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Tag:Pac-10
Posted on: January 19, 2011 7:37 pm
 

What The Longhorn Network means to the BCS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah, somehow poor, old Texas would scrape by.

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

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

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

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

The Year in Dodd

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 16 -- Troy is burned to the ground.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 13 -- And this ...

November 23 -- And this ...

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on: November 23, 2010 6:14 pm
 

BCS releases list of at-large candidates

The BCS exclusionary?

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

Those are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on: November 23, 2010 6:14 pm
 

BCS releases list of at-large candidates

The BCS exclusionary?

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

Those are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on: November 19, 2010 9:57 am
Edited on: November 20, 2010 8:38 am
 

WAC tries to stay alive

The Western Athletic Conference will attempt to soldier on despite an apparent death blow Thursday night. Hawaii's reported defection to the Mountain West weakens the WAC but it doesn't kill it, according to WAC commissioner Karl Benson.

Hawaii apparently has a deal to leave the WAC after 32 years -- to play football in the Mountain West and all other sports in the Big West -- according to overnight reports. That would leave the WAC with only seven members in football and eight in basketball beginning in 2012. The WAC's Division I basketball membership would be affected first. 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."

The league's BCS membership (as a non-automatic qualifier) is unaffected at least through the current television contract that goes through the 2013 season (2014 bowls). The BCS does not require a minimum number of conference members, according to Benson.  Benson said the NCAA requires a minimum of eight conference members but that is only for NCAA governance purposes. The WAC could still compete in football with the seven members. The league would not be listed as Division I-A.

"It [number of members] doesn't matter for this contract," said one person familiar with the BCS process. "It remains to be seen what happens in the next contract."

However, the WAC is not done adding members, Benson said. Montana and Cal-Davis have been mentioned as possible WAC additions.

"Our plan today is to get back to eight football-playing members," Benson said. "That still will be our goal."

The WAC recently added emerging I-AA programs Texas State and Texas-San Antonio. Both begin WAC play in 2012 as I-A members. Denver was added in basketball only. The WAC had to make a move after losing Nevada, Fresno State and Boise State to the Mountain West in the last few months. Hawaii will move to the Mountain West in 2012 giving that conference 11 members.

Benson said his league was in the process of allowing Hawaii to compete in the WAC in football only and putting all its other sports in another conference. Instead, Hawaii went for the Mountain West deal. The MWC is chasing an automatic BCS bid -- at least temporarily in 2012 and 2013. That pursuit was hurt by the loss of Utah to the Pac-10 and BYU going independent.

This is the current membership of the WAC

Boise State
Nevada
Fresno State
Hawaii
Louisiana Tech
Utah State
Idaho
New Mexico State
San Jose State

This is what the WAC membership could look like in 2012 if Hawaii leaves

Denver (basketball only)
Texas State
Texas-San Antonio
San Jose State
Idaho
New Mexico State
Louisiana Tech
Utah State
 

Posted on: November 17, 2010 1:05 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2010 1:06 pm
 

National notes/Illinois-Northwestern fiasco

Northwestern and Illinois are playing this week at Wrigley Field. The NCAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee might want to have a word.

Whoever sanctioned this mess probably came from the state boxing commission. Those folks don't care who the hell gets hurt either. Seriously, how does any adult in good conscience put an end zone up against Wrigley's right field wall? There's also precious little out-of-bounds room on one side of the field. If you haven't seen the pictures, they're here and here.

The NCAA's 15-year old principles of student-athlete welfare states, " ... It is the responsibility of each member institution to protect the health of and provide a safe environment for each of its participating student-athletes."

Smashing one's face into a (padded) brick wall seems to violate some of those principles. Forget about the possibility of injury, both teams are going to have to alter their game plans. In other words, don't figure on seeing many skinny posts or go routes in the east end zone at Wrigley.

"They've got it padded up pretty good," Illinois coach Ron Zook said. "I was jokingly [saying] to our receivers, 'Got to get you ready for the Arena League.' Obviously, there was a lot concerns and a lot of thought put into that before the decision was made."

Zook he and officials surveyed Wrigley two years ago. Amazingly, none of the participants seem to have a problem with it.

"We had risk managers out here," Northwestern AD Jim Phillips told the Chicago Tribune. "We had civil engineers, safety engineers. We had so many people look at it because nobody wants to put the student-athletes in harm's way."

Noooo, who would want that? I guess to these guys, harm's way is actually putting the end zone in the bleachers.

"It will definitely be an element in the game," Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said.

Thoughts and prayers, Illini and Wildcats, thoughts and prayers.



* Could a heart attack be a key to BCS bowl this season?

Hang with me on this: As crass as this sounds, TCU may have been distracted Saturday during a closer-than-expected 40-35 win over San Diego State. In the first quarter offensive line coach Eddie Williamson left the field because of a reported heart attack. Williamson had a stent put in and is expected to be back to the team soon. He didn't want the players to be seen in the weakened state, so he left the field as calmly as possible.

But the players had to know eventually that one of their coaches was gone. Did it have anything to do with the Frogs losing focus? They fell behind the Aztecs and came back to lead comfortably before a couple of late touchdowns by San Diego State.

The five-point victory margin probably had something to do with Boise cutting into TCU's lead for the automatic BCS bowl berth race. TCU is currently No. 3 in the BCS standings, but Boise is right behind with three games left. TCU has only one, Nov. 27 at New Mexico. Could the Broncos eventually pass the Frogs for that No. 3 spot if they win out?

It could come down to a close game caused by a distraction caused by Williamson's heart attack. Just saying ...



* The Pac-10's dirty little secret apparently is out. The Oregonian says it has a source who confirmed faking injuries was a "big part" of the game plan against Oregon's rapid-fire offense.

I reported Sunday that had been concerns inside the Oregon program over opponents' faking injuries since late September.

Oregon fans have taken to booing opponents' injuries whether legitimate or not.

"I know what our fans reaction is when someone's  carted off the field that looks like he's going off to surgery and is back immediately on the next play," Oregon coach Chip Kelly said. "We've played in games when three or four guys are down on a play. I think we have pretty intelligent fans at Oregon."



* There seems to be two parts to every SEC scandal -- the actual scandal itself and who ratted out the violator.

It's a conference tradition, one that commissioner Mike Slive has tried to eradicate with a code of ethics. The code requires those with knowledge of an NCAA violation to pass up the chain of command (AD to conference office to NCAA). That's obviously an issue lately with the Cam Newton situation. Mississippi State is on record as having turned in to the conference office Cecil Newton's alleged request for money for his son's services.


"The issue is you cannot turn a blind eye to misconduct," LSU coach Les Miles said. "If you do you're as guilty as the misconduct. I'm comfortable with the need to create a climate of compliance. I wish it wasn't anonymous. I wish everybody knew everything there was and it was open ... Then there would no behind closed doors."

Posted on: October 31, 2010 5:01 pm
 

The Day After In College Football

Brian Kelly never could have foreseen his first few months on the job at Notre Dame.

The scope of the rebuilding job is obviously bigger than anyone imagined. His quarterback Dayne Crist, the triggerman for his offense, is out for the year. The defense was a chronic problem before he arrived. The results had been spotty even before Saturday's embarrassing 28-27 loss to Tulsa.

All that pales in significance to the fact that media are openly speculating about his job security in the wake of death of videographer Declan Sullivan. After Saturday's game, Kelly surprisingly admitted it was his decision to go on with practice with Sullivan in the air.

"You have to be able to look at the weather conditions and find out whether you believe it's going to be a productive day, first," Kelly said. "We believed it to be productive, it was productive, obviously up until the tragedy."

 No blaming, no scapegoating. For now, it's all on Kelly. That's almost an admission that Notre Dame is going to have to pay some kind of settlement after the tragic accident. Liability, in a sense has been decided.

While Sullivan's family released a touching statement over the weekend, can we safely assume that there is going to be some kind of lawsuit against the school at some point?

"Quiz is very adamant in our meetings about, 'Are we going in or out [for practice]?', Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said of football video coordinator Mark Quisenberry, 'and I'm only putting my tower up 20 feet if we go out.' "

Upon seeing that, a lawyer e-mailed me saying: "I would make Tressel my star witness."


It's impossible that Kelly could have predicted all that he was getting into. There have been two deaths. Recruit Matt James died in the spring when he fell off a hotel balcony during spring break. Kelly faces the task of digging out of the losing while the school deals with a lawsuit. Can any amount of winning overcome that?

* As USC took a third quarter lead over No. 1 Oregon Saturday night, an interesting possibility emerged. Had USC won, that would have whittled the last of unbeatens to four -- Auburn, Boise State, TCU and Utah. That also would have all but guaranteed one of those non-BCS schools playing for the national championship. A USC win would have meant the possibility of only one undefeated major-conference champion (Auburn). Assuming that at least one of the three non-BCSes went undefeated (TCU and Utah meet this week), one of them would probably move up enough in the BCS to play for the title.

For its champion, the SEC right now is mostly likely able to produce 1) an unbeaten Auburn, 2) a once-beaten Alabama  or 3) the SEC East champion where each team in the division already has at least two losses. In scenarios 1) and 2) (assuming a USC win), the SEC would have a team in the BCS title game. In scenario 3) it wouldn't. In fact, it's possible that two non-BCS schools could play for the title.

* The motto in the Big Ten: Now we wait. We wait for the latest BCS standings each week to see how bad Michigan State's chances were damaged by the blowout loss to Iowa. The Spartans are now tied in the Big Ten standings with Ohio State (both are 4-1). The two don't meet this season which means if they tie, the next tiebreaker for the Rose Bowl -- or possibly the BCS title game -- is highest ranked team in the BCS. Prior to Sunday night's BCS release, Jerry Palm had Ohio State significantly ahead of the Spartans.

Wisconsin, 3-1 in the Big Ten, did not play this week. It has lost to Michigan State, and beaten Ohio State. Iowa, also at 3-1, hosts Ohio State on Nov. 20.

* Nebraska pulled into a tie in the Big 12 North with Missouri and now only has to win out to get to its second straight (and last) Big 12 title game. Nebraska's remaining schedule: at Iowa State, Kansas, at Texas A&M and Colorado. Missouri's remaining schedule: at Texas Tech, Kansas State, at Iowa State, Kansas.  Anybody else notice that the road to the Big 12 North goes through Ames, Iowa? The plucky Cyclones host both Missouri and Nebraska.

Whatever happens this year at Nebraska, the Huskers are getting back to their roots. Taylor Martinez set the single-game quarterback rushing record against Kansas State. Roy Helu Jr. set the overall single-game rushing record (307 yards Saturday vs. Missouri).  According to figures supplied by Big12sports.com, Nebraska's 860 yards on its 24 touchdown runs is more than 17 I-A teams have rushed for the entire season.

* The Pac-10's exclusive 90-day negotiating window with Fox Sports begins Jan. 15 according to Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott. The Pac-10 and Big 12 are the next conferences to get big paydays from their rightsholders. The ACC was the last to cash in getting a $1.86-billion deal from ESPN. That pales in comparison to the SEC's $3 billion deal finalized in July 2009 but is another indicator that college football has been undervalued in the market. That's one of the reasons Jim Delany created the Big Ten Network. It's also a reason the new Pac-12 is expected to significantly increase its media rights.

* For the first time since 1979, Florida and Georgia came into the Cocktail Party unranked. The Gators beat the Dogs for the 18th time in the last 21 meetings, 34-31 in overtime. If there was ever a time for Mark Richt and Georgia to get Florida, this was it. The Gators won't stay down like this for long. Urban Meyer called it one of his biggest wins. Florida remains in control of its own destiny in the SEC East.

* Joe Paterno needs one more win for his 400th after beating Michigan.

* Quote of the day from Virginia's John-Kevin Dolce after knocking Miami quarterback Jacory Harris out of the game: "When you chop the head of a giant, the rest of the body goes with it."

Posted on: October 28, 2010 3:54 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2010 4:39 pm
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

Fourteen months ago they played in the season opener. It was one of those made-for-TV games moved to a Thursday night so the entire country could see Oregon take on upstart Boise State.

It wasn't a vintage Oregon team -- USC was favored to win the Pac-10 again -- but it would soon become an infamous one. Boise was in its fourth season under straight-ahead coach Chris Petersen. Oregon's Chip Kelly took the field in his first game as a head coach.

By the end of the night, Kelly probably didn't know if he'd make it to his second game. His world spun out of control after LeGarrette Blount committed one of the most heinous acts in the history of the game, punching Boise State's Byron Hout after Hout taunted him.

It's not easy to fast forward 14 months. It's mind-numbing. Boise won that night 19-8 showing further proof that it had "arrived." Oregon looked in disarray, the BCS being the BCS the Ducks could have lost all their non-conference games and still the Rose Bowl. They made it to Pasadena in much better shape setting the stage for this week.

The teams that took the field that night are now the two best in the country according to the human polls that a lot of folks put their faith in. It's complicated because the BCS standings say otherwise. For now let's embrace change as Oregon travels to USC. (Boise beat Lousiana Tech on Tuesday.) The last time a Pac-10 team other than USC was No. 1 was Washington in 1992. A WAC team hasn't been ranked this high since BYU won the 1984 national championship ...

Bad news for Auburn? In the middle of the Newtonian euphoria let WWL drop this curd in the punch bowl. Yes, Cam Newton can play quarterback in NFL, so says veteran personnel guru Gil Brandt. Bad news for Tigers everywhree: It could be after this season. Newton is four years out of high school and could, maybe should, leave after this season.

"If you drafted today and [Tim] Tebow was there and Cam Newton there who would you take?" Brandt said. "I can't compare him to anybody else." ...

Nebraska's Taylor Martinez can pass, you just didn't know it. The Huskers' quarterback entered the NCAA pass statistics this week for the first time since Week 2. Because Martinez hadn't averaged the requisite 15 passes per game to be listed in the NCAA stats, he wasn't listed in the top 100. But look at his newly listed pass efficiency numbers after a 23-for-35, five-touchdown performance against Oklahoma State: Martinez is 20th nationally, directly behind Oregon's Darron Thomas and Wisconsin's Scott Tolzien. Not bad company.

Martinez is (almost) a 60 percent passer who can run (at times). It adds up to inconsistency. If WWL were guiding Missouri's defense this week it would copy Texas' approach two weeks ago. Assign a second-level spy to Martinez and create a stalemate at the line of scrimmage. When Martinez is running wild, he takes advantage of overpursuing defenses with his 4.4 speed. Missouri's defense has better athletes than Texas. Will it matter? ...


Army (hosting VMI) is averaging 30 points (30.6) for the first time since 1985 ... What's the big deal in Chris Rainey returning to the lineup following his "time to die" blast? In the two games he did play, Florida's speedster had 16 yards in total offense ... Ole Miss' Jeremiah Masoli is one of four quarterbacks nationally to average 50 yards rushing and 180 yards passing per game. Cam Newton is not one of the four ... Missouri leads the country in red zone defense (11 scores in 21 opponents' penetration of the 20) ... It's never a good thing when the NCAA has to clear your best player two days before a game. Oklahoma State said Thursday the NCAA had cleared receiver Justin Blackmon of any NCAA wrongdoing stemming from his DWI earlier this week. The concern, no doubt, for the NCAA was where Blackmon got the tickets for Monday's Cowboys-Giants game. School officials say Blackmon was the designated driver with friends but police in Texas smelled alcohol in the car. Blackmon was cited for misdemeanor DWI for being underage. Props to coach Mike Gundy who swiftly suspended Blackmon for the Kansas State game ... Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly is having an All-American season. He leads the country with 13.9 tackles per game. Kuechly has made at least 10 tackles in 15 straight games ... TCU is the only I-A team that has not allowed a 200-yard passing game.

 
 
 
 
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