Friday, December 30, 2005

Liberty Bowl Preview

The Boise State win is long gone. The ESPN Instant Classic against USC is still a loss, no matter how you look at it. Back to back losses at Nevada and at home versus Louisiana Tech are still very fresh in the minds of Bulldog fans. Now Fresno State must play in a bowl game against former Western Athletic Conference pasty but 2005 Conference USA champion, Tulsa. It is not just any bowl game, but the historic Liberty Bowl from Memphis on New Year’s Eve. What Bulldog team will show up, the one that took USC to the wire at the Coliseum or the one that was embarrassed at home by Louisiana Tech?

The Fresno State seniors have never lost a bowl game, and Paul Pinegar could be the first starting quarterback in NCAA history to win four consecutive bowl games. Will that be motivation enough to beat Tulsa? Hardly, the Bulldogs must dig deeper. Losing at Nevada could be forgiven considering the heartbreak the week before against USC, but the Louisiana Tech loss was utterly disappointing. Fresno State must redeem themselves and their coach, Pat Hill. Hill has stated that he takes full blame for his team’s lackluster performances.

Tulsa is not the same team that was kick around by the Bulldogs four straight years from 1999-2002 in the WAC. Coach Steve Kragthorpe became the head coach in 2003 and has never faced Fresno State. In his first year at Tulsa, the Golden Hurricane went 8-4 (6-2) in the WAC and nearly pushed the Bulldogs out of the Silicon Valley Classic. The WAC guarantees its top two teams bowl games. Fresno State and Tulsa had the same conference records in 2003, but Tulsa had the tiebreaker. Luckily for the Bulldogs, WAC champ Boise State accepted a bid to the Fort Worth Bowl which opened up the then Humanitarian Bowl for Tulsa.

The Golden Hurricane fell to 4-7 last year, but has rebounded nicely in its first year in Conference USA. Tulsa backed into the conference championship after league favorite UTEP lost back to back games to end the season. They made the most of their opportunity by tearing apart a decent Central Florida team on the Golden Knights home field. Tulsa is a very hot team, while Fresno State is not. The Bulldogs are still more than a touchdown favorite, but some prognosticators are predicting a Tulsa win.

Tulsa is led by sophomore quarterback Paul Smith. Smith is not going to beat teams himself, but is an effective leader of the offense and makes few mistakes. His main target is All-American tight end Garrett Mills. Mills is one player that can take control of a game. There is not a better pass catching tight end in the country, and his ability rivals that of former Virginia Cavalier tight end Heath Miller. Kragthorpe just needs to pop in a tape of last year’s MPC Computers Bowl to see how to attack the Bulldog defense with the tight end.

The Golden Hurricane runs a balance two-tight end attack. Smith has thrown 19 touchdowns against just six picks. The running game is done by committee, with Uril Parrish leading the way with over 700 yards rushing. Fresno State’s run defense has been less than spectacular since the Boise State game. Giving up 294 yards to Reggie Bush is acceptable, per se, but letting Nevada’s backup rack up over a 100 yards and 4 tds is unacceptable. Louisiana Tech was able to run against a once great Bulldog run defense, as well. Tulsa’s backs are just as good as Louisiana Tech’s, and their offensive line is just as big, led by first team all-CUSA stud, Jesse Stoneham.

The Tulsa offense will center on Mills. If Fresno State can contain him it would be huge. There is not another receiver on Tulsa’s roster that has over 400 yards receiving. Senior Ashlan Davis is the second leading receiver, but is more of a threat as a kick returner. On the other hand, both of Tulsa’s leading rushers are tied for third on the team in receptions. There are few game breakers on this Golden Hurricane team, but their scheme is diverse enough to give the Bulldog defense fits.

Defensively, Tulsa uses a 3-3-5. Fresno State has not faced this type of defense this year, and Tulsa did not implement this defense until 2003, when Kragthorpe became head coach. It has been very effective against the pass, but it is vulnerable against the run. Great running teams have had tremendous success against the Golden Hurricane defense this year. Minnesota’s Laurence Maroney had a field day against them on opening day, and Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson had his best game of the season against Tulsa. Fresno State’s running game is more than capable of running the ball down the throat of the Tulsa defense.

Special teams could be a difference maker. Fresno State has had some of the best in the nation, but they have been far from great the last couple of games. Tulsa’s Davis set an NCAA record last year with 5 returns for touchdowns, including a streak with one in four straight games. Davis has only one return for a touchdown this year, but still was named first team all-CUSA as a kick returner. Fresno State’s Adam Jennings is no slouch, either. He has yet to take back a kick or punt for a touchdown this year, but was also named first team all-conference as a kick returner. Bulldog kicker Kyle Zimmerman is adequate but lacks the leg strength to kick anything beyond 40 yards. Tulsa’s kicker, Brad DeVault has the upper hand if the game comes down to a field goal.

Kragthorpe has turned around the Tulsa program, and has them in a bowl game for the second time in three years. A win over Fresno State would be considered a huge victory for the program, maybe even bigger than the CUSA championship win over UCF. Fresno State meanwhile is expected to win and a loss will be not be easily forgiven. Hill has to coach his best game because Kragthorpe will have his team ready. Some think Kragthorpe is the hottest coach on the market from a non-BCS school. A big win over Hill and his Bulldogs will substantiate that.

The game will come down to what the Bulldogs do on offense. The loss of fullback Roshon Vercher hurts the running game, but the Bulldogs should still be able to control the line of scrimmage. If the coaching staff decides to lead with the pass, and abandon the run, it could prove to be ineffective. When Fresno State has run for less than 150 yards, they have lost. Pinegar is still capable of winning this game with his arm, but the Bulldogs are beaten up physically and mentally.

Tulsa is far more excited and motivated to play in the Liberty Bowl. If the Bulldogs can right the ship and return to the level of play that almost beat USC, Tulsa has no shot at a win. However, there is no guarantee that the Bulldogs will be ready to play this game and may face the same fate they did against Louisiana Tech. If it is the former then it will be an easy Bulldog win. If it’s the latter, then the Bulldogs could struggle and get embarrassed by the Golden Hurricane. I expect Fresno State to come out ready to play, but would not be surprised by a Tulsa win, either. My fearless prediction is, Fresno State 41, Tulsa 27.

For more Fresno State and Liberty Bowl info click here.

Time for the Real Bowl Games to Begin

Great matchup, terrible game.

Tonight's Peach Bowl between top 10 teams Miami and LSU was the only bowl game that featured opposing ranked teams, played prior to the New Year. Too bad the outcome was the worst blowout thus far in the bowl season. Of the three bowls that will be played on New Year's Eve, only one team is ranked, TCU. The Horned Frogs' game with Iowa State in the Houston Bowl will be interesting though. However, the other two have some pretty uninteresting matchups.

The Meineke Car Care Bowl matchup is as ugly as the bowl name itself, 6-5 South Florida vs 6-5 NC State. The Liberty Bowl jumped the gun an invited Fresno State, right after the Bulldogs took USC to the wire. They lost their last two games and enter their bowl game on a three game losing streak. Tulsa, on the other hand, was a Western Athletic Conference doormat for nine years. Then wins the Conference USA title in its first year to earn a trip to Memphis.

Come Monday every bowl from then on will feature ranked teams against each, highlighted by the Fiesta Bowl on Monday and the Rose Bowl Wednesday night.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Surviving the Early Bowl Season

The Las Vegas has been the best bowl thus far.

This has to be one of the weakest slates of bowls ever. The bowls have always been watered down since the move to 28 games, but this year even the lesser bowls can't provide a decent game.

I have been unable to sit through at least one entire half of any of the four games played so far. The most I have seen of any particular one was the Poinsettia Bowl, and that was only because it was on late and there was nothing else to watch. It proved to be decent viewing only because Colorado State didn't prepare for the Navy option. The Middies' offense is fun to watch when a defense can't stop it.

Tonight the lame viewing continues with the Fort Worth Bowl: Houston vs Kansas. Tomorrow it does not get much better with Central Florida vs Nevada from Hawaii. The six bowls before Christmas are the worst early games in a long time. Usually the GMAC bowl is a fun one to watch, but not this year, Toledo beat the crap out of UTEP. Arkansas State gave S. Miss some fits in a otherwise yawner of a New Orleans Bowl. BYU vs Cal in the Las Vegas Bowl had its moments but overall Cal dominated the game.

The Bowl Season doesn't really get interesting until Wednesday, December 28. Boise State hosts Boston College in the MPC Computers Bowl in a great matinee and Michigan plays Nebraska that evening in the Alamo Bowl. Until then enjoy the time with your family.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Smart Move By Hawkins?

Boise State head coach Dan Hawkins will be named head coach at Colorado on Friday. Is it a smart move on Hawkins' part? Who is getting the better deal Colorado or Hawkins? He will be getting a hefty raise, about double his current salary of $525,000, but he will be taking over scandal ridden program that has hit rock bottom in its last three games.

Hawkins was rumored to have been in the running for at least a half of dozen big-time jobs last year after Boise State finished 11-0 in the regular season. He turned them all down to stay at Boise State. Maybe he thought he could hit the big-time in Boise. The Broncos were a heavy favorite to be this year's BCS buster and some prognosticators predicted they would win at Georgia in their opener. Boise State started the season ranked 18th in the country, but were embarrassed in Athens.

Hawkins and the entire Bronco football program practically vanished from the national spotlight. But after winning 9 of their last 11 and claiming a share of their fourth straight WAC title, Boise State and Hawkins have resurfaced. The Broncos have a mega bowl matchup against Boston College in their home stadium. A win would certainly make Hawkins a hot commodity once again, but another embarrassing loss would all but certainly place Boise State among the small fries of college football for the second time this season.

Taking the Colorado job before the MPC Computers Bowl might distract the Boise State players, but at least Hawkins will be addressing media on top of the football world and not at the bottom. Hawkins is a natural fit at Colorado. His somewhat clean image will be refreshing face in Boulder. His high-scoring offense will remind many of the Kordell Stewart led offenses under McCartney and the high flying days of Rick Neuheisal.

The talent and recruiting base at Colorado dwarfs anything he ever had at Boise. In a weak Big 12 North, he should have the Buffs back in the Big 12 Championship game, as long as he kind find a capable quarterback to run his offense. His complex offense excelled under NCAA record breaking quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie, but has not had the same firepower under the mobile but erratic Jared Zabransky.

Now, what happens to Boise State? The Bronco football program is at the beginning of expanding its football stadium and improving its facilities. Does this stop with the departure of Hawkins? His offensive coordinator Chris Peterson will likely be the top candidate to replace him, if he doesn't follow Hawkins to Colorado.

Dirk Koetter left Boise State in 2001 for Arizona State and the Broncos reached unprecedented heights under Hawkins. Many Bronco fans believe the real magic behind Boise's run the last four plus years is in the mind of Peterson. He is the genius of the Bronco's offensive scheme and not Hawkins. If that is the case, Boise State should not miss a beat if Peterson is named the new head coach of the Broncos.

So what about the WAC's other high-profile coach, Fresno State's Pat Hill. Hill has his Bulldogs attracting national attention each year with wins or great performances against top flight BCS schools. Although he has not been able to win an outright WAC title in his nine years, his name continues to be mentioned for many coaching opportunities in college and the NFL.

Hawkins probably realized he would not be able to get the national respect at Boise State that he coveted. Rather than squander another high-profile opportunity at a BCS school, he took the first that met his criteria. Should Hill do the same? It is evident, despite the dreams of some idiotic Bulldog fans, Hill will never win a national title at Fresno State, as long as the Bulldogs play in the WAC.

Hill has been rumored to be a candidate in Houston, if the Texans fire Dom Capers, which is highly likely. Hill is probably a better fit for the pro game, despite his success at Fresno State. Beating BCS teams and attracting great national exposure to Fresno State is his resume. He has yet to get the Bulldogs over the hump, and win a WAC title or earn a bid to the BCS. I doubt Hill will be offered a first rate opportunity at I-A school that is in the hunt for national title, but more than likely be offered a job at a program that will need some sort of rebuilding.

The WAC is already considered a lackluster league around the country. If the conference loses its two marquee coaches then it would really be fighting to earn some respect in 2006.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Ranking the Bowls

It is the most wonderful time of the year, College Football Bowl Season. 28 bowls will be on tap from December 20-January 4. It all starts with the New Orleans Bowl and ends with the Granddady of them all, the Rose Bowl.

Not even the most die-hard college football fan can say everyone of this year's bowl games are worth watching. I have separated the bowl games into three categories, Buffet, In-Law, and Dog Bowls.

The Buffet bowls are the can't miss games. These are the bowl games where you break out the buffet of football food and sit back and enjoy.

The In-Law bowls are the so-so games. There are just an excuse to get out of visiting with the in-laws.

The Dog Bowls are just that, dogs. Don't feel bad if you miss these games.


1. Rose Bowl- USC vs Texas
Last year's USC-Oklahoma national championship game was supposed to be the all everything, but this year's national championship will not disappoint.

2. Fiesta Bowl- Notre Dame vs Ohio State
At the expense of leaving out a deserving Oregon team from the BCS, the Fiesta has set up the best matchup outside of Pasadena.

3. Peach Bowl- Miami vs LSU
The defenses might dominate this one, but this is a better matchup than the one scheduled just three days later in Atlanta.

4. MPC Computers Bowl- Boston College vs Boise State
The Broncos embarrassed themselves on the road against Georgia in September. It will be interesting to see how well they fare at home against a very good BC team.

5. Cotton Bowl- Alabama vs Texas Tech
The Bama defense versus the pass happy Tech attack.

6. Holiday Bowl- Oregon vs Oklahoma
Annually there is usually not a more exciting game than this one in San Diego. Both schools have something to prove.

7. Sun Bowl- UCLA vs Northwestern
Should be a high scoring affair, and could be Karl Dorrell's last game as head coach of the Bruins, if they do not come out on top.

8. Sugar Bowl- West Virginia vs Georgia
The Mountaineers have never had to prove so much in one game. The Big Least could once again become the Big East.


9. Orange Bowl- Florida State vs Penn State
Bowden vs Paterno is classic, but Seminoles vs Nittany Lions is not.

10. Gator Bowl- Virginia Tech vs Louisville
Would have been a Buffet if Brian Brohm was not injured. The Cards will be over-matched against the Hokies.

11. Alamo Bowl- Michigan vs Nebraska
Eight years ago this game would have been a great national title matchup.

12. Capital One Bowl- Wisconsin vs Auburn
Barry Alvarez's last game as coach of Badgers is a tough one.

13. Liberty Bowl- Fresno State vs Tulsa
A big Bulldog win will signal that losses to Nevada and LA Tech as flukes, but a loss would be a certain sign of trouble in one of the nation's best non-BCS programs.

14. Outback Bowl- Florida vs Iowa
Urban Meyer will try to top Ron Zook's bowl record. This is the Gators' third trip to Tampa in the last four years.

15. Houston Bowl- TCU vs Iowa State
It would have been nice to have seen TCU play a better opponent, but the Cyclones are more than capable of beating the Frogs handily.

16. GMAC Bowl- UTEP vs Toledo
Both of these schools underachieved this year, but it still should be a high-scoring shootout.

17. Independence Bowl- South Carolina vs Missouri
Spurrier gets the Gamecocks back to a bowl in his first year. Brad Smith will try to win his first bowl game, ever, in four years.

18. Music City Bowl- Minnesota vs Virginia
Only one reason to watch and that is Laurence Maroney.


19. Champs Sports Bowl- Clemson vs Colorado
Will Colorado even show up to play?

20. Insight Bowl- Arizona State vs Rutgers
Rutgers first bowl game in over 25 years, but too bad it's a dog.

21. Las Vegas Bowl- BYU vs Cal
The bowl will get the sell-out they desired but the game isn't worth the price of admission.

22. Emerald Bowl- Utah vs Georgia Tech
Well, the Utes finally get a legit opponent but it's a year too late.

23. Motor City Bowl- Akron vs Memphis
The Zips were the only bowl eligible team did not get a chance to go bowling last year, but this year they make their first ever bowl appearance as conference champs.

24. Hawaii Bowl- Nevada vs Central Florida
UCF's rags to riches story can not help this uninteresting matchup.

25. Ft. Worth Bowl- Houston vs Kansas
Decent offensive team versus decent defensive team, but does anyone care which is which?

26. New Orleans Bowl- Southern Miss vs Arkansas State
The Indians are playing in their first bowl game and actually have a chance at a win.

27. Meineke Car Care Bowl-North Carolina State vs South Florida
An ugly bowl name, but an even uglier bowl matchup. The on and off again Wolfpack could get smoked in USF's first bowl.

28. Poinsettia Bowl- Colorado State vs Navy
This is exactly why 6-5 teams do not deserve to be in bowl games.

2005 AP All-American Team

Headlined by Heisman Trophy winner, Reggie Bush, the Pac 10 conference dominated the skill positions on the AP All-American team. Only Texas QB Vince Young and Maryland TE Vernon Davis prevented the Pac 10 from completing a clean sweep of all skill position players on the first team, even UCLA tailback Maurice Drew was named first team all-purpose player. But USC QB Matt Leinart and UCLA TE Mercedes Lewis were both named to the second team. The AP All-American team:



Quarterback - Vince Young, 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, junior, Texas.

Running backs - Reggie Bush, 6-0, 200, junior, Southern California; Jerome Harrison, 5-10, 199, senior, Washington State.

Wide receivers - Dwayne Jarrett, 6-5, 210, sophomore, Southern California; Mike Hass, 6-1, 210, senior, Oregon State.

Tight end - Vernon Davis, 6-3, 253, junior, Maryland.

Linemen - Jonathan Scott, 6-7, 310, senior, Texas; Marcus McNeill, 6-8, 335, senior, Auburn; Max Jean-Gilles, 6-4, 340, senior, Georgia; D'Brickashaw Ferguson, 6-5, 295, senior, Virginia.

Center - Greg Eslinger, 6-3, 285, senior, Minnesota.

Kicker - Mason Crosby, 6-2, 210, junior, Colorado.

All-purpose player - Maurice Drew, 5-8, 205, junior, UCLA.


Linemen - Tamba Hali, 6-3, 267, senior, Penn State; Haloti Ngata, 6-4, 345, junior, Oregon; Elvis Dumervil, 6-0, 256, senior, Louisville; Rodrique Wright, 6-5, 330, senior, Texas.

Linebackers - A.J. Hawk, 6-1, 240, senior, Ohio State; Paul Posluszny, 6-2, 229, junior, Penn State; DeMeco Ryans, 6-2, 232, senior, Alabama.

Defensive backs - Jimmy Williams, 6-3, 215, senior, Virginia Tech; Darnell Bing, 6-2, 220, junior, Southern California; Michael Huff, 6-1, 205, senior, Texas; Greg Blue, 6-2, 215, senior, Georgia.

Punter - Ryan Plackemeier, 6-3, 235, senior, Wake Forest



Quarterback - Matt Leinart, senior, Southern California.

Running backs - DeAngelo Williams, senior, Memphis; Brian Calhoun, junior, Wisconsin.

Wide receivers - Jeff Samardzija, junior, Notre Dame; Calvin Johnson, sophomore, Georgia Tech.

Tight end - Marcedes Lewis, senior, UCLA.

Linemen - Levi Brown, junior, Penn State; Mark Setterstrom, senior, Minnesota; Eric Winston, senior, Miami; Taitusi Lutui, senior, Southern California.

Center - Dan Mozes, junior, West Virginia.

Kicker - Alexis Serna, sophomore, Oregon State

All-purpose player - Brandon Williams, senior, Wisconsin.


Linemen - Mathias Kiwanuka, senior, Boston College; Darryl Tapp, senior, Virginia Tech; Kyle Williams, senior, LSU; Orien Harris, senior, Miami.

Linebackers - Chad Greenway, senior, Iowa; D'Qwell Jackson, senior, Maryland; Patrick Willis, junior, Mississippi.

Defensive backs - Dion Byrum, senior, Ohio University; Tye Hill, senior, Clemson; Kelly Jennings, senior, Miami; Alan Zemaitis, senior, Penn State.

Punter - Dan Sepulveda, junior, Baylor.



Quarterback - Brady Quinn, junior, Notre Dame.

Running backs - Laurence Maroney, junior, Minnesota; LenDale White, junior, Southern California.

Wide receivers - Greg Jennings, senior, Western Michigan; Derek Hagan, senior, Arizona State.

Tight end - Garrett Mills, senior, Tulsa.

Linemen - Sam Baker, sophomore, Southern California; Andrew Whitworth, senior, LSU; Justin Blalock, junior, Texas; Will Allen, senior, Texas.

Center - Nick Mangold, senior, Ohio State.

Kicker - Brandon Coutu, sophomore, Georgia.

All-purpose player - Skyler Green, senior, LSU.


Linemen - Brodrick Bunkley, senior, Florida State; Willie Evans, senior, Mississippi State; Mario Williams, junior, North Carolina State; Jesse Mahelona, senior, Tennessee.

Linebackers - Aaron Harris, senior, Texas; Nick Reid, senior, Kansas; Bobby Carpenter, senior, Ohio State.

Defensive backs - Aaron Gipson, senior, Oregon; LaRon Landry, junior, LSU; Ko Simpson, sophomore, South Carolina; Tom Zbikowski, junior, Notre Dame.

Punter - Danny Baugher, senior, Arizona.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Break is Over!

As many of you can see, I took somewhat of a break from bloggin. I told the family I would refrain from college football after the DI-A season ended on Dec. 5 for a week. I really don't care for the ESPN CFB Award Show and we all knew Bush was going to win the Heisman, so I was not missing too much. I must say Fresno State getting their ass handed to them by La Tech made it very easy to skip the college game for a week. The break is over, thank gawd! Time to talk bowls, recruiting, and maybe even take an early peak at 2006.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Way It Should Be

The final BCS standings were released and No. 5 10-1 Oregon is out, but No. 22 8-4 Florida State is in just because it won the ACC conference championship. Huh? Last year Pitt was the lame duck, this year it's the mighty Seminoles. This year worked out perfectly for the BCS, the two top teams are the only unbeatens, but are they the two best teams in the nation? Probably, but it would still be fun to see some sort of a playoff because it does not always work out perfectly for the BCS every year. According to my previous post on the BCS solution, this is how I think the college football post season should have panned out using the final BCS standings and conference champions that have a championship game.

The BCS Playoff

Rose Bowl- Southern Cal 12-0 vs Penn State 10-1

Fiesta Bowl- Oregon 10-1 vs Ohio State 9-2

Sugar Bowl- Georgia 10-2 vs Notre Dame 9-2

Orange Bowl- Texas 12-0 vs Miami 9-2

*winners are re-seeded according to their BCS ranking and the higher seeds host a national semi-final.

The Remaining Bowl Games(*participants must have at least 7 wins/except a conference champ)

Cotton Bowl- Texas Tech 9-2 vs Alabama 9-2
Capital One Bowl- LSU 10-2 vs West Virginia 10-1
Holiday Bowl- UCLA 9-2 vs Iowa 7-4
Gator Bowl- Florida State 8-4 vs Auburn 9-2
Outback Bowl- Wisconsin 9-3 vs Florida 8-3
Peach Bowl- South Carolina 7-4 vs Virginia Tech 9-2
Alamo Bowl- Michigan 7-4 vs Oklahoma 7-4
Sun Bowl- TCU 10-1 vs Nebraska 7-4
Liberty Bowl- Tulsa 8-4 vs Boston College 8-3
Insight Bowl- Colorado 7-5 vs Minnesota 7-4
Champs Sports Bowl- Louisville 9-2 vs Clemson 7-4
Music City- Georgia Tech 7-4 vs Iowa State 7-4
Independence- Arkansas State 6-5* vs Louisiana Tech 7-4
Las Vegas- Boise State 9-3 vs Rutgers 7-4
Motor City- Akron 7-5 vs Northwestern 7-4
Hawaii- Navy 7-4 vs California 7-4

Final Regular Season Blogpoll Ballot

  1. Southern Cal (1)
  2. Texas (2)
  3. Penn State (3)
  4. Ohio State (5)
  5. Auburn (6)
  6. Georgia (10)
  7. Oregon (8)
  8. Miami (Florida) (9)
  9. Virginia Tech (7)
  10. West Virginia (11)
  11. Louisiana State (4)
  12. Notre Dame (12)
  13. Alabama (13)
  14. Florida (15)
  15. Florida State (nr)
  16. Georgia Tech (16)
  17. Michigan (17)
  18. TCU (19)
  19. Louisville (20)
  20. Clemson (21)
  21. Wisconsin (22)
  22. Boston College (23)
  23. Texas Tech (24)
  24. Northwestern (25)
  25. Iowa (nr)

out- UCLA(14), Fresno State(18)

just missed- South Carolina,

on the radar- Boise State, Nebraska, Nevada, Tulsa

last weeks top 25 ballot

last weeks blogpoll

Games I watched: Fresno State-La Tech(all), Central Fla-Tulsa(1/2), Colorado-Texas(1/2), USC-UCLA(1/2), Georgia-LSU(on second TV), Florida State-Va Tech(3/4)

Saturday, December 03, 2005

I Wonder if Colorado and UCLA Know About This

Stations Casino has an early line on the Rose Bowl between USC - Texas, even though each could lose this Saturday and potentially knocked out of the Rose Bowl. Stations gives the edge to the Trojans (-7). I am sure the Longhorn faithful are jumping on that bet, but what happens if they lose to the Buffaloes, it happened to them in 2001.

The Big 12 Championship has not been kind to potential BCS national championship game participants from the conference. Kansas State's loss cost them a shot at the national title in 1998, Texas had an outside shot in 2001 before losing to Colorado, and Oklahoma backed into the national championship game two years despite the blowout loss to K-State.

The Picks

Central Florida, Texas, Navy, USC, Georgia, Middle Tenn State, West Virginia, UConn, Virginia Tech, and Hawaii

italic are the potential upsets
bold are the surefire picks

Championship Week and My Solution to the BCS

It is championship week in college football, both a sad day and great day. It marks the end of the regular season and the start of the post season. The BCS selection show will conclude the week Sunday afternoon.

The current format of the BCS needs to be change. I do not hate the BCS, but I hate the current structure and the rules it follows. The computers should be allowed to use whatever formula they like, and include margin of victory to an extent.

For instance, if Florida State beats Florida Atlantic 49-20, but Louisville beats FAU 69-3, does that make Louisville that much better than Florida State? A cap of say 25 points should be the limit, so if Florida State beat FAU 35-20 it would not carry as much weight as the 49-20 win. But, Louisville's 66 point win will be looked upon the same as FSU's 29 pt win. Honestly, after 25 points or the equivalent of 4 scores, a team is just running up the score.

Next, conference automatic bids need to be done away with. The BCS rankings then need to ditch the Harris Poll and seek the AP for its services. Take the two polls, the 6 computers, add strength of schedule, give each equal weight and compile them together to create the BCS Poll.

Now for selection, first, take the top three teams no matter what, even if they are somehow from the same conference. Next teams chosen, are conference champions with no more than two losses and that are ranked in the top 12 of the BCS. This gives current non-BCS schools equal chance to earn a berth, despite playing in a crappy conference. If there is still open slots then teams ranked 4-6 are automatically selected no matter what conference they are in. If slots still remain open then conference champs with no more than two losses and that are ranked in the BCS top 15 earn a berth. If slots are still open beyond this point then the remaining teams ranked highest in the BCS rankings earn a berth, no matter what conference they are in.

In order to make this system fair every conference must have a championship game or otherwise the respective conferences that does not have one can only earn a berth as an at-large selection and not as a conference champion. For example, the ACC, Big 12, SEC, CUSA and MAC champs could all earn automatic berths after the top three teams in the BCS rankings are selected, as long as they did not have more than two losses and were ranked in the top 12 of the BCS. Meaning a Big Ten team could be left out of the BCS, despite being ranked as high as number 4 in the BCS, if the top three in the BCS were the Pac 10 champ, BE champ and Notre Dame or any other at-large team.

This guideline will move conference expansion into overdrive, as the Pac 10, Big Ten, Big East, MWC scramble to field 12 teams. The WAC and Sun Belt could be forced to merge and add one more team from I-AA or be left out of the big picture. Notre Dame might look into joining a conference for the first time ever in this scenario.

Now the matchups, the BCS playoff would consist of the same four bowls used now by the system, but all of them will be played on New Years Day. Tradition and traditional matchups will be upheld but the Orange or Sugar Bowl could be forced to have a late morning kickoff or could play in the late evening on New Years Eve instead. Maybe the NFL will have to move their games to a Saturday or Monday when New Years falls on a Sunday. It makes me sick that when I wake up New Years Day this year, with my hangover, I will have to watch NFL instead of my yearly dose of Jan. 1 bowl games. I guess I will get to sleep in for once on New Years Day; I can not stand NFL football, and this years sucks more than usual.

The Orange Bowl 1/1 11am ET- ACC champ/at-large vs Big 12 champ/at-large(the Big 8 champ never played in the Fiesta, the goal was always the Orange)

The Fiesta Bowl 1/1 2:30pm ET- at-large vs at-large(this game always used to match the best two teams available before the BCS came along)

The Rose Bowl 1/1 5:50pm ET- Pac 10 champ/at-large vs Big Ten/at-large(like any other teams should play in Pasadena on New Years Day)

The Sugar Bowl 1/1 9:15pm ET- SEC champ/at-large vs at-large

The ACC used to send its champ to the Citrus/Capital One Bowl, but since Miami and Florida State used to play almost annually in the Orange Bowl its a natural fit for the ACC champ in Miami.

The Big East never had a destination for its conference champ, and the WAC, MWC, CUSA and Sun Belt destinations are some very weak bowls. But if the WAC or MWC champ was selected the Fiesta is natural fit geographically.

After the BCS bowl games, the four winners are re-seeded and the two top seeds will host a national semi-final played 7-10 days after New Years, depending on which day Jan. 1 lands on. This gives teams an incentive not to schedule pasties, otherwise, their strength of schedule could cost them a home game in the national semi-finals. Some may think a home game this late in the season is unfair, but great teams find ways to win big ball games no matter where the game is played(no one ever complains about homefield advantage in the NFL, because it is earned not given away).

The winners of the national semi-finals meet in a national championship game hosted by one of the four BCS bowls on a rotating basis, played a 7-10 days after the semi-finals or on the weekend before the Super Bowl. For example, on Jan. 1 it is the Rose Bowl, but for the national title game, it would be called the NCAA College Football National Championship hosted by the Rose Bowl.

No system can ever be perfect, but I am against a 16 team playoff. To many teams and I have no desire to see a 6-5 or 7-4 Sun Belt conference champion play the top seed and get slaughtered.

As for the rest of the teams that didn't make the BCS, they still have the other bowl games to be invited to. But 24 other bowl games is just too many and the matchups really get watered down towards the bottom.

The solution eliminate 8 bowl games, therefore besides the 8 teams that go to the BCS playoff, only 32 other teams will get to taste the postseason. I think only 1/3 of college football deserves to be accepted to a bowl games not 1/2. The 16 Bowls that stay and conference champ they would host if that conference did not earn a BCS bid or the runner up in the conference, otherwise, the bowl slots are open. Teams can go to any bowl they are invited, but the conference champ is guaranteed a bid whether it is the BCS or regular bowl berth. If a conference sends its champ to a BCS bowl, then the runner up is guaranteed a bowl berth. I wish the traditional names could come back in some sort of capacity, like the Outback Hall of Fame Bowl or the Capital One Citrus Bowl:

Cotton- Big 12 vs
Capital One/Citrus - SEC vs
Holiday- Pac 10 vs
Gator - ACC vs
Outback/Hall of Fame - Big Ten vs
Peach- open
Alamo- open
Sun- MWC vs
Liberty- CUSA vs
Champs/Tangerine- Big East vs
Music City
Independence- Sun Belt vs
Las Vegas- WAC vs
Motor City- MAC vs

the 8 that get the boot: mostly because they are new and lack any real tradition, but the Houston, Emerald and Meineke are the only three worth saving, maybe the GMAC.
Meineke Car Care-
MPC Computers
Ft Worth
New Orleans

go ahead pundits rip it away.............Come Sunday/Monday I will fill in the slots when the final BCS rankings are released and I'll see how the first MDG CFB mythical BCS playoff national champion will play out.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Dear Blogpoll Voters,

This is exactly why I told you not to vote Fresno State in your preseason top 25; Pat Hill must have gotten a new calendar because October came late this year.