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Posted on: January 18, 2012 11:45 am
Edited on: January 19, 2012 10:35 am
 

A plus-one playoff through the years: 1998-2002

Who exactly is against a plus-one playoff at this point?

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany is willing to consider it. SEC commissioner Mike Slive is predicting major changes to the current system. NCAA president Mark Emmert would support a four-team playoff.

OK, there a few. But it’s clear, the times they are a-changin’. While a four-team playoff isn’t a panacea, the idea has become as trendy as skinny jeans lately. No. 1 vs. No. 4, No. 2 vs. No. 3 in the BCS standings facing off in two national semifinals. The two winners meet for all the Tostitos.  Or whatever corporate sponsor wins the rights.

Emmert even used the term “Final Four approach.” Think of the possibilities. Even more corporate sponsors.

We digress. Nothing actually changes until the 2014 season. The BCS commissioners will hash things out over the next six months. Before we get there, we’ve got a chance to look back at what would have been. Using the BCS standings as a template, CBSSports.com went back and matched up the top four teams in each of the 14 years of the BCS.

Some years it was wonderful. Some years it wasn’t needed. Every year it was fun to fantasize. We kick off today with the first five years of the BCS (1998-2002). What emerged, at least in this space, was an extension of the Miami dynasty.

 

1998

BCS champion: Tennessee, 23-16 over Florida State.

The setup: Back when the BCS was young and it made sense there was little controversy over Florida State and Tennessee meeting in the first championship game. FSU was on a 10-game winning streak since losing the second game of the season to N.C. State. No opponent had come within of the Noles 11 points during the streak.

Tennessee was a no-brainer as the other half of the first BCS title game. The undefeated SEC champs were a foreshadowing of how college football’s postseason would be dominated. The difference was Bobby Bowden having to rely on backup quarterback Marcus “Rooster” Outzen because of a neck injury to Chris Weinke.  Rooster, a former high school option quarterback, completed only nine of 22 while throwing two picks. The formerly explosive FSU offense was held to 253 yards by a great Tennessee defense led by Dwayne Goodrich (54-yard interception for a touchdown).

How a four-team playoff would have changed things: No. 1 Tennessee vs. No. 4 Ohio State, No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 3 Kansas State. Ohio State’s John Cooper was on a run of four straight seasons with at least 10 wins. The Buckeyes only loss was to a Nick Saban-coached Michigan State team that finished 6-6. Tennessee’s superior defense would have ruled the day. Tennessee 20, Ohio State 16.

A four-team playoff would have saved Kansas State which was coming off the most devastating loss in program history. Like UCLA that season, the Wildcats were a win away from a national championship berth. They led Texas A&M by 15 in the fourth quarter in the Big 12 championship game. K-State lost in double overtime dropping from the title game to the Alamo Bowl after suffering its first loss.

The collapse was so sudden and complete that Bill Snyder called it the worst of his career. “The pain that comes from this,” he said, “is obvious.” The guy who scored the winning touchdown for A&M, Sirr Parker, had a movie made about him.

It is still considered by some the best K-State team ever. Given a second chance, Michael Bishop and the Wildcats would have rebounded against FSU. Kansas State 27, Florida State 20.

Championship game: Kansas State vs. Tennessee. Because of FSU’s injuries, K-State would have been a much better opponent for the Vols. Watching Bishop and receiver Darnell McDonald try to break down the Tennessee defense would have been a treat. In the end, Bishop, prone to turnovers, would have given the Vols at least one short field. Plus, he wasn’t the best thrower. Tennessee defensive coordinator John Chavis would have attacked those two weaknesses all night. Tennessee 30, Kansas State 23.

Fantasy quote:
 "We'd play 'em again tomorrow in a parking lot in shorts and T-shirts. That would be Indiana State, not Tennessee." -- Bill Snyder

Who got screwed: UCLA found out it’s when you lose, not if you lose. A lot of the blame goes on coach Bob Toledo. With a berth in the title game hanging in the balance, Toledo chose to travel to Miami the day before the final regular-season game in early December. The Bruins weren’t acclimated to the South Florida heat and lost a shootout, 49-45. UCLA dropped from second to fifth in the final BCS standings meaning the Bruins wouldn’t even have made a four-team playoff.

The “consolation” for the Bruins was the Rose Bowl, won by Wisconsin 38-31.

 


1999

BCS champion: Florida State 46, Virginia Tech 29

The setup: No controversy here. Florida State and Virginia Tech were the only two undefeated major-college programs. Tech had a team for the ages – at least in Blacksburg -- in Michael Vick’s first year as a starter. The only thing that slowed FSU’s Peter Warrick’s that season was the receiver’s suspension for getting a significant discount from a friendly clerk at a local department store. The Noles went wire-to-wire at No. 1 in AP.

In the championship game, Tech rebounded from 21 down to take a 29-28 lead going into the fourth quarter. Vick accounted for 322 yards in total offense but couldn’t play defense. FSU scored 18 unanswered in the final 15 minutes, winning 46-29.

How a four-team playoff would have changed things: No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 4 Alabama, No. 2 Virginia Tech vs. No. 3 Nebraska: This was probably a year when a plus-o
ne would have been worthless. Virginia Tech and FSU had nothing to prove except to play each other. A playoff would have allowed Nebraska (11-1) and Alabama (10-2) in. The Huskers would have earned a semifinal spot with what is now their last team to win a conference title. Nebraska got even for its only regular-season loss by beating Texas in the Big 12 title game.

Even though Nebraska posted two shutouts that year, Vick was a force of nature that season. Virginia Tech 29, Nebraska 22.

Meanwhile, it was hard to believe a Mike Dubose-coached team that lost to Louisiana Tech would have been able to play for a national championship. Despite winning the SEC that year, Bama wasn’t national championship caliber. Florida State 32, Alabama 20.

Championship game: Little would have changed. Noles 35, Virginia Tech 24.
 
Fantasy quote:  "When's the Miami game next year?" -- Bobby Bowden.

Who got screwed: Really, no one. For the second straight year, No. 6 Kansas State lost only once in the regular season but didn’t get close to a BCS bowl after Nebraska won the Big 12. No. 5 Tennessee actually beat Alabama during the season but finished second in the SEC East. But as we would see in a couple of years, winning your division was no prerequisite to playing for the national championship.

 


2000

BCS champion: Oklahoma 13, Florida State 2

The setup: plus-one matchups would have addressed one of the great BCS injustices. No. 2 Florida State played No. 1 Oklahoma for the title despite losing to No. 3 Miami by three in Wide Right III. FSU eventually got the No. 2 spot over the Canes by .32 of a point.

While Miami was in the process of kicking off a 34-game winning streak that season, FSU was at the end of an incredible 14-year run in which it finished in the top four. Despite Weinke winning the Heisman that year, the Noles were dominated in a defensive snoozer of a championship game.

While the season felt unfulfilling in South Florida, Oklahoma had a season for the ages. Juco quarterback Josh Heupel made a run at the Heisman running something called the zone-read option. Bob Stoops’ defense was suffocating, allowing 14 or fewer points nine times. With its championship, the Sooners finally crawled out of bomb crater caused by crippling NCAA penalties 11 years earlier.

How a four-team playoff would have changed things: No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 4 Washington, No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 3 Miami. A Florida State-Miami rematch would have been a championship game in itself. The issue was further complicated because the Canes only loss that season came to Washington in the second week of the season.

It’s hard to beat a team twice in a season but by the end of the 2000, Miami might have been the best team in the country. Miami 28, Florida State 24.

In the other semifinal, Oklahoma was a much more complete team. The Huskies won six of their games by a touchdown or less. Quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo was the spark on a team not loaded with a ton of NFL talent. Oklahoma 38, Washington 25.

Championship game: Miami vs. Oklahoma. A matchup for the ages. Two programs, full of swagger, reborn before our eyes. Think of the talent on that field – Jeremy Shockey, Santana Moss, Bryant McKinnie, Ed Reed, Rocky Calmus, Heupel, J.T. Thatcher, Torrance Marshall, Quentin Griffin.

In what would have been Butch Davis' final game, the Canes have bit more speed and athleticism. Miami 27, Oklahoma 23.

Fantasy quote:  
"Someone from the Cleveland Browns on Line 1, coach." --Davis' secretary 

Who got screwed: In the real world, it was Miami. With a plus-one it would have been Virginia Tech. In Vick’s last season, the Hokies went 10-1 in the regular season, losing only to Miami, but were nosed out for the No. 4 spot by  Washington. Tech was actually better than the Huskies in the computers but was hurt by its schedule strength.

 

 

2001

BCS championship game: Miami 37, Nebraska 14

The setup: If there was ever a year for a four-team playoff,  2001 screamed for it. The Miami-Nebraska game was one of the great BCS traveshamockeries. The Huskers played for the championship despite failing to win the Big 12 North and getting blown out in the final regular-season game by Colorado.

It was considered a further scandal when the Big 12 champion Buffs finished at No. 3, .05 of a point behind Nebraska. And you thought the Rematch of the Century was controversial? Oregon also had a beef, finishing No. 4 in the BCS but was consensus No. 2 in both human polls.

Two outsiders to the Pasadena tradition – Huskers and Canes -- were made to feel like they had to wipe their feet before stepping foot on the hallowed Rose Bowl turf.

How a four-team playoff would have changed things:  No. 1 Miami vs. No. 4 Oregon, No. 2 Nebraska vs. Colorado.  Miami would have easily handled Oregon. This was one of the best UM teams of all time. Miami 34, Oregon 16.

A Nebraska-Colorado rematch would have been tasty. The 62-36 regular-season CU win signaled the beginning of a long, slow decline for Nebraska football. Would the Huskers have had to suffer the same indignity again? Yes. Colorado 32, Nebraska 30.

Championship game:  This season kicked off a streak in which CU’s Gary Barnett got to the Big 12 championship game in four of five years. Nothing, though, would have stopped Miami which won the national championship in Larry Coker’s first season after taking over for Davis. Miami 30, Colorado 17.
 

Fantasy quote: "How hard can this be?" -- Larry Coker
 
Who got screwed: College football? The more BCS fathers think about the 2001 season, the more they want to induce vomiting. Colorado beat Nebraska, played a tougher schedule and won the conference yet still didn’t get to play for it all. The thing is, no one in Nebraska would have said a word if the Huskers would have been left out.

 

2002

BCS champion: Ohio State 31, Miami 24, 2 OT

The setup: No need to even discuss a playoff this year. What was left to determine after one of the best games in history? Ohio State’s double-overtime title game win over Miami had everything – dozens of future pros, points, penalties and Porter. Actually, Terry Porter, the official who made the infamous call in the end zone that turned a Miami celebration into more overtime.

You know what happened next. A molecular biology major named Craig Krenzel studiously led the Buckeyes to a come-from-behind win. In the end the Canes couldn’t believe they lost. Somewhere beneath the Fiesta Bowl stands that night Miami’s Kellen Winslow II muttered, “The best team didn’t win.”

How a four-team playoff would have changed things: No. 1 Miami vs. No. 4 USC, No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Georgia. A Miami-USC semifinal would have had plenty of brand-name value. Carson Palmer won the Heisman that year but his Trojans lost twice before the second week of October and couldn’t recover in the rankings. Miami 24, USC 23.

An argument could be made that Georgia was one of the great one-loss teams in BCS history. In Mark Richt’s second season, the Dawgs went 13-1, losing only to Florida. A Georgia team that included Jon Stinchcomb, Boss Bailey and David Greene would have been a fine semifinal opponent for the Buckeyes. But based on nothing more than mojo, Ohio State would have won because it was a team of destiny winning half of its 14 games by a touchdown or less. Ohio State 23, Georgia 19.

Championship game:  Miami, an 11 ½-point favorite, blew the real meeting to Ohio State because it took the Buckeyes lightly and committed five turnovers. In a playoff, it's hard imagining the 2002 Canes being that bad. Miami 24, Ohio State 17.

Fantasy quote:  
"Beers in my room after the game. Media invited." -- Terry Porter 

Who got screwed: In a four-team playoff, perhaps it would have been No. 5 Iowa. Brad Banks led the nation in pass efficiency that year. The defense was fifth against the run. The scoring offense was top 10. The Hawkeyes finished .28 of a point behind No. 4 USC.

Iowa finished third in both human polls. But the Trojans – fifth in both polls – at least won their conference while playing the toughest schedule in the country.

 

Plus-one champions, 1998-2002: Tennessee, Florida State, Miami, Miami, Miami.

Tomorrow: A plus-one from 2003 to 2007. 

Posted on: January 16, 2012 10:56 pm
 

Weis on O'Brien's recruiting and Super Bowl run

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Charlie Weis has a bit of advice for the latest Patriots offensive coordinator to get his first college head coaching job at a national program.

Win the Super Bowl first.

Penn State’s Bill O’Brien is in the exact same place Weis was seven years ago with Notre Dame. Same job, same circumstance – splitting time between that college job and a Patriots playoff run.

“To be honest with you, I feel that if you’re making a run at the Super Bowl you have an ethical responsibility to finish the job,” Weis said Monday during a Kansas recruiting update.  

That’s how Weis did it in his last year with the Patriots. New England hasn’t won a Super Bowl since then.

“I hope that’s how it turns out for the Patriots,” Weis said. “I hope that’s how it turns out for Bill [Belichick] and Billy [O’Brien].”

Weis has met O’Brien only casually but said the Patriots-Nittany Lions transformation is being handled by Belichick the same way it was seven years ago. After being named Notre Dame coach in late 2004, Weis didn’t take over full-time until after the Patriots won their last Super Bowl on Feb. 6, 2005. O’Brien, finally named at Penn State on Jan. 6, has also been splitting duties as the Patriots head to the AFC championship game.

“The first year it hurts you because you’re now taking a small [recruiting] class,” Weis said. “You’re scrambling to get your staff in line. Case in point: [Penn State’s staff is] in line with two weeks left in recruiting. They’ll get some guys but they’re going to get whatever guys they can get with two weeks left to recruit.”

Weis’ first class consisted of only 15 players and finished 40<sup>th</sup> nationally (Rivals) with only two four-star prospects – tight end Joey Hibdon and receiver D.J. Hord.

“It hurts you in the first year, which then hurts you in the third year,” Weis said referring to a lack of depth that shows up when players are expected to mature as juniors.

Maxpreps.com currently has Penn State with only 13 commitments with two weeks left until signing day. Similar to Weis in his first ND season, O’Brien’s class is ranked 41<sup>st</sup> by Rivals.

Obviously, there are different recruiting issues. Penn State is trying to dig out from a horrific scandal. Notre Dame remains on that championship chase. Weis went to BCS bowls in his first two seasons in South Bend. The freshmen in that first recruiting class then went 10-15 in 2007 and 2008 as juniors and seniors. Weis was fired after the 2009 season.

“There was a big positive residual effect when I was both offensive coordinator with the Patriots and the head coach at Notre Dame – in the second year,” Weis said.  “You went and won it [Super Bowl] so now you have all these recruits looking at you. You don’t get them for that [first] year. The next year made it easier to recruit.”

True, Weis landed a top 10 class in 2006, but those players went 16-21 in their final three seasons. After staying with the Chiefs for one season (2010), Weis went to Florida as offensive coordinator in 2011. He stayed for the Chiefs one-game playoff  “run” before departing for Gainesville.

“It’s not like they’ve had a whole year left to go ahead and do the thing,” Weis said of O’Brien, “although …the next year it makes things a lot easier as far as recruiting.”

 

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: January 11, 2012 6:36 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2012 6:46 pm
 

The Cecil Newton Rule is finally adopted

INDIANAPOLIS – Cecil Newton’s flesh-peddling days are over. Or at least his sort of conduct is finally illegal in the NCAA's eyes.

The NCAA Legislative Council on Wednesday formally adopted legislation that designates any parent an “agent” who tries to sell the services of their child to an institution. Cam Newton was allowed to play, win the Heisman and win the national championship in 2010 essentially because there was no specific NCAA bylaw to govern his father’s conduct.

The NCAA admonished Cecil Newton for his action in 2010 trying to extract a reported $180,000 for his son to attend Mississippi State. Wednesday's legislation, though, came a year and a day after Cam Newton helped Auburn win that year's national championship over Oregon.

“It essentially closes the loophole,” said council chair Carolyn Campbell-McGovern here at the NCAA Convention.

It took the NCAA almost 14 months to change the language of the legislation after Cecil Newton first reportedly solicited money from Mississippi State in November 2010.

The new language now exists under Bylaw 12 in the NCAA Manual dealing with amateurism:

“ … an agent is any individual who, directly or indirectly, represents or attempts to represent an individual for the purpose of marketing his or her athletics ability or reputation for financial gain …”

“It was important for us to shore that up and make sure we were encompassing all individuals,” Campbell-McGovern. “It addresses not only who is covered but also the scope. Trying to do it is a crime. Not a crime, but a violation.”

Here are selected passages from the rationale portion of the bylaw:  “ … an industry of individuals has been created, including runners, financial advisors, marketing representatives, business managers, brand managers and street agents who seek to broker elite athletes for financial gain …

“ … the competitive nature of the industry has resulted in finding way to circumvent the rules. One constant is the use of outside third parties.”

Imagine that, a birth father who raised and nurtured a child, now being labeled an outside third party.

 

 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: January 11, 2012 6:07 pm
 

Education secretary slams BCS

INDIANAPOLIS – U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan slammed the BCS Wednesday saying major conferences contribute “zero” to student-athlete academic success. Speaking at an NCAA Convention luncheon, Duncan added that the BCS should set aside an academic enhancement fund.

“I think it is a problem that BCS conferences use zero – zero percent of their bowl game revenues for educational components or to support student academic success,” Duncan said during remarks made at the luncheon where he was the keynote speaker.

BCS executive director Bill Hancock deferred comment to the individual conferences. Duncan cited the NCAA basketball tournament distribution formula that awards teams an equal share (approximately $1.4 million) for each victory. The BCS distributes approximately $150 million per year to the 11 FBS conferences.

“I believe the NCAA tournament revenue formula should do more to award teams that don’t short change academics …,” Duncan said. “The BCS awards even more [upwards of $20 million per participating team]. There has to be a better way to distribute postseason revenue and do more to support the educational mission of those universities.

“A BCS conference should set aside a meaningful share of bowl revenues for an academic enhancement fund to support the education of the student-athletes,” Duncan added. “The NCAA has no control over bowl revenues so this would be a decision each conference would have to make.” 

 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: January 9, 2012 11:18 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 8:11 am
 

Alabama wins ugly, but it's enough

NEW ORLEANS – It is just a different world they live in down here. A world where touchdowns and quarterbacks are optional, certainly not required. A world where the family budget is busted for $350 tickets to watch a kicking contest.

A world where football and Nick Saban are king. In an age of parity, Alabama has done to college football what Saban would like to do to the media now and then.

Apply a choke hold.

That gasping you heard from LSU Monday night at the BCS championship game was rematch revenge. This time it counted. This is what we’re left in a two-game series that was split and a season that, elsewhere, was fractured.

Might as well fracture it one more time. Alabama became the first team to win a national championship without winning its conference.

Another first in the BCS era. A shutout.

You noticed that, did you?  It many ways the rematch was a replay. In the teams’ two games there have been 10 field goals. Alabama got five of them from Jeremy Shelley on Monday. That was all the offense that was needed. Trent Richardson ran for the only touchdown in the two games of the century just for the heck of it.  

Maybe it was fitting in a season that distracted us from football, that even football couldn’t save us. The only constant was Saban, a iconic coach who has not only rigged the system, he has defined the system.

Alabama won its eighth national championship Monday in the BCS championship game the only way it could. With Bear Bryant-quality defense. It almost seemed like Saban mandated it. Every recruiting class he has had since coming to LSU in 2000 has experienced a national championship. That would be 2003 with the Tigers and 2009 and this season in 2011 with a Miami Dolphins dalliance in between.

This makes it two in three years for the Tide. At least 44 players now have two championship rings.

You want to win? You come to Alabama. It doesn't matter how it looks. Those deep-throated Tide fans who matched LSU's homestanding crowd 50/50 in the Superdome split didn't give a rip. The linebackers -- Courtney Upshaw, Nico Johnson, Dont'a Hightower and Jerrell Harris -- played themselves into legend status Monday harassing Jordan Jefferson all night.

LSU didn't cross the 50 until eight minutes remained. The Tigers’ biggest offensive play may have been Jefferson's tackle of Moseley. Moseley intercepted Jefferson who then took down the sophomore linebacker who seemed to injured his right knee. 

Didn't matter, Bama won missing its leading receiver -- Marquis Maze, injured early -- and one of its best linebackers. It won with Saban who knows the only currency that counts in the SEC is defense. 

 


Category: NCAAF
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.
 
 
 
 
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