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

What MWC has to do to become BCS league

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Mountain West membership for 2012:



Air Force

Boise State

Colorado State

New Mexico

San Diego State

UNLV

Wyoming

Fresno State

Hawaii

Nevada













Posted on: November 3, 2011 10:44 pm
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

Son of WWL is the petulant offspring of Weekend Watch List. This week it weighs in on the LSU-Alabama rematch.

 


Before the teams even kick it off Saturday LSU-Alabama II has filled minds, cyberspace and column inches.

That’s the world we live in. If Tigers-Tide is good, a rematch in the BCS championship game could be better – depending. Depending on a very narrow set of circumstances.

First, ask yourself. Do you even want to see the Game of the (11-year-old) Century again, two months later? Is that even fair? Here’s my take on how it could happen:

--LSU has to lose Saturday’s game. Alabama is favored and playing at home. The pollsters probably wouldn’t give the benefit of the doubt to the Crimson Tide in this scenario if they lose. It doesn’t matter that LSU is No. 1. Alabama is No. 2 and perceived to be the better team playing at home before 101,821 fans and Bear Bryant growling in the background. Literally.

--LSU has to play well and lose a close game, preferably at the gun and preferably by a 55-yard field goal or something like that. That would resurrect the oldest line in show business: Always leave them wanting more.

--LSU has to win the rest of its games which at this point include Western Kentucky, a trip to Ole Miss and at home against Arkansas. It would help, a lot, if LSU blew out the Hogs. That would be the lasting impression the Tigers would leave in the minds of the voters who would still have to wade through two more Saturdays of football. (Arkansas-LSU is on Friday, Nov. 25).

It was a different set of circumstances but don’t forget LSU lost to Arkansas in 2007 and still went to the BCS title game with two losses. That’s one indication of how powerful an SEC team is in the BCS standings.

--Stanford and Oklahoma State have to lose. At least. The feeling is that LSU would at least have a chance to pass an undefeated Boise State in the BCS. While that’s no certainty, the SEC has gotten the benefit of the doubt before (see above).

“I’m a believer,” Steve Spurrier said, “that if a rematch does occur, the formula we have in place is to get the best two teams in the game.”

Spurrier should know a little bit about the subject. Florida beat Florida in the Sugar Bowl rematch to win the 1996 national championship.


Why it won’t happen

 

--The loser will have had its chance … No one wants to see the game again … Give someone else a chance.

All those are valid arguments and have already manifested themselves five years ago. Michigan lost the last regular-season 1-2 game at Ohio State 42-39 in 2006. On the last day of the season (two weeks later) the Wolverines – No. 3 in the BCS at the time -- were edged out by SEC champ Florida after No. 2 USC was upset by UCLA. Michigan actually gained in the polls and computers, but enough losing out to Florida by .0134 of a point.

--SEC voter fatigue. WWL has no evidence that this exists but after five consecutive national championships who is to say that – if it’s close – human nature won’t take over? In other words, why not give someone else a chance?

--The loser won’t play on the last day of the season (Dec. 3) when a lot of statements can be made. If Alabama wins big in the SEC title game, that will be another reason not to elevate LSU to No. 2. Boise State could complete an undefeated season with what figures to be a complete obliteration of New Mexico.

--The loser better not fall too far. In the 13-year history of the BCS no team that finished out of the top two in the final regular-season polls played for the national championship. Nebraska played for the title in was fourth in 2001 in the AP and coaches poll. Oregon finished but was relegated to the Fiesta Bowl.

 

 

Something to chew on, and spit out: What’s wrong with this world when Barry Switzer gets a statue at Oklahoma 22 years after leaving the school and Nick Saban got one at Alabama after his fourth? … Where have you gone Mike Leach? Last week against Iowa State, Texas Tech failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time in five years … Unbelievable: Iowa and UCLA still control their own fate in their conferences. Iowa, 5-3, can still win the Legends Division despite a horrific loss last week to Minnesota. The Bruins, 4-4, are in the thick of things in the Pac-12 South. They host division leader Arizona State this week … Penn State’s Silas Redd led the nation in rushing in October with 703 yards … Louisville travels to West Virginia looking for its first three-game Big East winning streak in five years … Unless a meteor hits, Boise’s Kellen Moore should set the record for career wins by a quarterback. Moore is 45-2 as a starter going into the UNLV game.

Posted on: October 8, 2010 1:29 pm
Edited on: October 9, 2010 9:06 am
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

Judgment time: More than half of Division I-A (61 teams) will reach the halfway point of the regular season having played six games after this week. The season reaches its official halfway point after the games of Oct. 16. Seven weeks down, seven weeks to go on the college football calendar ...

Strangely, the end of Saturday's LSU-Tennessee game was similar to the conclusion of the Fifth Down, at least in the confusion category. If you're looking for link between the two it's LSU third-string quarterback Chase McCartney. Chase is the grandson of former Colorado coach Bill McCartney who was the Buffs' coach against Missouri 20 years ago. Missouri and CU meet for the final time as Big 12 opponents Saturday in Columbia ... What's the big deal about Turner Gill's curfew which doesn't allow Kansas players to see women after 10 p.m. during the season? With all the mistreatment of women in sports, this is a bold, positive step. The alternative is Florida (30 arrests in six years). Gill was asked if his curfew would hurt recruiting. "I guess it could. But we can explain it. It's not that big a deal." The Jayhawks host Kansas State on Thursday ...

Sometimes you just feel pity. Purdue (2-2 going to Northwestern) has lost its quarterback (Robert Marve), best receiver (Keith Smith) and top running back (Ralph Bolden) to season-ending injuries ... Penn State is 114th in red zone offense, worst among BCS conference schools ... Florida State (25) and Miami (17) are 1-2 nationally in sacks. Best of luck to Jacory Harris and Christian Ponder ... Baylor (4-1 vs. Texas Tech at the Cotton Bowl) is trying for consecutive wins away from Waco for the first time since 1996 ...

Stay away from this trend, gamblers. Toledo is 0-2 at home but 3-0 on the road heading to ... Boise. Oh no. ... What's your deal? USC will try to stay within 34 (margin of loss in last year's meeting) when it travels to Stanford ... Who needs BYU in the Mountain West for BCS strength? The Cougars (1-4 and hosting San Diego State) are off to their worst start since 1973 ...  UNLV (at West Virginia) hasn't played in the Eastern Time Zone since 2004 ...

WAC commissioner Karl Benson is the latest source to want coaches' poll ballots made public. His former school, Boise State, was jumped last week in both polls by Oregon. "My guess is that there are coaches who voted Boise State in double-digits," Benson said. "Boise State, unlike any other team in the country, has won the games that they're supposed to win."

Benson brought into question the process which was further muddied by New Mexico State coach DeWayne Walker, whose team lost to Boise 59-0 last week. Walker wasn't sure if he had a coaches' poll (he doesn't), but "I usually let my assistant coaches handle that stuff." Let's hope he never gets a vote ...

Posted on: October 1, 2010 12:18 am
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

The Pistol formation is sweeping the country, if you consider sweeping a list of about 10 schools. The variation on the shotgun was invented by veteran Nevada coach Chris Ault in 2005. It features a quarterback four yards behind center and a running back three yards behind him.

The advantage for the offense is more downhill running than in a zone read where the running back frequently is running parallel to the line. Because the backfield is essentially in an I-formation it's harder for defenses to target their blitzes. Alabama, Arkansas, Boise State, Duke, Indiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and UCLA are using it in varying degrees this season.

Nevada (at UNLV) is 4-0 for the first time since 1992 and ranked in the AP poll for the first time since 1948.

Boise State (at New Mexico State) is chasing a national championship.

UCLA (vs. Washington State) switched to it to jump start its offense this season. The Pistol produced 264 rushing yards last week against Texas.

Alabama, Boise, Indiana (vs. Michigan) and Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are undefeated.

"Most great ideas are born out of necessity," UCLA's Rick Neuheisel said. "We needed to run the football better. Looking at the equipment we had, it just wasn't working. We had to accept that. We were very fortunate to have been given some great advice from the University of Nevada coaching staff. We kind of poured ourselves into it. It was a little bit of a leap of faith." ...

NC State (hosting Virginia Tech)  is ranked for the first time in seven years ... In a game that might go a long way toward deciding the ACC's best quarterback (non-Russell Wilson division), Miami's Jacory Harris plays at Clemson against Kyle Parker. Each of the last three games between the teams have gone into overtime ... Former Tennessee defensive coordinator John Chavis goes against the Vols for the first time when Tennessee visits LSU ... The problem at LSU is offense, specifically Jordan Jefferson's passing. Jefferson has yet to throw a touchdown pass and has completed less than half his passes to go with three interceptions ... A.J. Green returns for Georgia in its game at Colorado. The losing coach should check the temperature of his chair. Mark Richt and Dan Hawkins, are all but on notice about their job security ...  Florida Wildcat sensation Trey Burton is the grandson of Lawrence Burton who finished fourth in the 100 meters at the '72 Olympics, was a first-round pick of the Saints and played receiver at Purdue ...

Not surprisingly, the Big Ten and the SEC combined have almost half the teams in the top 25 (six each). You can see what this is coming down to: The Big Ten and/or SEC champion vs. Boise State in the polls/BCS/public discussion ... Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh on playing at Oregon:  "Just thinking about it, we're going to be ready to walk out of that tunnel, 80,000 screaming Duck fans. We'll have our team huddled around us beneath that stadium. It doesn’t get any better than that. I'm getting excited thinking about it." Sounds lyrical except that Autzen Stadium seats only 54,000 ... Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker will miss his fourth consecutive game because of what are reportedly complications from diabetes ...  The Sun Belt player of the year so far is Troy's Jernell Jernigan. The sophomore receiver is second nationally in all-purpose yards (208 per game). In addition to averaging almost 100 yards in receptions per game, Jernigan returns kicks and punts and lines up in the Wildcat. Troy is No. 14 in total offense and plays perhaps the Sun Belt game of the year Tuesday at Middle Tennessee ... Central Florida's George O'Leary (Wednesday vs. Alabama-Birmingham) is 1-19 against BCS teams. That's the same record as the man he replaced in 2004, Mike Kruczek. That's according to research done by CBSSports.com's Matt Brodsky.

Posted on: September 1, 2010 3:03 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 3:55 pm
 

Dissecting BYU's move to independence

Maybe it started in 1996. That year BYU went 13-1 in the regular season and was ranked fifth in both polls. In the old Bowl Alliance, there was no room for the Cougars even then in the four big bowls that would become the foundation of the BCS -- Sugar, Fiesta, Orange and Rose.

That year No. 7 Penn State, No. 20 Texas (both Fiesta) and No. 10 Virginia Tech (Sugar) all got into big-time bowls before BYU.

The Cougars settled for the Cotton bowl, beat Kansas State and became the first team in major-college history to win 14 games in a season. That year, BYU finished No. 5. Florida, 12-1, won Steve Spurrier's only national championship.

That perceived injustice would lead WAC commissioner Karl Benson to lobby Congress for his schools' inclusion in the major-bowl postseason. Out of that trip to Washington D.C. eventually evolved the BCS two years later.

Or maybe it was what happened in 1999. That's when the Mountain West formed with BYU as its lead dog.

It certainly had to hit home in the last four seasons when BYU won 11 games three times, 10 games in the other season. And went to the Las Vegas Bowl each time.

It was clear that the last non-BCS school to win a national championship had to try something revolutionary to win another one. That's why it made sense for BYU to go independent in football. Everything else, the shifting of most other sports to the West Coast Conference, is an afterthought.

This was about the long-term viability of BYU football. Why did it take this radical step? Because it could. It had leverage.  Utah has been good since 2004. Boise State has had one of the country's best records since 2000. TCU just played in it first BCS bowl.

BYU has been a national power for decades. It is a true football factory. Used to be Quarterback U. Lavell Edwards, Steve Young, Robbie Bosco, all that.  It did win that national championship in '84.

It finally became time to separate itself. ESPN bought in with an eight-year agreement to televise BYU's home games. BYU already has its own network (BYU TV). Now it has its matchmaker. ESPN executive Dave Brown is one of the sport's power brokers when it comes arranging made-for-TV matchups.  That will help a lot when it comes to scheduling games. If that sounds a lot like Notre Dame and NBC, you're right.

"We're going forward with an opportunity to extend our reach, not to play it safe," AD Tom Holmoe said.

 The final straw might have been the Mountain West  "attacking" BYU last week. In an effort to keep the school in the conference (and wreck the WAC), Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson invited Fresno State and Nevada.

Before that, Benson had devised a plan to lure BYU back into the WAC by luring San Diego State, UNLV and Texas El-Paso.

The only "winner" was BYU. Alone. It had a problem with the MWC's relative anonymity. The conference isn't fully affiliated with ESPN. MWC games are shown on Versus and CBS College Sports. The MWC's conference network, The mtn., hasn't turned a profit yet. That BYU signed off on this strategy years ago to keep from having to play mid-week games hardly matters.

The WAC wasn't an option because of questions about its long-term viability after Thompson's Fresno-Nevada raid. If we've learned anything from this Summer of Sleaze it's that the only accountability is to yourself. In addition to the ESPN agreement, BYU also announced a six-game series with Notre Dame.

 "We'll do all we can to assist them in scheduling," ND AD Jack Swarbrick said. :We look forward to playing them."

The way it played out, the MWC and WAC were assured of mutual "destruction." Things broke down when Utah bolted for the Pac-10. That seriously wounded the MWC's chances of getting a temporary automatic BCS bid in 2012 and 2013. BYU knew it.

When the WAC lost Boise State, it tried an end-run to get UNLV and San Diego State, in a bold attempt to lure back BYU. When Thompson got wind of that, he tried to collapse the WAC. Fresno State and Nevada came but the result was a net loss. The MWC lost Utah and BYU. It gained Boise, Nevada and Fresno. That's hardly an even trade in the BCS' eyes. A net loss in BYU's eyes.

So where are we?  The MWC is now closer to the WAC than it is the BCS.  The WAC's best program is Hawaii -- if the Warriors don't go independent -- maybe Louisiana Tech. The glory days of Boise may be in jeopardy playing a tougher MWC schedule in the future. Even with the addition of Boise and the retention of TCU, the MWC lost most of its traction for that BCS bid.

 Halfway through a four-year evaluation process for that bid, the MWC is not certain to meet evaluation threshholds needed for an automatic BCS bid. (1. Average ranking of highest-ranked team in a conference; 2. Average conference rank in BCS; 3. Number of teams in top 25 of final BCS).

It's as if the Cuban Missile Crisis actually became a confrontation between the U.S. and Russia. Both conferences are diminished.  There are no winners. The WAC will fill in with I-AA programs, probably from the West Coast if Hawaii stays in the league. The MWC's schedule strength goes down.

BYU determined that it could make more money and perhaps get easier access to the BCS controlling the schedule.  Spreading the Mormon faith via these stand-alone games had to be a factor too. Its BCS access point will suffer (automatic only if BYU finishes No. 1 or No. 2, "eligible" in top 14). But as I reported earlier, the BCS and BYU have at least had conversations. Don't be surprised if football gets some kind of relief on that issue. As it stands, BYU is in the same BCS boat with Army and Navy.

"Right now the BCS is not the reason we made this move," Holmoe said.


If nothing else, BYU football is going to be a lot richer and a lot more visible. That's not something the MWC and WAC can say.

Posted on: August 18, 2010 6:05 pm
 

MWC offers Nevada and Fresno State

The Mountain West just announced on its Twitter account that it had offered invitations to Nevada and Fresno.

Earlier in the day, the Salt Lake City Tribune reported that BYU would leave the MWC and go independent in football and move its other sports to the WAC. The MWC's move seems to confirm that report. The league is attempting to stay alive by adding the Bulldogs and Wolf Pack.

It looks now like the two leagues are trying to put each other out of business. The old 16-team WAC was almost killed when half the teams broke off in 1999 to form the Mountain West.

If both schools leave for the MWC then the WAC is on the clock. The addition of Nevada and Fresno don't do much for the MWC's BCS numbers but that's hardly the point right now. It's all about survival now. The MWC has lost power teams Utah and BYU in the last few weeks.

As of now, none of this impacts BCS leagues causing the Big Bang (superconferences). The WAC will likely have to retrench with the likes of Montana (moving up from Division I-AA).

How the MWC might look in 2011

Nevada
Fresno State
Colorado State
UNLV
San Diego State
Wyoming
Boise State
TCU
New Mexico
Air Force

Posted on: April 26, 2010 12:10 pm
 

NFL draft, expansion and bowls

It's pretty simple.

You’re an SEC assistant (or head coach). You go into a home. You tell select recruit that your best chance to play for a national championship and NFL football is in the SE of C!

End of argument.  No negative recruiting. No money under the table (well, maybe not). This is the not-so-secret of the SEC winning four consecutive championships. Forget all the other analysis, the NFL draft reflects why the SEC has it rolling. It has tied or led in number of NFL draftees 11 of the last 13.

The Strength Everywhere Conference had 49 players drafted last week. Think if it adds any combination of Miami, Florida State or Texas, the SEC gets stronger?

 Interesting piece in the Omaha-World Herald regarding Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman. He's more than a power broker considering he's also on the Big 12 board of directors and chairman of the BCS presidential oversight committee.

Perhaps most telling is Perlman's super conference assessment, " ... 24 teams [in a league] has been floated, though not publicly ..."

Scary.

 Thirty-five bowls? Really. That's not the most shocking aspect of the NCAA certifying a record number of bowls for the next four-year cycle.

The shock is that the NCAA reportedly has a "contingency plan" in case there aren't 70 bowl-eligible teams. Bruce Binkowski, executive director of the Holiday Bowl, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that all the slots will be filled no matter what.

"They don't have a formula yet," Binkowski was quoted as saying, "but the NCAA has told all the bowls that if there aren't enough  bowl-eligible teams, all the bowls will still be played."

That can only mean one thing: 5-7 teams in bowl games.

And just to put more fear in the bowls' hearts consider the Hawaii angle. Teams are allowed a 13th game if they play a non-conference game in the islands. Because they are playing 13-game schedules, UNLV and USC will have to win at least seven to qualify for a bowl. Unless, of course, the NCAA needs to fill those 70 slots.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Hawaii, Nebraska, SEC, UNLV, USC
 
Posted on: March 12, 2010 12:30 pm
 

Baylor all-access going into Big 12 semis

(I'm embedded with the Baylor men this week during the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City. My all-access tour of all things Baylor continues ...)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Things are getting a bit cozy with Baylor and I. Maybe too cozy.

As part of this arrangement we've worked out this week, I get into the lockerroom before any media after games. I'm just trying to be a fly on the wall, chronicle an up-and-coming program. Last night I became part of the "team". Being a Christian (Baptist) school, Baylor players and coaches hug up in a circle after each game, bow their heads and recite an "Our Father."

"You too, Dennis," coach Scott Drew said after Thursday night's victory over Texas.

How do you say no to God? It wasn't so much reciting the prayer. I'm Catholic and know my way around a rosary. Rather, it was the Baylor players parting and letting me into their circle. Hey, I wasn't praying for Baylor victory. Not even Baylor does that. I was ... praying. Nothing wrong with that. Ever. Especially with me.

Now on to basketball ...

This is the first time I've seen Baylor's vaunted 1-1-3 zone defense for an extended period up close. Drew began using it late last season. It was one of the big reasons the Bears were so hard to crack in making runs to the Big 12 Tournament and NIT championship games.

Don't know if I'm going overboard but Baylor's zone looks as effective as Jim Boeheim's vaunted 2-3 zone at Syracuse. It's hard to enter it. Once teams do, Baylor's long, tall, aggressive defenders close in. There are only two teams in the Big 12 holding teams to less than 40 percent shooting. The other is No. 1 Kansas.

That's saying a mouthful.

"Man, Syracuse is great," guard LaceDarius Dunn said. "I watch their zone all the time. Man, it's crazy how they play their zone ... Ours is basically the same [as Syracuse's]."

In looks, not always effectiveness. Boeheim has been playing his for years and won a national championship with it. Along the back line, Baylor uses 7-foot senior Josh Lomers in the middle with a pair of long  6-10 guys on the wings -- junior Ekpe Udoh and sophomore Anthony Jones. Dunn and point guard Tweety Carter play staggered at the top in a more match-up technique.

Assistant coach Mark Morefield said Baylor's zone came from two disparate sources -- Southern Utah and UNLV. Drew took pieces from Southern Utah when he coached with his father Homer at Valparaiso in the old Mid-Continent Conference.

"You know what the best comparison is?," Morefield said as he took a marker to diagram the defense on a dry erase board. "UNLV back in the day with Larry Johnson and Stacey Augmon. It's a form of what they called the 'amoeba' defense. It had a lot of man-to-man principles."

Bet you never thought you'd read "Baylor", "UNLV" and "amoeba defense" in the same sentence. Hey, whatever it takes to win. Like Syracuse, UNLV won a title with its version of the zone in 1990. Baylor is just trying to get a sniff. Should be an interesting championship if both Kansas and the Bears win on Friday. The teams are 1-2 in field-goal percentage defense in the Big 12.

In their only meeting on Jan. 20, Kansas won by six in Lawrence.

It's safe to say, then, Baylor has a prayer when it plays Kansas State in one semifinal Friday night.

"We've maybe opened some eyes nationwide,"  Drew said.

And closed down the lane.

 

 

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