebreaker, which was (I think) 2 years ago.

    • @jj – That win by MSU over ND certainly looks a whole lot better now with the Irish win at USC. No one can knock OSU for scheduling Miami (since the intent was that was to be a tough opponent), but AD Barry Alvarez has generally taken the “4 guaranteed wins” approach to Wisky’s non-conference scheduling.

    • zeek says:

      I think there’s an issue of who the teams lost to…

      Wisconsin lost to Michigan State; Ohio State lost to Wisconsin; Michigan State lost to Iowa.

      After these past 3 weeks of Iowa futility, that huge margin loss looks totally inexplicable…

    • jj says:

      i think we can argue osu v msu, but wisc’s schedule, per usual, is a joke. i thought state’s was weak this year, but i just read it was something like 33 going in this week and wisconsin’s was 77.

      i don’t think margin of victory should be an issue. shit happens in games. it’s all about wins. and winning by more than 20 usually means that the opponent has given up or you are running up the score.

      i suppose i’m just a bit mad. if any fanbase in the big ten is suffering, other than IU hoops, it’s MSU football.

      • Adam says:

        It isn’t all about wins if you’re in a 3-way tie that has to be resolved by opinion polls. “Shit happens in games” is only true if the championship can be determined by the standings alone (e.g., if MSU were the only 7-1 team).

    • Brian says:

      I guess it depends where you look. Sagarin has OSU (59), Wisconsin (61) and MSU (67) before today’s games. He also has those three ranked in that order (6, 23, 34) in his preferred rankings, for what it’s worth.

      And MSU got crushed by Iowa, while OSU and Wisconsin had closer losses to better teams.

      • Bullet says:

        As I posted above before I saw this, OSU didn’t play teams with 10 B10 wins (NW, MSU), MSU missed teams with 8 (IU, OSU), WI missed teams with 8 (PSU, IL). So OSU had the easiest B10 schedule of the 3 and played the Little Sisters of the Poor ooc.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if MSU flooded New Orleans with fans. But its about names and sure things, so OSU will likely get Sugar and MSU will get Mickey Mouse. Given New Orleans January weather and the 21 year old drinking age, Orlando might be a better trip for the players. Personally I much prefer New Orleans, even in January.

        • Brian says:

          MSU got WI at home, OSU got them at WI. That more than makes up for the marginally weaker list of teams. Beating NW or IU should be easy for a BCS bowl team.

          Both teams had what turned out to be easy OOC schedules, but MSU played I-AA Northern Colorado while OSU tried to play an elite team in Miami.

          Sagarin ratings of OOC teams: MSU (29, 93, 157, 185), OSU (34, 87, 112, 184)

          The point is, both schedules are roughly equal in difficulty but OSU tried to make a tougher schedule than MSU did.

    • M says:

      Pro-tip: If you want to go to a BCS bowl, don’t get blown out by a 5 loss team (unless you’re in the Big East).

    • Adam says:

      I tend to agree with the prevailing sentiment that it is sensible for MSU to be 3rd of the 3. Only one of the teams has a 31-point loss on its résumé. Regardless of who they played or beat, that’s disqualifying.

  90. Playoffs Now says:

    A tidbit:

    3 of the new top 4 teams have QB’s from Houston, TX:

    OR’s Darron Thomas, TCU’s Andy Dalton, and Stanford’s Andrew Luck. Plus AU’s Scam Newton played at Blinn College, 70 miles NW of Houston.

    Kinda like when all those QB’s were coming out of Pittsburgh: Joe Montana, Dan Marino, and Jim Kelly.

    • Bullet says:

      Texas has not historically produced a lot of great QBs. I think it has a lot to do with the summer 7 on 7 leagues that go on now.

    • Bullet says:

      Texas QBs were also held back as the wishbone hung on in Texas high schools long after it faded in college. Now they’re all passing.

  91. Adam says:

    One small observation: why doesn’t the Big Ten use the same tiebreakers in football as in basketball? Granted, the 1st basketball tiebreaker assumes that everybody plays everybody else at least once. But you could modify that to account for the Football rule’s preference that head-to-head is just skipped altogether if any of the tied teams didn’t play each other (as this year). With that modification of the basketball tiebreaking rule, the 2nd tiebreaker would be the tied teams’ record against the next-place teams; in this case, the pack of teams tied for 4th place (Iowa, Penn State, Illinois). Ohio State went 3-0 against this group, while MSU went 2-1 and Wisconsin 1-1, which would send OSU to the Rose Bowl.

    Is it just me, or does this make more sense than allowing the BCS to control who the Big Ten’s representative is?

    • Adam says:

      That isn’t intended as looking for a way to send OSU to the Rose Bowl, as I tend to think Wisconsin is the better team. But I would like to take this out of the hands of the BCS.

      • Richard says:

        If you want to take it out of the hands of the BCS, why not just go back to the old way of sending the team that hadn’t been there the longest?

        • Adam says:

          I think that’s just as silly. It should be “performance-based criteria” (to use MLB’s wording when they dropped using coin flips to determine home field in one-game playoffs last year).

        • Adam says:

          The “who has it been longest for” rule is an anachronism — the last vestige of a rightfully rejected era when the same team couldn’t play in the Rose Bowl in consecutive seasons.

      • Bullet says:

        Its probably the BCS for the same reason the B12 uses it, to give you a better chance for a 2nd berth. What you are suggesting is similar to what the NFL uses. The NFL also uses a common opponents tiebreaker.

        The Big 12 tweaked theirs after 2008 so that if the teams are within 1 spot in the BCS, head to head between those teams counts. So Texas #3 would have edged OU #2 since TT got blown out and dropped. That way WI wouldn’t get edged out by OSU(despite beating them) after MSU got blown out and dropped.

        • Adam says:

          This wouldn’t be the same as the NFL’s common opponents tiebreaker. It would be the same as the Big Ten’s 2nd basketball tiebreaker, where they compare your records against the next-highest finisher in the standings. Those wouldn’t necessarily be common opponents; for example, Wisconsin didn’t play Illinois. But, since Ohio State beat all 3, even if Wisconsin had played and beaten Illinois, their best record would be 2-1 against the pack of 3 teams tied for 4th (the next position in the standings after the 3-way tie for 1st).

          I mean you could pick something else too, but I think it should be performance-based (thus rejecting the “who has it been longest for” rule) and not in any way affected by opinion polls. The only legitimate place for the BCS Standings, in my view, is after you’ve exhausted every other tiebreaker you can think of and your other option would be a coin flip.

          • Adam says:

            I messed up my math somewhere because Wisconsin didn’t lose to anybody in that group of 3. Their only loss was to MSU.

          • Adam says:

            Argh! Must have been looking at the wrong schedule. The records against the 4th place teams would be:

            1. OSU 3-0
            2. Wisconsin 1-0
            3. MSU 2-1

            I am not sure how you’d handle that.

          • Adam says:

            Somehow I confused myself looking at the wrong schedule. I stand by the notion that they shouldn’t use the BCS and that the basketball tiebreaker might well be a better way of doing it, but it raises the same issues as the head-to-head tiebreaker if everybody didn’t play everybody else (as this year).

        • Richard says:

          I actually like the common opponents rule better, since then the comparison is more “fair”.

          BTW, in that case, Wisconsin would go to the Rose Bowl since MSU would be eliminated first (they lost to Iowa; UW & OSU beat Iowa), then UW over OSU in head-to-head.

          • Adam says:

            Of course, all of this is complicated by the fact that some teams don’t play each other every year. As of next year, any tied teams will definitely have played each other. Does that affect how you structure the tiebreaker? For example, the basketball tiebreakers take for granted that everybody plays everybody else at least once. Do you use those once you know that everybody will be playing everybody else (at least, everybody that you could finish tied with)?

          • Richard says:

            Not really. Head-to-head would still be the first tie-breaker. After that, I think it makes sense to look at common opponents (or maybe divisional record and then common opponents).

          • Adam says:

            So would you then change the basketball tiebreaker? Currently to break ties it walks the tied teams through the standings and compares their records against the next-best team(s). Every other league with divisional play in football does that.

          • Bullet says:

            I think you should look at who you played. And in this case, Ohio St. played the weakest B10 schedule. Then MSU would win head-to-head over WI.

            Common opponents is also fair. However it would be tough on MSU since they didn’t lose to anyone in the top group. They lost to a weaker opponent, but they also did better against the top group, 1-0 vs. 1-1 and 0-1.

          • jj says:

            the best msu argument is that wisconsin beat osu and state beat wisconsin.

            or, stated another way, of the three, msu is the only one that did not lose to one of the three.

          • Adam says:

            You could make that the tiebreaker, I suppose, jj. That’s “pure” head-to-head:
            1. MSU 1-0
            2. Wisconsin 1-1
            3. OSU 0-1

          • Richard says:

            Doesn’t work because MSU didn’t play OSU. Essentially, you’re crediting MSU with a win over OSU where none existed.

            As for the basketball tiebreaker, sure, I’d change it, though it’s not really a big deal since the regular season doesn’t matter much in college basketball. I can barely get myself to watch even my own team in a regular season game in that sport.

          • Adam says:

            Certainly under the current rule’s wording, Richard, it doesn’t work. My point was only that there’s no reason you have to do it that way. Theoretically, the first tiebreaker when 3 or more teams are tied could be “best percentage against other tied teams, regardless of whether everybody played each other.” And if that were the rule, MSU would be a 1.000, Wisconsin at .500, and OSU at .000.

            I wouldn’t do it that way, but it’s not like you’re trying to divide by 0 or something. It produces a measurable number. It treats the non-game between OSU and MSU as the equivalent of an old-fashioned tie.

            (Note: by “old-fashioned” I mean from a win percentage standpoint. If you go back far enough, tie games were treated as though they just weren’t played at all; thus 9-2-1 was a win percentage of .818 instead of .792. At some point in, like, the 1970s, the consensus seemed to emerge to treat a tie as a half-win (and half-loss) instead of a “no-play.”)

          • Richard says:

            OK, “doesn’t work” as in “I don’t think it’s fair/more fair than what they are doing now”.

          • Adam says:

            I guess the question I have is this: almost all sports taht use a head-to-head tiebreaker will rely on a percentage basis if the number of games differs. Thus, in a hypothetical 3-team tie in Big Ten basketball, a head-to-head record of 2-1 beats a head-to-head record of 1-1. Everybody seems to accept this, even though there is a plausible argument that the opportunity of the extra game presents the same inequity that the absence of any game at all presents to Ohio State if you went by a “pure” head-to-head tiebreaker in football. The only league I am aware of that seems to expressly acknowledge this problem is the NFL, which breaks division ties first and only compares the winner of the intra-divisional tiebreaker against tied teams from other divisions (and thus refusing to mix a comparison of teams which play each other twice with teams that play each other once).

            In the case of a 3-team tie, why is it fair to use head-to-head if A gets 3 games against the group (1 against B and 2 against C), while it isn’t fair if A gets 1 game against the group (1 against B, 0 against C)? The unfairness seems very similar to me. Yes, in the first hypothetical C did get a “shot” against A; but A had the advantage of a “safety net,” because if C loses once they finish 1-1, while a single A loss puts them ahead of C at 2-1.

          • Richard says:

            Football has too few games for tiebreakers using a percentage basis to be fair. Pretty much every other sport plays far more games.

          • Brian says:

            I think every effort should be made to focus on conference games to determine a conference winner. However, with the importance of BCS game now, I’m not sure that BCS rankings shouldn’t be the top criteria. The goal now seems to be to win the bowl more than to win the conference.

            My procedure:

            An outright division winner has the best division record. As with any set of tiebreakers, you revert to the top of the list after eliminating one or more teams. I personally would eliminate the worst loss, but most people seem to prefer rewarding the best win so that is what I did here.

            1. Head to head against all tied teams
            1a. Value all wins and losses as 1
            1b. Value a road win as 1.25 and a road loss as 0.75 and check head to head again

            2. Record versus each of the remaining division opponents in descending rank
            2a. If several teams are tied, the tied teams are considered as a group

            3. Record versus common opponents

            4. Overall conference record

            5. Record versus each of the opposite division opponents in descending order of divisional record
            5a. If several teams are tied, the tied teams are considered as a group. The team with the fewest wins is eliminated. If all teams have the same number of wins, then the team with the most losses is eliminated.

            6. Highest final BCS ranking of defeated non-conference opponents in descending order

            7. Longest time since previously winning the conference

            I save overall conference record for later because division wins seem more important for deciding the division champion to me.

            Tiebreaker #6 is designed to encourage a difficult OOC schedule by rewarding good wins. Only in the very unusual situation of teams having multiple OOC opponents in common would losing hurt a team.

            #7 would never be used, since it would essentially require three or more teams to play an identical schedule with identical results, but if that should ever happen then #7 is a reasonable way to select a winner and is a recognition of the conference’s history.

  92. Bamatab says:

    Any of you guys have any connections to Michigan? Looks like there will be several BCS AQ schools looking for new coaches with Miami, Vandy, and Indiana now joining Minnesota and Colorado. I was just wondering what are the chances that Rich Rod sticks around for next season. I’m guessing if they were to fire him, they had better already know whether or not Harbaugh will take the job (since I’m guessing he would be their #1 target).

    • Richard says:

      I’m not connected with Michigan, but no coach would pick any of those schools (besides maybe Miami) over Michigan.

    • zeek says:

      Your last point is probably correct.

      It seems unlikely that they want to go through what they and Notre Dame went through in their earlier coaching searches where they had to settle after preferred candidates turned them down.

      I’d imagine that they only fire Rich Rod if they’re nearly certain they’ll land Harbough. If Harbough declines or indicates he prefers to wait on the NFL or whatever, then they’ll probably keep Rich Rod.

      It’s hard to see who they could find other than Harbough who would be a good fit.

    • Playoffs Now says:

      As Dan Patrick just noted to Peter King, Harbaugh to the 49er’s would allow a relatively easy commute.

      Is it really still that difficult to recruit at Stanford these days? Win next week and they should be in a BCS game (unless the voters screw them) and with USC down Stanford has a good shot at establishing themselves as a top program in the P12. So moving to MI would almost be a lateral move.

      OTOH, how many coaches are lucky enough to be able to jump to the NFL without having to mess with changing houses? And if the 49er’s gig doesn’t work out, there’s a pretty good chance he could return to Stanford or ride out his severance a year or two until it opens back up. I bet he stays put or accepts a 49er’s offer.

      • R says:

        Stanford is finished at 11-1. I would never, ever consider Michigan a lateral move from Stanford from a football and facilites aspect. It is a definite step up. However, if one were to factor in location, location, I, personally, would stay at Stanford. Sorry Ann Arbor lovers, but I spent 20 years in your city. Great place, but Palo Alto is Palo Alto.

    • yahwrite says:

      Brandon has said that he will evaluate after the bowl game. The buyout on RR’s contract is $4 million. After January first the buyout drops to $2.5 million. If they are firing him, they would save money by waiting until January.


    • StvInIL says:

      Question? Can Harbaugh fix the Michigan Defense? I dont know if there is an All American cadidate enrolled in the program as we chat. I am not the biggets fan of Rich Rod , but I can see where the problem is. He needs to hire a good defensive coach who can also recruit.

  93. Adam says:

    Here’s a thought: does anybody have any insight into how they go about choosing who sits on the poll panels, and how many voters are on them? (Forget the Harris Poll.)

    This year and last year, there are 59 voters in the Coaches Poll. In 2008, there were 61. In 2007, it was an even 60.

    Given the high level of granularity that the BCS uses in incorporating these polls (a percentage of every point you could have gotten), it baffles me that everybody just casually accepts this seemingly random process of determining how many and who get to vote. Admittedly, this is nothing new; pre-BCS, everybody just casually accepted the results of the 2 polls as the arbiters of the national championship, also without (apparently) asking these questions.

    • Adam says:

      I know there are issues with the coaches not actually voting, but even if you assume that every coach casts a conscientious ballot, it’s bizarre to me that nobody is pressing this issue.

  94. Playoffs Now says:

    Oh boy, here comes the big conference bullshit on ESPN, arguing that if OR or AU loses, TCU should be jumped or stay behind them because “They didn’t play anybody, and while Boise was ok because they had a marquee win, TCU is not.”

    Let’s see:

    1 – TCU pounded BCS #20 10-2 Utah by 40.

    2 – TCU blew out 8-4 Air Force by 31.

    3 – TCU beat 8-4 SDSU by only 5, but that was after TCU’s OC had a heart attack and was taken to the hospital in the 1st quarter, rallied from down 0-14 in the 1st to up 34-14 at halftime, and then drove the length of the field (all rush plays) at the end of the 4th and took a knee at the SDSU 19 instead of trying to run up the score for beauty points (the way WI would have.)

    Not a squeaker the way AU survived 8-4 Miss St 17-14, or survived 6-6 Clemson in 27-24 in overtime, or survived 6-6 KY 37-34 with a last second field goal, or survived 9-3 BCS #16 AL 28-27. Just saying.

    Not quite the squeaker the way OR survived 5-7 Cal 15-13, though unlike WI (passing on IU when up by 56) OR took a knee at the Cal 13 after driving the field and rushing the final 14 plays instead of running up beauty points.

    4 – TCU whipped 7-5 Baylor by 35.

    5 – TCU beat 7-5 SMU by 17, an SMU that will play in the C-USA championship game. Some idiot on ESPN actually cited this game as why TCU should be jumped by WI or Stan.

    6 – TCU blew out 6-6 BYU by 28.

    7 – TCU had a solid 30-21 win over an OR St that is now 5-6, but this was before their star receiver James Rodgers was lost for the season to injury. Before the injury OR St was 3-2, losing only to TCU and Boise while beating 7-4 AZ, after the injury they were 2-4, but still able to blow out Cal and USC. OR St was a good, solid team when TCU beat them, the loss of Rodgers decimated their passing game.

    So TCU has beaten 6 bowl-eligible teams, or 7 if OR St beats OR (one of the 2 situations where it would matter.) Ohio St has beaten 6 if Ohio is included. WI has beaten 4, or 5 if ASU beats AZ. Stanford has beaten 3 to 6 bowl eligible equivalents (USC can’t go but should count at 7-5) depending on upcoming games. OR has beaten 4 to 6, while AU has beaten 8.

    TCU may not be in an AQ conference, but Ohio State hasn’t beaten anyone with more than 7 wins except for 8-4 Ohio from the MAC, a conference much maligned in B10 country. TCU has 9 blowouts of 27+, one by 17, one by 9, and one by 5 but they took a knee instead of a FG and never threw a pass on the final drive. So for Rod Gilmore to claim that TCU hasn’t really played anyone or been challenged the way the AQ schools have reeks of ignorance.

    • Playoffs Now says:

      Mr. Gilmore, how is a 40-point road win over 10-2 BCS #20 not a marquee win but a 3-point road win over 10-2 BCS #15 is?

      • Richard says:

        They’re nauseating. Craig James seems to think you should judge a team by how the athletes look, not results. By his logic, he’d rather have 5-7 Texas playing for the national title because they have a boatload of 4 & 5 star recruits (I’m sure they’re top 2 in recruiting over the past few years), never mind how those stud athletes have actually performed on the field.

        • Richard says:

          Oh, and I love how James said “we all know what it was like to play in a major conference and in hostile environments with large loud crowds”.

          For the young’uns here, James’ cheatin’ Ponies would have had to do that exactly once a year back in the old SWC.

        • Bullet says:

          TCU fans looked up the AP poll voters. Of 60 voters, only 4 or 5 voted them 4th. Only 1 voted them 5th.

          Craig James voted them 5th. One of the other ESPN guys (forget which one) voted them 4th.

          Does ESPN have an agenda? Mountain West isn’t on ESPN.

          • Bullet says:

            My personal opinion is that TCU has the best team in the country. Auburn is no better than 3rd. I can’t see TCU or Oregon needing a last second FG to beat Kentucky. If Alabama hadn’t lost focus in the 2nd quarter (you could see it in their eyes and demeanor as the 2nd quarter started), it could easily have been 42-7 at halftime (two fumbles deep in Auburn territory and a dropped TD pass on the FG drive). Neither of the other two have played that bad a half.

      • zeek says:

        It’s hard to argue against TCU if Oregon or Auburn loses. In the first place, Stanford hasn’t won its conference and it’s #4. Does anyone want to see an Oregon-Stanford rematch? My guess is no; they had their shot.

        They’ve got a perfect record. They’ve played Oregon State, Baylor, Utah, BYU, Air Force, SDSU, and SMU.

        They all have winning records, and many of those teams hung tough against the best teams in the country: i.e. SDSU lost by 3 to Missouri, and Air Force lost by 3 to Oklahoma. It’s not the flashiest schedule, but to me it looks as good as the 1 loss Pac-10 or Big Ten teams close by.

        They’ve earned a shot if someone ahead of them stumbles. At worst they’ve got a great match up with Wisconsin ahead, so they’ll be in a marquee game either way.

        No Boise-TCU dodge the bullet attempt this year.

        • zeek says:

          Erase the all there, for mostly have winning records…

          The rest of my post stands though, they’ve played enough legitimate teams.

        • ChicagoRed says:

          “They’ve got a perfect record. They’ve played Oregon State, Baylor, Utah, BYU, Air Force, SDSU, and SMU.

          They all have winning records, and many of those teams hung tough against the best teams in the country”

          Wow, you’re kidding I hope. I mean that competition is 2nd to none!

    • UWGradStudent says:

      “… then drove the length of the field (all rush plays) at the end of the 4th and took a knee at the SDSU 19 instead of trying to run up the score for beauty points (the way WI would have.)”

      To any objective observer who actually watches the games or even looks at the box scores, it is obvious that Wisconsin is not running up the score in these games.

      Northwestern vs. Wisconsin:
      -4th Quarter- 14 Run plays/0 Pass plays
      -3rd Quarter- 15 Run plays/1 Pass play
      -Last 18 plays=runs
      -Last Pass= 7:00 in 3rd
      -No points scored in the fourth quarter
      -End of final drive: First and goal at Northwestern 4 yard lines –> knee, knee, knee

      Michigan vs. Wisconsin:
      -4th Quarter- 16 Run plays/0 Pass plays
      -3rd Quarter- 17 Run plays/1 Pass play
      -Last 31 plays=runs
      -Last Pass= 9:53 in 3rd
      -End of final drive: 1st and 10 at Wisconsin 18 yard line –> knee, knee

      Indiana vs. Wisconsin
      -4th Quarter- 9 Run plays/3 Pass plays
      -3rd Quarter- 10 Run plays/7 Pass plays
      -Last 5 plays=runs
      -Last Pass= 7:39 in 4th
      -Touchdowns included a pick-6, a bootleg by the 5th string QB (after gaining the first down, they almost certainly would have kneeled it to end the game), and a broken pass play that should have been intercepted by any competent Big 10 secondary.

      Purdue vs. Wisconsin
      -4th Quarter- 14 Run plays/2 Pass plays
      -3rd Quarter- 7 Run plays/6 Pass plays
      -Last 12 plays=runs
      -Last Pass= 11:40 in 4th

      And possibly most damaging to your assertion, see the Arizona State game. Up by one point, with the ball on the Arizona State 18 yard line, rather than take the easy field goal or go for the touchdown, the last series goes knee, knee, knee.

      Does this even remotely resemble running up the score?

      (borrowed liberally from http://mbd.scout.com/mb.aspx?s=193&f=2560&t=6800981 and the ESPN play-by-plays)

  95. cutter says:

    Based on the current BCS rankings, this would be the college playoff setup going into the final week of the season using Dan Wentzel’s setup in “Kill the BCS”. He has the eleven conference champions plus five at large seeded 1 thru 16 with the higher ranked teams hosting the games at their home stadiums.

    #16 Florida Intl (6-5/Sun Belt Champion) at #1 Auburn (12-0)
    #9 Oklahoma (10-2) at #8 Michigan State (11-1)

    #15 Central Florida or Southern Methodist (Conference USA Champion) at #2 Oregon (11-0)
    #10 LSU (10-2) at #7 Arkansas (10-2)

    #14 Northern Illinois or Miami-Ohio (MAC Champion) at #3 Texas Christian (12-0/MWC Champion)
    #11 Virginia Tech or Florida State (ACC Champion) at #6 Ohio State

    #13 Connecticut (Big East Champion) at #4 Stanford (11-1)
    #12 Nevada (11-1/WAC Champion) at #5 Wisconsin (11-1/Big Ten Champion)

    I’m not in favor of this setup, but the interesting thing about it is that Boise State would be out of the playoff round because Nevada would take its spot as the WAC champion (assuming UN-R wins its final game at Louisiana Tech).

    The SEC Conference championship game would settle Auburn’s final ranking and it would also allow South Carolina a chance to take a spot in the playoff if it became SEC champion.

    The Big XII championship game between Oklahoma and Nebraska also has major implications. Whoever wins definitely gets into the playoffs as conference champion. An OU loss might mean Boise State gets their place back into the playoffs.

    The ACC will only have one team in the playoff and the conference championship game would also decide who goes–Virginia Tech or Auburn.

    UConn is currently the prohibitive Big East champion–they have to beat USF next Saturday to clinch the title. If not them, then West Virginia could take their spot as the sole BE representative.

    The MAC and Conference USA games would also decide who gets into the playoff while Florida International has to win its final game to get the #16 seed.

    I’m not really enamored with this system because the Sun Belt is a tremendously weak conference and the WAC will be in the same boat next season with the loss of Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii to the Mountain West.

    So if you go with the top nine-conference champions and seven at-large, Boise State and Missouri replace the #15 and #16 seeds from above and you get something like this:

    #16 Northern Illinois or Miami-Ohio (MAC Champion) at #1 Auburn (12-0)
    #9 Oklahoma (10-2) at #8 Michigan State (11-1)

    #15 Connecticut (Big East Champion) at #2 Oregon (11-0)
    #10 LSU (10-2) at #7 Arkansas (10-2)

    #14 Nevada (11-1/WAC Champion) at #3 Texas Christian (12-0/MWC Champion)
    #11 Boise State (10-1) at #6 Ohio State (11-1)

    #13 Virginia Tech or Florida State (ACC Champion) at #4 Stanford (11-1)
    #12 Missouri (10-2) at #5 Wisconsin (11-1/Big Ten Champion)

    This looks somewhat more interesting as a playoff system, but it shows one downfall of the rating system with Boise State rated higher than Nevada. In fact, if you just go to automatic qualification for BCS Conference champions with at large bids based on the BCS standings, Nevada wouldn’t be in the playoff.

    #16 Connecticut (Big East Champion) at #1 Auburn (12-0)
    #9 Oklahoma (10-2) at #8 Michigan State (11-1)

    #15 Virginia Tech or Florida State (ACC Champion) at #2 Oregon (11-0)
    #10 LSU (10-2) at #7 Arkansas (10-2)

    #14 Oklahoma State (10-2) at #3 Texas Christian (12-0/MWC Champion)
    #11 Boise State (10-1) at #6 Ohio State (11-1)

    #13 Nebraska (10-2) at #4 Stanford (11-1)
    #12 Missouri (10-2) at #5 Wisconsin (11-1/Big Ten Champion)

    The storylines going into the final week would revolve around the conference championship games and how the winners of the ACC, SEC and Big XII CCGs would help finalize the playoff. The Big East conference championship would also generate interest because of its auto berth in the playoff.

    This final setup also shows why the Mountain West Conference should become a BCS/AQ Conference with the additions being planned (Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada, Hawaii) and if TCU doesn’t jump to the Big East. At the very minimum, there should be strong and serious consideration about getting the MWC into AQ status as long as the Big East maintains it.

    • StevenD says:

      I would quite like a 16 team playoff, but it’s not going to happen. It is more realistic to push for a 5-team playoff using the current BCS bowls. That would put the SEC champ, BigTen champ and Big12 champ into the semi-finals, and Oregon vs TCU in a pre-Christmas bowl for the fourth position.

      • Richard says:

        I have trouble understanding why you’d give the Big12 an easier path than the Pac10/12.

        • cutter says:

          I’m afraid I don’t understand your question (but it’s early yet). Oregon and Stanford are ranked #2 and #4 in the BCS polls and in these playoff scenarios.

          If all the top seeds win in any of the playoff scenarios, then Oregon would host #7 Arkansas and Stanford would host #5 Wisconsin in the second round.

          All the Big XII teams listed (#9 Oklahoma, #12 Missouri, #13 Nebraska, #14 Oklahoma State) play their opening round games in their opponents’ stadiums against the #8, #5, #4 and #2 seeded opponents. I don’t see how you can say those teams getting an easier path than the Pac 10/12 programs.

          Using the last scenario and assuming all the Big XII teams win (and the higher seeds), then that means the second round would be:

          #9 Oklahoma at #1 Auburn
          #14 Oklahoma State at #8 Ohio State
          #13 Nebraska at #12 Missouri

          Because Nebraska would have had to beat Stanford, the only remaining Pac 10/12 team would be Oregon. In the second round the Ducks would be hosting #10 LSU or #7 Arkansas.

          Assuming Stanford beat Nebraska in the first round, the Cardinal would the be hosting Missouri.

          Obviously, if all the higher seeds win in the first round, there would be no Big XII teams advancing to the next stage of the playoffs. The games we’d see would be:

          Michigan State at Auburn
          Arkansas at Oregon
          Ohio State at Texas Christian (Gordon Gee’s nightmare!!!)
          Wisconsin at Stanford

          Go one more step and you would have the Plus One scenario for a mini-playoff with Stanford v. Auburn and Oregon v. TCU.

          Perhaps I should have reset the brackets in this way to better illustrate the semi-championship ending up as 1 v 4 and 2 v 3?

          #16 Connecticut (Big East Champion) at #1 Auburn (12-0)
          #9 Oklahoma (10-2) at #8 Michigan State (11-1)

          #13 Nebraska (10-2) at #4 Stanford (11-1)
          #12 Missouri (10-2) at #5 Wisconsin (11-1/Big Ten Champion)

          #15 Virginia Tech or Florida State (ACC Champion) at #2 Oregon (11-0)
          #10 LSU (10-2) at #7 Arkansas (10-2)

          #14 Oklahoma State (10-2) at #3 Texas Christian (12-0/MWC Champion)
          #11 Boise State (10-1) at #6 Ohio State (11-1)

          #13 Nebraska (10-2) at #4 Stanford (11-1)
          #12 Missouri (10-2) at #5 Wisconsin (11-1/Big Ten Champion)

          Regardless of the scenario, it’s clear that the conference championship games next week would be the topic of major discussion in setting up the playoffs and seeing who would actually be participating.

          To take a brief step into the future, what would we see with the new conference realignments going into the final week of the season and using the teams’ records as they now stand?

          The Big Ten Conference Championship Game would have Michigan State playing Wisconsin. Given their #8 ranking, MSU would face the possbility of being knocked out of the playoffs in the Wentzel’s setup with a loss, but would probably stay in the playoffs in the other scenarios (though they would lose the first round homefield advantage). Ohio State and Nebraska fans would be sitting at home waiting and rooting for the teams whose victories would help their overall seeding.

          In the Pac 10/12, Oregon would perhaps face Utah for the conference championship. While an Oregon loss probably wouldn’t knock them out of most any playoff scenario, this game would represent the Utes’ only chance to get into the playoffs. Stanford fans would be like the ones following Ohio State and Nebraska–they’d be looking at how the final games of the season effect their seeding.

          The SEC championship game has been discussed before–like Utah, this is South Carolina’s chance to get into the playoffs. For Auburn (and Oregon above), it means ensuring getting the top seed in the playoffs and keeping homefield advantage throughout.

          The ACC playoff would decide what would essentially be their solitary berth in the playoffs.

          The Mountain West Conference would be in an interesting situation–at least two of their conference teams would be in and one would be out unless Nevada moved into the Top 16 somehow.

          IMHO, this would make for a lot of storylines and keep a lot of fans’ interest through the end of the regular college football season. Once all the games are over on the first Saturday of December and the seeding is announced the following day, the playoffs begin the following weekend.

      • StevenD says:

        This year I would give the Big12 champ automatic entry to the BCS semi-final (and force Oregon to play TCU for a semi-final spot) because this year the Big12 is a much tougher conference than the Pac10. Currently the Big12 has five teams in the BCS top 20, and the Pac10 has only two. Oregon had one tough game (Stanford) — Oklahoma had four (Missouri, A&M, OSU, Florida State) plus the CCG (Nebraska). There is no comparison.

        The biggest problem with the BCS is that it favors strong teams in weak conferences (Boise, TCU, Oregon). They easily go undefeated and rise to the top of the rankings. Meanwhile strong teams in strong conferences face tough competition week after week and easily pick up a loss or two. Take Alabama, for example. If it played in the Pac 10, it would probably be undefeated and headed to the NCG.

        The best way to organize the semi-final BCS bowls is to give automatic entry to the champions of the two (or three) strongest conferences. Most years this will be the SEC and the BigTen. I suggest the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl be used for the semi-finals, with the BigTen champ going to the Rose and the SEC champ to the Sugar. The other two semi-final slots could go to the top ranking BCS teams (although I would prefer to send them to a pre-Christmas bowl with the winner going to the semi-finals). Naturally, if a Pac10 team qualifies for the semi-final, it will go to the Rose Bowl to play the BigTen champ.

        I believe that having BCS semi-finals between the champions of the two (or three) toughest conferences and the two highest ranking teams not in those conferences would have a lot of credibility. Teams in tough conferences would have the opportunity to fight their way to the NCG while teams in weak conferences would get their chance via the BCS rankings.

    • Bullet says:

      Actually, the WAC looks like it will be a 3 way tie for the champion. Hawaii is done at 7-1 and Boise and NV are both 6-1. Hawaii beat NV by 6 at home and lost by 35 at Boise.

  96. Bullet says:

    One article talking about TCU to BE pointed out there could have easily been a bigger injustice than Boise and NV being left out. There was a real possibility had Boise won out that TCU would have been left out and relegated to Las Vegas (or a 12-0 Boise if TCU was ahead in BCS). If Boise and the favorites won out, it would have been Oregon-Auburn in BS championship, Boise-WI in Rose, OU-UConn in Fiesta, OSU-Ark in Sugar and Orange would have VT and would have to choose among: 12-0 TCU, 11-1 Stanford, 10-2 Ok St. & Missouri or 10-3 UNL with their red hoards if they finished high enough to qualify. If TCU had finished ahead of a 12-0 Boise, the Orange would not have chosen a Boise-VT rematch.

    • Richard says:

      Assumes UConn wins the BE. If WVU wins, the Orange could very well choose them.

      • Bullet says:

        WVU travels well, but they would still be 9-3 and the Orange would have to consider how well a matchup of two upper Appalachian schools would do on TV. They might be more inclined to invite WVU if FSU wins ACC. Regardless of whether its VT or FSU in the ACC and WVU, UConn or Pitt from the BE, I still think Orange is most likely to pass on BE champ, forcing the Fiesta to take them. The Orange will probably take Stanford (in the hypothetical situation-probably a B12 school unless the BCS politics pressured them to take Stanford or the 12-0 non-AQ school).

        • Richard says:

          Bowls care most about butts in seats. Stanford would bring few fans. So VTech winning means the Orange would almost certainly want WVU (if they are available) over Stanford.

  97. [...] Podcast with Black Heart Gold PantsYou Mess With The Bulls, You Get The Horns: NBA Preview 2006-07A Modest Proposal for the Big East, TCU, Boise State and Others: The Big Country ConferenceChoose Your Own Adventure For Big East Expansion: It's Not Easy Being Green (or Purple)Big East BFF [...]

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