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Making the Round: Pulling the Wool Over Your Eyes

Fanblogs: Is Utah’s Attorney General, Mark Shurtleff just using his anti-BCS bill to gain a higher office?  Possible, and this statement from the Desert News:

In his third term as Utah’s top prosecutor, Shurtleff is considering a run for Sen. Bob Bennett’s seat in 2010 or for Utah governor in 2012. He said he expects to announce his plan the first week of May.

Shurtleff also had a fundraiser at $300 a plate with Utah’s head coach Kyle Whittingham to speak about the BCS.

He also has said he hopes other states get involved, so that the Utah taxpayers are not stuck with the bill.  So, what the AG is saying is that he wants help from other states, however that fundraiser for the BCS will just go into his political fund for his chance to move up the political chain.

Shurtleff may be genuine in his anti-BCS bill but there is a side motive, because people in Utah will hail him as a hero for at least trying to break down the BCS.  The voters will remember that in his upcoming elections.

Adam Rittenberg, ESPN.com: Penn State coach Joe Paterno has been a long time advocate for expanding the Big 10to twelve teams from its currently eleven.  The Big 10 tried to get Notre Dame in 1999, but that did not end well.

“Coach Paterno … is as important a coach, leader, teacher as we’ve ever had in college sports,” Delany said. “So what he says gets disproportionate weight, and properly so.

Whether it’s in a coaches’ meeting, a meeting of athletic directors or university presidents, his work and recommendation still means a lot.

Coach Paterno has a lot of experience in this area. He’s played around with conference configurations. He knows it’s not easy, and he knows what he says matters.

Big 10 Commissioner Jim Delany basically is treating the legendary coach like nothing and patting him on the head with compliments.  Paterno’s reasons are valid, because the Big 10 finishes the regular season the week before Thanksgiving.

While other leagues  with a title game go two weeks further in the season, and get more exposure.  So, why is this news for the Mountain West, because expansion to the Big 10 couldbring either expansion to the MWC or the Pac-10.  Teams that are mentioned and ones that would make sense for Big 10 expansion are Missouri, Iowa State, Cincinatti, or even Pitt.

The trickle down effect could either cause the Pac-10 to add teams, most likely being Utah, BYU, Boise State, or Colorado.  Since the two Big XII teams are involved TCU, Tulsa, or BYU could be considered to replace any vacant Big XII teams.

Finally, the Mountain West could then try to make their league as strong as others by adding Boise State, Tulsa, Houston, Fresno State, Hawai’i, Nevada, or UTEP.  It could take one of the BCS leagues to start a domino effect in expansion to make it to the MWC teams.


Barry Tramel, Oklahoman:

 If you really want to go to the BYU verse Oklahoma then name your price and then double it.  Tickets for the first game at the new Texas Stadium is not cheap.  Well at least not as much as the Texas A&M verse Arkansas game. 

The ticket prices for OU-BYU are $50, $80, $100 and $150 (club seats). Ticket prices for the Oct. 3 Arkansas-A&M game at Arlington are $85, $125 and $475 (club seats, including a $175 donation).

Oklahoma was able to negotiate a pretty good deal in comparing the other game.  Oh did we mention parking is $38, and those $50 seats are corner seats are the nosebleed seats.  This stadium is amazing with a high-definition screen that stretches from 20 yard line to 20 yard line.

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It’s Official: BYU to play Oklahoma in 2009

In an announcement from BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe announced that the Cougars will face Oklahoma, Florida State, Tulane and Utah State next season in their football non-conference schedule.

This is a huge non conference schedule is very tough with current number one Oklahoma, Florida State who is back in the top 25, and then the other two games while not difficult give the Cougars a balanced schedule.

The Oklahoma game will be on Labor Day weekend and then the Cougars go back home to face FSU in their first ever visit to Provo, then travel back down to face Tulane in New Orleans.

This schedule is very competitive to the big boys in college football and BYU would be facing six bowl teams and four top 25 ranked opponents from the 2008 season.

That Oklahoma game is going to be huge for the success of the season and if they are able to pull that off then BYU would immediately be the next BCS buster and give more credit to how good the Mountain West is.

If they are to lose, which is a real possibility, their season could spiral into disaster because they could then start off 0-2 and have a four game losing streak. A lot depends on the draft for Oklahoma and BYU, most notably is Heisman winner quarterback Sam Bradford and talented wide receiver Austin Collie from BYU.

This Oklahoma game is continuing the tradition of Mountain West schools in scheduling tough opponents, and maybe one day their undefeated schedule will allow them to make it to the BCS title game.

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Week 15 College Football Blog Poll

Here is week 15 of the blog poll make sure to check out CBS Sports for the final ballot. More movement then one would think in the final regular season poll.

Rank Team Delta
1 Oklahoma 1
2 Texas 1
3 Florida
4 Southern Cal
5 Utah
6 Texas Tech 1
7 Alabama 1
8 Boise State
9 Penn State
10 TCU 1
11 Ohio State 1
12 Oregon 2
13 Oklahoma State 1
14 Georgia Tech 1
15 Cincinnati 1
16 Brigham Young 1
17 Michigan State 1
18 Georgia 2
19 Northwestern
20 Virginia Tech 5
21 Pittsburgh 5
22 Mississippi 4
23 Ball State 10
24 Boston College 3
25 Buffalo 1
Dropped Out: Missouri (#22), Florida State (#23), Oregon State (#24).

Plenty ‘O Bulletin Board Material for Utah

Alabama has came out in full force feeling they have been disrespected for matching up with Utah, hey would you rather be playing Cincinnati’s? In less then 24 hours Utah is getting slammed by EVERYONE, why because they play in the Mountain West. This is not the 2004 team who is much better and would have given any team in the country a game and yes I include that   USC team.

In my opinion, which is biased even though I try not too be, is that Utah can play with anyone in the country with the exception of Texas, Oklahoma, and Florida. Those three schools would beat Utah by two touchdowns if both teams played well. As for USC, Alabama, and Penn State the game would by no means favor Utah but they are on equal footing in regards to this years talent.

Back to the Sugar Bowl, Brian Johnson the Utah quarterback put it the best. His first question was asked by some reporter about the history of Alabama football and not the 2008 Alabama team, but then Brian Johnson cut him off mid sentence to say we are not playing history we are playing their eleven guys on the 2008 team, and we will not see Bart Starr or Joe Namath coming out of the tunnel along side Bear Bryant.

Here is the video about the comment it is in the first 30 seconds:

Here is the link to ESPN’s commentary on the Sugar Bowl matchup. The best thing they mention is that Utah can hope to hang with Alabama.

This game is not about Bear Bryant, 12 national title, 13 Sugar bowl apperances, but rather the 2008 Utah Utes against the 2008 Alabama Crimson Tide. A memo to all of those Alabama fans who at any time they read a comment, blog post, news article, or anything that does not say Alabama is God’s gift to the world in football do not need to start rambling off the numbers I just did or many more that I am not aware of. Good smack is fun but no need to bash the other school or just pound your chest and say the SEC is king, Utah is a good team and so is Alabama they are both in the top 10.

For amusement purposes and what will be considered bulletin board material for the Ute players, I will start a post a day until Januaray 2nd and postcomments from fans and media outlets that could be used as bulletin material for Utah. Alabama fans may find this like a slight against them, but some Alabama fans and media are giving the Utes no respect. Again this is all fun.

This first one comes from an ESPN.com chat near the end of the chat

Derek, Atlanta: Why does Bama get the short end of the stick and play Utah? I would think they would prefer a match up like Bama and Texas.

Derek would you rather be playing a 9-4 Virginia Tech or 11-2 C incy who lost to U Conn? Brad Edwards puts it best:

“The selection order often dictates the matchups, and that’s what happened here. The first pick went to the Fiesta, which chose Texas. The second pick went to the Sugar, which chose Alabama, so there was never a chance to match those teams.”

Alabama coach Nick Saban said the Tide were “the only team that plays in a real BCS conference that went 12-0.”Chattanooga Times Free Press

That may have been a slip of the tongue but many people in Utah feel slighted about that remark.

Here is the title from The Birmingham News

Alabama to face Florida Light in Sugar Bowl Vs. Utah

Real classy, yes the article is balanced but the title is a slap in the face, but does it mean since they refer Utah to Florida that Utah wins? Just a thought. Also in the article Sugar Bowl executive director Paul Hoolahan said Well,” he said, “I’d be less than honest to say we weren’t a little concerned about the outcome of last year’s game. Not even close because Utah’s schedule is much better, but Hoolahan also said that since Utah was able to win at Michigan Utah ” was a safe bet.”

I came across the blog, The Rap Sheet, by The Birmingham News writer Ian R. Rapoport and I am not sure if he is writing a tease to get readers to check the blog tomorrow or he really does not know why Utah is matched up against Alabama, and it does not help when CEO Paul Hoolahan said:

There was no other choice,” Hoolahan said. “That was it. That was the choice. Alabama and Utah was the choice. It makes perfect sense for us. I mean, we can go through the steps, but you know obviously, we had the replacement factor…

For those Alabama fans who did not know how the selection work it goes as follows:

Bowl that loses team to BCS title

Bowl that loses team to BCS title

Fiesta Bowl

Sugar Bowl

Orange Bowl

The first two selections went with Fiesta taking Texas and then Sugar taking Alabama, both choose to keep their conference affiliation in line. Then the pick went back to the Fiesta and they had teams like Ohio State, Boise State, TCU, Utah, and Cincinnati. Fiesta took Ohio State for a bigger named matchup and the Sugar felt Utah was the next best selection, in their minds.

In the same blog post there is a comment, by delahaya puts things in perspective and does not whine or complain about playing Utah.

Guys, Utah ain’t chopped liver. They are undefeated and will be motivated to beat an SEC team. Don’t take a win for granted.

Alabama has had a great year and has the opportunity the cap it off with a Sugar Bowl win. The players should be proud of what they’ve done.

Also, one last thing Alabama fans, as Utah fans, should be excited because last year Alabama lost to Louisana-Monroe and played in the Independence Bowl, while Utah was in the Poinsettia Bowl.

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Final Bowl projections for the MWC

There were no major upsets, well technically if you count Florida because they were behind in the rankings, but a 10 point favorite. There has been steam gaining that since Florida is ranked sixth by the computers and fourth in the coaches poll. I crunched some numbers and if Florida moves up to number three in the computer rankings which is where Alabama was, then if Florida jumps Texas, only 9 poll votes, and takes the second spot and gets the same votes as Oklahoma did at number two, and finally in the Harris poll if they stay true to their rankings Florida would be number one and just for this purpose get the same votes Alabama did at that spot.

Here is a small chart below to point out how close it would be.  This is my estimation, but Texas could get a strength of schedule boost for beating Oklahoma earlier and perhaps get a big bump ahead of Florida in the computer, but who knows.

Florida                                                                   Texas
Computer Avg .920 (3rd ranking)           Computer Avg  .950 (2nd ranking)
Coaches Poll .9161 (2nd ranking)            Coaches Poll .9154 (3rd Ranking)
Harris Poll .9965 (1st ranking)                  Harris Poll .9115 (3rd Ranking)
Total .9442                                                        Total .9256

Utah vs. Alabama

This is the best possible matchup for Utah because Alabama’s offense is not that great and the only great player is running back Glenn Coffee and freshman Julio Jones is pretty good.

BYU Vs. Arizona

This is a financial decision for the bowl to sell out the crowd and hotel sponsors.  BYU gets the reward by playing a 7-6 Arizona team.

Colorado State vs. Fresno State

Fresno has all ready accepted this bowl invite and almost a certainty to be playing Colorado State, because the New Mexico bowl gets the last selection of MWC teams.

Air Force vs. Nevada

This is a good fit, because San Diego has a presecence in the armed services, and this spot is an at large Nevada gets the cut because they are 7-5 and close to the area.  There is speculation that TCU and Boise State would play here, but I can not see the bowls releasing either since they both have the chance to play at home.  A Boise State versus TCU would be a great matchup and possible one of the highest ranked teams in a non-BCS bowl game.

TCU vs. Houston

This would be another old Southwest Conference matchup.  A good matchup between a great offense and a great defense.

Once the official bowl announcements are out I will post on that.

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How good would a college football playoff be?

Dan Wetzel over at Yahoo Sports outlines what a 16 team playoff would look like this year. I am a huge proponent of a playoff, partly because I like the MWC and that the post season would be awesome. The concept is not hard maybe cut the regular season to 11 games and leagues that have championship games are done by the last weekend in November or first weekend in December. Then play the first two rounds take two weeks off and have the semis on New Years Day and the title a week later.

The NCAA would need to take control of football since right now the BCS owns the post season for football. Make first round game home games and then use bowls for the round of 8 and beyond, which would be seven bowl locations. The rest of the bowls could be used for rewards for teams who do not make this playoffs.

Just look at the potential matchups, Texas Tech-Ohio State, Utah-TCU rematch, Tulsa high powered offense against Oklahoma, and that is just the first round.

I guess in the mean time we have to play for a Mythical National Champion, but we can dream?


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Mountain West Football Week 2 Preview

#15 (1-0) (0-1)

Husky Stadium 12PM PT TV: Radio: KSL sports Radio

The question this week for BYU is not the BCS or by how much they may win by, but it is can BYU win a road non conference game. These games have given BYU trouble the past few years by losing to inferior teams and Tulsa comes to mind last year and Arizona in 2006. If BYU wins it will be their first non conference road win since beating Utah State by one in 2003 and their first road win outside of Utah since beating Cal in 2002. Current players are aware, but may not really care its been five years they will just know they have never won a road non conference game.

Last week Washington got hammered 44-10 at Oregon and looks to be a mediocre team at best. The player BYU needs to watch out for is quarterback Jake Locker aka ‘Tim Tebow lite,’ Locker had limited success last week by gaining 151 total yards passing and rushing. He is athletic and may be able to make plays against a green BYU secondary, but his running ability will be limited with the defensive line and line backers being the Cougars strength.

For BYU to win they need to get ahead early and remove the crowd from the game, because in Husky Stadium the 75,000 fans are very loud and can disrupt opponents and force offsides and false start penalties. Plus, with a coach on the hot seat and the home opener Washington will be primed and ready to go for this game against another ranked opponent.

Getting Austin Collie and Dennis Pitta the ball early to establish the passing game for big plays should be able to deflate the Huskies, and then BYU can just run it up the middle with Harvey Unga. BYU is the better team and should win, but in years past they have disappointed on these road games, but the offense is very mature and should be able to get everyone in line for this game and BYU will win by at least two touchdowns.

(1-0) (0-1)

Hughes Stadium 1:30PM MT TV: NONE Radio: KCOL 600

Exciting matchup with I-AA Sacramento State coming into Fort Collins. This game should give new Rams head coach Steve Fairchild his first win, and be able to work on some things against Sac State. The Hornets are coming off of an impressive 45-10 win in their opener, and were lead by two 100 yard rushers in Bryan Hilliard and Evander Wilkins who lead the way.

Colorado State will need to watch those two players and the entire rushing attack from Sacramento State, because the passing attack was non existent with just over 150 yards passing.

Colorado State should be able to win by 10 points or more, and getting quarterback Billy Farris more experience.

(0-1) (0-0)

Notre Dame Stadium 2:30 PM CT TV: Radio: XTRA Sports 1360

This game will be interesting, at least in my opinion, because last year Notre Dame was terrible going 3-9, but have a majority of returning players back with experience. This is the Irish season opener and they had the privilege of seeing San Diego State get embarrassed against Cal Poly, and the only excuse that can be mustered up is that the Aztecs were looking past Cal Poly to Notre Dame.

The positives for San Diego State is quarterback Ryan Lindley who threw for 354 yards last week. If San Diego State wants to be in this game he needs to have another strong weak, which is possible since last year Notre Dame’s defense was not very good.

The running game has to show up for the Aztecs to keep the Irish off guard, and last weak against the FCS team they only managed 27 yards. Brandon Sullivan will need to step up against Notre Dame and have about 75 yards on the ground to have Notre Dame respect the run.

This is a game that Notre Dame needs to show that it can dominate an opponent, Jimmy Clausen who had elbow surgery to help an injury that bothered him last year.  The main concern for Notre Dame is their offensive line that was terrible last year, so if the Irish offense is to have any success the offensive line must produce.

Look for Notre Dame to win this game, because San Diego State is not very good and they lost to I-AA Cal Poly at home last week.

(1-0) (1-0)

War Memorial Stadium 1:30PM MT TV: CBS PPV Radio: 740 KVOR or 1240 KFBC

This is an interesting early season conference match up, because Air Force is breaking in many new offensive players and Wyoming has a new quarterback Dax Crum.  Last week Air Force eased in the new players by destroying Southern Utah, and the running game looks to be their strength again by running the ball 76 times.  Expect Air Force to keep using the running game with new quarterback Shea Smith, but the Falcons will mix in some more play action passing to keep Wyoming offense.  Smith is the key to the Air Force offense as last week he had 91 rushing yards and 75 passing, and then also wide receiver Kyle Halderman who ran for 87 yards.

Wyoming is ready for this game, after having to come from to defeat Ohio in game one.  Wyoming has a very good rush defense, so the matchup between the Falcons option against the Pokes deffense will be one to watch.  Air Force most likely will get its yards, so Wyoming will need to limit the big running plays.

Wyoming on offense will be lead by running back Devin Moore 82 rushing yards with a score.  Moore is small in size but is a speed back who can break for a big play if he can make it outside.  The Cowboys also have new quarterback Dax Crum who played fairly well in week one by completing 64% of his passes, but also had two scores and two picks and lead the final drive for victory over Ohio.

Wyoming should be able to win this game, because they are at home and have a good rush defense which will limit what the Falcons can do.

(0-1) (0-1)

University Stadium 3PM MT TV: Radio: 770 KKOB

Both teams showed nothing last week, by rolling over to their respective opponents.  Texas A&M’s loss was worse by losing at home to Arkansas State.   New Mexico lost in week one to TCU 26-3 in a game that most thought could have been the best game last week in Mountain West play.

Quarterback Donovan Porterie did suffer a neck injury early in last weeks game and is going to start game two against the Aggies, but sometimes there is the after effect of such injury for players to play ancy.   Protection will be a key for the Lobos, also running back Rodney Ferguson will need to help control the ball in the running game.   Last week Ferguson was not as effective since New Mexico was down 16-0 in first nine minutes.

The Aggies have talent at quarterback with Stephen McGee who is a very capable dual threat quarterback, but in the new offense under MIke Sherman has McGee throwing first and running second in a more traditional offense.  Then at running back Texas A&M has Mike Goodson who ran for for 124 yards and two scores.  The Aggies look to be more of a run first offense with Goodson in the backfield who has the big play capabilities as he averaged 5.2 per carry last week.

This game should be an even matchup, but the edge has to be given to New Mexico because they are at home and will be up again to face a Big XII opponent in Texas A&M.

(1-0) (1-0)

Amon Carter Stadium 6PM CT TV: NONE Radio: 103.3 ESPN Radio

This in state matchup features a pretty solid FCS team in Stephen F. Austin who defeated Langston 56-19.  SFA is capable of scoring, but TCU is a much, much better defensive team then Langston.  The SFA Lumberjacks did nothing special in their opener they were just given good field position because of their special teams.

TCU will roll past SFA with Andy Dalton at quarterback and then star running back Aaron Brown both who should have a dominant game.  The one thing TCU needs to do is find a go to receiver to make this team more complete then it all ready is.

(1-0) #22 (1-0)

Rice Eccles Stadium 6PM MT TV: Radio:KALL 700 Sports

This game has the chance to get ugly.  Last year Utah was in disaray with quarterback Brian Johnson not at full health and tried to save the day in an ugly 27-0 loss to a UNLV team that won only 2 games last year.  Some ‘experts’ are saying Utah could still be living off the high for defeating Michigan last week on the road, but coaches have the team preparing just as they did against Michigan plus the fact that the Utes were embarassed last year.

UNLV has players, but they snuck by lowly Utah State last week and only played a vanilla offense against the Aggies.   UNLV has possibly the best receiving corp in the league with Ryan Wolfe and Casey Flair and the matcup between Ute defensive back Sean Smith and either of these receivers will be something to watch out for.  Then there is Frank Summers who bulldozed his way to over 100 yards last year, and toss in the fact that UNLV head coach came out saying that Utah was affraid to tackle Summers and only dived at his ankles adds fuel to this game.

UNLV has players on offense, but has yet to have a game where everything runs smoothly.  If Utah plays defense this week like last week then UNLV has very little chance to score or gain any yards.

Utah will be ready, because of last years embarassing loss and this is the first week Utah has been ranked in the top 25 since they finished the 2004 season ranked fifth in the coaches poll so the crowd will be rocking with a projected sell out at Rice-Eccless Stadium.  This game could resemble last years Wyoming game, when coach Whittingham heard that coach Joe Glenn guaranteed a win ove Utah.

Utes should win comfortably by two touchdowns or more.