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Tag:Kansas
Posted on: March 9, 2012 12:19 am
 

Texas on the right side of the bubble?

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – This is what a 68-team bracket has forced us to care about …

Northwestern absolutely choking its way out of a tournament it would have no shot at unless there was a 68-team bracket.

Look, I get all the national love for the Wildcats. It’s a nice story that a school known more its catchy ledes than buzzer beaters is this close to getting in the tournament for the first time. But this is what they didn’t tell us when the bracket expanded a couple of years ago: The bubble was dumbed down.

Had the 64-team field remained, Northwestern’s overtime loss to Minnesota Thursday in the Big Ten tournament would have been an NIT footnote. But the expanded bubble being what it is, we must care – about bad basketball. Even now after destiny’s Debbie Downers in Evanston frittered another one away.

Northwestern isn’t the only one. Washington (1-7 against the top 50) won the Pac-12 regular-season title but is now a question mark after losing to Oregon State. Hold your nose but Arizona may have forced itself into the conversation, if  not the bracket. This was all for good for Texas, which played one of the more compelling games of the day in a Big 12 tournament quarterfinal against Iowa State.

Compelling because Texas continues to be a member of that dreaded bubble for the first time in a long time. They have been tournament regulars under Rick Barnes. Not this season in a tenuous transition season with six freshmen. Things were looking up late Thursday when the young Horns showed some finishing ability – please note, Northwestern – in a 71-65 win over the Cyclones.  

At halftime, with his team trailing, Horns coach Rick Barnes took to the dry erase board to state the obvious.

“I wrote it down ‘NIT or NCAA'. Which one would you put your name under right now?” Barnes said. “Whichever one you want, I assure you you’re going to have to earn it.”

So they did, with their best basketball of the season. After Iowa State opened the second half with a 7-0 run, the Horns responded with a 22-4 run of their own. Suddenly, Texas is hot. It has 20 wins, a benchmark of some sort among bubble teams, right? It was won three out of the last four going into Friday’s semifinal against Missouri.

It has what Northwestern and other bubble boys don’t. Bracket credibility, if only for day. Maybe the best thing you can say about Barnes’ team is that it looks less bad that some of the others. The Longhorns have now won 10 conference games while playing in one of the few high major conferences with a round-robin schedule (18 games).

The baby Horns grew up a little Thursday night. Freshman guard Myck Kapongo played 39 minutes, with no turnovers for the first time in his 32-game career.

“We’re not young no more,” he said.

If the Horns have an advantage in the NCAA basketball committee room this weekend, it is because of pedigree. Only Michigan State, Duke and Kansas have longer NCAA tournament streaks than Barnes does at Texas (13 consecutive years). This is not one of Barnes’ classic teams. The Longhorns struggle to score mightily. Three of those freshman start.

I’m not going to tell you that Texas doesn’t belong in the tournament. Not after what I saw and read on Thursday. What makes Texas any worse than Northwestern or Washington or Colorado State or Seton Hall or Miami or South Florida?

When you get to this level of desperation you count “good” losses. Texas has plenty of them -- six, against top 10 opponents. Eight of its 12 losses have come against the top 25.

At the beginning of the day, Jerry Palm had the Longhorns out. I’m not going to say he’s wrong. I’m going to refer him to a gutty second half comeback, those maturing freshmen and Rick Barnes.

“We fought back,” he said.

Beats the heck out of Northwestern. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

The Last Border War in Lawrence is the best

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

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

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

Until Saturday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Big 12 schedule released -- finally

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The highlights …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on: January 1, 2012 12:16 pm
Edited on: January 1, 2012 12:18 pm
 

Looking back at 2011, ahead to 2012

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



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

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


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

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

Clemson-West Virginia? (Six combined losses?)

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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



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

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

 

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

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

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



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

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



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

 

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

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


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


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


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

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



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

Posted on: December 10, 2011 10:06 am
 

Crist may be at Ohio St-Kansas hoops game

LAWRENCE, Kan. – New Kansas coach Charlie Weis hinted that Notre Dame transfer Dayne Crist may be at Saturday afternoon’s KU basketball game with No. 2 Ohio State.

There are widespread reports that Crist is transferring and is considering both Kansas and Wisconsin.

“There might be a tall guy out there give me a hug,” Weis said Friday during his introductory press conference.

The 6-foot, 6-inch quarterback was originally recruited by Weis at Notre Dame. Crist lost the job to Tommy Rees early in the 2011 season. As a junior in 2010, Crist started nine games for the Irish and threw for 15 touchdowns. In 2008, he was considered one of the top quarterbacks in the country coming out of Canoga Park, Calif.

Crist would be immediately eligible in 2012 because he has graduated from Notre Dame. He would have one season of eligibility remaining.  

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: December 8, 2011 12:00 pm
 

Weis to Kansas? Can't see it

Charlie Weis’ name has been mentioned for the Kansas job, which is interesting.

The man is highly thought of in the area. He made Matt Cassel an All-Pro in his one year with the Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City won the AFC West and led the NFL in rushing with Weis as offensive coordinator. Weis was also determined to leave the area after one season because he and his wife had enough because of disturbing incidents involving their daughter.

Weis made the move to Florida to be with his son Charlie Jr. and to provide a better setting for that special needs daughter, Hannah. I don’t think he comes back to Kansas to be a head coach. Kansas has less of an infrastructure than Notre Dame and Weis went to two BCS bowls with the Irish.

I might be totally wrong. Kansas may have spoken extensively with Weis. Maybe he wants to get back into college head coaching in the worst way. He would be that sexy hire and get KU football back on the map. It’s hard to remember but the Jayhawks were national championship contenders in 2007.

Florida took a downturn in 2011 with Weis as offensive coordinator but that’s all it was – a downturn. And don’t forget the growing possibility that Urban Meyer didn’t exactly leave the cupboard stocked.

As of now, Weis isn’t going anywhere because his focus remains where it should be – his family.

Meanwhile, as of now …

Arizona State: With June Jones apparently out of the picture, the Sun Devils are reportedly turning their attention to Tennessee defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, Oregon offensive coordinator Jim Helfrich and 49ers assistant Jim Leavitt. Still can’t understand why Sumlin was out of the mix early. Said it was his dream job.

UCLA: An LA Times report says the Bruins are centering on Jim Mora Jr. 

Illinois: The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Illini like Toledo’s Tim Beckman.

Kansas: Completely silent. The Kansas City Star lists 11 candidates.

 

Posted on: December 2, 2011 3:29 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 3:32 pm
 

Les Miles does not answer The Question

ATLANTA -- Les Miles wouldn’t go there when The Question was asked.

It’s obvious that No. 1 LSU can afford to lose Saturday and still play for the national championship. That has led to the anti-climatic nature of the SEC title game here on Saturday. But LSU’s coach obviously didn’t want to consider the option of losing Friday when asked if a team that hasn’t won its conference should be allowed to play in the big game.

“I have a very strong opinion,” said Miles who then paused a few seconds. “It will be something I will share with you some other time in my life.”

Unspoken answer: You’re damn right we should be in the championship game. We’ve beaten seven ranked teams, three in the top three including Alabama.

The question was phrased another way during Friday’s pre-game press conferences: Should LSU be in the BCS title game win or lose?

“I have given little thought to that,” Miles said. “I do know that that is an issue out there for other folks. It’s not one for us. We’ve talked about it several times but not about the ‘What ifs.’ It’s about what we’ve accomplished at this point.”

Miles has an ally in Georgia coach Mark Richt. The Bulldogs were fourth going in the BCS going into the final weekend of the 2007 season behind Ohio State, West Virginia and Missouri. Missouri and West Virginia lost, leaving a bunch of two-loss teams (and one-loss Kansas which had completed its season) to compete for the other top-two spot.

LSU jumped Georgia that year, vaulting from No. 7 to No. 2 in the final BCS standings after winning the SEC title game over Tennessee. At that point Georgia was 10-2 having lost only to South Carolina and Tennessee. The Dawgs won their final seven regular-season games, finishing fifth in the BCS behind Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, LSU and Ohio State.

So much for a non-conference winner playing for it all. It has actually happened twice in BCS history -- Nebraska (2001) and Oklahoma (2003). Georgia did have a nice consolation prize that year, beating the snot out of Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl.

“The bottom line is when you play a game or have a season or have a system there’s certain rules that you abide by,” Richt said. “If the rules say you must be conference champion then that’s the way it is. If the rules don’t say that then I don’t you have to be the conference championship to play in that [BCS title] game.

“ … Why should somebody go stumping and try to convince everybody that should be part of the criteria when it’s not?”

When told he had tap-danced nicely around the issue Friday, Miles told CBSSports.com, "Best I can do." 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com