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NCAA on the Warpath?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Not many people heard Friday that the NCAA had placed Georgia Tech's football program on probation. Even fewer knew that they were being investigated at all. A 20-month long investigation starting from late in the 2009 season culminated in the program being placed on four years' probation, the vacation of the 2009 ACC title and a $100,000 fine--for improper benefits from a possible agent to two players, and more likely, Tech's purported hindrance of the investigation. Heard that same story recently about a program out of Ohio?

The players, Morgan Burnett and Demaryius Thomas, allegedly received around $300 in clothes and a cell phone  from a former Tech player who might have been acting to steer the two to an agent once they went pro--which they did at the end of the season. So, hit a program that hard over a few hundred bucks worth of benefits? That seems rather harsh, but it goes deeper than that. Initially, the NCAA was to come down and interview Burnett, and the only people that were to know about it was the Tech president, the compliance officer, and AD Dan Radakovich, who promptly informed coach Paul Johnson.

Johnson then questioned Burnett on his own, who denied any wrongdoing. Then all four school officials met with Burnett, in defiance of the NCAA's request for him to not be informed of the looming interview. The NCAA enforcement officer did come down and conduct the interview but discovered that Burnett had been prepped beforehand. Apparently the NCAA has the intention of getting more honest answers in an ambush-type interview process and was peeved that Tech had let the cat out of the bag. For me, while understanding that the NCAA has a difficult job to do, I'm a little uneasy about any individual being questioned in a matter that precludes a prior notification or the lack of representation. Kinda seems un-American.

That interview with Burnett then led to the discovery of possible improper benefits to Thomas. The NCAA notified Tech that both players should be declared ineligible and that the subsequent playing of them would have to be justified. Both kept playing through the end of season loss to Georgia, the ACC championship game and the Orange Bowl loss to Iowa. In that scenario, it seems that Georgia Tech might have been thumbing their nose to Indianapolis, and is probably the reason for the harsh penalties over what should have been minor violations. But as is in a lot of these cases, it's the cover-up that worse than the underlying crime.

The NCAA definitely felt that they couldn't prove the agent relationship regarding Burnett that could have led to even harsher sanctions because Tech had prepped him prior. That defiance has brought them significant penalties that are far-reaching for not just Tech and the ACC, but for college football itself. Already, you've seen the signs that Indianapolis is ready to go on the warpath, and you better come clean or you just might get scalped--and we're not talking tickets. Make no mistake, the NCAA is out to re-assert itself as the law of the land. Meet the new boss. Maybe not the same as the old boss.

Also last week, Ohio State went ahead and vacated all twelve victories from 2010 in an effort to stave off upcoming penalties from the NCAA--this on top of already forcing HC Jim Tressel out. Just how hard is the NCAA throwing punches these days that a program like OSU goes ahead and just vacates a 12-1 season? Wouldn't that be the capital offense that most schools would prefer to roll the dice on, hoping for an aquittal (or a hung jury) rather than cop a plea up front? Clearly those in Columbus see a freight train coming and vacating all your victories as the opening negotiation tactic is the poker equivalent of 'all in'. Now where have I heard that phrase recently?

And come on now, can it be mere coincidence with the leak last week of Auburn HC Gene Chizik's exchange with a NCAA compliance officer about when the Cam Newton investigation was to be concluded? While the harsh answer, "You'll know when we're finished and we're not finished.", was totally candid, the subsequent resounding message it sent couldn't have been better scripted.

Although Auburn detractors still eagerly await the smoking gun in that case, nothing new has been made aware in months, yet the investigation is going to remain open. Everybody knows that. Sometimes it takes months or years for information to come to light, and even if the NCAA does officially close it, don't think for a minute that it wouldn't be reopened immediately if new evidence surfaced. Why Chizik chose to air his concerns to that official in that environment is known to few, but the rebuffing he received is known to the whole country. While I would never believe that coach Chizik would lob one over the net for the NCAA to spike back down, the assertiveness shown by this official is the kind of publicity Indianapolis couldn't buy for their new get tough campaign. Meet the new NCAA enforcement division. They had quite the week.

With infractions popping up everywhere and the pressure on big-time programs to produce as high as ever, the job of the NCAA keeps getting harder. The last thing they can tolerate is for programs to openly defy the rules and impede the investigations. They're going to start hitting the guilty programs harder than they've ever been hit before, as a lesson to the others. Deterence is one of the last weapons they have left to wield. And with the recent cases of Georgia Tech and Ohio State, I think the NCAA is stating a pretty good case of their intentions.

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Jim Tressel Resigns at OSU

Monday, May 30, 2011

As predicted by many in the past few weeks, breaking news this morning that HC Jim Tressel has resigned at Ohio State University amidst the recent troubles over his cover-up of Tattoo-Gate.

"After meeting with university officials, we agreed that it is in the best interest of Ohio State that I resign as head football coach," Tressel said in a statement Monday morning. "The appreciation that Ellen and I have for the Buckeye Nation is immeasurable."

Assistant coach Luke Fickell, who was named as the interim coach for Tressel's five game suspension to start the 2011 season, will remain the interim coach for the whole year, as certainly there are few qualified candidates in the market currently who could take the reigns of a program like the Buckeyes. Perhaps a few more will reveal themselves after the upcoming season shakes itself out, but as expected, it only took .385 nano seconds for Urban Meyer's name to be floated by the media.

Considering the recent crackdown by the NCAA on programs that willingly cover up violations, Tressel's next jump should probably be to the NFL, where he certainly would be qualified to coach, starting out as an assistant. Perhaps after a few years he could return back to college football.

Tressel coached 10 years at OSU, compiling a 106-22 record overall, 66-14 in the Big 10, and won 7 conference championships and the 2002 national championship. Probably more importantly, he went 9-1 against arch-foe Michigan.

With his resignation, some heat may be taken off the program as they face not only the NCAA investigation into Tattoo-Gate, but a new one into a local auto dealership that allegedly may have sold upwards of 50 cars to players.


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Jim Tressel Should Resign

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Breaking news on Monday that the NCAA sent to Ohio State a 'notice of allegations' that head coach Jim Tressel lied to them about the eligibility of players in the now infamous tattoo-gate incident and committed unethical behavior by attempting to cover the incident up. This latest development is on the heels of Tressel's decision earlier this year to up his suspension from two games to five. Evidently, the NCAA has rebuked Tressel in the strongest of ways and elevated his conduct up to the major violations variety.

For you cynics that thought that this issue was too trivial to stick it to a big school like Ohio State, think again. And if you thought that a coach like Tressel with a (formerly) squeaky-clean reputation was Teflon-coated, then strike two. It hit the fan yesterday and the fallout is going to be bad. (t)OSU has 90 days from yesterday to respond before their hearing in front of the infractions committee in Indianapolis in August--right before the season begins. What timing and what a distraction, which is why something's gotta give before then.

If ever the NCAA was looking for a textbook case to lay the wood to a big-time program, unfortunately, Tressel and Ohio State walked right into this one. And don't get me wrong. It wasn't the coach's fault about the underlying violations, it's the failure to report them that's now at the fore-front. Tressel, seemingly once the poster child for what's right in coaching in FBS,  now stands to be it's biggest sacrificial lamb for the NCAA to then lay down the law for any program even thinking of going astray. And it didn't have to go down like this.

I can't say what went through Jim Tressel's mind upon learning last April that five of his best players had received improper benefits. It doesn't sound like much--tattoos and such for football memorabilia. With all that a football coach has going on, perhaps this is pretty trivial, but in many scandals throughout history, it's the cover-up that's worse than the crime.

With major infractions now on the table for the Buckeyes, a new twist comes into play--repeat offender status, as OSU is still on probation for violations in basketball. That brings the stakes to all in. Having admitted to using ineligible players, the Bucks' 12 victories last season are probably gone--as is their Big Ten crown.

In order to save itself, it might be time for Ohio State to cut ties with their coach of the past decade, who has compiled a record of 106-22, won 6 Big Ten titles and the 2002 national championship. Even Kirk Herbstreit went on the record yesterday, saying that it would be hard for Ohio State to move forward with Tressel at the helm.

With support for Tressel still strong among Buckeye fans, could the university to what they need to do and fire him? They've done it before, firing their greatest coaching legend Woody Hayes a day after he punched a Clemson linebacker after a game-ending interception during the 1978 Gator Bowl. But that was 33 years ago. Have times changed that much in this win-at-any-cost world that he shouldn't resign?

Actually, Ohio State shouldn't be put in this situation. Tressel should do the honorable thing and unsheathe the seppuku sword. He should resign immediately, not only to save the character of the institution and the program, but his own as well. I expect it by week's end. He can't begin to rebuild his career and his reputation without first admitting he was wrong in the most drastic and irreversible of ways, and a resignation would be the clearest signal of such an admission.

Tressel is a good coach and will continue to have a great career, but no longer at Ohio State. I'm uncertain if he might get recirculated back into the Big Ten like a Nick Saban or a Houston Nutt did in the SEC, but there are many schools I'm sure that would take him after his scheduled come to Jesus session with the NCAA. I imagine even a few schools in the SEC would snap him up. I guess for Tressel it might boil down to the old adage, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em...."

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Kirk Herbstreit Driven Out of Town by Irate Ohio State Fans

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Over the weekend, there was this little gem about ESPN College Gameday/studio host and game announcer Kirk Herbstreit announcing he is moving from his home town of Columbus, Ohio--and the home of Ohio State University--to NashVegas of all places. He is being driven from his home base by a vocal minority of "relentless" Buckeye fans, who supposedly don't take too kindly to his non-homer, on-the-air TV posturing, and are calling for a more biased tone from the former Ohio State Buckeye QB and captain and current ESPN superstar. Listening to the story yesterday on Atlanta radio, the final straw was the vitriol has even spread to his wife and family when they are recognized out in public in Columbus.

Are you kidding me? Has college football gotten so out of control with hate that a vocal minority of a team's fanbase can cause such an abrupt decision to be made by the literal golden boy of your program? If we thought CFB ploitics here in the south were bad, we haven't seen nothin yet, apparently.

What might possibly be confusing these mishappen Bucks fans is the fact that Herbstreit does do local sports talk radio in Columbus from 1-3pm and they might be expecting what would logically be a more prominent OSU stance to carry forward when he goes on the tube in the fall on ESPN and ABC. And maybe that's too confusing for the average fan. Maybe this is ESPN's fault for not putting their foot down. They may have allowed Herbstreit to sink down from being a national CFB figure back to a local one. Regardless, you wouldn't expect this kind of behavior if he was doing afternoon drive time for and lived in Ann Arbor.

I like Herbie and think he does a great job at all of the tasks he's required to perform, whether it's co-hosting College Gameday, doing studio analysis, or actually providing color commentary during a game telecast. We all know he's an Ohio State alumnus and probably most of us still think of him as being pretty unbiased in that third job description, and isn't that all that matters while you're watching a game?

While it's hard to think of studio analysts as 'journalists', a game announcer would come the closest to qualifying if you meant to find someone ON TVand not in print. Analysts by definition come equipped with opinions, and opinions are rarely un-tinged with some bias.. However, some accuse networks of having an agenda, but seldom will you hear an individual accused of it. Regardless, Herbstreit doesn't fit that description in my opinion. While he's unabashedly proud to be a Buckeye during the appropriate times, I don't see any signs of homerdom when his journalistic credibility on the line. So how could that be a problem for a significant portion of Buckeye fans who have been so nasty to him of late?

Maybe it's hard for other CFB fans to understand because you don't have a personality in a similar position. I'd like to think that if my team did, we could support that person and realize that he has to serve some form of objectivity in his job performance and best serves the image of the university by being as professional as possible.  I would hope that we could be comfortable enough with his and our own fandomhood to realize that he doesn't have to cough out 'rah-rah' every few sentences as he speaks on air and still manages to represent the alma mater just fine.

Actually, no other school in the country has a similar predicament as Ohio State does with Herbstreit, with his vitality, omnipresence in the sport, and durability with TV and radio gigs. But since we're talking about ESPN, maybe another team might have someone close to a Herbstreit, and you wouldn't have to look far to find that would be Alabama and Rece Davis.

Yes, Rece never played football in Tuscaloosa, so probably a bad analogy there, and he directs the analysts in the studio with him rather than contribute alongside them.  But as a studio host, Davis must have more objectivity than the other talking heads and he performs that goal admirably. Even if the network gave him a true analyst or full-time announcing job I think that I'd trust him to cover even my team with spotless professionalism. Also, while Herbstreit's alma mater is widely known, I've never heard Davis's mentioned once on the air.

But what if Davis was more like a Herbstreit and did some off-season talk radio out of Birmingham or Tuscaloosa? Could Alabama fans, who are, respectfully, demanding at times, see the difference? Strangely, I think so. Call it southern manners or something equally vague, I think they would respect the differences between the homer and the professional and give him any leeway warranted. I think every SEC team would act similarly, with the possible exception of Florida.

But with this latest nastiness in college football now out front and center, perpetuated not by rival fans but by the same ones wearing scarlet and gray into 'The Horseshoe' every Saturday, where will it end? Certainly CFB is the most passionate sport in the land, but is it starting to get out of hand in this age of Twitter, sports blogs and the 24/7 news cycle? We are fond of saying that our sport is like a religion, but how soon will it be before we have to say that our sport is hate, and not the good old-fashioned kind?

Buckeye fans: most of you don't agree with this treatment of Kirk Herbstreit, but this one-two punch of Tressel-gate and Herbie the HateBug is the worst black eye for your program since the literal one given to a Clemson linebacker by Woody Hayes. Time for a reality check. If you can overcome finally beating a SEC team in a bowl game, getting your fan house in order should be easy as pie.

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Sunday Quick Hits: Escape and Advance Edition

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A few thoughts and observations from this weekend's first few days. What are yours?


Is LSU a serious contender in the SEC this year? Based on last night's performance alone, I say no. LSU rolled in the 1st Quarter, but that was against a UNC defense that sat almost their entire starting lineup due to NCAA investigations. And -- once again -- LSU showed their paper tiger hallmarks by allowing the Tarheels to storm back at the end, despite missing their top two WRs and top RB. UNC's TJ Yates is a serviceable college QB, but it's hard to forget that he led the 108th rated offense last year. If this depleted UNC squad can rack up 400+ yards against LSU's best defense, then I shudder to think what Alabama is going to do to the Tigers. My early prediction? LSU has a new head coach in 2011.


Michigan has served notice to the Big 10 Conference - they have a new QB and the boy can play! Oh, wait... that was last year, before 4-0 UM crashed back to reality. I don't know what to make of QB Denard Robinson's game yesterday other than to the kid can definitely ball. Season openers in The Big House have been a little dicey lately for Big Blue, but the Wolverines looked salty much of the day against a well-regarded UConn squad. I'm not on the Michigan bandwagon (yet), but RichRod's triple-threat offense looks to be well on its way in Ann Arbor.


For much of the off-season, the Gator Haters have been pounding new Florida QB John Brantley with the nickname "Cantley", as in "can't measure up to Tebow". Brantley's first start as the UF quarterback was... well... memorable. Brantley single-handily made Miami (OH), who won just one game last year, look like Miami (The U). The QB led Urban Meyer's team to just 25 yards of offense through the first three quarters. The final scoreboard would show an unexpectedly close win, but the box score would include eight UF fumbles (almost all of which were snaps or QB exchanges with Brantley) and just 212 yards of total offense. Game balls have to go to the Florida defense and Redhawks mistakes. The Redhawks committed four turnovers of their own or may have knocked off the Gators. I don't know what Meyer is taking for his heart problems, but he better double up on it for what is bound to be a very intese week of practice before South Florida rolls into Gainesville next week.


TCU may not be the #6 team in the country, but I wouldn't want to have to play them. The Frogs played fast in their 30-24 win over #24 Oregon State. Despite losing their #1 rusher last season, TCU rolled up 278 rushing yards against the Beavers, showcasing surprising depth in the backfield. The Frogs ran from nearly every set and doubled up OSU's time-of-possession. QB Andy Dalton had two ridiculous throws that were picked by the Beavers on strong TCU drives, otherwise this game might have been a blowout. The Frogs ran the option with precision and threw the ball deep with effectiveness. Dalton isn't Terrell Pryor, but he is the leader in wins among active college QBs. With their toughest test now behind them, perhaps the biggest challenge for Gary Patterson is keeping the Frogs focused on their second straight BCS appearance.


Note to Oklahoma: Perhaps this trend of playing Utah teams in the season opener is a bad idea. The Utah State Aggies nearly BYU'd the Sooners. But for some gutsy calls by Bob Stoops and some Sooner Magic, this one would have been another opening-day loss. Stoops promised that QB Landry Jones was "night and day" better than last year. I guess I didn't realize how bad Jones was *last year* because the improved Jones still keyed in on his primary receiver every play and went to him - whether he was open, covered, or headed to the mens' room. The defense gave up over 341 yards passing (421 total yards) to Utah State and surrendered eight plays of 20+ yards. OU faces a bigger challenge next week with Heisman-hopeful Christian Ponder and Florida State on the docket. This just in: FSU's offense is better than Utah's State's. Ponder played just two quarters in FSU's win, but had 4 touchdown passes and missed only two completions. FSU must be licking their tomahawk chops, right OU-Ron?


Show of hands: Who thought the days of Ole Miss losing to a FCS opponent were over when Houston Nutt rolled into town? Yeah? Me neither. J-State played with guts and deserved that OT thriller.


I know it was a win over Western Kentucky, but I think Nebraska might have a little something going with new freshman QB Taylor Martinez, a.k.a "T-Magic". T-Magic went 9-of-15 passing for 136 yards and no INTS and showed big speed on seven carries for 127 yards and three touchdowns, including a 46-yard run on the opening drive. It's early in the season, but watch out for the Huskers in the Big 12. If Texas and OU aren't going to play big this year, Nebraska is going to leave the league as defending champs.


Finally, what's going on at Notre Dame? I know it's the first game of the Brian Kelly experience, but the team seemed to be playing all-out for one another. Given Kelly's track record, it shouldn't be surprising, but if BK can harness the talent at UND, watch out. This team won't make the BCS in 2010, but look for the Irish to make a return in 2011 under Kelly.


That's it for me, boys. Whatchya got?


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You ask, college football coaches answer!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

In what may be the last absolute fluff piece of the off-season (hey... I said of the OFF-season!), the Seattle Times completed a survey of 29 FBS coaches to find out what they *really* think.

A few highlights:

Most Admired Coach:
Mack Brown of Texas, followed by Ohio State's Jim Tressel, and Oklahoma's Bob Stoops and Penn State's Joe Paterno. (What?! No Urban Meyer!)


Least Admired Coach:
Although most politely deferred on this question, USC's Lane Kiffin got the most mentions, followed by Brian Kelly of Notre Dame, Nick Saban of Alabama and Mike Locksley of New Mexico. (What?! No Urban Meyer!)


What does the NCAA need to change?
Playoffs got a few mentions, but I was more than a little surprised to see some others, like adding a fifth year of eligibility, adding more spring practice times, allowing early signing day, and permitting pre-season games.


And finally, the most important question: Where's a good place to eat?

Metropolitan Grill, Seattle
City Hall Steakhouse, Scottsdale, Ariz. (two votes)
Del Frisco's in Dallas (two votes)
Dreamland Barbecue in Tuscaloosa, Ala
The Crab Trap in Fernandina Beach, Fla.
Joe's Stone Crab in Miami
Handsome Harry's in Naples, Fla.
Chicken and More in Spokane
The Precinct in Cincinnati
Pascal's Manale in New Orleans.


Wow. Two of my favorites and even a hometown spot make the list!


OK... now it's your turn... most admired coach, least admired coach, NCAA change, and out-of-town restaurant. GO!

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2010 USA Today Coaches Preseason Poll

Sunday, August 8, 2010


2010 2010 USA Today Coaches Preseason Poll

Rank Team (first-place votes) 2009 record Points Final 2009 rank

1. Alabama (55) 14-0 1,469 1
2. Ohio State (4) 11-2 1,392 5
3. Florida 13-1 1,245 3
4. Texas 13-1 1,240 2
5. Boise State 14-0 1,215 4
6. Virginia Tech 10-3 1,052 10
7. TCU 12-1 1,051 6
8. Oklahoma 8-5 1,035 NR
9. Nebraska 10-4 1,001 14
10. Iowa 11-2 952 7
11. Oregon 10-3 940 11
12. Wisconsin 10-3 778 16
13. Miami (Fla.) 9-4 728 19
14. Penn State 11-2 508 8
15. Pittsburgh 10-3 492 15
16. LSU 9-4 476 17
17. Georgia Tech 11-3 455 13
18. North Carolina 8-5 445 NR
19. Arkansas 8-5 438 NR
20. Florida State 7-6 374 NR
21. Georgia 8-5 312 NR
22. Oregon State 8-5 263 NR
23. Auburn 8-5 260 NR
24t. Utah 10-3 169 18
24t. West Virginia 9-4 169 22

Others receiving votes

Cincinnati (12-1) 135; Houston (10-4) 76; Brigham Young (11-2) 66; Arizona (8-5) 65; Mississippi (9-4) 48; Clemson (9-5) 44; Stanford (8-5) 41; Connecticut (8-5) 40; Notre Dame (6-6) 38; South Carolina (7-6) 38; Washington (5-7) 26; Missouri (8-5) 23; Navy (10-4) 12; Oklahoma State (9-4) 11; Boston College (8-5) 10; Michigan State (6-7) 10; Arizona State (4-8) 6; California (8-5) 6; Texas Tech (9-4) 5; South Florida (8-5) 4; Texas A&M (6-7) 3; Northwestern (8-5) 2; Temple (9-4) 2; Central Michigan (12-2) 1; Mississippi State (5-7) 1; Nevada (8-5) 1; Northern Illinois (7-6) 1; Southern Methodist (8-5) 1.

Alabama defends their national championship from last year by starting #1 this year, exactly like Florida did last year. The SEC has six teams in the preseason poll, the ACC has five, the Big 10 has four (not counting Nebraska yet) , the Big 12 has three, the Pac 10 two, and the Big East two.

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Fanblogs Open Thread: Realignment-ageddon Edition

Thursday, June 10, 2010

With today's official announcement of Colorado to the Pac10 conference and the expected announcement of Nebraska to the Big10 conference (which officially makes it a Big12, don't you think?)... it would seem that the summer realignment-ageddon has officially begun.

Here's a quick what we know, what we can surmise....

- Colorado is officially joining the Pac10. It's unclear as to whether the Pac10 intends to hold at 11 teams, but we should expect the Pac10 to seek to add at least one additional member. For years the argument against expansion centered around the round-robin schedule format and - with 11 schools - that format is officially out the window for college football. Adding one more school would give the conference the option to conduct a CFB championship game in some of the largest television markets in the country. Does the Pac10 stop at 12 (Texas??) or expand further with Big12/MWC/WAC teams???

- The Big10 will have 12 teams with the addition of Nebraska. Will they stand pat at 12 teams or expand to 16 as had been rumored?

- The SEC has said that they will not sit idly by if the Big10 expands. Sports Illustrated has confirmed that the SEC has held discussions with Texas A&M. Is that prelude to further SEC expansion? Who, in addition to the Aggies, are on the SEC radar?

- The ACC & Big East seem to be awfully quiet. Are they targets or could a merger be on the table for the two conferences?

- The MWC will not offer membership to Boise State at this time, setting themselves up to be the home of any Big12 refugees. Is the MWC destined to become a BCS conference by default?


DISCUSS!!!

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Big Ten offers membership Missouri, Nebraska, Rutgers, and Notre Dame?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Kansas City's Sports Radio 810 AM reported today that the Big Ten Conference extended a membership offer to Missouri, Nebraska, Rutgers, and Notre Dame.

The Big Ten Conference has extended initial offers to join the league to four universities including Missouri and Nebraska from the Big 12, according to multiple sources close to the negotiations.

While nothing can be approved until the Big Ten presidents and chancellors meet the first week of June in Chicago, the league has informed the two Big 12 schools, Notre Dame and Rutgers that it would like to have them join.

The report speculates that another team could be added if Notre Dame agrees to join the conference, taking the membership to sixteen teams.


BUT... both Missouri and Nebraska are saying, "Not so fast my friends."

Missouri has expressed an interest in joining the Big Ten, but the school said Monday:

"The University of Missouri is receiving numerous inquiries related to public speculation about conference membership. MU is a member of the Big 12 Conference and will not respond to speculation about conference realignment. Mizzou continues to be grateful for all the interest shown in and support for the university."

Nebraska also has expressed an interest in jumping to the Big Ten, but refuted the report with this statement:

"We recognize the intense speculation about conference realignment and the possible impact it may have on Nebraska. Both Chancellor Harvey Perlman and Athletic Director Tom Osborne have indicated that the university would consider any opportunity that would advance the interests of the university.

"The University of Nebraska has not been offered any opportunity to move from the Big 12. We remain committed to the success of the Big 12 Conference. Until the Big Ten Conference makes and announces its decision on expansion, the University of Nebraska will have no further comment and we do not intend to continue to respond further to questions or speculations on this subject."


For the record, I don't believe the 810 WHB report for one second. Everyone knows it's Col. Mustard with the candlestick in the library.

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New bowl rules to open more doors to 6-6 teams

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The NCAA committee that oversees rules changes has approved a measure brought forward by Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe allowing bowl committees to give equal consideration to teams with 6-6 records when evaluating at-large bids.

At first glance, it would seem to reward teams that played a tougher schedule rather than padding their record with cupcakes. The change would also give bowls more flexibility to create the most interesting matchup, potentially boosting revenues for struggling bowl committees.

Matt Sanderson, co-founder of Playoff PAC, told the San Diego Union Times that the rule could allow bowls with open slots for at-large teams to select power-conference teams with 6-6 records over smaller-conference teams with winning records.

Sanderson points to this season's GMAC Bowl, which took 9-3 Troy as an at-large team. Under the revised rules, the GMAC Bowl could have offered the at-large slot to 6-6 Notre Dame.

While the new provision still needs an OK by the greater NCAA, most rule revisions that make it out of committee are approved.

Suffice to say... no one wants to see a bad 6-6 team stink it up in a marquee bowl game. The reality is that - with new bowls coming on in Yankee Stadium and the Cotton Bowl - there are going to be 70 teams in bowl games this year. If a bowl needs to dig deep and get an at-large team, I would prefer them to create the most interesting game they can.

No disrespect intended, but I would *much* rather see a hypothetical 6-6 Southern Cal as an at-large against Alabama, for example, over a 7-5 Louisiana Monroe.

Just sayin.

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Big 10 to expand and become Big 16?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Tony Barnhart is hearing whispers from conference commissioners indicating that the Big 10 is at least considering expanding to a superconference of 16 teams.

The Big Ten is looking at three plans: Stand pat with 11 teams, add one team (hopefully Notre Dame) or make a blockbuster move and go to 16.

"If they go to 16 and one of them is Notre Dame then we've got an entirely new ball game," a conference commissioner told me confidentially.

According to Barnhart, the Big 10 would potentially add Notre Dame and four other Big East teams. It's hard to distinguish if he has any leads on who those teams could be, but Barnhart theorizes that the target list may include Syracuse, Pitt, Rutgers, and UConn.

Of course this opens a whole host of other possibilities....

Where do the other Big East football schools go?

Would some mish-mash of Big East / Conference USA start a new conference?

Would the ACC expand to 16 as well by taking in the Big East leftovers?

Would the SEC expand to 16 to ensure that the conference doesn't lose its considerable negotiating advantage to the new Big 16? And, as Barnhart ponders, who would the SEC invite?

Does the SEC get aggressive and pick up the phone call Texas? That's the one school that would move the financial needle to improve the great deal the SEC already has. And if you take Texas, you have to take Texas A&M because of the politics. Does the SEC take another look at Florida State and Miami and see if those schools would be interested in leaving the ACC for a better financial deal?

It's hard to even imagine an SEC that adds the collective football prominence of Texas, Texas A&M, FSU and Miami. Not to mention its gains in Title IX sports and spring sports such as baseball, track, and golf.

A 16-team Big 10 would definitely be a behemoth, but the ripple effects... *that's* where superconference expansion would get interesting.

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2009-2010 College Football Bowl Game Television Schedule

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Despite what you may hear from skeptics, there's no better season in all of sports than college football bowl season and the complete television schedule for the bowl games is right here on Fanblogs, brought to you by BangTheBook.com.

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 Date/Time/TV Bowl Site Matchup
Saturday
Dec. 19
2 :30 pm ET
ESPN
New Mexico Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
Albuquerque, NM
University Stadium
Wyoming
vs.
Fresno State
Saturday
Dec. 19
8:00 pm ET
ESPN
St. Petersburg Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
St. Petersburg, FL
Tropicana Field
Rutgers
vs.
Central Florida
Sunday
Dec. 20
8:00 pm ET
ESPN
R+L Carriers
New Orleans Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
New Orleans, LA
Louisiana Superdome
Southern Miss
vs.
Middle Tenn St
Tuesday
Dec. 22
8:00 pm ET
ESPN
MAACO Bowl
Las Vegas
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
Las Vegas, NV
Sam Boyd Stadium
BYU
vs.
Oregon State
Wednesday
Dec. 23
8:00 pm ET
ESPN
San Diego County
Credit Union
Poinsettia Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
San Diego, CA
Qualcomm Stadium
Utah
vs.
Cal
Thursday
Dec. 24
8:00 pm ET
ESPN
Sheraton
Hawai'i Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
Honolulu, HI
Aloha Stadium
SMU
vs.
Nevada
Saturday
Dec. 26
4:30 pm ET
ESPN
Meineke Car Care Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
Charlotte, NC
Bank of America Stadium
North Carolina
vs.
Pitt
Saturday
Dec. 26
5 :00 pm ET
ESPN
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
Detroit, MI
Ford Field
Ohio U
vs.
Marshall
Saturday
Dec. 26
8:00 pm ET
ESPN
Emerald Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
San Francisco, CA
AT&T Park
Boston College
vs.
USC
Sunday
Dec. 27
8:15 pm ET
ESPN
Gaylord Hotels
Music City Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
Nashville, TN
LP Field
Clemson
vs.
Kentucky
Monday
Dec. 28
5:00 pm ET
ESPN
AdvoCare V100
Independence Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
Shreveport, LA
Independence Stadium
Texas A&M
vs.
Georgia
Tuesday
Dec. 29
4:30 pm ET
ESPN
EagleBank Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
Washington, DC
RFK Stadium
Temple
vs.
UCLA
Tuesday
Dec. 29
8:00 pm ET
ESPN
Champs Sports Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
Orlando, FL
Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium
Miami
vs.
Wisconsin
Wednesday
Dec. 30
4:30 pm ET
ESPN

Roady's
Humanitarian Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks

Boise, ID
Bronco Stadium
Bowling Green
vs.
Idaho
Wednesday
Dec. 30
8:00 pm ET
ESPN
Pacific Life
Holiday Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
San Diego, CA
Qualcomm Stadium
Nebraska
vs.
Arizona
Thursday
Dec. 31
2:00 pm ET
NFL Network
Texas Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
Houston, TX
Reliant Stadium
Missouri
vs.
Navy
Thursday
Dec. 31
Time TBA
ESPN
Bell Helicopter
Armed Forces Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
Fort Worth, TX
Amon G. Carter Stadium
Air Force
vs.
Houston
Thursday
Dec. 31
12:00 pm ET
CBS
Brut
Sun Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks

El Paso, TX
Sun Bowl Stadium

Stanford
vs.
Oklahoma
Thursday
Dec. 31
5:30 pm ET
NFL Network
Insight Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
Tempe, AZ
Sun Devil Stadium
Minnesota
vs.
Iowa State
Thursday
Dec. 31
7:30 pm ET
ESPN
Chick-fil-A Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
Atlanta, GA
Georgia Dome
Virginia Tech
vs.
Tennessee
Friday
Jan. 1
11:00 am ET
ESPN
Outback Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
Tampa, FL
Raymond James Stadium
Auburn
vs.
Northwestern
Friday
Jan. 1
1:00 pm ET
CBS
Konica Minolta
Gator Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks

Jacksonville, FL
Jacksonville Municipal Stadium

FSU
vs.
West Virginia
Friday
Jan. 1
1:00 pm ET
ABC
Capital One Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
Orlando, FL
Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium
Penn State
vs.
LSU
Friday
Jan. 1
5:00 pm ET
ABC
Rose Bowl
presented by Citi
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
Pasadena, CA
Rose Bowl
Ohio State
vs.
Oregon
Friday
Jan. 1
8:30 pm ET
FOX
Allstate
Sugar Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks

New Orleans, LA
Superdome

Florida
vs.
Cincinnati

Saturday
Jan. 2
12:00 pm ET
ESPN2
International Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks

Toronto, Canada
Rogers Centre

South Florida
vs.
Northern Illinois
Saturday
Jan. 2
2 :00 pm ET
ESPN
PapaJohns.com Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
Birmingham, AL
Legion Field
Connecticut
vs.
South Carolina

Saturday
Jan. 2
2:00 pm ET
FOX
AT&T
Cotton Bowl Classic
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
Arlington, TX
Cowboys Stadium
Oklahoma State
vs.
Ole Miss
Saturday
Jan. 2
5:30 pm ET
ESPN
AutoZone
Liberty Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
Memphis, TN
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
East Carolina
vs.
Arkansas
Saturday
Jan. 2
9 :00 pm ET
ESPN
Valero
Alamo Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
San Antonio, TX
Alamodome
Michigan State
vs.
Texas Tech
Monday
Jan. 4
8:00 pm ET
FOX
Tostitos
Fiesta Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
Glendale, AZ
University of Phoenix Stadium
TCU
vs.
Boise State
Tuesday
Jan. 5
8:00 pm ET
FOX
FedEx
Orange Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
Miami, FL
Dolphin Stadium
Georgia Tech
vs.
Iowa
Wednesday
Jan. 6
7 :00 pm ET
ESPN
GMAC Bowl
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks
Mobile, AL
Ladd Peebles Stadium
Troy
vs.
Central Michigan
Thursday
Jan. 7
8:00 pm ET
ABC
BCS National Championship Game
Bowl Tickets
Flights + Hotels
Odds & Picks

Pasadena, CA
Rose Bowl

Alabama
vs.
Texas
 

The 2009 college football season will be capped by exciting college football bowl games, including the 2009 Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, the 2009 Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix, Arizona, the 2009 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana, the 2009 Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida and the 2009 BCS National Championship Game in Pasadena, CA.

The best college football teams from the major conferences, including the Big10 conference, Big 12 conference, Pac 10 conference, ACC conference, Big East conference, SEC conference, and Mountain West conference will face off in college football bowl games throughout December and into January.

If you're looking for updated matchups, odds, insights, betting lines and online wagering for the college football bowl games, please be sure to try BangTheBook.com.

© www.fanblogs.com

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tOSU-tPSU Week Heating Up!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

pryor.jpg

You do know that it's official name is The Pennsylvania State University, right? So why haven't we been granting them the 't' prefix pleasantry like we do Ohio State? Probably because no one makes a big deal about dotting the 'i' in Pennsylvania? Who knows? But unless someone beats Iowa and soon, this week's nascent grudge match between the Quaker and Buckeye states will be for 2nd place in the Big 10(11).

One would think that these teams had been playing forever, but you'd be wrong. Until tPSU joined the conference in 1993, they ducked each other like Notre Dame ducked everyone in the Big 10(11). Despite their status as elites in the first 100 years of CFB, these heavyweights only tangled eight times before the annual conference match began, with tPSU enjoying a 6-2 lead over the Nuts. Things changed quick soon after, and the series in now tied 12-12, with tOSU enjoying a 5-3 margin on The Vest's watch.


Perhaps buyoyed by the image above of Terrelle Pryor after last year's loss to the Nittany Lions, the Penn State Marketing Association has come out with a new T-shirt this year focusing on the Buck's QB, who is depicted crying, in an apparent attempt to heat things up for the whited-out big game in Beaver Stadium. We'll know it's a hit if Bergwood shows up wearing one in the next Allstate commercial. Before he takes off streaking...

logo2.jpg


Speaking of Beaver Stadium, anyone ever notice that the Lego/Lincoln Log architecture style used to continually add on to the structure is starting to resemble the sarcophagus that was built over Chernobyl Reactor #4? Just curious...


beaver3.jpg
chernobyl.jpg

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Gator Bowl to match SEC vs Big Ten; more bowl shakeups ensue

Thursday, October 8, 2009

After months of wrangling and having the ACC reject the bowl's latest proposal, the Gator Bowl is finalizing a four-year agreement that will pit an SEC team against a Big 10 team in the 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 seasons.

Officials from the SEC have already confirmed their participation to The Birmingham News. Under the terms, the Gator will get "at least" the sixth pick of bowl-eligible SEC teams. The pick position could vary on a year-to-year basis, but more details would be announced once the Big 10 announces its bowl agreements next week.

The Gator Bowl is also in final talks to become part of a broadcast deal with ESPN, leaving CBS, in a move that could signal the end of the exclusive broadcast window that has been previously negotiated for the Capital One Bowl.

With the Cotton Bowl moving to January 2nd, the result of the Gator Bowl agreement means that all three non-BCS games on New Years Day will feature SEC vs Big 10 matchups.


With the end of the ACC / Big East relationship in the Gator Bowl, the ACC and Big East have signed an agreement with the Champs Bowl which will essentially recreates the conferences past Gator relationship in Orlando.

Under the terms to begin with the 2010 season, the ACC will send its #3 selection to the Champs Bowl to face the Big East's #2 selection or Notre Dame. The Champs can select Notre Dame once over the four year agreement if the Irish have seven wins and are within two wins of the #2 Big East school.


With the Gator Bowl now aligned with SEC, the Independence Bowl finds itself as odd-man out in the SEC bowl mix after 15 years with the conference. Instead, the Independence Bowl will look to sign a new bowl matchup between the ACC and Mountain West.


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The Vest Can't Please Everyone

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel had plenty to say at yesterday's weekly media luncheon, in the wake of the Bucks' heart-breaking loss to #3 USC Saturday night. Included in his comments was that he really reads his emails from fans, and had this to say about some of the more critical ones:

"Honestly, the thing when I read some of them is I feel terrible for them because there's no way they're happy. They've got to be some of the most unhappy people in the world, and I feel bad because we just made them less happy. And I hate to be a part of making someone less happy. I mean, they're already miserable and to make them less happy, I feel bad."

If you're a happy, miserable Buckeye fan, CLAP YOUR HANDS!

The crowd immediately laughed to break the tension, but two things crossed my mind when reading that quote:

1) How many were singing REM's Shiny Happy People, not holding hands, but in their heads?

2) Tressel actually reads his fan emails and tells people?

Obviously, Bucks fans are distraught over losing their 6th straight game top a Top 5 opponent, even in this nationally televised game on ESPN that ranked as their highest-rated CFB telecast EVER. But is Tressel really giving credibility to his virtual detractors, especially when it comes down to one fan lamenting the absence of a QB sneak by Pryor on one of the drives that tOSU had to settle for a field goal?

"Someone brought up over at the Quarterback Club, well, we probably should have run a quarterback sneak down in there and, shoot, that's very valid," Tressel said. "It was the same guy that said that last year against Penn State we shouldn't have run a quarterback sneak (on the play in which Pryor fumbled while leading, changing the game). But, yeah, you know, you always question things."

Shoot? HasTressel been reading excerpts from the Bobby Bowden media guide? Damgummit, Jim, I knew that Pryor should have snuck it myself, but are you really lending credence to guys at home watching the game in their pajamas? I thought that we learned a lesson from Ron Zook and Dennis Franchione that we just don't trust these internet guys, lest we give them further credence? It's bad enough that we let them create this recruiting nightmare, but do we have to be answerable to them 24/7 now, too?

The Buckeyes will be back. They play upstart Toledo Saturday in Cleveland Browns Stadium and have Penn State in Happy Valley November 7th. Tweet your game plan to @TresselTweedTwitterVest


h/t: OU-Ron

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