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Tag:SEC
Posted on: February 29, 2012 6:39 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 6:53 pm
 

Pinkel: 'Common sense' will lead MU-KU to play

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said his school and Kansas will play again “when common sense takes over emotion.”

Pinkel has been a strident supporter of keeping the KU-Missouri series alive as the Tigers head to the SEC. The argument between the two sides over the century-old rivalry has, if anything, increased after Saturday’s basketball game in Lawrence. KU’s overtime win may be the last meeting of the two schools in a major sport. Kansas has said it has no interest in playing Missouri since it is leaving the Big 12.

“It will be a great continued rivalry and it could happen this year if we really wanted it to happen,” Pinkel said. “It’s all choices. We’re ready to do it anytime.”

The war of words between the two camps isn’t going to end anytime soon. At the end of interview on other subjects Wednesday in his office, Pinkel reacted to a quote from Bill Self after Saturday’s hoops games.

“It’s not the same,” Self said of the rivalry continuing. “Missouri has got to market their future. We’re their past.”

Pinkel said he is convinced that the schools will play again in football and basketball. The rivals have played since 1892 in football and 1907 in basketball.

“There will come a time when, without question, that in Kansas City at the beginning of the football season, hopefully Missouri and Kansas will play,” he said. “That will happen sometime, when common sense takes over emotion. There is sometime when, in Kansas City, Mo., KU and Mizzou will play basketball too.”

The teams have played a neutral-site football game at Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium since 2007. There is speculation the schools could meet in the future for a non-conference basketball game at Kansas City’s Sprint Center. There is still a possibility the teams could meet at next week’s Big 12 tournament and, less likely, in the NCAA tournament.

“That rivalry can last forever and ever and ever,” Pinkel said. “It gets kind of comical after a while the more you hear about it, especially when you hear it coming from Kansas City.”

Some Missouri supporters in and around Kansas City had been more vocal about staying in the Big 12 than in other parts of the state. The Big 12 traces its basketball tournament roots in Kansas City back to 1977 in the old Big Eight. The four-year-old Sprint Center was built, in part, as a way to keep that tournament in town.

“Everywhere in the state, everyone has kind of accepted it and you go into Kansas City – and Kansas City is a great city for Mizzou football and basketball – [but] after a while [pausing] … it’s going to happen,” Pinkel said. “When common sense takes over and we relax a little bit why would it not?"


Posted on: February 25, 2012 10:03 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2012 11:56 pm
 

The Last Border War in Lawrence is the best

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Thank you John Brown, Bloody Bill Quantrill, Norm Stewart, Phog Allen -- and God.

If Saturday was the last Missouri-Kansas game, then it will be everlasting. YouTube, cell phone and video all will preserve the images. But there will also be memories. Good, old-fashioned remembrances that will be handed down from generation to generation. Synapses that will fire one on death beds one last time for some of the 16,300 who witnessed a classic -- and a shame.

In the 105th year of the rivalry, Missouri and Kansas played with the urgency that this was their last regular-season conference game against each other -- which was fitting. If this is truly it for the Border War, the hoarse, sweat-drenched fanatics who jammed Allen Fieldhouse will go to their graves knowing these teams never played this hard against each other.

Until Saturday.

"It's a shame that it's going to end," Kansas' Bill Self said, "but it’s definitely going to end. Playing them once a year with nothing on the line doesn't carry the same value as playing twice a year with a championship on the line."

That was the central theme Saturday with Missouri leaving for the SEC after this season. No matter what happens, it's just not going to be the same anymore. Post SEC announcement, the Kansas stance has been: "Missouri is the one leaving the conference, why should we do them any favors by playing them in the future?" Missouri's general retort: "Why are you throwing away all this tradition?"

Nothing is scheduled and may not be for a while -- if ever.

So it terms of a walk-off to the rivalry, it was David Freese in Game 6. It was Kanye dropping rhymes, then dropping the mic and walking offstage. It was a kick in the jewels to tradition.

In the 267th meeting between these two eternal rivals, KU-MU played one that could have lasted from here to eternity. In the end, it was elongated by one overtime and won by one point. Kansas, 87-86. 

Missouri could have been a contendah, stealing the last Big 12 title they would ever play for and keeping it forever. Instead, Kansas clinched at least a share of the conference title for the eighth straight year. For the Tigers, SEC-ond place never felt so bad. 

“That was as good as it gets,” Self said. “Plus, recruits were here so I was hamming it up too.”

Self saluted the crowd in is own walk-off [the court]. They did their part raising the decibel level somewhere between 747 takeoff and Who concert. Jayhawkers couldn’t have stood for Missouri winning its final game in Lawrence. One woman sprinted down an aisle in the final seconds with a sign stating: "Missouri Forfeits A Century-Old Tradition. Kansas Wins."

For now. Yes, the series is over but with an asterisk. We should all root for a rubber match in next month's Big 12 tournament. That would probably be in the championship game. Talk about walk offs.

They're both good enough that a fourth meeting in the NCAA tournament is not out of the question.

"I wouldn’t have a problem playing them again," Kansas’ Tyshawn Taylor. "Sign me up."

But the series is definitely over in Lawrence which already begs the question: How long will all this be remembered? Just recall how the rivalry started, amid the bloodshed of the Civil War.

There was a fan dressed up as John Brown, the revolutionary abolitionist. NCAA national championship trophy in one hand, 2008 Orange Bowl trophy in the other. Noted pro-slave terrorist Quantrill and his raiders -- thankfully not portrayed on Saturday -- burned Lawrence to the ground 160 years ago. Of the four persons listed in the lede of this blog -- both real and basketball Border War participants -- only one is still alive.

And good, old Norm, bless is heart, just turned 77.

So roll over Phog Allen, tell Bill Self the news.

It wasn't just the best game of the college basketball season, it was arguably the best of those 105 years. Missouri was up 19 in the second half. The last time Missouri led at Kansas by 19 was the Paleozic Era, or at least 1999. That was the last the Tigers won here.

Kansas made less than half its free throws in the first half which had to delight the Missouri fan at the top of Section 15. Each time a Jayhawk would go to the line he'd scream "S-E-C." Kansas fans were beside themselves. Amid the silence providing their beloved Jayhawks with the needed concentration, they couldn't respond.

It was the perfect strategy until Kansas made everything, scoring 55 in the second half and overtime.

Kansas' Thomas Robinson ran into foul trouble, then played himself back into the national player of the year conversation with 28 points and 12 rebounds. If T-Rob does nothing else the rest of his career, they will commission paintings of his swat of Phil Pressey’s driving layup as time expired in regulation.

The ball landed somewhere east of here in DeSoto, Kan. OK, that was hyperbole. The painting, though, was actually the real deal. There was an artist in a corner of the old gym going Leroy Neiman on a canvas as the game went on.

"Playing Missouri, unfortunately, does mean something," Self admitted. "It means something to me. I was at Illinois and coached against Missouri when I was there. I hated nothing more than losing to Missouri."

That hate may never be felt on the court again. Kansas will continue to be a national power. Missouri basketball will fit nicely into the SEC. But now it’s over, at least in Lawrence. We'll just have to remember Saturday being the best.

"I read an article … it said pretty much how I feel. It's not the same," Self said. "Missouri has got to market their future. We're their past.

"[But] for it to end like this is pretty cool."


Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 14, 2012 1:05 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 3:30 pm
 

Big 12 schedule released -- finally

It was the most anticipated schedule since Elvis’ coat went on tour

The Big 12 finally released its 2012 football schedule on Tuesday – most of it, at least – to the relief of schools and scores of sportswriters. Don’t forget the fans. They’re they ones who apparently crashed West Virginia’s website briefly on Tuesday.

The primary news was the school finally extricating itself legally from the Big East. Call it the legal version of all those switchbacks in the state’s noted mountain landscape. The delay built anticipation. The schedule release itself could have been sold as a prime-time event.

(I just put an idea into a marketer’s mind somewhere but moving on …) To put Tuesday’s developments in perspective, the Pac-12 and SEC released their schedules in late December and early January. The delay also means it's a sellers’ market, if you’re a football bottom feeder willing to yourself to the highest bidder. There is talk of I-AA schools (FBS) with openings on their schedule getting $800,000-$1 million to come get their butts beat by a BCS school.

Either the Big 12 or Big East was going to get screwed by where West Virginia ended up. Turns out it’s the Big East – although $20 million richer – that is looking for an extra non-conference game for its teams now that the Mountaineers have left. That could change if somehow Boise State is able to get to the Big East in 2012

That’s why the simple release of a football schedule became an economic mystery.

Interim commissioner Chuck Neinas promised a Feb. 1 deadline. It came and went with only TV partners getting a copy. Somehow Texas Tech’s schedule slipped out early on Friday. Apparently forgotten was the fact there are people – some call them fans – trying to schedule and budget in order to see some of those Big 12 games. They will do so knowing that Oklahoma still had two holes in its schedule, although there are indications contracts could be signed shortly.

In a weird piece of realignment fallout, West Virginia paid the Big East that $20 million for the right to go to Ames, Iowa. That’s another way of saying that Iowa State is the Mountaineers’ closest opponent now that it is in the 10-team Big 12.

“We had a great legal team,” said Oliver Luck, West Virginia’s AD.

Hooray for that. Courtroom prowess replaced proximity in the mad realignment dash long ago. The Big East and whatever Conference USA/Mountain West calls itself in the future are spread coast to coast. Texas AD DeLoss Dodds continues to work on Notre Dame forming some kind of non-football alliance with the Big 12. Never mind that the closest Big 12 school for the Irish is two states away.

Louisville desperately wants into the Big 12. BYU still might be a possibility in the future. The Big 12 could get to 11 easily in 2013. The problem is finding a 12th team that is a good fit. So Tuesday’s announcement is one of those clip-and-save moments. It’s a 10-team Big 12 for now. There are still some holes in the schedule but at least we have a working model.

Back in November Big 12 officials flew out to Morgantown for a reception welcoming the Mountaineers as a replacement for Texas A&M or Missouri. Not sure which. It doesn’t matter. TCU is also in after a slightly shorter dalliance itself with the Big East.

Point is, the unification of Big East defector and the Pure Prairie League didn’t become reality until Tuesday. Time for another reception?

“As you may be aware the Big 12 is a very stable conference,” Luck added.

 We’re not but that’s not the point right now.

 

The highlights …

--The “new” Big 12 kicks off Sept. 15 with TCU playing its first Big 12 game at Kansas.

--Each team will have a double-bye, the function of 12 games being played in a 14-week college football calendar in 2012.

 --The first beer served in a Big 12 game since Colorado was a member will be Sept. 29 when Baylor visits for West Virginia’s conference opener. We’ll let that issue breath a bit as you consider alcohol-serving state school vs. Baptist flagship.

For now, call it the Lawsuit Bowl. Five months ago Baylor was threatening to sue the SEC over its “poaching” of Texas A&M. West Virginia had sued the Big East to get out of the conference (and were sued right back).

 --Eight of the 10 teams will be in action on the last day of the season (Dec. 1). That’s a brilliant piece of scheduling making it more likely that the Big 12 title will be in play the same weekend as the SEC, ACC, Pac-12 and Big Ten play conference title games.

Last year, Oklahoma State clinched the title on the last day of the season against Oklahoma. Robert Griffin III more or  less clinched the Heisman Trophy on the same day after beating Texas.

--The conference's showcase game -- the Red River Shootout -- is Oct. 13 the week after Oklahoma plays at Texas Tech and Texas hosts West Virginia.

 In case you’re counting this is the third different lineup for the Big 12 in three years.  This time it just might work – at least until Notre Dame says yes. Just don’t put a deadline on it.  

Posted on: February 6, 2012 12:40 pm
 

Emmert contacts DI CEOs on scholarship issue

NCAA president Mark Emmert has reached out to Division I presidents urging them to support what is becoming the controversial implementation of four-year scholarships.

In a document obtained by CBSSports.com, Emmert asks the presidents to defeat the override proposal on legislation that is allowing four-year scholarships for athletes. Previously, scholarships had been renewed annually, sometimes at the whim of a coach. The four-year measure was approved in October, but 82 schools subsequently signed an override petition.  

“It [override] will take away the opportunity for multi-year support for thousands of student-athletes,” Emmert wrote in the letter. “As we are a presidentially led Association, it is important that you direct what the vote of your institution will be. I encourage you to defeat the override of this proposal.”

Presidents can vote online next week beginning Feb. 13 through 5 pm ET on Feb. 17.   

The petition required the NCAA board of directors to reconsider. It will take 222 schools out of 355 in Division I to override the measure. Last week various reports stated that the majority of Big Ten schools support the measure, which was encouraged by commissioner Jim Delany. According to those reports at least eight of the conference’s 12 schools awarded four-year scholarships on National Signing Day.

“You’re going to graduate,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said last week. “We have that obligation.”

The rest of the 120 schools in Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) are split at best on the issue based on an informal canvassing of the division’s 11 conferences.  SEC commissioner Mike Slive supported the measure as early as July as part of a national reform agenda. Auburn went on record last week as saying it awarded four-year scholarships to its latest recruiting class.

If FBS is split, that suggests that approximately 70 percent of the remaining 235 Division I schools (approximately 162) are going to vote for the override in order to defeat the measure.

If the proposal survives, four-year scholarships would still be optional only for each school. The one-year renewable scholarship has been in effect since 1973. Since then coaches have been able to “cut” athletes for sub-standard performance on the field. The existing proposal would still allow scholarships to be revoked year-to-year due to academic or off-field issues.

Even then, there could be subjective issues defining off-field conduct.

“I’d be surprised, frankly, if it’s overridden,” said Chad Hawley, the Big Ten’s associate commissioner for compliance. “The proposal come out of a working group on student-athlete welfare. Nationally there seems to be a commitment to keeping it in play. I’d be more surprised than not if it went away.”

Supporters are worried about the practice “running off” players who do not fit when a new coach takes over. Critics have said the measure pits large, well-funded athletic departments against smaller schools. The Associated Press reported that Boise State said in its override request that four-year scholarships would be a “recruiting disaster.”

"There is never a guarantee that the incoming student-athlete will be a good fit for the program and the institution," the school stated. "If it is a poor fit, the program is put in a difficult situation to continue to keep a student-athlete on scholarship."

Last month, the board delayed implementation of the annual $2,000 player stipend. It asked that the working group to come back with a modified proposal by April. Even if a new proposal gets through in April, it would have to survive a 60-day comment period. During that time there would be a second chance to override.

Both actions (stipend/scholarships) came out of an August presidential summit in Indianapolis. Critics attacked the stipend for being implemented too soon. Also, there was a concern about affordability, especially for some schools outside of BCS conferences.

The heading of Emmert’s letter states: “Subject: Student-Athlete Well Being” It goes on to state, “ … I need you to participate in the vote. I encourage you to defeat the override of the proposal that will allow student-athletes to receive multi-year scholarships.”

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: February 3, 2012 2:27 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2012 9:20 pm
 

It's Urban's world, Big Ten -- deal with it

The irony is that Urban Meyer and Lane Kiffin have almost become buds.

“As bizarre as this is because our relationship has been so public, I actually get along with him, probably, now,” Meyer told me this week. “We actually have conversations now. He’s fine. We’re fine. He apologized. I said, ‘I acted like a child too.’ ”

It was three years ago, that Kiffin started a year-long tweaking of the SEC establishment by accusing Meyer, then at Florida, of breaking NCAA rules.

“I love the fact that Urban had to cheat and still didn’t get him,” Kiffin said of the now infamous and inaccurate accusation regarding receiver Nu’Keese Richardson.

Left in Kiffin’s wake were a half-dozen secondary violations remaining from his zeal to remake the Vols. As we know, his one-act play at Tennessee is long over. Kiffin has rehabbed both USC and his image the last two seasons.

“He reached out,” Ohio State's new coach said of Kiffin. “I reached back. Me and his dad [Monte] have been friends for a long time. I was as [much to blame] as anybody. I was very childish and egotistical. Then he reached out and said, ‘You know what? We didn’t start out on the right foot.’ “

This all comes in the context of a lot of childishness, Big Ten style. In the past 48 hours, Meyer has morphed from rock star free-agent savior come down from the heavens to rescue Ohio State football, to a recruiting bottom feeder. In the unholy marriage of Twitter, internet and incessant electronic talkfests, there were strong words thrown around to describe Meyer’s recruiting methods.

“Illegal,” said Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema.

“Unethical,” said Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio.

Really quickly, Meyer has become the Lane Kiffin of the Big Ten. Meyer’s boss, Gene Smith, felt compelled to issue a statement Friday. Without actually saying it, the coaches seemed to intimate that Meyer was “flipping” recruits, getting them to come to Ohio State after they’d committed to other schools. The description used Wednesday on National Signing Day was that Meyer had signed eight players who had previously committed to other schools.

So what? Flipped, turned. Whatever. The man had a few short days to fix Ohio State in recruiting, with a bowl ban thrown in to work around. The problem is as the story develops, it lacks nuance, subtly and context. You have to read the full quotes from Bielema and Dantonio (below).

I was in Meyer’s office Thursday and told him about Bielema’s Wednesday statements.

“He [Bielema] called and said that [pausing] It really wasn’t our staff, it was the previous [staff],” Meyer said, “something about where a pro player called a kid or something like that. A former Buckeye called a kid. That’s all I remember. I checked into it, there’s no truth to anything.”

Unethical? Name me a coach who hasn’t signed a recruit who had been favoring another school. It’s how the industry works. It’s cutthroat. It’s brutal.

“I tell our guys,” Meyer said, “you really have no value to a program if you can’t recruit.”

All this reminds me of the great Ricky Bobby who once said, “If you’re not first, you’re last.”

Good call. There are no second places in a recruiting. You either get the guy or you don’t. As long as no NCAA or civil laws are broken, it’s every recruiter for himself. By some estimates, Meyer landed four kids who had committed to Penn State. It would have been a recruiting sin, if he didn’t pick over the remains of Penn State football. In fact, who didn't go after Penn State recruits? Maybe the best question for Meyer is, “Four? Why didn’t you get six?”

Speaking at high school coaches’ clinic Friday morning, Meyer had enough. He was quoted as saying (rhetorically): “You’re pissed because we went after a committed guy? Guess what, we got nine guys [recruiters] who better go do it again. Do it a little harder next time.”

How does that taste, Big Ten? Bielema told the Sporting News that Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez would speak to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany Friday about Meyer’s recruiting methods. There’s one problem with that. Let’s say that Meyer pissed off a bunch of Big Ten coaches by taking their commits. Again, so what? “Commit” should be stricken from recruiting glossary along with “slight lean” and “strong verbal.” They are contrived terms meant to shame a player into what has become some sort of promise/marriage/sacred bond.

But let’s say that somehow Delany pushes through an official Big Ten stance that no coach can intrude on a “committed” recruit. The one big problem: Even if all 12 Big Ten schools agree, there are 108 other FBS programs who won’t.

In fact, recruiters will be laughing all the way to their private planes during recruiting season. How do you think SEC coaches are going to react if the Big Ten coaches all agree to this little “gentlemen’s agreement?”

Probably by winning a seven consecutive national championship, for starters.  

“Gentlemen’s agreement?,” one incredulous former major-college assistant told me Friday. “[Recruiting] is a Clint Eastwood movie. ‘Hang ‘Em High, ‘The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.’ Are you kidding me? Gentleman’s agreement?”

Context was an issue here. I had a Michigan State official call me to explain Dantonio’s quotes. Read the entire Bielema statement from signing day. Kind of takes some of the starch out of a flaming controversy that continues to have kindling thrown on it. Michigan State defensive coordinator "starts a recruiting rivalry."

You would hope. In fact, there should be a recruiting rivalry should exist with every Big Ten team. The Spartans haven't been to a Rose Bowl in almost 25 years.

Anyway, here's the full quotes ... 


Mark Dantonio
speaking in general on Wednesday:

"I would say it's pretty unethical. You ask people for a commitment, you ask for people's trust, ask for people to make a commitment to you, but then you turn around and say it's OK to go back after somebody else's commitment. That's a double standard.

"Everybody's got a job to do, there's a lot of pressure, but we're all grown men and we're trying to do a job, just like society today in every respect, whether it's a reporter or doctor or lawyer or somebody else. People are gonna try and do their job, they're gonna do what they have to do to get it done sometimes."

Specifically on Urban Meyer:

“They've got a new coach, there's differences when a new coach comes in. It's a new testing of the waters, but it's a two-way street, it's always a two-way street. There's always gotta be the other person listening, too. I think when it becomes a matter of twisting somebody, when you're a 50-year-old man or 40-year-old man twisting a 17-year-old, that's when it's wrong.

"I'm not saying that's happening in the Big Ten Conference, but I see that happening around the country. That happens when somebody decommits on the day of signing day and you've got to wonder about that."
 
Dantonio then released this statement on Friday: "Let me be clear: Some general recruiting statements I made were completely taken out of context when combined together by a reporter not in attendance. The timing of my comments was a reflection of an occurring matter on Signing Day and nothing to do with Urban Meyer at Ohio State. My comments regarding 'unethical' behavior were general in nature, according to my current coaching philosophy, and not directed toward any particular institution." 

Question to Bret Bielema on Wednesday: Is Urban Meyer’s hiring changed recruiting in the Upper Midwest and in the Big Ten?

Bielema:  "Well, I don’t think it, I hope it doesn’t change. I think the potential to change has been there. And, there’s a few things that happened early on that I made people be aware of that I didn’t want to see in this league that I had seen take place at other leagues, other recruiting tactics, other recruiting practices that are illegal. And I was very up front and was very pointed to the fact. I actually reached out to Coach Meyer and shared my thoughts and concerns with him, and the situation got rectified.

“But the one thing I love about this league, it was kind of funny, when I was a younger coach, I was offered a job in another league, right? And this coach, I was working for $175,000 for Coach Alvarez, and he asked me what I was making, and I said I was making $175,000. He goes, ‘how many year contract?’ I said, ‘zero, just a one-year contract.’ He goes, ‘I’ll offer you $350,000 in a four-year contract.’ And I’m like, ‘ah, I don’t think so. You know, it’s not, money is not important to me at this point. I kind of want to stay where I’m at in the Big Ten. It’s got great values. I’m at a great place, a great institution.’

He goes, ‘okay, I’ll make it $450,000, and I’ll give you a five-year guarantee.’ I said, ‘okay, now I’ve got to talk to you.’ But it did make a point of interest to me. I didn’t tell you that I was just joking. But it was a real offer that was out there. And he said to me, ‘you know what the difference between the Big Ten and this conference is?’

And I said, ‘no.’ He said, ‘in the Big Ten, everybody tells on everybody. In our conference, nobody tells on anybody.’ And that made a huge comment to me. And I’ve been very cognizant of that, encourage our coaches to play by the books, to do things in a certain way. If you have to lie, cheat, or steal to get someone here, it doesn’t make a great point once you get them here about how you’ve got to handle them.

“So I think that’s the point that I’ll take moving forward. Our league is based on certain values that we’re going to hold to be true. And, you know, if you don’t hold to those things to be true in our conference, well, you’ll be held accountable.”

There’s a couple of ways of fixing this “situation.” It sounds like Delany is going to have to have a come-to-Jesus meeting with his coaches to stop the backbiting. It happened with the SEC’s Mike Slive a couple of years ago when Kiffin was in full throat.

The other is to establish an early signing day, say the first week of December. High school players can be left alone to concentrate on state playoffs and their studies. Families don’t have to waste money on last-minute unofficial visits. Best of all, it relieves the pressure Signing Day, a date that has evolved into becoming an end to the process. 

It’s actually the beginning of a two-month signing period, but they don’t want you to know that. That’s an issue for another day. For now, it’s Urban’s world and the Big Ten is only living in it. 

Posted on: January 9, 2012 2:31 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2012 2:43 pm
 

Don't expect Plus One anytime soon

NEW ORLEANS – Judging from early returns on the BCS reformation front, don’t get your hopes up about even a modest college football playoff.

The BCS commissioners will meet here Tuesday for the first time formally this year in what promises to be a historic 2012. Changes are expected to the BCS after the current four-year contract expires after the 2014 bowls (2013 season). Because of television contracts, the commissioners must come forward this year with what roundly assumed to be a new postseason model.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive went on record last week as saying there will be major changes in college football’s postseason.

“Not just tweaks,” Slive added.

That was major news from one of the game’s power brokers who was previously on the fence about the issue. Since then, Slive has gone underground not speaking to media about the subject. BCS executive director Bill Hancock said Monday that, “Whatever we do, we have to protect the regular season.”

That begs the question whether a much-discussed Plus One (four-team playoff) would intrude on the regular season. That’s code for the sport’s attendance and TV ratings, both of which are at all-time highs lately.

“The truest thing that’s been said is the preservation of the regular season,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN’s senior vice president, college sports programming. “Obviously we fully subscribe to that as well. The money that flows to the conferences for regular season rights really underpins the enterprise a lot of ways. To us, it’s critically important.”


That led one source close to the process to say he expects “business as usual” in the BCS after the 11 commissioners and Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick get closer to the process during the annual BCS meetings in late April.

“A lot of sports will kill for the problems college football has, from a media standpoint,” Magnus added, speaking at the Football Writers Association of America annual breakfast meeting. 

Hancock stressed that, “tomorrow is just the beginning. Everything is on the table.”

It is almost a certainty that automatic qualifying status is gone after the current deal. That has one of the BCS’ biggest hang-ups. The champions of the six major conferences (ACC, SEC, Big 12, Big East, Pac12, Big Ten) awarded a BCS bowl. The ACC and Big East have particularly underperformed during the history of the BCS.

What form the sport’s postseason will take in 2014 is up for much debate:

--One solution could be a so-called, unseeded Plus One. The top two teams would be selected after the major bowls to play for the national championships. Those teams would be selected by BCS standings, a human committee or both.
That raises the question whether the Rose Bowl would want to participate. The bowl and its partners (Pac-12, Big Ten) prefer not to be in anything that would resemble a national playoff.

--A four-team Plus One is a possibility but it wouldn’t work this year. It would include two teams (Alabama, Stanford) that didn’t win their conferences. Meanwhile, Pac-12 champion, Oregon, would be left out.

--Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany has proposed the bowls get out of conference partnerships (except for the Rose Bowl) and the sport merely stages a 1 vs. 2 game each season.

--Within those two proposals is the possibility that bowls themselves may bid on getting those games. There is already a perception that the Cotton Bowl may join the BCS championship rotation in the next contract.

--The Mountain West is on record proposing a full-on 16-team playoff. That probably won’t happen but hasn’t stopped commissioner Craig Thompson from trying.

“There’s got to be a better system,” Thompson said.

Hancock said the process could last until June.

“The start of the second quarter will happen here tomorrow,” he said. “There’s no leader in the clubhouse.”

After New Orleans, the commissioners next meet in February in Dallas.

In other news:

--The issue of whether the Mountain West gains automatic qualifying status for the next two seasons will not be addressed anytime soon. Thompson said too many of the 12 BCS Presidential Oversight Committee are out of pocket to vote on the matter.

The Mountain West is asking for a waiver to be included in the BCS on a temporary basis in the last two years of the current rotation in 2012 and 2013. The conference has attained some of the benchmarks set for BCS inclusion, but not all. The Mountain West would need nine of 12 votes.

“I’m not overly optimistic,” Thompson said.

--Virginia Tech president Charles Steeger has formally replaced Graham Spanier as chairman of that oversight committee. Spanier left Penn State late last year amid the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Posted on: January 1, 2012 12:16 pm
Edited on: January 1, 2012 12:18 pm
 

Looking back at 2011, ahead to 2012

Recapping 2011, anticipating 2012 (more or less) A-Z …



American Football Coaches Association: It was not a good year for the professional organization that counted Jim Tressel and Joe Paterno among its members. There wasn’t a peep of contrition or explanation in 2011 out of the old boys’ club that continues to have an ethics committee as part of its structure.

Meanwhile, the AFCA continues to rig a BCS system it profits from in the coaches’ poll. Before coaches demand accountability from media, players and assistants, they need to give up control of a poll that holds the purse strings to a multi-million system and awards its final No. 1 ranking to the BCS title game winner.


BCS: After the championship game, the BCS continues to deliver some stultifying matchups.

Michigan-Virginia Tech? (Where was Boise, Kansas State?)

Clemson-West Virginia? (Six combined losses?)

Oklahoma State-Stanford is nice in the Fiesta Bowl but there are those who believe the Cowboys should be playing LSU in New Orleans. A Plus-One wouldn’t totally fix things but we’d love to see one this season – No. 1 seed LSU vs. No. 4 Stanford and No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Oklahoma State.

Unfortunately, the next chance for change, 2014, looks to be more of the same. The Pac-12 and Big Ten aren’t likely to allow the Rose Bowl to become a national semifinal. Even a Plus-One wouldn’t account for No. 7 Boise, a team that was a missed kick away from playing for the national championship.

 

BCS trivia: Nick Saban (4-1) and Les Miles (5-2) have each beaten Alabama at least four times as SEC coaches.

 

BYU: Courted by the Big 12 and Big East (at least) during conference realignment, BYU stood strong and stayed independent in 2011. Whether the Cougars’ status stays that way remains to be seen. Glory is still elusive. A seventh consecutive bowl resulted in the world’s largest Mormon school beating the FBS school with the smallest enrollment (Tulsa) in the final 12 seconds in the Armed Forces Bowl.

 

Charlie Weis: Quietly, Notre Dame’s former coach accounted for the biggest recruiting day in the history of Kansas football. On December 22, Weis lured quarterbacks Dayne Crist (Notre Dame) and Jake Heaps (BYU) as transfers.

OK, it’s only Kansas and it’s a couple former five-star quarterbacks who underachieved. But as long as Weis is in Lawrence, Kansas will be worth our attention. The Big 12 is a quarterback league. Weis has his for at least the next three years. He and the Jayhawks will be a story as Weis tries to rehab  his college coaching image.

Conference realignment: In the chase for money and automatic qualifying status, networks and commissioners couldn’t help themselves. They acted like businessmen at a strip club during happy hour, making it rain. The change was so fast and furious that we’re still not sure what conference West Virginia will play in 2012.

 

David Boren: Oklahoma’s president trashed the Big 12 and then-commissioner Dan Beebe one day. Then, after finding out 24 hours the Pac-12 wasn’t going to take his Sooners, he shifted stance and said he was actually trying to save the league.

Oklahoma’s former governor is a dangerous, manipulative, powerful, fascinating figure. Just don’t cross him. Boren ran Beebe out of the Big 12 in one of the great injustices of the year.

 

Death Cam: On the second-last day of 2011, there was a sobering warning for 2012. An ESPN SkyCam almost smashed an Iowa player Friday night during the Insight Bowl. Dear networks: Our desire to see every possible angle has been sated. We’ve got HD, blimps and replay. We don’t need a debilitating injury – or worse.

 

LaMichael James: Quietly – yes, quietly – “LaMike” became one of the era's most dangerous weapons and the best running back in Oregon history. If James stays for his senior season, which he is not likely to do, he would challenge Ron Dayne for the NCAAA career rushing record.

As it is, James will have plenty left for the NFL because of his efficiency (6.6 yards per carry, only 746 career carries). The question is, can the leading edge of Chip Kelly’s quick-strike offense survive as a pro at only 5-foot-9, 185 pounds?

 

Lane Kiffin: Before Todd Graham jilted Pittsburgh, Monte’s boy was bolting Tennessee after a season. Funny, how we’ve forgotten. Lane matured before our eyes in 2011 leading the probation-crippled USC to a 10-2 record, including a win at Pac-12 champion Oregon.

It looks like the Trojans are back. This time, Kiffin isn’t going anywhere.

 

LSU: Look at the roster. It’s so young. The SEC defensive player of the year is a sophomore (Tyrann Mathieu). There are 13 sophomores (or younger) in the two-deep. On defense. These Tigers were built to win in 2012. This season has been gravy.

No matter what happens Jan. 9, the Tigers are a good bet to start as the 2012 preseason No. 1.

 

Matt Barkley: Probation, what probation? USC’s blond, Hollywood-ready quarterback is returning for his senior season Leinart-style. After a 10-win season during a second consecutive bowl-ban season, the Trojans will likely start 2012 in the top five and be the Pac-12 favorites.

 

Mike Leach: He’s baaaack and that’s good for all of us. The talk turns from lawsuits to alignments again for The Pirate who has been out of the game too long. Things are about to get real interesting in Pullman.



NCAA:
The sometimes secret association opened itself up in 2011 – to media, to the public, to its members. There were countless press releases. Some of them named names of wrongdoers, calling out Cecil Newton, calling out media Also, welcoming media during a revealing Enforcement Experience in May.

What a emerged was a more accessible NCAA but one that, at times, was more interested in promoting itself than addressing the issues. That August summit was a great idea but moved too fast to the point that groundbreaking stipend and scholarship legislation was overridden. The decision to allow the Buckeye Five to play in the Sugar Bowl a year ago remains inexplicable.

 

Notre Dame: Weis recruited quarterbacks but couldn’t produce enough wins. So far, Brian Kelly can’t even get the quarterback thing straight. The Irish are becoming something they can never be – boring. After losing to Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl, ND is now 2-10 in its last 12 postseason games.

Its last two coaches have been decidedly offensive guys. Those Notre Dame offenses have, since 2005, finished 61st or worst more times (three) than they have in the top 10 (two). The 2007 unit under Weis was dead last. That’s an average of No. 46 in total offense since Weis arrived. That equates to the offensive standing of Virginia in 2011.

Before the Irish can return to national relevance, they have to become more exciting.



Offense:
With bowl games still to be factored in, the offensive revolution of college football continues.

The average figures for points per game (28.3), passing yards (229.4), completions (19.2) are all on pace to finish second all-time. The current total offense mark of 392.75 is ahead of the record set in 2007, 392.64.



Penn State:
The job left behind by JoePa has proved to be toxic to the coaching profession. At one point its reported top two choices – Tom Clements and Mike Munchak – had a <>total<> of four years college experience. Sixteen years ago.

 

SEC: You don’t have to be told again … The SEC is so dominant that the best football conference is assured of both its sixth straight title and first title game loss.

The league has used the BCS to make an unprecedented run. Voters and computers are conditioned to give the SEC champion the benefit of the doubt each season. Not saying that’s wrong, it just is. It’s sort of like the next Jay-Z album shooting to the top of the charts in preorders.


Twitter: In 2011, the Twitterverse became our universe. Use it as a tool to argue with a friend across from you on the cyber barstool or as a de facto wire service. Where were you when Bin Laden was killed and the Penn State scandal broke last year? Twitter followers and users brought us the news in real time.


Tyrann Mathieu: How does a 5-foot-9, 180-pound cornerback become the best defender in the country? Proving all the doubters wrong. Tennessee and Alabama deemed him too small to play. Les Miles to a chance on a local kid. What emerged was the best ball hawking corner since Charles Woodson. 


Will Lyles:
The former talent scout/mentor/Dancing With The Stars participant (Ok, kidding on that one) is the key figure in the NCAA futures of LSU, Cal and Oregon.

Lyles reportedly sang to the NCAA in August. That followed allegations that Chip Kelly’s program commissioned after-the-fact recruiting info that it had already paid $25,000 for. There is still the unsettling feeling that Oregon could be in for major sanctions in 2012.



ZZZ:
What we’d like to do a little more in 2012. Somehow, we know that’s not going to be the case. Let’s hope that college athletics regains a bit of its moral and ethical compass in 2012. 

Posted on: December 12, 2011 7:43 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 12:12 am
 

What MWC has to do to become BCS league

The near-term BCS fortunes of the once-again fractured Mountain West is now in the hands of the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee.

The league’s board of directors on Monday approved the filing for an exemption for BCS status in 2012 and 2013. The move was expected and if approved, would result in the Mountain West gaining automatic BCS qualification status on a temporary basis in those two years.

The rule creating the possibility a seventh automatic qualifier was adopted in 2004, the year access was expanded to non-automatic qualifying conferences. Because it has achieved only a portion of the benchmarks for automatic qualification, the MWC is asking for an exemption.

Over the course of a four-year evaluation period that ended this season (2008-2011), the league finished in the top five of the 11 FBS leagues in average BCS ranking of its highest ranked team. The MWC finished in the top seven in average conference rank. It finished in the top 33 percent of average number of teams ranked in the final BCS standings.

For automatic qualification the MWC would have had to finish in the top six in the first two categories and top 50 percent in the third.

The exemption would have to be approved by nine of the 12 members of the oversight committee. That committee is made up of CEOs from the 11 current FBS conferences and Notre Dame. BCS executive director Bill Hancock would not speculate on which way the vote would go. He did add that the vote should come in the near future.

The league will rely heavily on the accomplishments of two schools leaving the league. Boise State is headed for the Big East in 2013 while TCU is going to the Big 12 next season. The league will be evaluated on based on the conference’s membership today. That means the MWC would get full credit for Boise’s accomplishments from 2008-2010 in the WAC. That includes a Fiesta Bowl win in 2010 as well as a 49-3 record the last four seasons.

TCU has competed in the MWC for the last four years going to two BCS bowls.

A seventh automatic qualifier for those two seasons would most likely mean the loss of an at-large berth that goes to one of the power conferences. For the fourth time in the last six years, there were eight automatic qualifiers for the 10 available spots. This season: The SEC finishing 1-2 in the BCS means both LSU and Alabama were automatic. Stanford was automatic because it didn’t win its conference but finished in the top four. The at-large teams were Michigan (Sugar) and Virginia Tech (Sugar).

There was an automatic qualifier from the non-AQ conferences each year from 2007-2010. Three of those were from the MWC – Utah in 2008 and TCU and 2009-2010.

There is additional hope for the MWC this time because of a waiver given to the Big East for automatic-qualifying status prior to the 2008 season. That waiver was approved by an 8-0 vote of the six power conferences (SEC, ACC, Big East, Big 12, Pac-10, Big Ten) and Notre Dame as well as one combined vote given to the five non-AQ leagues (MAC, WAC, Sun Belt, Conference USA, MWC). This time around all 11 FBS leagues plus Notre Dame have a vote for a total of 12.


Mountain West membership for 2012:



Air Force

Boise State

Colorado State

New Mexico

San Diego State

UNLV

Wyoming

Fresno State

Hawaii

Nevada













 
 
 
 
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