Tag:San Diego State
Posted on: February 8, 2012 2:39 pm
 

Big East-to-West moves forward sluggishly

When the ACC raided the Big East once again in September, the stated intention of the fractured league was to remain a BCS conference. Or whatever the definition of a big time conference was going to be in 2014.

That’s the year when everything changes. College football’s postseason is going to be adjusted, making it less about what league you’re in and more about what your league is worth. Right now, the reconstituted Big East is attempting to rebuild its worth before increasing it.

And that’s the tragedy that overshadowed this week’s announcement that Memphis was joining the league in 2013. A few months ago Big East turned down a massive $1 billion offer from ESPN, hoping for something better. Sounds laughable now, doesn’t it? Memphis is in the league for the same reason West Virginia is suing to get out of it.

"The Big East and its Commissioner failed to take proactive measures to maintain, let alone enhance, the level of competition for the Big East football schools,” West Virginia’s lawsuit against the Big East reads.

Remember, this is a football discussion. While Big East basketball remains powerful, it is the economics of TV that football still drives these contracts. By far. Then throw in the fact that college basketball on television is becoming oversaturated. Football is going to have to carry the new Big East when formal negotiations begin later this year.

Things have changed a lot in six months. Commissioner John Marinatto has gambled and won in the sense that is league is still a league. He has lost in that a TV windfall along the lines of $1 billion look less likely. That was the amount ESPN offered last year (for nine years) to broadcast the Big East.

That was before the ACC struck and West Virginia left. Since then, Marinatto’s league has been reduced to selling the Big East brand to the likes of San Diego State more than selling Big East football.  Memphis is marginally better off, I suppose, than in Conference USA. Still, the jokes about Boise State being in the Big East West Division haven’t died down. It’s a great week for Memphis but in the end the school was nothing more than a live body willing fill out the lineup.

And that lineup for 2013 looks more like Conference USA. In about 2005. In fact, the projected 2013 Big East roster includes seven former Conference USA schools.

Back in the mid-2000s the Conference USA football deal was worth about $9 million per year. The current Big East deal, due to run out in 2014, is worth about $35 million per year for what in 2011 was eight teams.

That’s after the league turned down that $1 billion offer last year. Think an average of $111 million per year would have kept the 21-year old football conference together? It certainly would have kept the Big East on ESPN which all that matters these days as conferences morph into content farms for TV. Now there is speculation that the Worldwide Leader, upset at being rejected, could lowball the Big East  when its deal expires after 2013-14. Or drop out all together.

One industry analyst texted me saying the addition of Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC alone  will worth more than a new Big East deal in 2014. The Sports Business Journal reported Monday that the addition of Pittsburgh and Syracuse will mean a $1 million-$2 million bump per year for ACC members. In a matter of a whirlwind few months, the Big East’s hopes for a lucrative TV contract now rest with Boise State, Connecticut, Houston and Rutgers.

Those are the four most attractive Big East schools to TV, according to the analyst.

CBS Sports Network may be interested in the new Big East-to-West Conference. The same goes for the NBC/Comcast. Its new NBC Sports Network needs programming. But don’t expect a bidding war. That’s what has driven up the price of college football in the past decade – the public’s insatiable desire for more of it. But even during that gold rush there has been a clear dividing line – thank you, BCS – between the haves and have nots.

The Big East-to-West TV carrier(s) may pay a lot more than $35 million, but it/they won’t overpay. The point is not to lose money on a diminished football league, especially with the Big 12 out there for grabs in 2015.

No matter what the outcome, the Big East is going to be something like the sixth-richest conference, just like it was in the last round of negotiations.  The same market forces still apply. The Big East has been in the BCS only because of a waiver granted in 2007. The latest BCS contract expires in a couple of years, coincidentally at about the same time as the Big East’s TV contract.

Former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese always said there should be a major college football presence in the Northeast. Sadly, that’s not the case anymore. Not in one conference. The league always claimed New York in its TV footprint. But with Syracuse leaving and San Diego, Boise, Houston and Memphis coming in, how much longer can Big East football be a big presence in the <>East<> much less nationwide?

 

Posted on: January 15, 2012 12:47 pm
Edited on: January 15, 2012 1:04 pm
 

CUSA, MWC could "dissolve," form new league

One option being considered Sunday by two conferences' CEOs is to "dissolve" Conference USA and the Mountain West before forming a new league, CBSSports.com learned.

The move could have ramifications on current TV deals and put the new "Big Country" -- let's call it -- in line ahead of the Big East for a new TV rights deal. Dissolving both leagues could conceivably alter current TV deals in place with the MWC and CUSA and make the Big Country a new entity to be bid on by TV rightsholders.

The Big East is attempting to survive by realigning prior to the end of its current TV deal in 2013-14. The Big East and Big Ten (after 2014-15) are next in line to cash in with rightsholders. In figures obtained by CBSSports.com, a 12-team Big East configured for debut in 2013, would be significantly ahead of a merged CUSA/MWC in terms of average BCS computer ranking.

A year ago, Conference USA signed a $43 mlllion deal with Fox to broadcast a mininmum of 20 football games per year including the league's title game through the 2015 season. At the time ESPN protested saying it believed it had the right of first refusal on such a deal with Conference USA.

CBSSports.com reported Thursday that the two leagues' presidents would meet Sunday in Dallas to discuss forming a new league. Beginning in 2013 the "Big Country" would have 17 teams. There has been discussion whether to stay at that number or possibly add a team or teams. The new league could be football only, all sports or some other consolidation. 

With the assumed end of automatic qualifying conferences in the BCS, the rush is on to simply become as attractive as possible to TV rightsholders. One of the advantages of a combined MWC/CUSA league is strength in numbers. Seventeen (or more) schools would fortify the new league against departures if it was raided in the future.

A 17-team league (at least) would be the largest conference in FBS (formally Division I-A). That would mean a lot of inventory for a rightholder(s) with teams in 14 states extending over five time zones.  

According to a source, the five current non-automatic qualifying conferences distribute BCS money based on a performance-based ranking system. Half of the money received from the BCS is split evenly among the five. The other half is split based on the ranking. For the first time in six years, the Mountain West was not the leader of those five (MWC, CUSA, MAC, Sun Belt, WAC). CUSA was No. 1 in 2011.

Previously, the Mountain West had applied for a waiver to the BCS presidents that would allow it to temporarily become a BCS conference in 2012 and 2013. MWC commissioner Craig Thompson told CBSSports.com last week, "I'm not overly optimistic."

According to the figures mentioned above, the average computer ranking for the projected 17 "Big Country" schools in 2011 was 86.18. That ranges from a high of 21.83 for Southern Miss and a low of 117.33 for New Mexico. The Big East average of 53.8 ranges from a high of 10.67 for Boise State to 89.5 for Central Florida.

The figures are based on this 12-team Big East projection:

Boise State
Central Florida
Cincinnati
Connecticut
Houston
Louisville
Navy
San Diego State
SMU
South Florida
Rutgers
Temple 

Posted on: January 12, 2012 2:10 pm
 

MWC, CUSA talk forming new league

Presidents from the Mountain West and Conference USA will meet Sunday in Dallas to discuss forming a new league, CBSSports.com has learned.

The move was not described as a full-on merger and talks are still in the early stages. According to a source, the new league could be football only, all sports or some other consolidation. Two sources said not all of the two conferences’ presidents will attend the meeting.

But there is urgency on both sides.  Raiding by the Big East has caused each conference to reconsider its future.  Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson told CBSSports.com last week that he is concerned about membership issues in light of recent defections. The NCAA requires a league to have at least six members that sponsor, at a minimum, eight men’s sports and six women’s sports.

The leagues announced in October that they were forming a football “association” for scheduling purposes. Back then, the idea was for the champions of the two leagues to play with the winner getting an automatic BCS berth. That was before the Big East moved aggressively to invite a combined five schools from both conferences.

A 90-day memorandum of understanding that came out of the October announcement expires on Sunday, the same day as the meeting.

Also in October, the Mountain West and Conference USA proposed a consortium with the Big East that would include more than a quarter of the 120 FBS schools.

CBSSports.com’s Brett McMurphy reported in December that the two leagues were looking at an all-sports merger. Boise State and San Diego State from the Mountain West as well as SMU, Houston and Central Florida from Conference USA were formally invited to the Big East in early December.

Crippling the leagues further: According to an industry source, Boise, SMU and Houston comprise three of the four most TV-attractive schools from the current Mountain West and Conference USA. Air Force is the other.

The earliest the new league being reported today could begin play is 2013, but that start date may have to be pushed back.

With the apparent end of automatic qualifying conferences (beginning in 2014), the two leagues would be fortifying themselves are strongly as possible. One Conference USA school source speculated how different a new league would be from the new Big East in terms of football strength and television viability. The answer as of now: Not much.  

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













Posted on: December 6, 2011 5:32 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 10:03 am
 

Comparing old Big East to new Big East

Start with the fact the Big East has BCS membership only because of a hall pass.

The BCS commissioners awarded the conference a waiver to stay in the club in 2007 just, well, because. Back then, the Big East still had enough existing juice from its teams and power from its administrators to keep its nose under the BCS tent.

No more.

You don’t have to be told that the Big East hasn’t had a team ranked in the final BCS top 20 since 2009. Or had one team in the top 10 of the BCS since 2008. (The Big Ten has had seven.) Such things matter when a conference is being awarded an $18 million-$20 million bowl game each year just, because.

That’s why you may have noticed the Big East is expanding, to chase that magic BCS berth like it was a contact high. CBSSports.com’s Brett McMurphy reported Tuesday that Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, SMU and Central Florida will join the league in 2013.

The problem is no one really knows what it all means. Four of the five new schools are basically warm bodies to keep the Big East afloat. The league is hoping the fifth, Boise, can keep the conference in the BCS big time. Air Force and Navy may join later.

But there’s no certainty the BCS is even going to be around in a few years. Commissioners will spend most of the next year deciding what college football’s postseason will look like beginning in 2014 (when the current BCS contract expires). The question – now that there is a bit of clarity regarding Big East membership – is if the league is better off with this current expansion.

Short answer: No. Not even close. The schools that have left – West Virginia, Syracuse and Pittsburgh – have accounted for five BCS bowls in the 14-year history of the system. That’s more than twice as many as the new schools bring to the table, all of them by Boise State (two).

But what choice did the Big East have? After the latest ACC raid, it just needed a heartbeat.

Here is  breakdown between the old and new. Decide for yourself if the Big East is worthy of a BCS bid.

(Note: We are considering the “highest level of football” since 1973 when Division I was established by the NCAA. Boise State moved up to Division I-A in 1996. All ranking references are to the Associated Press and BCS.)

 

Boise State

Conference: Mountain West, first year

Age of program at highest level of college football: 16th year in Division I-A/FBS

Years in the BCS era that the Broncos ended the season ranked (1998-present): Seven

The last year the Broncos ended the season ranked: 2011

BCS bowls: two (2007 Fiesta, 2010 Fiesta)

 

San Diego State

Conference: Mountain West, 13th year

Age of program at highest level: 39th year in Division I/Division I-A/FBS

Years in the BCS era that the Aztecs ended the season ranked: None.

The last year the Aztecs ended the season ranked: 1977

BCS bowls: None.

 

Houston

Conference: Conference USA, 16th year

Age of program at highest level: 39th year in Division I/Division I-A/FBS

Years in the BCS era that the Cougars ended the season ranked: One (2011)

The last year the Cougars ended the season ranked: 1990

BCS bowls: None



SMU

Conference: Conference USA, sixth year
 
Age of program at highest level: 39th year in Division I/Division I-A/FBS

Years in the BCS era that the Mustangs ended the season ranked: None.

The last year the Mustangs ended ranked: 1984

BCS bowls: None.

  

Central Florida

Conference: Conference USA, sixth year  

Age of program at highest level: 16th year in Division I-A/FBS

Years in the BCS era the Knights ended the season ranked: One (2010)

The last year the Knights ended ranked: 2010.

BCS bowls: None.

 

The skinny on new teams

Average stay in current conference: 8.4 years

Average age of new programs at highest level of football: 29.8 years

Total seasons in the BCS era that ended with a ranking: Nine (average of 1.8 times per school)

Average length of time, in years, since last end-of-season ranking: 16.4 years

Last season ranked at the end of the season: Boise, 2011

Total BCS bowls: Two.

 

The skinny on departing teams (West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Syracuse)

Average stay in current conference: 20 years (Each year was a charter member in football.)

Average age of programs playing at the highest level of football: 39

Total seasons in the BCS era that ended with a ranking: 12 (average of four times per school)

Average length of time, in years, since last end-of-season ranking: four

Last season ranked at end of the season: 2011 (West Virginia)

Total BCS bowls: 5


Posted on: September 20, 2011 4:12 pm
Edited on: September 21, 2011 12:13 am
 

SEC wants Missouri, the logical No. 14 choice

All you had to do was put together the puzzle pieces on Missouri.

Earlier Tuesday, we reported that West Virginia was out as far as joining the SEC or ACC. Logically, that held that Missouri was likely to be the SEC's 14th school. That looked to be the case after the Kansas City Star reported that Missouri had "an offer on the table" to join the nation's strongest conference.

Except that the SEC immediately shot down the report: "The SEC has not extended an invitation to any school beyond Texas A&M since it extended invitations to Arkansas and South Carolina."

That would be two decades ago.

All this develops while the Big East and Big 12 attempt to reconstitute themselves into a combined league going forward. A source said Tuesday representatives from both leagues would like to meet in a central location but that there was nothing imminent through Wednesday. There's a long way to go -- the SEC likely wouldn't entertain an application until the Big 12 collapse. However, such a move by Missouri's would clear up conference realignment just a bit.

"I think there's something to that," said an administrator not from the Big 12 but whose school would benefit if Missouri left for the SEC.

Because the SEC is so sensitive to the landscape right now, don't be surprised either that the report could actually wreck a Missouri move to the SEC. It is known that SEC commissioner Mike Slive doesn't want to move on an existing conference member -- especially from the Big 12 -- until things are resolved legally.

Don't forget that Baylor could threaten legal action against Missouri if the school was accepted to the SEC. A Big 12 source said that for legal purposes, the Big 12 is still considered a conference as long as it has five members. The NCAA requires minimum membership of six for a conference to exist.

For those of you just jumping into the subject matter, think of Missouri as the best player left on the draft board. With Nebraska, Oklahoma, Syracuse and Pittsburgh spoken for in the past two years, Missouri suddenly looks very attractive. It has two top 30 markets in Kansas City and St. Louis and is contiguous to three SEC states (Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee). It touches two Big Ten states (Iowa, Illinois).

Missouri's fans and some of its administrators were a bit too convinced last year that Missouri was going to the Big Ten. It turns out the school wasn't near the top of the list when Nebraska was invited.

Tuesday's developments obviously don't necessarily place Missouri in the SEC. The Big 12 could survive. The SEC may be looking elsewhere. With Oklahoma and Oklahoma State seemingly out the door to the Pac-12, we won't know for sure on the national landscape until Texas declares its intentions.



For a few minutes there on Tuesday afternoon, Dan Beebe was trending on Twitter over Two and a Half Men. Or that's what I was told. 

I'm not really sure. The social Twitterverse exploded Tuesday with the news that Pac-12 bound Oklahoma was demanding that Beebe, the Big 12's embattled commissioner, be replaced. OU wanted that as a condition of staying in the Big 12. Interesting that on Monday, OU president David Boren was basically tap-dancing on the Big 12's grave after getting permission from regents to head to the Pac-12.

What changed and why did Beebe become a pawn in this discussion? Most likely because OU doesn't have the votes from Pac-12 presidents to actually join the league. There was a report Tuesday that Pac-12 presidents are prepared to vote by the end of the week but there is no consensus. In other words, exactly what we've been hearing for weeks.

Oklahoma and Texas may want to go to the Pac-12, but the Pac-12 has been more than hesitating. Cal and Stanford don't want to include the academically unwashed Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. The Pac-12 is going to make a killing with a dozen teams, why invite the OU/UT drama into the mix? Big, happy families are hard to find these days in college athletics.

In essence, two iconic college sports names -- Oklahoma and Texas -- may have just quibbled and bitched their way out of an invite to what promises to be the richest conference in the country. Can you imagine, then, the Big 12 staying together? It may be forced to kiss and make up. The infighting, jealousies and bickering is going to make the Great Plains version of Jersey Shore. 

It's not the man (Beebe), it's the culture. Texas and Oklahoma were among those who voted Beebe a raise and extension in June. What's changed? Certainly not Longhorn and Sooner egos.

Let's sum up Tuesday: An ultimatum to Dan Beebe by a school headed for the Pac-12 trumps an offer to Missouri that the SEC says didn't happen. 

Everybody caught up?



Officials had every right and duty to delay Saturday’s Oklahoma State-Tulsa start. There were concerns about lightning and, no doubt, liability. But did Oklahoma State and Tulsa take it too far in forcing the players to perform in a game that ended at 3:35 Sunday morning?

Tulsa has game-cancellation insurance for such occurrences so the school would have been reimbursed had the game been cancelled. There is no corresponding open date for the schools when the game could have been made up. But would it have been possible to play the game on Sunday?

Tulsa AD Bubba Cunningham told CBSSports.com that the decision to play the game so late was made jointly by himself and Oklahoma State AD Mike Holder after consulting with game officials and both coaches.

"We were about seven minutes away from cancelling the game," said Cunningham of the contest that kicked off at 12:15 am CT. "We talked about student-athlete welfare as we made the decision. That’s why we had midnight as the tipping point."

The game was allowed to start after midnight because both coaches needed time for their teams to warm up after weather conditions improved. Cunningham said he would think twice about agreeing to start a game that late again. The original starting time was 9 pm CT at the request of Fox regional.

The game started so late that it came close to apparently violating NCAA rules

Cowboys coach Mike Gundy added that had the game started at 7 pm CT, the rain and weather delays would have likely hit in the third quarter of the game instead of before it.

"I just don't think it's best for the student-athlete," said Gundy whose team plays a top-10 matchup this week at Texas A&M. "I wasn’t excited about our players being out there at 2 and 3 in the morning for a football game. I was concerned about their health. I don’t know how players compete at 2 or 3 in the morning. You don’t want a young man to get an injury and not be able to play the rest of the year."

There was, in fact, a significant injury. Tulsa's G.J. Kinne suffered a reported tear of the MCL in his left knee. The Tulsa World stated that the typical recovery time is two to four weeks.

Cunningham said game cancellation insurance had been purchased by Conference USA after Hurricane Katrina had impacted members Southern Miss and Tulane. Weather delays have become one of the overriding topics of the early season. Baylor and Texas Tech had games delayed last week. The Western Michigan-Michigan game was postponed to the game that the statistics didn't count in the NCAA rankings because the game didn't go the minimum three quarters.

The Cowboys-Golden Hurricane game started so late that Oklahoma State assistant Glenn Spencer had to leave during it. His wife Angela died during the first quarter of game won by Oklahoma State 59-33. She had been dealing with the effects of a heart transplant.

"It affected me. I have a lot of respect for their family and what they’ve gone through," Gundy said. "I wasn’t in the best of moods or as focused as I should have been.

Gundy added: "I don’t think it’s anybody’s fault. But at some point do we really want to start a game at 9 o'clock? ... Our APRs are going up, our required numbers of hours to be passed by semester is going up, everything is moving toward education, then we’re going to start our game at 9 o'clock? Whoever is making those decisions needs to think things through before we’re put in those situations."

Tulsa goes to Boise State for a game that starts at a more reasonable time, 7 pm CT.




Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium (capacity: 29,181) is the smallest Nebraska has played in since 1971 ... Vanderbilt's James Franklin became the first Commodore coach to win his first three games at the school since World War II ... It's been three years since the Big 12 has seen a conference game between two top 10 teams aside from the Red River Shootout (Oklahoma-Texas). No. 7 Oklahoma State travels to No. 8 Texas A&M on Saturday ... Boise State has had only three drives (out of 27) that ended in negative yards this season. Two of those came in victory formation while taking a knee ... Two of the top three rushers meet this week at Michigan Stadium. San Diego State tailback Ronnie Hillman is No. 2. Michigan's celebrated quarterback Denard Robinson is No. 3 ... South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore is on pace to rush for 2,492 yards. That would put him 136 yards short Barry Sanders' single-season record ... Florida Atlantic leads all non-BCS schools with only one turnover this season. That ties the Owls with eight other BCS schools. FAU is also the only team not to score a touchdown yet in FBS ... Since the beginning of the 2006 season Vanderbilt has intercepted 81 passes, 10 in three games this season ... USC's Robert Woods has caught more passes (33) this season than seven teams have completed.


Before posting this week's Heisman top five let me explain that I love Andrew Luck. I adore Andrew Luck. I would want Andrew Luck to marry my daughter. But I cannot in good faith put him in my top five. Tell me which one of these you would remove -- based on the season to date -- in place of Luck. Did I mention I love Andrew Luck?

1. Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina; 2. Kellen Moore, Boise State; 3. Robert Griffin III, Baylor; 4. Russell Wilson, Wisconsin; 5. Denard Robinson, Michigan.
Posted on: March 21, 2011 11:22 am
Edited on: March 21, 2011 3:32 pm
 

My NCAA tournament thoughts going into regionals

Stay strong, Jay Bilas . It's not the fact that Virginia Commonwealth is in the Sweet 16, people. The fact remains that VCU didn't deserve to be in the bracket in the first place. Colorado could have gone in place of the Rams and also gone to the Sweet 16. Tell me Missouri State wouldn't have had a shot with the right matchup. 


It's a separate argument -- 1) Did VCU deserve to be in the bracket? No. 2) Does winning in the tournament justify that spot in the bracket? No. I can give you the name of five teams that could have gotten hot and won two games.


Big East flop. After the first round, the Big East was guaranteed at least two teams in the Sweet 16. That's all it got. For what is believed to be the first time in the seeding era, the selection committee knowingly made it possible for not one, but two games between conference foes in the second round. 


The committee long ago had to abandon the principle of conference rivals not being able to meet until the regional final. A 16-team Big East made the committee get rid of that principle for obvious reasons. But it was lazy that the committee didn't try to eliminate the possibility of Connecticut-Cincinnati and Marquette-Syracuse in the second round. That looks more like Big Monday than the NCAA tournament.


It wasn't fair to the Big East to have to eat its own so early in the bracket. It showed the committee didn't do its diligence. That being said, the fact that the Mountain West has as many teams in the Sweet 16 as the Big East (two) is embarrassing -- for the Big East.



Most entertaining regional? It isn't the Southwest where Kansas is surrounded by three mutts (Richmond, VCU and Florida State). I'll give you the Southeast with Butler still alive, again, going against the immovable force in Wisconsin. The Southeast also has Jimmer (Fredette) and Billy (Donovan).


But I'll take the West where I dare you to pick the best player in Anaheim. Is it Nolan Smith, Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams, Kemba Walker or Kawhi Leonard? There are so many storylines at the Honda Center, my head is spinning. 


--San Diego State is expected to take over the Honda Center. The school is less than two hours from Anaheim. "The Show" almost blew the roof off the McKale Center last week. 


--Is it possible to have too many good players? Duke barely survived Michigan while trying to integrate Irving back in the lineup. That's a problem every other team would love to have. Also, if Coach K gets to the Final Four out of this regional, he will tie a certain Bobby Knight for the Division I record in career wins, 902. Go, Mike, go! 


--San Diego State fans were chanting "We want Kemba!" after beating Temple in the second round. Be careful what you wish for, Aztecs. I'll kind of answer my previous question: Walker might be the best player in the regional and maybe the country.


--Arizona's Derrick Williams comes back home to his native L.A. As of this moment, Williams is the most important and charismatic player in the tournament. (That's different than "best".) His block in the first round against Memphis preserved the win. His and-one late against Texas on Sunday was the difference. Think Williams will be a little energized going back home playing for a spot in the Final Four?


Easiest road to the Final Four: You kidding? It has to be Kansas. If it wins, it won't face a single-digit seed until the Final Four. On the one-year anniversary of losing to Northern Iowa in 2010, the Jayhawks destroyed an Illinois team Sunday that brought to mind an obvious question: How did VCU and Illinois get in the bracket?

Posted on: February 10, 2011 2:28 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2011 2:33 pm
 

National notes leading w/ TCU-Wisconsin

Let's straighten out this TCU-Wisconsin mini-controversy. There's a huge reason the Horned Frogs did not want to play the Badgers for the second time in nine months. Its 2011 schedule is all but full.

TCU took a bit of a beating in the court of public opinion this week when Badgers coach Bret Bielema casually mentioned on a radio show that he had been approached by a third party to play the Horned Frogs in Madison in 2011. TCU turned down the "offer." Words like "rematch" and "ducking" entered the conversation on the always level-headed Worldwide Interweb. 

It wasn't a true rematch in that Wisconsin wasn't willing to return the game. There was no ducking because, in truth, TCU's schedule is about to be finalized. The public just doesn't know about it yet. 

The only other opening on the TCU schedule is expected to be filled by BYU on Friday, Oct. 28 at Cowboys Stadium. Pending the final contracts, that's the way it's going to be. TCU's other non-conference games are against Baylor, SMU, Louisiana-Monroe and Portland State. The Froggies will be playing five non-conference games because there are only seven conference games in its final season in the Mountain West.

AD Chris Del Conte's "Anytime, anyplace, anywhere," blast was in reference to Ohio State after Gordon Gee's "Little Sisters of the Poor," comment during the season. It doesn't apply to Wisconsin which was not committed to a return game. TCU is at a level now that it doesn't have to take one-off games on the road. 

It has future home-and-homes scheduled with Oklahoma, Virginia, LSU and Arkansas.




England, Hong Kong weigh in on the BCS: Nothing like a little foreign influence in the BCS. 

The San Diego State International Sports MBA Case Competition is taking on the postseason system in its annual contest involving some of the world's best MBA programs. Twelve schools are being asked to present their best alternatives for postseason college football. The winning group of students will present their case this summer to Mark Cuban, a noted BCS critic and NBA referee baiter who proposed his own playoff plan last year.

Among the MBA programs involved are San Diego State, UCLA, USC, Cal, Notre Dame, Texas, Florida as well as -- wait for it -- Oxford and Hong Kong University.

"We're really interested in what they say, they have no skin in the game," said Greg Block, a media relations director at San Diego State. 

Per the press release, "The largest hurdle ... is to work around the existing personalities and relationships in the current system, making it possible for an independent, outside company to navigate the existing power structures, earn a profit and enact lasting change that is supported by all (I-A) universities."

A time-saving hint for the MBAers: They might start by calling the Rose Bowl, Big Ten and Pac-12 to figure out how to get those three entities in a playoff. No one inside the system has been able to do it yet.

A winner will be determined Friday night. 



Signed and sealed: If you want to view the inner workings of an NCAA CEO you'll have to wait another 57 years. 

Bumping around the NCAA website this week, I discovered something called the Richard D. Schultz Papers. If that sounds like something akin to presidential papers, you're right. Schultz was the NCAA's second executive director from 1987-1993, following the iconic Walter Byers. During his time NCAA basketball revenue skyrocketed, a football playoff became topical and gender equity became a major issue as Title IX took hold.

The point is, you may have to wait a while to read about it.  Schultz' papers were sealed back in 1993 for 75 years or until 2068. All 111 boxes, taking up 57 linear feet. 

"There are some documents the public will never see," said NCAA librarian Lisa Douglass. 

The records are open only to NCAA employees and to "outside researchers" at the discretion of NCAA librarian, according to the site. I don’t know how much juicy stuff is in there but Schultz was not without a bit of controversy in his career. He resigned in 1993 after an investigation into improper loans given to athletes while he was AD at Virginia. 

Juicy stuff, if you're an NCAA nerd like me and love poking around that that kind of stuff. For some reason Byers' papers are more accessible. Those of Cedric Dempsey, who replaced Schultz and Myles Brand are still being assembled.
 
 
 
 
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