Category Archives: college football
You see, the sole purpose of the BCS is to pit the two best teams together. Again, the TWO BEST TEAMS. Based on the play of this season, it’s obvious that the Seminoles and Tigers are the best two teams.
Florida State has more than passed the “eye test”. It had thoroughly dominated the teams on its schedule. It blew away a good Clemson team (the same Clemson team that beat a full strength Georgia team earlier in the season) on the road during prime time. It made a mockery out of a good Miami Hurricanes a few weeks later. And it blew away a good Duke team that came into the ACC Championship Game on a nine-game winning streak.
And to those folks who have been bitching about the Seminoles’ weak strength of schedule such as ESPN’s Mike Lupica and CBS Sports’ Gregg Doyel, teams cannot control how their conference members perform, and schedules are set often years in advance. (I made the same argument for Ohio State)
Keep in mind that things in college football runs in cycles. Alabama and Auburn haven’t always been good in the same year. Remember this: the SEC was just okay for the most part during the ’80s and 90s. So yes, believe it or not it could happen again to that conference.
And speaking of the SEC, what better way for the BCS to go out than to pit a representative from the strongest college football in the country against arguably the most dominant team in college football. Auburn is a team of destiny. Just look at the way it won its final two regular season games. If you don’t know how the Tigers won those games vs. Georgia and Alabama by now, you’ve been living under a rock for too long.
Aside from the “Team of Destiny” crap, Auburn has been winning by running the football down its opponents’ throats. The coolest thing about the Tigers is this: opposing defenses know what is coming, yet they have yet to stop it. The great Alabama couldn’t stop it. Georgia couldn’t stop it. Texas A&M couldn’t stop it (nor other offenses for that matter). Missouri couldn’t stop it in the SEC title game.
I will say this: both teams have a game to watch on film on how it could beat the other. Florida State could and should watch the Auburn-LSU game from now until kickoff. LSU “held” Auburn to less than 220 yards rushing, but more importantly force its QB Nick Marshall to throw two interceptions.
Meanwhile, Auburn could and should watch the FSU-Boston College game from now until kickoff. Boston College was not only the one team who truly tested the Seminoles, it actually held a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. The Eagles were able to stay close to the Seminoles because, like Auburn, they have a great running game led by Heisman candidate Andre Williams.
The more I am write, the more I am loving this #1-#2 matchup. Way to go BCS – you got it right on the way out…
After all, the Buckeyes BARELY beat a mediocre Michigan team by one point in The Big House last Saturday. I didn’t know what was worse, barely getting by those Wolverines or giving up 41 POINTS to the same bunch who didn’t have much of a pulse on offense for most of the season.
But we all know what the real problem with Ohio State is: it plays in a crappy Big Ten with an even crappier out-of-conference schedule.
We do not want to hear about Ohio State’s 24 game winning streak. We do not want to hear about the studs they have on offense, namely Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde. And most of all, we do not want to hear about the job that coach Urban Meyer has done the last two seasons.
I’m here to tell you all this: the hate the Buckeyes have been getting all season long is utterly indefensible.
First of all, winning 24 games in a row is NOTHING to sniff at. Sure the Big Ten has been down for a couple of seasons, but it is an automatic qualifying (AQ) conference that has more than its share of football tradition and lore. (After all, you cannot knock a conference that has a tie-in to the Rose Bowl and has the most bank thanks to its money-making B1G Network). And there’s this: it’s not the Buckeyes’ fault that the rest of their conference sucks.
And, since I believe in fairness, why not knock the Florida State Seminoles’ schedule? While I do not think the ACC is as crappy as the B1G (though not much better) and they more than pass the “smell test”, the Seminoles’ out-of-conference schedule leaves much to be desired. Nevada, Idaho and Bethune-Cookman?! Are you kidding me?
Again, I am not knocking the ACC. I am a proud alumnus of NC State (except when it comes to sports), and am proud of the fact the ACC will more than likely have a representative in the BCS Championship Game for the first time in almost 15 years (when the Seminoles won it all in 1999).
I just think if folks want to bash Ohio State based on strength of schedule, they might as well take some swings at the #1 team in the country as well.
Back to Ohio State, here is all it has to do going forward: win, and win big against Michigan State. The good news is the Spartans are ranked 10th in the BCS. A win over those cats should quell the Buckeye hate once and for all.
That was the day I found out that Duke made the Top 25 rankings in both the AP and Coaches’ Poll. Not in basketball, but FOOTBALL.
This is the same Duke football program that was thought to be among the worst in major college football. The same Duke football program that has a hard time competing with its conference powerhouse counterparts (Florida State and Clemson) due to its high academic standards, low undergraduate enrollment, and limited resources (outside basketball).
Yet here are the Blue Devils, ranked #25 and #24 in the AP and Coaches’ Poll, respectively.
Not only are they bowl-eligible again this season, but this is the first time the football program has qualified for a bowl in back-to-back seasons. The more surprising fact is not only Duke’s 8-2 record – the Blue Devils were one defensive stop shy of being 9-1 (the Pitt game).
How did the Blue Devils get there you ask? It’s simple: great coaching.
Coach David Cutcliffe is doing a marvelous job in changing the culture at Duke. He is getting 3-star, mid-level talent and coaching them up to be 4- and 5-star players. His players are buying in, and are now finding ways to win games. Duke won with defense at Virginia Tech, and beat down a more talented Miami team last Saturday by 18 points.
No one would have said that 5 years ago.
Now, the Blue Devils control their own destiny in the ACC Coastal Division with the right to
get crushed by play Florida State in the ACC Championship game. That in and of itself is remarkable.
Props to “Coach Cut” for doing the impossible – making Duke football relevant.
Instead of hammering the University of Miami with more bowl bans, heavy scholarship reductions, and expunging its wins, the NCAA chose to not impose any bowl bans and only withhold nine football scholarships (and three for basketball) over a three-year period. In other words, the NCAA basically gave Miami a slap on the wrist for its past transgressions.
And while the NCAA seemingly did right by the University of Miami, I thought it should not have penalized the Hurricanes more and just let them be.
Granted, Miami did fuck up in several areas. First of all, it allowed Nevin Shapiro – a known slimy booster/convicted Ponzi schemer/glorified male groupie who lived vicariously through the football players – to run amok through the athletics department. He showered football and basketball players with gifts, money, and strippers among other things. There were photos of Miami administrators, which included president Donna Shalala, at events hosted by Shapiro. There was footage of Shapiro standing on the football field with the team during player introductions.
In short, Miami knew what was going on and turned a blind eye.
However, I believe Miami had served its penance. It self-imposed two consecutive bowl bans the last two seasons, including last season where it would have played in the ACC championship game. It also self-imposed scholarship restrictions and took extra steps in ensuring that another Nevin Shapiro would not happen again.
In other words, Miami was cooperative (and USC was not).
And don’t forget that the NCAA “Watergated” its own investigation. I knew the NCAA’s case was flimsy at best because it trusted the word of a convicted Ponzi schemer who kept changing his story by the minute and played the NCAA like fools (after all Ponzi schemers are good at lying). The NCAA made under the table payments to Shapiro’s lawyer (which, among other things, led to her disbarment).
Nevertheless, judging from the 2013 on-field product and the high ranks in recruiting, “The U” may very well be back. And the Atlantic Coast Conference is happier for it.
When I first heard that the football players walked out of a team meeting where the school administrators (the president and athletics director) spoke, I thought what most people thought. Those are some spoiled-ass football players. The inmates were trying to run the asylum. If they didn’t want their former coach (Doug Williams) fired, then they should have played better and quit their bitching.
Then I read the letter the players wrote to administration to explain their complaints. It was basically explained what led to the boycott, and what I read was nothing short of frightening. Aside from team being upset about the firing of Williams, there were the long bus trips to Kansas City and Indianapolis - y’all read that right, FROM LOUISIANA to Kansas City and Indianapolis. And not surprisingly, the football team got its ass kicked for both games – think those kids were a WEE bit tired after those long bus rides?
There’s more. Players have been complaining for some time that Gatorade and the supplement Muscle Milk were not supplied during summer camp or workouts. That’s right folks, the players had to BUY THEIR OWN GATORADE because the administration did not provide those drinks to them – in the summer (in Louisiana!!)!
There were some photos the players sent with the letter, and those photos told the story about how poor the athletic facilities. There were mold and mildew on equipment, namely the weights and practice pads. Other photos show floors from the facility’s weight-training room missing wide sections of its rubberized floor tiles, and torn and tattered covers to some of the room’s weightlifting benches.
Things were so bad that they had a health inspector look at the facilities.
Now while I do not think the players did the right thing in forfeiting their game with Jackson State, I did think that the players had to let their voices be heard in the letter sent to administration. I thought the players would have used this as a moment to come together by cleaning the facilities and taking care of each other. Could you imagine the overwhelming support those players would have received from fans, the media and the public at-large? The boosters and alumni association would have rallied those kids. In that scenario, the administrators at Grambling would not have a choice but to do right by those student athletes.
Instead the football players share the blame and shame with the administration in what is wrong with Grambling State University. Eddie Robinson must be rolling in his grave.
Before I go any further with this rant, let me state that I have hyped up my beloved Atlantic Coast Conference in the past – sometimes a bit prematurely. At times I had to eat my words.
Not this time.
Take a look at the ACC teams in the latest Associated Press and USA Today/Coaches polls. Three ACC teams in the AP’s Top 10 (Clemson, Florida State, and Miami). Four ACC teams total (Virginia Tech being the fourth) in both polls.
Take a look at how the ACC have performed on the gridiron at the halfway point of the 2013 season. Wins over Georgia and Florida – both from the awesome, badass motherfucker known as the Southeastern Conference (or as I call “The Beast”). Three undefeated teams in the conference (Clemson, Florida State, Miami). ESPN’s “College GameDay” will be in Clemson for the Florida State-Clemson game, marking the second time “GameDay” will be in Clemson this season (a first for the “GameDay” crew).
Miami is looking like “The U” again. The Hurricanes’ upcoming games with Florida State and Virginia Tech are going to be must-see games. Miami being “back” is not only great for the ACC, but it’s awesome for college football.
The mid-tier of the ACC is not that bad either. Maryland (yeah, that fucking turncoat that’s headed to the Big Ten next year) is 5-1 and is headed towards a decent bowl. Newcomer Pitt appears to be holding its own right now at the midpoint. Boston College has already surpassed its win total from last season and is more competitive under first-year coach Steve Addazio. And then there’s Duke (that would be 4-2 Duke, thank you). The Blue Devils are already on their way to another bowl, which would be the first time that has happened in a long-ass time – if not EVER.
Before I gush any further on the ACC, we are only at the halfway point of the 2013 college football season. Things could change from now until the end of the regular season. Miami has to travel to Chapel Hill to take on a sorry-ass, yet desperate UNC team this Thursday night on ESPN. Clemson has to travel to Maryland and South Carolina after this weekend. Florida State still has to play Florida.
In short, the ACC’s journey is far from over. Only this time I have been more in tune with ACC football for the first time in recent memory. I think the ACC will continue their breakthrough through season’s end.
I can feel it.
I mean you had one guy (former Auburn coach Pat Dye) saying that Rice has no place on the committee because she never played the game:
“All she knows about football is what somebody told her…or what she read in a book, or what she saw on television. To understand football, you’ve got to play with your hand in the dirt…I love Condoleezza Rice and she’s probably a good statesman and all of that but how in the hell does she know what it’s like out there when you can’t get your breath and it’s 110 degrees and the coach asks you to go some more?”
If that wasn’t bad enough, you had another guy (ESPN college football analyst David Pollack) saying on ESPN’s College GameDay” that he only wants people on the committee “that can watch tape, yes, that have played football, that are around football, that can tell you different teams, on tape, not on paper.” When asked by College GameDay host Chris Fowler if he meant that women don’t belong on the committee at all, Pollack answered “I’ll say it, yeah.”
Look, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that those dudes (and many others) are upset that a woman was selected to serve on the playoff selection committee.
Let’s look at Dye’s comment: “To understand football, you’ve got to play with your hand in the dirt…” Really coach?
If that’s the case, more than half of the college football analysts and sportswriters wouldn’t have jobs covering college football. Fowler wouldn’t be the host of “College GameDay”. Paul Finebaum would not have a successful career in sports talk radio nor a job covering the SEC for ESPN. Tom Brando would not be an ultra successful sports talk show host on CBS Sports. Hell, a huge segment of college football coaches would not be coaching.
And why stop there, look at the other folks on the selection committee. Former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese is also expected to be on the committee even though he did not play college football.
And how about the notion of the current BCS system (which I liked) that uses six computer formulas that never played college football and one poll that is based on the votes of many media members that never played college or pro football?
I could go on and on.
Rice may not know a lot about college football. But I’ll say this: if she was able to navigate through murky diplomatic waters with the likes of Russia, Iran, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, and help manage egos in the George W. Bush administration while serving as the National Security Advisor AND Secretary of State, then I am pretty confident that not only would Rice be able to get up to speed on all that is college football, that she will be able to hold her own in a room full of good ‘ol boys in selecting the best four (which will eventually become eight) college football teams to participate in the playoffs.
I didn’t want to take a lot of time in discussing the obvious. Here’s hoping Dye and Pollack (and others) are able to take less time to see how silly and male chauvinistic their comments and thoughts were.
A lot of sportswriters are celebrating that fact, most notably Yahoo! Sports’ Dan Wetzel (co-author of “Death to the BCS”) and Pat Forde, and ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski and Mark Schlabach. If you have a moment, peep Schlabach’s excellent column on the highs and lows of the BCS here.
Well, I’ve got news for you all who cannot wait for the BCS to go away: you’re gonna miss it.
In fact, I’ll give it two to three years that you all will be complaining about how the four-team playoff is “so unfair” and how much your “team got screwed” in the selection process. Those quotes are ones used several times when describing the BCS over the last few years. Any time you have a selection committee for only four teams, someone is going to cry about getting screwed.
And you know where major college football will go from here. They are going to eventually expand the playoff field to eight teams, which would be as close to perfect as this imperfect system would be (just please, for the love of God DO NOT EXPAND TO 16 TEAMS!).
For those of you who hate the BCS with a passion, just know this: the BCS makes every weekend a “must-see” event in college football. The regular season is in itself a playoff. If a team with national championship aspirations lose a game (especially early in the season), its title hopes would be slim to none. If that team plays a soft schedule, forget about it. In other words, every game matters.
That will not be the case with the four-team playoff.
I mean sure most of the games will still matter, but unlike before a one-loss team with title aspirations will still have a shot at playing for the national title. The more teams qualify for the playoffs, the more devalued the regular season will be.
I mean as much as I love college basketball’s March Madness, how many of us actually pay attention to the regular season? Exactly.
Could imagine what would happen if major college football lost its mind and opened it up to 16 teams? Do we REALLY want to see the Sun Belt champion get its ass kicked by an at-large team from the Pac-12?
That’s what sets major college football apart from the other sports in the world. It actually has a system that pits the BEST TWO TEAMS IN THE COUNTRY in the national championship game. Sure, the BCS has gotten it wrong a couple of times (an undefeated Auburn team not playing for the national title and the Associate Polls’ #2 LSU playing #3 Oklahoma instead of AP top-ranked USC in 2003).
However, I will counter that by saying remember the years before the BCS. You remember, right? The days when the AP and the USA Today/Coaches Poll having their own national champions? I could rattle off some examples: Alabama (Coaches) and Notre Dame (AP) sharing the title in 1973, Oklahoma (AP) and USC (Coaches) sharing the title in 1974, Miami (AP) and Washington (Coaches) sharing the title in 1991, Georgia Tech (Coaches) and Colorado (AP) sharing the title in 1990, LSU and USC sharing the title in 2003, …I could go on.
And you know what the fans and media were saying then?
“It’s so unfair that XYZ team did not have a chance to play for the national title!”
“Why can’t college football pit Team A against Team B?”
“The bowl system needs to change so the two best teams play each other – fuck tradition!”
And folks, that’s why we have the BCS. Besides, given the changes to the bowl system once the playoff starts – big money paydays to bowls hosting conference champions from the “Power 5″ (ACC, B1G, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) while shutting out the “have-nots” (AAC, Conference USA, Mountain West, MAC, Sun belt) – we’re pretty much going to have a “BCS 2.0” in place anyway…
In what will be the last year of the Bowl Championship Series (coupled with some conference realignment among the power conferences), this should be the most exciting college football season in recent memory. As far as which conferences will be previewed, I will provide some in-depth analysis of the “Power Five” conferences (ACC, B1G, Big XII, Pac-12 and SEC), with a little mention to the other “Group of Five” conferences. Since most fans do not give a damn about the likes of the American Athletic Conference, Mountain West, MAC, Sun Belt, and Conference USA, neither will I.
So, without further ado…
Atlantic Coast Conference
- Florida State
- Wake Forest
- NC State
- Boston College
- North Carolina
- Georgia Tech
- Virginia Tech
Conference Champ: Clemson
Analysis: This should be one of the more exciting seasons in ACC history. The Atlantic will be a two-team race, while the Coastal will be wide-open. Whoever wins that Florida State-Clemson showdown in mid-October will win the conference. I would not be surprised if UNC or Georgia Tech wins the Coastal instead of Miami.
- Michigan State
- Ohio State
- Penn State
Conference Champ: Ohio State
Analysis: The B1G is in the midst of its biggest down years in recent memory. Because of NCAA sanctions, the two teams who played for the conference title gave up 70 points in back-to-back weeks (Nebraska) and played .500 ball in conference play (Wisconsin). I think the B1G is pretty much Ohio State and everybody else. The team to watch is Northwestern.
By the way, I wished the B1G would have used my “Afro” and “Sheen” division names. Oh well…
- Oklahoma State
- Kansas State
- West Virginia
- Texas Tech
- Iowa State
Analysis: This should be a two-team race between Oklahoma State and Kansas State. While Texas is the darkhorse, the Longhorns really underachieved last season. I don’t know if Mack Brown will be coaching Texas after this season if it comes up short of expectations again. The question should be how long will Bob Stoops stick around Oklahoma if the Sooners underachieve yet again.
- Oregon State
- Washington State
- Arizona State
Conference Champ: Stanford
Analysis: The Pac-12 is perhaps the only conference who could challenge the SEC in college football. I think Stanford and Oregon are far and away the two best teams in the Pac-12, and could challenge the likes of Alabama, LSU and South Carolina. I think that Stanford will prevail over Oregon and smack UCLA in the conference title game, though I do love the job UCLA coach Jim Mora is doing with the Bruins.
Southeastern Conference, a.k.a. “The Beast”
- South Carolina
- Texas A&M
- Mississippi State
- Ole Miss
Conference Champ: Alabama
Analysis: Aside from Georgia, I do not see ANYONE beating Alabama this season. I was hoping Texas A&M would do a little something, but QB Johnny Manziel is more Lindsey Lohan than college QB these days. LSU would be a good foil, but their offense does not come close to matching its defensive firepower. South Carolina is suffering from the same “LSU disease” (great defense, no offense). Simply put, this is Alabama’s world and the SEC – and the rest of college football – are just living in it.
Best of the Rest
American Athletic Conference (Conference USA 2.0): Louisville (I bet the Cardinals are counting down the days they will escape this train-wreck of a conference)
Mountain West: Boise State (think the Broncos still want to be in the Pac-12?)
Mid-American Conference: Northern Illinois (for all the smack I talked earlier, the MAC is not a bad football conference)
Conference USA: East Carolina
Sun Belt: Arkansas State
Oh yeah, I almost forgot…
National Champion: Alabama (gee that was hard…)
Are those haters/hacks from West Virginia sad that the Atlantic Coast Conference is here to stay (at least for the next 14 years)?
Those are some of the questions I had on my mind when the ACC announced that it and its presidents agreed to a grant of media rights for the league through 2026-27, effectively halting the exodus of any schools to other conferences – barring any lack of common sense by those schools. The ACC becomes the fourth conference to have such media rights, with the others being the Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12.
Now what is this grant of media rights thing all about?
The grant of rights makes it untenable financially for a school to leave a conference, guaranteeing in the life of the deal that a school’s media rights, including revenue, for all home games would remain with a conference regardless of the school’s affiliation. Grant of rights is also considered to be far stronger and less litigious than a simple exit fee.
In other words, say goodbye to conference realignment for a while – if not for good.
Since the grant of media rights was UNANIMOUSLY (that means ALL the members of the ACC) voted upon, no one is going anywhere. So let’s just put those Georgia Tech, Virginia, North Carolina and Duke to the Big Ten/Florida State, and Clemson to the Big 12/Virginia Tech and NC State to the SEC rumors to bed.
Having said of all that, there are two schools that are negatively impacted by this: Cincinnati and Connecticut.
Those two schools have been hoping against hope that any of the current ACC schools would leave for greener pastures so that they would be able to take the places of those departed schools. Simply put, UC and UConn do not want any part of the conference formerly known as the Big East (the American “Whatever the Hell” Conference), aka Conference USA 2.0.
That said, there is STILL a chance that the Big Ten expands and takes UConn on the strength of the school’s location in the northeast. Its Hartford/Boston television market is very desirable.
And there is STILL a chance that the Big 12 will take UC as a travel partner to West Virginia. That would strengthen the Big 12′s presence in the Midwest.
Until then, UC and UConn will be praying and making altar calls (black church reference) for a better sports conference affiliation (more $$$ and prestige).